I made the Mango and roasted corn salad last night which was so fresh and wonderful tasting and made some Yellow Fin Tuna to go with it. The Tuna turned out pretty great but my husband, Grantley, was not a fan. He does not like anything that has a pink middle. It has to be cooked to the death. I refuse to cook Sushi-Grade fish all the way through because then you might as well eat it out of a can. So we compromised and I made him another protein to eat with his salad. But I thoroughly enjoyed my fish. I thought you might like it too.
Here’s the recipe:
Grilled Yellow Fin Tuna in Sweet Soy Garlic Ginger Sauce
2 pieces of sushi-grade Yellow Fin Tuna (about 3 ounces each)
1 tablespoon Sweet Soy Sauce (Kecap Manis, see Nasi Goreng recipe for pictures and explanation)
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1/2 inch of fresh ginger grated
1/2 tsp Shiracha Chili sauce
Whisk all the sauce ingredients together and marinate the fish for about 30 minutes to 1 hour in the fridge. Heat a grill to medium high heat and cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until nicely seared. Serve with Mango and roasted corn salad
There are days when things get super hectic. Today was one of those days. Time got away from me and I had to prepare dinner quickly. This is one of those dishes that packs a punch nutritionally along with exceptional taste and all that under 30 minutes. I had picked up some great food bargains at the grocery earlier which included gorgeous red, yellow and orange bell peppers and fresh flat leafed parsley. Armed with all these colors and textures I was ready for a quick meal of pepper pesto. “Pesto” in Italian means to pound or crush, basically what you’d do with a mortar and pestle. You can make a “pesto” out of a myriad of combinations not just the traditional Basil Pesto. Roasting the vegetables intensifies the flavors and makes the pesto a rich and delicious delicacy. This one was definitely a winner!
Here’s the recipe:
Roasted Sweet Pepper Pesto and Chicken Pasta
5-6 variety of red, orange and yellow bell peppers cut into large chunks
1 large red onion, cut into chunks
6 whole cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup rough chopped flat leafed Parsley
16 oz Fuscilli, bow tie or a curly noodle
1 cup cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
In a large 5 quart pan bring water and salt to boil for the pasta. In the meantime cut the bell peppers and onion into large chunks, toss with salt and pepper and a little drizzle of olive oil and place in a large cookie sheet. In a small ramekin or oven safe bowl, place the whole, peeled cloves of garlic and pour in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Place ramekin in the corner of the cookie sheet filled with the peppers and onions and roast at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Take out the roasted peppers and onions and place them into a food processor, add the whole garlic cloves and the Parmesan cheese. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the garlic flavor oil, reserving a couple of tablespoons. The peppers and onions should get blended well. Add in 1/2 cup roughly chopped flat leafed parsley and pulse a few times to incorporate.
In a large skillet heat the reserved garlic flavored olive oil and add the pesto mixture and stir for a few minutes. Add in chicken and cooked pasta and toss together. Serve immediately and enjoy.
One of the most vivid memories I have of visiting Greece as a teenager is the amazing food. Everything tasted wonderful and different from foods that I was used to at that time. I loved the pastries, the meats and the delicate flavors. It’s during that trip that I began a serious love affair with Spanakopita, a crispy, delicate and delicious Spinach Pie. I seriously could eat huge quantities of Spanakopita. Every year in September, my city has a big Greek Festival. I try to go annually to load up on Greek delicacies that I don’t have time to make. For years I used to pig out on Spanakopita at the festival, when finally a few years ago I got smart. I decided that I’d asked all of my Greek friends to give me their very best versions of Spanakopita recipes so I could try them all. My friends were very helpful and passed on several recipes and over the last several years I’ve combined the things I liked from all of them to come up with this current recipe. Some families like to make Spanakopita in a large pan and cut them into squares, while others prefer to make them into triangle shapes. I love the versatility of the triangle shape since it’s so portable and because I can freeze them and bake them up individually (or a whole bunch) whenever I have a craving!
