Detoxing from Cali….

Mango salsa cod

It’s been a while since our last photographed dinner. Between family in town and our week-long trip to California, healthy blog-worthy meals have been far and few between. However, we have certainly enjoyed all the delicious meals out recently, and it was great to take some time for just Nick and I this last week. Char was in great hands with her grandparents; getting spoiled with cookies, graham crackers, you name it.

Since getting back we have tried to keep the meals pretty light, and tonight’s dinner was our go-to pan seared cod, with an amazing avocado mango salsa on top. This picture doesn’t really do justice, and next time I’ll snap one of the salsa on its own. Continue reading “Detoxing from Cali….”

Create Your Own Tuna Bowl…

Tuna bowl

I have been OBSESSED with sushi bowls ever since leaving college, because we had this AMAZING place called Rolls n Bowls where you would go in and create your own rice bowl, choosing from an assortment of sushi, veggies, and spicy sauces. We went at least twice a week for 2 years straight. I have been waiting for NYC to bring that idea to life, and they have FINALLY started to catch on to the trend, with a few Poke inspired restaurants opening around the city in the last few months. I have yet to venture downtown to try one; However, in the meantime, I have been incorporating my own fish bowls into our diet.

Today’s Tuna bowl is one that we frequently make because it’s SO quick.  I always prep the veggies during Char’s nap, so that when dinner rolls around, all we have to do is cook the fish. You can eat the sushi sashimi style (like a true tuna poke bowl), but I prefer to sear the tuna steaks (for some reason I find this more filling). We have used several types of fish when making these bowls, so feel free to substitute. Additionally, you can get really creative in your sauces. Today’s was a sweet soy glaze sauce, however a spicy mayo or avocado paste would be just as delicious.

Tuna Steak bowls with spiralized carrots and cucumber: serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of tuna steak
  • 1 cucumber; spiralized
  • 1 carrot; spiralized
  • 1 cup of cooked rice
  • 2 table spoons of olive oil
  • for the soy glaze:
    • 3 spoonfuls of honey
    • 3 spoonfuls of sesame oil
    • 3 table spoons of balsamic vinegar
    • 2 table spoons of olive oil
    • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
    • a few dashes of garlic, salt & pepper

Instructions:

  1. Spiralize both the carrot and cucumber into long spaghetti like noodles.
  2. Combine soy glaze ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Set aside to pour onto dish as a vinaigrette.
  3. Salt and Pepper tuna steaks generously on both sides.
  4. Heat frying pan with olive oil on high heat. Place tuna steaks on pan for about 3 minutes on both sides, or until seared.
  5. Add spiralized vegetables and sliced tuna over rice in a bowl, adding the soy glaze to finish. Garnish with green onions.

Char continues to take on the world this week, motoring around like no one’s business. This week we introduced chicken and string cheese as finger foods, and she loved them both (and so did I). She’s definitely starting to enjoy feeding herself more, and becoming very vocal when Mama is slow to respond to her food tray requests. Pictured below is Char dressed up for a baby shower we had today; I love this amazing Burberry number, courtesy of Teresa Purzner (thank you!!).  I mean, why does my daughter own trendier dresses than me?? Not fair!

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Halibut & Risotto….Guest Chef edition!

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We had an amazing low key weekend in the city, consisting of home cooked meals and a very pleasant (however slightly crazy, newly climbing & crawling) baby. Sometimes weekends with no plans are the absolutely best. Saturday night we were invited over for dinner at our friends Katie and Sean’s place, who recently moved across the street. They are expecting a little one in September, and we are so excited for them (and for Char to have a permanent play date).  It’s much easier to throw a sleeping baby over your shoulder for a 1 minute walk home across the street, than to attempt to take a sleepy baby out to a real restaurant at night, dealing with cabs, etc. Needless to say,  I see this dinner sitch working out very nicely and often, in our very near future.

The recipe below features the AMAZING dish Sean cooked up for us, which was inspired by Plated. In case you haven’t heard of Plated, it’s this awesome delivery service that allows you to choose from chef-designed recipes and get precisely measured ingredients delivered to your door each week. We haven’t tried it yet, but I definitely see the appeal, and think especially with a newborn, a service like this would really come in handy. I mean, look at this picture above….doesn’t this look like something a restaurant would serve you? Sean…. you are hired!

