Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spicy Fish Sweety Greens

I love spicy food. On any given day, I would gladly trade out a cookie or other sweet for something that burns my mouth! Absolutely love it. So I usually look for spicy recipes that aren’t just hot for the sake of being hot. I like my spice to have some depth and a good flavor as well. Well that’s just what I got when I found this tilapia recipe on my handy dandy iPad app for All Recipes. It is called Tandoori Fish and was submitted by Rina H. The depth in this recipe is crazy and the flavors were so complex that the extreme heat only added to an already delicious flavor. And even though the recipe suggests to marinate the fish for 4 hours, it is not necessary. I’m sure it makes the flavors marry more, but even after 1 hour, it was super!

Here’s the deal:

4 tilapia filets
*recipe calls for catfish, either would be fine
1/3 cup white vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
*I put the garlic and about 1 ½” ginger in the mini food processor
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp ground coriander
*Here’s the complexity
1 Tbsp cumin
½ cup olive oil
*recipe calls for vegetable, I don’t use the stuff

This is super simple. Mix all the ingredients minus the fish to make a thin paste/marinade. The recipe says to blend it in a blender….who has time for that??? You don’t need to. Coat the fish in it (in a Ziploc bag would be the most efficient way to do this). Let it sit for 1-4 hours. I wouldn’t let it sit too much more than 4 or the vinegar is going to start to cook the fish. Add a small amount of olive oil to a hot pan and cook on both sides until the fish is flaky. Only flip the fish once and remember the second side goes faster than the first. The recipe also call for you to broil it, but again, not necessary! I feel like you run a much larger margin for error with a broiler.

So what was I going to eat with this fish? Well, originally I though okra. Some of my absolute favorite okra dishes are Indian recipes and I thought the two would really compliment each other. But I pulled out the okra and GASP mold! I was sooooo bummed out. Then I remembered that the good people at Boston Organics brought me collard greens that week! So collards it was.

Now here’s the disclaimer on collards. I DO NOT have time to cook them the way I always knew them to need to be cooked. Which is all day. This is old school southern food and I adore it, but there’s no time for that, period. So I crossed my fingers that a half hour or so would be plenty.


1 large bunch fresh collards
½ gala apple, diced
¼ white onion sliced semi thin then in half
1 tsp hot madras curry powder
*use whatever kind of curry powder you have
½ - ¾ cup white wine
olive oil

Wash your collards really good. Make sure you pull the leaf away from the stem. You won’t miss this stem, promise. Stack the leaves up and roll them lengthwise. Then cut them in ½” strips. I usually then cut the long pieces in half or thirds after that. Put them in a semi deep pan with about 1 cup of water and a small drizzle of olive oil. Cook over medium high heat covered for 10 minutes or so. Stir and add the white wine plus a little more water. You want these greens to soak up the liquid and cook out some of the bitterness. After you’ve cooked them for about 20 minutes add the onions and apple. Stir and keep cooking, covered. Keep adding water until you’ve cooked them for about 30 minutes. Once the liquid is mostly cooked off (not all of it) add the curry powder and stir it in. Cook for a minute or two. Then add a drizzle of honey. Stir it up, let the honey heat (this will only take a second) then serve them piping hot!

I know exactly what you’re thinking….Too many things in the pot! Normally, I would agree, but this total accident was a HUGE SUCCESS! Not only were the collards legit amazing by themselves, but when you ate them with a piece of the fish on one fork it was seriously a masterpiece! Not to toot my own horn! This is one of those times when taking a risk and being creative with food really pays off. And I got a big pat on the back from Josh. Who, by the way, doesn’t really like collards, chard or other bitter greens. So I knew it wasn’t just me, the any greens any time girl!

I urge you to try both of these, but if you’re choosing one….go with the collards!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Healthier BBQ Sangwich

One of my absolute favorite things in life is good barbeque. This is not because I am from Kentucky. Contrary to popular belief, not all barbeque in the south is delicious. There’s not even such a thing as Kentucky barbeque. But I frequently get the “Oh of course you love barbeque you’re from Kentucky.” As far as I know there’s only one real place to get barbeque in Kentucky besides your own backyard and it’s not “Kentucky” barbeque really. However, as I’ve mentioned before, my brother in law and sister in law used to live in Austin, Texas and we used to visit every year. There IS such a thing as Texas barbeque. And frankly, it’s my favorite. I mentioned the delicious BBQ Sause from Rudy’s in a previous blog which is only one component to the fabulous barbeque at this place. They also serve the best brisket you’ve ever tasted. When you get this BBQ at Rudy’s they give it to you with a loaf or so of white bread. And I like mine with cole slaw. Typically I build a sangwich with all of the above ingredients! It’s my own little guilty pleasure although I really don’t feel that guilty since I have to truck it all the way to Texas to get it!

Nevertheless, I wanted to try to adapt the barbeque love to something that’s slightly healthier and logistically easier. So I started thinking hard about what flavors make up my favorite BBQ Sangwich. I’ll start with the protein. Ok, so brisket is not good for you. Especially my favorite type which is pretty fatty. But I could use ground turkey. So the tastes on the meat are typically onion (don’t ask me how or why), smoke (from a smoker if you do it right), and barbeque sauce. So to recreate the smoke flavor, I used liquid smoke. Now, I’m absolutely not going to replace the Rudy’s BBQ Sause…it’s too good and I wouldn’t be using much. Instead of creamy cole slaw, I used the Health Salad from my July 28, 2011 blog. However, my organics box had red cabbage in it this week, so I used that. There’s no real need to make it with green,  done and done. I did put it on bread, but used a whole wheat sandwich thin. Anyway, I didn’t want the bread to outweigh the taste of the turkey or the slaw, so I didn’t want much, but I wanted it to be a sangwich.

Here’s the breakdown for this creative BBQ Burger

1 lb ground turkey
*I used organic and would recommend it b/c of the texture you get which is surprisingly different from non organic
1 ½ Tbsp. dry minced onion
1 ½ Tbsp. Rudy’s BBQ Sause
*If you don’t have this, use your favorite sauce
1 Tbsp dry parsley
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 tsp. dry ground mustard

Cajun seasoning

Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a bowl and let sit all day or even overnight. I mixed it up right before I left for work. Patty out the turkey into burgers. Then spray them with olive oil spray. Turn your grill on high and let heat up for 15 minutes or so.
Then I sprinkled each side of the burger with Cajun seasoning. Now, I have a recipe for the rub that I use, but I’m not sure that it’s not a guarded Montgomery family secret. So until I know for sure, I can’t share. But the basic ingredients to look for in a seasoning you’ll want to use are brown sugar, cayenne pepper, pepper, & salt. Mine has a lot more to it, but if you Google a meat rub with those ingredients, I’m sure you’ll find something good. And maybe one day I’ll share the Montgomery Mix! Grill the burgers covered for about 5 minutes per side. The last thing you want is an underdone turkey burger! Ick! Brush on a little of the barbeque sauce on each side of the burger while on the grill. Then just stack up the sangwich accordingly. Bread, meat, health salad, bread.

So here’s the truth. This is not as good as brisket barbeque and creamy cole slaw. I didn’t think it would be. Fortunately it is yummy and does remind me of that sangwich. And it’s so much better for you! I really enjoyed it and who doesn’t love a good burger on the grill? Especially when it’s been winter for a million years and you’re ready for spring!