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Szechuan Braised Cod

19 Nov

It is taking every ounce of my being these days to not haul out my christmas boxes, turn on the carols and watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation on repeat. I promised Mark that I would wait until after American thanksgiving. Sometimes I’m such an idiot. My new potterybarn christmas doormat came in the mail last week. Ten bucks says it’s on the front porch by the end of the day. Not sure why I bother making these promises.

Not only is Szechuan braised cod easy and delicious. It also happens to be red, garnished with green. See what’s happening here?

Szechuan Braised Cod (from Fine Cooking)

Serves 4


1 1/2 lb of black cod, cut into 4 even pieces

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp corn starch

3/4 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp ketchup (remember when i said I hate ketchup. I still do. I love this recipe and it has ketchup. FAIL.)

2 eggs beaten

10 dried whole red chilis (if you don’t have dried, you can use just 10 small red chilis)

4 green onions, sliced (set aside the sliced white parts)

1 1/2 tbsp ginger (grate it like i suggest here)

In a bowl mix the 2 tbsp of cornstarch with the vinegar, chicken broth, soy sauce and ketchup.

In a shallow bowl spread out the 1/2 cup of cornstarch. In another shallow bowl beat the two eggs. Heat a fry pan to medium high heat and put in a couple of tablespoons of oil. Dredge the fish in the cornstarch, then soak the fish in the egg on all sides. Place the fish into the pan and fry on each side until fish is browned. Transfer the fish to another plate.

Add a little bit more oil to the pan if necessary and saute the chilis, white parts of the green onion and the ginger for about a minute. Give the liquid mixture you previous combine a quick stir and pour into the pan, it should come to a boil and start to thicken quickly. When this happens turn the heat down to medium-low, return the fish to the pan, making sure each piece has been coated in the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for another 5 minutes until the fish flakes.

Serve the fish over jasmine rice (spooning extra sauce over each piece) and sprinkle with the remainder of the sliced green onion.


Roasted Salmon with Mango Salsa

15 Sep

My flip-flops broke over a month ago and I haven’t replaced them. I haven’t had our air conditioning on since 1992 (or July). I bought a bouquet of fall flowers for the front hall table. I clearly am embracing fall. However, apparently not in the kitchen.

This dinner is brought to you by the theme words “fresh” and “summery”. Spell check says summery is not a word? seriously?

Roasted Salmon with Mango Salsa

Serves 4


4 pieces of Salmon (freshness really makes all┬áthe difference, so don’t skimp!)

1 ripe mango, finely diced

1/2 a green pepper, finely diced

1/2 a red onion, finely diced

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (I lied about trying to do more cilantro-free recipes apparently)

1 pinch of cumin

the juice of 1/2 a lime

Set your oven to 450 degrees. Place the salmon skin side down and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how thick your fish is. My go-to rule is 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

In a bowl combine the mango, green pepper, red onion, cilantro, cumin and lime juice. Mix.

Top each piece of salmon with a liberal amount of salsa and serve (at this point I am assuming you have managed to not eat the entire bowl of salsa before the salmon has finished cooking – good luck!).

Want to know the best part about this? It actually works really well at room temperature. This translates into no need to worry about your timing – you can prepare everything ahead of time if need be! It is also equally as delicious with chicken!!!!!

Quick, someone send me a new pair of flip-flops!

Walnut Crusted Fish

16 Aug

Today’s theme is Fish.

I love fish, especially halibut, sea bass and black cod. This recipe can use any of them. It’s pretty versatile. Speaking of fish have I got something great for you guys! My good friend Meredith Shaw is a super talented singer/song writer. She has a fantastic CD out called Place Called Happy. On that CD happens to be a song about fish. While one of us cooks fish after crusting it with nuts, the other sings of all the fish swimming in the sea. One of us is clearly a little less dark than the other…..

Anywho, I was going somewhere with this. Today is the release of her music video for the song called Little Fishy. So in honour of this I am giving you walnut crusted fish (thank you Meredith!) and I am also giving you a link to said video. Watch and be amazed folks! Click here now. DO IT!

So walnut crusted fish…..

