Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pacific Grenadier and Broccoli

What kind of fish did we get in the box tonight? Pacific Grenadier. I looked at the SLO Fresh Catch blog and found the perfect recipe, because our SLO Veg box also includes several heads of broccoli! I am baking some sweet potatoes and will bake the fish in a little while. The broccoli can go into the oven as well! Sweet!

Speaking of sweet, I don't have any Portuguese bread, but I guess the closest thing is the Hawaiian rolls because they originated from the Portuguese sailors' recipes when they migrated to Hawaii. Betcha didn't know that! If I was a good bread baker, I might make my own, but for now I will use the Hawaiian bread. Sigh.

I decided to use my ramekins because the fish can be served right in the dish. I sauteed some leeks in butter and layered them on the bottom of the dish. Then I put the fish on top, smeared butter on it and seasoned it with coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. I coated the fish with panko bread crumbs because I didn't have any Hawaiian bread to use tonight. It went into the oven for 15 minutes.

Lentil Spinach Cups

I found a recipe for spinach and lentil muffins on a blog called "Muffin Mania". I guess the guy (yes, guy!) makes everything in a muffin tin. The number one reason for making muffin-size food? Portion control! Plus you can freeze the stuff and have it ready to throw in your lunchbox for some good, homecooked foods. So check him out.

I saw these muffins on Pinterest and thought they would be perfect for a baby shower luncheon. The new Mommy is a vegetarian, and she had a healthy 9 pound baby boy that is thriving on her vegetarian milk. The aunties and cousins are getting together to celebrate this new little wonder with a shower luncheon featuring a garden and ducky theme. 

I just had to share pictures of all the appetizers, including the "ducks on the pond" punch! We also had Lady Bug crackers and Caterpillar grapes.



1/2 cup dry black, brown or green lentils

8 cups spinach, stems removed

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup good-quality Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste


Bring lentils and 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan and simmer until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a food processor, pulse spinach in until finely chopped. Add ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper to the processor bowl and process until well combined. Stir in drained, cooked lentils. Divide evenly among 10 to 12 medium-sized greased muffin cups. Bake until set, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool and loosen with a butter knife. Garnish with grated Parmesan.

Hot Albacore Dip

I wanted to make an appetizer dip for my dinner party tomorrow using some kind of fish. We had received some smoked albacore through SLO Veg that is a locally caught product. I checked out the website at and found the perfect recipe. My sister is bringing some rye crackers that will go perfectly with this flavorful dip and hopefully bring a bit of authenticity to our Ukrainian dinner in honor of our mother's heritage.
I used two cans of albacore and added about a half-cup of may and a half cup of sour cream to the blend. I also used sliced leeks instead of green onions, because that's what  I found in my frig this morning.

Hot Albacore Dip
1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese
1 Tbsp. milk
1 can Premium Albacore Tuna
½ tsp. horseradish
2 Tbps. green onions
¼ tsp. salt and pepper
Slivered almonds

Mix cream cheese and milk together using mixer or hand stirring. Add remaining ingredients and place in oven-safe dish. Sprinkle almonds on top. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until hot throughout. Serve with snack crackers. Your guests will love this appetizer!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Black Cod, Blood Oranges and Cauliflower

White Cauliflower
Blood Oranges
Black Cod

This week's vegetable box from SLO Veg contains lots of citrus, strawberries and even a fresh baked baguette!
Red-Leaf Lettuce makes a lovely bed for Blood Orange segments
Sounds very colorful, doesn't it? Well, it all plays a part in tonight's dinner menu. We received our now bi-weekly vegetable box of fresh produce from SLO Veg. The box contained about a dozen small blood oranges that are almost black-looking when you cut the orange in half. I made a marinade for the fish using juice from the oranges, soy sauce and rice vinegar. The recipe originated on the SLO Fresh Catch website from the Dec 10, 2013 entry, but I decided a dash of blood orange juice would spice it up a little bit. I also added a bit of grated fresh ginger and diced garlic and let it all soak into the fish for about an hour and a half before cooking it. The blood oranges also garnished our green salads made from a bunch of fresh curly red-leaf lettuce. The side vegetable accompanying our dinner tonight is cauliflower doushed in turmeric and ginger and roasted in the oven. Everything is going to be very orangey, either in flavor or in color.

