Chilean Sea Bass

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Chilean Sea Bass! Where have you been all my life?

Here’s my first attempt at Chilean sea bass, otherwise known as Toothfish, pan charred with a hunk of lemon and a side of greens., topped with a simple white wine, lemon, butter sauce. I served to Mr. Wild Dingo before sharing the price.  Because this stuff is pricey!  He wouldn’t have ever bought it if saw the price first. Two thumbs up and an “Oh my god,” means I can buy it again. It’s manipulation by taste buds, Internet. All’s fair in love and cuisine, babies.

When it comes to fish, I typically stay safe by choosing sole, halibut, tuna (only searing it) or catfish. I don’t venture out into the pricey stuff because Mr. Wild Dingo isn’t fish-crazy. Yet, since going Paleo, I oddly eat a lot less red meat and a ton more fish. Weirdly, I eat a lot less meat in general since giving up grains and a ton more vegetables.  I go through so many vegetables in a matter of days, so I find myself at the grocery store 2-3 times per week, which means, I can pick up some fresh fish (versus frozen) and serve it the next day. So we’re eating tons more fish.  Since it was my first time cooking this bad boy, and it was so damn expensive, I looked up recipes online. The majority of the recipes keep it simple because the fish is so flavorful. You can pan saute, grill, roast or bake the fish. I chose to pan char it and just used my judgement on what I wanted in a simple sauce. It’s best to keep things simple when trying a new food item.

Here’s the recipe below. I kept the side of greens super simple as well: Swiss Chard and red bell pepper slivers sauted in tons of garlic and olive oil, topped with a big squeeze of lemon juice.

Ingredients:
  • 2 lemons, halved, seeds removed
  • 2-4 (6-ounce) Chilean Sea Bass fillets, skin removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1-3 tablespoon unsalted butter (use your judgement, recipe calls for 1 but MWD loves butter so I use 3)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh (or 1/2 tablespoon dried) thyme or oregano
Method:
  1. Place a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When very hot, add lemons cut-side down.
  2. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper.
  3. When lemons just begin to brown, about 3 minutes, push them to one side of the skillet and add oil and fish. Cook until fish is browned and just opaque in the center, about 4 minutes per side, lowering heat if lemons and fish brown too quickly.
  4. Transfer fish to a platter and lemons to a cutting board.
  5. Place the skillet over low heat and add shallot. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  6. Stir in wine and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Squeeze 2 lemon halves through a strainer into the skillet.
  8. Remove from heat and swirl in butter. Stir in thyme and pour sauce over fish. Cut remaining lemon halves into wedges and serve with fish.

Mangia!

Paleo! WTF? Halibut with Pancetta, Basil & Mushroom Butter Sauce

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If someone told me I’d eventually go Paleo, I would have died laughing. Being gluten-free was hard enough! But after a month of having a Paleo diet, the pain levels in my body keep dropping week to week. Treating Lyme disease is not just killing pathogens. Lymies have to use every tool in the tool belt. Since I’m hopefully past the killing stage, it’s now time to focus on the GI and immune system and the best way to do that is a strict anti-inflammatory diet. Yes, even gluten-free, Celiac-approved grains are nasty to a GI and immune system beaten up by both Lyme & Co., and antibiotics.

