Fish & Seafood, Food

Baked Cod with Red Chermoula

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It was time to change up my Cod recipe.  I usually stick to the classic, New-England Style, cracker crusted cod.  But I was out of wine and crackers and really needed a change in flavor.  I found this recipe from bon appetit magazine and changed it slightly–I replaced the cilantro with parsley and did not add the cherry tomatoes.  You can read the original recipe here.  Refer to my version below:

Ingredients:

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  • ¼ bunch parsley, leaves and stems separated, stems finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon  red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method:
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix cilantro stems, garlic, oil, tomato paste, paprika, red pepper flakes, honey, allspice, and 1 Tbsp. vinegar in a small bowl.


Place fish in a 3-qt. shallow baking dish.  Pour chermoula over the fish, spreading across the surface with the back of the spoon. Season with salt and pepper and bake until fish is cooked through.  This will take about 15-20 mins.  Broil on High for an additional 5 minutes once the fish is cooked through, it gives the sauce a nice finish.
Serve hot with your choice of vegetables.  I made oven-baked zucchini sticks.This was a goo recipe and I would really want to try the sauce on chicken breast.  You could even marinate chicken tenders in the sauce and grill them.

For another version of the “charmoula” sauce, you can check out this tilapia recipe.

 

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Appetizers, Food, Sides

Oven-baked Zucchini Sticks

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Super easy side dish that is healthy and flavorful.  It is just different enough to make it taste special too.  With only 5-ingredients, this recipe could become your go to zucchini recipe.  It tastes almost like fries so picky eaters may enjoy them.

Ingredients:

2 small zucchinis, cut into sticks

1/2 tsp of lemon pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp of Italian seasoned  breadcrumbs

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 F

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and spread on a lined, rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.

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Bake for 15-20 mins and finish off by broiling on high for 2 mins.

Serve hot with ketchup and/or hot sauce !

Imaging, Science

Glowing Ventricles

Our lab uses the TeT-on system to exert spatial and temporal regulation on the Hedgehog signaling system.  We have been having some penetration issues with doxycycline in older fish, so we decided to inject doxycycline into the ventricles to see if we could activate the Tet system.  As a test-run, we decided to practice some injections with a fluorescent bead, called Dextran.  After several tests with injection needles, dosage and injection sites, we got Dextran into one fish!  Hopeful?!  This is just step-dexdox4one of several trial steps to go, but it seems like we are heading in the right direction.

Classics, Comfort food, Food, Meat

“Winter is Coming” Meat Pie

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I recently jumped on to the “Game of Thrones” bandwagon. Yes, I know I am about 8 years late, but I am here now, completely obsessed and can’t wait to see how the story wraps up.  This past week has been everything “thrones” especially with the HBO marathon going on.  In Season 4, there is an extensive description of a particular “Steak and Kidney Pie” made by the character “Hot Pie” at the “Inn at the Crossroads”.  As Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne hungrily tucked away large bites of the pie, I couldn’t stop thinking about how delicious it must be.  Decision made.  I am was to make a classic English Meat Pie to celebrate the premiere of Season 8.  Yes, the weather is warming up, but I hope you choose to make this recipe soon, we only have Game of Thrones on till the middle of May !!!

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds stew meat, cut into small bite-sized pieces

Chopped button mushrooms, carrots and onions – cut them small enough so that they are the same size as the meat.  You can change up the ratio, but I went meat heavy since that is the way my husband likes it.  I would reckon about 1/4-1/3 cup for each veggie would be sufficient.  

1/4tsp of dried rosemary, thyme, and sage

3tbsp of flour

2tbsp of good red wine, you know what to do with the rest of the bottle

1tsp of Worcestershire sauce

1tsp of paprika

1 can of chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil for frying

Store bought pie crust

Method:

In a heavy bottom pan (I like my dutch oven), heat olive oil and brown beef in batches, seasoning it salt and pepper.  Once browned, set aside.

 

 

In the same pan, add a little bit more oil and add all the veggies and saute till pale brown.  Once browned, added dried herbs, salt and pepper and saute for 5 more minutes.

