Simple Asian Glazed Salmon

After a gluttonous week, my body was calling out for something healthy. I usually crave a huge pile of veggies after I’ve had a string of indulgences. Does that happen to you?

For dinner last night I had this salmon, sauteed spinach, and squash. Hopefully this meal cancelled out the beers I drank last night. The best part? It took me about 20 minutes to make this.

The crust on the outside contrasts perfectly with the rich, velvety inside of the salmon.  This is so easy to make yet it tastes like you’ve outdone yourself. I’m glad I can now add this as a new quick healthy dinner option (passed along to me from my mom, by way of my sister-in-law).

And regarding the aforementioned gluttony, I turned 29 last week and ate three pieces of cake in one day. I also bought a few anti-aging creams and serums (yes, ON my birthday). I probably should have been slathering on wrinkle potions sooner, so I’m pretty clueless. For now I’m using a serum, cream and exfoliant by Olay Regenerist, which I like a lot so far, but I’d like to try some others.  Can anyone recommend a brand (yes, I am not soliciting skin care advice on a food blog)?

Now go make your body happy and make this salmon.

Simple Glazed Salmon

Makes 2 servings

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 salmon fillets (about 6 oz each)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat soy sauce and ginger in a saucepan until simmering. Remove from heat and whisk in honey and mustard.

Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Coat a skillet with the olive oil and heat to medium-high. Add salmon, skin side up, to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, until a golden brown crust forms. Turn salmon over (so that skin side is down) and remove from heat. Spoon sauce over each salmon filet.

Place pan  in oven and bake salmon  for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.

Seared Ahi Tuna with Amazing Sauce

You’re looking at one of my proudest culinary accomplishments. This tuna tastes like something I’ve ordered in restaurants many times before. The best part? This was one of the easiest main dishes I have ever prepared.

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I love tuna, but I’ve always considered it best left to restaurants. That is, until my mom came home from Costco with two huge chunks of tuna and said “do something with this.” It’s getting like Iron Chef around here.

I decided on a recipe featured on Simply Recipes that sounded, well, simple. You sear the tuna over medium-high heat, just cooking the outside and leaving the inside raw (how high-quality tuna should be cooked). It’s served with a sauce made of cilantro, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and lime, which I have named Amazing Sauce. You guys… this sauce is pretty out of control. My dad said he wanted to drink it (but he was also drinking tequila on a Tuesday night. True story. Hi, Dad.).

Good tuna is expensive, but it costs no more than good steak. Obviously this isn’t something most people can afford to eat daily (unless you’re Jeremy Piven), so it’s best reserved for a special occasion.

Make this tuna. Drinking the sauce is optional, but encouraged. As is a healthy swig of tequila.

Seared Ahi Tuna with Amazing Sauce
 
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, de-ribbed, minced
  • 4 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated (use a microplane grater)
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 (6 ounce) blocks high-quality tuna*
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup of olive oil.
  2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle the tuna pieces with salt and pepper. Sear the tuna for a minute on each side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Turn down heat to medium. Pour cilantro sauce into skillet and cook for a minute to heat through.
  4. Drizzle half the sauce over tuna and serve remaining sauce on the table. Either serve as whole tuna steaks or sliced (as pictured, above).

* This site is helpful in explaining what is meant by sushi- or sashimi-quality tuna (allegedly no more than a marketing term).

 

Roasted Shrimp & Orzo

Last week I went over to my friend Kelly’s house for cooking lessons (if you know Kelly, you already know which one of us was teaching the lesson). I chose to make this dish because it’s so simple and would make a good starting point for my eager student. But really, this shrimp and orzo meal was too easy. There was nothing to teach Kelly. Maybe this would be challenging for someone who’s never turned on a stove. I’m not kidding, if you can turn on the oven and boil water, you can make this.

This is really filling and tastes like it was way more difficult to make. It’s also super healthy and has something like 15 grams of fiber if you use whole wheat orzo. Part of why this is so flavorful is you roast the tomatoes, shrimp and beans, which intensifies their flavors. When roasting, be sure to spread everything out on the pan. If food is too crowded it will steam instead of roast.

