Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Expanding my culinary horizons

So far this week I have tried two new recipes!  This is a sort of record with me, at least for the recent past.  I love to cook but I go through slumps where I just cook the same ol' things or scrounge up my own concoction based on what is in the fridge and pantry.

I desperately want to get back into meal planning but in Sicily its difficult. If I purchase out in town what is in season is constantly changing. I have more success using the best, most fresh products if I buy them first and then figure out what to do with them (hence the concoction method). I only have marginally better success if I go to the Commissary on base.  Counting on what they should or usually have in stock is foolish.  It seems like every time I meal plan and go in with a specific list for a specific set of recipes at least one critical ingredient can't be found. That might be a slight (very slight) exaggeration but the frustration is real.

This week however, I decided to try again using recipes I've been collecting.  After looking over the ingredients I was fairly certain I would find what I needed.  Fingers crossed I headed to the store and found most of the necessary products.

Last night I made Posole.  It was fantastic!  If you want to make it yourself here is the recipe:


Posole
Adapted from Cooking Light

This Mexican stew is topped with shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Ingredients

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 3/4  cup  finely chopped onion
  • 3/4  cup  finely chopped celery
  • 3/4  cup  finely chopped carrot
  • 2  tablespoons  minced garlic
  • 2  teaspoons  chili powder
  • 2  cups  shredded chicken
  • 3  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2  cup  tomato puree
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  (15.5-ounce) can white hominy, drained

Preparation
 
Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Finely chop chile. Add chile and next 5 ingredients (chile through chili powder), and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 45 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally.
 
Tonight's dinner was also delicious, Crispy Fish with Tomato & Leek Saute.  It was nice and light and will definitely make its way to my table again.

Crispy Fish with Tomato and Leek Saute
Adapted from Real Simple

Ingredients

  • 1 slice white bread, torn into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 6-ounce pieces tilapia or striped bass fillet
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts), cut into half-moons
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a food processor, pulse the bread, rosemary, and 1 tablespoon of the oil until coarse crumbs form.
  2. Place the fish on a baking sheet. Spread the mustard on top and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Bake until the fish is opaque throughout, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, garlic, and 1/2 cup water. Cook until tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve with the fish.
Photos from www.realsimple.com and www.cookinglight.com.  I can't take credit for them!

1 comment:

Adrianne said...

Those sound yummy! I'm going to try the posole one, for sure!

Have you made the Mole yet?