Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Giada's Pea and Spinach Pesto

I watched Giada make this pesto on her show, Everyday Italian, one morning and thought it looked really good. The green peas add a nice green color and fresh taste that Giada said even her 5 year old loved. I had the last half of a bag of spinach from SLO Veg that I needed to "use it or lose it", so I decided it would become pesto. The photo is from a week ago when I made a spinach and fruit smoothie. This was mature spinach, big leaves. Because I had picked up some fresh basil from our Farmer's Market vendor Mount Olive, who I blogged about previously, I added a bit of that with the spinach. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151341101126668.491511.673326667&type=1&l=323920e149.

Note: We recently switched to an every-other-week delivery schedule for SLO Veg with a large box for now to see how that works for us. Taylor doesn't eat at home much now that he is working and I am working on dayshift. I find I have to supplement a little more, but its actually fun to get out to a Farmer's Market and see what all is being offered and talk to the vendors. When I recognize a SLO Veg vendor, I like to say hi and tell them I am a customer and purchase something from their booth.

I also used some large green onions from the tote box, a couple cloves of garlic, a chunk of sun-dried tomato, and some parmesan and mozarella cheeses. My peas were frozen and weren't mixing well, but when I added the olive oil, it began to come together. I used more spinach than Giada's recipe called for, and I just used regular mozarella, not smoked, but if I ever buy some of that smoked cheese that we don't inhale for a snack, I may try it that way sometime. 

The batch I whipped up is about 2 cups, way more than I need for a batch of pasta, so I am taking a smallish container over to my daughter's house this morning so she can make some pasta at home. I still do have some frozen basil pesto disks in the freezer for quick pasta additions that I might use some evening, so I don't want to freeze any of this batch. I thought this would be fun, fresh and pair well with the chicken breasts that I had taken out to defrost this morning. I think I will even coat the chicken breasts in the pesto before baking them in the oven tonight. We will have a really pesto-y dinner!


Fusilli with Pea Pesto and Mozzarella
Adapted from a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis


Kosher salt
1 pound fusilli pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan


1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
2 large large green onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
2 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 cup grated mozzarella
2 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
5-6 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Lemon pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped


For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place the drained pasta in a large bowl. Add the cheese and toss until coated.

For the pesto: In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the lemon pepper. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the peas, mozzarella, spinach, Parmesan, lemon juice, lemon zest, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and the cooked shallot mixture. Blend until smooth, but still slightly chunky, adding in the reserved olive oil through the blender top hole.

Pour the pesto over the pasta and toss until coated, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve.

Cook's Note: To toast the almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool completely before using.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Plum Raspberry Crumble saves the Night!

Now I have a sweet tooth! I want something sweet, like chocolate. I don't think I have anything chocolate in this house, except for that trail mix with chocolate pieces...but I don't want that. I don't know what I want. Looking around, I spy...plums. Right there in the hanging basket above my kitchen sink. Right in plain site. 

"Honey," I say as I am washing the last of the dinner dishes, "can you look up 'plums' on the SLO Veg website and see if they have some recipes for dessert?" Lee looks and reads off several suggestions while I mull them over: Caramelized Plum-Ricotta Black Pepper Crostini...no, whatever crostini is, I don't want to make it. Sounds too complicated. Grilled Plums with Spiced Walnut Yogurt Sauce...nooo, made something like that with peaches the other night. Open faced Plum Tart...hmmm, maybe. Plum Carpaccio? Nah, not sure what that is. Plum Cornbread??? Oh, here we go: Plum Raspberry Crumble. That's the one. Funny thing is, I had saved that very recipe to my blog back in August. I guess I have been thinking about making it for quite some time.

So I proceeded to chop of a few plums into bite-sized bits, squeezed an orange and got about 2 tablespoons of juice to pour on the plums, searched in the freezer for those raspberries I had frozen a few weeks ago, and mixed up my fruit with sugar and a dab of almond flour. Then I used my hand-held stick mixer with the food processor attachment and mixed up the crumble part. Butter, brown sugar, salt, oatmeal...simple. I put the fruit mixture into a butter ramekin and added the crumbled topping, then baked it in the oven for 30 minutes. A dollop of ice cream and my sweet tooth is about the be satisfied. Thanks for the recipe, SLO Veg!

