Wheatless Wednesday – Pacific Cod with Lemon, Wine and Olives

2

20150419_145531

When I think about Mediterranean food, I picture of bowls of briny, herbed olives, tomatoes and marinated vegetables with fresh mozzarella and fruity red wine served outside in a warm but shady spot in the garden.  A fantasy?  Perhaps, but not if you are in Southern Italy – or pretending to be… We have all heard about the heart healthy benefits of eating a Mediterranean diet, but what is it?

 The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional recommendation originally inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of Greece,Southern Italy and Spain. The principal aspects of this diet include proportionally high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), moderate wine consumption, and low consumption of meat and meat products.  ( Wikipedia )

Wait, that sounds alot like what I eat (minus the meat).  I guess I’m on the Mediterranean Diet!  Now to just go back to Italy…

20150417_184135

This delicious recipe, which I adapted from from Real Simple, is Mediterranean in flavor and ingredients.  A light, white fish like cod, halibut or seabass is drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with olives, lemon zest and red pepper flakes then roasted in white wine. I used both castelvetrano and kalamata olives. I love their color combination but they both have different flavors to offer.  Castelvetrano olives originate in Sicily and they  are sweet and buttery while Kalamatas, from Southern Greece, are rich and meaty.   The resulting dish is simple but flavorful and takes less than 30 minutes, start to finish.  Roasted Pacific Cod can be served with a salad for a light entree or over a bed of couscous or rice for a heartier meal. Don’t forget to spoon some of the yummy wine sauce over the top!

20150417_210108

TIPS: When choosing fish from the market, make sure it’s considered a healthy and sustainable source.  The easiest way to do so is to go to the Seafood Watch website and enter the name of the fish you are considering.  You will get an instant response, Best Choice, Good Alternative or Avoid.  They also offer a handy Phone App so you can type it in while you are in line at the seafood counter.  For example, Seafood Watch tells me that Pacific Cod which is live caught in the U.S. is considered  Best Choice, whereas, Pacific Cod from Japan and Russia and some of  Atlantic Cod is rated Avoid due to poor or unknown health of cod populations  or questionable fishing practices.  Seafood Watch is a great tool and I highly recommend it.  I use it all the time.

Non olive lovers can omit the olives or substitute marinated red peppers, slivered marinated artichokes, or even capers, especially the large ones.

20150417_211056

ROASTED PACIFIC COD WITH LEMON, WINE AND OLIVES
2 lbs Pacific cod (or other white fish like halibut, rockfish or seabass)
1 Tbsn olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine (chardonnay or sauvignon blanc)
1/2 cup green Castelvetrano olives (pitted and sliced in half)
1/2 cup black kalamata olives (pitted)
1 Tbsn lemon zest (from one lemon)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
20150417_183835
  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Rinse and dry fish and place the fish in a single layer in a roasting pan.

20150417_185404

  • Add enough wine to reach halfway up the sides of the fish. Scatter the olives and lemon zest on top of the fish. Drizzle with the oil and season with salt, pepper and the red pepper.

20150417_205418

  • Roast until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes (longer depending on thickness of fish).

20150417_210741

  • Sprinkle with the parsley and divide the fish among individual plates and spoon the olives and wine sauce over the top.

Pacific Cod with Lemon, Wine and Olives

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 20150419_145531

2 lbs Pacific cod (or other white fish like halibut, rockfish or seabass)
1 Tbsn olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine (chardonnay or sauvignon blanc)
1/2 cup green Castelvetrano olives (pitted)
1/2 cup black kalamata olives (pitted)
1 Tbsn lemon zest (from one lemon)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Preheat oven to 400° F.  Slice olives in half and set aside.
  • Rinse and dry fish and place the fish in a single layer in a roasting pan.
  • Add enough wine to reach halfway up the sides of the fish. Scatter the olives and lemon zest on top of the fish. Drizzle with the oil and season with salt, pepper and the red pepper.
  • Roast until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes (longer depending on thickness of fish).
  • Sprinkle with the parsley.
  • Divide the fish among individual plates and spoon the olives and wine sauce over the top.