The first two weeks going Paleo were not pretty. It’s not easy overcoming grain brain. But to answer the burning question everyone has: no, I’m never hungry and never unsatisfied. Because, the nice thing about Paleo is you can pretty much load up on the healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, animal fat (bacon!), nuts, coconut and butter (OK that’s not Paleo) or ghee. The other nice thing about Paleo is it’s both limited and unlimited. What’s for dinner? You’re “limited” to whatever veggies you have in the fridge and animal protein, but that  just makes it easier to prepare dinner, usually cooked in one pan. The “unlimited” part comes with the plethora of veggies you start to discover or eat more of because you’re not eating grain. (Yes I did make spaghetti squash for my pasta dinner and it rocked.) The grocery cashiers love to pick my brain about what I making with the weird stuff I’m buying. Here is baked halibut, sprinkled with a touch cayenne pepper, topped with a butter, pancetta, basil mushroom sauce. No recipe needed. I just picked out what I had in my fridge and pantry with the fresh fish I just purchased and came out tasting fantastic. The mushrooms were a bit over powering for me, but Mr. Wild Dingo loved them. Served with a huge green salad, with more pancetta on top, ‘cuz you can’t go wrong with more lardons.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound halibut (cut into 2 eight ounce pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cooked piece of bacon, finely minced or 2-3 oz pancetta chopped
  • 1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons butter (I used salted Kerrygold butter)
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  •  1 teaspoon dried basil
  •  pinch of garlic powder
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook the pancetta or bacon, remove from pan.
  3. Using the bacon grease, add the button mushrooms and some salt and saute the mushrooms. Feel free to add more butter if needed before adding the mushrooms. When fully cooked remove from pan.
  4. Cut the halibut into 2-3 pieces. Place halibut on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice then cover with cayenne pepper and salt and pepper.
  5. Put in oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, unless fish is flaky.
  6. While the fish bakes, melt 3 TBS butter, transfer butter to a heat safe bowl, mix in the parsely, basil, garlic powder and salt. And finally the bacon/pancetta.
  7. Once fish is done, place on a plate, add the mushrooms and top with the mushrooms. Serve with side salad.

Halibut with Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce

Halibut Pan Roasted

Halibut with Cherry Tomato and Basil Sauce – 350/365

I know this is a repeat, but it’s been a difficult week between massive amounts of work going on for the landscaping project, and just about everything failing all at once, it’s been hell. I have a running list of the shit hitting the fan this month: our automatic gate failed causing our house alarm to periodically go off at random times like in the middle of the night, our flash water heater kept shutting off (like in the middle of bathing a Siberian husky), our Internet connection stopped due to both a blown antennae and failed router and both our personal PC’s kicked the bucket (I guess Mr. Wild Dingo’s caught my PC’s Lyme Disease).  In addition, a tree fell on our propane tank causing a gas leak while the masons were cutting bricks, sparks flying everywhere. Yah, that was a nice little jolt of adrenaline for everyone here that day. I really just didn’t have it in me last Sunday to make a new dish. But since I never really posted the original recipe, at least this is a great opportunity to share it again. I of course bought too much halibut and saved it for the next night along with the tomato sauce. I shredded the halibut and tossed it over a bunch of greens. You’re welcome Internet.  Continue reading “Halibut with Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce”

Coq Au Vin

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Coq au Vin 343/365

“People eat because they’re hungry. I want to make food that makes people stop eating.” — Bradley Cooper in Burnt.  

Have you seen the movie? I really liked it because the viewer had to read between the spoken lines. And the dishes served? Nothing short of a work of art. Just as beautiful as I’m sure delicious. Mr. Wild Dingo had to stop half way through the movie because the Chef (Bradley Cooper) had a melt down in the kitchen that seemed extreme to him. But I remember working as a waitress for an Italian restaurant and it really wasn’t too far off from how great kitchens work. I lost count how many times the chef screamed at me. I’m not sure if it was the Italian in him or the chef in him that made him do it. But at the end of the day, he was a decent person.  Great chefs pour their souls into their art and sometimes they only have one chance not to screw it up. Histrionics in the kitchen just doesn’t ruffle my feathers so badly. In fact, I kind of liked it. Feels like home.

