Friday, December 30, 2016

Feast of the Seven Fishes

This Christmas Eve, I celebrated the holiday with the Feast of the Seven Fishes with my amazing fiancé. The Feast is an Italian American tradition (with roots from southern Italy), where you serve seven different fish dishes. Typically you have a lot of people and extended family participate and there is always plenty of food to go around. This year it was just the two of us, so we started eating early! It was perfect! There are some of the recipes that I used that were from a previous Feast post here.

Drumroll please....
Crab Dip
Calamari (in the previous post)
Seafood Stew
Salmon Croquettes (found here)
Stuffed Clams
Butterfly Shrimp (previous post)
Lobster Mac and Cheese

Crab Dip

8 oz chive and onion cream cheese
8 oz mascarpone
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz lump crab meat, drained
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Just mix all the ingredients together and spoon into a greased baking dish. Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees until bubbling. Serve with crusty Italian or French bread.

Seafood Stew (aka Cioppino)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 8-oz bottles clam juice
1 teaspoon parsley
2 bay leaves
8 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add garlic, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes for about 3 minutes. Add wine and raise heat to boil. Reduce the wine by half, and then add the tomatoes. Crush them by hand as you add them. Stir occasionally until thickened (about 20 minutes). Add the clam juice, parsley, bay leaves, water, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer. Remove bay leaves before serving.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 lbs of mussels and clams
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 lb skinless white fish (I used sea bass)
1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
1/4 cup unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add shallot, stirring often until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from heat; add mussels and wine. Set over medium to high heat, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shells open (discard any that do not open), about 4 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Add fish and shrimp. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve while hot.

Lobster Mac & Cheese

1.5 lb lobster tail
1 lb cavatappi or other macaroni
1 quart whole milk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3/4 cup flour
4 cups grated Gruyere cheese
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup ground nutmeg
1.5 cups Italian bread crumbs

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the lobster tail about 15 minutes. Once cooked, removed from the water and allow to cool. Remove the meat and dice into cubes. Place into large bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking pan. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boil water until al dente.

In a large pot, heat the milk and 6 tablespoons butter. Do not allow to boil. Add the flour and whisk. Cook for 1-2 minutes after the milk gets hot. Turn off the heat and add the cheeses, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Add to the lobster and pasta. Pour into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, combine the butter and bread crumbs. Top the pasta and bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Greek Meatballs with Lemon and Spinach Orzo

Orzo is a staple in my home! I have had many "meals" composed of only orzo. Today, I decided to try to make a full meal out of it and actually have other the main dish. These meatballs are quick and simple to make.

For the meatballs:
1.5 lbs ground beef (or lamp)
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons red onion, minced
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup panko/bread crumbs

In a large bowl, using your hands, combine the above ingredients. Form the meatballs, making between 20-24 small meatballs and place them in a glass baking dish. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Then raise to a broil and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

For the tzatziki:
1 cup greek yogurt
1 small cucumber, deseeded, drained, and chopped
1 garlic clove
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

In a small bowl, combine the above ingredients. Salt to taste. Allow for the flavors to meld for 30-60 minutes prior to serving. Great for topping the meatballs!

For the orzo:
2 cups orzo
4 cups broth (I like using vegetable broth)
2 cups spinach
Juice from two lemons

Bring the broth to a boil and add the orzo. Cook until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Add the spinach to the pot and turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Turkey Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

When I was in Sprouts the other day, I came across purple sweet potatoes. Of course I had to buy a couple. They looked just too good. I have gotten addicted to purple cauliflower, so I figured this had to be good. I'm attempting to keep things healthy and am wanting to increase my fiber and protein in my diet. This was surprisingly tasty!

1 lb ground turkey
1 can (8 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon chili powder (more if you like spice)
1 cup frozen yellow corn
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
4 large purple sweet potatoes (or regular)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Poke the potatoes with a fork and cook through in the microwave. Cut long ways in half and scoop out the inside and discard. Brown the turkey in a medium sauté pan. Remove from heat and add to large bowl when done.

Meanwhile, heat the beans and three tablespoons of the minced onion, with the chili powder. Remove from heat and mash. Add and mix to the turkey. Add the corn, onion and taco season and mix well. Add the turkey mixture to the centers of the potatoes, top with the cheese and bake in a glass dish for about 15 minutes. Remove and add any additional toppings such as avocado, yogurt (or sour cream), and hot sauce.

Rainbow Trout with Garlic, Lemon, and Herb Sauce

My fiancé has encouraged me to post on this blog again. I have neglected it for way too long. Besides, I think he just likes me cooking new things for him (not a bad thing at all!). It is well known among my loved ones that I do not like fish. I have discovered that I do like certain ones (like three of them). Rainbow trout is one of those. I served it with sautéed green beans and purple cauliflower with a goat cheese sauce.

2 filets of rainbow trout (skin on)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon each of thyme, oregano, parsley
3 large garlic cloves, diced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine
3 tablespoons softened butter

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, herbs, garlic, lemon juice, and white wine. Place each filet onto a large piece of aluminum foil. Top each with a generous amount of the olive oil mixture. Add one tablespoon of butter on top of each filet and folder the foil, sealing all edges. Cook the filets for about 5-7 minutes on each side.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Fritters

This past week has been nothing short of plain stressful. It was the last week of classes, finals are coming up and I have a small mountain of papers that take about 30 minutes each to grade. Oh, and I caught one of the colds going around. Yes, stressful. Needless to say, grocery shopping wasn't high on my priority list. Thankfully, this recipe (adopted from Cooking Light) fit the bill! I actually had (almost) everything in my pantry. I ran out of tomatoes a few days ago, but I included them here since I think it would be delicious in the avocado salsa.

Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 chopped yellow onion
2 cups grated sweet potato (I used golden yams)
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or panko
juice from one lime

In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil (about 1 tablespoon), garlic, and onion. Cook until onion is tender. Do not let the garlic burn.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a food processor, combine the sweet potato, chick peas, salt, pepper, egg, and garlic/onion mixture. Process until mixed well. I have a small processor and had to do this in a couple of batches.

Then heat a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add about one tablespoon olive oil. Using your hands, form patties about the size of your palm and add to the pan. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (easy clean up!) and place fritters on pan. Cook for five minutes further. (No need to flip the fritters.)

1/2 small avocado, diced
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
juice from 1/2 lime

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Serve on top of fritters.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (and Healthy Too!)

Tuesday is another class party day (I have different classes, so it's easier to spread out the celebrations). I am shooting for more healthy this time. That and something that is easy to transport. These cookies are made with both regular flour and whole wheat flour and rather than sugar, made with honey. These aren't super sweet so hopefully I won't have a bad sugar crash later!

6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup carob chips (or chocolate chips if you don't mind it not being vegan)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut oil, honey, water, and vanilla extract. Mix well. Then add the flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Add the carob chips and mix on medium to high to combine.

Using a cookie scooper, scoop the dough onto the prepared sheet. These do not spread at all, so don't worry about putting them too far apart. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn.

Makes about 21 cookies.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Chocolate Cake in a Mug

If you're like me, you probably get a sweet tooth daily every once in a while. Mug cakes are fantastic for being able to control portions while satisfying that sweet tooth. This is my go-to for chocolate cake.

1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
14 cup milk
2 tablespoons applesauce

Combine all the ingredients above in a mug and mix well. Microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds. You may also top with berries and yogurt.