 

Add the beef back in with all the veggies.

Add flour, and saute till all the meat and veggies are coated with the flour and browned (5-7mins)

 

Add 1 can of chicken stock, paprika, wine and Worcestershire sauce.  Cover and simmer on medium low heat till the gravy thickens, the carrots are soft and the meat is fork tender.  This is a pie filling, so it has to be nice and thick.

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Divide the filling into individual “pot pie” dishes (OR one big pie pan) and cool the filling completely.  In the past, I have made a meat and potato version of this in muffin tins, with a double crust.  You can find that recipe here

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Cover the filling with thawed pie crust.  Crimp the edges to seal in the filling, add a slit on the top for steam to escape.

 

 

Brush the top with egg wash–this will ensure a deep golden crust.

 

 

Bake in a 375F oven for 40-45 mins till the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling underneath.

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Serve Hot !!!

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Classics, Experience

Short Notice Tea Party

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In true “Bengali” fashion, my aunt and uncle informed me that they would be visiting for tea.  They had not seen me in a very long time, and now that the snow has melted, that felt a more comfortable in making the drive.  Don’t get me wrong, I love having guests and I was extremely happy to see them.  I only wish I got a little bit more notice so that I could whip up some home made treats.  So, with about 24 hrs to spare and lots of weekend errands to run, I turned to store bought treats.  On the menu was Darjeeling tea from India, Biscoff and Shortbread cookies, cucumber and ham finger sandwiches, chicken salad canapes, and, last but not the least, vegetable samosas—a Bengali tea without samosas is simply incomplete !!  This was also a great opportunity to break out my Fortnum & Mason tea service.  All in all, it turned out to be lovely afternoon !

Fish & Seafood, Food, Lent

Roasted Salmon

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You either love it or hate it.  I happen to love salmon and my husband is not a big fan.  So on nights when I am cooking for myself, this is a go to favorite.  It is quick and simple, but the most important step is to purchase fresh, sustainably sourced salmon.  Frozen fillets never taste good, especially when the preparation is so simple.  I love to have a fresh garden salad with this roasted salmon.

Ingredients:

2 fillets of salmon (6-8oz)

1/4 tsp of salt

1/4 tsp of coarsely crushed black pepper

Zest of one lemon

Olive oil for drizzling.

Method:

Pat the fillets dry and arrange on a tin foil lined baking tray.

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Season fish with salt, pepper and lemon zest.

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Drizzle with olive oil

Bake at 350F for 25-30 mins.

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Now FEAST!

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Breakfast, Food

Baked Oatmeal with Walnuts and Figs

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Oatmeal is good for you.  It can also be really bland and boring.  The store bought instant packets are also filled with sugar.  So, I resort to baking my oatmeal.  It usually add some combination of fruits (fresh or dried) and/or nuts –but the base is always the same; oatmeal, yogurt, almond milk, honey and eggs.  I bake it in a casserole dish, or in a muffin tin; it really depends on what I am in the mood for.  I found some off-season figs and just had to buy them.  I also had half a bag of walnuts left from baking a walnut cake .  So, this week, my breakfast will consist of oatmeal, walnuts and figs ! I hope you make this recipe and remember, feel free to add any kind of fruit and/or nut that you like.

Ingredients:

3 cups oatmeal

2 eggs

8 oz plain or vanilla Greek yogurt

1.5 cups of almonds milk

a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of vanilla extract (I rarely measure these!!!)

chopped walnuts and figs for the topping

drizzles of honey

Methods:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix eggs, yogurt, almond milk with cinnamon and vanilla

 

Fold in 3 cups of oatmeal

Pour mixture into a greased 7×11″ baking dish.

 

Top with chopped walnuts and figs and press down with your hands

Drizzle with as much honey as you like (maple syrup would be a great alternative)

Bake for 25 mins.

Serve warm!

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Cake, Food

Walnut Cake with Raspberries

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Gateau Aux Noix–this rich an delicious cake comes from Julia Child’s ” Mastering the Art of French Cooking”–Volume II (if you have the book, it is page 490 in the 39th edition) !!  I had  previously made another one of Julia’s Walnut cakes called Le Brantome which is a fluffier cousin of this recipe.  Having make both cakes, I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite.  However, the richness of this particular cake, makes it more suitable for layering.

