May 4th, 2012

More fish: Salmon with Cilantro & Pepita Pesto

Some food, no matter how delicious it is, just refuses to be pretty.  It’s like those girls who refuse to wear makeup because they want you to be attracted to their brains instead of their bodies and at first you think they’re one of those stuck-up feminists but then they turn out to be pretty cool when you get to know them.

This cilantro-pepita pesto is like that.  No matter how I styled it or photographed it, I just couldn’t get it to look…appetizing.  At first it looks kind of like something that would come out of a baby, but once you look past its icky green gloopiness and take a bite, you’ll find that it has a bright freshness from the cilantro, and a slight toasty richness from the pepitas.

Salmon with Cilantro and Pepita Pesto

Cilantro pesto is not photogenic. Neither is black rice.

Hiding underneath that green glop is a perfectly tender, juicy, seared salmon fillet.  I do love me some salmon pretty much any way I can get it, so I easily overlooked the crazy coloring of the cilantro pesto and dug in.  It really works well with the nuttiness of forbidden (black) rice, but I bet it would go well with my other fish side dish-standby: cous cous.  Or maybe some bruschetta on the side? At any rate, if you can get ahold of some pepitas (also known as hulled or shelled pumpkin seeds), I highly recommend you give this a try.

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February 26th, 2012

Salmon and Rice in Puff Pastry

Salmon in Puff Pastry with Rice - uncut with a side of spinach and pasta

How freaking rich does that look?

 

You know, for someone who doesn’t like fish much, I sure post a lot of fish recipes.

But this one has been in my “food photos” folder for a looooong time and it’s about time I shared it.  I’ve really only made it once but it was pretty dang good and just look at that pastry! It came out so perfectly I had to photograph it! Besides, it’s salmon and I really love salmon, so it’s ok.

When I saw this recipe in the Bon Appétit Cookbook, I was beside myself.  Salmon.  Rice+mushroom+leeks.  Puff pastry.  HELLO dinner! The only thing I changed was to omit the dill sauce because I don’t like dill.  Since I would rather not copy an exact recipe, you can find it here: Salmon and Rice Wrapped in Puff Pastry with Dill Sauce.  I ignored their recommendation to serve with caviar and lemon vodka and instead had sautéed spinach with lemon and garlic and pasta with sundried tomato pesto on the side.  It was a very carbohydrate-heavy meal, but sometimes you just want to load up on carbs, ya know?

What are your favorite side dishes for fish? I usually serve it with rice or cous cous and spinach or corn, but I need some more ideas! Please share!

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December 27th, 2011

Parmesan Baked Swai

Parmesan Encrusted Swai and creamed peas

Parmesan Baked Swai and creamed peas

I’m not much of a fish person.  I love sushi, calamari, crawfish, and salmon.  Shrimp, mussels, and clams are in the “love it certain ways” category.  Crab is only good as a crab cake.  Other shellfish is on my dislike list because it makes me feel kind of sick (and in fact, more than a little crab does too), with the exception of lobster, of which I just don’t like the taste.  The remainder of fish that I’ve tried is boring to me, unless it is really prepared well.

This is one of those fish dishes that makes fish palatable to me, but still falls on the “meh” side.  However, for people who like fish, it’s probably pretty good.  At any rate, it’s incredibly easy, so if you have any fish laying around in your freezer but not much time, it makes a good quickie meal paired with some garlic mashed potatoes and some sort of vegetable.  I used creamed peas (no recipe here, it’s seriously just frozen peas cooked in a little cream with salt, pepper, and a tiny dash of nutmeg).

If you’re looking for something light and easy after the gluttony of the holidays, make this for dinner.  Swai is really inexpensive so that helps make it a good post-holidays dish!  Speaking of the holidays, I hope everyone had good ones and that you got to spend time with your loved ones. :grin:

Parmesan Baked Swai

Serves 2

  • 2 3-oz swai fillets
  • ½ c panko
  • ¼ c freshly-grated parmesan (it must be freshly-grated; the canned stuff doesn’t stick)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 med egg
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and spray a glass baking dish with oil spray.
  2. Rinse and pat dry fish fillets. Combine panko, parmesan, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish (like a pie pan). Beat egg in another shallow dish.
  3. Dip fish in egg, let the excess drip off, then bread in the panko/cheese mixture. Place breaded fish in baking dish.
  4. Bake at 400° until fish is white and flakes when poked, 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick your fish fillet is.

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November 2nd, 2011

Pecan-Encrusted Flounder

Wow, this time my hiatus was a month.  It did not at all feel like it to me.  I lost my job in mid-September due to a combination of various legal things I can’t discuss openly.  Since then, I’ve spent the time looking for a new graphic design position while putting more energy into my freelance work and also making the best home I can for The Grump and Munchkin.

The Munchkin, by the way, is getting so tall and mature! Pretty soon I will have to find a new nickname for her.  I’m trying to decide between The Sprout and The Beast (due to her enormous growth spurts). :smile:

During this last month I have been cooking almost all our meals and been baking a bit more, but I just can’t seem to find the time to take photos of them.  Tonight, I made Pecan-Encrusted Flounder and it was delicious! It was literally the easiest fish dish I’ve ever made, but I was so hungry that I forgot to bust out the camera, although I’d had every intention to photograph it.  I also made fig newtons, but that is an entire post for a later date (hopefully later this week).

I really need to get my butt in gear and organize my life better.  It seems like I keep doing just that only for it to get messed up again.  Thank you, all of you for continuing to stick with me, even though I ignore writing wayyy more than I’d like.  Really, knowing I have y’all reading (even though most of you don’t comment, I talk to you away from the blog) my silly ramblings helps keeps me focused and makes me thankful.  So again, THANK YOU!

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June 16th, 2011

Coconut Shrimp

coconut shrimp packed for lunch with coconut rice & cilantro garnish

Would coconut cream pie for dessert be going overboard?

I have noticed that when it comes to coconut, people fall into one of two camps: those who love it, and those who hate it.  I have never met someone who said, “Coconut? Meh.”  I happen to very happily fall into the first camp, and am relieved that The Grump does too.  I always have a bag of sweetened coconut flakes, and lately, unsweetened as well.  Coconut milk makes a frequent appearance in my pantry, and coconut oil has come to stay.  I have thus far not needed coconut extract, but I’m sure its day will come.

Coconut is such a versatile fruit, and can be applied in so many ways.  Its natural sweetness lends wonderfully for desserts, though it works as a great balance in savory and spicy dishes as well.  That’s pretty much the role it plays in that restaurant-chain appetizer darling, Coconut Shrimp.

We actually made this quite a while ago.  So long ago in fact, that I can’t remember and have to resort to looking at my notebook full of old weekly menus to guess that it was sometime in December (I had something similar written down and probably ended up making this instead).  I found the photo on my harddrive and said, “I remember that! It was gooood!” so here it is.  We just sort of winged it (doesn’t that word seem wrong? Like it should be ‘wung’ maybe…) so I will have to approximate the proportions, but I do remember the steps we took.  This dish is very messy to make and a takes little bit of time, but incredibly easy!

Enjoy!

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