Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You absolutely must try halibut cheeks

Have you tried halibut cheeks?

If you love seafood, it’s a must. These medallions are mild, meaty, a little sweet, and absolutely delicious. I picked up pound of cheeks over the weekend from the Little Fish Company — find them Sundays mornings at the farmers market on 8th and W.

Here’s what I did with them:

After rinsing the cheeks off and patting them dry, I heated a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Each cheek got just a dash of garlic salt and lemon pepper before I put them in the pan, cooking the cheeks for only 30 seconds on each side before removing from the pan. You have to be careful not to overcook the cheeks or they become stringy. We enjoyed the halibut cheeks with this Fettuccine Alfredo (the second Runner’s World recipe I’ve recently prepared).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Trimming the fat with turkey stroganoff

Here’s another recipe inspired by “On Rice,” the cookbook I mentioned in my previous post.
I took the author’s cream sauce recipe and lightened it up, swapping out heavy cream for milk and fat-free sour cream, which I think gave the meal a tangy, sort-of-stroganoff kind of taste. Something I might try the next time around is using only half a cup of wine, and adding ½ cup chicken broth.

Turkey Stroganoff
Adapted from “On Rice” by Rick Rodgers
Steamed rice
¼ cup flour
1 pound turkey cutlets, cut into ¾-inch squares
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup finely chopped shallots
10 ounces brown mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup lowfat milk
½ cup fat-free sour cream
Salt and pepper

Combine flour, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in medium bowl. Toss turkey in the flour, shaking off excess. Heat oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add turkey to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is lightly browned, about 5 or 6 minutes. Transfer turkey to a plate; set aside.

Melt butter in skillet. Add shallots, cooking and stirring often until softened, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms, lemon juice and thyme, stirring well. Cover and cook until mushrooms give off their juices, about 3 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, until mushroom liquid evaporates.

Pour wine into skillet and boil for a couple minutes. Add milk and cook for 7-8 minutes, until liquid has reduced slightly. Bring heat back to medium and stir in sour cream. Return turkey to the skillet and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, just a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper, and serve over steamed rice.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rice, rice baby

Chris and I are trying to mix up our carbs a bit so we’re not shoveling spaghetti into our mouths all the time.
This recipe is adapted from one found in of my oldest cookbooks, “On Rice” by Rick Rogers. I bought it, used at a bookstore in downtown Chico, when I was in college. Although I’ve had this book for many years, I haven’t started cooking with it until recently. I used less oil and broth than the original recipe called for, doubled the garlic, amped up the dried oregano, used smoked paprika (the recipe called for Hungarian paprika) and added some diced stewed tomatoes.

Chicken San Juan
Adapted from “On Rice” by Rick Rogers
Steamed rice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into square-inch chunks
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup thawed frozen peas
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, in juice
½ cup medium pimiento-stuffed green olives
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick frying pan. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add onion, red pepper, garlic, oregano and bay leaf. Cover and cook until the vegetables soften, about 4 minutes. Stir in broth, peas, tomatoes and paprika and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for a couple minutes, until ingredients are heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cleaning out the cupboards? Throw everything into this chili

Our friend Lisa recently had a party and served a really chunky, packed-full-of-goodies chili.
She was kind enough to share the recipe, which I tweaked based on what sounded good and what I had in the pantry.

Kitchen sink chili
1 pound ground turkey
1 chopped onion
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups celery
1 tablespoon dried oregano
15-ounce can tomato sauce
7-ounce can of chopped green chilies
2 15-ounce cans chopped stewed tomatoes
5 15-ounce cans of beans (I used one can each of pinto, black and cannellini beans and two cans kidney beans)
2 4-ounce cans of chopped mushrooms
1 package of taco seasoning
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
2 cups frozen white corn

Brown turkey until just slightly pink in a large soup pot. Add onion, garlic, celery and oregano and finish cooking the meat. Pour contents of cans, without draining any of them, into pot. Add taco seasoning and dressing mix. Allow to simmer, covered, at least 30 minutes, before serving.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ham, beans, cabbage all stars in this hearty soup

Runner’s World has a feature, The Athlete’s Palate, which I quite enjoy.

Each month you get a different recipe from a cookbook authors and chefs who just happen to also be runners, triathletes and the like.

I recently made a soup with all kinds of goodies — diced ham, cannellini beans, chopped cabbage — based on a recipe ripped out of a back issue. I used less cabbage, added dried oregano (I love it in practically any dish) and used turkey ham because of my aversion to most pork products. Also, I used baby carrots where the recipe called for large carrots just because of what was already in the fridge.

The soup was quite hearty, and was speedy enough for a weeknight meal.

Ham, Cabbage and White Bean Soup
Adapted from Runner’s World
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon dried oregano
12 baby carrots, chopped
2 cups chopped green cabbage
3 cups ham, diced small
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil over medium-high in soup pot. Add onion and sauté until soft and golden, roughly five minutes. Add Italian seasoning and oregano and stir until fragrant, about a minute. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer until vegetables are cooked, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.