Category Archives: Fish

Recipes for various fish

Restaurant Review: Rock’n’Roll Sushi

Since it’s been a while since I’ve done a food review, I figured it was about time! I’ve been to several wonderful places now throughout the Triangle, including Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. Even a few far-flung places like Asheville and Sunset Beach. In case this is your first BE review article, I’ll remind you of the rules.

Food locations will be evaluated based on:

  • Taste: 1 (wet toast) – 10 (your taste buds have died and gone to heaven)
  • Atmosphere: 1 (gas station bathroom) – 10 (best you’ve ever experienced)
  • Value: 1 (not worth it) – 10 (super duper deal)

All opinions are those of the Budget Epicurean.

 

Today’s review is for a new sushi restaurant in Durham: Rockin’Roll Sushi Express! Located in a shopping plaza at 3405 Hillsborough Rd, Suite E, Durham, NC 27705, they are convenient to downtown Durham as well as the rest of the triangle via highway 85 & 147.

Y’all know I love my sushi, whether homemade or with a burger inside, and was a regular at my old favorite sushi place in Connecticut. Hubs and I have been known to take down plates of nearly 100 nigiri before. So now that I’m a Carolina girl, I had to find an AYCE place to satisfy my insatiable sushi cravings, without breaking the bank.

For only $10.99 each, this place fits the bill!

Not only is it quite affordable, and all you can eat, it is also free entertainment! The restaurant operates with 2 large conveyor belts on each side of the room, which rotate around several tables and chairs. There are little doors in the glass that the customer opens to pull out the dish they want as it rolls by.

According to the adorably named Get-Offline.com, “The conveyor belt sushi (Kaiten-sushi) is a Japanese fast-food style sushi concept. Initially invented so that sushi chefs could quickly serve customers with fewer servers, the “Kaiten-sushi” has since taken off as a fun and fresh way to dine out.”

The conveyor belt rolls by at a pretty decent clip, not so fast that you can’t grab the things that catch your eye but fast enough that by the time you polish off your third roll the thing you wanted seconds of is coming back around.

They have a good assortment of your standard expected rolls like California, Philly, Tuna and Spicy Tuna. They also have some pretty creative specialty rolls, like the Crazy Monkey Roll with fried bananas, or my favorites, the Naughty Crab and Volcano Roll.

Seriously, the Volcano Roll is deep fried goodness. I’d recommend you eat your fill first, because this bad boy takes up a lot of stomach space. They also have plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, including a cucumber roll, avocado roll, and seaweed salad roll.

Obviously, as an all you can eat place, you cannot expect the most amazing delicacies of all time. You get what you pay for, folks, and this is pretty typical American style sushi. Though I must say, the nigiri slices are generous for the fact that you can have as many as you can handle.

If you’re like me and enjoy a light bowl of miso soup before digging in or in between courses, you’re in luck! There is a miso soup dispenser. Yup, you just put your styrofoam bowl underneath and press the button, and a stream of piping hot miso comes pouring out.

The down side is you cannot choose your volume, every pour is the same amount. But they do offer traditional toppings of tofu pieces and chopped green onion. Not to mention literal gallons of soy sauce, yum yum sauce, and teriyaki sauce.

There is also a salad and toppings bar that is included. This has goodies like seafood salad (which is apparently some of the best my grandma has ever tasted, and she is a bit of a seafood salad connoisseur so that’s quite a compliment!) regular green salad, edamame, pickled ginger, and seaweed salad.

I personally had at least 2 big helpings of the seaweed salad. Something about that slimy stuff, I just can’t get enough of the salty umami flavor. There are few dessert options, but they do have oranges and a strange cheesecake like thing. It isn’t very powerful, but it is somehow perfect after a belly full of fish, rice, and soy sauce.

I see this as a personal challenge now, every time I go I need to have more plates! The rolls come with 4 or 6 pieces, and the nigiri come as a set of 2. The plate colors don’t matter, because it is all included in the admission price. This makes me more willing to try things I’ve not had before, and I appreciate not losing out because I like the typically pricier raw fish pieces the best.

There is some soft rock and pop mix playing as you eat, and generally all the diners keep to their own tables. The decor is really fun, with bright photos and definitions of common words like unagi and kani salad on the walls. The bathrooms were quite clean, as was the entire restaurant. There is a self-serve trash area to clear the plates and put them in bins for washing. And you can see the sushi chefs behind the bar at the back, making rolls as fast as you can eat them.

