Archive for March, 2021

This recipe from Half Baked Harvest is a tasty and healthy one-pot meal. Cook fish in a cast iron pan and then set aside. Add butter to the hot pan, sear lemon slices and set them aside. Add garlic, asparagus and uncooked orzo to the pan and cook until the orzo is toasted. Add stock and lemon juice, bring to a boil and cook until the orzo is tender. Add the cod and lemons slices back to the pan to warm through and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that contains only cream. I used Imagine Organic chicken stock. Always use fresh lemon juice, never concentrated, which contain chemical additives.

Cook fish and set aside

Sear lemon slices and set aside

Cook orzo and asparagus

Return fish to pan to warm through

Lemon-butter cod with orzo and asparagus


2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

4 (6- to 8-ounce/170- to 226-g) cod fillets

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons (45 ml) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons (30 ml) salted butter

1 lemon, sliced, plus more for serving

1 garlic clove, minced or grated

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch (2.54-cm) pieces

1 cup (250 ml) uncooked orzo

2¾ cups (687 ml) low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh dill, for serving


In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the cod all over with salt and pepper, then sprinkle it evenly on both sides with flour. When the oil shimmers, add the cod and sear until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the cod to a plate.

Using the same skillet, sear the butter and lemon slices until the lemon is golden, about 1 minute per side. Add the lemon to the cod on the plate.

Again using the same skillet, cook the garlic, asparagus, and orzo until the garlic is fragrant and the orzo is toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is al dente, about 10 minutes. Slide the cod, lemon slices, and any collected juices back into the skillet and cook until everything is warmed through, about 1 minute. Top with fresh dill and serve. Serves 4.

From Half Baked Harvest

This recipe from NYT Cooking uses a pan-steam method to cook skinless, boneless chicken breasts quickly while keeping them moist. You can use water, but the soy sauce, honey, garlic and coriander in this recipe infuses the meat with flavour. While the chicken cooks, make a quick side dish of pickled cucumbers, using cucumber, shallot, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook’s note: This would be great with steamed rice; I served with the pickled cucumbers and green beans.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Marukan rice vinegar and tamari instead of soy sauce.

Pickle the cucumbers

Pan steam the chicken

Soy-glazed chicken breasts with pickled cucumbers


1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

1 shallot, peeled, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

¼ cup (60 ml) rice vinegar

Kosher salt and black pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) ow-sodium soy sauce or tamari

2 tablespoons (30 ml) honey or maple syrup

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 ½  to 2 pounds/680 to 900 g)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 teaspoon (5 ml) coriander seeds, roughly smashed with the side of a heavy knife

Cilantro leaves and tender stems, for serving

Steamed rice, for serving


In a medium bowl, toss to combine the cucumber, shallot, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼  teaspoon (1.25 ml) pepper; set aside while you make the chicken.

In a shallow dish, stir soy sauce and honey together; add chicken and turn to coat.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add garlic and coriander and stir to coat. Add chicken breasts (reserve the marinade) and cook until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. (Browning happens a little faster than usual here because of the honey and soy; if the marinade is getting too dark, lower the heat slightly.)

Add reserved marinade and ¼ cup (60 ml) water to the skillet. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes more per side.

Uncover the skillet, increase heat to medium-high and cook, turning chicken occasionally, until liquid is reduced and chicken is glazed, about 5 minutes.

Depending on the size of the skillet you use, the sauce may reduce a little slower or faster than the time indicated. When you swipe a rubber spatula across the bottom of the skillet, the sauce should hold a spatula-wide trail that fills in with liquid pretty quickly. If you happen to reduce too much, whisk in water one tablespoon at a time until you’re back to a shiny sauce that can be drizzled.

Serve chicken drizzled with any leftover glaze over rice with cucumber salad and cilantro. Serves 4.

