Friday, July 27, 2012

Goat Cheese and Nectarine Filo Pastries

This would make a lovely appetizer or accompaniment to a light main dish.  I made four and served them along with my earlier post of tilapia and shrimp on top of salad.  They are decadent and delicious.  This makes four generous servings (with the salad and seafood I only had half of one.  Rob managed his with impressive swiftness).  And there are the two (and a half) leftover for another day!

What you need:

3-4 ounces goat cheese, divided into four pieces and shaped into 1/4-1/2 inch thick rounds
4 pieces thawed filo pastry
1 large nectarine, cut into thin slices
2 jalapenos, chopped into thin slices
1/3 cup mixture chopped fresh basil, mint, and sage- I used the most basil and the least sage
Salt and pepper

Spread your four pieces of filo out on a clean surface, one on top of the other (wrap the rest of package tightly and save for another use... or make more of these).  Place one round of goat cheese on the top filo piece.  Then top with three thin wedges of nectarines, a few slice of jalapeno, a sprinkle of the herbs, a pinch of salt and sprinkle of pepper.  Wrap the filo neatly around the goat cheese to create a little packet or bundle.  Place on a oil-sprayed baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining pieces.  Place any remaining nectarine or pepper slices alongside the packets and season lightly with salt.  Spray the entire pan with olive oil and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  The filo should be browned but not burned, and the extra nectarines should be slightly softened.  Top each packet with a few nectarine and pepper slices.  Serve on top of a green salad (preferably one that includes arugula).


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Coconut and Peach Tilapia and Shrimp

Super simple and pretty healthy.  Not a bad combo.  I served it on top of a salad with fresh lettuce, arugula, sliced radishes, avocado, and nectarines with some goat cheese and nectarine filo pastries (and made a light fruit vinaigrette to go on top of the greens).  Yum.

What you need (this is going to make enough for 4-6 people... we have lots of leftovers):

3/4 pound tilapia
3/4 pound shrimp, raw, peeled and deveined
1/2 packet coconut milk powder (or try using 1/2-1 cup coconut milk)
2-3 tablespoons unsweetened dried coconut
2-3 tablespoons peach nectar
1-2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (I used a raspberry flavored version because it's what I had, but I don't think it really matters)
1 tablespoon Ponzu (basically lime-y soy sauce, so if you don't have it, try a mix of lime juice and soy sauce)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix everything together.  Let marinate for 30 minutes or so.  Heat oven to High Broil.  Pour everything onto a baking sheet (include marinade).  Broil for 10-12 minutes until cooked through.

*If you want, you can broil the shrimp and tilapia without the marinade so that they get more of a "crust".  But I recommend that you still keep the marinade and bring it to a boil so that it can be served alongside as  a sauce.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Salad

Lately I've been on a serious roasted vegetable kick.  So this recipe is pretty similar to others I have posted recently, but has the significant addition of chicken.  No need for any sides other than maybe a little bread (though I did make a naan bread pizza with anchovies, fresh tomato, olives, and feta to accompany this for Rob).

Start by making the roasted veggies (these could even be made the day before and then stored in the fridge):

What you need:

A couple pounds of eggplant (maybe two medium- I used a variety of baby ones and part of a big one, because that's what I had), cut into 1-inch thick rounds
1/2 pound carrots or baby carrots- carrots should be cut into 1/8 inch slices and baby carrots cut in half if they are fat ones
1-2 red peppers, kept whole
1 medium onion, chopped roughly
1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and kept whole

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray two 13 x 9 pans with olive oil (or if you only have one, you can do this in batches, which is what I actually did).  Spread the eggplant and carrots across one pan, and the onion, red pepper, and mushrooms on the other.  Spray everything with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper.

Roast the eggplant pan for an hour and the other pan for 30 minutes.  If done, the vegetables should be soft and slightly browned.  Let cool and chop everything into bite sized pieces (make sure to remove the skin and seeds from the red pepper).  Place everything in a bowl.

