Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chicken enchiladas with green chile sauce

Every once in a while Tommy stops by our friend Jayne's house to have a beer with her and her husband Bruce before dinner. And because they tend to eat dinner way earlier than us —which is no surprise since we usually dine around 10 p.m.— he sometime comes home very excited about some recipe he has just tasted while at Jayne's house. Of course there is no way he can actually remember all the ingredients or even what the recipe was called, so our conversations go more or less like this:

Tommy: "I've just had a bite of the best Mexican dish at Jayne's."
Me: "Really? What was it?"
Tommy: "Some type of casserole... I think it had chicken in it."
Me: "You think?"
Tommy: "I'm pretty sure it had chicken in it. And it was spicy. It was really good."
Me: "What else did it have in it?"
Tommy: "I don't know, you'll have to ask Jayne."

So after a week or so we usually happen to be at her house and I remember that I'm supposed to ask her about the mysterious casserole. After five minutes of vague descriptions on Tommy's part and puzzled looks on Jayne's face we finally arrived at the conclusion that the mystery dish is these chicken enchiladas with green chile sauce. Tommy was right —it's possibly the best Mexican dish I've had along with my beloved pork tacos from yesterday's post. It's spicy and creamy, without being too heavy. So thank you Jayne for remembering which recipe Tommy was talking about and for giving it to me!

Makes 4 enchiladas

For the sauce:
2 cups prepared green chile salsa (salsa jalapena)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of flour

For the enchiladas:
1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
2 cups pepperjack cheese, grated
4 soft taco size flour tortillas
Chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat a little oil in a large skillet, add onions and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Add chicken, season with salt, pepper and cumin. Cook over medium high heat until chicken is browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

To make sauce add ingredients for sauce in the same pan you used for the chicken and stir until lightly thickened. Pout half of the sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.

Place 1/4 of the chicken mixture in each tortilla, top with a tablespoon grated pepperjack, roll up and place each tortilla seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pork tacos with pineapple salsa

A funny thing about living in Southwest Florida is that everyone, and I mean everyone, when they come visit they ask two things: to eat by the water and eat "good Mexican". I'm guessing that, ideally, they would like to eat good Mexican by the water —which isn't that much to ask for, I guess. The problem is, the Naples area lacks two things when it comes to restaurants: good Mexican ones and restaurants by the water. Throughout the years I have been looking everywhere for excellent tacos and finger licking tostadas, and I've only found two places that are worth mentioning, both little holes in the wall. Nothing against little family ran eateries, but sometimes you just aren't in the mood for mariachi music blaring from half broken speakers and hours of operation that change on a daily basis.

So what to do if you are in the mood to go out for Mexican? Simple. You make it at home. Thanks to Cooking Light and the abundance of small Mexican grocery stores I have become an expert at making very satisfying tacos, tostadas and enchiladas. Not bad for an Italian girl, uh?

From Cooking Light

For salsa:
2  cups  minced pineapple
1  cup  minced apple
1/4  cup  minced shallots
2  tablespoons  chopped cilantro
1  tablespoon  fresh lime juice
1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/4  teaspoon  salt 

For tacos:
1  tablespoon  canola oil
1  cup  thinly sliced yellow onion
2  garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2  pounds  pork tenderloin, cut lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1  tablespoon  cider vinegar
1  teaspoon  dried oregano
1  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
2 tomatoes, chopped
3  chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce, chopped
Flour tortillas, warmed
To prepare salsa, combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until well blended. Cover and chill.

To prepare tacos, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion to pan and cook 2 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add pork to pan and cook 4 minutes or until pork loses its pink color, stirring occasionally. Stir in broth and next 7 ingredients (through chipotles). Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer 10 minutes or until liquid is nearly evaporated. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Serve pork mixture with tortillas and salsa.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tommy's famous "reuben" sandwich

Reuben sandwiches are one of those things I never knew existed growing up in Italy. First of all, most Italian sandwiches, panini, are commonly made with two or three ingredients, and generally none of them are mustards or sauces. Then there's also the fact that corned beef isn't readily available in Italy, which makes making reuben sandwiches kind of difficult.

