Monday, March 9, 2009

Something New

After a long, stressful journey to the U.S. this past week, my husband and I were craving something healthy (as in NOT fast food), flavorful and new. Our diet has recently consisted of Subway, McDonald's, and Chili's. Ugh. I feel so bogged down by both the food portions (way too much) and the type of food we had to eat. I should mention that this is not normally how we eat when we travel to the U.S., but we were on a trip with a group of 16, 17 and 18 year old boys. Need I say more about the diet they are accustomed to?

I went to the grocery store this evening with no particular plan in mind except to fulfill the aforementioned requirements. After wandering around for a little while, I started to get some ideas. I picked up some bok choy, pumpkin (in Japan, pumpkin looks more like what we call squash in the U.S.- green skin, orange flesh), fresh udon noodles, shitake mushrooms and bass fillets. In the back of my mind, I had a list of the ingredients I already had at home and could use to put together a healthy meal. I am getting much more comfortable cooking without a recipe in front of me and trying to work with what I already know about different flavors and how to create a meal out of various types of ingredients. So, tonight was another adventure in the kitchen! Here is what I came up with...

Asian Spice Rubbed Bass with Udon and Stir-Fried Vegetables

Serves 2

2 bass fillets
Asian spice rub (recipe below)
4 tablespoons cooking oil
1 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili sauce or tobasco sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, chopped
Udon Noodles
bok choy
4 shitake mushrooms
black sesame seeds

For the spice rub:

2 tablespoons sea salt
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 tablespoon olive oil or other cooking oil

In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the spice rub. Add the oil and mix into a paste-like consistency. Rub all sides of each bass fillet with the spice rub. Set aside.

In a medium or large pot of boiling water, add the udon noodles and cook according to the package directions. In a small pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the bass fillets and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, in a wok or large sautee pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add 1 tablespoon each of the chopped garlic and ginger and heat until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the pumpkin and mushrooms and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the bok choy and cook for 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, chili sauce and vinegar to the sautee pan and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the cooked Udon noodles to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce (it will be a very light coating).

Serve with a sprinkle of the black sesame seeds.

You have to be very careful with the amount of salt in the spice rub- less is more!



vicarious said...

Beautiful! Looks delicious! A little cayenne maybe :)

J. Fishler said...

Ditto what vicarious said.
This vicarious person and I seem to think alike.
Funny that... ;)

J. Fishler said...

Ditto what vicarious said.
This vicarious person and I seem to think alike.
Funny that... ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey Rachel, I enjoyed your blog very much. It was very enjoyable to read!
Lisa from the goodprinter!