cartoon by marc johns.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Herb Encrusted Tilapia

Yummy Fish.

This is another recipe from the cookbook I mentioned earlier: "The Trader Joe's Companion" by Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati.  I love this cookbook!  I haven't cooked one thing from this book that is bad.  Everything is delicious (and you can buy all the ingredients at Trader Joes).
I love tilapia.  It is a very mild, white fish; it isn't fishy at all.  I tweaked this recipe from the original, but the overall idea is the same.  You dredge the fish in a mixture of breadcrumbs and spices and saute it.  The spice used in this recipe is actually a spice mix that Trader Joes sells called "21 Seasoning Salute."  I recommend just buying the spice mix from Trader Joes, but if you don't want to/ don't have time, the spices in the blend are: onion, black pepper, celery seed, cayenne pepper, parsley, basil, marjoram, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, savory, rosemary, cumin, mustard, coriander, garlic, carrot, orange peel, tomato granules, lemon juice powder, and oil of lemon.  A lot of these you probably won't have at home either, and I don't know the proportions of each spice in the blend, but you could mimic the blend, sort of.
Anyway, this is one of my favorite, standby recipes.  A lot of my friends have had this meal, and a lot of them have asked for the recipe.  By the way, one thing about this recipe that I think is a must (of course) is squeezing lemon on the fish before you eat it.  Soooooo, here we go!!!

The Ingredients:

Serves 2.

1 lb. tilapia fillets
1 egg
2 tablespoons of milk 
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons 21 Seasoning Salute
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper

The Cooking:

1.  In a bowl, beat together the egg and milk.

Egg and Milk Beaten.

2.  On a plate, mix together the breadcrumbs, salt, and 21 Seasoning Salute.

Adding the 21 Seasoning Salute.

Everything all blended together.

3.  Salt and pepper each fish fillet.

Salted and Peppered fish.

4.  Dip each piece of fish in the egg and milk mixture.

Fish in the egg.

5.  Next, dredge each piece of fish through the breadcrumb/ herb mixture.  Make sure the fish is evenly coated, but not too thickly.

A coated fillet.

6.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook each piece of fish for 1-2 minutes on each side.  If fillets are thick, cook for 3-4 minutes per side.  Be careful not to overcook the fish, though!  It's done when it is white and it flakes easily.  The outside should be golden and crispy.  Makes 3-5 servings.  Enjoy!

Sauteing the fish.

The meal.

A close-up of the fish.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs

This is another pretty quick and flavorful recipe.  You essentially make a dry spice rub to put on the chicken thighs, broil them, and at the end coat them with a honey/ vinegar sauce.  The proportion of the spices is obviously easily changeable, depending on if you like spicy or really spicy.  I think I have gotten it to a proportion that is perfect, personally.  The spice rub is pretty spicy on its own, but the vinegar/ honey mixture does cut the spice really well, and the meal is not overwhelmingly spicy.  The mix of sweet/ spicy on this chicken is ridiculously delicious.  Leftovers are wonderful cut up on a salad, in a quesadilla, and many other options.  Because the chicken is broiled, this recipe is quick.  When I make this chicken, I almost always make it with mashed potatoes because all of that starchiness is a good way to cut the spice.  (I also often make green beans as the vegetable).

8 boneless/ skinless chicken thighs
4 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons of chili powder (or more)
2 teaspoons salt
2 pinches of crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
6 tablespoons of honey
3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
cooking spray

The Cooking:
1.  Preheat the broiler.  Line a cooking pan with foil (just to help with cleaning later) and spray with cooking spray.
2.  Combine all the spices (garlic powder, chili powder, salt, crushed red pepper, paprika, cumin) in a bowl.
The spices.
3.  Coat the chicken thighs with the spice rub.  Try to get the spices to evenly cover all the nooks and crannies of each thigh.  Spray a coating of cooking spray on both sides of each thigh.  (Don't over oil the thighs, though).  

The chicken with the spices on.
4.  Into the broiler the chicken goes!  Broil the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side (so 8-10 minutes total).  Some of the spice rub may blacken, but don't worry, it will not taste burned.
5.  While the chicken is broiling, combine the honey and vinegar and whisk together.  

