Time for a little pizazz in New Year

Happy New Year! A clean slate, endless possibilities, each day an opportunity to enjoy a new adventure. What are you thinking about resolutions? I am going to keep mine inspiring and easy enough to be doable: take more walks, see my friends more often, eat more fruit and veggies, drink more water, keep my commitments to others and take more time for myself and to enjoy my family. Of course, cooking yummy things and trying more new recipes are always at the top of the list.

How did it go in the kitchen this holiday season? Were there triumphs? Disasters? A recipe that will be kept or one that went right into the trash? I’d love to hear how yours went as well as your traditions.

Once January rolls around I am ready to eat healthier and crave fare that is not anything like the heavy, traditional foods we enjoyed the last couple of months. My taste buds want little explosions of flavor and pizazz! Ethnic cuisine, seafood and vegetables.

Green beans and zucchini are favorite veggies of mine and readily available in the market. The sauce for this recipe is bright and piquant, just what my taste buds want right now.

Green Beans and Zucchini with Sauce Verde

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1 green onion, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons packed fresh parsley

2 tablespoons drained capers

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, peeled

4 tablespoons olive oil

1- pound green beans, stemmed and trimmed

12 ounces zucchini, halved lengthwise, each half cut lengthwise into 1/3” wide pieces and then sliced into pieces the length of green beans

3 tablespoons water

Additional parsley leaves and a little fresh zested lemon peel for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Sauce: Blend first 7 ingredients in processor until finely chopped. With machine running, gradually add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Process until coarse puree forms. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Vegetables: Heat remaining olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetables; stir until coated. Sprinkle with salt and 3 tablespoons of water. Cover; cook until crisp-tender stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes.

Uncover, cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in enough sauce Verde to coat vegetables generously. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to bowl, garnish and serve.

Cod has become a preferred white fish in our house. I just love how it cooks up moist and tender. It has a mild taste and is very versatile to cook with.

Herbed &Marinated Alaska Cod

Serves 4, cook time 20 minutes

Ingredients

3/4 cup bottled favorite oil and vinegar salad dressing (not Italian)

1/4 cup dry white wine

3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup fresh chopped dill or tarragon

4 Alaska cod fillets (6 to 8 oz. each)

2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed

1/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs

2 Tablespoons melted butter

Directions

Whisk dressing, wine, mustard and dill together in a bowl. Reserve ¼ cup marinade; place remainder in large resealable bag. Add Alaska cod; seal bag and turn several times to coat. Marinate in refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 400º F. Layer asparagus in baking dish; pour on reserved marinade. Sprinkle with bread crumbs; drizzle with melted butter. Roast, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove cover and continue to roast an additional 10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender.

While asparagus is cooking, remove cod fillets from marinade and transfer to baking sheet. Roast fillets for 10 to 15 minutes, cooking just until fish is opaque throughout. Serve with asparagus spears.

Santa left me a 6-quart Insta-pot for Christmas that I am looking forward to cooking yummy dishes in.

Insta-Pot Vietnamese Caramel Salmon

Ingredients

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted, or 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

Finely grated zest of 1 lime

Juice of half lime

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 skinless salmon fillets, preferably center-cut pieces, 6 to 8 ounces each

Sliced scallions (white and green parts), for garnish

Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Preparation

Using the sauté function, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, lime zest and juice, and black pepper in the pressure cooker. Bring to a simmer and then turn off the heat.

Place the fish in the pressure cooker, skin-side up (if there is skin still attached). Spoon the sauce over the fish, cover, and cook on low pressure for 1 minute. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes; then release the remaining pressure manually. Check the fish for doneness by cutting into one of the fillets. If you prefer your salmon more well-done, cook it for another minute using the sauté function.

Carefully lift the salmon fillets onto a serving platter, flipping them over so the browned caramelized side is facing up. Reduce the sauce on the sauté function until it is thick and syrupy, about 3 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the salmon and garnish it with the scallions and cilantro.

Wishes from my kitchen to yours for a new year filled with healthy and flavorful eating, great recipes and happy times together!

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