Sautéed Flounder

Let’s start out with a healthy version of sautéed flounder over brown rice with some sautéed broccoli. I am trying to make things tasty and maybe a little lower in calories just for good measure! So let’s get started with this new one.

As you can see in the picture, here is a 4 oz portion of flounder I sautéed in a non stick pan with a little butter. I seasoned it with some salt and pepper along with some paprika for flavor and color.

saute flounder

It was served over a half a cup of some brown rice that was hanging around in the fridge along with a serving of broccoli that was sautéed with some salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice.

So I hope you guys stick around to see what else comes about, and I am always open for suggestions for whatever you want me to cook for you with or without a healthy spin on things.

finished flounder

Enjoy~

Sautéed Pork with Apple Brandy Sauce and Roasted Carrots

This was a meal I wanted to cook because my wife, per her doctor’s orders, has to try to eat gluten-free for the next few weeks and she really didn’t like anything she had found so far. I also wanted to do it for her just to cheer her up! So let’s go.

Mashed potatoes – potatoes boiled until soft, drained, then put back on the stove where you add a lot of butter and cream, some salt & pepper and beat them until smooth.

Roasted carrots – medium carrots peeled, sliced in half, tossed in some olive oil, seasoned with some salt & pepper, tossed on a pan and put into a 400F oven until the edges start to turn golden brown.

While the carrots are roasting, dice up an apple, put it in a bowl with 4oz brandy, 4 tablespoons of sugar, one tablespoon of cinnamon and let it hang out until after you cook the pork cutlet.

Pork cutlet, last part, salt & pepper both sides cook in a medium hot pan with butter for a few minutes, turn and finish cooking until you have 145F internal temperature. Take it out of the pan and set it on a plate with the mashed potatoes and the carrots while you make the sauce.

Lastly the sauce, carefully pour the cup with the apple, brandy and seasonings into the hot pan, it might flame up a bit, stir all the tasty bits from the bottom of the pan left from cooking the pork. Let the apples cook for about 2 minutes while the pan sauce reduces. Turn off the heat and stir in a couple of tablespoons of butter and let them melt into the liquid in the pan. This should thicken the sauce a little. Check for seasoning and if all is good pour over the pork and enjoy a very delicious gluten-free meal!

Pan Seared Pork

~Enjoy~

Classic Hummus

I like to mix things up a little, so for an appetizer, I thought I might like to make something healthy. My wife’s brother and his wife love hummus. I thought like to show them that you can make the same stuff for a lot cheaper than you can buy it, pre-packed in some plastic container at the supermarket. Also since you make it fresh at home, you know what is inside it. This also allows you to flavor it with anything you can imagine. So here goes classic hummus made in a minute when they were here.

The main ingredient is chick peas. Regular old out of the 16oz can, rinsed and drained chick peas. To that I added 6 cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of salt + 2 tablespoons of black pepper, 4oz of tahini paste, which is ground sesame seeds found in the super market, 2 lemons cut in half and the juice squeezed into the processor. Process on high for a few moments making sure to scrape down the sides so everything is thoroughly incorporated. You might have to add a little water if it is too thick. Adjust it to your liking. After that you should end up with something that looks like this.

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To serve, I placed some in another container had some fresh Nan bread, pita chips and some fresh vegetables arranged on a platter. Everybody was impressed by how simple and tasty it was.

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~Enjoy~

Isreal Couscous with Peppers

I like serving couscous in the summer, you don’t really have to cook it, you can make it a day ahead and you can serve at room temperature. So here is how I did it this time.

I took a red onion, red, green and yellow pepper and diced them pretty small and sautéed them in some good olive oil with some salt & pepper and chopped fresh garlic. Put that in a mixing bowl to cool while I cooked the couscous.

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I like the Israeli couscous because it is bigger than the regular one. I used two boxes this time, cooked with chicken stock instead of water for extra flavor. Cook per the instructions on the box, just be careful not to over-cook it because it will turn to mush and you really don’t want that.

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Take the freshly cooked couscous and combine it with the onion and pepper mixture. Here you might have to add a little olive oil and check your salt & pepper seasoning.

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Let it cool and then cover it and store it in the fridge.

