Monthly Archives: October 2011

Indian Green Fish Curry

I must admit that I haven’t played much with fish curries. But then I had some at my favorite Indian restaurant in Winston, Turmeric, and I realized that curry is a great way to eat cheap, mild fish. Because even if your fish isn’t the freshest halibut, the strong curry flavors can carry it to the finish line.

So I made this curry from my big Indian curry cookbook. At less than 250 calories per serving, it’s a lovely staple in my curry repertoire.

Indian Green Fish Curry

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 T lime juice
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 4 fish fillets (such as cod, tilapia or halibut), skinned and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 c. cashew nuts, unsalted
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 3/4 c. plain or Greek yogurt
  • 3 T chopped cilantro

Mix turmeric, lime juice and salt, then rub over fish. Cover and marinate 15 min.

Meanwhile, grind onion, jalapeno, garlic, cashews and fennel seeds to a paste with food processor or mortar and pestle. Set aside.

Heat oil in large heavy frying pan and fry cumin seeds until they begin to splutter, 2 min. Add paste and fry for 5 min, then stir in ground coriander, cumin, salt and water. Cook 2-3 min. Stir in yogurt and chopped cilantro. Simmer for 5 min. Add fish pieces and gently stir in. Cover and cook gently, 10 min, until the fish is tender and flakes away.

Spoon fish curry over rice and garnish with more cilantro or any other herbs you have desire.

I always feel like an East Indian meal is authentic if you crunch down on whole seeds – be it curry, fennel or corriander. Just a wonderfully exotic mix of flavors coating every firm, flaky piece of fish.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

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Bacon-Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

There comes a time in every food blogger’s life when she  makes something so devilishly delicious that she simply must post about it, even if the photos are terrible.

Green tomatoes are easy to find around this time of year, as farmers wait for that first frost to pull down the plants.

Having lived in The South for a couple years, I’m already over fried-green tomatoes. Everybody makes them and puts them on salads or between bread or as a game-day appetizer. But then I saw someone write about skipping the sweet cornmeal batter and frying them in bacon grease! It is so much easier this way.

Here I give you bacon-fried green tomatoes that I turned into a fabulous BLT and then took bad, no-natural-light photos of.

Bacon-Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 small green tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread, buttered on one side
  • 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
  • Lettuce or salad mix
  • Mayo (I mixed mine with a little pesto – a must!)
  • Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, fry up the bacon until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1-2 T of the bacon grease and return pan to heat. Add green tomato slices and fry until browned on each side and slightly softened, 4-5 min. per side. Remove to drain.

Assemble sandwiches. Preheat broiler and toast your bread. On non-buttered side, spread 1-2 tsp mayo, then layer lettuce, bacon and tomato. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the tomatoes. Place the other piece of toast on top, then slice in  half.

Then DIG IN! Too good to be true.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Mushrooms

Ah, the warm earthiness of mushrooms. Wild, woodsy and organic – they hold within their soft flesh the pungent energy of the soil they pushed through. I am beginning to see mushrooms – really high-quality mushrooms – as a necessity during the fall. Witness my transformation!

The natural muskiness of mushrooms mixes well with anything creamy. Like this dish, which combines tart, creamy goat cheese with mushrooms for a lovely stuffing in pounded chicken breasts. I tweaked the recipes to include red wine and a few other tidbits that make it even yummier.

In keeping with the mood, I cooked it up while staying in the mountains, where the hickory leaves have already laid a bed of mulch that crunches under heavy boots.

Adapted from The Food Network Magazine.

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 10 ounces cremini or shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Prepare the chicken: Lay the chicken breasts on a piece of plastic wrap; place another piece on top and pound with a mallet or rolling pin until each breast is about 1/2 inch thick. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium-size saute pan over medium-high heat and add half the mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms have released their liquid and the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Coat each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons goat cheese and top with 1/4 cup mushroom mixture. Roll up each breast burrito-style: Begin from the bottom, roll into the middle and tuck in the sides as you finish. Tie each roll with 3 pieces of kitchen twine, securing the ends and then wrapping in the middle. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken roll-ups on all sides until they are cooked through and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Allow the rolls to sit 5 minutes before removing the twine and slicing each one into 4 to 5 pieces.

While the chicken breasts are resting, make a quick sauce: add 2 T butter to the chicken pan until foaming. Add remaining mushrooms and stir until cooked. Add wine and stir, 3 min.

Slice chicken and top with mushroom sauce and garnish with the parsley.

It will smell so warm and inviting in your house.

