Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Menu ideas and recipes for tuna, catfish, mackerel, drum, flounder, chickpeas, ground beef, greens, root vegetables, green beans, carrots, eggplant and peppers

Menu ideas and recipes for tuna, catfish, mackerel, drum, flounder, chickpeas, ground beef, greens, root vegetables, green beans, carrots, eggplant and peppers

Gusto fell off my weekend to-do list while we were on vacation and I just now noticed. Whoops!

The new tuna noodle casserole

While we were away, my weekly fish share was frozen and put aside for me, which is how I ended up with a pound of frozen yellowfin tuna. What to do? I defrosted it and made a luxurious tuna noodle casserole. Casserole recipes are flexible by nature, so instead of asparagus and scallions, I included broccoli stems, carrot and garlic chives along with the other vegetables.

Menu ideas and recipes for tuna, catfish, mackerel, drum, flounder, chickpeas, ground beef, greens, root vegetables, green beans, carrots, eggplant and peppers

Tuna casserole before the breadcrumb topping was added

Catfish, mackerel and drum

I found an old bag of jalapeno pretzels hiding in my pantry—which is actually a designated bookcase in my office. Since the pretzels were stale, I crushed them in the food processor and turned them into a coating for pan-fried catfish—first dredging the fillets in flour and then egg—buttermilk works too. I must say, what a super idea it was.

When in a time crunch, this recipe for maple barbecue glazed fish is a cinch. It’s one of my standbys for boldly flavored fish like Spanish mackerel.

Another simple fish preparation is blackened fillets. One night I made blackened red drum with cheesy grits—a winning combo—and another night I did the same with black drum.

Indian fish fry

I was hankering for Indian food so one weekend I pan-fried flounder per this recipe for chepa vepudu aka fish fry. Ooh, that spice paste was excellent. I served the fish with mint-cilantro chutney, a recipe from Modern Spice, an Indian cookbook by Monica Bhide.

On the side, I made mustard greens (and kale) masala. The recipe didn’t include ingredients for the ginger-garlic paste so I used some of the fish recipe’s spice paste. So good. The leftovers have been great for breakfast in an egg fried rice type of thing.

On the side, a fantastic chickpea salad with dried apricots and almonds.

Indian feast 9-20

Taco casserole

Southwestern flavors are always a favorite in this house, so we enjoyed this taco casserole. I went with two layers instead of three (so less cheese and tortillas) and added jalapeños to the mix. I used this recipe for homemade taco seasoning.

Fall veggies

Green beans are looking really good in the farmers market right now. I can’t resist their deep color and snappiness so I just lightly season and steam them.

Roasted root vegetables will make regular appearances from now on. This week, I served sweet potatoes and baby turnips tossed and roasted with red onion, garlic, smoked paprika and thyme.

Another good recipe to keep handy is roasted carrot fries.

I can only go a week at most without having greens. Lately, we’ve been enjoying mustard greens, kale, radish greens and baby greens sautéed with red onion, sweet peppers and garlic.

Since I’ve been getting all kinds of peppers (sweet, bell, shishito and poblano) in my CSA share, I’ve been sautéing them with eggplant, red onion, garlic, basil and red wine vinegar.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Amazon affiliate links allow me to earn a small commission on any sales that result from clicking. Thank you!

Menu ideas and recipes for ground beef and pork, collards, amberjack, yellowfin tuna, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers

Menu ideas and recipes for ground beef and pork, collards, amberjack, yellowfin tuna, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers

Gochujang burgers

To prepare for the inevitable long days when I’ll have no time to cook, I made up a double recipe of these spicy Korean-style gochujang burgers (instead of meatballs) for the freezer.