PS We have actually never tried to cook Risotto ourselves, because I have been overly intimidated by it. However, after watching Sean do it this past weekend, all while being reminded how delicious it is, I have a feeling we will be attempting it in the near future.

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Pan Seared Halibut over Risotto w/ Roasted Carrots: serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove; chopped
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 3/4 lb of halibut
  • 2 table spoon of dill; finely diced
  • 1 bunch of leeks; chopped
  • 1 bunch of small carrots; halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1/4 cup of pecorino cheese
  • 1/2 cup or arborio rice
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 2 table spoons of kosher sale & pepper
  • 2 table spoons of flour

*feel free to use more or less butter, depending on your liking- we tend to use less butter and more olive oil to make up for the difference when cooking

Instructions:

  1. In a ziploc bag add garlic, juice from 1/2 lemon, 2 table spoons of olive oil, and Halibut. Let marinate in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 425F.
  3. Bring 3 cups of vegetable stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Toss washed carrots in a bowl with olive oil, salt & pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg & cumin. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until roasted. Toss with lemon juice and dill once cooked.
  5. While carrots roast, melt butter and 2 table spoons of olive oil in sauce pot. Once butter is completely melted, add leeks and saute until soft (about five minutes). Stir in rice, and continue to stir frequently, for a total of 3 minutes. Stir in white wine until mostly absorbed, another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add vegetable stock from above to the rice pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer on low for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  7. Remove pot from heat and stir in pecorino cheese, while seasoning with salt & pepper to your liking.
  8. Remove Halibut from marinade, and sprinkle generously with salt & pepper. Dust lightly with flour.
  9. Heat 1 table spoon of butter in frying pan on medium heat. Add Halibut and sear until golden on each side (about 5 minutes on each side). Try to only flip the fish once, to avoid breaking.

Below is a little description of what my day looks like lately…chasing her back and forth from one side of the room, to the next. Needless to say, I started scrambling for rugs, so improvised with the yoga mat.

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Those thighs …….

Pesto & Purees

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We cook with pesto a ton, as I’m sure you have already noticed. The great part of pesto is it keeps for a while, so if you make a large batch you can usually find more uses for it later.  I am a huge fan of emptying out the refrigerator and hate things to go to waste, which is how this idea came about. We were in the mood for a lean fish, but didn’t want to eat it plain, so I thought, why not try some pesto on top?! And boy, was it delicious. We plated it over some sweet potato puree (my new go-to side) and VOILA! This recipe was super quick, healthy, and above all, required very few ingredients, for those days that you just don’t have time to think of something new.

We had quite the weekend, which is why my posts have been lacking. We flew up to Toronto for Charlotte’s Baptism. It was such a great weekend, getting both sides of the family together. Everyone helped make her day feel even more special, and we were so thankful for great weather, easy flights, and a very happy baby when it came time for her big debut:) Below are some pics recapping the day.

PS The dress Char was wearing has been in Nick’s family for over 7 generations almost every baby in the family has been Baptized in it so far, and we were SO nervous she wouldn’t fit into it (because she’s HUGE, and we waited a tad later than most to get her Baptism together). Luckily, it fit, and she LOVED it.

Pesto Pan Seared Cod with a Sweet Potato Puree: serves 2

Ingredients:

 

For the fish:

  • 3/4-1 lb of cod or any other flaky white fish

For the sweet potato puree: 

  • 1-2 sweet potatoes or yams
  • 1 garlic clove (diced finely)
  • 1 tea spoon of grated ginger
  • kosher salt & pepper
  • 1 tea spoons of cumin and nutmeg
  • a few table spoons of olive oil for roasting and searing purposes
  • 1 table spoon of butter
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream or milk

For the pesto:

  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 1 cup of pine nuts or pecans (toasted)
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 dash of chili flakes
  • 1 dash of kosher salt & pepper
  • 1 dash of lemon juice

Instructions:

Sweet Potato Puree: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450.
  2. Toss chopped sweet potato , garlic, and ginger with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, cumin, nutmeg, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet, roast for ~25 mins
  3. Blend in food processor until smooth.
  4. If need be; add a dash of sour cream or milk to make creamier to your liking,

Cod:

  1. If not already portioned, cut the fish into ~1/4-1/3 lb. pieces. Salt & Pepper generously on both sides.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp each of butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Once the butter is completely melted, add the cod. Cook on one side until mostly cooked through, approximately 5 mins (fish should have formed a crunchy, golden crust.) Flip once, being careful to keep the fish together. Cook for another 3-5 mins, until fish is firm.

