Sometimes I have a craving, but a key ingredient will be missing. This doesn’t stop me from trying to come up with an alternative. A couple of weeks ago I really wanted baked breaded chicken. However, there where no breadcrumbs where I was staying and the super market was all out. What was available to me were pecans. In lieu of breadcrumbs, I used the pecans and the results were delicious. The new coating needed refining. With a few more experimentations I got it down and added it as a coating over fish. I made sure to use a sustainably caught fish, and the results was delicious. The crust comes out perfect and super tasty. What’s best is how incredibly easy this is to make. Serve with a salad, and potatoes or rice. I made a homemade asian slaw to pair with the fish This could be your new fish and chips recipe.
I wrote the recipe using a wire rack when baking. This is the easiest way to ensure a golden crust all around. for my part I used my cast iron pan because it’s perfectly seasoned. I don’t even need to spray it and the crust is evenly crisped all over. If you have one, feel free to swap and skip lining a baking sheet.
Happy eating friends!
1/2 cup Pecans
1/2 cup Cornmeal
2 large Eggs
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional)
2 teaspoons Paprika
1 1/4 pounds skinless Cod fillet, or Haddock fillet, or other thick white fish fillet (1 to 1 ½ inches thick), cut into 4 pieces (see step 2)
Position rack on top shelf in oven. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack on top. Lightly spray or brush rack with vegetable oil.
Pat fish dry with paper towels. Slice fillets in half lengthwise to form long pieces.
Pulse pecans in food processor until pecans is coarsely ground, eight 1-second pulses.
In a pie plate or wide shallow dish, whisk eggs with milk. In another dish, stir cornmeal with, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Working with 1 piece of fish at a time, dip into egg mixture, then lightly coat with pecan mixture. Turn to coat evenly. Shake off excess pecan. Coat fish in egg and pecan mixture again. Shake off excess coating, then place on rack. Repeat with remaining fish, 1 piece at a time. Discard any remaining egg or pecan mixtures.
Bake fish until instant-read thermometer inserted into centers of fillets registers 140 degrees, 18 to 25 minutes. The coating should be crisp and brown. Using thin spatula, transfer fillets to individual plates and serve immediately.
Most people associate ‘malnutrition’ with simply not having enough money to buy nutritious food. The image that comes to mind is of an impoverished family only being able to afford a loaf or two of bread or a sack of potatoes. However, what if the issue wasn’t a lack of funds so much as a lack of availability? What if the only fresh fruits and vegetables were at least an hour’s drive away?
Welcome to the horror of food deserts: generally low-income areas – urban or rural – that lack sources of fresh, healthy food. Rather than being peppered with grocery stores and markets to sell nutritious foods, these areas tend to be filled with fast food joints and convenience stores that only stock packaged and processed goods. Families are forced to derive their nutrients from boxed mashed potatoes, the scant lettuce and tomato slice on a burger, and fruits canned in corn syrup. Unsurprisingly, people stuck in food deserts are likely to develop obesity and/or diabetes due to their diets’ lack of nutrients and high sugar, salt, and fat content.
I’m surprised that I’d never come across this term until last winter, when I was reading Tracie McMillan’s The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields, and the Dinner Table. Sure, I’d passed through plenty of bleak towns where the only restaurants were McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts and there were no grocery stores in sight; but I had never actually considered what it must be like to live in those places. I’ve always been fortunate to have access to at least one grocery store with fresh products, not to mention higher-quality restaurants and organic markets. When promoting all of the benefits of eating both healthily and sustainably, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that nutrition is, in some unfortunate places, a commodity. Not everyone has the garden, time, or knowledge to, for instance, grow their own vegetables, which would otherwise be my first recommendation to someone without a fresh produce source. Even cooking from scratch with unpackaged ingredients has become a luxury. There are glimmers of hope, at least, in the growth of the sustainable food movement and the continuous spread of nutrition science, both of which have called attention to the food desert problem. Food is Power’s page about food deserts describes how some American communities have demanded change, such as by launching fresh food co-ops or setting a limit on the number of fast food restaurants. There have also been reports from various regions of the UK analyzing the problem and suggesting solutions.
This Thanksgiving, remember to be grateful if you can buy an organic turkey, roast fresh butternut squash, or even mash your own potatoes. Recognize how precious good food is.
Using what is at hand can spark the greatest creativity. The beautiful country bread I had from the previous post and the last of summer tomatoes inspired this weeks delicious appetizer/mid-day snack.
I love a good bruschetta or crostini. Older breads are good to use for this recipe. Be sure to adjust toasting time. For older dryer bread take off 2-2.5 minutes. The olive oil will give the toast a nice light browning. You can vary the toppings using cheese as a spread and cucumbers. Have fun mixing it up.
Happy eating friends!
1 loaf country Bread, about 12 by 5 inches, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces, ends discarded (reserve to use in other recipe)
2 pounds ripe Heirloom or Cherry Tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can (15 ounces) Cannellini or Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup Good Olive Oil, divided
2 tbsp Good Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Garlic (about 1 clove), minced
2 tbsp Red Onion, minced
2 tbsp fresh Sage, julienned
3 tbsp fresh Basil, julienned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Up to an hour before serving, combine onion, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Whisk in 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the tomatoes, stir gently, and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and taste for seasonings.
In a medium bowl place the beans, sage, 1/3 cup olive oil, and lightly salt. Mash with potato masher until smooth and well blended. Salt and pepper to taste.
Pre-heat oven to 350º. Lightly brush the bread slices with remaining olive oil and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes.
To assemble the bruschetta, spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of bean spread. With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on top. Serve with extra drizzle of olive oil and basil.
Our main purpose here is to eliminate food waste. Even with the best intentions this can be difficult. With our busy lives, sometimes even planning our meals still doesn’t prevent us from having to throw out rotten vegetables. These days I am often traveling and come home to veggies starting to look a little wrinkled. Believe it or not you can create some pretty delicious meals with these bruised beauties. Check out this beautiful Thai/Indian inspired dish I made using veggies on their last leg. The best part of this dish is how easily adaptable it is.
As I was creating this dish I started thinking of other ways I could put this meal together that would be just as wonderful. Instead of chicken using fish and adding butternut squash would keep it seasonal and healthy. To make it easy for you to be creative, I listed which ingredients were optional and provided tips for where to add your add-ins.
This dish has a lovely texture and is very fragrant. Enjoy it with rice and see if you can stop going back for more.
Happy eating friends!
1 lb boneless, skinless Chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp Conola oil
1 Onion, grated on large holes of box grater
1 tbsp grated fresh Ginger
2 cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 fully ripe Tomato, diced or 1 1/2 cups packaged diced tomatoes
1 tsp Garam Masala (can be substituted with a combo of cinnamon, cumin, coriander & nutmeg)
1/4 tsp Chili or Cayenne powder
1/2 tsp Salt
freshly ground Black Pepper
1 can Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Basil, lightly sliced
1/4 cup Water
1 Red or Yellow Pepper, seeded and cubed (optional)
1-2 fresh Chili peppers, cut in half lengthwise and deseed (optional)
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and swirl in the oil. When the oil is heated, add the onion, ginger and garlic. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the aromatics cook slowly. Saute until very fragrant and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato and sauté for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Use your spatula to smash the tomatoes a bit, and break them up. It should start to look like a paste. Tip: If you are using a tomato starting to go use 1/2 cup of packaged chopped tomatoes as well. It will add the needed juice to create the paste consistency.
Add the red/yellow pepper, garam masala, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-high. Tip: When you add the seasonings add any extra vegetables you may want to include.
Pour in the coconut milk and the water.
Once the coconut milk is mixed in add in the chicken, chili pepper and basil. When the mixture comes to a good boil, lower heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Tip: For fish, add in the basil, and chili first then bring mixture to a boil before adding the fish. To not over cook the fish check it after 4 minutes.
A pureed soup is a great way to use up extra vegetables. I still had the Peruvian potatoes to use up from last week. Adding the cauliflower and beans makes this a very tasty healthy soup. The cheddar cheese gives it a wonderful richness without being to heavy. I topped it off with crisped up sage in butter.
This is a meal you can have ready within 20 minutes. Your kids will love this soup and be none the wiser they’re having veggies. Serve with a nice piece of bread and top with a little extra cheese.
