Whole Foods had a big sale on wild sole last week, which inspired me to think of an easy way to eat a lot of the delicious fish. I happened to have a lot of fennel in the fridge, and so I experimented with cooking the sole and fennel together — and discovered our new favorite way to cook sole! The fennel and lemon pair perfectly with the fish. Baking the fennel brings out a lot of the vegetable’s flavor and sweetness, and the lemon and garlic add a nice zesty quality to the dish. The sole is so moist and flavorful! This dish should typically serve about 4 people, especially when accompanied with another side vegetable, but, truth be told, it was so light and delicious we ate the whole thing when I made it last night! This recipe will be a nice addition to my work-week dinner roster, as it is so simple to make and healthful, too!
This French-style Anjou pear tart is the perfect light and fruity dessert to serve when you have brunch or dinner guests. Not only is the tart gorgeous and delicious, it is very simple to make. Before our gluten-free days I made this tart quite often, but once we went off gluten I stopped, for obvious reasons — no more flour in our lives! I recently started to experiment with gluten-free flour, however, and I discovered that this tart works just was wonderfully gluten-free. We love that the tart is mostly pear — the crust is thin, buttery and flaky. Instead of regular sugar I use organic coconut palm sugar, which is low-glycemic, and I try to buy apricot jam or preserve with the least amount of sugar per serving. If you are looking for a simple and beautiful dessert to serve the next time you have company, do try this tart! I like to make the dough the night before.
We have a fantastic butcher here in Park Slope called Fleisher’s. Fleisher’s carries fabulous quality meats free of hormones or antibiotics, which are locally sourced and raised on a primarily grass-fed diet. We love everything from them. Yesterday, we stopped by Fleisher’s and picked up some pork chops, steaks, and some “bork” — ground beef and pork mix. For late brunch today, I used the bork to make some spicy “bork” mince with onions, capers and parsley, topped with scrambled eggs. So easy to make and packed full of flavor! The capers add a nice tangy flavor to the spicy mince meat, and the parsley gives the dish a lovely freshness. Eat with some scrambled eggs, and you’ve got a great protein-packed brunch in a bowl!
A high school friend of mine and his girlfriend are on the raw food diet and are also vegetarian. A while back over drinks, they told me about the wonders of the spiral slicer that can create beautiful spirals of vegetables — a perfect gadget for raw foodists, who, with it, could make raw vegetable “pastas” from carrots, zucchinis and the like. The idea of the spiral slicer stayed on my mind, and so I finally purchased one recently. There are a few types of spiral slicers out there, but I went with the Gefu Spirelli — and I LOVE it!
I recently bought a rack of lamb because it was on sale, without thinking deeply on how I wanted to cook it. All I thought was that I could cook it on the weekend. In the past, I’ve made rosemary/garlic/lemon-crusted rack of lamb, but this time, since I had purchased the rack of lamb as an impulse purchase rather than for a concrete cooking plan, I forgot to buy along with the lamb rosemary, parsley, or any other kind of fresh herb. When the weekend arrived, all I had on hand in way of a herb was some herbes de provence, and I was too lazy to go out shopping. And so I just made up a simple mustard marinade with ingredients I had lying around in my kitchen. The result was a very tangy and flavorful marinade that worked very nicely with the rich, gamey lamb. The mustard and lemon cut the fattiness of the lamb, while the red onions added some texture as well as a faint sweetness. I’m not so sure if the herbes de provence made much difference in terms of flavor, but it did add a kind of rustic quality to the appearance of the mustard crust. David was a fan of this simple marinade, and so I think I might make it again in the future!
I first learned to make guacamole at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, where one of the activities was a cooking demonstration. Ever since, guacamole has been a regular party staple in our household. Who doesn’t like guacamole? Fresh and flavorful, guacamole is excellent all year round.
There’s room to play in making guacamole. Normally, I use a habañero pepper (about 1/2, deseeded), but you can also use serrano or jalapeño peppers, depending on your preference. Recently, we like using serrano peppers because they have a good balance of heat and flavor (David calls it “umami”). A few of my friends don’t like cilantro, in which case I’ll swap out cilantro for basil and make what I call “Mediterranean” guacamole. Although traditional guacamole uses yellow onions, sometimes I like to use red onions, which are sweeter. You can use heirloom tomatoes or cherry tomatoes or beefsteak tomatoes, depending of what looks best at the market. I like my guacamole crunchy, so you can definitely play with the ingredient ratios.
Here’s the basic mix as a guideline:
Sometimes, we just feel like eating a nice big piece of fish for dinner. Wild sockeye salmon is one of our favorite weekday fish, because it is so quick and easy to cook. It takes less then 10 minutes to pan-sear sockeye salmon filets to crispy-skin perfection. Sockeye salmon is firmer than your regular salmon, with deep, orange-red color and rich, full, salmon-y flavor. It is leaner than King Salmon, and less expensive. I think sockeye salmon is best cooked simply — just make sure to not over cook it, as it will dry out. Since David and I try to avoid eating farmed salmon as well as salmon with “added color” (usually goes hand in hand), sockeye salmon has become our favorite salmon variety to cook at home (along with coho salmon, which, when in season, is also delicious). Currently, sockeye salmon found in super markets tend to be “previously frozen” (i.e. not in peak season), but we think they still taste delicious!
Here’s how I pan sear my sockeye salmon filets:
I am not a morning person, and so I tend to skip breakfast during the work week. David frowns upon this habit, especially as he has read somewhere that one should eat within 45-minutes of waking up to kick start one’s metabolism. And so I have started to drink a protein shake in the morning. Initially, I tried a protein shake that was plant/veg-based with pea protein, but I didn’t react to it very well (my stomach felt funny). Wanting a protein shake that’s low in sugar but still tasty, I tried Tera’s Whey — and their shakes are good! I don’t do anything fancy with the shakes (e.g. blend them with anything), but the shakes are tasty enough and definitely makes for a quick “breakfast.” For every serving, the shake contains 20-21g of protein and 5g of carbohydrates (3g sugars). I have the chocolate flavor as well as the pomegranate cranberry — the cool thing about the pomegranate cranberry is that it is made of goat whey (you don’t see that often), while the chocolate one is organic and fair trade. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s simple, tastes great, and now David is happy. If you’re looking for high-protein, low-sugar, gluten-free protein shakes, do check out Tera’s Whey (they sell single serving packets, too, so you can try a flavor before committing to it in the full-size version).