Meatless Monday – Spaghetti with Cauliflower, Capers and Lemon

2

20150329_205547

“Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education” – Mark Twain

Move over broccoli, cauliflower is the new girl in town! Although both are superfoods and loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, cauliflower might be considered the smarter, more sophisticated sister. She is also somewhat of a chameleon, standing in for grain in pizza crust and couscous or as a carbfree mashed ‘potatoes’.  Cauliflower can also be pretty flashy, with varieties that are downright out of a Dr. Seuss book in vibrant orange, green and purple. I used white but purple cauliflower would be really striking in this dish.

n-CAULIFLOWER-large570.jpg (570×238)

Photo Credit: Huffpost Living

Here is an easy but elegant 20 minute meal which was inspired by a similar recipe from Martha Stewart.  It’s beauty is its simplicity which allows each lovely ingredient to shine and, of course, cauliflower is the shining star.  The combination of the roasted cauliflower with salty capers. fresh oregano, zesty red pepper flakes and tangy lemon is delicious and satisfying.  For cheese lovers, a sprinkle of parmesan pulls all the flavors together.

TIPS:  This recipe calls for a pan that can go from stovetop to oven, however, if you don’t have a pan that can do both you have two options; cook the pasta then transfer everything to an ovenproof pan OR saute the cauliflower mixture for a few minutes and then stir it into the cooked pasta.

20150329_205532

For my nutrition and health conscious friends who want to delve deeper into the goodness of cauliflower, here is an article that lists 8 Amazing Health Benefits of Cauliflower including heart and brain health.  Surprisingly, it is also a good detoxifyer so don’t be surprised if you see cauliflower start showing up in smoothies… For more cauliflower recipes, check out these grain free recipes: Cauliflower Crust PizzaCauliflower ‘Mac’ and Cheese and Tabouleh.  For more cauliflower inspirations, here are a few more:  Creamy Cauliflower Leek SoupDahl Lentil Soup with Quinoa Cauliflower CakesMorroccan Style Cauliflower and Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Olives.  Obviously, I’m a big fan!

SPAGHETTI WITH CAULIFLOWER, CAPERS AND LEMON

1 lb spaghetti, bucatini or linguini
4 cups cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsn fresh oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
2 Tbsn fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest3 Tbsn capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup parmesan

20150329_194627

  • Cook pasta in salted water for about 8 minutes.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining. While pasta is cooking, cut cauliflower into small florets.

20150329_195330

  • In a bowl, combine cauliflower, olive oil, oregano, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and zest, capers and parmesan.

20150329_200303

  •  Toss to combine and set aside until pasta is done.

20150329_202224

  • Sprinkle cauliflower mixture over cooked pasta and stir to combine.  Add 1/2 cup pasta water.20150329_204148

 

  • Broil for about 5 minutes or until the cauliflower has spots of golden brown and pasta is heated through.

20150329_205532

  • Toss to combine and add more pasta water if it seems dry. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with more olive oil, if desired and serve with extra parmesan, if desired.

 

Spaghetti with Cauliflower, Capers and Lemon

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

20150329_205547

1 lb spaghetti, bucatini or linguini
4 cups cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsn fresh oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
2 Tbsn fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest3 Tbsn capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup parmesan

  • Cook pasta in salted water for about 8 minutes.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining.
  • While pasta is cooking, cut cauliflower into small florets,
  • In a bowl, combine cauliflower, olive oil, oregano, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and zest, capers and parmesan.
  • Sprinkle cauliflower mixture over cooked pasta and stir to combine.  Add 1/2 cup pasta water.
  • Broil for about 5 minutes or until the cauliflower has spots of golden brown and pasta is heated through.
  • Toss to combine and add more pasta water if it seems dry. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with more olive oil, if desired and serve with extra parmesan, if desired.

Meatless Monday – Eggs Baked in Avocado Cups

3

20150329_111830

Ever feel like you’re running a Bed & Breakfast?  That was me this past weekend, which was a whirlwind of my adult kids and various friends visiting from Maine.  It was so much fun but that many people around means that the kitchen is always hoppin’.  Saturday night I came home to  this gorgeous bowl of eggs sitting by my front door. I have an arrangement with my next door neighbor, Sandy.  I give her all of my kitchen scraps for her chickens who magically turn them into eggs.  What a deal!  Happy chickens and happy neighbors! These colorful eggs also bring back memories.  My Mom raised chickens when I was a kid, so I grew up on multi-colored beautiful eggs like these from chickens who get to run around outside in the sunshine.  So now, even though I don’t have my own chickens, I do have a ‘chicken bucket’ for my scraps.  I’m sure this photo will make my Mom smile…

20150329_104841

Sunday morning rolled around and I decided to make Eggs Baked in Avocado ‘Cups’.  Fresh eggs from happy chickens + perfectly ripe avocado =heavenly.  As is my usual way, I looked around the kitchen to see how I could snazz them up and spied a yellow bell pepper and a zucchini, which I quickly chopped into small pieces to make what I always call vegetable ‘confetti’.  Throw on some fresh parmesan, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and a handful of freshly chopped parsley, yum!  I served this as a breakfast buffet for my guests who got up at various times but it would also make a great dinner served with a fresh green salad.  The beauty is that it doesn’t have to be served piping hot.  It is just as good warm or at room temperature.  You can also vary toppings based on personal tastes or what you have on hand.