I never really cooked much because I never really had time between working and athletic hobbies. But when I stopped working in 2010 for my health and our move to Switzerland, I had a lot of quality time on my hands to teach myself. Even so, I never got around to trying my hand at Coq au Vin, because I’m not a fan of chicken and it seemed like a lot of effort to go through just for a meat I don’t find exciting. But this dish has changed my mind forever about chicken. Julia Child’s recipe is slightly more complex in that she braises the mushrooms and shallots separately in different pans, she simmers her bacon before sauteing it, and she flambes the chicken in cognac before adding a bold wine like Cote de Rhone or Burgundy. I’ve yet to flambe anything yet because it scares the crap out of me. But the day I try it, there will be photos of either a master piece or a burned down kitchen.

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I found this recipe below is simpler, using one stove-to-oven pan, yet still achieves a layered, complex flavor by braising ingredients separately before combining them all to be braised in a lighter Pinot Noir wine. I chose to use my new 5-quart enameled cast iron braiser that was a Christmas gift and it worked fantastically for this dish. The sauce was utterly devine and made the chicken so flavorful.

 

  • 1 bottle (750ml) Pinot Noir
  • 5 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, plus 2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 leek (cut lengthwise)
  • 6 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 1/4 lb. whole chicken legs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. small button mushrooms
  • 3/4 lb. shallots, halved
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
Directions:
  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F
  2. In a large saucepan over high heat, boil the wine until reduced by half, about 15 minutes
  3. Place the parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs and bay leaf against the cut side of the halved leek and tie with kitchen twine. Set aside
  4. In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pot
  5. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Set the pot over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown the chicken, turning once, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate
  6. Discard all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes
  7. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl
  8. Reduce the heat to medium and melt the butter. Add the garlic, tomato paste and flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the reduced wine and the broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer
  9. Add the bacon, chicken, mushroom mixture, carrots and bouquet garni. Cover, transfer to the oven and bake until the chicken is tender, about 1 1/2 hours
  10. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Skim the fat off the sauce, set the pot over medium-high heat and simmer until the sauce is thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Discard the bouquet garni. Return the chicken to the pot. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

One Pot Pork Chops with Warm Escarole Salad

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One Pot Pork Chops with Warm Escarole Salad – 336/365

It sure is nice to have my appetite back! For the past few years, when I had energy, I’d cook but I wouldn’t always eat what I cooked because of the constant nausea brought on by the incessant antibiotics. Thanks to daily intake of bone broth and probiotics, I can now eat raw and cooked veggies again. I really hope I can manage to stay off oral antibiotics. This is the best my GI has felt in years, even before Lyme treatment. Sadly, I’m still dealing with all over body joint pain but all my other my other neurological and cognitive symptoms are at bay. So I’m still crossing my fingers that the joint pain will eventually vanish as my GI continues to improve.  Continue reading “One Pot Pork Chops with Warm Escarole Salad”

Classic Tuscan Vegetable Soup

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Classic Tuscan Vegetable Soup 329/365

It’s soup weather in Santa Cruz Mountains: wet, foggy and cold. I bought a fantastic new Italian cook book, Every Night Italian, by Giuliano Hazan, the son of my favorite Italian cookbook author, Marcella Hazan. This is a fantastic hearty soup that could be made vegetarian by using vegetable broth, but I of course use home-made bone broth, which I make weekly. Bone broth is one of the cornerstones to healing the GI after years of antibiotics. I drink a cup every day and feels amazing on my GI. Not to mention my hair and nails are getting thicker.  Continue reading “Classic Tuscan Vegetable Soup”

BLT Canapes : Happy New Year

BLT Canapies

BLT Canapes for Appetizer Night – 313/365

“What do you want for New Year’s Eve dinner,” I asked Mr. Wild Dingo. “BLT’s,” he replied. So I made these bad boys: BLT Canapes with basil and garlic mayonnaise. They are a bit tedious to make but super simple and oh so delicious! We tend to do appetizer-type dinners on any New Years Eve’s where we stay home so I added some veggies with dip and shrimp cocktail. Yes, of course the dogs got a few canapes and a few shrimps. We party hard, Internet.  Continue reading “BLT Canapes : Happy New Year”

