Brazilian Shrimp Stew

16 Mar

My interest was peaked in this dish when we first moved to Williamsburg and I ordered it from a restaurant called Beco in the neighborhood. I was of course thrilled that there would be a place nearby where I could get pao de queijo delivered. I ended up ordering what they call the mocequa on the menu, a hot stew of coconut milk, shrimp and tomato served over rice. Upon googling, I discovered that mocequa tends to have various kinds of fish in it, often white, sometimes other shellfish or calamari. I’ve never been one for mixed fish stews (though I could eat New England Clam Chowder for B,L,and D and believe me, I have), so I stuck with this Gourmet recipe for Brazilian shrimp stew, which seemed the most similar to the one I ate from Beco.

This recipe turned out to be a little more tomato-y than I would have liked. The next time I make it I will probably just add a whole can of cononut milk as opposed to just the one cup.

Brazilian Shrimp Stew

Adapted from Gourmet

Makes 6 servings


1/2 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb), peeled and deveined

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 14-15 oz can diced tomatoes including juice

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

5 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk ( I would use a whole can)

1 tablespoon dendê (palm) oil (available at Kalustyan’s)

Serve with: white rice

Toss shrimp with black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic, and lemon juice and marinate, covered and chilled, 20 minutes.

Purée tomatoes with juice in a blender until smooth.

Cook onion and bell pepper in olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cayenne, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and remaining teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomato purée and simmer briskly, stirring, until mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and bring to a boil, then add shrimp mixture and cook, stirring, until shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in dendê oil and remaining 4 tablespoons cilantro and season with salt and pepper.





Oatmeal Blueberry Pecan Muffins

10 Mar

When it comes to muffins, if theres a way I can make a couple substitutions to make them healthier, I will. I’ve experimented a lot with healthy cookies made with whole wheat flower, flaxseed, dried fruits and nuts, etc, but in the long run I prefer to keep my desserts desserts. Muffins are a different story. I think of them as being more of a breakfast food, not a dessert.(Although I certainly have never been opposed to smearing some cream cheese frosting over the top of my banana or carrot muffins. Or some powdered sugar. Or some chocolate.)

So when I was doing my weekly browsing of epicurious, adding ideas to my recipe box, and I came upon these, I was thrilled. They’re called “Oatmeal Muffins”, a misleading title because they are so much more than that. They’re really like a bowl of oatmeal in muffin form. They use no butter and very little flour, and considering those are usually the main ingredients in muffins, these are almost a different breed of food altogether. They’re also completely stuffed with blueberries and chopped pecans, both excellent toppings for oatmeal in its traditional form. And, they contain Wheat Germ, one of my favorite power foods. Wheat Germ is basically a concentrated version of essential nutrients: Vitamin E, Fatty acids, Zinc, Magnesium, and our favorite, Folic Acid. I know I’ve talked about folate before but if you need a refresher on all its health benefits you should read the Wiki page.

If you are making these in the summer, feel free to use fresh blueberries. Otherwise, go with frozen. Frozen blueberries will be perfectly ripe, even sized, and easy to deal with. Plus, you can use the leftovers to make Blueberry Acai bowls or smoothies, or just eat them straight out of the pack still frozen (one of my favorite late night snacks). You could also try different variations, and use a mixture of berries instead.

These make a great eat-breakfast-on-your-way-to-work food.

Oatmeal Blueberry Pecan Muffins

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes 8 large or 18 standard muffins


Nonstick vegetable oil spray (or butter + flour, or whatever your chosen greasing method is)

2 1/3 cups quick oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons natural oat bran

2 tablespoons wheat germ

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 large egg

1/2 cup canola oil

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup boiling water

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen wild blueberries

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 8 large muffin cups (1-cup capacity) or 18 standard muffin cups (1/3-cup capacity) with nonstick spray. Whisk oats and next 9 ingredients in large bowl. Add buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla; whisk to blend. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and let stand 5 minutes. Fold in blueberries. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.

Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 28 minutes for large muffins and 20 minutes for standard muffins. Cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins out onto rack; cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chicken Paillards with Clementine Salsa

8 Mar

I’m coming off the tail end of a long string of time in which I hardly cooked any chicken. I’ve been eating tons of seafood and  eating more red meat. (I, like most women, have a bit of an iron deficiency). This past fall I was cooking whole roast chickens like it was my job. I eat a lot of Mexican food (my friends love Mexican so much they instated a Mexican Saturday to the weekly schedule) and my Mexican food almost always contains chicken. Last summer I was all about fruity and mustardy skewars on the grill. Let’s be honest, I’m never gonna get sick of anything that’s on the grill, but the rest of the year is a bit different. I don’t know about you, but I find myself seeking out countless ways to make boneless skinless chicken breasts. Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic in a pan, orange-marinated in a stir fry, coconut and cumin-crusted in a taco,  you name it. A lot of people seem to be going the red meat-free direction these days, and although I’m not one of them, I know what its like to cook and eat a lot of chicken.

Let’s face it – chicken is boring. You can only eat salt and peppered strips on your salad so many days of the week before you start questioning if you should get tofu instead. This recipe is here to save the banal day. So get your manual meat tenderizers out and get ready to flatten some chicken.

Chicken Paillards with Clementine Salsa

From Bon Appetit

Makes 4 servings


4 5-ounce chicken boneless skinless chicken breast halves

4 clementines, peeled, diced (about 1 cup)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quatered

1/2 cup finely diced red onion

1/2 cup finely diced celery

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 serrano chile, seeded, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup fresh clementine juice (from about 6 clementines)

Place chicken breast halves between 2 sheets plastic wrap or parchment paper, spacing apart. Using mallet, pound chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Mix clementines and next 8 ingredients in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Salsa can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover; let stand at room temperature.

Uncover chicken; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until slightly browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to platter. Add clementine juice to skillet; boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Drizzle sauce over chicken. Spoon salsa over and serve.

Mango Lassi

21 Feb

As many of you know, although I’m truly not a picky eater, I’m never been a huge fan of Indian food, with the exception of a few select dishes and flavors, such as those cumin seed flatbreads they give you at Gaylord. You may, however, have noticed that in the past year I’ve become obsessed with all things frozen (or at least half-frozen) and/or yogurt-y. This includes but is not limited to: smoothies, frozen acai bowls, popsicles, and soups.

Lassis can be made in a variety of ways. Traditionally, they are made only with yogurt, water, salt, and spices. They were often drank to cure gastroenteritis or cure sleep disorders, because the yogurt in it can make you calm and drowsy. Sweet lassis lose the salt and replace it with sugar and sometimes butter. Now lassis are made in any way you can imagine-minted, nut+spice, different fruits, but mango lassi is one of the most common, not the mention the most delicious. Mango is one of my favorite fruits of all time. I just think the texture of them is incredible, they are so smooth and creamy and rich but still tangy. Whenever I saw them eating them on LOST I was so jealous.I  imagine THE ISLAND’s mangoes to be the best kind of mangoes. But alas, I used these Kent mangoes from Peru.

Mango Lassi

makes 1 large serving


3/4 cup fresh mango, sliced

3/4 cup yogurt (preferably Greek)

1/4 teaspoon ground cardomom

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon honey

juice from 1/2 of a lemon

handful ice cubes

pistachios, chopped, to top

Place mango, yogurt, cardamom, salt, honey, lemon juice, and ice cubes in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and top with chopped pistachios, then drink up!!!


By the way those glasses…got 4 of them at a thrift store on Driggs. $2.99 each. Exhibit A of why I am no longer buying home goods at Anthropologie. (clearly an empty promise)


Beet + Fennel Soup with Kefir

4 Feb

I’m gonna start this post off by saying: My swirling skills aren’t as strong as they should be. For someone who’s been cooking since they were 5 and has worked at a handful of restaurants making latte art, my swirling skills are just despicable. But, in my defense, the sometimes-inconsistent nature of Kefir made it difficult to get the perfect spiral.

Beets can be a tough sell. When someone doesn’t like them, usually they really don’t like them. If you’re one of those people I highly recommend trying them again. In my opinion, beets are like brussel sprouts: you just have to prepare them right. The red beets at the store looked so fresh and perfect this week that I just had to get them.  As long as you have a blender (a food processor works too) this dish is so quick and easy to make and seriously satisfied my craving for a bowl of borscht from Veselka.