Here is the link to SLO Fresh Catch recipes:

Black Cod filets in marinade

December 10-12 2013 Black Cod Caught by Captain Hackelman Cooked with Green Onions and Ginger

Posted on by on December 10th, 2013 | 0 Comments »
Serves four


  1. In a large skillet, combine vinegar, soy sauce, and ginger. Season both sides of cod with salt and pepper; place in skillet with vinegar mixture.
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until fish is almost opaque throughout, 6-8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut green parts of scallions into 3 inch lengths; thinly slice lengthwise. Scatter over fish; cook, covered, until fish is opaque throughout and scallions are just wilted, about 2 minutes
This is the recipe I blogged about earlier for the cauliflower:

Cauliflower is ready for the turmeric and ginger treatment

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Potato travels from Ukraine to Italy: Varenyky to Gnocchi

BHG recipe for Tuna and Mushroom Gnocchi
I went from the Ukraine to Italy this morning with my potatoes. I started off making potato-filled varenyky (perogies) for our annual Ukrainian dinner celebrating my Mom's Ukrainian heritage. I just added some flour and an egg to a couple of cups of mashed potatoes and came up with a dough sturdy enough to roll into a rope and make into little dumplings of gnocchi. I cooked them in the same water as I had been boiling the varenyky in. Then I dug out a recipe I had clipped from a Better Homes and Garden magazine for "Gnocci with Mushrooms and Tuna". I had made it once before with store bought, shelf stable gnocchi. I watched Giada make gnocchi on her show last week and wanted to give it a try, so here goes!

I couldn't find Giada's recipe for gnocchi, so here is one from Eating Well:

Rolling out the potato dough and cutting it into small pieces, then making fork marks on it.

Homemade Potato Gnocchi
From EatingWell:  November/December 2009 Traditional homemade gnocchi (little Italian dumplings) are made with just potato, flour, egg and salt. Be sure not to work the dough too much or the gnocchi will be tough. Toss them with your favorite sauce and dinner is served!
About 12 dozen (or 6 cups) gnocchi, for 6 servings | Active Time: 1 hour | Total Time: 2 1/4 hours


  • 2 pounds medium Yukon Gold or russet potatoes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten
  • 1-1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Pierce potatoes in several spots with a fork. Bake directly on the center rack until tender when pierced with a knife, 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours, depending on the size and type of your potatoes. Remove to a wire rack and let stand until cool enough to handle, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Scoop the insides out of the potato skins and push through a potato ricer fitted with a fine disc onto a clean counter. (If you don’t have a ricer, mash the potatoes until smooth.) Gather the potato into a mound on the counter, sprinkle with salt and let cool, about 15 minutes.
  4. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  5. Pour egg yolk over the cooled potato and then sprinkle 1 cup flour on. Use a bench knife or metal spatula to gently fold the flour and egg into the potatoes until combined (it will not look like dough at this point). Gently squeeze, knead and pat the dough until it holds together and resembles biscuit dough or cookie dough. The dough will be a little sticky; if it’s very sticky, add more flour, about 1 tablespoon at a time, as necessary. Be careful not to overwork the dough: overworked dough will yield tougher gnocchi.
  6. Pat the dough into a 1 1/2-inch-thick disk and then divide it into 4 equal pieces. Working on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands, roll each portion into a 24- to 26-inch-long “snake,” 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide. Start at the center of the dough and roll out using your fingertips and very light pressure; gently pull the dough out as you roll. Cut the snake into 3/4-inch pieces. Use your fingertip to make an indentation (or “dimple”) in the center of each gnocchi. Place the gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet as they are made. Repeat with remaining dough.
  7. Adjust the heat so the water is at a gentle boil. Add about one-quarter of the gnocchi at a time. When the gnocchi float to the top, transfer to a parchment or wax paper-lined baking sheet with a slotted spoon. Continue boiling the gnocchi in batches until they are all cooked, returning the water to a gentle boil between batches. Serve immediately or see Sautéed Gnocchi (see Tip).
Gnocchi drains on a broiler pan after it has been boiled in water.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Roasted Garbanzos

Roasted garbanzo sprouts make a great crunchy snack
Still in Superbowl mode and looking for a salty after-dinner snack...hmmmmm.

So the solution to my hunger for salt? Roast some garbanzos in olive oil and seasoned salt! Oh yeah baby! That makes a great little snack that really hits the spot and you can feel good about eating. I set the oven at 400 degrees and let them bake for 22 minutes. They came out slightly crispy with a great salty flavor. I was nice and shared them with the boys...real nice. 

We got some raw garbanzo sprouts from SLO Veg last week. They came from Mt. Olive Organic Farm in Paso Robles, CA. You can eat them raw, but I am not that big of fan of raw sprouted beans. I like the bean shoots, but not the raw beans so much. I am more used to canned garbanzos that are already cooked, or hummus, which is garbanzos that have been cooked and ground into a paste and seasoned with tahini and other flavors. 

Garbanzos are a great source of fiber. Since my husband and I both need more healthy fiber in our diet, garbanzos may be one thing we can add almost daily to improved our cholesterol and blood sugar numbers. One website I found tauted the beans as one of the World's healthiest foods!
I will definately be adding garbanzo beans to our daily lunch salads, and maybe incorporating them into some quinoa dishes and soups and so forth. Hummus comes in so many flavors and can be used as a dip or a spread, so its perfect for snack time. The roasted beans are more perfect though. Just saying.