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I almost feel relaxed today…compared to yesterday at least. As you might have read yesterday, I had my written and practical midterm for my baking and pastry class. We had to make biscuits, spritz cookies, a pie, and soft yeast dinner rolls in only a whopping 3 hours….and for the results:

My pie is kind of a hot mess....

I passed! My biscuits are pretty sexy, as are my rolls and cookies…my pie on the other hand, well… its a bit of a hot mess. -1 point. The pie was supposed to be a double crusted apple pie, but the chef decided to go with a cranberry apple pie with a streusel topping instead. How pretty can streusel really get? Okay, its still pretty ugly but it tastes better than it looks. (or so I was told :p )

Onto the real food!

Breakfast

Sometimes you just need some good old bananas and eggs to start your day.

Yep, bananas and eggs. Had to start the day off right…

Lunch

Canned salmon, avocado, bell pepper, mango, salsa, and olives with red wine vinegar.

Quick and easy…

Dinner

Shredded chicken and salsa, sauteed cabbage, avocado and mango.

Thanks to my roommate ( ehem* my Mom…:p ) there was some left over shredded chicken breast upon my return home. ( just chicken and salsa cooked in a slow-cooker all day and then shredded ) I was more than happy to take the rest of the chicken and placed it on top of a bed of sauteed cabbage, mango, avocado, and top it with some more salsa. Definitely quick and easy.

Despite the days of quick and easy meals I am not always about the quick and easy. ( that’s what he said ). I respect my body by putting good food into it, but I also want to make sure that I respect the food. I enjoy taking my time in the kitchen. Sometimes time doesn’t always allow for it, but cooking is not always about shortcuts and convenience. When time does allow, don’t be afraid to take your time in the kitchen, put on some music, relax, smile, live in the moment, and enjoy it.

Happy Cooking!

Day #24 was a day full of sunshine…

Going Bananas

Bananas….

Vibrams KSO Trek

and my white gorilla feet. ( The breakfast is quite fitting isn’t it? ) It is hard to know what people are staring at when I run by. My lack of shoes, or lack of tan. My legs are a bit white with a shade of Casper ( which is a shade of ghost that is not so friendly on the eyes. )

After my run I headed over to the Auburn Farmers market and picked up a copy of The Art of Real Food.

I even got it signed…

I think I owe a lot of what I learned about cooking to these two ladies. Before I started culinary school I cooked a lot out of their first book.

Lunch

Pan fried Dover Sole over sauteed cabbage and asparagus

If you haven’t noticed by now… Sole is appearing in a lot of my meals. That is probably because we purchased a Duggar size family pack of it from Costco that needed to be used up A.S.A.P. ( and no I don’t buy beef from Costco )

Dinner

Chard with Pine nuts and Raisins

For dinner I used an idea from my new cookbook and sauteed some fresh chard with pine nuts and raisins…

I served it over some roasted sweet potatoes and topped it with the last of the Sole.

What are you cooking today?

Day #23! Word on the street is that the new Placer County cookbook The Art of Real Food is being released today at the Auburn farmers market. I was a fan of the first one so perhaps I will have to pick up a copy along with some fresh produce. Speaking of produce… remember when I said that I sometimes buy produce just because it will look pretty on a plate? I am kind of drawn to bright colors when it comes to food so the other day I couldn’t resist these purple carrots….

Purple Carrots

Kind of awesome right? Purple on the outside and orange on the inside. I was wondering if they would lose their color when cooked but to my surprise, they kept their color.

Now for the rest of the food!

Breakfast

Had to have my bananas...

I know it looks like I was just being my usual self with my odd combo of bananas and eggs but the jokes on you because I switched up the Almond butter. I discovered Artisana’s raw almond butter. I’m in love.

Lunch

Canned Salmon with a spring salad

There is something about spring that just says “eat a salad”. So I did. As I do on a regular basis. It was kind of a salad stew. I just used up whatever produce was on hand. I used bell peppers, olives, green onions, and tomatoes…I have two big old bags of unripe avocados sitting on the kitchen counter taunting me. They would of gone nicely with this salad… but instead they will remain incubated next to the apples and bananas testing my patience.

DInner

All I see is my purple carrots

For dinner I pan fried some Dover sole seasoned with salt, pepper, and Penzy’s spices. I first steamed the carrots and then sauteed them for a few minutes just to add a little more flavor to them, and then served it over a bed of sauteed cabbage. Pretty simple but tasty.

Happy Saturday!

I almost used today’s blog to write a response to a recent post that Jillian Michaels posted on her Facebook page….( okay, I admit I am kind of a fan, but not a fan of her nutrition advice. ) but then I remembered that arguing diet advice is an exhausting battle and I am only here for the food. I will make a few points however.

