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

Quinoa stuffed peppers

I can honestly say that I make stuffed peppers about twice each cool season, and I have never made them the same way twice.  Sometimes I stuff them with quinoa & veggies, sometimes with brown rice.  When I was a little girl my Mom stuffed green peppers with hamburger & rice and spaghetti sauce.  Some folks use sausage in their stuffing.  What I am trying to say is that there’s no limit to the flavor combinations you can make.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Olive oil

1 rib Celery, chopped

½ of an Onion, chopped

1 Carrot, chopped

2 cloves Garlic

½ small Eggplant, chopped

6 Mushrooms, chopped

½ of a Summer squash, chopped

½ of a Zucchini, chopped

Handful of Spinach, sliced into ribbons

½ can of Aduki beans

Parmesan cheese

1 cup Quinoa

2 cups Chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups Tomato sauce (half for the stuffing, half for the baking dish)

2-4 Red peppers (depending on how many you plan to stuff)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • In a large fry pan heat the olive oil, then add the celery, onion and carrot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes
  • In a small sauce pan bring the quinoa & broth to a boil, then turn heat down to low, cover with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes

  • To the fry pan add garlic, eggplant, mushrooms, summer squash and zucchini and cook for 6 to 8 minutes

  • Set a large pot full of salted water to boil, cut the tops off of the peppers and remove their seeds while leaving the peppers whole
  • Add to the fry pan the spinach and beans, and any seasonings you might care for (salt, pepper, oregano, basil, cayenne, crushed red pepper, parsley- for instance)
  • Add the whole peppers to the boiling water, making sure that they are totally submerged, and cook for 3 minutes

  • Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables into the fry pan, pour in 1 cup of tomato sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to come together, add Parmesan cheese to your taste

  • Pull the cooked peppers out of the boiling water and run under cool water to stop the cooking
  • Spray a loaf pan (for 2 peppers) or square baking dish (for 4 peppers) with baking spray and pour 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of the pan
  • Stuff peppers with quinoa & vegetable mixture and place in baking pan
  • Cover baking dish with foil to prevent peppers from burning and bake for 20 minutes

Note: none of these ingredients are set in stone.  If you don’t like something- leave it out.  If you want to add things like artichoke hearts, olives, peas, broccoli, fresh tomatoes, anything– just add them.

We had the peppers as a second course, after spinach salads with blueberries & tomatoes.

J

Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms

Whole Foods had quite a few gems for me this past week.  This is another of their winning recipes both for flavor and for the healthy prep.  Of course I changed it up a bit to suit my needs.  Then I served it along-side a very rich cut of meat.  Hey, you’ve got to cut your fat and calorie corners where you can right?

Ingredients

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 small pear, peeled and cored

1 garlic clove

2 pounds portobello mushrooms, stemmed

1 cup quinoa

3 cups spinach, chopped

4 chives, chopped

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Put vinegar, pear and garlic in a blender with 1/3 cup water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Cut mushrooms into chunks and combine in a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup of the pear balsamic dressing. Spread mushrooms in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast mushrooms until tender, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.   *I can honestly say that when I pulled the mushrooms from their roasting in the oven they looked and smelled burnt.  In fact, Neil asked whether or not I was still going to use them in dinner.  I scraped them off of the baking sheet and plopped them into the salad and they were very good.  I do believe that Neil was surprised at the beautiful flavor and texture that came from these beastly looking little things (as was I).
  • While mushrooms roast, prepare quinoa. In a medium pot, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, 10 minutes more. Uncover and fluff.
  • Combine mushrooms, quinoa, spinach, chives, salt, pepper and remaining pear balsamic dressing in a large, wide serving bowl. Stir to mix well.

This salad is packed with fantastic flavor, and does well left-over for lunch the next day, cold.

For dinner I had cooked up a rack of lamb in honey and balsamic vinegar, sage, and garlic:

And roasted some asparagus:

and had a wonderful dinner which balanced well the fatty lamb with the lean veg and salad.

J

Quinoa stuffing

Yesterday’s Farmer’s market had the best selection of fruits and vegetables yet this year, so I stocked up.   I had fresh garlic and eggplant, summer squash and zucchini, farm fresh eggs, and the list could go on and on.  A few nights ago my sister-in-law was over for dinner and talking about spaghetti and meatballs (which I love).  I decided that I would make myself some meatballs this week so I grabbed some ground turkey breast meat at the grocery store.  Since Duncan woke me up at 6:00 this morning I had nothing else to do before the rest of the human world awakes, so I decided to get started on those meatballs.

I began with a saute of celery, onion, and shallot and added to that mushrooms, summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, baby spinach, fresh basil, and assorted dried herbs.  Then I tossed in some cooked quinoa and shaved over a bit of Pecorino Romano.

Quinoa stuffing

Quinoa stuffing

I took about half of this mixture and tossed it in with my ground turkey, added an egg and some herbed bread crumbs and made meatballs.  I think that I’ll mix the other half with some tomato sauce for a stuffed pepper mixture.  If it doesn’t make it into a pepper it’ll be because I ate it as a side dish to eggplant stackers.