Tag Archives: easy

Cooking Food

Poached Steelhead Trout

I procured recently a bottle of omega-3 supplements after reading about how our brains shrink a quarter of a percent (.025%) per year after age 30. The good news is that I probably won’t live long enough for my brain mass to get to zero, but the bad news is that I don’t think I’m getting any smarter year over year, and I kept forgetting to take these memory pills. Wait, who are you again?

My friend Patricia, who is currently using her brain to become a nurse practitioner, told me that you can get equivalent benefits by eating just 3 grams of fish per week. So I’ve been trying to up my fish repertoire since I rarely forget to eat.

I like fish, but:

1. It has to be moist. Eating dry fish is kind of like gnawing on socks.

2. It can’t smell or taste fishy. I know, I’m the same person who doesn’t like protein in her fruit. It also cannot make my house smell fishy.

3. It must be easy to prepare. I am lazy.

Steelhead trout is one of my favorite fish. Check out this blog which talks about the difference between steelhead trout and salmon (in his opinion, there really isn’t any). I actually prefer the steelhead, and it might just be because of the color — it’s a deeper orange-red, which goes a little better with my decor.

Here’s one of my go-to recipes — given the above you can use steelhead trout or salmon and you probably won’t be able to tell the difference — because it’s so quick and easy and comes out perfect every time.

Before you pick your saucepan, make sure that the fish can lay completely flat across the diameter of the pan. If it doesn’t, pick another pan or cut the fish in half so that each half lays flat in the pan.

First, we’ll prepare the poaching liquid. This can be made in advance, which I often do, and I just heat the liquid to a boil when I’m ready to poach. I freeze the liquid after a poach and reuse it again for a future poaching, which makes for a 10 minute meal the next time around. Chop up half an onion, heat up a tablespoon of oil in the saucepan and cook over medium heat until browned, about 7-10 minutes. Add enough white wine into a saucepan to completely cover your fish. Add in a bay leaf, 3 slices of lemon, 3 sprigs of thyme, 1/4 cup dill, 1/4 cup parsley and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Return the liquid to a boil, off the heat and immerse the fish into the poaching liquid, ensuring that it’s completely covered. Not like I did below, because if it’s not in the liquid, it’s not getting cooked. If you underestimated the liquid, you can add a bit more wine to the pan to top it up.

Let the fish poach in the liquid for 10-15 minutes, until the flesh is firm. I like the flesh slightly rare, so pull it out at the 10 minute mark, but let it sit for longer if you prefer it well done.

Remove from the liquid, add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with dill and lemon slices. It’s delicious served with Lemonaise as a dipping sauce.



  • 1 pound filet of steelhead trout
  • 1 TSP olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups dry white wine (enough to immerse filet in pan)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 slices lemon
  • 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup dill
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan and sautee until browned, about 7 minutes. Add in the wine, bay leaf, lemon, thyme, dill, parsley and salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Bring liquid back to a boil and off the heat. Put the trout in the liquid, immersing completely (top up with water and bring to boil again if you need to) and poach in liquid for 10-15 minutes, until flesh is firm. Remove from the liquid, add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with dill and lemon slices. Serve hot or cold. Lemonaise can be used as a dipping sauce.

Serves 4.

Cooking Food

Chicken with Fennel and Grapes

Recently, I read Gary Taube’s piece on obesity in Newsweek (for a consolidated summary of the article, read Laura Pappas’ post here). It’s good; you should read it. It reminded of what I already knew: refined sugars, bad; meat and leafy green vegetables, good. But after having spent the last week eating jam, I needed a reminder.

I’m not very draconian about avoiding refined sugars, partly because I try to practice moderation, but mostly because I like how it tastes. And you’ll never be able to save a bowl of french fries with parmesan and truffle oil from my rabid consumption. Still, I’m at the mortifying age where friends on Facebook starting to talk about things like cholesterol and blood pressure, so it’s probably time to up the diligence a bit on that end.

All this to say that I feel that for having shared the jam recipe with you, I need to do penance for contributing to the world’s obesity epidemic. (I am reminded of a time in business school where we had to sit through a bunch of presentations on projects we did for a pharmaceutical company. I came in late and Kim, one of my classmates, kept talking about OB City. I was tired and recovering from a spirited evening (meaning an evening that involved imbibing spirits) and getting more confused as she went on. Finally, I leaned over and whispered to another classmate, “Where the heck is OB City?!?” whereupon he looked at me like I was crazy, and said, “It’s obesity.”)

But there’s good news: there is such thing as healthy and delicious! Because I won’t compromise on delicious. So here’s an easy recipe I put together with things that came in our CSA delivery: chicken with fennel and grapes. Salty and crispy with a tangy sweet kick — yum.

So, grab some chicken — here I used bone-in thighs, since I like the size and how they stay tender and juicy. I was cooking for a crowd, so you might use less chicken. Because eating this much by yourself would probably land you in OB City.

