As a health care practitioner, it’s my job to tell people to eat their veggies and exercise. However, I have to confess, when it comes to eating my own veggies, it’s been a bit of a struggle. Chard always looks like something that comes out of Alice in Wonderland to me. I did not grow up eating it, so until recently I had no idea what to do with it.
Because I work with cancer survivors, and diet and food is such a big part of recovery, I began researching good books and resources to provide for them. A cook book I discovered is “The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen” by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson. I left the book out in the waiting area for my patients to peruse while waiting for their treatments. One patient actually borrowed it and began using it and raved about the recipes.
In my personal life, my Lovely Companion is a great cook. I am always feeling a bit of a sous chef and not the chef when we cook together. So, I decided to take the book home and try out some recipes. After doing so, I discovered that the recipes were so good, it was worth cooking through the cookbook and blogging about my experiences with the recipes when I had a chance to make them. So here goes!
Tonight we made Emerald Greens with Orange (p. 84), Shredded Carrot and Beet Salad (p. 98), and Triple-Citrus Ginger Black Cod (p. 118). What tied all these recipes together is a citrus theme in all of them. Let’s start with the Emerald Greens with Orange. It is Swiss chard and dried cranberries, sauteed in orange juice, garlic, red pepper and maple syrup. We had run out of garlic and had no maple syrup so we substituted red onion and a bit of honey instead. My Lovely Companion mentioned that a chef friend of hers always uses a combination of sweet, salt, and heat in his cooking. He varies proportions according to what effect he is trying to create. This dish had very balanced proportions of all three, and it was fabulous. This is a keeper. I think the garlic would definitely have been good, so I’ll make sure to have that on hand next time! I loved the cranberries in combination with the chili pepper. mmmm mmm.
The Shredded Carrot and Beet Salad was also very tasty. However, I was using a hand- me-down mandolin (a fancy grater), and it was clearly defective. But even though our salad did not look like the one in the pretty picture, it tasted wonderful. I loved the orange and lemon juice dressing which softened the raw firm texture of the carrots and beets. (Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of beets). On a health note, the anti-oxidants found in this recipe are priceless. I can go on and on about anti-oxidants and how carotenoid levels in the body act as a bio-marker for nutrient absorption and general well being. This recipe is also a keeper for a beet nut like me.
The protein dish for tonight was the Triple-Citrus Ginger Black Cod. Black Cod has very high levels of Omega 3’s; and we all love our Omega 3’s. The fish is marinated in lemon, lime and orange juice with a sprinkle of fresh ginger, sea salt and citrus zest. Do you have zester? Well, my Lovely Companion recently introduced me to the zester and now I have no idea what I was doing without one all these years. (Oh the dark days.) In this recipe, once the fish has been marinated and baked, it is topped with a reduction of citrus juice and Dijon mustard. At first, we thought the Dijon reduction seemed a bit assertive. However, due to a miscalculation on our part, the fish was a bit undercooked so we returned it to the oven. We discovered that cooking the fish with the Dijon sauce softened the flavor and integrated the flavors of fish and sauce beautifully. Next time, that is how we are going to cook it. As it so often can happen, our mistake lead to a beautiful revelation.
That is all for now. Until next time, as the great Julie Child used to say, ‘Bon Appetit’, and as my grandmother, may her spirit be joyous, used to say in Persian, Nousheh Jan (Nourishment for your Soul).
Dr. Anahita 🙂