Friday, August 16, 2013

3 Easy Recipes Equal 1 Elegant Meal (Guest Post by Ninja Baking)

Steel limbs of Manhattan’s skyscrapers climb skyward reflecting the reservoir of strength needed to survive in a town where premiums for success are often high. If a Broadway show isn’t spectacular, it closes. If a 3-star Michelin restaurant chef doesn’t plate the tastiest foie gras goose liver in town for a New York Times critic, he may be destined to close his doors.

Some thrive though in Manhattan’s A-game required environment. Anita of Hungry Couple is an excellent example. No matter how humble the ingredient, she elevates her home baked goods to elegance. A fresh tomato, goat cheese and basil are transformed into a savory galette pastry. Bananas are baked into a sophisticated Bananas Foster Bundt cake.

Speaking of Bundt cakes, Anita and I belong to the same BundtaMonth club. When all of our contribution photos are posted, invariably the cake with razzle-dazzle belongs to Anita. 
So, of course, I’m honored to guest post today for Hungry Couple. To maintain the level of excellence to which Anita’s readers have grown accustomed, I turned to Debra Ponzek and Mary Goodbody’s The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook. Their recipes are easy but elegant and flavorful. Enjoy!

Salad Starter:
On a bed of your favorite greens, pour this Dijon Vinaigrette dressing (adapted from The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook) over your favorite bed of greens. Neither too sharp nor sweet, the mustard accent is just right.

¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil
Black pepper

Whisk all the ingredients together except the oil.
Slowly add the olive oil.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Main Meal:
As noted in The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook, New York City’s famous Nobu restaurant’s chef/owner originally presented the Japanese tradition of Miso- Marinated Cod  to the American palate. Place the fish in marinade in the morning. In the evening, this meal will be ready in minutes.

½ cup sake wine
¼ cup miso
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced
2 scallions, both the green and white tips, sliced thin
2 cod fillets, 4 ounces each
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil

Whisk the sake, miso, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger and scallions together in a bowl. Cover the fish with marinade in a shallow dish. Place plastic wrap over the dish and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. Turn the fish over half way through.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the oil in an oven-safe skillet. Place the fillets seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides. Fry for about one minute on each side. Put the skillet in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until done.
Note: Even though the original recipe calls for 4 fillets, I used the same amount of marinade for 2 fillets with tasty results.

Divine Dessert:
Chocolate Espresso Bars! Or bliss on a plate via The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook. I topped the heavenly brownies with a white chocolate ganache.

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
(The best quality you can afford is recommended.)
1 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9x 2 pan with nonstick foil. Spray butter flavored cooking oil onto the foil.
Melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over boiling water. (Try not to let the bubbles touch the bowl.) Stir well. Dissolve the espresso powder into 3 tablespoons of hot water. Add to the melted chocolate and butter mixture. Stir again and remove from the heat.
With the paddle attachment on your mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together for about 8 minutes on medium-high speed. The mixture should have a pale lemon color. Also, the texture should be slightly creamy.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and cocoa until well combined. Add to the egg/sugar mixture. When the flour and cocoa are incorporated into the batter, mix in the melted chocolate.
Smooth the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 28 minutes. (Do not overbake.)
Once cooled add a White Chocolate Ganache:
Simply melt 6 ounces of small bits of white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Once melted, stir in ¼ cup of heated heavy cream. Stir well.
Marble the tops of the espresso brownies.

Kim Watkinson, The Ninja Baker of


  1. So fun to find Kim guest posting for you, Anita! It looks like there's another cookbook I need to purchase...all these dishes look fantastic!! Those espresso brownies are especially tempting :)

  2. What a great meal, Kim! I would enjoy every course, especially the miso marinated cod. Tasty!

    1. And with a Pimms for a beverage the meal would be even better =)

  3. I love miso and the meals are fun and tasty. Yummy.

    1. Part of the fun is the quick 'n easy preparation, too =)

  4. Thank you, Anita for letting me guest post for the Hungry Couple. Bet your tummies are nice and happy with Maine lobster just about now =)

  5. Kim, this is a perfect meal, from start to finish. While I'm a dessert gal, I gotta say I'm especially enamoured with the miso cod. Yum!


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