Sunday, April 15, 2012

Friends, It's Time for a Flavour Party - Lemon Rice Pilaf and Mahi Mahi with Coconut Curry Sauce

This little meal came together quickly in response to looking in the fridge and being faced down by two enormous bags of greens. Kale and some unidentified purple rapini-ish situation, to be specific. I knew I needed to hammer some of those greens into my maw before they rotted in their bags, and I wanted something fast that pack a favour slap to the face. A quick inventory of the freezer and pantry determined that mahi mahi and brown (sprouted, WTF?) rice were going to be the dinner dance partners, so I decided on tarting the fish up with a quick coconut curry sauce and a side of lemon-y rice pilaf. The flavour slap was delivered, and, bonus, it took under an hour, including a quick trip to the store when I realized my curry had expired some time around Thanksgiving. Sadface.

I was cooking for two, though we had enough fish and greens for another meal. We would have had extra pilaf two, if I hadn't been Gosling distracted and burned the bottom. Damn you Gosling!*

Get the pilaf going, and while it's doing it's thang wash and prep the greens, pre-boil the water for steaming so it's good to go, and get the curry started. Easy peasy. 

Lemon Rice Pilaf

1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sprouted brown rice
1 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock**
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 inch chunk of ginger, grated
1 inch piece of lemongrass, finely chopped***
3 lime leaves, sliced thin

Heat oil in sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, or until soft. Add the rice, lime leaves, lemongrass and ginger and cook one minute. Add the stock to the pan and cook 12-15 minutes, or until almost all the stock has been absorbed. Stir through lemon juice and parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

It'll look a little something like this:

** I find store bought stocks salty, so I used a home made chicken stock. I freeze it in ice cube trays and then transfer to a Ziploc freezer bag. That was it's quick and easy to thaw exactly the needed amount. Ditto for soup and excess coconut milk/cream.

*** Only use the bottom white part of the lemongrass. Also, if it's old it can be a little woody. Find the freshest, palest, juiciest looking stalk you can, and don't wait too long to use it. 

Mahi Mahi with Coconut Curry Sauce

1/2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
2 - 2 1/2 inches of lemongrass, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup coconut cream
2 pieces of mahi mahi (I split them both in half)
handful whole basil leaves
3-4 lime leaves, sliced thinly
juice of 1 lime
mango slices and crushed cashews for garnish

Add the curry paste, lemongrass and water to a frying pan over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the coconut cream and simmer an additional 3 minutes. It will thicken up a little. Add the mahi mahi and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

 Stir through basil, lime leaves and lime juice. When it looks this delicious you are good to go:

Add the greens to your steaming basket and steam for a few minutes until just darkened. Over-steamed greens are just sadness. 

When you serve it up, spoon a little curry sauce over fish, and garnish with a few slices of mango and crushed cashews. Go on, you deserve it.

Not the smokin'est picture, but cold greens are second-sad to over-steamed greens, and I was hangry with a capital H.

Happy eating!


* This Gosling:                              

Not this gosling:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Comfort Cake for a Cold Winter's Day

Upon returning from my snow prowl the other day I decided the best way to defrost was to get a little domestic and do some baking. I decided to take a crack at a tasty looking apple cake recipe I'd seen on Poppytalk, which I thought would adapt well to a wheat free version. I'm also trying to cut back on sugar in my baking, so I replaced 1/4 of the sugar in the recipe with chopped dates, and made adjustments to the liquids to compensate for the coconut flour. The original recipe for Teddie's Apple Cake is here. Looks like it's made the internet rounds. If you're stronger-gutted than I and can eat wheat, you may want to refer back to the original, as coconut and other alternative flours can get a little pricey. I'd still jack it up with the dates and apple slices though.

I am 100% an organic Braeburn apple person for straight up eating apples. When in season, go Braeburn or go home. For this though I made use of a few rogue Galas and, I think, a Fiji. Honestly, I think I'll go to the trusty Braeburn or a Granny Smith next time I make it. Also, I hadn't decided to top the cake with sliced apples when I started it, so I was working with a standard greased and floured pan. I'd definitely go springform next time, or at the very least line the pan with parchment. It was a beast to remove from the pan, which explains why there aren't any sexy serving shots. Learn from my mistakes; I promise to do better next time.

Jacked Up Teddie's Apple Cake

1 cup Pan Riso Rice Bread and Baking Mix
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup almond oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 - 3/4 cup water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 c chopped dates
2 apples - peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
1 apple - peeled, cored and sliced thinly
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon brown sugar mixed with approximately 1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9 inch springform cake tin, or line a regular 9 inch cake tine with bakers parchment.

In a bowl, whisk together the flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and baking soda together. Set aside.

Beat together the oils, 1/2 cup of water and brown sugar until well mixed. Add in the eggs and vanilla and continue beating until the mix is creamy. Dump in the flour mixture and slowly mix until just combined. Add additional 1/4 c of water as needed if mixture is too thick. Fold in the apples and the walnuts.

Spoon batter into the prepared cake pan. Arrange the sliced apples on top of the cake sprinkle with sugar and spice mix. Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and either release the springform sides of the pan, or gently lift out the cake with the bakers parchment.

It's not a particularly sweet cake - the sort that goes well with tea or coffee. I meant to try it with a little warmed coconut cream spooned over it, in place of the ice cream or whipping cream, which is my delicate constitution's mortal enemy. Next time, because, oh ... there will so be a next time.


xoxo ~  your friend melissa