Dishing: Blackened Fish

Fresh & Flavorful

Photo: Taste of Home (this is blackened Halibut)

This is such a delicious way to serve up mildly flavoured quick-cooking fish like Tilapia, Perch, Cod or Red Snapper.  Perfect for rice bowls or tacos.

After making this you have options to serve the fish alongside fluffy rice & veggies or as the main ingredient for tacos.  Rockfish like Perch or Snapper is perfect for fish tacos. The fish will flake apart nicely so you can stuff your tacos with it along with fresh salsa (see my fire-roasted corn salsa recipe below) diced avocado, extra cilantro and fresh squeezed lime.

INGREDIENTS for 4 people

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 fillets (4 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

DIRECTIONS

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first eight ingredients. Add fillets, two at a time, and shake to coat.

In a large cast-iron skillet, cook fillets in butter over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Yield: 4 servings.

Originally published as Blackened Halibut in Simple & Delicious April/May 2012.

Photos: d. king  (Snapper for Two)

Fire Roasted Corn + Black Bean Salsa:

In a large bowl add chopped grape tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, black beans + fire roasted corn niblets (You can toast them over the stove to save time but it would be better grilled right from the husk.)  Toss with freshly squeezed lime juice + coarse salt. Add chopped avocado.  Little street tacos, rice on the side and you’re done.  It’s delicious.

 

 

Healthy Alternative: Homemade Coconut Milk

photo: the happiness kitchen

I’ve been pouring store bought coconut milk over granola, oatmeal and adding it in place of water to smoothies for a looooong time. That’s before I knew how so much more delicious and easy it is to make my own.  Trust me,  bought coconut milk does not compare to homemade. It’s great for smoothies, but after making your own you’ll realize how watery it is in comparison because they use more water to coconut ratio. I prefer coconut over almond milk.  It’s my tropical side coming out.

When you make your own it’s almost like cracking open a fresh coconut.  Really!

Ingredients (for about 3 cups)

  • 2 cups shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 3-4 cups water (use less water for thicker, creamier milk!)
  • Pinch salt
  • Add optional: 1 Tbsp maple syrup, ½ tsp. vanilla extract or scrape half a vanilla bean for added sweetness.  fyi: I have not added any extras so far

Instructions

  1. Add coconut, 3 cups of hot (not boiling) water, pinch of salt (I like himalayan), and any additional add-ins (optional) to a high-speed blender. Top with lid and cover with a towel to ensure it doesn’t splash. Blend for about 2 minutes or until the mixture seems well combined.
  2. Pour the mixture through a sieve over a large mixing bowl. Save pulp for smoothies, baked goods or add it to oatmeal. You won’t waste any and it gives added coconut taste.
  3. Transfer to a sealed container or glass bottle and refrigerate. Will keep in the refrigerator for about one week. Shake before use, as it can separate in the refrigerator (due to no preservatives!).  Some recommend squeezing the milk through a cheese cloth after using sieve but I didn’t need to do this.

FOR COFFEE LOVES (like me)

And if you want to go one step further try making your own coconut milk creamer.  I’ve been using So Good fat free Coconut Milk Creamer with French Vanilla which works really well to sweeten up coffee instead of adding sugar.  But I can’t find it easily in Vancouver and I’ve tried all the other brands which don’t compare in my opinion. I still like sweetener (that’s not gonna change) so I’m now making my own.

Homemade Coconut Milk Creamer

Homemade coconut milk creamer for coffee is also super easy to make. All you need is quality coconut milk and a healthy sweetener like honey and natural vanilla extract. Full fat coconut milk contains the healthy medium chain fats that are in coconut oil.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
  • 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions:

  1. Blend the coconut milk, sweetener of choice and vanilla extract together until the creamer is mixed well.
  2. Pour desired amount into your coffee or tea and store the remaining creamer in the refrigerator.
  3. Make sure to shake the creamer well before using. Enjoy! This creamer will be good for up to two weeks.

 Sooooo Good!

 

Super Food: Moroccan Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Sweet meets Savory

This healthy & hearty salad made in one pot is hard to beat. It takes maybe 30 minutes to prepare and it’s a delicious vegetarian meal packed with protein which comes in handy for lunch. Non-vegetarians can enjoy it for dinner served as a side along roast chicken or fish. 

