Classics, Lent, Savory

New England Scallops Casserole

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This is a favorite in our household.  Whenever the scallops look fresh I like to get them and make this dish.  You can find the original recipe here.  Last night I cooked them “restaurant-style” in individual casserole dishes.  As I said in the original post, this will elevate any dinner to “date-night”.  I made a few changes to the recipe to adjust to the fact that was cooking smaller scallops in casserole dishes.

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Ingredients/Methods:

Coat two shallow casserole dishes with a little bit of olive oil.

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1 lb of scallops, divided into two shallow casserole dishes.

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Zest half of a lemon over the scallops.

Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of salt, a pinch of parsley, 1 tsp of white wine, and 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice over each casserole dish

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Bake at 325F for 10 minutes

In a separate bowl, melt 1/2 stick of butter and crush 12-14 ritz-crackers into the bowl.

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After 10 minutes, increase the oven temperature to 375F.  Sprinkle the cracker mixture over the scallops.

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Bake at 375 for 5 minutes.  Then, turn on the broiler to high and watch the crumb top like a hawk!  As soon as it turns golden brown (about 1 minute for my oven) pull of the casserole dishes.

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Enjoy with a crisp, cool glass of chardonnay!

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Breakfast, Classics, Quick-breads, Sweet

Hot Cross Buns-no yeast

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This was a Good Friday/Easter tradition for me when I was growing up.  My mother would make them when we lived here in the United States–you can find that recipe here.  When we moved back to India, we would get them from Nahoum’s,  Kolkata’s first Jewish bakery in  Hogg Market, or better known as “New Market.”  This year, amidst the COVID19 crisis, finding yeast was impossible.   After reading a few “no-yeast” recipes, I combined a few different recipes and came up with this.  I was pleasantly surprised with the results!  Please make these buns, this week and here is hoping that next year I will have access to yeast, to make a huge batch and share with loved ones.

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus an additional 2-4 tbsp of flour for the kneading process
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, make sure it’s not expired, or it won’t rise
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Zest of 1 small mandarin orange (any orange will do, the amount of zest should be approximately 1/2tsp)
  • Zest of half of 1 lemon (1/4 tsp of lemon)
  • 1 egg, the egg white goes in the dough, save the yolk for the egg wash
  • 3/4 cup 0% Greek yogurt, not regular yogurt, it will be too sticky
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 3 tablespoon raisins (but really, should you measure raisins? Just add as much as you like, but know that some might fall out of the dough during the kneading process)
  • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk or water

Method:

Preheat oven to 375F.

Place parchment paper or a silpat on a baking sheet. If using parchment paper, spray with oil to avoid sticking.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, spices, zest, raisins and salt and whisk well.

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Add the yogurt, milk, and egg white in a bowl, mix with a fork or whisk until well combined.

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Using the additional flour, lightly dust flour on a work surface and remove dough from the bowl, knead the dough a few times until dough is tacky, but not sticky, about 10 to 15 turns (it should not leave dough on your hand when you pull away).

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Divide into 8 equal balls. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

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Top with egg wash (leftover egg yolk with a few drops of water).

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Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes before icing.

 

 

For the icing,  whisk the powdered sugar with milk, in a bowl, until smooth. Transfer to a small ziplock bag and cut the tip. Ice the tops of the rolls in a cross pattern.

 

 

I was not patient enough to wait as you can see from the pictures, my icing started to melt off when I applied it.  No worries, it still tastes delicious!!!

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Fish & Seafood, Savory

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.

 

Fish & Seafood, Lent, Savory

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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Classics, Dinner, Fish & Seafood, Lent

Cracker Crusted Cod

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I was recently chatting with my best friend and fellow-food blogger (An Artsy Appetite) about baking, food, school and just life in general—when I realized that I have had no time to post a single recipe on my own blog!  Well, a lot of things have been happening.  Primarily, both my husband and I are trying to finish up grad school.  As a result, it has been a lot of slow-cooker soups and stews.  I decided to cook a proper meal (not heat up leftovers from the freezer) and have a nice fish dinner (fish Fridays during Lent).  This recipe is from Epicurious and is a classic New England favorite much like my New England Baked Scallops  and Parker House Scrod.  I hope it makes it to your dinner table too!

INGREDIENTS

    • 4 tablespoons (divided) butter
    • 1/2 package – 1/2 sleeve buttery round crackers (e. g. Ritz), crushed
    • 1 pound thick-cut cod loin
    • 1/4 cup dry white wine
    • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
    • 1/2 lemon, juiced
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving

PREPARATION

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    • Place 2 tablespoons butter in a microwave-safe bowl; melt in microwave on high, about 30 seconds. Stir buttery round crackers into melted butter.
    • Place remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a 9×9-inch baking dish. Melt in the preheated oven, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove dish from oven.
    • Coat both sides of cod in melted butter in the baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
    • Bake cod in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
    • Remove from oven; top with lemon juice, wine, and cracker mixture. Place back in oven and bake until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 10 more minutes.

I served it with oven roasted fingerling potatoes and sautéed green beans.

 

Fish & Seafood, Lent, Quick Dinner

Oven-Poached Swai with Lemon Caper Sauce

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Swai Fillets
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 quarter onion sliced
  • ½ cup chicken stock

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • Frozen artichokes, thawed (however much you like)
  • 1 tablespoons capers (optional)
  •  fresh lemon juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil one baking dishes large enough to accommodate the fish fillets in one layer. Lay the fish in the dish and season with salt and pepper.

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  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small or medium skillet and add the garlic and onion. Cook, stirring, until tender and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the stock to the pan, bring to a boil, and add the thawed artichokes. Add lemon zest and juice and remove from heat. Pour over the fish.

 

  1. Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the oven. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or 5 minutes for each 1/2 inch of thickness, until the fish is opaque and pulls apart easily with a fork.

 

  1. Remove from oven, garnish with capers and parsley, serve.

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Note: if using dried parsley add it to the pan while the fish bakes.  I also like to use some red pepper flakes.

Breakfast, Classics, Pastry, Sweet

Hot Cross Buns !

Nothing says Good Friday Breakfast like warm Hot Cross Buns. Whether or not you are familiar with the nursery rhyme or whether it is a long-standing tradition (as for me) this is a recipe that will bring back happy memories or help you create some new ones !!
My mother made these every Good Friday, and I did not realize how much I missed them until I did not get them for 4 years in college. But now with a fully equipped kitchen, I set out to bake and carry on a family tradition! I hope you like it!

Ingredients:

• 1 cup warm milk (105°–115°F.)
• 5 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup dried currants
• 1/3 cup raisins

Method:
In a small bowl stir together milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Let mixture stand 5 minutes, or until foamy.
Into a large bowl sift together flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cut butter into bits and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Lightly beat 1 whole egg. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in yeast and egg mixtures, currants and raisins. Stir the mixture until a dough is formed. Transfer dough to a floured surface and with floured hands knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Butter 2 large baking sheets.
On a floured surface with floured hands knead the dough briefly and form into two 12-inch-long logs. Cut each log crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Let buns rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bake buns for about 12 minutes. Transfer buns to a rack to cool slightly.
Fill in the Milk glaze into a pastry bag ( or a make-shift piping bag made out of a Ziploc bag ) and pipe a cross onto the buns and let the glaze set. Serve warm!!!