*Lettuce* Be Healthy and Eat Well 

Time to detox after my birthday celebrations this week 😜 I was craving a fresh salad and whipped this up today. I love a good salad but what’s on top of the lettuce is really what matters to me (my family calls this “the fixins”). So, over my bed of spring mix lettuce, I added sunflower seeds, red onion, goat cheese and radish chips with a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The crunchy radish chips went perfectly with the creamy goat cheese. For the radish chips, I used my mandolin so I could get very thin slices. I laid the radish slices onto a baking sheet and put them in the oven with some vegetable oil, salt and pepper at 425 degrees. I let these cook and crisp up for about 12 minutes. I made sure to let them sit out and cool for a while after taking them out. They tend to crisp up even more at this point! Tip: soak the red onion slices in cold ice water before eating raw. This will take some of the bitterness away👌🏻

Tastes Like Home 

Tonight’s recipe: Black Bean Corn Salad. I have had my food instagram and blog since early January and I can’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe yet! As I’ve improved and learned throughout my culinary journey, I have tried some great new recipes and techniques, but sometimes you just have to go back to the basics. This salad reminds me of home.. this was a staple snack in our household growing up, and I have made it a staple snack in my own home now. It is super simple and can be made in large batches so you can eat it throughout the week! It’s pretty open ended as well. You can use canned items or go the fresh route! I used canned black beans that I rinsed and drained, diced fresh green peppers, diced fresh tomatoes, diced fresh onion, diced jalapeño (you know I gotta have the kick), I boiled a couple of ears of corn on the cob and cut off the kernels once they cooled, lime juice and some chopped fresh cilantro. I seasoned it with salt, pepper and drizzled some olive oil and golden balsamic vinegar to taste.

Bowl of “This and That”

Today we have another one of my “this and that” meals! I’m a veggie lover and my goal was to make these ingredients shine without doing much to them. Starting at the top and going clockwise we have lightly sautéed red peppers with basil, roasted Zucchini, diced roasted sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus, Worcester cooked button mushrooms, roasted garlic, and fresh avocado- all over a bed of roasted spaghetti squash that had been tossed with salt, red pepper flakes and a dash of olive oil. Everything in this dish was kept very natural and simple. I wanted to keep the integrity of these fresh ingredients. All of the roasted vegetables were simply seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil. That’s a whoolleee lotta yum in one dish!😋**Fun Fact: When cooking with oil, one of the best to use is vegetable oil…not olive oil. Olive oil has a high burning point which makes it tricky to cook meats and vegetables that require longer cooking times. Olive oil is best used as a dressing for all types of salads or to drizzle over ingredients. 

Fish Lettuce Cups

This evening, I was at the grocery store to get some dinner essentials for tonight’s meal. I wasn’t quite sure what I was craving at the time and was trying to gain some inspiration from the produce aisle.  I grabbed a couple of different items that would help me to create a dynamic dish of flavors and color: 

-Cabbage for crunch and greenery 

-Radicchio for a bitter bite and bright purple coloring 

-Green apple for a tart, crunchy, fresh ingredient 

-Tomatoes for a sweet, bright flavor 

-Serrano pepper for some spice 

-Lime for an acidic note 

-Oranges for a sweet, acidic addition 

I had my produce and decided tilapia was the way to go tonight. It’s a fairly inexpensive fish and looked super fresh today. I now had my protein and was ready to make these ingredients work together. I enjoy piecing together a delicious meal from scratch and not always knowing what it’s going to be from the start. 

I unloaded my bags and laid everything out on the counter. I decided on making a fish taco with lettuce cups. I washed my produce and cut into my cabbage. I pulled apart the lettuce so I could have individual cups for the food to go into. Next, I cut into my radicchio. I knew that if I was going to use radicchio, I wanted to roast it a bit to tone down the bitterness and add a crunchy quality. I tossed it in a bowl with some salt, pepper, olive oil, and herbs de provence. I laid it out onto a baking sheet and cooked it at 450 for 12 minutes on one side and 8 on the other side.

