Do you know a good name for coleslaw other than coleslaw?
There might not be one – which is really too bad – because coleslaw has so much potential and quite a bit of flexibility. It also packs a ton of nutrients in one small package. Too bad the name isn’t so attractive.
Coleslaw and potato salads are those two quintessential salads for any successful barbeque. But not the nasty kind you get from the grocery store with all the questionable ingredients, overly drowned with nasty dressing, so no vegetable flavor remains.
No. Not that kind.
But rather the kind where the cabbage is still crisp and fresh, perfectly dressed with just the right amount of dressing so it compliments all the other flavors. Or a potato salad made with new potatoes, either boiled to perfection and soft but not mushy, or roasted and delicious (I’ll have to make one of those soon).
Back to coleslaw. The best part of coleslaw is that it is highly adaptable. Change the dressing and you change the salad. This allows it to pair well with almost any barbeque theme, and it’s always perfect for fish or grilled chicken.
No matter how hard I try to sell this coleslaw, it still won’t sound as appetizing as it would if it had a different name.
So instead of slaw, I’ll just call it a cabbage salad. After all, it’s not really assembled like a slaw. It’s not a slaw here, but it can be done either way. Combining all the ingredients together is an option, but it doesn’t look very pretty that way. I chose to do a deconstructed version of a coleslaw to highlight all the wonderful ingredients and the freshness of the flavors.
Not only is it filling, but it’s low in calories and you’ll feel healthier just for having eaten it!
Asian Purple Cabbage Salad
1/2 head of Purple Cabbage or 6 cups
1 carrot, julienned or shredded
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
In a small frying pan over medium high heat, toast the sesame seeds until golden. It should take about 1 minute. To assemble the salad, add all the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. If you own a mandoline, it will make chopping the carrot and radishes super fast.
Alternately, spoon 1-2 tablespoons of dressing onto a plate. Layer the ingredients separately on a plate on top of the dressing. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamari or low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon srirachi sauce or other hot sauce
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup or other sweetener
Using a blender or an emulsion blender, combine all the ingredients above until smooth and creamy.
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When I got home from a recent retreat, the fridge was bare. The kids and I had to go out for breakfast on the following morning for lack of fruit, bread, milk, or eggs. Amazing! The next day (a Monday), I could hardly close the fridge.
Once the grocery shopping is done, I often spend a good two hours in the kitchen – cleaning the fridge, consolidating boxes of crackers, freezing overly ripe bananas for smoothies, and washing veggies for the week. If I don't make time for this task (which, crazily, I actually like), I am sure to be frustrated and impulse-eating by Wednesday. A giant bunch of unwashed kale taking up a whole shelf in the fridge isn't nearly as likely to be sauteed with eggs in the morning as a neat like bag of washed and chopped kale. I overestimate myself if I think otherwise.
This week, I cut up a cantaloupe and a pineapple. I washed two big bunches of cilantro and a head of lettuce, roasted a head of cauliflower, made a big batch of brown rice, and rescued half a head of radicchio that looked past its prime but actually just needed a little trimming.
I was famished by the time I was done – and of course, inspired by handling all those beautiful fruits and veggies. This salad is what I made for lunch. My goodness. It's not summer here in the Northwest, but this salad tricked me. Juicy, sweet, spicy, sour, crunchy.
This salad is a delicious little number to bring to a potluck or barbeque and infinitely more fascinating that the other salads that might be sitting on the table. (I'm always looking for a chance to be popular. At least I admit it.)
Vietnamese Cucumber and Melon Salad with Peanuts
Serves 1 famished Household Coordinator or 2 more petite eaters. Eyeball it for a crowd.
1 cup Vietnamese cucumber, thickly sliced
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 cup cantaloupe, chopped
Cilantro, stems and all, about a handful, sliced
Mint leaves, to taste, sliced
Celery leaves, to taste, sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Fresh chile (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
Fish sauce, to taste
Salt, to taste
1/2 lime, squeezed
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Salted peanuts, to garnish
Gently combine the cucumber, pineapple, and cantaloupe in a medium bowl. Add a good portion of cilantro, mint leaves, celery leaves, thinly sliced red onion, and fresh chile if you wish. Add sugar, a good jigger of fish sauce, salt, juice from half a lime, and sesame oil. Combine gently with your hands, and scatter chopped salted peanuts over the top.
