Monday, September 20, 2010


I've lost my cooking mojo, and it's getting to be a serious problem.  As classes started last month, I knew that I would be a lot busier and would have to plan quick meals most nights.  Not a big deal, I've made plenty of good food that doesn't take long to prepare.  But soon after, I lost the desire to cook anything new.  I've decided that it's because everything else in my life is new (job, city, friends, life) and I needed something to stay consistent.  So I ate things like roasted chicken and lasagna for a few weeks because they were comforting and familiar.  No big deal, I figured my desire to experiment would come back.  And to some degree it has.  But now every time I try a new recipe, it's virtually inedible (sometimes due to a kitchen disaster and other times it just tastes bad).  Like tonight I thought I would make a sweet potato, wild rice, and fresh fig stuffing.  I had two big sweet potatoes that I threw in the oven to bake.  A few minutes later I was convinced by the smell of things that my apartment was burning down, but couldn't see any smoke or flames (and don't worry, the mouse that has made a home in my cabinet wasn't in there).  Once the potatoes were tender, I realized that one had a tumor-like substance all the way through it (perhaps responsible for the smell??).  So, I only had half of the amount of sweet potato that I needed.  I'm not sure if that was the problem or if it was a bad recipe, but I took one bite and immediately put it away (somehow I've deluded myself into thinking that it will magically be better tomorrow).  So I'll probably revert back to the old comfort foods for a while (most of which are somewhere on this blog already).  That also means that you won't be hearing much from me for a while.

I'm hoping that once I move, I'll be so excited to spend time in my new kitchen that I'll get out of my funk.  Yep, that's right, I'm moving again.  Assuming there are no disasters with the inspection or appraisal (*fingers crossed*), I will own my very first house in the next couple of months.  Oh yeah, add "buying a house" to the list of new things in my life.

The good news is that everything else in my life is going very well (hey, I can't have everything, right?).  And truth be told, I would rather enjoy my job than be a great cook.  Part of the reason I created this blog was to escape from a less than pleasant situation, and it's nice not to have to do that anymore.  But stay tuned, because I'll be back one day soon, and I'll probably have better photos because I'll have lots of natural light in the new kitchen :).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Herb Blogging #246 recap
I'm excited to be hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week, and once again I'm amazed by the variety of fruits and vegetables that were featured this week, and the creative ways that everyone used them.  Without further ado, here are the entries that I received, and please let me know if I missed anyone or need to make any corrections.

Janet from The Taste Space gives us a recipe for Lebanese Eggplant with Pomegranate Molasses (Batinian Bil Rumman), a very versatile dish using pomegranate molasses and seeds:
Lebanese Eggplant with Pomegranate Molasses (Batinian Bil Rumman)

Rachel from The Crispy Cook found a creative way to use up some of her zucchini and made Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles:
Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles

Stash from The Spamwise Chronicles tells us more about okra (one of my favorites!), and gives us a recipe for Okra, Shrimp, and Tomato Curry:
Okra, Shrimp, and Tomato Curry

Anna from Morsels & Musings tells us about a Spiced Cherry Pie that she made for her dad's birthday:
Spiced Cherry Pie

Soma from eCurry tells us about a popular chilled soup in India, Aamer Ombol - Chilled Green Mango Soup or Cooler:
Aamer Ombol - Chilled Green Mango Soup or Cooler

Oz from Kitchen Butterfly tells us about picking blackberries (a sometimes painful undertaking), and several ways to use the berries, including a Blackberry Granita:
Blackberry Granita

Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything at Least provides a unique way to use spaghetti squash in her recipe for Stir-fried Spaghetti Squash with Pancetta and Leek:
Stir-fried Spaghetti Squash with Pancetta and Leek

And finally, I contributed a recipe for fig gelato:
fig gelato

Thanks to everyone who submitted entries this week and, as always, thanks to Haalo for organizing this event.  Next week Marija from Palachinka will be hosting, so check out the rules and send her your entries.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fig gelato recipe

Fig gelato

Weekend Herb Blogging
I'm not generally a fan of fruit-flavored ice cream because it usually has a fake, chemically taste to me (unless we're talking about fresh peach ice cream from Dickey Farms).  But gelato is another matter.  I've had my fair share of gelato (while backpacking through Europe in college, I lived off of bread, cheese, peanut butter, and gelato for 10 weeks), and I always prefer the fruit flavors.  My favorites are apple (I remember a particularly good version in a gelateria in Rome) and kiwi (strangely, the first thing that comes to mind is a train station in Vienna).  I don't recall ever having fig gelato, but I was excited to find this recipe.  I don't know that it lives up to the best gelato I've had in Italy, but it's definitely the best I've ever made.  I might reduce the lime juice by half next time (it was good, but hid the fig flavor a little bit), but otherwise it was fantastic.  I'm submitting this dish to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is organized by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once.  I'm hosting this week, so make sure to send me your entries by Sunday (check the rules for details).

Fig gelato (adapted from
(Printable version)

1 lb fresh figs, stems removed (you can peel them if you want, but I didn't)
juice of 1 lime (next time I'll only use half)
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp honey

Combine the figs and lime juice in a blender and blend until smooth.  Then add milk and honey and blend briefly, just until combined.  Freeze in an ice cream maker, according to manufacturer's directions.  Serves 3-4.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Light summer squash casserole recipe

Light summer squash casserole
One of my favorite southern foods is squash casserole.  The squash is mushy (in a good way) and almost melts in your mouth.  It must be a family favorite, too, because Mom always made one for Thanksgiving until I took over the cooking duties and tried to focus on more seasonal concoctions (I may have to give some of the responsibility back this year, though...).    Most squash casseroles are full of butter, cheese, sour cream, and bread/cracker crumbs, and although there's not anything wrong with that, I wanted to make a lighter, everyday version.  I loved the taste of this casserole, and I didn't feel bad eating half of the pan.  I didn't miss any of the other ingredients, which honestly surprised me.  And with all of the squash that I inherited from my grandmother's freezer, I can make this all winter!

