Spectacular Seafood

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IMG_7609Fish is something everyone should eat more of.  If trying to cut out the red meat, you’d be surprised how filling a “fish steak” meal can be.  There are many ways to make fish but there are certain tips I will try to share here with you because you’re always asking me for recipes for my various fishy creations.  It’s hard for me to give exact recipes by the book, but I will give you my best advice on how to do it my way.

1.  Find a local fish store , get to know them, ask what is good and local.  It is always best to get the best fish the season has to offer.  Atlantic vs Pacific gets to your fish store the fastest if you’re on the east coast, and vice versa.  Different times of year you will find fish caught closer to home.  Right now you can get the sweetest scallops from Barnegat bay NJ, rather than previously frozen from ‘who knows where’ ones from your grocery store.  Also, local Atlantic Long Island sea bass, flounder, tuna etc.  Ask your fish guy, he will tell you what to try.  If you like steak, go for tuna steak, swordfish, grouper, mahi mahi, or any other thick cut piece of cod or similar.

2.  Depending on the season you can cook it differently.  In winter I like to sear in a cast iron skillet, simply brush with olive oil or grapeseed oil (neutral oil i like for asian etc style cooking), or simple broil, or roast.  Before I sear in a very hot skillet i add some Old Bay seasoning with the oil, salt, pepper and lightly dredge in rice flour.   Then i quickly sear 2-3 minutes on each side, then comes the braising part, simply lower the flame, add a liquid such as dry white wine or water, parsley, lemon and my secret ingredient instead of butter, stir in a teapoon or so of dijon mustard.  Add additional herbs, like fresh basil , parsley, then go for some chopped fresh tomatoes, capers and cover and let braise a few minutes till done.  Drizzle of your best aged balsamic kicks it up.  Also simple grill pan fish, just make a marinate of dijon mustard, crushed garlic, lemon and low salt soy or tamari marinate a few hours and grill a few minutes on each side (fish steaks)

3.  Fish filets…can be done so many ways, but cast iron is my fave see above way.  Or just broil under the flame with seasoning of choice.  Get creative, look at my pics and try it my way.  Practice makes perfect

4.  Do not turn the fish until you feel it’s ready and you don’t have to fight it to turn , if its ready it will flip easily with 1 or 2 spatulas.

5.  Spring Summer I grill my fish outside on my Weber Gas Grill.  I bought one of those Cuisinart covers to put on the grill so the fish doesn’t fall through the grates, this one has holes , so the direct flame hits it and makes it simple to cook, grilling but steaming when you close the cover.  Simple, just make sure to oil the surface, and marinate the fish with a combo of herbs, basil, parsley. lemon, zest, garlic , dijon , balsamic , tamari…whatever there’s many seasoning combo’s to do, but its basically an olive oil based vinagrette.  Or if cooking asian style that changes to miso, tamari, mirin combo with ginger and garlic

6.  Shrimp, scallops and calamari are simple on the grill and cook in minutes.  Again, marinate.

7.  Fish is good for you, eat it more, add lots of good for you veggies, grains, black rice, beans and have yourself a wonderful dinner.  Create.  Make fish taco’s, make homemade salsas or if time is an issue buy whatever salsas you like.  Serve over all kinds of salads.

Organic Chicken Stew with tomatoes, mixed mushrooms, kale, butternut squash, and tri color quinoa

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Baby, it’s cold outside! Good time to stay close to the stove and create. This stew I threw together using about 1/2 cup of each vegetable. You can use more if you like. This recipe should feed 2-3 people.
1 pound of free range boneless chicken thighs-cut into small stewlike chunks
Butternut Squash
Mushrooms, regular and shitake (stemmed) and sliced
Cherry tomatoes-halved
Dinosaur kale (of any kale you like or spinach) deveined and chopped
Onion about 1/2 chopped
3 smashed cloves of garlic
Oregano, salt and pepper
Fresh basil
Aged balsamic-just a drizzle of your finest bottle
Rice flour-sprinkle with a bit of italian seasoning (optional)
2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
1 or more cups of low sodium chicken broth

Into a saute/stew pan add the evoo and carefully brown the chicken a few minutes on each side. Lightly browned.
Take out and set aside.
In the pan add onions and chopped garlic, a dash of some dry oregano about a teaspoon or so, salt and pepper to taste. If the pan is dry add some of the broth.