20150329_111807

TIPS:  The larger the avocado, the better.  Or perhaps the reverse is true as well, the smaller the egg, the better.  Most eggs won’t fit inside a regular Hass avocado, so I scooped out a bit of the avocado to make a larger opening for the egg.  Then I used the avocado I scooped out to make Avocado Mango Smoothies for all of us to sip on while we waited for the eggs to bake.  I like these so much that I now stock frozen mango chunks.  You can substitute the yogurt for a banana for a non-dairy, vegan smoothie.    Recipe HERE for Avocado Mango Smoothie

20150329_104135

EGGS BAKED IN AVOCADO ‘CUPS’

4 fresh pasture raised eggs (if available)
2 ripe but firm avocados
1/2 yellow, red or green bell pepper (optional)
1/2 zucchini (optional
1/4 cup shaved or grated parmesan (optional)
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

20150329_104832

  • Halve each avocado and remove the pit. Scoop out some of the flesh to enlarge the hole to make room for the egg.

20150329_104909

  • Place avocados in a small baking dish cut side up. If they are wobbly, place them snuggly in a smaller pan to prop each other up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

20150329_105009

  • Crack one egg at a time into the holes of each avocado.

20150329_104720

  • If you are using vegetable ‘confetti, finely dice pepper and zucchini (or any other veggie you prefer) and saute for a few minutes in butter or oil until slightly softened.

20150329_105122

  • Sprinkle confetti over eggs. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and top with parmesan, if using.

20150329_111801

  • Bake at 400°F for 15 to 25 minutes, or until your egg whites are set and the yolks are to your liking. (If you don’t like a runny yolk, you can slightly beat the egg before adding them to the avocado.)

20150329_111830

  • To serve, top with freshly chopped parsley and a side of Sriracha.

Eggs Baked in Avocado Cups

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

20150329_111830

4 fresh pasture raised eggs (if available)
2 ripe but firm avocados
1/2 yellow, red or green bell pepper (optional)
1/2 zucchini (optional
1/4 cup shaved or grated parmesan (optional)
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

 

  • Halve each avocado and remove the pit. Scoop out some of the flesh to enlarge the hole to make room for the egg.
  • Place avocados in a small baking dish cut side up. They will stand up better if you place them snuggly in the pan to prop each other up.
  • Crack one egg at a time into the holes of each avocado.
  • If you are using vegetable ‘confetti, finely dice pepper and zucchini (or any other veggie you prefer) and saute for a few minutes in butter or oil until slightly softened.
  • Sprinkle confetti over eggs.
  • Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and top with parmesan, if using.
  • Bake at 400°F for 15 to 25 minutes, or until your egg whites are set and the yolks are to your liking. (If you don’t like a runny yolk, you can slightly beat the egg before adding them to the avocado.)
  • To serve, top with freshly chopped parsley and a side of Sriracha.

Meatless Monday – Spicy Sesame Tofu, Broccoli and Mushrooms

2

20150301_182401

Winner Winner Tofu Dinner!  Yep, it’s Meatless Monday and we’re going vegan, green and spicy!  As they say, we’ve come a long way, baby!  When my three boys were little it was hard to get them to eat their veggies, (salads, forget it!) except for frozen peas and broccoli.  When I say frozen peas, I mean they liked them best still frozen like little icy pieces of green goodness.  That was a favorite snack for them to nibble on when they were in their high chairs waiting for me to make the rest of their dinner.  They were so cute, curling their fat little fingers around the tiny peas that would roll around on the tray…And trust me, it couldn’t be easier!  Broccoli was also a winner but only acceptable if  steamed and served with a mini dish of soy sauce for dipping.  Done and done!  Now that my youngest is 20, it’s no surprise that we have moved beyond frozen peas and plain veggies. My sons also eat (and enjoy) salads at dinnertime.  Will wonders never cease!  Those of you parents whose kids aren’t there yet, have faith.  It will happen… Meanwhile, frozen peas.

