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Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

The hideous organ on my cutting board hardly looked like dinner. However, trimmed, stewed and sliced, tongue can be delicious. In the oven, I stewed the tongue in a pot with canned plum tomatoes, carrots onions, cilantro, thyme, garlic and water. I seasoned the sauce with spices like cumin, chili powder, Spanish paprika, Adobo seasoning and oregano and finished it with brown sugar and a sauce made from tamarind and vinegar from Costa Rica. Finally, I pureed everything to add body. I smothered the tongue in the tangy, brick-colored sauce, piled it over white rice, garnished with diced red onion, chopped tomatoes, roasted corn and cilantro.

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My parents recently transformed their diets into something much healthier. They reduced the quantity of red meat and started cooking lighter food. We used to bake fatty salmon with mayo, lemon and dill. I used a leaner salmon steak and seared it for as a low-fat preparation. We all know that salmon is healthy because of its protein content and good fats, but did you know that a 4 oz serving of wild salmon provides a full day’s requirement of vitamin D? A honey mustard sauce is high in flavor, yet low in fat. Quinoa is one of the healthiest grains available and I boosted the nutrition with some spinach. I sauteed mushrooms and peas in white wine and marsala wine to add flavor without unnecessary salt or fat. Finally, sweet potatoes are the healthiest item in the produce department, so roasting them alongside seemed like a no-brainer.

Ingredients:

Spinach Quinoa:

  • half a package of quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • chicken stock (follow quinoa package directions)
  • 1 bag of Spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Mushrooms:
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • fresh thyme, de-stemmed
  • Splash of white wine of choice
  • Splash of marsala wine
  • light brown sugar to taste
  • Dash of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic and onion powder
  • Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Salmon and sauce:
  • Thick salmon steaks (1 per person)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 tablesoon tamari

Directions:

Spinach Quinoa:

Over medium heat, toast quinoa grains in a drizzle of sesame oil for 5 minutes and then add a splash of rice wine. Follow the directions on the package to cook, replacing the water with chicken stock. Sauté spinach in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. When the quinoa is tender and the moisture is absorbed, add the spinach.

Mushrooms:

Over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in 3 tablespoons of olive oil with two cloves of garlic and salt. Wash and slice the mushrooms and add to the pan. Add fresh thyme leaves and a splash of white and marsala wine. Add some light brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Salmon:

1. Heat a pan on high and sear the salmon steaks with 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about 4 minutes on each side. Both sides should be well browned and peek inside the flesh to determine doneness. The center should be bright pink, yet still flaky. To make the sauce, combine honey and your favorite mustard. I like either Dijon or something grainy. The last component is tamari, which is thicker, richer, more complex and a little less harsh and salty than soy sauce.

2. Plate the salmon steak over the quinoa and mushrooms and drizzle the sauce over the salmon. I served the dish with roasted sweet potatoes, which can be made by rubbing the skins with olive oil, salt and pepper, poking them with a fork, wrapping them in aluminum foil and roasting in a 350° oven until fork tender all the way through.

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A thai curry is a great way to make use of fresh vegetables and impress people with an exotic dish. Although curries may sound daunting, they are no more difficult than a standard stew. Coconut milk is a rich, dairy-free and forgiving backdrop to a spectrum of flavors. I cut its richness with lime juice, contrast the heat of the red curry paste with some light brown sugar and use turmeric and curry powder for a warm, yellow color. Since the vegetables are pre-steamed, you can spend more time eating than cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
  • 2 handfuls of diced carrots
  • 3 small yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 2-3 large rotisserie/leftover chicken breasts (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 large red or white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15.5 oz. can of garbanzos/chickpeas, washed well
  • 2 13.5 oz. cans of coconut milk
  • 2 limes, rolled and halved
        Spices:
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon thai seasoning mix (includes things like dried lemongrass, garlic, ginger and mint)
Directions:
1. Steam broccoli and carrots until tender, keeping in mind that they will cook longer in the sauce. Steam potatoes or poke them with a fork and microwave until tender. With leftover rotisserie chicken, take off the skin and bones and chop into cubes.
2. Over medium heat, drizzle olive oil in a pan and sauté onion and garlic with salt until translucent. Add chickpeas, steamed broccoli, carrots potatoes and chicken.
 ♦
3. Stir in red curry paste until dissolved and add yellow curry powder, ground cumin, coriander, chili powder, turmeric, salt, light brown sugar and thai seasoning mix. Add the juice of two limes and the peas.
4. Simmer for a bit and turn the heat off. Allow to rest for about 1 hour in order to marry the flavors. Reheat and serve over your favorite rice.

