Halibut with Umami Sauce

I’ve been on a seafood kick recently.  Mostly I’ve wanted to eat ALL THE SALMON, but I’m also dreaming about the fresh fish case at Santa Monica Seafood (totally normal, I promise).  So for this week’s 2015 cookbook challenge, I consulted my trusty True Food Kitchen cookbook once again and made Halibut with Umami Sauce.

halibut with umami sauce plate

Can we talk about umami sauce for a second?  It’s the signature ingredient at Umami Burger and it also happens to include tamari, which doesn’t work for someone who’s allergic to soy.  But thankfully there’s a great soy-free alternative in the form of coconut aminos, which I swapped in instead and the sauce still came out wonderful.  Plus, by using the coconut aminos, the umami sauce is paleo friendly if you are into that sort of thing.

This recipe required minimal ingredients since the fish and the sauce were supposed to shine.  We didn’t have fingerling potatoes so we used a combo of red potatoes and sweet potatoes, and aside from the sauce update, followed the rest of the recipe.  Side note: how awesome do these potatoes look?

halibut with umami sauce potatoes

Halibut with Umami Sauce (adapted from the True Food Kitchen Cookbook)

Serves 2


1/2 pound sweet potatoes + red potatoes

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 pound brussels sprouts cut in quarters

2 halibut steaks (4-5 oz)

1 1/2 tsp salt

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp olive oil (for pan)

1  1/2 cups roasted mushrooms

1/4 cup umami sauce

Umami Sauce Ingredients (makes 1 1/2 cups):

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons coconut aminos

1 cup nutritional yeast flakes

8 mashed garlic gloves

1/2 cup olive oil


Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with foil (we used a cast iron skillet instead).

Chop up your sweet potatoes and red potatoes and toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast for 35-40 minutes or until tender.

Wash and dice your brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper.

Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat.  Add your olive oil and put the fish in the hot pan and place under the broiler.  Cook until golden brown (roughly 10 minutes).

Heat another skillet over medium heat and coat with olive oil.  Place your mushrooms and brussels sprouts in the skillet and cook until crisp.

Serve your halibut over your brussels sprouts + mushroom mixture and your roasted potatoes.  Drizzle your umami sauce on top and enjoy!

truefoodkitchen halibut plates  This also pairs quite well with a glass of rose.  Just saying.

What’s your favorite fish dish?  Is anyone else on a seafood kick as much as I am?

My Favorite Indulgence

Granola is one of those things I never buy.  I don’t buy it normally because the granola sold at most supermarkets is a calorie-laden sugar bomb, so I avoid it at all costs.  I recently had the opportunity to try the granola from My Favorite Indulgence, and I was more than pleasantly surprised at not only how tasty it was, but the quality of the ingredients as well.  Plus, how cute is this packaging?

my favorite indulgence granolaVicki Schrimmer is the mastermind behind My Favorite Indulgence, a granola company that prides itself on using not only all-natural ingredients, but GMO-free ingredients which is a huge win in my book.  The other thing that’s great about the granola is the simplicity of the ingredients, which also makes it significantly less caloric than the mass-produced granola you see in the stores.

I got to try four of Vicki’s signature flavors: Pumpkin-Spiced, Classic Almond, Chocolate Mocha, and Maple-Cinnamon (which also happens to be nut free).  I really enjoyed all of the flavors, but the standouts for me were the Chocolate Mocha and the Maple Cinnamon.

my favorite indulgence granola bowlEach serving of granola is about 1/4 cup (and 140 calories), and I found it to be a nice light breakfast when served with some almond milk and fresh berries.

I also loved adding the granola to my Greek yogurt for an afternoon snack, and even found myself grabbing a little handful when I wanted a sweet treat.  Since the granola is sweetened with brown sugar and canola oil, it had the perfect amount of sweetness without being too overpowering.

my favorite indulgence bowlAnother bonus to My Favorite Indulgence is the nut-free granola option.  As someone with food allergies, I appreciate when brands offer alternatives for someone who may not be able to have nuts but still want to enjoy some tasty granola.  And the maple cinnamon flavor is so good, you won’t even notice the nuts aren’t there!

So how can you get your hands on some granola from My Favorite Indulgence?  You can order directly from the website, or Orange County locals can pick up a bag at The Hood Kitchen and Market or at the Great Park Farmer’s Market on Sundays.

Thank you Vicki for sharing your granola with me and making me a believer!  I think it’s safe to say I’m definitely now a granola fan.

