Monday, April 19, 2010

My cat is seriously in love with this herb.


My 13 year-old cat had never encountered a catnip plant -- until yesterday.


















The plant sustained a fair bit of damage, but it's still alive.

Raymond is nuzzling its stubby little defoliated stems with unbreakable focus at this very moment, however.

This does not bode well for the catnip plant.






 ####

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fancy-but-Easy: Low-fat Meyer Lemon Fish Tacos w/Avocado, Cilantro & Spinach!

Sometimes I have a relatively lame lunch, like today: steel-cut oatmeal w/toasted sunflower seeds and ume/flax dressing...that is, relative to the fresh, fancy fish tacos I whipped up last week, which rocked!

Pan-seared, Meyer lemon-zested triggerfish tacos (recipe below)


(This is a variation on the Browned Baja Shrimp Taco Wraps I posted last Fall.)

  1. First, I seasoned the fish (a local South Carolina triggerfish from the All-Local Farmers Market, which I froze in individual fillets at season's end last year -- though any seafood will do) with Meyer lemon zest, fresh-ground coriander, dried rosemary, and salt + fresh-ground black AND white pepper. (I have a few spice grinders floating around the kitchen, obviously.)
  2. Then I seared the fish in a touch of high-temperature, organic safflower oil in a super hot pan. Cooking white, flaky fish quickly -- on high heat -- is the key to avoiding a mushy consistency. In terms of getting a nice, crispy exterior and firm-yet-moist texture, cooking slowly over low heat can also steam, rather than brown, delicate fish. I learned this from my buddy Jason Berthold, who is Head Chef at one of San Francisco's favorite new fancypants wine restaurants, Michael Mina's RN74. Same rule goes for shrimp, actually, so feel free to crank up the heat! (Non-stick teflon pans, btw, don't brown well and shouldn't be heated past medium anyway. Stainless steel or better is ideal, and TJ Maxx + Marshalls always have great deals on nice all-stainless pans.)
  3. When the fish was cooked through, I squeezed the juice of half a Meyer lemon over it to moisten the fish and deglaze the pan. Meyers are so fragrant, floral, and slightly orange-y in taste, and I love them dearly. Thank you, lemon breeders, for making such a tasty, special lemon! Fresh spices and citrus are a healthy, low-calorie source of big-time flavor in your meals.
  4. Meanwhile, I had put a pat of vegan butter (organic Earth Balance spread is my fave for yummy, buttery taste) in a frying pan and browned a Sami's Bakery gluten-free millet-flax lavash wrap, nice and toasty on each side -- but watch out with these. Caveat! Don't eat them raw, microwaved, or even heated w/o oil or butter in a toaster oven, or you'll have a lackluster experience. Conversely, if you over-brown these, they become brittle. These are "smart carbs", since the whole grain millet and rice flours give you a lot more nutrition and protein than the average white tortilla made with refined wheat flour (and possibly lard!)
  5. OK, time to assemble the glory! I folded the fish into the browned wrap with a smear of @Rosewoodmarket's vegan chipotle mayonnaise, as well as sliced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, spinach chiffonade (thinly sliced spinach leaves), + some El Burrito triple X hot sauce we had left over in the fridge. Sprinkled some black-and-white sesame seed gomasio on there, too.

And oh man, was it ever delicious!

(Way better than oatmeal.)
****
photo: TB