For the rest of the salad:

1/2 pound- 1 pound cooked chicken, depending on how protein heavy you want it to be (see note below for cooking tips/ ideas)
1 cup sliced and quartered cucumber
1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 chopped Greek or Kalamata olives
1/2-1 cup chopped artichoke hearts (use the marinated ones if you don't mind the extra oil, or just the ones in brine, which is what I did)
4 anchovies, finely chopped
3-5 pickled jalapenos, chopped
1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
Black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, basil, and salt to taste (I probably used about 2 teaspoons each black pepper, oregano, and basil.  A ton of garlic powder, and a just a bit of salt, because my chicken was already seasoned, as were the veggies from the oven)

Optional (I would have added all of these, but circumstances on Saba prevented me from doing so):
1 head of roasted garlic, with the garlic squeezed out
Fresh Basil leaves
Fresh arugula (add this at the very end)

Mix everything together, refrigerate for an hour or a few, and serve on a bed of lettuce.  Sprinkle a little feta cheese on top if ya like.  Enjoy!

*Making the chicken:

You can simply boil the chicken, use meat from a rotisserie chicken (though not if you live on Saba), use leftover grilled, or saute some up like I did.  I used boneless chicken tenderloins and cooked them whole, because they are small enough that this works.  If I use breasts, I cut them up first.  Just heat your pan, add a good spray of olive oil, and add the chicken after it heats a bit.  Add a bit of salt right from the get go, because this helps the meat cook.  I also seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, poultry seasoning, and za'atar ( a Middle East spice mixture that I thought would work well with the rest of the salad).  When the chicken was almost done, I added a splash of white wine and lemon juice, turned down the heat to low, and covered it for the last couple minutes.  Once it's cooked, let it cool and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Speedy Pork and Pumpkin Curry

I got home at 5:45.  This was on the table by 6:15.  Yep, it's that quick.  And REALLY good.  And pretty healthy.  And it makes a lot, so you'll have leftovers for when you really don't have time to cook.  What more can you ask for?

I served it with some of my leftover vegetable salad, leftover cooked rice, and pita bread.   Without convenient leftovers, you'd still have time to cook up some rice while the curry is cooking and maybe roast a quick pan of asparagus or make green salad.  

What you need:

1/4 cup curry paste (I used Patak's mild curry)
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
1 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
3 tablespoons minced garlic (or substitute garlic powder)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3-5 dried hot red Thai peppers
1 package (with the 2 tenderloins, each 3/4-1 pound) pork tenderloin, chopped into 1 inch chunks 
2 tablespoons Ketjap Manis
1 cup coconut milk
1-2 cups milk, water, or something along those lines (I used a light soy milk to cut calories and I also sometimes use unsweetened almond milk in things like this.  If you are not watching calories too carefully, you could also just use more coconut milk for a richer version.)
1/4-1/3 tomato sauce or ketchup 

Start by heating a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the curry paste, coriander, chili powder, black pepper, ginger, garlic, onion, and red peppers and let cook for a few minutes.  The mixture should become fragrant and slightly browned.  Add the pork and let this brown for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the pumpkin and continue to stir-fry.  If the mixture is too dry and starting to stick too much, go ahead and add the Ketjap Manis and a splash of water to help it along.  Once the pumpkin is slightly browned and beginning to soften, add the coconut milk, the Ketjap Manis (if you haven't already), the milk/ water, and the tomato sauce.  Reduce heat and let simmer until both the pumpkin and pork are cooked through (the pork can be just slightly pink in the middle.  Taste test and add a bit more Ketjap Manis, garlic powder, or even some regular curry powder if you find it lacking. 


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Fresh Basil and Arugula

Mmmm... so tasty, so healthy, and simple to make.  It was a lovely side to the baby octopus I made, but would also make a nice light lunch or dinner on its own or with some bread or rice.  

What you need:

2 medium eggplants, cut into 1 inch thick rounds
2-3 cups cremini mushrooms
3 jalapeno peppers
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch wedges
cooking spray, salt, pepper
2-3 cups fresh arugula, chopped
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
2-3 small tomatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup (or more) seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon EACH chili oil and sesame oil
1-2 teaspoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon (or more if you're a garlic fiend like me) garlic powder
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray two 13 x 9 pans with olive oil.  Spread the vegetables across the two pans (I filled one up with the eggplant and the other with the other vegetables.  That way you can easily leave the eggplant in longer).  Spray with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven until softened, lightly browned, and cooked through.  This took about 20 minutes for the pan with the mushrooms, peppers, and onion, and between 45 minutes and an hour for the eggplant.  Let cool a bit, and then chop everything into bite sized chunks (except the mushrooms, which I like to leave whole).  Place the veggies in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients.  Toss and let sit for 20 minutes (or more) before serving to let the flavors meld a bit.

