Posts from the ‘Fish’ Category

Sunday and All Other Days Ending with Y

Using some booty from the cheese festival, I added some smoked gouda with bacon cheese to some grilled corn I had left over, a little bit of butter, salt, and pepper to make a creamy sauce for our steaks. Yum.

For basil mash I added four garlic cloves, smashed, to 1 1/2 cups milk or cream, 5 tbls. of butter, salt, over low heat while potatoes are cooking. During the last 5 minutes add basil. Add to potatoes and mash. Pepper. Yum.

These turkey “burgers” were, well, turkey. If you aren’t beef, you are not a burger. The star of this sandwich was the smokey aioli.

Smokey Aioli

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 cup mayo

2 tbls. extra virgin olive oil

2 tsps. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsps. smoked paprika

1 garlic clove

Toast cumin and coriander seeds over med-high heat, shaking often about 2 minutes. Cool. Finely grind spices in mortar with pestle.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, garlic, and spices in small bowl season with salt and pepper.

STRATA

Serves 8

Strata is the bread pudding of savory egg dishes. This super-easy treat generally includes cubes or slices of bread that have been soaked in custard, then baked in a casserole dish or a rectangular baking pan. This is a great make-ahead dish — it tastes best if you prepare it the day before and let it soak overnight before baking. Like many egg dishes, a strata can incorporate all sorts of different ingredients, so there’s a lot of flexibility here.

5 cups of cubed French bread (with crust)
Grated cheese (see Variations)
10 large eggs
1 quart whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Filling ingredients (see Variations)

1. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Put the bread cubes in the dish and sprinkle them with the cheese. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, and salt. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes. Sprinkle the filling ingredients over the egg mixture and fold them in gently. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. Uncover the baking dish and bake for 60 minutes, until the mixture has puffed up slightly and is golden brown on top, and the strata doesn’t shimmy with uncooked custard when you shake the pan. Tent the dish with foil if the top is browning too quickly. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve by the spoonful, using a large serving spoon.

VEGETABLE-BLUE CHEESE

Sprinkle 1 cup crumbled blue cheese over the bread cubes. Distribute 1 cup cooked cubed celery root, 1 cup sautéed sliced zucchini, and 1/2 cup sautéed sliced onions over the egg mixture.

No celery root to be had at the store. I used 1 cup chopped celery, sautéed it until just soft in some butter. I also added 1 large clove of chopped garlic, sautéed for 1 minute, and I sprinkled a handful of parsley on top before baking.  My hand is on the small side: ) It soaked for about 10 hours.

I love Sundays. This may have something to do with not working on Monday mornings.  Baseball all day, dinner and lounging. It is the day of rest after all.  I seasoned some beautiful turbot with one of my seasoning mixes containing: salt, pepper, hot paprika, granulated garlic, granulated onion, ground celery seed, dry mustard, and coriander. I fried thinly sliced potatoes in vegetable oil, seasoned with salt, pepper, and hot paprika, then sautéed thinly sliced zucchini with salt, pepper, and chopped garlic. Garnished with some parsley.

I have never been a zucchini fan, and I am realizing this is because I must have had overcooked, under-seasoned zucchini. This zucchini had its own flavor even with the garlic. Zucchini bread here I come.

I am usually moving around the house like a fly while Jim tries to get me to sit near him. I start cooking, fridge, slice, bowl,  pop my head in to see a play, check something on the net, cut something, rinse hands, get a beer, knob, oil, watch another awesome play that I missed because I was sauteing something, back to cooking, grab seasoning, wipe hands, Jim comes in with a smile and a kiss, start reading about ingredient x that I am using, and get lost for twenty minutes, check the score, back to the kitchen, Jim turns up the volume knowing I will not be in for another half hour, Jim gets me a beer,  flip, sizzle, ouch, burned my hand,  paper towel, chop, wash hands, plates, silverware, napkins, stir, ready, not ready, camera, he reads, I cook.

And then we eat. I love Sundays.