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Moorish influence remains as evident in Spanish cookery as the impact of the age of exploration and the conquest of the New World. The Moorish introduction of citrus, saffron, cumin and rice to Spain and the introduction from Mexico of peppers, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, and corn fundamentally shaped the flavors and preparations we instinctively associate with Spanish cookery and that differentiates it from the cuisine of anywhere else.
One of the most ubiquitous and well-loved tapas menu items at tascas throughout Spain, pincho moruno, or Moorish kebab, might be the dish in which the Moorish and Mexican influences on Spanish cuisine are best demonstrated. Traditionally made with chunks of marinated pork grilled over coals it persists as an echo of the North African lamb brochette, adjusted to ignore halal and accommodate the Iberian obsession with pork. The hearty seasoning of cumin and hot or sweet pimenton, garlic and thyme pairs two of the most emblematic spices of the Moors and of Mexico.
In many parts of Castilla la Mancha and Extremadura, if you order pincho moruno in a tapas bar, you’ll be asked “sin o’ con?” (with or without), referring to the level of spiciness you’d like in your kebabs. A typical order would be “dos sin, tres con” (two mild, three spicy), the latter having been marinated in spicy paprika. In yet another example of Mexican influence on the most Spanish of things, it was in the monasteries around the Extremaduran town of La Vera where the first peppers brought from the New World were planted. Indeed, pimenton de la Vera remains the gold standard among Spanish pimentons.
Dryness is a frequent problem with grilled pork, even if it has been afforded a lengthy bath in an olive oil based marinade. Grilled lamb doesn’t usually have this problem due to its higher fat content, but the flare-ups that dripping grease provokes can give the meat an acrid, bitter taste. Seeking to mitigate both these problems, we traded the typical pork shoulder chunks for strips of luscious pork belly, and the grill for a ridged griddle pan. We also used soaked bamboo skewers instead of metal ones to add even more moisture to the equation. The result: moist, delicious meat with the crispy edges synonymous with grilled food but without the burnt flavor.
Pincho Moruno (Moorish Kebabs)
serves 2 as a main, 4 as a tapa
1-1-1/2 lbs. (about 3/4 kilo) fresh pork belly, cut into slim slices
6-10 cloves garlic, chopped
1 healthy teaspoon ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon sweet or hot Spanish pimenton
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
a couple of good jiggers of olive oil to coat
(optional) a splash or more of Spanish sherry vinegar
Note: you’ll also need about 10 pre-soaked bamboo skewers.
Heat a griddle pan or grill to medium high, not screaming hot as pork belly will burn.
Brush off most of the garlic from the meat and load skewers so they’re tightly packed.
Cook, turning every couple of minutes, until skewers are brown and crispy on all sides, 8-10 minutes total per skewer.
Allow meat to rest for up to five minutes, as it will set and be easier to get off the skewers.
Serve with patatas bravas or other typical tapas.
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Sweet grits are something you occasionally, but rarely, see in old community cookbooks. The kind that are handwritten and mimeographed, and use measures like “a coffee cupful” and “butter the size of a hen egg.” Sweet grits are more of a concept that people talk about.
You see, grits are one of those dishes that engender recipe-swapping and reminiscing. When a big bowl of grits is on the table, people start to remember things like, “My granddaddy always ate his grits with butter and sorghum,” “no, now, my granddaddy ate his with salt,” or “my mama always served cheese grits with pork chops.” Everyone has a memory and an opinion.
That’s how I first heard of sweet grits, as a dish somebody remembered their grandmother talking about but had never actually had. But, like so many things, the idea stuck with me.
I mulled it over for years before ever getting around to attempting it. I asked around. A few people had ideas, but they mostly consisted of making regular grits and sprinkling sugar on top.
I adapted my classic grits recipe with added sugar and a hit of vanilla. They are excellent with any fruit on top, but I personally love summer peaches. Earthy sorghum and sweet peaches marry perfectly, and the creamy grits are an amazing backdrop.
