Category Archives: Fish

Food Matters Project #10: Cod in Spicy Rhubarb Sauce

Another Food Matters Project recipe.  This week’s recipe was chosen by Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  She had chosen Mark Bittman’s Fish Nuggets Braised in Rhubarb Sauce.  You can find the original recipe in The Food Matters Cookbook, other interpretations of this recipe can be found in the comments section in this blog post.

It seems that rhubarb was difficult to find for some of us trying out this dish.  I hadn’t seen fresh rhubarb in the store for the last month or so, all of a sudden it had disappeared.  Fortunately, Whole Foods had frozen rhubarb which I snagged for this recipe.

We had never caramelized sugar and used it as a base for fish sauce, and since we were unsure of the outcome, we stuck to the recipe.  Although, we’ll admit that this was not our favorite Mark Bittman dish.  I’ve made some notes, so please read it before trying this out.

Cod in Spicy Rhubarb Sauce
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg. 454)

We had followed the recipe, and the one thing that has thrown us off was the amount of pepper which it called for.  If you were to make it again, our suggestion would be to halve the amount of pepper.  In addition, we’d add some garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper to the sauce.  This would give it more depth, and taste.  If you don’t have cod, other fish that would hold up well are: halibut, tuna steaks or tilapia. 

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 lb rhubarb, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5 Thai chilies (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
juice of 2 limes
3/4 lb cod, defrosted/fresh
2 tbsp green onions, chopped

Add sugar and 1/4 cup of water to a large skillet heated over medium heat.  Stir every once in a while, while the sugar dissolves, then bubbles and darkens- about 10 minutes.  Then turn off the heat, and stir in another 1/4 cup of water.  Again, turn on the heat and stir the sauce until the caramel dissolves and thickens.

Then, add the rhubarb, onion and chiles.  Cook the vegetables for 10 minutes, until they are soft and the sauce begins to melt.  Mix together the salt, pepper and lime juice, then pour into the pan.  Stir well, and then add the fish.  Cover the skillet and allow the fish to cook until it is done.

We served this with some rice and garnished with green onions.

The Perfect Breakfast: Lox

Spring is almost here, and every year all of us are yearning for more sunny days.  Nothing says spring like a wonderful breakfast spread, while you’re sitting outdoors on your patio, enjoying the beautiful weather.

The perfect way to start a morning is by eating this:

There are no instructions required, you add what you want onto this sandwich, and how much you want of it.  This lovely image above has this:

Cream cheese:
*I made enough for a number of sandwiches, so there will be leftovers*
1/4 cup cream cheese
2-3 tbsp dill, chopped
1 tsp mustard
1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt

Mix all of the ingredients together, and spread it on the bread

Sandwich Ingredients:
rye bread
Boston lettuce leaves
cucumbers, sliced

I’d love to know what your perfect sandwich is!

Masa Harina Taco’s with Shrimp Salad

Since we’ve started this blog, I’ve been much more adventurous in buying new foods.  I’ve always tried new things at restaurants, parties or at my parent’s house.  But over a number of years I stuck to my grocery list and never bought anything just because (just because: the label looked pretty, or the photo on the package enticed me).

Let me tell you, the “just because” purchases are the best ones ever!  Obviously, it’s not until I get home that I read about the product I have bought.  Sometimes it turns out to be a dud, it’s not very appetizing or just doesn’t work.  Other times, it’s a winner!

This is one of the winners.  Although I had seen masa harina- it’s the flour that makes tortillas and tamales, the dough is made out of dried masa- I never knew what I could make with it.  Finally, I came across this recipe and I knew we had to try it.  Of course, then when I do walk into a store and I need a specific item- they didn’t have it (why does that happen?)!

I’ve been thinking of putting in an order at Bob’s Red Mill for quite some time now, so there is no time like the present, right?  I’m sure you’ve all seen Bob’s packages of various flours, beans and cereals in your grocery aisle.  (I did order some other products, but that’s for another post!)

We haven’t had many mexican dishes recently, so I couldn’t wait for this one.  The texture of this little taco is definitely not the same as a tortilla.  It’s thicker, grainier, but it’s soft and lightly sweet.  It’s hard to describe, which means you will all have to make this for dinner sometime soon.

Although we did do a shrimp salad, feel free to add anything- stewed meat with salsa, corn and black bean salad, or guacamole with some veggies.  This is just an example of how versatile this dish can be.

