Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow and Sweet Corn Spoon Bread

It's snowing outside.

Well...'Northerners' would laugh at us down here in Atlanta. We got a couple of centimeters of snow and it seems like every business in town shut down for the weekend. I don't know what we would do if we ever actually got some real snow!

But it's beautiful to look at.

Unfortunately, it's disappearing just as soon as it arrives. So I decided to take pictures while I had the chance.

I had a peaceful weekend. I decided to try a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Sweet Corn Spoon Bread.

It was delicious. An instant hit with the family. I made some slight changes to the recipe because I didn't have certain ingredients. I used heavy cream, instead of milk, and I didn't completely blend the corn. Instead, I left chunks of corn for texture.

I loved it. Check out her website for the recipe.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Baked Fish with a Spicy Tomato Sauce

You know, I hated fish when I was a child. Yup, the only thing you could get me to eat were fish sticks, and that's only because those things aren't even made from real fish. Fish just always tasted too.....fishy for me. You know what I mean?

The funny thing is, when I got older and started to watch the Food Network, and eventually went to culinary school, I learned that fish shouldn't smell, or taste, fishy. Hmmm...who would've guessed?! I knew I was on to something all those years as a child.

Fresh fish should not have a strong smell at all, and if it does have a smell, it should smell like the ocean. I guess that's where we went wrong back then.

We used frozen fish.

And the REALLY bad thing is that we lived in Hawaii for 5 years. WTH?!? There really is no excuse to not have fresh fish when you live on an island completely surrounded guessed it.... Fresh Fish.

But, in my parents defense, they worked a lot, and both of them were in school, so they didn't have too much time to drive to the fish markets every week. I've made up for it since then because I go to the farmers market as much as possible now, and I try to never leave without getting some fresh fish to cook for dinner.

Here is a wonderful fish recipe.

Note ***Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with frozen fish, and it can be used in any of my recipes, but I just try to get fresh whenever I can***

Baked Fish in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

4-6 fish filets, any firm white fish
Olive Oil
4 garlic cloves
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 bunch cilantro
1 serrano pepper
1/2 tablespoon black mustard seeds
2 yellow onions, sliced thin
1 green pepper, sliced
4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons fenugreek
1 cup of chicken stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Season fish with 2 teaspoons of garam masala, a drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper, and set aside.

In a mortar & pestle, or food processor, mix garlic, ginger cilantro, serrano, and mustard seeds.

Heat a pan on medium heat and add the garlic-ginger-cilantro mixture. Cook for 5 minutes and add the onion, green pepper, tomatoes, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, pepper flakes, curry, fenugreek, and cook for 5-8 minutes, until onions and green pepper are soft and slightly browned. Add chicken stock and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

While sauce is simmering, place fish on a baking pan and bake in oven until fully cooked, about 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness.

Place fish on a plate and spoon sauce over. Top with a garnish of fresh cilantro and sliced ginger(optional). Also, you can blend the sauce for a smoother finish.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Along with many other accomplishments and awards, Noorish was featured in Angies List Magazine.

Check out the link. I'll be back with a new blog post!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk and Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Winter's here, winter's here.....and I'm not afraid anymore!

For those of you who know me, you know that I spent a great deal of my life living in Hawaii, and before that, it was Texas. In Hawaii, we would go crazy if the temperature got below 70 degrees. So imagine my sheer horror when I moved to Atlanta, Ga and experienced my first winter.

It sucked.

I can't think of a better way to put it....other than, it sucked. I absolutely despised cold weather, and developed a new hate for snow. Yes. I know this sounds a bit harsh, but is what it is!

It took me a while to get used to this new season. For a long time, I refused to buy winter clothes. I did not like the way sweaters looked, I hated closed-toe shoes, and big bulky jackets were just too uncomfortable. There would be snow on the ground and I would wear a tank-top with 2 thin jackets, some jeans, and flip flops.

No people....I am not exaggerating. I thought of myself as some kind of winter-rebel!

