Archive | September, 2013

100-Mile Meal: Mediterranean-Inspired Fish

18 Sep

My local food box has been good to me this year.  Each week there seems to be a few standard items (salad greens, kale or swiss chard, onions) along with a handful of more exotic ingredients (a basil plant, coronation grapes, candy cane beets).  Having a fridge full of veggies that I otherwise wouldn’t purchase without a recipe in mind is a refreshing change from the norm.  It forces me to step outside of my comfort zone and get a little bit creative in the kitchen.

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Dinner last Thursday was inspired by my most recent food box.  We received a few plum tomatoes that were starting to bruise (read: needed to be used ASAP) and my basil plant from last month had been staring at me longingly all week.  The Italian classic ‘Bruschetta’ immediately came to mind.  If it works on bread, certainly a mild fish will act as a good canvas, right?

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The bruschetta-topping was delicate and mild enough in flavour to not overpower the fish.  Best of all, it was EASY as pie (by the way, who came up with that saying? Martha Stewart? Unless you’re Martha, pie is not easy to make).  So simple that I wrote a Haiku poem about it:

Loads of Tomatoes,
Garlic, Olive Oil, Basil.
Plop on fish and bake.

Okay, so poetry is not my strong suite.  This Mediterranean-inspired fish was paired with Ontario-grown patty pan squash sauteed with an Ontario red onion (both from my food box).  The rice and fish weren’t local, but Shh– nobody needs to know!

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Bruschetta-Topped Fish
(a Lisa original)

400 g white fish (e.g. basa or tilapia)
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of basil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place fish on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Top with tomato mixture and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until fish flakes and is opaque throughout.  Top with remaining 1 tablespoon basil before serving.

Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 140 kcal, 5.2 g fat, 20 g protein.

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Spiced Sweet Potato Salad with Pecans and Raisins

14 Sep

What happened to August?  It disappeared in the blink of an eye, leaving little time for blog posts (among other things).  Cora didn’t help the matter when she decided to chew not one, not two, but THREE power cords in the course of a week.  That left both myself and E without power to our trusty laptops, meaning no blog posts and certainly no after-hours work.  Probably part of her ploy to steal us away from our screens for more play-time.  Thankfully she’s lost most of her baby teeth so the biting seems to be winding down.  I think.

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Last month I had two dear friends over for a weeknight dinner before one moved out of the city to return to school in BC.  I needed something that could be prepared in advance since prep time is minimal after a day of work.  Overnight-marinated chicken that goes straight from fridge to oven? Yes.  A quick green salad made the day-of? Easy enough. But I was stumped on the starch. Quinoa salad was the first idea that popped into my mind except I had cooked my go-to recipe the last time these girls were over.  Too much of a good thing is not a great thing.  Then I remembered a wonderful sweet potato recipe given to me by a friend.  It’s both sweet and savory, and can be served hot or cold.

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The beauty in this dish is that it can be easily adjusted based on what you have in your pantry.  Each time I’ve omitted slightly different ingredients,  yet the final product comes out tasting similar to the original.  One exception to this rule is the sherry vinegar.  It has a unique taste so finding a substitute can be challenging. I caved by purchasing a bottle, but some sources say either cider vinegar or rice vinegar can be used if you’re in a bind.

Even though I served this dish in the summer, the ingredients scream AUTUMN: cinnamon, raisins, pecans, ginger, orange, and sweet potatoes.  Perfect for the cooler weather that’s just around the corner!

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Raisins
(Original source unknown)

You can double the dressing if you want stronger flavours.  This recipe can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.

4 medium sweet potatoes (~500 g total), unpeeled and chopped into 2 cm cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tablespoons pecans, chopped
4 green onions, roughly chopped
¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing:
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spread the chopped sweet potato out on a baking tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, mix well with your hands, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until just tender. Gently turn them over halfway through cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, toast pecans in a skillet over medium heat until aromatic and lightly browned.
  3. Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
  4. When the potatoes are ready, transfer them to a large bowl while still hot. Add the green onion, cilantro (if using), chili flakes, pecans, and raisins. Pour the dressing over the potato mixture and toss gently to blend, then season to taste.  Can be served hot, at room temperature, or refrigerated overnight and served cold.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 170 kcal, 3 g fibre, 10 g fat.