Sweet Grits with Sorghum Peaches
Stone ground white grits work best for this, you’ll find them at natural food stores or online. If you have to, use old-fashioned (not instant or quick) grits as an alternative, but adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions.
For the Peaches:
4 – 5 medium sized peaches
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sorghum
For the Grits:
4 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 vanilla bean
Pinch of salt
1 cup stone ground white grits
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
For the Peaches:
In a large skillet, melt the butter with the brown sugar and sorghum over low heat.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Cut a small cross on the bottom of each peach, and plunge them into the boiling water for about 2 minutes, until the edges of the cross start to pull back. Remove the peaches from the pot and run them under cold water. When cool enough to handle, pull the skin from the peaches.
Pit the peaches and cut them into small chunks and immediately add them to the butter and sorghum mixture, with any juices that the peaches produce. Stir to coat the peaches, raise the heat to medium and simmer until the syrup is reduced a little and the peaches are soft. Take the peaches off the heat and set aside.
The peaches can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated. Add a splash of water and reheat carefully over low, stirring constantly.
For the Grits:
Put the milk and butter in large, deep pot. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them and the bean to the milk. Bring the milk to a boil over medium high heat, being very careful it does not scorch.
When it is boiling, add the grits and sugar all at once and stir. Lower the heat to medium and cook the grits, stirring frequently, until they are thick and creamy. Toward the end of cooking, as they thicken, you will want to stir almost constantly to keep them from scorching on the bottom of the pot. Be careful though, grits spit. You want the grits to be soft and creamy, with a little texture. If they are too grainy, add a bit more milk and cook until done.
Before serving, stir in the heavy cream and heat through. Serve the grits immediately, topped with the sorghum peaches and the cooking syrup.
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Dessert is not terribly good for us. Most of them, that is. That being said, we all like dessert and having a sweet treat from time to time isn’t such a bad thing. That’s where fruit desserts come into play – already naturally sweet, extra sugar isn't necessary.
I have never met someone who doesn’t like strawberry shortcake. Have you? It's not too sweet, just sweet enough, juicy red fruit, all on top of a light and slightly sweet biscuit. Perfection in my books.
Not only is strawberry shortcake the quintessential strawberry dessert, strawberries are just coming into season for us in my neck of the woods. This makes me very happy.
I’m using my yogurt biscuit recipe as the base and made the necessary changes to convert it for this dessert. I’ll share both versions with you since I think you’ll enjoy both. The yogurt biscuits are the best I’ve had. They stay light and airy and moist for days. I used to not make biscuits very often because those that didn’t get eaten that day would end up in the trash, dry and inedible. This is not the case with yogurt biscuits.
Recipe Note: I chose to use sprouted flour (a grain that has sprouted and turned into a plant, then dried and ground into flour) in this recipe, but you can use any flour you have. I have made this biscuit recipe more times than I can count with all kinds of different flours and they work beautifully every time. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that if you are switching flours, you may need to add a few tablespoons to the recipe if the dough is a little sticky.
I chose to use Greek style yogurt sweetened with honey instead of whipping cream, but use whichever you like. Unlike strawberry shortcake, I have met quite a few people that don’t like yogurt, so in that case whipping cream might be the better choice.
1 batch of Yogurt Biscuits (recipes below)
1 batch of Honey Balsamic Strawberries (recipe below)
Greek Style Yogurt or whipping cream
Slice the biscuits in half, down the middle. Put the biscuit on a serving plate, scoop some strawberries on to the biscuit and top with yogurt or whipped cream. Add the top of the biscuit and garnish with mint, cream or strawberries.
Basic Yogurt Biscuits
2 cups sprouted spelt flour (plus a 1/4 cup if required)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 oil of choice
1 cup full fat yogurt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the yogurt and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon and transfer to a well-floured surface and gently knead to form a ball of dough. Be careful not to over mix. Less is more here. Roll the dough out until 1 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter or a juice glass, cut the dough into circles. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden on top.
