Fish Cakes

While I normally use tuna and sweet potato in these cakes, I felt like using a fresh fish this time so went and bought haddock (it was on for a good price). The process is almost the same as the tuna but a bit more involved in that I had to cook the haddock first.  I debated how I would do this but settled on a quick, easy and yummy method which was to poach it. See below for method and recipe for this dish.  It turned out well and I was able to freeze a number of the cakes and they were just as good when defrosted. Great to keep in the freezer for those days when you don’t know what to have or just want a light dinner.

Fish cakes

Ingredients and Directions to serve 4 (2 cakes per person):

I first make a broth for  poaching, this usually includes the following items but you can add anything you like.

2-3 cups vegetable, chicken or fish broth (I use what I have on hand)

1- Lemongrass stalk – smash the white portion of the lemongrass so it is almost chewed looking and put the whole thing in the broth

Handful of cilantro fresh or 1 tsp of dried

A good shake of lemon pepper or just a pinch of regular pepper

2-3 tbsp of lemon juice and if you are using fresh add some zest

Doesn’t matter what the broth looks like just what it tastes like.

Fish cake ingredients:

6-8 small-medium fillets of fish

3 large sweet potatoes

Place as many pieces of fish fillets into the broth as will fit making sure the fish is covered in broth.  It will only take about a minute or two depending on the thickness of the fish. The haddock I used was not a thick cut but about 1/2″ fillets. When the fillet is slightly flakey and looks cooked, take it out and drain it on paper towels so it is not too moist. Add more fish to the broth till it is all poached

Crumble the fish into a large bowl and add softened sweet potato (boil or microwave the potato in small uniform pieces until it is soft enough to mash).

Add the following ingredients:

2 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp plain yogurt (use more if you need to make it more moist or add a  spoonful of the broth)

1/2 – 3/4 of a cup of panko crumbs (use breadcrumbs if you don’t have panko). Add 1/2 cup to start and add more as you need till the consistency of the mixture will shape and hold in a ball in your hands

I don’t use salt but feel free to add a pinch to the mixture

Optional – chopped cilantro or parsley fresh

Form the cakes in your hands and sauté them till golden on one side then flip over until the other side is golden.  Take out of the pan and place on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil (I use canola oil as it has a higher burn rate – meaning you can heat it higher than olive oil without it smoking). I cook on a medium heat – if it is too high the cakes can burn.

Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt, sour cream or a seasoned yogurt or dip – we used a jalapeno greek yogurt dip mixed with some plain yogurt to reduce the heat level a bit. Served with a salad this makes a nice dinner.

Note: You can also make small bite size cakes to use as appetizers

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Asparagus Risotto at Suzanne’s

The other night I was looking through the fridge and realized there was nothing to make for dinner. Coming to the realization that I may be eating a peanut butter sandwich that night, I was contemplating what to do when the phone rang. It was my friend Suzanne asking me if I want to come to an impromptu dinner at her place.  She too said she didn’t have anything to make which leads to her fall back meal of risotto.

I haven’t made risotto in ages but Suzannes is out of this world.  She went out and got some scallops and seared them to serve with the asparagus risotto.  It was a meal fit for a queen, so good with freshly grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and a fabulous baby spinach salad made by another friend Ginny.

There are many variations on risotto but the main thing is to use a starchy rice like arborio and slowly add liquid until absorbed – including a cup of white wine 😉

You can add all kinds of ingredients – salmon, vegetables, mushrooms etc.  Good way to use up ingredients in the fridge…..

risotto

I always forget about making risotto but after this meal trust me when I say it is now at the forefront of my mind.  Thank you my friend for a fabulous evening!

Shrimp and Kale

It was another night where I wanted to use up ingredients in the fridge but still make something interesting.  I always keep shrimp in the freezer because they can turn any meal into something a little more special.  Tonight I decided to use up a batch of kale I had in the fridge and a yellow pepper and some feta cheese.  Here goes:

shrimp and kale

This dish took about 20-30 minutes in total.

Ingredients: Serves 2-3

1 leek (white part only) sliced

1 bunch of kale chopped finely

1 pepper (any colour will do)

2 garlic cloves minced

10-15 shrimp (medium sized)

1 – 14 oz can finely diced tomatoes (you can chop about 4 roma tomatoes instead of using canned if you like)

Feta cheese for sprinkling over top

Directions

Sauté leeks and chopped pepper till soft (I add a small amount of brown sugar to help brown them a bit and to make the tomato flavour a bit less acidic.) Add chopped garlic when leeks are soft and sauté together for a minute or two.  Then add tomatoes and chopped kale and mix till the kale begins to soften.  Once the kale is soft add the shrimp and mix thoroughly. Cover and let it finish cooking for about 3-4 minutes.