Plum Raspberry Crumble  

Servings: 8 Level: Easy  Time: 1 Hr

2 pounds red plums, cut in 1/2, pitted, and cut
  in 1-inch wedges 
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided 
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided 
2 tablespoons orange juice 
1/2 pint fresh raspberries 
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, 
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats 
1/2 cup sliced almonds, plus extra for sprinkling 
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the sliced plums, 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of the flour, and the orange juice and toss well. Add the raspberries and toss lightly. Pour into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish. For the topping, place the remaining 1 cup of flour, the remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, and the salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Pour the mixture into a bowl, add the oats, and work it with your hands until it's in large crumbles. Add 1/2 cup of the almonds and mix well. Spread the topping evenly over the plums, making sure the fruit is covered. Sprinkle with some extra almonds. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the fruit is tender and bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.  

Cream of Broccoli Soup

While shopping in Costco last week, my husband decided we needed a huge bag of broccoli florets...3 pounds huge, to be exact. Broccoli is a vegetable favorite in this household, but with our weekly box of farm-fresh vegetables and fruits from SLO Veg, I had my doubts. So a week goes by and I still had not busted open the bag yet. 

I mean, all week I pretty much had my hands full with carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, Swiss chard, red bell peppers, green onions, sweet potatoes, avocados and peaches, plums and OATS...I still have not tried the "certified organic" rolled oats from With the Grain farm in Atascadero. I think I had way more time to cook when I was working nights. Oh well.

Today it was raining and cold out, so I figured it was perfect weather for soup -- broccoli soup! First thing I did was slice up a whole onion, along with one of the green onions from SLO Veg, and sauteed it with some butter in a stock pot. I mashed up a few cloves of garlic and added that in for the last minute or so, then put the whole mix into the blender and pureed it. I ended up with a nice, thick oniony paste. I put that into my crock pot and turned to the broccoli. Since the broccoli was already trimmed, I put half of the bag (so 1-1/2 lbs.) into a pot of water and put the lid on and let it come to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Then I ladled the broccoli into the blender (it took two blender batches for this) and added a couple of ladles of broccoli water, then pureed the broccoli. I took care to use the lid and only added enough water to fill the blender halfway, with the broccoli florets going all the way to the top of the carafe. That made a nice thick broccoli puree. I poured the blender batches into the onion mixture that was in the crock pot and seasoned it all with cayenne pepper, nutmeg, chicken broth powder, salt and pepper. Then, inspired, I added some fresh thyme from the little plant I received from SLO Veg a few mnths back. So at this point, I figured I had sort of skipped the step of making a roux with flour and butter and onion, and I didn't see the need for flour. I left it out and added a cup of coconut milk, because that all we had in the frig. Then I stirred in about a cup of grated Mexican cheddar cheese blend and our soup was ready. Except we weren't ready. We were in the middle of watching our DVRd versions of Sleep Hollow and The Mentalist. Hence the crock pot. That is such a handy kitchen neccessity.

Easy Vegies and Sole

I was up early this morning, preparing for a 4-mile run/walk event at our annual Oktoberfest celebration. I am 3 weeks into a 12-week fitness commitment, so this fits right into the plan. We had a great lunch afterwards of bratwurst sausages, sauerkraut and Hefinweisen beer. (That is in the plan too--FREE DAY!) Then I came home and took a nap and when I woke up, wouldn't you know it? It was dinner time!
I think I have three or four zucchinis in the fridge, but since its just me and Lee tonight, I chopped up one of them for my bacon- tomato- zucchini saute With bacon and garlic. I used two Roma tomatoes and a large green onion. Then I decided to toss in the Swiss chard and flavor it with Balsamic vinegar. I went a little heavy on the vinegar as it pours out too quickly. But we had our vegetable! 
II paired the veggies with the little bit of procuitto tortellini I had left over, boiling them in water, then draining and mixing with butter and garlic. Then I quickly pan fried the Dover sole in butter, seasoned with sea salt and coarse black pepper. Both things took about 5 minutes!
With dinner done and my sweet tooth activated, I split open three peaches that would not last another day and popped them into the oven to bake with a little butter and cinnamon sugar. I convince Lee to pull them out of the oven after 15 minutes and top them with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. Perfect ending to the day!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sweet and Sour Pork

Red bell peppers, sliced carrots and chopped onion are the base for my Sweet and Sour Pork.
You know that movie with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaghy: "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days?" One of my all-time favs, partly because Lee and I watched it on our first date.Well, I am home alone, and that's what I am watching while I am browsing the internet for dinner inspirations. It makes me laugh.