Season both sides generously with salt and paprika — take a look at the picture above for a sense of how the paprika should be distributed. Lay them in a baking dish, skin side up, maximizing the surface area that’s exposed on top.

Slice up some fennel bulbs into thin pieces (save the fronds for another use; I put them atop salads or in my Eggs Benedict California), and nestle it under the chicken.

Pull off a handful of grapes, and nestle under the chicken, placing a few on top. You can see in the picture below a better view of how I sliced the fennel.

I had some excess fennel and grapes so I put them on top of the chicken.

Stick it in the oven, bake, baste to make the skin crispy, and serve! I served it with plain quinoa and some simple broccoli.



  • 4 pieces skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 cup of red grapes
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp paprika


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, and season with salt and paprika on both sides. Put into a baking dish skin side up.

Slice the fennel bulb into 1/4 inch slices, saving the fronds for a future use. Separate grapes from stems and nestle bulbs and grapes under and around chicken.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Baste chicken skins with juices and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Cooking Food

Strawberry-Raspberry Dessert Jam


Things have picked up for me on the work front and I am kind of embarrassed to even mention that I might have a food blog. The days have been frenzied and though I have had the luxury most of this past week to work from home, I am ashamed to say that I have eaten the following things for lunch:
  • One of my husband’s Men’s vitamins
  • Frozen dinosaur chicken nuggets
  • Burnt (because I wasn’t paying attention) fried eggs
  • Jam
Yup, jam, like straight. off. the. spoon.
The way I ended up with this jam is that my friend Leesa and I spent a morning hiking the canyon in our neighborhood a while back, and she started talking about the jam that her grandmother used to make. Strawberries are going strong right now in our area, so we decided afterwards to head to the store to get a bunch. If this were a reality show I’m sure the ratings would be really high on this episode where we talked about the grocery store strawberry sales.

So we bought strawberries and made this jam.

Did I mention Leesa, raised Mormon, is my personal tutor on Mormon swearing? Frickin’ frickster!

Motherfather this is good jam!

And so easy. Cut up berries til you get 4 cups worth.  I used a 50/50 mix of strawberries and raspberries.

 Toss them with pectin and sugar.

I know, my pictures are always blurry after I type “sugar”.

Boil for a minute and then put into a glass jam jar.

My family went through three jars in about as many days. This works really well if you have tart berries too — I like my jam a little tangy, which is why I mixed in raspberries.

It is fabulous as jam. As a topping on ice cream. As a topping on strawberries (I really did that). And of course, all by itself (nutritional value not provided).

Now the recipe:

STRAWBERRY-RASPBERRY DESSERT JAM (adapted from ANY-BERRY JELLY featured in August 2011 FamilyFun magazine)


  • 2 cups crushed raspberries
  • 2 cups diced and crushed (use a potato masher) strawberries
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3.5 TBSP powdered pectin


Put berries in a large, heavy pot and mix with sugar and pectin. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.

Let berries cook at a boil for about a minute, and then ladle into jars, leaving an inch of headroom for expansion if freezing. Cap, cool to room temperature and eat it like there is no tomorrow.

Makes 3-4 cups.

Cooking Food Popular

Guest Post: Creamy Zucchini Soup

My wedding anniversary’s coming up, so I just had a flashback to the first time I was going to cook for my mother-in-law, and my then-fiance just let it slip that his mother “used to run a cooking school in France.” Oh. Thanks for letting me know, because the last time I trained at the Cordon Bleu was never.

Needless to say, my mother-in-law is an amazing cook. I’ll be putting forks on the table or something and then turn around to her making a flambe of some sort that, had I tried, would have resulted in loss of eyebrows and hair. She’s also a well-known art journalist, whereas I am a famous…uh, let me get back to you on that one.

So when she said she’d share a recipe for my blog, I was excited. And she has shared one that even I, trained only by cookbooks and the seat of my pants, can execute.

*  * *


Here is an addition to the SOUP KITCHEN that is so darn easy that it seems unfair, if not outright EVIL. I mean, how can you possibly produce a delicious soup with just TWO ingredients? (Not counting water, salt and pepper). And one you can have hot or cold?

My family has forbidden me to say “this is soooo easy” so let me just say, this is not difficult. Not even a tiny bit difficult. In fact, a child could make it. And kids generally love it!

Ingredients for four:

Three average size zucchini (we in Britain call them courgettes, which must be French originally, showing how multicultural we are…)

three squares of Kiri, or Philadelphia cream cheese

water, salt, pepper

Er- that’s it.


Wash the zucchini, top and tail them, slice into one inch rounds, just cover with water, season, boil until soft.

Use a wand blender to liquidize until smooth with the cream cheese (I use low fat but of course it tastes better with full fat). Adjust seasoning.

