One Pan Roasted Halibut with Fennel, Oranges & Olives

IMG_0270After another great and intense weekend of my yoga teacher training, it’s really nice to get home on Sunday evening and go into the kitchen, start with a glass of Prosecco and prepare dinner. I mean I REALLY enjoy this! No need to go out and grab dinner somewhere else. Just relax with a bit of cooking and eating at home :)

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The past Sunday I made an awesome dish that is very easy to prepare and roast all in one pan in the oven. The halibut was from the local fishmonger, caught in Santa Barbara. If you can’t get halibut or you would like to opt for a bit less pricey fish, you can use cod as well.

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It takes about 15 minutes of preparation and 10-12 minutes of cooking. So overall, you can enjoy your dinner within half an hour. So there is still enough to relax with a nice glass of wine in front of the TV afterwards :)

How was your Sunday?

Roasted Halibut with Fennel, Oranges & Olives

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2

Roasted Halibut with Fennel, Oranges & Olives

An easy one-pan dish that's low carb and gluten free and yet satisfying and full of flavor!

Ingredients

  • 1 orange
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pitted Nicoise olives, halved
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound halibut fillet, cut into 2 inch thick pieces (alternatively, you can use cod)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

With a zester or fine grater, remove 1 teaspoon of orange zest. Use a large, sharp knife to trim away all the peel and pith from the orange. Hold the peeled fruit over the bowl and cut in between the membranes to free the orange segments; you should have about ½ cup. Squeeze the membranes over the bowl to extract the juice; you want 1/8 cup. (Reserve any extra for another use.) Add the zest and segments to the bowl.

Halve the fennel bulb lengthwise, slice it thinly and add to the bowl with the orange segments. Add the olive oil, olives, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.

Spread everything out evenly into a baking-proof pan. Place the fish fillets on top. Sprinkle with remaining the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper and bake for 10 to 12 minutes depending on thickness.

Enjoy!

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/roasted-halibut-with-fennel-oranges-olives/

 

Classic Butternut Squash Soup

FullSizeRender-1Finally! Also, in Southern California at the beach we are getting some idea of what fall temperatures feel like. I mean it’s just slightly cooler, the sun hours per day have been decreasing, and it’s getting darker in the evening a lot sooner.

After being to Germany and Switzerland end of September for two weeks where it already felt a lot more like fall, this is kind of nice here too :-)

I always link the months of October and November to the good old pumpkin soup. While I was a child, my Mama would typically make a huge pot of soup for the guests at my birthday party (November 4th – coming soon…) which – at the time – I didn’t appreciate at all. Of course, there were other, kid-friendly dishes as well, so I was a happy and pleased birthday girl at the end!

In my teenage years and early twenties, I started liking the pumpkin soup at my birthdays… And then I finally started loving it and cooking it for myself, for husband, guests etc.

classic butternut squash soup

These days I am so glad, ’tis the time of the year again… And yesterday I cooked the first butternut squash soup of the season. This one is a “classic” approach using butter and half & half. Next will be a more Thai inspired version with red curry paste and coconut milk – so look out for it!

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The classic butternut squash soup (with lots of fresh thyme) goes very well with slices of German Fleischwurst (a kind of ring bologna) which is very common in Germany to add cold cuts into vegetable soups. I’m happy to eat the soup straight as it is and vegetarian, but my husband loves the Fleischwurst slices!

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Classic Butternut Squash Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Classic Butternut Squash Soup

I always link the months of October and November to the good old pumpkin soup. While I was a child, my Mama would typically make a huge pot of soup for the guests at my birthday party which – at the time – I didn’t appreciate at all. Now I absolutely love making this soup for myself, my husband and guests!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter (or cooking oil)
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups (20 oz. / 560g) butternut squash, cut in cubes (I used pre-cut)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 cups (~750ml) low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons half & half (or heavy cream, if desired)
  • salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • (optional for more thickness: 1 large potato, peeled and diced)

Instructions

Heat a large pot over medium-low heat and add butter. Once it is melted, add in the onions and the ginger and stir. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the butternut squash cubes and thyme leaves (and – if using – diced potato). Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the stock. Cover the pot and increase the heat to medium. Cook until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes.

Once the squash is soft, turn off the heat. Stir in the half & half and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Using a hand blender, very carefully blend everything until the soup is smooth and pureed. (Alternatively, pour the mixture into a stand blender to puree smoothly and pour back into pot.)

Cover and let simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste and season additionally if desired.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/classic-butternut-squash-soup/

Red Snapper Veracruz

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This week’s caught at the Farmer’s Market was “Rockfish”, better known as Pacific Red Snapper. My one-pound package included 2 large fillets and a smaller one (that I saved for next days lunch). If you can’t get Red Snapper or you don’t like it, any flaky and firm fish will work, such as halibut, cod or sea bass.

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Looking into my fridge, I found more of those beautiful Roma tomatoes from which I had made this delicious Tomato Sugo recently.

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I decided for a Veracruz sauce topping for the fish. The Veracruz sauce is a deliciously spicy and tangy sauce that melds the flavors of old Mexico with the flavors of olive oil, capers and olives introduced from Spain.

