Category Archives: Seafood

hoisin glazed salmon with tropical salsa over black rice

Is this not the most gorgeous plate of food you’ve ever seen?

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I first made this dish for my mom’s birthday many years ago and always reminisced about how delicious and beautiful it was. Then recently, when my roommate’s mother overnighted us these gorgeous salmon fillets that she had caught in Alaska, I knew that I wanted to go all out and I dug up this recipe again! It’s so good that I knew I had to share it with you.

I love how the bright pink salmon and tropical salsa look that much brighter against the black rice. This is an easy going dish, so don’t worry too much if you don’t have everything on the list of ingredients. You can use a store bought marinade for the glaze. The salsa can be made with whatever you have around. In this recipe I included mango, avocado and strawberries, but it would also be great with pineapple and bell pepper.

hoisin glazed salmon with tropical salsa over black rice

recipe adapted from here

Glaze:
3/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4-8 (6-ounce) pieces salmon fillet (best quality you can afford)

Salsa:
1 mango, chopped fine
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, diced
10 strawberries, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3 green onions (green part only) chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Siracha sauce

Chinese black rice (i found it at a local asian supermarket), cooked according to package directions.

For Glaze: Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl.

For Salsa: Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place salmon, skin-side down, on a foil lined baking sheet. Spoon glaze over salmon.Bake in oven about 20 minutes (internal temperature of salmon should be 135 degrees). Allow salmon to rest 5 minutes, covered with foil.

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Using a spatula, lift salmon to separate from the skin and place on each of the dinner plates. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the salsa atop each of the salmon fillets. Serve with Chinese black rice.

This is seriously a great meal, one to remember.

Bon appetit!

easy crab cakes

At school this past fall I took a class called Food for Contemporary Living in the nutrition department. It was my dream class. I got to spend 3 hours cooking in a food lab every Tuesday afternoon. Each class focused on a different food group: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, milk and egg foams, and many others. Each student was responsible for preparing a recipe, and then at the end of class we got to sample a bit of each dish and complete sensory evaluations. Our “textbook” was the red Betty Crocker cookbook, which had some surprisingly good recipes, including the one I am going to share with you today.

I was so amazed by these crab cakes in class because I had never tried canned crab before and didn’t know it could be so delicious. These are light and fluffy, and filled with flavor. They don’t taste fishy at all, have great spice from the ground mustard and a nice crunch from the scallion whites. I haven’t tried it yet, but I bet these would be great with tuna or salmon as well. As you can see, I served them with my favorite roasted asparagus and a nice glass of white wine.

crab cakes 

Adapted from Betty Crocker, serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ¼ cups soft bread crumbs (about 2 slices bread, I used whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 2 medium green onions, chopped- 2 Tbsp
  • 3 cans (6 oz) crabmeat, well drained, cartilage cartilage removed and flaked
  • ¼ cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Directions:
In medium bowl, mix mayo and egg with wire whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients except oil and dry bread crumbs.
Shape mixture into 6 patties, about 3 inches in diameter (mixture will be moist). Coat each patty with dry bread crumbs.
In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook patties in oil about 10 minutes, gently turning once, until golden brown and hot in center. Reduce heat if crab cakes become brown too quickly, as you can see one of mine did. 
Bon appetit!

summer dining: greek style mixed grill kebobs and pine nut orzo salad

It is hard to believe that it’s June already, and summer is just around the corner! Summer has always been my favorite season for a multitude of reasons: my birthday, no school, picnics, barbecues, swimming in outdoor pools, running and biking along the Hudson, lightweight colorful dresses, fresh and simple outdoor meals, farmers market trips, the list goes on!

Today I am going to share with you a delicious meal that is a perfect excuse to dust off your grill and outdoor dining set and invite some friends over for an al fresco dinner!

greek style mixed grill kebobs and pine nut orzo salad

Sourced from Rachael Ray, Serves 4

Ingredients for kebobs:

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green olive tapenade
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 lemons, juiced and 1 zested
  • 1/3 plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm white flesh fish, halibut or swordfish, cut into 12 (2-inch) chunks (I used shrimp instead)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 12 (2-inch) chunks
  • Black pepper
Ingredients for orzo salad:
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 8 Greek hot peppers, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, for garnish
  • 2 tomatoes, diced, for garnish
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water to prevent burning.

Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil for the pasta salad. When the water boils, salt it and cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta cooks, in a small bowl combine the garlic, oregano, rosemary, tapenade, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and the juice of 1 lemon with about 1/3 cup olive oil. 