Here’s the recipe:
Spanakopita ~ Greek Spinach Triangles
1 box Fillo Dough
2 pounds frozen chopped Spinach (you can use fresh but in this recipe there is very little difference)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil (I like to use fresh basil)
1 tsp dill
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (you can use dry thyme)
1 tsp kosher salt
5 stalks of Scallions
7 oz crumbled Feta
1/2 cup Ricotta
1/2 cup Cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
3/4 lb (3 sticks) of unsalted butter
4 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Defrost Spinach and squeeze out all excess water and set aside. In a large skillet heat olive oil and saute onions, scallions, garlic, salt and herbs. After onions are tender, add Spinach to the mixture and stir fry for a few minutes. Take off heat and pour it into a large bowl. Add eggs, cheeses and lemon juice to the Spinach mixture. Stir to mix well.
Take out Fillo dough from package and put them on a cookie sheet and cover with a damp paper towel so they don’t dry out. Melt 3 sticks of butter in a microwave safe bowl and get a pastry brush. Place a piece of Fillo dough on a large cutting board and brush it with melted butter, working quickly so the fillo doesn’t dry out, place another sheet on top and brush that with butter as well. Repeat with three sheets of Fillo. Using a pizza cutter, cut three equal long strips on the Fillo. Place a large 1 1/2 tablespoon of spinach filling on the top of one of the strips and fold it at an angle so it forms a triangle. Keep folding the triangle onto itself until all the filling is enclosed in a triangular shape. Place it on a cookie sheet and brush the completed triangle with melted butter. Repeat the procedure withe the other two strips. Continue making triangles with three sheets of buttered Fillo at a time. Should yield about 42-46 individual Spanakopitas. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Serve warm.
There are so many ways to cook rice, the possibilities are endless. The continent of Asia alone has about a thousand variations. I love how the same spices used in slightly different combinations can produce a totally different taste. Nasi Goreng is an Indonesian style of fried rice. There are many different ways of making Nasi Goreng, some people add prawns, steak or chicken, others add a variety of vegetables, basically whatever is leftover and on hand. But some of the basic spices don’t change. The key to Nasi Goreng is using Kecap Manis or Sweet Soy Sauce.
Kecap Manis is made from fermented soy, date palm sugar (jaggery) and several other spices. It is quite thick and has several layers of flavor that is very different from regular soy sauce. It is delicious. The other must have items in Nasi Goreng are red chilis and Sambal Oelek. I like to use both.
Sambal Oelek is a red chili paste found in any Asian super market (same place where you’d pick up some of the Kecap Manis). Cumin and Coriander are also used. This adds a slight smoky flavor and balances out the sweetness of the Kecap manis and the heat of the red chilis.
Even though garlic, cumin, coriander and chilies are regularly used in South Asian cooking, when combined with the Sambal Oelek and Sweet soy sauce it completely changes the taste. This dish is widely eaten in Malaysia, Singapore and of course Indonesia. Served hot with that wonderful fried egg on top, it is amazing. You can’t stop eating it!
Here’s the recipe:
6 cups cooked rice (preferably overnight)
2 large eggs
Salt according to taste
6 tablespoons cooking oil
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 onion, finely chopped
2 red chilies, seed removed and sliced finely
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 tsp Coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tbsp Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce)
2 tsp Sambal Oelek
3 Stalks of celery, chopped
1 whole tomato, seeded and chopped
½ cup frozen green peas
4 finely chopped scallions
Additional eggs to serve over rice
1 large onion, thinly sliced (for caramelized onion)
In a large frying pan or wok heat oil and add 1 large onion very thinly sliced (using mandolin really helps to keep it very thin). Cook until onions are dark golden brown in color and place in a paper towel lined pan.
Beat the eggs in a bowl until foamy. Add a little salt according to taste. Set aside. Use a food processor to process the onion, chili, tomato, Sambal Oelek, garlic, sugar, cumin and coriander until it became a thick paste.
In the same pan that the onions were caramelized earlier add the processed paste and cook until it is fragrant. Add the vegetables except for the sliced scallions and stir fry for a few minutes. Make a well in the middle of the pan and add beaten eggs. Stir fry eggs until cooked and mix in with the rest of vegetables. Finally add in the cooked rice and a more cooking oil if necessary. Add the Kecap Manis (Sweet Soy Sauce) and scallions and continue frying for another 30~60 seconds, until it is well incorporated. Finally add caramelized onions and toss.
