Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sole-Wrapped Asparagus with Orange Beurre Blanc

My mouth has just enjoyed several blissful moments of utter enjoyment eating this delicious fish wrapped in asparagus. Probably now one of my favorite foods ever.  Truthfully, it's mostly the Beurre Bland (butter sauce with orange) that is so amazing. Fish and asparagus are just the added bonus.

We felt very posh eating this meal even though it stemmed from me looking for the cheapest fish at the counter ($2.60 for 3 pieces of fish. We have also tried Cod-good too).   The nice fish market woman tipped me off to wrapping the fish around asparagus and baking in the oven.  Then I found the butter sauce. It was extremely easy and delicious. We had roasted potatoes and a green salad with it to top it off. 

Anyway, it was happiness in my mouth, so I highly recommend this recipe!

Sole-Wrapped Asparagus with Orange Beurre Blanc

For fish (all I did was salt and pepper the fish. Skipped all the rest of these steps, though I'm sure they would be fabulous).
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
4 (2- by 1-inch) strips fresh tangerine zest
1 lb medium asparagus
4 (5- to 6-oz) skinless gray sole or flounder fillets
1/2 cup water

For beurre blanc
1/2 cup fresh tangerine juice (substituted orange juice)
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot (substituted 1 clove garlic)
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Prepare fish:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.

Brush a 13- by 9-inch roasting pan with some of melted butter, then sprinkle shallot and zest in pan.

Trim asparagus to about 7 inches long, then peel spears starting from 2 inches below tip of each.

Arrange fish fillets, skinned sides up, on a work surface and season with salt and pepper. Lay 5 or 6 asparagus perpendicularly across 1 fillet and wrap fish around them to make a bundle. Repeat with remaining fillets and asparagus. Transfer bundles, seam sides down, to roasting pan and brush fish with remaining melted butter. Season with salt and pepper, then add water to pan. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake until fish is just cooked through and asparagus is crisp-tender, about 20 minutes.

Make beurre blanc while fish bakes:
Boil tangerine juice with shallot in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low, then whisk in 1 tablespoon butter, whisking constantly. Add remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly, adding each piece before previous one has completely melted, and lifting pan from heat occasionally to cool mixture. Remove from heat and stir in salt, cayenne, and lemon juice.

Transfer fish with a slotted spatula to a platter and reserve pan juices. Cover fish with foil. Discard zest, then pour pan juices into a 10-inch skillet and boil over moderately high heat until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk into beurre blanc.

Blot any liquid accumulated on platter with paper towels, then spoon sauce over fish.      

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Warm French Lentils

 This recipe is the genius of Ina Garten, of course.  I had never tried lentils before and I know I practically crave them.  My husband loves these too, which is a plus for the strange grains category.

Tips:  I just use about 1/2 - 1 tsp ground cloves in place of whole cloves.  A sweet onion is great instead of the leek if you don't have any. And I have never used a turnip in my recipe. I just omit that... purely out of the fact that it is not a staple in my kitchen. 

So, make it as the recipe suggests or tweak it with whatever you have in your cupboards. The key is having good flavor via onions, garlic, etc. and then putting on the delicious vinaigrette at the end. 


  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and 1/2-inch-diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup French green Le Puy lentils
  • 1 whole onion, peeled and stuck with 6 whole cloves
  • 1 white turnip, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saute pan, add the leek and carrots, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the lentils, 4 cups of water, the onion with the cloves, and the turnip in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are almost tender. Remove and discard the onion and turnip and drain the lentils. Place them in a medium bowl with the leek and carrots, and add the butter.
Meanwhile, whisk together the 1/4 cup of olive oil, the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add to the lentils, stir well, and allow the lentils to cool until just warm, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve. The longer the lentils sit, the more salt and pepper you'll want to add.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cranberry Pork Chops and Roasted Vegetable Soup

Here are two delicious recipes I tried last week after a week of eating eggs for dinner.  It was not a cooking week, so I felt I had to put forth some effort by the time Friday came around. Surprise, both recipes were a big hit, especially the soup - even with my husband and my dad!

