Here, Fishy, Fishy: Pumpkin Swordfish Chowder

Here, Fishy, Fishy: Pumpkin Swordfish Chowder

Here, fishy, fishy, I have a new recipe for you!  Try this recipe to repurpose leftover fish for a hearty and satisfying chowder, brimming with all of your favorite vegetables. Because I had pumpkin swordfish, I “peppered” the chowder with like-colored ingredients, but remember, it’s your fish chowder. Click to skip to the recipe

pumpin swordfish chowder

I had friends over for a fussy dinner the other night. 

I did my version of surf and turf by grilling both a butterflied leg of lamb and delicious pumpkin swordfish steaks. Don’t fret, recipes will follow!

I ended up with a bunch of leftovers. You know how I am. I cannot stand to waste food.

The wheels started runnin’ and I thought about leftover recipes for the swordfish.

Swordfish cakes came to mind as did my Bubba Gump’s list of other fish dishes like swordfish gumbo, swordfish fried-rice, swordfish salad, swordfish burgers, swordfish spread…well, you get the picture.

In the end, fish chowder won out and I created a recipe that worked out just fine.

Because I had pumpkin swordfish, I “peppered” the chowder with like-colored ingredients using sweet potatoes and carrots to flavor the broth. But remember, it’s your fish chowder. 

You can use whatever fish you have leftover and your favorite chowder veggies.

It’s really all about the fishy, creamy rich broth that makes this soooo good. Serve with a wedge of cheesy garlic bread and a green salad and invite those friends back to join in the FUN!

Pumpkin Swordfish Chowder

Serves: 6

Time:  30 minutes ’til it’s ready

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

½ red onion, finely diced

6 ribs celery, finely diced

1 large carrot, finely diced

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

1 medium white potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons flour

½ cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

1 pound cooked swordfish steak, chopped into ½-inch pieces

Chopped, fresh parsley

Best Italian Cookie Recipe
Best Italian Cookie Recipe
Best Italian Cookie Recipe
Best Italian Cookie Recipe

Melt the butter in a deep soup pot. Add the onion, celery, and carrots. Stir and cook until the veggies begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes. Cook for 3 minutes more. Season the veggies with salt, pepper, and thyme. Sprinkle the flour over the top. Pour in the wine. Stir until the liquid thickens and begins to reduce, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and cream. Stir in the swordfish. Reduce the heat to simmer the chowder over low heat. Continue to cook until the potatoes soften, and the broth is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. For thicker broth add more cream. For thinner broth, add more chicken stock.

Tip 1:

Pumpkin swordfish has a delicate, orange-colored flesh made possible because the fish eat a whole bunch of pink shrimp and krill. I created this soup after I over-prepared swordfish for a special dinner I had with friends. I grilled the fish and finished it with a bit of butter. The leftovers were just too delish to lose, thus the soup. I added carrots and sweet potato to go with the orangish color of the fish. But you can use this recipe as a guideline. Any fish will do and plain ole’ swordfish works just fine. Add more regular spuds if you don’t have sweet potatoes and flavor this rich chowder with any of your favorite spices. It’s all good!


     

It Started With Gravy…

It Started With Gravy…

My gift to you this holiday season is a foolproof, make-ahead recipe for the best, most delicious gravy…ever.  Click to skip to the recipe

 

 

Right after Al Gore invented the Internet, a good friend reached out to me to help her with the launch of her website BlueSuitMom.com.

It was and continues to be a website filled with content to help busy working moms balance childrearing with their demanding jobs.

She appointed me Director of Lifestyle content and gave me a list of food-related questions that she gleaned from her marketing surveys.

The number one asked question was, “how do I make gravy without lumps.” I found this question fascinating.

Of all the food questions you could have, this was the most disconcerting? Gravy is gravy. Sauce is sauce. It just comes together, right?

Well, apparently not. I did my research and answered the question with several tips on how to make lumpless gravy.

I answered this and other questions and my food-writing career was born.

It’s been almost twenty years since the birth of BlueSuitMom and the publishing of my first book, At Home in the Kitchen.

