Modernist cuisine in 15 minutes… black cod with bok choy and aromatic mushroom jasmine rice

I’m pretty much the last person that would dive into modernist cuisine as I have no confidence in my cooking and my goal is simply not to ruin the meal. The only thing I know about it is that sous vide and nano-anything in the kitchen seems a bit too Brave New World to me.

Having said that, I saw some videos for the Lekue platinum silicone cooking bag and steam case on Sur la Table (videos also on YouTube, hooray!), the latest gadgets from Spain, home of modernist cuisine, and I knew that even I could use this to make delicious fish and veggies!

The stuff I bought

The stuff I bought… 1.5 qt steam case and cooking bag

The appeal of being able to steam food and make it taste good, and do it in the microwave, no less, is pretty amazing. I’m not a fish person, partly because I don’t like the way it makes the house smell, and partly because I can never seem to cook it properly, but Chris and I want to make better food choices, and this is a good start.

Most important of all: this was so easy!

First I made the aromatic rice from the little cook book that came with the cooking bag. Cooking power depends on your microwave… you can check your microwave’s power output by opening the door and looking for the wattage on the label inside.

Rice in fridge to absorb flavors overnight

Rice in fridge to absorb flavors overnight

Aromatic Rice:

1 cup Thai jasmine rice, rinsed and drained as necessary

5 grams chopped dried porcini mushrooms

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic, whole and peeled

1 cinnamon stick

2 cups water

Directions: Toss all ingredients in the cooking bag and seal it. Put in fridge overnight. When you’re ready to eat, remove the bag seal, add 2 cups warm water. Microwave open bag  for 10 minutes at 600 watts (60% in my micro). Remove bag from micro, reseal, and let sit for 5 minutes to absorb liquid (now is a good time to add raisins if you like that). ‘Nuke’ your fish or other food while you wait. Done! Hooray!  Chris would add butter before serving. Be sure to remove the bay leaf, garlic cloves, and cinnamon stick before eating.

Steaming bag of rice closed and sitting for 5 minutes after cooking

Steaming bag of rice closed and sitting for 5 minutes after cooking

While that was cooking I prepped the fish. So simple! One mistake that I made (because I almost never cook fish) was that I didn’t check it for pin bones, of which it had many! Luckily we were easily able to remove them before we ate (after cooking).

I followed the video recipe but there were no exact amounts for anything. Here’s what I did, and it was delicious. The black cod really did taste buttery and mild and delicious! I loved it, and I don’t love most fish dishes. I’m converted!

Raw ingredients in steam case, ready to microwave (just close the lid)

Raw ingredients in steam case, ready to microwave (just close the lid)

Steamed Black Cod with Baby Bok Choy
(serves 2 – I have the larger 1.5 qt steam case… if you have the 22 oz case then make half of this to serve 1)

two 8-oz pieces of black cod (skin on bottom)

2 baby bok choy (these were large-ish), trimmed and washed, leaves separated

1 scallion, julienned

one 2″ piece of ginger root, peeled and julienned

kosher salt and pepper

sauce for steaming: (my approximations, use your own judgment)

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp honey


Remove bones from fish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk oil, soy sauce and honey in small pyrex measuring glass. Set aside. Place bok choy leaves on inner tray of steam case (spread them out, can be 2 layers deep). Lay fish on top of greens, put scallion and ginger on top of fish. Pour sauce over everything. Close the steam case and microwave for 5-7 minutes at 800 watts (80% power for me). It took my fish exactly 7 minutes to come to 140 F, which is the ideal temperature. The fish will turn opaque and the bok choy will be steamed perfectly. If you’re cooking half the reipce, for one serving, the directions say to cook it for 3.5 to 5 minutes.

After cooking, fish should be 140 F and opaque when it is done.
After cooking, fish should be 140 F and opaque when it is done.

 This was just delicious. The fish was cooked perfectly, didn’t smell fishy, and tasted so buttery. The soy and sesame mix really lent great flavor to the fish and bok choy.P.S. My shiitake mushroom growing kit arrived in the mail today. Hooray! I soaked it for an hour in cold water and now I just have to mist it well every 2 days and watch them grow! They need indirect normal house light, so no hiding in the dark, but they like 55-65 F temps best. Luckily it will be getting cool again tonight (only 2 hot days and already I’m wishing for a reprieve).

On my plate... after I had started eating it (I always forget to take a picture before we start eating!)

On my plate… after I had started eating it (I always forget to take a picture before we start eating!)

P.S.  My new shiitake mushroom kit arrived today! I soaked the log in cold water for 1 hour and now it’s sitting on my file cabinet (covered in a mini greenhouse bag), ready to roll! Now all I have to do is mist it once every 2 days and harvest! Can’t wait. I bet Chris will think it looks gross.  🙂



Mushroom Risotto with Peas

I am amazed by my bad timing instinct… I worked late today and decided this would be the night to make risotto for the first time.Not smart.
1.5 hours later, we sat down to dinner. I made Giada’s mushroom risotto with peas (Chris had bought dried porcini mushrooms by mistake one day and I figured this is the best use of it)…
It’s really delicious. I used fat-free chicken broth (you can definitely use veggie broth instead) and cut the grated cheese in half (just too much cheese). It’s great, but takes WAAAYYYYY too long to cook! My feet were killing me from standing over the stove and stirring for all that time, but it was really good. It made about 9 cups in total, 137 calories per cup.


  • 8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth(I used fat-free)
  • 1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced I didn’t have garlic, so I used 1 shallot and some garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine (we used pinot grigio since we had it in the house)
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan 1/3 cup grated pecorino romano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional


Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.