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Posts Tagged ‘butter’

There is nothing better than great fish at a great restaurant.  Making it at home…….I’ll be honest here, kinda intimidating.  To make things even a bit trickier, I have these two pesky prerequisites that must be met before attempting to cook fish at home.  It can’t taste fishy and it can’t smell fishy.  Yes, very limiting but it works for me.

Enter stage left…Tilapia.  Tilapia is a buttery, flaky, firm whitefish that meets the criteria.  It is very easy to find and very easy to whip up so we have it often. Although Tilapia can get a nutritionally mediocre “rap” sometimes (it is mostly farm raised on corn which lends itself to lower levels of those healthy Omega 3’s we need), it tastes really, really good so we forgive it.

I buy my Tilapia at my favorite warehouse store that starts with a “C”.  I need to work out a royalty deal with these guys before naming them yet again in a post.  I bring home a five pound pack and open it up to make sure it smells like fresh ocean.  Then we have Tilapia three nights in a row to use it all up while it is still fresh.

My favorite tilapia recipes are pan-seared tilapia with spring succotash (pictured above – click on link for spring succotash recipe),  pan seared tilapia fish tacos with avocado salad  (ditto – click on link for recipe) and another upcoming post: pan seared tilapia with asparagus, spinach and white wine butter sauce (coming soon).   

Pan Seared Tilapia

Ingredients 

1.5 pounds fresh Tilapia filets

Cajun seasoning to taste

Salt and Pepper

2 TBSP butter

2 TBSP olive oil

1 lemon

Method


Dry the Tilapia filets off with a paper towel (necessary to get a good pan sear) and sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning.


Melt the butter and olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Add two or three filets at a time to cook.  Don’t crowd the filets in the pan or you will have steamed fish instead of pan seared.  Cook the fish three minutes and then turn over with a spatula.

Continue to cook three minutes on the other side.  If your fish is straight from the fridge or a bit thicker it may take a little longer.  I take a peak at the fish with the tongs of a fork to make sure it is done (when the flesh is no longer translucent).  Finish it (off the flame) with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve immediately and enjoy!!


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Shhhh…..I’ve got a secret.  Risotto is really not hard to make.  It’s easy!  If anyone tells you different they are sandbagging. Parmigiano-Reggiano Risotto is basic and classic and oh-so good just as its perfect self.  But….(drum roll please)… once completed you can add in any number of other goodies to the creamy rice like caramelized butternut squash or grilled lemon shrimp to take it up a notch.  But let’s save those risotto recipes for another day.  Today is all about never letting basic risotto technique intimidate you again!

Parmigiano-Reggiano Risotto

Ingredients

6 cups chicken stock (may need a little more or less)

4 TBSP butter cut in cubes

1 medium onion, small dice

2 cups Arborio rice (do not substitute any other rice- find it in the specialty Italian aisle at the market)

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Method


Empty the chicken stock into a sauce pan and heat it up to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to low and keep the stock warm on a side burner. We will use it in a minute.   In a separate large saute pan melt the butter and add the diced onions.  Cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes until onions are translucent and soft.

Unless you can get your hands on Italian risotto Aborio rice don’t attempt this recipe.  Look for it in the specialty Italian aisle at the market.  Add the Aborio rice to the onion mixture and saute for 3-4 minutes.  Sauteing the rice kernels first is a very important step and activates the starches in the rice to cook properly. If you don’t saute the rice first your final risotto will be mushy.

After the rice has sauted for 3-4 minutes add the white wine.  Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until the rice absorbs all the wine which will take 2-3 minutes.

It will look like this

Next add two cups of the hot stock.

Simmer stirring occasionally until rice absorbs all the liquid.  This will take about 8-10 minutes.  Repeat this method of adding hot stock and cooking the rice until it absorbs all the liquid twice using two cups of hot stock each time.  If you happen to use up all the stock and the mixture is still too thick (or maybe the rice has not cooked all the way yet) no worries –  just add a little hot water until you get the consistency you want.  Visa versa, if the mixture is too runny just cook it a little longer until the liquid is absorbed.

It should look like this when finished cooking.

Take it off the heat and stir in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Heavenly & delicious!

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Kids love baked German pancakes.  The eggy batter is cooked in the oven rather than on a griddle.  Because more eggs are used there is a lot more protein than in regular griddle pancakes.  While baking the pancake billows up and turns the most delicious golden brown.  It’s a perfect lazy weekend morning endeavor.  Very, very easy and quick to make but special enough to warm hearts.  Take it out of the oven, sprinkle it with powdered sugar and serve it quickly.  A little butter and syrup to finish.  Awww…a heavenly moment to the start of the day.

Be forewarned I am indulging myself today and allowing a wee bit of meandering before sharing the recipe.  Don’t be alarmed.  I promise we will get to that scrumptious baked German pancake.  Trust me.

I don’t admit this often but I have a treasured collection.  Not of rare coins, baseball cards or rocks.  I like collecting juicy little nuggets of entertaining information.  My little cache of juicy nuggets is always with me.  That way if things get a tad dry or boring I can whip it out and jazz things up a bit.

Much like the coin collector at the weekend flea market, I frequently entertain myself by trolling around collecting my little nuggets.  When I come across something really random twice in a row from completely different sources it is deemed merely a coincidence.  However, if it happens three times in a row it is serendipity.

And I always perk up and pay attention when I have a serendipitous moment.  We’ve all had them.  It’s God’s way of giving you a wink and a nod with a sparkle in his eye.  Go ahead, jump in and explore this a little.  You never know where it will take you.  Drop that smooth stone in the pond and see where it ripples in your life.

So that explains why I am now the proud owner of “The Breakfast Book” by Marion Cunningham, published in 1987 and available to be in my hands almost immediately thanks to serendipity and Mr. One Click over at Amazon.   Ms. Cunningham (of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook fame) and The Breakfast Book are beloved by many and revered in the arena of American home cookery.  I haven’t spent a lot of time with her yet but am looking forward to.

Baked German Pancake

adapted from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

Ingredients

3 large eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted

1/2 tsp salt

2 TBSP butter, melted

confectioner’s sugar to dust after cooking

Method

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Butter a cake pan or an oven proof skillet.

Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat until frothy.

Pour in the milk and blend well.

Sift in the flour and salt while whisking steadily to blend and smooth.

Pour in the melted butter and mix so the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the greased pan.  Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.  Then quickly turn the heat down to 350 and cook another 10 minutes.

Enjoy!!

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