Spicy peanut pork and collards pasta

The highlight of the week was pasta. What a surprise. I dug out an old recipe: linguine with ground pork and collard greens in an Asian-inspired peanut sauce. I’ve made many changes to the original Bon Appétit recipe: increasing the peanut butter and other liquids in the sauce; adding onions, sweet peppers, and carrots; and, this time, adding gochujang paste too. So good.

spicy peanut pork and collards pasta

Amberjack and yellowfin tuna

I saw this recipe for seared scallops with jammy cherry tomatoes and decided to use it for amberjack instead since that’s what I had. I added lemon juice at the end for a hit of brightness.

Another night I made Thai tuna burgers because I wanted leftover burgers for lunch. It may be sacrilege to use yellowfin tuna that way but I munched on a bunch of it while cutting it up for the burger mix—sashimi privileges for the cook. The pickled red onion and cucumber is a must, but instead of the ginger-lemon mayonnaise, I simply mixed sriracha into Duke’s mayo.

Eggplant and peppers

On the side, once again, sautéed eggplant with sweet bell and shishito peppers, red onion, garlic, basil and red wine vinegar. And guess what, my CSA share this week included more shishitos and sweet peppers so I’m thinking about taking advantage of any end-of-season eggplants and making this again.

We’re heading to southern Utah (Monticello area) for a week of hiking in the gorgeous red rock country so I won’t be publishing Gusto next week.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


 

Menu ideas and recipes for snapper, fig jam, catfish, corn, skirt steak, eggplant, peppers and blackberries

Menu ideas and recipes for snapper, fig jam, catfish, corn, skirt steak, eggplant, peppers and blackberries

Snapper and catfish

Thanks to my sister-in-law’s fig harvest, we enjoyed baked vermillion snapper topped with fig chipotle jam. I doctored up the jam with shallots and chipotle per the recipe.

Enjoying the last of corn season, on another night we had saucy spiced catfish with corn and basil.

Skirt steak

For Sunday dinner, I made skirt steak for the first time, specifically pan-fried skirt steak with shallot butter. It was excellent—what a flavorful cut of meat.

On the side, roasted baby potatoes tossed with leftover red chimichurri. I also pan-fried a mix of shiitake and cremini mushrooms with garlic and thyme because steak and mushrooms, mmm. Our veggie was zucchini pesto sautéed with yellow carrots, orange bell pepper and tomatoes.

skirt steak etc.Eggplant and peppers

This vegetable dish is on frequent rotation here: pan-fried eggplant with a mix of peppers (shishito, poblano and other sweet peppers), red onion, tomatoes, garlic, basil and a dash of red wine vinegar at the end.

Blackberry happy hour

I’ve been getting the best blackberries lately at the farmers market. For our Saturday happy hour last weekend, I made blackberry margaritas. They were quite tasty. I used agave syrup instead of making simple syrup, and triple sec instead of Grand Marnier.

Until next week, stay awkward, brave and kind. (phrase from Brené Brown)


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Menu ideas and recipes for swordfish, salmon, zucchini, green beans and boiled peanuts

Menu ideas and recipes for swordfish, salmon, zucchini, green beans and boiled peanuts

Swordfish with red chimichurri

This smoky red chimichurri recipe is great on baked swordfish—and I’ve also made it for tilefish and dogfish. Tomorrow, I’m tossing the leftover chimichurri with roasted potatoes. Let nothing go to waste! (Or at least try not to.) Red chimichurri is made of garlic, shallots, cumin, parsley and olive oil, plus the red ingredients—red wine vinegar, smoked paprika, chipotle powder and red pepper flakes.

Creamy lemon salmon and zucchini spaghetti

I pulled some sockeye salmon out of the freezer to add to creamy lemon zucchini spaghetti. The shredded zucchini just about melts into the pasta. I used onion instead of shallot, and added yellow bell pepper and tomato to kick it up a bit. Salmon wasn’t part of the original recipe but I thought it was a natural match.

salmon lemon zucchini spaghetti

Green bean favorite

On the side, we had green beans sautéed with bacon, mushrooms, red bell pepper, red onion, garlic and a little chicken broth to keep the beans cooking.

