A Bit Of Catfish

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This week has been all about 30- minute meals. I am a huge fan of one-pot or one-pan wonders with an easy clean up. This is a versatile dish where both the protein and veggies can be changed with preferences. I used catfish as the protein in this dish but you can also use chicken or shrimp if preferred. When I ordered my items from indie plate last week I also stocked up on some local catfish. It comes frozen and the great thing is it doesn’t have to be defrosted before cooking it. Regarding the mixed veggies  you can really use whichever winter veggies you prefer. I picked up some Brussels sprouts, broccoli, turnips and fennel at the Farmers Market. The ingredients and recipe are posted below which serves two. I decided to try documenting the stages of the cooking since it was easy and simple. If you are feeding four or more people, the recipe can be adjusted accordingly.

Fish ingredients:
1/2 lb. catfish
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp coarse black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp fresh parsley

Mixed Veggies Ingredients:
1/2 cup thinly-sliced turnips
1 cup of broccoli florets
1/4 cup sliced fennel
1 cup Brussels sprout halves
3 cloves of garlic cut into fourths
1 tbsp Sicilian olive oil (Miletello’s)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp coarse black pepper
1 tsp onion powder

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a large cooking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
2. Cut ends off turnips and place the cut end down. Cut the turnip in half horizontally then slice into thin strips vertically. Place on one end of lines cooking sheet.
3. Cut Brussels sprout ends off and place cut end down before cutting each in half and adding to the baking sheet.
4. Cut thin strips off of fennel bulb then roughly slice the strips until you’ve cut about 1/4 of a cup and add it to the baking sheet.
5. Wash broccoli and break off the whole into smaller pieces. Peel 3 to 4 cloves of garlic and cut them into four pieces and add them and the broccoli to the baking sheet.
6. Drizzle olive oil over veggies and mix by hand until the veggies are evenly coated. Lightly sprinkle the seasonings in an even layer.
7. Take the frozen fish from the package and place it on the basing sheet. Drizzle on the olive oil and smooth in an even coat with a brush or by hand. Sprinkle seasonings in a even layer.
8. Place the tray in the oven for 15 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes before plating. Squeeze fresh lemon or lime over the fish and tip with optional fennel fronds if desired.
10. Enjoy

A Bit of Louisiana

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To kickoff the Lent season, I have to start with my take on a Louisiana classic, Shrimp and Grits. This is a warm and inviting dish that can be made lots of ways. It was perfect and quick after my intense kickboxing class and certainly an easy dish to prepare after work on Friday. If you don’t have these ingredients at home, you can have most of them delivered to your front door with an easy order through www.indieplate.com which delivers local, farm fresh ingredients to your home. Check them out to see if you live within their delivery area and take advantage of their weekly deals and discounts. I actually placed my order midday Saturday that was delivered yesterday and was excited to try out the local, stone-ground grits that I have heard so much about. Below are the ingredients and directions. I hope it is as enjoyable for you as it was for me tonight. Please share if you like the recipe.

Ingredients for grits (serves 4):
1 cup stone ground grits
2 1/2 cups of water
1 1/4 cup of milk
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter

Ingredients for shrimp:
6-8 medium peeled and deveined shrimp per person
1/2 small yellow onion diced small
2 tbsp green onion
1 tbsp minced garlic fresh
1/2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coarse black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup water

Directions:
1. Measure milk into a measuring cup and let it come to room temperature.
2. Put two cups of water on boil in a medium-sized pot. Once it begins to boil, add the grits.
3. Add salt and stir the grits until well incorporated and then reduce heat to low.
4. Don gloves. Peel and devein shrimp while the grits cook.
5. Stir every 3-5 minutes and add milk and additional water in 1/2 cup increments until the grits are the creamy consistency of your preference. The grits will take 25-30 minutes.
5. Dice and mince the onion, garlic and scallions (green onion). Set aside green onion for the end of the dish and add other ingredients over medium heat with an inch of water.
6. Once onion and garlic are soft, sprinkle flour in an even coat and stir until flour starts to brown. Add Worcestershire sauce to pan and water and stir.
7. Sprinkle seasonings on shrimp before adding it and butter to the pan. Stir for three minutes and add the green onion. Turn off heat. The shrimp will continue to cook in the residual heat.
8. Add butter (and cheese if preferred) to grits and stir until melted. Salt to taste. Turn off heat.
9. Plate and enjoy.

A Bit Of Winter

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This post is dedicated to all of my friends who were part of the many dinners my brother and I hosted during college. Some of my favorite memories are of friends telling me what they “don’t eat” though they’ve never tried it and getting them to try something new by incorporating it into something more familiar. You really can’t go wrong with a good pork chop and the chops from the Cutrer’s at the Farmers market always pleases. The sides are where you can really get creative with introducing seasonal vegetables like fennel, turnips and daikon in new ways that are tasty and easy to make. Mashed potatoes are a easy go-to side that is the perfect dish to incorporate like-colored vegetables like daikon, turnips or parsnips. With this dish, I can now say I’ve used all three at one point or another. Another easy dish is roasting vegetables. Give the broccoli and cauliflower a break and try these other winter veggies instead. It is one of my new favorites.