Barbecued Baby Octopus

Okay, first step to this is getting over the cute little baby octopus that you are planning to boil, broil, and eat. Maybe chop them up first if that helps you out.

Then proceed with the directions below.  I promise, they're quite tasty!  Similar to calamari (not the deep fried kind).  I like to serve them with a roasted vegetable salad and maybe some fried rice or a light naan bread "pizza".

What you need:

1 pound frozen baby octopus, thawed and cleaned
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 basil tomato sauce
2-3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon hot chili-garlic sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 teaspoons garlic powder (or use minced garlic)
1/4 very thinly sliced onion
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped or minced fresh ginger
chopped fresh basil and cilantro (optional)

Start by bring the wine, balsamic vinegar, and octopus to a boil.  Lower heat, and let simmer for 20 minutes. While simmering, preheat oven to a high broil.  Then drain the octopus, discarding the liquid.  Place octopus and the rest of the ingredients in a 13 x 9 pan and mix everything together.  Broil for 10-15 minutes, depending on how hot your broiler gets.  The onion should slightly cook and the the sauce should become thick and become baked onto the octopus in places.  That's it!  At this point, if you have it, add a bit of freshly chopped basil and cilantro.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Ginger Peach Deliciousness (A Cocktail)

This is SO good.  I got the idea from the "Shearwater Cocktail" at Shearwater Resort here on Saba.  It's light and refreshing, but can pack a punch if you want it to.  The key ingredient here is the Ginger syrup.  It's just perfect.  You can choose to blend it or not- I've done both and both turned out great.  The blended version is little more watered down- perfect for an afternoon drink. YUM.

What you need (the amounts are given in inexact amounts so that you can adjust to your own preference.  I vary them myself depending on my mood):

1.5-2 ounces pear vodka
1-1.5 ounces Ginger syrup (see recipe below)
1-2 ounces pear nectar
1 small handful mint leaves
Club Soda (for non-blended)

If not blending:

Muddle mint in the bottom of a tall glass.  Fill with ice.  Shake the vodka, syrup, and nectar.  Pour into glass.  Fill with club soda.

If blending:

Blend everything (other than the club soda) with a couple cups of ice.  Pour into glass of your choice (you might want to double everything and pour into a big mason jar- that may be the best way to drink it).

For the ginger syrup:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into rough chunks

Start by boiling the ginger in the water for 15 minutes or so, until the ginger has slightly softened.  Add the sugar and bring back to a boil.  Boil another minute or two.  Let cool.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chocolate Mousse

A super rich and decadent dessert that is quick and easy to put together.  Pairs deliciously with red wine, by the way.

What you need:

4-5 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (the better the quality, the better the mousse, but I've used plain chocolate chips before and it has turned out fine.  This time I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate, because on Saba, that was my best option.  If you have those nice bittersweet baking bars available, that's what I recommend)

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup whipping cream

3 eggs, separated

2 tablespoons Kahlua or Amaretto or some other sort of sweet liquor that you have

2 teaspoons white sugar

Start by whipping the cream until stiff.  Place in the refrigerator to keep it cold.  Next, melt the chocolate with the butter over a double broiler, stirring until smooth.  Turn heat off and set away from stove to allow it to cool a bit.  

Separate the eggs.  The yolks should go into a large mixing bowl, and the whites should go into a glass or metal 4-8 cup bowl.  Take a large spoonful of the somewhat cooled melted chocolate and stir it into the egg yolks.  Now stir in the rest of the chocolate and also add the Kahlua (or whatever you are choosing to use).  Place bowl in the fridge.  

Start beating the egg whites and sprinkle in the sugar.  Beat until stiff peaks form.  

Remove the whipped cream and the chocolate mixture from the fridge.  Gently fold first the whipped cream, and then the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.  At this point, you can either spoon it into individual serving dishes or keep it in the big bowl.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  Enjoy!


Kimchi is traditionally a fermented Korean vegetable condiment.  My version is a "fresh" kimchi (meaning it hasn't fermented underground for a long time) using napa cabbage.  You can make this as spicy or not as you want.  It is supposed to be quite spicy, but sometimes I make it less so because I like to eat it more as a side dish rather than a spicy condiment.  If you can, plan ahead and make this a day or two before you want to use it. It definitely gets better.