Overall, I’d rate Rock’nRolls:

  • Taste: 7
  • Atmosphere: 8
  • Value: 10

Salmon & Couscous Salad

The first time I had this salad was on a family vacation, and my sister-in-law and her friend were cooking a vegetarian dinner for everyone. She has been a vegetarian for going on 20 years now, which is an awe-inspiring lifestyle, for me. I’m not sure where the original recipe came from, but it involved corn and tomatoes, pine nuts and salmon, shaved parmesan and arugula. It sounded pretty good.

Then we sat down to eat. And it was presented beautifully, layered in a rainbow across a large serving tray.

And then I took a bite.

And I was in love.

That’s the story of my obsession with my favorite salad of all time. Since then I have made several permutations of this salad, for a dinner party, for hubs and myself, and just for me to enjoy at work. It is super simple to put together, and can be an easy thing to take to work to eat for several days. You can eat it cold or room temp, so there is no microwave fishy smell (which I’m sure my co-workers appreciate).

And it is virtually endlessly customizable. I’ve had it with pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, macademia nuts, or none. I’ve tried craisins, raisins, dates, and prunes. I’ve used couscous, quinoa, or no grains. And nearly every salad dressing on the planet will go with this well, as well as having it naked! (As in, no dressing, though do whatever makes you happy. At your house, not at work.)

If you’ve been keeping up with my Weekly Eating series, you know this is frequently a dish I make in large amounts so that I can have leftovers for several days. I’ve begun taking enough for 3-4 days’ worth to work, and just keeping it in the refrigerator and taking out one serving at a time. It is super healthy, quite filling, and pretty affordable if you choose ingredients seasonally and/or on sale.

If you’ve been looking for a recipe to impress at a dinner party, a meal that is inclusive for vegetarians (just offer extra protein options like quinoa and other toppings like beans/nuts), something light and fresh and healthy, or a make-ahead nearly-no-prep work lunch option, look no further!

Ingredients (per salad):

  • 2-3 ounces cooked salmon
  • 2-3 cups salad (spinach, romaine, mixed greens, arugula)
  • 1/2 cup cooked couscous (or barley, rice, quinoa)
  • Sprinkle of craisins or raisins or other dried fruit
  • Sprinkle of nuts (walnuts work best but any will work)
  • Sprinkle of cheese (parmesan, feta, goat…)
  • Optional other toppings: tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, peppers, carrots, beans, anything you can think of!
  • Dressing of choice

Step 1: Cook your salmon however you like, I usually pan-fry them with a spritz of coconut oil or bake them in the oven. Your choice to leave them as a fillet or shred them. You could also use canned, drained salmon here, or sub in cooked chicken, steak, or other fish.

Step 2: Cook your couscous or other grain. I like pearled couscous because it has a pleasant, sort-of-chewy texture that goes well with the overall texture of the salad. Quinoa is also good here.

Step 3: For visual effect, lay down a bed of greens and then layer each separate ingredient in a line across it. To just dig in, toss it all in a bowl, topping as you see fit. Enjoy!

 

 

Ahi Tuna Tacos

 

GUYS! I just found out my ALDI carries frozen Ahi Tuna steaks, 3 for $4.99.

While I love canned tuna and all it’s uses (tuna salad, tuna puffs, tuna noodle casserole…) this is a whole new level. A tuna steak is like, next-level-fancy tuna! It still has all the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, tons of protein, and trace minerals like magnesium and selenium, with the added benefit of looking like you’re at a 5-star restaurant when you serve it.

grilled ahi tuna steak

Finding these culinary gems called for some fish tacos! I adore fish tacos when they are well done. The combination of delicate fish, tangy crunchy slaw, corn salsa and spicy ranch is just unbeatable in my opinion. And yes, you have to have all those pieces to make it truly complete. But I guess, if you must, you could do something different with the toppings… we can still be friends.

Grilled ahi tuna steak

I didn’t even marinate or spice the fish, letting it’s true flavor shine and balance out the other toppings. This recipe makes enough for 3 hearty tacos, adjust as needed based on how many tuna steaks and how many servings you have.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tuna steaks
  • 1/4 cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt & black pepper
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • 3 tbsp ranch
  • Chili powder
  • 3 tortillas

Ahi tuna taco with slaw and corn and avocado salsa

Step 1: Combine the corn and the diced avocado. Slice the cabbage thinly or shred it. Mix with the mayo and lemon juice and spices. Let sit while you cook the tuna.

