Asian Inspired Tilapia

I’ve really enjoyed challenging myself to write from inspiration I find outside my own kitchen.  However, for today’s post all I had to do to get inspired was to walk by my back door.

I feel I should preface.

A couple of weeks ago I posted here , about how I had started taking another , stronger,  prescription for Prednisone in the hope of shrinking my chronic nasal polyps that hinder  my sense of smell (among other things).

Well, so far, so good an knock on wood,  I’m off the pills, and will a little help from a prescription nasal spray, I’ve had my sense of smell back for a few weeks now. ( insert quiet , reserved Yippie here)Anyway, past experience has taught me that I should enjoy being able to smell while I can, because I could go back to being all stubbed up any minude.

So, last weekend, while enjoying the fantabulous spring weather and my ability to smell, my Sweetie and I went to the local Big Orange Box Store to get a few supplies to begin an herb & salad garden.  I now have a variety of  pots on my back deck full of the promise of tomatoes, peppers and lettuces as well as parsley, basil, cilantro, thyme and rosemary.

Makin' Salad On The Deck_2

My inspiration for today’s post came from the smell of cilantro and basil in the air after it rained this morning.

All I could think about all day was mixing those two flavours with a little lime and ginger and tamari.

The result? Asian Inspired Pan Fried Tilapia with Peppers and Snap Peas

Asian Inspired Pan Fried Tilapia

This was perfect portion for one, but could easily have been multiplied for more.

4 oz Tilapia fillet,
3 tbsp olive oil
1 stalk lemongrass
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 medium size leaves of fresh basil
1 tsp fresh cilantro
1 lime
kosher salt
2 tbsp gluten free tamari sauce
1 tsp Siracha or other hot sauce, optional
12  sugar snap peas
1/4- 1/2 of red pepper, thinly sliced

Peel off any dried leaves from the lemongrass. Bash the stalk with the back edge of your knife to release the flavours, then cut into 3 or 4 pieces, set aside.
Preheat a large pan over med high heat. Add oil to pan and saute peppers and snap peas together for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally,  to soften them up.  Add the garlic, ginger and lemongrass to the pan, continuing to toss the contents of the pan about, so nothing burns. Using a spatula, push the veggie mix off to one side of the pan.  If needed, add a little more oil to the pan then lay in the fish. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the flesh becomes opaque a bit more than half the way up the fillet. Turn the fish and cook for another minute. Roll the lime on the counter and cut in half. Squeeze lime juice over the fish and the veg, then drizzle with the tamari sauce.

I served this over a little Basmati rice infused with star anise and a piece of cinnamon stick, a drizzle each of tamari and siracha and sweet chili sauces.

Asian Inspired Pan Fried Tilapia_2

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It’s been one of those crazy weeks!

The other day I was browsing through WordPress Daily Post to get some inspiration and writing tips. After reading some of the suggested blogs (and finding some very interesting bloggers!), I signed up to get the Daily Prompt. Today’s prompt is “Mad Libs”, which is kinda cool because I’ve been working on this post and wasn’t sure which direction I should take it. Thanks for the Inspiration!

It’s really been one of those weeks.

My alarm clock didn’t go off on time Monday morning but I pulled it together to get to work just in time. My Tuesday’s “to do list” got rearranged to suit someone else’s (more important) agenda, leaving me with an even bigger list.  By Wednesday I was so stressed out I almost forget an important appointment. To top it off, today there was this massive shut down on the 401 highway westbound into Toronto that clogged up even the side streets. I’m sure all the commuters within a 60Km radius of the C.N.Tower were just desperately trying to find an alternate route to work, however, that turned my measly 8 minute trip into almost an hour. Who can plan for that?

I feel like I’ve been playing catch up since the week started and it’s finally got me grumpy. In fact I have to say, I’ve got quite the “grrrr” on right now.

I’ve always been a little envious of those people who can let things slide. Me? I have a temper. Yep, I admit it. It’s nasty, evil, fast, white hot and shows no mercy. Most days I keep it locked up in a box with a heavy rock on top, but I know it’s there, all shadowy and patient, waiting for that one thing that will make this, usually nice gal, crack.

