Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cod en Papillote with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Basil

Another night, another solo dinner, and this time, rather than going vegetarian, I decided to buy some seafood for myself!  I believe I've mentioned it in the past, but seafood, really any kind, is my favorite type of food in the world.  I don't buy it as often as I'd like because of the expense involved, but ideally I'd like to incorporate at least two days worth of seafood in my weekly menus.  At the moment, I'm lucky if I can do one, but someday.... someday....  Since I was just cooking for myself tonight though, the expense was minimal, hooray!!

I've been intrigued by the whole parchment/foil packet cooking method for a while now.  I have quite a few recipes bookmarked that I'd like to try like this, and this, and this, but I just haven't gotten around to making them.  It's not that I'm intimidated, in fact, I didn't doubt that this was a simple cooking method, it's just one of those things that I kept putting off for no reason whatsoever!  I decided that tonight was the night, and because I had some yellow zucchini from the farmer's market to use, and my cherry tomatoes and basil are exploding in my garden... and because this is another thing that my boyfriend wouldn't eat due to his aversion to zucchini and tomatoes (craziness!!), this was absolutely perfect for just me.  In fact this was soooooo good that I want to cook this for my family when I go on vacation with them in a week- oh my goodness, I just can't wait for vacation!!!!!

This is an easily customizable recipe which makes it just perfect no matter what ingredients you have on hand, and what your personal preferences are.  I wouldn't omit the fish (obviously!), but you could use any kind of firm, flaky white fish, but you could customize the veggies to your choosing.  Serious Eats, which is where this recipe comes from, mentions sugar snap peas and asparagus as potential substitutions.  

Seriously guys, make this!!!!  It is so flavorful and amazingly delicious.  It is also incredibly easy and fancy looking.  It's perfect for a solo dinner, or a dinner party!

Cod en Papillote with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Basil
Serves 1

1 small to medium zucchini (green or yellow), thinly sliced
1 boneless, skinless cod fillet (about 6 ounces)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
A pinch of dried red chili flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
8 leaves fresh basil
8 cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into about 6 small pieces
1 tbsp dry white wine

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Tear off about a 12" by 24" piece of parchment or tinfoil and fold in half to make a crease.  Unfold, and place on a baking sheet.  
2. Assemble the packet by laying down your zucchini in the center of one of the sides of the parchment paper, leaving at least a one-inch border.  Place cod on the bed of zucchini, then sprinkle on salt and pepper, chili flakes and garlic.  Place the basil leaves on top, and your cherry tomatoes (they will probably want to roll off, but I found placing them stem side down helps).  Then top with your butter pieces, olive oil and white wine.
3. Fold the parchment paper in half over the fish and start crimping from one corner, and going all the way around to the other side to secure.  
4. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the fish is cooked though.  
5. Once done, you can place the parchment packet directly on your plate, and open at the dinner table.


Source: Slightly adapted from Serious Eats

Friday, July 27, 2012

Kale and Coconut Salad

I've had this recipe on my radar to try ever since I saw it on a couple of my favorite blogs- first Shutterbean and then Joy the Baker.  After seeing many bloggers posting recipes from Heidi Swanson's cookbook Super Natural Every Day, which this recipe is from, I had to buy it myself.   I guess you could call it peer pressure- but the good kind, not the jumping off a cliff kind.  After going to the farmer's market today, and buying a ginormous bunch of kale, I knew that tonight was the perfect night to finally try out this recipe.  I already had the coconut from some granola I made a few weeks ago, and the other ingredients are all pantry staples for me.... it was just meant to be!  Perfect for a night when my meat-loving boyfriend is at work, and it's just me at home, left to my own devices.... which also includes watching episodes of "Friends" back to back to back, menu planning for next week, and general laziness!  Hey, I already did my workout this morning, so that justifies being lazy for the rest of the day!  I guess this is what constitutes a wild and crazy Friday night when you're 29 1/2 :)

This turned out to be everything I wanted it to be.  Crunchy, chewy, salty, and just downright tasty.  I loved it and could easily have eaten the whole batch in one sitting.  Darn you portion control!!  I had some brown rice in my freezer that I heated up to go with this (seriously one of the best things to do ever- precooking long cooking grains in big batches and freezing for later), and squirted on a touch of sriracha (thanks Joy the Baker for the idea!), and it was sooooooo good.  I didn't even use half of my kale for this salad, so I envision lots of this salad in the next few days- I could easily eat it for every meal.

