Southwest Salmon & Black Beans

This dish was the best way that I have ever had salmon prepared.  It’s zesty and flavorful, has a great variety of textures, and is super-healthy.  Grilling the fish avoids stinking heating up the house on these days of 90+ degrees and ridiculous humidity, and it allows it to get a great crisp on.

I can honestly say that I was weary of using all of the herbs called for in the dressing.  I love mint, but I love it in desserts, and sometimes it weirds me out to have it in a savory dish.  Well not this time.  The cilantro, basil and mint meld together and you taste none of them individually, but the combination is smooth and wonderful.  Now if I can only figure out how to use of the remaining 4 lbs. of mint in my back yard, I’ll be all set….

I opted to take creative liberties with the recipe that I followed (of course) and served the beans on the side with some jasmine rice that had been cooked in chicken broth.  It was probably unnecessary as both Neil and I were so stuffed by the end of this meal that is was silly, but I was initially worried that a piece of fish on top of lettuce wasn’t going to cut it with our appetites.

Ingredients:

1 ½  lb salmon

1 small onion, minced

1 small red bell pepper, diced 1/4 inch

4 medium cloves garlic pressed

1 TBS +  ½  cup chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups or 15 oz can black beans, rinsed & drained

1 ½  TBS ancho chili powder

2 cups chopped lettuce (like butter or romaine)

Dressing:

4 TBS fresh chopped cilantro

2 TBS fresh chopped mint

2 TBS fresh chopped basil

5 TBS fresh lemon juice

4 TBS olive oil

1 TBS chopped pepitas

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Season salmon with salt and pepper and set aside
  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a skillet and when it begins to steam add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and sauté over a  medium heat for about 5 minutes
  • Add 1/2 cup broth, black beans, and ancho chili powder. Cook for another 10 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste
  • While the beans are cooking, preheat your grill
  • In a bowl mix together cilantro, mint, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, pepitas, salt and pepper
  • Grill the salmon for about 10 minutes (your grill should be between 400 and 500 degrees)
  • Serve the salmon on a bed of lettuce, topped with the dressing, with beans on the side

J

Cod with Fennel and Cauliflower

What this dish lacks in color it certainly makes up for in flavor and aroma.  A little salty chicken broth, sweet  lemon & carrot, aromatic fennel, pungent garlic.  And the texture of the poached fish is very different than baked or fried fish.  It holds together well and is very moist.

Ingredients:

2 cod fillets

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

1TBS + 1 cup chicken broth

1 medium sized onion, cut in half and sliced thickly

1 large carrot, cut into 1½ inch pieces and quartered

½ head cauliflower, florets separated

1 medium-sized fennel bulb, sliced thin

5 medium cloves garlic, pressed

salt and pepper to taste

chopped fennel greens for garnish

Directions:

  • Slice onion and chop garlic and let sit for at least 5 minutes
  • Rub cod with lemon juice and season with a little salt and pepper. Set aside
  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a skillet and sauté onion in broth over medium heat for 5 minutes,stirring often
  • Add the rest of the broth and the carrots. Simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes, covered

  • Add the cauliflower, fennel, and garlic. Place cod steaks on top and continue to cook, covered, for about 11-12 more minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Serve  sprinkled with chopped fennel greens

Cod served on a bed of quinoa

And with the left-over fennel bits I created a cocktail- 1/4 lemonade : 3/4 seltzer : fennel stalk

Fennelade bubbly

The recipe was inspired by this post on World’s Healthiest Foods.

