Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mediterranean Mixed Vegetable Salad

Mmm... this was so good!  It's a delicious combination of all sorts of vegetables, both roasted and fresh, with the addition of olives and anchovies for some serious flavor.

What you need:

8 ounce cremini mushroons
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 head of garlic, with the very top snipped off
1 tomato, chopped
Cucumber, chopped (I probably used about a cup)
1/2 cup Greek olives, pits removed (I just used a jar that said "Greek Olives", because that's what we have here, but if I was back in the States, I'd probably use Kalamata)
1/2 cup artichokes, chopped
1 small red onion, sliced very thinly
1/3 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 tin of anchovies, chopped
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
2-3 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
1-2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
Black Pepper
Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)

Start by roasting the mushrooms, onion, and garlic head:   Spray a baking pan with olive oil, spread the vegetables out on it, spray again, and season with salt and pepper.  Roast at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked through, the onion is slightly blackened, and the garlic is soft.  Let cool a bit. 

Mix together the tomato, cucumber, Greek olives, artichokes, red onion, parsley, and the roasted vegetables.  Squeeze the garlic out of the cloves.  Mix it with the anchovies, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and a bit of black pepper.  Pour this over the vegetables and mix it all up.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes, but preferably an hour or two, to allow the flavors to meld.  Give it a taste test and season with extra pepper, vinegar, or lemon juice if necessary.  

Serve with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese on top and enjoy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thai Pumpkin Curry (Sauce or Soup)

I made this as a sauce for the Slow-Roasted Salmon I posted, but it could also serve as a thick soup as a light main course (or poured over a salad of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber, which is what I ate for lunch the next day after the salmon).  

The first step to this recipe is roasting some vegetables.  This can be done ahead of time and the roasted vegetables can be kept in the fridge until you're ready to make the rest of it.

Roasted Vegetables:
3 cups chopped fresh pumpkin (about 1 and a half inch square pieces)
1 large carrot, chopped into 1 inch slices
1 medium-large onion, quartered
4-6 small green Thai hot peppers
Salt and pepper OR curry powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 13 x 9 pan with olive oil and spread the vegetables across it.  Spray them again and season with salt and pepper OR curry powder.  Roast vegetables until soft and slightly browned.  You may need to take the peppers out early so that they don't get too crispy.  Set vegetables aside while you start the rest of the curry.

What You Need For the Curry:

3 Tablespoons chopped fresh ginger 
Couple of cloves minced garlic (or more)
2-3 Tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste
1 teaspoon EACH Garam Masala and ground Coriander
1/2 can coconut milk
Ketjap Manis OR Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 cup Milk
Roasted Vegetables (from above instructions)
2-4 dried Thai hot peppers
1 teaspoon Kaffir Lime Leaves
1 can minced clams, NOT drained
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced red peppers.

Start by skimming off a glob of the thick coconut cream from the top of the coconut milk can.  Add this to a large greased pot along with the ginger, garlic, curry paste, garam masala, and coriander.  Fry these together until the spices become fragrant and have browned slightly.  Add in the rest of the coconut milk (altogether using half of the can), a couple splashes of Ketjap Manis or soy sauce, the fish sauce, milk, roasted vegetables. and dried hot peppers.  Let simmer for a bit (maybe 5-10 minutes), then use an immersion blender to puree everything.  Add some water if necessary.  Add the Kaffir lime leaves, can of clams, the mushrooms, and red peppers (and possibly more water, depending on how thick you want it).  Let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.  You also may want to add a bit more Katjap Manis, fish sauce, or some garlic powder after a taste test.

Enjoy on its own or as a sauce for the salmon! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Slow-Roasted Salmon

Usually when I make salmon, I use my broiler on high, which is great for two reasons: One, I'm impatient and this is really quick.  Two, the high temps allow the bit of brown sugar I rub on to caramelize and create a delicious topping.  

However, I kept seeing "slow-roasted salmon" recipes pop-up when I was surfing the internet for new recipe ideas and decided that I had to give it a try, based on all of the ravings in reviews.

The salmon is delicious all on its own, and I'll start by just giving you a recipe for that. I made a Thai Pumpkin Curry Sauce (which also could stand alone as a hearty soup) to accompany my salmon and will be posting that later.