Light summer squash casserole (adapted from Vintage Victuals)
(Printable version)

1 1/2 pounds yellow summer squash, sliced thinly
1 small onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp butter
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan, then add squash and let cook until it's tender (about 10 min).  Drain the squash and return it to the pot.  Then add the onion, egg, butter, and salt and pepper, and mix well.  Pour mixture into an 8x8 baking pan and cook at 375 for 45-60 min, until the edges are brown.  Let cool for 10 min before serving.  Serves 2-3.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Georgia food adventures

You're probably tired of hearing me talk about all of the wonderful food I've been enjoying since the move.  Too bad, because I have to share more.  One of my favorite luxuries of living near Atlanta is being able to make occasional trips to the Dekalb Farmers Market.  I remember stumbling into this place while I was in college and being completely blown away.  The name is misleading because it's not your typical farmers' market, it's more of a store... but unlike any store I've ever seen. It does have tons of produce, some local, some not so much (at least everything is very clearly identified).  But my favorite two sections are the grains and spices.  They buy everything in bulk and then package it themselves, so their spices are incredibly cheap (some less than 10% of what you would pay in a typical store).  And they have every grain I've ever heard of (including sorghum, not that I have any desire to buy any).  The meat, seafood, and cheese sections are amazing, too, but I'm usually too cold to stay long once I get to those sections (I'm pretty sure they keep the store at around 50 degrees, and I can never remember to bring extra clothes).  Every time I go to this place, I leave with a huge smile on my face.  Not only is it a fun shopping experience, but it's so cheap (but incredible quality) that I always feel like I've won something.

Unfortunately they don't let you take photos in the store (I can't figure out why), but here's what I got:
my loot from the Dekalb Farmers Market
Notice the plethora of grains (in the tall, stacked containers and the bags in front) and spices (the short containers).  I tried to control myself because I went two days before I left for Toronto, so I couldn't buy many perishable foods.

My favorite part about the produce section is that I've never heard of about a quarter of the items they sell.  It's the perfect place to find strange ingredients for recipes, but I'm also excited about trying something new each time I go.  This time I didn't go too crazy, but I decided that I needed to finally eat a dragon fruit.  The descriptive sign above them went into detail about their laxative effects, so I was a bit hesitant about eating it the night before my trip, but I was brave and suffered no consequences.  I really enjoyed it, and was excited to see some at the opening reception at my conference a mere two days later.

dragon fruit

My favorite part of my new food adventure has been enjoying all of the fruits and veggies from my grandma's garden.  I have an amazing family (and am completely spoiled), and my mom and great aunt and uncle pick food specifically for me whenever Mom will be making a stop by my place on her way home from Grandmother's house.  It might not be that exciting for those of you with great gardens, but it's wonderful when you're stuck in an apartment with no place to grow anything.  Here's what Mom brought last weekend:

produce from my grandma's garden
(okra, butter beans, millions of tomatoes, and butternut squash)

green beans
(a mess of green beans)

(figs galore)

Plus I have more blueberries, but I forgot to take a photo.  How can you be sad when your dining room table is filled with amazing produce?  I going to experiment with drying some of the figs in my oven this weekend - does anybody have any tips?

And to top it all off, I had the experience of my life the other day.  Every year my grandparents would take a field trip to Dickey Farms in Musella, GA.  After hearing tons about this place, I convinced one of my friends that we should venture out there, and now I completely understand why they love Dickey Farms.  It's not a huge operation, but I was mesmerized by the washing/sorting/packing machines.  If you go in the middle of the day, you will find dozens of retired people sitting on the porch in rockers eating peach ice cream.  And if you go out back, little old ladies are frantically piling the "reject" peaches into 1/2 bushel boxes.  While we were there, a church van pulled up with tons of excited ladies, and I can only imagine the pies and cobblers that they made when they got home.  We happily joined in to fill our box for only $5.  Yes, you read that right.  Five dollars.  And we had well over 30 pounds of peaches in our box.  The entire process was fun - I was trying to catch the peaches as they flew off the conveyor belt (but felt like Lucy in the chocolate factory).  Many of the "rejects" had a soft spot, but plenty were fine - just too ripe to ship to stores.  We split the box, but I was still exhausted after freezing my half.  A big part of me wants to go back next week, but I'm not sure what I would do with more peaches.

Somehow between shelling beans and going to the peach farm, I've been able to get a lot of work done in preparation for my fall classes, but that's less fun to talk about :).  Have any of you had an exciting food adventure recently?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Trinidadian chicken curry recipe

Trinidadian chicken curry
Just after getting my cooking mojo back last week, I headed to Toronto for a conference.  Toronto is a great place to eat because you can find authentic food from all around the world within a few blocks (I ate at Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, and Greek restaurants all right around my hotel).  After recovering from the trip (lots of science + lots of late nights catching up with friends = a very tiring week), I was finally ready to do some cooking last night.  I was in the mood for chicken, and decided that I should finally make the Trinidadian chicken curry I noticed on The Pioneer Woman a while back.

I've been extraordinarily happy with every one of Ree's recipes that I've tried (especially the peppers and mushrooms I made for Mom's birthday party last month), so I had faith that this wouldn't disappoint me.  I was correct.  As soon as I smelled the marinade, I knew this would be delicious, and it only got better from there.  This dish has bold flavors, and I never would have thought of the combination of mustard, pico de gallo mixture, and curry powder.  This will definitely become one of my staple dishes, especially when I'm cooking for meat lovers (Dad, this means you).

Trinidadian chicken curry (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
(Printable version)

1 1/2 pounds chicken (I used boneless, skinless breasts, but any skinless cut will do)
sprinkle of salt
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 tomato, quartered
1 onion, halved (and divided)
2 handfuls of cilantro
5 garlic cloves
freshly cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp turmeric
3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp olive oil

Sprinkle the chicken with salt, and rub it with the mustard.  Combine the tomato, half of the onion, cilantro, garlic, and black pepper in a food processor and pulse a few times until the veggies are very finely diced.  Pour this mixture on top of the chicken, mix well, and let the chicken marinate for at least 2 hours.