The goat cheese is all smooth and melting, which is wonderful with the mushrooms and red wine sauce thickened with butter. Parsley adds a nice pop of color and freshness.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Pumpkin Spice Granola

I’ve lived in places where fall is fleeting. At first sight of one yellow leaf in Central Oregon, I would fall myself – into a preemptive winter depression, knowing that we were in for 6 months of cold, icy days. North Carolina, however, has 4 legitimate seasons, and fall lasts a glorious 2-3 months, during which the rolling hills become sprinkled with color (“Like a pack of Lifesavers,” according to Grant) and the humidity blows away, but the hard chill hasn’t taken hold.

Many people head to the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the foliage-gasm around us. We head to the mountains, too, and enjoy the smell of burning hickory logs and my pumpkin spice granola, punctuated with sweet fruit and crunchy nuts and seeds.

I baked this granola twice as long as it called for because I like really toasted granola – but don’t break your jaw, remember that the granola hardens as it cools. A wonderful, healthy fall breakfast…

Adapted from The Pastry Affair.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 T pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 c. mixed dried fruit and nuts (I used almonds, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and soy beans)

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

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract and salt. Stir in the brown sugar and maple syrup until smooth. Add the oats, fruit, nuts and seeds, stirring until granola is evenly coated.

Spread out evenly on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes and stir the granola around. Bake for an additional 30-40 min, or to your desired doneness, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

We spooned the warm granola over cool Greek yogurt and the mix of temperatures was nice.

Then we went out and looked at the prettiness – and the Christmas tree farms!

Deck view: Sunrise on our last day…

Hope everyone is having a great fall. Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Ham and Asparagus Toasts

Happy Easter! Just kidding – I made these last spring and then totally forgot about blogging. Even though asparagus is seasonal, you could still splurge on a little late-season veggies to make these fun little toasts that include the winning combination or Dijon mustard, ham, asparagus and fontina cheese.

I like to pull these toasts out when I attend a spring brunch or any kind of Easter-themed potluck. Grant and I also have had them by themselves as a nice lunch or light dinner, no matter the season.

My own spin on an old Rachael Ray recipe…

Ham and Asparagus Toasts

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of crusty bread of your choice (I always choose sourdough)
  • 1 lb. hamsteak (just buy thick-sliced cured ham that looks like it will be enough to fit on one slice of bread)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 c. fontina cheese, shredded
  • Dijon mustard
  • Cracked black pepper

Heat broiler and place oven rack in center position. Spread 1 T dijon (or less) on each slice of bread and place on baking sheet. Set aside.

Cut asparagus into 4-inch pieces and blanch in salted boiling water for 3-4 min, until tender but still firm in the middle. Shock in ice water. Set aside.

Heat medium skillet over medium-high heat and sear ham on both sides until you get a nice browning in spots. Five min. per side. Set aside.

To assemble, place 1 piece of ham on each slice of bread, then a few pieces of asparagus and finish with sprinkling of fontina cheese. Finish with a few cracks of black pepper, then slide into the oven.

Broil until the cheese is all bubbly on top, 5-7 min (watch them!).

The fontina cheese is really warm and nutty tasting, yummy with the peppery mustard, salty ham and sweet asparagus.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Green Pepper Jelly

Nothing bores me more than a green bell pepper. I mean really – it’s not as sweet as a red pepper and is just one more thing for me to pick out of my stir-fry.

So of course I receive a ton of green bell peppers in my CSA box. And the Martha Stewart in me takes those bell peppers and turns them into lemonade … rather, jelly.

Green pepper jelly is funny because you add food coloring to achieve the right green hue. Food coloring – how retro!

Unlike the balsamic red pepper jellies I’ve made, the green pepper jelly is less savory. In fact, I find it almost too sweet – perhaps my organic farm-fresh peppers have a higher sugar content? No matter, it’s still nice plopped on top of some cream cheese and spread on a salty Triscuit.

I don’t like it as much as the red pepper jelly, but I still like it as an appetizer.

Green Pepper Jelly

Ingredients (makes 4 4-oz jars)

  • 4 green bell peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 green jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and deveined
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2/3 c. distilled white vinegar
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 T powdered fruit pectin (1 package)
  • 3 2/3 c. sugar
  • 4-5 drops green food coloring

In a food processor, puree peppers, jalapenos and garlic until smooth.

Pour puree into dampened cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a big bowl. Let drain for 30 minutes, pushing down on the mixture with a spatula occasionally and adding up to 1/2 c. boiling water to help you reach 1 1/2 c. of pepper liquid.

Meanwhile, prepare your canning jars and equipment.

Transfer pepper jelly to large, deep, stainless steel saucepan. Add vinegar and lemon juice. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and return to full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard 1 more minute, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in food coloring and then skim off foam.

Quickly pour hot jelly into jars, leaving 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe rim, place lid on top and screw on ring. Place jars in boiling canner, completely submerged, and boil for 10 min., covered. Remove lid and continue boiling for 5 min. Remove to towel to cool.

I have started placing my canned goods on the kitchen windowsills because I have so many now.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo