Posts Tagged ‘real food’

Kids Cook: Baked Snapper in Parchment

Monday, May 21st, 2012

We had a fabulously delicious weekend, including our Food Revolution picnic at the Washington Monument — before participating in Yoga on the Mall.

Taking full advantage of the gorgeous weather, we had another picnic with friends on Sunday, for which I made my favorite summer salad — my asparagus version of Heidi Swanson’s “Mostly Not Potato Salad.” Sunday morning I had the rare shopping trip with only my five-year-old in tow. Having recently caught (and released) his first fish with his grandpop, he was especially interested in the fish on display at the grocery. After chatting with the fishmonger for a bit, he asked if we could bring home a yellow tail snapper for dinner. We nearly always eat salmon at home, so I was happy to branch out. He then noticed the June issue of Bon Appetit nearby, with a picture of fish on the cover, and added that to our cart — “So I can learn how to cook our fish.”

We flipped through the magazine later in the day and came across halibut and cherry tomatoes baked “en papillote” — or, in paper. He was intrigued so we decided to try the technique on our snapper. We used thin lemon slices, olive oil and a pinch of salt to flavor our fish. Neatly wrapped packages go into the oven for just 10 minutes, and are then placed on a serving plate to be unwrapped at the table. Fun, so easy, and a successful technique to get the kids to try something new. Even if he ate one bite and declared, “I’ve had enough fishiness for one day.” It’s a start, right?

Recipe: Baked Snapper in Parchment Paper
Makes 4 servings


  • 4 6-ounce snapper filets
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Tear off four 12-inch lengths of parchment paper. Fold each in half, then trim corners into a (half) heart shape. Open and lay flat on baking sheet.

2. Drizzle one-half tablespoon olive oil on one side of each parchment sheet. Lay 2-3 lemon slices on each and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place fish fillet on top and sprinkle with another pinch of salt.

3. Fold the empty half over the fish. Beginning at the top, fold and crimp edges a little bit at a time, continuing all the way around to make a tight seal. Bake for 10 minutes.

4. Remove packets to a serving platter. Carefully cut a slit in the top of each to allow steam to escape, then unwrap to serve.

baked snapper in parchment

10 Posts I Didn’t Write in 2010

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Before I pull together my own year-in-review for 2010, I wanted to share 10 posts I didn’t write in 2010, but wish I had. These are posts from the blogs that fill my feed reader, the ones I turn to throughout the year for support and inspiration. If you’re not already reading them, I hope you’ll check them out.

10. Marion Nestle is a must-read on food politics. This post, “Food Corporations Buy Silence from ‘Partners,‘” shows how the food wars are only just beginning, even as the Child Nutrition Act has been signed into law.

9. Speaking of the food wars, a first-grader known as the “Little Locavore” took on Sarah Palin in “Red Carrot’s Anti-Fast Food Guidebook” (at Little Locavores)

8. Organic Gardening Q&A via Good Life Eats — a helpful read if “grow your own” is one of your 2011 resolutions

7. I only got as far as freezer, uh, sauce and vanilla-preserved strawberries this spring, but next year I aspire to Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Strawberry Preserves with Mint and Black Pepper

6. 26 Kitchen Organizing Tips from Real Cooks, at Simple Bites

5. Musings on Feeding Baby from Stacie of One Hungry Mama — especially relevant as the foodie bebe will be beginning solids very soon!

4. Strategies for getting family dinner on the table, and recipe for Mustard and Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin, by Christina of Take Back Your Table for the Rachael Ray blog

3. “School Lunch Reform — Stick a Spork in My Eye” — school lunch reform realities from What’s Cooking with Kids

2. It’s not a blog post, but everyone who cares about kids and/or food should read Chef José Andrés‘ “Food for Thought” talk at the Economist’s The World in 2011

1. “Let’s Ban the Phrase ‘Picky-Eater’” from Spoonfed, one of my new favorite blogs. As you ponder your family’s new year’s resolutions, this is great inspiration: drop the labels, embrace real food, and your kids will follow. Really.

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Artos the Greek Celebration Bread

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

The second bread in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice (BBA) challenge was Artos, a Greek celebration bread typically enjoyed for Christmas or Easter. While I added the fruits found in the Christmas version, I stuck with the basic Artos shape rather than adding the decorative cross design.

