by Xiomara Meeks - Are you stuck in a rut? While I'm a big fan of zucchini and eggplant, it has been a while since I've cooked either one at home.
Zucchini seems easier to cook than eggplant to me. Or at least, I've had better luck adding zucchini to an oriental inspired dish than cooking eggplant. Although I prefer eggplant to zucchini, it just seems like such a big hassle sometimes.
The other day I received this picture from a friend. It made me realized I've been slacking on my vegetable eating. Sure, at home we eat avocados and tomatoes almost daily. But this mixture of colorful veggies just made me want to try some new veggie recipes at home.
Easy Zucchini Eggplant Casserole
Who has time to prep, chop and bake? I know we are all short on time these days. At least that's how I feel when I get home after leaving the market and picking up the girls at daycare. It's like entering my second job. ;) So, with that in mind, I promise this dish is quick, tasty and makes for great leftovers! The beauty of this dish is that once is in the oven, you'll have time for other stuff.
by Xiomara Meeks - Fish is one of those things that I love to order at restaurants when we go out, but I rarely cook at home. I'm always afraid I'll mess it up somehow. We never cooked it at home growing up, unless you consider making "gazpacho" with salted codfish cooking with fish. One day I'll post about that.
I'm famous at home for replacing ingredients in a recipe. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Lucky for me, Jim has accepted this fact and just rolls his eyes when I tell him. I found a recipe for roasted halibut with russet potatoes on eating well. I didn't have halibut or russet potatoes, but the ingredient list intrigued me.
What I did have in my pantry was sea bass and sweet potatoes. I had orange sweet peppers instead of red peppers and purple onions instead of white onions. Funny fact, even though I grew up with yellow Spanish onions, at home I only use purple onions. That is, unless we have our Strawberry Onions available. ;)
Ever heard of a gremolata? Don't worry, me neither. According to our good friends at Wikipedia, a gremolata is a mixture of lemon zest, garlic and parsley. Another substitution required by my pantry or by my lack of planning, required I use cilantro instead of parsley. No big deal. It was fabulous.
Fish for Dinner Roasted Sea Bass
Author: Xiomara Meeks
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into spears
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
handful of small sweet peppers (or 1 large red or orange bell pepper cut into wedges)
1 large purple onion
1/2 tsp salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
2 tsp coarsely chopped lemon zest
1 tsp dried oregano
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 pounds sea bass fillet
Preheat oven to 400F. Place sweet potatoes in a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and turn to coat evenly. Add pepper and onion. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.
Roast the vegetables for about 35 minutes. Make sure to turn them halfway through so they are evenly roasted.
While vegetables are roasting, chop cilantro, lemon zest, oregano and garlic together to make gremolata. Season the sea bass with the remaining salt and sprinkle with half of the gremolata.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Increase oven temperature to 450F. Arrange the sweet potatoes around the sides and place the sea bass in the center. Top the fillets with some of the pepper and onion mixture.
Roast in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillets. Top each fillet with the remaining gremolata and serve with lemon wedges.
This dish was definitively a keeper, even with my substitutions. We don't eat many potatoes at home, but we love roasted sweet potatoes. Jim added some malt vinegar to his fish. I forgot to sprinkle lemon juice on it.
What's your favorite dish to order when going to a restaurant?
I'm a big fan of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. However, my family loves chicken on the bone. When my 6 year old saw that we were having chicken drumsticks for dinner, she was so excited she started to dance in her seat. Not kidding. Me, on the other hand, not as happy, sat quietly facing my plate.
We just got fresh Apple Cider at them market, so I decided to look for a new recipe to try. Last year I made this. I found this recipe in last year's Eating Well December issue. This recipe called for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but all I had defrosted at the time was the drumsticks.
Braised Chicken Drumsticks with Pears
Author: Xiomara Meeks
Recipe adapted from Eating Well December 2011 Issue.
8 chicken drumsticks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tsp canola oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 medium, purple onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup Apple Cider
2 medium, potatoes, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
4 firm, ripe pears, peel and cube (I used Bosc, but you can use Anjou or Comice)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbsp fresh thyme)
Dredge the drumsticks to coat well on all sides, shaking off excess. Reserve unused flour.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until golden, about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and season with salt and pepper. Add more oil to the pot and brown the rest of the chicken. Set aside.
While the chicken is cooking mix the pears with lemon juice and thyme. Set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add oil, and onions. Stir until golden brown for about 3 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of flour and stir 1 more minute. Gradually add apple cider and stir until thickened for about 2 minutes.
Add pears, potatoes and drumsticks back in the dutch oven, cover and reduce the heat to low and cook for about 15-20 minutes.
This recipe was definitively a crowd-pleaser at our home. The girls really enjoyed eating the drumstick cave man style, and I got them to eat pears! That's what I call a Win-Win. Enjoy!