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetarian broth (or water)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ⅔ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup finely diced flat leaf parsley
  • ½ cup sliced toasted almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add coconut oil to a large pot and place over medium heat. Once oil is hot add in onion and sauté until onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the following spices: turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and salt and pepper; cook for 30 seconds more.
  2. Next add in broth (or water) and quinoa; bring mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for exactly 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from heat and fluff quinoa with a fork.
  3. Stir in chickpeas, cranberries and parsley to the quinoa and mix until well-combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with toasted almonds and extra parsley. Serves 4.
  4. To serve: Place in mason jars or meal prep containers for lunch throughout the week. Garnish with extra toasted almonds.

Quinoa: with 8 grams per cup, this gluten-free seed-like grain is a fantastic source of protein, magnesium, antioxidants, and fiber.

Recipe & Photo: ambitiouskitchen.com

 

 

Food: ROASTED BEET HUMMUS

For a winning party or potluck dip you cannot BEET this recipe.

Taken from theminimalistbaker.com

It’s a nice departure from the usual Mediterranean style hummus we’ve come to love. Super creamy and flavorful. Full of vitamins and minerals. Perfect with pita or veggies.  I made it twice in one month to rave reviews (unless they lied but I doubt it).

It’s also very simple to make. Once you have a roasted beet it’s a matter of throwing everything into a food processor or blender and whisking away.  You might want to roast more than one beet (to use the others in salads, etc.) because that takes the longest time.

Ingredients:
  • 1 small roasted beet
  • 1 15-oz. can (1 3/4 cup) cooked chickpeas, mostly drained
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • juice of 1/2 a large lemon
  • healthy pinch salt and black pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 heaping Tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C), remove the stem and most of the root from beet, and scrub and wash it under running water until clean. Drizzle on a bit of canola or olive oil, wrap tightly in foil, and roast for one hour or until a knife inserted falls out without resistance and is tender (similar to a baked potato). Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Once your beet is cooled and peeled, quarter it and place it in your food processor. Blend until only small bits remain.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except for olive oil and blend until smooth.
  4. Drizzle in olive oil as the hummus is mixing.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt, lemon juice, or olive oil if needed. If it’s too thick, add a bit of water.
  6. Will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

But it won’t last one week because you’ll eat it up before then.

If you love peanut butter….

For a tasty and fool-proof recipe try these two ingredient (yes, you read that right), two bite, peanut butter cookies.

It doesn’t get much easier than this for a quick energy peanut butter cookie fix.  I tried this months ago and was meaning to post.  But I thought nah, nobody is going to believe you can make cookies this simply.  But you can.  Mind you, they tend to crumble more unless you add something like a little rice malt syrup to help bind them.

They have a lot of protein without the sugar.  A win-win situation.

You will need:

  • 1 cup natural 100 per cent peanut butter.
  • 1 free range egg.
  • Optional extras: salt, cacao nibs, cacao powder, rice malt syrup.

1. Preheat your oven to  350℉ (180℃) and pour your peanut butter into a bowl. Since it’s natural peanut butter and has no added emulsifiers, it should be a little runny. This will make it easy to stir.

2. Add your egg and stir. Keep going until it firms up to a cookie dough consistency – you should be able to roll it into a ball with your hands. “If you like a salty peanut butter, this is the right time to add a pinch of rock salt.

3. Take Tablespoon amounts of the mixture and roll into balls with your hands. Place on a lined tray and gently squash them to a disc shape.  Use a fork if you like.

4. Optional: Add a tablespoon of cacao powder to half the remaining cookie mix. If you have it on hand, cacao makes these super rich. Almost like a peanut butter cup.

5. Pop your cookies into the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown with a slightly cracked surface.

That’s just the way this cookie crumbles.

Originally found on: Iquitsugar.com

 

 

Quick ‘n Easy Coq au Vin

Hearty dishes aren’t usually described as elegant, but this classic French recipe is the very definition.

This is something I would usually reserve for ordering in a good French restaurant, and even then, it’s not something I readily crave.  But I had chicken and I had white wine on hand.  Actually I had everything except the bacon so it made sense to find a recipe.

PHOTO: Liz Andrew.  STYLING: Erin McDowell

The only problem? You need Julia Child levels of patience and skill to pull it off. Enter this foolproof version, which is ready in under an hour. Plus, it’s made with dry white wine instead of red for an elegant twist.

