Baked Cod & Corn on the Cob

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Although Labor Day has come and gone, it’s still hot enough in Massachusetts for me to want a light, summery meal. White fish is so easy to cook, and the corn is still sweet this late in the season. This is a simple meal, but using fish instead of chicken makes it feel more special. Also, fish ends up being easier to cook and clean up after, as long as you put the wrappers in the outdoor trash immediately to keep your kitchen smelling fresh.

I served this with a side of Sesame Bok Choy Salad, but any vegetable side dish will work. Take advantage of your farmers’ market while it’s still flush with produce! Also, feel free to cover the side with cheese since the rest of this meal is so healthy.

 INGREDIENTS

  • 2 4-oz cod fillets, defrosted if frozen
  • 2 ears sweet corn
  • 1 tsp lemon olive oil
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • sea salt
  • ground coriander

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and set a large pot of water on high heat to boil.
  2. Shuck the corn, removing as many silks as possible with your fingers. Rinse, snap off the ends of the cobs, and set corn aside.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with olive oil spray. Place the fish on the sheet, and sprinkle with the spices to taste.
  4. Bake fish for 15-20 minutes, until the middle is warm and opaque.
  5. When the water comes to a boil, add the corn cobs. Cook for 5 minutes, bringing the water back to a boil during that time. Remove corn from the water after 5 minutes.
  6. Fill two plates with fish and corn (and a side salad, if you wish), and enjoy!

Serves 2. Active time 10 minutes; total time 30 minutes.

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Baked Herb Tilapia

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Tilapia is an inexpensive fish that’s easy to prepare, and its mild flavor is a blank slate. Shake on a few spices, put it in the oven for 15 minutes, and you’re done! I served this to dinner guests with sauteed vegetables and a mashed squash-potato mix.

I’ve been trying to incorporate more fish into my diet, and this recipe is foolproof. Buy a bunch of fillets when they’re on sale, freeze them in zip-top bags, and pull one out the night before you want to bake it. I used Italian herbs here, but cumin, ginger, or coriander would also be wonderful.

INGREDIENTS

  • olive oil spray
  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • dried thyme
  • sea salt

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and cover with olive oil spray.
  2. Place the fish on the baking sheet and cover with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with the herbs and salt.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes for 1 to 4 fillets. For more than 4 fillets, add an additional 3 to 5 minutes to the baking time, until the fish is opaque throughout.

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Serves 2. Active time 10 minutes; total time 25 to 30 minutes.

 

Vegetarian Sushi

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My older sister deserves all of the credit for this post. She had the idea of making sushi, the wherewithal to tackle the local Chinese supermarket alone, and the knowledge to guide the process!

This was my first time making sushi, and I was surprised at how easy it was. It takes time, but it’s pleasant, especially if you’re working (and chatting) with someone.

The first thing you need to know is that real sushi rice makes a great deal of difference. If you have an Asian market nearby, I recommend visiting to get the correct rice. Black sesame seeds, seaweed wraps (nori), and many of the other ingredients will probably be cheaper at this market, too.

The directions that follow give details on how to put together your rolls. Don’t be intimidated; your third roll will probably be neater than the first one, but they will taste equally delicious.

We made sushi twice while my sister visited because we had leftover ingredients. Over the course of the weekend, here’s what I learned about the process:

  • Rinse the dry rice for a few seconds. Sushi rice is extremely starchy, and if you don’t rinse it, the pot will bubble over repeatedly during cooking. Don’t rinse too thoroughly, though, or you’ll lose the sticky goodness.
  • Slice your fillings into long strips. This way they won’t fall out when you’re cutting the rolls into pieces.
  • Freshly grated ginger is better than pickled in my book, and it’s also less acidic. I grated the ginger directly into the soy sauce.
  • Wet fingers are the key to sculpting the rice beds and gluing the nori together. I re-wet my fingers every few seconds.
  • Cilantro and black sesame seeds add phenomenal flavor. Go crazy with your other filling choices: Orange bell peppers are acidic, and avocado is high in fat, but you use such small portions inside sushi rolls. (Don’t overfill the rolls, or they will burst!)