Once that happens (like now!) it’s best to batten down the hatches and hit the deck! (At least until I can put it back in its box!) It’s a good thing I’m the only one home.

Time for a self imposed intervention…wait, is that even possible? Well you know what I mean. It’s time to break out the big guns to cure this cranky gal of “The Nasties”, before the family gets home.

For me there are only two things that work. Exercise and cooking. Since I’ve already done my workout for today (and my legs are screaming at me from the 160 squats I did), it looks like I’ll be cooking.

There is something I find therapeutic about preparing a meal.

I think I’ll start off whacking a big bud of garlic (to make it easier to peel, of course). Then there’s the part where I get to chop it, or even better, smoosh it with my mortar and pestle. Then, I’ll add a little pinch of course salt and grind it in until the juices release. Then, because I’m all fired up, I add something to help clear my head…like some extra hot horseradish. Today I’m having a “good” sinus day, so I’m gonna stick my nose close to the jar and inhale. That should help. Hmmm. Mustard? Something to “kick it up a notch”? This makes me think of a marinade I make for beef, Grilled Devilled Beef to be exact.

This will chase away my foul mood. Time to marinade some steaks and fire up the grill!

Grilled Devilled Beef

1 large clove of garlic
1 T extra hot horseradish (I used Kozlick’s X Extra Hot)
1 T strong flavoured mustard (I used Kozlick’s “Market Mustard”)
1 T balsamic vinegar
pinch of kosher salt
3 T Tamari sauce
3 T olive oil
1 ½ -3 ½ lbs steak

Place the garlic clove flat side down on your work surface. Lay the flat side of your favourite knife on the garlic; keeping the knife steady, use the heel of your free hand to whack the flat of the knife. Proceed to peel garlic and chop finely, or add to mortar and bang and smoosh it a bit. Sprinkle with salt and continue to pound with pestle, or use the flat side of your knife to smear the salt into the garlic. Add the remaining ingredients, except the steak, together in the mortar or in a small bowl, mix well. Pour over steak, making sure it has been completely coated. Let marinate for minimum 30 minutes. Grill steaks to desired doneness. Let steaks rest for at least as long as you grilled them.

Add some baked sweet potato fries with some chipotle mayo and a mixed green salad for a simple supper.

Hmm….I think I just smiled : )

Grilled Devilled Steak II

Happy Tuesday

In keeping with the tone of my last post about gluten free & dairy free staples I keep on hand, I thought I’d put my money where my mouth is , so to speak.  I’m going to make posting simple meals that include pantry staples a regular occurrence on the blog.  This is a typical, easy going kind of meal I’d make for my Sweetie and I . There was plenty for two with enough left over for lunch the next day.

From my kitchen to yours, complete with pictures. (I’ve been working on my photography skills)

Pork tenderloin roasted with Kozlick’s Balsamic Fig and Date Mustard served with vegetable risotto.
And, yep, that’s my kitchen, complete with fridge magnets. : )

BFD w Risotto mis en place

The ingredients for this meal were things I had on hand and include two of my pantry staple items.

pork tenderloin
red pepper
zucchini
asparagus
scallions
Aborio rice
lemon
Kozlick’s Balsamic Fig and Date Mustard
Kirkland Gluten Free Chicken Broth
olive oil
kosher salt

For the Risotto;
In a medium size sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Sauté red pepper until it begins to soften, add asparagus and zucchini. Continue to sauté 2-3 minutes. Add rice to pan, stirring to coat all grains in oil. Add broth to pan, a little at a time, allowing the liquid to become absorbed between additions, stirring often. Risotto should take about 20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedge.

Risotto in pan 2

For the pork tenderloin;

Preheat oven to 400°F oven
Remove the “silver skin”, the membrane running along one end of the meat, from the tenderloin. If this is left on it will become tough and unpleasant when cooked.

In a medium size bowl, mix 2 tablespoons Kozlick’s with equal parts olive oil. Rub all over tenderloin, place meat on a parchment lined baking tray. Season with  a little salt. Place tray in oven and roast, turning once, until instant read thermometer shows internal temperature is 71°C/160°F. Approx 45 minutes for a 1.5 lb tenderloin. Remove from oven and let rest before slicing.

BFD pork 3

Risotto

Enjoy!