Thursday, October 24, 2013

You mean buttermilk doesn't go with everything? Said no one ever.

I didn't pick this recipe, but if you knew my friends, you would know who did. This one friend in particular is a HUGE fan of anything with sour cream, buttermilk, cream cheese, whole milk - you name a dairy product that would scare a dietitian and she keeps it in her fridge. The good thing is that otherwise she eats extremely healthy and is a normal weight. She also is a fan of "Colorante", a spice often used in Spain to give food the appearance that it has been seasoned with saffron, which explains the distinct yellow color of our fish. 

If I did it again, I would probably add some extra spice to the fish, it needed a little bit more kick. I could definitely see putting paprika, taco spice or Cajun seasonings, especially since I am not a big fan of jalapeno peppers.


Start to finish: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Guess which one was made by a chef, and which one I made?
1 large Hass avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into eighths
1/3 cup buttermilk (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups shredded Napa cabbage
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrot
1 cup coarsely grated radishes
1/4 cup white wine or cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Hot sauce, to taste

1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into 8 equal pieces
Whole-wheat flour, for coating the fish
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Eight 6-inch corn tortillas
Sliced fresh jalapeno peppers, to serve
Chopped fresh cilantro, to serve

Heat the oven to 200 F.

In a food processor, combine the avocado, buttermilk, 1 clove of garlic, lime juice and salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, then set aside. (I skipped this step)

In a medium bowl, combine the cabbage, remaining garlic, carrot, radishes, vinegar, sugar, lime zest and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Set aside.

Heat a heavy skillet (such as cast-iron or stainless steel, but not nonstick) over medium heat. One at a time, place the tortillas in the skillet and toast for about 30 seconds per side. As the tortillas are toasted, stack them on a sheet of foil. Wrap the foil around the tortillas, then place them in the over to keep warm. Alternatively, the tortillas can be held with tongs and toasted directly over a gas burner for a few seconds per side.

In a pie plate or other wide, shallow bowl, combine about 1 cup of flour with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. One at a time, dredge each piece of fish through the flour until coated evenly. Shake off any excess.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat about 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high. Add half of the fish to the pan and cook, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes a side. Transfer to an oven-safe plate and set in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and fish.

To serve, top each tortilla with a bit of the avocado puree (or avocado slices with lime, salt, and pepper to taste), then a piece of fish. Drain the cabbage mixture, then mound some of that over each portion. Serve with jalapeno slices and cilantro on the side.

Nutrition information (1/4 recipe): 500 calories, 190 calories from fat, 22 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats), 60 mg cholesterol, 51 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 31 g protein, 370 mg sodium

A Little Wine with Dinner

Didn't I just say I would cut back on the alcohol in my last post? Well, I guess I'll keep trying. These delicious clams and mussels were just too perfect with a few glasses of white wine. 

Maybe wine doesn't count... Anyways, I really lucked out with these little sea creatures because out of the 48 total clams and mussels I bought, only 1 was bad and didn't open up. It was probably because I bought them and cooked them on the same day and the lovely seafood lady at Whole Foods sent me with two heaping bags of ice to keep them cool. Although the mussel experts say you can store mussels in the fridge for several days, covered with a damp cloth.

Giada, from the Food Network, is one of my favorite chefs. Every recipe I have made from her has been outstanding. This one was great because the crushed red peppers spice up the entire broth and give all of the seafood that little bit of kick. The recipe is supposed to serve 6, but the two of us ate all of the mussels and clams with a few shrimp left over. (Just in case your eyes are bigger than your stomach, cooked mussels stay good in the fridge 3-4 days, but you probably want to take them out of their shells before you store them.) 

I definitely recommend a crunchy french baguette to accompany your meal, and you get bonus points if it's fresh out of the oven. 

Mussels, Clams and Shrimp in Spicy Broth 
Courtesy of Giada & Food Network

1/4 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
24 small Littleneck clams (about 2 1/2 pounds total), scrubbed
24 mussels (about 1 1/2 pounds total), debearded
20 large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined, butterflied
1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
Warm crusty bread

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and crushed red pepper. Saute until the garlic is tender, about 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down and the flavors blend, about 5 minutes. Stir in the clams. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the mussels. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels open, about 5 minutes longer.

Using a tongs, transfer the opened shellfish to serving bowls (discard any shellfish that do not open). Add the shrimp and basil to the simmering tomato broth. Simmer until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes. Divide the shrimp and tomato broth among the bowls. Serve with the warm bread.

Nutrition (1/6 recipe, excluding bread): 276 calories, 14 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 127 mg cholesterol, 193 mg sodium, 539 mg potassium, 10 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 65 g protein,  5% vitamin A, 5% calcium, 12% iron, 4% vitamin C, 15% vitamin B-12, 29% vitamin D, 17% phosphorous, 42% selenium,

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Back to Basics

Hey y'all, I know it's been a while since I've posted, but I'm done socializing and soul-searching for the time being and I'm ready to focus on health, wellness and exercise - hooray! After partying my way through the months of July, August and September (and gaining at least five pounds), I am exhausted and ready to refocus on my well-being in the winter months. Concerns about my health also play a factor, because with my condition, good nutrition is a big contributor to improved quality of life. 

So what does this refocusing involve? A lot more grocery shopping, upping the gym visits, less alcohol, more sleep. Pretty basic I think, but some how I had lost sight of these important basics when I was too busy having fun all summer in Atlantic City, the Jersey Shore, New York City and my hometown of Washington D.C. 
Atlantic City
I know exactly what people mean when they say, "I don't have time to cook" - I am one of the worst offenders - but I don't let that be an excuse to eat terrible food and when I realize I have dug myself a hole (like now), I try to pull myself out of it.