This is a true 30-minute meal and actually more like 20 minutes (“if you get your %$#@ together,” according to Kelly). To save on prep time, buy the shrimp already peeled and deveined. Leave the tails on during cooking, then everyone can remove the tails as they’re eating. I also think shrimp with tails on look prettier, so it’s a win-win situation. The only thing you need to chop is the dill, but you could actually just tear it off the stems. And don’t forget to pour some wine, this is easy enough to cook while drunk.

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Roasted Shrimp & Orzo

Serves 4

Adapted from Good Housekeeping, December 2009

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 8 oz. orzo (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 bag baby spinach (6 oz)
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped (basil or flat-leaf parsley would also work)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place tomatoes on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper and one tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat. Roast in oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Add spinach to pot and stir to combine with orzo, allowing the heat to wilt the spinach.

Remove baking sheet from oven and add shrimp and cannellini beans to tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat then return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until shrimp are opaque.

Stir in shrimp mixture with the orzo and spinach. Add feta cheese and dill and stir to combine. Garnish with additional feta cheese crumbles, if you’re like me and pretend adding additional cheese is for the sake of presentation.

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Penne with Shrimp in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

I spent this past weekend in Tampa mostly eating and drinking. I wanted to make my hosts dinner one night and knew this was an easy meal I can make off the top of my head. But really, my motivation for cooking was making a trip to the Publix GreenWise Market.

Sort of a cross between Publix and Whole Foods, there are only 3 of these specialty stores in all of Florida. There are organic products but also a large selection of normal items. A few highlights of the store were the prepared foods/salad bar, made-to-order burgers, artisan cheeses, WINE TASTING (!), lots of free samples, and an escalator for shopping carts. Plus all of the staff members were unusually helpful and friendly. Is it normal to take pictures in a grocery store? Here’s a peek inside…

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This dish can be somewhat lightened up, but obviously tastes best in all its full-fat glory. I’ve altered it from the original recipe to include less butter and oil. This past time I made it I used whole grain pasta and it was still great. I usually don’t use an entire cup of heavy cream, more like 3/4 cup. Start with 1/2 cup cream, stir it in, and keep adding more if you’d like it creamier. You can also substitute with half and half or light cream.

Penne with Shrimp in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

Serves 4 – 6

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 lb penne pasta
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cups white wine
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp fresh basil, torn
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, drain and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a few minutes until just opaque. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Now, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board, chop into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

In a large skillet heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked a bit add the wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomato sauce and stir until well until combined. Add heavy cream (shut up, arteries!) and continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer until sauce thickens.

Add the chopped shrimp to the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tbsp basil and stir until combined. Finally add the cooked pasta and stir until well-coated with sauce. Sprinkle remaining basil over each serving of pasta.

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Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

I have a slight fear of cooking fish. I’ve always been wary since it’s so easy to mess up and usually an expensive mistake. Solution? Tilapia is cheap and pretty hard to screw up. It’s also a very mild fish so great for people who claim they don’t like seafood. I’m amazed at how easy this recipe was and it was perfectly cooked. If you manage to fail at this recipe I’d like to hear about it so I can proceed to mock you (I kid! But I insist, you can’t mess this up).

The original recipe calls for a stick of butter but I only used half. I honestly cannot imagine using more butter than I did and would even consider using less next time I make it. The butter just coats the bottom of the baking dish to prevent the fish from sticking. Once you remove the fish and plate it, you’re left with a baking dish full of butter. So really, only a little bit of the butter is consumed. At least this is what I tell myself so I can sleep at night. BUT…you could always spoon the melted butter over the fish before serving if you’re feeling particularly deviant. Live a little!

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Serves 4

Adapted from Southern Living, March 2010

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 large or 6 small tilapia fillets
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Season fish with salt and pepper. Combine cheese and paprika, set aside.

Place butter in 13 x 9 broiler-safe baking dish and place in oven for 8 minutes or until melted. Remove from oven and add fish to dish, skin side up (if skin is still on). Bake on middle oven rack for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.

Carefully flip fish and baste with pan juices (read: butter). Sprinkle each filet with lemon juice and cheese mixture. Bake 5 more minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork.

Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to broil. Broil fish for 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

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