When you're ready to cook the chicken, mix the curry powder, turmeric, and water together in a small bowl.  Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saute pan, and then stir in this spice/water mixture.  Continue stirring until the sauce thickens and turns darker (about 10 min).  Then dice the other half of the onion, and saute it in the sauce until tender (about 5 min).  Next, add in the chicken and all of the veggie marinade, loosely cover the pan, and cook for 5 min.  Stir everything around in the pan, cover, and continue to cook for 20-25 min, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is done and the sauce is thick (you can remove the cover for a few minutes if the chicken is done before the sauce thickens).  Serves 4.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Maque choux with sausage recipe

Maque choux with sausage
I moved to Georgia at the perfect time.  Ok, so it's not the best time to be moving stuff (my shirt was visibly soaked with sweat all day Monday after hauling boxes of books into my new office), but as soon as I got here I was inundated with delicious produce.  When I left Michigan I was still eating asparagus, greens, and strawberries, but as soon as I got to Georgia I dove head first into peach season.  And I can't forget about the cantaloupe, tomatoes, okra, corn, figs, blueberries, watermelon, peas, and squash.  I also love that I can now enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of my grandmother/uncle's garden.  Mom has been making the trek to grandmother's house (over the river and through the woods) every other weekend, and lucky for me, I'm right on her way home.  In addition to the blueberries and figs, Mom brought me cucumbers, tomatoes, and okra last weekend.  She also handed me the most recent issue of Southern Living that features recipes with tomatoes, okra, and corn.  The cover features a bowl of maque choux with sausage, and it looked good enough to try.

I've made maque choux before, and I have to say that I think I liked the other version better for one simple reason.  The bacon is essential.  The sausage is great, but it doesn't permeate the vegetables like bacon does.  So if you make this, please cook the vegetables in bacon grease and then crumble the bacon on top at the end (and maybe use a little less sausage than I did).  One slice will do, and it will make all the difference.  Or, if you want to stick with this recipe, use amazing sausage (something like the medium or hot sausage from Bradley's Country Store in Tallahassee).  I'm not saying this wasn't good as is (it's hard to go wrong with fresh homegrown veggies), and I'm still enjoying the leftovers, but I learned an important lesson.

Maque choux with sausage (adapted from Southern Living)
(Printable version)

14 oz. spicy smoked sausage (I used turkey sausage), diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups sliced okra
kernels from 4 small ears of corn (about 2 cups)
3 tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage pieces in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Then stir in the onion, green pepper, and garlic and saute until tender (about 5 min).  Add okra, corn, and tomatoes, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for about 10 min, stirring frequently.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serves 4.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blueberry and fig smoothie recipe

Blueberry and fig smoothie
I've been in Georgia for about 2 weeks now, and I finally feel settled. The movers delivered my stuff yesterday (I found out the hard way that sleeping on an air mattress for that long is NOT pleasant), and before that I barely did any cooking. I had a pot, pan, cutting board, and knife with me, but I couldn't get inspired to cook something that I would have to eat off of a paper plate with plastic utensils. I did make spaghetti and a couple of decent stir-fries, but nothing was worth writing about. But now that my kitchen cabinets are full and I've rested from yesterday's marathon unpacking session, I finally feel ready to cook again.

While I was still recovering today, I decided to make a smoothie. I was drinking smoothies almost every day before I left Michigan, and I'm very excited to be reunited with my blender. It was also perfect timing because today I got blueberries and figs from my grandmother's garden. I don't typically think of blueberries and figs as a good match, and I was planning to make a blueberry and peach smoothie, but I decided to give my body a brief break from peaches (I've been eating about 5 a day) and try this weird combo. To my surprise, I really liked the flavor. It was more subtle than the smoothies I usually make (I might try adding more fruit, especially blueberries, next time), but was incredibly good. I usually use yogurt in my smoothies, but I didn't have any and substituted milk. One of the primary reasons I love smoothies is that you can practically throw anything into a blender and it turns out great, and this was the perfect example.

Blueberry and fig smoothie
(Printable version)

1/2 cup milk or plain yogurt
1/2 cup blueberries
4 large figs, stems removed
2 handfuls of ice

Add all ingredients to the blender, and blend on high until the ice is all pulverized. Serves 1-2.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Carrot macaroni and cheese recipe

Carrot macaroni and cheese
I've been in denial for the last few weeks, but I'm finally starting to accept the fact that I'm moving across the country in less than a week.  Don't get me wrong, I'm beyond excited, but I always turn into a mess before I move.  When I left for college, I cried for the entire 5 hour drive, and as I was moving out after college, I broke down in the food court on campus and cried like a baby (luckily this was the food court right next to the hospital, so crying was a common occurrence).  Of course I'll miss my friends more than anything, but it's also hard to say goodbye to all of my food-related loves in Michigan (particularly my farmers' market, my CSA farm, and Zingerman's).  And I'll miss the kitchen where I really fell in love with cooking.  I packed up the kitchen yesterday (how did I have so much stuff in there??), and it's weird seeing it so empty.  I still have a few things that I'm taking in my car because I can't survive without the ability to at least cook the basics while the rest of my belongings are in limbo on a moving truck, but it's not the same.  I'm excited to create new food memories in my new kitchen, but I'll always have fond memories of this one.  So, it's only fitting that I share one of the last things I made in Michigan, carrot mac and cheese.

It should be no surprise to you that I crammed vegetables into mac and cheese, and this worked wonderfully.  I really liked the way that the carrot blended with the cheese to make a hearty sauce that wasn't too heavy.  It was sweeter than your typical version, but it wasn't too much, and I thought it was a nice change.  However, unlike normal mac and cheese, I didn't enjoy the leftovers cold (I know I'm weird...), so make sure you warm it up.