What you need:

12 cups of Napa cabbage, chopped 
3 tablespoons of salt
1-2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce (or more if you want it really spicy)
Sriracha sauce (optional, if you want it really spicy)
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-2 teaspoons fish sauce 
3 tablespoons minced garlic (or a tablespoon or so of garlic powder)
1/4 + cup seasoned rice vinegar
1-2 tablespoon soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2-1 cup thinly sliced cucumber 


Place the Napa cabbage in a large bowl and toss with the salt.  Place another large bowl on top of this and something heavy in this bowl to weigh it down.  Let sit for 4-5 hours, stirring once or twice.  The cabbage should really wilt down.  Dump the cabbage into a colander and thoroughly rinse to get rid of extra salt.  Put it back into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients.  Toss and let sit for at least an hour before serving, but preferably for a day or two in the fridge.  


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Asian Vinaigrette

A healthy, mouthwatering accompaniment to an Asian-themed dinner and the leftovers tasted even better the next day as a lunch.  In fact, I would even recommend making this the day before you want it (if you're able to plan that much in advance, which I am usually not).  The eggplant soaks up more of the dressing and the flavors meld and intensify.

I forgot to pay attention to how much of everything I was using, but I'll give my general estimates.  Make sure to taste test the vinaigrette before pouring over the eggplant and adjust if necessary.

To make the roasted vegetables:

What you need:

Eggplant, cut into 1 inch (or maybe even slightly thicker) rounds.  I used enough to almost cover the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan... probably 5 or 6 baby eggplant or 2 large ones
Jalapeno peppers- 4/5 
1 head of garlic, with the tip top cut off to just reveal the cloves.
Olive oil spray, salt, pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 13x9 pan with olive oil.  Spread the vegetables out on it.  Spray the tops of the vegetables with olive oil.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or until vegetables are softened and lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Once, they have cooled a bit, squeeze the garlic out and chop the jalapenos.  At this point, you can remove the skin the eggplant if you want, but I prefer to leave it on.  Place the eggplant in a bowl.  Reserve the jalapenos and garlic for the vinaigrette.

To make the vinaigrette:

What you need:  *Note: these are really just estimates.  I'd say the proportions are pretty accurate, but I'm not sure about the amounts, so you may need to add a little more of everything to get enough to coat the eggplant.

1 tablespoon (or more) soy sauce
juice of a lime
1/4 cup (or more) seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 tablespoon sweet chili lime sauce/ marinade
2 teaspoons Huy Fong chili garlic paste (this is pretty spicy, so use less if you don't like spicy)
1 teaspoon black pepper
Garlic Powder (optional, if you really like garlic)
1 roasted head of garlic, cloves squeezed out and chopped (from above)
Roasted jalapeno peppers, chopped roughly (from above)

Mix everything together.  Pour over eggplant and let sit for at least 30 minutes, but preferably much longer (like I said, it was definitely even better the next day).  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Broiled Calamari Salad

YUM.  This is so good and also really healthy.  I've now made two versions- the picture is of the "Mediterranean" version.  Both recipes are below.  The ingredients are listed separately, but the instructions are the same for both.  I served the first version with the Mediterranean Vegetable Salad recipe I posted earlier and some Parmesan garlic bread.  The "Asian" version was served with a curried pumpkin soup and some sweet potato pancakes.

The first version is largely based off of with only slight modifications.  So thanks Georgie!

The Mediterranean Version Ingredients:

1 pound calamari, cleaned and sliced into bite size pieces (use both the tentacles and the tubes)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic (and I also added a bit of garlic powder because I like it extra-garlicky)
1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (optional, sprinkle on top after serving)

The Asian Version Ingredients:

3/4 pound calamari, cleaned and sliced into bite size pieces (use both the tentacles and the tubes)
1/4 pound raw shrimp, peeled (use large or jumbo so that they cook evenly enough with the calamari)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice or rice vinegar
2 tablespoons minced garlic (and I also added a bit of garlic powder because I like it extra-garlicky)
1 can (14-15 ounces) Asian stir fry mushrooms, drained and rinsed, with the extra moisture squeezed out
1/2 leek, chopped


Preheat oven to broil on high. Mix all ingredients together and spread in a greased 13 x 9 pan.  Broil for 10-20 minutes (depends on your oven's temp) until cooked through and slightly browned.  Stir it once during this process.  Enjoy!