Happy New Year! When I made the Loaded Baked Potato-Style Cauliflower soup recently, my son and I decided that the same base would probably be really good as a clam chowder, and I could even make it completely dairy-free for those who prefer that. I love New England style clam chowder but it traditionally has a lot of milk and cream and butter…so I have not made it in many years and I am not inclined to order it in a restaurant because it is usually loaded with even more butter and cream than I would make at home. I am not lactose-intolerant, but I think that my morning latte and some cheese is enough dairy for me each day. This soup turned out rich and creamy without any dairy! I am so amazed at what one can do with cauliflower, so my cauliflower obsession continues along with my squash obsession (check out this amazing Parmesan Crusted Delicata Squash recipe from Skinnytaste – I can’t get enough of this — crispy like a high-quality french fry but so much better for you!). I am giving Cooking Light credit for inspiring me to create this soup from their cauliflower soup. Let me know what you think!
kosher salt to taste (the clam broth will have salt, so taste before salting)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon white miso
16 ounce package of frozen clams, shelled
1 Tablespoon chopped fennel fronds to garnish
Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven on medium heat. Add a little olive oil to the pot and heat. When oil is hot, add onion, fennel, thyme, and garlic to the pot and stir often until tender, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, stock or broth, clam juice, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 15 minutes.
Ladle about 80% of the soup (liquid and vegetables) into a blender, add the miso and puree until smooth and creamy. Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot liquid while blending (put a towel over the blender lid).
Return the blended mixture to the pot. Add clams cook over medium heat for about 5 more minutes. Taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with fennel fronds. Enjoy!
Note: I used vegetable stock, but it made the soup a brownish-color, if you want it to be a more traditionally white chowder try using chicken stock instead.
Today was a nice warm Spring day here in the Bay Area, so I thought a watermelon salad would be nice for dinner. I love watermelon and feta, although I did consider using grilled Halloumi cheese instead, but went with feta since it is a lot more economical, but I may try it next time with the Halloumi. Next was some protein to make it a complete meal in my husband’s eyes, started with chicken, but switched to shrimp to make all family members happy as my son currently is not loving chicken. I also think the salad would be good with some cherry tomatoes, but alas, my market only had small tomatoes that were a very under-ripe light red color, so I left them out. But if you have access to good vine-ripened tomatoes, include them. Enjoy with a glass of cold Rosé from Provence!
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus a Tablespoon more for the shrimp)
2 Tablespoons raw pinenuts
1 garlic clove, minced
freshly ground black pepper
About 4 cups cubed watermelon (about 1/2 small seedless watermelon)
1 large head of red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into small pieces
About 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons fresh chiffonade mint (cut in fine shreds)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a medium bowl mix 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Add the raw shrimp and let soak for 15 minutes to 1 hour in the refrigerator.
While the shrimp brines, whisk in a small bowl, the vinegar, miso, and honey. Gradually whisk in the oil. Set aside.
Roast the pine nuts for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and set aside.
Remove Shrimp from brine and drain completely. Coat shrimp with a mixture of olive oil, garlic and pepper. Grill or Broil shrimp for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.
Place about a cup of torn lettuce on each plate. Add cut watermelon, grilled shrimp, a sprinkle of feta, a sprinkle of pine nuts and pour some dressing over the salad. Garnish with chopped mint. Enjoy!
I took a little blogging-break, but hopefully I am back for the next month or so. June blog entries will probably be very light if at all. But hey, who wants to cook in the summer anyway! This a a very simple and easy dish to slowly get myself back in the swing of writing again. This is a Food & Wine recipe that I added asparagus and mushrooms to. A very flavorful and nice quick weeknight dinner.
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms (or white button), cut into thick slices
1 pound asparagus, ends broken off and sliced into one-inch pieces
fresh ground pepper
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (save time and buy it deveined, it is worth it!)
2 tablespoon small capers, drained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a very large skillet heat some olive oil until it shimmers. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes. Add the asparagus and the shrimp and cook over high heat until the shrimp are lightly browned and barely opaque, about 2 minutes.