Place the fish and chicken in separate shallow dishes or bowls and season with salt and pepper then divide the dressing between the bowls and coat the fish and chicken evenly.

Skewer the fish and chicken on metal or soaked wooden skewers.

Grill the chicken 10 to 12 minutes until firm and juices run clear, and the fish for about 6 to 8 minutes, turning the kabobs frequently.

Drain orzo and combine with pine nuts, onions, parsley, feta crumbles, the juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Serve the orzo salad with 3 pieces each of chicken and fish along side. Garnish plates with a couple of hot peppers, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers on each plate.

I didn’t get a picture of a finished plate because it was so delicious that we dug in immediately, but you should be able to get an idea from the pictures I took while cooking that this was an absolutely delectable meal. The shrimp/chicken were packed with flavor from the tapenade, fresh herbs, spices and lemon juice, and the orzo salad was so light and fresh from the cucumbers, feta, tomatoes and had a nice crunch from the pine nuts. That salad alone would make an excellent addition to any picnic.

Bon appetit!

thai night: coconut-curry mussels and peanut rice noodle salad

When I was home over winter break my mom asked me to help her make a nice gluten free meal for our cousins who were coming over for dinner (one of them has celiac).

Pretty table setting

Cheese plate

We looked at food blogs and magazines for inspiration before finally landing on an article in Food Network Magazine which provided us with the recipes for this delicious dinner.

I really love mussels, and almost always order them if they’re on the menu at a restaurant, but I don’t make them at home very often for no reason at all. In fact, I am going to start making them more often because they are inexpensive, incredibly quick and easy to make, and impressive to boot!

The peanut noodle salad is also very yummy. The rice noodles aren’t too filling, the peanut sauce is savory and a little salty, and the veggies give a nice crunch. It’s also a nice compliment to the spicy mussels.

Coconut-Curry Mussels

Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger
  • 1/4 cup green curry paste (use less if you don’t want it very spicy)
  • 2 15-ounce cans coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 6 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 4 limes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional but DO IT)

Directions:

Trim the lemongrass, leaving 6 inches at the root end; discard the tops. Smash the stalks with the flat side of a knife and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Mise en place: all ingredients prepped and ready to go!

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in each of 2 large pots over medium-high heat. Add 1 sliced onion to each and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add half each of the garlic, lemongrass, ginger and curry paste to each pot and cook, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes.

Add 1 can coconut milk, 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 1/4 cup water to each pot and bring to a simmer. Divide the mussels between the pots; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mussels open, about 8 minutes. (Discard any that do not open.) Add the juice of 2 limes to each pot, then add the lime halves. Stir 1/2 cup cilantro into each. Serve with bread, if desired.

Peanut Rice Noodle Salad

Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (use tamari if you need it to be GF)
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup salted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Directions:

Put the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let the noodles soak until tender, about 10 minutes; drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Whisk the lime juice, soy sauce, peanut butter, brown sugar and vegetable oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour the dressing over the noodles. Add the bell pepper, scallions, basil, cilantro and mint and toss to combine. Season with salt and sprinkle with the peanuts.

Final product!

even Zara had a good time :)

Bon appetit!

 

 

citrus salad, herbed quinoa and baked tilapia

I love to watch the food network while i’m running on the treadmill at the gym because i get absorbed in the show and before I know it, I’ve run for 30 minutes! Sometimes I get lucky and find inspiration for dinner. These recipes came from an episode of Giada that focused on light & healthy cooking. I made them for my housemates and they were a huge hit! The citrus salad has become a mainstay. Enjoy!

Caramelized Onion, Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

From Giada on the Food Network

Caramelized onions, fennel and grapefruit-what could be bad? This salad is light and refreshing, a nice fusion of sweet, crunchy and tart. It would be a great addition to a summer picnic.

From the Food Network

Ingredients

Caramelized onions:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Dressing:

Salad:

  • 2 pink grapefruits
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced or torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

For the caramelized onions: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice and honey. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until blended. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the salad: Peel and trim the ends from each grapefruit. Using a paring knife, cut along the membrane on both sides of each segment. Free the segments and add them to a large salad bowl. Add the lettuce, fennel, cucumber, scallions, and thyme.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Arrange the caramelized onions on top and serve.