Next I cut up my sweet onion, tomato and Serrano pepper. I added them into a sautée pan with some vegetable oil, salt, pepper and a bit of cilantro. I let these cook down just a bit. I didn’t want the tomatoes to get too soggy, yet I wanted to release some of the spice from the pepper. Once the onions were just soft, I took the pan off the heat and let them cool. I wanted this to serve as a pico de gallo for my tacos. As my pico cooled, I took the radicchio out of the oven. It had shrunk a bit, but had gained a crunchy texture that I was excited about. I set these aside to cool as well. 

Next, it was time to focus on the fish! I seasoned the fish on both sides with salt, pepper and lime juice. I then softened some garlic with some vegetable oil in a sautee pan. I let this heat up and when the garlic became fragrant I put the fish in the pan at medium high heat. It began to sizzle in the oil and I added an extra squeeze of lime juice. I let the tilapia cook on each side for 4 minutes. This left it with a golden brown crust and a flakey, moist texture. 

Finally it was time to put my tacos together! Inside each lettuce cup, I laid down a piece of roasted radicchio, a spoonful of my (already cooled) homemade pico de gallo, some finely chopped green apple for a tangy demention to the dish, a piece of tilapia, and an orange slice. I topped this with some extra lime juice, a drizzle sauce that had been created when cooking the fish, and some freshly chopped parsley! 

Each bite of the taco was complex and interesting! There were so many different flavors in the dish that played off of each other nicely. It was well balanced and full of flavor! 

The Roe 

Hello Long Beach, California! Before this trip, I tried to do my restaurant research. I came across this restaurant called Roe Seafood. They had great reviews and the menu looked delicious! I saw they had a great happy hour menu (that included $2 oysters😍), a really neat scenery with trees growing inside the restaurant, lots of natural colors and streaming lights. They had an outdoor patio as well, which is where we chose to sit. We started with some happy hour cocktails (dirty martini for me, and bourbon for my husband) with some oysters! The oysters were super fresh, and tasted of the ocean. We next ordered a spicy scallop ceviche, and for my main course I ordered this beautiful sea bass over top a pea purée with diced bacon and potatoes. When it came out, I immediately gave them an A+ for presentation. This colorful and neat plate of food got me even more excited to dig in! This fish was delicious with a crispy skin that soaked up some lemon juice for a nice acidic bite. The fish was flakey and tasty! The soft pea purée underneath paired very well with the acidity of the fish. The bacon lended a salty flavor to the dish, and the potatoes added a starchy element to the plate that was welcomed. Overall this was a very pleasant meal and we had a great experience here!

Out of The Box 

Last night I went to dinner with my family at a restaurant called Brown Dog Cafe in Blue Ash, Ohio. This place really had me intrigued when I first saw the menu…they have many different cuts of meat that I have never tried before and they put a contemporary spin on their dishes. They appeared to be different than any place I had been, which excited me. The restaurant is connected to Summit Park. Being that it was such a beautiful evening, many families were hanging out on the green space, throwing frisbees and enjoying the weather and live music. I ordered my glass of wine and started deciding if I was going to be adventurous this evening. The menu included dishes such as caffeinated wild boar, double duck, pheasant sausage, venison and more! However, when I saw the salmon dish I knew it was for me! Mixed with Asian flavors (my favorite as you know😉), I decided that would be my order. The salmon (pictured above) came with stir fried Asian vegetables, sautéed shrimp, a jasmine coconut rice cake, green curry sauce and a maple ginger miso glaze. The salmon was so succulent and juicy with a ton of flavor and a nice crispy, caramelized skin. I would order this dish again in a heart beat! I saw some of the more “exotic” dishes pass me as I sat at my booth, and decided next time I would go off the beaten path. Even though some dishes seemed a bit unusual, you know their chef is breaking the norm and creating really delicious food with some unique ingredients! If your in the area I highly recommend checking them out!!