Category Archives: Seafood

Spicy Shrimp and Veggie Rice Bowl

My favorite food trend right now? The rice bowl. They’ve been around forever, of course. I imagine the entire Asian community is laughing at our “new” obsession with putting things on a bowl of rice and calling it dinner. That being said, one of my favorite things about them is the variety you can bring to it. Want to go Mexican, Thai, Portuguese, Middle Eastern, Italian? Sure, why not. Throw together a few ingredients and spices from the area of the world you have in mind, and throw it on a bowl of rice (or whatever grain happens to float your boat), and you are all set. These find their way on to my menu at least once a week.

While there are usually a few different components, they are quick to throw together and perfect for “build your own” dinners that will please everyone at the table. It’s easy to vary the greens, protein or veggies according to your personal tastes and whatever happens to be in your refrigerator and always fun to experiment with different flavor combos. With this one the only spicy element is the sauce, so add more or less depending on how spicy you like it. Also, you can add more of the gochujang (a spicy Korean pepper paste) into the sauce to make it more spicy as well.

One of my favorite new ingredients with which I’ve been experimenting is finishing salt. I have at least six flavors of infused sea salt from Lords of Salt (check them out at lordsofsalt.com) and I am having so much fun with them! The black garlic flavor was perfect for this, adding a nice depth of flavor to the greens and shrimp and the perfect finishing touch on top.

Spicy Shrimp and Veggie Rice Bowl. When in doubt put an egg on it!

Spicy Shrimp and Veggie Rice Bowl. Yeah, I hid some sautéed greens under there somewhere too. When in doubt put an egg on it! 

Spicy Shrimp and Veggie Rice Bowl
(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 cup dry Batsmati or brown Rice
1/2 pound shrimp
1 bunch chard (or spinach or kale or other green you like), cut into ribbons
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
1-2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 green onion, sliced
2-3 eggs (1 per serving)
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp. gochujang (find at Asian markets, or sometimes in the Asian section of the grocery store)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 small clove garlic
Finishing salt (I used Lords of Salt black garlic salt, but any coarse sea salt will work fine)

Cook rice according to package directions. Heat large skillet over medium heat. If using chard, add stems first and let cook for a couple minutes in a bit of olive oil. Then add 1 clove minced garlic, sliced mushrooms, green ribbons and a pinch of sea salt. Sauté 4-5 minutes until greens are tender. (If using spinach, this only takes a couple of minutes).

Remove greens to a bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil to pan and then add shrimp. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Sauté for a couple of minutes until shrimp is no longer pink. Remove to a small bowl.

Build bowls with a big scoop of rice, topped with greens, shrimp, and raw veggies. I usually put each thing in its own little section to make it pretty, but hey, a pile works too.

In a small bowl mix mayonnaise, 1 small clove garlic (smashed into a paste), sesame oil, and gochujang. Stir well until ingredients are blended into a thick sauce.

Add another drizzle of olive oil to the pan. Break eggs into pan and turn down to medium low. Cook slowly until white are done for a perfectly yolky sunny side up egg. Slide egg on top of bowls and sprinkle with a bit of finishing salt and green onion.

Serves 2-3

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Sweet Miso Salmon with Baby Bok Choy

Man, there are days when I am the laziest cook. Those are the days when we either A) Eat out, B) Make a sandwich or eat leftovers, or C) Make something like this where you plop everything on one pan, cook for 10 minutes and eat! While I would love to say I choose C every time, I think we all know that my pants would be on fire. However, I will say with complete honesty that when I do choose C, I am happiest with the results. This dish is not only fast and easy to make, but healthy and delicious as well. The trifecta for the lazy cook who still likes decent food.

This is a quick, quick, quick Asian-inspired fish dish. You can use any green vegetable that catches your fancy, but the baby bok choy and shiitake mixture goes very nicely with this and keeps with the Asian flavor profile, especially if you hit it with a dash of soy sauce at the end.