Boiled peanut salad

One of my guy’s favorite beach snacks is boiled peanuts topped with slices of pickled jalapeño, passed around to our beach buddies on a frisbee, of course. It’s even better on a cracker with a dollop of pimento cheese—or low-rent canned cheese.

I made this boiled peanut salad with bacon dressing for him. It’s a keeper and would be great for potlucks, especially with his family. I added sweet onion and substituted basil for the cilantro, but forgot to serve pickled jalapeños on the side. Next time!

Until next week, stay awkward, brave and kind. (phrase from Brené Brown)

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Menu ideas and recipes for pizza, linguiça, canned clams, tilefish, collards and kohlrabi

Menu ideas and recipes for pizza, linguiça, canned clams, tilefish, collards and kohlrabi

Menu ideas and recipes for pizza, linguiça, canned clams, tilefish, collards and kohlrabi

Birthday pizza!

My birthday fell on a Tuesday this year. Plain regular Tuesday. I was planning to work as usual but then thought, what the heck, this is the one day of the year that’s my day. I’ll take the day off.

But what about dinner? I’m always thinking about dinner. What do I want? I’d have to plan ahead and make it on Sunday—that’s what I usually do for Tuesday dinners so I can work and read late on Tuesdays. See, Tuesday is my dinner duty night—along with Thursday, Friday and Sunday, Jim has the other nights. I love dinner duty but don’t like being rushed through them, so I plan ahead.

I’ve been planning to use my sourdough starter discard to make pizza crust one day so that became my plan—and it was the highlight of the week. I made two sheet pan pizza crusts using this King Arthur sourdough recipe, an excellent recipe.

In one pan, I made my favorite: a linguiça, onion and garlic pizza modeled on the one from Union Villa in my hometown. First, I diced and sautéed the linguiça and onion, then I added garlic at the end and let it cook another minute. I spread tomato sauce—I cheated by buying a jar of Harris Teeter pizza sauce—over the crust, topped it with the linguiça mix and grated mozzarella. So happy.

The other was a white clam pizza. I spread the shallot-garlic herb sauce from my white pizza recipe over the crust, topped that with three cans of minced clams and then a mix of fresh and regular mozzarella along with parmesan cheese. When it came out of the oven, I sprinkled it with fresh basil. Very tasty.

birthday clam pizza 2020

Tilefish with citrus pesto

Another night, we had baked blueline tilefish for dinner. Before popping it in the oven, I topped the fillets with citrus pesto, made simply by adding some peel and juice from an orange and lemon to basil pesto.

Summer veggies

We had two vegetable sides this past week. First, collard greens sautéed with bacon, red onion, carrot, red bell, jalapeño and garlic. My bundle of collards was gigantic so I made a huge pan, more than we needed. The leftovers, after making an appearance at two dinners, turned into a humongous frittata.

The other vegetable side was a kohlrabi sauté with carrot, broccoli stems and florets, onion and garlic—sort of like this recipe. Take a chance on kohlrabi, it will pleasantly surprise you.

Until next week, stay awkward, brave and kind. (phrase from Brené Brown)


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Menu ideas and recipes for striped bass, bluefish, striped mullet (or any fish), linguiça, chouriço, jalapeños, spaghetti squash and pesto

Menu ideas and recipes for striped bass, bluefish, striped mullet (or any fish), linguiça, chouriço, jalapeños, spaghetti squash and pesto

Portuguese fish skillet

Last weekend, I made what I call “Portuguese fish skillet” with bluefish, striped mullet and linguiça. I had to pull out the ginormous 14” deep pan for this excellent meal. Here’s my recipe:

  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 1/2 pound diced linguiça
  • 1 large red (or yellow) onion, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large glass white wine
  • 1/2 cup (or more) shrimp (or chicken) broth
  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds fish fillets cut into spoon-sized chunks
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley

In a large pan with a lid, fry the linguiça in a little olive oil until it browns, then remove it with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add the onion and red bell pepper to the pan and cook on medium-low until softened, then add the smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and garlic, and cook for a couple more minutes or until the garlic turns slightly golden

Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Next, add the broth and diced tomatoes, and cook at a gentle simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Add the chickpeas and lemon juice, and cook for about 5 minutes with the lid off. Add the fish to the pan, pushing it into the sauce, along with the linguiça. Put the lid back on and simmer gently for about 8 to 10 minutes. Before serving, taste for lemon, salt and pepper, then sprinkle with parsley.