Enjoy ~

Homemade Spring Rolls

On the way home from having lunch with my wife, I noticed that there was a new oriental market that opened up by her office, so I swung by to check it out. It was a nice little place and the owners were very helpful. I had been on a quest for rice paper for a while checking the local supermarkets without finding any. This place had a few to choose from so spring rolls were on the menu for dinner. So let’s roll on in on how to make them.

As you can see I picked up some crab meat from the store, along with some bean sprouts and Thai basil. I julienned some carrots and sliced some romaine lettuce somewhat thin to go inside the rolls.

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With everything all laid out nicely the tricky part starts now, softening the rice paper sheets. There are two ways of going about this task. One way is the long soak in cold water; the other is the quick soak in hot water. This part is totally up to you, but remember, there is only a limited amount of time to make and roll it. I prefer warmish water for a medium soak. This leaves the sheet somewhat firm yet flexible while you are working with it. Practice with a few using one ingredient, like the carrot sticks, until you are comfortable wrapping them up in a tight roll.

I find it easiest to roll them on a wood cutting board; they tend to stick to the counter top. Plus, you can leave the leading edge hanging off the board to make it easier to pick up and roll. Dip the rice paper in the bowl of water for however long you choose.

Place the wrapper in front of you. Imagine a clock on the face of the rice paper. Place the ingredients in a line as if you were filling the face of a clock between 4 & 5 o’clock across to between 7 & 8 o’clock. Now bring the 6 o’clock flap, which was hanging off the board, up and over the ingredients and roll tightly a little bit towards 12 o’clock.

Now take the sides and fold them towards the center, making a tight package encasing the ingredients. Continue rolling to 12 o’clock position. Right before you totally roll it, stop and rewet the top of the roll so the flap really sticks to the roll. Hopefully you will end up with something like the picture below.

rolled spring role

I got the first one done and I realized I had no dipping sauce!!! You could go out and get some sweet chili sauce in a bottle, but that’s not for me. I want spicy peanut dipping sauce!

In another bowl combine 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter add 4 tablespoons of soy sauce & water and however much ground cayenne power and black pepper you can stand. We like it hot! If the sauce is still too thick, keep adding water to thin it out to your liking. Adjust the heat to your liking also.

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Make the rest of the rolls and keep them in the refrigerator covered until you are ready to eat them.

That night we had the Spring Rolls along with the spicy peanut dipping sauce and a chilled bottle of Sake that was recommended by the owners of the shop. A very nice end to a great day.

springroll cut

Enjoy ~

Eggplant Parmesan

My wife brought home an eggplant from the farmer’s market a few days ago and asked I make a meal without meat this week. I was in the mood for pasta anyway so here is what I did.

While making dinner the night before, I took the eggplant sliced it about ¼ of an inch thick, sprinkled some table salt on both sides and laid the circles on a wire rack over a sheet pan, covered it and placed it in the fridge overnight. The reason for doing this is to “sweat” the bitter juices out of the eggplant. I feel this really helps the flavor of the eggplant come through better and be less bitter.

The next day I took the eggplant out of the fridge, quickly rinsed the salt off the circles, dipped them in flour, then egg wash and then in seasoned bread crumbs.

I fried them in a large non stick pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Set those aside on a wire rack to cool.

Now let’s build the stack. Start with some of your tomato sauce on the bottom of a pan that can go in the oven. That’s so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Then place an eggplant disk on top of the sauce. Top that, in my case with some left over pesto sauce and some tomato sauce and on top of that, some mozzarella cheese. Repeat 3 or 4 more times. Make sure not to put the cheese on the top layer just yet.

Set the oven to 325F. Place the eggplant stack in the oven for about 20-25 minutes to cook while you are boiling the pasta to go with the meal. After the stack is thoroughly heated, pull it out and top with some more of the mozzarella cheese and leave it in the oven until the cheese is nice and melted.

Pour yourself a nice glass of Italian red wine, sit down and eat your Italian feast.

Eggplant Parm

Enjoy~

 

Baked Hake Loins

We were at Costco and my wife was in the mood for white fish for dinner. Her being from the North East area I though some Hake fillets would be a good choice because they are like Cod.

So a simple preparation was called for, so here we go!

Simply rinsed off the loins, brushed them with melted butter, dusted them with plenty of Old Bay seasoning and then covered them with some Italian bread crumbs.

old bay hake

Popped them in our convection oven set at 350 degrees for about 14 minutes or just until the fish flakes apart when poked with a fork.

