Main Dishes, Recipes, Seafood and Fish

Baked Tilapia with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce #bookclubcookbookCC

An easy baked tilapia dish jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy green sauce… this simple meal is fresh and flavorful, perfect for summer!

An easy baked tilapia dish jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy green sauce... this simple meal is fresh and flavorful, perfect for summer! #bookclubcookbookCC

Once upon a time, when I was a senior in high school, I took AP English. English classes at my high school were awesome–I had the best teachers, and we got to read some wonderful novels over the years. I realize I sound like a complete goody two shoes with those two statements, and let’s face it–I probably was. For one project in AP English [which was totally worth it, btw since I tested out of the two required English courses in college due to acing the AP exam], we had to read a classic novel independently and do a book report/presentation about it to the class. The details are a bit hazy since this was circa 2002, but I remember taking the official list of our book choices to Borders [rest in peace] and walking around reading the backs of zillions of books to make THE choice. This was important stuff, guys!! And it was before my infatuation with libraries. In those days, I could spend hours in a bookstore, especially my beloved Borders next to my favorite Panera. Good times!

An easy baked tilapia dish jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy green sauce... this simple meal is fresh and flavorful, perfect for summer! #bookclubcookbookCC

Anyways, after perusing my options, I settled on Love in the Time of Cholera by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. I had two main reasons for my choice: first, it was originally published the year I was born, and two, I liked the cover. Great reasons, huh? These great reasons backfired on me–I hated the book. Not that you came to my blog to read about literary elements or theory, but one of the techniques used in this novel is magical realism–magic alongside everyday events. And if you know me, you know that I’m as realistic as they come. I don’t really like tv or movies with any fantasy elements, and that is how I saw this book. So now you know my feelings on Love in the Time of Cholera…which happens to be the May book choice for #bookclubcookbookCC, hosted by Danielle of Mostly Food and Crafts and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm. Yes, I am a little late, but I have a four week old baby so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! 🙂

An easy baked tilapia dish jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy green sauce... this simple meal is fresh and flavorful, perfect for summer! #bookclubcookbookCC

Love in the Time of Cholera is set in the Caribbean, possibly Colombia, but if I remember correctly, it’s a little ambiguous. And what’s more Caribbean or coastal than a good fish dish? This baked tilapia is jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy coconut-cilantro sauce! It is a snap to put together, so it’s great even for busy new parents to make. [That’s me!] All you do is combine a few tasty ingredients in the blender or food processor and whirl away. The oven does the rest of the work. Love it! This fresh sauce is the perfect blend of tropical flavors with a wee bit of spice. How delightful! I’m sure we will make it over and over again this summer. Hope you love this dish as much as we did… and if you do happen to love the novel this recipe is inspired by, well, then please accept my apologies that I did not. 🙂 Maybe if I read it as an adult I’d have a different opinion, but alas… have a great day, friends!

one year ago: Southwestern Cilantro Mac & Cheese
two years ago: Black Bean and Rice Soup

three years ago: Blueberry Burgers
four years ago: Parmesan Garlic Rolls
five years ago: Lemony Kale Pasta

Baked Tilapia with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

from Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 4 tilapia fillets, about 6 ounces each
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk [light or full fat, your choice]
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped – deseed as desired
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray, then place tilapia in the pan. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

In a blender or food processor, combine coconut milk, cilantro, ginger, garam masala, garlic, and jalapeno. Pulse until smooth. Pour sauce over fish, then bake about 15 minutes until tilapia is cooked through–it should be opaque in the center. Serve over rice.

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Chicken, Couscous, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables

Indian-Style Chicken Curry with Chickpeas and Raisins over Spiced Couscous #bookclubcookbookCC

Fragrant, rich chicken and chickpea curry incorporates great flavors to make an amazing dish! Serve it over spiced couscous for a special treat. 