From NYT Cooking

This mini eggplant Parmesan from Alison Roman (it serves two as a main dish or four as a side dish) delivers delicious results without any frying. Roast the eggplant until it is deep brown and tender. Make a tomato sauce, toast the breadcrumbs and then layer the eggplant and sauce with the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, capers, oregano and parsley. Top with fresh mozzarella and bake for about 20 minutes. This is a perfect vegetarian main dish, served with a  green salad.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Unico anchovies, capers and canned tomatoes are additive-free. Genuine Parmesan cheese contains no colour, additives or preservatives; look for the name on the rind. I used PC panko, which is additive-free. Make sure the hot pepper flakes and dried oregano (if using) are free of additives. Good-quality fresh mozzarella contains no additives or preservatives.

On top of the sauce, layer the roasted eggplant, Parmesan, parsley, capers, oregano, breadcrumbs and mozzarella

Bake for about 20 minutes


1 large globe eggplant (about 2 pounds/900 g), sliced about ½-¾-inch (1.25-1.9-cm) thick

½ cup (125 ml) olive oil, divided

Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

1 small onion (yellow, white, or red), thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

4 anchovy fillets (optional), plus more if you want

1 28 oz. (793 g) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed

¾ cup (187.5 ml) panko bread crumbs

⅓ cup (85 ml) grated parmesan

2–3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) capers, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh oregano or marjoram (you can skip, or use half the amount of dried)

⅓ cup (85 ml) coarsely chopped parsley, divided

8 oz. (226 g) fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced or torn


Preheat oven to 450° F (232° C). Drizzle eggplant with about half the olive oil and season with salt and pepper and roast, turning eggplant halfway through, until it’s as tender as custard and both sides are as brown as if they were fried, 25–30 minutes.

While the eggplant roasts, make the sauce. Heat two tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring every now and then until the onions and garlic are tender and starting to brown around the edges, 8–10 minutes. Add crushed red pepper flakes and anchovies, if using, and stir, letting both things melt into the onions. Pour the juices from the tomatoes into the pot and one by one, crush the tomatoes with your hands into the pot. Season again with salt and pepper and let it simmer gently for 15–30 minutes (you want to evaporate some but not all of the liquid).

Remove from heat. Set half aside and freeze or refrigerate the rest.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil in a small to medium skillet over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Stir them to coat evenly in the oil and toast, tossing frequently, until all the bread crumbs are the color of toast, 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat.

Spoon about half of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 1 qt. (1 L) baking dish or 6-inch (15-cm) skillet (both hold about 4 cups/1 L volume, that’s the size you want. Doesn’t matter the shape, as long as its heatproof).

Top with half the eggplant. Top with half the parmesan, parsley, capers, and oregano. Scatter half the bread crumbs in an even layer on top of all that, followed by half the mozzarella. Repeat this, ending with the mozzarella. Add a little more parmesan if you feel like it, maybe some black pepper.

Bake until the cheese is browned and everything is bubbling around the edges, 15–20 minutes. Remove from the oven, maybe finish with some more parsley and let it cool ever so slightly before eating. Serves 2 as a main dish and 4 as a side dish.

From Alison Roman

These baked meatballs are a snap to make and cook in 15 minutes. Combine scallions, tamari sauce, garlic, salt, pepper and crushed crackers or breadcrumbs with ground beef and form into meatballs. Bake until golden and cooked through. I served them in lettuce wraps alongside stir-fried peppers and baby bok choy.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use tamari instead of soy sauce. I used additive-free panko bread crumbs instead of Ritz crackers.

The meatballs cook in about 15 minutes.

Korean Barbecue-Style Meatballs


½ cup (125 ml) chopped scallions

2 tablespoons (30 ml) low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) minced garlic

1 teaspoon (5 ml) kosher salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

½ cup (125 ml) finely crushed Ritz crackers (12 crackers) or panko bread crumbs

1 pound (454 g) round beef (round or chuck)


Heat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and use your hands to gently mix.

Shape the meat into 12 golf-ball-size rounds (about 2 inches/5 cm in diameter), and arrange on a greased rimmed baking sheet.

Bake until golden and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 4.

From NYT Cooking