Iceland and Poached Cod in Tomato Broth…

I have just returned from a trip to Iceland. What a wonderful and isolated country!

 

Iceland

 

This year I had no set destination. So I simply chose the cheapest international ticket, which turned out to be a direct non-stop to Iceland. So our adventures took us into the wild expanses. Highlights include, coffee, licorice, and hotdogs, geysers, standing under and behind waterfalls, road trips, glaciers and ice, secret and not-so-secret-hot springs, boat rides, sweaters, sheep, falling in the mud, half-breakfast, and day light 24 hours a day!

Because Iceland is an island, fish is abundant, and I was spoiled. When I returned home to my land locked state of Colorado, I went to the grocery store and reluctantly bought a pound of cod from the seafood counter. I made this simple soup with a few modifications and I must say it was delicious! I highly recommend you try this! Of course if you are watching your carbohydrate intake please omit the potatoes.

 

Poached Cod in Tomato Broth

 

Poached Cod in Tomato Broth

(modified from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Hon Dashi Benito broth (Japanese fish broth)
  • 1/2 medium onion, very thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 cups  tomatoes, diced
  • 8 ounces  potatoes, diced
  • 3 sprigs basil, plus fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 skinless cod fillets (4 ounces each)
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Directions

  1. Bring broth, onion, 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, potatoes, basil sprigs, red-pepper flakes to a boil in a large, deep, straight-sided skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Season cod with salt and pepper, add to broth mixture, and cover. Simmer until fish is opaque throughout and just cooked through, about 7 minutes.
  2. Remove and discard basil sprigs. Add sugar snaps, remaining 1/2 cup tomatoes, and lime juice to skillet, gently stirring to combine; cook just until warmed through. Divide fish, vegetables, and broth among 4 bowls. Garnish with basil leaves, drizzle with oil, and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.

 

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Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables

I am sorry I haven’t written a helpful post in such a long time. I am finally starting to be able to eat ‘real food’ again, and things are starting to appeal to me. But it has been a long couple of weeks of yogurt and graham crackers. The baby is doing fine. We had our 12 week ultrasound on Friday and J. was able to see the baby for the first time. I have never seen him so excited.

I haven’t been very good about eating a low carb diet, as the only thing that I could stomach were simple carbs, bread, fruit, crackers, rice, noodles etc. But now that I am feeling better I am interested in fish and chicken, and lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. So I am transitioning to making better choices for me and baby.

Today I had a tuna salad. I have read quite a bit on pregnancy and high mercury levels. A pregnant woman should monitor mercury heavy foods and avoid ingesting too much. To say that in another way, you don’t need to cut these mercury heavy fish out of your diet, just eat them in moderation. Guidelines state no more than “12 oz of low mercury fish should be consumed weekly”

Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables

Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables (from Martha Stewart)

  • 4 cups (2 1/2 ounces) baby romaine lettuce
  • 3 cups (2 1/2 ounces) baby spinach
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons (3/4 cup)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 6 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 1/2 ounces radishes, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 6-ounce jar tuna packed in olive oil, drained, oil reserved for dressing (I like Tuna in Water)
  • FOR THE DRESSING
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (reserved from tuna)

Directions

  1. Make the salad: Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Make the dressing: Whisk together mustard, vinegar, shallot, lemon zest and juice, water, salt, and pepper. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until dressing is emulsified.
  3. Toss the salad with the dressing, and serve immediately.

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables

Dinner in half and hour: Baked Salmon with Lemon

Sometimes it seems like we can get so carried away with the daily grind that we  have so little time to actually prepare a meal. And sometimes I get carried away with lavish weeknight meals that take me far longer to prepare than I actually have time for. So let me tell you a quick and easy meal that works with almost any fish.
As a landlocked native with little to no ties to the sea, fish is a luxury. But the real reason I hardly ever prepare fish is because it stinks, and it lingers, and a week after having it the air is still heavy with the smell of fish. and that just won’t do. Until….I happened on this preparation and my world was changed. I would assume that this is common knowledge for most folks but it was a revelation for me. Bake the fish in a packet. No steam, no fish fat molecules to get into the fibers of my couch and the best part…no fish clean up.

Baked Salmon with Lemon
salmon
salt and pepper
butter
lemon
Instructions

1. Tear off a piece of tin-foil to accomodate one piece of fish. butter the inside of the foil.

2. Place fish in the middle and sprinkle with salt, pepper and dill.

3. Fold up packet and place into a 400 degree oven to bake.

4. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Garnish with lemon.

Provencal Fish Stew and Snow Days

Maybe you heard on the news that Denver was hit with an epic storm. Well, I am looking out my window and it doesn’t seem so epic here. In fact the sun is out and the snow totals were not unusual. But it was enough to scare the district into the first snow day of the year (although I know for a fact we had to go to school earlier this year in much worse conditions). So I was able to sleep in and get caught up on a little cleaning, so I am not complaining. I needed it. The final snow count where I am was 11.5 inches. Certainly not of epic proportions.

This is a picture of my two dogs Clementine Marie and Malitda Ann Justice. They love the snow more than anything. This christmas my aunt, although well intentioned, gave the odd gift of fish. The package was was a medley of different kinds of frozen fish, all in small prepackaged portions. The problem is there was not two of anything. So if I was to make a dinner for my husband and I, I would have to prepare two different types of fish. So I solved the problem by making a fish stew. You can use what ever fish you have on hand, or go buy expensive clams and mussels as the original recipe calls for. But sometimes you make do with what you have.  So nothing could possibly taste better than a warm fish stew on a snow day.

Provencal Fish Stew (adapted from The Girl and the Fig Cookbook)

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, julienne
2 stalks celery, julienne
1 fennel bulb, julienne
1 pinch saffron
3 cloves whole garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 8-ounce cans stewed tomatoes, with juice (or if you have frozen garden tomatoes, 6 tomatoes)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup Pernod (or any other anis flavored liqueur)
salt & pepper
¾ pound salmon, cubed in 1-inch pieces
½ pound  shrimp
8 oz haddock
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the leeks, onion, celery, fennel, saffron and garlic until vegetables are translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, 2½ cups water, parsley and 6 tablespoons of Pernod. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. (Can be made a day ahead.)

In another large saucepan, heat the remaining canola oil and sear the haddock and salmon. Add the shrimp and toss together. Add the white wine and the remaining Pernod. Reduce the mixture by half (about 2-3 minutes). Add the tomato mixture and bring to a boil. Cook until the clams and mussels open. Add the butter and adjust seasoning.