Monthly Archives: January 2018

Trout Diaries: Foil-Packet-Grilled

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Welcome back to the Tuesday Trout Diaries! It’s a series of emails I sent my dad after our Charter Fishing Trip to Duluth last summer. I was trying out approximately one new recipe each week since I’m not in the habit of cooking fish and I wanted to make sure none of our haul went to waste.

Each week, after the diary entry, you’ll see how I adapted the recipe to make it my own and to cook just for me.

In case you missed them, here are the past installments:

And my next email:

~

Date: 8/2/17
From: Carrie
To: Dad
Subject: Trout Recipe of the Week!

This was probably my favorite preparation so far, but for three reasons – 1) It was so EASY, 2) it was light and refreshing, 3) I lucked out with this fillet: I didn’t have/notice any bones! 

I guess I wanted to try out this basic Foil Packet Grilled Fish Recipe in case I can’t figure out how I want to prepare my salmon when I have the girls over next week. Of course, I quartered the recipe to account for my one 6-oz filet. I used rosemary, oregano and thyme from my herb pot. I served it with a side of Roasted Radishes. I had no idea you could roast them! I got some from the farmer’s market last week, but they started getting soft and I knew I wanted to save them. I cut of the ends, put them in an ice water bath yesterday. Then today, I used the recipe below to roast them!

I’m attaching a photo of my lunch to the end of this email as well. (I only needed about a 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil for the # of radishes you see in the photo. They lose their bite, but are so good and so easy!!)

Carrie

 ~

Here is my adaptation of Grilled Fish Fillet in Foil Packets from Skinnytaste.com:

Foil-Packet-Grilled Lake Trout for One

  • 6 oz fillet lake trout (skin on the bottom)
  • drizzle olive oil
  • approximately 3 sprigs of fresh herbs (I used rosemary, oregano, thyme)
  • 2 slices of lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

  • Heat half the grill on high heat, leave the burner off on the other side.
  • Place the trout on a piece of aluminum foil, skin side down.
  • Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and paper.
  • Put a couple of slices of lemon on the seasoned fish.
  • Top with herbs of your choice.
  • Fold up edges of foil to create a seal so that no steam will escape, but leave a bit of room for the steam to circulate within the packet.
  • Place the packet on the the the other half of the grill (that half with the burner off) so that the fish gets indirect heat.
  • Close the grill.
  • Cook for approximately 12 to 13 minutes or until fish is cooked through.
  • Be careful when opening your foil packet, as steam will escape.

~ I served these with roasted radishes using this method from The Kitchn.

How do you grill fish?

Cheers~
Carrie

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The Easiest Salad Ever – Just 3 Ingredients!

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The day I discovered this salad, I was busy working and just did not want to cook. Not even for the easy 10 minutes that all of recipes in Jules Clancy’s recipes in 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes, should take. I really just didn’t want to think. That’s when I turned to this salad recipe that just three easy ingredients:

Yes, seriously.

And while Clancy encourages just dumping your canned salmon right into the bag with the greens, squeezing in some lemon and eating your salad from there; I put mine on a plate for you all. (I also thought a whole bag of greens seemed like so much, so I only did a bit more than a half bag. Truth be told, it wasn’t too much!)

And it got me thinking that there really is no excuse for not eating healthy. Anyone can walk into a grocery store and pick up these three items fairly easily… whether it be while on vacation or during a workday.

Salmon and Mixed Leaf Salad

Ingredients: canned salmon, washed salad leaves, juice of one lemon

The possibilities are endless, my changes in blue:

  • Vegetarian? Jules recommends some goat cheese or ricotta.
  • Vegan? Her recommendations include garbanzo beans or mushrooms.
  • I drizzled about 1/2 tsp of olive oil over the top and seasoned mine with Himalayan Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper. Yup, I got all fancy.
  • You can use bagged salad or any combo of leaves and herbs you have leftover in your fridge.
  • Since I’ve been so heavy on the pesto recipes lately, I think this would be good with a dollop of that, too!
  • You can add any leftover veg you like in your salads as well or any type of protein, really.
  • Use tuna and add a little dollop of mayo like you would a tuna salad!
  • Add some avocado or some cooked rice if you want some extra staying power.
  • But even if you stick with the 3-ingredient recipe, you have an easy, quick, healthy meal that takes way under 10 minutes!
  • This took me as long as it takes me to open my bag of greens, dump it on a plate, open my can of salmon, drain and dump it on the salad and squeeze a lemon. I didn’t think it was necessary to time myself this go round. 🙂 Add a few extra seconds to drizzle my olive oil and season with S&P, though.
  • Will make again in a pinch.