We ended up inviting my parents to dinner, and it turned out to be a really fun and delicious dinner, with the soup and a salad as the first course, then pasta and meat. And both recipes were really fast and I made them in the afternoon and then just warmed them up. Thought you ladies might be proud. :) I'm back to eggs or pancakes for dinner. yikes.

Cranberry Pork Chops - From Keeping Up Cookbook

1 TBSP butter
1 onion, chopped
3 lbs pork chops, about 1-inch thick
2/3 cup bottle chili sauce ( I used the Sweet Chili Sauce from Panda Express located by the Asian foods)
3 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard (I used Dijon)
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries or 1 (14-oz) can whole cranberry sauce

In a 400 degree oven, melt butter in a 9x13" glass baking dish. Add onions to dish and back uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until onion is soft. Place pork chops in dish and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes. Stir together chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, dry mustard and cranberries. Spoon over the pork chops and continue backing for 30 minutes or until meat is fully cooked and cranberry sauce has slightly caramelized.

This recipe is also terrific with turkey or chicken breasts.

(The only thing I did differently was I shortened the baking times for the pork by about 5 minutes each time because I was worried the pork would be over done. Worked well in my oven)

Roasted Vegetable Soup From Keeping Up Cookbook

This recipe has you puree the vegetables and make a type of bisque. I love the vegetables in pieces, so I just cubed everything, including the eggplant (skin and all) and diced the onion and then roasted the vegetables and tossed them in the broth. Also made the recipe not so messy.  I added a bit of fresh parmigiano as well, which added to the flavor. 

4 ripe roma tomatoes, halved (or cubed)
1 large eggplant, halve lengthwise (or cubed, skin and all)
1 small onion, halved (or diced)
6 cloves of garlic peeled (or diced)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
(Also roasted fresh mushrooms - other vegetables would work as well!)

1 qt. (32 oz.) reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 tsp. dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1/2 cup cream or half and half
crumbled goat cheese, for garnish
chopped, toasted pecans, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange vegetables on a baking sheet. Bush with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees until vegetables begin to brown and are tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven.

Using tongs and a spoon, scoop flesh from eggplant halves into a large saucepan, discarding skins. Add remaining vegetables to pan, along with broth and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

In two batches, carefully puree hot soup in a blender. Blend until smooth and return to pan. Stir in cream, return to a simmer, then season with salt and pepper (if needed - plenty salty already, I thought).  Serve with goat cheese and pecan garnish if desired.

(Note: This method of making soup could be used with most any vegetable. Instead of eggplant and tomatoes, try cauliflower and broccoli, or butternut squash and apples, etc.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread

I might get ousted from the blog for even posting this, seeing as 1. I haven't even tried it and 2. this recipe is most definitely, certainly not a healthy or even close to healthy recipe.  My only hope is that it is the holidays soon and maybe with all that cheery spirit, I will be forgiven for posting such an unhealthy recipe. I'm sure you can substitute agave for sugar though in the recipe. :)

Now that you've seen the picture, do you understand why I had to share this?!

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread with Buttered Rum Glaze
(Adapted from Willow Bird Baking)

Bread2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Buttered Rum Glaze
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp rum *

*The recipe I used called for just a 1/4 tsp of rum but I really wanted to be able to taste the rum, so I upped it to a full tablespoon. It was just right for my taste, adding a nice warmth to the glaze. If you're not into rum you can sub a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown but being careful not to allow it burn (turn black). Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through. Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook) and allow to cool so it is no longer hot but also not cool (about 100-110 degrees F). Once it has reached a warm but not hot temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof. Then add the the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.** Making sure sugar evenly absorbs the butter. Set aside. Next, grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll dough into a 20x12 inch rectangle.*** Evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand. Cut the rectangle into 6 strips. Lay strips on top of each other and cut each strip into 6 even squares (cut in half then each half into thirds). Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

In the meantime preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan bake for 30-40 minutes (mine took 37 exactly) or until top is a very deep golden brown.

