Salmon Baked in Foil Packets

This is one easy and fool proof way of cooking salmon fillets. Clean up is a breeze too since there are no pans to scour or scrub.

Pre-heat your oven to 400F.

Take a heavy duty foil and place some lemon slices in the middle, then place your salmon fillet on top. Season fish with salt and pepper and then add 2 tbsp of butter on it. Sprinkle generously with chopped dill, I added a lot since I love dill. Then pull the sides of the foil together and do a double fold to seal all edges. Repeat with all remaining pieces of your salmon fillet. Place your packets in a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes. Note: you can add vegetables like asparagus, green beans, snap peas etc to the side of your fillet before sealing it.

To serve, Gently remove salmon from packets (remember steam can burn) and place on top of quinoa salad. I just mixed arugula, sliced persian cucumber, avocado and 1/2 cup cooked quinoa tossed with 1 tbsp. each olive oil and lemon juice.

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Smoked Salmon Rice Bowl

Smoked Salmon is one my favorite food. I love it on toast or bagel and could eat it breakfast, lunch or dinner. Recently I broke tradition and decided to add it on my rice. This for me is what cooking is all about, letting your imagination run wild and not limiting yourself to the expected. I have to admit this could not entirely be called cooking but more of putting your ingredients together.

Start by placing your cooked white rice on a bowl. You can use brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice if you prefer. Then arrange a couple of slices of smoked salmon on top. For my bowl I added a fried egg, avocado and some radish to finish it off. You can really get creative in making your rice bowl and add whatever ingredient you fancy. Some ideas would be nori strips, sesame seeds, cucumber, edamame, soft boiled egg to name a few.

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Pan Seared Swordfish with Herbed Butter Sauce

I am just loving the newly opened Whole Foods Market in our town. I have been there almost everyday since it’s grand opening. Last Sunday a display of a whole swordfish right outside their store immediately caught my attention. They were on sale for $9.99 a lb. and were even sampling it for their customers. Who can resist that bargain so I bought a piece that was just a little over a pound for our dinner that night.

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To prepare, I cut the swordfish steak in half since it was a huge portion. Then dry with paper towels. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Place your fish on pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Then flip fish and add 2 tbsp butter (I used herbed butter), 2 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp dill on the pan. Cook for another 3 minutes while continuously basting fish with the herbed butter.

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To plate, place your swordfish steak on plate and pour some herbed butter sauce on top. Serve with steamed vegetables and salad.

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Paksiw na Bangus (Milkfish) Belly

This is another recipe in my seafood series. As I have mentioned before, we are trying to incorporate more fish in our diet and this is one of the many seafood recipes I have prepared so far. I have made paksiw in a previous post using milkfish or bangus. This time I am making it using my favorite choice cut bangus belly.

This only takes a few minutes to prepare. In a medium sized pan, place your bangus belly and pour about 1/2-3/4 cup cane vinegar or what we call the Filipino vinegar. It’s important to use this kind because substituting anything else will result in a different taste altogether. Pour about the same amount of water, thumb sized fresh ginger cut into slivers and 1 asian eggplant cut lengthwise. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. kosher salt. Cook this over medium flame uncovered and let this come to a boil. Then lower the heat and continue cooking for several minutes until fish is done.

Filipinos eat paksiw with rice and fish sauce on the side. I grew up eating paksiw with a side dish of chopped roma tomatoes and cilantro seasoned with fish sauce, in my case I used grape tomatoes. Sometimes my mom would add some diced onion in it.

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Korean Seafood Tofu Soup (Soondubu Jjigae )

It’s almost the middle of October and we were still experiencing really mild to warm weather. Today the air has started to turn chilly at last. It seemed to be the perfect time to serve up some soup, so I decided to make spicy tofu soup for dinner. My family get this everytime we go to Tofu House restaurant in Edison. This is not difficult at all to prepare since you can buy a soup starter kit to make this. This is my own take on this dish and not in anyway saying it’s the authentic way to do it. Korean tofu soup is usually cooked and served in an earthenware pot called Ttukbaegi. I didn’t have one so I just used a stainless steel pot to make this recipe.