20150301_172956

Well this Broccoli Tofu dish is like a grown up version of the kiddie broccoli dipped in soy sauce, with a lot more flavor and a definite kick.  The tofu provides ample protein, just make sure you buy organic, non-GMO tofu.  Broccoli is rich in fiber and a great source of vitamin C (one cup of cooked broccoli provides as much as an orange) and a host of other essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  Mushrooms are not only delicious, they are the only fruit or vegetable that naturally provides Vitamin D.  They are also a good source of B vitamins, iron and antioxidants.  So tossed together in one meal, this trio is a nutritional powerhouse.  And sesame seeds they’re not just a decoration. They are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.  Did I mention the sauce is so tasty, you’ll consider licking your plate?

TIPS:  I have not mastered the art of wok cooking and timing each vegetable to be done at the same time by pushing the veggies up the side, as the darned things always fall back into the center. I actually use a cast iron pan instead of a wok and I prefer to cook each vegetable separately and then toss them all together at the end with a tasty sauce.  If you are better with a wok, feel free to attempt the precision timing thing and disregard the following instructions, however for those that are wok-challenged like me, I swear by my approach.  For added flavor (and pizazz) try using both white and black sesame seeds. The sauce can be adjusted for spiciness by adding more or less red pepper flakes.

20150301_182140

SPICY SESAME TOFU, BROCCOLI AND MUSHROOMS

1 block extra firm tofu (organic)
1 small bunch broccoli
6-8 mushrooms (any kind – criminy, shitake, etc)
1/4 cup avocado, coconut or other high heat oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds (or 1 1/2 tsp white and 1/2 tsp black)
2 Tbsn soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
1 tsp sugar or honey

 20150301_173005
  • Remove tofu from container and cut into equal thickness slices, then cut each slice in half and then half again.  Place on papertowels in a single layer, put another layer of papertowels on top and  place a heavy pan on top to press out the water.  Let sit at least 10 minutes.

20150301_175136

  • Combine garlic, scallion, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and sugar together in a small bowl and set aside.

20150301_173244

  • Cut broccoli into florets.

20150301_173534

  •  If your broccoli has nice thick stems, peel and slice them and cut to similar size as florets

20150301_174029

  • Wipe mushrooms with a damp papertowel and slice.

20150301_180629

  • Heat half of oil in a heavy pan or wok and cook tofu on medium high heat until golden on all four sides.  Remove tofu to a plate and set aside.

20150301_181113

  • Add a bit more oil and saute broccoli on medium heat about 5 minutes or until softened but still bright green.  If the pan gets too dry add water not more oil.  Remove from pan and set aside.

20150301_181841

  • Add last bit of oil to pan and saute mushrooms until they lose their water.

20150301_181941

  • Put broccoli back in with mushrooms and toss to combine. Check broccoli for doneness (to your liking)

20150301_182140

  • Add tofu back into the pan. Pour sauce over the top and gently toss.  Serve over rice, if desired.

20150301_182401

 

Spicy Sesame Tofu, Broccoli and Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 20150301_182401

1 block extra firm tofu (organic)
1 bunch broccoli
8-10 mushrooms (any kind – criminy, shitake, etc)
1/4 cup avocado, coconut or other high heat oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds (or 1 1/2 tsp white and 1/2 tsp black)
2 Tbsn soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
1 tsp sugar or honey

  • Remove tofu from container and cut into equal thickness slices, then cut each slice in half and then half again.  Place on papertowels in a single layer, put another layer of papertowels on top and  place a heavy pan on top to press out the water.  Let sit at least 10 minutes.
  • Combine garlic, scallion, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and sugar together in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Cut broccoli into florets.  If your broccoli has nice thick stems, peel and slice them and cut to similar size as florets
  • Wipe mushrooms with a damp papertowel and slice.
  • Heat half of oil in a heavy pan or wok and cook tofu on medium high heat until golden on all four sides.  Remove tofu to a plate and set aside.
  • Add a bit more oil and saute broccoli on medium heat about 5 minutes or until softened but still bright green.  If the pan gets too dry add water not more oil.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add last bit of oil to pan and saute mushrooms until they lose their water.
  • Put broccoli back in with mushrooms and toss to combine. Check broccoli for doneness (to your liking)
  • Add tofu and gently combine.
  • Pour sauce over the top and gently toss.
  • Serve over rice, if desired.