Masa Harina Taco’s with Shrimp Salad
Adapted from: Big Girls Small Kitchen

1 1/2 cups masa harina
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)
1/4-1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 lbs peeled, deveined shrimp
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup corn
1/4 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 avocado, sliced or diced

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Combine the masa harina and salt in a bowl.  Mix well, and then add the water.  Stir well until combined.  Let it stand for about 5 minutes, the mixture should thicken.

Heat the oil in cast iron or non-stick pan.  When the oil is heated, shape a patty out of the masa harina and gently add it to the oil.  Cook for about 10 minutes, and then flip it over and cook it for another 5 minutes.  Put the patty on a baking pan.  Continue to do this until all of the masa harina was gone.  (The number of patties will depend on how big or small you make them.  We made ours smaller than hockey pucks, and had about 8 of them.)  Once all of your patties have been made, put the baking pan into the oven for about 10 minutes.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.  Turn down the heat and add the shrimp.  Boil the shrimp, covered, for about 3-4 minutes.  Once the shrimp turns a pink color, drain and rinse with cold water.  (If you use frozen corn, you can always add it to the water with the shrimp.)  *Skip this step if you have cooked shrimp already*

Chop the shrimp into small pieces.  Then add the chopped shrimp into a large mixing bowl.  Add the red onion, mayo, lime juice, mustard, crushed red pepper flakes and jalapeño.  Mix all of the ingredients together to make the shrimp salad.

Make each masa harina taco with some shrimp salad and avocado.  Feel free to add hot sauce, cheese or lettuce (or anything else you’d like).

Fish and Vegetable Stew

We had this for dinner a couple of weeks ago, but it seems fitting to post it today.  In DC it’s gloomy and rainy this afternoon/evening, so some comfort food would be perfect.  Oftentimes during the summer I feel bad staying indoors when it’s so gorgeous out (yes, even when the humidity and temperature are high).  So today would be a perfect day to sit home, relax, watch a movie and eat some stew.

I think both of us were a little surprised how well this came out.  I’ve never made a soup out of fish, so this was a first.  But it’s nice and light- so even when it’s super hot out- it doesn’t feel like a heavy dinner.  And, in case you’re making this during the fall or winter months, you can eat some bread with this to make it a bit more filling.

Fish Stew
Inspired by: Easy Everyday: Simple Recipes

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 small or 1/2 of a large fennel bulb, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups tomato juice
2 tbsp grated orange peel
juice of 1 orange
1 cup of water
about 1 lb of cod (or other white fish)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a pan.  Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, red bell pepper, thyme and fennel for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.  Then add the wine, heat it until it boils, and then simmer it uncovered until the liquid has reduced.

Then, add the tomato juice, orange peel, orange juice and 1 cup of water.  Turn up the heat once again, let it cook for about 10 minutes.  Lastly, add the fish and cook for another 5-10 minutes on low to medium heat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Finally, ladle the stew into soup bowls, and sprinkle with parsley.

Fish Taco’s

I love Mexican…a lot!  Especially chips and salsa- definitely my weakness.  So this might seem weird- I have never had fish taco’s until about a month ago.  When I did try them, I was already thinking how we could recreate some at home.

Flipping through the Mexican cookbook, I liked how the picture looked, and decided we should have some for dinner.  We’ve made taco’s once that had the red cabbage in it, and I fell in love with the crunchiness of the cabbage with the soft tortilla.  Sam made the fish, so he gets all of the credit- the tilapia was tender and flaky.  Mexican food is great since there aren’t any concrete rules.  You can add any ingredients which you like (extra cilantro for me!).

Lastly, Sam’s Special Sauce was wonderful- we’ve had some in our fridge for a couple of days now and have been using it whenever we could.  (Perfect on panini’s!)

Fish Taco’s with Sam’s Special Sauce
Inspired by: Mexican Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Preparing and Cooking Delicious Mexican Meals

1 lb tilapia
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne
1/4 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
4 tortillas
1/4 cup cilantro
1 cup salsa (we make our own, but that’s another post)
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Sam’s Special Sauce*

Mix together the salt, pepper, chili powder and cayenne in a small bowl.  Then use all of the spice mix to sprinkle both sides of the fish.  In a pan melt the butter, and then add the olive oil.  Cook the fish for 2 minutes on both sides over medium-high heat.

Assemble the taco: 1 tortilla, some fish, small handful of red cabbage, pinch of cilantro, 2 tbsp salsa, 2 tbsp cheese and 1-2 tbsp of Sam’s Special Sauce.*


* Sam’s Special Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 of an onion, chopped
1 canned chipotle

In a food processor, add 1 cup of mayo, onion, and 1 canned chipotle.  Blend, until smooth.  Taste, and add more chipotle’s if you want it to be more spicy.