I recommend bringing this to a party; everyone will be impressed with your work! Or, if eating at home, treat yourself to a restaurant-quality meal by serving the sushi with sides of roasted baby bok choy and miso soup.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 sheets nori
  • black sesame seeds
  • 1/3 of a cucumber
  • 1/2 of an orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 of an avocado
  • handful of cilantro
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • low-sodium soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse lightly. Drain and shake off excess water.
  2. Mix rice and water in a nonstick pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir & recover, lower heat, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. When rice is tender and water has been absorbed, remove the pot from heat. Mix in rice vinegar and but the rice in the fridge to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Chop the cucumber, bell pepper, and avocado into long, thin strips. Wash the cilantro, dry well, and remove the leaves from the stems.
  5. Clear space on the counter. Set out a large cutting board, the vegetables, the sesame seeds, a small bowl of warm water, the rice, and the nori.
  6. Lay a sheet of nori flat on the cutting board. Put a few spoonfuls of rice on the nori. Wet your fingertips and use them to flatten the rice, creating a thin layer that covers almost the entire sheet. Leave a small strip free at the top and bottom of the sheet—but push the rice all the way to the left- and right-hand edges.
  7. Sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds. Lay pieces of pepper, avocado, and cucumber over the rice, and top them liberally with cilantro leaves. IMG_4451
  8. Wet your fingers and grab the bottom corners of the nori. Start to roll it up, pulling the fillings toward you to ensure that they’re completely surrounded in rice. Roll as tightly as you can. IMG_4452
  9. When you have a tight roll, wet your fingers and use the water to glue down the edges of the nori.
  10. Use a sharp, nonserrated, wet knife to cut the roll into 6 to 8 pieces.
  11. Repeat with the other sheets of nori. You should have more than enough rice to make 4 rolls.
  12. Pour soy sauce into small bowls and sprinkle with grated ginger. Serve rolls with the soy sauce for dipping.

Makes 4 rolls.

BBQ Veggies with Quinoa & Scallops

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There are a lot of simple foods I’m happy to eat, but I wouldn’t want to serve them to guests. This vegetable, quinoa, and scallop dish is the opposite; I was excited to make it for a friend last weekend. It’s more complicated than most of my recipes, but none of the steps are difficult.

The major flavors in this sauce are BBQ (hoisin), sesame, and ginger. Hoisin sauce has some dangerously spiced ingredients, but the key is to use a small amount. At 2 teaspoons for 4 portions, it isn’t going to bother anyone. In contrast, a Chinese restaurant would include gobs of sauce in this dish. I prefer my way because the flavor is there, but you can feel the texture of each component.

Scallops are easy to make and so delicious—they taste like sugar! But they get rubbery if you let them sit or try to reheat them. If you’re cooking for 2, make only half a portion of the scallops. The rest of the meal makes great leftovers even without the seafood.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets and 1-inch stem pieces
  • cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • scant 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 16 sea scallops (3/4 to 1 lb)
  • 4 heads baby bok choy, washed and separated
  • sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and add cooking spray. Arrange broccoli and carrots in a single layer on the sheet; coat with cooking spray. Cook at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, stirring once.
  2. Put rinsed quinoa, chicken broth, and water in a nonstick pot with lid. Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, mix honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and ginger. Set aside.
  4. Rinse scallops under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove the tough muscle piece if present.
  5. Make sure bok choy leaves are completely dry. Spray a glass baking pan with cooking spray, add bok choy leaves, and spray the tops with cooking spray. Add sea salt to taste.
  6. When 10 minutes are left for the carrots and broccoli, add the bok choy to the oven. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until leaves have shrunk and edges are browned.IMG_4410
  7. Preheat a large nonstick skillet on high heat, and add cooking spray.
  8. Remove broccoli and carrots from the oven and add to bowl with dressing; add quinoa and stir.IMG_4409
  9. Put scallops one at a time into the hot pan, making sure they do not touch each other. Don’t move a scallop once it is placed, or you won’t get a caramelized crust. Cook for 2 minutes at high heat. Then flip each scallop carefully and cook for 2 more minutes.
  10. While scallops are cooking, divide bok choy onto 4 dinner plates. Divide quinoa/veggie mixture and place on top.
  11. When scallops are finished, arrange 4 on each plate and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Fuji 1546: Seaweed Salad and Mixed Roll

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Japanese restaurants always have reflux-friendly food. Sushi with ginger works for most diets, and appetizers like miso soup and steamed dumplings are both low-acid and low-fat.

The other night at Fuji 1546, I started with the seaweed salad. This dish is light and perfect for a summer evening. There’s probably more sesame oil than is recommended, but I felt fine afterward.
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I also had a mixed roll of tuna and yellowtail with light soy sauce and pickled ginger. It was weird to leave off the wasabi—I’m not positive that it is as irritating as hot peppers, but I didn’t want to chance it. I enjoyed the freshness of the fish that evening.

I would’ve ordered a miso soup and another roll to round out the meal, but I was saving room for dessert! My husband found a Friendly’s gift card around the house, and I would’ve been depressed watching idly as he ate a massive chocolate-peanut butter sundae. So I ordered a waffle with nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, caramel sauce, and almonds. It was so delicious, I forgot to take a photo! It looked like this, except I scraped off the whipped cream.

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This meal was a restaurant WIN for the sushi dinner. The waffle sundae could’ve been a win if I had stopped myself from eating the whole thing, but hey, a girl’s gotta live.