J

Cod fillets with pea puree

So the title of this dish may not seem so catchy, but the flavor is great!  By using both the zest and the juice of the lemon you get a super flavor that holds up well after the fish has baked.  And because it only cooks for 15 minutes, the lemon doesn’t get that bitterness to it that it sometimes can after cooking.  As for the pea portion, imagine sweet and earthy and bright.  The onion and the garlic mellow out after cooking, and the peas really are the super-star.   I served this with jasmine rice that had been cooked in chicken broth and water, and the pea puree was great on its own, and mixed with the rice.

baked lemon-parsley cod with pea puree and jasmine rice

Ingredients:

1 lb cod filets (thick cut)

Zest of one lemon

Juice of one lemon

3 TBS chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp salt

pinch cayenne

1 medium onion, chopped

4 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced

4 TBS chicken (or vegetable) broth

15 oz frozen sweet peas

4 TBS sunflower seeds (raw and unsalted)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F
  • Chop onion and mince or press the garlic and let sit for 5 minutes
  • Mix together lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped parsley, salt, and cayenne in a small bowl
  • Rub cod filets with the marinade and place it in a baking dish. Place the fish in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes
  • While the fish is baking, heat 1 TBS broth in a skillet. Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent
  • Add garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  • Add remaining broth, peas, sunflower seeds, salt and pepper, and heat for about 3 minutes

onion, garlic, chicken broth, peas, and sunflower seeds in the sauté pan

  • Puree the pea mixture in a blender

*Inspired by a post on World’s Healthiest Foods

J

Asian Tuna

While out marketing a few days ago I came across three nice-looking tuna steaks, so I picked them up.  In the same 24 hours I received an email with a wonderful-looking recipe for Asian tuna: a sweet and syrupy pan sauce with thick slices of shitake mushrooms in it.  I figured that this was meant to be, so I tried it out.  Wow am I ever glad that I did!

Asian tuna, jasmine rice, and a side salad

Ingredients:

tuna steaks

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

1 cup minced scallion

3 medium cloves garlic, pressed

1 TBS minced fresh ginger

2 cups thickly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms (remove stems)

1 TBS chicken broth

1 cup orange juice

2 TBS tamari

2 TBS chopped cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the grill
  • Rub tuna with lemon juice and season with a little salt and pepper and set aside
  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a large skillet on the stovetop. Sauté the scallion, garlic, ginger, and mushrooms in broth for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly over a medium heat
  • Add orange juice and cook for another 2 minutes, then add the tamari and cilantro

shitake mushroom pan sauce

  • Grill your tuna steaks to your desired doneness

grilled tuna steaks

  • Place tuna on plates and pour mushroom sauce over each piece

This recipe was inspired by World’s Healthiest Foods.

I opted to serve this with some jasmine rice that I cooked in chicken broth, then added to some healthy-sautéed asparagus, celery bits, and ramps (whites and greens).

jasmine rice stir-fry

We also had a side-salad of spring greens and fresh tomato that was tossed in a dressing of:

ginger-lemon tossed salad

J

Creamy Sesame Greens

I am frequently surprised by the fact that I’m not yet sick of eating hearty winter greens.  It’s true, I’m not, although I make no promises that I won’t be in another few weeks when I begin to pine for the fresh pole beans and beets and spinach of spring which I will have to continue to wait for.  Then I’ll move on to wanting fresh, juicy summer tomatoes and squashes, basil and dill.  Until then, I’ll keep on trying new recipes for my winter veggies, and working on the layout of my garden for the spring.  I’m thinking that raised boxes may be in order this year, if I can just get my act together and build them.

While looking through some recipes on Whole Foods’ website I came across this one and thought that it would make for a great side to some simple white fish.  Then I did my usual and got carried away trying to pair flavors & themes in foods and ended up marinating  the simple piece of haddock in a store-bought ginger-garlic-soy sauce before baking it.  And I kept going from there….

Ingredients

2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons water

6 cups chopped kale, chard and/or collard greens

2 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Directions

  • Heat the broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Add greens and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together tahini, orange juice, water and garlic. Add hot greens, toss to combine and serve.

On this particular evening I also steamed up some fingerling potatoes and sliced sweet potato.  I took the steamed starches and tossed them in non-fat sour cream which had been mixed with Chinese 5-spice .   This made for an interesting flavor combination (as Chinese 5-spice includes cinnamon, fennel, licorice root, white pepper, etc.)

What I would not suggest is the pairing of all three of these (marinated fish, dressed greens, and spiced creamy potatoes) together.  It was a little busy on the palette.

J