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First, place 4-5 cups water in a pot and let this come to a boil. Then I added 2 tbsp. dried anchovies in a tea bag and I let this simmer for a few minutes. This is entirely optional since we are already making the soup from a starter kit, I just want the added flavor. While your broth is boiling, get another pot and saute half an onion in a little oil until soft and transluscent. Then add about a cup of seafood medley, 1 tsp. of gochujang (red pepper paste) and 1 tsp. of sesame oil. Mix and let this cook until just combined.

Fish out your dried anchovy packet and add the seafood medley mix to the broth and the seasoning packet from the kit. Let this come to a boil again then add your vegetables. I chose to add 1 small zucchini chopped and a couple of sliced baby portabella mushrooms. Cook until vegetables and seafood are done. This will only take a couple of minutes. Then add your tofu by spooning it in big chunks. Continue cooking until tofu is heated through.

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To serve, crack one egg onto your bowl and ladle the soup on top. Note: Adding an egg is the traditional way of serving tofu soup, if you are not comfortable adding a raw egg you may skip this part. If you are using an earthenware pot to serve your soup, you add your egg on top of the soup just before serving since it retains more heat and will better cook

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Bangus Belly Rice Bowl

Here is another quick and easy recipe for a rice bowl. I discovered this is just the perfect meal for me and my husband now that our girls are in college. Not only is it easy to throw together but also just the right portion for us. This is also a neat way in serving bangsilog (Bangus + sinangag + itlog). This is the Filipino fare of fried fish, garlic rice and fried egg.

I have been loving the frozen bangus belly lately that I make sure I always have a pack stowed away in the freezer. This time around I made it into daing which is the Filipino way of marinating fish in vinegar, garlic and spices before frying or in my case broiling.

To make, prepare your bangus belly by cutting it in half then marinating in 1 tbsp white vinegar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and sprinkling some garlic powder and salt and pepper on both sides of the fish. Let this stand for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. Note: this recipe is for just 1 piece of bangus belly, you may adjust amount of seasoning depending on how many you use.

Turn on your broiler and line a sheet pan with heavy duty foil and spray with a little cooking oil. Lay your bangus belly skin side down and place under broiler. Broil your bangus till brown and crisp on both sides. Don’t forget to turn it halfway through cooking. Make sure to watch it because it does not take too long to cook.

To serve, get a medium size bowl and place some brown rice at the bottom. Then place some salad greens or whatever leafy greens you have. Add some avocado slices then your broiled bangus belly and finally top it off with a fried egg.

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Bangus Belly Sinigang

My husband and I have been trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Meaning eating fish, chicken and vegetables and avoiding red meat and saturated fats as much as possible. This is not an easy feat mind you specially if you own a food blog.

But I was able to manage to serve an all fish dinner for more than a week. This is one of the dish that I made during our seafood diet 🙂

Bangus or milkfish is available in any Asian grocer. It is a favorite in most Filipino households and usually prepared fried or in soup. The only thing I dislike about this fish is that is has too many fishbones. I have many a times got fishbone stuck on my throat eating this which is not a pleasant experience at all. That is why I am so pleased to find boneless and even milkfish belly slices sold frozen here in the Northeast.

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I made sinigang from a packet I got since I remember my sister serving these to me during my trip back home.

To make, Place 5-6 cups water in a medium sized pot and add 2 roma tomatoes chopped and 1 small onion diced. Let this come to a boil and then lower heat and simmer til vegetable are tender. Then add a packet of tamarind mix and stir until dissolved. Add your hardy vegetables like eggplant and radish and cook for a few minutes. Then add your bangus belly slices. I intentionally added the vegetables first because the fish slices only takes a few minutes to cook. Season with fish sauce to taste. Once the fish is done add your leafy vegetables then cover and turn off the heat. P.S. you can use spinach, bok choy or yuchoy or whatever leafy greens you prefer.

