Tag Archives: fish

Summertime Memories

21 Jun

Ah, summer! Time to break out the barbeques and bistro tables.

In the next few weeks, we’ll be holding our annual “Fourth” party. It’s amazing how we can fit nearly 40 of our dear friends and family in our postage stamp-sized “yard,” but, thankfully, the Victorians understood the value of wrap-around porches, so we’re good.

I’m still contemplating the main course–last year’s was pulled beef sandwiches w/homemade barbeque sauce. I had planned on grilling chicken but had waited too long to shop, so, instead, had to switch plans, and hence, the beef won out. This year, I’m planning for an earlier chicken hunt. If successful, I’ll accompany them with a large batch of grilled peppers and onions, which I’ve already pre-tested. After grilling the lemon/garlic marinated chicken and removing, I then covered the hot grill with heavy foil and waited a few minutes to regain heat. I then spread out olive-oiled peppers and onions (w/cracked black pepper and sea salt) and hovered over the grill, moving them about as they began to cook. I did this until all were slightly charred and tender. An easy, efficient way to grill veggies on a “massive” scale. Though I wish I had a photog for you (don’t worry, I will, come “The Fourth”), I don’t.

But, I do have some equally-as-nice photogs of some grilled tilapia and homemade salsa that I had prepared some several weeks ago, if that would be acceptable? I’m going to post those below, with skeleton recipes, in honor of violin girl. This has become one of her favorites, and since she’ll be leaving for college in late summer (6 HOURS AWAY), it is the mission of Kaukab’s daughter to fill her head with memories of home. And what better way than through food?


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The fish was grilled in a lightly buttered/Canola oil combo in a cast iron skillet turned on medium-high. I added a few pinches of ground cumin to the pan, as well. Make sure you pat dry the fillets well, before sauteeing/grilling. Once out of the pan, I squeezed a little lime on them.

The salsa was made with finely chopped tomatoes, shallots, and English cucumbers. You can use pickling cucumbers, as well. I added some finely chopped cilantro to the mix and then squeezed some lime and added a pinch of cumin and some sea salt. Finish off with a light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and you’ve got a simple, quick salsa to top off your fish. Oh, and the slightly charred undercover on which the fish is laying is simply a flour tortilla which I lay atop one of my gas stove burners and move about quickly using a tong. You’ll see the tortilla begin to form bubbles about itself and you just move it about to evenly “grill.” You can do the same on the barbeque.

I had also made a quinoa/brown rice salad to accompany the above. Here’s what it looked like:

Apple Cider Vinegar
Canola Oil
Raw sugar or brown sugar, or even better, good maple syrup
Dijon Mustard
Sea Salt
Sesame Oil (spicy) and/or hot pepper sauce
yellow and red bell peppers (total 2)
jalepeno pepper (1/2 of one)
small box of quinoa/brown rice blend (cooked and cooled)
shallot or green onion (scallion) (1/2 shallot or one scallion)
English or pickling cucumber (1/4 – 1/2 English cucumber or 1 – 2 pickling cucumbers)

Dressing: While rice/quinoa mixture is cooking, prepare the dressing. I used about a 1/2 C. of vinegar and about 3/4 C. or more of oil, but remember, I don’t measure. Start with about 1/4 C. vinegar and move up as you make it, if you’re unsure. Generally, you’ll use almost double of oil:vinegar ratio. Use a few pinches of cumin, sea salt ( 3 – 4 grinds, perhaps). Squeeze enough lemon to taste, starting with a couple wedges, and a couple small squeezes of mustard, or about 1 Tbl. I used 2 – 3 packets of raw sugar, but I’ve used good maple syrup instead, and that was a few drizzles, which made it taste really good. Also, a few drops of hot pepper sauce, not too much, because you’ll have a bit of jalepeno in it. Whisk all ingredients together, and then whisk in the Canola oil. Adjust flavors. You should taste a sweet/sour product.

Finely chop the peppers, cucumbers, shallot/green onion, and jalepeno pepper and add to the cooled quinoa/brown rice mixture, which you’ve placed in a large bowl. Add in the dressing and mix gently. Store in fridge for a few hours, the longer the better. Use as an accompaniment, or as a main veggie lunch.

That’s it! or “Dat it!…What da big deal?!” as Kaukab likes saying.


Sadly, No Bread Puddin’

18 Oct

Hubby and I had the chance to take up a dinner out Saturday. (All three kiddies were at violin girl’s gig.)

We went to one of our favorite spots, Bluegrass Kitchen, hungry for their grilled fish dish. It comes out on a terrific-looking white plate, set atop the most flavorful wilted turnip greens and the smoothest of grits. Yep. Greens and grits. Two of the most under-rated (if prepared well) and under-served food items outside the deep South.

Although Kaukab is quite familiar with greens of all states, she generally used them in soups (remember the lentil soup?) or sauteed with garlic and olive oil, with a touch of salt. That’s all I knew about them. Grits, she implied, were a close cousin to what Kaukab referred to as Farina. Personally, they seem more sisters than cousins, but we’ll keep that between us, if you get my drift?

So, back to the dinner. Every time we go to Bluegrass, Hubby gets the fish. Not wanting to seem hum-drum in my food selections, I survey the menu–countless times–thoroughly engaged in the various offerings: meatballs atop smashed potatoes–too heavy so late in the evening; seared tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes–again, the mashed potatoes seem too heavy. Plus, the wasabi doesn’t seem appealing tonight, as it normally would have. Note: They do serve more than mashed potatoes; it’s just that on this particular night the chef seemed to have gotten a great deal on them. Or, maybe he thought it was Thanksgiving. No matter, hubby and I ended up with the fish. We’re close to celebrating our 17th anniversary (next week) and by now we’ve settled into a routine-of-sorts. I think the numerous fish selections are a reflection of that.

What’s fast becoming a routine with me, is looking for bread pudding. My dear foodie friend, Agnes (a character grander than her small-town life), and I had the most amazing bread pudding at the Bluegrass about a year ago. It was a key-lime pudding with warm caramel sauce, and it was so different from anything bread pudding-ish. I never thought I like bread pudding–until this one came along.

Ever since that meeting, we have become engaged in searching the world over (well, not the whole world) for a bread pudding to surpass, or even match, our expectations. I have since tried three. None even came close. Agnes doesn’t even want to talk about it. It’s become too disappointing a matter.

While at Bluegrass, last Saturday night, I noticed on the dessert menu two words which brought it all back. Bread Pudding. There it was, taunting me, like a perverse dessert could only do. It wasn’t the key-lime one. Not even caramel sauce. But, it was bread pudding, and I had decided that I would have some. It had been so long. At other times, we’ve seen it on the menu, but by the time we had finished our dinner and were ready to order, the blasted pudding was gone! This night, I believed, was meant to be mine.

Sadly, after eating the beer-laced cheese fondue and the requisite fish dinner, I had no room left for the puddin’.

Darn you, bread pudding!

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