Tag Archives: fish

Chinese Inspiration: Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables

Written by Liz –

Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe

Eating out is probably my very favorite thing to do. I love to pick out a new restaurant, then go check out its neighborhood and decor, imagining myself living nearby and becoming a regular, noting coffee shops on the corner I might frequent in the morning and places to find new wines after work. I always ask the server what the chef recommends – after all, he is the expert. She is the one who knows what’s fresh, what’s done best in her kitchen.

I especially love small, family owned, neighborhood Chinese joints, where you can find dishes so authentic you could only dream of recreating them at home. On a recent visit to one such place, I promptly asked “What should I eat?” Chef sent several dishes: all traditional Chinese slightly tweaked to accommodate local ingredients and Chef’s recent culinary obsessions. My favorites were the Szechuan Lamb Loin in Traditional Orange Peel Sauce and the Braised Fresh Black Cod with Szechuan Chili Sauce. Chef gallantly shared his black cod recipe with me, which was 3 pages long and included ingredients I couldn’t pronounce! I immediately set about making a simpler version that’s also easy to cook (based on Chris’ fish packets recipe).

I love Szechuan cooking: really spicy but also a sweet or cooling element to balance it. In this recipe, you can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to get just the right level of spice that you will love. Gourmet Chinese food at home!

Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Grated peel and juice from 1 Mandarin orange or tangerine
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup sake or dry white wine
  • 1 bunch green onions, half bunch sliced thinly lengthwise and other half diced for garnish
  • 4 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 (4 to 5 ounces each) about 1-inch-thick Alaskan or Black Cod fish fillets (can use other white fish such as wild halibut, red snapper, orange roughy or talapia)
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus spears, cut on diagonal into 2-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups total)
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch circles (about 1 1/2 cups total)
  • Heavy-duty foil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds for garnish


Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe

PREHEAT oven to 450° F.

HEAT 1 tablespoon sesame oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes or until brown.

Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe

COMBINE remaining 3 tablespoons sesame oil, browned garlic, orange juice and grated peel, chicken stock, seasoning sauce, sake, thinly sliced green onions, ginger, brown sugar, chili flakes and cinnamon in large bowl. Mix well, as shown above.

Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe

ARRANGE four 12 x 13-inch pieces of foil on work surface. Divide asparagus and zucchini evenly down center of each foil sheet. Place one fish fillet over vegetables.

Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe

FOLD up foil sides to create small foil bowl. Pour about one-quarter cup of the sauce over fish and vegetables for each packet. Double fold top and ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place on 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet.

BAKE for 17 to 20 minutes or until fish is just opaque in center and vegetables are crisp-tender. Carefully open packets, allowing steam to escape away from you and let cool briefly. Using a spatula, gently push the fish and vegetables onto plate. Top with sauce, diced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. (This is also great served over rice.)

Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe

Cook’s Tip:

Fish packets are also great on the grill! Preheat grill to medium. Place packets on grill; cover and cook over indirect heat for 20 minutes or until fish is opaque in center and vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from grill and open carefully.


More fish recipes:

No Mess Summer Fish Packets with Pesto recipe
No Mess Summer Fish Packets with Pesto
Lemon-Dill Salmon recipe
Lemon-Dill Salmon recipe

Fishin’ in the Garden: Marinated Swordfish with Avocado Butter

Grilled Swordfish Kabobs with Avocado Butter recipe

I had just spent some time in Spain, Basque country to be exact, where I’d eaten so much amazing seafood. Octopus charcoal-grilled or swimming in fragrant broth, fish caught that day then wood-oven fired with wine and garlic and zesty, salty sardines to start every meal.

When I returned, I decided to make this Grilled Swordfish Kabobs with Avocado Butter recipe for my Easter guests in the garden. Spring is my favorite time to eat in the garden, when it’s just coming to life and things are beginning to bloom.

As usual, I made a few changes to the recipe:

  • I used Hawaiian escolar instead of swordfish. It has a similar taste to swordfish or tuna, but a more buttery texture.
  • I used fresh squeezed orange juice and orange zest instead of lemon. This gave it a more mellow, sweet-citrus flavor.
  • I broiled the escolar whole instead of cubing it for kabobs (but limited serving sizes to less than 6 ounces). This kept it tender on the inside and perfectly broiled on the outside.