How would you change/adapt/jazz up this recipe to suit you with what you have in your fridge and pantry right now?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

The Trout Diaries

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Welcome back to the Tuesday Trout Diaries! It’s a series of emails I sent my dad after our Charter Fishing Trip to Duluth last summer. I was trying out approximately one new recipe each week since I’m not in the habit of cooking fish and I wanted to make sure none of haul went to waste.

In case you missed them, here are the past installments:

And my next email:

~

Date: 7/28/17
From: Carrie
To: Dad
Subject: Trout Recipe of the Week

This one may have been one of my favorite preparations if this particular piece didn’t have so many bones and if I hadn’t dumped the butter sauce on the side of the fish rather than on top. 🙂 I did like how easy the skin came off after cooking, though! I served mine with a side of buttered corn on the cob. You could say that I got my serving of butter for the week!

I quartered this recipe to work with my 6 oz filet: Trout with Garlic Lemon Butter Herb Sauce.

Carrie

~

Here is my adaptation of Trout with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce from Julia’s Album.

Trout with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce for One

  • 6 oz fillet lake trout (skin on the bottom)
  • approx 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp butter, softened
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped parsley + more for garnish (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

  • Rub the top sides of the fish (skin on the bottom) with the Italian Seasoning and a little salt.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium. Once heated, add fish to pan, skin side up. Cook for about about four minutes, until lightly browned.
  • Flip and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and put a lit on the skillet. Keep covered for approximately 7 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. It will flake easily.
  • Before transferring to a plate, remove skin from the fish. It should come off easily now.
  • If there is no or very little cooking oil left in the pan, add a tsp or so more.
  • Add garlic and lemon juice to the pain and cook on medium-low to medium for about a minute or until the garlic softens. Be careful that it doesn’t burn.
  • Remove from heat. Add chopped parsley and butter to the oil mixture and stir until the butter melts completely.
  • Spoon sauce over the fish and a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.

~ To get my daily butter requirement, I served this with a side of corn on the cob. 😉

Now that I’ve shared three trout recipes, do you prefer your fish poached, baked or sauteed?

Cheers~
Carrie

Chicken with Green Beans and Pesto

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I’m still making my way through Jules Clancy’s 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes and let me tell you; the latest recipe I tried was a real winner! (But almost all of them seem to be.)

I had a great big jar of pesto from Costco that was quickly approaching had just passed it’s “Use or Freeze by” date. I wanted to use up a bit more before I sectioned it out into portions for the freezer. That’s when I found this recipe in 5 Ingredients, 10 minutes.

In truth, this recipe took me about 20 minutes, not 10. But there are a few things that can account for that, as you’ll read below. It still came together rather quickly and was so deliciously satisfying and healthy to boot! This is one of those recipes that’s great to make if you want to pound out some aggression…

~

Chicken with Green Beans & Pesto

Ingredients: chicken breast, dried chili flakes, fresh green beans, pesto, lemon

Here are my notes, with what I changed in blue:

  • I used almost a full pound of chicken breast because that is what I had thawing in my fridge. The recipe was to serve two (as most of Clancy’s do) anyway and I thought three portions might be nice for leftovers!
  • I substituted frozen green beans rather than fresh just because that is what I had. I also finished off the bag, so it was probably about 1.5 times the amount called for in the recipe. Hey, that will even out with the chicken, right?!
  • Part of the reason this dish took me longer than the estimated 10 minutes was that I used those frozen green beans. Instead of 4 minutes in the pot of boiling water (which took a few minutes in its own right), my bag said to give it 5 – 7 minutes.
  • I loved using dried chili flakes as the seasoning on this chicken. It made it so flavorful! I might just make some pork chops this way so Rob can eat them. {For future reference, Carrie: 1 Tbsp grapeseed or olive oil to one (heaping) teaspoon of red chili flakes per one pound of meat. Rub on meat and season with salt and pepper, as well.}
  • Another reason why I didn’t finish in 10 minutes was that my chicken was not cooked all of the way through. 1.5 minutes per side was not quite enough. Despite the fact that I felt like I pounded the hell out of that chicken, I apparently needed to do a little more!
  • Even though I used more chicken breast and more green beans, I stuck with the measurements of the seasoning and the pesto to the recipe and it was still full of flavor.
  • I omitted the lemon, only because I forgot about it.
  • My version made 3 generous servings.
  • The only thing I’d probably change for next time is slicing the chicken before topping it with the green beans and pesto. While the presentation is prettier as is, slicing the chicken just makes for easier eating!
  • This dish took me approximately 20 minutes.
  • Will make again. This recipe is definitely a keeper!!

Like pounding the meat thinner before cooking, what time-saving tips do use in the kitchen?

Cheers~
Carrie

Murder on the Orient Express/Espresso

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In 2017, I read my first Agatha Christie novel, after her books were referenced several of the books I had read throughout the year, like in the High Mountains of Portugal, The Rules of Civility, and Behind Closed Doors.

I did a little research on which of her books to read first and found several lists and lots of opinions on the interwebs!

Ultimately, when I found out Murder on the Orient Express was coming to the big screen, I decided to read it first and then see the movie.

While reading, I had a bit of time keeping track of the characters at first. Then everything started to jumble together and felt slow in the middle; but the ending had a great pay-off. Then I went to see the movie in the theater. While Rotten Tomatoes didn’t love it {it was getting ratings in the 30% range at the time}, I did! I may have even liked it more than the book. I really enjoyed the recreation of the time period. It just made me happy.

However, after seeing the movie in the theater, I noticed that the 1974 movie version gets much better ratings on Rotten Tomatoes {90+%!}, so I put my name on the long waiting list and ended up checking out the DVD out from my local library a month or so later.

While the film’s budget was nothing like that of the current version, you can hardly argue with a cast like Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery. And after about an hour in, I realized that Detective Poirot was played by the actor (Albert Finney) who played my beloved Daddy Warbucks in the 1982 film version of Annie, one of the first movies I saw in the theater as a kid!

I did like the 1974 version, too.

However, while searching online to see if my library even had a copy of the 1974 movie adaptation, I came across a book called Murder on the Orient Espresso

Although it was a possible that this was a retelling of Christie’s classic, I knew the characters much better now and thought it might be fun. Besides, it was something else that drew me to this book… It’s book #8 in a series about a coffeehouse owner in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I’m originally from Wisconsin and it’s not often you read many books set in my home state. Also, the name of her coffeeshop is Uncommon Grounds. Back when I was in the wine biz, I always talked about our uncommon wine. I felt a connection!

Now, this particular book of Balzo’s was not set in Wisconsin, but on a Murder Mystery train in the Everglades because the protagonist is vacationing there with her boyfriend. And I didn’t expect this book to be out-of-this-world; but rather, just a bit of fun… I mean, just look at the other titles of books in this series by Balzo:

  •  Uncommon Grounds
  • Grounds for the Murder
  • Bean There, Done That
  • Brewed, Crude and Tattooed
  • From the Grounds Up
  • A Cup of Jo
  • Triple Shot

Got a guess what some of those other mysteries might be about?! The book was a fun, easy read. But I didn’t know it was going to be about snakes. Ewwww!!!

Truth be told, I’m not really a mystery girl. I sometimes get bored in the middle of them. It was mostly the setting and a few of the characters that drew me in to the Louise Penny novels!