So when I moved to the US in 2001 there were all these news sandwiches looking up at me from menus, sandwiches with names that I didn't recognize like club, French dip and, of course, Reuben. Who the hell was Reuben, I asked? No one knew. Apparently a man named Reuben Kulakofsky, a Lithuanian-born, Jewish grocer from Nebraska invented it as part of a group effort by members of Kulakofsky's weekly poker game on the1920s. One of the poker players, a man named Schimmel, owned a local hotel and put the sandwich on the hotel's restaurant menu, making it famous —first locally, later nationally. Of course, as with every good food-related myth, there's other versions of the story. Some others believe that the reuben's creator was Arnold Reuben, the German-Jewish owner of the now defunct Reuben's Delicatessen in New York, who would started making the sandwich around 1914. There's many other stories, of course, which I won't bore you with: the point is Reuben sandwiches have been around for about a century and they are a great way to get rid of left over corned beef.

Since we had a ton of corned beef leftover from our belated St. Paddy's celebration, Tommy decided to show me how a good Reuben sandwich is made, although because we are also trying to cook out of our pantry before we move to Europe, we made our sandwiches with —brace your selves— white bread. Which I know is almost sacrilegious, but that's what we had. And to be honest, buying a whole loaf of rye just to make two sandwiches would be crazy. And... I don't like rye. There. I said it. So on to the recipe, shall we?

Makes two sandwiches

4 slices of your bread of choice
Corned beef
Thousand island dressing
4 tablespoons sauerkraut

Butter each bread slice on one side and toast under the broiler or in a panini press. In the mean time, warm up the sauerkraut in a small pan. When bread is lightly toasted and butter has melted, add corned beef, sauerkraut and drizzle with dressing. Cover with other slice of bread and press for a minute. Cut in half and enjoy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Asparagus with lemon sauce

I hope everyone is having a great first weekend of spring. My body decided to celebrate the new season by catching an awful sore throat/ear ache —a great new beginning if you ask me. Yesterday I thought I was feeling better and made the tragic mistake of telling everyone so. Needless to say I woke up in the middle of the night with a worse pain in my throat than the previous two days. So much for feeling better.

Regardless of that, I've decided to celebrate the arrival of spring with a wonderful asparagus recipe, courtesy of my friend Emily of EZ Recipes. Emily and I met in 2001 on sunny Bonita Beach, Florida. I will make a very long story short: we were drinking at my friend Kevin's house and I am pretty sure I was doing something immensely goofy which prompted Emily to ask Kevin "Where have you found her?" (I'm sure she meant it in the nicest of ways, right Emily?) To which Kevin replied: "In the dumpster, by the beach." It wasn't entirely true —I swear I don't normally go through the trash in random public places, but I had inadvertently dropped my ring in said trash can that day and was trying to retrieve it— but it made all of us laugh and created some sort of garbage related bond (the inside jokes during that spring of 2001 were all trash themed, as you might imagine).

Nine years later, we still keep in touch, mainly thanks to technology and, lately, thanks to our blogs. When I met her, Emily didn't cook. Not that I can remember anyways. I remember myself cooking at her place and her making the drinks. And I remember us going out to eat tons of junk food (ahhh, to be 21 again!). But I never saw her at the stove. So it was really a pleasant surprise to find out that now she enjoys cooking and wants to share recipes with the rest of the world. This particular one, asparagus with lemon sauce, is very yummy and it's a good variation on the usual steamed or grilled asparagus. I only added a little grated cheese to her recipe  because "someone" in this household has to have cheese on his asparagus (hint: it's not me. And it's not the cat.)

From EZ Recipes

1 1/2 lbs. asparagus, tough ends removed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 egg yolks
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook the asparagus in a tall pan of lightly salted, boiling water for 7- 10 minutes.

Drain well and arrange the asparagus on a serving dish.  Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Blend the cornstarch with the cooled, reserved cooking liquid and place in a small pan.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook over a gentle heat.  Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

Beat the eggs yolks thoroughly with the lemon juice and gradually stir into the sauce.  Cook over a very low heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is fairly thick.  Be careful not to overheat the sauce or it may curdle.  As soon as the sauce has thickened, remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring for 1 minute.  Taste and season with salt.  Leave the sauce to cool slightly.

