Friday, July 30, 2010

thursday - mahi mahi with zucchini salsa verde and roasted tomatoes, fennel, and white beans

Last night I grilled mahi mahi and topped it with salsa verde made with zucchini based on this recipe from Bon Appétit magazine. I usually am not a huge fan of zucchini, but this salsa was really fresh tasting and had a lovely, vibrant green color.

I used a little less zucchini than the recipe called for, based on the amount of onion and jalapeño that I needed to use up. The recipe made a ton, so it will be showing up again soon. On the side, I made roasted tomatoes, fennel, and white beans, also from this month's Bon Appétit, but I decreased the total amount of olive oil called for in the original recipe. I also halved the recipe and found that it cooked quite a bit faster than the cooking times listed in the original recipe. It was a simple, rustic side dish that I enjoyed quite a bit.

I served the same salad as the previous night--arugula, goat cheese, and a dressing made up of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Zucchini Salsa Verde

1 medium zucchini, trimmed and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus leaves for garnish
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 jalapeño, chopped and seeded
Juice of 1 medium lime
1 1/4 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 5-ounce mahi mahi fillets
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Combine zucchini, cilantro, onion, jalapeño, lime juice, and lime zest in blender. Puree until salsa is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Transfer to small bowl. Cover; chill.

Rub mahi mahi with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat until opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Transfer fish to plates. Spoon some salsa over. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve with remaining salsa.

Makes 2 servings. Reserve leftover salsa for another use; will keep in refrigerator for 2 days or in freezer for up to 3 months.

Roasted Tomatoes, Fennel, and White Beans

1 large fennel bulb with fronds attached
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
1 pint grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
2 large fresh oregano sprigs
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 425° F. Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 1/4 cup. Trim fennel bulb and cut in half vertically. Cut each bulb half into 1/2-inch-wide wedges, leaving some core attached to each wedge.

Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes. Add fennel wedges in single layer; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until fennel begins to brown and soften, turning occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, garlic, and crushed red pepper; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Fold together gently.

Transfer skillet to oven. Bake fennel and tomatoes until soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Mix in beans and 3 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds. Bake 5 minutes longer to heat through. Sprinkle with remaining chopped fronds. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

wednesday - grilled pork tenderloin with cherry chutney and arugula salad

Cherry chutney is one of the many things I made after we came home from Hood River with 15 pounds of cherries a few weeks ago. I used this recipe with a few small tweaks-- Courtney doesn't like raisins, so I subbed dried apricots, and I didn't have cardamom pods or whole cloves so I used ground spices instead. I tripled the recipe and canned it, but it could be made in a single batch and eaten right away. The chutney is sweet, spicy, and delicious, and would also be great on grilled chicken or served with cheese and crusty bread. You could skip it and enjoy the pork solo, but it's a beautiful addition to the plate:

I served a simple salad of arugula and goat cheese, dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. We also had leftover wheat berries and chilled squash soup from the previous night.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Chutney

1 cup pitted cherries
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
2 tablespoons minced candied ginger
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1-inch piece cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
Salt and pepper

Combine cherries, vinegar, onion, brown sugar, apricots, ginger, mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt in sauce pan, and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer until mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; remove cinnamon stick before serving.

Rub the pork with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on grill over direct heat until seared, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer pork to indirect heat and cook until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part reads 145 to 150° F, about 15 minutes total. Remove from heat. Let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing. Top sliced pork with chutney.

Any leftover chutney will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

tuesday - wheat berry salad with roasted vegetables, chilled Thai squash soup

I was unfamiliar with wheat berries until a few years ago when I joined a CSA and they began showing up in my weekly share. I instantly fell in love with their chewy texture and nutty taste, and now eat them regularly. Wheat berries are the unprocessed whole wheat grain, and can be found in bulk sections of natural food stores or well-stocked supermarkets.

If you can't find them, any cooked whole grain will substitute well in this recipe--barley or brown rice are both good options. I roasted the vegetables, but if you don't want to heat up your kitchen the broccoli could be quickly steamed and the tomatoes and shallots could be used raw.

I also made this delicious chilled Thai squash soup from Bon Appétit magazine (I followed the recipe exactly, using light coconut milk to reduce the saturated fat content).

Since the soup needs time to chill, it can be made in the morning (or even the day before) and be ready to eat when you get home that evening. The soup is a great way to use up an abundance of summer squash, and the yogurt garnish gives a delicious tang to the slightly sweet, slightly spicy soup. Overall, it's a perfect chilled soup for a warm summer night.

Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Vegetables

4 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
Zest of 1 small lemon
Juice of 1 small lemon
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 cups cooked wheat berries*
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
4 cups arugula

Preheat oven to 450° F. In a large baking dish, toss broccoli, tomatoes, and shallots with 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast vegetables until broccoli is beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in cooked wheat berries and vegetables; toss to combine. Crumble goat cheese into wheat berry mixture, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir gently to combine. Serve wheat berry salad over a bed of arugula.

Makes 6 servings.

*To cook wheat berries, rinse dried wheat berries in a colander under running water. Place in a large stock pot and cover with several inches of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until wheat berries are tender, about one hour. Drain well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

monday - salmon, potato salad, & arugula salad

I topped last night's potato salad with a beet & red cabbage relish that I made from Ashley English's book, Canning & Preserving. It was really tasty with the potatoes and hard boiled eggs, adding a sweetness and tang that nicely offset the creaminess of the potatoes. Since the recipe isn't posted online I won't share it--but I do encourage you to buy her book! As an alternative, this potato salad recipe is similar and tasty. I grilled the salmon (coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side), and topped it with this yogurt sauce from I also tossed together a salad of arugula, grape tomatoes, goat cheese, basil, pepitas, and a vinaigrette made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Potato Salad with Beet Relish

1 1/2 pounds baby Dutch gold potatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup beet and red cabbage relish (or herb salad)
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, julienned

Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Spray heavy large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place potatoes and oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss. Arrange potatoes, cut side down, on prepared baking sheet. Roast until potatoes are brown on cut side, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, turn potatoes over. Roast until crisp, deep golden, and tender, about 10 minutes longer.

Transfer potatoes to dish. Spoon beet relish, chopped eggs, and basil over potatoes; toss before serving.

Monday, July 26, 2010

meal plan

I'm back from vacation and ready to return to home-cooked meals. Eating out is nice, but certainly gets old after a while. Since we didn't get home until last night and I missed my usual Sunday night meal, only four meals are in the plan this week.

Meal 1: wheat berry salad with roasted vegetables, chilled Thai squash soup
Meal 2: grilled salmon, potato salad with beet relish, arugula salad (plus leftover soup)
Meal 3: pork tenderloin with cherry chutney, arugula salad (plus leftover wheat berries)
Meal 4: mahi mahi with zucchini salsa verde, roasted tomato and fennel salad with cannellini beans

Sunday, July 18, 2010

stay tuned...

I'm taking a mini-break from blogging, so no meal plan to post this week. But check back next week! Lots of upcoming delicious meals.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

friday - grilled mahi mahi, red cabbage slaw, and grilled corn

This was a perfect summertime meal--didn't involve heating up the kitchen, didn't take a lot of time, and everything was fresh, delicious, and colorful. For the corn, I used a simplified version of this recipe, and for the slaw, I used this recipe but I added an apple to the mix. Between the orange juice and the apple, I think the slaw would have been plenty sweet without the brown sugar, so next time I'll leave it out or just add a little to taste, as needed. Both recipes came from Real Simple magazine.

Grilled Mahi Mahi

12 ounces mahi mahi fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper
Lime wedges (for garnish)
Cilantro (for garnish)

Preheat grill to medium-high. Toss mahi mahi with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle evenly with chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Grill fish for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until it flakes easily. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

2 ears corn, shucked
Cooking spray
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Lime wedges

Heat grill to medium-high. Spray the corn with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Grill, turning often, until tender and charred, 5 to 7 minutes.
Sprinkle corn with cayenne to taste. Serve with the lime wedges.

Red Cabbage Slaw

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper
1/2 medium red cabbage, cored and shredded
2 large carrots, grated
1 apple, cored and grated
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, whisk together the orange and lime juices, oil, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the cabbage, carrots, and apple, and toss to combine. Let sit, tossing occasionally, for at least 45 minutes. Fold in the cilantro before serving. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and lime juice.

Friday, July 16, 2010

thursday - fettucine with leeks, corn, and arugula

After getting extremely burned out in college due to a lack of both culinary knowledge and finances, I usually don't eat much pasta these days. However, I had two half-used packages in the pantry, which is why it's shown up twice this week. There are a lot of good whole grain pasta options these days (Barilla makes a really good one), but I used regular white pasta last night. I based the dish on this recipe from Real Simple magazine, but I substitued part-skim ricotta for the heavy cream, decreased the total amount of pasta, and increased the arugula. Overall, a very nice, summery pasta dish.

In semi-related news, we opened the first jar of dill pickles yesterday, and to quote my husband, Courtney, "They're like real pickles!" We were both pleasantly surprised that my first foray into actual pickle-making was such a success.

Fettucine with Leeks, Corn, and Arugula

8 ounces fettuccine (1/2 box)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks (white and light green parts), cut into thin half-moons
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1 cup corn kernels (from 2 ears)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
3 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking liquid prior to draining.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the corn and wine, and simmer until the corn is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the ricotta.

Add the pasta, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Add the reserved cooking liquid one tablespoon at a time as needed if the sauce is too dry. Fold in the arugula. Sprinkle with Parmesan before serving.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

wednesday - shrimp pesto pizza & salad

As promised, I used the garlic scape pesto from a few weeks ago on pizza last night--such a great idea! I swear the pesto was even better after being stored in the freezer all this time. I added a handful of cilantro and gave it a whir in the food processor, and it was so flavorful and delicious on the pizza, based on this recipe from Bobby Flay at I now have a new favorite pizza recipe, very simple, although I may try to work in some vegetables next time--I'm thinking grape tomatoes and roasted red peppers.

Colorful cilantro-garlic scape pesto:

I'm finally done canning the bounty from the cherry festival last weekend. Here is the last of three separate batches of cherry jam:

and the dill pickles (I haven't tried them yet, but the fact that they're all floating leads me to think they're hollow, which, according to my book, is not a desirable trait):

and the celebratory birthday rosé:

Grilled Shrimp Pizza with Cilantro-Garlic Scape Pesto

1/3 cup garlic scape pesto
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (or less, to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 package fresh whole wheat pizza dough (found in the refrigerated section of grocery stores or can usually be purchased from pizzerias)
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Put a pizza stone (or half sheet pan) in the bottom rack of oven as it preheats. Preheat grill to medium-high.

Pulse garlic scape pesto and cilantro leaves in food processor until combined. With food processor running, drizzle in up to 1 tablespoon olive oil until a coarse paste forms. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Roll or stretch out pizza dough, and place on the hot pizza stone. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

While the dough is baking, toss shrimp with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill until just pink, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Let cool slightly, then slice shrimp in half lengthwise.

Evenly spread pesto over the pizza crust, top with shrimp, and then top with mozzarella slices. Return pizza to the oven until cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Serve hot.

We paired the pizza with a salad of lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and pepitas, and tossed it with a dressing made up of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper:

Birthday dinner:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

tuesday - sushi

Last night I skipped out on the meal plan and enjoyed a pre-birthday dinner at Bamboo Sushi, which is the first certified, sustainable sushi restaurant in the world. It's quite possibly the best sushi I've ever had, and I love it even more because it's walking distance from our house. As an added bonus (it keeps getting better!), they offer a variety of house-pickled vegetables, which always gives me a thrill.

monday - pulled pork enchiladas & salad

A couple of weeks ago I cooked a pork shoulder in the slow cooker for pulled pork sandwiches, and it made waaaay more pork than we could possibly eat, so I stashed the leftovers in the freezer. I've been trying to decide how to use them, and finally landed on enchiladas. Pork shoulder is great in the slow cooker because it stays so moist, but it's definitely much higher in fat than pork tenderloin (which is what I usually cook). Because of this, I think it's worth taking the time to trim as much fat from the surface of the roast as possible. It still comes out moist, but it's a little more forgiving to your arteries. I used reduced-fat sour cream and cheese, which I have mixed feelings about. Often, reduced-fat items have a lot of extra ingredients added to improve the texture & mouth feel which are impacted by the removal of fat. In my opinion, it's better to have a small amount of the full-fat, less-processed version than a chemical- and additive-laden reduced-fat version of a food. So, if you can't find reduced-fat sour cream or cheese without a lot of weird ingredients added, stick to the full-fat versions but reduce the amounts called for in recipes if you're monitoring your saturated fat and/or calorie intake. I paired the enchiladas with a green salad--lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and pepitas tossed with dressing made up of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Pulled Pork Enchiladas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles, drained
3 cups cooked pork shoulder, shredded into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
12 corn tortillas
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese blend

Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and green chiles, and cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally. Add pork. Stir to combine, and cook until pork is heated through. Remove from heat, and stir in sour cream, cilantro, and lime juice. Set aside.