Sweet Miso Salmon with Baby Bok Choy

Sweet Miso Salmon with Baby Bok Choy

Sweet Miso Salmon with Baby Bok Choy

Salmon or Steelhead fillet
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. miso paste
1 tsp. soy sauce

Baby bok choy
Shiitake mushrooms
Olive oil

Turn on your oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a small bowl mix brown sugar, miso paste and soy sauce. Lay your fish fillet on one end of the foil and pour sauce all over the top. Smear around to cover the entire surface.

On the other end of the pan spread out the baby bok choy and scatter with the shiitake mushrooms. Drizzle veggies with a bit of olive oil.

Put the pan in the oven. Broil for 8 minutes. Check the doneness of your fish by sticking a fork in about an inch from the edge and pulling away a bit. Does the fish flake off? When you pull the fork back is the fish still red in the middle? When fish is done it will flake easily and the color will be a light to medium pink in the middle instead of red. Stir around your veggies (if they look done already you can remove them). Your fish may need a couple more minutes, depending on the size of your fillet. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Remove and serve immediately. Season the veggies with a dash of soy sauce.

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Cornbread Crusted Cod

I remember a day when I was eight or so.  I was at my grandparents’ house.  Some of the guys had gone fishing and came home with a couple of enormous fish. They set up a couple of saw horses and threw a piece of wood over and starting carving those babies up in the backyard.  I watched from the bing cherry tree that was my usual perch.  Big slabs of firm, white fish, not as smelly and gross as I was expecting. When I asked what it was I was told it was cod.  My grandma fried a big batch of it up and it was some of the best fish ‘n chips I’ve ever had to this day.

Cod is a great fish to cook with.  Very versatile.  It’s firm enough that it doesn’t fall apart when you cook it, but tender and mild, and goes with a variety of flavors and ingredients.  It’s also usually pretty inexpensive and available year-round.  And it’s an ocean-friendly choice as well (who doesn’t want to save the ocean?).  For the freshest cod, choose the whiter filets.  If they look a little grey, they are likely not as fresh as they should be.

I found these great cornbread croutons and used them to make the crumb coating for these filets.  I don’t see any reason why another kind of crouton (or bread crumbs) couldn’t be substituted instead if you don’t happen to have these on hand, but I did enjoy the corny texture and flavor.

Cornbread Crusted Cod.  With Lentil & Spinach salad on the side.  Yum!

Cornbread Crusted Cod. With Lentil & Spinach salad on the side. Yum!

Cornbread Crusted Cod

3-4 Cod Filets
1 tbsp. mayo
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cayenne
3/4 – 1 cup cornbread croutons
Fresh ground pepper

For sauce:
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp. capers (coarsely chopped if they are large)
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  In a small bowl mix mayo, dijon, lemon juice and cayenne.  Brush onto both sides of fish filets.

A little zippy sauce to coat the fish.  Tastes great and makes the crumbs stick really nicely!

A little zippy sauce to coat the fish. Adds flavor, keeps the fish moist and makes the crumbs stick really nicely!

Put croutons in a ziplock bag and grind some black pepper in there with them (if you don’t have cornbread croutons, any kind will work for this).  Using a rolling pin or the flat side of a tenderizing hammer (or anything really), smash the croutons into crumbs.

These cornbread croutons were a new discovery for me.  If you can't find them, you can use whatever croutons you have.

These cornbread croutons were a new discovery for me. If you can’t find them, you can use whatever croutons you have.

One at a time, put fish filets in the bag and shake to coat with crumbs.  Lay out on the baking sheet.

My own version of shake n bake.

My own version of shake n bake.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork and crumb coating is crispy and golden brown.  To make a quick sauce, mix a couple of tablespoons of mayo with a tablespoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of capers.  Drizzle over the top or serve with lemon wedges.

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Brown Sugar Chili Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Crema

The photos had me drooling.  I spotted this on one of my favorite blogs and I had to make it.  Immediately.  And let me tell you, it was amazing. And to top it off, it is one of those recipes that is easy enough to make on any weeknight, but fancy enough for special guests too.

You have to make this.

Sweet with a tiny touch of spice, cooled with a creamy avocado sauce.  The little tang of lime.  Perfection.  I’m told it’s not bad form at all to lick the crema bowl (good thing!).

