Rush Hour

Right about the time that February rolls around, I usually get a case of cabin fever. Wisconsin winters can be brutal and the period that covers the middle of January through the middle of March is often filled with some of our harshest and most unpredictable weather. As a result, I'm often pining for spring and trying to find ways to introduce menus that will inspire thoughts of warmth.

That's where this month's menu comes in. It's hard to think of foods that bring thoughts of warmth more than those inspired by Indian and Moroccan cultures. Pairing these two cuisines makes for an interesting menu that's both deeply spiced and bright in flavor.

First, a simple tandoori marinade is whipped together and thick fillets of cod are nestled in it for a quick -- or not-so-quick depending on your timing and desires -- soak. It's then sautéed quickly, instead of fried in lots of oil. That's a bit of a departure from traditional Indian methods, but one that doesn't sacrifice flavor and will be appreciated by your waistline! While the fish does require at least 30 minutes for marinating, that time can easily be put to good use by preparing the carrot salad.

Simple Tandoori Cod

  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 4 cod loin fillets (about 6 oz. each)
  • 2 T. olive oil

Combine the seasonings (cumin through cardamom) in a small bowl. Stir them into the yogurt; add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Place the fish fillets in the mixture; cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and no more than 24 hours.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Drain the fish and saute in the skillet over medium-high heat, turning once, until it flakes easily with a fork.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes plus marinating time

This Moroccan-inspired salad combines a great many unlikely seasonings to offer you a taste that's both complex and bright. Ingredients like fresh mint and lemon juice conjure thoughts of spring while cinnamon and cumin ground the dish with a surprising twist. While raisins would certainly be more traditional in a salad like this, I like the extra tang and bright color that the dried cranberries add to the mix. A generous helping of this salad alongside the brightly colored cod will leave you with a lovely plate to look at, an aroma that's divine and a meal that's both nutritious and delicious.

Carrot Salad

  • 2 c. coarsely shredded carrots
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries
  • 2 T. chopped fresh mint
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, dried cranberries and mint.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients to make the dressing. Pour this dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes
As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!