Step 2: Grill the tuna steaks on an actual grill, or use a panini press/George foreman, or just cook on the stove top by frying in a greased pan 3-4 minutes per side, until just browned on the outside and still slightly pink in the middle.

ahi tuna taco with black beans and rice

Step 3: Cut or flake the tuna and place on the tortilla. Add a scoop of the corn and avocado, a spoonful of slaw, and a tbsp of ranch. Sprinkle the chili powder on top, roll up, and enjoy!

This is such a fresh, flavorful combination, I could eat these every week! And thanks to ALDI I probably can now. Just take out however many fillets you need the night before, and let it defrost in the refrigerator. You could also split up the steak into 3 smaller corn taco shells. Serve with a salad, fries, or beans and rice.

These also make a great lunch, grilled and flaked over a big green salad. That’s exactly what I did with the 3rd fillet that we didn’t use for dinner.

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Ahi Tuna Tacos

Ahi Tuna Tacos

Ingredients

  • 3 tuna steaks
  • 1/4 cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt & black pepper
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • 3 tbsp ranch
  • Chili powder
  • 3 tortillas

Instructions

  1. Combine the corn and the diced avocado. Slice the cabbage thinly or shred it. Mix with the mayo and lemon juice and spices. Let sit while you cook the tuna.
  2. Grill on an actual grill, or use a panini press/George foreman, or just cook on the stove top by frying in a greased pan 3-4 minutes per side, until just browned on the outside and still slightly pink in the middle.
  3. Cut or flake the tuna and place on the tortilla. Add a scoop of the corn and avocado, a spoonful of slaw, and a tbsp of ranch. Sprinkle the chili powder on top, roll up, and enjoy!
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Clam & Garlic Pizza

 

One of my favorite parts about living in New England is the abundance of seafood.  I wrote Tuesday about seafood linguini, and today is all about clam pizza (don’t worry, I actually made and ate them on separate weeks.  Unless seafood every day is appealing to you, in which case rock on).

Seafood is pretty darn healthy for you on the whole, be it lobster, clams, shrimp, crab, or any other shelled ocean dweller.  Clams are a good source of several nutrients and minerals, including magnesium and manganese, phosphorus, potassium, copper and selenium, and a very good source of Vitamin B12.  Read More Here.  They are also naturally low in fat and high in protein.

Bakers Dozen Clams

These clams were from a local farmers market (if you’re local to New Haven, check out the City Seed network of markets).  I met the woman who captains the boat that harvested these guys, from the river and bay less than an hour from my house.  She showed me photos of the boat, the other deck hands, and a typical day’s haul.

She also explained the difference between several different types of clams, mostly size and thus what types of recipes they are best for.  Of course I don’t remember most of it, but the point is it was super cool to meet the actual person who obtained the food I was planning to eat.  I got this baker’s dozen of clams for only $5 too.

Once I saw the clams, I knew I had to have them.  And once I had them, I knew that clam pizza was gonna happen.  If you’ve ever been to New Haven, or even if you haven’t, chances are you’ve heard about Pepe’s Pizzeria, and their famous White Clam pie.  It was named the best in the country!  I am not arrogant enough to claim that I can make it just like Pepe or better, but I wanted to at least give it a shot.

Bowl of open clams

This woman also gave me some good advice on how to open and cook them, since this was my first time cooking with fresh clams.  A nice trick is to freeze them for an hour or so, then thaw them in a pan over medium low heat.  This makes them pop open really easily.  Or you can thaw them on the counter, just make sure to use a container to catch all the flavorful juice they release!  That’s good stuff.

The next step of this pizza was making the dough.  I could have bought it pre-made at the store, but I wanted to be all Suzy Homemaker and do it all from scratch.  Turns out, pizza dough isn’t even that hard to make!  And you can make a double batch, and keep half in the refrigerator or freezer to use again later.  This may become a regular weekend project now.

Ingredients for Pizza Dough:

  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp sea salt

Step 1: Put the yeast, water, and sugar in a bowl and mix to dissolve.  The water needs to be just warm, not too hot to kill the yeast.  This is called “activating” the yeast.  It wakes up and starts eating the sugar.  Let it sit for 10-15 minutes at room temperature.