But what about dinner? What are my options here in the land of refrigeration? Leftover pork? Big, juicy farm-raised carrots? Sweet, dark red bell peppers? A can of pineapple chunks? What more does a gal need except the rice? and a good sweet and sour sauce. Got it! I found a recipe on Food Network's website, make the sauce and stirred in my pork and pineapple. Then I sauteed the carrots, peppers, onion and garlic in sesame oil and mixed it into the sauce. I would have added some snow peas if I could find them in the freezer, but I can't so I will add green peas. Color, you know? Jasmine rice was in the rice steamer and dinner is gonna be a snap. I think I can even relax the rest of this evening and let my hubby pick the channels...except for our 20 minute cardio workout. That's later.


Here is the recipe I made, except for the pork part. I just used some diced leftover pork. It works. 


Sweet and Sour Pineapple Pork
For pork:

1 pound lean pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sweet vermouth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
4 tablespoons oil, divided, plus 4 cups oil, for deep frying
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup diced red and yellow bell peppers
2 tablespoons diced onion
Sweet and Sour Sauce
Strips of green onion, for garnish
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1/2 cup chopped canned pineapple
4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water, for thickening


Cut pork into bite-size pieces and marinate for 30 minutes in mixture of soy, vermouth, garlic, ginger, and 2 tablespoons oil. Set aside.
Meanwhile, make the sweet and sour sauce:

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cornstarch mixture, blend well and bring to a boil. Add cornstarch mixture. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently until thickened. Be sure and bring your sauce to a boil before adding the cornstarch, otherwise the sauce may retain an unpleasant starchy taste.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove pork pieces from marinade and roll in cornstarch to coat well. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown and crispy.

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium-high heat. Stir-fry red and yellow pepper and diced onion for 2 minutes, then add Sweet and Sour sauce and fold in fried pork. Let simmer for 2 minutes, arrange on serving platter and garnish with long strips of green onion and toasted sesame seeds.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-live/sweet-and-sour-pineapple-pork-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tomato Carrot Ginger Soup

I had some carrots just hanging out in the frig...remember those big, thick carrots from the SLO Veg box the week before last? Yeah, carrots can hang for a long time in the frig...why was I waiting?

I was waiting for the perfect recipe, that's why. I wanted to savor the carrots and I couldn't decide whether to toss them into a stew, saute them with butter and parsley, or roast them in the oven and serve alongside a slab of meat. But then I saw this recipe for carrot-ginger soup on Pinterest from the Downtown Abbey blog and my mouth began to water.I guess Downtown Abbey is a show, and I know Tim McGraw's family is a big fan club, but I myself have never seen it. Hmmm...probably preempted by The Headless Horseman or something...oh well. Apparently there is a fan following for the food of Downtown Abbey, because there is a cookbook based on the show. Life definately imitates art.

So I made this recipe, but the only thing was I had one or two purple carrots in the vegetable bin that I tossed in for good measure, and you know what? I had a purplely soup! Good soup! But purple, kind of like a borscht, but not. The color was kind of off-putting, so I had  to do something. I decided to mix in a can of tomato soup. It turned the color from greyish-purple to brick red. Hmmmm...I guess that is better. Let me make some grilled cheese sandwiches to serve alongside and see if I can get the guys to eat some.


