Monday, February 28, 2011

Quick, Easy, and Delicious...Who knew Swai was even a fish?

While doing my weekly shopping (a day late), I came across a fish called Swai. I asked the man at the counter what he would compare it to and he said similar to tilapia. At $3.99 a pound, even if it tasted like crap, it was worth trying. I am SO happy I did. I just hope they carry it more often!! If you google it, they say its from the catfish family but I am NOT a catfish fan and loved this fish!

I seasoned the swai with olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper and then topped it with some slices of red onion. I baked it for about 8 minutes at 400 degrees. It came out moist and delicious!

I have been using quinoa very frequently and came across a red variety today. Although it was good, I think for a fish accompaniment, the white quinoa would have worked better. However, I cooked it as instructed on the package and used it as a bed for my fish.

I needed a veggie and didn't feel like anything steamed and dull so I picked up some fresh snap peas and an avocado. I made a simple vinaigrette with olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper. I then sliced the peas lengthwise so that the dressing could get into their pods. I diced some avocado and added some thinly sliced red onion and tossed them all. I needed to add something and I remembered my mom usually puts both cheese and pancetta in her version of this salad so I added a pinch of really good parmigiana reggiano. It was the perfect touch! I topped my fish with this fresh salad and it made for a great light and tasty meal after a rainy day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

NY Cheesecake made with love and lots of fat!

So I made a cheesecake for the first time without ricotta cheese and it didn't turn out that bad. My suggestion is to NOT use any low fat ingredients to replace the ones listed below in order to maintain consistency. If you must substitute....I wish you luck! I would suggest making the crust yourself as well because I think that you will have too much filling if you try to use a pre-made shell. Come's not that hard!! In order to result in a creamy texture, you MUST make this ahead of time.

Ingredients for Crust:

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter

Ingredients for Cake:

4 packages of cream cheese (8 oz each, softened)
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 cup milk or cream
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 c. sour cream
1/4 c. flour

Directions for crust:

Mix the three crust ingredients together until combined. You should have something that looks like wet crumbs. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a spring form pan (a MUST). Use a measuring cup to condense crumbs and form corners along the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

Directions for cheesecake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a hand mixer or kitchen aid, whip sugar into cream cheese. Slowly add milk and vanilla and combine. Add eggs one at a time. Then add the sour cream and flour. Mix for a minute until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour mixture into spring form pan making sure the top is smooth. Bake for about one hour until top is slightly golden. Cool on counter for about 2 hours and then transfer to refrigerator and cool completely (at least 4 hours but preferably overnight). Serve chilled with fresh fruit, compote, or all alone.

NOTES ON THIS DISH: Many recipes call to cool cake in oven but this started to overcook the cake and brown the top too much. We tried cooling on the counter and when we cut into it, it seemed like it was a souffle like consistency. However, after chilling it overnight, the desired creaminess was achieved!! If you like a crumbly crust, use less butter. If you like a firm crust use more butter!