Activating Yeast

Step 2: In a large bowl, or stand mixer, mix the yeast with the flour, rest of the water, oil, and salt.  Mix until the dough is sticky yet pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Let it sit at room temperature 1 hour, so go do laundry or watch a TV show or run errands.

Pizza dough rising on pizza pan

Step 3: Punch the risen dough down, mix for a few minutes.  Let it rest again for 1 hour.  (This is kind of an all-day project, but with very little hands-on time.  Plenty of breaks to get stuff done, and you don’t have to babysit the dough in between.)  Either cut the dough in half for two smaller pizzas, or spread it out on a pizza pan (for round) or cookie sheet (for rectangle).  Heat the oven to 400 F.

Pre-cooked pizza crust

Step 4: Spread your dough, and poke a few holes in it with a fork to prevent big bubbles.  Bake the dough for 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned.  Then top with whatever you like, and bake another 5-7 minutes, until toppings are warm, browned, and/or gooey.

 

For my topping, I mixed clams, garlic, and olive oil for a pungent dose of flavor.  While the oven was heating, I took an entire head of garlic and cut off the tops.  I drizzled a tbsp or 2 of olive oil over it, wrapped it in tin foil, and baked it at 400 for about 15 minutes.  This cooks the cloves, turning them soft and brown and mellowing the garlic flavor.  Mix this with oil and chopped up clam, and you have heaven in the making.

Clams and Garlic

Ingredients for White Clam Pizza Topping:

  • Dozen clams, chopped, with juice
  • 1 head of garlic, baked, mushed with a fork
  • 2 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • Dash of Italian seasoning
  • Optional: 1/2 cup Parmesan or mozzarella

Pizza with clam and garlic topping

Step 1: Cut the top off the garlic, drizzle with oil, & wrap in tin foil.  Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes.  Squeeze the cooked garlic into a bowl, and mash with a fork.  Add clams, clam juice, oil, lemon, salt, and seasoning and mix well.

Baked Clam Pizza

Step 2: Take your dough, and spread the toppings all over it.  Sprinkle again with salt or seasonings, or a squirt of lemon if desired.

Clam Pizza with Cheese

Step 3: Optionally, sprinkle on a handful of shredded parmesan or mozzarella cheese.  Bake in a 400 oven for 7-10 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted.

Clam pizza and lemon juice

You can serve with extra lemon wedges for sprinkling over the slices.  This is garlic and seafood heaven!  It smells amazing, and tastes even better.

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Oh, and I had only used half the dough on the clam pizza, so I took what vegetables were hanging out in the refrigerator and also made an awesome Brussels sprouts, beet, mushroom, and onion pizza!

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Pizza dough you make yourself is delicious, and far more healthy than a packaged box full of leaveners, preservatives, flavorants, and who knows what other chemicals.  When you make things at home, you know exactly what goes into them, save yourself some cashola (because it is almost always cheaper to make things from base ingredients than pay the convenience fee of someone else making it) and can add a little love too. 😉 That’s what my grandma always said, and I think she’s right.

 

 

How about you?  Ever made pizza dough at home?  What’s your favorite pizza topping?

Seafood Linguini Bonanza

 

If you are already a lover of seafood, oh boy do you need this recipe in your life!  If you are unsure, trying to incorporate more seafood into your diet, or have someone who does not like seafood and you want to convince them, you also need this recipe in your life!

Seafood is super for your health, mussels & clams provide some of the highest sources of zinc and certain other minerals of all protein sources, is quite high in protein yet low in calories, and a source of omega-3 fatty acids.  You should of course educate yourself as to the source of your seafood, and you can read more on the nutrition facts here or here.

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Well, isn’t seafood expensive? you may ask.   I can’t afford to eat that stuff.  you may think.

False.

Let me explain.

The components of this recipe include: mussels, shrimp, and white fish (in this case, catfish).  All of these ingredients came out of my freezer (since I am doing my January restricted budget/eat from the pantry challenge), and all together cost about $6.  Here’s the secret: always shop sales!