Here was her post:

“Weight loss tip – So many people come up to me and tell me they can’t lose weight and yet, I haven’t ever met a person I can’t take weight off. You’re not counting calories. Forget all the fad diets for a moment and just focus on the basics. Weight loss will always require burning more calories than you take in. Calories in versus calories out. If you’re trying to lose weight I recommend 1200 cals a day for a woman & 1400 cals a day for a man. Only exception is green veggies. Eat as many greens as you want, but make sure they aren’t cooked in a fattening sauce. Don’t get hamstrung by fads like avoiding carbs or grains, going raw, and so on. It’s perfectly healthy to eat carbs, fat, and protein as long as they are not overly processed and loaded with chemicals like trans fats, artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors, hfcs, and so on. Eat real food with calorie control and you can’t go wrong.”

There are a few things that stand out to me in this post.

#1 Calorie counting and “calories in versus calories out”. – This subject is way too complicated for my simple mind but please check out a book called Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.There are also plenty of articles on www.robbwolf.com on the subject. One hint on why I have a problem with the whole “Calories in vs. Calories out” theory: Hormones folks. Hormones.

#2 “Don’t get hamstrung by fads like avoiding carbs or grains, going raw, and so on.” – Ehem. Excuse me miss Michaels but considering humans have been eating a paleo/primal/ancestral diet for quite some time, I would hardly call it a fad. THE human diet, is not a fad.

#3 “I recommend 1200 cals a day for a woman & 1400 cals a day for a man.”- Is it just me or does this amount of calories make you hungry just thinking about it?

#4 “Eat real food”- I couldn’t agree more. Lets get on it!

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, sweet potatoes and sauerkraut

Yep, the new usual.

Lunch

Sauteed chicken breast with steamed spaghetti squash, and sauteed brussel sprouts with bacon.

For lunch I rendered some bacon and then sauteed my brussel sprouts. I also made some spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a great substitute for spaghetti. They named it spaghetti for a reason. You can sub the squash for spaghetti noodles and make spaghetti out of it, or you can simply steam it, stir in a little coconut oil, salt and pepper and enjoy it as a side.

put a fork in it

After you steam it, roast it, etc… just grab a fork and scoop out the spaghetti strands.

Chicken breast with sweet potatoes, and sauteed purple kale.

Did you know there was purple kale? Pretty awesome right? I have found that most people have a love-hate relationship with kale but how can you hate kale? #1 it tastes amazing ( especially sauteed with bacon, onions, and garlic ) and #2 it comes in green and purple. I love colorful produce. Sometimes I will buy produce just because it will look pretty in a dish. I guess this purple kale doesn’t exactly look pretty but it did before I cooked it…

So what do you think of Jillian Michaels weight loss tip?

I don’t really know where the saying “easy as pie” came from. If you have ever actually made pie it’s not really all that easy…its kind of a pain in the bum actually. Baking requires a little thing called patience..something I don’t have a whole lot of. However, the finished product is usually worth the wait…even if I am not going to eat it.

Bon Appetite

Can you tell the people in our group are all savory students? The one the left is mine.

Most of these pies went into the garbage afterwards. I would say that it is a sad waste of food but come to think of it, they are all empty calories anyways…they are not really capable of nourishing any hungry stomachs.

Onto the real food!

Breakfast

My new favorite breakfast

I am kind of stuck on the smoked salmon in the eggs breakfast, try it and you will see why. :)

Lunch

only cool people eat salad

I was running a bit low on time and ingredients for lunch today. I settled for canned tuna and a salad with olives, green onion, tomatoes, and mango. Honestly, I wouldn’t really recommend this salad. Here is an example of what NOT to eat… even though you can. Okay, so it wasn’t that bad, but its not something I would go out of my way to make. It could be that I am just not a fan of canned tuna.

Dinner

Whole Foods Dinner

I had a few things to pick up at Whole Foods on my way home so I decided I might as well pick up dinner while I was there. It is great that they have a food bar but when it comes to sticking to Paleo 100% it is pretty darn near impossible. Most everything they have has some sort of canola or soybean oil in it. Whole Foods, why must you fail me? I did what I could to make my dinner as Paleo friendly as possible with some sort of chicken curry, fruit, sauteed veggies and a spring mix salad.

On that note, pay attention to the oils you are using folks. Here is a good article on which fats to use, and which to avoid. Click Me.

Happy hump day!

I woke up to a little surprise this morning. I am sore. Not in the usual I “worked out my triceps and biceps yesterday” kind of sore..but like in an “everything is sore and I can’t specify any exact muscles” kind of way. I am sore from about the neck down. I love it. As you may have guessed I went to CrossFit again yesterday. It was much harder than the first day but it felt amazing afterwards. I haven’t been pushed that hard since my high school soccer days. I know it seems weird but I haven’t had one long run that seemed as hard as a high school soccer practice. Not even those 20 mile long runs seemed as hard. It was nice to be pushed to that level again. Can’t wait for some more! Onto the food!