 For the pesto topping instructions, click to view previous post ….. Pesto!

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She had no idea what was about to go down….
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With her Godparents, Chris and Monica!

 

 

Paella for the win…

 

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Happy Sunday everyone!!! I can’t even contain myself to wait a day longer to write about this great meal we cooked Friday night. Sadly, my only contribution was buying the ingredients, but I’d like to think I helped add some spices at the end to make it just right 🙂

Paella is one of our favorite dishes when having guests over, because you can make a huge batch of it, and really add any proteins you like to switch it up. We were hungry, so this batch consisted of chicken thighs, shrimp, and chorizo sausage. Man, was it GOOD!

We had a much needed relaxing weekend as we prep for our next Toronto adventure: Charlotte’s baptism next week. We’re crossing our fingers for happy flights with this little 7 month old! Below are some pics of Charlotte at her friend Blair’s 1st birthday party this weekend. She loved the balloons and live music, however, slept through a good 3/4 of the party … (#wedontfeelguilty).

Paella

Chicken, Shrimp, & Chorizo Paella: serves 5-6

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb pack chicken thighs (we like a lot of meat, but you could shave back here if you want)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Spanish onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
  • 4 cups arborio rice
  • 6 cups water, warm
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined (again feel free to add more or less depending on your preference)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
Spice Mix for chicken:
  • 1 part paprika, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 parts dried oregano

Instructions:

1) Marinate the shrimp for ~30 mins by mixing them with a generous amount of olive oil (so that the shrimp are well coated), 1 tsp each salt and pepper, 2 sliced cloves of garlic, and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Don’t over marinate or the lemon juice will slowly cook the shrimp, forming a gross ceviche.
2) Generously dust the chicken with the spice mix. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a paella pan over medium-high heat (we actually used an electric wok, and cooked it all at the table!) Saute the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. Keep the leftover oil
3) Add chicken skin-side down and let brown, ~3 mins each side (it doesn’t need to be fully cooked through, because you’ll add it as the rice cooks.) Remove from pan, and keep with the sausage.
4) Add the shrimp, saute quickly (~1 min each side), until the shrimp has just turned pink (again, you’ll cook it more later, so no need to worry about them being cooked all the way through.)
5) In the same pan, sautee the onions, peppers, remaining garlic, and 1/2 the parsley. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add tomatoes and spices, cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
6) Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains, ~3 mins. Pour in water & chicken stock, bring to a simmer. Add chicken & chorizo, allow to simmer over medium heat until rice is al-dente, ~12-15 mins (try not to stir, as this makes the rice mushy).
7) Add the shrimp for the last ~2 mins of cooking. Once the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for about a minute, until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it’s perfect (you want a nice crispy bottom).
8) Remove from heat, garnish with some of the parsley.

And DIG IN!!!!

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Anniversary Sea Bass & Corn Puree

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Believe it or not, this delicious dish was actually inspired by Charlotte’s baby food. She tried corn puree for the first time last week, and I found myself eating off of her dish quite frequently, which got me thinking: why don’t we eat it this way?! In fact, why don’t we eat more vegetables this way?  The corn tastes super sweet when you blend it up like this, so it’s not surprising that Charlotte loved them. I thought a puree would go great underneath a flaky white fish. Nick and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary on Tuesday, and since things have been quite busy lately,  we decided to stay in and cook instead of going out to celebrate. We opted for this delicious sea bass, that required very little seasoning, because the fish itself is that good. The corn puree went perfectly with it, paired with a simple couscous side and an amazing red wine we had been saving to drink for a special occasion. This meal was delicious, and I honestly think it tasted like a dish you would order at a restaurant. I wish sea bass wasn’t so darn expensive, because it could easily make its way onto our weekly menu rotation.