I featured a recipe in that book for roasted turkey with a really good gravy.

Jump to 2020, when we are all spending way too much time in our kitchens and I think I finally get why that gravy question was so important to so many cooks.

It’s not about lumps. It’s about accenting your meal with love.

It’s about texture, depth, richness, velvetiness, pourability. It’s about the icing on the cake, the cherry on your sundae, the crème de la crème.

Gravy is the crowning achievement lavished on a meal well-done.

This might be stretching it a bit. But you get the point.

Every fine dish prepared by a dedicated cook has a splash of sauce or a puddle of gravy somewhere on the plate.

A warm, silky gravy takes a humdrum chicken breast to a level of refinement. A wine-laced sauce takes your supermarket beef steak from commonplace to company-worthy. Each and every Southern knows that a sauce made from butter, milk, and a crumb or two of sausage elevates the every-day biscuit to the star of Sunday brunch.

When you get right down to it, it’s all about the gravy.

My gift to you this holiday season is a foolproof, make-ahead recipe for the best, most delicious gravy…ever.

And what’s even better is that you can use this recipe as a guideline for creating any sauce that you like.

Simply by switching the ingredients from poultry to beef and swapping the veggies and seasonings, you can create a lovely sauce to go with your standing rib roast on Christmas Day. And I guarantee you no lumps!

Enjoy this and a few of my other favorite holiday recipes included in upcoming posts. Stay healthy and safe and I’ll see you in 2021.

 

Make Ahead Gravy

This full proof make-ahead gravy recipe not only saves you time but is also the most flavorful gravy you’ve ever made!!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 heads garlic, halved

2 medium onions peeled and cut into chunks

4 large carrots, trimmed and cut into chunks

6 celery stalks, cut into pieces

4 large turkey wings, about 3 pounds 

2 (or more) tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons course black pepper

1 teaspoon ground sage

Serves A Crowd

Time: 30-minute prep cuisine with some roasting and simmering

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 450°. Drizzle the olive oil onto a baking sheet with lip. Place the vegetables and turkey wings into the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° and roast until the turkey wings are golden brown, about another hour. During that time, check to make sure that the veggies are not sticking to the baking sheet. You can add water to loosen everything. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool slightly. Scrape everything into a large pot or Dutch oven. Place the pot on the stove. Add 1 cup dry white wine and simmer over medium heat until most of the liquid disappears, about 5 minutes. Cover the vegetables and turkey wings with water, about 1 quart. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the stock until it is reduced by half, about 1 hour. 

Pour the stock through a wire mesh colander and into a medium-size bowl. Use the back of a spoon to push the veggie and turkey pieces into the bottom of the colander to push through all the juices. Place the bowl with the stock into the fridge to chill for up to one hour or for several days. (You can sift through and gather enough turkey meat for a couple of yummy hot turkey sandwiches!)

To make gravy from stock, remove the bowl from the fridge. Use a large spoon to skim off and discard the thin layer of fat from the top. Transfer the stock into a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk together 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. As the stock slowly boils, stir in the cornstarch slurry. The gravy will begin to thicken. You can add as much thickener as you like to get your desired gravy consistency.

Reduce the heat to low and let the gravy simmer slowly. Season the gravy with sage, salt, and pepper, stirring in just a bit at a time and tasting while you stir.

Tip:

Here’s another great tip. You can use this same method for beef stock that turns into a lovey gravy or sauce. Simply exchange beef bones for the turkey wings! I use beef short rib bones. I choose the skinny ones from the package and reserve them until I collect enough to make a really good beef stock. I use red wine instead of white and adjust the seasonings from sage to thyme and rosemary. It’s pretty darn delicious!

Countdown to Turkey Day!

Countdown to Turkey Day!

Thanksgiving is nearly here!  Get inspired with menu inspiration from my kitchen to yours.

 

 

 

It’s mere weeks before Thanksgiving, and we’re getting excited!