Stir the cooled sauce, then pour over the asparagus.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle with cheese if you must.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Corned beef and cabbage dinner

I like the Irish, which is why I went out of my way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a slow cooked meal of corned beef and cabbage. Mind you, I don't have any Irish blood in me —at least none that I know of— but Italians and the Irish are kindred spirits. We are both easy going people who love to drink —who cares if we prefer wine and they favor beer?— we both like to celebrate life and we both have a good sense of humor. Unlike us, the Irish are not known worldwide for their fabolous food, which is a pity because they have some wonderful dishes everyone should try. Corned beef and cabbage is one of them and I found this Cooking Light version to be absolutely fantastic: the horseradish crust over the meat really gives it a kick and the lemony potatoes and cabbage round up the meal nicely. Eating the corned beef dinner and soda bread last night made me want to go to Ireland real bad, something I usually would disregard as a "maybe one day" kind of dream, but since soon I'll be in Europe with low cost flights at my fingertips, I think Dublin will see me sooner than later. 

From Cooking Light

  • 1  (4-pound) cured corned beef brisket, trimmed
  • 16  cups  water
  • 2  cups  chopped onion
  • 1  cup  chopped celery
  • 1  cup  chopped carrot
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  pickling spice
  • 3  garlic cloves, peeled
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  tablespoon  caraway seeds
  • 1  (2 1/2-pound) head green cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch strips
  • 4  pounds  small red potatoes, quartered
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley
  • 2  teaspoons  butter
  • 2  teaspoons  grated lemon rind
  • 2  teaspoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/2  cup  dry breadcrumbs
  • 1  (5-ounce) jar prepared horseradish, drained and squeezed dry
  • 3  tablespoons  Dijon mustard
Place brisket in a large stockpot; add water and next 5 ingredients (water through garlic). Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 hours. Remove brisket from pot.
Place brisket on the rack of a broiler pan or roasting pan coated with cooking spray; place rack in pan. Strain cooking liquid through a colander into 2 large bowls; discard solids. Return liquid to pot. Add caraway seeds and cabbage; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Drain.
While cabbage is cooking, place potatoes in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return potatoes to pan. Stir in parsley, butter, rind, juice, and pepper; toss to coat.
Preheat broiler.
Combine breadcrumbs and horseradish. Spread mustard over one side of brisket. Press breadcrumb mixture onto mustard. Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve brisket with cabbage and potatoes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Irish soda brown bread

Happy belated St. Patrick's Day, everyone! Although I'm not Irish I celebrated St. Paddy's day yesterday by cooking a whole big Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage and soda bread and then we didn't eat it because we ended up going to a friend's house and eat macaroni and cheese instead. I know, I know. But it was delicious macaroni and cheese —the home made kind— and to feel a little more Irish we had shots of Jameson. So, there. And the big Irish meal will still be good tonight, if not better. For some reason corned beef and cabbage sounds like the type of meal that is even better the next day, doesn't it?

Well, I'll let you know about that tomorrow. In the mean time, I can tell you the soda bread was really good —I had a slice this morning with my coffee, as I was clumsily trying to remember what the hell was I thinking when I said yes to the shots of Jameson. I usually don't drink whisky. And this morning I remembered why. I had one of those nice metallic headaches that just don't go away. Not even with coffee and ibuprofen. Not even with delicious toasted homemade soda bread.

You live, you learn. Next year I'll stay away from the whisky. But I'll still make the bread which thanks to Cooking Light magazine is not only great but also good for you.

From Cooking Light
  • Cooking spray
  • 11.25  ounces  whole-wheat flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2.25  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2  cup  steel-cut oats (such as McCann's)
  • 2  tablespoons  brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  wheat germ
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  cups  low-fat buttermilk
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 325°.

Coat a 9 x 5–inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray.

Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours and next 6 ingredients (through salt). Combine buttermilk and egg; add to flour mixture. Stir just until combined.

Spoon the mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Invert bread onto a wire rack; cool completely. Remove parchment; slice bread into 12 slices.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spicy pasta bake

I'm sure you've all had a bad day, here and there. Maybe even a bad week. Shit happens. No big deal, right? Right. Well, I guess I'm having a bad-few-months. First I break my knee. Then I get laid off. Then, last night, I get an e-mail from Columbia University saying thanks for your interest, but we are not accepting you into our journalism program. Alright. It kinda made me feel like the clumsy kid who gets picked last when the cool kids are making teams. It also made me laugh out loud for a few seconds —a weird reaction I tend to have whenever something sucky happens to me. And then, after I was done with my brief auto-commiseration pity party, I thought it wasn't all that bad. I guess things come in threes, so this should be it. Or at least I'm hoping so, because really, why is the universe conspiring against me?