I guess I should accept the fact that I do enjoy them; they just aren’t the genre I immediately flock to… but the same is true of other genres. Just when I realize that the book I just loved was a thrillerI find that most of them are not my style… There are some romance novels I truly adore, but some are just way-over-the-top. And when it comes to movies, my husband is always surprised when there is a sci-fi movie I can get into… (Well, truthfully, I am too!)

But I think it just takes a really good story, with lots of different humanizing and relatable elements to make any genre enjoyable.

Do you stick to one genre of book or movie?
If so, what is it and what do you love about it?

Cheers~
Carrie

Tuesday: The Trout Diaries

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Welcome to my new installment The Trout Diaries! It’s a series of emails I sent my dad after our Charter Fishing Trip to Duluth last summer. I was trying out approximately one new recipe each week since I’m not in the habit of cooking fish and I wanted to make sure none of haul went to waste.

If you missed the first recipe and my adaptation {Fire-Roasted Tomato Poached Trout for One}, you can click here.

Three days after that first email…

~

Date: 6/30/17
From: Carrie
To: Dad
Subject: Twin Cities Chefs – Trout

I have a cookbook called Twin Cities Chef’s Table.
The attached is in the cookbook.
It’s from a restaurant in St. Paul that Rob and I went to once that’s known for its farm-to-table, local, sustainable cuisine. It closed about a year ago, but it looks like the new owners will be turning it into something fishy! 🙂
~
Attached to this email, I apparently sent my dad a picture of a recipe for Grilled Lake Trout with Braised Turnip Greens & Yogurt Sauce from that cookbook.
I am not sure why I sent him this recipe, as its one I’d never make and nor would he! Maybe I wanted to show him that Twin Cities restaurants like to cook locally? Ha! Too bad, that restaurant isn’t open anymore to try this dish…
~
Here’s the next email:

Date: 7/11/17
From: Carrie
To: Dad
Subject: Trout Recipe of the Day

Today for lunch, I made this Baked Trout Fillets recipe, but scaled it back for 1. (Very easy and creamy!) I served it with a side of sauteed kale made similarly to this recipe.

Carrie

~

Lol! I’m so full of words up there ^^. Here is my adaptation from Taste of Home‘s Baked Trout Fillets.

Creamy Baked Trout for One

  • 4 to 6 oz fillet lake trout
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1-2 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Squeeze of lemon juice (approx 1 tsp)
  • 1 tsp of onion (diced small) or 1/2 tsp onion flakes (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix all ingredients except fish to combine.
  • Place fillet, skin side down in a shallow, greased baking dish or pan.
  • Spread mixture over fish and bake for approximately 20 minutes, until fish is cooked through.
  • Fish should flake easily with a fork

Some people say that fish and cheese together is a no-no.
I don’t really mind! It’s cheese!
What’s your take and why?

Cheers~
Carrie

5 for Friday: Recipes I Made…

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…from the best cookbook you’ve never read!

As promised, I’ve been working my way through Jules Clancy’s 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes …. I love that Jules is teaching me how to adapt with what I have on hand. Sometimes her suggestions for variations inspire me to do my own thing! It turns out, these recipes came alive when I was trying to use up some cherry and grape tomatoes!

Reminder: salt and pepper and olive/cooking oil are always assumed “free” pantry ingredients in Jules’ recipes.

~

Chicken and Egg Fried Rice

Ingredients: chicken breast, basmati rice, eggs, soy sauce, spring onions

Here are my notes, with what I changed in blue:

  • Instead of chicken, I used 1 cup of (cooked) Korean ground pork. A friend sent these leftovers home with us when she made us a Bibimbap dinner one night. I promptly froze it for another day. It was a perfect addition and Rob-friendly. See, you can adapt with what you have!
  • I used 2 cups white rice (not the basmati indicated in the recipe.) Not a big deal, right?
  • Instead of peanut oil, I used 1 tbsp seasme oil and 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (high smoke point)
  • I don’t have a wok, so just used a saute pan.
  • I added a couple of handfuls of chopped carrots. (They might have been frozen, I don’t remember!) and half of an onion.
  • I was generous with the S&P!
  • My version made 2 very generous servings, but I broke it down into 3 smaller ones for leftovers.
  • I didn’t write down how long it took me to make this recipe, but considering it was my first time making fried rice, it came together quickly.
  • You can find a similar fried rice recipe in the free e-cookbook on the Stone Soup blog.
  • Will make again. This is husband approved!