Add the butternut squash, the mushrooms and kale

Let it cook 2 minutes, then put the chicken back in the pan and add the rest of the broth.
Now add your splash of balsamic and cover till veggies are tender and chicken is cooked through.
About 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chopped fresh basil.

In the meantime make you quinoa, in the rice cooker or in another pan.

The whole dish should be ready in the 20 minutes it takes to cook the quinoa.

Corn bread stuffing with herbs du provence, mirapoix, vegs, pignoli nuts and cranberries

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1 Bag of cubed bread (corn, potato, whatever you like) or make your own cubes out of fresh bread
Mirapoix…chop sweet onion or leek (i used one big leek), shredded carrot, 3 stalks of celery with leaves, 1 clove garlic, 1 shallot (chop it all)
Organic Kale-dinosaur works for me, but any you like, chopped and deveined about a 1/2 cup or more to taste
Fennel just a little chopped with the mirapoix for additional flavor (optional)
Mushrooms, any variety i used white , sliced and sauteed
Handful of pignoli nuts
Handful of dried cranberries (look for the one with the least amount of sugar)

Into a large saute pan or wok, add 1-2 tablespoons of evoo
Add some fresh thyme or rosemary to infuse the (optional);
Saute the mirapoix (leek, garlic, carrot, celery, shallot) till transparent. Then add the mushrooms and about 1-2 teaspoons of herbs du provence.
Add either vegetable broth or chicken broth to mix, no need for additional oil or butter! Just a little broth at a time about a cup or more as needed.
When its at a nice simmer , mix in the bag or 1/2 a bag depending on how many you’re cooking for.

Oil a baking dish
Preheat oven to 400
Add the stuffing mix, and sprinkle with pignoli nuts and cranberries. Can not add a little evoo to brown better. Also can add some additional herbs but my turkey in the clay pots gravy had so much flavor from all the herbs and roasted garlic that it went perfect with this stuffing.
Garnish with some chopped parsley and serve

Grilled marinated chicken and eggplant parmesan with fresh tomato basil vinagrette and organic greens

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It’s that time of the year in NY/NJ. Time to get out the grills and start cooking outside. Love to grill marinated veggies. And chicken cutlets (free range, antibiotic free if possible is best). Here’s a simple, quick and delicious way to do it, saving calories and fat by grilling and not frying. A little fresh mozzarella is always best, but feel free to use part skim mozzi if you must.

Make a vinagrette…1/4 cup good aged balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
about a handful chopped fresh basil. Put this into a blender and puree. Add salt and pepper. You will have one cup total.

Slice up one or two eggplants, about 1/4 inch thick, I peel in stripes.
Pound chicken cutlets till thin as you like them.

Into a bowl put the sliced eggplants and pour in some dressing and mix. Reserve the rest for cooking.

Marinate the cutlets in some of the dressing in a separate bowl for as long as possible. Overnight is good.

Turn the grill to medium high.

Grill the eggplant and make sure to brush with the oil mixture on both sides. Turn over after about 6 minutes, when you see grill marks and brush again with vinagrette, grill until tender and grill marks appear on both sides being careful not to burn.

Grill the cutlets after brushing with vinagrette on both sides about 3 minutes on each side till done.

I used organic colorful cherry tomatoes but you can use any tomatoes you like, such as chopped plum tomatoes raw.

Simply cut them in quarters, put in a bowl with more of the basil vinagrette, salt and pepper.

Layed the grilled eggplant on a baking dish, topped with the chicken cutlets and then added the sliced mozzi. Put back on grill and cooked on medium till the cheese was melted. Took off the grill , plated it and poured the tomato basil vinagrette on top and organic mesclun greens on side.

Smoked applewood chicken with an Apricot, dijon, orange, balsamic glaze

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IMG_5630The first of the seasons barbeque has to be something I’ve been craving since before this terrible winter started. I got out my applewood and soaked for 20 minutes in cold water. Lucky for me my Weber gas grill has a smoker, but you can just wrap the wood in aluminum foil and place on a covered grill.