Carrot macaroni and cheese (adapted from Food & Wine)
(Printable version)

12 oz. carrots, sliced thinly
1 large orange, zested and juiced
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. chunky brown rice pasta (penne, fusilli, etc.)
3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese

Combine carrots, orange zest and juice, and water in a small saucepan, cover, and let simmer over medium heat until carrots are tender (about 30 min).  Let the carrots cool for a few minutes, and then puree them in a blender with salt and pepper (you may need a little bit more water to make a thick puree).

Cook the pasta according to package directions (make sure to stop when it's al dente), and reserve about a cup of the water before draining the pasta.  Add the pasta back to it's cooking pot, stir in the carrot and reserved pasta water, and let cook over medium heat for 5 min.  Then add 2/3 of the cheese and stir well.  Spread pasta out in a 8x8" baking pan and top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 for 20 min.  Serves 4.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hello again!

Wow, it's been a while.  Between finishing up things in the lab, packing, and trying to see everyone before I move next week, I've been quite busy.  Plus, last weekend I went to Florida to throw Mom a surprise birthday party.  I think I cooked more for the party than I have at home in the past month (I've been living off of the cooked grains and beans from my freezer).  I made two cakes: a flourless chocolate cake that was rich and delicious, and an Italian cream cake (apparently it was so good that Mom asked me to make another one while I was home, and I've been informed that I'm making it for a family reunion).  For the last few years almost everything I've baked has been gluten-free with very minimal sugar, so it was incredibly easy not worrying about either (the chocolate cake was gluten-free, though).  The other favorites at the party were the stuffed mushrooms and bacon-wrapped jalapenos, both from The Pioneer Woman.

 She didn't have a heart attack or spill her wine!!

I have a couple of recipes that I'll hopefully get around to sharing in the next week or so, but I doubt I'll be cooking much in the next couple of weeks because I'm planning to pack my kitchen this weekend, and I have no idea how long my belongings will be stuck on a moving truck somewhere between Michigan and Georgia.  After that, hopefully I'll be able to share all kinds of concoctions (likely involving peaches and tomatoes... probably not together, but who knows!).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Two gluten-free granola bar recipes

gluten-free granola bars
In addition to the fig, pecan, and flax crackers I made for my Mother's Day care package, I also sent two kinds of granola bars.  I found two recipes that sounded fantastic and couldn't decide between them, so I went overboard as usual.  Luckily granola bars fare well in the freezer, so none of them went to waste.  Both have relatively little refined sugar and are gluten-free, and I thought both were delicious.  Unfortunately the cocoa and orange variety (on the bottom in the picture, if you can actually tell them apart) had too much liquid and didn't stay together very well at all (I pieced one together for the picture).  I loved the combination of chocolate and orange, though, and I think the problem could be remedied simply by reducing the amount of orange juice.  The fig, raisin, and walnut ones were fabulous, too, and these held together well.  So, here are both recipes.  I recommend going overboard and trying both.  What do you have to lose?

Cocoa and orange granola bars (adapted from Anja's Food 4 Thought)
(Printable version)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
zest of one orange
3/4 cup dried fruit (I used half apricots and half currants)
1 1/4 cup orange juice (I would start with 3/4 cup and add more if necessary)
2 Tbsp honey

Combine oats, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, cocoa powder, zest, and dried fruit in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, stir together orange juice and honey.  Pour the orange juice mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well.  Let this sit for 15 min, and then add more orange juice if the mixture isn't sticking together.  Spread this out on a parchment-lined baking sheet so that it's about 1/2" thick, and bake at 350 for 25 min.  Then let cool and cut into bars.  Wrap individually and freeze for long-term storage.  Makes 20 bars.

Fig, raisin, and walnut granola bars (adapted from Simply Sugar & Gluten-free)
(Printable version)

2 cups rolled oats
2 Tbsp flax meal
6 Tbsp teff flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/3 cup agave nectar or honey
2 eggs, beaten
water if necessary

Combine oats, flax meal, teff flour, walnuts, figs, raisins, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, stir together agave nectar and eggs.  Pour the agave mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well.  If you need to moisten the mixture so that everything sticks together, add water a tablespoon at a time.  Spread the mixture out on a parchment-lined baking sheet so that it's about 1/2" thick, and bake at 350 for about 20 min.  Then let cool and cut into bars.  Wrap individually and freeze for long-term storage.  Makes 20 bars.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cabbage stuffed with quinoa pilaf recipe

cabbage stuffed with quinoa pilaf
I loved this simple quinoa pilaf, especially because my last pilaf was virtually inedible.  The flavors were very simple, but the combination of quinoa, tomatoes, raisins, and pine nuts was perfect.  I got the pilaf recipe from Gluten-Free Goddess, but decided to stuff cabbage instead of mushrooms.  The pilaf would be great alone, as well (I had some left after stuffing the cabbage, and enthusiastically gobbled it up while the cabbage rolls were baking).  I'm submitting this dish to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is organized by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once, and hosted by Astrid from Paulchen's Foodblog.

Cabbage stuffed with quinoa pilaf (adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess)
(Printable version)

8 large cabbage leaves
1 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked quinoa
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 green onions, chopped
3 Tbsp raisins
3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and then add cabbage leaves and boil until they're tender (about 5 min).  Remove the leaves from the water and set aside to cool.  While the cabbage cools, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Then add the garlic and saute for a minute.  Stir in the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and let heat through for a few minutes before removing it from the burner.  Then stuff each cabbage leaf with about 1/3 cup quinoa pilaf, roll the cabbage up tightly, and place it seam side down into a large baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 20-30 min.  Serves 4.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Warm butter bean, red onion, and spinach salad with mustard recipe

Warm butter bean, red onion, and spinach salad with mustard
Even after making Brunswick stew this week (which is getting better and better!), I still have butter beans in my freezer (for some reason I thought it was a great idea to cook 3 pounds of them a few months ago).  Before I made the stew, I was inspired by Gel's kitchen to make this salad.  I made the recipe and it was pretty good, but then I got the idea to add whole grain mustard.  Sometimes I have random last-minute ideas that fail miserably, but this one took the salad from ok to wonderful.  Next time I'll probably add more spinach, but it was great just as I made it.  I tried the leftovers warm and cold and couldn't decide which way was better.