Menu ideas and recipes for striped bass, bluefish, striped mullet (or any fish), linguiça, chouriço, jalapeños, spaghetti squash and pesto

No time or prep patience for your fish dinner?

A much simpler fish dish was baked striped bass with lemon juice, Aleppo pepper and butter—a menu regular here.

Pesto spaghetti squash

On the side of the Portuguese fish skillet, we had pesto spaghetti squash. I prepared the squash in the Instant Pot and added a mix of slow-roasted tomatoes from the freezer and grape tomatoes from the garden to the recipe. Tasty.

Chouriço-stuffed jalapeños

I used the leftover chouriço mix from last week’s stuffed poblanos in two ways. First, in quesadillas with caramelized onions and red bell peppers, and then in stuffed jalapeños topped with grated mozzarella cheese. We both agreed we could have eaten a plate each of those stuffed jalapeños for dinner.

Until next week, stay awkward, brave and kind. (phrase from Brené Brown)


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Creative Commons photo of sausage via Wikimedia Commons

Menu ideas and recipes for shrimp, spice/herb mixes, pork, peaches, peppers, chouriço and vegetables

Menu ideas and recipes for shrimp, spice/herb mixes, pork, peaches, peppers, chouriço and vegetables

Swooning over summer scampi

The highlight of the week, hands down, was summer shrimp scampi with tomatoes, corn, red onion and basil. My god, this was good. The extra butter I added at the end didn’t hurt. I’m making this again the next time I buy North Carolina shrimp—the only kind I buy.

You know about the slave labor used for Asian frozen shrimp, right? There’s a reason why they’re so cheap, never mind all the environmental issues. Shrimp used to be a luxury and should be still.

summer shrimp scampi

Let your spice/herb mixes find purpose

If you have jars of herb or spice mixes hanging out without purpose in your cupboard, add them to the flour, cornmeal and/or breadcrumbs the next time you dredge fish (in my case, flounder with Greek seasoning) or some other piece of protein.

Pulled pork with pickled peaches

I fell hard for this pulled pork with pickled peaches recipe but didn’t want to heat up the house by turning on the oven. So I adapted the recipe for the Instant Pot by increasing the liquid and adding most of the ingredients to the pot as the pork cooked. I also added some barbecue sauce too.

We had the pork on buns with the pickled peaches and slaw. Now what to do with the leftover pickled peaches? I’m thinking they’d be good in a quesadilla or tacos with spicy meat and cheese—something about spicy heat, salt, sour and fat all together is really speaking to me.

Menu ideas and recipes for shrimp, spice/herb mixes, pork, peaches, peppers, chouriço and vegetables

Chouriço-stuffed peppers

I had a few poblano peppers ready to harvest so I made a batch of this chouriço mix for a side of stuffed peppers. This was the same day I made the pulled pork so I kept the Instant Pot out to make the brown rice and cooked the stuffed peppers in the toaster oven. Next week, I’ll tell you what I did with the leftover chouriço mix.

By the way, I’m not misspelling chouriço—I’m using Portuguese chouriço, not Mexican or Spanish chorizo.

Summer vegetables

For veggies this past week, we had calabacitas—a Mexican-inspired summer vegetable medley—and the old standby of roasted broccoli, cauliflower and red onion with garlic. Leftovers from both of these dishes are great for frittatas.