Add the capers and cook for 30 seconds. Turn the shrimp and add the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the chopped parsley. Cover and cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce is slightly reduced. Transfer the shrimp mixture to a dish and spoon the sauce on top. Add a sprinkle of the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley and serve. Enjoy with some crusty whole wheat bread or rice.
Tonight is a Thursday and I start to get a little lazy by Thursday. I was pretty busy today and wanted to buy some specialty items at Trader Joe’s so I thought I would try to find dinner items there as well. I came across some pasteurized and packaged crab in the refrigerated section and decided I would make crab cakes and arugula (rocket) salad for dinner. Easy enough! Maybe throw in a hunk of garlic bread for my almost-teenage son (he is difficult to fill up lately!). I have been making crab cakes in the oven for years, but I keep trying slightly new recipes. I am not a fan of mayo, so I always use non-fat plain greek yogurt in it’s place, although I have experimented with leaving the yogurt out as well, I think the crab needs that moisture, so today I am leaving it in. One can also pan fry them, they may be better, but you have to be willing to use a little more oil with that method.
2 green or spring onions, green part only finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped
2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt (I used non-fat)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
dash of paprika
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 large egg , lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
1 pound lump crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed (today I used some I bought from Trader Joe’s in a refrigerated package, when it is available I use fresh crab, but today I used what is quick and easy – it is Thursday)
Canola oil or cooking spray
Quick Cocktail Sauce
1/2 cup of organic ketchup
2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon lemon juice
dash of hot sauce
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium sized bowl mix the first 11 ingredients together (red bell pepper through egg yolk). Add 1/3 cup of the Panko to the mix and put the other cup of Panko in a shallow bowl to use later to coat the patties. Add the crab and mix the ingredients thoroughly.
Shape the mixture into 8 patties and set on a plate. If you have time put the patties in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (you can make cocktail sauce and a salad while they sit in the fridge!). This helps them to firm up a bit, but will be ok either way.
If you are making cocktail sauce, just mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Easy! I probably add a lot more horseradish, but I like it spicy!
Remove crab cakes from the fridge. Lightly dredge in the reserved Panko. Place Panko-crusted crab cakes on a pan lightly coated with cooking spray or oil of choice. Bake for 15 minutes on each side or until golden on each side. Serve with cocktail sauce or sauce of choice. I also made a simple salad with arugula, sliced cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and very thin shavings of parmigiano Reggiano cheese with a light lemony vinaigrette. Enjoy!
This is pretty much a straight-up Food and Wine/Andrew Zimmern recipe. Really easy and really flavorful! Original recipe included 2 scallions, thinly sliced and did not include the mushrooms or avocado (or sometimes tomatoes) that I added. I think some grilled shrimp or hardboiled egg would be really good in this as well. I served this with Quick Brined Roasted Salmon with Lemon Garlic Oil and some simple brown Jasmine rice. Very easy and delicious meal. My son could not get enough of the salmon and the salmon’s savory sauce.
I haven’t written for over two weeks and I am feeling bad about that. Sorry! Life has been quite busy, so that is part of the reason but the other reason is that my dear husband gave me a week-long class at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa as a holiday gift and I went to my classes last week. Such an amazing program! I went to the Basic Training Boot Camp and I feel like I learned a lot about the “why” we do certain things when we are cooking. I also learned many traditional French techniques, that I still need a lot of work to master and I am interested in tweaking to make the dishes more healthy.
Unfortunately I didn’t use my new skills/knowledge for today’s dinner. It was a very spontaneous choice as I was at the Grocery store and saw lobster tails on sale and decided that it was hard to pass up lobster, so I bought a few and made up a simple Asian-style sauce to put on them. Very simple and quick. I served it with some kale chips (which I thought I posted here but apparently I have not so you can get the recipe on my Medium site-I will have to post it on Word Press in the future) and a little leftover chicken soup from yesterday. Yum!
Very flavorful and simple lobster recipe that can come together quickly on a weeknight.