In a large skillet, combine tomato sauce, water, chili powder, cumin, and garlic. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool slightly.

Dip one tortilla in sauce to coat both sides. Spoon a heaping 1/4 cup of the pork mixture onto the tortilla; roll tortilla around filling. Arrange in baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, or lime wedges.

Assembling the enchiladas:

Out of the oven...

And onto the plate:

sunday - grilled swordfish with mango-sesame noodles and peas

I've been a bit remiss with my posts this week--I blame the cherries. I may have overshot how much I could reasonably process, along with the pickling cucumbers and blueberries I also brought home this weekend. Whew. Sunday's meal took under 20 minutes to prepare, since I used the leftover mango-sesame dressing from the chicken & vegetables I made last week. I based the meal on this recipe at, but I used swordfish instead of chicken. The soba noodles & peas cooked in three minutes, and the swordfish cooked up quickly on the grill.

Grilled Swordfish with Mango-Sesame Soba Noodles and Snap Peas

1 8- to 9-ounce package Japanese-style noodles (such as soba or udon)
12 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup Mango-Sesame Dressing
2 6-ounce swordfish steaks
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Sesame seeds (optional)
Chili garlic sauce (optional)

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles. Cook 1 minute (or 2 minutes less than recommended cooking time on package), then add snap peas and cook an additional 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain pasta and peas, and rinse with cold water until cool. Transfer to large bowl, and toss with sesame oil. Add cilantro, and toss with enough dressing to coat.

Rub swordfish with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill 2 to 3 minutes per side until cooked through. Top noodles and swordfish with sesame seeds and chili garlic sauce, if desired, and drizzle with any remaining dressing.

Noodles and peas:

Finished plate:

This week's actual meal plan and grocery list--nothing fancy here:

Cherries (6 lbs. of Rainiers)...

cherries (Bings)...

and more cherries (Gibralters)...

Plus our hand-picked blueberries. I'll say it again, whew!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

meal plan for the week

I spent yesterday at the cherry festival in Hood River, and came home with 15 pounds (or maybe even more) of cherries. Which means I'll be occupied for the next few days pitting and chopping cherries for jams, marmalades, preserves, and whatever else I can think of. Also, we picked blueberries here:

Overall, it was a fun and gorgeous day. Here's this week's meal plan:

Meal 1: Grilled swordfish with udon noodles, snap peas, and mango-sesame dressing
Meal 2: Pulled pork enchiladas, salad
Meal 3: Grilled mahi mahi, red cabbage slaw, & grilled corn
Meal 4: Pizza with grilled shrimp and garlic scape pesto, salad
Meal 5: Fettucine with leeks, corn, & arugula

Saturday, July 10, 2010

friday - sirloin/salmon, potatoes, & chimichurri

I originally had warm red cabbage slaw on my meal plan for last night, but Portland is in the midst of a heat wave and my nearly 100-year-old house doesn't have A/C. It's been manageable, but I spent the day making beet & rosemary relish (from Ashley English's Canning & Preserving--delicious!), and I was overheated and lazy by the time dinner rolled around. The cabbage remains in good shape, so it will hang out for a little while longer. I did have about a cup of grape tomatoes left over from the polenta earlier this week, so I halved them and tossed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, and crumbled goat cheese for a quick salad, plus I opened a jar of pickled beets that I canned last month. Altogether, dinner was ready in under twenty minutes. For the sirloin and salmon, I rubbed both with olive oil, salt, and pepper and threw them on the grill--about 2 minutes per side for the thin-cut sirloin, 4 to 5 minutes per side for the salmon. I sliced a few Yukon Gold potatoes, parboiled them, and then put them on the grill for a few minutes to get them nice and crisp. Also, I thawed the remaining chimichurri that I had stashed in the freezer last week and drizzled it on the steak, fish, and potatoes. Simple and tasty!

Grilled Potatoes

3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put the sliced potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until just tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain well, then toss potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crisp.

Dinner in a flash:

I'm a bit beet-crazy these days. Here are the pickled beets:

And the beet & rosemary relish, cooling on the counter:

I also had beet-infused tequila last night with rosemary syrup and lime juice--basically the cocktail version of my relish! Imagine my delight. Unfortunately, no photos of the cocktail, but I am considering making my own tequila-beet infusion at home.