Breakfast

One of the two usual breakfast's of choice

Bored of this breakfast yet? I actually switched it up this morning a bit…stay tuned.

Lunch

Roasted Chicken with mango sauce, sauteed cabbage and roasted cauliflower

For lunch I just sliced up a little left over roasted chicken sauteed some cabbage and then roasted some cauliflower seasoned with smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. The mango sauce ( which could also be mistaken for nacho cheese ) is just a few mangoes pureed with some coconut milk, white wine vinegar, garlic, and paprika. I probably would of opted for some lime juice in the sauce but I was fresh out.

Dinner

Pan fried salmon and asparagus with a mixed salad

If you think about it, salads are kind of amazing. They are quick and easy, yet nutritious. Normally you have to sacrifice nutrition for quick and easy but not when it comes to salad. With just a little prep work and a protein you are done in no time. Salmon is probably my favorite protein. Both to eat and to cook…it also has skin that tastes pretty darn good…if it is crispy that is. I pan fried my salmon and then tossed it over some sauteed asparagus, mixed greens, radishes, avocado, bell pepper, and olives. I made a balsamic vinaigrette to go with it simply because the balsamic vinegar was already conveniently sitting in front of me, but feel free to dress your salad as you wish.

What are you cooking up this weekend?

Cooking with someone else in the kitchen is not something I am used to, but the other day I had the pleasure of sharing the kitchen with a crazy skydiver and fellow culinary student. Meet Michael:

I have to admit that I am a pretty big control freak when it comes to sharing a kitchen with someone, but since he passed his fundamentals class practical final, and is nearly as big of a food nerd as me, I gladly welcomed him into the kitchen.

We started off our day with a drive to the dollar bookstore to browse the cookbook section and pick out a random recipe that sounded somewhat appealing. After spending a long enough time sorting through old diet books we finally stumbled upon this hidden treasure…

Inside this fashionable 80’s style Bon Appetit cookbook was this little gem of a recipe:

Macadamia Nut Crusted Sea Bass with Thai Red Curry Sauce

Fish in a Thai red curry sauce? Yes please. We headed over to the market for a few ingredients and got started in the kitchen.

Michael got started on cutting up some zucchini that would end up being encrusted in cornmeal (organic of course )  and pan fried in some coconut oil while I got started on the red curry sauce.

I really enjoyed the sauce in this recipe. It packed a lot of flavor, but it was mild in the curry department. If you are used to Indian curry’s you might find this sauce a little weak, but resist the urge to add more curry and just enjoy as is. Taste the coconut, and the curry paste–love the flavors, and accept the differences.

Here is the Recipe

Thai Red Curry Sauce

1 Tbs. Coconut oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 Tbs. Thai Red Curry paste

2 Cups chicken stock

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

2 Tbs. fish sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tbs. of water

1 Tbs. cornstarch

10 large fresh basil leaves

Heat the oil in a heacy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add curry paste and stir 1 minute. Add stock and coconut milk. Simmer 5 minutes and stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, and garlic. Simmer until reduced almost half. ( about 20 minutes ). Mix together the water and the cornstarch in a separate bowl. Slowly add the mixture to the sauce a little at at time until it has reached your desired thickness. You can puree the sauce in a blender first or serve as is.

Now for the fish.

We couldn’t find Sea Bass so we subbed it with Cod. It worked really well. We did follow the recipe and used regular flour but I would love to revise it and make it paleo/gluten free friendly. You could probably get away with grinding the Macadamia nuts down making them as fine as possible and soaking the fish some milk first or just dipping them in egg to get the nuts to stick to it. I think I will try this soon and see how it works.

Here is the original recipe:

Macadamia-Crusted Sea Bass

1 cup toasted macadamia nuts ( About 4 ounces )

2 cups all purpose flour

1 egg beaten to blend

4- 6 ounce sea bass fillets

Thai Red Curry Sauce

Chopped fresh basil

Finely chop nuts with 1 cup of flour in processor. Transfer the mixture to medium bowl. Place remaining 1 cup flour in another medium bowl. Place beaten egg in shallow bowl. Season fish with salt and pepper. ( Season your breading too.. it always helps ) Lightly coat the fish with plain flour; shake off excess. Dip fish into egg, then into macadamia nut mixture, coating completely and pressing nuts firmly to adhere to fish.

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add fish and cook until crusty and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. ( Or less )

And the end result:

We served it over a bed of rice and with the zucchini as the side. Finding old, cheap cookbooks is a new hobby of mine and everything turned out delicious. It will be intriguing to see what we cook up in the kitchen next…Tamales anyone?

 

 

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