Unfortunately I didn’t really measure my sauce ingredients so they are very approximate – use your judgement with the quantities.
1/4 cup Mirin
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated or minced
fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons light sweet miso
4-8 lobster tails (their size can vary so much!)
fresh ground pepper
small drizzle of olive oil (or sesame oil for a stronger flavor)
In a very small sauce pan mix the Mirin, soy sauce, and ginger and then bring to a boil.
Turn down to simmer and reduce the sauce in half so it is thickened.
Take sauce off the heat and stir in the miso. Set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.
With kitchen shears cut the lobster tail shells lengthwise through the top cutting through the shell but not through the lobster meat. Gently pry open the shell exposing the meat and gently loosen the lobster from the shell (but keep the meat in the shell).
Place the tails on the baking sheet meat side up. Sprinkle a little pepper and sauce on the tails and then cook in the oven for 7-8 minutes for very small lobster tails and up to 15 minutes for larger ones, or until the meat turns opaque and feels firm.
Serve the lobster with additional sauce and vegetables. Enjoy!
Major umami! Sea Bass with miso sauce. I am sort-of obsessed with miso lately. I don’t think I have posted all the miso recipes I have been making lately, maybe because they are not always successful or pretty, but I have been experimenting with it quite a bit lately. In my fridge today I have four types of miso: light sweet miso, mellow white organic miso (nice that it is not very salty), organic shiro miso, and dark aged miso. Crazy, who knew that there are so many different types of miso! They really are very different, and I suppose they have different uses, but I am still learning…
So this recipe is inspired by a New York Times Cooking recipe entitled “Miso-Glazed Sea Bass.” I made some modifications, the big thing being that I didn’t add an egg yolk to the miso mix and glaze the fish, I just used the marinade in the recipe. My family liked it, no raves, but they never rave about fish, they just eat it and move on with life. I thought it had a lot of complicated umami flavor, which I really like and I hope you like it too. I served the fish with some Trader Joe’s Japanese Fried Rice and some cauliflower roasted with olive oil, fresh garlic, a little white balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, a little tiny bit of panko, and salt and freshly ground pepper. Yum! Besides my obsession with miso, I am also currently obsessed with roasted cauliflower.
This is a new Food and Wine recipe that I made recently. It has a pretty quick and simple preparation and my son and I really liked the lemon and miso flavoring on the salmon. The original recipe says that it is great on salmon, cod or hake, but I have only tried it on salmon, although I think any white fish would also taste great with this glaze. Great weeknight dinner alongside some simple rice and either roasted vegetables or a simple salad. The original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of butter that I left out, seemed just fine without it and more heart-healthy.
four 5 ounce skinless salmon fillets (or hake or any fish you like)
2 tablespoons of olive oil or canola oil
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon shiro miso (white mild miso)
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh garlic
Lemon wedges for serving
In a medium bowl, combine the 1 tablespoon of salt with 2 cups of hot water and stir to dissolve the salt. Let cool to room temperature and then add the fish to the bowl and let brine at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile in a small bowl whisk the oil with the lemon juice, miso and garlic until smooth; season with salt and pepper if desired.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain the fish and transfer to the prepared baking sheet; brush all of the fish with the lemon oil mixture. Roast until golden and just cooked through, about 10 minutes for the salmon. Transfer to plates and garnish with a lemon wedge and serve with vegetables and rice.
Today I decided to cook Jambalaya after reading about a Quinoa Jambalaya recipe on icooktheblogs.com. What a creative and healthy idea to use quinoa instead of white rice! The recipe actually originated on another blog, but after reading it I decided why not stick with my regular Jambalaya recipe and just sub out the rice with quinoa. I usually put shrimp and chicken sausage in my Jambalaya, but my husband always complains that the shrimp is slimy and too fishy from my regular market and I didn’t have time to go to a special fish market, so I used a small boneless skinless chicken breast and three chicken sausages. I used mild organic spinach and chicken sausage by Aidells, mainly because I had it in my freezer. If I were to make this again I would have gone to the fish market and added the shrimp, but it was still quite good! I will list the recipe with the shrimp even though I didn’t use any today.