1 Five pound chicken (free range, antibiotic free, for me)
Make the marinate…in a bowl add 1 tbl dijon mustard, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 2 tbls your best balsamic, 1 tablespoon apricot jam, squeeze of fresh orange juice…Mix together with some ev olive oil.

Make enough to marinate chicken and keep 1/2 for glazing as bird cooks.

Marinate the chicken overnight in this. Take out and sprinkle with some herbs du provence and a drizzle of evoo.

Add the wood to your grill and get it smoking, turn mine to medium high.
Put bird on a baking pan with parchmont paper

While the bird cooks make the vegs in separate pans on the grill, loaf pans work great. I roasted the peppers on the grill, till blackened, then took off let cool and cut into strips, roasted the beets and peeled after. All I did was put a little water in the bottom on the pans, and the veggies steam grilled and smoked on the covered grill. The artichokes I also made like the beets with a sprinkle of herbs du provence and a drizzle of evoo. Bird cooked in about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The last 1/2 hour I kept glazing till brown and crisp. The veggies I took off before that, the beets take the longest, the red peppers are done when blackened, and the artichoked steamed in like 10 minutes.

Sauteed local scallops with tomatoes, light pesto and dijonaise white wine sauce

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I was in a hurry to make dinner. Heres is what I did. Took out a bottle of dry white wine. Dijon Mustard. Garlic. handful of fresh basil. My best extra virgin olive oil. Cherry tomatoes. Parsley. I was in so much of a hurry i didn’t even 1/2 the tomatoes which i normally do. You could also cut up the scallops and make this like a clam sauce. The tomatoes whole burst either in your fork or mouth . Still good.

Cleaned the greens in my mini salad spinner
Cleaned the scallops by simply rinsing them in cold water and taking off the side muscle.
Drying them

Took out a pasta pan filled with water and boiled it.

Into my food processor (my little one) I tossed in some basil leaves, a drizzle of the olive oil and a garlic clove, salt and pepper.. Gave it a whiz and added some lemon zest.

Took out a saute pan. Into the pan I added about 2 tbls evoo. Let it get hot, put in the large scallops and sauteed about 2 minutes or each side. To this I added the pesto and some wine about 1/2 cup along with 1/2 teapoon dijon mustard sauteed

Covered the pan and cooked another 2 minutes till sauce was a little thicker from the dijon and scallops were cooked through. Added fresh parsley and served over spaghetti.

Simple took 20 minutes.

Smothered healthy turkey meatloaf

IMG_5535IMG_5528Hello April.  We welcome the beginnings of spring after a long , hard winter here in NJ.

Today was a cloudy and cold spring day.  Went to Whole Foods and got some organic, free range antibiotic free ground turkey.  Decided to not bother making meatballs since it’s Meatless Monday, and went with a healthy take on meat loaf.  If you have a meatloaf pan , this is very easy.

I roasted a bunch of mushrooms, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, an aged balsamic, sliced onions and sprinkled with oregano.

I glazed the top with a marinara sauce with basil and garlic.

Recipe

Into a metal bowl add about 1 pound of ground turkey

One large egg

1/3 cup of parmesan reggiano grated and some locatelli romano

sprinkle in some italian seasoning (and/or dried oregano)

1/3 cup or so of bread crumbs- use more if it feels like it needs it

a teaspoon of organic ketchup

2 teaspoons of your best aged balsamic vinegar

4 or so cloves of crushed garlic

handful of chopped parsley

Chopped fresh basil (optional)

 

Add about 1 tablespoon of evoo to the pan and spread around (so it won’t stick)

Mix the turkey in the bowl together with some salt and pepper, and when it feels like it will form a loaf in the pan  , put it in the pan however thick or thin you like it.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Spread the marinara on the top of the loaf with another drizzle of evoo.  Another splash of balsamic, add some grated parmesan.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 20- 30 minutes.  After about 20 minutes you will see some gravy forming on the side of the meatloaf , to this add a little splash of water, and then add some baby spinach.

 

Cook until spinach is melted down and it is done.

In another pan put the mushrooms and onions with garlic , oregano, salt pepper as I said above, this will take about 10 minutes to cook.  When done remove.

Add the veggies to the pan and serve the turkey loaf smothered with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and basil sauce.

 

Enjoy.