Tilapia Parmesan

Posted By mattantonino / July, 3, 2011 / 1 comments

Two things typically eluded me before I starting learning to cook.  1) Quick, tasty meals that didn’t get microwaved or come in cardboard and 2) summer meals that didn’t feel heavy or meaty.  I like salads but I can only eat so many salads in one summer.

I don’t remember where I first saw a recipe for tilapia parmesan but at this point I’ve changed it a few times, made it probably 20 times in 15 different ways and have adjusted everything about it so … no link, just recipe and photos today.

Now, I’m all for fresh ingredients.  Get some fresh tilapia and do this.  However, I’m going to show you in photos a 15 minute meal that doesn’t have to be defrosted.  You can have this plate of food in 15 minutes or less. And on those hot summer nights, a light fish, quick rice and veggie can make the perfect meal.

Ingredients

  • Tilapia filets (fresh taste slightly better, frozen are more convenient .. both work)
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise per filet
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice per filet
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic or
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan per filet
  • couple dashes of pepper

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to broil.  Move the oven rack near the broiler.
  2. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie tray.  Spread the tilapia filets on the foil with the “top” side up.
  3. Broil the filets for 3 minutes (fresh) or 5 minutes (frozen).
  4. While the filets broil, mix the mayonnaisse, lemon juice, garlic and pepper together in a small mixing bowl.
  5. Remove the cookie tray from the oven and carefully flip the filets.
  6. Broil another 4-6 minutes on the “bottom” side.  While they broil heat your vegetables and some 90 second Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice in the microwave.
  7. Remove the cookie tray from the oven and flip the filets again.  Broil until the fish is white and cooked.
  8. Cover each filet with some of the mayo mixture and top with parmesan.
  9. Broil until the parmesan is browned and melted.
  10. Devour.

frozen tilapia before parmesan

white tilapia before adding the mayo mix and parmesan

tilapia parmesan

plate of tilapia parmesan, garden rice and green beans

plate of tilapia parmesan, garden rice and green beans

9 Great Recipe Sites

Posted By mattantonino / June, 26, 2011 / 0 comments

Inspiration comes from many places for me.  As a new cook I tend to stick to the basics (ingredients, techniques, etc.) and learn as I go.

For recipe tracking I use LivingCookbook because it’s *perfection* in recipe form.  I have about 52,000 recipes in my LivingCookbook from all sorts of places.  You can import (and export) Mealmaster format, a LivingCookbook format, plaintext and more.  I use the RecipeFox plugin for Firefox to grab and save recipes off the major sites.  It comes with a list of 100s of recipe sites.  These are some of my favorites, many of which use RecipeFox.

Usual Suspects

1) Food Network

Great for finding recipes from your favorite FN stars (such as the ever-hot Giada).  A dedicated Healthy Eating section, full episodes of your favorite shows and recipes that easily export to MealMaster, LivingCookbook or plain text format.  A large database of great recipes makes this a no-brainer at #1.

2) AllRecipes

A HUGE database of fantastic recipes along with the best ingredient search tool makes this my go-to site.  Easily export any recipe to MealMaster, LivingCookbook or plain text with RecipeFox.

3) Saveur

A little higher-end fare (read: fancy) makes Saveur a keeper.  While not being as culinarily challenging as Epicurious, many of Saveur’s recipes are accessible, tasty and excellent.  RecipeFox integration makes this my 3rd favorite recipe site.  RecipeFox friendly.

4) Epicurious

You will be more likely to find a Roasted Vegetable and Prosciutto Lasagna with Alfredo Sauce than a traditional chicken alfredo but that’s why I love Epicurious.  This site is advanced and typically not what the home cook makes.  (The first recipe under Christmas is a Prosecco-Raspberry Gelee)  If you have orange-flower water and Prosecco in your pantry, this is the site for you.  (If you have no idea what those are, this site may be overwhelming at first.)  RecipeFox friendly as well.

Under the Radar

5) DrinksMixer

Quite possibly the only mixed drink site you need.  I have never really had much trouble finding anything on here. Recipes for everything from A Berry Breakfast Drink to the Zipper.  Search by ingredient, drink name, etc.  Terminology, a glossary and drinking games.  RecipeFox friendly!

6) VisualRecipes

Step-by-step photographic how-to of each recipe.  This site is a MUST for new cooks.

7) Cooking Light

This is my favorite healthy-only site. With a healthy cooking 101 section and my favorite – recipe makeovers, and one of my favorite magazines, this was a must-include on my favorite recipe sites.

Personal Faves

8) Recipe Goldmine

Another *huge* recipe site with all sorts of great and simple foods. This is my go-to site when I just need something I can make tonight.

9) Jamie Oliver’s site

I’ll admit it – I’m a sucker for Jamie’s cooking. I am the only American I know who watches Oliver’s Twist. I don’t understand his temps or half the ingredients he says until I see them.  I don’t care.  I would watch Jamie cook all day (and sometimes do!)  My mini shell pea pasta and smoky bacon sauce is a Jamie food.  They are homecooked goodness and rich, high quality skill.  Does he cook 89-star food?  Not usually.  Is he amazing in a kitchen?  Absolutely.

 

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/

Caramel apple streusel cake

Posted By mattantonino / June, 23, 2011 / 2 comments

I’d love to tell you that I made this Warm Caramel Apple Cake and shot that for today’s food.  That’s what I want to do.

It looks awesome.  I can imagine how it tastes and I want to try it.  I will, soon.  Then I’ll post that.  Today is one of those “eh, I’m a photographer, not a cook” days.

So I cheated.

I know … don’t look at me like that!  It doesn’t happen as often anymore!

Ultimately, I’m just a food photographer.  I need to shoot, even when I don’t want my hair all full of flour 3 hours before a meeting with a potential bride to shoot her wedding.  I still need to make, shoot and eat food.

Today’s excellent cheat is a straight-out-of-the-box Duncan Hines Apple Caramel Streusel. Follow instructions. Maybe cut up an apple into bite sized bits and add it.  This recipe is sweet, delicious and moist.  I actually *really* love it and will eat it again.

Yes, I know I used a pan that was too big. Guess I have to do it again.

Darn.

apple caramel cake

apple caramel cake texture

apple streusel

apple streusel

inside carmel apple streusel

Sunday I’ll be back with something special for the blog and Tuesday I’ll post up my famous tilapia parmesan.  Fish & cheese?  Seriously. Tuesday.

 

Plan your blog posts (or your menu) for the week

Posted By mattantonino / June, 16, 2011 / 4 comments

One of my goals for a long time has been to complete the 31 Days to a Better Blog project from ProBlogger.  I didn’t start with 3 blogs with growing readership but apparently that is where I am now.  Pushing each further means more advertising revenue each month and more opportunities opening around me.  I like money and I like opportunity so … starting June 1 I began the 31 Days …

Day 7 was the most relevant day for me.

7) Plan your next week’s posting schedule

I did the project dutifully and mapped out 7 days of blog entries.  (This was not one of them, by the way.)  I felt good having accomplished a week of blogging topics on all 3 blogs.  I didn’t know I could feel so far “ahead” on work for the blogs. My style has always been to blog impulsively which is why sometimes I blog frequently and sometimes blog infrequently.  I often treated blogging as the red-headed step child of my businesses.  Shooting, networking, marketing, advertisements, social media, gawker submissions, editing, uploading, keywording … if there was time left over maybe even talk to my woman, hit the gym and cook some food.

Since leaving Syracuse and going out on my own last year I felt it was time to get more organized about how I do things, more controlled as far as my blogging habits and get back some of the momentum on this blog. I knew I wasn’t doing what I wanted when an opportunity presented itself to make serious money blogging and …

I didn’t qualify.  I  hadn’t posted frequently enough at the time.  On ANY of my blogs.