Indian-Style Chicken Curry with Chickpeas and Raisins over Spiced Couscous | thepajamachef.com #thebookclubcookbookCC

Happy Friday! I joined a new blogging group… the Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew. And guess what! YOU can join us. Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla organized a group of bloggers to read through some great books and make some great recipes inspired by them. We are using The Book Club Cookbook as our guide and inspiration… you can read more about the club on her blog, but here’s the gist. Each month, one blogger serves as hostess to choose a book and a recipe from the cookbook. From there, we can make the chosen recipes OR draw inspiration from the selected book to create a recipe. Camilla is our July hostess and she chose Jhumpa Lahir’s Interpreter of Maladies for our book of the month, and invited us to make curry and lassis with her. At the end of the month, you can win a copy of the cookbook so you can follow along! Go to Camilla’s blog to enter now! 🙂

On with the recipe though! Have you ever heard of Jhumpa Lahir’s Interpreter of Maladies? I had not, and was surprised when I picked up a copy at my local library. It’s actually a collection of short stories centering on the themes of family, home, marriage, belonging, and more. Many take place in America, but I thought some of the most interesting stories were set in India. You don’t think about adaptations to new life in your own country… this book is just lovely! The first and last stories were my favorites, but they are all good. Have you read this book before? If not, you should pick it up! I highly recommend it.

Food is an integral part to all of the stories, and nearly each one mentioned curry! An Indian classic for sure, with as many variations as there are people. One of the recipes Camilla chose for us to make this month was a hard boiled egg curry. It sounds SO interesting. But Ben hates hard boiled eggs with a passion, so that’s a no go for us [and I don’t think I could eat a whole batch alone]. Instead, chicken curry it is!

Indian-Style Chicken Curry with Chickpeas and Raisins over Spiced Couscous | thepajamachef.com #thebookclubcookbookCC

This is one of my very favorite curry recipes, and actually is the one that made me love Indian food! Ben and I have made this recipe a handful time over the past few years… it is absolutely delightful each time! Every bite is rich and flavorful, and your kitchen will smell absolutely wonderful while you’re cooking. Ginger! Garlic! Garam masala! Mmm, mmm, mmm. The tomato and coconut based curry sauce is fabulous over the chicken and chickpeas and plump, juicy raisins… and the flavors are magnified since it’s not just served over regular ‘ole rice, but instead over a spiced couscous that is just bursting with more raisins and rich spices. Yes, it’s a lengthy recipe with quite a few ingredients… BUT it is oh-so-good. A great dish for company, a great dish to make on a relaxing night at home. It’s just as fantastic as anything you could get at a restaurant, but easy to make at home with accessible ingredients too. Make it this weekend! 🙂 Enjoy!

Indian Spiced Peas | thepajamachef.com

And oh! If you’re looking for an easy side dish to serve with this, try these easy Indian-spiced peas. No real recipe… just mix together a teaspoon or two of coconut oil, a 10 ounce bag of frozen peas, and a teaspoon each of curry powder and garam masala in a skillet. Cook over low heat until hot, then mix in a about a 1/4 cup of coconut flakes. Ahhhmazing! Next time I might toast the coconut to make it even better. Yum!

one year ago: Ginger Ice Cream
two years ago: Mom’s Potato Salad

three years ago: Mediterranean Feta Dip
four years ago: Lemon Crinkle Cookies
five years ago: Big Thumbs Up Bite Size Soft Pretzels –> yes! my blog is FIVE! 🙂

Indian-Style Chicken Curry with Chickpeas and Raisins over Spiced Couscous

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

from Jenna’s Everything Blog – go to either post for great step by step photos if that’s your thing!

Ingredients:

for curry

  • 2 tablespoons curry powder [I used a sweet curry powder]
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 serrano chili, minced – remove seeds to reduce heat… or not, your call
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 – 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts [I’ve also used chicken thighs]
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

for couscous

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend [I forget what size it is…about 18 or 20 ounces I think] — can also substitute 1 pound Israeli couscous plus a couple tablespoons quinoa and orzo — or an equivalent amount of rice [I’ve made it all three ways!!]

Directions:

Set a small skillet over medium heat. Pour in curry powder and garam masala, then stir constantly for about 1-2 minutes to toast spices, until fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.