Unless, maybe, said universe is conspiring towards greater things. Like moving to Europe. Which, for those who don't know it yet, is the next step. A big step. A huge step. I was born and raised there, but haven't lived there for almost 10 years. And all of the sudden I know that sometime in late April I'll grab my suitcase and a bunch of random crap I can't live without and propel myself into my next adventure. It's exhilarating and scary at the same time. Which, I guess, is why I've been finding myself cooking lots of comfort classics —dishes that make me feel warm and cozy and happy even when life seems to be spinning out of control at the speed of light all around me. I've also started cooking strictly out of the freezer and pantry, buying only perishables and using them right away. Emptying the fridge, the freezer and the pantry is a challange, but it's also going to be fun. Kind of like an episode of Iron Chef, with the bonus that no one will critique my food. This pasta bake is great both because it definitely falls into the comfort food category and because it made me get rid of the last of my elbow macaroni (which I use only to make this dish!), the last of my carrots, some of my canned tomatoes and random cheeses I had laying around the snack drawer.

Oh, yeah, and it's delicious.

Adapted from Cooking Light

4 ounces small elbow macaroni
Cooking spray
1  cup  chopped onion
1  cup chopped carrot
2  teaspoons garlic
1  pound  lean ground sirloin
1  cup  tomato sauce
Crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
1  cup  milk
2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
1/8  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.
Cook pasta according to the package directions, drain. Lightly coat pasta with cooking spray.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and carrot, and sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add ground beef, season with salt and pepper; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add tomato sauce, season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Cook for 2 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates.
Add pasta to beef mixture in pan, stirring to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place milk, flour, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; stir with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add cheese, stirring until smooth. Pour cheese mixture over pasta mixture; stir. Sprinkle evenly with grated cheese. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Shrimp and sausage gumbo

I've never been to New Orleans. I was supposed to go in September, but then we decided to put off the trip a couple of months. I was supposed to go in December, but I went and broke my kneecap, which kinda put a dent in our travel plans. And now that I've lost my job, it looks like the only traveling I'll be doing any time soon will be the big moving to Europe thing. For the time being, the closest that I'll get to the Big Easy is eating gumbo, which I make with a recipe that isn't traditional at all.

So even when it comes to cooking I'm not getting any closer to New Orleans. I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

Said recipe comes from a Weight Watchers cookbook, of all places, but let me tell you: don't let this tidbit of information scare you away. It's a solid, good recipe and to be honest it doesn't feel or taste like a low calorie, low fat recipe at all. The broth is rich and aromatic, the vegetables add substance and, most of all, I doubled the amount of sausage the recipe called for, so there. No wonder it didn't taste low fat...

Adapted from the Weight Watchers Complete Cookbook

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sliced okra
1 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1/2 cup long-grain rice
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 hot Italian sausage links

In a large Dutch oven, heat up the oil, add the sausage and stir to crumble. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add bell pepper, celery, garlic and shallot and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, okra, thyme, bay leaf and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the rice, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes or until done. Remove bay leaf.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Cream" of cauliflower with turmeric

After failing miserably at eating healthy both during January and February, I'm currently trying to make March my best month yet. We'll see how long that lasts. I figured I have about 4 to 6 weeks before taking off to Italy and I'd like to be as healthy and productive as possible between now and then. Of course it's a little tricky, being productive before moving, I mean. Moving is stressful and when you are moving across an ocean the stress tends to peak to new heights, so the logic response to that —for me— would be to sit around, drink wine and eat cheese. But, alas, I can't. For a number of reasons. The first one might sound shallow and vain. I really don't want to move to Italy with an ass the size of Brazil and my clothes not fitting me anymore. The second reason, I admit, I care less about. I have been told that I have to pack and organize before I leave —something that I could do while drinking wine and eating cheese, but requires me to get up from the couch.

Mind you, I'll still drink wine. Because let's be honest: I don't think I can stay sane, pack and organize without a little help. But the food, I've decided, has to be healthy. And good for me. Hence this "cream" of cauliflower, that contains no cream at all. I invented it after having a long conversation about anti-cancer foods with my mom, who's reading a very interesting book on how to prevent it by eating the right things. Cauliflower, turmeric and black pepper are all ranking high in preventing cancer and I have to say, after taking a first spoonful of my new creation I was incredibly pleased with the result. It's great for you and it tastes amazing. What else could one want?


