Archive for February, 2011

Fish Fridays: Volume 1, Baked Tilapia with Spicy Cilantro Cream Sauce
February 12, 2011

Catholics abstain from eating meat (in this case defined as meat from fowl or mammals) on Fridays as a sign of penance because Our Lord was crucified on a Friday. We thought we’d start a series of seafood and vegetarian dishes that are simple, inexpensive, and seasonal to be cooked on “Fish Fridays.”

I was inspired to create this Baked Tilapia with Spicy Cilantro Cream Sauce because of an amazing Stuffed Tilapia dish at a mexican seafood restaurant where we used to live in Waco, Texas. I craved this dish at least once a week when I was pregnant with our son, Benjamin, and I wanted to try to recreate it since we don’t have any similar restaurants here in Tallahassee. The Stuffed Tilapia was filled with delicious crab, shrimp, and veggies but what really made the dish was the spicy cream sauce. In order to make it more simple, I decided to bake the Tilapia in a spicy cream sauce and just have sauteed veggies and rice on the side.

Baked Tilapia with Spicy Cilantro Cream Sauce, Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 fillets of Tilapia

Olive Oil

1 Pint  Heavy Whipping Cream

1-2 cloves of Garlic, minced

1-2 TBS lime juice

Handful of Cilantro, chopped

1/3 cup to 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Spices (to taste):

Black Pepper, Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Paprika, Thyme, Onion Powder, Cumin, and Garlic Powder (combine to make a Cajun style seasoning with the right amount of spicyness for you!)

Side Dishes: Brown Rice and Seasonal Vegetables

Directions:

Start cooking the brown rice. Preheat oven to 400. Rinse Tilapia then season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes.

While baking, add heavy whipping cream to a saucepan and barely bring to a boil. Add minced garlic, spices to taste, lime juice, cilantro, and grate the cheese into the sauce. Stir continuously until it becomes slightly thick but don’t let it boil too much or it’ll become a weird chunky consistency.

Remove Tilapia from the oven and cover with the Spicy Cilantro Cream Sauce (you will have some sauce left). Return to oven for approx. 15 minutes or until fish is done.

At this point, saute your veggies in olive oil. We used minced garlic, sliced onion, and diced carrots and a variety of baby greens from our garden.

Serve immediately once the fish is done and add some of the extra Spicy Cilantro Cream Sauce to the veggies and rice. Garnish the Tilapia with cilantro from your herb garden!

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Candlemas: The Presentation of the Lord
February 5, 2011

February 2nd is the Feast of Candlemas. It celebrates the Presentation of Christ at the Temple and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary forty days after Christmas. This is the event described in the Gospel of Luke when the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph present Jesus at the Temple and the faithful Simeon and Anna behold and recognize Jesus as the Messiah they have been waiting for.  After seeing the infant Christ he had been promised to see before death, Simeon prays the Nunc Dimittis in Luke 2:29-32:

Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised;

For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior

whom you have prepared for all the world to see,

A Light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.

February 2 is traditionally the day when candles and blessed for the coming year. We used this blessing from Meredith Gould’s The Catholic Home:

Lord Jesus Christ,

Pour forth your blessing on these candles and

sanctify them by the light of your grace.

May our hearts be illuminated by your light,

May our actions be guided by your light,

so that when our lives here are finished, we may come into the ternal presence of your redeeming light.

We pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.

Since it’s an important day, we pulled out our china and I chose a white tablecloth to remember that Candlemas is also a remembrance of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin at the Temple. Last year we made a butternut squash polenta inspired by a Candlemas recipe in Sacred Feasts. Since we already had a beautiful butternut on hand, we decided to make it a tradition. We paired the polenta with a sausage, onion, and apple dish from another of our favorite cookbooks: Simply in Season. We used delicious local sausage from Thompson Farms.

It wasn’t my finest hour with presentation but I promise it was tasty!

We followed the meal with my Dad’s delicious pumpkin bread:

St. Brigid of Ireland
February 1, 2011

 

February 1st celebrates the Feast of St. Brigid (c. 451-525), a nun, abbess, and friend of St. Patrick’s in early Christian Ireland. St. Brigid founded the monastery of Kildare where the Book of Kildare, an illuminated Gospel manuscript was created. The art historian in me needs to follow a brief tangent to say that according to 12th century writer, Gerald of Wales, this manuscript was so wondrous that he believed the illuminators were assisted by angels. The Book of Kildare has since been lost but would perhaps have rivaled the Book of Kells in intricacy and beauty.

To celebrate this patron saint of Ireland, I made “St. Brigid’s Oaten Bread” from a recipe I found on the Catholic Cuisine blog. I used 3/4 whole wheat flour and 1/4 spelt flour and it turned out great.

It was so simple to make! We paired the bread with a simple chickpea soup inspired by a recipe in Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette. I made some substitutions, simplified, and added some seasonal veggies we already had.

Here’s my recipe:

2 cups dried chickpeas (soak them the night before)

1 onion, diced

olive oil

10 cups vegetable broth

chopped spinach

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 turnips

seasonings: dried thyme, rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper and 1 bay leaf

Directions: Sauté the onion in olive oil then add the other ingredients. Bring to boil then cook for an hour.

Daniel concocted our favorite supplement to a dinner of soup and bread: honey butter. It makes a simple meal into a treat.

We even used our green dishes!