Sunday, October 28, 2007

Balsamic-Glazed Tuna

My friend Meagan always teases me about my balsamic vinegar obsession. I am borderline obsessed. Balsamic is a great way to add low calorie zing to anything from bread to salad to meat to strawberries. This is my favorite way to prepare Tuna. I like to buy Ahi and prepare it a bit rare to retain moisture. Serve with rice and steamed snow peas.


Cooking spray
1 1/4 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 (6-ounce) tuna steaks (about 3/4 inch thick)
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup diagonally sliced green onions


Place a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Sprinkle pepper and salt over fish. Place fish in grill pan; cook 3 minutes on each side until medium-rare or desired degree of doneness. Remove from heat.

Combine broth, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Spoon glaze over fish; top with green onions.

Chicken with Lemon-Caper Sauce

This is one of our standbys. Fast, yummy, and healthy.


1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cooking spray
1/3 cup extra-dry vermouth
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper evenly over chicken. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove from skillet. Set aside; keep warm.

Add 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, vermouth, lemon juice, and capers to skillet, scraping skillet to loosen browned bits. Cook until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 2 minutes). Stir in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken.

4 servings

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Thai fish curry

As a quick after work meal, I will frequently make Thai curry. In that case, I buy jarred red or green curry paste, cook some protein in it, add coconut milk and some veggies and finish cooking. In this recipe, you make your own curry paste, which really is much more yummy. It's better than the thai curry you'll get at your local Asian fusion restaurant (though not as good as a really authentic restaurant). I usually use any firm white fish that looks good. Serve with my favorite, jasmine rice. FYI, this recipe only makes two servings.

1/3 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro stems
2 tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass (from bottom 6 inches of stalk)
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 large garlic cloves, halved
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 pound 1 1/2-inch-thick sea bass fillets, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
2/3 cup bottled clam juice
Minced fresh cilantro
Freshly cooked rice

Blend first 8 ingredients in processor to dry paste, stopping frequently to scrape down sides of work bowl. (Paste can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.) Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add
2 rounded tablespoons spice paste; stir 1 minute. Add fish and cook
2 minutes, turning occasionally with tongs. Add coconut milk and clam juice and simmer until fish is cooked through, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes. Transfer fish to plate. Boil liquid until reduced to thick sauce, about 8 minutes. Season with salt. Return fish to sauce and heat through. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Crunchy Vietnamese Chicken Salad

We made this salad from Food and Wine magazine's website last week using shredded grocery store rotisserie chicken, so it came together really quickly. I substituted romaine lettuce for nappa cabbage as I'm not a cabbage fan. I just loved it. Next time we make this, I'll probably buy rice paper rounds and turn the salad into sumer rolls. To prepare vegetarian, simply omit chicken and substitute fish sauce with soy sauce. It will still be delicious. Brandi if you're reading this, you would love this!


Chef Way The Banhs like to poach the chicken for this vibrant dish, then toss the salad with a homemade scallion oil.

Easy Way To save time, use store-bought rotisserie chicken and skip the scallion oil; the salad already gets plenty of flavor from the spicy, vinegary dressing and abundance of fresh herbs.

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 serrano chile with seeds, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 4 cups finely shredded green cabbage (from 1/2 small head)
  • 2 carrots, finely shredded
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
  • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (from 1/2 chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
  1. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, water, chile and garlic and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let the dressing stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the shallots on paper towels; reserve the oil for another use. Sprinkle the shallots with salt and let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots, red onion, cilantro, mint and shredded chicken. Add the olive oil and the dressing and toss. Sprinkle with the peanuts and fried shallots and serve the chicken salad with lime wedges.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Christy's Vegetarian Chili

I am posting this specifically with Nate and Steph in mind. With their busy schedules, their dislike of cooking, and their return to being poor students it hurts me to think of what they are eating these days. I got this recipe from our friend, Christy, and have made it for Nate and Steph. It's number two on their favorite dinner at our house list.

This is very very easy, cheap, and makes a lot of food. You could make this on a Sunday, let it cook while your studying, and have home cooked food for the first half of the week. Plus, there are so many flavor packed ingredients in this dish, you can omit anything you don't have or like.

Thanks for the recipe, Christy!

(makes ~ 5 quarts)


1/4 C olive oil (or whatever oil you have on hand)
1 C diced green onions
1 C sliced carrots
1½ C diced white onions
1½ C diced celery
½ C diced green pepper
¾ C black olive wedges (3¼ oz can)
3 C sliced mushrooms
2 C sliced zucchini
2-15oz cans tomatoes+juice
2-15oz cans tomato sauce or puree
½ C salsa
½ C diced green chilies
1-15oz can drained kidney beans
2-15oz cans pinto beans
1 t salt
1 t pepper
2 t chili powder
1 t dried chili flakes
¾ C parmesan cheese
6 oz grated cheddar and jack cheese


Saute veggies in oil
Add tomatoes spices and beans cook until hot
You can also put everything in a crock-pot for several hours—flavors will meld and get stronger.
Add cheese before serving.

Slow-Cooked Chicken with Tomatillos, Potatoes, Jalapenos, and Fresh Herbs

This is another one of Rick Bayless's recipes from Mexican Everyday. If you are at all interested in authentic Mexican cuisine, I encourage all of you to buy this cook book. Rick Bayless has been traveling Mexico for decades learning of their regional cuisines. This book is his attempt to pair down the traditionally labor intensive dishes to dishes that are accessible to the home cook. Being a bit of a health nut, all of his dishes are very nutritious.

I'm a little bit ill right now with a cold, and this dish is exactly what I needed. Being one of the few slow cooker recipes I truly love, it is low maintenance and perfect for a weekend dinner. Also, the consistency of the dish ends up as somewhat of a thick stew. I love the balance of the tangy tomatillos with the rich chicken thighs, sweet onions, and velvelty texture of my favorite potato, the yukon gold.

It's time to bust out your crock pot and MAKE THIS DISH.

Serves 4-6

1 medium white onion, cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1.5-2 lbs. skinless chicken thighs (bone in or out)
1 cup cilantro leaves or 1/3 cup epazote leaves
4 medium red skin or yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick (I use yukon gold)
1 1/4 lbs. tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup sliced canned or jarred pickled jalapenos
2 TBLSP jalapeno pickling juice

1. Spread the onion over the bottom of a slow-cooker. Sprinkle with salt.
2. Continue with layers of the potato slices, chicken thighs, cilantro or epazote, and then tomatillow sprinkling salt evenly over each layer before moving to the next (this is the only salt in the dish, so make sure to add enough).
3. Scatter the jalapeno slices over everything, then drizzle on the pickling juice.
4. Cover and slow-cook on high for 6 hours.