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Posts Tagged ‘Tilapia’

I love to cook but at the end of a long day I want a meal that is easy to put together. When I am pressed for time I often resort to throwing whatever vegetables, proteins and grains I have on hand into a bowl and call it a ‘big salad’. These dinners are okay once in a while, but they are boring and not something I consider a “real meal”. I have had a few of these throw together dinners this week and decided it was time to reconnect with my inner chef and get in the kitchen.

For dinner tonight I made Pan-seared Tilapia in a Lemon-Dill Butter Sauce and  Crunchy Broccoli Salad with Orange-Curry Yogurt Dressing.

When pan-searing, it is important to have everything together before you cook the protein: “mise en place”. Before heating the pan for my fish I assembled the broccoli salad, prepared the fish and set out the lemon-dill butter and herbed olive oil for the finishing sauce.

For crunchy broccoli salad I combined about 3 TBS- 1/4 cup of plain low fat yogurt, the juice and a few segments of 1/4 of a navel orange, curry and cinnamon to taste. I added a large bunch of chopped broccoli, celery, dried cranberries and roasted almonds to the the sauce and placed the mixture in the fridge to chill while I cooked the Tilapia.

To prepare the Tilapia, I lightly dusted both sides of the fish with a pan-searing flour and cracked black pepper. I added about 1-2 tsp of olive oil to a sautee pan over a medium heat until a faint smoke appeared around the edges of the pan (You want to maintain a light smoke around the edges of the pan. If it becomes too smokey, adjust heat!). I placed the Tilapia in the pan for about 3-4 minutes per side until it was slightly golden and crispy. When the fish was finished I turned the heat off and added 1 tsp of an herbed oil and 1 tps of a lemon-dill finishing butter to deglaze the pan and create a butter sauce to spoon over the fish. This method generates a moist fish with tons of flavor!

It was a simple, elegant and refreshing dinner to have at the end of a long (and hot!) day. It was exactly what I was craving. Speaking of cravings, on the way back from my from my work trip we stopped off for soft serve!! Ice cream is my all time favorite food, and in the summer my ice cream of choice is soft serve chocolate-vanilla twist. Naturally, I always have to add rainbow sprinkles to make it a true summer treat! I was a very happy girl. Loving Summer,

Nora

What are your favorite Summer foods?

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Enter: A Day in My Life:

This is my dinner on my coffee table. It is one of the three places in my apartment where I tend to settle down for meals. Breakfast is almost always in bed (and dinner on occasion) and when I am home for lunch/dinner, these meals are often enjoyed sitting at my desk or in the living room in front of my computer and TV. Such is my typical, single, college life. Unless I am stuck on campus or have dinner plans, I often cook for one and eat alone. I find solace in making myself a meal that satisfies at the end of a long day. As much as I enjoy cooking for others, it is also special to be able to prepare nice things for one.

Tonight I was randomly craving BBQ sauce and baked sweet potato wedges with cinnamon. I pulled out a piece of Tilapia from my freezer earlier and thought, “Why not bake it with barbecue sauce?” Exactly…why not? For dinner tonight I made Barbecue Tilapia with a Spinach, Mixed Vegetable and Peach side salad and Cinnamon Baked Sweet Potato Wedges. I swear I could put cinnamon or barbecue sauce on anything and it would taste like a million bucks. Along side I had a glass of Bogle Petite Sirah. I normally would not pair this wine with a light fish but the heavy sauce needed a complex wine. It was such a simple yet nice meal to satisfy my cravings and give me some warmth on this cold April night.

Serving Dinner For One,

Nora

What are your favorite dishes to make when you are cooking for just yourself?

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It has been quite a hectic day FILLED with food. I didn’t end up finishing my paper last night and went to sleep around 3am! This meant I had to wake up and finish it this morning. I HATE procrastinating. I usually keep a calendar and schedule when I know I have projects due so I don’t feel rushed and anxious. Quite frankly, when I try to do things last-minute I know they wont be my best effort, and I always want to be proud of my work. Recently my mind has been elsewhere trying to dream up my life after college. I want to contribute and dedicate myself to healthy living, food and wine on a much larger scale than I do now. I am searching for a career and a purpose.

