sticky spicy basil shrimp (GF & DF)

This Sticky, Spicy, Basil Shrimp is one of my favorites.  Super easy, with a ton of flavor.  I love it. 

Made if for Edith who asked for the recipe and also for Sylvie, Greg, Sarah and many more and it was a hit on every occasion.  It is an easy go to for me because I usually have shrimp in the freezer and I do usually have ginger root and basil.  Easy to shop for even if you don’t have all the ingredients on hand.  

I found this in The Cook You Want To Be by Andy Baraghani.  Andy writes about the need for salt (and good salt), mighty flavor, levels of tang, and acid.  The book is just beautiful.  He incorporates so many flavors and he writes with humor and ease.  

The marinade is quick to blend and the shrimp takes about 7 minutes to cook.  I like to serve with cucumbers as mentioned in the recipe but also some fresh pineapple.  Yum! 

I don’t use all of the garlic in the recipe (but you should if you can digest it well) and I sometimes sub the Fresno chile  with red pepper and a little cayenne – so fiddle as you see fit with the ingredients you have and can find.   Lastly – use this marinade for pork chops, roasted cauliflower and really anything.  


4 Fresno chili, coarsely chopped (see above for sub)

8 garlic cloves (I use 4) 

2 inch piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup sugar (I know seems like a lot, but this is just a marinade!)

3 tablespoons fish sauce

2 teaspoons kosher salt (diamond crystal – if using Mortons or table salt cut in half)

1/4 neutral oil (grapeseed, avocado, I’ve used olive too), plus 2 tablespoons

2 pounds head on, shell on shrimp (for flavor) – although I confess sometimes I only have the peeled tail on!

3 cups basil leaves

lime wedges, sliced cucumbers and pineapple for serving

In a blender, combine the chiles, garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce, salt, and 1/4 cup oil.  Blend until very smooth. Pour this into a medium bowl and add the shrimp.  Let marinate for 15 m or so.

Heat a large cast iron or non stick skillet over medium high heat.  Once hot add the oil.  When the oil feels hot add the shrimp using tongs – discarding the excess marinade.  Be careful not to overcrowd the pan.  You may want to use two pans or cook in batches.  Cook until shrimp are lightly charred around the edges for about 3 minutes.

Flip shrimp and cook on second side until cooked through another 2-3 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the basil – toss well until the basil is wilted.

Squeeze with lime and arrange more lime around the shrimp on a platter or simply serve from you pan.  Serve cucumber and pineapple along too and enjoy this scrumptious meal. 

chicken romano meatballs

These chicken romano meatballs are delicious.   Little balls of chicken, lemon, garlic, herbs, red pepper flakes and cheese (!!).  Good.  Yummy.  Simple.  Tasty.  Those are the adjectives for today.  Serve over rice, spaghetti squash, pasta or simply on a bed of baby spinach.  The hot sauce wilts the spinach and it retains its shape and crunch a bit.  I happen to love that.  When reheating I add some cherry tomatoes too – and what a delightful lunch it makes. 

The recipe come from and you know I’m a fan.  I have most of Gina’s books and I enjoy her blog.  There is nothing tricky about this recipe.  Follow it and you shall see.  I made the meatballs as instructed – but for the sauce, I  put whole garlic cloves in because I find minced garlic is often too strong for me.  Getting older – the garlic – indigestion.   I also added some Glace De Poulet Gold (very reduced chicken stock) for added flavor and also a bit more salt and pepper than the recipe calls for.  So taste and taste again, re-season and serve!  You can find the recipe here.

Enjoy – 

shrimp egg rolls (air fried)

Never thought I’d ever make egg rolls – but I did!  And wow – Andy and Sylvie thoroughly enjoyed and I did too.  Rob – not a huge fan of cabbage wasn’t exactly over the moon but you can’t please everyone.  Although you can add a different vegetable – even a different protein.  Maybe next time for him.  Yes, I will.