Walnut Crusted Fish

Serves 4


1 1/2 lb of fish (what works best is halibut, sea bass or black cod)

3/4 cup walnuts

3/4 cup breadcrumbs*

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp horseradish

1 1/2 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard

1/4 cup grated parmesan

*Just as a side note here, how I make breadcrumbs is super easy and it avoids all the additives you find in the ones on the shelves in the grocery store. I set my oven at 200 and place 2 slices of whatever bread I have going into the food processor and chop it until it is as finely chopped as it’s going to get. Then I lay it out on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes. Then put the breadcrumbs back in the food processor and chop until they are a fine consistency.

Now the real instructions: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Add the breadcrumbs and the walnuts to a food processor and chop until the walnuts are finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the olive oil, horseradish, dijon and parmesan.

Make sure your fish is sliced into 4 pieces. Grease a baking dish and place the four pieces in skin side down. With your hands press the crust onto the top of each fish piece. Be generous and press the crust firmly.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes (I usually do 10 minutes for every inch of thickness, with this you want to air of the side of caution b/c you are broiling the fish after you bake it). Turn the oven onto high broil and broil for 1 to 2 minutes until the crust is a nice golden brown.

The trick to getting this dinner just right is to listen to Mere’s Little Fishy, while watching the video, while cooking the dinner. Got it? Good. Go.

Another side note, b/c I often get asked…..I will be blogging the salad next, it’s a tasty homemade mango dressing, I’d be excited if I were you. And, the side dish is just quinoa made with the zest and juice of lemons and some olive oil. Simple and fantastic.

To see more of Meredith check out her website.

Ahi Tuna Nicoise Salad

5 Jul

A little late….but Happy Birthday Canada and Happy Pride Toronto!!! What a great country we live in, and this city, providing equal rights to all! What a weekend to celebrate! And celebrate we did!!!!!

Looking for something light and refreshing after a long weekend of over-indulging? I’ve got the ticket.

A fresh new take on Salad Nicoise that is elegant enough to serve to company as the main event! Who knew?

By swapping out canned tuna for ahi tuna and adding a few extra “touches” this dish will get you some fans.

Ahi Tuna Nicoise Salad

(serves 4)


1 large ahi tuna steak (be sure to buy sushi grade)

1 recipe of mayonnaise free potato salad (however, make twice the dressing and set the additional amount aside)

2 cups of green beans (ignore my photos – the stupid food store only had yellow beans – I am starting to think I shop at the wrong store as this sort of thing is beginning to become a theme)

1 cup of black olives (whatever kind you like best)

4 hard boiled eggs, quartered*(see below for a tip to boil the perfect egg. read: no weird green around the yolk)

4 perfectly ripe tomatoes, quartered

1 box of baby arugula

Season your ahi tuna with olive oil and black pepper. Heat a grill pan on high heat. Sear the tuna for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. The idea here is to have a very rare centre (this is sushi grade fish so raw centre is perfectly acceptable – just be sure to buy sushi grade). Move to a cutting board and thinly slice into strips.

Trim the green beans and steam them for 3 minutes – rinse under cold water to ensure that nice green colour and crispness.

The glory of this meal is in the presentation. You can either do this on a large platter and let guests help themselves or arrange each plate. I usually do a platter.

Cover the platter with a layer of arugula. Then place the green beans in one area, the potato salad in another, the tomatoes in another, the egg in another, the olives in another and the slices tuna in another.

Drizzle the entire thing with your remaining dressing.

I made this for father’s day (as it is a real favourite of my dad’s). Always a hit. And always a nice light alternative dinner following a weekend full of Canada pride and gay pride!!!!!!

Grilled Salmon Salad

7 Jun

Now that it’s finally starting to look and feel like summer outside I have taken up the wonderful habit of eating dinner in the back garden. Winter is such a distant memory. Bring on the BBQing!

This recipe is perfect for left over grilled salmon. It is also perfect for when you buy salmon for the BBQ but have no clever ideas of what to do with it. (this may have been me this week). I toyed with the idea of marinating it, then I remembered this amazing recipe!

The raspberry vinegar makes all the difference! And the celery and onion give you a nice crunch. It’s a great mixture of flavours while being nice, light and simple.