Herbed Quinoa

From Giada on the Food Network

Quinoa is a superfood and I try to incorporate it into my diet as often as possible. The fresh herbs add a wonderful fragrance and freshness, which really dresses up the quinoa. This is a great high protein side dish.

Ingredients:

Quinoa:

  • 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

For the quinoa: In a medium saucepan, add the chicken stock, lemon juice and quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the dressing over the quinoa and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Baked Tilapia

Tilapia is a great inexpensive white fish that takes on whatever flavor you want to give it. We always have fillets in the freezer at my house which come in handy when i don’t have much time to prepare dinner. This fish is lemony and a little spicy and is ready in minutes!

Ingredients

  • 4 tilapia fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (margarine or butter substitutes work too)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Directions

  • Place tilapia in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the butter, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt; pour over the fillets. Sprinkle with capers, oregano and paprika.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

These three recipes come together to make a light and delicious dinner that is equally impressive and easy!

fish tacos

Hello everyone!! SO sorry for the crazy long hiatus since my last post, but things have been a little hectic since preparing to leave and actually flying all the way across the world to Australia! I’m here as an exchange student at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and everything has been amazing so far! While these next few posts will be catching up with things I made while still at home, the next 5 months will be filled with meals I make and eat here. I hope for this to become a photo journal of sorts for all of my culinary adventures in Australia. Please continue to check in, and you can try to live vicariously through me!

Okay, enough with the talking and on to the delicious fish tacos! This dinner came about because I happen to LOVE fish tacos, but can never seem to get them on the east coast just the way I like them. There is a place in Malibu where my friend Amber and I frequent every year that has the best fish tacos, so they were the inspiration for this meal. I tried to incorporate all of my favorite elements, which made for a nice assortment of toppings and dressings to keep your taste buds guessing.

Fish Tacos with Salsa Verde, Radish Salad, and a Spicy Yogurt Sauce

Adapted from Martha Stewart and a few other recipes

Ingredients (serves 4):

12 corn tortillas
4 skinless tilapia fillets (you can really use whatever fish you want: shrimp, sea bass, sole, etc)

Spice Rub:
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For Salsa Verde:
1 bunch fresh cilantro (roots and thick stems removed)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper

For Radish Salad:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 bunch radishes (about 4 ounces), trimmed, halved, and thinly sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 jalapeno chile (ribs and seeds removed, for less heat), minced

For Spicy Yogurt Sauce:
fresh lime juice
½ cup yogurt
1 habenero chili (use a milder one if you wish)
½ teaspoon – crushed oregano
½ teaspoon – ground cumin
½ teaspoon – dried, crushed dill
½ teaspoon – ground cayenne chile
ground pepper to taste

Extras:
Sliced red cabbage
Guacamole

Directions:

1. Mix together the spice mix, and cover fillets of fish with it and place aside, letting the flavors marinate.

2. To make the salsa verde: In a blender, combine cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons oil, and 2 tablespoons water; season with salt and pepper. Blend until pureed. Set salsa aside.

3. To make the radish salad: In a small bowl, mix together remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, remaining tablespoon oil, radishes, scallions, and jalapeno; season with salt and pepper. Set radish salad aside.

4. To make the spicy yogurt sauce: First mix the lime juice and yogurt, aiming for a slightly runny consistency.  Dice the chili as finely as possible and add it along with the remaining ingredients.  Watch out for the habeneros, they can knock your tongue for a loop.  You’re done.

5. To make the fish: Place tilapia on a rimmed baking sheet; season with coriander, salt, and pepper. Broil until opaque throughout, it was about 4 to 5 minutes for me; break up into chunks.

6. Using tongs, hold tortillas over a gas flame until lightly toasted, about 30 seconds per side (or wrap stacked tortillas in damp paper towels, and microwave on high until warm and soft, about 1 minute). If you have an electric stove, you can still toast the tortillas on the heat, just watch them carefully.

7. To assemble, fill tortillas with fish and then top with any or all of the delicious toppings you have made. Enjoy with a nice cold beer or some homemade margaritas!

Enjoy!!

teriyaki salmon and roasted asparagus

nothing better than salmon, asparagus and crusty french bread

As a busy college student I find myself making a lot of chicken and pasta because it’s quick and easy. And then sometimes a light bulb goes off and I remember that making fish is even quicker and more delicious, and I run to the Wegman’s seafood counter to see what’s fresh.