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When the sauce is done, you simply place the fish into the pan, top the fillets with the sauce and let it cook! That’s it!

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Red Snapper Veracruz

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2

Serving Size: 8oz. fish fillet plus one cup Veracruz sauce

Red Snapper Veracruz

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 whole jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8 large Spanish or Italian green olives, pitted and chopped
  • a dash ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes, chopped (I used fresh San Marzano – alternatively, you can use canned tomatoes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound pacific red snapper, sea bass, halibut, or cod (any white flaky fish works great)
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Instructions

In a nonstick skillet, sauté the onions in hot oil until they begin to soften and color. When they color, add the garlic and jalapeño and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the oregano, olives, cinnamon, and capers to the onion mixture and stir. Add the chopped tomatoes, with the bay leaf. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

To serve, wash the fish and squeeze the lemon juice over it.

Arrange the fish in the (same) skillet, spoon the sauce over it, and cook according to the Canadian rule: measure the fish at its thickest part and allow 8 to 10 minutes to the inch. Remove the bay leaf and serve the fish topped with its sauce, optional over steamed rice.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/red-snapper-veracruz/

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

photo 1This salsa is a delicious companion with anything from the grill… Steak, burger, seafood and grilled veggies!

It is so easy to make your own and so much better than the store bought!

photo 3On Labor Day, we had it with steak and a mixed green salad. Yummy!

What is your favorite condiment with steak? Salsa, ketchup, mustard…?

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 1 cup

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

This salsa is a delicious companion with anything from the grill or the broiler. Very easy to make your own and so much better than the store bought!

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs tomatillos
  • 1 green jalapeño pepper, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Remove the leaves from the tomatillos and wash them. Heat a skillet (without oil) over high heat. Roast the tomatillos and the jalapeno, turning occasionally until blackened. Just before they are done at the garlic clove for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and grind everything with fresh cilantro, salt and pepper, in a food processor.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/roasted-tomatillo-salsa/

Classic Bolognese Sauce

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Once every week we have  Pasta Night at home! After many vegetarian pasta sauces over the past weeks, it was time for a meat ragù sauce – the classic Bolognese sauce, originating from Bologna, Italy.

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Many pasta sauce recipes only call for canned tomatoes. However, I like using both fresh and canned tomatoes. This time I used canned Plum tomatoes and fresh Roma tomatoes.

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The classic vegetable mix for a Bolognese consists of diced celery, carrots and onions.

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After sweating the veggies with the garlic, add the ground beef and cook until nicely browned. For the ground beef, I used the Burger Mix from my local delivery service Santa Monica Merchant . The mix is made from grass fed beef, not too lean and so tasty!

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Add the fresh chopped tomatoes first …. Then add the canned ones…

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You need to let it simmer for at least 90 minutes. However, I prefer the full 2 hours. The longer you let it cook, the thicker it will get and all the flavors will get into the sauce.

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I convinced the hubs to make some Tagliatelle with me. And actually it was very much fun!

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Don’t feel intimidated by making homemade pasta. It’s not too difficult and so much worth the taste. But also don’t feel like you have to have homemade pasta. Just buy either fresh or a dried product of egg pasta. Italians only serve Bolognese with Tagliatelle or other broad, flat pasta shapes such as Papardelle or Fettuccine – but never with Spaghetti. The broader noodles soak up the sauce much better than their thinner colleagues ;)

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Bon Appetito!

Classic Bolognese Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 6 portions

Serving Size: 1 cup sauce plus 1 portion pasta

Classic Bolognese Sauce

A classic using grass fed beef and both fresh and canned tomatoes!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 carrots, finely diced
  • 2-3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup wine (white or red) or sub for vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb San Marzano (or Roma) tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large can crushed San Marzano (or plum) tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

In a Dutch oven or a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

Sauté onions and garlic for 4 minutes.

Add carrots and celery and sauté for another 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the ground beef and cook for 6-8 minutes, while constantly stirring and breaking the meat into bite sized pieces.

Add the tomato paste, mix very well and cook for another 30 seconds.

Pour in the wine (or broth), add thyme leaves and season with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

Let cook until wine has reduced significantly.

Add the fresh tomatoes first and let cook for 2 minutes.

Then add the canned tomatoes.

Stir everything well.

Add the bay leaf.

Let simmer without a lid for 90-120 minutes.

The Bolognese should be nice and thick.

Serve with your favorite pasta!

Note: If there are any leftovers at all, freeze the sauce for the next pasta night!

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/classic-bolognese-sauce/

Pan-seared Fish Fillet with Fennel and Nectarines

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I recently signed up for another subscription… No, not for a magazine. For a local seafood service  that has 1 pound of freshly caught fish ready for me to pick up at the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday. I started last Wednesday. Last week’s caught was yellowtail, right here from the coast. Yellowtail is also known as Ahi Tuna. It is high in healthy omega 3 fats .

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But no worries, if yellowtail is not available at your fishmonger. You can use any other firm fish fillet (think Mahi Mahi etc.) for the recipe!