Scoop from the wok onto a plate and serve with a fried over-easy egg on top. If using as a side dish then serve without the egg on top.
I was recently at Whole Foods and I couldn’t believe how much they were charging for a 6 oz container of pesto. I am NOT about to pay almost $5 for something that can be made in seconds and taste so much better fresh. I love fresh Spinach and since today also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day I wanted to make my version of fresh pesto. After all its so green!! Spinach and basil makes a great combination. So delicious, so versatile!
Ingredients at a glance
Toast the Pine nuts in a dry skillet
Mix all ingredients in food processor
This is the glamour shot.
I love to store the pesto in individual packages, usually in a 1/2 cup or 1 cup servings along with the date.
Then I put the individual packs inside a bigger ziplock bag and freeze them. They keep for 3-4 months in the freezer and you can just heat it up to use it with pasta, as a pizza sauce, with chicken dishes. The possibilities are endless.
Here’s the recipe:
Spinach Basil Pesto
4 cups tightly packed fresh baby spinach leaves
1 cup of fresh basil
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
½ cup olive oil
½ cup Parmiaggiano Reggiano cheese
In a dry skillet add the pine nuts and heat over medium high heat until lightly brown and toasted. Should only take about 4-5 minutes. Let cool.
Place all ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor and turn it on, in a slow drizzle begin to add olive oil through the dispenser until mixture is well incorporated. Take out and serve immediately with any type of pasta, with chicken or pizza sauce or can put in individual ziplock bags and freeze for up to 4 months. Cost per 1 cup serving (8 oz) is only 50 cents. A far cry from the price of $5 for 6 oz.
My friend Diane Hubbard told me that she was inspired to make Preserved Lemons http://kolpona.com/2012/03/08/preserved-lemons/ and now she wanted more recipes that used Preserved Lemons besides North African or Middle Eastern dishes. I took that as a challenge and decided that for tonight’s dinner I was going to make a dish with Preserved Lemons and anything else I had on hand in the kitchen, WITHOUT going to the grocery store. It felt like a pasta kind of night. A few minutes after cooking dinner, our friends Tasi and Soloa dropped by.
They ate all the pasta, Banana bread from this morning, Onion Dill bread from yesterday, Double Chocolate Chili cookies and took home some Lentil soup I’d made. I love feeding people who like to eat. Let me tell you, when two big Samoans come over from the gym, they can eat some stuff. So, Diane here’s a recipe inspired by you. Tasi and Soloa seem to think it’s pretty darn good and I think it’s a keeper. By the way, it serves a family of 6 or two hungry Samoans.
Ingredients at a glance.
Saute shrimp in olive oil with a little salt, garlic and ginger. Take it out as soon it barely turns light pink.
In the remaining oil add tablespoon of butter.
Finished pasta dish.
Here’s the recipe:
Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Pasta
1 lb of pasta (Linguine, Spaghetti, Fettucine – I only had Spaghetti on hand so I used that, next time I think I will use Linguine)
8-10 Large Shrimp, cleaned with tail on
3 whole garlic cloves minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tomato, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound young Asparagus, trimmed
4 oz jar of marinated Artichoke hearts
1/2 preserved lemon, rinsed and chopped
1 tsp Rosemary, chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat leafed Parsley
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled Feta
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
In a 5 quart stock pot boil water with 5 tablespoons of salt (should be like sea water salty) for the pasta and cook pasta according to package directions.
In a large skillet heat olive oil and saute shrimp, salt, garlic and ginger until the Shrimp turn into a light pink shade, about 1 minute or so. Take Shrimp out of the pan and set aside. In the same oil add tablespoon of butter. Add chopped onion, preserved lemon and tomato along with Rosemary and fresh cracked pepper and saute 2-3 minutes until flavors are released and onions are translucent. Add roughly chopped artichoke hearts and asparagus tips and the tender parts of the stem cut into 1 inch pieces and saute another 2-3 minutes. Add the Shrimp back into the mixture and saute an additional minute or until the Shrimp is cooked through. Toss in Feta Cheese and stir then add the pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano and Parsley and toss to coat. Take off heat and serve immediately.