Whether you are traveling, staying put, or just looking to perk up this holiday’s menu, we have delicious dishes to inspire this season’s menu, from tasty take-alongs to tablescapes.

Let’s celebrate!

Fall Means Casserole Season: Moussaka Casserole

Fall Means Casserole Season: Moussaka Casserole

It’s casserole season, and I’m upping my game! When crimson leaves begin to Fall, my thoughts turn to cheese, and with this casserole, anything goes.

Click to skip to the recipe

 

 

 

It’s Casserole Season!

And I’m upping my game! When cooler breezes flurry and crimson leaves begin to fall from the trees my thoughts turn to….cheese.

Yup, cheese.

Why is it that cool weather gives you permission to eat melty cheesy things? It’s like a right of passage.

You turn your nose up to a melty, crisp, gooey grilled cheese sammich in June, but you’ll take that sammich and cram it with more and more cheese in October.

You’ll eat fresh broccoli bathed in only lemon juice and pepper in July, but come November that broccoli is smothered in cheese sauce and topped with butter cracker crumbs.

No shocker….This is how it should be! 

Garden fresh veggies tossed in olive oil and garlic, served over thin pasta noodles is a perfect summer supper, while December suppers by the fire require a cheese-filled pasta side dish or better yet a must-have cheese-stuffed casserole. Fall is like a cheese pass aboard the all-seasons train!

Well, fans, I have one for you.

I dug this out of my Fresh Traditions cookbook. I must admit that I hadn’t made this in quite a while.

I came across ground lamb in the butcher section of the grocery store and it hit the old casserole nerve.

Moussaka is a combination of eggplant, a rich lamb ragù, and a cheesy topping.

The best part is that you can prepare this in advance when you have time (and the inclination strikes) and bake it when the need arises.

I’ll be adding a few of my favorite cheesy casseroles over the next few weeks. Why not…Fall just got here!!

Moussaka Casserole

Think lasagna with eggplant instead of pasta, lamb in place of beef, and you have the essence of this Greek-inspired dish. Feel free to add your favorite veggies to the sauce. With this casserole, anything goes.

Ingredients

For eggplant:

3 large eggplants, peeled and sliced into ½-inch thick lengths

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

½ cup olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, minced, about 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried cumin

For lamb ragù:

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced into ½-inch squares (about 1 cup)

2 large carrots, diced (about 1 cup)

2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)

2 pounds lean ground lamb

1 cup red wine

1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cinnamon stick

For béchamel topping:

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

1 cup ricotta cheese

4 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (about ½ cup)

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Makes: 6 to 8

Time: 45-minute cuisine plus baking for 15 minutes.

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 425°. Season the eggplants with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Place into a colander for 30 minutes to exude excess moisture. Stir together ½ cup olive oil, garlic, oregano, and cumin. Brush both sides of the eggplant with the seasoned olive oil. Place onto a baking sheet and roast until the slices are tender and golden, about 30 minutes. The slices can overlap. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.

Heat 2 more tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet.  Cook the onion and carrots until soft and golden, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the lamb to the pan.  Cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.  

Stir in the wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, and cinnamon stick.  Simmer the ragù for 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove the cinnamon stick.

Heat the butter in a deep pot over medium high heat.  Whisk in the flour.  Cook until golden and bubbling, about 2 to 4 minutes.  Pour in the milk.  Cook, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened, about 6 to 8 minutes.  Stir in the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses.  Season with ground nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Assemble the casserole by placing a layer of eggplant slices in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Top with half of lamb ragù.  Add another layer of eggplant and another layer of lamb.  Finish with a layer of eggplant.  Top the casserole with béchamel sauce.  Bake until the casserole is bubbly, and the top is golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.  Allow the casserole to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh mint.

Get on BOARD With This Charcuterie: Tuna Steak Nachos

Get on BOARD With This Charcuterie: Tuna Steak Nachos

Mix and match your guests’ favorite meats, treats, and cheeses and never be bored with your charcuterie board! Start with these Tuna Nachos, perfect for tailgating at home. Click to skip to the recipe

 

There are lots of reasons to entertain family and friends these days, as long as your family and friends have maintained their social distance while trying to live their lives amid craziness!