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Dilis (Crispy Anchovies) Rice Bowl

Rice bowls are fast becoming staples in a lot restaurants here in the US. It gives a modern take in serving traditional dishes.

Creating your rice bowl at home is easy and is also fun way in preparing meals for your family. You can make up your own combination of toppings. My rule is there should be protein as well as vegetable included in the dish. Last to make sure and use colorful ingredients for visual appeal.

Get a bowl and place some cooked rice at the bottom, you can use white, brown, mixed or whatever kind rice you fancy. Then arrange your toppings, for this dish I added some diced avocado and grape tomatoes, a handful of arugula and sliced salted red egg. Then some dried dilis that has been pan fried until brown and crisped. As an after thought I could have added a sunny side egg to round up this dish.

Drizzle some kind of dressing, in my case it’s olive and lemon juice. You can be as creative as you want to be in making rice bowls.

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Paksiw na Bangus (Stewed Milk Fish in Vinegar)

Paksiw is a uniquely Filipino dish. It’s very rustic since the only flavoring ingredient is vinegar. As I have mentioned before vinegar is widely used in Filipino cooking. The main reason was food preservation, this was before the advent of refrigeration. It also emphasizes how our food revolves around 4 main flavors which is Salty, Sour, Bitter and Sweet.

The secret to making good paksiw is using fresh fish or seafood. My parents and grandparents grew up in Navotas a fishing village near the capital and are used to literaraly eating the catch of the day. This is the reason why I learned to eat different sorts of seafood and prefer to eat my fish whole rather than filleted. My husband who grew up in the same town loves this dish.

For this recipe you will need a good sized milk fish. Have your fish monger clean and cut it into 4 pieces or depending on how big you want it. Traditionally when making paksiw the scales are not removed from the fish, but I had mine taken out since the milk fish available here are frozen ones and is unsure how it would affect the taste of finished product.

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To make, place your fish in a pan and add a thumb sized ginger cut into slivers, one to two long green peppers, and 1 Asian eggplant sliced. To this add 1/2 – 3/4 cup coconut vinegar or cane vinegar and 1 cup water. Season with 1 tbsp, kosher salt. Let this come to a boil then lower the heat and simmer uncovered around 10 minutes of until fish is done.

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This is best served the following day to allow the flavors to mellow and meld. Serve with a bowl of steamed white rice and fish sauce on the side

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Adobong Pusit II (Squid in Black Ink Sauce)

Squid in black ink sauce is not uniquely Filipino. This is considered a classic in Spanish and Italian cuisine. They call it “calamares en su tinta”. Their preparation is not that different from ours, squid is sauteed in onions, garlic and tomato and white wine is added then reduced before squid ink is added.

I have previously posted a recipe of this dish here, but I was not thoroughly satisfied how it turned out since the squid ink didn’t turn as black as I wanted it too. The problem being the squid available here in our area are usuallly sold previously frozen. I found a solution that would yield a perfectly black adobong pusit. The secret, add cuttlesfish ink that are sold in bottles or sachets.

To make this adobong pusit, first clean your squid by removing it’s head and taking out it’s innards and cartiledge. Wash and rinse the the body thoroughly with water. If your squid is on the bigger side like what I had, slice it into rings. Then set aside.

Heat a medium sized pan, then add some olive oil around 2 tbsp. Then saute 1 medium chopped onion and 3 cloves finley minced garlic. Let this cook until fragrant and translucent. Then add your squid and stir fry a bit until coated with the aromatics. Add 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, 1 tbsp. cuttlefish ink and 1/2 cup of water. Stir and let it boil for a few minutes. Then add 1/4 – 1/2 cup cane vinegar (to taste) cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes. Then cover and simmer until liquid is reduced and sauced has thickened a bit. Season to taste with fish sauce or kosher salt.

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