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In Spanish cuisine, sofrito is used as a base for many dishes and is made of garlic, onion, and tomatoes. I used tomato paste to give my dish the complex flavors of something cooked for a long time. Just a bit of wine, herbs and spanish spices complete a sauce that is flavorful, yet very light and healthy. It is thickened in the Catalan style with toasted bread. Diverging from Spanish cuisine, I served it with butternut squash roasted with maple syrup and brown sugar and sprinkled with sage leaves. Some fresh rice is a must.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large Spanish onion, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 5 sweet banana peppers, minced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup of  white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/3 cup “less sodium” beef stock (or chicken)
  • 6 sprigs thyme, de-stemmed and chopped
  • Southern Spain Pinchito Spice to taste
  • About 2 lbs. thin chicken cutlets.

Directions:

1. On low heat, sauté onions in olive oil with salt until translucent. Add sugar, paprika and tomato paste—some nonstick spray on the spoon will help the paste to glide off.

 

2.  Add banana peppers and garlic and simmer for about 20 minutes. Build the sauce with the white wine and beef stock and add the thyme.

 

3. Season with a few pinches of cinnamon. I used a spice mix called Southern Spain Pinchito Spice. This includes salt, cumin, paprika, oregano, coriander, garlic, turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, anise, cayenne and saffron.

 

4. Toast some bread (I toasted a bagel and removed the insides) and grind finely in a food processor. Add a few tablespoons to the sauce and expand it by adding some water until the consistency is just right.

 

5. Coat chicken cutlets in olive oil and rub with a light coating of salt, pepper, paprika and pinchito. Grill or sauté until cooked through (about 2 minutes on each side) and warm together with the sauce.

 

Butternut Squash: In a 400° oven on a foiled sheet pan, roast 1 inch. cubes of butternut squash on a sheet pan with olive oil, salt and pepper  for 15 minutes. Flip, drizzle with maple syrup, sprinkle with brown sugar and top with dabs of butter. Finish roasting for another 15 to 20 minutes or until tender through.

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This is my version of a Navratan Korma, which is an Indian curry dish. Navratan means nine gems and this usually refers to the vegetables, fruits, or nuts in the curry. I cut down on the fat—which is why the color is a pale orange instead of a bright yellow—, but not the the flavor and depth of this vegetarian dish.

 

Ingredients:

  • very fresh tomatoes (enough to fill a whole sheet pan when cut)
  • olive oil or wegmans basting oil
  • 1/2 a head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3/4 of a 16  oz. can 0f coconut milk
  • 4-5 tablespoons plain, greek yogurt
  • 1 zucchini, cut into cubes
  • 1 squash, cut into cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt, pepper, turmeric
  • a handful carrots, chopped
  • broccoli (similar amount)
  • ground coriander (few pinches)
  • garam masala (few pinches)
  • red curry powder (few pinches) It’s spicy
  • a handful of whole, unsalted cashews
  • 3 small waxy potatoes
  • 1/2 cup cream or milk (whatever fat content you like)
  • 1 cup of peas
1. Cut the tomatoes (large-bite size) and scatter, filling an entire foiled sheet pan. Roast them on 400º for about 30 minutes with olive oil and seasonings (I used a Wegmans basting oil blend). In a blender or food processor, purée.
2. Roast the cauliflower in the same manner, but only for about 15 minutes.
3. Cook the tomato sauce in a pot with the coconut milk. Add the greek yogurt and stir until homogenous.
4. Sauté the zucchini and squash in olive oil with salt, pepper, minced garlic, and two pinches of turmeric and par-cook the broccoli  and carrots however you choose. I parboiled the carrots until just cooked through and used frozen broccoli. Add all these vegetables to the pot.
5. Add the spices to the curry: turmeric, ground coriander, garam masala, and red curry powder. Salt and continue to season to taste. Add the cashews. Microwave the potatoes until fork tender and cut into bite-size pieces, adding them to the curry.
6. Add the cream or milk . You can adjust richness by adding more coconut milk, cream, or yogurt. Although I didn’t, butter would be a good addition since most recipes call for ghee. When the consistency is perfect, cover the pot, If it reduces too much, add a bit of water.
7. Add half of the peas. Serve over basmati rice (add the remaining peas to this). Garnish with fresh cilantro.

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Inspired by a Caribbean restaurant in Delray Beach, FL, this basa basa is steamed inside a banana leaf with exotic spices, fresh vegetables, cilantro, coconut milk, and lime juice. The fish comes out of the sauna, refreshed and invigorated, while all the vegetables are imparted with the coconut and lime flavors. Feel free to eat as much as you want; this dish is low on calories.

Ingredients:

  • banana leaves
  • basa basa
  • salt
  • blackpepper
  • garam masala
  • turmeric
  • red curry powder
  • ground cumin
  • canned corn
  • zuchinni
  • squash
  • limes
  • cilantro
  • coconut milk

1. Blanch a banana leaf in boiling water for about a minute. Lay down a skinless filet of basa basa and season on both sides with the spices. Top with slices of zuchinni and squash, canned corn, squeezed lime wedges, torn cilantro leaves and a pour of coconut milk. Finish with some more salt and pepper for the vegetables.

2. Wrap up the fish like a present and flip over onto aluminum foil. Wrap it up in the foil and flip again. Place on a sheet pan and bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.

3. Open the package and take a taste, if it is not fully cooked, finish it off in the oven uncovered.

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For those of you who are new to quail, there’s nothing to be afraid of; quail tastes just like chicken. I made a cherry and wine reduction and blended it too create a sauce. The quail is grilled until crispy and charred and you can eat it with your hands. You can also try my cherry and wine sauce on chicken, duck, or pork chops.


Ingredients:

6 jumbo quail

1/2 white onion, minced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

fresh thyme

1 container of fresh cherries, de-pitted and chopped

1 teaspoon beef base

red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)

cherry juice

sugar

3 caps of apple cider vinegar

olive oil, salt, and pepper

Sauce:

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions with a bit of salt and when they have softened, add thyme leaves and garlic. In a minute, add the cherries.

I stirred in about a teaspoon of beef base, dissolved in some hot water. Along with this makeshift beef stock, add a good splash of wine, and cherry juice—you can find it at most grocery stores. Incorporate about three five-finger pinches of sugar and the apple cider vinegar. Reduce for a bit. I also added some store-bought ginger paste, but this is optional.

Blend in a blender or just grind in a food processor until the sauce is relatively smooth and homogenous. Adjust for consistency by reducing or by adding water and adjust the flavor by adding more wine, vinegar, or sugar. Also, salt to taste at this point. If you have the technology (a chinois or cheesecloth) strain the sauce for a luxuriously smooth texture and refined look.

Quail:

Butterfly the quail by cutting along the breast bone. Rub both sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper and get the grill nice and hot. Quail needs to be cooked quickly or it will dry out. Grill for about 6-7 minutes on both sides (with the grill closed), starting skin-side down. Make your desired grill marks and just cut into it, taking it off the grill when just cooked through.

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