Put in a plate and sprinkle with some feta cheese and serve.

Summer dinner with Fern and Ian

Fern is my oldest friend – we have known each other since we were 8 years old (just a few years ago really 😉 )

I took a half day off work on a Friday and hung out with Fern in her lovely swimming pool after which we made dinner for her family . It was a lovely day with a perfect ending – good food and good company.

The menu was simple – fresh salad topped with feta, mixed red and white quinoa with grilled onion, red pepper and a bit of parmesan cheese, grilled marinated salmon and fresh corn on the cob just boiled.  While simple, the food was fresh and delicious.  Cooking with friends is a great way to spend time.

summer dinner at Fern and Ians

red & white quinoa and veg

salad with feta

Grilled Lemon Tarragon Shrimp and White Bean Dinner

I found this recipe in the Food and Drink Magazine (put out by the LCBO – Liquor Control Board of Ontario).  I love their magazine as it is beautifully art directed.  While I followed this recipe closely I did alter a couple of things which I will mention in the recipe below.  Was a great summer meal and ready in about 30 minutes.

Food and drink159

shrimp and white bean

shrimp and bean 2

Ingredients: Serves 4

(Please note I am providing the recipe the way I prepared it – the magazine called for 1/4 cup of olive oil – I just used enough to brush over the shrimp and veg and a bit over the beans. I also added the vegetables which were not in the recipe.)

1 lb. uncooked shrimp peeled

1/4 cup of lemon juice

1/3 cup of chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Olive oil to brush over shrimp, vegetables and drizzle over the beans

1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 ripe ataulfo mango diced (magazine called for wedges which we did but then we cut it up as it was better mixed into the whole meal)

2 green onions slices thinly

Pepper to taste 9I used lemon pepper for added lemon flavour)

1 garlic clove crush or minced

Splash of hot sauce (optional)

2 medium sized zucchini (1/4″ slices maximum)

1 pepper (I used yellow as it was on hand – any colour will do)

Directions:

Preheat BBQ to medium high.  While BBQ is heating combine shrimp, 2 tbsp of the lemon juice and 1 tbsp of the chopped tarragon in a bowl along with a drizzle of olive oil and toss to coat. (You can do this ahead of time too if you like)

Place beans, diced mango, green onions and remained of the tarragon in a large bowl and toss.

Skewer the shrimp in any order with the vegetables you like – BBQ about 2-3 minute per side – till pink (hint – if you slice the zucchini no more than 1/4″ thick then they will grill along with the peppers and shrimp – if they are too thick they will take too long).  You can grill the vegetables separately from the shrimp if you like too.

Add remaining lemon juice, garlic and hot sauce to bean mixture with a pinch of pepper (I don’t use salt as canned beans have salt already in them). Plate with beans on the bottom and skewers on top or take shrimp and veg off skewers and mix in bowl.

We started with them on the skewers for visual effect then decided to take them off and just mix it all up in the bowl – hence the separate pictures of how it was served.

Seared Scallops with Herb-Butter Pan Sauce

This recipe comes from the Fine Cooking website. My cousin Rebecca tried this and thought it was amazing.
Here is an image from her versionRebeccas dinner
For the scallops:
  • 1 lb. dry large sea scallops
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into six  pieces
  • 2 Tbs. finely diced shallot (1 medium shallot)
  • 1/4 cup dry white vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley and chives
  • 1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 lemon wedges for serving
TIP:

Be sure to have all your ingredients prepped for the sauce (shallots diced, herbs chopped) before you begin searing the scallops

Remove the tough abductor muscle from the side of each scallop (some scallops are sold with the muscle already removed). If you feel any grit on the scallops, rinse them under cold water. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels; surface moisture impedes browning.

Heat a 10- or 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the oil and butter, if using, and heat until quite hot. Pat the scallops dry once more and put them in the pan in a single, uncrowded layer. Season with salt and pepper and let sear undisturbed until one side is browned and crisp, 2 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the scallops and sear until the second side is well browned and the scallops are almost firm to the touch, 2 to 4 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, transfer the scallops to a plate, and set them in a warm spot. Let the pan cool for a minute before you make the sauce.