The recipe make one 9 by 1.5 inch cake.  I wanted two layers, so I doubled the recipe.  Here is what I did:

Ingredients:

2 cups of chopped walnuts

6 Tbsp of sugar, plus another 1 cup of sugar

2/3 cup all -purpose flour

6 large eggs

8 Tbsp of butter

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Method:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter and flour two 9″ cake pans.

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Grind 2 cups of walnuts with 6 Tbsp of sugar in a food processor.  You might want to do this in batches, depending on the size of your processor.  It is also important to add sugar with each batch of walnuts, it prevents the oils in the nuts to turn it into “butter” while grinding.

Mix the nut mixture with 2 cups of flour and pass the entire mixture through a sieve–this will separate out the larger chunks of nuts and allow for even incorporation of the the flour and nut mixture.

Next, cream butter, the remaining 1 cup of sugar till pale and creamy.  Then add the eggs and mix well.

Finally, slowly fold in the nut and flour mixture in batches, ensuring that each batch of the dry ingredients is well incorporated before the next batch is added.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.

Bake for 20 mins.

The cake is perfectly wonderful with just a dusting of sugar.  However, I used the two layers to turn it into a layered birthday cake.  Let me know walk you through the assembly.

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Assembling the cake–you will need:

Fresh Raspberries (filling and decoration)

Chocolate drizzle ( for decoration, I bought it !)

Walnuts ( whole and ground for decoration)

Crushed, freeze dried raspberries (for decoration)

1 batch of my Marscapone Whipped Cream Frosting

Note: For this cake, had about 4 cups of frosting leftover from the  Spice Cake that I made a few weeks ago.  I froze down the frosting, however when thawing, the frosting becomes loose and runny (bottom image on the left).  To fix it, add another 8oz of marscapone and 2-3 Tbsp of sugar–depending on how sweet you want it.

Assembling the cake is pretty easy.  I added a layers of frosting on the bottom cake, topped the frosting with raspberries and then pressed down the top cake layer.

Next I added a crumb coat to fill in all the holes and press down the crumbs.  Chill this for at least 10-15 mins.

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Next, I added the rest of the frosting, as patiently as I could to ensure a smooth surface and edges.

Finally, I decorated the cake according to the design I drew out, you can check that out here

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This time, I remembered to take a picture of the cake once we cut into it !

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Food, Mexican

Leftover Makeover

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Everyone struggles with leftovers.  They either don’t reheat well or it is just another boring repetitive meal.  I had taco meat leftover, not enough for a meal and certainly not worth buying 12 more taco shells.  I also had leftover rice (we had it with stir-fry) and it was not making a curry or turning it into fried rice—too many ingredients to buy to rescue rice!  Instead, I bought two green peppers and used it to make Stuffed Peppers!!!  I usually make Stuffed Peppers from scratch, but this time, I just mixed the rice with the beef and filled in the de-seeded, halved pepper shells.  The trick is to roast the shells with olive oil, salt and pepper  before–this softens the peppers and makes it easier to eat.  Roasted peppers smell delicious too!!! Fill the soft, roasted shells with leftover rice and beef mixture,  top with cheese and breadcrumbs, broil, and dinner is ready !!!

Food, Sides

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

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A recipe for a super simple side.  In fact, it is hardly a recipe since I never measure the ingredients.   It also has also appealed to the palette of a certain “non-sweet-potato-fan”.  Give it a shot, maybe the even the pickiest of eaters in your house will enjoy it!

Things you will need:

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3 large sweet potatoes, cubed

Olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, pumpkin pie spice (or Cinnamon) and smoked paprika (use as much of each as you like).  I am heavy handed with the paprika–it is such a striking contrast to the sweetness from the potato and the honey.

Mix all the ingredients together.

Spread on a tin-foil lined baking sheet

Bake at 400F for 20-25mins, till the sweet potatoes are brown and soft

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Serve as a side or toss into a salad.

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