RHCP – Live in Chicago


Red Hot Curry Paste, that is. I only wish it were the Chili Peppers. And with an almost one year “hiatus” I’m a little worried, if you care. You must, since you’re reading my blog :). They released Stadium Arcadium, the 28-track double album, in early 2006 and have been stagnant since. I mean, if I released such an awesome album I might feel that I needed a 3 year break as well! Shheeeesssshhh. I think I listened to it non-stop for months. Plus, one of their singles was in perfect time to make it to our wedding CD – “Hard to Concentrate”, track 3 on Mars. I’m starting to think that the RHCP may be finished, but I am still going to hold out hope since they are my favorite band of all time. For whatever reason, Anthony Kiedis doesn’t seem to age. And if he does, I don’t notice it with all the drooling I do when he’s on TV. Tee hee hee. Of course, the drooling comes to an instant halt once Flea runs out in his tighties. Word on the street is that they may be together again soon, but who knows. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and will settle for being able to attempt to play “Snow” more than five seconds on Rock Band meanwhile thoroughly enjoying Dani California.

Anyway, with only a few blog posts I’ve become amazed at how skilled I am at rambling. I wasn’t planning on talking about the Chili Peppers, but oh well! The whole purpose of this post was to brag about one of my favorite little fishies – Halibut. Seems to go well with anything I cook it with. I made it “en papillote” a while back and I thought it wasn’t going to get any better with the lemony juicy goodness the fish-in-parchment produced. But I was wrong – and terribly wrong. The only sad part about halibut is that it’s a little pricey, so it’s not like I can cook it every freakin’ week. Have to throw in some tilapia and salmon to balance out the expense! But if you ever treat yourself to a thick juicy halibut steak (and the “flash frozen” ones in the Whole Foods frozen fish section are just as good as the fresh IMHO) you have got to try this recipe. Especially if you like red curry paste. Happens to be one of my favorites.

halibut with sauce

It’s one of those dishes that tends to linger for a while. This can be good and bad. It means you taste it for a while, but it also means you should have some gum or other breath freshener on hand if you’re eating with anyone (other than your spouse of course!).

Here’s the recipe and some pics. I’ve got to get better at photography though if I’m going to keep posting pictures of my food. I’m sure you could serve it with something else, but this way you get some greens with the bok choy and the rice just sops up that juice. The sauce is just enough of all the flavors – a hint of coconut milk but not too much, a hint of freshness with the basil, lime juice to balance it all out, and the red curry paste for the spice. I am usually a speedy eater but ate this nice and slow so that it would last. I’ll also enjoy it again tomorrow for lunch – yippppeee!!!

Halibut with Coconut-Red Curry Sauce
served with baby bok choy coconut rice; 4 servings

print recipe

2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
1/2 cup medium dice onion
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce*
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Remove fish from pan; keep warm.

Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add onion, green onions, and ginger; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and the next 4 ingredients (through coriander). Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in basil and juice.

Seasoned rice with bok choy:
Combine 1 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup water (or just use whatever is left of coconut milk from dish and use water for remainder) and 3/4 cup basmati rice in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes. Stir in 2 cups chopped baby bok choy; cover and cook 8 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil; stir into rice mixture.

*For gluten-free, substitute regular soy sauce, gluten-free brand

Marmalade & The Rainbow

gingerbread cake with marmalade filling

If you know anything about Scottish pop, you may have heard of a band called Marmalade. They’ve been compared to the Beatles (?), but mistakenly covered a pretty popular Beatles song back in the day, which turned out to be their biggest “hit”. Hence the reason they never became too popular. They do have a handful of good songs though – “Reflections of My Life”, “Carolina on My Mind” (which I’m quite sure was a James Taylor original and thus another cover song), and a little diddy called “Rainbow”. Though you may have initially thought so, this post is NOT about that band OR that song. Sorry Scottish pop lovers. But here’s a picture of them just in case you really are beat up about it:


marmalade the band

Sexy eh?


What this post is about is marmalade and a little about rainbows.

After my Sunday adventure making soup, I stole a quick peek outside to check on the weather. Rainy Sundays sure are icky. But in Chicago’s early March, it’s always nice to have one more excuse to stay indoors. Of course, the rain continued to pour down and I found myself wondering when, or if, there might be a rainbow at the end of the nasty storm. You know, a little bright end to the day. No such luck – so rather than waiting for a happy ending in a glimmer of sunlight, I decided to create my own. Cake. Cake with Coconut and Ginger. Cake with Orange Marmalade.

Tropical Gingerbread Cake
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Printable recipe


Cooking spray
9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
1 t baking powder
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 c granulated sugar, divided
1/2 c packed brown sugar
2 T finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 large egg yolks
2 T molasses
3/4 c light coconut milk
4 large egg whites

3 large egg whites
Dash of salt
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 c water
1/2 t vanilla extract

Remaining ingredients:
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

 2. To prepare cake, lightly coat 2 (9-inch) cake pans with cooking spray.

 3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk.

4. Place butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and ginger in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in molasses. Beating at low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with coconut milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

5. Place 4 egg whites in a large, clean bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form using clean, dry beaters. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.

6. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into batter; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans.

7. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

8. To prepare frosting, place 3 egg whites and dash of salt in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy using clean, dry beaters. Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to boil. Cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 250°. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg white mixture, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla.

9. Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with marmalade and 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake; sprinkle top of cake with toasted coconut. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.

At first I was a bit concerned about my gingerbread cake, as the layers were a little crooked. I can’t say that I’ve ever made a cake with “uncrooked” layers though, now that I think about it. After the first taste, I knew I was being silly. It was dense for cake with egg whites, but full of flavor. If you don’t like ginger, you wouldn’t like it though. Since there’s fresh ginger in it, you get a nice fresh taste of it every so often. And the coconut on the outside has a lovely crunch that almost melts in your mouth with the soft fluffy icing.

In addition to absolutely loving this cake recipe, what also made me post this story is a discussion I heard on NPR. I recently started plugging in my iphone on the commute in an attempt to smarten up and listen to the news. Of course I managed to find an NPR podcast about food. So much for listening to news… ! The segment today had a brief tidbit on marmalade. Of all things, a lovely ingredient that just happened to have found its way in to my cake! Apparently marmalade sales have seen an 8% decline over the last year. What is that??!!! Why oh why would someone stop buying marmalade? I must say I was a little saddended by that fact. But on the other hand, I knew I wasn’t one of those losers contributing to the decline in sales. Who are these people and how do we stop them??!

Take home message: Buy some Smucker’s Orange Marmalade (or make your own) and make this cake! You’ll be glad you did. I sure am.