Traditional Jambalaya recipe with a very untraditional substitution of quinoa in the place of the white rice (and optional substitution of baby bok choy instead of celery).
Credit: Inspiration for using quinoa in this recipe was from icooktheblogs.com , but I created my recipe from an old Cooking.com recipe sourced from Burt Wolf’s Menu Cookbook, but the website doesn’t seem to be live anymore so I can’t share a link to it.
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 chicken sausages – spicy is best if you like spicy food, otherwise mild works
2 stalks of celery, diced
(NOTE: ok, I am not sure anyone will take this seriously, but I actually used one piece of baby bok choy chopped instead of the celery because I really don’t care to buy a whole package of celery and only use two stalks and throw the rest away. Then I panicked that it would look weird so I added a handful of chopped celery from the WFM salad bar…but traditionally I have used celery. The bok choy was actually good in it!).
2 bell peppers (I used one orange and one red), chopped
1 jalapeño, de-seeded and chopped.
NOTE: in the future if my son is not going to eat this I will add two jalapeños and not de-seed them so it is spicier. If you like food mild, 1 jalapeño de-seeded is going to be perfect. I like it hot!
1 – 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, with the juice
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste (approximately 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper).
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup of quinoa
1/2 pound of de-veined and shelled shrimp
1 tablespoon of fresh basil, sliced
In a large dutch oven or stockpot heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the sausage and chicken and cook until the sausage is lightly browned and the chicken is cooked through. Remove the meat from the pot.
Add a little more olive oil and add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the celery(or bok choy), bell peppers and jalapeño and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the cooked chicken and sausage back to the pot. Add the tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, salt and pepper, bay leaves, oregano, chicken broth and quinoa to the pot. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. Check on it occasionally to make sure is has not become too dry and to stir it.
Add shrimp and basil, turn heat up to medium and cook with the lid off for 5 minutes or until the shrimp is fully cooked. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls. Enjoy!
It is Dungeness Crab season in Northern California and I decided I needed find a recipe that uses crab because they looked so delicious in the store. I found this Food and Wine recipe for Dungeness Crab Cioppino and decided to make this for a dinner party we were having that evening. Although it is risky to try a new recipe for guests, I figured they are good friends and will forgive me if it bombs. The good news is that the cioppino turned out delicious and had lots of tender tasty morsels of crab. Yum! I simplified the recipe some and tailored it to my family’s tastes, but you can also check out the original recipe in the link below.
8 large garlic cloves, 6 finely chopped and 2 whole
3 jalapeños, seeded and minced
3 bell peppers, finely chopped (I used one red, orange and green)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large bay leaf
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
one 28-ounce can peeled and diced tomatoes
four 8-ounce bottles of clam broth
1 1/2 cups water
freshly ground pepper and salt
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 steamed Dungeness crabs (mine came steamed and cracked/cleaned from Whole Foods)
1 pound of halibut, cut into bite-size cubes
1 pound large scallops, halved if larger than bite size
Crusty garlic bread for serving
Heat olive oil in a very large soup pot or cast iron dutch oven. Add the chopped garlic, jalapeños, bell peppers, onion and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, over moderately high heat until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook, stirring for one minute.
Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about one minute longer.
Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add the clam broth and water, season lightly with salt and generously with pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium-low heat until the broth is reduced a bit, about 20 minutes.
While broth is simmering, combine the basil leaves with the whole garlic and process in a small food processor (or blender) until the garlic is finely chopped. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil and the crushed red pepper and process the basil puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Clean the crabs if your fish monger has not done this for you and discard the inedible parts. The original recipe details how to clean the crab if you need to do this. I used the crab legs, claws and some of the body meat.
Add the crab to the pot. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the fish and scallops for 5 minutes or so, until they are cooked through.
Ladle the cioppino into deep bowls and drizzle each serving with some of the basil puree. Serve with the garlic bread. We served this with a Barolo and it was delicious!