Rather than a specific recipe, choose ingredients by checking the home refrigerator or pantry and using those on hand.
- Fresh herbs, onions and garlic. I chose shallots (a mild onion), garlic, fresh ginger and fennel bulb. Fennel adds a sweet anise flavor to foods.
- Lemon. Slices and juice impart their flavor magic.
- Vegetables. I sliced carrots, celery and yellow squash in julienne strips though the choices are endless. Broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, mushrooms, zucchini, green beans, edamame all come to mind.
- Whole Grain. Quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, farro, kashi-here's your chance to use that little bit left in a bag or a large jar that's been sitting on the shelf. My choice was millet. Simply cook the grain in water prior to assembly-or use leftover cooked grain.
- Seafood. Salmon, tuna steak, scallops, shrimp or any variety of raw fillet works. It's alright to make one packet with one variety and another packet with a different fish if one of this and one of that is what's on hand. My choice is flounder.
- Banana Leaf. I purchased a package of these in the frozen food section of a local Asian market. I cut pieces the size of a parchment sheet (no thawing necessary), wrap the package tightly and freeze the rest for up to 6 months. Wash the leaf pieces, and cut out any spine.
- Grain. For carbohydrate counters, measure the amount desired. I used 1/2 cup cooked grain.
- Fresh grated ginger, shallots, garlic and fennel.
- Fish portion.
- Lemon slices and juice.
Do not eat the banana leaf. Sometimes they make a nice platter presentation. These were starting to brown, so I slid the contents of each packet onto our individual plates to serve.
Another great flavor technique is to poach the seafood in liquid with steeping green tea bags!