I saw these in Skinnytaste and put them on the top of my list.  The recipe hovered there for a bit because 1- was I really going to make egg rolls? 2 – I’d have to find the egg roll wrappers and 3 – they looked like a lot of work.  

After a few months delay, I was ready.  Yes, I was going to make them!   I found the wrappers right where Gina (skinny taste) said they would be (near the tofu and wonton wrappers) and 3 – I was ready to roll and air fry.

These were not much work!  The filling comes together in minutes and then you just have to roll the shrimp/cabbage up like a baby and pop em in the air fryer.  You can have you kids help to roll and then boom, you are done.  Yes, you have to make it batches but that’s ok – you can also make all of them and reheat when it is dinner (or appetizer) time.   I made a simple dipping sauce of sweet chili sauce and soy sauce and we were licking our fingers.

Enjoy these (should you choose to go for it).  Gina’s recipe is right here.  Oh, I doubled the recipe.

Vietnamese baked fish

Bursting with flavor this fish dish is my new favorite.   I love love love it.  It is bold and intense with garlic, ginger, fish sauce and mint.  All of these ingredients meld together in and on top of the fish in a little foil packet that you cook for only about 16 minutes.  Seriously easy once you have the ingredients in the house.  Do not add any salt to the dish as the fish sauce does the trick.  And again – please don’t be afraid of fish sauce.  But also, maybe don’t smell it from the bottle.  Here is some fish sauce brand info.  I just learned a lot from the article myself.

I made this recipe with flounder (it fell apart but tasted great!), halibut, cod and haddock.  All so so good.  Of course the thicker the fish the longer it takes to cook so use 16 minutes only as a guide.

This is delicious with rice although I happen to just like it as it is – I added more tomatoes and carrots because I’m a little veggie crazy.  The last time I made this dish I used fresh peas instead of carrots and it was a hit.

This recipe, like the Thai Fish Curry is from my Mediterranean Way cookbook.  One day I’ll venture out of the Asian and into one of the Mediterranean dishes.  Maybe.  

This recipe calls for 6 pieces of fish but feel free to double or cut in half (as I do).  

Trying to think if anything else…but I think that is it!  Enjoy –

Serves: 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 16-20 minutes



  • 4 ripe tomatoes, diced (and more if you like)
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil (I use a tad less as I find the flavor very strong – but do as you wish
  • 4 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I use a little less but if you are a garlic fan go for it all
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper or more to taste (I like more) 
  • 4 6-ounce firm white fish fillets (haddock, snapper, cod) 
  • 2 julienned carrots (I used grated carrots)
  • another time I used fresh peas 


Preheat oven to 440 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, mix together the tomatoes, fish sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, ginger, garlic mint, sugar and pepper.

Take a decent sized piece of tin foil and make a little boat for the fish.  Set the open foil packets on a baking pan.  You want plenty of extra foil as you need be able to seal the foil at the end.  This may take a few tries.  Next time I’ll take a photo of mine.

Put a fish fillet into each packet of foil.  Top with the julienned or shredded carrots.  Follow with the tomatoes and marinade portioning it equally among the fish. 

Cook for 16 minutes.  Take a peek inside but be carful as the steam inside the packets is hot.  Super hot.

If the fish is thick and looks too opaque, cook a few more minutes. If not, slide the fish and all it’s cooking liquid onto a plate and enjoy. 

I do hope you like it as much as I do!

snickerdoodles (dairy free, gluten free, no refined sugar)

I’ve made these gems a few times this winter.  I really liked them – the texture and taste.  I crumbed into my vanilla ice cream and it was true bliss.  Andy ate them too – and even vied for them (as they were made really with Greg in mind) which is pretty amazing too.  His friend Steve who is gluten free and Gabi my vegan hair colorist both gave a big thumbs up.  But most importantly, Greg loved them.  He went back to Boston with a little box full and he looked so happy about it.  It was nice to see that smile (for sweets) on my 24 year old as It is hard to bake for Greg given his restrictions (GF, DF).   I found this recipe in Bakerita:100 + No-Fuss Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free Recipes for the Modern Baker by Rachel Conners.  I followed the recipe – although the second time I made them I used refined sugar in the cinnamon sugar blend that you roll the cookies in.  The coconut sugar was fine but the real sugar better – but do what makes you happy.