White Chocolate Yogurt Biscuits
2 cups sprouted spelt flour (plus a 1/4 cup if required)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons palm sugar or alternate unrefined sugar (reduce to 2 tablespoons if using regular sugar)
1/4 oil of choice
1 cup yogurt
1/3 cup chopped white chocolate, coconut or chopped hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix the yogurt and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon and transfer to a well-floured surface. Add the chocolate and gently knead to incorporate it into the dough and form a ball. Be careful not to over mix. Less is more here. Roll the dough out until 1 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter or a juice glass, cut the dough into circles. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden on top.
Recipe Note: I have tried this recipe with dark chocolate and it really isn’t nearly as good. No need for you to repeat my mistakes.
Honey Balsamic Strawberries
4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
Place the strawberries in a large bowl. Combine the vinegar and the honey stir until honey has dissolved. Add the honey mixture to the berries and set aside for 30 minutes.
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I have this bad habit of amassing baking ingredients because I never know what recipe will catch my fancy and I need to be prepared for that impulse bout of baking. So when I "just happen" to be at Target, I might grab an extra package of chocolate chips, another 5 lb. of flour, a bag of sugar, etc. I won't even confess my acquisitive sins when I'm at Costco (that's right, those 4-lb. packs of butter do go into my cart on almost every visit). It's not such a bad habit, at least not until it hits a critical point when my pantry is stuffed and I can no longer fit anything in my freezer because of the masses of cookie dough, individually wrapped brownies, frozen bags of almonds, macadamias and pecans, and packages of coconut. If I'm ever cut off from the world because of a natural disaster, my sweet tooth and I would survive just fine.
But, I try and use what I have when I do get hit with those fits of baking madness. And anything with a brown sugar crust and a coconut-almond filling topped with melted chocolate is a good kind of madness. My love of coconut continues – I adapted this coconut toffee blondie recipe and made it in tart form in my little tart pans.
The "toffee" in the title refers to the brown sugar crust and the brown sugar in the topping rather than real toffee, but you can always add some if you like. I made a full recipe of the crust and patted the dough into 4 tart pans; there was just enough dough for it. So, I only made half the topping recipe, as I knew I wouldn't need more than that for 4 tarts. If you want to make this as a regular bar cookie, make the full recipe of both the crust and topping and bake in a 8 x 8-inch pan lined with foil. I also melted some chocolate chips with Nutella to get a quick, no-fail chocolate topping. Depending on your ratio of Nutella to chocolate chips, the top may or may not set, but there's nothing wrong with a soft gooey chocolatey topping. Lastly, I sprinkled the top with toffee bits in keeping with the "toffee" in the title.
This turned out to be coconut-almond-brown-sugar-toffee-chocolate heaven. The crust was crisp and buttery, the coconut filling was chewy, the Nutella-chocolate added even more decadence, and the toffee gave it a nice crunch. As in, "I'm going for a run after I ate 1/4 of 1 tart and it was worth every calorie" kind of goodness. These are pretty rich so you may even want to make them in mini-tart pans or mini muffin tins for bite-sized, gooey-rich decadence.
Coconut Toffee Tarts with Chocolate Nutella Topping
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
(make only 1/2 recipe if you're making as tarts)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup Nutella
Toffee bits for sprinkling on top, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, cream the butter, shortening, and brown sugar. Blend in the flour. Press the mixture evenly into the bottoms and sides of ungreased tart pans. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden.
While the crusts are baking, prepare the topping: Beat the eggs. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, flour, baking powder, salt, coconut, and almonds and stir well.
Spread the partially baked crusts with the topping and bake for 25 minutes more, or until the filling is golden brown.
Melt chocolate chips and Nutella over low heat in the top half of a double boiler over hot water. Stir until smooth. Spread over each tart and cool completely. If desired, sprinkle with toffee bits and/or chopped toasted almonds.
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For years, I used to loath buying too many groceries at once because of how heavy they can get to carry. When you’re a full-time pedestrian, it’s hard to realistically shop at places like Costco or Sam’s Club. If it makes sense, you’ll have your own little pushcart, often known as a “granny cart”, but even then, it’s best to keep the groceries to a minimum. But, ever since we moved to suburbia and have had a car, we have been able to go back to places like Costco and fill up our cart with lots and lots of things (which, let me tell you, is an enormous novelty when you’re so used to tiny little grocery stores).