Now the only problem is deciding how I want to use my last bag of butter beans.  Do I make more of this salad?  Do I try mashing them up like potatoes (an interesting idea I just read about)?  Any favorite recipes out there?

Warm butter bean, red onion, and spinach salad with mustard (adapted from Gel's kitchen)
(Printable version)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 large red onion, sliced thinly
2 1/2 cups cooked butter beans
salt and pepper to taste
2 large handfuls spinach
2 Tbsp whole grain mustard (I used one with horseradish)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and then saute the onion until it's very tender (about 10 min).  Add butter beans to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and stir everything around for a couple of minutes.  Then add spinach, stir well, and cook until the spinach wilts.  Stir in the mustard and serve.  Serves 3-4.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Brunswick stew recipe

brunswick stew
I'm ecstatic right now.  I have a lot of recipes in the queue, but I have to tell you about this one immediately.  One of my absolute favorite meals in the world (perhaps THE favorite) is my grandmother's vegetable soup with cornbread.  The soup has a creamy tomato base with a bit of a kick (thanks to Tabasco), and is filled with butter beans, okra, corn, and potatoes.  My cousins and I fight over the soup, and I'm really hoping that Grandmother remembers that I organized and catalogued her chest freezer last month and will give me at least one of the three containers of soup she has left.  And very similar to her vegetable soup is her perlue stew (a few Google searches revealed that people spell it all kinds of ways: purlo, perlo, and purlew are just a few).  Perlue stew has a very similar base, but typically contains chicken, rice, potatoes, and corn.  It's heavenly as well, but for some reason Grandmother didn't make it nearly as often.  Unfortunately I've been intimidated to make both.  I'm afraid to even attempt her vegetable soup because, let's be real, it won't be the same.  I've pleaded for a recipe, but it's one of those things where she throws things in the pot and "knows" when it's right.  I do have her recipe for purlue stew, but nobody else in the family has succeeded at replicating it (and Mom found out the hard way that you must use a roaster chicken because of its higher fat content).

But then last month I was flooded by recipes for Brunswick stew from the Daring Cooks challenge.  Brunswick stew is a combination of Grandmother's vegetable soup and purlue stew.  It has some kind of meat (typically beef, pork, or chicken along with some random other ones - sometimes squirrel or rabbit), butter beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and sometimes okra.  But that creamy tomato base is common among all of three of them (apparently to Burgoo as well, which I've never tried, but is basically Kentucky's version of this stew).  I associate Brunswick stew with barbecue restaurants.  If a restaurant doesn't sell Brunswick stew, don't eat the barbecue there.  Trust me.

The influx of Brunswick stew recipes last month made me drool, and I'm trying to eat up the cooked butter beans I have in my freezer, so I had to make this, and boy am I glad I did.  I don't know if this is the absolute best Brunswick stew I've ever had, but it's pretty close.  I'm used to the Georgia-style stew with beef, so the chicken version (more typical of Virginia) was different but equally as enjoyable.  If it follows the Rule of Soups and Stews (they get better and better as the days go by), I'll be in heaven all week.  And even more exciting is that the base is the exact same creamy tomato base of Grandmother's vegetable soup.  Forget the PhD, I'm far more proud that I've mastered the stew/soup base that I love so much!

Brunswick stew (loosely adapted from What We're Eating)
(Printable version)

2 strips of bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 small peppers, diced (I used dried Thai chilies because that's all I had, but jalapenos or serranos are preferable)
2 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed
5 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Tabasco or other hot sauce
freshly ground black pepper
2 carrots, diced
4 small red potatoes, chopped
2 1/2 cups cooked butter beans
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup ketchup
1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes

Cook bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat.  When it's done, place it aside on paper towels and crumble it.  Add the onions and peppers to the bacon grease and cook until the onion is tender.  Then push the onions to the side of the pot, and add the chicken, making sure that it's touching the bottom of the pot as much as possible.  Sear the chicken on both sides (a few minutes per side), and then add stock, bay leaves, Tabasco, and black pepper to the pot.  If the chicken isn't covered by the stock, add more until it's almost completely submerged.  Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 min.  Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside to cool.  Then add carrots, potatoes, butter beans, corn, ketchup, tomatoes, and crumbled bacon to the pot.  When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it and add the meat to the pot.  Then bring the stew back to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 90 min, stirring occasionally.  If the stew base is very watery, leave the cover off for a while so it can thicken, or add more stock or water if it's too thick.  After the stew is done, mash the stew with a potato masher for a few minutes to create the creamy base.  Taste and add more Tabasco if necessary, and remove the bay leaves.  Serves 6-8.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fig, pecan, and flax crackers recipe

Fig, pecan, and flax crackers
Since I've started packing up my apartment, I've become even more sensitive to the fact that nobody wants more junk to sit around.  So for Mother's Day, I wanted to give Mom something useful.  Between work and taking care of my grandmother, she has been excessively busy lately, so I decided to make her a care package of sorts, with healthy snacks that would keep her going at work and on her weekend trips.  It was also a present for me because it gave me an excuse to try new recipes (thanks, Mom!).  These crackers sounded perfect for Mom, so I gave 'em a shot.  They recipe made more than I expected, though, and I ended up taking some to a cookout with friends.  Between my friends and my parents, I've heard a lot of good things about these crackers.  I loved them, too, and had to package them up before I scarfed them all down.  And best of all, these crackers are the easiest ones I've ever made.  They're thick, and don't require the use of a rolling pin (I'm still not very skilled with my rolling pin).  In fact, their appearance is more similar to a cookie than a cracker, and they do have a hint of sweetness from the figs and brown sugar.  Sweet cracker?  Savory cookie?  Call them whatever you want, but I highly suggest making them.