Classic Carrot Ginger Soup

simple, elegant and heart-heart healthy.
Carrot soup is one of those classics dishes which is simple in terms of its main ingredients.  But add ginger and then pureeing takes it from the servant’s hall to the upstairs dining room. Guilt free, there is little fat in this recipe.
Serves 4
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil or olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 lbs. carrots, roughly chopped
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock (more to thin)
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Coarse (kosher) salt and freshly ground black pepper *
  • low fat plain yoghurt to garnish
  • chives to garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the onion and ginger for about five minutes until the flavours have been released.
  2. Add the carrots, stock, and orange juice.  Increase the heat, bringing to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, covering the pot.
  3. Cook until the carrots are tender, about 45 minutes.
  4. In the Downton kitchen the soup would have been pressed through a sieve to break up the solids, but we have the convenience of immersion blenders to puree the soup right in the pot.  If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a blender or food processor.
  5. Season with nutmeg and salt and pepper.  If the soup is too thick, add some additional stock to thin and reheat.
  6. You can serve the soup hot or cold; garnish the soup with a spoonful of yoghurt and nutmeg before serving.
****So I changed the recipe by adding one can of condensed cream of tomato soup. I just opened the can and stirred it in, and created a tomato-ginger-carrot soup. Lee says to never make it again. That's good!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Breakfast in Bed

Our kitty Zink was helping me read the Sunday morning newspaper.
Apples and cinnamon! What a great combination! When I saw this recipe on SLO Veg's website, my mouth started watering. I woke up wanting some yummy oatmeal with apples and cinnnamon and raisins and brown sugar, so I got myself up, made it, and went back to bed to eat it! Then I read the Sunday morning paper, start to finish. Great start to a day.

Apple Harvest Oatmeal (Braeburn Apples) 

Servings: 6  Level: Easy  Cook Time: 5 Minutes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1 crisp apple, such as Braeburn or Crispin, cored and diced with skin 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, plus more to taste 
3 cups water 
2 cup quick-cooking oats 
1/2 cup wheat germ 
1/4 cup ground/milled or whole flax seed (or a combination of both) 
1/4 cup chopped dried apples 
1/4 cup toasted sliced almond 
1/4 cup golden raisins 
3/4 cup almond milk
Directions: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and the apple and cook until lightly brown and soft, 2 minutes. Add cinnamon and sugar and cook until dissolved. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the oats, wheat germ, flax, dried apples and raisins. Stir constantly for 2 minutes until oats are cooked and dried fruit is slightly plumped. Divide into 4 bowls, sprinkle each bowl with more brown sugar, a drizzle of milk and a dried apple ring.
**I didn't have any dried apples for this recipe, but I did add some sliced toasted almonds.

Vegetable Curry

I found this recipe on MyRecipes.com and knew I had to try it. I had cauliflower, zucchini, yellow squash and cilantro from the SLO Veg box, and a million things to try with it, but what I really wanted to use was my Garam Masala curry spice that was sitting in the cabinet being all lonely and under-utilized. I have to say, after tasting this conconction, "good choice!". Yes, it was tasty! Good thing, too, because we took bowls of it in our lunch all week.
I had everything else I needed in the pantry today, too, like garbanzo beans and sweet potatoes and diced tomatoes. I also had a couple of pork cutlets, so I sauteed them and cubed the meat up and added it to this dish for a complete main dish, or you could leave it out and have a great vegetarian stew.
Original recipe link:
Pantry staples!

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced peeled sweet potato
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1 yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder (I substitued Garam Masala)
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson)
1/4 teaspoon salt1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown pork cutlet and cook for 5 minutes on each side, then remove to a platter. Add sweet potato to pan; sauté 3 minutes. 2, Decrease heat to medium. Add cauliflower, onion, and curry powder; cook 1 minute, stirring mixture constantly. 3. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to a boil. 4. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. 5. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve with yogurt over quinoa.
This curry stew makes a pretty main meal.

Roasting Vegetables...Double Duty

I've been roasting a lot of vegetables this week. We got eggplant in the SLO Veg box this week, and since I wasn't too thrilled with my attempt at Eggplant Parmigiana, I figured I would just roast the whole eggplant and make Baba Ghanoush again. The process is detailed in an earlier blog post, but I took a few more photos from this session and added them to the post. http://slovegboxforleenme.blogspot.com/2013/09/what-to-do-with-eggplant-go.html The guys loved the Baba Ghanoush and we can use it instead of mayonnaise on our sandwiches.  I even bought some pita bread just for the Baba Ghanoush! I also roasted a spaghetti squash with the eggplant, doing double duty with the oven heat. I halved the squash and cooked both vegetables for an hour and 15 minutes. We enjoyed the spaghetti squash with a little butter and coarse salt and Parmesan cheese, and topped it with a meaty tomato sauce. It was a really delicious pasta-type dish without all the carbs and calories.