When it comes to big stores like Costco, you’re not only buying a lot of different things, you’re buying a lot of each individual item. It can be great, but it can also make you wonder how two people can eat that much lettuce or that many potatoes. It’s easy to not keep up with food at home and wind up with an extra pound of something going bad. I hate being wasteful, though, so lately I have tried to get a little more creative with the surplus. One such food item is asparagus. It comes in two-pound bags, which is quite a bit for one person to chew on, let alone two. After scratching my head and wondering what I’d make, I finally realized that the perfect solution would be pesto.
What I’ve learned over the past few years is that pesto can be made out of pretty much anything. Basil, dill, green beans, spinach – you name it, you can probably create a pesto out of it. Because asparagus has such a unique and strong flavor on its own, I had assumed that it would turn out a flavorful pesto. I’m afraid I was quite wrong. What resulted was an extremely mild-tasting pesto that really needed a handful or two of basil or spinach. In the recipe that follows, I am going to include a recommendation to add basil or spinach, but just be aware that I did not do this, so I do not know how it would turn out if you added one of those. Still, this is the exciting part of cooking – experiment until you wind up with a dish that you love. And if you shop at Costco, you’ll wind up with a lot of that dish, too. ;)
Makes enough for two or three pounds of pasta. Suggestion – reserve some of the pesto to use for dipping chips or raw veggies.
2 pounds asparagus, washed with ends trimmed
1/4 cup pine nuts
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Handful of fresh spinach or basil (optional, but should add additional flavor)
1 package of your preferred pasta (add an additional package if you wish to use all of your pesto in one dish)
Boil your pasta according to package directions.
Wash the asparagus and trim the ends, then steam or boil for a few minutes until just tender. When the asparagus has finished cooking, reserve some of the spears for garnish, and place the rest in a food processor. Add to the food processor the pine nuts and garlic, as well as the basil and spinach if you are using those. As the processor is blending the ingredients together, slowly pour in the olive oil.
Once the pesto has mixed, add the salt and blend more. At this point taste test. Does it have enough salt? Does the pesto have enough flavor? Ask yourself if something is missing. When you feel it is ready, add the pesto to your cooked, drained and rinsed pasta and mix well.
Garnish with some asparagus spears and serve.
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My poor husband. He woke up last Sunday morning thinking that it was Father’s Day. He woke up thinking there would be breakfast in bed. And gifts. And probably lamb burgers for dinner. Alas, he had pegged the wrong Sunday. Not only was today not Father’s Day, and not only would he not be leisurely reading the newspaper while dining on breakfast in bed, but it was my morning to sleep in, since he’d had his turn the day before. It was his turn to prepare breakfast for the three boys while I grabbed a few precious extra minutes of peaceful slumber. Sorry, hubs. This Sunday you’ll get your breakfast in bed. And gifts. And maybe even lamb burgers.
Breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day has become our annual tradition. There’s just something so luxuriously relaxing about it. And since it doesn’t happen often, the kids get really excited about the occasion. If the kids ever sleep past six in the morning, perhaps we’ll start treating them to a special breakfast in bed on their birthdays.
Recently, I made this bacon, egg, and cheese bagel casserole. It was inspired by a bag of bagels which my parents had brought up from Long Island. They’d been left unwrapped for a few days and had gone slightly stale, but as anyone who’s ever had a good Long Island or NYC bagel knows, it’s a crime to let them go to waste. So, I thought I’d try throwing them into a breakfast casserole with a hefty dose of bacon, eggs, and cheese. The resulting casserole was a satisfying success; every bite with the flavor of a good Long Island/NYC bagel sandwich.
I’m betting that a lot of dads out there would enjoy this special casserole for their Father’s Day breakfast!
Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Bagel Casserole
1 tablespoon butter, softened
5-6 large bagels (any variety), chopped into 1-inch chunks*
1 pound bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1-1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
*Slightly stale bagels work perfectly.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Use a paper towel to rub the bottom and sides of a large (13×9-inch) baking dish with the softened butter. Arrange 5-6 chopped bagels in the baking dish. They should mostly fill the baking dish. Scatter the bacon and cheese over the bagels.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the bagels, bacon, and cheese. Press down on the mixture, so that the bagels are mostly submersed in the egg mixture. Allow the mixture to rest for about 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator so that the bagels absorb some of the egg mixture.