Fig, pecan, and flax crackers (adapted from life as a h4)
(Printable version)

1/3 cup flax seeds (whole ones, not ground)
1/4 cup almond or flax meal
1 1/2 cups gluten-free baking mix (or white or whole wheat flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup dried figs, chopped
1/2 cup milk (or more, if necessary)

Combine flax seeds, almond or flax meal, baking mix, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the mixture until the butter is in tiny pieces and well distributed throughout the flour/flax/etc.  Add the pecans, figs, and milk to the bowl, and stir until everything is mixed well.  If you're having trouble incorporating all of the flour into the dough, add milk a tablespoon at a time (I added about 1/4 cup more).  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 min.  Then divide the dough into two pieces and roll each piece into a log with a 2" diameter.  Using a sharp knife, slice the log into 1/4" slices and place them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper (some of my crackers fell apart as I was slicing the logs, but I pieced them back together and it worked fine).  Then bake the crackers at 325 for 20-30 min, until they are golden brown.  Let them cool before serving or storing.  Makes about 30 crackers.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Let's talk about sorghum

I'm guessing that a lot of people have had sorghum syrup at some point in their lives.  And those of us who have adopted a gluten-free diet have almost surely had sorghum flour and sorghum-based beer.  In fact, I use sorghum flour more than any other type because it seems to work as a multi-purpose flour and has a mild taste that is great in all kinds of baked goods.  However, I hadn't seen sorghum grains until I received a bag of sorghum from Shiloh Farms as part of the first place prize package in the Whole Grains Council's photo contest last fall.

Sorghum grains are round, similar to millet or quinoa but much larger.  The bag listed several cooking options, and suggested popping it.  This intrigued me, so I immediately used my favorite method of making popcorn with the sorghum (put a handful in a paper lunch bag, roll the top over a few times, and cook in the microwave on the popcorn setting).  It was good.  Really good.  It tasted similar to popcorn, with a slight millet-like quality.  The only problem was that many of the kernels didn't pop, but I'm wondering if this could be remedied by cooking it on the stove.

popped sorghum

I only had one bag of it, though, so I decided that I should resist popping all of it and try another cooking method.  And then I forgot about it for 5 months.  I recently rediscovered my sorghum while taking an inventory of my pantry in preparation for my upcoming move, and finally got around to cooking more of it.  There was a recipe for sorghum pilaf on the bag, so I decided that was the route to take.  But instead of following that recipe, I substituted my sorghum for quinoa in a pilaf with sweet potato, spinach, and bacon that I found at Sounding My Barbaric Gulp!.  First, I must tell you that sorghum takes forever to cook (about an hour and a half), so I was hoping that it would be tasty enough to compensate for the time.  And I was also hoping to share an amazing recipe for sorghum because I had an extraordinarily tough time finding anything online.  The first few bites were good, very different, but pretty good.  It had a much stronger flavor than it did when popped, very earthy I would say.  But by the fourth bite I had had enough.  I've been able to eat a bite here and there because I hate to throw away leftovers, but I can't take anymore.

sorghum pilaf

So unfortunately I don't have a recipe to share, but do try popping it if you ever come across sorghum grains (that's what will happen with the remainder of my bag).  And I bet this pilaf would be good with quinoa, as it was originally made.  I'm disappointed that I didn't find my new favorite whole grain, and even more perplexed at how sorghum could be so great in other forms.  It was a fun experiment, though!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rhubarb and strawberry compote recipe

Rhubarb and strawberry compote
My favorite farmers' market opened last weekend, and I'm so happy to have plans every Saturday morning again.  I'm trying to enjoy the spring offerings and not think about the fact that I'll move before the market really gets going.  Last week I picked up rhubarb on a whim.  The challenge with rhubarb is that most recipes call for tons of sugar to cancel out its sour nature.  However, I really enjoy rhubarb's sourness, and I also try to avoid much added sugar.  So, I decided to cook the rhubarb into a compote with strawberries (for some natural sweetness) and then added small amounts of honey until I was satisfied with the flavor.  Luckily my strawberries were very sweet and in the end I didn't have to add much honey at all.  I've added this compote to yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast, and I've also eaten in by itself as a dessert because it's just that good.  I just finished the last of it and I'm kicking myself for not getting more rhubarb at the market this morning.  I'm submitting this dish to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is organized by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once, and hosted by Lynne from Cafe Lynnylu this week.

Rhubarb and strawberry compote
(Printable version)

5 large stalks of rhubarb, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 lb strawberries, tops removed and halved
1 Tbsp honey or agave nectar (to your taste)

Put the rhubarb and strawberries in a large saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.  When the fruit has broken down significantly (after about 20 min), add honey or agave until it's sweet enough for you.  Continue to cook for 10-20 more min.  Makes about 2 cups.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Oat-crusted chicken recipe

oat-crusted chicken
First off, I really appreciate all of the comments everyone left on my post about my grandpa.  And while I was spending time with my family last weekend, I learned the secrets of my grandmother's fried chicken.  She hasn't made it in years, but the whole family remembers how delicious it was.  Apparently it requires cutting up your own chicken so that the pieces are the same size, removing the skin, seasoning the chicken (not the flour), soaking the chicken in buttermilk for 24 hours before dipping it in flour, and then cooking it low and slow.  One day for a special occasional I'll get around to trying this method (I doubt that it will be as good as Grandmother's.... nothing ever is), but before I learned the secrets I made this incredibly easy oat-crusted chicken.  This was incredibly delicious the night I made it, very crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, but it's not something you want to eat leftover.  Just trust me on that one.