Friday, July 9, 2010

thursday - polenta scramble and black beans

In general, I'm not a fan of fake meats--tofurkey, soy-based lunch meats, weird chickenless nuggets, etc. They usually have a strange texture, stranger taste, and are overly processed (soy-based foods that in no way resemble a soy bean). The one exception is soy chorizo, often labeled soyrizo. My husband doesn't eat any ground meats and chorizo is usually too greasy for me, but the vegetarian version is very flavorful, has a good texture, and is much lower in saturated fat than the real thing (In fact, most versions have no saturated fat at all. They are still high in sodium, though.). I modified this recipe from Bon Appétit to be healthier and faster, and it's now one of my husband's favorites. It makes a ton, but can be easily halved--any unused soyrizo can be kept in the freezer.

I also made a polenta scramble, based on this recipe from Again, this is one of my husband's favorites. I love shelf-stable polenta (sold in tubes)--it's so convenient and it's a whole grain food that's gluten-free (and yes, I've made polenta from scratch--pre-made tubes are still tasty and so much easier). Any leftovers are delicious for breakfast topped with a poached egg. As a bonus, the whole meal is easy to transport. We loaded everything up and took it to my aunt's house for dinner, including the leftover grilled slaw from Wednesday night.

Spicy Black Beans with Soyrizo

1 12-ounce package meatless soy chorizo (often labeled “Soyrizo”)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus additional for garnish
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced jalapeño
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (or nonfat plain Greek yogurt)
1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle-flavored hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon lime juice

Coat a large deep skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Remove soyrizo from casing and add to skillet over medium heat. Cook until brown, breaking up with back of spoon, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer soyrizo to a small bowl. Using the same skillet, heat oil, then add onion. Cook until soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, and cumin, stirring for 1 minute. Add beans, water, and soyrizo to onion mixture. Stir to distribute evenly. Simmer over medium-low heat until heated through and flavors are blended, 3 to 4 minutes.

Whisk the sour cream (or yogurt), chipotle hot sauce, and lime juice in a small bowl to blend. Transfer beans to a large bowl. Garnish with chipotle-sour cream mixture and additional chopped cilantro.

Mexican Polenta Scramble

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles, drained
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 16-ounce tube prepared plain polenta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 avocado, diced
2 tablespoons pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add green chiles, tomatoes, and cumin, stirring until the tomatoes start to break down, 2 to 3 minutes. Add polenta cubes to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in scallions, cheese, cilantro, and lime juice. Serve topped with diced avocado and toasted pepitas.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

wednesday - fish tacos

Taco night! Tacos offer so much flexibility--pile them full of veggies, beans, fish, shrimp, or meat, top with salsa, cheese, cabbage, or anything else that sounds appealing, and you've got a delicious meal. It's a great way to increase your fish intake, and if you use grilled fish instead of battered and fried fish and soft corn tortillas instead of crunchy taco shells, it can be a very healthy meal. Last night, I used mahi mahi with a quick marinade based on this recipe at I omitted the cilantro because I was getting low and wanted to reserve fresh cilantro for topping the tacos. I've made the pickled onions included in this fish taco recipe and they're really easy and delicious, but I skipped them last night because I wanted to use a carrot & onion slaw that I canned a few weeks ago. I also topped the tacos with avocado, lime crema (sour cream mixed with lime juice and lime zest), and lime wedges. On the side, I made the same grilled cabbage slaw that I made last week--I halved the sugar last night and it was still a little sweet for my taste, so next time I will just add sweetener to taste and may try honey instead of sugar for a slightly different flavor.

Taco toppings:

Fish Tacos

1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound mahi mahi, cut into 4 pieces
8 soft corn tortillas

Pour the olive oil into a small bowl and add the chile powder, chipotle powder, oregano, and cumin. Mix well. Place the fish on a dish and pour the marinade over it, making sure to coat the fish well on both sides. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Remove the fish from the marinade and place on the grill (discard remaining marinade). Grill the fish for 2 to 3 minutes per side until it flakes easily. Season to taste with salt, and slice into strips.

Place four of the tortillas on a plate and sandwich them between two slightly dampened sheets of paper towel. Microwave on high for 45 seconds. Place the warm tortillas in a towel-lined basket or plate and cover. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

To assemble the tacos, place a heaping spoonful of the fish onto the center of a tortilla. Add toppings of your choice, such as marinated carrots, pickled onions, salsa, avocado, lime crema, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, chopped onions, or lime wedges.