Happy eating friends!
1 14 oz packet Vegetable Broth or low-sodium Chicken Broth
1 cup Water
1 head Cauliflower (2 pounds), trimmed and chopped
1 lb small Potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 14 oz can Cannellini Beans, rinsed
1 small Onion, cubed
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tsp Sage, finely sliced – divided
3 tbsp Butter, divided
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add oil, onion, garlic, and 1/2 the sage; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, but not browned, about 7 minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high; add water, stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower, cover and reduce heat to medium low, return to simmer, and continue to cook until cauliflower and potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
Stir in beans, salt and pepper and cook until the beans are heated through, about 1 minute.
Transfer half the mixture to a blender with half the cheese and puree. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower mixture and cheese.
In small frying pan melt 2 tablespoons butter. Fry remaining sage. Once sage is crisped up, serve over soup, about 2 minutes.
This week I wanted to share my weekday comfort dish. For those long days, I can hunker down with this meal, and my day is brightened. Over the years this dish has developed from how I saw my family prepare chicken to what always accompanied it, rice and lots of vegetables.
It is a super easy dish to put together and very well-rounded. The Peruvian potatoes have become popular, but if you can’t find them, use red potatoes. I usually use two Habanero peppers but the farmers market had other options equally tempting. Serve with rice and a basic salad of lettuce and tomatoes with a simple dressing of olive oil and lime.
Happy eating friends!
Serves 4 – 6
5 – 6 Whole Chicken Legs, 4 – 5 lbs.
2 Hot Peppers – Poblano, Habanero, or Jalapeño, seeded & roughly chopped
1 medium Onion, roughly chopped
2 medium Peppers, seeded & roughly chopped
5-6 small Potatoes – Peruvian Purple or Red, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 Garlic cloves, divided
1-2 Beer – Corona or other inexpensive kind is good
1 tablespoon Cilantro, chopped & divided
1 tablespoon Canola Oil
1/2 tablespoon of Salt
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon Cumin powder
1/2 tablespoon Adobo powder
Rinse the chicken and place in a medium-sized container. Sprinkle with salt and add pepper to taste. Add 1/2 tablespoon cilantro and 2 whole garlic cloves smashed. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hr minimum. Hint: The longer you leave it the better it will taste.
Set oven-rack to lower middle. Pre-heat oven to 450°.
In a medium-sized baking dish add vegetables. Drain the chicken and arrange among the vegetables. Mince the last of the garlic and sprinkle on top with the rest of the cilantro. Season with adobo, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Pour oil over chicken and vegetables. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until chicken skin is browned and cooked through. Baste halfway through at 20 minutes with remainder of beer, about 2 tablespoon.
Often when I think of eggplant, I go to Italian or mediterranean dishes, how about a unique Japanese dish. You will find this recipe easy to follow, and for little effort, you will produce a culinary master piece. Nasu Dengaku is most like a creme brûlée. The eggplant becomes creamy and the Miso glaze gives it a savory caramelized top.
Eggplant is in season, making the different varieties abundant, and easy to find. You can make this recipe using the larger varieties, but you have to add cooking time when cooking in the pan. The smaller varieties are easier to cook and achieve that creamy texture. Serve as a side with rice or as an appetizer at parties.
Happy eating friends!
1 tbsp Mirin
1 tbsp Sake
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tbsp White Miso
1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
2 small Eggplant (or one medium/large)
2 tbsp Vegetable or Canola Oil
Toasted Sesame Seeds
Sliced Green Onions
Place the mirin and sake in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the miso and stir until smooth. Stir in the sugar, and reduce to low. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, while you cook the eggplant.
Slice eggplant in half and using a knife, score the inside in small squares. Brush the scored side with sesame oil.
Pre-heat oven to broil. In a pan over high heat, add Canola oil and put the eggplant skin facing down.
Cook for a few minute until skin is brown. Turn the eggplant over and cover with a lid. Cook until eggplant is cooked through (about 3 to 4 minutes).
Cover a cooking tray with foil and place the eggplant on top. Brush miso Dengaku mix on top of each eggplant until all the surface is coated.
Put in the oven and broil for 4 minutes. The miso mix should be bubbling and starting to caramelized when you take it out of the oven. Remove from heat, rest for 5 minutes and enjoy with sesame seeds and green onions!