Grilled Salmon Salad (from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook )

Serves 4


2 lbs of salmon filet (no skin, no bones)

1 cup of celery, finely diced

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

2 tbsp capers

2 tbsp raspberry vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp freshly chopped dill

ground black pepper

Coat your salmon in some olive oil and black pepper. Grill on the BBQ for a few minutes a side until cooked through. Let cool.

combine the celery, onion and capers in a bowl. Break the salmon by hand into bite-sized pieces (salmon flakes very easily) and add to the bowl.

Add the raspberry vinegar, olive oil and dill and toss to combine.

That Ina Garten really is clever. I love her and I love her recipes. This one does not disappoint!

We eat this for dinner in the summer time with a few other salads on the side. A great idea for this meal is if you have guests at the cottage, grill some extra salmon when doing your dinner grilling and then make this fantastic salmon salad for lunch the next day.

Happy Summer!

Lemon and Pepper Fish Kebabs

19 May

These are fresh, simple and oh so healthy. They make for a great summer dinner.

Since the weather has gotten nicer I have been re-embracing my BBQ. (The truth = Mark has been re-embracing it and I’ve been doing an excellent job supervising!).

I started making these because I got all googly-eyed at the amazing looking fish kebabs they were selling at the local fish place. My eyes quickly cleared when I realized how much they were charging for these beauties. Making them at home takes about 10 minutes more than ordering them at the fish counter. Also, you know exactly what is in them when you make them yourself. Translation, You = 2 points, Fish Store = 0 points. Winning!

I love fish for easy weeknight solutions. It cooks so quickly and is nice, light and healthy.

Lemon and Pepper Fish Kebabs

Serves 4


8 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

1 1/2 lbs salmon, skin removed, cubed into 1 inch squares

1 1/2 lbs firm white fish, skin removed (I use Halibut, Swordfish or Marlin), cubed into 1 inch squares

the zest and juice of one lemon

15 grinds of black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

1 yellow pepper diced into 1 inch pieces

1 orange pepper diced into 1 inch pieces

cherry tomatoes

In a bowl combine the fish, lemon zest, lemon juice, black pepper and olive oil. Toss and let marinade for no longer than 30 minutes. (citrus cooks fish, if you let it marinade for any longer than 30 minutes the fish will begin to cook in the citrus – kinda crazy I know – this is how ceviche works.)

Skewer the fish alternating different kinds of fish, peppers and cherry tomatoes.

BBQ at medium-high heat until the fish is cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.

I serve it with some rice and a simple salad along side.

This whole thing took no more than 30 minutes to pull together. The only slightly labour intensive part is the actual skewering, but grab whoever is eating with you and do it together. Sharing is caring people! (in case you missed kindergarden).

Your pizza man has nothing on this dinner.

Salmon Burgers

25 Apr

These aren’t just any old salmon burger. They are salmon burgers with a bit of an Asian twist. The burger is a beautiful thing. But let’s be honest, it’s not always that kind to your waistline. I also don’t eat a ton of red meat, so it really isn’t happening that much over here. As a result I have made up numerous twists on a traditional burger. This one is delicious, and fantastic for you!

Oh, except when we smear wasabi mayo on the top. But more on that later.

Salmon Burgers

Serves 4 large burgers, or 6 medium burgers


1 1/2 lbs salmon filets, without the skin, and roughly chopped into 1 inch cubes

1/4 cup red onion, finely diced

2 tbsp chopped cilantro (if you aren’t a fan, just leave it out)

1 tsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp wasabi

1/2 tbsp ginger, grated

1 egg white

1 tbsp panko (japanese bread crumbs)

Place the salmon into a food processor. Pulse chop it until it is a mince (try not to over do this, otherwise your burgers will be supper liquidy – if that’s that case, add a bit more panko). Transfer to a bowl.

Add the onion, cilantro, soy sauce, wasabi, ginger, egg white and panko to the bowl. Mix thoroughly so that everything is incorporated. Divide the salmon mixture into 4 or 6 sections and shape into patties.

Heat your grill to medium heat. Oil your grill, bbq or indoor – doesn’t matter – we eat these puppy’s all year round. Cook for a few minutes a side, until cooked through.

Top with whatever you like. A favourite around here, wasabi mayo. The ratio is up to you. Depends how hot you like it.

We also usually also go with tomatoes, onions and pickles. Snore.

This is a perfect burger alternative for a lighter lunch on the dock or deck. Although, we also eat them regularly at home in January for dinner – go figure. Ya, they are that good.

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