If you only try one new salmon recipe this year, make it this one.  Easily in my top 10!

Tastes as delicious as it looks!

Could it possibly taste as delicious as it looks?  Absolutely!

Brown Sugar Chili Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Crema
(from canyoustayfordinner.com)

For the crema:
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
2 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh parsley (optional, I didn’t have any so I left it out)
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp. salt.

For the salmon:
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 – 5oz. salmon filets
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lime, sliced into rounds (at least 4 slices)
In a blender or food processor, combine crema ingredients and blend until smooth.  If you want the sauce thinner, you can add a bit of water to thin it (I didn’t).
In a small bowl combine brown sugar, chili powder, salt and cayenne.  Sprinkle over fish and rub into all sides of the filets.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium high heat. Add 2 of the salmon filets (skin-side-up if they have skin on) and cook, undisturbed, until the underside is crisp and just beginning to blacken, about 4 minutes. Flip the filets and cook an additional 4 minutes, until the fish feels firm to the touch. Remove to a plate immediately. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add the remaining 2 filets of salmon and repeat the cooking process. Once all of the salmon is cooked and transferred to a plate, add the lime slices to the now-empty pan and cook just until they begin to caramelize, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
To serve, top filets with a generous dollop of crema and press a caramelized lime into the top of each filet.
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Red Curry Shrimp Dumplings with Cucumber Peanut Slaw

I could eat dumplings for every meal.  Just about every cuisine in the world includes some sort of dumpling, which means endless variety!  These were a little outside the norm.  The red curry filling adds a tiny bit of Thai, while the steamed exterior is more Japanese.  Wherever they hail from, they are absolutely genius.  These are cooked just like potstickers, seared for a crispy bottom and then steamed to finish.  We loved these and managed to devour the entire batch between the three of us.

To go with an unusual dumpling, why not make an unusual slaw?  This cucumber/napa slaw is light and fresh, with a zingy, barely-there dressing.  Perfectly cool in contrast to the spicy salty dumplings.  And good left over the next day too.

Red Curry Shrimp Dumplings

Red Curry Shrimp Dumplings

Red Curry Shrimp Dumplings
(adapted from theperfectpantry.com)

3/4 pound shrimp (21-25 or 26-30), defrosted if frozen, peeled and deveined
2 scallions, roughly chopped
2 tsp grated ginger root (I use a microplane)
4 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 tsp fish sauce
1 pkg. wonton wrappers
Canola oil for cooking
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp chile garlic sauce (optional if you want a little more kick)

In a food processor add the shrimp, scallions, ginger, curry paste and fish sauce. Pulse several times until the ingredients come together and form a finely-chopped paste.

Set out a small bowl of water.

Working with just a few wonton wrappers at a time, place 1 teaspoon of the shrimp mixture in the center of each.

Do not overfill or it will not seal well.

Do not overfill or it will not seal well.

Wet your finger and run it around the edge of the wonton wrapper. Then, pull all corners to the center, and pinch to seal the dumpling. Repeat with remaining wontons and filling.

Little yummy presents ready to cook!

Little yummy presents ready to cook!

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Place the dumplings flat side down in the pan, and cook for 1 minute until the bottoms are brown.

Pour in 1/2 cup water. Immediately cover the pan. Cook until the water is almost evaporated, approximately 3 minutes. Then, uncover, and cook until the remaining water evaporates.

Meanwhile, stir together the soy sauce, sesame oil, lime and chile sauce in a small bowl to make the dipping sauce.

Serve the dumplings hot, with dipping sauce.  The original recipe says it makes 24, but we ended up with 30-40.  Just depends on how generous you are with the filling I suppose.

Cucumber Peanut Slaw

Cucumber Peanut Slaw

Cucumber Peanut Slaw
(from healthyseasonalrecipes.com)

1 small head Napa Cabbage, finely sliced
3-4 small cucumbers (1 ½ pounds), julienne cut
1/2 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup peanut oil or canola oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Dried red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Combine cabbage, cucumber, peanuts and cilantro.  In a small bowl whisk together oil, lime juice, sugar, salt, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.  Pour over slaw and toss to combine.