Seared Scallops with Herb-Butter Pan Sauce Recipe

Return the pan to medium heat. Add a piece of the butter (1/2 Tbs.) and the shallots and sauté until the shallots begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add the vermouth or wine and simmer until reduced by about half, another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the herbs and lemon zest. Reduce the heat to low, add the remaining butter, and whisk constantly until the butter melts into the sauce. Return the scallops and any accumulated juices to the pan. Gently roll the scallops in the sauce to warm them through. Taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side to squeeze over the scallops.

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photo by Scott Phillips
Serving Suggestions

Serve with an Arugula & Fennel Salad with Orange & Fennel Seed Dressing & Toasted Hazelnuts and Real Chocolate Mousse for dessert.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on three servings; Calories (kcal): 346; Fat (g): 22; Fat Calories (kcal): 195; Saturated Fat (g): 9; Protein (g): 26; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): 5; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 668; Cholesterol (mg): 80; Fiber (g): 0;

Sushi and Thai Restaurant (Toronto)

Had lunch with my friend (and real estate agent) Rose at Sushi and Thai restaurant at  2279 Bloor Street West. I was taking my friend for lunch and I had a Groupon Coupon to use.  At first when I called to reserve a table I was told they were very sorry but that they couldn’t accept the coupon because Groupon had not paid them for it as they are supposed to. (I sent Groupon a nasty note as this is very bad business). After telling the woman on the phone how upset I was about this and hanging up – she phoned me back and was quite wonderful saying she spoke to the owner and they would honour the coupon for me.  I was delighted as I do like the food here.  Below is what we had for lunch.  It was delicious and the most beautiful presentations!  I would go back again and again, one for the food, and two because of their customer service on this matter.

• Green Dragon Roll

• Spider Roll

• Seaweed Salad

Try it out if you haven’t been yet!

Seaweed salad

Green dragon roll

Spider roll

Fabulous Cod Dinner with Friends

This time I put the picture large size and up front. I am not sure people will believe this incredible meal was prepared by my friends Ted and Judy.  This was what we had for dinner the other night.  I don’t think anyone is wondering why I love to go there for dinner. (They are good fun company too!)

Cod dinner

So the glorious meal showing above was as follows:

Umbria lentils – wonderfully nutty but take a bit longer to cook than regular dried lentils.

Cod – beautiful large meaty piece of cod seared to perfection and popped in the oven at about 350 degrees for a few minutes to finish it off.

Topping – Kale (cut into small pieces) sautéed with garlic slices and grape tomatoes in a light chicken broth.  Scrumptious!

Side of baked sweet potato fries baked at 400 degrees for about half an hour.

All topped off with a squeeze of Meyer lemons (these are my favourite lemon – a cross between a tangerine and a lemon, they are both sweet and sour at the same time).

What a meal – it was so good there wasn’t even a lentil left on the plate!

Dinner at Linda’s – Salmon

Just got back from dinner at an old friend Linda where we celebrated the life of a dear friend that passed away 5 years ago.  It is a yearly dinner we have and this time it was pot luck.  Linda made salmon that was just wonderful.  It was fresh, I think organic salmon (?) (bought at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto).

She just brushed some maple syrup over it and thin slices of meyer lemons (a cross between a tangerine and a lemon so a bit sweeter and a bit less tart) along with clips of fresh dill.  Very simple so the flavour of the salmon really came through.  Delicious!

Below are two pictures – one raw  and “all dressed” before going in the oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes (large piece of fish) and the other image cooked.

raw salmon

cooked salmon

Yum! This sounds great – will have to try it.

fuelmyfit

Parmesan Crusted Halibut

*note: feel free to substitute with any other whitefish (cod, tilapia, sea bass, etc.)

Fuel up with this healthy fish dish – filled with protein and parmesan crusted goodness! Whole wheat breadcrumbs add more fiber than traditional breadcrumbs, while also offering a satisfying crunch! Halibut, sea bass and other similar fish offer a ton of protein for few calories, which helps to keep you feeling full  -nothing fishy about this healthy dish! Serve with a veggie side dish, such as oven roasted asparagus, to round out the meal and fuel up with fiber, protein and healthy fats!

IMG_0566

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 lb (16 oz) halibut (or other whitefish)

1/4 C whole wheat breadcrumbs

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp olive oil

IMG_0561Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place fish in casserole…

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