November 18, 2006

Monkfish with Avocado Sauce

My friend Susan was in California a couple weeks ago and visited an organic farm that grows avocados. As a result she came back to New York with a huge bag filled with this fabulous fruit. Seeing that I love, love, love avocados, when she offered for me to snag one from her bag I gladly accepted!

Now I obviously love guacamole, but I was interested in trying something different with my avocado. Since I am a big sauce girl (some say saucy, too), I decided to make an avocado sauce. I figured it would go really well with either chicken or seafood. Seeing that I haven’t cooked seafood in a while, I opted for this choice.

When choosing a fish to accompany the avocado sauce, I wanted a white fish that would let the sauce shine. After perusing the fish counter at my market, I decided on the monkfish. If you are not familiar with monkfish, it is very similar in texture to lobster. In fact it is often referred to as “poor man’s lobster”. Seeing that I love lobster but my budget doesn’t let me dine on it nightly, this fish was the perfect fit. I think tilapia and cod would also work well for this recipe (though note that the method of cooking these other fish would differ).

One last thing, this is a super easy recipe that is difficult to mess-up. So if you are looking for a fool proof yet gourmet-like dish to make, this is a perfect choice.

So here you go (per serving):


  • 1 Monkfish filet
  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Rub olive oil onto monkfish filet. Top off with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the filet onto a sheet of tin foil and loosely wrap (like a package). Then move wrapped fish onto a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in oven 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

  • ½ cup Haas avocado
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp Sour cream
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp Chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp Chopped parsley (optional)
  1. In a large bowl mix the avocado, lemon juice, sour cream, and milk until fully pureed. (You can use a food processor, but I just used a whisk).
  2. Add salt to taste.
  3. Spoon sauce onto bottom of serving dish. Then top with the cooked monkfish filet. Garnish with the chopped onion and parsley.

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November 13, 2006

Gorgonzola Cheese and Mushroom Fettuccini

Sunday night I was looking to make something rich and filling. A couple months ago I came up with this dish and really enjoyed it. So I recreated it tonight, and it was just as I remembered it.

You may have noticed that when I cook with mushrooms, I usually choose cremini mushrooms as I did in this dish. Cremini mushrooms are baby portabellas. Therefore, like portabellas, they are meatier than the white button mushrooms and hence more earthy and tastier.

Remember that when you clean mushrooms you should never wash them under water. They tend to act like sponges and will just soak up the water, which in turn will make them tough. Instead, lightly moisten a dish towel and then just wipe off the mushrooms.

So here is the recipe (per serving):

  • 1 ½ tsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 Shallot, chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 lb Cremini mushrooms, sliced into 1/3 inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp Flour
  • 1/2 cup Whole milk
  • 1.5 oz Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 cup Sliced basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 serving Fettuccini pasta, cooked
  1. Over medium heat in a sauté pan, add olive oil, shallot, garlic, and mushrooms. Cover and cook, mixing periodically, until the mushrooms are cooked through.
  2. Add flour, mix, and cook for a minute (this will “cook off” the raw flour taste).
  3. Add milk and stir—picking up the dried bits on the bottom of the pan. Then add gorgonzola cheese and dissolve it into the milk. (I used a whisk for this stage).
  4. Lightly simmer mixture until it thickens to desired consistency (remember that the sauce will thicken further once it cools down on the pasta).
  5. Add basil and stir until basil has wilted. This will take a minute at most.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. In a serving dish with fettuccini, pour the gorgonzola and mushroom sauce on top of the pasta. Garnish with extra basil.

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November 12, 2006

Meeting Rachael Ray

I love New York. Only here (well, and may be LA) can you have a friend casually call you up to see if you want to join him for Rachael Ray’s 1st Anniversary Party for her magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray. The huge fan that I am, I excitedly accepted!

Y’all may recall from my interview for Myself magazine in Germany that the Food Network played an instrumental role in my cooking, particularly Rachael Ray. Up until a couple years ago, I really knew nothing about cooking and was actually quite frightened of it. I began watching the Food Network and discovered the bright-eyed Rachael Ray. I originally began watching her just because I loved her personality and just wanted to hang out with her, but soon I also saw that she made everything look so easy and the fear of cooking slowly faded away. With time I became an avid cook and now even write a food blog! So you can understand why I was so excited to go to her party!

As you can imagine, she had a swarm of people following her through out the night so it never occurred to me to go up to her. However, towards the end of the evening the crowd was lightening up around her and my friend Erik convinced me to say hello. Now, living in New York we see celebrities all the time so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. However, as I stood there waiting to get her attention my nerves were growing exponentially per minute!

Finally she turned towards me and in my dorky, quivering voice I said that I wanted to introduce myself to her and then went on to explain the influence she had in my cooking. I then added that I now write a food blog, and with this she got so excited—genuinely excited. In fact, she asked for a pen and wrote down the address! Of course my nerves were still going strong so I unfortunately missed half of what she said, but I was really impressed by how nice and sincere she was. I found that in person she is just like how she is on TV.

A lot of the people at the event were also commenting on how amazing it was that she was actually talking to everyone who approached her through out the evening. Apparently at these types of events when a celebrity is being featured, the celebrity keeps a “wall” up between themselves and the guests. I was certainly impressed.

So that was the highlight of my week!