The catfish nuggets I grabbed when they were manager’s special, meaning they had to be sold that day, or else, for less than $2.  Just pop it in the freezer, now you have fresh fish whenever you want it.  The mussels were on sale, close to $6 for a 2 pound bag, and I used one pound.  The other pound is in the freezer waiting for the next recipe.  And the shrimp?  Also on sale, under $2 for a 12 oz bag.

Herbs and Alliums

The other ingredients include fresh onions & garlic & dill, all to be had for a buck or two.  Whole wheat pasta, 0.88 on sale.  Olive oil, salt, these I always have on hand.  And a secret ingredient, stuffed cherry peppers!  These were left in the refrigerator and I didn’t want them to spoil, so into the pasta they went!  And I must say, it was a wonderful addition, the peppers added just a touch of bite.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound linguine pasta
  • 1 pound mussels
  • 12 oz shrimp
  • 1.5 pound white fish, such as catfish or tilapia
  • 5-6 hot peppers
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 green onions
  • 2-3 stems of dill (optional)
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 small white onion
  • Salt & Pepper

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Step 1: Either steam the mussels by heating, covered, until they all open, or freeze them and then thaw in the frying pan, this causes them to open.  Cook mussels for 7-10 minutes.  Add 2 tbsp olive oil and the shrimp, cook another 2-3 minutes.  Add the white fish, cook until easily flaked with a fork.

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Step 2: Remove the seafood to a plate and keep warm.  Add peppers, garlic, and onion, and cook until softened.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and simmer the pasta 8-10 minutes, until al dente.

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Step 3: Add the cooked, drained pasta to the pan, along with the rest of the olive oil, vinegar, and the seafood.  Mix well to coat the pasta in the seafood juice and oil.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Dice up the fresh dill (or other herbs)  & sprinkle on top.

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You could also use parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, or rosemary.  Feel free to substitute other types of shellfish or seafood such as cooked lobster meat, crab, clams, or scallops.  Whatever is on sale! 😉

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Salmon Latkes

 

Latkes, the Yiddish word for potato pancakes, have a long history in Jewish tradition.  According to history, the tradition is more about the oil used to fry the cakes than the potato pancakes themselves.  The Maccabees freed the holiest Temple in Jerusalem from the takeover of King Antiochus.  After ridding the temple of all idols, they lit the menorah with a little purified olive oil.  It seemed there was enough to last only one day.

But then, a miracle happened.  The lamp burned for eight days and nights.  Just long enough to press fresh oil.

And thus, olive oil is a sacred tradition during Hannukah, the eight days and nights celebrated in 2015 from Sunday December 6 – Monday December 14.  Any food fried in oil can be commemorative of the Miracle of the Oil, in fact donuts are a very popular Hannukah food, as are matzoh and other kinds of fritters.

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This recipe takes the classic potato latke and adds in canned salmon for a protein-filled, full meal on its own.  They can be served alone, or atop a bed of lettuce, or covered in applesauce, salsa, relish, or any other condiments you like.  Feel free to experiment, there are no rules saying you have to use potatoes and potatoes only.

Grate in some onion, carrots, or beets.  Try regular flour, chickpea flour, matzoh, or breadcrumbs as the binding agent. Fry them in olive oil, coconut, or even bake them in the oven.  But no matter what you do, do make sure to use a high quality oil, share with your loved ones, and be thankful for all you have!

Salmon Latke Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 2 can salmon, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 – 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Mixing salmon latke ingredients

Step 1: Either make mashed potatoes from scratch, use leftover mashed potatoes from a previous meal, or use boxed/instant potatoes to make approximately 1 cup cooked. Open the canned salmon and drain.

Salmon latkes in pan

Step 2: Mix the potatoes, salmon, eggs, and seasonings in a bowl. Add breadcrumbs until the mixture is moist but able to stick together. Form into patties, this should make about 4-8 depending on thickness and size.

Fried salmon latkes

Step 3: Add 2 tbsp oil to a frying pan and heat to medium.  Add the patties, working in batches if you made more than will fit.  Leave some room between each latke so they can heat and cook evenly.

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Step 4: Fry about 4-6 minutes, then flip.  Each side should get a nice golden brown color.  Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain off any excess oil.

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Top however you would like and serve! I covered mine in sriracha and homemade green tomato salsa and it was positively delicious.