Grilled Swordfish Kabobs with Avocado Butter recipe

The dish was a hit! My guests said they would have been impressed with any chef that made this (perhaps at an outdoor restaurant in Spain?) along with the side of blanched asparagus with a farm egg, dressed with the same marinade. And I just might be a little impressed myself.

Grilled Swordfish Kabobs with Avocado Butter



  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and mashed until smooth
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon MAGGI Seasoning Sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, tops included


  • 1/4 cup MAGGI TASTE OF ASIA Cooking Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 (about 1 1/2 pounds total) small swordfish or tuna steaks, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 skewers



COMBINE avocado, butter, lemon juice, seasoning sauce and garlic powder in a small bowl; fold in sliced green onions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


COMBINE soy sauce, oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, garlic and mustard in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag; blend mixture with fingers.

ADD fish cubes to bag. Seal bag and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 to 3 hours.

THREAD fish onto skewers. Discard marinade.

PREHEAT grill or broiler.

GRILL or broil fish, turning over halfway through cooktime, for 4 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with Avocado Butter.

Note: If you are using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes before threading.


Related recipes – make it a meal:

Cream of Broccoli-Leek Soup recipe
Cream of Broccoli-Leek Soup
 Inside-Out Chocolate Strawberries recipe
Inside-Out Chocolate Strawberries

Two Weeknight Spring Meals & One Simple Spring Dessert

 Whole Wheat Ravioli with Garlic Sautéed Vegetables recipe

Did you know March 20th is National Ravioli Day? I just love Foodimentary.com. So many fun food facts on that site! It’s also the first day of Spring!

If you follow my blog posts, you know that I get to work with a lot of awesome brands. Buitoni is one of them. You might also know I am a busy mom. Ok, a very busy mom…with triplets. So I take short cuts here and there. You aren’t going to find me making my own ravioli when there is a perfectly good one (made with whole wheat no less) readily available. Here’s my favorite ravioli recipe: Whole Wheat Ravioli with Garlic Sautéed Vegetables.

In this recipe, fresh green beans, summer squash and tomatoes are sautéed together then tossed with whole wheat ravioli for a simple weeknight meal. When you enjoy vegetables in season you can save money – you can also get the most flavor and nutritional punch for your buck. Asparagus, fresh peas and carrots are also good choices and will work beautifully in this recipe! Start to finish, you can have it on your table in 20 minutes.

Whole Wheat Ravioli with Garlic Sautéed Vegetables

Ingredients needed for 4 servings:

  • 1 package (9 ounces) BUITONI Refrigerated Whole Wheat Four Cheese Ravioli, prepared according to package directions
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow summer squash, quartered and sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) BUITONI Refrigerated Freshly Shredded Parmesan or Romano Cheese


Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green beans, salt and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add squash; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Toss in prepared pasta; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes or until pasta is warm. Sprinkle with cheese.


Baked Salmon over Apple-Ginger Quinoa recipe

Heart-healthy salmon is one of my family’s favorite weeknight meals.  In this recipe, all natural apple juice is combined with soy sauce for tang, honey for sweetness and fresh ginger and sesame oil for a little zing. The salmon marinates in half of this mixture for 30 minutes to pick up all the delicious flavors. After that, it bakes for 10 to 12 minutes. The remaining sauce is reserved for serving – delicious!

To complement the salmon, quinoa is cooked with apple juice and ginger (just a bit to sweeten it up ever so slightly). And the sautéed shallots and garlic round it out nicely with beautiful savory notes.

And, you can make this as the salmon marinates. Watch the video above to see just how easy it is.

Baked Salmon over Apple-Ginger Quinoa

Ingredients needed for 4 servings:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Apple NESTLÉ® JUICY JUICE® All Natural 100% Juice, divided
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons peeled, grated fresh ginger, divided
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 (about 6 ounces each) wild salmon fillets (center-cut fillets or fillets that are of the same thickness are best so they cook at the same rate)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots or onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup ivory quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon MAGGI Instant Chicken Flavor Bouillon
  • Ground black pepper
  • Sliced green onions (optional)

Whisk 2 tablespoons Juicy Juice, soy sauce, honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger, vinegar and sesame oil. Reserve half of mixture for serving. Pour remaining mixture into shallow pie plate. Add salmon and turn to coat. Cover; marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450° F. Line baking sheet with foil.

Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in quinoa; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in water, remaining 1 cup Juicy Juice, bouillon and remaining 1 teaspoon ginger. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover; cook for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork; cover to keep warm.

Place salmon on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle with pepper. Discard marinade. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. If you want the top caramelized, put it under the broiler for a minute or two. Drizzle reserved marinade over salmon; serve with apple-ginger quinoa. If you are looking for a side, these Roasted Carrots with Shallots & Thyme will be a perfect match!

Spring Fruit Tart recipe

Are you ready for dessert? Come on, sure you are! Everyone deserves dessert, in moderation of course. Celebrate the sweetness of spring with this stunning tart, bursting with the flavor of fresh, seasonal fruit.

With only five ingredients, including your favorite fruits such as red raspberries, sliced mango and kiwifruit, this recipe is a breeze to make. The crust is made of sugar cookie dough – a lovely shortcut!

Spring Fruit Tart

Ingredients needed for 8 servings:

Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease bottom and side of 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom.

Place whole bar of dough in prepared pan. Allow to soften for 5 to 10 minutes. Using fingertips, pat dough gently to cover bottom and side of tart pan.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled cookie crust to within 1/2 inch of edge.

Arrange fruit as desired on top of cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove rim of pan; slice into wedges.

What shortcuts do you take? I’d love to hear them…


Related Spring recipes:

Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti with Lemon and Asparagus recipe
Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti with Lemon & Asparagus
Zesty Orange Cookie Cups recipe
Zesty Orange Cookie Cups

Cooking in Foil Packets: Fish on the Grill or in the Oven

Written by Chris

Pesto Fish Packets

Longer days demand quick dinners that are a cinch to prepare and clean up. Equally important, it utilizes fresh produce while in season. I am so happy that the best growing months of the year are finally here! If you didn’t know, June is National Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Month. Now is a great time to visit your farmers market for locally grown, seasonal produce.

If you haven’t cooked in foil packets before, you are in for a real treat (I’ll show you how in this quick video below). Preparation is easy. No special equipment is needed. And, cleanup is a breeze. Plus, this method of cooking is great if you want to keep calories and fat in check.

Now, I did add pesto to this recipe, but a little goes a long way. There is no need to prepare your own pesto. Buitoni pesto is made with all natural ingredients (basil, Parmesan and olive oil, that’s it!). It’s as close to homemade as you can get. And when combined with fresh lemon peel as in this recipe, it is truly exceptional.

Just about any fish or veggie – or combination thereof – will work great in this recipe. The only real care you need to take is to make sure your veggies are of similar size, this way they cook evenly. As well, the fish should be about 1 inch in thickness. Once the packets are assembled, they can be cooked outdoors on the grill or indoors in your oven.

Simple and fresh with minimal clean up – the way summer recipes should be!

Related recipes – make it a meal:

Summer Potato Salad recipe
Summer Potato Salad
Towering Sweetness recipe
Towering Sweetness

Salmon Fillets with Creamy Corn & Dill

Salmon Fillets with Creamy Corn & Dill

I love cooking with herbs, and dill is my favorite in the spring time. Dill is a staple herb in Mediterranean cuisine and a staple in my kitchen (I am from the Mediterranean after all!). It is a perfect herb to be used with fish and dairy. I make plain yogurt with fresh chopped dill, fresh garlic and chopped cucumber. My girls love it as a dip for vegetables and as a starter dish with whole wheat pita bread. I also use dill as an herb in many other fish recipes. I combine fresh dill, lemon slices, olive oil and sea salt to season whole trout and bake it in the oven.

  • Dill is a good source of calcium, iron and magnesium.
  • Salmon is a great source of protein, B12, niacin, and selenium, and is an excellent source of B6 and magnesium and the “good fats” (omega-3 fats) which makes it heart-friendly.
  • Substituting cream with low-fat evaporated milk makes this recipe even healthier by reducing the amount of fat without sacrificing flavor.

You can try this recipe with other types of fish, and also experiment with different herbs to make your meals more nutritious.

Related herb recipes:

Chilled Spring Avocado-Cucumber Soup recipe
Chilled Spring Avocado-Cucumber Soup
Spring Herb Omelets recipe
Spring Herb Omelets
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