Sometimes the internet has fun things (whaaaaat?). This new site is one of those things. If you suffer from the highly toxic medical malady of restaurant indecision, this website might be the cure you’ve been looking for! The site is in the beta stages, and I think it would be great if you could filter through for diet concerns (i.e. Paleo, gluten-free, etc), but it’s still a great concept!

1. Read the WHOLE recipe twice. This might seem like overkill to some, but I assure you it’s the safest way to go. You might pick up on things you didn’t see the first time. It’s like that saying from construction: “Measure twice, cut once.” Except in this case we’re most likely measuring a whole bunch of butter and cutting it into a whole mess of flour. No hardhats required. Still, it’s a good rule.

2. Make a checklist of all your ingredients. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve started a recipe and then had to run to the store halfway through. Make a checklist, go into your pantry and your fridge to double check you have everything and cross off items as you have them. This step is very satisfying to me — I really like crossing things off lists. This also prevents that weird batch of chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips in them.

3. Note the time the recipe is going to take. Do you have time to make what you want to make? More often than not, your recipe is going to be straight with you and tell you exactly how long you’re going to need to complete it.This might be broken into “prep time,” “cooking time” and “inactive time.” As someone who once tried to make an icebox cake with 16 hours of “inactive time” for a party I was supposed to attend in 30 minutes, I can’t stress this point enough.

4. Respect the order of things. It might seem obnoxious that you have to separate your wet and your dry ingredients before mixing everything together.Ugh…I have to whip those egg whites before folding them in? It can all seem like a bunch of pomp and circumstance. However, I assure you that the person who created this recipe has created these steps to aid in your success. Follow along for the best results.

5. Get familiar before getting fancy. You might be a substitution queen like me, and love to sub in things like coconut oil for butter or applesauce for oil. I always suggest making the recipe as it is written first to get familiar with it. Once you see how it cooks up, you will have a better idea of what you can swap out. Also, I always like to point out that substitutions are risky, so sub in at your own risk. Only go off book when you have the time for the recipe to potentially flop.

From The Kitchn. I thought these were truly great tips for scanning through a recipe to prepare to cook. I like to keep my Out of Milk app open with me in the kitchen when I go through the ingredients list and cross-reference it with an actual ingredient so that I can add whatever I’m missing as I go. Then, all I have to take with me to the store is my phone! I am also now a substitution Queen, but when I first started cooking, I definitely always made recipes as-is first and then experimented after!

What about you? Do you follow any of these tips? Do you have tips of your own?

Workday Halibut Ceviche

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Growing up in a place where I was 20 minutes away from the beach at all times, ceviche has pretty much always been around in my life. I remember going home during college one time and going to our favorite place for ceviche and being eager to down a whole ceviche appetizer by myself. I couldn’t do it, but getting to eat that wonderfully fresh, light, and simple dish was worth the effort.

It’s a pretty versatile dish. When we took a trip to Fiji about a year ago, one of my favorite dishes there was, unsurprisingly,  kokoda, which is essentially just ceviche with coconut milk. The recipe below makes enough for 2 servings, so when I wanted to spice up the second serving a little, I just added some coconut milk to completely change the flavor profile (and take me back to paradise!).  Also, while it’s traditionally eaten with tortilla chips, a Colombian restaurant we went to last week (which we went to solely because I was craving ceviche!), served theirs with fried green plantains, otherwise known as tostones, and I really, really liked the pairing.

The best part of making this is seeing how the lime juice literally cooks the fish. It’s almost unbelievable that it cooks right before your eyes, all while doing nothing more than sitting in some fluids. I remember taking this to a lunch with friends once and them remarking how “fancy” it was. I had to convince them that this is the easiest thing in the world!

In fact, the version I give you below is made so that it cooks while you’re at work! How’s that for a fancy workday lunch? Essentially, you prep all of the ingredients the night before, pour the lime juice over the fish in the morning, and then let it cook in your work refrigerator while you do, I dunno, work things (or watch the World Cup and dream wistfully of being in Brazil, anybody?). Come lunch time, which I imagine is about 3-4 hours later for most of you, you mix it with the baggie of pre-cut veggies and–voila–ceviche at your desk. Perfect for summer! Enjoy!

Workday Halibut Ceviche
Serves 2

 

Ingredients:

10-oz of halibut filet, skinned and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2-3 large lemons)
1/4 cup fresh limit juice (from about 2-3 large limes)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
3 green onions, diced
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small jalapeno, finely diced
2 tbsps chopped cilantro
1/2 cup red cabbage, sliced

Directions:

The night before:

1. Divide the halibut cubes evenly between two medium-sized glass tupperware bowls, like the ones below (mine are Pyrex). Cover the dishes and place in the refrigerator.
IMG_70602. In another small dish with a lid or in a small jar, mix together the lemon juice, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate.
3. Gather together two small plastic sandwich bags and evenly distribute the cabbage, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, and green onion. Keep the avocado in its skin with the seed in (after dicing) a small glass container with a lid or wrapped in saran wrap (unless you don’t mind it getting brown, then add it to the baggy!).
IMG_7062The morning of:

4. Pour half of the lime and lemon juice mixture in each bowl (do this if you are planning on eating ceviche for both lunch and dinner, or two of you will be eating it for lunch. If, however, you plan on eating ceviche for lunch the next day as well, don’t pour the juice in one of the bowls. Keep the remaining half of juice covered in the fridge, and put both it  and the halibut back in the fridge. Repeat all these steps the next morning).
IMG_70633. Distribute the diced avocado in both bowls (so each bowl has half an avocado). Since lime juice prevents browning, you are safe to put the avocado in there. Mix well, cover the dishes, and take one to work with you, along with one of the prepared veggies baggies. Refrigerate until lunch time (about 3 hours), making sure to stir about halfway so that the marinade is evenly distributed. You’ll know the fish is done when it’s opaque and flaky, like in the picture above.
IMG_70744. When you are ready to eat, pour the veggies into the glass bowls, mix well, and then enjoy with crackers, plantains, or tortilla chips (I didn’t have my camera at work, but just imagine that the wine glass is the pyrex bowl!)!
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Workday Halibut Ceviche
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Light
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 10-oz of halibut filet, skinned and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2-3 large lemons)
  • ¼ cup fresh limit juice (from about 2-3 large limes)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, seeded and diced into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 large avocado, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 small jalapeno, finely diced
  • 2 tbsps chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup red cabbage, sliced
Directions
  1. The night before:
  2. Divide the halibut cubes evenly between two medium-sized glass tupperware bowls (I use Pyrex). Cover the dishes and place in the refrigerator.
  3. In another small dish with a lid or in a small jar, mix together the lemon juice, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate.
  4. Gather together two small plastic sandwich bags and evenly distribute the cabbage, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, and green onion. Keep the avocado in its skin with the seed in (after dicing) a small glass container with a lid or wrapped in seran wrap (unless you don't mind it getting brown, then add it to the baggy!).
  5. The morning of:
  6. Pour half of the lime and lemon juice mixture in each bowl (do this if you are planning on eating ceviche for both lunch and dinner, or two of you will be eating it for lunch. If, however, you plan on eating ceviche for lunch the
  7. next
  8. day as well, don't pour the juice in one of the bowls. Keep the remaining half of juice covered in the fridge, and put both it  and the halibut back in the fridge. Repeat all these steps the next morning).
  9. Distribute the diced avocado in both bowls (so each bowl has half an avocado). Since lime juice prevents browning, you are safe to put the avocado in there. Mix well, cover the dishes, and take one to work along with one of the prepared veggies baggies. Refrigerate until lunch time (about 3 hours), making sure to stir about halfway so that the marinade is evenly distributed.
  10. When you are ready to eat, pour the veggies into the glass bowls, mix well, and then enjoy with crackers, plantains, or tortilla chips!

With the recent release of Fed Up in theaters, I was reminded of an article I read from the New York Times a while back. Published early last year, it discusses the science the food industry uses to make us addicted to junk foods.  If you’ve ever tried to quit processed foods and failed, or ever wondered how you could even try in the first place, this (long but) great read will hopefully shine some light on that!

With production costs trimmed and profits coming in, the next question was how to expand the franchise, which they did by turning to one of the cardinal rules in processed food: When in doubt, add sugar. 

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk FoodThe New York Times.

Knife Skills

Do you have all the sharp tools but don’t really know how to use ’em?  Have you been cooking for a long time, but still end up cutting yourself when you’re chopping (Me? Never!)? I came across this short video from Jamie Oliver last night that explains a couple proper ways to slice and dice. I’m a fan of the hand method when mincing. I figured that this video, along with the onion video that I referenced to here, would get every cook well on their way to being confident with sharp objects in the kitchen!