Chicken Marsala

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Chicken Marsala with reduced Marsala wine, infused with porcini mushrooms.
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I’ve made a lot of different versions of Chicken Marsala. Most recipes call for only one pan and are relatively fast and easy to make. This recipe calls for a lot of pots/pans but it’s the worth effort. Building flavors independently always trumps a one-pot meal where everything is often cooked at once or together. That’s why Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourgignon is so amazing. It requires at least 87 pots and pans and a minimum 5 hours in the kitchen. But the result is unlike anything else.  Continue reading “Chicken Marsala”

Craving

 

Beef Taco Lettuce Wrap

Craving. 287/365

I had a serious taco craving, Internet. And being gluten-free didn’t slow me down. Tacos in Butter Bib lettuce is just as delicious as the corn stuff. Plus you can eat a lot more! And who doesn’t love a lot more tacos? Mr. Wild Dingo gave this two thumbs up. He loves his Mexican food. This is very filling and satisfying even without the grain or corn tortilla. Continue reading “Craving”

What to Do With Left-Over Cranberry Sauce

Turkey Breast & Gravy in Slow Cooker

Vicious Cycle – 280/365  (Sadly, that’s not my wine)

Mr. Wild Dingo and I visited relatives in L.A. over Thanksgiving. I brought the cranberry sauce. It got rave reviews and I passed the recipe around (the secret is a lot of ginger). Still, we came home with a bucket of left-over cranberry sauce. So I made another turkey. Well, not entirely. I bought a bone-in turkey breast and cooked it in the slow cooker. I added some ‘taters, and some greens: Boom! It’s Thanksgiving all over again. Just so we could “use up” the cranberry sauce. Only now we have left-over turkey. I’m thinking I could make some more cranberry sauce to go with that left over turkey.

It’s a vicious cycle, Internet.

Here’s the recipe for that fantastic cranberry-pear sauce:

  • 4 12 oz bags fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2.5 pounds pears (5-6) peeled cored, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups sugar
  1. Combine cranberries, pears, water, ginger, cinnamon and salt in slow cooker. Then pour sugar over berries, do not stir into berry mixture. Cover and cook until berries are softened and beginng to pop 6-8 hours on low or 3-5 hours on high.
  2. Stir cranberry sauce well, then transfer to a bowl. Let cool to room temperature before serving. Cranberry sauce can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

Comfort Soup

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Egg Drop in Bone Broth Soup – 252/365

This is my favorite go-to meal for those times when I’m feeling sick or too tired to cook. On the other hand, I do eat it regularly for lunch at least 4 times per week and find it’s filling and satisfying. It’s a very simple meal to make but requires a fresh batch of home-made bone broth on hand.  What I love about this recipe is it is full of vitamins from the bone broth, protien from the egg and antioxidants from the greens. It feels so good going down! Continue reading “Comfort Soup”

Dutch Baby!

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Dutch Baby Pancake – 238/365

Where have I been all my life? Why did I never know about Dutch Baby Pancakes? Apparently, they were all the rage in 1977 when they hit the cover of Sunset magazine. I was a mere 10-year old girl then, whose idea of fun was to turn her pajamas into a business suit and play CEO of Big Corporation. Naturally, my big brother TravelMarx was the secretary. I sure liked being a boss. Obviously, I did not see becoming Martha Stewart’s biggest fan in my future–at all. But here I am, some, 30-something years later, a full-time homemaker whose idea of fun while her husband is on a business trip, is playing Betty Crocker in my kitchen. Sure, Lyme disease had a bit to do with it, but I’m enjoying the role anyway. Continue reading “Dutch Baby!”

