Easy Fish For Courtney…

My old college roommate and close buddy, Courtney is working toward becoming a better cook. Now that we’re both in the real world and not living in our tiny college apartment anymore, our alternating dinners of mac-n-cheese and spaghetti just won’t cut it anymore. (I’m doing my best to move past these habits, too!) I told Courtney I would help her think of some quick and easy recipes to get her started, and so far she’s been making some pretty good stuff – I made this fish just for her.

Super Easy Tilapia
*serves 1 – 2

2 tilapia fillets
Fresh lemon juice
Cayenne pepper (just a pinch; optional)
Extra virgin olive oil

Heat 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan over medium heat; season fish with salt, pepper, paprika, dill, lemon juice and cayenne pepper to taste. Place fish in pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until inside of fish is cooked through and “flaky”.

Serve with grilled or sauteed zucchini and squash (I just slice them thin, season with salt and pepper, and saute them in a litte olive oil in a skillet for about 7 – 10 minutes or until tender).

So here’s a winner for you, Courtney – give this a try this week; I promise you’ll love it!


Honeymoon Fish Sandwich…

I hope you’re not picturing one of those soggy, deep-fried-mystery-meat-of-the-sea-type sandwiches you get at a fast food joint, right now – ’cause its not that kind of fish sandwich!

While on our fabulous honeymoon in St. Lucia (almost 2 years ago…YIKES!), Joel and I spent each day exactly the same: wake up, go to breakfast, go to the beach for a few hours, have lunch at the beach bar, go back to the beach, go back to our room and relax in the hammock on our front porch, get dressed and go to dinner. We followed the same exact schedule every day – not on purpose, really – it just always happened like that. (Not a bad day’s work, if you ask me!) And almost every day for lunch, we would order the “flying fish sandwich” from the beach bar – really delicious!  It was served with a basket of plantain and sweet potato chips and a cold Piton Beer – it doesn’t get much better than that, folks! (Not surprisingly, lunch was always my favorite meal on this trip!) Somehow, every time I come home from a trip, the things I always remember most are the meals! And in my opinion, that’s the best way to go back and remember the good memories from past trips – just re-create the dishes and you’re there! And so, the “honeymoon fish sandwich” was created (or in this case, re-created!)! I wasn’t really in the mood for plantain and sweet potato chips, so I decided to go with a homemade buttermilk coleslaw (from allrecipes.com – go here if you’d like the recipe.) and oven fries. I also whipped up a quick homemade tartar sauce to spread on the buns. I’m telling you – this was one excellent fish sandwich!!

Honeymoon Fish Sandwich

2 tilapia filets (or any white fish you like)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Dash or two of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped (you could also use dried)
2 teaspoons paprika
fresh lemon juice

Season both sides of the fish with salt, pepper, cayenne, dill and paprika. Sautee in a skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side; sqeeze lemon juice over the fish while its cooking. Serve on a toasted bun with homemade tartar sauce (recipe follows) and lettuce. Serves two.

Homemade Tartar Sauce

1/2 Cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon chopped dill pickles (with just a splash of the pickle juice)
1 Tablespoon minced onion (I used onion powder)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill for at least an hour before serving.


Yummy Tuna!

I have a confession to make: anytime I hear anyone talk about a Cooking Light recipe, my eyes glaze over and I sort of just stop listening all together. Just not interested. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those “Paula-Dean-butter-and-fat-lovin” kind of cooks that hates all things healthy – I just tend to think cooking light = no flavor. I don’t really know why…I know, I know – it doesn’t really make sense. So, with that thought in mind, I decided to give Cooking Light a try. I found one of those magazine/cookbooks at my grocery store, flipped through it, and found a few recipes that actually didn’t sound half bad – so I bought it. So far, everything I’ve made out of it has been pretty tasty – including these tuna steaks with green goddess aioli.

This was a delicious meal! Of course, I love anything with avocados! The green goddess aioli would be great on just about anything, I think! Super easy to make and not to mention quick! I made my tuna extra spicy, which was really nicely balanced by the coolness of the aioli. I served it with some oven roasted potato wedges, grilled veggies and grilled sourdough bread.

Tuna Steaks with Green Goddess Aioli
-Adapted from Cooking Light

For the Aioli:
1/4 Cup fat-free sour cream (I used reduced fat)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil (I used more like 2 or 3 tablespoons because I love basil!)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
2 Tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (I used 2 or 3)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the Tuna:
Season 2 to 4 tuna steaks on both sides with salt, pepper, ground cumin and cayenne pepper (I used a lot), and cook on a grill pan (over medium-high heat) for two minutes on each side until desired doneness.

Spoon green goddess aioli over tuna steaks and serve.

So, I guess this proves that Cooking Light really isn’t so bad – they’ve got some pretty yummy recipes, actually! From now on, anytime someone tells me about a Cooking Light recipe – I’ll actually listen! Maybe even get the recipe from them to try for myself! See, I’m growing…..


A "Blog-Worthy" Dinner…

Earlier today, I emailed Joel to ask him what he wanted for dinner…this was his response: “Surprise me. Make it blog-worthy.”  Well, needless to say, “blog-worthy” is exactly what he got…..

I had been wanting to try Ina Garten’s recipe for Scallops Provencal for a while now, and I thought surely, that would be blog-worthy! I absolutely adore scallops; they’re quite possibly, my favorite type of seafood. They’re good fixed just about any way – my dad wraps them in bacon and grills them…now that’s tasty, folks!

This dish took about 10 minutes total to make. Talk about a no fuss meal! I decided to serve couscous alongside the scallops, which was also a breeze to make. This meal is a prime example of something that looks like you went to a lot of trouble to make, but secretly, was a cakewalk. Joel really enjoyed it (and so did I, come to think of it!) and requested that I definitely make this again. So, I’d say that I succeeded in delivering a sure fire “blog-worthy” meal for my hard-workin’ man!

Scallops Provencal

-from Barefoot in Paris

1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup chopped shallots (2 large)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 lemon, cut in 1/2

If you’re using bay scallops, keep them whole. If you’re using sea scallops, cut each 1 in half horizontally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.

In a very large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in 1 layer. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on 1 side without moving them, then turn and brown lightly on the other side. This should take 3 to 4 minutes, total. Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic, and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes, tossing the seasonings with the scallops. Add the wine, cook for 1 minute, and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Simple Couscous

1 cup couscous
1 1/4cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil (I used olive oil)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4cup grated Parmesan cheese
fresh lemon juice

Bring chicken broth and olive oil (or butter) to a boil. Remove from heat and add the couscous. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Add parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice, and parmesan cheese and stir.