Sunday, October 23, 2016

Recipe: Baked Halibut in Parchment Paper

This is a great recipe if you are afraid to cook fish. Halibut is meaty, firm and white, yet mild in flavor. Cooking it in parchment, or "en papillote," creates a moist and tender filet full of flavor. It also makes for a beautiful meal presentation: serve the packet on a plate with a side salad. Slash the parchment to release the steam and eat the fish right off the paper.

I used this technique for wrapping in parchment: https://youtu.be/52wYn99cL2I

cut parchment into heart shape pieces


Have all ingredients ready for assembly
Layer lemons and vegetables under the fish.

Top with pesto to taste, and drizzle with olive oil.

Finished packets ready to go into the oven.

Baked Halibut in Parchment Paper

4 sheets of parchment paper, approx 18"
4 fresh Halibut filets (6oz)
1 c. carrots, julienned
1 c. mexican squash or zucchini, julienned
1 scallion, julienned
1/2 c. perfect pesto
8 lemon slices, 1/4" thick and seeded
salt and pepper
extra-virgin olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 450°. Follow directions for heart-shaped parchment package in video above.
2. Unfold parchment heart and place two lemon slices on one side so that it touches the fold, but not the border.
3. Top lemons with 1/4 cup each carrots and squash and a few slices of scallion.
4. Place fillet on top of vegetables.
5. Spread 1-2 tablespoons of pesto over fillet; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.
4. Fold paper; sealing edges with folds. Repeat with the remaining parchment paper, fish, and vegetables.
5. Place packets on baking sheets. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. To serve in packets, carefully transfer to plates and pierce each to allow steam to escape. Diners can peel back the parchment to eat out of the package. To plate, open packets and transfer the fillets and vegetables to plates; pour juices over top.


*packets can also be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to cook










Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Recipe: Perfect Pesto

This recipe produces a very bright green, fresh pesto. It's versatile as a pasta sauce, sandwich spread, bread dip, salad dressing, or condiment for your favorite meat.

2 c. fresh basil leaves
1/4 c. grated parmesean cheese
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
1/4 c. dry toasted pecans, chopped
1 small clove of garlic

Whirl all ingredients in a small food processor until smooth. Add more olive oil if you prefer a thinner sauce.

Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer Pearl Couscous Salad


I tossed this delicious, quick salad together for a summer bbq potluck, using what I happened to have on hand. It comes together easily using a pre-made salad dressing and Trader Joe's Harvest Grain Blend. It's an unseasoned, dried mix of pearl couscous, orzo, dried garbanzo beans and red quinoa.  Pearl (also called Israeli) couscous has a mildly chewy texture, with a slightly nutty flavor, made from semolina or wheat flour. It's like eating tiny little balls of pasta.


Summer Pearl Couscous Salad 

1 package Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend (16oz) or  2 cups pearl (Israeli) couscous
3-1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic, smashed
1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 bottle Annie's Naturals Organic Red Wine & Olive Oil Vinaigrette
Salt & Pepper

In medium saucepan, boil water. Add entire package of grains, garlic and olive oil. 
Bring to a boil again, stir, then simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain if necessary.

Move grains into a large glass or steel bowl, and chill in the refrigerator or freezer, stirring occasionally, until cold.
 
Once chilled, add to grain mix all of the remaining ingredients and stir gently until combined..
Serve chilled or room temperature.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Plum Tarts with Honey


Our neighbor, Queen Kay of Barking Elf Ranch, has a lovely stable of horses surrounded by citrus, and various fruit trees. As summer peaks, her plum trees (cherry plums) explode with juicy, sweet-tart fruit and it's a race to gather them before the birds and critters eat them all.

You may want to adjust the sugar and honey amounts, depending upon how tart your plums are, and how sweet you like your dessert! I prefer more natural fruit flavor, adding the honey drizzle per serving for more sweetness.

Plum Tarts with Honey

1 package of frozen puff pastry (17oz)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
6 cups red plums, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/4 raw honey



Thaw puff pastry according to box directions. Do not thaw completely...dough should be very cold.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone liner.

Unfold puff pastry (should be approx. 10 inch square). Cut in the dough in half to create two, equal sized rectangles. Repeat with the other piece of pastry dough. Place 2 rectangles on each baking sheet.

Stir sugar and cinnamon in small bowl until combined.

Brush puff pastry rectangles with half of the melted butter and sprinkle surface with half of the cinnamon sugar. Arrange plum wedges in center of rectangles, slightly overlapping them and leaving a roughly 1-inch border around edges. (see photo at top of recipe)




Brush plums with remaining melted butter and sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar all over tarts. Bake until plums are soft and pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool.

Serve warm or room temperature, drizzled with honey.  Makes 4 tarts.

TastyCam - 7/18/16 - Summer Omelette


Inspired by Piper's love for tomatoes and avocados, this omelette super-charged our day! Feeds 3.
Any combination of vegetables and cheeses (or meats or leftovers) works great here too.

Summer Omelette

5 eggs
splash of milk
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp butter
1/4 shredded low-moisture mozerella
1 medium heirloom tomato, sliced in 1/4 rounds
1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper until lightly frothy.

Put a small frying pan on a low heat and let it get hot. Add butter and swirl to melt and cover pan.
Add egg mixture and move the pan around to spread them out evenly.

When the omelette begins to cook and firm up, but still has a little raw egg on top, sprinkle on the cheese, and over one-half of the omelette, spread avocado and tomato slices.

Using a spatula, ease around the edges of the omelette, then fold it over in half. When it starts to turn golden brown underneath, remove the pan from the heat and slide the omelette on to a plate.