Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fish Stew

Simple, spicy, satisfying. That's how I'd describe this easy, low fat stew. I made a big batch and had it for lunch several times last week, and now that it's gone ... well I kinda miss it. The green olives provide a nice tangy element of surprise and the smoked paprika lend some subtle heat. The flavors of the stew are pulled from Spanish influences and took the humble (bland?) tilapia and transformed it into something exciting!
Spanish style fish stew

28 oz fire roasted tomatoes, pureed
1 medium yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp turmeric
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp Italian herb blend
4 tilapia fillets cut into 2" chunks
2 bay leaves
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup green olives (optional)
2 cups cooked yellow rice
fruity extra virgin olive oil, diced avocado, sliced lime (optional)

Puree the tomatoes and transfer to a large soup pot. Add onions, garlic, herbs and spices and stock and stir together over medium heat. Bring up to a simmer and submerge the fish into the soup base. Cook gently for 15 minutes or until fish is thoroughly cooked but not falling apart (stir as little as possible during the cooking so as not to break up the fish). Gently fold in cooked rice and olives and heat through. Finish soup by garnishing bowls with a drizzle of flavorful olive oil, diced avocado and/or a wedge of lime.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chilled Strawberry Soup with Balsamic Grilled Strawberries

Now that spring has sprung, gorgeous, delicious, fresh and CHEAP strawberries are plentiful. Here's an easy way to make good use of them. Super easy to put together, this chilled soup makes for a great brunch item, or a dessert, or a nice starter to a long meal. This makes a good amount, so unless you have guests halve the recipe.

4 pints Strawberries, trimmed of their stems
1 cup Vanilla Yogurt
1 bunch Mint
Splash Balsamic vinegar
2-3 Tbsp Agave Nectar or Honey, to taste
1 tsp Cinnamon
Apple Juice as needed

Pour 1/2 cup of good balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced into a syrup. Remove from heat, season with cinnamon and set aside.

Slice 1 pint of strawberries in half and cook on a hot, buttered griddle or pan just until cut side is carmelized, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and cut into a large dice. Chiffonade (thinly slice) a few mint leaves and add to the cut strawberries. Pour balsamic syrup over strawberries, stir and set aside.
In a blender combine 1 1/2 pints of strawberries, yogurt, mint and agave nectar until smooth (will probably have to do in 2 batches). If it's too thick, thin with a little apple juice. Pass the cold soup through a strainer to catch any lumps.
To serve, ladle the cool soup into bowls, and top with the balsamic strawberry mixture. Garnish with a mint leaf and serve immediately.