Kale and Coconut Salad
Serves 4

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp shoyu, tamari or soy sauce
3 1/2 cups lightly packed cups kale (3.5 oz/100 grams)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened large-flake coconut (3 oz/85 grams)
1 cup uncooked farro, brown rice, quinoa or other whole grain

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook your grain according to package directions.
3. Trim the stems of your kale, remove the large ribs, and chop.  Mix the kale and coconut together in a large bowl.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, and soy sauce.  Pour about 2/3 of it into the bowl with the kale and coconut, and toss well.
5. Spread kale and coconut mixture on a large baking sheet, and bake for 11-18 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Bake until the coconut is golden brown. and the kale is crispy. 
6. Remove from oven, taste, and if desired add more of the leftover dressing.
7. Serve on top of your grain.


Source: Super Natural Every Day

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quinoa-Stuffed Pattypan Squash

What's up guys?!?! It's good to be back! I've been on a super-long hiatus, but hopefully I'll be posting here much more frequently and regularly from now on. I miss my little blog! I've been lacking motivation to blog for a looooooong time....I've been cooking more than ever, but when it comes time to take photos, write a post, edit it and publish, I've been majorly slacking..... But I really want that to change for myself and my readers!! So for my mid-summer resolution, I've decided to try and get back to this whole blogging thingamajig!

In the past 6 months or so I've really been trying to eat healthier, and be more conscious about what enters my body- it is a temple and all that ya know! So expect to see more healthy recipes on here. Now, that certainly doesn't mean I don't indulge in the occasional treat, for example the totally delicious and non-waistline friendly peanut butter pie I made and ate last night for my boyfriend's (30th!!!!) birthday, so expect to still see treats and whatnot as well. 

For my return, I am posting this delicious (and healthy) stuffed squash recipe that I made tonight for dinner. I found these cute Pattypan squash at Whole Foods this weekend and just couldn't resist! They were a really good price ($2.99/lb) especially for being local and organic! Hopefully I'll be able to find more soon since they were so yummy, and I'd love to make this recipe again and try out some others!  I've never cooked Pattypan squash before and so I searched around for a yummy sounding recipe, and stumbled upon one on one of the blogs I regularly read- Oh She Glows- which is a wonderful vegan blog.  I, as you know, am not vegan, but I do try to eat mostly meatless throughout the day, saving meat for dinner, and also sometimes omitting the meat from dinner as well- if my boyfriend is not home- he's definitely the more carnivorous one in out relationship :) 

I did not have all the ingredients needed for that particular recipe, but I used it as inspiration and adapted it to the ingredients in my own pantry/refrigerator.  I'd love to make the original recipe at some point as well, so check that one out too!  It looks awesome!

Quinoa-Stuffed Pattypan Squash
Serves 1

3 pattypan squash
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you want this to be completely vegetarian)
1-2 small garlic cloves, smashed
1 small zucchini
1 green onion
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Bring quinoa, broth, and smashed garlic cloves to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan.  Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to low, and cover.  Cook for 20 minutes.
3. While quinoa is cooking, fill a medium saucepan with water, 1-2 inches high, and bring to a boil.  Add pattypan squash and cook 7-8 minutes.  When done, drain and let cool.
4. Meanwhile, finely chop zucchini and green onion by hand or in a food processor.
5. When the quinoa is cooked, remove the garlic cloves, and mix in the tomato paste, butter, and zucchini mixture.
6. Once cool, cut off the stems of the squash and carefully spoon out the insides- don't throw those away though!  Add the spooned out squash to the quinoa mixture.  (Don"worry if you pierce the bottom of the squash, I did and mine turned out great anyway!)  Season the quinoa-zucchini-pattypan mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Place the hollowed out squash in a baking pan- I used my Pyrex loaf pan and it was the perfect size for my 3 squash.  Stuff your squash with the quinoa mixture until it overflows, and spoon the rest around the squash (you'll most likely have more filling than you can stuff the squash with).
8. Bake the stuffed squash for 20-25 minutes.


Source: Inspired by Oh She Glows