In a Dutch oven or other large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. When hot, add onions and season with salt. Stirring occasionally, cook for about 15 minutes until onions are browned and caramelized. If you have you more time, cook the onions on medium-low heat for a longer amount of time to caramelize them more. But either way works!

After onions are cooked to your liking, add garlic, ginger, and chili pepper. Stir and cook for about a minute, then add in toasted spices and tomato paste. Pour in the chicken broth and crushed tomatoes, stirring to mix everything up. Add chickpeas, chicken, and raisins. Make sure the chicken is submerged as much as possible. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until chicken is just about done.

Meanwhile, prepare couscous while chicken is cooking.

In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until soft. Stir in garam masala, cooking for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add chicken broth, butter, and raisins. Stir and bring to a boil. Add couscous [or other grain], bring to a boil again, and cook for about 10-15 minutes until fully cooked. Liquid should be absorbed but exact time depends on what grains you use. Season to taste with salt or additional garam masala then set aside to serve with curry.

When chicken is fully cooked, remove to cutting board and chop it up into bite-sized pieces. If the chicken isn’t fully cooked, it will finish cooking in the sauce.

Return chicken to pot, then stir in coconut milk and peas [if using]. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add in half of the cilantro.

Serve curry over couscous, with additional cilantro on top. Enjoy!

Beverages, Recipes

SRC: Iced Coconut Mocha

Creamy coconut meets an iced mocha for a delightful summer treat… plus this drink is made with a SECRET INGREDIENT. Ooooh! What more can you ask for?!
Iced Coconut Mocha from thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

Iced coffee is my drink of choice in the summer. I LOVE making a batch of cold brew coffee to have a special treat in the afternoons [my simple method: make a pot of french press coffee as usual, same ratio of coffee to water, but use cold water. Place in the fridge or on countertop overnight to brew for at least 12 hours, up to 24. Press as usual, then store in the fridge.]. Lately I’ve been enjoying my coffee with half and half and some mint simple syrup. But I love ANYTHING coconut so when I saw this iced coconut mocha on Happy Go Lucky, my blog assignment for this month’s edition of Secret Recipe Club, I was awestruck. Mmm! Kara has a great blog full of awesome DIY projects and yummy recipes–like this BLT chicken salad, s’mores brownies, or Hawaiian grilled cheese. Kara lives with her family in Virginia Beach, a city that holds special memories since Ben and I got engaged there when I spent the summer on the beach with Cru for a summer project in 2008. I loved checking out Kara’s blog–so much goodness there!

Iced Coconut Mocha from thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclubSince you’re dying to know, the secret ingredient in this iced coconut mocha is a coconut POPSICLE! How genius is that?!? I meant to buy some at the grocery store to make this coffee drink, but I forgot… so I made my own. 🙂 Ha! And guess what? They worked perfectly! You can make this drink in several ways–hot coffee with cold popsicle, cold brew coffee with leftover coconut popsicle “batter,” or blending it all together, frappe style. No matter how you mix it, this drink is a fabulous pick-me-up… It’s sweet and creamy, with lots of chocolate and coconut flavor. No need to go to the coffee shop when you have this in your repertoire.

Iced Coconut Mocha from thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

I will be making this mocha ALL summer long. Thanks, Kara!

one year ago: Mango Coconut Muffins
two years ago: Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes
three years ago: Banana Crumb Muffins
four years ago: Creamy Taco Mac

Iced Coconut Mocha

  • Servings: 1
  • Print

from Happy Go Lucky

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee – hot or cold
  • 1 coconut popsicle – storebought or homemade
  • chocolate syrup
  • sugar, to taste
  • whipped cream
  • toasted coconut
  • ice cubes- made with coffee, if you can!

Directions:

There are three ways to make this delicious drink!

Method 1, from Kara: brew coffee. Place about 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup in the bottom of a glass, then top with 8 ounces hot coffee. Sweeten to taste, then add 1 popsicle. It will melt and cool down the drink. Stir then add ice. Top with whipped cream, more chocolate syrup, and toasted coconut.

Method 2, I made homemade coconut popsicles from the link above [1 can coconut milk + 1/3 cup coconut flakes + 1/2 tablespoon agave, pulsed in a blender, then frozen in popsicle molds.] I had about 1/2 cup coconut milk mixture left so I added 1/2 cup coconut milk mixture to a jar with 1 cup cold brew coffee and 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup, then shook it all up and poured into a glass. Add ice, then top with whipped cream, more chocolate syrup, and toasted coconut.

Method 3, that I haven’t tried but seems like it would work. Place 1 cup coffee [cooled a bit if not using cold brew] in a blender with ice, the coconut popsicle, and 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup. Pulse until combined, then top with whipped cream, more chocolate syrup, and toasted coconut.

Enjoy!

Check out more recipes from other members of the Secret Recipe Club below!

Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

Mystery Dish: Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches

Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches is a twist on a classic corn chowder and is a perfect soup for summer since it can be enjoyed hot or cold!

Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches | thepajamachef.com

When I saw corn on this month’s Mystery Dish ingredient list I was SO excited because this Indiana girl loves her corn! If you’ve ever been to central or northern Indiana, you may have heard the jingle: “there’s more than corn in Indiana, it’s the best part of Americana, and it’s right within your reach… it’s Indiana Beach!!” [on beautiful Lake Shafer, Monticello, Indiana… proving once again there’s more than corn in Indiana.] C’mon, I’m sure you guys all have commercials/jingles memorized. Hearing that song was always a sign that summer was coming because Indiana Beach, a local amusement park, was opening. I haven’t been to Indiana Beach in years, but every time I think about corn, Indiana Beach pops into my head too. Successful marketing? I think so! But that’s not where we’re going today.

Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches | thepajamachef.com

Meriam of Culinary Couture is this month’s hostess for Mystery Dish, and her list of ingredients for us to work with included: peaches, cheddar cheese, green beans, corn, chicken, nectarines, butter, pecans, heavy cream, pesto, and coconut milk/cream. We were supposed to use three ingredients. At first, I wanted to make something with peaches and cheddar cheese! You know me… I like to try interesting flavor combinations. But then I decided that might be a little too odd, even for me. 🙂 So I did what I usually do: consulted my good friend Mr. Google. An obvious thought I had was making some kind of salad with peaches, nectarines, corn, and green beans. An even more obvious thought was baking! But somehow I landed on this soup: a twist on corn chowder using peaches, corn, and coconut milk off the list. And it was fabulous!

Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches | thepajamachef.com

I’ve made a Mexican Corn Soup before, but this version is different. It’s a sweet soup. There’s no sugar  or sweetener of any kind added, but there is plenty of sweetness from the corn [and the cobs that cook in the soup for a bit], peaches, and coconut milk. I know that sounds a bit odd, but it just works! It’s a taste of summer in a bowl, and you can serve it hot or cold depending on your preference. This is a great soup to enjoy for a light meal with a side salad and some cornbread, or it could be an awesome first course to serve with some bbq + fixings. I hope you enjoy this unique soup!

one year ago: Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake
two years ago: BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad
three years ago: Lemony Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

adapted from Whole Foods
Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches | thepajamachef.com

Ingredients:

  • 6 ears sweet corn
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 large ripe peaches, pitted and chopped [peel them if you want–I didn’t]
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • large handful Thai basil, chopped + more for garnish

Directions:

Cut kernels from corn cobs and place both kernels and cobs in a large soup pot. Add broth, onion, garlic, cayenne, and 2 cups water and stir together. Add two thirds of the peaches to the pot too, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Then, use tongs to remove corn cobs from soup pot and discard. Add coconut milk and Thai basil. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. [A blender or food processor  can also be used but you may want to let it cool first.] Simmer for another 5 minutes or until hot. Garnish with remaining chopped peaches and chopped Thai basil.

Check out what the other Mystery Dish girls made this month!