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photo 3I decided to serve this rich and flavorful fish just with something light and picked a mix of fennel – which goes along any fish, yum! – and nectarines.  And dill is the perfect partner for fish and fennel anyways… The red pepper flakes give a nice kick  :)

The dish easy great for a summer weeknight, ready in less than 20 minutes! Start searing the fillets skin side down first.

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Then flip and finish them on the flesh side while the fennel nectarine mix is sautéing together with the dill and the fennel fronds. photo 3-2Et voilà! Dinner for 2 is ready!

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Yellowtail with Fennel and Nectarines

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 2 people

Yellowtail with Fennel and Nectarines

A perfect weeknight summer dish - quick and light!

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs fish fillet – I used yellowtail (Mahi Mahi or any other firm fish fillet will work as well)
  • red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 bulb fennel, stalks removed (but reserve fennel fronds), quartered and sliced in wedges
  • 1 tsp agave syrup
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable broth
  • ½ yellow nectarine, sliced and thin wedges
  • ½ bunch fresh dill, chopped

Instructions

Season fish with red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper.

In a skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium high and sauté fennel for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high, and place fish (skin side down, if any) into it. Sear for 6 minutes. Flip to cook for another 4 minutes. When done, remove from heat and let rest.

Season fennel with red pepper flakes and add agave syrup. Add vegetable broth and let cook covered with lid for 5 minutes. Add chopped fennel fronds, dill and nectarines. Increase heat for 2 more minutes. Season to taste.

Spoon fennel nectarine mix onto plates and place 1 fish fillet on each plate.

Enjoy!

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/fish-fillet-with-fennel-and-nectarines/

4-Ingredient Roma Tomato Sugo

Guess which is the Best Farmers Market in the United States according to Conde Nast Traveler? ;-)

Last week’s shopping at the Santa Monica Farmers Market included two pounds of  locally grown San Marzano tomatoes. This type of Roma tomatoes is perfect for a classic tomato sauce. I also bought some fresh basil, and then I immediately went home into the kitchen.

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photo 3I chopped the tomatoes, minced the garlic and sliced some basil leaves – how easy is that?

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Olive oil into the skillet and there you go!

photo 2-1photo 3-1It needs some time for the sauce to cook and to thicken – the longer the better.

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No worries, if you don’t get the San Marzano’s, but maybe look for Roma tomatoes as they don’t turn out as watery as other varietals of tomatoes.

As it turned, the next day we were going to do a 5k / 10k run along the beach, so the tomato sugo was perfect for our pre-race pasta night!

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4-Ingredient Roma Tomato Sugo

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

4-Ingredient Roma Tomato Sugo

An easy and classic tomato sauce!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs San Marzano tomatoes – or Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • (Staples: salt and black pepper to taste)

Instructions

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.

Add the garlic and cook for a minute then add one tablespoon of fresh basil. Cook for a minute.

Add in the chopped tomatoes, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Simmer for 30-50 minutes while stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. The longer you cook it for the thicker it'll become.

Check seasoning and let rest warm till needed or remove, let cool, and store in the refrigerator. Will keep over a week or you can freeze it for use when tomatoes aren't in season.

Serve with your favorite pasta! Enjoy!

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/4-ingredient-roma-tomato-sugo/

Naked Beef Burgers

Naked Burgers

… aka “Frikadellen” in Germany!

1 lb grass fed ground beef (93% lean)

¼ cup red onion, diced and sautéed

2 Tbsp capers, drained and chopped

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsps Siracha sauce

2 egg whites

¼ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

2 tsps olive oil

 

Mix all the ingredients (through salt and pepper) together until well combined. Shape into 4 evenly sized patties. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Place patties in skillet and fry for about 5 minutes on each side, until they are nicely browned.

Enjoy!

I served the burgers with a cucumber bell pepper salsa :)

Naked Beef Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 burgers

Serving Size: 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb grass fed ground beef (93% lean)
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced and sautéed
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsps Siracha sauce
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsps olive oil

Instructions

Mix all the ingredients (through salt and pepper) together until well combined. Shape into 4 evenly sized patties. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Place patties in skillet and fry for about 5 minutes on each side, until they are nicely browned.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/naked-beef-burgers/

 

Lentil Carrot Burgers

lentil burgers

Even my husband loves these meatless burgers!

 

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked lentils

2 tbsp ground flaxseed

3 tbsp water

2 medium carrots, shredded

1/3 cup red onions, finely chopped

1 tsp olive oil

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp smoked sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

 

Mix flaxseed meal and water and set aside (it will get gluey). In medium pan heat 1 tsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots and sauté for about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients (except of the 1 tbsp oil) together until well-blended. Form into 5 even patties.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and sear the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side until nicely browned.

Serve with sautéed kale.

 

Lentil Carrot Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 5 burgers

Serving Size: 2-3 people

An easy recipe for a meatless burger that will also please meat lovers!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1/3 cup red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp smoked sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

Mix flaxseed meal and water and set aside (it will get gluey). In medium pan heat 1 tsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots and sauté for about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients (except of the 1 tbsp oil) together until well-blended. Form into 5 even patties.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and sear the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side until nicely browned.

Serve with sautéed kale.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/lentil-carrot-burgers/