But after about 8 years of living here, I am finally warming up to cold weather. Especially the warm cozy food you get to eat during the winter season.

In my opinion, Butternut Squash Soup is officially THE soup of the winter season. I have a friend who works in a restaurant that sells this soup every day, starting from Thanksgiving until about a week after new years.

I've worked in many restaurants that would always make this soup the second there was a slight chill in the air. Ah yes....the first signs of winter. But I must confess, I have never made this soup at home, until a few days ago.

This recipe is wonderful. All of the flavors meld wonderfully well together, and the addition of the roasted brussels sprouts with the drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette puts it over the top.

STEP 1: Cut the top and bottom of the squash and cut in half
STEP 2: Scoop out the pulp
STEP 3: Roast in the oven with garlic and shallot

STEP 4: Remove squash from oven and peel off skin.
STEP 5: Add to pot with garlic, shallot, and other ingredients

STEP 6: Strain Soup (No need for a "fancy shmancy" strainer. I used a simple colander)!
STEP 7: Season to taste and serve with brussels sprouts and vinaigrette

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk and Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

3 large butternut squash

1 head of garlic, cut in half

1 shallot

Olive Oil
1-inch ginger, peeled and grated

1 stalk lemongrass, chopped very finely
2 tablespoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 quarts chicken stock
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
5 whole green cardamom pods
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon honey

Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Cut the top and bottom of the squash, and then cut them in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp and place them on a baking pan, along with the garlic and shallot. Drizzle the squash, garlic, and shallot with olive oil, and season the squash with salt and pepper. Place the baking pans in the oven and bake for 1 hour.

Remove the squash from the oven and peel the skin off.

Heat a large pot on medium heat and squeeze the roasted shallot and roasted garlic from their skins, into the pot. Add the ginger and lemon grass with a little olive oil and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the roasted butternut squash, curry powder, allspice, and ground ginger.

Add chicken stock. Mix and simmer for 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth (or use regular blender and blend in batches, then return to pot).

Wrap the coriander seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cardamom in cheese cloth, or a small spice bag. Place this in the soup, along with the coconut milk, cream, and honey. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Strain the soup (or don't strain for a more rustic soup), and adjust seasoning with salt to taste.
You might need to add a little more cream to adjust the consistency of the soup.

Brussels Sprouts:

10-12 brussels sprouts

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the bottoms off the brussels sprouts and quarter them.
(I shredded them in this picture, and this is not a good idea. They burn very quickly this way)

Mix the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, mustard, cayenne and salt & pepper. Reserve 1/4 of this vinaigrette and toss the rest of it with the brussels.

Season with salt and pepper.
Place on a baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. To serve, ladle the soup in a bowl and garnish with brussels sprouts, a drizzle of the reserved balsamic vinaigrette, and a drizzle of heavy cream.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Best Kind of Accident

Have you ever tried to do something (oh I don't know, knit a sweater, write a song, cook a meal), but accidentally mess it up, and the end result is even better than what you originally had planned for?!? Well this happened to me not too long ago.

I accidentally made a delicious recipe the other day. The deliciousness wasn't the accident....just the recipe.

I wanted to test a new dish. It was boneless chicken cut up into bite-size pieces, cooked with garlic and ginger (like I would cook something without those two ingredients!), soy sauce, scallions, and some other things. It sounded delicious and I was quite excited to cook it.

When I got ready to take out the boneless chicken, I realized we didn't have any. So I thawed out some chicken wings and legs instead. "Okay", I said to myself. "Not a big deal, I can still use the recipe". Since I couldn't chop the chicken and cook it in the sauce, I decided to cook them separately, and add the sauce to the chicken when plating the dish.

I smashed some garlic, ginger, serrano peppers, and cilantro in my brand-spanking-new Mortar & Pestle! You don't have to use a mortar & pestle for this step, you can chop it with a knife, or use a food processor. I just love using my new kitchen tool.

I marinated the chicken and got started on the sauce.