Served them with some black rice and sautéed broccoli.

baked hake w/ black rice

A little taste of New England really easy and really good. . . Enjoy ~

Shrimp Bruschetta

We were having some people over and I was grilling dinner by the pool so I thought some shrimp bruschetta would be a light start to the meal that goes very well with some white wine.
Before the guests came I had already cooked the shrimp in some water, flavored with lemon juice, peppercorns and white wine,  shocked them in some ice water and cut them in half the log way.
I had some pesto and some roasted red peppers left over from making dinner a few nights ago so I used them also.
I had picked up a nice baguette from the bakery sliced it, brushed on a little olive oil and toasted them on the grill. Spread a little pesto on the bread, laid some of the roasted peppers on top, topped that with the shrimp halves laid out nicely. Then topped the shrimp with a piece of the roasted red pepper again and some chopped basil for garnish. Finished everything with a light sprinkle of good extra virgin olive oil and some coarse salt & pepper.
I have to admit they didn’t last long and they were really good.
shrimp bruscetta
~ Enjoy ~

Roast Chicken Mash & Peas

It’s funny how dinner comes about some nights. I look over at the drawers where I keep the onions and potatoes and I see 3 big potatoes starting to sprout, so I know I will use them in some way for dinner tonight.  Some more poking around I find a half-open bag of frozen peas and I knew I was making roast chicken for dinner anyway.

Started by peeling the potatoes and cutting them up into chunks because I’m going to make mashed potatoes. I put them in a pot, bring them to a boil, cook until they are fork soft. Then drain them and put them back in the pot and on the stove. On low heat, and add a stick of butter and some half & half to get them to the desired thickness then I add the salt & pepper to taste. This is how they end up.

cut potatoes

mashed potatoes

Today I have chicken thighs that I seasoned with salt & pepper, a little paprika, some granulated garlic and sprayed them with a little oil. Set the oven to 400 degrees and put them on the next to the top rack. Cook until they are a dark golden brown or until a thermometer reads at least 165 degrees nearest the bone.

chicken prep

In a small pan I mixed together some chicken stock and some beef stock and let that reduce on the stove while the chicken cooked. While the stock was boiling, I mixed together 2 tablespoons of flour with 1/3 cup of water and while whisking the stock, slowly poured in the slurry in until the stock thickened into a sauce. Check it for seasoning, it might need some pepper to offset the saltiness from reducing the stock.

gravy

I took the frozen peas put them in a pot with some water to cover, brought them to a boil for a minute or two then drained most of the water. Add a good sized piece of butter and add some salt & pepper to your liking, turn the heat off under the pot, cover the pot and let it sit there until you are ready to serve dinner.

As you can see, I plated the mashed potatoes, made a well for the sauce, and filled it to the brim, put a couple of scoops of peas on the plate and then the crispy skinned chicken thighs on the plate.  Pour yourself some sort of refreshing adult beverage and dig in!  Enjoy ~

roast chicken and mash

Chicken Pot Pie

There was a “cold front“ that came through Florida last week and as a tribute to my wife’s New England upbringing I thought I would make my version of chicken pot pie. So I started poking around the fridge and here is what I came up with.

1 large onion, 3 medium carrots, 3 celery sticks all chopped into medium pieces and set aside.

cut veges

Cut 4-6 red potatoes into small pieces, boiled them for about ten minutes then tossed them into some ice-cold water to stop the cooking because we are going to cook them again with everything else.

potatoes

Start with four 6 oz chicken breasts and cut them into uniform chunks like in the picture.

whole chicken breast

chopped chicken brast

Dust them in some seasoned flour and sear them off in the pot you will be making the stew in then remove and set aside on a plate.

floured chicken

seared chicken

Now take the vegetables you already cut and sauté them with some garlic, when soft add the potatoes and the chicken cook for a few minutes. Add a quart of chicken stock or broth and a cup of heavy cream.

Reduce the heat to simmer and let cook for about an hour uncovered, stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. It will thicken as it cooks and makes the house smell really good.

Before serving, taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

chicken pot pie in a bowl

As a side note, by using the potatoes instead of puff pastry you are saving some calories so you can have another bowl or two.

Enjoy