These are so easy to throw together – but you will probably need to go to the store and get a few things – although if you have food restrictions you may have some of the ingredients already in your pantry.  

Take out your kitchen scale if you have one as Rachel gives us the weighted measurements!

I baked some of these right away and I left some dough in the fridge to bake off as needed.  Fresh baked warm snickerdoodles…well, yum.



  • 1 3/4 cup (168 g) blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup (32 g) coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 refined coconut oil (67 g), melted
  • 1/3 cup (113 g) maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 

  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or regular refined sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line sheet pan(s) with parchment. 

Whisk together the two flours, the baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and cinnamon.

Melt the coconut oil and mix in the maple syrup and vanilla extract

Mix the wet and the dry until thoroughly combined. 

Prepare the topping by mixing the two ingredients.

With a cookie scoop or spoon, form your cookies.  Roll in your hands a bit then roll around in the topping.  The cookies are delicate so be a bit careful.  I like a lot of sugar and cinnamon so I kind of pressed them into the topping to really coat the cookie.

The size of the cookie depends on you.   Rachel measures about a tablespoon of dough.  You can do that, or smaller if you like.  It will change the baking time a bit (the smaller the cookie the less time to bake).

Place cookies on sheet pan about 2 inches apart (they don’t really spread).  And then flatten a tad with your palm.  

The larger cookie bakes for about 10 minutes.  Mine took a bit longer.  I will say that it is hard to tell when these are done.  You want them to be a nice golden color.  

I decided to use one cookie as a tester and also checked the bottom for clues.  The hard part is that these cookies crumble fairly easily so that tester cookie, although still edible, will likely fall apart.  Anyway, the bottom should look a nice golden brown too.  Try not to overtake though.  This is the trickiest part of making these – trial and error will help.  I hope you like them! 


thai fish curry

This curry is a new favorite of ours –  I made it with flounder which was not the best choice as it fell apart a bit.  I managed to take a lovely photo but next time I’d try with a firmer fish like cod or haddock or cod.  I found this recipe in an older cookbook of mine.  Periodically I go through my books and donate a bunch that I rarely use.  This one though, The Mediterrasian Way, I always hold on to.  It is weird because the concept of the book is Mediterranean and also Asian.  The recipes are not mixed –  no fusion here.  Just simple healthy meals that are spicy and flavorful.   

Prep the ingredients before you cook as it all comes together fairly fast and easy.  Serve with rice or cauliflower rice – or over a bed of baby spinach (that will soften when you add the hot curry) or add extra veggies and eat just like that. You can also add the fresh spinach at the end – and that is also when I add peas and tomatoes and any veg that doesn’t take long to cook.  

I will give you the basic recipe here – but as you can see from the photo, I used haricot beans, baby Bella mushrooms, peas and tomato.  But have fun and make what you enjoy.  If you want your fish to have a little color to it, just pan sear right before you place it into the curry broth.  I didn’t here – but I know if I was cooking for a reluctant fish eater, I might because for some reason fish with color is a little less intimidating.  Maybe…


Serves: 4

medium to fairly easy


  • 1-2 tablespoons oil ( I used olive oil) book calls for canola or peanut 
  • bell pepper, sliced
  • 32 green beans (I did not count – but here if you need it) 
  • 2 cloves garlic, more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped lemongrass  (I used a lemongrass puree as discussed in the cod in coconut broth recipe)  
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 cups coconut milk (use full fat if you can handle it)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • four to five 6-ounce firm whitefish fillets (snapper, cod, haddock) each cut into thirds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil (I didn’t have any but would be delicious)
  • kosher salt or Maldon Salt
  • pepper  


Prep all ingredients and set up by the stove. 