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Seared Tuna Tacos with Tropical Salsa

Sometimes I have an idea for a dish and I just can’t find a recipe for it.  So I make something up.  And when all the planets align and things go like they should, it turns out just how it was in my head.  This is one of those recipes.

I’ve been craving tacos.  But not just any tacos.  Fresh tuna tacos!  Nicely seared with spice and fruit and bright, tropical, summery flavors.  I imagined myself lying on a beach somewhere and eating tacos made from all sorts of island goodies.

Alas, I am not on an island, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t just an absolutely wonderful luau happening right in my mouth.  This is my favorite recipe I’ve made up this summer (so far!).  You can bet your flip flops we’ll be making them again soon!

Spicy Seared Tuna Tacos with Tropical Salsa.  So freaking good!

Spicy Seared Tuna Tacos with Tropical Salsa. So freaking good!

Spicy Seared Tuna Tacos with Tropical Salsa

2-3 tuna steaks
1 small red chile, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Drizzle of olive oil
2 limes
Salt & pepper
1 cup pineapple, diced
1 mango, diced
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (or less if you don’t like it spicy)
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped napa or savoy cabbage
2 tbsp. mayonnaise or sour cream

Place tuna steaks in a shallow dish.  Sprinkle with red chile, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, juice from 1/2 lime and some salt & pepper.  Rub all over both sides.  Side aside.  Don’t do this ahead of time since the acid in the lime will “cook” the fish if left more than a few minutes.

Just a quick, simple marinade for the tuna.

Just a quick, simple marinade for the tuna.

In a bowl combine pineapple, mango, jalapeno, onion, cilantro and the juice of one lime.  Stir to blend and set aside.

Spicy Tropical Salsa.  So good!

Spicy Tropical Salsa. So good!

In a small bowl combine mayo or sour cream with the juice of half a lime.

Heat skillet over medium high heat.  Drizzle with olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.  When pan is hot add tuna.  Sear 1-2 minutes on each side, leaving it rare in the middle.  Remove from heat.  Slice against the grain into thin slices.

Warm tortillas in the oven or microwave.  Build your taco with a few slices of tuna, topped with salsa and cabbage.  Drizzle with a bit of sauce if desired.

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Another Dinner on a Cookie Sheet

On nights I’m home alone, sometimes it seems like a lot of effort to cook a whole dinner.  But I’m trying to eat less take out and I’ve stopped buying cereal, so lately this has been my go-to solo meal.  I spread a few things out on a cookie sheet and bake or broil it.  No fuss, real food, and best of all, no dishes!

Now don’t get me wrong.  This isn’t only a method that works when you’re cooking for one.  I do this when the kids are home too.  It’s just so easy and versatile.  The possibilities are endless.

Dinner on a Cookie Sheet, take 2

Dinner on a Cookie Sheet, take 2

Dinner on a Cookie Sheet – Broiled Salmon, Asparagus, and Peppers

1 salmon filet
Lemon pepper
Salt
Olive oil
Lemon slices
6-8 spears asparagus
1/2 red pepper, sliced in thick strips
1 oz. goat cheese (optional)
1 tsp. pesto
1/2 tsp. mayo
Squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat broiler.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Spray with cooking spray.  Place salmon on the pan.  Spread out asparagus and peppers in a single layer.  Sprinkle everything with lemon pepper and salt.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Dot peppers with goat cheese. Top salmon and asparagus with lemon slices.

Cut veggies so everything is a similar size for more even cooking.

Cut veggies so everything is a similar size for more even cooking.

Broil 7-10 minutes until fish flakes easily and veggies are tender.  While dinner is broiling stir together pesto, mayo and lemon juice for a quickie sauce to top the salmon and asparagus.

Want another option for Dinner on a Cookie Sheet?  Check out Honey Mustard Chicken with Smashed Potatoes and Green Beans!