A piece of delicious, slow-roasted Salmon

What you need:

Salmon fillet, any size (I used a big slab- probably about 2 pounds and a little over an inch thick)
Seasonings: I used a sprinkle of brown sugar, salt, pepper, and ground coriander this time.  Sometimes I also add chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder, and sub out the coriander for cumin.


Place your salmon on a large baking sheet, skin side down.  Sprinkle your seasonings evenly over the top of it and rub gently into the flesh.  Heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Let the spices sink in a bit and the fish come to room temperature- about 20 minutes.  Place the fish in the oven and let cook for 45 minutes to an hour if you are using a big piece like a did.  Otherwise, adjust the time accordingly.  Try not to open the oven and peek too much, because the slow build-up of heat in the oven is what makes this work.  (I did peek once though, and every thing still worked out fine)  When it is fully cooked, the flesh should flake easily and be opaque.

Enjoy it on its own or try making a spicy curry sauce to finish it off.  

Here's the salmon served with rice, my Thai Pumpkin Curry Sauce, roasted peanuts, ad cilantro.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Eggplant Curry

This is a delicious, super healthy vegetable curry that can serve either as a side dish or light but filling main course.  I serve it for myself over a bed of lettuce with plain yogurt on the side, but rice would also work wonderfully as a base.  Or just use as a dip for pita chips or naan bread.

What you need:

1 large eggplant
1 medium-large onion, chopped up
1 stalk of celery, sliced
1-2 inch piece ginger, sliced thinly
2-3 hot peppers of your choice, sliced thinly
2-3 tablespoons curry powder (or use a mix of tumeric, coriander, garam marsala, cumin)
1-2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
Other vegetables (optional, see note at bottom)
Ketjap Manis or soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1-2 cups milk of choice (Sometimes I just go with regular lowfat milk, other times I use a little coconut milk and part almond milk)
2-3 teaspoons Tahini

Start by roasting the eggplant:

Heat the oven to 425 F and poke a few holes in the eggplant (or else it can explode all over your oven, as I've discovered)  Roast the eggplant for about 25 minutes, or until it is all soft.  Remove from oven, let cool, peel off the skin, and chop the mushy meat of it up.  Before chopping, you can take out some of the seeds from the middle if you want.

Now for the rest of the curry:

Spray a frying pan with oil and add the onion, celery, ginger, peppers, curry powder/ other spice blend, and fennel seeds.  Let the spices toast a bit as you stir the vegetables around the pan.  Add more oil if you feel inclined (this will make this step easier because you won't have to worry as much about burning, but I like to use minimal oil to cut fat).  After everything has browned a bit, add a generous splash of Ketjap Manis or soy sauce and the garlic powder, stir, and let cook for another minute or two.  Add the bay leaves, milk, and tahini.  Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.   You may need to add a little extra water or milk depending on how much vegetable matter you have- the consistency should be pretty thick, but still saucy.  Enjoy!

*Every time I make this, I use a slightly different mix of vegetables, depending on what I have on hand.  You can try adding in chopped bell peppers or leeks at the same point that you add the Ketjap Manis.  Or add mushrooms or tomatoes at the same point as the milk.  Or throw in some roasted pumpkin (a personal favorite).  If you add a bunch more vegetables, just adjust the other seasonings to taste.

Zucchini Chips

Craving something salty and crunchy, but trying to avoid fried, carbs, and empty calories in general?  Make some baked zucchini chips!  These are delicious and super healthy.  I kept seeing recipes for things like this all over Pinterest and decided to give them a try.  Trust me, they're definitely worth giving a try.

What you need:

1-2 zucchini, sliced as thinly and evenly as possible (this will take a good sharp knife and a bit of patience)
Olive Oil cooking spray
Seasonings:  Salt, pepper, garlic powder OR some sort of season-all and pepper OR whatever combination of things you feel like using


Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a cooking sheet (or two) with olive oil and then lay the zucchini slices out on the pan(s).  They can be just touching, but not overlapping.  Spray again and sprinkle your seasonings on top.  Just be careful about how much salt you're using- these shrink A LOT and will end up way to salty if you use more than a tiny bit of salt.  Place in oven and bake for 1 and a half to 3 hours, or until they have become nice and crispy.  Enjoy!