Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Swordfish topped with mango salsa

My ex's father's side of the family is Russian and used to make the best Pierogi which we would fest on for weeks after the Russian Orthodox Easter, or AKA, the Pierogi Sweatshop holiday.  All of the women used to gather in his aunt's kitchen and make homemade potato pierogi until their hands fell off.  Being an outsider, I was never invited to participate and even though I knew how mind-numbing the work was, I kinda wish I was.  Because then I would've never tried to make them alone, at home this past weekend. 

I followed the recipe for Potato and Onion Pierogi from Robert Irvine.  It was HORRIBLE.  So - if you follow the rest of my recipe below, just pick up some Mrs. T's Pierogies and call it a day.  DO NOT suffer like I did!  (BTW - that is a free endorsement right there for Mrs. T's, but really, I love their pierogi!) 

You know what was most horrible about the pierogi making experience?  The fact that the recipe said it would make 24 and I when I finished, I had a solid 6.  Most didn't stay closed in the boiling water, my dough was too thick for some and created a mushy mess and others just looked like something spewed from an animal.  I wish I had photos for the outtake reel, but that would've been just a slap in the face.

Swordfish Topped with Mango Salsa Over Pierogi

For Protein (feel free to change out swordfish with tilapia, or even chicken):
(4) 4oz pieces of Swordfish
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp compound butter (butter, parsley, salt and pepper combined)

For Salsa:
2 ripe Mangos, peeled and diced
1 cup of fresh pineapple, diced
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
1/2 a jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
2 ripe kiwi fruit, peeled and diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp honey
zest and juice of one lime

Pierogi "soup":
3 pierogi per person
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup cut green beans
1 carrot, grated
1 small onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, diced
1/2 cup vodka
1 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper

Prepare mango salsa a day ahead.  Mix all ingredients and refrigerate to let flavors combine.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place fish in a shallow baking dish brushed with oil, presentation side down. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until fish is done, turning once.

Meanwhile, bring water in a large pot to a boil.  Add pierogi and cook and it floats.

In a large skillet, melt butter.  Add onion and garlic until translucent.  Remove.  Add cooked pierogi and slightly brown each side, turning once.  Add sauteed onion and garlic, green bean and carrots until slightly tender, approximately 2-3 minutes.  Add vodka and reduce by half, then add vegetable stock and simmer with a lid off until slightly reduced.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Arrange pierogi and vegetables in a shallow serving dish.  Spoon broth over.  Top with fish and finally the mango salsa.  Each bite is a party in your mouth!  Plus, it's pretty. 

Note: Please be advised that swordfish contains high traces of mercury in it, and if you are prone to migraines, make the substitution!  I got the worst migraine headache hours after feasting on this and my doctor said the mercury may have attributed to it - who knows...but you may want to err on the side of caution. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Fried Rice - why order takeout?

I don't know why, but New Years day always makes me crave asian food. Why is this?! Someone please explain!!! Actually, let me think about this for a could be because New Years is a turning point in America's healthy brigade, and all I can think about (besides the fact that I will not be able to find a parking spot at the gym) is that I want something salty that will give me cankles, high blood pressure and make me hungry a couple of hours later! I've tried my hand at a couple of "asian inspired" dishes throughout the years, but my fried rice has become a staple.

I don't know why more people don't make fried rice at home?! It's easy, and if the rice is already cooked - and left over from your pork chops and applesauce dinner - fast to prepare. It can also be very substantial and satisfying because you can load it with as many vegetables and lean protein as you want! Really, you are limited by your own imagination.

I like making it at home because I like to keep the crunch in my vegetables - something my mother never believed in growing up! A mushy piece of broccoli makes me want to run towards the front door kicking and screaming about the monstrosity of it all. It's funny how I said "growing up" as if her mushy veggie love doesn't still appear to this day. Someone take away her steamer!!!! Or, give her a new kitchen timer that clips to her apron that doesn't go over 6 minutes.


2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 cups of prepared, cooled white rice of your choice*
1 cup cooked and cubed pork or beef
1/2 cup soy sauce, or ginger flavored soy sauce (whatever suites your palette)

1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup grated carrot

In a large WOK, or skillet heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add eggs and stir until they form a soft scramble. Remove eggs from WOK and set aside.

Heat remaining vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add rice and meat, stirring to combine. Add soy sauce and sesame oil, and cook through. Before serving, add frozen peas (they will defrost with the heat of the rice), reserved scrambled egg and carrots. Serve.

That's it...about 10 minutes in prep, total. I've seen fried rice with lots of different kinds of vegetables, seafood and meats...but this happens to be my favorite combination. Oh, and the leftovers are AMAZING!!!

*I use Jasmine rice for all of my rice needs. It's the only kind of rice that I don't seem to burn, and I like the way each individual piece of rice stands on it's own and doesn't clump up or stick.