Friday, October 28, 2011

Fish en papillote

I just have to post this recipe because it was SO delicious. Don't let the fancy title fool you, it is actually easy to prepare and pretty fast (especially if you have a julienne tool). Everything cooks together to make an absolutely tender and flavorful dish.

1/2 red onion, julienned
1 zucchini, julienned
1 large carrot, julienned
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
squash, julienned, or mushrooms, or bell peppers (optional).
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
4-4oz white fish fillets
1 lemon, thinly sliced
8 sprigs fresh thyme
4 pats butter
1/4 cup white wine*
parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a bowl, mix together the onion, zucchini, carrot, and garlic (and other veggies if desired). Add the oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.
2. Put each fish fillet in a large square of parchment paper and season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the vegetables on top, dividing evenly. Top the vegetables with 2 lemon slices, 2 sprigs thyme, a pat of butter and 1 Tbsp wine, layering in order.
3. Fold the parchment paper around the edges tightly in 1/4-inch folds to create a half moon shape. Make sure you press as you crimp and fold to seal the packets well, otherwise the steam will escape. Alternately gather all edges together and twist at the top to form a little bag. A stapler is handy if there are any openings. Arrange the packets on a baking sheet. Bake until the fish is cooked through, about 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish (mine were larger fillets so they took about 25 minutes). To serve, cut open the packets and serve directly in the parchment on a plate or remove the fish to the plate using a spatula, being sure you don't leave the juices behind.

*chicken broth works almost as well. I tried it both ways since I didn't have much wine due to a disaster: I dropped the grocery bag with the wine bottle in it on the pavement on the way from the car to the house. I ran inside, grabbed my baster and was able to save a bit of it before it trickled out of the bag. Phew!

serves 4

Spaghetti squash with garlic and herbs (and cheese of course)

If you have stayed away from spaghetti squash because you have no idea what to do with it, try this fast and easy recipe. You can also use this recipe as a starting point. Sauteed veggies would be a great addition.


1 spaghetti squash (about 3-4 pounds)1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil2 cloves garlic, finely minced1/4 cup finely minced herbs (I used parsley and tarragon, but basil would be yummy too)1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
toasted pine nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Use a fork to remove seeds. Place flesh side down in baking dish with ½ inch of water. Pierce squash a few times with sharp paring knife (to let steam escape). bake for about 60 minutes (closer to 90 minutes if it is a larger one like mine was), or until a paring knife pierces easily through skin with little resistance. Let squash cool for 10 minutes.

2. Use a fork to scrape the squash to get long strands. If the squash seem difficult to scrape, return the squash to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
3. Heat a large saute pan with the butter and oil and the garlic over medium-low heat. When garlic becomes fragrant, add herbs, salt and spaghetti squash strands. Toss well, sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and taste to see if you need additional salt. The spaghetti squash should have a slight crunch (i.e. not mushy) - but if you like it softer, cover the pan and cook 2 more minutes.
makes 4 servings

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cranberry-pear tossed salad

My wonderful husband gave me the afternoon and evening off so I could go horseback riding while he made me a birthday dinner. The menu: this salad, Asian salmon on top of curried quinoa, and an apple squash bake. Everything was SO amazingly delicious. I just took pictures of this one, but if you are interested in the other recipes, just ask!
What a great Fall salad

1/3 cup apricot nectar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil (if you'd like, substitute some Udo's oil, it's so nutritious!)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
12 cups mixed salad greens (sounds like a lot, but this recipe serves 12. Cut back if you need to)
3 medium pears, sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

1. For a dressing, in a bowl whisk together the first six ingredients; set aside.
2. In a hreavy skillet, melt sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add walnuts; stir to coat and remove from heat.
3. In a large salad bowl, combine greens, pears, and cranberries. Drizzle with dressing. Add nuts and blue cheese and toss.

serves 12

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

sweet potato and black bean burritos

Sound a little weird? They actually very good. Even my meat-loving man didn't mind that the meat was missing.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yam or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-in pieces
1 medium red onion, half chopped and half thinly sliced
1 15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed
2 tsp. chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce *
1 small bunch spinach, thick stems discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
6 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
4 large flour tortillas (I used whole wheat)
sour cream
lime wedges

1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skilled over medium heat. Add the yams, chopped onion, and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10-12 minutes.
2. Add the beans and chipotles and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.
3. Divide the cheese and potato-bean mixture among the tortillas and roll up to form burritos. Wipe out the skillet, add remaining olive oil and heat over medium heat. Cook the burritos, seam side down first until golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with sour cream and lime wedges.

serves 4

*This adds a nice smokey flavor with a little spice. If you like more spice you can add more. If you don't feel like buying a can just to use a small amount you could substitute a small amount of  hot pepper or red pepper flakes. Or, I just chopped the remaining peppers, divided the pieces and sauce among the sections of an ice cube tray (this was a tip listed on the recipe). Once frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe container. You can save them to add to chili, soups, or stews)