Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Nonna used To Say...

Got Agita? It's Not What You Eat; It's What Eats You

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Shepherd's Fish Pie

This is a refrigerator raid recipe. Last night, we had a roasted chicken and mashed potato supper. It was simple and simply delicious. There wasn't a scrap of chicken left, but a good size portion of mashed potatoes was safely stored in the fridge. I knew it wouldn't go to waste, after all, Saturday is steak night, so the creamy potatoes would be a great side dish. Not to be, my dears.
I defrosted fish. I took out a tilapia fillet, but it was awfully small. What was I thinking when I bought that iddy biddy piece? I had just shy of a pound of scallops. Okay...a good combo. I considered making it spicy, maybe Mexican, but, I had Indian food for lunch the other day and just yesterday an Indian priest shared his lunch with me....rabbit in an extremely spicy curry sauce. Enough spice, least for one week.
So the culinary pendulum swung in a totally different direction. I pulled a few items out of the refrigerator...mashed potatoes, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, butter. Peas from the freezer. Dang, if I had defrosted ground beef, this could be a yummy shepherd's pie. I swear a light bulb went off above my head. Why not a Shepherd's Fish Pie? How delicious is fish and mashed potatoes topped with mozzarella cheese? And so a star fish dish was born.
The only thing I changed was I swapped the classic shepherd's pie vegetable, peas, for collard greens. Why? Practicality. I had a container of collard greens already cooked, and that "don't waste food" part of me won out, but....if you make this, use peas for a more traditional Shepherd's pie. I didn't add collard greens to the actual pie, but served it on the side.
I was pleased with the final result. The recipe was silky, creamy with the most wonderful mouth-feel. The taste was buttery; the fish delicate. The combination of mozzarella and Parmesan was the perfect cheese duo. I love when a unplanned recipe comes together perfectly...the unexpected is always the best!

Shepherd's Fish Pie

1 fillet of mild white fish, cut up into chunks
1 lb. scallops, rinsed
2 cups of mashed potatoes
6 slices of mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
5 pats butter
garlic powder
onion powder
olive oil

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Season fish with garlic powder, onion powder and salt.  Drizzle a bit of oil in a baking dish. Place seasoned fish in dish.  Top with mashed potatoes.  Put pats of butter on the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until fish is white and firm and cheese is golden brown.
**if using peas, fold gently into mashed potatoes before adding to baking dish. 2-3 servings
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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tilapia With Creamy Curry Sauce

This all started with a post by John Spottiswood, a talented and kind food blogger at CookEatShare . I received one of his latest posts, Fish With Thai Green Curry, and it caught my attention. I love Thai food...gee, what a suprise. His recipe sounded great, as do all his recipes, and I promised myself that this would be on my plate real soon. It took only 2 days. It was Friday. I was tired after a long work week. I was hot. New York temps. hit 101 and the humidity just as high. I knew my DH would have his usual Friday night homemade pizza, It's my evening to cook something special, different, unique....that "gotta try this recipe".  And John's recipe was just what the doctor ordered. Except, I wasn't making another trip to the supermarket for ingredients like green curry paste. I pride myself on my eclectic and fully-stocked pantry. I had red curry paste, but not green. Was I too lazy to make a supermarket run? No...I was tired, hot AND a quick stop to ShopRite wouldn't cost me $3.29 for the curry paste, but easily $40 because I have an addiction to grocery shopping.
Now, I did have a pouch of Royal Thai Green Curry Cooking Sauce, Tilapia and Rice Sticks. Yes, there's nothing better than "from scratch" with fresh ingredients, but in a pinch my response is...close enough! By all means, if you want from scratch, take a look at John's recipe. If you want semi-homemade, then read on.
This is what's printed on the Royal Thai Cooking Sauce intense, perfectly spiced sauce scented with mild ginger, aromatic lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, enriched with coconut milk. The spices include: coriander seeds, cumin, turmeric & cardamon. Other ingredients are: garlic, shallot, fresh green chilli & fish sauce. This was pretty darn close to John's recipe. The photo of the sauce in the skillet is after I added heavy cream and extra curry. It was a lovely shade of mint green before the cream went in, hence the description "green curry". It had a nice bit of heat, but not overly spicy.
My choice of fish was tilapia, two good size fillets. It's "poached" in the curry cream sauce and retains it's delicate flavor. Instead of Jasmine rice, my all time favorite, I decided on Rice Sticks. It has a wonderful, silky mouth-feel and absorbed the rich sauce quite nicely. The cooking method is simple. Open the pouch and gently simmer for a few minutes. Add whatever fish, shrimp or even chicken to the sauce and poach until cooked through.
Have you ever known me to stop at that? I wanted a bit more curry taste, so I added a teaspoon of curry powder. Sweeter, so in went honey. Creamier, heavy cream, of course. Crunch came from cashews and texture from shredded, unsweetened coconut and why not a palm-full of golden raisins. Now, these are only optional ingredients. Leave a few out....fine. Leave them all out....just as fine or add a few of your own.
This supper was done in no time. It was savory, sweet and refreshing. I loved it! I was completely satisfied and happy to have had this culinary experience. I can't thank John enough for his source of inspiration. I may never visit Thailand, but I can enjoy the taste of Thai right in my own humble kitchen.