We’re all living in our reduced social circles these days, but that still leaves us room to gather safely. And gather, we do!

One of my favorite ways to entertain is to set out individual bites onto a lovely charcuterie board.

Now, by its very definition, a charcuterie board is made up of prepared, cured meats (usually pork) and varieties of cheeses.

The very word charcuterie comes from the French words chair (flesh) and cuit (cooked).

But meat and cheese can be boring, so I veer towards combining charcuterie with an antipasti platter. Olives and pickled veggies are so yum.

But then I have a couple of crudité tray ideas and well, before you no it, I create a board full of appetizers that is unlike any other.

Just like I like it!

My recent board was created for my fellow book club pals. It was packed full of individual appys that by themselves would be perfect for a first-course nibble, but when combined could serve a crowd for a cocktail party or game day (stay-at-home) tailgate party.

The appys assembled on my board included roasted shrimp on a stick, chunks of Parmesan cheese, whole roasted garlic, salami and cream cheese “flowers”, margarita sausage on baguettes with lime mustard, gouda and sun-dried tomato “pimento” cheese with candied bacon, hummus and Parmesan stuffed tomatoes and the fan-favorite, seared tuna nachos with roasted garlic cream.

Whew! Sounds like a lot and it was…..but it was also FUN to prepare and wonderful to watch as they were devoured in no time.

Whether you prepare your own fan-favorite appys or arrange store-bought (and there are tons of them) items on your board, the secret is to be surprising. Mix and match your favorites and be creative with your choices. After all, you never want to be bored with your board!!

Seared Tuna Nachos with Roasted Garlic Cream

These nachos are a big hit. You can easily make them in advance, and they look divine on your appy board.

Ingredients

For tuna:

1 (8-ounce) tuna steak:

½ cup rice wine vinegar

4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)

4 green onions, thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)

1 (1-inch piece) ginger, grated

1 tablespoon olive oil

For roasted garlic cream:

Cloves from 2 whole heads roasted garlic, about ¼ cup, mashed

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup heavy cream

Juice of 1 medium lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

For nachos:

Large, sturdy tortilla chips

2 cups tender green leave, washed, dried and thinly julienned (I used frisee, baby kale and butter lettuce leaves)

Serves:   A Crowd

Time:   60-Minute Cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Place the tuna steaks into a shallow dish. Whisk together the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, onion, and ginger.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade.  Pour the rest over the tuna steak.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours in the fridge.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Remove the tuna from the marinade.  Shake off the excess.  Sear the tuna in the skillet turning once, about 2 to 3 minutes per side for very rare.  Remove the tuna to the freezer and chill for 5 to 10 minutes.

Place the roasted garlic cloves, sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine into a smooth thick cream. Season with salt and pepper. The cream should be thin enough to drizzle.  Pour into a squeeze bottle and set aside.

Place the tortilla chips on a platter. Toss the greens with the reserved marinade.  Place several shreds of lettuce over the tortilla chips.

Remove the tuna from the freezer.  Use a very sharp knife to cut very thin slices (across the grain) of seared tuna.  Place 1 to 2 slices (depending on how thin you can cut) onto each chip.  Drizzle with garlic cream. 

 

What I’m Reading and What We’re Eating: Super Supper Book Club Menu

What I’m Reading and What We’re Eating: Super Supper Book Club Menu

I chose a veggie-forward menu for this Super Supper Book Club, Social-Distance Edition. Safely supp over a good read and prepare for what will be a roller coaster discussion and meal!  Click to skip to the recipe

 

In the months before COVID, we started posting a once a month book club guide for you to follow with your group. 

I stopped posting because we couldn’t gather.

But, in today’s environment, with some of the restrictions eased and our ability to safely gather in a socially distance approved way, I thought I would bring it back! My book club has gathered over the summer and we will convene again this week.

For those of you who are still staying home, you might consider starting a virtual book club.