Grilled slaw:

Grilled Cabbage Slaw

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar (or less to taste)
1/4 cup olive oil plus additional for brushing
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium head of green cabbage, quartered through core
3 green onions, trimmed

Spray grill rack with non-stick spray, and preheat grill to medium-high heat. Whisk vinegar, sugar, oil, mustard, and parsley in medium bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Brush cabbage and green onions with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill cabbage wedges until dark grill marks form, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Grill green onions until charred on 1 side, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer vegetables to work surface.

Chop green onions and cabbage; place in large bowl, discarding cores. Add dressing; toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

tuesday - pork tenderloin, potato salad, & asparagus

I love pork. We didn't eat much pork when I was growing up, and I was a vegetarian for most of my 20s, so it's a fairly recent discovery for me. In particular, I love pork tenderloin--it's extremely lean and completely delicious. This week, I used this recipe from Ellie Krieger. Her recipes are always delicious and healthy, and I make this pork frequently because it's so simple and flavorful. I omit the garlic from her recipe, though, as I've found it burns if you follow the recipe as it's written. I use a meat thermometer to ensure the pork doesn't overcook and dry out; I tend to cook it to 145 to 150°F, which is still slightly pink in the center. It's important to sear the pork on the stove before roasting it to give it a nice crust:

Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of visible fat

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, oregano, cumin, coriander, thyme, and salt until combined. Rub the seasoning all over the pork, pressing gently so the seasoning adheres well to the meat.

Spray a large oven-safe skillet with non-stick cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Put the pork in the skillet and sear each side, using tongs to turn the meat, about 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer skillet to the oven, and roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork reads 150°F, about 10 minutes. Let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.

In general, I don't eat a lot of potatoes (not for any carb-phobic reason, simply because I don't love them), but I've really been enjoying them this summer. In particular, I've been enjoying this potato salad recipe from Bon Appetit magazine. Usually I use fingerling potatoes, but this week I used baby Yukon Golds. Also, I usually throw in a mixture of whatever herbs I happen to have a surplus of in my herb garden.

Roasted Potato Salad with Herbs

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon coarse-grained Dijon mustard
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped

Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Spray heavy large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place potatoes and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss. Arrange potatoes, cut side down, on prepared baking sheet. Roast until potatoes are brown on cut side, about 23 minutes. Using tongs, turn potatoes over. Roast until crisp, deep golden, and tender, about 12 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir green onions, parsley, rosemary, thyme, vinegar, mustard, and 2 teaspoons oil in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer potatoes to dish. Spoon chopped eggs and herb salad over.

Since I had the oven on already, I roasted the asparagus rather than grilling or broiling it like I usually do--trim the ends; toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper; and roast on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes until tender. Drizzle with lemon juice before serving.

monday - grilled chicken and vegetables with mango-sesame dressing

Monday evening we had company over for dinner, so I made this super-easy meal from Bon Appetit magazine. It made a ton of food, so we've had plenty of leftovers this week. It starts with this recipe for mango-sesame dressing, which I followed exactly. The recipe calls for Major Grey's mango chutney, which is a sweet British-style chutney. I used Trader Joe's mango chutney which doesn't have high-fructose corn syrup and is slightly spicy. The dressing can be made in advance, and the whole meal was great for feeding a crowd as it was really easy, quick, and delicious. I also followed the grilled chicken and vegetables recipe exactly. I'd never had grilled radishes before, and they took on a milder flavor that was fantastic.

Colorful vegetables on the grill:

Finished veggies:

Grilled chicken:

I also made cilantro rice from this recipe on I mostly stuck to the recipe, but I used brown rice instead of white rice and water instead of chicken broth. Also, I had a big piece of ginger in the freezer (to prevent it from going bad before I could use all of it)--this works well for grating the ginger, but it was too hard to slice the frozen root into coins, so I omitted that step.

Cilantro Rice

1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1 1/3 cups chopped fresh cilantro
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon (or more) rice vinegar

Combine rice and water in large saucepan; sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil, stirring often. Cover; reduce heat to low. Simmer until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 35 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, combine chopped cilantro, green onion, and ginger in food processor. Add both oils and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Blend until almost smooth. Season cilantro oil to taste with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired.

Transfer rice to bowl. Mix in cilantro oil and serve.

Ready to eat!