Mr. Wild Dingo’s Awesome Galette

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The Perfect Galette – 224/365

Ever since he accidentally invented the Blueberry Crêpecake, Mr. Wild Dingo has had a hankerin’ for a galette. So he did what he always does: obsess over finding  just the right crêpe pan and make me buy it. Like he had to twist my arm? After a few weeks of trial and error, he’s perfected the perfect galette stuffed with two eggs sunny side up, lightly toasted prosciutto, and cheese. But I keep telling him he needs to practice more so I can compare and critique each week. Continue reading “Mr. Wild Dingo’s Awesome Galette”

Flower and Foodie

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Chamomile – 202/365

Not much has changed these days. Each day my headaches range from mildly annoying to terrifying migraines.  My energy levels are low to the point I can only do one or two things. Saturday was one of those days. Mr. Wild Dingo was off this week and took over some of my dog walks. But he asked for one of his favorite dinners, sweet and sticky baby back ribs and ‘slaw.  How could I say no?  I mean, he takes home the bacon, the least I can do is fry it up in a pan! Continue reading “Flower and Foodie”

Weekend Highlights

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Insect on a flower 160/365

It was a fairly uneventful weekend. Saturday Mr. Wild Dingo had a friend over for a bike ride and some post ride snacks. I spent a little time hanging out with them and then took a long rest. Later, we gave the dogs an over-due bath. It really helps to have Mr. Wild Dingo help me bathe them since I’m still so weak and get light headed when I change positions from sitting, bending over or standing up.

Halibut Pan Roasted

I made halibit filet for dinner simply because the tomato and basil vinegrette is to die for. I’m feeling more myself these days. Though I’m still weak and need lots of down time, I can cook again, which is nice.

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Chamomile Flower 161/365

Instead of Mr. Wild Dingo giving me a break for the weekend by walking the dogs for me, we did a family day walk on a new trail near home which the dogs always love. Well, it was new for Mr. Wild Dingo. The dogs always love a full family pack walk. It gave me a chance to practice shooting while Mr. Wild Dingo walked with the dogs. Naturally the cracker kept a close eye on me and at times wrapped the leash around my legs reminding me that I’m supposed to be his walk partner.

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But the best part of the weekend was when Mr. Wild Dingo accidentally invented the Gluten-Free, Blueberry Crêpecake when he deviated from his normal weekend pancake recipe. I thought they looked fantastic. Mr. Wild Dingo thought my Lyme Brain was in full swing as he thought they were a disaster.  I don’t like pancakes much as they’re too sweet but these were amazing. Not too sweet and just right.   I didn’t even want to leave any for the cracker or the criminal. When I gobbled them up happily, almost cleaning my plate, he claimed I was a whack-a-doodle. I don’t care. I’m gonna order them again next weekend!

Now Mr. Wild Dingo is obsessed with finding a Crêpe cooking pan. I’m not arguing with that!

Enabling Chocoholics Around the Web

Chocolate Oatmeal
026/365 – Enabling Chocoholics Around the World Wide Web

Are you one of those people who sneaks a bite of chocolate before noon? Have you been known to eat a brownie from a freshly baked batch for breakfast? If so, then I have the guilt free solution for you!

Chocolate Oatmeal is not only heart healthy, its chock full of fiber, protein and antioxidants. With all the newfangled evidence-based science surrounding chocolate as an antioxidant (come on, open the link, you’ll have a laugh), there is no better guilt-free solution to enjoying chocolate before noon.  Continue reading “Enabling Chocoholics Around the Web”

Economizing Gut Health and Dog Treats: Part 1

What did you say? No more treats?
What do you mean, Poppy says you can’t buy us anymore treats? What did we ever do to him to deserve that kind of punishment?

I know what you’re wondering Internet: What does economizing, gut health and dog treats all have in common? Hold on to your hats because I’m about to show you how you can improve your gut health, shower your best fur-friends with delicious treats AND save money. This is no gimmick. It’s real. And it’s totally awesome-balls. So read on and be prepared to get your mind blown with easy, cheap, good health for you and your dogs! Continue reading “Economizing Gut Health and Dog Treats: Part 1”