I’m definitely back now – I have posted 4 times since May 28th on here, another 6 on my microstock photography blog and another 5 or 6 on my SEO for wedding photographers blog.

So where are we today?

Prep, course … these are food words.  Today, they are blogging words.  I need to prep posts ahead of time and plan my course.  Maybe blogging is my fourth course of the day.  I think of planning my blogs like I plan my food shoot ideas. It doesn’t take long one day a week to get FAR ahead on it but it takes you a very long time to do everything on the fly.  Last night I was inspired to create blog ideas and actually came up with topics for all 3 blogs FOUR weeks in advance. (Click on image to enlarge it.)

I always decide at the beginning of the week what foods I will make that week (this week I’m making scallop linguine, chicken alfredo, blueberry smoothies, caramel flan and maybe a peanut butter dessert.)  Planning foods to shoot keeps me from either forgetting to shoot, being too lazy to shoot or simply coming up with last minute plans.  The same seems to be holding true for my blogging.

It’s been 9 days since I planned my first week and with only a few minor changes in plan, I’m sticking to it.  Good news for my blog readers!  I should have brand new content up 2-4 times per week, every week.

Do you plan your food shoots? Do you shoot everything you eat?  What is the plan on your blog?

Cinco de Mayo means… tortillas!

Posted By mattantonino / May, 6, 2011 / 5 comments

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

So a week ago I was contacted by TortillaLand with an offer to ship some tortilla to me if I’d make up some nice Cinco de holiday recipes and blog about the TortillaLand product.  That’s the disclosure part.  The rest of this entry is the “yum” part.

Let’s talk about the tortillas.  They are uncooked, fresh tortilla. I can’t imagine how they could be any softer or fresher. They arrived in a cooler and were still chilled when I opened the box. I unwrapped some and immediately wanted to try one. I quickly cooked one up, ate it with egg and it was delicious!  I started thinking about what I wanted to make for Cinco de Mayo.

I assumed (rightfully, it seems) that many people would make dinners, wraps, burritos, etc.  I knew that was out for me. I have wanted to do some homemade tortilla chips for quite awhile but hadn’t found the time (or motivation) so that was definitely on the list.  I did want to throw a bit of Mex spirit in so I knew I’d at least rock out a couple cheese quesadillas as well.

What I didn’t know even 3 days ago was that I would be blogging a *dessert* made with TortillaLand flour tortillas.  But yes, I did dessert.  Why?  Because it’s FREAKING DELICIOUS.  That’s why.

So here are the photos.  First few are just the tortilla cooking (and puffing.  They puffed GREAT!)  The next few are some fried bananas I quickly heated.  Assembly included adding some chocolate chips, warming in the microwave and rolling the finished product into a dessert wrap.  I’ve included a few quesadilla and homemade tortilla chip photos as well, just so you can see the variety of foods I’ve made with my tortillas.

I will accept any sponsor offers people want to send but I’ll always be honest about the product. In this case, that’s SUPER easy.  The TortillaLand tortillas were probably the best I’ve ever eaten (and my step-dad is Mexican so that’s a lot of eating.)  I actually wish I could make them like this. I’d have to own a farm to keep myself in stock on flour, though. They’re that good.  And yes, I’m having another egg wrap tortilla tomorrow for breakfast.

TortillaLand tortilla puffing in the frying pan

cooking a fresh tortilla

fried bananas sizzling in a pan

fried banana on a tortilla waiting for chocolate

TortillaLand fresh tortilla with fried banana and chocolate

fried banana chocolate wrap for Cinco de Mayo

cheese quesadillas for Cinco de Mayo using fresh TortillaLand tortillas

homemade tortilla chips

pile of fresh tortilla chips

A classic pumpkin pie

Posted By mattantonino / April, 17, 2011 / 2 comments

As I mentioned in my last post,  I have been on a pie kick.  Last time was cherry pie, this time it’s a traditional pumpkin pie.  Now, I know most everyone has a pumpkin pie recipe but I strongly recommend the ease of going with the traditional Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe.  Simple, straightforward, easy to make, and very tasty!

pumpkin pie

homemade pumpkin pie

piece of pumpkin pie

She’s my … cherry pie (recipe)!

Posted By mattantonino / April, 13, 2011 / 2 comments

I’m not a big pie eater but that won’t be clear for the next few weeks.  Awhile back I hit a pie kick.  Cherry pie, pumpkin pie, chicken pot pie… you name it, I was making it.  For today’s recipe I’m going to give you a link rather than rewrite it.  This is Beth Campbell’s Cherry Pie, which, according to her, was the 1999 American Pie Council’s National Pie Championship first place winner in the Fruit and Berry Category.  I know why!  This pie filling is amazing.  The crust is good but exactly what you’d expect.  If you have a fantastic crust recipe, use that and fill it with this.

(Yes, the crack on the closeup bothers me. I didn’t want to fix it so you could see what a flaky crust this was. I did fix it on the two wide angles.)

whole cherry pie

whole cherry pie

slice of cherry pie

pie crust

I hope you enjoyed some sweet cherry pie photos!

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Cherry-Pie-IV/Detail.aspx

Easy Beef Stroganoff recipe

Posted By mattantonino / March, 1, 2011 / 0 comments

This is my first post using the new Google Recipe Search plugin so if it comes out looking a little different, sorry about that.  I’ve been promising this easy beef stroganoff recipe for awhile so I figured now was the best time to add it!

It has been so long since I made this beef stroganoff that I’ve MOVED in the meantime and have no idea where the original ideas came from.

easy homemade beef stroganoff

Easy Beef Stroganoff recipe

Summary: A simple, warm stroganoff recipe anyone can make.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beef tips cut small
  • 2 tsp soy
  • 12 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Marinate beef tips in soy for 15 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Microwave mushrooms for 4 minutes. Drain liquid into a bowl and set the mushrooms aside.
  3. Combine mushroom water, mustard, sugar and pepper. Set that mix aside.
  4. Remove beef tips from bag and pat dry. Season with pepper, heat oil over medium heat and cook steak until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Add mushrooms and onion to a hot skillet. Season with salt and cook until browned. Add tomato paste and flour. Stir for 1 minute.
  6. Stir in wine, beef broth, mustard paste and simmer. Reduce to thicken, about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Stir in meat and all juices.
  8. Remove pan from heat and stir in sour cream.
  9. Serve over egg noodles.

Meal type: dinner

Culinary tradition: German

Name: Easy Beef Stroganoff recipe

Updated on 3/1/11

 

 

Perfect gluten free chocolate chip cookies

Posted By mattantonino / January, 8, 2011 / 4 comments

One of my best friends found out he (may be) is gluten intolerant and had eaten boring, flavorless foods for a few months.  He mentioned “not having tasted anything good” in awhile so I went in search of the perfect gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe.

We made this recipe and the cookies were as moist as cookies get.  They stayed moist for days!  If you are in search of the perfect gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe, this may be it.  It’s definitely the most moist and tasty.

As always, recipe after the jump.

Continue reading…

Incredible Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

Posted By mattantonino / December, 21, 2010 / 0 comments

Yes, I obviously love dessert. Fried banana torts, pies all the time, perfect gluten free chocolate chip cookies, and checkerboard cookies.  Yeah, just to name a few.  My favorite?  This…by FAR.

No words can do justice to the beauty, taste and incredibleness that is a Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake.  Everyone knows I’m still “starting to cook” so I clearly am not nearly this good.  But the recipe?  That is!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake on Erin’s Food Files

All I can tell you is to make this for your next party.  You.will.win.

red velvet cheesecake cake

red velvet cheesecake cake

red velvet cheesecake cake

red velvet cheesecake cake

red velvet cheesecake cake