Monday, November 22, 2010

Fish Otis

The Moosewood Cookbook that I have is primarily vegetarian, but does include some fish recipes, and this is an excellent one. It calls for "firm fish fillets" and assumes there will still be a side with skin attached. I used skinless tilapia fillets this time, but I suspect it'd be even better with something a bit heftier, like cod. The sour cream and dill are a nice flavor, and when served on egg noodles as the recipe suggests, the sauce mingles with the noodles well. Paired with a salad or simple vegetable, this is a quick and rewarding weeknight meal!

Fish Otis
Serves 2

10-12 ounces firm fish fillets
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp chopped fresh dill (or 3/4 tsp dried)
dash of salt and pepper
1/3-1/2 cup sour cream
2-3 thick slices red onion

Preheat the oven to 375. Rinse and dry the fish fillets and place them, skin side down, in an oiled baking pan. Sprinkle with the lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper. Spread the sour cream evenly over the fillets. Break the onion slices into rings and press them into the sour cream.

Cover the pan and bake until the fish is no longer translucent and flakes easily with a fork. The amount of time varies with the thickenss of the fish, but it usually takes 25 to 30 minutes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pear Coffee Cake

I woke up to a cold and rainy Sunday morning, with an over-ripe pear in my fruit bowl. I knew immediately that the perfect answer to this circumstance was to make this coffee cake that my mom made once when I was home visiting during college. I often make it with canned pears, which works fine - but using the fresh one I had today, ripe as it was, resulted in a better texture. The recipe calls for orange and lemon zest, but I didn't use either, and that was fine (though it was lacking some if the citrus zip that it would have otherwise had).

Pear Coffee Cake

Preheat the oven to 350. Halve and core a fresh pear and cut it into wedges. As the oven warms, melt 3 Tbsp butter in an 8" round cake pan (or a pie pan, or a 9" square pyrex). Arrange the pear wedges over the bottom of the pan.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp orange peel, grated
1 tsp lemon peel, grated

Sprinkle half of the above mixture over the pear wedges.

Beat together:
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix together and then add to egg mixture until just combined:
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

Pour batter over pears. Sprinkle remaining brown sugar mixture over the top and marble through the batter with a knife. Bake for 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before inverting over a plate. Serve warm.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese Risotto Soup

This recipe, which may actually be my new favorite homemade meal, has a lot to offer. The squash is pleasantly sweet and tender, the gorgonzola is salty, the arborio rice is creamy, and a little sage pulls it all together with an earthy sort of undertone. I'm pretty sure they just called this recipe a soup so that it could be included in this cookbook, which I have mentioned here before, Best-Ever Soups. If you don't own it yet, please put it on your list of cookbooks to obtain. It's less than $5 on, and it provides endless soup discoveries. Or in this case (rather like a bonus round!), risotto.

I halved the recipe to two servings, which worked fine (though mine is less soup-like and more risotto-like than what the cookbook showed). This isn't a terribly complicated recipe, but it does take about an hour and a half to prepare it. That's largely because it takes both time (particularly to peel and chop the squash) and (more time) and patience, as you go through the whole risotto routine - add broth, wait... add broth, wait...

Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese Risotto Soup
Serves 4

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1/2 celery stick, finely sliced
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Tbsp chopped sage
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
5 cups hot chicken stock
2 Tbsp heavy cream (I used evaporated milk)
4 oz blue cheese, finely diced (I used gorgonzola)
salt and pepper, to taste

Place the butter and oil in a large plan and heat gently. Add the onions and celery, and cook for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the squash and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the sage. Add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring, until the grains are slightly translucent. Add the chicken stock a ladleful at a time. Cook until each ladleful of stock has been absorbed before adding the next. Continue adding the stock this way until you have a very wet rice mixture. Season to taste. Stir in the cream. Stir in the blue cheese, and serve.