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To Recipe or Not to Recipe

I fall into the camp that likes to start out with a recipe, then add/subtract accordingly. Lately I have been wanting to go to the “other” side. I make meals without a recipe sometimes, but I never measure or write anything down. Then of course this becomes something we want to eat again almost immediately after finishing our new favorite meal.  My reasons for choosing to start out with a recipe may be because of the following:

the intimidation factor- someone else went through trial and error to figure out why 1 cup + 2 tbls. of sugar is better than 1 cup. Who am I to rain on that sugar parade?

the wasting money factor- if it’s less than stellar, I have no one to blame but myself. I prefer to put blame on others.

my time is wasted- nothing good came out of my “experiment”. Not a good meal, and no recipe for the box. Some will say you always learn something from your mistakes. I do not fall into that camp either.

the copy factor- sometimes I start to think everything has been done. I would just be recreating something someone has already mastered in 1890 or 1990. I don’t want to just change a recipe to make it my own, if it doesn’t improve on it.

the recipe/ingredient has been overdone-  I have never figured out why asparagus wrapped in prosciutto has not retired to whatever recipe Florida is. Instead people have added things, like puff pasty. Let puff pastry be. Don’t involve it in your vegetable stick wrapped little world. I love asparagus, and I love prosciutto. So much so, I like to enjoy the taste of them. Which is why I choose to enjoy them separately. If you must involve these two, just sprinkle a little crisped prosciutto or bacon on top.

That being said, the fish above won me over, and started me on the road to not using recipes.

Except,  I did use a recipe.

I said it was a start.

I used a chimichurri sauce recipe for the halibut, and paired it with smashed fingerlings with a double cream Gouda from Holland, watercress, and the adorable Peppadew. Folks, we have a winner.

Halibut with Chimichurri

Serves 4
  • Active time:15 min
  • Start to finish:30 min
June 2008
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 3/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) halibut steaks (3/4 to 1 inch thick)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, water, garlic, shallot, red-pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper until salt has dissolved. Stir in parsley. Let chimichurri stand 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas). See “Grilling Procedures.”
  • Pat fish dry, then brush with vegetable oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper (total).
  • Oil grill rack, then grill fish, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, until just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes total.
  • Serve fish drizzled with some of chimichurri; serve remainder on the side.
Cooks’ notes: 

  • Halibut can be cooked in a hot oiled large (2-burner) ridged grill pan over medium heat.
  • Chimichurri can be made 1 hour ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

Recipe by Andrea Albin

The Lonely Radish’s notes:

I used a saute pan. The halibut was over an inch thick, so I sautéed  the fish over medium heat, four minutes each side, then a *350 oven for about four minutes.

To a bed of watercress, I added: boiled fingerlings, that were smashed with the back of a measuring cup, just enough to flatten, not destroy their integrity. I basted the fingerlings with butter, salted them, and added a piece of Gouda cheese. I broiled the fingerlings for a few minutes until cheese melted, then basted again with butter, added a grind of pepper, and placed around watercress. I plated halibut on top, sprinkled chopped peppadew around fish, and covered all with the chimichurri.

Then – a star was born.

The Peppadew or sweet piquanté pepper is grown in South Africa but it is thought to have originated in Central America. Its lineage can be traced back to the Habenero pepper but how it got transported to South Africa and how it morphed into to its present day form remains a bit of a mystery. None of that really matters now because the Peppadew has arrived in America and is getting easier to find.

Peppadews are picked and pitted and then subjected to pickling brine that is made from sugar, vinegar, salt, and spices, as well as a lot of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C- one 30gm/one oz. serving has the RDA) and calcium chloride (an ingredient used to artificially make pickled products crisp) which is why they are so crisp.

The Peppadew looks like and is about the same size as a cherry tomato. They are available in both hot and mild forms. How the same fruit can exhibit the differences in heat also remains a mystery. The mild version has mild heat and a sweet after taste. This unique taste is a bit incongruous at first but after several samplings the mild heat and the sweetness blend into a pleasant tasting crisp fruit. The hot version has the same sweet after taste but exhibits much more heat but it is equally enjoyable as the mild version. This “fruit” is very versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes and salads. They are pitted so stuffing them with various items is very easy. Try them stuffed with feta cheese!

Lester Majkowicz writes the popular Around The World Cheese blog.