To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar.

**Of course I didn't properly read this section of the directions... I was supposed to melt the butter and brush the dough with the butter then adding the sugar on top of the butter (instead of mixing it all together and sprinkling) but it worked my way so that's how I am listing it. It's really your call!

*** If dough is difficult to roll out, cover with a towel and allow to relax for a few minutes then try again.

This recipe is thanks to someone posting it on Pinterest, and me stalking a random lady in San Diego to find out how to make it.  Thank you San Diego

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Salsa and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

With the abundance of garden tomatoes this time of year, I thought it appropriate to share a couple of our favorite tomato based recipes: Aunt Abby's Salsa and Ina Garten's Creamy Tomato Basil Soup.

Aunt Abby's Salsa 
     (We like this salsa so much that it's just about the only salsa we eat.)

Total prep time: 10 min.

(We often half the recipe as the salsa will only keep for a couple of weeks). But for a party or if you are big salsa eaters, make the whole thing!)

2 14 oz can tomatoes, slightly drained, or 28 oz of fresh tomatoes
2 serrano chilies, diced (take out the seeds or some seeds if you prefer a more mild salsa)
1/4 bunch of cilantro
1/4 of a white or yellow onion, chopped
1/2 of a lemon, juiced (we also love lime juice - use a whole lime)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar

Mix all ingredients in a blender (we found the food processor does a great job for a chunkier salsa). Pulse until well blended and cilantro is chopped. For the best flavor, refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

Ina Garten's Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup.

John and I saw Ina Garten make this soup a couple of years ago and gave it a whirl. It nearly took us all afternoon the first time because we went shopping for a food mill, which didn't end up working anyway. We now just use a food processor and it seems to work well. We continue to make this soup every year as it is quite delicious!  If you discover any improvements though, we want to hear about them. 

Total Time:
1 hr 15 min
15 min
1 hr 0 min

5 to 6 servings
  • Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 onions)
  • 2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves, for garnish
  • 3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Croutons, for garnish


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.

Add the cream to the soup and process it through a food mill into a bowl, discarding only the dry pulp that's left. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with julienned basil leaves and/or croutons.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quick and Easy Salads

One of our quick go-to meals when in a time crunch is a main dish salad. In this particular picture we have lettuce (I believe both romaine and green leaf, but we use spinach all the time too), apples, grapes, craisins, feta cheese, walnuts, and chia seeds. We always do this and they are always different depending on what we have. But I ALWAYS put some sort of healthy nut (usually almonds or walnuts) and chia seeds (so so good for you and tasteless so you can add them to pretty much anything). Beans are good to get your protein so we add those frequently. We don't worry about getting enough protein because most americans get way too much anyway. There are plenty of other ways to get your protein throughout the day. Adding chicken, salmon, quinoa, and spinach are also good ways to add some protein. Pretty much the sky is the limit when it comes to what you add to it. We have been adding raw pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds lately that are also super good for you. You'd be surprised at the variety you can have, so be creative! I've discovered lately that cucumbers taste really good with fruits, and tomatoes, carrots, red onions, peppers, etc. can taste good in both a savory and a sweet salad. 

Now, the secret is really in the dressing. Nothing beats a delicious homemade dressing, but let's face it, who always has time for that. We have found heaven in a bottle AKA Sundrenchers. There are quite a few kinds which are all delicious but our favorite is by far the Honey Mustard. It doesn't have all the nasty, bad for you stuff in regular salad dressings and it tastes WAY better. I would be selfish to not share, so here you go. We get it at Good Earth, but I'm sure most any health foods store will have it (I have seen it at Real Foods too). 

This dressing is especially good for helping picky children and hubby's eat more greens. Don't be afraid to be unconventional. Any kind of salad tastes good with a delicious dressing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Grilled Yummy Extra Delicious Sandwiches

So ladies, John's mom just made these for us on Saturday and they are super delicious! You can make them with chicken or, I believe the recipe is for a vegetarian sandwich. The onions and the white balsamic vinegar make these have a wonderful zing.