Love at First Bite

You don’t need to be in London to have absolutely amazing fish n’ chips–all you need is Ina Garten’s cookbook. Oh and a LOT of oil, fish, and potatoes. So go put that apron on and get ready to start frying!

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For the fish you’ll need: 1 1/2 lbs. fresh (thick) cod fillets; kosher salt; freshly ground black pepper; 1/2 c. + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour; 1/2 c. baking powder; 1/2 freshly grated lemon zest; 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 extra-large egg; vegetable oil (A LOT!).

For the chips: 2 large baking potatoes; 2 tbsp. good olive oil; 3/4 tsp. kosher salt; 1/3 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; 1/2 tsp. minced fresh garlic; 1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves.

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Ok so now that you have the ingredients, here are the steps to achieve authentic fish n’ chips status: Sprinkle both sides of the cod fillets with salt and pepper and cut into 1 1/2 x 3-inch pieces. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper. Whisk in 1/2 c. water and the egg. Pour 1/2 inch of oil into a large frying pan and heat it to about 360 degrees. Dip each fillet into the batter, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place the fish carefully into the hot oil and try to avoid crowding. Then, cook the fish on each side for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Steps for insanely delicious baked ‘chips’: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise, then cut each half in thirds lengthwise (you should have six wedges per potato). Place them on a sheet pan with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. Toss all ingredients together, covering the potatoes. Spread them on the pan, cut side down. Bake for 30-35 minutes, turning the potatoes over halfway through. Once they are lightly browned and crisp, serve with the fish.

I personally love my fish n’ chips with tartar sauce (it’s heavenly yet deadly–I can consume an entire bottle) but you can also use ketchup for your chips as well. Make sure to have LOADS of napkins handy–trust me, you’ll need them. This dish is labor intensive but worth it. Ina Garten knows what she’s dong. It makes for a great Saturday dinner when you’re not pressed for time and can leisurely cook. Try it out! You’ll impress your friends AND your family. But until next time, keep eating!

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ExCLAMation! The Perfect Summer Dish

I owe tonight’s recipe to Cooking Light. There is nothing better, after a long day of work and an even longer commute, to come home and cook a meal that takes only 30 minutes. One of the things I love about Cooking Light magazine is that they have delicious, fresh recipes that can be made in 30 minutes—and it honestly does take 30 minutes.  Clams with Israeli Couscous was on the menu tonight.

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For this recipe you need 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion, 1 cup finely chopped fennel bulb, 1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous, 1 garlic clove thinly sliced, 1/3 cup dry white wine, 1 ½ cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup unsalted tomato sauce, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ ground crushed red pepper, 24 Littleneck clams (about 1 ½ lbs.), 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, and 4 lemon wedges.

 Simply heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add onion and fennel and sauté for about 3 minutes. Then add the couscous and garlic—sauté for about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until liquid is almost evaporated. Then stir in broth, tomato sauce (I foolishly forgot to buy plain tomato sauce at the grocery store so I had to improvise and use can tomatoes in juice), salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 7 minutes. Then you want to nestle the clams into the couscous mixture, cover and cook for about another 8 minutes (or until clams have opened up). Sprinkle with parsley and lemon juice (or a wedge of lemon if you prefer) and there you have it—a delicious meal in 30 minutes!

 Talk about fast food. And the great thing about this recipe is that if once you start cooking and realize that you forgot an ingredient (like in my case), you can make some minor changes and it will still be absolutely delicious.

If you’re in a time crunch and come home famished after a long day’s work—story of my life, I’m ALWAYS hungry—then check out the 30-minute meals section in Cooking Light (either the magazine or online) and I promise you won’t be disappointed. But until next time, keep eating!

Ode to the Humble Chickpea

Naked Chip Update: I’m home, recently graduated, and am looking for a PR/marketing job in the culinary world…..is anyone out there???

Now that I’m home I have more free time on my hands. Not to mention more pots and pans, an array of spices, more counter space, and more food in general to work with.  My dorm kitchen seems minuscule to my kitchen at home. Oh have I missed this….

Since I have so much free time on my hands, I can exercise my creative license when it comes to food. On the menu today: chickpeas. Chickpeas are somewhat of a miracle food—they are loaded with protein (which is great for your waistline) and even happen to taste delicious.  They are versatile, allowing you to do many things with them. You can season and roast them to make a delicious snack, turn them into hummus, eat them plain, or mix them into a salad.

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I decided to mix them into a salad. Yes Greek salad (I simply love all the flavors as seen in my earlier post It’s All Greek to Me!). You can’t go wrong with a simple Greek salad. It’s light and refreshing and perfect for a hot, humid, summer day—and trust me, living in New Jersey it’s hot and humid EVERY day, so I’m always on the lookout for a good summer salad.  All you do is mix together olive oil, lemon juice, red onion, cucumber, grape tomatoes, feta, chickpeas, olives, parsley, and salt and pepper. It’s as simple as that. What’s so great about it is that you can store it and take it as a quick on-the-go lunch if you’re in a hurry or make a huge batch of it for a party.

If anyone knows of any other great recipes using chickpeas, please don’t hesitate! I would love to know! But until next time, keep eating!

It’s All Greek to Me!

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Since it’s a Saturday and my day is more relaxing (or at least that’s what I keep telling myself as I stare at mounds of books…) I decided to be adventurous and make dinner, something fancier than I normally would. My inspiration for my meal came from Pinterest—probably one of the best sites for pictures of mouth-watering food.  As I was practically drooling in my seat, I came across a recipe for a Mediterranean salad. That was it. That was what I wanted for dinner. So I practically jogged to Shaw’s to get the ingredients.

I have to say, if you’re on a budget, this meal is perfect for you. Luckily today, some of the produce at Shaw’s was on sale (the lottery for a broke college girl like me), so nothing cost me over fifteen dollars. All you need is quinoa, a cucumber, olive oil, grape tomatoes, olives, feta, and a red onion. Unfortunately I didn’t incorporate red onions into my meal because Shaw’s had an ominous-looking selection and I didn’t want to take my chances.

There’s an even better reason why you need to make this meal. You don’t even need to be a “chef” to make it. The hardest part is cooking the quinoa according to the instructions on the bag. No measuring needed. After the quinoa is done, chop up all your veggies—as many or as little as you want—toss in some feta, drizzle it with olive oil and a pinch of lemon juice and viola! there you have it—a deliciously cooked meal. I took some liberties with the recipe and mixed in a few heaping scoops of tzatziki sauce (it has become my new favorite thing, I try to find excuses to use it with everything).

I’ve never been to Greece and have accepted that this is as close as I’ll probably ever get. Even though my meal might not have been as good as a meal from Greece (I would argue that is debatable), it was an easy, quick, and cheap meal that I would definitely make again. But until next time, keep eating!