seafood

Raking Leaves and Creating Memories

Balsamic Mahi Mahi with Broccoli

I identify myself as unusual, and here’s why: I recently recognized raking leaves as a 2014 top fall memory. With the identification comes a story. A college friend and I spent our fall break at my house in Minnesota. My friend comes from Hawaii, where leaves don’t fall (weird!), so she had never before raked leaves. Shockingly, I found myself excited to head to the yard with my family and friend for her first leaf gathering experience, and even more shockingly, I enjoyed being out there. Thus, raking leaves is a fond memory. Afterwards the girls went for manicures and pedicures, perhaps favorably tainting my thoughts.

Fall is here, temperatures are dropping, and famers market season is wrapping up, so I’m making the most of the last fall vegetables: broccoli, onions, and parsley.

Balsamic Mahi Mahi with Broccoli

1/2 lb mahi mahi

2 medium heads broccoli

1/4 cup onion, roughly chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp parsley

Salt and pepper

Steam broccoli until still slightly firm, about 6 minutes. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil on medium high. Place mahi mahi in skillet, season with parsley, salt, and pepper; and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn mahi mahi and add onion to skillet, sautéing until mahi mahi is cooked through and onion is translucent, 4-6 minutes. Turn heat to low, add broccoli, balsamic vinegar, and garnish with extra parsley. Stir to mix flavors and serve.

Advertisements

Cod with Sage

Some days I look 16–a reality I realized upon being carded buying tickets to an r-rated movie. Or the timid high school ticket clerk wanted nothing less than to misstep and sell tickets to someone under 17. The worst! Regardless, after showing my ID, the poor kid (he was a kid) realized I am, in fact, old enough to see the movie and sheepishly handed me a ticket. Someday I’ll appreciate lean estimates on my age, but for now I’ll simply laugh.

I would recommend the movie, 22 Jump Street, for a laugh, given the ridiculous nature of the storyline. Two  nearly 30-year old cops go undercover as freshman at a local university to uncover a drug trade.Though not the thought-provoking type, I certainly laughed throughout the showing.

Before seeing the movie I made cod. Cod, a mild fish, is low in calories and high in protein. I like to cook it many ways–grilled, oven baked, or pan sautéed. Cod is a thicker filet, so it won’t flake apart as easily as other fish. Once seasoned and cooked, cod is delicious.

I made Cod with Sage on the stove, but the recipe also works on the grill, though I recommend using a grill pan to make sure the fish doesn’t fall through.

Cod with Sage

1 lb cod filets

3/4 cup worcestershire

3 sage leaves, chopped

2 tsp celery root

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp salt

Mix worcestershire and sage together in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine celery root, garlic powder, cayenne, and salt. Sprinkle dry seasoning on all sides of cod. Using a basting brush, coat cod in worcestershire. Heat a drop of oil in a large sauté pan, and add cod to pan. Cook cod on medium high for 7-9 minutes, making sure fish is just cooked through and flaking with a fork.

Saffron Flounder

I’m back in Minnesota, I’m working in a really cool intern position, and it’s finally summer. I am happy.

I’m also in the midst of a bedroom redesign. Even though I’ll only spend three months here, my parents will use the room in the future when guests come, so they support my project. At this point in the process, I would be delighted if I never bought anything from IKEA ever again. Putting my new dresser together was a nightmare, to say the least. Still, it’s coming along, and I enjoy working on the room! Pictures will come later.

We ate flounder at our house this week. This recipe works with other whitefish, too (cod, mahi mahi, etc.). We served the flounder over sautéed spinach, and the spinach absorbed some flavor from the sauce. It also tastes very yummy by itself!

Saffron Flounder

1 lb flounder filets
1/4 tsp saffron threads
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c dry white whine
1/2 c water
4 or 5 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, sliced
Salt and pepper

In a large sauté pan, cook garlic in olive oil for about 2 minutes. Add all other ingredients, except flounder, and stir to combine. Add flounder. Cook flounder on medium for about 4 minutes, until cooked through. Turn flounder, cover, adjust burner to low, and let the fish slowly simmer covered for 10 minutes to let the flavors combine.

