grilled shrimp tacos with green apple salsa

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Green Apple Salsa (adapted from myrecipes.com)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 minced Thai chile pepper
8 (6-inch) whole wheat tortillas (recommend: Toufouyan Soft Wheat Tacos)
1 ounce crumbled queso blanco
Tomato Salsa, optional

1. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons lime juice, cumin, paprika, and red pepper in a small bowl. Combine shrimp and spice mixture in a zip-top plastic bag, and seal. Let stand 15 minutes.

2. Combine 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, 2 teaspoons juice, onions, 1/8 teaspoon salt, rind, apple, and jalapeño; toss.

3. Remove shrimp from bag; discard marinade. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Arrange half of shrimp in pan; grill 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining shrimp. Toast the tortillas in grill pan, if desired.

4. Place 2 tortillas on each of 4 plates, and divide shrimp evenly among tortillas. Divide salsa evenly among tacos, and top with queso blanco. Pop it under the broiler to slightly melt the cheese. Serve with Tomato Salsa, if desired.

 

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pan-fried fish fillets with mediterranean tomato sauce

I’ve been cooking a lot with tomatoes lately!  Tomatoes are so versatile raw or cooked, so naturally, I had to try this new fish recipe. According to myrecipes.com, this recipe, if made with 6 ounce yellowtail snapper fillets with the skin on, amounts to 282 calories per serving. I used tilapia because it was available (and cheaper) but I think any white fish will do. The sauce has a nice light taste; not overpoweringly tomato-y. In fact,  all the flavors of the herbs come through, so be sure to use fresh as directed in the recipe.

Pan-Fried Fish with Mediterranean Tomato Sauce (adapted from myrecipes.com)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato
1 1/2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (flat-leaf parsley in original recipe)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 pounds tilapia fillets (approximately 2 large fillets)

1. In a medium skillet heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add tomato to the pan and cook 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the capers, Dijon mustard, and minced garlic. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, chives, and tarragon. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste. Cover the skillet to keep warm.

2. In a large nonstick skillet heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish with about 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper per side. Add fish to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until browned. Turn the fish over; cook 3 minutes or until the fish turns white and flakes easily with a fork. Serve fish with the warmed sauce.

pappardelle with mushrooms, rosemary, and light tomato sauce, redux

I’m stubborn. Especially when I like a recipe and it doesn’t work the first time around.

It’s been a challenging week. Just as I was getting used to the rhythm of work, I started an online course last week. I’m keeping up with the assignments but not getting much sleep. It’s been tempting to eat out or to eat prepared foods from the supermarket, and so far I have not given in–though we did eat out once this week, and I told myself it’s just because it’s hump-day.  I am still determined to cook healthy low fat low carb meals, but now they have to be quick and easy recipes or they don’t make it into my kitchen! Still, I was stressed out enough that I needed some baking therapy.  I made Martha Stewart’s white butter cake recipe again, but this time I added strawberries to it. It tasted fine but that recipe needs to be revisited too. The strawberries sank to the bottom. I saw somewhere on the internet to dust the fruit lightly with flour to prevent this from happening. Does anyone knows if this really works?

Pappardelle with (Wild) Mushrooms, Rosemary, and Light Tomato Sauce (adapted from Dana Slotkin)

Serves 8 as a side dish or 4 as a main course

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra ­virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 large red onion, minced
2 garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (15­ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup low ­sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half (It doesn’t need it; I left it out)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound homemade or store­ bought pappardelle (or other wide pasta)
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms, washed well and sliced (I used baby bellas)
Grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper, for serving

Preparation
1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over low heat and sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine, increase the heat to medium, and simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary and continue cooking until the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the broth and cook until thickened slightly, about 10 more minutes. Stir in the cream, if desired; simmer for one more minute, and season with salt and pepper.

Cook’s Note: I had some grape tomatoes that I wanted to use up. I sliced them in half and added them to the onion and garlic mixture. You can never have too many tomatoes!

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

3. Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend the sauce; keep warm.

4. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is tender but still al dente; drain (do not rinse) it and set aside.

5. While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over high heat and sauté the mushrooms until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

6. Add the tomato sauce and pasta to the skillet, tossing to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. With a large serving fork, twirl the pasta and transfer it to serving bowls. Top each portion with extra sauce and grated Parmesan cheese. I added a few twists of freshly ground Trader Joe’s four peppercorn mix. I served it with a fresh salad and Hugo’s sushi vinaigrette salad dressing.

pappardelle with mushrooms, rosemary, and tomatoes

Looking for a quick and easy pasta dish for a weeknight dinner? This one is perfect! However, the dish came out drier than expected. I prefer a more sauce-y product and if you do too, then double the sauce recipe. It is mild and very flavorful. For more bite, add red pepper flakes to taste. This is a vegetarian dish but don’t let that stop you from trying it!   The guys in my family object to eating their vegetables without some protein, so I added a cupful of slivered turkey ham to the pasta.

Pappardelle with  mushrooms, rosemary, and tomatoes
(from DanaSlatkin.com)

Serves 8 as a side dish or 4 as a main course

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra ­virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, minced 2 garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (I substituted 1/2 cup apple juice. White grape juice is fine too.)
1 (15­ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice (I recommend any flavored diced tomatoes.)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup low ­sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half (optional. Using it will result in a pale sauce.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound homemade or store ­bought pappardelle, or other wide pasta (I used garlic and herb pappardelle)
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms, washed well
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preparation:

1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over low heat and sauté the shallot and garlic until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine, increase the heat to medium, and simmer until the wine has reduced by three ­quarters, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary and continue cooking until the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the broth and cook until thickened slightly, about 10 more minutes. Stir in the cream, if desired; simmer for one more minute, and season with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
3. Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend the sauce; keep warm.
4. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is tender but still al dente; drain (do not rinse) it and set aside.
5. While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over high heat and sauté the mushrooms until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season them lightly with salt and pepper. Cook’s Note: I added a cupful of slivered turkey ham slices to the mushrooms.
6. Add the tomato sauce and pasta to the skillet, tossing to blend. With a large serving fork, twirl the pasta and transfer it to serving bowls. Top each portion with extra sauce [Cook’s Note: if there is any!] and grated Parmesan cheese.

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spaghetti with Isaan sausage

Yesterday, Andy brought home a huge Christmas hamper filled with imported foods from Italy. I saw the spaghetti and the bottle of Passata di Pomodoro and decided to make a spaghetti with Italian sausage. But rather than try to find what I know will be an inferior Italian sausage, I decided to put in spicy Isaan sausage. Also called herb sausage, this product comes from the Northeast and has a distinctive taste. It is made of pork and spices–I tasted chilies and lemongrass among them. I bought two, already cooked and curled up so cozy, at the Seri Market, Paradise Park in Bangkok.

Ingredients
2 Isaan sausages cut into rings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 x 24 1/2 oz. (720 ml) bottle Mutti Passata di Pomodoro (tomato sauce)
4 tablespoons fresh holy basil, chiffonaded
black pepper to taste
4 portions spaghetti
lightly salted water
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Put lightly salted water on to boil. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente.

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high. Add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant and the onions are wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and sausage,  and cook until heated through, about 5-7 minutes. Add the black pepper to taste. Stir in the basil.

To serve, scoop cooked spaghetti into a bowl. Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese, about a handful. Then top with Parmesan to taste. Generously spoon sausage and tomato sauce on top. I liked it; the sausage had a strong herbal taste that complemented the tart flavor of the tomato sauce. The cheese was discreet.  I served it with a lettuce salad and a simple red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing.