Micro-Steamed Hoisin Salmon and Vegetables

For all that I love having long, slow cooked meals that fill the house with their delicious aroma and welcome us home after work or play, it’s also nice to have some recipes that can be thrown together somewhat quickly without any prep ahead of time. These are the recipes that need to be really easy and tasty and tempting for the moments where we want to eat something homemade but feel lazy and the takeout menu starts sounding like a good idea.

I thought this recipe (adapted from Anne Byrn’s The Dinner Doctor) sounded perfect for addressing that kind of need; it’s healthy, claims to have 10 minutes of prep and only 6 minutes of actual cooking time. Who needs 30 minute meals when you could be done in half that time?  In reality, the prep took a bit longer than promised, but the results were worth it. Sharper knives (or getting the butcher or fishmonger to slice the fish for me) would have shortened my prep a LOT and probably resulted in a prettier looking final dish since mine looked a bit mangled. Luckily, the flavors were great and it was a nice change from our regular routine. We served the dish with steamed quinoa and rice (a 50/50 mix).

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb salmon, 1.5 inches thick (could also use grouper or other fish fillets)
  • 8 oz fresh sugar snap peas
  • 1 inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (would have been even better diced)
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots or pre-shredded carrots
  • 4 scallions, both white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 3 T hoisin sauce
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T rice vinegar (we added more to our rice/quinoa)

Directions: 

  1. Cut the salmon into 1 inch wide strips and place in 2-quart microwave safe dish. Top with sugar snap peas, carrots, ginger, and scallions.
  2. Pour the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar into a small bowl and stir until well combined. Drizzle over fish and vegetables.
  3. Cover dish loosely or top with plastic wrap (peel back one corner if using plastic wrap to allow steam to escape).
  4. Cook on high in microwave until the fish is cooked through and the vegetables are crisp-tender, 6 minutes. Stop every 2 minutes to gently stir and reposition the fish so that the outside pieces are moved to the inside. Microwaves vary in power; you may need to add another minute for the fish and vegetable to cook through. We ended up adding 30 seconds.
  5. Serve!

    Looks messy, smells wonderful, tastes great!

    Looks messy, smells wonderful, tastes great!

Spinach Veggie Bake

In the ongoing quest for filling, healthy, kosher-for-Passover meals, I remembered that I had a file of Passover recipes lurking on my computer that I had located years ago and never actually tried.  This is one I adapted from the pile.  It didn’t look anything like I imagined, but has a lot of flavor and tastes great reheated in packed lunches.  I thought it would look and taste quiche-like, and I bet it would if I upped the egg count, but I liked the heavier focus on the vegetables.  I’m not normally a fan of cooked spinach, preferring raw, but the baked spinach here does not resemble the mushy, globby cooked spinach of my memory.  I packed slices of the Spinach Veggie Bake for lunch for both my husband and I along with some matzah and Muenster cheese on the side.  It proved tasty and very filling.  Since it was so yummy and easy to make, I plan to continue making it after Passover for bento lunches.

Making this meal a little lighter, we substituted egg beaters (fat-free, cholesterol free egg white mixture) for the eggs.  We had a little trouble smashing the bouillon cube to powder, so mixed it with a very small amount of water and then smashed it.  Monkey chopped the vegetables while I sautéed the onions, which cut down on the time it took to get the dish into the oven.  You could easily add in your own favorite vegetables to this dish.

  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 20 oz fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Matzah Meal
  • 6 to 9 eggs (you decide the consistency you’d like best)
  • salt
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube, smashed to powder
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Heat oven to 325 — Prepare 9 x 13 pan — grease well.

2. Saute onions in 1 T oil.

3. Combine all ingredients together in a big bowl (you can add the sautéed onions right to the mixture without cooling).

4. Mix thoroughly. The egg will pretty much disappear into the mixture, but make sure you mix it up so all the spinach and veggies appear coated and so the onions and carrots look pretty evenly spread out.

5. Put into prepared pan. Bake 45 mins to 1 hour. Should be firm and set. This also freezes really well.

Passover Eats

When I was younger, I loved Passover.  Sure there was envy when the other kids at school would pull out gooey looking brownies or yummy sandwiches and I was stuck with matzah and some fruit or cheese, but there was no other holiday (not even birthdays) when I was allowed to eat cake for breakfast and often lunch.  The boxed mixes of Passover cakes usually provided our main source of sustenance during Passover, supplemented by salads topped with bland kosher-for-Passover salad dressing and an entree of either meat or cheese.  Passover was never the healthiest holiday, but I sure did love the excuse for eating cakes all the time, especially the cakes topped with frosting that amounted to little more than cocoa and butter.

I still love Passover, but for other aspects, and the limited diet and multiple restrictions were frustrating when I was cooking for myself and attempting to eat healthily.  For those of you who don’t know, the restricted diet for Passover says no grains, beans, or legumes during the seven days of Passover.  Corn counts as a grain, so that means no corn syrup or corn starch, which appear in many more products than I ever imagined (I feel a whole new level of sympathy for those with corn allergies), and no soy.

This year, Passover falls during a work week for both my husband and I, so I wanted to make sure we would be able to pack filling and healthy lunches to take with us to work, which meant I had to get beyond the cake-eating, “use matzah as a carrier for either cheese or butter” dependency that got me through college keeping kosher for Passover.  I looked to some of my favorite healthy recipes and was pleasantly surprised to find a few that included no grains at all.  For example, my slow-cooker ratatouille recipe was perfect for Passover and made a great partner for the ubiquitous matzah.  I also checked out some Jewish Cookbooks and found some recipes that I could adapt so they no longer required nuts.  For example, I adapted a recipe for Double Nut Torte from Marlene Sorosky’s  Fast and Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays by replacing the half cup of toasted almonds and half cup of walnuts with one cup of cocoa nibs from Scharffen Berger Chocolates.  The substitution worked out perfectly and made the recipe nut-free while letting it remain kosher.  I also had to sub in bittersweet chocolate for the semisweet since all of the chocolate available at Safeway, save one type of bittersweet chocolate bar, included soy lecithin as an emulsifier, making it all un-kosher for Passover.   It did not require any additional sugar to balance though, and created a rich, creamy dessert.  I chose not to glaze the cake, instead topping it with fresh rasberries with a berry sauce I made from frozen mixed berries, 2 TB orange juice, 2 TB blueberry juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and some potato starch offered on the side.

So here are my kosher-for-Passover, easy to take to work, meals so far:

Monday:

Breakfast: non-fat Greek yogurt topped with some berry sauce

Lunch: Tuna with diced zucchini, bell pepper and onion and some dried parsley, slice of muenster cheese, matzah, mini-wedge of chocolate torte with sauce.  When it was time for lunch, I nuked the cheese and tuna mixture then used the gooey tuna melt to top my matzah.

Tuesday:

Lunch (actually fit perfectly in my bento container):

Bottom tier: Matzah

Top Tier: Ratatouille

Under the lid: broken pieces from a slice of muenster cheese