Tilapia With Creamy Curry Sauce
2 tilapia fillets (approx. 1lb)
Royal Thai Green Curry Sauce
(7oz. pouch)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon honey
dash of salt
1/2 bag of Rice Sticks
a few fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
golden raisins
(coconut, cashews, raisins are optional)

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil to cook rice sticks.  When water boils, add rice sticks and boil for 3 minutes. Drain well.  While water is boiling,  prepare sauce & fish.

In a deep pan, gently simmer the Thai Curry Sauce for 1 minute. Add heavy cream. Stir and simmer 3 minutes. Add curry powder, honey & salt. Blend. If using coconut, raisins and cashews add to pan. Stir. Place tilapia into sauce and poach for 5 minutes. Carefully flip tilapia over and poach for 3-5 minutes depending on thickness of fish.  Add parsley. Occasionally, spoon sauce over top of tilapia. When fish is white and firm it's done.

Place cooked rice sticks on a plate and arrange a fillet of tilapia on top spooning additional sauce over fish and rice sticks. Serves 2
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sweet & Tangy Sauteed Coleslaw

I love cabbage and anything in the cabbage family. Kielbasa goes great with it as well as chicken. A summer BBQ wouldn't be the same without homemade Coleslaw. I particularly like Coleslaw mix found in the produce aisle. It's not the white and pale green bagged slaw, but a mix of fresh green cabbage, red cabbage and carrots...all shredded on a foam tray. It makes a crunchy coleslaw, and a delicious side dish of sauteed vegetables. Italian style is fine. Of course that would simply be cabbage and garlic sauteed in olive oil. But the Coleslaw mix with an Asian flare can't be beat for something just a tad different. I find this dish especially refreshing after the mayonnaise based salads and coleslaw that are devoured throughout the summer. The sesame seeds gives this a nutty flavor. Please don't add it to the vegetables as it cooks. You want to garnish the dish with the sesame seeds just before serving to give it an added crunch!

Sweet & Tangy
Sauteed Coleslaw
16 oz. Coleslaw Mix (not bagged coleslaw)
(green & red cabbage & shredded carrots)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds (garnish)

Heat canola oil in large non-stick skillet. Saute Coleslaw mix, garlic and onion. Cabbage should still be crisp, but cooked through.
In a small bowl, mix honey, soy sauce, vinegar & sesame oil. Add liquid to cabbage and blend. Cook 1 minute. Garnish with sesame seeds. Serves 4

My dear food blogger friend at Cupcakes & Crab Legs (love that name!) makes a similar recipe. It has a kick of red chilies and Szechuan peppercorn. If you want a little heat, the recipe is on her blog at:

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Remember To Make Memories At The Table