Next thing you know, I started adding allspice, curry powder, and even peanut butter to the sauce...deviating completely from the original recipe!

I added a little too much of my slurry (cornstarch + liquid) to the sauce, and it thickened much more than I originally wanted it to, but no worries. It looked a lot like an Asian-style barbecue I decided to glaze the chicken in the "barbecue sauce" and bake it in the oven.

Nice and Brown

I served it with my new favorite green vegetable.....KALE....asian-style (recipe coming soon).

So yea....the end result was kind of an accident.....nothing like the original recipe, but still, very delicious. It was the best kind of accident, you know?! Don't you just love when that happens?

Soy and Ginger Glazed Chicken Wings

1-2 pounds chicken wings & legs
1 serrano pepper
3-4 garlic cloves
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 handful of cilantro
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut oil, or canola
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Salt & Pepper to taste

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon peanut butter
8 oz + 2 tablespoons fresh pineapple juice (I have a juicer. If you can't make fresh pineapple juice, squeezing fresh orange juice is fine)
1 tablespoon of garlic/ginger mixture
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit (don't know how to make the fahrenheit symbol appear. Can anyone help me with that?!)

Place chicken in a bowl. In a food processor or using a mortar and pestle, blend serrano pepper, garlic, ginger, and cilantro. Reserve 1 tablespoon of this garlic/ginger mixture for the sauce. Add the remaining garlic/ginger mixture, along with the rest of the marinade ingredients to the chicken. Set aside.

For the sauce, place all of the ingredients, except for the 2 tablespoons of fresh pineapple juice and the cornstarch, in a small pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch and 2 tablespoons pineapple juice (this is called a "slurry").

When the sauce is simmering, add the slurry. Let the sauce simmer for approximately 2-3 minutes, until the slurry has thickened the sauce. Turn off the heat. Reserve about 1/4 of the sauce for later, leave the rest in the pot, and set aside.

Heat a skillet on medium heat, and brown chicken pieces on all sides, do not fully cook.

Place the browned chicken on a baking sheet with a rack, so the chicken doesn't sit in its juices.

Brush all of the chicken with sauce from the pot. Place in the oven and cook until fully done, basting with the sauce every 10-15 minutes.
**use a thermometer to check for a temperature of 165**

Just before plating the dish, glaze the chicken with the reserved (and non-salmonella contaminated) sauce.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What to do with Left-Overs Yes I do! Honestly, that's about the only thing I get when I go to a Chinese restaurant, or Japanese Steak House. Sometimes I get the spicy Mangolian beef, or the Chicken and Broccoli, but I ALWAYS get some fried rice. I don't even need them to put beef, shrimp, or chicken in it. This dish is so deliciously flavorful that it doesn't need any of those things.

I have tried for many years to make Chinese-style fried rice.....but to no avail. In my opinion, no one can make fried rice better than the Chinese. And I don't know why. But it is a true gift. It must be the wok that they use or something. Or maybe its the.......**sigh** never mind. I'll give myself a headache trying to figure out their secret.

Anyways, once I finally stopped trying to get the exact flavor in my fried rice that I taste at the Chinese restaurants, and just made my own version of the dish...I finally came up with a recipe that I like.

I threw in the left-over salmon from the previous recipe to add a little "somethin-somethin". Pretty much any left-over meat, chicken, or seafood can be used in this recipe. Trying to get rid of some vegetables too? Throw those in as well!

**if you have a nut allergy, use canola/vegetable oil to saute & omit the sesame oil at the end**

Salmon Fried Rice

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup cooked rice
2 eggs
left-over salmon
1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce (depending on how you like it)
1 teaspoon fish sauce

sesame oil
green onions, green parts only, chopped small

Heat a pan or wok on medium heat. While pan is heating, beat eggs in a bowl and set aside. When pan is hot, add peanut oil, garlic, ginger, and onion. Cook for 30-45 seconds, making sure not to let the garlic burn.