2 pounds cauliflower florets
2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons turmeric
1 1/2 cups plain natural yogurt

Place broth and cauliflower in a large pot and bring broth to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with turmeric. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until florets are tender.
Puree with an immersion belnder. Stir in yogurt, adjust seasoning and enjoy hot or cold.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Roasted asparagus infused with blood orange and balsamic

I suppose that spring is here. I only say "I suppose" because this year you never know. I was talking to my sister yesterday and she was telling me that in my home city of Milan, Italy, it was getting ready to snow. Which is totally crazy for March, just in case you are wondering. And although we aren't getting any snow here in SW Florida, it has been the most uncommon, cold winter ever. And I loved every second of it.

Another weird and uncommon fact about me: I only started eating asparagus a few years ago. I know, it sounds crazy, but it's true. I grew up thinking asparagus was gross —mostly because it was green I guess— and it wasn't until I fell in love with an asparagus lover that I finally suspended judgment and tried one. It was delicious. So even though I'm sad that this uncommon and cool Florida winter is almost over, I am happy that asparagus is in season and it's readily available at affrodable prices. I like to make asparagus in many ways, but lately I've been on this blood orange and balsamic kick and I'm going to milk it for as long as I can find blood oranges at the grocery store. The dish is also sprinkled with pecorino romano cheese, which gives the asparagus a pleasant saltiness —exactly what you need to offset the sweetness of the orange and balsamic.

Serves 2 

1 pound asparagus, hard part of stems removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1 blood orange
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. 

Place asparagus on a large, rimmed cookie sheet, possibly in one layer. Whisk together remaining ingredients, drizzle evenly over asparagus and toss to coat.

Roast in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mahi with spicy salsa

So maybe I shouldn't have written a to-do list, especially not on a public blog where everyone could read it and then see what a failure I am at going through with my to-do lists. I don't really know what has gotten into me lately. As soon as I got laid off I had all this energy and these plans and I thought I was finally going to take care of things because "I had time". Well that didn't last long. After a couple of days I just got extremly lazy and haven't done anything constructive, except for working on my novel which is currently at page 128. So I guess that's a good thing.

Everything else, though, has been kind of put on hold and left behind. Including the cooking of epic recipes that I always wanted to cook but never had time to try. I was thinking about writing a list of those too, but we know what happens to stuff on my lists, so I'd rather not. Which brings me to this mahi recipe —the opposite of long and complicated. It's really a non-recipe, just something I threw together last night at 9 p.m. because —after writing all day— I realized that I hadn't made any plans for dinner. So I just kinda went with the good old idea that good + good = good and put this together. And guess what? It was good.

Serves 2

2 fillets of mahi mahi or other mild white fish
Salt and pepper
Half a lemon
3 plum tomatoes, cubed
1 avocado, cubed
Half a lemon
1/2 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Season fish with salt and pepper, place in a pyrex and dress with juice of one lemon half. preheat oven to 350 and cook fish in oven for 20 minutes.

In the mean time mix the chopped tomatoes, avocado, onion and jalapeno in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper and cumin and dress with lemon. Mix well.

When fish is ready serve topped with salsa.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Vietnamese sweet and peppery fish

Ever since I said that I was going to write on my blog on a daily basis I pretty much disappeared and posted twice —which is very typical of me, so I'm not too surprised. Again, I have a good excuse (don't I always?). This time my disappearance has nothing to do with appliance malfunction. It was Tommy's birthday, so for a few days I was busy having birthday drinks and the likes, which meant that I had no time to cook and no time to post new recipes. But now the birthday is over, the hangovers are gone and it's time to get back on track. 
The track being healthy eating, because for one reason or another I kinda forgot about my resolution to only eat stuff that is good for me. So today I'm off to Whole Foods to stock up on grains and vegetables and seafood and for the next month I'm going to straighten this eating situation and go back to my normal habits. In the mean time, here's a really good and healthy recipe, courtesy of Cooking Light. It's a Vietnamese "caramelized" fish that is both sweet and peppery —the best of both worlds.

From Cooking Light

1/2  cup  water, divided
3  tablespoons  sugar
2 1/2  tablespoons  Thai fish sauce
3  tablespoons  minced peeled fresh lemongrass
1  tablespoon  minced fresh garlic
1  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1  cup  coarsely chopped green onions
4  (6-ounce) mahi mahi fillets
1  tablespoon  chopped fresh cilantro

Combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and fish sauce in a large nonstick skillet; bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add lemongrass, garlic, and pepper. Cook 1 1/2 minutes or until slightly reduced. Add 1/4 cup water, onions, and fish, and cook over medium-high heat 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, turning once. Sprinkle with cilantro.


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