When I do “crunch time” work, I get really antsy. I feel like I’m moving 100 miles a minute and am never focused. I fall into snacking habits to keep me calm. I’m not sure why, but I have it set in my head that I need snacks to complete my task. Every time I finish one, I have to run to get something else. I found that I had only written a few pages after breakfast (another green monster and granola bowl with an Amazing Grass Wheatgrass packet added today…interesting texture and made me feel energized!) before I ran back into the kitchen to grab a Jonagold. As soon as I finished my apple I ran back to the kitchen and had to make toast. Okay you get the picture. Basically write/read 1-2 pages grab a snack is my pattern. I literally sat in bed with my laptop from 8:30 am-1pm paper writing and snacking. A few snack highlights: 2 slices of multigrain bread (the dense bread from my bakery!) with cinnamon, almond butter, organic raspberry jam and more cinnamon on top. As soon as the bread popped out of the toaster I sprinkled it with cinnamon. I couldn’t decide if I should top my almond butter with jam or pumpkin butter, so why not both? I finished it with more cinnamon and I kid you not, the second I finished one slice I needed another it was THAT good.I also tried the Kardea Lemon-Ginger Bar. The texture/visual appearance reminds me of oatmeal cookie dough batter! I smelled lemon when I opened the package so I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, I couldn’t taste the ginger and the lemon flavor was pretty mild. For a while I was in a Lemon Zest Luna Bar phase (It is such a refreshing flavor!) and I love the potent flavor of those, so I do have a slight bias. I also loved the Kardea Banana Nut Bar so much that the others I have tried are hard to live up to it.

I’m not complaining, the food was good and I got my paper done but I was still in my pjs at 1pm with a belly full of food. I handed in my paper and needed fresh air! I decided to go for a run and soak up the blue sky and sunshine. It was exactly what I needed. As I walked back to my apartment I had a heartfelt phone call with my mom about life and what I’m going to be doing next year. I feel so fortunate to be able to talk to my parents about anything. They are my allies and my best friends.

When I got back, it was highly apparent that I had been cooped up in my room paper writing for two days. There were piles of clothes, scattered papers and books, and plates everywhere. I needed to clean. I restored my room to normal order and took a relaxing shower to refresh myself. For dinner I decided to continue with the “clean” theme and made Pan-seared Lemon-Thyme Tilapia with Asparagus and a Berry Salad. So light and refreshing after a day of snacks! I love adding berries, light green veggies (cucumbers and celery), feta cheese and nuts to spicy arugula. It is so light and packs a punch of flavor!

While waiting for my laundry to dry(when I clean…I CLEAN!), I had some dessert. I was going to go for more Chocolate Bunny for dessert but decided to keep it classy with mint cookies and cream with a frozen cherry on top  in a wine glass. Everything is more fun to eat when you serve it in a wine glass! I felt elegant ;).

Job Searching,

Nora

What are little things you do to “treat” yourself? (**If I’m having a bad day I always make myself something really nice and plate it up using fancy dishes. I love sharing my cooking with others but sometimes it’s fun cooking for one!**)

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This new food venture was easy, elegant and delectable: Spice Crusted Tilapia with Warm Kabocha Salad. I have used the pan-searing method to cook fish before, but have never attempted to create a crust. I have also never tried Kabocha squash but was dying to so that was also a bit of a new food venture for me. For the coating, I chose an array of spices, including cinnamon to give the fish lots of flavor without being too overwhelming, and combined it with panko and finely chopped pistachios for added crunch and crust texture. I found that it was extremely important to pat the fish dry with paper towel before adding the topping, and make sure to firmly press the mixture on to the fish. When the pan is heated, the crust side is placed down first, and it was essential to pay attention to the fish at this point to make sure the topping becomes brown without burning. It was a nice mixture for the bland fish and the texture was incredible. It was crunchy without being tough or flakey, it was essentially an accent to the fish.

I was excited to try Kobacha. I have read and heard about it, so when I saw it in the grocery store it magically found its way into my cart. I love butternut and acorn squash, and was expecting it to be very similar to those varieties. Much to my surprise and delight it was very different and after contemplating the flavor sensation I was experiencing, I decided it had a similar taste to PUMPKIN! I roasted it with the skin on, it was tender, delightful and even better cold the next day. I will definitely be making this stuff again, I could easily have eaten the entire squash in one sitting.

Get Fishy,

Nora

What is your favorite fish and cooking method?

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