Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kale - Eat more of it!

Kale is one of those super foods we should all be devouring.  It takes a bit getting used to, as it has a "greener" taste than bland iceberg or common romaine, but it is packed with nutrients and can be prepared in super tasty ways.

My absolute favorite way to eat it is to make kale chips.  See my blog post for more information on how to make those.  That post also has tons of information on why kale is so good for you.  If you want the shortened version, you should know it has been dubbed "the queen of greens," and July 2012 Glamour has it listed as one of "5 Goods We Should All Shut Up and Start Eating Already."  The best part?  Kale may help fight cancer and lower cholesterol.

Kale salad is what I like to eat when I want something healthy and fast.  Cut up kale into bite size pieces - I avoid the tough rib down the center.  Wash and dry.

Toss kale with slices of shredded parmesan and dried cherries (or use your favorite fruit/cheese).  Add nuts if they sound good.

Drizzle with red wine vinegar + olive oil and done.  Healthy, delicious, easy.  One of the best things to eat on a Monday night!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fish Fillets with Tomatoes, Squash and Basil

I have been a busy little bee moving from my apartment to my wonderful new house!  Now I am unpacking and with a little less urgency than a strict move in date, I have some time to breathe.  We went camping lasr weekend, and even though I didn't actually cook anything in a little pouch, it got me really excited about the idea of cooking things in little pouches.

I got this recipe for Fish Fillets with Tomatoes, Squash and Basil from the June 2012 issue of Bon Appetit - they have tons of other pouch recipes perfect for summer! I have already devoured Basil Tomato Sauce with Polenta (polenta is a surprisingly awesome substitue for pasta) and Sausages with Onion and Green Peppers were a big hit at the bar.

I love salmon and usually buy it at Costco (boneless, skinless, individually wrapped amazing fillets).  They cost about $20 for 7, so not the cheapest but also not too expensive.  I didn't want to make the drive all the way to Costco and I found an equally good version at Albertson's.  8 fillets for ~$12, but the fillets are about half the size and have the skin on.  This doesn't bother me and it has been fun to switch it up.  I recommend either for this recipe, but I think the smaller size of the Albertson fillets may cook faster in the pouch.  Note this recipe originally called for "white flaky fish such as Atlantic cod or halibut," but I like it with salmon.  I think you could use just about anything and be fine. 

I also have a giant basil plant, which I call my basil bush, dying to be picked.  I love this recipe because you can use tons of basil.  This dish would be great for having company over, as it looks amazing and the pouches make great individual servings.

Fish Fillets with Tomatoes, Squash and Basil

2 thinly sliced zucchini
1 thinly sliced shallot (shallots usually come in twos stuck together - use both)
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil divided plus 1/4 cup basil leaves
16-20 grape tomatoes sliced in half
4 tablespoons white wine (I usually use Tisdale Chardonnay as it is only $3 a bottle)
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 fish fillets of your choice (as mentioned above, I used salmon)
salt and pepper
Parchment paper (I think the only viable substitute would be aluminum foil)


1) Defrost the fish if not already defrosted.  With salmon, I like to soak in warm water to defrost. Preheat oven to 400*.
2) Get 4 rather large squares of parchment paper and lay out on a work surface.

3) Divide squash among the parchment paper, arranging on one side in thin layers. Evenly divide tomatoes among pouches.

4) Add shallots, basil, and tomatoes.

5) Drizzle each packet with 1 tablespoon of wine and 1/2 tablespoon of oil.  I was worried it would spill everywhere but it doesn't.  Season with salt and pepper.

6) Add a fish fillet to each packet.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle another half tablespoon of oil. 

7) Fold packet over to close, and crimp edges tightly.  I did a rolling type crimp and flattened the edges.

8) Place packets on a baking sheet and bake, 10-20 minutes.  I baked for 20 because I hate undercooked salmon and you don't have to worry about the food drying out because of the packets.

9) Cut packets open, watching out for the steam.  Serve with garnish of basil.