Now that April is behind us, it's time to wrap up the cookbook of the month, Whole Grains for Busy People.  Overall this is a fantastic cookbook if you're trying to ease whole grains into your meals or trying to cook whole grains with limited time.  My favorite recipe was the turkey ragu I made last month.  Even when I lost my appetite before my dissertation defense, I still wanted to eat it.  I also really enjoyed the macaroni and cheese with chicken and spinach, thai fish curry, and this chicken (the night I made it).  The hominy and bean chili wasn't my favorite recipe for chili, but it was pretty good too.  None of these recipes are going to win awards, but they're tasty, healthy recipes, and will give you a satisfying meal at the end of a long day.  If you have more time and only want to buy one book, I would recommend buying Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way, but this book is probably more suitable for most people who simply want a fast way to get healthy food on the table.

Oat-crusted chicken recipe (adapted from Whole Grains for Busy People)
(Printable version)

2 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/3 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
zest of one lemon
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp olive oil

Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.  Spread the flour out on one plate, and combine the oats and lemon zest and spread on a separate plate.  Pour the beaten egg into a wide, shallow bowl.  Dredge each chicken breast in flour, then dip it in the egg, then coat it in the oat mixture.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Brown both sides of the chicken (about 2 min per side), then cover the skillet, reduce heat to low, and let cook until chicken is cooked through (about 10 min).  Serves 2-4.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Gluten-free sweet potato cobbler recipe

Gluten-free sweet potato cobbler
 I distinctly remember the first time I ate sweet potato cobbler.  I was about 10 and had just enjoyed breakfast on my grandparents' porch.  My grandpa Al always quizzed me about whether I had tried different foods (usually it was some uncommon fruit or vegetable, a classic southern food, or something weird he concocted).  I was an adventurous eater compared to most kids, so I tried quince jelly (it was delicious), tomatoes with sugar (not my thing), and even cornbread doused in buttermilk (you should have seen the look on my face - I haven't had any buttermilk since).  And all throughout breakfast that day he told us about sweet potato cobbler.  I love sweet potatoes and it's hard to beat cobbler, so I was excited when he announced that he had some in the refrigerator and insisted that I try some (never mind that it was still early in the morning).   As I expected, I loved it, which tickled Al to death (as my grandmother would say).

(Un)fortunately, Al passed away last weekend.   He found out about a week before that he had terminal cancer, and luckily didn't have to suffer very long.  I made a last-minute trip down to Atlanta to see him (hence my lack of posting), but didn't make it in time.   We were all as mentally prepared as possible, but that never seems to be enough.  As we reflected on our memories of Al over the weekend, it always came back to food.  Al loved to garden, he loved to cook, and he LOVED to eat. I remember spending summer mornings shelling peas and beans with Al and Grandmother in the basement.  Al also taught me how to make pickles.  Even when he no longer had energy to spend hours in the garden or kitchen, he would give me numerous tips on growing and preserving various fruits and vegetables (I now wish I had taken notes!).

Al also won me over with food.  He and my grandmother got married when I was 6, and I think we first bonded over our love of eating.  Before they got married, I was out in the yard with them (likely picking up pine cones, as that's Grandmother's favorite activity), and Al said that he had something for me inside.  We went in and he handed me a few Bugles (you know, those horn-shaped corn chip things).  Grandmother wasn't excited about this because she thought it would spoil my dinner, but Al explained that it was just a "sample," and samples don't count.   Almost every time that I saw Al, one of us would make a joke about having a sample of something and the calories not counting (sometimes the sample would be a large piece of cake, but as long as we called it a sample, it didn't exist).  I was hoping to bring Al a box of Bugles last week, but oh well.

Instead, I made a sweet potato cobbler today, because I know that's what he would want me to do.  Instead of using his recipe, I made a gluten-free, low-sugar version.  I made a small amount because I wasn't sure how it would taste, but I loved it.   It was very different from Al's, but fantastic and still reminds me of him.   Now I wish I had made a big pan of it!

Sweet potato cobbler (adapted from Gluten free Mommy)
(Printable version)

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/3" slices
1 1/2 Tbsp sorghum flour
1 1/2 Tbsp sweet rice flour
1 Tbsp almond meal
1 Tbsp tapioca starch
1 Tbsp potato starch
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
pinch of cardamom
pinch of cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp orange juice
3 Tbsp milk (more or less)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla

Cook sweet potato slices in boiling water until tender (about 7 min).  Then drain the sweet potato and place it in a small baking dish (I used a 4 cup round Pyrex dish).  While the sweet potato is cooking, combine flours, starches, sugar, salt, xanthan gum, and spices in a small bowl.  Combine the orange juice and butter, and stir this into the flour mixture.   Then add enough milk so that it is the consistency of muffin batter.  Sprinkle the lemon juice, agave nectar, and vanilla over the sweet potatoes, and then top with spoonfuls of the batter.  Bake at 350 until the dough is set and beginning to brown (about 30 min).   Serves 2.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Macaroni and cheese with chicken and spinach recipe

Macaroni and cheese with chicken and spinach
I feel silly sharing this light version of mac and cheese now because I just got back from a trip to Vancouver, where I stuffed my face every day.  But it's probably a good thing that I was eating lighter food like this before I left, and it's probably the reason that I can still manage to button my pants.  If you have no problem buttoning your pants, feel free to use more cheese than I did to make it more similar to typical mac and cheese, but I really enjoyed this version.

Macaroni and cheese with chicken and spinach (adapted from Whole Grains for Busy People)
(Printable version)

4 cups water
8 oz. brown rice macaroni (or other small pasta)
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I used boiled chicken thighs - about 3/4 lb.)
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (or up to 10 oz., depending on how cheesy you like your pasta)
1 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot starch mixed with 1 Tbsp water (if necessary)
10 oz. fresh spinach
freshly ground pepper

Bring the water to a boil in a large saute pan over high heat, and then stir in the macaroni and let it cook for a few minutes less than the package directs (I cooked it for 7 min), stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to medium-high and add chicken and cheese, stirring until cheese is melted.  If the sauce is very thin, add the starch and water mixture.  Then add the spinach and continue to cook for a couple of min, until the pasta is tender and the spinach is wilted.  Grind black pepper on the top.  Serves 4.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend Herb Blogging #229 Recap

I'm very excited to be hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week.  There were a number of fabulous submissions using all kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains, and herbs.  Here are this week's entries:

This cake sounds delicious, and is made with only a few ingredients.  I was excited to find that it's gluten-free, too (it's made with ground almonds).