Add rice. Cook for one minute. Push this mixture to the side of the pan/wok and add eggs to the other side. Scramble (this should take a few seconds if the pan is still hot). Mix the scrambled eggs with the rice and add salmon, soy sauce and fish sauce. Saute one more minute and finish with a drizzle of sesame oil and green onions.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Okay....For Real This Time!

Since my last post was called "I Love Salmon"....and me being the weirdo that I am didn't give you a salmon recipe...I figured I would post one really quick! It is a moroccan spiced salmon with a harissa vinaigrette served over cous cous. Harissa is an African hot sauce made with chilies, tomatoes, and spices. It is delicious as a marinade, sauce, or in this case, a vinaigrette.

I made this recipe while I was shooting a cooking video for an event I was doing a couple months ago. It turned out beautifully.

When making this dish, or any salmon dish for that matter, it is best to use fresh Wild Alaskan Salmon. It costs a couple dollars more a pound than Atlantic Salmon, or other types, but it is well worth it. I love my salmon with the skin on. For this dish you can leave the skin on, or have your fish monger take it off.

To add a little 'pizazz' to the cous cous, just follow the instructions on the packet. Then saute fresh vegetables, such as zucchini, red peppers, and mushrooms and add them to the cooked cous cous.

It's a lot of ingredients, but this meal can definitely be started and finished in 10-15 minutes (not including the time the salmon is marinating of course).

Moroccan Spiced Salmon w/Harissa Vinaigrette

1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground red pepper
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 salmon filets
cilantro, shredded
mint, shredded

Harissa Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinaigrette
3/4 cup roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

For the salmon, mix everything together in a resealable plastic bag. Marinate 30 minutes to an hour in the refrigerator. **If you want to eat fast, skip the marinating.**

For the harissa vinaigrette, place all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly.

Heat a skillet on medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add salmon filets and cook approximately 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

Serve salmon over cous cous and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I really do! At one point, I would eat fresh salmon from the Dekalb Farmers Market about 3 times a week. But cleeeaaaaarly I didn't have the funds for that lavish lifestyle....and I shortly realized that I had to cut back on my salmon intake. Oh what a sad day that was.

Actually, it was my "salmon day" the other day, and it was delicious. Yummy!

I know the title of this post is "I Love Salmon", but what I really want to share is the simple green bean recipe that I made to go along with the fish. It has fresh ginger, tomatoes, sesame oil, and it is a great new way to try and cook fresh green beans (a.k.a. french beans, a.k.a. haricot verts). I'm not going to include the salmon recipe because it was very basic (salt, pepper, and I think that was it). I served it with yellow rice.

**I use nut oils in this recipe (sesame and peanut), but regular canola oil will be fine if you have a nut allergy**

Sesame French Beans with Ginger
  • 1/2 pound fresh french beans, ends cut (canned green beans will not do)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock, or veg stock if you want to keep it vegetarian
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Sesame oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add beans and blanch for approximately 1-2 minutes. Remove from pot and "Shock" them in an ice bath.

Heat a skillet on medium-low heat and add peanut oil. Saute garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds, do not let them get brown. Add tomatoes and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add chicken stock and let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the french beans and cook for 3-4 more minutes, until beans are heated through. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle with sesame oil.







Sunday, November 14, 2010


Kale is an extremely nutritious vegetable. It has powerful antioxidants, and is an excellent source of beta carotene, vitamins K & C, and calcium. It is also believed to have anti-cancer properties. But Kale scares a lot of people. If it is not cooked properly, it can taste very bitter and unpleasant. For this reason, I NEVER tried to cook kale. I just kept hearing too many negative comments about this misunderstood vegetable.

But then....I learned the secret to kale. Really, this is the secret to many green vegetables. For a while, I prided myself on being one of the few people who can make a "mean kale dish"! People would say "Oh my goodness, this actually tastes good. I've never had kale that tasted good! What's you secret?" Well, now I'm going to stop being so stingy and share my secret with you all.

ACID....specifically for this ingredient, fresh lemon juice. I do not know the "scientifical" reason as to why lemon can take a bitter green vegetable and turn it into something beautiful. But it works, so I'm rolling with it.

