Halibut with Orange Butter Sauce

Big weekend for us, can't you tell?  I always say it's cheaper to eat at home than out and after making this meal I still agree.  Sure the fish wasn't cheap and it took awhile to make, but at a restaurant I'd like to think this dish would go for $22. 

Really it was quite simply prepared with a fun sauce that brought the flavors out, especially over the farro and black rice it's served with (recipe  coming next). 

Make sure you season the fish with the orange zest, thyme and parsley at least 4 hours before you're going to cook it.  Also, take it out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you sear it so it'll come up to room temperature. 

While the fish is coming up to room temperature remove the pith from the orange segments and get about 3/4 cup of orange slices.  Save the juice and get about 1 1/2 cups of sauce if you're making this for 6 people or about 1/2 cup for 2.

Recipe thanks to and adapted from Suzanne Goin

Ingredients You'll Need for the fish and sauce for Two:
  • almost a pound of halibut or other good white fish for two
  • 1 orange zested
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted buter
If you're making this with the rice I'd suggest making that first and then placing it in a warm oven while you cook up the fish.

1.  Season the fish with zest, thyme, and parsley.  Cover and refridgerate for at least 4 hours.

2.  Remove the fish from the fridge about 10 minutes before you're going to cook it.  While it's coming to room temperature segment out your orange slices but cutting off the bottom and top of the orange then running your knife around the peel do you remove the white parts.  Take a pairing knife and slice out the segments in between each slice until you have about 3/4 cup of slices.  Use the rest of your orange for it's juice.

3.  Heat a saute pan over high heat for about a minute.  Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides then add olive oil to your pan and wait about a minute for it to get very hot.  Carefully lay down your fish skin side down and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the skin is crisp.  Turn the fish over and turn down the heat to medium.  Cook a few more minutes until done.  If your fish is very thick and you're worried about it drying out place it in a 350 degree oven for the few minutes it'll take you to whip up the sauce.  The fish will stay nice and tender this way.

4.  For the sauce heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and then add the juice and sugar.  Allow for the juice to come to a boil and whisk it so that the sugar dissolves.  When it has reduced by half add in the butter then some salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat and add in your orange slices.  Taste for seasoning.

Plate up your fish and spoon some sauce and orange segments on top.  How's that for gourmet at home?

    Swiss Chard Tart with a Raisin and Pine Nut Relish

    Yum.  Just polished off a helping of this for brunch and wanted to share this recipe with you.  Flaky puff pastry, ricotta and creme fraiche base, beautiful rainbow chard, and a relish that makes the dish pop with it's sweet raisins and reduced balsamic vinegar.  Once again this weekend we thought about the money we saved had we gone out to brunch this morning instead of staying in.

    I had made this recipe before but I think it was better this time around.  Somehow I didn't post about it months ago when I made it- perhaps because the pastry wasn't cooked through.  I drained the chard well this time before placing it on the tart so I think that helped.  Really, I took paper towels and squeezed all the liquid out.

    I modified the recipe a bit today since I didn't have shallots on hand having used them all in the tomato salad, and added a chili and garlic to the oil that the chard was sauteed in.  I do love how often Suzanne incorporates chile de arbol into her recipes.

    If I had a little cafe or bookshop someday I'd want to serve this there.  It'd be the perfect light lunch or 11:00 accompaniment to a strong cup of coffee.

    You can make this dish ahead of time and leave it in the fridge til you're ready to bake it.  I might even suggest you do that early in the morning if you're serving it for brunch so you have some time to relax before popping it into the oven and making it look efforless.

    Recipe thanks to and loosely modified from Suzanne Goin

    Ingredients You'll Need for the Tart:
    • 1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 1 bunch swiss chard, centers removed
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove minced
    • 1 chile de arbol, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
    • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta, drained if its wet
    • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
    • 6 ounces goat cheese
    Ingredients for the Raisin and Pine Nut Relish:
    • 1/2 cup pine nuts
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 sprig rosemary
    • 1 chile de arbol
    • 3/4 cup diced red onion
    • 1/3 cup raisins
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    For the Tart:
    1.  Preheat the oven to 400 if you're making it right away.