Little bug continues to rack up those sky miles, as we just got back from celebrating my old roomate’s wedding in Hilton Head this weekend. It was so beautiful down there, and we had a really, really great time. Traveling definitely isn’t as easy as it used to be with a baby, but I will say it’s such a delight watching her check out new surroundings in different cities. We tried to take some family photos down there all dressed up, but failed once again at getting a good one with all 3 of us….someday 🙂

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Pan Seared Sea Bass & Corn Puree: serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 3/4-1lb of sea bass
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 garlic clove (diced finely)
  • 1 tea spoon of grated ginger
  • kosher salt & pepper
  • 1 tea spoons of cumin
  • a few table spoons of olive oil for roasting and searing purposes
  • 1 table spoon of butter

Instructions:

Corn Puree: 

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Toss the corn, garlic, and ginger with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, the cumin, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet, roast for ~25 mins, making sure corn stays yellow. Blend in food processor until smooth.

Sea Bass:

  1. If not already already portioned, cut the sea bass into ~1/4-1/3 lb. pieces. Salt & Pepper generously on both sides.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp each of butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Once the butter is completely melted, add the sea bass. Cook on one side until mostly cooked through, approximately 5 mins (fish should have formed a crunchy, golden crust.) Flip once, being careful to keep the fish together. Cook for another 3-5 mins, until fish is firm.

 

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Salmon Cakes & Tots…

 

Salmon burger 3.JPGTGIF everyone!!! What a crazy week it has been. Char and I were off in North Carolina, where she met her cousins for the first time, while Nick had a business trip in Miami. The week certainly flew by, and we had such a blast visiting with the fam…if only we lived closer 😦 I do think, however, that Lil Char was happy to be back in her crib again last night. The boys were so cute hugging her NON stop, but I think she was heavily over stimulated, judging by her insanely long naps and early bedtime today. So job well done boys:)

We wanted to eat something clean tonight, so opted for salmon cakes, which were a total hit! These were super easy to make and you certainly could add any veggie you want to the mix, but we went with some basic ingredients, and topped it off with an avocado mash and sriracha aioli, on a toasted bun. We kept the side simple, with some tater tots we found in the freezer.And I may or may not have had 1 and 1/2 burgers….no judgement please.

As for our weekly Char update…. Solids are still going well over here. So far orange vegetables seem to be her favorite, specifically yams and carrots. We also tried corn today for the first time, and she loved them. Honestly, I even enjoyed them a lot, serving myself in between her bites.  However, I do feel like throwing her in a bath after every meal because the OCD in me can’t stand watching her get so messy (but I’m far too lazy to do that in reality).

It’s crazy to see how much she’s changed over the past couple weeks. She’s becoming much more mobile, rolling non stop in every direction and really recognizing toys and people. When Nick walked in last night, I swear she lit up with the biggest grin yet. She definitely missed her Daddy and their usual AM wake up routine (so did mommy, as it buys her an extra 15-20 mins of sleep in the AM)!

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Salmon Cakes: serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 3/4-1 lb of salmon
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of dill
  • 1/2 bunch of green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of panko crumbs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 table spoon of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1 table spoon of salt & pepper
  • a few dashes of lemon juice
  • 1 tea spoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 table spoon of soy sauce

Instructions:

1) Lightly saute the onions, garlic, and red pepper (2-3 mins), let cool.

2) Using a sharp knife, cut the salmon into 1/4 inch cubes. See below.

3) Combine all ingredients, mixing by hand. Form into 3 large “meatballs”

4) Heat 1/2 tsp olive oil over medium heat, 2-3 mins. Place meatballs into the pan, pressing to form burger patties. Cook over medium heat until a crust has formed, approx. 5 mins. Flip once (you may have to use your hand to make sure the patties stay together). Cook on other side until crust has formed, ~ 5 mins

5) Place on bun and sprinkle with green onions and dill, or any other condiments you might enjoy.

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