~

Salt-Crusted Burger

Ingredients: ground beef, tomato ketchup, mayo, English muffins, lettuce

Here are my notes, with what I changed in blue:

  • Forgot to get a photo of this one, sorry!
  • This recipe reminded me how much we love love English Muffins as hamburger buns! It’s hard to imagine going any other way.
  • We don’t keep ketchup in the house because we don’t really like it. Occasionally, I’ll use ketchup when I’m ordering fries out and the fries can’t stand on their own or they don’t have a better sauce to serve. Normally, our burgers at home are served with homemade mayo. But a little leftover Alouette cheese spread is what I decided on to moisten our English Muffins this go round.
  • The recipe calls for scant tsp fine sea salt. I didn’t have that on hand. I used 1/2 tsp kosher salt instead. It worked just fine.
  • I also topped our burgers with some Wisconsin Aged Swiss Cheese. What’s a burger without cheese?
  • This recipe took me 8 minutes. Yes, you can have a burger on the table in 8 minutes! I think I served roasted broccoli, which took much longer. But I got all that started before I started the burgers. Maybe I should have done this broccoli in another pan.
  • You can find this burger recipe in the free e-cookbook on the Stone Soup blog.
  • Will make again. This is also husband approved!

~

Tomato, Bread and Bocconcini Salad

Ingredients: cherry tomatoes, sherry or white wine vinegar, rustic bread, flat leaf parsley, bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)

Here are my notes:

  • I don’t have any notes on this one, but I know I pulled a mini-baguette out of the freezer and baked that up before I started this recipe. If I had the bread on hand, it would have been a lot quicker!
  • This was just an easy, no brainer recipe – throw everything together and there you go.
  • My only problem with this is that I didn’t buy the marinated bocconcini, so I  needed to add a little olive oil and a some more seasonings.
  • After my bread was baked from frozen, this took me just minutes to throw together in a bowl.
  • This recipe is an absolute yes.

~

Mel and Carlos’ ‘Green’ Eggs

Ingredients: eggs, butter, pesto, baby spinach

 

Here are my notes, with what I changed in blue:

  • Not the prettiest of pictures, but it will have to do.
  • I remember the first time I made eggs with pesto and realized how genius it was! This recipe was no different.
  • It just reminded me that it’s a good way to use up pesto in your fridge and add a bit of flavor to your scrambled eggs!
  • My photo includes a handful of frozen baby spinach I added to the pan at the beginning (instead of fresh at the end).
  • I also threw in some leftover cherry tomatoes for good measure. (My friend gave me some cherry tomatoes she wasn’t going to use up in time – I was making the most of them this week!) Since it was December when I made this recipe, I called these Christmas Eggs. 🙂
  • This recipe took me 10 minutes.
  • Will make again. In fact, I’ve been making scrambled eggs with a little shredded mozzarella and a dollop of pesto on top ever since.

~

Seared Tuna and Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients: tuna steaks, cherry tomatoes, capers, arugula, mayo

Here are my notes, with what I changed in blue:

  • This may be one of my new favorite recipes!
  • Did you know that you can get individually wrapped, sustainable tuna steaks at Aldi? I was able to make this recipe for one!
  • My only changes to this recipe would be that I would sear the tomatoes for a bit longer. I like them to burst and get a bit wrinkly.
  • I don’t ever cook with capers, so they were a purchase specific to this recipe and they really helped make the dish!
  • To be honest, the tuna was so good, I don’t think the mayo was eve needed. I’m not sure if it was meant for dipping or to top on the salad. But I think the greens are fine with a little squeeze of lemon juice, drizzle of evoo and sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • This recipe took me less than 10 minutes.
  • Will definitely make again. 

What are your favorite recipes for cherry and grape tomatoes?

Cheers~
Carrie