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Friday, December 12, 2008

Almond-Crusted Tilapia


1 1/2 lbs Tilapia fillets
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp water
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup Panko (Japanese style) bread crumbs
1 Tbsp shredded orange zest
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
salt and pepper

  1. Rinse tilapia with cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
  2. Place flour in a shallow bowl, set aside. In a second shallow bowl, beat together eggs and the water. In a third shallow bowl, combine almonds, panko bread crumbs, and orange zest.
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, dredge tilapia in flour, shake off excess. Dip in egg mixture. Coat with almond mixture.
  4. Fry almond-crusted tilapia in hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a ford.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Butternut Squash Thanksgiving Soup

Here's another dish in my Thanksgiving menu this year, an easy soup recipe that I got from Rachel Ray of 30 Minutes Meal at Food TV Network.


1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup pulpy orange juice
2 boxes frozen butternut squash puree
2 or 3 cups chicken broth
Grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, for garnish (I skipped this)
1 Tbsp orange zest for garnish (I skipped this)

1. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter. When butter is melted, add the onion and carrots and cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Season with salt and pepper, deglaze with the orange juice and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
3. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or a blender. Puree the mixture until smooth, then return to pot over medium heat.
4. To mixture, add the frozen butternut squash puree and the chicken broth and stir to combine. Adjust the seasoning. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Grate some nutmeg and stir to combine.
5. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped thyme and orange zest.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sweet Potato Casserole

Here is another dish that I served at Thanksgiving dinner this year. A sweet potato casserole can either be a side dish or a dinner ender dessert. However you want it served, one thing is for sure, it's just so easy to make.


2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup 1% milk
2 tsps freshly grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 tsps frozen orange juice concentrate (I used plain orange juice)
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans (1 3/4 ounces)

1. Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat until tender about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well and return to pan. Mash with potato masher. Measure out 3 cups. (Reserve any extra for another use)
2. Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Coat an 8-inch-square (or similar 2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.
3. Whisk eggs, oil and honey in a medium bowl. Add mashed sweet potato and mix well.
4. Stir in milk, orange zest, vanilla and salt.
5. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish.
6. To prepare the topping: Mix flour, brown sugar, orange juice concentrate, oil and butter in a small bowl. Blend with a fork or your fingertips until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture.
7. Bake the casserol until heated through and the top is lightly browned, 35 to 45 minutes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sausage and Herb Stuffing

The turkey on Thanksgiving dinner will be lonely without its the good old partner, the stuffing. This year I used the recipe of Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa fame at Food TV network. This stuffing turned out to be flavorful and tasty.


16 cups 1-inch bread cubes, white or sourdough (1 1/2 lb loaf)
8 Tbsps (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and large-diced
2 Tbsps chopped flat-leaf parsley ( I used 1 Tbsp the dried Parsley flakes instead)
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup dried cranberry

1. Preheat oven to 300 deg. F. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350 deg. F. Remove the bread into a a very large bowl.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, melt the butter and add the onions, celery, apples, parsley, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add the bread cubes.
3. In the same saute pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through. breaking up the sausage with a fork while cooking. Add to the bread cubes and vegetables.
4. Add the chicken stock and cranberries to the mixture, mix well, and pour into a 9 x 12 inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top and hot in the middle. Serve warm.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Buttered Spring Vegetables

Another yummy side dish at the Thanksgiving dinner table that I made was a mixture of spring veggies that I blanched then mixed with sauteed shallots and butter. I substituted some veggies to some that I couldn't find in my local grocery, the dish was crunchy and tasty nevertheless.


1/4 lb French string beans (haricots verts), ends removed
Kosher salt
1/4 lb sugar snap peas, ends removed
1/2 lb broccolini, ends removed (I used the big broccoli because I couldn't find broccolini in my grocery)
2 Tbsps good olive oil
3 large shallots, sliced
1/2 tsps freshly ground pepper

1. Blanch the sting beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute only. Lift the beans with a slotted spoon or sieve and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Add snap peas to the same boiling water and cook for 1 minute, until al dente, adding them to the ice water and the beans. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch lengths diagonally and cook in the boiling water for 2 minutes, and add to teh ice water. Cut the broccolini in half, boil for 1 minutes, and add to the ice water.
2. When all the veggies in the water are cold, drain well.
3. When ready to serve, heat the butter and oil in a very large saute pan or large pot. Saute the shallots over medium heat for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until light browned.
4. Add the drained veggies to the shallots with 1/2 tsp salt and the pepper and toss.
5. Cook just until the vegetables are heated through. Serve hot.

Putting blanched vegetables in a bowl of ice cold water will prevent them from further cooking therefore preserving the crunchy bite to the veggies

Monday, December 1, 2008

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

I prepared simple dishes this Thanksgiving Day. I didn't cook whole turkey anymore , I just opted to roast a three-pounder turkey breast instead. Both my husband and I love the breast anyway so it's just wise not to get a whole turkey that usually weighs 8 to 10 lbs. Every year I put different twists to the traditional Thanksgiving menu by using recipes from different chefs of Food TV Network. This year the main star of the dinner is from the recipe of Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa, she's one of my fave chefs on TV. Even if I only used a 3-lb turkey breasts, I still use the whole measurement of the herb mixture.


1 whole bone-in turkey breast, 6 1/2 to 7 lbs
1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tsps dry mustard
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tsps kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsps good olive oil
2 Tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine ( I replaced this with a cup of chicken broth)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 deg F. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.
2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste.
3. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat. Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin. Pour the wine (broth) into the bottom of the roasting pan.
4. Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant read thermometer registers 165 deg F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is don, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the pan juices spooned over the turkey.