Whole Foods had a big sale on wild sole last week, which inspired me to think of an easy way to eat a lot of the delicious fish. I happened to have a lot of fennel in the fridge, and so I experimented with cooking the sole and fennel together — and discovered our new favorite way to cook sole! The fennel and lemon pair perfectly with the fish. Baking the fennel brings out a lot of the vegetable’s flavor and sweetness, and the lemon and garlic add a nice zesty quality to the dish. The sole is so moist and flavorful! This dish should typically serve about 4 people, especially when accompanied with another side vegetable, but, truth be told, it was so light and delicious we ate the whole thing when I made it last night! This recipe will be a nice addition to my work-week dinner roster, as it is so simple to make and healthful, too!
We have a fantastic butcher here in Park Slope called Fleisher’s. Fleisher’s carries fabulous quality meats free of hormones or antibiotics, which are locally sourced and raised on a primarily grass-fed diet. We love everything from them. Yesterday, we stopped by Fleisher’s and picked up some pork chops, steaks, and some “bork” — ground beef and pork mix. For late brunch today, I used the bork to make some spicy “bork” mince with onions, capers and parsley, topped with scrambled eggs. So easy to make and packed full of flavor! The capers add a nice tangy flavor to the spicy mince meat, and the parsley gives the dish a lovely freshness. Eat with some scrambled eggs, and you’ve got a great protein-packed brunch in a bowl!
I recently bought a rack of lamb because it was on sale, without thinking deeply on how I wanted to cook it. All I thought was that I could cook it on the weekend. In the past, I’ve made rosemary/garlic/lemon-crusted rack of lamb, but this time, since I had purchased the rack of lamb as an impulse purchase rather than for a concrete cooking plan, I forgot to buy along with the lamb rosemary, parsley, or any other kind of fresh herb. When the weekend arrived, all I had on hand in way of a herb was some herbes de provence, and I was too lazy to go out shopping. And so I just made up a simple mustard marinade with ingredients I had lying around in my kitchen. The result was a very tangy and flavorful marinade that worked very nicely with the rich, gamey lamb. The mustard and lemon cut the fattiness of the lamb, while the red onions added some texture as well as a faint sweetness. I’m not so sure if the herbes de provence made much difference in terms of flavor, but it did add a kind of rustic quality to the appearance of the mustard crust. David was a fan of this simple marinade, and so I think I might make it again in the future!
Sometimes, we just feel like eating a nice big piece of fish for dinner. Wild sockeye salmon is one of our favorite weekday fish, because it is so quick and easy to cook. It takes less then 10 minutes to pan-sear sockeye salmon filets to crispy-skin perfection. Sockeye salmon is firmer than your regular salmon, with deep, orange-red color and rich, full, salmon-y flavor. It is leaner than King Salmon, and less expensive. I think sockeye salmon is best cooked simply — just make sure to not over cook it, as it will dry out. Since David and I try to avoid eating farmed salmon as well as salmon with “added color” (usually goes hand in hand), sockeye salmon has become our favorite salmon variety to cook at home (along with coho salmon, which, when in season, is also delicious). Currently, sockeye salmon found in super markets tend to be “previously frozen” (i.e. not in peak season), but we think they still taste delicious!
Here’s how I pan sear my sockeye salmon filets:
Chili is the perfect “dinner-in-a-bowl” for cold winter nights. The great thing about chili is that it’s a make-a-lot-of dish that will feed my very hungry husband for at least a couple of meals, and it tastes even better the next day. Also, chili is great for a casual party like, say, Superbowl Sunday. Sadly, chili disappeared for a while from our dinner repertoire when we began eating paleo, because my old recipe involved beans, corn, and maple syrup, none of which we eat anymore. This winter, I thought I would conceive a new, paleo-friendly chili — and so I experimented with fennel, hoping fennel would add a nice texture as well as some sweetness to the chili. I also cooked up sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes) to make some “crouton-like” garnish for texture and an avocado relish to cut the heat. The result is our new paleo chili, which we are sure to enjoy throughout the winter! We loved the fennel in the chili, and the sunchokes added a lovely earthiness.
Happy New Year! I hope 2013 is off to a great start for everyone. David and I had a terrific holiday season, and I have quite a few recipes to catch up on!
First, dinner from last night: a very simple roasted duck.
We recently introduced whole roast duck into our dinner repertoire. Previously, roasting a whole duck somehow seemed more labor intensive than roasting a whole chicken, but it’s really not that different. If you get good, fresh duck — and we get lovely Long Island duck here in New York — then a simply roasted duck is delicious. I also love getting all the fabulous duck fat after roasting a whole duck, which I like to strain and keep so that I can use duck fat to roast vegetables (SO GOOD).
I like to roast the duck at a high temperature, bringing the temperature down later. This method helps make the skin nice and crispy. The simplest, no-frills way I have come to roast a duck, is as follows:
And it’s December!
Hard to believe that 2012 is in its final month. It’s been a long while since last I’ve posted, so I have some major catching up to do. My early next year/New Year resolution shall be to post more regularly!
In the meantime, here’s a comfort dish for the winter months — spicy ginger cauliflower “fried rice.”
I have seen various cauliflower “fried rice” in various paleo food blogs and recipe sites, but had never tried making it. Cauliflowers in our kitchen tend to end up being roasted. But when David and I went to a Japanese super market a few months ago and came across beautiful, thinly sliced Berkshire pork belly — and I had to buy it. What to make with this paper thin pork belly slices? (Cauliflower) “fried rice” seemed like a good idea.
Oh, and some gorgeous shimeji mushrooms were on sale, too. Perfect.
Lamb shoulder blades entered into our dinner repertoire because they are surprisingly delicious, and, compared to other cuts of lamb, less expensive, thereby making them a good “everyday” option (i.e. not “special occasion”). When we first bought shoulder blades to cook at home, we worried that the meat might be chewy (they kind of look it at the butcher’s); but after marinating overnight and cooking them simply, the meat on the blades are tender and very flavorful. I marinate the blades in my go-to mix of lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil overnight. Although some pieces might be a little sinewy or have an intricate maze of bones — requiring patience for the eater — lamb shoulder blades are a good option if you want a good amount of lamb for less. I’m sure slow-cooking will be a good method for them. So far I have seen 2 types of grass-fed lamb shoulder blades: New Zealand and Icelandic. The Icelandic lamb is smaller than the New Zealand lamb. Although lamb blades may not be to everyone’s taste, if you’re interested, it’s worth trying!
When we lived in Stockholm last winter, I made some spicy pork ribs for a birthday party we threw for our colleague. The ribs were a hit, and made for an excellent — and hands-on — party meal among friends. Now back in my own kitchen in Brooklyn, I have more spices in my pantry to play with — and recently, I came up with a rub that I think works even better. I like to put the rub on the ribs overnight before cooking. Although these ribs aren’t of the smoke-house variety, we still think they are delicious, tender, and do come off the bone quite easily. We tend to prefer the St. Louis style pork ribs over baby-back — there’s more meat to them (always a plus for David), and I like how the fat renders off while roasting, giving the ribs a nice, juicy quality without being too fatty.
Every so often, I see local, wild-caught sole on sale at Whole Foods. Sole can be tricky to cook, because it can be rather bland without frying or adding a lot of fat. This Sole “Pie” is a neat and delicious way to eat sole baked — basically, it’s Asian-style eggplant caponata sandwiched between two layers of sole. Chinese eggplants work best for this dish, because their skin is thin and cook quite easily without having to sweat the eggplants beforehand.