The honey/ vinegar sauce.
6.  After the broiling for 8-10 minutes (4-5 minutes per side), take the chicken out and brush with half the honey/ vinegar mixture.  If you want less spice, coat the chicken with more sauce, and if you want more spice, vice versa.
The broiled chicken, pre-honey vinegar sauce.
The broiled chicken, post honey/ vinegar sauce.
7.  After saucing the chicken, broil for one more minute.  Then flip the chicken over and sauce with the remaining honey/ vinegar sauce.  Broil for one more minute.

The finished product.
8.  Allow chicken to rest 3-5 minutes before serving.  Makes 6-8 servings.  Enjoy!!!

The meal.
Recipe adapted from For the Love of Cooking.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Brown Sugar & Mustard Glazed Salmon

This is a recipe I got from allrecipes.com.  They have a section called "15-Minute Meals," which is where this came from.  I made several changes to the original recipe, but it still takes about 15-minutes from prep to ready-to-eat (which is awesome).  This glaze has a pretty strong flavor that goes perfectly with salmon.  I have used it on chicken and other fish, but I recommend using salmon because the strong flavor of salmon goes really well with the spicy/ sweet glaze.  A more delicate fish is overpowered by the glaze.  This is another one of those recipes that looks and tastes fancy, like it took much longer and cost a lot more to prepare.  (I love those kinds of recipes!)  There are very few ingredients in the glaze, but they really are flavorful.
There are two options for cooking the fish once the glaze is on: broiling or baking.  I will give you times, etc. for both options below, but I recommend broiling.  Not only does it take less time, but it makes the glaze a little hard (like an actual glaze), which is a nice texture.  However, to some people the glaze on the fish looks a little strange; it is marbled onto the fish.  (I think it looks nice).  If you bake the fish, the glaze is more like a sauce, which some people may prefer because of the look, and also because there is extra sauce to put on rice, etc. as opposed to the glaze just being on the fish.  For this post, I baked the fish, so the photos show the glaze as a sauce.  
I recommend serving the salmon with rice pilaf and asparagus.

The Ingredients: 
1/4 cup of packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of dill
salt and pepper to taste
2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets

The Cooking:
1.  If you are broiling the fish: Preheat the over's broiler.  Make sure your oven rack is about 1/2 foot (6 inches) from the heat source (in some ovens it is the bottom of the oven and in some it is the top of the oven).  Prepare a broiling pan with cooking spray.
2.  If you are baking the fish: Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Prepare a baking dish with cooking spray. 
3.  Season the salmon with salt and pepper and arrange on broiler pan or baking dish.  
Salt and Pepper.
4.  Make the glaze: whisk together the brown sugar and mustard.
Ready to be Whisked.
5.  Add the dill and whisk mixture again.  If you try the glaze at this point, it will taste really strong.  The first time I made this I was worried it was too much for the fish, but it isn't!  Don't worry.  If you are more of a spicy person, you can add a little more mustard if you want, and if you are more of a sweet person, you can add some more brown sugar, but I recommend it as is.
Dill added.
6.  Spoon mixture evenly onto salmon fillets.
Glaze on Salmon.
7.  If broiling: Cook fish under preheated broiler until fish flakes with fork.  About 10-12 minutes (depends on thickness of fillets).
8.  If baking: Bake for about 15-18 minutes (again, depends on thickness of fillets).

And that's it!  Makes 2-3 servings.  Pretty easy, right?  Enjoy!!

Final product.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Oma's Fabulous Viennese Schnitzel and Potatoes

The meal!  Schnitzel with applesauce (the only way to eat it!) and potatoes.
I posted earlier about my grandma (Oma) and her yummy cooking.  Oma grew up in Vienna, Austria, and this is how her mom (my great grandma) made schnitzel and now Oma has shared the recipe with me.  When I think of Oma's food, there are a few items of food that she always made and I really love and remember: her special fruit salad, matzah brie, schnitzel, and something she called Sara-and Kevin-Potatoes (I'm Sara and my brother's name is Kevin).  (For those of you that don't know, matzah brie is a breakfast dish made with matzah - for Passover - and eggs, sort of like french toast but with matzah.)

So, I am very happy to have the recipe for Oma's schnitzel and potatoes.  Schnitzel is (in Vienna) often veal, but in my family we most of the time use chicken (and sometimes turkey).  You pound it flat and dredge it in flour and breadcrumbs with some spices.  Then you pan fry it.  And it is wonderful.

Here are the ingredients:

Serves 2 -3.