This week the salmon fillets called to me, so I decided on a healthy meal of salmon and asparagus. The salmon was infused with this fantastic sweet and gingery flavor from letting it marinate. And even people who don’t like asparagus will like these. They are crunchy, lemony, and a little salty from the capers. Delicious!

Broiled Salmon Teriyaki
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:
Boneless salmon fillet (with or without skin depending on preference)
I used Trader Joes Soyaki teriyaki sauce, but if you want to make your own:
for 6 fillets:
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or mild vinegar
1 inch peeled giner, sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed

Directions:

1. Whisk the soy sauce, honey, and lemon juice together in a large enough dish to fit the the salmon. Stir in the ginger and garlic. Place the salmon, skin side up, in the sauce and marinate for at least 10 or up to 30 minutes. If using pre-made teriyaki sauce, just place the salmon in that.

2. Preheat a broiler to very hot. Remove the salmon from the marinade, pat it dry with paper towels, and place it skin side down on an oiled pan or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cook until it is slightly firm to the touch, and flakes easily when pressed, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness. While the salmon is cooking, brush it a couple of times with the marinade. Immediately remove the skin while the fish is hot (if applicable), and serve.

Roasted Asparagus with Capers and Lemon
Recipe from Martha Stewart

Pictures by Beanca Nicholson: donnya-ma.

Ingredients:
1 bunch asparagus (trimmed)
1/8 cup salt-packed capers, rinsed well, soaked, and drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
garnish: lemon wedges

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange asparagus and capers evenly on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper (for easy clean up). Drizzle with oil, turning asparagus to coat. Season with salt and sprinkle with red-pepper flakes. Squeeze some lemon juice on top.

2. Roast, shaking sheet once, until asparagus is crisp-tender and golden at the tips, 12 to 16 minutes. Let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with lemon wedges.

———–

These last few weeks have been full of cooking and going out to eat, so here are some pictures and more from all of my activities…

I took a great Indian cooking class on campus last week. I don’t have all of the recipes, but I took pictures:

Naan

Creamy pumpkin soup

Stuffed eggplant with rice and melted cheese

Spicy tofu & vegetable green curry with vermicelli noodles

Smoked eggplant dip

Smoked Eggplant (Bhartoo)

1 eggplant (cut in half, smear with oil and bake in a toaster oven at 400 F for 45 mins)
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp (or more) chili paste
salt to taste
1 cap of hickory smoke liquid
When the eggplant is cooked, let cool. Then scoop the flesh out and chop finely.
Add other ingredients and serve.

Lucy and I also went out to brunch at Cafe Dewitt, which was voted best brunch in Ithaca and I got one of their specials. It was fantastic to say the least.

Hazelnut waffle with praline cream and fresh raspberries

In non-food related news, I got a kitten! Introducing the love of my life, Zara:

1 lb, 5 oz of cuteness

Thanks for reading!

Shrimp & Tofu Stir-Fry

One of the best kitchen purchases I made at IKEA before school started was a wok. I knew of course, that having a wok is essential to a fully stocked kitchen. It evenly distributes heat and has been the source of many fast and easy dinners throughout the semester.

Lucy and I decided to have an asian night and discovered sweet potato noodles (also called yam noodles) at this little asian store on Eddy St. up the block from our house. So we whipped out the wok and got to work.

love trader joes.

Ingredients:
extra firm tofu
raw shrimp
whatever vegetables you have. I used:
mushrooms (I used dried mushrooms that I reconstituted-SO GOOD)
bamboo shoots
water chestnuts
baby corn
broccoli
pearl onions
asian chewy rice cakes (you can find them at most asian markets/stores)
noodles (any kind you want-rice, soba, udon, lo mein, etc)
stir fry/teriyaki sauce (i used Trader Joes Soyaki)

1. Cut up the tofu into small pieces and press out the excess water. Then cook it in the wok with a little sesame oil until lightly browned. Set aside.
2. Cook the shrimp in the wok for a few minutes until pink and nearly cooked through. Add to the tofu.
3. Boil water and cook the noodles and chewy rice cakes if using.
4. Throw all of the vegetables you’re using into the wok with some sauce and stir fry until cooked through. Then add the shrimp and tofu back in and heat until shrimp is fully cooked.

The best part about stir fry’s are that you can customize them to use up whatever you have. I used shrimp and tofu but you do chicken or beef if you prefer. You can also use whatever vegetables you like. I wanted to keep with the asian theme and used baby corn, etc, but it is totally up to you!

And if you don’t have a wok, get yourself to ikea and buy one for $5 now!