Carrot Parsnip Zucchini Bread

After all of the chocolate action that happened over the long weekend, I decided to go with something a little bit lighter this week for the 2015 cookbook challenge.  So I consulted my favorite True Food Kitchen cookbook and whipped up some Carrot Parsnip Zucchini Bread.

carrot parsnip zucchini breadThe name is a bit of a mouthful and I was quite skeptical of putting parsnips in bread, but you know what?  It worked and was delicious.  This bread is packed with veggies, has minimal sugar, and I even lightened it up by swapping non-fat plain Chobani Greek yogurt in place of the apple butter.

I haven’t gone wrong with a True Food Kitchen recipe yet and this one did not disappoint.  The yogurt gave the bread a nice moist (I know) texture and it became the perfect afternoon snack to enjoy with a cup of tea.

carrot parsnip zucchini bread and teaThe original recipe called for the bread to be divided into two loaf pans, but I decided to roll with just one large loaf and it worked out great – just be sure to allow a little extra baking time.

Carrot Parsnip Zucchini Bread (makes 1 large loaf or 2 smaller loaves)

Adapted from the True Food Kitchen Cookbook


1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 medium parsnip, shredded
1 small zucchini, shredded
3 large eggs
¾ cup non-fat plain greek yogurt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons slivered almonds


Preheat your oven to 350F.  Line a loaf pan with cooking spray or parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl add your dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix until well blended.

In a smaller bowl add your carrot, parsnip, zucchini, eggs, greek yogurt, olive oil and vanilla and blend together.  Gently fold your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and continue to mix until the dough is nice and wet.

Scoop your batter into your loaf pan and top with silvered almonds (the original recipe called for pumpkin seeds).

Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes if you are doing one large loaf; 35-40 minutes if you are doing two smaller loaves.

carrot parsnip zucchini bread slicesRemove from the oven and let the bread cool for 10 minutes.  Slice and enjoy!

Any other True Food Kitchen fans out there?  What’s your favorite recipe?

Steamed Chocolate Pudding

Have you been watching the Great British Baking Show on PBS?  The Englishman and I are pretty obsessed and look forward to it every week.  Watching the show has made me inspired to bake more British desserts, and what better way to start than with a steamed chocolate pudding?

steamed chocolate puddingWhen you normally hear the word pudding in the US, you immediately think of the classic custard dessert or the jello variety.  But in the UK, pudding is actually more along the lines of a sponge cake covered in some sort of sauce (a fact I did not learn until I met my husband).  And steamed pudding is a sponge cake that is well, steamed.

To prepare myself to create a steamed chocolate pudding, I watched Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds series on you tube to figure out the best way to create a proper pud.  Oh, and I should mention that steamed pudding is one of the Englishman’s favorite desserts, so no pressure right?  RIght.

I found a recipe online and then adapted it based on the tools that I had.  You see, normally steamed pudding is made in a pudding mold, but since I did not have one of those, I used a glass pyrex dish instead and it worked out beautifully.

The art of making a steamed pudding is to make sure the cake is still light and spongy, but gets cooked all the way through.  For my pud, I used a 4 cup pyrex bowl and steamed it for about an hour.  I think next time I’ll steam it for about 55 minutes since the cake was not quite the light spongy texture I was aiming for.

Overall, the steamed chocolate pudding was relatively easy to make and the Englishman loved it, so I consider it a win in my book.

Steamed Chocolate Pudding (adapted from this recipe)


3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp butter, softened

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 egg

1 oz semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1/2 cup almond milk

Pinch of salt


Cream your butter and sugar.  Fold in your flour, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda and continue to mix until well blended.

chocolate steamed pudding batterGently fold in your chocolate and almond milk and continue to mix.  Pour batter into a greased pudding mold or pyrex dish.  If you don’t have a pudding mold cover your dish with foil and tie a string around it so it’s easy to remove (thanks for the tip Paul Hollywood).

chocolate steamed pudding foilFill a deep pot with about 1 inch of water and bring to a boil.  Place your steamer or a rack on top of the pot and then gently place your pudding in the steamer.   I highly recommend using a steamer for this step.

chocolate steamed pudding tinCover the pot with a lid and bring the water down to a simmer.  Let your pudding cook for 50-55 minutes, and additional water to the steamer if needed.

Once your pudding is done steaming, remove from the steamer and let it cool.  Normally the pudding is covered in a sauce, but I decided to give it a Valentine’s Day flair and added pink and red sprinkles and powdered sugar.

chocolate steamed pudding valentines

Overall I was really impressed how the steamed chocolate pudding turned out!  The flavor was spot on and it was a delightful cake that we had with breakfast and tea the next day.  I will admit the overall process is quite time intensive, but I’ll definitely try my hand at steamed pudding again.