    2.  Roll out the thawed puff pastry sheet and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Using a pairing knife score just the edges of the pastry then brush with 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of water.  Place the pastry in the fridge so it stays cool as you cook the rest of the ingredients.

    3.  Heat a saute pan over high heat then add 2 tablespoons olive oil, chile, thyme and garlic.  Don't let the garlic burn and quickly add 1/2 of the swiss chard in pieces.  Once that has wilted add the second half along with a good pinch of salt and some pepper.  When it's wilted remove from the heat and place on a cookie sheet so it'll cool.  Place the chard in the fridge.

    4.  Place the ricotta, 1 egg yolk, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a food processor.  Puree it until smooth then transfer the mixture to a bowl and add in the creme fraiche and a tasting of salt and pepper. 

    5.  Remove the puff pastry from the fridge and spread the ricotta mixture around the center coming up to the border you've created.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the goat cheese then the greens which you've removed from the fridge and pressed with your hands through kitchen towels a couple times to get all the liquid out.  Sprinkle the rest of the goat cheese on top then pop into the oven for 25 minutes, turning halfway through. 

    6.  Make sure your tart is cooked through and then allow to cool.  While it's cooling make the pine nut relish.

    For the Relish:

    1.  Toast your pine nuts in the same saute pan you used for the chard.  You'll let them heat up over medium-high heat just until they become fragrant, a few moments.  You will see them change color a bit but you don't want to burn them.  Remove them from the pan and into a bowl.

    2.  Heat that same saute pan again and add in your oil, rosemary sprig, and chile de arbol.  I love this step- how pretty is that?  When they start to sizzle add in your red onion and then turn down the heat allowing them to simmer for about 10 minutes.

    3.  During this time boil some water then cover your raisins with the water and let them plump up for 10 minutes.  If you have currants those would be excellent, and recommended by Suzanne, but alas I couldn't find any in my markets.

    4.  After 10 minutes remove the onion mixture from the heat and drain the oil out well.  Drain the raisins as well and then add that mixture to a bowl.

    5.  Heat that same skillet again and add in the balsamic. Reduce it down to about 1 tablespoon then add that to the raisins and onion mixture.  Add in the pine nuts and parsley and taste for seasoning.

    Spoon the relish over the warm tart and enjoy a piece, or two.

    Suzanne's Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata, Torn Croutons, and Basil

    When our all local crate came with heirloom tomatoes we knew we had to make a salad that was focused on tomatoes.  We went out that night and did some shopping for additional ingredients and made this for dinner Friday night.  We had a bit of a tomato overload but oh well.  I justified the burrata as our protein source and called it a night.

    This is one of the fastest recipes I've made of Suzanne Goin's and one I'd highly recommend.  The fresh oregano dressing is so simple in theory and yet adds a complexity to this dish which I love.  In fact, that's why I love all things Goin and why one of her restaurants is my favorite.  Since we couldn't go there this weekend the recipes I've been making are mostly all from her.

    Recipe thanks to and loosely modified from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques

    Ingredients You'll Need:

    • 1/3 pound sourdough
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon oregano leaves
    • 1/2 clove garlic
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
    • 3 pounds heirloom tomatoes
    • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel (if you have it- if not, kosher salt)
    • 2 tablespoons basil
    • 1/2 pound burrata (though you could of course have more)
    • 2 shallots thinly sliced
    • 1/4 cup parsley
    1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Tear the bread and the sprinkle it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, squeezing the bread so it absorbs.  Toast in the oven for 12-15 minutes until golden.

    2.  Using a mortar and pestle pound oregano, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a paste.  Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the vinegars and then whisk in 6 tablespoons of olive oil.  Taste and see if you need to add more salt or pepper.

    3.  Wash your cherry tomatoes and cut them in half.  With the heirlooms cut 1/2 into wedges and the other 1/2 take and cut into slices.  Season the slices with fleur de sel (or kosher salt) and some pepper.  Place them overlapping on a platter then drizzle some vinaigrette on top.  Scatter 1 tablespoon of basil on the tomatoes.

    4.  Cut the burrata into slices and tuck them in and around the tomatoes.  Toss the remaining tomatoes with the shallots, sliced shallots and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  Season with some pepper as well and then add 3 tabespoons of the vinaigrette.  Add in the croutons and toss to combine.

    5.  Pile the tomatoe mixture on of the sliced tomatoes and then scatter with parsley and remaining basil.  Add more dressing if you'd like- otherwise, enjoy as is!

    Individual Peach and Blueberry Cobblers

    I'm about to go heat up one of these gems and thought I needed to share the recipe with you now.  At this point in the weekend you may have cooked enough but still have some people to entertain.  Friends, relatives, or special someones- this is your ticket to a happy Memorial Day. 

    If you've got some fruit on hand and flour, vegetable shortening and milk you're good to go.  Sadly, and sucha travesty in fact, we didn't have vanilla ice cream with these but I'd more than highly recommend that you do.  The juices do soak nicely into the biscuit topping however, so don't let the lack of ice cream stop you from making these.

    Ingredients You'll Need:
    • 4 peaches cut into chunks
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • dash of vanilla extract
    • 2 dashes ginger
    • 2 dashes cinnamon
    • 2 dashes nutmeg
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/3 cup blueberries
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
    • 1/3 cup 2% milk
    • sugar to sprinkle on top
    1.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.

    2.  Mix the peaches through blueberries in a bowl.  Gently toss then place into 4 ramikens.  Butter or spray them if you need to- mine didn't need to be sprayed.

    3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  With a pastry cutter or 2 knives cut the shortening into the dough until its crumbled.  Stir in the milk, recognizing you may need 1-3 tablespoons more so that it comes together.  Spoon topping over each berry cup then sprinkle the tops with sugar.

    4. Place in the oven and cook for 18-20 minutes until golden.  Let cool slighly then enjoy while warm!

    You've Been Pinned

    In the last month or so I learned about this site called Pinterest.  It allows you to "Pin" things you see and love online and also follow other people who you love; their style, their house, their ideas, their food.  And so, I've joined.  It's a great way to catalog the things I see and love and to be inspired by others.  Nursery ideas, recipes to make, books to read, podcasts to listen to- it's all on there.  No more, "Oh shoot, I saw it somewhere..."

    Yet another way to follow me:  Here's the link to my page.

    logo thanks to Pinterest

    Memorial Day Weekend Staples

    Memorial Day weekend brings up oh so many memories for me.  For the first time in years instead of wanting to be in Chagrin Falls, I want to be in Santa Barbara.  Not too shocking if you know how much I miss the place, but shocking when you compare it to the quintessential quaint town and festival that Blossom Time is.

    Last summer we were there for a bridal shower.  We rode the ferris wheel and saw lots of old friends.  It truly was a magical time.  If you told me then that this summer I would be pregnant, I would have laughed and said "no way."  Oh how things change.

    Memorial Day weekend in Santa Barbara reminds me of long days at the beach and watching fireworks from the sand.  Grilling tri tip Santa Maria style and enjoying margs.  I remember being taught how to make couches in the sand and my friend blaring at the top of his lungs, "born in the USA."  Sometimes we even beach hopped.  Oh to be young again.

    This weekend I'll be cooking a lot, writing some more, and maybe making up some Watermelon Agua Frescas

    If I could eat raw egg I'd be making the best Basil Caesar Salad Dressing and if I could have some alcohol I'd be enjoying Watermelon Margs.

    What's on tap for your weekend?  Hamburgers, hot dogs, cole slaw and more?

    Veggies at My Door. Finally Eating Local and in Season.

    Last week the husband and I opted for the all organic crate from the farm club we use.  We also got some local ground beef from a farm in Virginia.  Exciting for sure, but then some things went bad more quickly than I would have liked as is common with organic products. 

    This week we opted for the all local crate and boy am I excited.  So much so that we ran off to Whole Foods then Trader Joe's tonight to get ingredients for the things I plan to cook up this weekend and into next week.  I didn't want to be in a grocery store with everyone on Saturday as they bought their hamburger buns either.

    We got these beautiful heirloom tomatoes and automatically I knew we needed to replicate the salad we had at Ad Hoc on our honeymoon.  Well Thomas, we don't have time to make your basil oil before these will go bad, so we're opting for the salad from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques.  Bound to be amazing.

    We'll also be cooking up some halibut with farro and black rice and I'll make some peach dessert with lots of mint, soured cream, and a cornmeal cake. 

    Then there's a swiss chard tart that'll happen with a pine nut salsa of sorts.  I'll also make some kale chips and we'll eat our way through the rest before long I'm sure. 

    So, for this week I'm finally doing what I've been preaching for so long...eating local and in season!  Here I am giving the challenge to myself and excited about the meals to come!  Hope you're as excited about this as I am...

    Slow-Cooker Curried Chicken with Potatoes, Carrots and Peas

    The air conditioner is on for the first time this year.  It's officially inching into summer and I'm writing a post about a slow-cooker recipe...what's my problem?  The thing is, I made this for a friend who recently had a baby and she asked for the recipe.  I thought it was on here but when I realized it wasn't, and should be, I had to post it.  So, I'm a bad blogger for not posting this when I made it the first time, and also for posting it while it's nearing 90 outside.  Lovely.

    If you're still with me I'll admit too that I realized I hadn't blogged about this post-prep and so you get pictures of it in the slow cooker and then on the plate.  Deal with it.  You'll be happy you did when you try it out.

    I love this recipe for many reasons.  First off, chicken thighs.  Such an economical and flavorful piece of meat these little gems cook up beautifully in this dish.  In fact, some of them were literally falling off the bone.  Another reason I love it is because you can tell there's some elbow work involved in the beginning, as with most Cooks Illustrated recipes, giving it a wonderful depth of flavor that is often hard to find in slow-cooker recipes.  People generally think of dumping some cans into a pot and letting it go.  I haven't found a recipe like that which I love- have you?

    I'd recommend making this when you want a hot meal.  Might I suggest for your lunch at work when you need to warm up from the people blasting the AC.  Or, if you've been to Sri Lanka in the hot hot heat like I have, eating a hot curry dish will send you straight back there.

    Recipe thanks to Cooks Illustrated.  Serves a crowd: 6-8 easily.

    Ingredients You'll Need 

    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 tablespoons curry powder
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala
    • 2 medium onions, chopped fine
    • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and ribs removed then minced
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
    • 1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
    • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
    • 5 medium red potatoes cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoons Minute tapioca
    • 4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skins removed and trimmed
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 2 plum tomatoes cored, seeded, and chopped
    • 1/2 cup coconut milk
    1.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the curry powder and garam masala and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds or so.  Stir in the onion, jalapeno, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Stir and cook for about 10 minutes until everything is softened.  Stir in 1 cup of broth and scrap up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

    2. Transfer everything to the slow cooker and stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of broth, potatoes, carrots, soy sauce and tapioca, stirring until well combined.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper then nestle it into the broth and vegetable mixture.

    3.  Cover and cook on low until chicken is tender 4-5 hours.  My slow cooker is super efficient so mine was done after 4 hours.

    4. When the meat is tender turn off the slow cooker and scrape off as much fat as you can from the top with a spoon.  Stir in the peas and tomatoes then the coconut milk.  Season with salt and pepper to taste then cover again so everything is heated through.

    Serve it up over some nice brown rice and enjoy!

    ...News Worthy..

    ...Both meeting my nephew for the first time and making Food News Journal Best of the Blogs on Monday May 23rd for my post on Eat Write Retreat.  Humbled and honored to have made the publication!

    Summer Salad of Chicken, Goat Cheese, Green Beans, Tomatoes & Wheat Berries

    This salad screams summer.  It has fresh sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes and barley all dressed up in a tangy mustard vinaigrette and topped with goat cheese.  It's a lovely base recipe to use for just about any veg you have around this summer as I added tomatoes here and you can swap in peppers or zucchini as well.

    The recipe hails from Bon Appetit though I must say next time around I'd make some tweaks.  As to not confuse you I'll go ahead and write the recipe as I'd make it next time so you can all live in the 'know.'  The original didn't have enough dressing for me so I'll double that here so you're sure to get everything coated.  Also, you can top or mix in the goat cheese at the end. Personal preference really.  Mixing it it will cover everything whereas sprinkling it on top may have you looking just a tad bit fancier.

    The original recipe also called for farro, which I couldn't find, so I opted for barley.  Next time around I'd use wheat berries- they offer more crunch and won't get lost and look like oatmeal in this salad.  Because of this health punch you could really make this sans chicken and serve it as a lovely vegetarian summer side or staple.

    Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.  Serves 4-6

    Ingredients You'll Need:

    • 1/2 cup wheat berries, cooked according to package directions and cooled
    • 2 skinless boneless chicken breast, cooked up with salt and pepper on a skillet
    • 12 ounces (or more to your liking) green beans 
    • 4 ears of corn, cut to get just the kernels
    • 4 green onions, sliced
    • 2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1-2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
    • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
    • 1 1/4 cups crumbled goat cheese (4 ounces)
    1.  Cook the wheat berries and also to drain and cool.

    2. Heat oil in a skillet and salt and pepper the chicken.  Cook the chicken then allow to cool and cut up into 1/2 inch cubes.

    3. Boil salted water then blanch the green beans for 4 minutes.  Drain and pour into an ice bath then place the beans on a kitchen towel to cool.  Cut the beans into 1 inch pieces.

    4. Halve the tomatoes and set aside.  Slice the green onions and set aside as well.

    5. Once everything is cool enough combine the above and then make the dressing by first combining the oil, thyme, and salt in a jar.  Shake it well so that everything combines.  Add in the garlic and dijon and shake again.  Taste for salt and pepper and season as necessary.

    6.  Sprinkle and mix the dressing over the rest of the ingredients then either top with goat cheese individually or add it all in and stir to combine.  You can make everything 1 day ahead and chill and then before serving add in your goat cheese.

    Eating. Writing. Retreating.

    Yesterday was an informative, fun, and inspiring day at Eat Write Retreat.  Although this conference was a Friday to Sunday deal I was only able to attend Sunday and soak it up I did.  What an awesome panel of instructors and awesome group of writers, photographers and bloggers ready to share their wisdom, knowledge, tips and tricks of this whole world.

    The day started with a Food Styling and Photography seminar taught by some of the top, if not the top, and most sought after ladies in the industry here.  They've worked on cookbooks for Williams-Sonoma and do a ton of local and international work.  Enough said, right?

    We had to build a sandwich or salad and then they would professionally help us style it and shoot it so we could see what it would be like from the pros.  So amazing.  We might be getting some better lighting equipment up in this house soon.

    The next class was on writing taught by another awe inspiring woman who writes for several publications from the New York Times to Food and Wine and more.  I'm pretty sure her resume is endless.  It was great to think about writing myself as I've been enjoying it more and more and it's an area I'd love to focus on more.  I learned a lot and soaked up the experience of describing a sweet potato without describing it's taste.  It was likened to an an October rainbow of colors and the warmth of a fireplace that was bursting with nutrition.  Don't worry, on this here blog I won't make you guess what I'm describing.

    After that seminar we all headed over to a seasonal and local lunch provided by McCormick & Schmicks.  The Executive Chef put together an incredible menu for us using local farms.  We started with a local beet salad followed by Alaskan Halibut with bok choy, a medley of mushrooms, and fried spring onion.  Dessert was your not so traditional strawberry shortcake where a rhubarb sauce floated below and soaked nicely into the shortcake with mascarpone whipped cream.  I was full but not stuffed and happy for Anderson to be refining his palette in the womb.

    After lunch we headed over to CulinAerie where we had a cooking class taught by Susan Holt.  She was absolutely warm, approachable, and fun to work with sharing stories of her time in culinary school and the comical things her French instructors would say.  "You stupid twice today!" was one of my favorites.  Carla Hall is known to teach a class or two there so I hope to help out for a class taught by the one and only hooty-hoo someday.

    Even though we were all stuffed we managed to make and consume some of what we had created.  A grapefruit, avocado and endive salad was light and refreshing followed by chorizo scramble in endive boats.  The final dish was a braised endive with gremolata which isn't traditional here, but apparently extremely common in Europe.

    And so the day was finished there.  I met some wonderful ladies both near and far and am looking forward to my virtual world of friends growing.  I sound like such a dork right there.  What I meant to say was...it's nice to meet people who are doing similar things, following similar passions, and living out who they want to be and what they want to do!  Three cheers and one full belly for Eat Write Retreat!