 

Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder

 

One of the things I was most excited about when moving to New England was of course the seafood! The beautiful thing about being near the sea is the abundance of affordable and fresh seafood. From salmon to crab to scallops to, of course, lobster, Connecticut is a playground for those who are pescatarian.

This recipe is a simple one for New England Clam Chowder, the whitish creamy version.  Not the icky, reddish, tomato-based Manhattan style. Did you know that in 1939, a bill was introduced by State Rep. Cleveland Sleepe in Maine to make it illegal to add tomatoes to chowder?! Oh yeah, New England takes its clam chowder seriously.

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The recipe here calls for cooking the potatoes and clams most of the day in a slow cooker, then creating a roux and adding it in just before serving.  I have added in my own Polish/Slovak flair by switching the cream for sour cream, creating what we call a “zapraska” (used to make Hungarian chicken paprikush soup) to deepen the flavor of the roux and lend a creamier final flavor.

You could instead cook all the ingredients but the sour cream together all day, and then simply add small amounts of hot liquid to the sour cream and flour until thickened and stir it in just before serving.  That would be the ultimate hands-off chowder recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz clams, fresh or frozen, preferably in their own juice
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 ribs celery
  • 8 oz fish sauce or clam juice
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1/4 cup flour or cornstarch

Ingredients for slow cooker new england clam chowder

Step 1: Dice the potatoes and put into the slow cooker. Add the entire contents of the clams (or fresh and add the clam juice). Add water to cover. (Add more for thinner soup, add just enough to cover potato pieces for thicker soup). Put the slow cooker on “low” for at least 2 hours, or up to 8 hours.

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Step 2: Dice the celery, garlic, and onion into small pieces. Add the oil and veggies to a frying pan, and cook for 7-10 minutes, until translucent.

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Step 3: Add the flour to the pan with the oil, stir for 2-3 minutes. Then add the fish sauce and a little water from the slow cooker until it forms a thick paste. Mix in the sour cream, and whisk it all together well. This is the roux (pronounced “roo”) you will add to thicken the soup.

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Step 4: Add your roux to the slow cooker and mix well.  Now your soup is ready to serve! Add more flour and less water to thicken, or add more water to make a thinner soup.  Serve with nice hearty rolls and/or a fresh green salad.

 

Swiss & Lox on Toast

 

As you may know, I am a huge fan of salmon, especially smoked salmon in the form of lox. Lox is amazing on bagels and toast, or crackers, or pasta. Salmon is known as a great source of lean protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.

This is a great, quick breakfast or snack, or even light lunch option. Look for sales especially, as I got this 4 oz pack of salmon for only $1.50, and the cheese for less than $1.  The salmon I bought was pre-seasoned with black pepper and dill and who know what other goodies, but you can use whatever kind you like. You can also use any kind of spreadable cheese here, and fresh herbs if you have em.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce lox
  • 1 tbsp swiss cheese
  • 1 slice wheat bread
  • Optional: squeeze of lemon juice

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Step 1: Spread 1 tbsp of your cheese on the bread, toasted or not.

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Step 2: Top with a heap of lox. If desired, squirt on some lemon or lime juice, a sprinkle of sea salt, or fresh diced herbs. Enjoy!

 

Couscous & Beans with White Fish

 

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Since I made my own canned pinto beans, I’ve kept them in the refrigerator so that there’s little risk of botulism growing. This means that I’ve also been coming up with ways to use them up quickly, so beans have been featuring in meals all week in various ways.

I made a Red Beans & Rice that was absolutely delicious and will be part of my usual meal rotation now, and used my beans in stuffed bell peppers. Now I am considering a pinto bean hummus. Is that blasphemy? I don’t care.

This is a great way to get your fiber for the day and sneak in some extra veggies. Even if you don’t like fish, this blend of flavors and textures may change your mind.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup couscous (cooked)
  • 3/4 cup beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen diced peppers and onions
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 3 oz white fish fillet
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • Salt & pepper & paprika

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Step 1:  To cook couscous, take about 3/4 cup water and heat in microwave 2-3 minutes, until near boiling. Pour over 1/2 cup couscous and let sit, covered, for 10-15 minutes.

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Step 2: Meanwhile, in a pan combine the frozen veggies, spinach, and beans. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring often so nothing sticks. The spinach should wilt to a fraction of its size, and the veggies will soften. Fluff the couscous with a fork, and pour veggies on top.