Tip: For bigger eggplants score the inside even deeper so it will cook through more evenly.
While taking a turn at a farmers market, I encountered sweet peas and was reminded of the best sweet pea soup I ever had in England. They had put mint in the soup and blended it well with cream. Since then I have tried my own variations until I came with this savory slightly spicy creamy green pea soup. Adding yogurt cools it and gives it a nice tangy twist.
Happy eating friends!
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 large Leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped
1 medium Shallot, minced
2 Garlic cloves, minced
2 cans Garden Peas, rinsed (substitute with 1lb fresh peas)
2 medium Red Potatoes, chopped
1 Bay leaf
1 teaspoon Dill
1 Lemon, juiced
8 cups Chicken or Vegetable broth
1 cup Yogurt
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper flakes
In large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, shallots, and leeks. Sauté for 3 more minutes.
Add broth, bay leaf, lemon juice, potatoes, and peas, bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.
Working in 2 batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot and add dill. Heat mixture over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve immediately. Serve with 2 tablespoons of yogurt and bread.
This past weekend the Dominican Day parade took place in NYC. During my stay here in Queens I got to see many Dominicans out celebrating and was reminded of the food from my childhood. Many of the authentic Dominican dishes I know how to make, take a while to cook, and some of the ingredients can be hard to find. Mangú however, is made out of boiled green plantains, which can be found anywhere. It is a side dish often served at breakfast with fried eggs and an onion garnish.
This a quick delicious dish that adds potassium, vitamin C, B-complex, and vitamin A to your meal. Shake up your breakfast and bring the tropics home.
Happy eating friends!
4 unripe Plantains
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup Water at room temperature (reserve the water from boiling the plantains)
2 Garlic Cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon Cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon red Vinegar
Under running cold water peel the plantains. Once peeled cut the plantains in half then again in half lengthwise. Half once more lengthwise.
In a deep skillet put in enough water to cover the plantains with about an inch to spare. Salt the water and bring to a rolling boil. Add in the plantains and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove the plantains from the water and in a medium sized bowl, mash the plantains with a fork until they are very smooth with little to no lumps.
In a small pan quickly sauté mashed garlic until golden. Mix in garlic, olive oil, and reserved water with plantains. Continue to mix until it turns into a smooth puree.
In a small pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat. Add onions stirring lightly until they become transparent, about 3 minutes. Pour in vinegar and salt to taste. Cook for another minute.
Garnish mangú with onions, cilantro and serve with sunny side-up eggs.
This weeks recipe was inspired by the neighborhood I’m staying in, Astoria Queens, NY. The smells and flavors from Greek restaurants drew me in, that and a walk through the local Greek grocery store. I had started off wanting to create a full dish in an oven proof skillet. Working with bone in chicken that still has its skin on can be difficult to cook through on the stove top alone. I wanted my chicken to have crispy skin, moist meat, and be quick and flavorful. This method proved a great combination to layer the mediterranean flavors I wanted to create and achieve the crispy moist chicken.
Happy eating friends!
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
4 Chicken Thighs, skin on, bone in
4 Chicken Legs, skin on, bone in
1 small Onion, cut into thin rings
2 tablespoons of Tomato paste
2 15oz cans Chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 cup Chicken broth
1 teaspoon Hot Paprika
1 teaspoon Cumin
2 cloves of Garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh Turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped (powdered turmeric can also be used)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup pitted Olives
1/4 cup Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped
1 cup Feta Cheese, cubed
1 Lemon, cut into wedges
Make the spice paste: In a mortar and pestle smash the garlic, with the salt and turmeric. In a small ball, mix together the garlic and turmeric paste with paprika and cumin. Coat chicken with mixture, cover and let marinate for 1 hour.
Pre-heat oven to 425°. Heat oil in skillet. Working in 2 batches, cook chicken until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of drippings from pan. Add onions; cook stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring until beginning to darken, about 1 minute. Add chickpeas and broth; bring to a simmer.
Nestle chicken, skin side up in chickpeas; transfer skillet to oven. Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Top with parsley, olives and cheese. Serve with lemon wedges and rice.