Bake for about 45 minutes.
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I love Jacques Pepin. The man is truly a master, but he scares me. I remember watching him on one of his earlier PBS series where his daughter, Claudine, would be cooking with him – such a brave woman. It was so typical of many parents with their children in the kitchen: the watchful eyes, the directions, the taking of your knife and demonstrating how they want it done. I'd watch the show and only realize that my fists were clenched or my legs crossed tightly
when the show was over. I was always scared for her, but Claudine handled herself well. Every time.
OK, so the only reason that I mention Jacques Pepin is because he has a book titled: “Fast Food My Way.” However, it's a phrase I use a lot when chatting with my friends about quick meals I make when I don't have a lot of time or energy to spend in the kitchen. It aptly describes the dish I am sharing with you today: Grey Snapper in a Coconut Milk Sauce.
All you need are a few ingredients and this dish is done in about 20 – 25 minutes. It goes well with rice but when I made it, I had it with crusty homemade bread. It was so good. Just let the bread sit in the bowl or pan and soak up the sauce. Use a couple of napkins; place one over your chest to prevent your clothes from being soiled. Trust me, that heavenly, yeasty bread pregnant with sauce is bound to drip!
Grey Snapper in Coconut Milk
2 pounds grey snapper fillets, cleaned and cut into 4-x-1-inch thick pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup diced onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/3 cup chopped cilantro, divided equally
2 cups fresh coconut milk (or 1 cup canned coconut milk and 1 cup tap water)
Season fish lightly with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add ginger, onion and garlic, sprinkle salt, toss to mix and reduce heat to low and cook until the aromaticsare softened. Do not let them get brown.
Stir in the turmeric and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Turn heat to high andpour in coconut milk, add half of the cilantro, season lightly with saltand pepper. Let the pan come to a boil and then reduce heat to lowand let simmer for 5 – 6 minutes.
Turn heat to high and place fish in pan in single layer, cover and let pan come to boil. As soon as the pan comes to a boil, remove the cover and let the fish cook for 6 – 8 minutes; spoon sauce over the fish to baste as it cooks, or, if you like, carefully flip fish over halfway during the cooking process.
Toss in the remaining cilantro and shake pan for it to settle into sauce; taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Let the dish rest for a couple of minutes then serve while still hot.
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If I could create my own personal fragrance, or have some sort of mechanism that made everywhere I go have a certain happy, peaceful scent, the primary element would be fresh garden mint. It smells like summer to me. And sweet tea. And the South. And all good things.
I suppose the variety is technically spearmint, but I think of it as Southern mint. I have always grown mint – in pots on the deck of my first small home, to the larger vegetable beds of my current house. My mother has always grown mint, and even my grandmother, who was not a gardener, grew a few mint plants. In our hot Southern climate, it grows profusely, and the more you cut it, the more it flourishes.
I can’t really have enough mint, though some people consider it invasive and are stymied by what to do with it all. Here is the answer.
This is my favorite all-purpose summer condiment. It so simple, it is hardly even a recipe at all. But I promise, the uses are endless.
I love it tossed with steamed sugar snap peas, or drizzled over grilled asparagus. It is perfect with fruit, from strawberries to melon cubes. Drizzle it over fish, or brush on grilled pork chops. Use it as a dressing for a cold chicken salad, or a sauce for simple chicken breasts. Try it in slaw or over crisp lettuce. Toss it with potatoes or drizzle over sliced tomatoes. The sugar highlights the sweetness of the mint, but the vinegar really brings out its essence, with a slight edge from the lemon juice.
Summertime Mint Dressing
Makes about 1/3 cup
1/2 cup firmly packed mint leaves
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Place all the ingredients in the carafe of a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a jar, scraping the sides of the blender down to get out all of the mint.
This is best made fresh, but will keep in the fridge in tightly sealed jar for a couple of days. The recipe easily doubles.
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