Then tonight I roasted some cauliflower and carrots, using the ginger and turmeric seasonings I blogged about earlier. I know now that it is a sure hit, plus it packs well in our lunch boxes. That's what I call winner-winner.  http://slovegboxforleenme.blogspot.com/2013/09/roasted-cauliflower-with-turmeric-and.html

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cauliflower and Feta Omelette

"Vegetables for breakfast." That was a dietary tip a friend of mine received from her nutritionist when she was trying to lose weight. Okay, I'm in! I don't think I have ever before eaten cauliflower for breakfast. 

My husband and I are embarking on a 12-week workout and healthy eating program called Body for Life. I thought this recipe sounded like a good, healthy start for our day, full of protein and nutrients. Good thing my appetite is shrinking, because I only got 4 bites of my portion when a hungry, hungry young adult woke up and I took sympathy on him and let him eat the rest of my breakfast.

Recipes through SLO Veg

Cauliflower and Feta Omelet 
 yield: Makes 2 servings
 active time: 20 min
 total time: 30 min 
Little bites of cauliflower add wonderful texture to this open-face omelet; salty-tangy feta gives it character. 

5 large eggs 
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch-wide florets (3 cups) 
1 garlic clove, minced 
1/2 cup crumbled feta (2 ounces) 
1/4 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup chopped spinach (my twist on the recipe)

Preparation: Beat eggs with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté cauliflower until browned and tender, 5 to 9 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, then add spinach, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and sauté 1 minute. Pour eggs over cauliflower. Cook, lifting edges to let uncooked egg run underneath and shaking skillet occasionally to loosen omelet, until almost set, 4 to 5 minutes. (At this point I just sort of scrambled it all together, but you can do like the next step if you prefer).  Slide out onto a large plate. Put skillet over omelet and, using pot holders, firmly hold plate and skillet together, then invert omelet back into skillet and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Slide out onto plate and sprinkle with feta and parsley.  

For the record, that is a Spark energy drink next to my egg dish, not a mimosa. ***sigh!***

Monday, October 7, 2013

Opah with a buttery garlic tomato sauce

Opah...Moonfish. Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? Well it is a beautiful looking filet, that's for sure! Thick, meaty and pink. It looks like it will be delicious. We even googled a picture of "Moonfish" just to see what they look like, and they are huge! It's nice to have a resource in Slofreshcatch, because it not only provides recipes, but also detailed information about the fish, where it comes from, and a rockin' recipe for "Seared Opah with a Vine-ripe Tomato Garlic Butter." We made it tonight and it was AWEsome!

My plate with seared opah and sauce, quinoa and roasted vegies. I am digging in!
The funny part about tonight was that Taylor and his girlfriend were hungry well before I started frying fish, so they heated up some leftover chili. I was about to talk them out of it, but then I thought, "Don't be silly! This way they won't each so much of the sure-to-be-delicious fish!" It was one pound of fish cut into seven pieces. Probably enough for four people, but not four ravenous peoples.

First I seasoned the fish with some lemon pepper and a pink Himalayan salt. I just got the salt for our grinder at New Frontiers Foods and thought this fish definately deserved the pink salt. I let the fish sit with the seasonings while I prepared the tomato sauce. I varied from the SLO Fresh Catch recipe by using a whole basket of cherry tomatoes that came in our SLO Veg box, and I simply halved the tomatoes and sliced up a couple of large green onions. I just don't have the patience to peel tomatoes. Then I skipped right down to the point where you sweat the tomatoes and onion in butter. During this time I also had some cauliflower and carrots roasting in the oven and some quinoa steaming on the cooktop. I put the tomato mixture aside and concentrated on searing the fish. The meaty pieces held up well in the oil and butter mixture as I cooked the pieces for about 5 minutes on each side since they were pretty thick. When they had a nice brown starting, I deemed them cooked and put the pieces on a serving platter.

