Thursday, April 3, 2014

Craving A BLT

The warmer weather here in New England is making me crave BLT's but there aren't any good garden tomatoes around!

If you're like me and won't buy off season tomatoes from the grocery store, but can't wait any longer for a decent traditional BLT, try this idea.

Blend a handful of organic grape tomatoes (they have a nice sweet tomato flavor and aren't mealy) in a food processor with a large basil leaf (or a few small ones), one small garlic clove, one very small shallot, and a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Spread that tomato mixture on your BLT and enjoy with other organic or goodies from local farmers. 

Can't wait for this to open so I can enjoy fresh garden tomatoes

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash And Cauliflower

Roast these winter vegetables together for ease. 
Store them separately in the fridge. 
Enjoy them in your meals all week. 

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The butternut squash tasted great with organic chicken and apple sausage. These pea tendrils I picked up at the farmers' market were very versatile - we've had them in salads and sandwiches, with fish tacos and cod cakes. The butternut squash was handy to have on hand and a nice side dish all week.

Here is roasted cauliflower reheated with some goat cheese as a side dish to roasted pork and carrots. Feta cheese would be a good alternative.

For another side dish, I added walnuts to the roasted garlic with goat cheese.

To roast butternut squash and cauliflower, I placed them in a baking sheet with a touch of olive oil, another healthy high heat oil would be fine, and some seasoning. This time I used just a little salt and pepper and also added some garlic cloves so I'd have them ready to use during the week as well. I roasted everything at 400 degrees in a pre-heated oven. Once the cauliflower started to look golden brown, everything else was done, maybe 15 to 20 minutes. I like the squash soft but not mushy.

Then I stored the roasted vegetables in separate containers until ready to use. I froze the roasted garlic in a small herb jar for later use.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cod Cakes With Bechamel | Cod Cake Burger With Remoulade

Cod Cakes
I was planning on making dinner by cooking cod fillets from The Local Catch in a skillet but they were thin and broke apart too much when I flipped them. So I stopped cooking and quickly searched for a recipe online and found a nice potato based cod cake recipe from Saveur.

The cod cake recipe can be found here. I made adjustments to the ingredients that suited my portion of fish. I didn't serve the cod cakes with a chow chow as recommended because I didn't have those ingredients. Rather, I made a quick Béchamel sauce.

Béchamel, lactose-free
For the Béchamel, I made this quick version because I didn't have a lot of time:

For the roux, I combined 1 tablespoon butter (I used organic lactose-free Earth Balance Buttery Spread, I read that olive oil can also be substituted) with 1 tablespoon flour until well blended in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat.

Then I added 1 1/2 cups milk (I used Organic Valley lactose-free), 1 bay leaf, a little onion powder,  sea salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. I omitted the traditional clove-stuck onion and nutmeg for this sauce but it could be made that way.

I cooked the sauce on medium-low, whisking until the flour flavor was gone and it coated the bay leaf, like below. Then I discarded the bay leaf and sprinkled in some Old Bay seasoning to taste. I thought of Old Bay seasoning because it's what my father uses often when he makes seafood meals. 

I topped the cod cakes with the savory Béchamel and we ate them with leftover roasted vegetables. Cheese can be added to the sauce, but I liked it just like this and wanted to keep it lactose-free.

Cod Cake Burgers
I made burgers with the leftover cod cakes. The Remoulade was a nice condiment by itself but I would have also liked a slice of tomato. However, it's winter and I stay away from grocery store tomatoes -- they are no substitute for a fresh summer garden tomato!

Quick And Easy Remoulade
To 1 cup of mayonnaise (I used the Just Mayo brand I talked about in the previous post), I added 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon tabasco/hot sauce, and minced 4 very small sweet gherkins. 

I served the cod cakes on local Portuguese sweet bread rolls that I toasted.

And if that isn't enough carbs, why not have a nice local craft beer with the cod cake burger! This light tasting Rhode Scholar is my favorite.

"Rhode Scholar"
from the Bucket Brewery, Pawtucket, RI

Don't want all the carbs (or the lactose from the milk in Portuguese sweet bread)? A cod cake with Remoulade tastes great with these pea greens. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Local Fish Tacos

I saw a notice on Instagram about the fresh pollock that The Local Catch was going to have at the farmers' market with a suggestion for fish tacos. The idea piqued my interest and taste buds!

So I made the trip to the winter farmers' market that weekend and picked up two large fillets of pollock. I was told by a couple of people that Cilantro Mexican Grill uses pollock in their tacos and how wonderful they are. Well, I haven't eaten at Cilantro but it sounded good to me!

On my way out, these pea greens caught my eye. I thought they'd taste great in the fish tacos and grabbed two bags.

Here's the spread:

To make the tacos, I roasted the pollock with simple seasonings and high heat sunflower seed oil on a baking sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. (Timing depends on the thickness of the fish. I took out the thinner pieces and finished cooking the thicker pieces a few more minutes).

Seasonings were a "spicy seasoning" (a salt-free mix I found at Whole Foods) and a little fresh ground pepper. By roasting, the fish was flavorful, gluten-free, and lower in calories and fat than fried batter.

While the fish roasted, my hands were free to prepare the taco fixings:

~ Homemade lactose-free Baja sauce (sort of)
1/4 cup lactose-free sour cream, 1/4 cup mayonnaise*, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, juice from half a lime, a little "spicy seasoning" to taste. After mixing it all together and putting it in a small serving bowl, I sprinkled some smoked paprika on top.

~ Sliced fennel for some crunch and nice flavor

~ Shaved curly carrots because there were plenty available at the farmers' market

~ Pea greens, another great farmers' market find

~ Minced shallots

~ Fresh lime

I used organic whole-wheat tortillas instead of corn tortillas simply because I like the flavor better. To make this dish entirely gluten-free, use gluten-free tortillas/tacos.

And, by the way, fresh pollock tastes amazing in tacos!

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*For the mayonnaise I used Just Mayo. It's non-GMO certified, vegan, and is awesome.

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Photos of the Port of Galilee in Rhode Island I took this past summer, 2013:

Fishing trawler heading out to sea from the Port of Galilee

No compensation was received. These are products I love and want to share.