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Step 3: In the same pan, add the white fish and spray lemon juice over it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook 4-5 minutes. Flip, and cook the other side another 2-3 minutes, until it is fully white and flakes easily with a fork. Add more lemon juice if you want.

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Step 4: Put the fish on top of the whole bowl, sprinkle with more seasonings, and dig in!

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Couscous & Beans with White Fish

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: One serving

1 fish fillet, 3/4 c couscous, 3/4 c beans, 1/2 c

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup couscous (cooked)
  • 3/4 cup beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen diced peppers and onions
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 3 oz white fish fillet
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • Salt & pepper & paprika

Instructions

  1. To cook couscous, take about 3/4 cup water and heat in microwave 2-3 minutes, until near boiling. Pour over 1/2 cup couscous and let sit, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a pan combine the frozen veggies, spinach, and beans. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring often so nothing sticks. The spinach should wilt to a fraction of its size, and the veggies will soften. Fluff the couscous with a fork, and pour veggies on top.
  3. In the same pan, add the white fish and spray lemon juice over it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook 4-5 minutes. Flip, and cook the other side another 2-3 minutes, until it is fully white and flakes easily with a fork. Add more lemon juice if you want.
  4. Put the fish on top of the whole bowl, sprinkle with more seasonings, and dig in!

Notes

You can of course sub in any veggies you like, try mushrooms, zucchini, squash, carrots, beets, cabbage, celery, kale. You can also use any type of beans, or fish here. And guess what? You can even use a different type of grain! I bet this would also be tasty with brown rice, quinoa, spelt, or barley.

This is just an outline, as long as you have 3 oz fish, about 3/4 cup grain, 1/2 cup beans or lentils, and 3/4-1 1/2 cups vegetables, this is a healthy and satisfying lunch or dinner bowl.

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Pistachio-crusted baked salmon

 

You may have heard that nuts of all kinds are good for you, in small amounts. They all contain healthy protein, and some level of good fats. A personal favorite since I was a kid, pistachios are a great choice. Grown in bunches on bushy trees, pistachios are available year round.

Regular consumption of pistachios in the diet helps to lower total as well as bad LDL cholesterol and increases good HDL cholesterol levels within the blood. They are a part of the Mediterranean diet, which is high in heart-healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado, as well as vegetable-heavy and fish friendly.

Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is rich in dietary-fiber, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile. Pistachios also contain many antioxidants, carotenes, multiple minerals, B vitamins, and vitamin E.

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Though a good thing, you can get too much. They contain about 550 calories per 100 grams, so as with most good things you need to exercise restraint. A tough task indeed when you have a bowl for shells and a bag of nuts. I know I’ve looked down to see a pile of shells much larger than I thought possible many a time.

While I love pistachios plain in the shell, I also love combining multiple heart-healthy options into a tasty health bonanza. What could be more heart-healthy than a salmon fillet?! With tons of omega-3 fatty acids and protein of its own, salmon is one of my favorite types of fish to cook and eat. Since I also already had pistachios lying about, they seemed a natural match.

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And since I have just done a post about sweet Brown Sugar & Maple Apple Glazed Salmon, this recipe will take the fish in the savory direction.

Ingredients:

  • 2 4-oz salmon fillets
  • 1/4 cup crushed pistachios
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt (or mayo)
  • Cooking oil

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Step 1: Shell and crush the pistachios. I put them in a plastic bag and slammed them with my rolling pin. Put on a flat plate with the bread crumbs. You could use crushed crackers or flour here too.

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Step 2: Smear 1 tbsp yogurt onto each fillet. Don’t be afraid to get messy and use your hands.

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Step 3: Place the yogurt-smeared side down on the nut and bread mixture and press. This creates the crunchy coating on the fish. The yogurt helps keep the moisture in while the nuts give it texture and great flavor.

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Step 4: Spray an oven-safe baking pan with cooking oil, and place the fillets inside. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until fish is light pink and flakes easily with a fork.

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The fish cooks up nice and juicy, with just a hint of nutty flavor and a crisp outer coating. You can use a beaten egg or milk or mayonnaise in place of yogurt, and other types of nuts, or none at all if you have allergies.

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As you can see, I served mine with a baked potato and sweetly addictive and stunningly easy Mexican street corn.

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So do your heart and your taste buds a favor, and cook this up for dinner soon!

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