What you need:

3 pounds chicken (8 pieces total—thighs, breasts and drumsticks)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 strips bacon, diced

1 large sweet onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 pint cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 cups dry white wine

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until it’s well browned, about 4 minutes per side.
  2. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until the fat begins to render, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and sauté until it becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms, and sauté until the mushrooms are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Add the browned chicken back to the skillet. Pour the wine into the skillet, stir in the mustard and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  5. Cover the skillet and simmer until the chicken is almost fully cooked, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Uncover the skillet and add the cream. Simmer until the sauce thickens and the chicken is fully cooked, 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

de rien

 

Monday Mood: Martinis on the Mountain

What could be better than sipping martinis in a fabulous home with a view? On a Monday no less!

As part of Modernism Week and a love limit for martinis,  I’m finally going to Martinis on the Mountain.  I’ve heard about it, but every time I’m here it’s always sold out.

Tonight I’m prepared to step back in time at the historic O’Donnell House nestled high above Palm Springs with magnificent views of the valley below.  Looking forward to live entertainment featuring the sounds of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, fab hors d’oeuvres and who knows what else.

O’Donnell House (party 2017)

The evening is also a fundraiser to benefit the Meals On Wheels Program and other programs and services of the Mizell Senior Center.

A bit of architectural history:

The house was built in 1925 for oil tycool Thomas O’Donnell and his wife.  The home originally known as Ojo del Desierto (Eye of the Desert) was designed by architect and artist William Charles Tanner. The 4,200 square foot Mediterranean Revival-Monterey style home features four bedrooms and six fireplaces. In 2000, The O’Donnell House was acquired by its present owners who began its restoration to its former glory. The City of Palm Springs recognized it as a Historic Site in 1986 and in 2000, and in 2011 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Dontini

Specialty of the House (my house)

Everyone agrees that my husband Don made the best martinis.  He specialized in the dirty kind.  Into a chilled martini glass he strained high quality vodka, a splash of vermouth (optional), a bit of olive juice (brine) from the largest olives available which gave it a bit of a cloudy appearance and lastly, three olives on a toothpick.  And my limit was always one two.

ETC:

It’s a Mod Mod World.  I went to the Modernism Preview Party at the Convention Centre the other night.  With a glass of wine in hand, amidst a collection of mid-century modern furnishings, art, jewelery and such,  there was the crowd. I was too enthralled to even take photos.  You’ll just have to use your imagination….but I’m not sure you can even imagine the getups many were wearing.  And I’m referring to mostly the men.

I’m curious…what kind of martinis do you favor?

 

 

Recipe: greek oregano chicken + orzo with tomatoes in garlic oil

If you’re looking for an easy, no fuss delicious dinner made in one pot – this is it!

image: halfbakedharvest.com

I’m always on the lookout for recipes that keep things simple but are healthy, hearty and smell heavenly.  Of course a touch of the exotic or unexpected is always a plus and it must look appetizing on the plate and pleasing on the palate. In this one the *orzo takes on a risotto-like texture since it gets cooked in with the chicken and peppers.  Sometimes oregano can be overpowering, but when paired with this chicken, some balsamic vinegar and smoked paprika, it’s perfect. This dish was originally a summer dish because of the heirloom tomatoes but you can still find them at select grocers and winter farmers markets.  The first part of the recipe (Tomatoes) is an extra step which is optional, although I highly recommend making it.

Ingredients:

TOMATOES

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes sliced
  • 2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes halved
  • salt and pepper to taste

CHICKEN + ORZO

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, cut into bit size pieces
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano chopped
  • 2 bell peppers sliced
  • 1 cup mixed kalamata or green olives
  • 16 ounces orzo pasta (use gluten free if needed)
  • 4-6 ounces feta cheese crumbled

Instructions:

TOMATOES

  1. Add the olive oil, garlic and chili pepper flakes to a small sauce pan. Bring the oil to a low boil and then quickly reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes and then remove from the heat. Allow to cool and then store in a glass jar for up to a month in the fridge.
  2. Add the tomatoes to a bowl or plate and drizzle with the chili oil mix. Sprinkle with salt + pepper. Serve alongside the chicken.

