May 2008

“An inviting tables is as important to a successful dinner as the food you present.” – Ethan Becker


I’ve really been on this latin, carribbean kick lately! Maybe it’s becuase I’m trying to psych myself up for my Jamaican honeymoon in a few weeks. Anyway, I made the recipe below and it was just amazing. Mr. Hillman’s Helpings said “you could pay $30 for something like that in a restaurant!” I couldnt find snapper at the store so I used tilapia. Enjoy!


2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup thinly sliced banana (about 1 banana)
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic), divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded carrot (about 1 carrot)
1 cup light coconut milk
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 jalapeños, minced
4 (6-ounce) red snapper fillets, skinned

To prepare puree, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add banana; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans, 1/4 cup broth, juice, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Place banana mixture and remaining 1/4 cup broth in a food processor; process until smooth.

To prepare snapper, combine carrot, milk, chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and jalapeños in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Add fish to pan; cover and simmer 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

– Use fresh or frozen poultry, fish and lean meat instead of canned or processed versions
– Buy fresh, frozen or canned vegetables with no salt added
– Buy lw-sodium, reduced sodium or no-salt-added versions of convenience foods, when possible
– Choose breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium
-Ct back on frozen dinners, pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups and broths, which often have a lot of sodium
– Spice up your food with herbs, spices, citrus zest and salt-free seasoning blends rather than salt.


After another brief hiatus, I’m coming back to you with two wonderful recipes from my favorite source, Cooking Light! I made these two earlier this week and they were both hits. Mr. Hillman’s Helpings has even requested the bass recipe for next week!

I’ve just planted my herb garden – this year I have basil, rosemary, flat leaf parsley, thyme and chives! Chives are a new addition to my garden – I hope to create some wonderful recipes using them this summer.

Happy Eating!


I used Chilean sea bass for this recipe but regular bass, snapper or rainbow trout would work also.

2 teaspoons canola oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 skinned bass fillets
2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped green onions
¼ cup water
1.4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over fish. Add fish to pan; cook 2.5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily. Remove fish from pan; cover and keep warm.

Add mushrooms and sesame oil to the pan and sauté 2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add the green inions and remaining ingredients to pan and sauté 2 minutes. Serve the sauce with the fish. I served this with sautéed baby bok choy. It’d also be good with soba noodles!

Serves 4

1/4 cup minced red onion
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Cooking spray

Combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl; add chicken, tossing to coat. Marinate 30 minutes. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes. Turn chicken over; cook 6 minutes or until done.


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings