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February 17, 2021


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Note: I am reposting this recipe in time for some meat-free meals for Lent. I know I am always trying to get some ideas now to make meal planning easier. Fish tacos, shrimp scampi, frittatas and cheese pizza are some other favorites. Happy Lent! 

I can’t remember where I first heard of Fish en Papillote (Fish in Paper). It’s a classic French method for cooking fish and veggies but do not let that scare you. Ever wrapped a potato in tin foil and baked it? You’ve got the method down pat.

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I am possibly the most excited to share this post of any that I’ve ever done, because I know once you know this method you will have a way to cook fish that is simple, quick (cooks in 10 minutes!) easy, rustic, elegant, and did I mention easy?

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I used to make this a lot when I was trying to eat light after my third baby, and now that I remember how yummy it is, it will be on heavy rotation.

But trust me, because with these flavors and a high quality cut of fish, can it possibly taste awful? Especially when you put little to no effort in. These beauties did all the work:

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For the record, I made this before I ever did Whole30 because it is so so good. I feel like this is important to mention because I hate feeling deprived, I love flavor, and this is one of those great dishes that makes you feel indulged without any guilt.

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But for those of you who are looking for meat-free meals for Lent, or are simply eating light as spring is starting to ease its way into our open windows and sunlit doors and you are remembering you might need to put on a bathing suit in a few months, this one’s for you.

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You can use any kind of fish – salmon, sole, mahi mahi, tuna, halibut, etc. Just adjust time for thickness – a thin filet less then an inch thick gets 8 minutes, a thicker one gets 10-12. I used halibut a little on the thicker side and 12 minutes was perfect.

Make sure you chop your vegetables thin so they’ll cook in the same time as the fish. You can easily just slice them very thin crosswise too.

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Oh, and what’s that? No clean up either since you just throw your paper away? It is almost magical how perfect this dish is, isn’t it?

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Fish En Papillote (printer version here)

Preheat your oven to 425, then:

1. Chop your veggies. Pick any veggies you like – snap peas, asparagus, red pepper, zucchini or summer squash, carrots, onions, celery, leeks, mushrooms are all fantastic steamed with fish.  You want to cut them very thin so they steam in the same amount of time as the fish. I julienned mine (badly) but you can just as easily slice them in thin rounds if you are in a hurry.

2. Lay out a rectangle of parchment paper, fold it in half, and lay your fish on one of the halves. Season with salt & pepper and add a pat of butter.

3. Pile on your veggies, followed by herbs – dill is so great with fish, but I’ve loved thyme with white fish too. I have even added herbed mayo to salmon. Season veggies with a little salt and pepper (being careful not to over salt – you can add more to taste after it’s cooked).

4. Drizzle with lemon and olive oil. (White wine is amazing splashed on here too. Just not whole30 approved as you probably know).

5. Starting at one of the corners next to the fold, start to twist the edges on itself so that the paper forms a seal, allowing the steam inside to cook the fish and veggies. You want to take your time and do it carefully because if steam leaks out it may not be fully cooked.

Pale Ale Braised Short Ribs

February 11, 2021

This recipe for Pale Ale Braised Short Ribs is one that I shared with a magazine I wrote for a while ago, but it happens to be my husband’s favorite dish, and is just the perfect Valentine’s Day dinner so I wanted to make sure all of you lovely readers had the recipe at your fingertips.

This dish came from a cookbook called Fresh & Honest, and its author Peter Davis is one of chefs that converted me to eating seasonally, locally, and to know your farmer. He is based in Cambridge, MA, so his knowledge of local food was very close to us here in Portsmouth, NH. His recipes and all show how to make great food from simple ingredients. Seriously, this dish is a few veggies, a good cut of meat, some beer and some flavorful broth. And the end result is a stick to your ribs flavor bomb.

When I got his cookbook (signed by him at his restaurant!) we had just gotten our first half cow from our friendly Vermont Farmer and I was looking for a way to use the short ribs. Thus began my love affair with short ribs. They are actually pretty easy to cook once you get the basic formula down, and don’t have that many ingredients. Brown them on all sides, create a flavor base in the drippings with aromatics and herbs, and add some flavorful liquids. Then cook them low and slow.

I have made short ribs many ways, with red wine, with stout, but the Pale Ale is my favorite – it gives it such depth of flavor. We used to make this with Sierra Nevada until the Tributary Brewing Company Pale Ale stole our hearts but any high quality beer will do, there are so many in New England right now!

Honestly the only thing I have eaten that outshines these are the braised lamb shanks in Paris in our magical night out there (they’re at the very end of the post).

I hope you find yourself a window this weekend to make these! It will be the best smelling 2-3 hours of your life, and the results will reward you greatly.

Happy Valentines Day!

xoxo Katie

Pale Ale Braised Short Ribs

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons canola oil

4 short ribs

salt and pepper to taste

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

2 medium sized onions, chopped

1 cup of Pale Ale beer

2 bay leaves

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup of veal or beef stock

Directions:

Place the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and place in the oil, browning on all sides. Remove the ribs from the pan and add the chopped vegetables, lightly browning. Pour the beer over the vegetables and reduce by two-thirds. Add the bay leaves, Chicken stock, and veal/beef stock and place the ribs back in the pan.

Cover the pan and cook lightly, simmering until the ribs are tender, about 2 to 3 hours.

Remove the ribs from the liquid, pour out the excess grease, and reduce the liquid until it coats the back of a spoon. Strain the sauce. When ready to serve, heat the short ribs in the sauce and transfer to a plate.

Recipe from Fresh & Honest

 

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower

February 3, 2021

 

Who is ready for watching some football this Sunday? Or at least ready to eat snacks!

I have grown to love football more since my oldest son plays it, it is so special now to see how into he is and how he talks with my husband like a very knowledgeable adult and not a teenager.

But I am still mostly in it for the snacks. And with these AH-mazing buffalo cauliflower florets and all the veggies I can get my buffalo fix without feeling like a just ate a gazillion calories.

 

I am so excited about this recipe because it was SO easy. Just cut up a head of cauliflower (you can keep the florets whole or cut them in half. I experimented with both and they were both great, it just serves more if you cut them in half).

Then you take 1/2 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon paprika, and 2 teaspoons garlic powered along with salt and pepper and stir in a 1/2 cup of water. I poured the cauliflower into the batter and gently tossed it with a spatula and they coated perfectly without a lot of extra batter. If you do find it dripping off you may want to lay them in a colander first to let the excess batter drip off.

Then you lay them on either a piece of parchment paper or a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 20 min, flipping halfway.

Then you brush them with a mixture of hot sauce, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice and cook for 15 more minutes. Then you get this:

And you will be so happy. Trust me.

I could barely take the pictures fast enough before I dove into these. I dipped them into Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing because its so healthy! I felt amazing after eating them and I’ve very glad I have another cauliflower head in the fridge for this weekend.

I also experimented and added this Frank’s Red Hot Seasoning to one pan and it was delicious too, but the seasoning can be hard to find. They are still very good with out it.

Now I’m going to dip everything into this batter and bake it and smother it with Red Hot. Pickles? Broccoli? Cheese? I can’t imagine anything being bad made this way, but the cauliflower is perfection.

 

Happy Game Day! Hope you love these as much as I do!

Happy Eating~ xoxo Katie

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower

  • 1 large head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot Seasoning Spice Mix (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup of hot sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot but any will work)
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Ranch or blue cheese dressing for serving
  • carrots and celery sticks for serving

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, water, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper until batter is smooth. Add cauliflower to batter and toss to coat. Spread cauliflower onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer with space between them. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes, flipping over halfway through. In another small bowl, combine the hot sauce, melted butter and lemon juice until well blended. Brush the buffalo sauce mixture on the cauliflower.
Return to the oven and bake until they start to brown, about 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with a bit of salt and serve hot with ranch dressing, celery and carrots, if desired
Recipe adapted from the Feel Good Foodie 

20-Minute Ginger Pork & Bok Choy Noodles

January 28, 2021

There is just something about the magic combination of sesame oil & rice wine vinegar & soy sauce.

I use it to marinate my tuna for poke bowls. I use it to make a very quick dipping sauce for dumplings. I use them in my peanut satay sauce for my Thai Wraps.

And now, it’s my go-to sauce for stir fry.

We are in the height of the winter doldrums here, where temps are just about to dip arctic and the warmest sweaters are being employed. We finally got a nice white fluffy snow fall today to make everything pretty, but earlier this week it was bare and gray and bleak. So we loved how stir fry veggies brought some sunshine.

I was talking with someone on Instagram about bok choy sounding so good to us and I wondered what was in it that would make us crave it. Turns out there is phosphorus, zinc, sodium, copper, manganese, selenium, niacin, folate, choline, beta-carotene, and vitamin K.  Bok choy actually ranks sixth on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) for fruits and vegetables.

Don’t you love it when food is healthy and delicious?

You could eat this dinner because of all the nutrition, but this will also be on heavy dinner rotation for us because it is FAST (20 minutes!) comfort food. It tastes better than the last time we had Chinese food take out.

You probably hear from everyone that the secret to making dinner easy is to have a well stocked pantry, and this dish is a great example. I have been buying my udon noodles from Amazon so we always have those, but you could easily substitute spaghetti or rice or even lettuce leaves for a low carb option like our Asian pork lettuce wraps.  I also load up on ground pork when its on sale because we love it in Asian dishes. That magic combo of sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce is always in our pantry too, so the only thing needed to pull this dish together is some fresh veggies. Feel free to use whatever veggies you like – carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. The combo of baby bok choy and peppers felt super healthy though.

So happy to have a new easy dinner option to warm up these cold winter nights! Hope you get to try it soon.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

20 minute Ginger Pork & Boy Choy Noodle Stir Fry 

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1-2 teaspoon chili flakes use to your taste (optional)

1/4 cup water

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil 

1.5 lbs ground pork (feel free to use more or less if you have 1lb. pork, its flexible!)

2 bell peppers, preferable red and yellow, sliced

5 baby bok choy or 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped

2 inches fresh ginger, finely minced

2 packages udon noodles (can use more if desired)

4 green onions, chopped

sesame seeds, for garnish

Directions:

Combine sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, hoisoin sauce, water and chili flakes (if using) into a small bowl.

Heat a large pan over medium heat, and add 2 of remaining sesame oil tablespoons into pan. Add ground pork and brown until cooked through. Add the ginger, peppers and bok choy (or other veggies you are using) and cook until veggies have softened, about 5-7 minutes.

While the veggies are cooking, in another pan heat remaining sesame oil and 1/3 cup water over low heat and cook noodles to soften and warm up, about 3 minutes.

When veggies are soft, add soy sauce mixture and cook for another 5 minutes. Add noddles and combine. Serve with sesame seeds and green onions.

 

 

One-Pot Chicken Dal Curry

January 19, 2021

I love Indian food, and I find I always gravitate towards it when I am trying to eat healthy. It has so much flavor and you can make curries with so many veggies. I make my end of the week curry all the time and keep the fixings – Naan bread in the freezer, greek yogurt, Major Grey’s Chutney – on hand in case an Indian food craving strikes.

I once saw a lentil and chicken dish on the cover of Cooking Light and I had been dreaming about making it ever since. I had masoor dal lentils from the last time I went to an Indian grocery so I decided to just make traditional dal which I love, and then cook the chicken in that. It turned out to be a perfect match.

This dish is really easy to put together, and it is such healthy comfort food. You feel amazing after you eat it, and it is so full of flavor from the different curry spices plus ginger, garlic and jalepano.

The chicken gets a great flavor boost from the turmeric and paprika, and the thighs are so good in this dish. You could use chicken breasts if you want to but they just fell apart so perfectly.

The real prize is the spiced oil on top, which I made extra spicy.

I used my new tamis to pick through the lentils and realized again what a great tool it is. I wrote about it on my Christmas gift idea post and I have used it ten times already.

You let the lentils soak for 30 min. while you cook the chicken and spices. Then you stir them in with the tomatoes.

Put the chicken back in, cover with the water, and then simmer for 20-30 min. until the lentils are soft. I wish I had a scratch and sniff feature here so you could know how amazing this smelled after simmering away…

When it’s done, stir in the spiced oil…

Garnish with cilantro and pomegranate and serve.

You will love this dish, and you will love how good you feel afterwards. Hope you get to try it soon!

Happy Cooking! xoxo Katie

One-Pot Chicken Dal Curry

Ingredients:

1 cup masoor dal red lentils, picked through for stones

4 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

2 lbs. chicken thighs

1 tsp. tumeric

1 tsp. paprika

salt and pepper

1 onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

one 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon yellow curry powder

2 tablespoon red curry paste

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 serrano or jalapeno chile, minced (optional)

3 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup pomegranate tendrils (optional)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley

For the spiced oil

1/4 cup coconut oil or sesame oil

1 inch piece fresh ginger, minced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Put the lentils in a strainer and rinse them under running water. Add them to a bowl, cover with water and let soak for 30 min. Drain and set aside.