Garlic went into the saute pan and mingled with the oil and butter left from searing the fish. Then I poured in the tomato and onions and added lemon juice and white wine. I checked on my quinoa and it was plumping up just fine, so I felt I would have all the dinner components done at the same time...perfect! I gave the vegies a turn on the roasting sheet and turned the heat on the oven way down, just to keep them warm. While I was doing this, Lee stepped in and took over with the sauce. I think he was getting hungry, too. He topped the fish with the finished tomato sauce and gave it a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. At that point, I grabbed a plate and served myself up first. No sense being polite here! I was hungry too!
Seared Opah
Recipe from the SLO Fresh Catch website:
Seared Opah (Moonfish) With Vine-Ripe Tomato Garlic Butter
Tomato Concasse
Make the Tomato Concasse: (The French word means to roughly chop).Remove the core of the tomato with the tip of a small knife. At the other end, lightly score (just break the skin) of the tomato by cutting an X. Plunge the tomatoes into a pot of rapidly boiling water for 10 seconds (blanch).Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl of ice water or under cold running water to halt the cooking process (this process is called ‘refreshing’). The peel should now just slip off; if the tomatoes are not quite ripe, they may need to be blanched and refreshed again.Place the tomatoes on a cutting board with the core side down and cut in half.Remove the seeds with a teaspoon and discard. Roughly chop the tomatoes to the desired size.

(This is where I really began) Gently cook the shallots and the tomatoes in butter without coloring them (this is called sweating) for 5 minutes and set aside until required.

Heat the saute pan on medium heat until hot. Add in oil and butter; season both sides of fillets with salt and pepper. Sear on both sides until medium done, approximately 4 – 5 minutes total depending on thickness of fish. Remove from pan; add garlic; stir consistently. Add tomato concasse, lemon juice and white wine on medium heat; let reduce until most liquid is gone. On low heat, add in butter a little at a time. Remove from heat; add in chopped parsley and season.
The finished fish dish, complete with sauce and cheese

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ahi Tuna and Asian Coleslaw

Tonight I am using items left from last week's SLO Veg vegetable box, including some ahi tuna and green cabbage. I still had a half of a green pepper and also some shredded carrots, so I made an Asian-style coleslaw and it will be paired with some seared Ahi tuna topped with a fresh plum sauce made from Black Plums from the box. 
Plum sauce from the Black Plums and Asian slaw will compliment our Ahi tuna dinner tonight.
I borrowed the plum sauce recipe from a recipe I made a while back from the SLO Veg recipe site that was a plum barbecue sauce served over pork. I found a recipe on the website for ahi tuna tacos with plum sauce, but it called for canned plums. This sauce used fresh plums, and I have some handy, so I figured it would go just as good on the tuna. Besides, the fresh sauce is so easy to make. But I kind of want to use up the plums, so I think I will double the batch and can some sauce for later uses on my busy nights. It's only 1 p.m. on my day off, so I have plenty of time to sterilize a few half pint bottles and lids.

For the Asian slaw dressing, I had a bottle of Sesame Ginger marinade in the pantry, so I figured I could start with that. I mean, I have all the ingredients and could make my own Asian-style dressing, but someone gave this to me. It's called "Culinary Treasure's Organic Lemon Ginger Marinade" so how can I go wrong with that? I shook the bottle and poured out a cup into my large glass measuring container. Then I whisked in a half cup of mayonnaise, tasted it, and poured it over the coleslaw vegetables. That will marinate with the vegetables for a couple of hours and be just right for making a base for the delicious tuna I will cook tonight from a recipe inspired by SLO Fresh Catch.

Ahi Tuna with Plum BBQ Sauce (Plums) 

Servings: 4  Level: Easy
Recipe from the SLO Veg website:

Plum Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar 
1 cup water 
1 tablespoon prepared minced ginger (Christopher Ranch brand) 
4 plums, sliced 
1 teaspoon five-spice powder 
1/2 lemon, juiced 
1/3 cup hoisin sauce 
Directions: Heat a grill pan, broiler or grill to high heat. Heat the sugar and water in a medium pot over medium-high heat. When the mixture reaches a bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the ginger, plums and five-spice powder. Simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add the plum mixture to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour into a medium bowl and stir in the hoisin sauce. Reserve.

