Thursday, April 26, 2012

Asparagus Pesto

Pesto is one of my all time favorite sauces for pasta.

I remember tasting pesto for the first time at a wonderful restaurant called Pronto, in Chicago. My ex-hubby was on a business trip, working on a computer conversion at the Chicago Stock Exchange, and  I accommpanied him on this trip.  The highlight was seeking out interesting places to dine, each night. Pronto had an open steel kitchen, and it was the first time I'd ever seen one. It was impressive, to say the least. The pesto was soooo good, and I've been making it ever since. My dessert, that evening, was also to die for!  It was a dense dark chocolate cake topped with espresso ice cream and a bittersweet chocolate sauce. A memorable meal, indeed.

Yesterday, Rachel Ray made a pesto using asparagus. It never occurred to me to use asparagus! So I did some research online, and settled on a recipe from the NY Times. I tweaked it a little, adding a chiffonade of baby spinach to the pasta water, at the last minute, and left some of the tips of the asparagus spears whole, and placed them on top, just beore serving.

I also used whole wheat penne, but you can use whatever pasta you prefer.

Asparagus Pesto
Time: 20 minutes

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch segments
1 clove garlic, or more to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil, or more as desired
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add the asparagus and cook until fully tender but not mushy, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well, reserving some of the cooking liquid, and let the asparagus cool slightly. 2. Transfer the asparagus to a food processor and add the garlic, pine nuts, 2 tablespoons of the oil, Parmesan, a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary, and gradually add the remaining oil and a bit more of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten if necessary. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste, pulse one last time, and serve over pasta, fish or chicken (or cover and refrigerate for up to a day). Yield: 4 to 6 servings (about 1 1/2 cups).

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fish Tacos

On Thursday, I discovered a new fish monger in downtown  Passaic Park. It is a small shop owned and operated by a local Hasidic Jewish family. For religous reasons, it is only open 4 days a week, so you know the fish is going to be very very fresh. This day I purchased Salmon, and Tilapia. 
I saved the Tilipia for today and looked through my recipes and found one for Fish Tacos written by Ellie Kreiger. You may recall that Ellie had a show on the Food TV Network, but the show was never renewed. I loved the show, as it featured light and healthy recipes.

It features a sauce made from chipotles in adobo sauce, yogurt and a tiny bit of mayo. I'm sure you could omit the mayo and just go with the yogurt, to may it even more less caloric. It has just the right kick to make these tacos well worth making them. If you like it a bit more spicy,feel free to add more chipotle and adobo sauce.



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound white flaky fish fillet, like tilapia or halibut

Chipotle cream:

  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage or lettuce
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges


In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pour over the fish fillets and let marinate for 20 minutes. Put the yogurt into a strainer lined with apaper towel and place over a bowl to drain and thicken for 20 minutes.

Remove the fish from the marinade and grill on a preheated grill or nonstick grill pan over a medium-high heat until cooked thorough, about 3 minutes per side. Set the fish aside on a plate for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl combine the thickened yogurt, mayonnaise, and chipotle pepper.

Heat the tortillas on the grill or grill pan for 30 seconds on each side.

Flake the fish with a fork. Top each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of the chipotle cream. Top with fish, cabbage, corn and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.