The recipe begins with a starter, either a barm or a poolish. I chose the poolish as it was the simplest of the two, and I’d never made either before! The poolish is simply yeast, flour and water allowed to ferment for several hours. You then refrigerate it overnight and then are supposed to pull it out of the fridge an hour before mixing the rest of the bread’s ingredients. I took it out Memorial Day morning thinking I would mix it up before brunch, but of course that didn’t happen. When I returned five hours later (brunch was followed by playground and errands), it had exploded through its plastic wrap, over the top of its jar and oozed all over the place. After scraping off the crusty top, there was just about a cup left in the bottom of the jar which was precisely the amount needed for the bread.

Artos had a pretty long ingredient list, including a number of spices and extracts. I used cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg (no ground cloves). After mixing the dry ingredients, I plopped my gooey poolish-monster into the bowl….

poolish artos baking

… and added the beaten eggs, warm milk and almond extract. I had neither fresh citrus nor extract, so had to do without that. I mixed it in my Kitchen Aid again, but it was so sticky that I sprinkled an extra tablespoon of flour around the sides of the bowl so it would fully pull away from the bowl to knead. I added the organic dried cranberries and sultana raisins for the last two minutes of mixing.

artos bread baking

After kneading, the dough went into an oiled bowl and was left to rise for 90 minutes …

artos bread baking

Yep, more than doubled. I shaped it into a round boule and left it on the baking sheet for another 60 minutes. I was a little concerned that it rose outward at that point, rather than up, but went ahead and put it in the oven after 70 minutes as other BBAers had commented about humongous loaves.

artos bread baking

Sure enough, 43 minutes later this fragrant beauty emerged from the oven … loved the cinnamon fragrance while it baked! And it was a moist, delicious bread.

artos bread baking loaf

  • Note: I haven’t used spray oils in years, but after slathering oil on the Anadama dough by hand I decided I should pay attention to Mr. Reinhart’s instructions. I was happy to find spray grapeseed oil at my organic grocer. They also had organic olive oil spray but the grapeseed was recommended for baking.
  • N.2. My bread shrunk a little while cooling, leaving a few wrinkles in the crust. (Any baking gurus out there know why?)
  • N.3.: I hate to take a bye week so early in the challenge, but we’ll be traveling next week so bagels will be posted the following week, along with bread #4. Come back and see what’s baking!

You can see a (lovely) authentically-shaped Christopsomos loaf at Appoggiatura; or check out the enormous braided version by the Engineer Baker. And be sure to visit the BBA homepage at Pinch My Salt to check out other’s successes, failures and advice as we bake our way through The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

A Year of Bread

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

One of my personal goals for the year was to conquer my long-standing fear of baking with yeast to make my own bread. We almost never eat grocery store bread, but we do rely quite heavily on our local bakeries and market vendors. And unlike the farm-fresh produce at the market, the baked goods aren’t always up to my organic/GMO-free standards. So when a favorite foodblogger of mine, Nicole of Pinch My Salt, posted a note on Twitter that she was thinking of cooking her way through Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice, it seemed like the perfect time to jump on the “bake your own” bandwagon. Apparently, more than a few other home cooks and bloggers had the same thought, as the list of participants is now 200 people strong! I’ll be making one bread a week (give or take), and you can follow along on the group site if you want to see others’ experiences with the same recipes. (Or follow #BBA on Twitter and see photos at Flickr.)

anadama bread baking challenge

The first bread, Anadama, is a rustic New England recipe with cornmeal and molasses. The boy ate two slices for dessert tonight, so I think that’s a good sign.

anadama bread baking challenge

My notes:

  • I used dark (unsulphured organic) molasses, which gave the bread a rich, dark brown color; and my local cornmeal (Wye Mill, MD).
  • Kneaded in the KitchenAid for 8 minutes.
  • Didn’t shape the loaves evenly (need to re-read the shaping instructions before doing it) so they came out slightly lopsided.
  • Grilled cheese: I’m envisioning white cheddar and pear on Anadama in the fall … so far we’ve just eaten it warm with farm-fresh butter.

Overall, this was a pretty simple recipe and tasted delicious. Here’s hoping future experiments go as smoothly!

Shared with Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop – check it out for more real food inspiration!