  • In a large skillet – heat the oil over medium high heat and then add the pepper and green beans – stir here and there, until the pepper has softened – about 4 minutes (I used the mushroom instead of the red pepper) 
  • Add the garlic, lemongrass, ginger and turmeric and cook, stirring constantly for about a minute.  
  • Add the coconut milk, water, fish sauce, sugar and Chile powder and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 8 minutes 
  • Add the fish and spoon the sauce over the fish to coat, and simmer, covered for about 8 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through.
  • Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, basil, and season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

cod in coconut broth with lemongrass and ginger

This is my third attempt preparing a fish dinner (since the kids left) and it is a recipe finally worth writing about.  I added a ton of extra vegetables so it looks more complicated than it needs to be so please don’t be intimidated.  I will give you the basic recipe with the option to add more vegetables.  I love Thai flavors, lime, cilantro, lemongrass, ginger and fish sauce.  This all comes together so nicely – the broth is flavorful and highlights the flakiness of the cod.  I found this recipe in Foolproof Fish – America’s Test Kitchen – a cookbook that my mother suggested when I mentioned how little I know about preparing fish.  The book is beautiful and filled with recipes as well as substitutions and tips on cooking methods.  So give it a try if you think you might fancy it.  I don’t get payment btw!

I used a lemongrass puree that I found in the vegetable aisle of my local supermarket because I couldn’t find fresh lemongrass.  

Fish sauce is sold at most supermarkets these days – if you can’t find you can easily order online. 

You can use light coconut milk, but the broth will be noticeably thinner and less rich.  

This recipe serves 4 and you can substitute black sea bass, haddock, hake or pollock.



  • 1 tablespoon oil – I used avocado oil, the author writes vegetable oil, but I think most oils work ok
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly
  • 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch long matchsticks
  • 1 (10inch) lemon grass stalk, trimmed to bottom 6 inches and bruised with back of knife (or use the lemongrass puree I used about a dollop the size of a quarter)
  • 4 (6-8) ounces skinless cod fillets – about 1 inch thick – or a little thicker is fine – 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper – or to taste
  • 1/3 cup canned coconut milk (well shaken)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dry roasted peanuts (if you like!)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves (find info here for a note on cilantro)
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed and sliced thin (or less depending on your taste) If you don’t have serrano chile substitute with a red Fresno chile if possible.  Otherwise, improvise for some heat – I used dry serrano chile and minced.
  • As you can see in the photo, I added cooked corn, zucchini and squash ribbons, peas and tomatoes.  But completely unnecessary.  If interested though, I cooked the corn first and then I sautéed these vegetables a bit before I added them to the broth.  Maybe 5 minutes…really depends on the veggies you add.


Set up your mis-en-place (ingredients):

Clean and slice leeks, mince garlic, peel and grate the ginger, wash, peel and cut carrots, bruise the lemon grass, squeeze the lime, crush the peanuts, wash the cilantro, cut the chile

  • Heat oil in a 12 inch non stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. 
  • Add leek and a bit of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned about 5-7 minutes. 
  • Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds (don’t let it burn it will taste bitter).
  • Stir in water, carrots, and lemon grass and bring to simmer.
  • Pat cod dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.  
  •  Nestle the fish into the skillet and spoon some cooking liquid over the top and bring to a summer.  
  • Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until fish flakes apart when gently prodded with a paring knife or registers 135 degrees, this should take 8-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your cod.  Cook longer if fish still looks opaque.  
  • If adding extra sautéed vegetables, you can add them to the skillet at this point.  
  • Transfer fish to individual shallow bowls, discard the lemon grass and divide leeks and carrots (and extra veggies if you used) evenly among the bowls.
  • Off heat whisk in the coconut milk, lime juice and fish sauce and season with kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Ladle broth over fish and sprinkle with cilantro, peanuts and Chile.  Serve with lime wedges.  So good! I’d like it right now!