I was actually surprised when I reached the end of this recipe and realized the soup didn’t need to be chilled. It’s actually supposed to be served hot, although I’m sure serving it cold would be just as tasty.

Beet + Fennel Soup with Kefir

From The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped fennel bulb

1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 large (2 1/2-3 inch-diameter-I used twice as many, half the size) beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 cups low-salt chicken broth

1 cup unflavored kefir

Fennel fronds (for garnish)

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion, chopped fennel, and fennel seeds. Sauté until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add cubed beets and stir to coat. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until beets are tender, 18 to 20 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in blender. Return to same saucepan. Whisk in 1 cup unflavored kefir and season soup with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rewarm soup.

Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with additional unflavored kefir; garnish with fennel fronds.



Grilled Seabass with Sour Tomato Broth

10 Jan

Seabass is right up there as one of my favorite fish.  The Miso Seabass Skewers at Sushi Samba in Vegas? Yes please. (NOT the ones in New York, which, in my opinion, fade in comparison) If I remember correctly, Betelnut in San Francisco offers a similar dish which was prepared slightly different but was equally saliva-ensuing. That’s why when I came across this recipe in my New American Table cookbook, I immediately whipped out the sticky-tabs and added it to my list of dinners to make this week. A quick glance over the recipe…Sesame seeds, bass fillets, sesame oil, cilantro, kaffir lime leaves…and I was sold.

I was a tiny bit skeptical about this “Sour Tomato Broth” that he spoke of, but I decided to give it a whirl anyway and it came out as an amazingly complex + flavorful accompaniment to the fish. There’s a couple of ingredients in here that you have to get at a specialty market, most notably the Tamarind paste. However, you can make substitute the tamarind paste (as I did) by combining 1/4 cup each of chopped dried dates, dried apricots, and lemon juice and blend in a food processor until smooth.

I served this with some coconut rice + grilled dates.


Grilled Seabass with Sour Tomato Broth

From New American Table

For the Seabass


2 teaspoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon white miso

Four 5 oz bass fillets

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sour Tomato Broth

Heat a grill pan over high heat.

Toss together the sesame seeds and cilantro in a small bowl. Set aside.

Combine the olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, and miso in a small bowl. Brush the mixture on both sides of the bass. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the bass on the grill and grill for 3 minutes on each side.

Remove the bass from the grill and sprinkle the sesame seed mixture evenly on top of the fish. Serve with the sour tomato broth.

Sour Tomato Broth


4 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

2 tablespoons canola oil

One 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bird’s-eye chiles, seeds and ribs removed

2 whitefish bones

3 tablespoons fish sauce

2 kaffir lime leaves

2 teaspoons tamarind paste

1 cup dry white wine

Juice of 2 limes

2 baby bok choy, cut in quarters lengthwise

2 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped


Preheat the oven to 250°.

Arrange the tomatoes on a shallow baking sheet and roast until shriveled, 50 to 60 minutes.

While the tomatoes are roasting, heat the canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and chiles and sauté until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the fish bones, fish sauce, lime leaves, tamarind paste, and 3 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Strain the liquid into another pot and add the lime juice and bok choy. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the bok choy is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the roasted tomatoes and scallions. Season with salt.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Parmesan + Pecan

6 Jan

Just a quick post with a recipe that my mom made while I was in Portland for Christmas. These are a delicious snack and a great hors d’oeuvre for a party. (Alert: Those attending our next party will be served these) And, I’m not gonna lie, I made them for breakfast the other day.

The best thing about these: you barely need to have any cooking skills to make them. As long as you know how to use a knife and an oven, you’re golden.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Parmesan + Pecan

Adapted slightly from Kimberly’s Cuisine


12 slices prosciutto

12 dates

fresh block of parmesan cheese

whole pecans

freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and roast until the pecan halves are lightly toasted and fragrant. Let cool.

Raise the temperature to 425°.

Make a slit lengthwise along the date. If there is a pit, remove it.

Cut the parmesan into thin, 1 inch slivers.

Stuff a parmesan sliver and a pecan into each date.

Slice the prosciutto into strips and wrap one around each stuffed date. Place the dates on a baking sheet and bake until the prosciutto begins to crisp and the parmesan melts. Transfer dates to a serving dish and top with freshly ground black pepper.

I like these served warm. 🙂