Almond Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi

Almond Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi

You know how people crave chips sometimes? That happens to me with seafood. Actually, it happens with chips, too, so maybe I should think of a better example. Almond Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi satisfies my seafood craving.

By the way, spellcheck doesn’t recognize “mahi mahi.” That’s what the bag says, so that’s what I write.

This terrible Chicago winter continues, so I have little motivation to eat meals out. Eating out means I have to go from the apartment to the car, from the car to the restaurant, from the restaurant to the car and from the car to the apartment. In “Chiberia,” that is too much. Of course, if I’m already out, I can eliminate the trip from the apartment to the car, so then I can go out.

The point of the last paragraph was that since I’m home more, I cook more. And I cook fish because I like it.

Almond Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi (1)

This is a simple pan-fried fish, and you might even have all the ingredients on hand. It’s simple, yet sophisticated; a last minute entree.

Almond Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi

1 pound mahi mahi, thawed

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup dijon mustard

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp onion powder

olive oil

salt and pepper

In a small, flat bowl, combine dijon mustard, soy sauce, lemon juice and onion powder. In another small, flat bowl, combine almonds and parmesan cheese. Grease skillet with olive oil. Take one mahi mahi filet, and coat it with the dijon mustard mixture. Then dip, the filet in the almond mixture. Repeat with remaining filets, and place in skillet. Cook fish until cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side.

Steamed Mussels

IMG_0997

I got back from Spain, and I love mussels. This is interesting, considering I only ate mussels once in Spain. I can’t explain it, but they are my new go-to. I also got my family and four friends hooked on them. All this to say, you should try cooking mussels. Or you could order them in a restaurant.

Mussels are pretty easy. First, sauté some onion and red pepper in olive oil and butter. Then, add canned tomatoes, white wine, pimentón, saffron and parsley. Stir that together and throw in the mussels.

IMG_0996

Cook mussels for about six minutes. They’re really tasty served with toast.

My secret (or not so secret) reason for loving this recipe is I get to use my pimentón and my saffron from Spain. Oh the flavors!

Steamed Mussels

2 lbs mussels

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1/4 cup red pepper, chopped

1 can chopped tomatoes, drained

1 cup white wine

1/2 tsp pimentón (smoked paprika)

5 sprigs saffron

1/4 cup fresh parsley

Salt and pepper, to taste

There are many ways to clean the mussels. An easy technique is to soak them in water for 10 minutes. Then, scoop the mussels out of the water, rinse and remove beard from the mussels. However, if you know a better method, definitely use that.

In medium pot, sauté garlic, onion and red pepper in olive oil and butter, until onion begins to caramelize. Add tomatoes, white wine, pimentón and saffron. Boil liquid, then add mussels. Cook mussels about 6 minutes, until they open. Stir around a bit to make sure all mussels are soaked in the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Brussels Sprouts and Osteria Via Stato

Let me paint a picture. A big bowl of seafood and a side of Brussels sprouts. That’s it. Picture complete. If that’s not your thing, Osteria via Stato has many other offerings. My friend loved the All-Natural Parmesan Crusted Chicken, for example.

Seafood Stew

Seafood Stew

Osteria via Stato, a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, is downtown Chicago. Though usually busy, the restaurant has a quiet atmosphere, ideal for conversation (a date perhaps?).

The food sets this place apart. They serve roasted garlic in their olive oil as dipping sauce for the homemade bread. It hooked me from the moment I sat down! Yes, I ate more bread than I should have. As I assume you gathered, I had the Seafood Stew with a side of Brussels Sprouts. As a seafood fanatic, I devoured, well, all of it, while also enjoying my sprouts. My friend also enjoyed the Faroe Islands Salmon.

Another note about Osteria Via Stato: they source in-season produce. Brussels sprouts are one of the current picks. A salad, entree and shared dessert costs about $30, not including drinks.

Hand-spun gelato for dessert

Hand-spun gelato for dessert

In other words, I highly recommend Osteria via Stato. I promise it’s not because they have Brussels sprouts, although that always helps.

http://www.osteriaviastato.com/

Osteria Via Stato

620 North State Street

Chicago, IL 60610