Friday, February 19, 2010

Recipe: Fish + Potatoes with Coconut Saffron Sauce

This dish is sunny + warm. Perfect for a February evening and simple to put together. I've thrown some carrots into the mix, with great effect. I have also used Black Cod in place of the Opah. Just make sure you have a meaty fish that will hold together during cooking. If you happen to have some leftover roasted potatoes on hand, you can pull this off in a flash!

Fish + Potatoes with Coconut Saffron Sauce
serves 6

1.5 lbs Red potatoes, sliced 

2 medium sweet potatoes, sliced 

Mild curry powder 

Salt & Pepper 

Olive Oil

Pre-heat the oven to 400 

Toss all potatoes with olive oil, salt & pepper, curry powder 

Roast at 400 for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally until fork tender

1 cup veggie stock 

1 clove garlic, crushed or halved 

1 can coconut milk 

Juice of 1 – 2 limes

1 bunch of cilantro 

Pinch of saffron

Heat veggie stock in small saucepan 

Add coconut milk 

Add pinch of saffron 

Add 2-3 stalks of cilantro 

Bring to a boil and reduced heat.
Reduce liquid until ½ to ¾ volume 

Add lime (or lemon) juice to taste 


2 lbs of Opah or other ‘meaty’ fish, cut into 6 filets 

Olive Oil 

Salt & Pepper 

Mild curry powder

Heat oil in large sauté pan until oil shimmers 

Season filets on 1 side with s&p and curry powder 

Place seasoned side down in skillet 

While cooking, season ‘up’ side of fish 

Continue to sauté on all 4 sides until fish is medium rare in middle (about 10 minutes total) or well done...this will vary depending on the thickness of your fish!

To plate: Place potatoes in shallow bowl or rimmed plate, top with fish and pour over sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve warm!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Food Find: Sugar, Sugar

President's Day was a confusing one. Kid's daycare was closed, but banks were open. Friends who did NOT have off on MLK, had off today. Hubby had to work. DMV closed. Very confusing.

So, in honor of President's Day (and to entertain said kid at home) I turned to some stash I had from a previous Sugar, Sugar visit. Ever been? It is perhaps one of the most pleasant and beautiful candy stores I have ever visited! Very boutiquey, with everything from luxe licorice to $1.50 grape wax mustaches. Which is how we honored our Presidents today....

3803 Grand Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55409

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Napa Not-So-Photo Journal

Well, hello! In case you missed it,
ahem, I just returned from Napa Valley by way of Sacramento for a little Girls' Weekend. Despite some rainy weather, I was still happy to have temps in the 50's. That's springtime here in Minnesota!! Here's a few of the high (and low) lights.....

The pictures were taken inside a cave with an iPhone. I need say no more.
What a wonderful tour + tasting! The caves are some of the oldest in Napa, and the method for making sparkling wine is much different, and labor intensive, than still wine.

The walls of the cave are lined with bottles

That's au naturale lichen hanging from the ceiling

And finally, the exquisite tasting....

If you have to opportunity, try their Blanc de Blanc (tart + apple) or Blanc de Noir (light blackberry + pear) sparkling wines. Both gorgeous!

Alas, my camera died at the next winery, so no photos of Del Dotto. The barrel tasting was very interesting and plentiful. The wine, superb. However, the whole 'theme park'-iness of Del Dotto would probably prevent me from going back.

Picture gobs of imported Italian marble + mosaics, opera music blaring, and an incongruous disco ball in the over-the-top Venetian tasting room. Overload.

Now, picture the brick lined caves with a small group clustered around oak barrels, sipping and listening intently to the uber-handsome Luis. Much more my style. ;-) By the way, one of the more interesting facts we picked up? A barrel made from a combination of Missouri Oak + French Oak is called a .... MOFO. Yup.

Now, I have to mention the most deflating moment of the whole trip. Bouchon. Wow. I had high expectations (who doesn't when you go to a Thomas Keller restaurant?), but I was majorly underwhelmed. The service was excellent, the presentation beautiful. The food? Eh. That's about the best thing I can say. We did decide to give dessert a chance, and the bouchons were terrific, as were the complimentary profiteroles the chef sent out. The manager was fantastic, and apologized for our meal. All-in-all, I would say that it was an itch that's been scratched... and I won't be hurrying back.

Our last day in Napa, we spent browsing Oxbow Public Market. Lots of great gems there!

A special thanks to Jennifer at Tillerman's Tea Shop for her suggestions and insight into Napa Restaurants! After our disappointment at Bouchon, we weren't sure we wanted to try Ubuntu or eat at the Market. Supposedly, Ubuntu is having some serious problemos in the kitchen, so we stayed at the Market. Good move!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Recipe: Super Ideas! asked Tastebud Tart for some ideas for Super Sunday. I was happy to oblige, and you can check out the post here!

Add some BBQ Black Bean Empanadas to the menu, and everyone walks away a winner!

BBQ Black Beans
makes approx. 36 empanadas, with leftover filling

1# prepared dried black beans or 2 cans drained
1 medium onion
olive oil
2T cumin
1/2C prepared BBQ sauce (more if desired)
sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
s+p to taste

-coat bottom of heavy, deep skillet with oil
-caramelize onions in oil until soft, and browned
-add cumin and saute for 1 minute
-add black beans and stir to incorporate
-add BBQ sauce, reduce to simmer and allow to heat thru
-remove from heat, add cheese if using and stir until melted
-adjust seasoning as needed


This is really just a pie crust. You could also use puff pastry, rolled thin or frozen empanada dough found in a latino mercado (although, these will likely contain lard).

4-5 Tbsp. ice water, plus more as needed
¾ tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. salt
9 Tbsp. (4 ½ oz.) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
Pulse to blend.
Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal; there should be no pieces of butter bigger than a large pea.
With the motor running on dough setting, slowly add the water-vinegar mixture, processing just until the dough forms a ball

Turn the dough out onto a wooden board or clean countertop, and gather it, massaging and pressing, until it just holds together. Shape it into a ball, and press it into a disk about 1 ½ inches thick. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and then press it a bit more. Refrigerate the wrapped dough for at least 2 hours. (Dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw it in refrigerator overnight before using.) Before rolling it out, allow the dough to soften slightly at room temperature.

To make Empanadas:

Roll out dough
With a 2" round cookie cutter, cut circles into dough and re-roll as necessary
Place a small amount of cooled BBQ Black Bean filling into center of circle
Dip finger into water and run along one side of the dough circle
Pick up and fold over the filling, crimping the edges to seal
Use a fork to seal and decorate the edge
Brush with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1T water)
Bake at 400˚ for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown

serve with salsa, chipotle mayo or mango chutney