A few of my besties did this over the summer as well, and we found that we gathered (virtually) more often than our in-person club.

I have included the full supper club menu here, but if you wish, just a sampling of one or two dishes works just as well.

Either way, if you are looking for a good read to share with friends (or just on your own), this one’s for you!

 

“The Family Upstairs” by Lisa Jewel

As I read, I had the same feelings that I had when I read The Goldfinch. The abuse of children is never an easy subject.

However, I loved this read because of the development of the characters from childhood to adulthood, the paths their lives eventually take, and The Baby that brings them together.

There are several twists and turns, many of which I didn’t see coming (which to me is the measure of a good suspense novel).

This is my next pick for our Super Supper Book Club.

Gather your readers, give them the title, and dole out the recipes for what will be a roller coaster discussion and meal.

There are three stories woven into the narrative. On Libby’s 25th birthday, she finds out she’s inherited a Chelsea mansion that’s been held in trust.

She soon discovers the house has a dark history based on scant decades-old news coverage. Lucy is living hand-to-mouth in France when her phone reminds her that The Baby is 25.

Without the means or identity, she must resort to some pretty desperate acts in order to get back to England after 24 years. Henry knows everything that happened in the house in the last several years when his family lived there.

He knew why there were so many extra people living there, what happened to the once-opulent residence and its contents, and how and why people were found dead in black robes on the kitchen floor.

I already cooked up some questions for your Super Supper Book Club gathering…

  • Do you think Henry’s lies and violent acts were born out of his need to survive an unimaginable situation, or do you think there is, as Clemency states, “a streak of pure evil” in him?
  • In your opinion, who is the most tragic figure in this novel? 
  • What do you imagine happens to the characters after the book ends?

I chose a veggie-forward menu for this Super Supper Book Club. In contrast to the spartan food the children were given while they lived at 16 Cheyne Walk, this menu celebrates the abundance of the garden with dishes woven into a delicious menu that all your members will enjoy.

Super Supper Book Club Menu

“The Family Upstairs”

 


Fresh Corn, Green Bean and Arugula Salad with Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette •
Canvas and Cuisine,  page 150

Cauliflower Risotto with Cinnamon-Roasted Butternut Squash • Canvas and Cuisine, page 36

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pancetta and Toasted Breadcrumbs (Recipe below) Canvas and Cuisine, page 96

Fresh Fish of the Day in Puttanesca Sauce • Canvas and Cuisine, page 262

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Thyme • Canvas and Cuisine, page 341

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
With Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pancetta & Toasted Breadcrumbs

Best Stuffed Portabello Recipe

Spending quality time in the Farmer’s market naturally leads to veggie-forward main meals. This is one of these. There’s nothing better than meaty mushrooms, with a tangy, crunchy filling! You can serve these mushrooms as a first course, or as a late-night snack. Or you can stuff smaller mushrooms and serve these to your book club! The flavors are fantastic – everyone is a mushroom lover after tasting this dish!

Ingredients

1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 2 more for sauce

1 (3.5-ounce) julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained but save 2 tablespoons of the oil 

4 ounces pancetta, finely diced

4 large garlic cloves, minced, about 2 tablespoons

¼ cup Marsala wine

Juice of ½ medium lemon, about 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

8 Portobello mushrooms, stem and gills removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Yields: Serves 4 for a Veggie Main or 8 as an Appy

Time:   30 Minutes

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix the breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter in a small bowl. Spread the crumbs onto a baking sheet. Toast the buttered crumbs until they begin to crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes into a skillet over medium-high heat. And the pancetta and cook until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta to a platter lined with paper towels. 

Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and simmer until most of the wine has disappeared, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the lemon juice. Season with some of the salt and crushed red pepper. Turn off the heat and swirl in 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the parsley.

Heat a grill pan on high heat. Brush the mushrooms with olive oil on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Grill the mushrooms, turning once, until they are just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the mushrooms to a platter. Spoon the sun-dried tomatoes into the mushroom caps. Top with pancetta and toasted breadcrumbs.