June Mystery Dish Collage

1. Ice Cream Sundae Cookie Bars by I Want Crazy
2. Old Fashioned Corn Pudding by The Weary Chef
3. Raspberry Peach Cobbler with Oatmeal Pecan Crumble by Joyful Healthy Eats
4. Peach Raspberry Galette by Blahnik Baker
5. Pecan Crusted Chicken with Apple Cream Sauce by Yummy Healthy Easy
6. Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches by The Pajama Chef
7. Dutch Peach Pie Bars by I Dig Pinterest
8. Toasted Pecan Pancakes with Brown Butter Bourbon Peach Syrup by Baking A Moment
9. Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Butter Rum Pecan Glaze by The Well Floured Kitchen
10. Peach Pecan Cinnamon Roll Cake by Chez Catey Lou
11. Peach Frozen Yogurt with Pecan Graham Cracker Crumble by Culinary Couture

Desserts, Other, Recipes

SRC: Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk

Welcome to another edition of SRC! [Insert shameless plug for my photo canvas giveaway, now through 3/15/14]. Hope you’re all adjusting to that time change. Boo to losing an hour! I grew up without daylight savings time [most of the state of Indiana abstained until I was in college] so this is a semi-new thing for me. Falling back is great…but springing forward? Not so much. But enough about the time… a fun new dessert is calling your name!

Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk | thepajamachef.com

My Secret Recipe Club blog this month was Inquiring Chef, written by Jess, an American currently living in Thailand with her husband. She’s pregnant with twin girls! How fun! Jess has a huge repertoire of recipes on her blog–from Thai dishes like Shrimp Bites with Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce, Red Curry Salmon with Coconut Brown Rice, or Pad See Ew, to more traditional dishes like Pimento Cheese, Bagels, and Potato Pancakes. I wanted to make everything!! In the end, I realized I had to go with a Thai dish. How could I not? Instead of a noodle creation, I landed on this unique dessert–Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk. I have seriously never heard of anything like this before…and let me tell you–it is fabulous!

Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk | thepajamachef.com

Jess describes this dish so well that I am going to borrow her description: “Each bite is all at once crunchy, creamy, chewy, cold… almost impossible to describe.” Basically, what you have here is are apples soaked in juice, coated with tapioca flour, and then boiled to create a gelatinous coating. These sweet nuggets are served in a bowl with creamy, luscious coconut milk and crushed ice to create a fun taste and texture experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but whatever you have in your mind… this is even better! It’s sweet, but not overly so. If apples aren’t your thing, don’t be dismayed: Jess decided to use apples after the traditional “rubies” ingredient [water chestnuts] weren’t to her liking. And it’s genius! Be sure to check out Jess’ post for tips on preparing this dish [hint: use large pots and bowls, and have everything prepped ahead of time]. Thanks, Jess, for a great dish!

Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Quick Chocolate Pudding
two years ago: Quinoa Pancakes
three years ago: Lemon Blueberry Bread

Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk  [from Inquiring Chef]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 crisp apples, cored, peeled, and cut into small pieces [Fiji, McIntosh, Pink Lady, Gala as well as any other crisp type would work well]
  • 2 cups red juice [I used grape; Jess used pomegranate]
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • crushed ice, for topping

Directions:

Place apples and juice in a small bowl to soak, making sure apples are completely covered. Soak for 20 minutes.

While apples soak, bring a large pot of water to boil. Set a medium bowl of ice water next to stove to use as an ice bath.

In another bowl, stir together tapioca flour and sugar. After apples are drained, pour apples into tapioca mixture, tossing evenly to coat. Shake off extra tapioca mixture and gently drop coated apples into boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes, until coating is transparent. Remove from water and place in ice bath.

Drain apples and divide between 4 small bowls. Top each bowl with 1/2 cup coconut milk and a serving of crushed ice. Serve immediately.

Time: 40 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Notes: This dish is traditionally made with water chestnuts so those could be used in place of the apples if you wish.

Check out all the other SRC recipes for this month below!

Linked up with Weekend Potluck.