CHICKEN

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium size dutch oven or large skillet set on medium-high heat.
  2. Once hot, add the chicken, garlic, balsamic vinegar, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken to coat and then cook until the chicken is browned all over and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oregano and cook another minute. Remove the chicken from the pan and to a plate.
  3. To the same pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil, the bell peppers and a pinch of salt + pepper. Sear the peppers until just beginning to caramelize on the edges, about 3-4 minutes. Add the orzo and another tablespoon of olive oil. Stir the pasta with the peppers on then pour in 2 1/2 cups water. Cook until almost all the water is absorbed and the orzo is creamy. Taste the orzo to make sure it is soft in the middle, if needed, add another 1/2 cup of water and continue cooking the orzo until soft. It is important to stir the orzo often, as it wants to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Once the orzo is cooked, slide the chicken and olives into the orzo and remove from the heat. Allow the chicken to warm through, about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve the dish topped with crumbled feta cheese and a side of tomatoes in chili oil.

*Orzo is a Greek barley-like pasta, the shape of large grains of rice

Original Recipe: halfbakedharvest.com

Let me know if this is something you would make and if you make it, let me know how much you like it.

 

Grill Talk: lime-marinated Mahi Mahi

Surprise, surprise…who knew?  It’s actually quite easy to barbeque.

Everyone except me it seems. But honestly confession….I recently barbequed for the very first time. For someone who has always enjoyed cooking in all its various forms, I’ve never had the desire to barbeque until now, even though I find many things taste better when on the grill – even vegetables. For no reason I can think of,  I’ve always left it up to others, specifically my husband to do the honors.  But now that I’m on my own and in the company of more than one barbeque I thought it was time to give it a go.  Because I’m doing some things I’ve never done before how daring of me. So once I fired it up; mystery solved! This is my third time grilling in the past two weeks, and each time dinner was surprisingly delicious.  And simple.  And quick.

My first attempt was Wild Alaskan Salmon coated with mayo, grainy mustard & spices.  Then it was a boneless rib-eye steak and now:

Lime-Marinated Mahi Mahi

Hawaii Mahimahi is an excellent source of healthy, extra lean protein. It is also low in saturated fat and low in sodium. It is rich in niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium. It (like most fish) should not be over cooked and flakes easily when done properly.  It’s also very meaty, almost steak-like in texture.  So if you want to re-create a tropical flavor this recipe will do so.  Enjoy.

Directions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  2. Whisk the extra-virgin olive oil, minced garlic, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, lime juice, and grated lime zest together in a bowl to make the marinade.
  3. Place the mahi mahi fillets in the marinade and turn to coat; allow to marinate at least 15 minutes.
  4. Cook on the preheated grill until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  5. Garnish with twists of lime zest to serve (optional).

What is your favorite thing to grill?

 

  

 

Stylish Food – Gucci’s Haute New Restaurant

 When I think dream of Gucci, what usually comes to mind is:

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of THIS:

But when in Rome Florence you can now dine out Gucci-style.  It appears that the latest trend is mixing famous high-end fashion houses with cuisine.

The Italian fashion house has opened a 50-seat restaurant, Gucci Osteria, in Florence where three-Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura will serve up high-end dishes.

The Gucci restaurant is sited behind the walls of the 14th century Palazzo della Mercanzia building, overlooking the city’s most famous square, Piazza della Signoria. Visitors can treat themselves to the likes of Parmigiano Reggiano tortellini, Peruvian-inspired tostadas, pork belly buns and mushroom risotto for €20 to €30 euros per dish.

Few strategies come without an element of risk, however.

*Bernstein analyst Mario Ortelli said that if luxury companies did not provide a gastronomic experience that matched their other goods, it could dilute their brands. “The experience has to be luxurious and recognizable,” he said.  At least fashionably plated right?

“Food is luxury as much as fashion,” said Stefano Cantino, strategic marketing director at Prada, which owns exclusive Milan patisserie Marchesi.

“Barriers have been broken.”

The Gucci Osteria restaurant is part of “Gucci Garden,” which includes an exhibition area, a bazaar-like boutique and a cinema room. “Haute couture and haute cuisine are a recipe made in heaven,” chef Bottura told reporters.

So if you can’t have that special Gucci bag or pair of loafers you can always get a loaf of Gucci bread.   But to do so, you still have to get to Florence.

btw, just because you asked….this is my new favorite neutral:

Source: businessoffashion.com

*Bernstein is widely recognized as Wall Street’s premier sell-side research and brokerage firm, with a global equity trading platform that spans the U.S., Europe, and Asia.