That’s it! You can serve hot, sprinkled with chopped chives, basil or parsley; or cold in small glasses as a pre-starter.

* * *

Thanks Georgina! And before we close I just had to share one of the shots that I took. As you’ve probably guessed, I do my own photography and styling (with lighting courtesy of the sun). I was trying to unwrinkle the cloth under the soup but it was stubborn, so I tried sliding myself under the table stretching out the fabric, holding an ab-crunch position to stay out of camera view, while using the remote function on the camera. It didn’t work out so well.



  • 3 zucchini
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • water (enough to cover zucchini in pot)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Slice the tops and tails off the zucchini and cut into 1 inch rounds. Place in a pot and fill with water enough to just cover the zucchini. Season with a dash of salt and boil until soft, about 15 minutes.

Using a blender, blend the zucchini and water mixture until smooth. Add in the cream cheese and blend to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

Cooking Food

Eggs Benedict California

I’m ashamed to say that I missed National Eggs Benedict Day, but I am recovering from a malady for which I am taking Mucinex DM for cough and chest congestion. And though I know there is nothing hotter than hearing a woman talk about taking Mucinex DM, I will move along to the recipe at hand.

I was inspired by eggs benedict (can you say eggs benedict without saying Eggs Benedict Arnold? I wish Benedict Arnold were Patrick Henry though — you know, “Give me liberty or give me eggs”) but wanted something a little more lively. The sharp and creamy taste of the goat cheese is a nice complement to the carmelized tomatoes and lemony hollandaise — it just works.

First, make the hollandaise sauce — I like this easy version that you make in a blender.  This version is for 4-6 servings, so quarter it if you’re just cooking for yourself. Set it aside.

Toast both sides of an English muffin. While they’re hot, spoon some crumbled goat cheese on them like so:

Next, poach two eggs. Do not poach any giraffes in Africa. If you’re not sure how to poach eggs, click here for instructions.  When the eggs are done, lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon, let it drain (I wiped the bottom of my spoon with a dish towel to get rid of excess water) and place them on top of the goat cheese while hot, so the cheese begins to melt.

Hm, looks like I stopped taking pictures after that. I blame Mucinex DM.

Slice some sweet tomatoes (I used campari cocktail tomatoes, but some nice big cherry tomatoes would work nicely too), heat up a splash of oil in a pan, and put the tomatoes face down in the hot oil for about a  minute, til they start to caramelize a bit. Flip them over and let them cook on the other side for another minute. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and spoon them over the eggs and muffins.

Slice up half an avocado, and put it on top. Drizzle your lemony hollandaise sauce over everything. I had some fennel fronds so I snipped some leaves over it all for garnish. Enjoy!


Begin with the hollandaise sauce; recipe found here. This recipe makes 4 servings, so adjust accordingly depending on your serving size. Set it aside.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 English muffin, halves separated (for a gluten-free version, use gluten-free muffins)
  • 4 tsp crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 3 campari cocktail tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp oil
  • (optional) fennel leaves for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste


Toast the English muffin. While toasting, poach eggs (for instructions on poaching, click here).

Remove English muffin halves from the toaster and place cranny-side up. Sprinkle goat cheese across the faces, and top with poached eggs, one on each half.

Heat the oil for a minute and place the tomato halves cut-side down in the oil for a minute until it begins to caramelize. Flip the tomatoes and allow to cook for another minute on the other side.

Slice the avocado half into long slices lengthwise and place between the eggs. Garnish with fennel leaves if desired, drizzle hollandaise sauce on top and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 1 serving.

Cooking Food

Sunny Side Baconwich

It’s a rainy weekend and one that requires knitwear with elastic waistbands. And a delicious breakfast that involves hardly any effort at all, so that I can focus on more important things like whether or not I should get bangs.

My younger daughter had the flu and passed it along to my husband, while her sister and I have been hand-washing with Macbeth-like intensity. This was not the spring break we had imagined, but on the plus side we’re getting our money’s worth on our mortgage with the time spent indoors.

Onto today’s meal. My husband made this today, so I feel kind of bad for being in my elastic waistband and not making him breakfast either. Well, I did make a breakfast that my daughter and I ate, so to be fair, this was second-breakfast, and I think, comfort food at its best. Here’s the recipe:



  • 1 whole wheat English muffin
  • 2 slices bacon, cut in half (I like uncured and nitrite-free)
  • 2 eggs
  • butter (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Toast both halves of a whole wheat English muffin. If desired, butter the muffins after toasting.

Fry up two pieces of bacon over medium heat, turning occasionally until cooked and edges are curled; remove and drain on a paper towel and allow to cool to crisp further. Pour off all but about a tablespoon of the bacon fat.

Crack egg into pan and cook over medium heat until edges are crispy and begin to turn up. For details on how to prepare sunny-side up eggs, click here.

Place the bacon slices on the English muffin and slide cooked eggs on top. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

1 serving.