I know today begins Lent; however this post was delayed due to Mardi Gras and moving forward all post through the Lent season will highlight our great Louisiana Seafood. Enjoy and be sure to like it and share it.

Potatoes ingredients:
1 cup quartered ( cut potato in half, he halve each half) small red potatoes with skin
1/2 cup of peeled and diced daikon or turnips
1/2 cup of thinly-sliced yellow onion
2 tsp sea salt

Roasted Veggies Ingredients:
2 cups of quartered turnips
1/2 cup of chopped fennel
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp coarse black pepper
 Pork Chops Ingredients:
4 pork chops bone in
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup of green onion
11/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of water

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil
3. Wash and quarter potatoes. Peel and chop the daikon into smaller pieces than the potatoes as they will need longer to cook. (If using turnips, wash thoroughly, cut off bottoms and cut into small quarters). Thinly slice half and onion. Add all ingredients to the  pot and let boil for 20-25 minutes.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash veggies. If using whole fennel, cut off stalks as you will only roast the bulb. Save fronds ( soft green tops) for plating and salads during the week. Cut a medium-sized bulb in half and then quarter each half. You should have 8 pieces. If using multiple smaller bulbs you want 8-10 pieces of fennel. Add to the cooking sheet.
5. Cut turnip bottoms off and quarter each turnip. You will need 6-8 turnips. Add to the cooking sheet.
6.Using half and onion, slice and dice the onion into bite-sized pieces. Add to the cooking sheet.
7. Drizzle the olive oil over the veggies and mix gently with your hand making sure they are evenly coated. Sprinkle the seasoning on top in a light, even coat. Place in the oven for 15-17 minutes.
8. Add olive oil to the pan and let heat over medium-high heat.
9. While heating the oil, use half of the seasoning on one side of the pork chops and then place in the heated oil seasoned-side down. Season the other side with the remaining seasonings. This should cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the chop.
10. Wash your hands and then strain your potatoes.
11. Flip pork chops, reduce the heat to low- medium, then add green onion and a 1/4 cup of water to the pan before topping it.
12. Add strained potatoes, daikon and onion back to the pot you boiled them in or a bowl of preferred and add butter before mashing with a fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
13. Remove veggies from the oven and turn off all heat, including pork chops.
14. Plate and enjoy. An optional addition is topping the roasted veggies with some of the fennel fronds for added color and a burst of flavor.

A Bit Of Filleting

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I went back for round two with the flounder since my last experience was so delightful. I’ve never filleted a fish and I now understand and praise the efforts of the local fisherman who do this daily. While I am proud of my efforts and the outcome, let me just say, that was work—which is saying a lot for me. Maybe practice makes perfect? I certainly hope so. While my knife filleting skills need work, the fish was delicious and a very quick dish to prepare once filleted. I simply used olive oil and a few basic seasonings for flavoring. I paired the fish with some leafy beet greens and Swiss chard from Saturday’s trip to the market.

A glass of red and some homemade chocolate chip cookies also made for a wonderful finish to the day. Next up, I think I’ll try my hand at curing some fresh pork belly from the market. Wish me luck! Below is the recipe from the fish and tips of great sides if you decide the chocolate cookies must be skipped.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw Swiss chard
  • 1 cup of raw beet greens
  • 1-2 fillets of flounder (about 1/3 lb.)
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. rough chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ cup of water

Quick tip: I chop all of my greens and store them in gallon-sized Ziploc bags as soon as I buy it. This helps with meal prep during the week.

Quick Sides:

1 cup of quinoa with 1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms, 1 cup of chicken broth and herbs and seasonings of your choice. (2 servings)

1 cup of rice with 1 tbsp chopped cilantro and 1 tbsp of chopped flat leaf parsley cooked in chicken broth for more flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

  1. Google directions on filleting fish if using whole. (I did not and paid in time.)
  2. Wash and chop your greens into 1 inch thick pieces for quick cooking. Put greens in a medium-sized pot with the water, butter and half of the seasonings over medium heat.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat. It should sizzle when hot or you can test it with a drop of water. While the oil heats, season fish with half of the remaining pepper, salt and onion powder on one side.
  4. Once hot, place the seasoned-sized down and use the remaining seasoning on the other side. Let cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Stir greens and reduce heat.
  6. Flip fish and add parsley and squeeze lemon over the fish before topping the pan and turning off the heat. It will continue to cook.
  7. Check greens. They should be wilted and tender.
  8. Turn off heat and plate the fish and greens.
  9. Enjoy.