1 - 1 1/2 lbs. Chicken or Turkey Cutlets
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons paprika
whole wheat flour
canola oil


1.  Pound the cutlets flat.  Put the meat between two sheets of wax paper and beat with a mallet or meat tenderizer until thin.  You want the cutlets surprisingly thin.  I always get worried that they are being pounded too thin, but they aren't.  Oma knows best!

Pounding the cutlets.
Surprisingly thin!
2.  Salt and pepper the thinned cutlets.
3.  To the potatoes for a quick moment: we used yukon gold mini potatoes.  All you do is scrub the outside of the potatoes and cut them into chunks.  Put the chunks into boiling salted water.  Pay attention to the potatoes because you take them out of the water when they are 2/3 cooked, at which point you peel them by hand.  You cook them the rest of the way later.  
Potato chunks.
4.  Back to the schnitzel: Put canola oil on a griddle or pan and begin heating.  Set up the dredging assembly line.  Plate #1 - milk.  Plate #2 - whole wheat flour.  Plate #3 - eggs with a dash of milk.  Plate #4 - bread crumbs mixed with paprika.

Plate #1 - Milk.
Plate #2 - Whole Wheat Flour.
Plate #3 - Eggs with a Dash of Milk.
Plate #4 - Breadcrumbs and Paprika. 
Plate #4 again, all mixed up.
5. Begin the dredging process.  Dip cutlet in milk.  Allow excess to drip off.
Dipping in the milk.
6.  Dip the cutlet into the whole wheat flour.  Shake off the excess.
Into the whole wheat flour.
7.  Next, put the cutlet in the egg mixture.  Again, let excess drain off.
Into the egg.
8.  Then, cutlet goes into the bread crumb and paprika mixture.  Make sure the cutlet is fully coated with breadcrumbs, but not too densely. 
Into the breadcrumbs. 
You want it coated so that is looks sort of like this.
9.  Begin pan frying the cutlets.  You want them nice, crispy, and a darker brown.
Frying up the cutlets.
10.  Back to the potatoes: remove potatoes from water and allow to cool down.  Once cool enough to touch without burning, peel them.  The peels should just come off easily - just pull on them with your fingers.
Peeling the potatoes.
11.  Then slice the potatoes into smaller bits.  Once you are done frying all the schnitzel, put the potatoes on the same griddle/ pan, in the same oil.  This makes the potatoes brown and gives them a really great flavor.
The browned, delicious potatoes! YUM!
Makes 10-12 servings.  Now, all that's left is to enjoy the schnitzel and potatoes.  They are delicious.  Eat the schnitzel with applesauce.  It's the only way.  Thanks, Oma!!!

The meal.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Muffins

The delicious final product.

So.  Here is the other type of muffin I made for the wonderful one-year-old's birthday party.  It should not surprise anyone that these were my preferred of the two muffin types (Helloooooo, lemon!  How I love you...).  These were nice and lemony and tart (maybe because I doubled the lemon called for in the recipe).  They were also moist and the poppy seeds gave a nice crunch.  But adding the blueberries just took the muffins to a whole new level as far as I'm concerned.  These feel nice and light and not at all too heavy to eat for breakfast or as a snack during the day.  

This recipe makes 18-20 muffins.  


Le Ingredients. (said in a French accent)
2 lemons, zest and juice
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup of white whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 cups fresh blueberries

The cooking:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Either spray a muffin tin with Pam or put in muffins liners.
2.  Zest your lemons.  Then, mix the white sugar with the lemon zest.  Use a fork and press down on the zest until it is all mixed together.  

Zest with sugar.
Zest with sugar after fork mashing and mixing.
3.  Add the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the sugar and zest mixture.  Stir.
The dry ingredients.
4.  Melt your butter and set aside to cool.  
5.  Rinse your blueberries and set aside to dry.
6.  In a separate bowl from the dry ingredients, mix together the eggs, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and cooled butter.  (Make sure it is cooled enough that it won't cook the eggs a little bit.)  Blend until creamy.  
The wet ingredients.
7.  Add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir until well combined.  
8.  Add the poppy seeds and mix.
9.  Add in 1 1/2 cups of the blueberries and gently stir until mixed.  (Try not to burst any of the blueberries).
Mix gently!

The mixed batter.
10.  Spoon the mixture into the muffin pan.  Sprinkle the muffins with the remaining 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries.
Sprinkled with blueberries.
11.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.  

Just out of the oven! 

Recipe adapted from For the Love of Cooking.