Archive | September, 2011

Cooking marathon: Heart farmer markets

30 Sep

Inspired by Nerf #3’s recent post I have gotten off my lazy bum and decided to put up a new post. Today has been a cooking marathon. Earlier this morning, my trip the local farmers marked gave me a well of inspiration and wonderfully fresh ingredients for dinner. As I have mentioned in previous post about the new healthy eating rules in my family, and our constant struggle to make healthy things taste delicious. Some of these wonderful produce included butternut squash, red and yellow beets, wonderfully ripe tomatoes, and Japanese eggplant. We also acquired some very fresh tilapia from the local market. With these ingredients as inspiration we have our dinner menu:

Baked whole Tilapia, Roasted butternut squash, saute beet greens with garlic, roasted beets, roasted eggplant (coming soon), and spaghetti from scratch (coming soon) for lunch tomorrow. Click on the hyperlink for full recipes.

Baked whole Tilapia

Roasted Butternut squash

Roasted eggplant









Saute Beet greens with garlic










spaghetti from scratch


Baked whole Tilapia

30 Sep

This was inspired by a recipe from another blogger My Kitchen Snippets who did a beautiful baked/grilled tilapia. I made a few changes to suit my own personal taste of course. The results was a very delicious baked fish with a crispy skin and an aromatic topping. I baked the fish, but for those are not as health conscious, frying the fish would result in a very tasty outcome as well. Recipe

For the fish:

1-2 lbs fresh tilapia ( I like mine with the head on)

Salt and pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp of olive oil

For the topping

5 stalk of scallions finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic finely chopped

3 shallots finely chopped

2 Tbs ginger finely chopped

1 jalapeno finely chopped

1 tsp oyster sauce

1/2 tsp fish sauce (Vietnamese)

1. Set the oven to 400 degrees ferinheight.

2. Rub the fish with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and season with 1/8 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and chili powder. Spread the remaining olive oil on the baking sheet under the fish. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minuets (depending on size) then turn the oven to Broil for 5-7 minuets

3. In a separate pan brown garlic, shallots and ginger. Add scallions, jalapeno, oyster sauce, and fish sauce and cook until soft.

4. When the fish is cooked, top the fish with your cooked toppings and serve.

Roasted Butternut Squash

30 Sep

Roasting squash is one of those dishes that are super easy to make, but has great flavor. Butternut squash is a very good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. We all know vitamin C is great for our immune system. Vitamin A is a retinol that is essential in the photo receptor of our eyes. For those that aspire to be fighter jet pilot or retain your good vision for a couple more years eat your butternut squash!

This slim version of roasting butternut squash gives you all the sweet natural flavor without negating any health benefits by soaking them in butter and extra sugar.


1 2lbs butternut squash peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp olive oil

(Yes that is it)

1. Set your oven to 425 F.

2. Toss the butternut squash cubes with the cinommon and olive oil.

3. Baked in a covered dish for 30 minuets and serve.

This would make a great side for the Thanksgiving dinners.

Saute beet greens and roasted beets

30 Sep

Beets, the ugly cousin of chard, are sadly one of those vegetables that are nutritious but unpopular. Despite the unappealing red color that seems to stain everything else it comes in contact with red, I find beets to be a very delicious and healthy vegetable when done right. Most of the time we see beets are those that comes in a can and of in a salad bar. Those are usually pickled and like all pickled things there are a lot of extra salt and sugar added. Beets are naturally sweet and really do not need any extra sugar. In fact, sugar beets are often used in the production of table sugar. Yes, there is a lot of sugar in beets but they are still good for you. Beets contain betaine, a compound that studies have shown to help those with cardiovascular disease and prevent strokes.They are also high in folate which is important for your red blood cells.

When buying beets, choose the ones that have the greens still attached. Beet greens are edible too and has a similar taste to spinach when cooked. The beet roots should have a fairly smooth surface. Other than the regular red beetroot, there are other varieties like yellow beets that have a more earthy flavor but do not stain everything red.

During my farmer’s market buying spree I picked up some fresh red beets and cooked them two ways. The beet root was peeled sliced and roasted with rosemary and shallots. (don’t have a photo of the beets oops) The beet greens were sauteed with some garlic.

Saute Beet greens with garlic

These made great side dishes to our baked fish dinner. Although most of you are probably still not convinced beets are not evil, just give them a chance sometime.

For those who are brave enough to give it a try

Roasted Beets

2-3 beet roots

3 shallots

1 spring rosemary

1 tsp olive oil

pinch of salt

1. Cut off the beet green and set them aside for later. Wash the beets well, peel and slice them into 1/4 inch slices.

2. Clean and peel off outer skin of the shallots, cut them in half

3. Place the cut beets, shallots, spring of rosemary in a dish that won’t stain (metal or glass). Drizzle the olive oil and add the pinch of salt and toss to coat the beets evenly. Place the spring of rosemary on top and cover with aluminum foil.

4. Roast the beets at 425 degree Celsius for 45 min or until you can easily cut through them with a knife.

Saute beet greens

Greens from 3-4 beet roots

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash the beet greens well to remove any dirt and cut them into 2 inch pieces

2. slice the garlic thinly and set aside

3. In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

4. Add garlic first and cook them until slighlty brown.

5. Add in the beet greens and cook for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Eh, what up doc?

22 Sep

I know, can you believe it–I nerf #3 is still alive, and still cooking and eating! Firstly, Big Ups to nerf #2 Allison for providing everyone with some fantastic information and posts for some tasty eats!

Restaurant Week is coming up soon here in San Diego, so during a mind-numbingly boring employment session I decided to look at the menus being offered by participating restaurants. All of the menus that I looked at seemed uninspired, except for two menus that were serving…rabbit. I thought this was awesome and my fantastic Pablano took it one step further; we would cook a rabbit dish at home. So on Monday night, after flipping through the bible (Jacques Pepin’s Complete Techniques) we decided to cook a rabbit stew. This was my first time eating and cooking rabbit and I had so much fun learning how to butcher a whole rabbit and finally eating the end product!

The interesting thing about rabbit is that it is quite healthy. It has 10.2% fat and is 792 calories per pound, which is less than chicken and also has the highest percentage of protein than most other meats consumed.

Pepin used white wine but since we had quite a few bottles of reds we found a red wine recipe. Also, we decided to serve the stew over couscous; we wanted a different starch from the usual rice.

Aren't those kidneys the cutest things you've ever seen?

Ingredients used:

1 3lb rabbit to be quartered

3-4 slices of bacon

1.5 cups of sliced onions

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

3 Tbs of flour

1 14.5 oz. can of beef broth

0.25 cup of red wine (we chose to use a Cabernet Sauvignon)

1 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp dried parsley

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

1. Quarter the rabbit; I used my boning knife which worked fine but you can definitely use a chef’s knife for a couple of the bones.

Who needs culinary school when there's YouTube?

2. Using a Dutch or French oven, cook the slices of bacon on medium high heat until cooked. Remove bacon strips leaving the bacon grease in the oven.

3. Add the onions and garlic to the hot bacon grease and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.

4. Place the rabbit pieces into the oven and saute until golden brown.

5. Sprinkle the rabbit pieces with the flour and stir well; cook for about 2-3 minutes.

6. Pour the beef broth and the red wine in with the rabbit and add the dried spices.

7. Cover the oven and simmer on low heat for about an hour.

8. At the end of the hour add salt and pepper to taste; stir.

9. Serve stew over a starch; we used couscous but I’m sure mashed potatoes would be great (if you’re into that sort of thing).

10. Enjoy!

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