Tuna Ingredients: 
1 pound ahi tuna
coarse sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper 
1/4 cup sesame seeds 

Directions: Coat all sides of the tuna with mixture of salt, pepper and sesame seeds. Sear in canola oil on 
all sides for about 30 seconds each. Slice tuna into 1/2" slices and 
place on a bed of Asian coleslaw. 

Coleslaw Ingredients: 
1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced thinly
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup Lemon-ginger-sesame dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise 
Directions: Prepare the vegetables by slicing into thin strips, then toss. 
Whisk mayo into sesame dressing and pour onto coleslaw mixture. Chill for at
least an hour, then serve. 



Chile Rellano Casserole

"South of the Border ~ Cha Cha Cha!!! "Organic" Bi-Colored Corn on the Cob, Pasilla Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Carrots, Spring Onions, Cilantro, Bloom Microgreens ~ Sunflower Shoots, New item~ "Rex" Green Butter Leaf Lettuce, Black Plums, "Black Beauty" Grapes, "Sugar Baby" Watermelon.'"

Our produce box from SLO Veg had a theme last week, featuring foods that go well with Mexican dishes that could be made from the products like Pasilla and Jalapeno peppers, cilantro, corn and tomatoes. We already barbecued some bacon-wrapped, stuffed chili peppers over the weekend, but now I still have peppers, giant-size peppers! I guess they are the Pasillas. I decided to blacken them over the gas stove and peel off the outer waxy skin. I put a few into the freezer for later use, but I am craving Chili Rellanos and I think these would be perfect for that dish.

I borrowed this recipe for Chile Rellanos from my daughter's Cruisers Softball  "Cruisers Cuisine" that was compiled in 1998 as a fundraiser for the girl's competitive softball teams. It's one of my favorites, because it makes a tasty dish in the simpliest way: a casserole. No battering, dipping, frying or using a dozen cooking vessels. The process is pared down to stuffing the peppers, layering cheese and peppers, mixing up eggs, milk and cheese and baking it in the oven.

Cheese stuffed roasted peppers
Here is the recipe:


1 large can green chilies, sliced open
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese
1 can tomato sauce
1 lb. Cheddar cheese

3 eggs
2 cans evaporated milk
3 tablespoon flour

Slice cheese. Layer 1/2 of the chilies in a long pan. Add a layer of jack cheese then a layer of cheddar cheese. Add remaining chilies and the rest of the cheddar cheese. Beat batter ingredients and pour over the chilies and cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Add remaining Jack cheese and can of tomato sauce. Bake an additional 20 minutes. Serves 6-8.

More cheese layered on top of the chilies
A batter is poured on top of the cheese and peppers and is baked in the oven
The browned chile rellano casserole is brought out of the oven and more cheese is sprinkled on top. Tomato sauce or salsa can go on top and then it is cut into squares for serving.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Watermelon Granita

Pioneer Woman has a recipe for Watermelon Granita that I just had to try. It looked super simple, in fact, I think I did a simplier version than she did. On her blog, she cut the watermelon into cubes and then put them into the blender. I just scooped the watermelon out of the shell with a large serving spoon and dumped it into my blender. Anyway, I pureed up a whole seedless watermelon and its in the freezer right now for the intial freeze. I tasted a spoonful of the slush and it was pretty awesome, so I can't wait to churn it up a few times and then eat some with a spoon out of a martini glass.

watermelon Granita


  • 1/2 whole Seedless Watermelon, Cut Into Chunks (rind Discarded) (about 8 Cups Of Chunks)
  • 2 whole Limes, Juiced
  • 1/3 cup Sugar

Preparation Instructions

Place half the watermelon, half the lime juice, and half the sugar in a blender. Process until smooth, then pour into a separate bowl.
Repeat with other half of ingredients. Pour into same bowl as other batch.
Transfer mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish. Freeze for two or three hours, then begin the process of lightly scraping the top, frozen layer. Return pan to freezer with the shaved ice on top; remove a couple of hours later and continue scraping. Repeat the occasional scraping process until the entire mixture is shaved. Store, covered in plastic wrap, until serving.
Serve in pretty glasses with a twist of lime.