In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle paprika and numeric all over chicken thighs and season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. When oil is hot, brown the thighs on both sides, about 3-4 min. per side. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and cook for two minutes. Then add the jalapeño, curry power, curry paste, and stir to combine. Then add the lentils and tomato stir to combine and cook for one minute before nestling the chicken thighs into the pan. Cover with water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add salt to taste, and top with spiced oil, pomegranate tendrils, and cilantro or parsley. Serve immediately.

Potato Leek Gratin

December 23, 2020

If you were to pose that famous question to me, what would you choose for your last dinner, this would be on the menu for sure. The tender potatoes infused with the garlic and thyme and cream, the perfume of leeks that is the best compliment to potatoes there can be, and the crunchy, cheesy, butter topping give that oh so satisfying combination of gooey-cheesy-tender-crunchy that is the stuff of dreams.

This dish is just perfect.

We are having it with Bobby Flay’s Prime Rib and my mother-in-law’s famous Christmas sides which are delicious and easy – her Horseradish Carrots (so good it is the leftover you reach for first, and her Spinach Souffle. 

I think with this gratin we will have the trifecta of sides and I am not sure what I am more excited for, the presents or the dinner.

Like so much good food, this dish starts with the simplest of ingredients. I once had to host Christmas last minute and had all of these on hand.

If you have a mandolin it makes the job of slicing the potatoes so easy. I like the skins on to provide a bit of body to the dish and because I don’t have to peel them. I used the 1/8 inch setting and love it, it ensures that it bakes through and gets soft and tender and you aren’t left with hard potatoes.

Once you have these sliced, you cut up the leeks taking care to remove any dirt between the layers. Then you arrange a layer of the potatoes, sprinkle with about a 1/3 of the cut leeks, then repeat making 3 layers depending on your pan. It’s pretty unfussy and rustic (read: easy) so don’t worry too much.

When you have done this, you heat two cups of cream in a sauce pan over medium heat, and add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. This heats quickly so watch it so it doesn’t scorch or boil over. Once the salt has dissolved, pour it evenly over the whole dish.

 At this point, it smells AH-mazing.

Then you wrap it in foil, cook it for 30 min. at 350. Then you add the toppings:

Sprinkle the grated cheese all over it. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and mix it with the panko and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sprinkle that over the top, and bake it uncovered for an additional 45 min.

The ingredients are so simple, but this dish couldn’t be more special, which is why it’s perfect for Christmas dinner.

I hope you all get to try it, you will be thanking me! And I hope you have a blessed, healthy, and joyfilled Christmas!

xoxo Katie

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2 pounds Russet or yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, thinly sliced ( I used 1/8 inch on mandoline)
  • 1 thick or 2 slimmer leeks, halved, washed, cut into 1-inch segments
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs (panko or homemade are great here)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely grated gruyère, comte, or baby swiss cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8×12-inch or 3-quart baking dish. Cut garlic clove in have and rub all over the dish.Working in layers, arrange a layer of sliced potatoes on an angle, slightly fanned, in different directions filling the pan loosely. Sprinkle 1/3 of the leeks on top, then add another layer of sliced potatoes, repeating until you have 3 layers.  In a medium saucepan, bring cream, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper, garlic, and thyme to a simmer, stirring to ensure the salt dissolves. Pour hot cream mixture evenly over the pan, trying to evenly coat the potatoes and leeks. Cover pan tightly with foil, place on a baking sheet to catch any drips, and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 2 remaining tablespoons butter. Add breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper to taste and mix to evenly coat.

At 30 minutes, briefly remove pan from oven and remove foil. Sprinkle top evenly with cheese, then scatter with buttered breadcrumbs. Return to the oven without foil for 45 minutes, until potatoes are totally tender, the top is browned, and the edges are bubbly. [Insert a knife or skewer into potatoes to feel for crunch or resistance. Return to the oven if needed.]

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving hot.

Do ahead: Gratin can be assembled the day before and baked before a big meal. It can also be baked for 30 minutes (the foil-on portion) and cooled, finishing the baking time the next day. Gratin reheats well in a 350-degree oven. Leftovers keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.