Actually when you think about it, we use acid in a lot of our green vegetables. When you cook collard greens, turnips, or mustard greens....don't you add a little vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar) to the cooking liquid?? Most people I know do. But we probably never knew why we added it. My mom put vinegar in her collards because her mom did, so now I put vinegar in my greens.

Well, now I know it's not just because of the nice "apple cidery" flavor it adds to the greens. It's also because it takes the bitterness out of dark leafy green vegetables and turns it into a healthy side dish that you actually want to eat. I also squeeze fresh lemon juice in my sauteed broccoli, and sometimes when I'm cooking fresh green beans.

I'm going to share a kale recipe I made the other day. You can make it in about 10 minutes.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tilapia filet
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular paprika if you can't find smoked)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (if you can't find this, it'll still taste good without it)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 bunch of kale, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chicken stock (or veg stock, or water if you don't have either)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lemon, cut in half

Rub the oil all over the tilapia. Season with curry, coriander, paprika, garam masala, salt & pepper. Heat pan on medium heat. When pan is very hot, add tilapia and cook about 3-4 minutes per side, or until it is fully cooked.

While the tilapia is cooking, heat another skillet on medium-low heat. Add oil and garlic and cook about 30 seconds, do not let it brown. Add kale, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Using tongs, turn the kale in the pan, so that all of it gets coated with the oil and seasonings (the kale will start to wilt at this point). Add chicken stock, cover and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. When kale is cooked, squeeze fresh lemon juice and toss. Serve with the tilapia.

Friday, August 13, 2010


4 servings

5 chicken thighs, cut in 1-inch chunks
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 large onions, chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon old bay seasoning
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 quart chicken stock, plus 1/4 cup
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 ears fresh corn, cut off the cob (or frozen corn kernels)
5-10 dashes hot sauce
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
fresh basil, chopped

Heat large pot on medium heat. Add olive oil and chicken. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned.

Add onions, shallot, celery, green bell pepper, garlic, thyme, paprika, old bay, bay leaves. Cook 5 more minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add 1 quart chicken stock. Simmer on low heat, with lid, for 35-45 minutes.

In a small bowl mix cornstarch and 1/4 cup remaining chicken stock. Pour mixture into the pot. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. This will thicken the chowder. Add cream and corn. Add hot sauce and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper if needed. Simmer 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add cheese.

Finish the chowder with fresh basil.

Monday, August 9, 2010




4 tilapia filets
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 onions, peeled, cut in half and sliced thin
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 can diced tomaotes
1 cup chicken stock
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 red bell pepper ,sliced into rings
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into rings
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 sprig fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 green onions, chopped

Season fish with salt and pepper. Heat skillet on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. When oil is hot, add tilapia. Brown on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. Do not fully cook. Remove from skillet.

In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil. Saute onion and garlic for about 2 minutes, until onion is soft. Add vinegar, stock, lemon juice, tomatoes, sesame oil, fish sauce, ginger, and cayenne. Reduce heat to a simmer

Simmer sauce for 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if needed. Add fish, and bell peppers to the sauce. cook 5-7 more minutes, until the fish is fully cooked. Turn off heat and add fresh basil & scallions. Serve.

It's been too long!

Sorry it's been so long. Quite a few people have been asking me when I'm going to update my food blog. I've been soooo busy. I'm getting ready for the Atlanta Food Rave, which will be on August 27, 2010 (get tickets because they're going fast). I've also been working on a new business venture, but after August 27th I should be able to post more regularly.

Anyways, I made a tasty omelet for breakfast the other day.

I sauteed zucchini, onions, and green peppers in a roasted red pepper butter I made.

Then I added beaten eggs, seasoned with pepper (trying to cut back on salt every now and then).

Cooked it for a few minutes.

Added cheddar cheese. Yummy!

Flipped it over and served it with turkey bacon.

Sorry for the paper plate guys!!


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