Sunday, April 8, 2012

Next Time, I Will Follow Directions

Happy Food Matters Project Monday Everyone! To all who celebrated Easter, I hope you had a great time with family and friends. This week’s recipe, Fish Nuggets Braised in Rhubarb Sauce, was chosen by Camilla. Visit her blog for Mark Bittman’s original recipe and check out her other delicious dishes too! 

I made an entirely different version of this recipe because there were no rhubarbs at the grocery store and the fish did not look appetizing at all. Growing up in a tropical country, where I got spoiled with fresh seafood all the time, anything that is frozen and pre-packed just does not do it for me.

So, what did I do? Before we left for Portland, I took out some frozen fruits from last summer and made some sort of jam for a rye pop tart that went in our snack bag for the road trip. The jam was a combination of frozen peaches, frozen raspberries, juice of an orange, zest of the orange, and some honey. There was plenty of this left and so I decided to use it for my sauce. As for the meat, I decided to go with beef that I sliced thinly and marinated with the juice of two limes, some salt, and pepper.

I heated the sauce, threw in chopped onions and jalapenos and cooked them until they were soft and then added the marinated beef. The result? Ok, but not great. My sauce was delicious and fresh-tasting (even though everything, except the orange, was frozen) and the beef was well-flavored and well-cooked. However, the flavors of the sweet sauce and the lime-marinated beef were too strong and just did not go well together. I’m bookmarking Mark Bittman’s original recipe to try one of these days as soon as I get my hands on some rhubarb and good fish. Do check out the other FMP members’ take on this recipe... they always add their own creative spin that leave me drooling.

As my version of this recipe didn’t go over so well, let’s talk about my side dish instead, which would work as a stand-alone, healthy meal. This is another one of the growing quinoa recipes out there, but it’s worth a try… I promise, it will not disappoint!

Quinoa with Sweet Potato and Kale (Makes 4 servings)

1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 medium sweet potato, grated
1 small bunch kale, roughly chopped
2 cups quinoa, cooked
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garam masala
½ cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, throw in the garlic and cook until it turns golden brown. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the sweet potato and stir occasionally for about 3 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon of salt. Throw in the kale and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Mix in the garam masala and cayenne. Add the quinoa and stir occasionally for about 4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

This dish is simple and earthy with a flavorful blend of spices. The slight bitterness of the kale is a tasty accompaniment to the sweet potatoes. I recommend shredding the sweet potatoes because this allowed for faster cooking and for the flavor to be infused in every bite.             

P.S. Our Portland Spring Break was super fun! I will share details (restaurants, places to visit, shopping, yoga, activities, etc.) in my next post in the hopes that it will entice you to visit Portland in the near future.


  1. This looks delicious. I, too, had a major departure from the recipe since rhubarb was no where to be found! The irony: the morning after my adapted fish in rhubarb-less sauce, I found rhubarb. Lots of it and have launched into a rhubarb fest. I hope you'll try the real recipe once you get some rhubarb.

  2. I need to introduce Quinoa into my family's diet. This looks so delicious! Will try this soon,

  3. I love how creative everyone got this week since rhubarb isn't anywhere to be found yet! I made a sauce using jam too :). That quinoa also looks fabulous. I'm a huge quinoa fan after living in Peru where we ate it almost everyday. I also love kale and sweet potatoes so I'm definitely bookmarking this recipe!

  4. I can never find rhubarbs either! At least your Quinoa turned out well. (I've actually never heard of Quinoa, but I've got to try it out, it looks superb!

  5. Your quinoa looks great. I love the creative idea you had.

  6. Even though the dish didn't turn out quite like it was supposed to, it looks pretty delicious. And as the cook, you have creative license to try new things. I probably would have skipped the frozen fish too. The quinoa with the kale and sweet potato looks delicious though!

  7. It looks very inviting even though it did not come out as you would like it. Trial and error is what makes us better in the kitchen!

  8. Quinoa, sweet potatoes and kale?!? One word: YUM!


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