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Parmesan-Crusted Salmon

Getting my kids to enjoy seafood was a challenge.  This recipe (and a few similar ones) were the turning point for them. A cheesy, crunchy topping is something any kid recognizes and loves, no matter what it’s on.  Doesn’t hurt that I love it too.

The mayo may seem like a weird choice, but it keeps the fish moist, the breadcrumbs stick to it beautifully and it’s non-dairy, which was essential when the kids were younger because Luke had a milk allergy.  Even though he doesn’t have that problem now, it works so well I’ve just kept using it.

Parmesan-Crusted Salmon

Parmesan-Crusted Salmon

Parmesan-Crusted Salmon

1 or more salmon fillets
1-2 tsp. mayonnaise
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
Salt & pepper
1/4 tsp. dill
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400˚.  In a small bowl mix panko, parmesan, lemon pepper, a pinch of salt & pepper and dill.  Put your fish on a baking pan covered with foil.  Coat surface of fish with mayonnaise.  Pile on the breadcrumb mixture and press into it to make sure it stays put.

Ready to go in the oven.

Ready to go in the oven.

Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until fish flakes easily in the middle.

parmesansalmon2

Parmesan-Crusted Salmon, right out of the oven. By the way, the little crispy breadcrumbs that fell off the salmon make great crouton-ish salad crunchies.

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Tilapia Verde

The food around this time of year is enough to make my heart sing, my taste buds dance, and my tummy ache.  It’s so easy to overdo it and I’m guilty of that all too often.  To get through the holidays without gaining too much around my middle, I like to intersperse the food frenzies with some lighter meals here and there.

This simple fish dish used some leftover verde sauce (from black bean enchilada stacks) that was waaaaay to good to throw away.  A little time baking/poaching in the oven and dinner was served.  I served mine over a bed of rice, but it’s just as good by itself if you’re watching the carbs.  If you have leftover sauce, just stick it in the freezer for next time you have a craving.

tilapiaverde

Tilapia Verde

Tilapia Verde

Verde Sauce:
12 oz. tomatillos (7-8 large)
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped roasted green chiles (canned works fine)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Tilapia filets (or any other mild white fish would work just as well)
Salt & pepper
Feta
Rice (optional for serving)

To make sauce, remove husks and stems and wash tomatillos.  Cover with water in a saucepan and boil about 10 minutes, until tender.  Put tomatillos and all other ingredients in a blender and puree.  Set aside until ready to use.

Heat oven to 400˚.  Sprinkle fish with salt & pepper, spoon sauce over fish, enough to cover and have a little extra in the pan, especially if you are serving over rice.  I used about 1/2 cup for 1 filet.  Sprinkle with feta and pop in the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes or so, until fish flakes easily and feta is starting to brown a bit.  Remove from oven.  Serve over rice if desired.

 

 

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Saucy Salmon

After minimal cooking for the better part of a week, I bought a bunch of groceries, visited farmer’s market and got back in the kitchen.  Even better, I’m feeling somewhat healthy and adventurous.  Although I have nothing against carbs – in fact those who know me know that I have quite a love affair with some of them – whenever I want to shed a few pounds I also shed a few carbs to help me along.  I don’t go entirely no carb because that’s simply a miserable diet in my opinion, but cutting down on the amounts and having at least one no-carb meal a day does seem to make a difference, at least for me.

So tonight, I made a low-carb dinner with some fresh salmon and whatever I could find in my fridge to slather over the top of it.  I ended up with a tangy sauce with an Asian flair. Served with a garden salad and mashed cauliflower (tune in tomorrow if you’re interested), it was delicious and satisfying.  And I feel skinnier already.

Saucy Salmon

Saucy Salmon

Salmon filets
1 tbsp. Hoisin sauce
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. honey

Heat oven to broil. Place salmon on a cookie sheet or pizza pan covered with foil (you don’t have to use foil but it eliminates the need for washing the pan so why not?) Mix hoisin sauce, ginger, soy sauce and honey in a small bowl.  Brush or pour over salmon.  Broil 10 minutes or so, until sauce starts to caramelize and fish flakes easily.  Do not overcook.

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