Tigerfish from teczcape - an escape to food tells us about Kaffir lime leaves:
This post includes great information about how to find, store, and use Kaffir lime leaves, and an example of a dish that uses them (Thai shrimp cakes).

Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen gives us a recipe for Soft Oatmeal Bread:
This bread uses cooked oats, and sounds delicious!

TS and JS from [eatingclub] Vancouver give us a recipe for Quinoa Lentil Apple Salad:
This recipe sounds like the perfect combination of grains, legumes, and fruit.

Nina from My Easy Cooking contributed a recipe for Green Bean Stew:
The stew includes lamb, potatoes, and green beans, and would be a great winter dish.

 Nuria from Spanish Recipes contributed a recipe for Strawberry Gazpacho:
In addition to step by step instructions for making the gazpacho, this post also includes information about the health benefits of eating strawberries.

 Muneeba from An Edible Symphony tells us about a Vietnamese Avocado Milkshake:
 This milkshake sounds like it will be a great beverage for staying cool this summer!

 Ben from What's Cooking? gives us a recipe for a Spring Mango Salad:
This salad combines mangoes with a lot of fresh vegetables for a tasty-looking salad.

Cinzia from Cindystar submitted a recipe for White Chocolate Pudding:
I can imagine any kind of fruit would be great with this pudding.

Yasmeen from Health Nut tells us how to make Pita Wedges with Green Almond Hash:

I've never tried green almonds, but this sounds like a perfect way to top pita bread!

Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once introduces us to tazziberries and provides a recipe for Tazziberry Friands:
I've never had tazziberries, but they sound like an interesting combination of all kinds of delicious fruits.  These gluten-free friands sound like the perfect way to try them!

Joanne from Eats Well With Others contributed a recipe for Strawberry Yogurt Bread:
This sounds like a great way to use strawberries as the begin to appear in the markets.

And finally, here's my contribution, a recipe for roasted butternut squash:

Thanks to everyone who contributed to WHB this week, and please let me know if I made any errors.  Next week, Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen will be hosting, so send your entries to her (see complete WHB rules).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Roasted butternut squash recipe

Roasted butternut squash
How have I never shared this recipe?  It's one of my all-time favorites that I make more than any other recipe.  In fact, I think I tried this method the very first time that I cooked butternut squash (sadly that was in the last couple of years).  It's so easy that I hesitate to even call it a recipe, but it's always fantastic.  I made it for Thanksgiving two years ago and took it to my program's holiday party a few weeks later, and I got many requests for the recipe.  In fact, it was even requested for a Desperate Dinner cookbook that one of my friends put together (my first few years of grad school, a group of us got together for dinner and Desperate Housewives every Sunday night).  Any time I have a butternut squash lying around, there's a good chance that it will be used for this very recipe.

Weekend Herb Blogging
The best part about roasting winter squash is that it caramelizes and almost becomes a dessert.  Thyme is one of my favorite herbs, and I think it pairs beautifully with the sweet squash.  Sometimes I add Parmesan, sometimes I don't; it's great either way, so you can't go wrong.  I'm submitting this dish to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is organized by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once.  I'm hosting WHB this week, so send me your entries by Sunday! 

Roasted butternut squash (adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen)
(Printable version)

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp freshly shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Spread the squash cubes out on a baking sheet, drizzle the cubes with oil, and sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper.  Rub the squash around with your hands so that the cubes are coated in oil and the herbs/spices are distributed evenly.  Roast at 450 for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender.  Sprinkle squash with Parmesan if desired.  Serves 2-3 (if you can resist eating it all in one sitting).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thai fish curry with brown rice recipe

Thai fish curry with brown rice
Last night I was reminded why I cut back my consumption of processed food.  Michael Pollan gave a lecture on campus, and he came on stage with bags full of groceries that he picked up at Meijer (he got extra points in my book for making fun of Meijer!).  He had boxes of sugary cereal claiming to be health food, fat free yogurt with more sugar than the full fat counterpart, and splenda with fiber.  But the one that caught my attention was the Tropicana Healthy Heart orange juice.  Sounds innocent enough, right?  Well, it contains tilapia, anchovies, and sardines.  I almost gagged.  Guess who will not be drinking store bought orange juice for a long time.

I would rather drink juice that I've squeezed myself (or at the very least has no sea creatures in it).  And I'll eat my fish with a fork, thank you very much.  Here's a great recipe in case you need ideas for ways to eat fish in its solid form.  I did have trouble finding a firm white fish that's sustainable but still affordable, but I finally came across cod from the U.S. Pacific, which is at least a "good alternative" according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's standards. The flavors in this dish were mellow - I suggest adding a minced jalapeno if you're looking for something more dramatic - but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  The crunch of the water chestnuts was the perfect contrast for the flaky fish, and I wouldn't recommend making this without them.  It doesn't necessarily live up to "real" Thai food, but considering that it took about 10 minutes to make, it was a great substitute.

Thai fish curry with brown rice (adapted from Whole Grains for Busy People)
(Printable version)

1 can (13.5 oz.) light coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp green Thai curry paste
pinch of sugar
1 cup corn kernels (frozen are fine)
1 can (8 oz.) water chestnuts, drained and sliced
1 lb. firm white fish (I used cod, but halibut also works), cut into bite-sized chunks
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
zest of one lime
3 cups cooked brown rice

Combine coconut milk, water, fish sauce, curry paste, and sugar in a large saute pan, and bring to a boil.  Then stir in the corn, water chestnuts, and fish, making sure that the fish pieces are almost completely submerged in the sauce.  Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the fish is cooked through (about 4 min), stirring occasionally.  Stir in the cilantro and lime zest, and serve over rice.  Serves 4.