Until next week, stay awkward, brave and kind. (phrase from Brené Brown)


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


 

Menu ideas and recipes for tomatoes, tuna, sea bass, broccoli and eggplant

Menu ideas and recipes for tomatoes, tuna, sea bass, broccoli and eggplant

The daily tomato sandwich

Summer’s been weird for all of us, but take one bite of a tomato sandwich and, oh yeah, it’s definitely summer. My version features thick slices of local tomatoes on sourdough sandwich bread with American cheese (Havarti and Muenster are okay too), Duke’s mayo (on both slices of the bread), Diamond Crystal kosher salt (so hard to find these days!) and freshly ground black pepper. Good for breakfast and/or lunch.

Tuna and sea bass recipes

I’m glad I made the full amount of this maple teriyaki marinade because I got two great meals out of it. After marinating blackfin tuna, I heated up the remaining marinade and whisked in a cornstarch slurry to make a delicious sauce.

This coconut mint chutney came back for an encore too, this time on baked black sea bass that I first sprinkled with lemon juice and Aleppo pepper.

Menu ideas and recipes for tomatoes, tuna, sea bass, broccoli and eggplant

Broccoli salad—look, no mayo!

I love discovering a good potluck recipe—not that we’re going anywhere I can bring a dish these days. But now I’m ready with this broccoli salad with cheddar and bacon vinaigrette. I used a mix of Asiago and extra sharp (not aged) cheddar. Next time, I’ll make more vinaigrette because it got lost in the salad.

By the way, I love mayo. I really love mayo. But my guy and some of his family are mayo-haters. So sad for them. That’s why I keep an eye out for no-mayo salads and slaws.

Pasta forever, please

Why do I keep making pasta? The Covid-10 is going to turn into the Covid-15 if I keep this up. But it’s eggplant season and I couldn’t resist when I saw this recipe for a cheesy eggplant and rigatoni bake. It’s quite good.

Until next week, stay awkward, brave and kind. (phrase from Brené Brown)


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Menu ideas and recipes for flounder, swordfish, crudités, linguica, clams, blueberries and buttermilk.

Menu ideas and recipes for flounder, swordfish, crudités, linguica, clams, pasta, blueberries and buttermilk.

Flounder and swordfish

If you’re not the kind of person who scarfs up all the crumbs from the bottom of a potato chip bag (ahem), then you can save them for potato chip flounder. Otherwise, do what I did and buy a bag of jalapeno potato chips for this tasty simple dish. Make the dill tartar sauce too—it’s wicked good.

This maple teriyaki marinade was great on baked swordfish. The recipe made enough that I used the remainder on blackfin tuna, but heated the leftover marinade up with a cornstarch slurry to make a fantastic sauce.

I’m thankful for my North Carolina fish share from Locals Seafood in the Raleigh State Farmers Market shops. Two pounds of fish delivered straight from the coast every week.

Blueberry buttermilk scones

Sunday morning, I made Joanne Chang’s maple blueberry scones. Highly recommended.

Have you ever had buttermilk fresh from a farm? Oh my word. I’ve been getting mine from Mae Farm in the Raleigh State Farmers Market shops. They sell Ran-Lew Dairy products, including buttermilk. I took a sip the first time I brought some home—salty, sweet, tangy, creamy. All kinds of delicious. Now I get it.

blueberry scones

Summer veggie tray

If you need a good dip for a vegetable tray, I like this buttermilk ranch dressing. This time, I added parsley and chives because I didn’t have enough dill. My summer crudités included blanched green beans, sugar snap peas and broccoli florets, zucchini, summer squash, cukes, carrots, grape tomatoes, and red bell pepper.

Blanching works great on green vegetables, like beans, snap peas and broccoli. Just throw them in a pot of salted boiling water for a minute or two, drain them, and immediately plunge them into an ice water bath to preserve and enhance the color.

Linguica, clam and summer vegetable pasta

I used the leftover crudités in a linguica and clam summer vegetable pasta. I had plans to make a linguica pizza and a clam white pizza with some sourdough discard. But, I spent the Sunday afternoon Zooming with a dear faraway friend so opted for a quick pasta instead.

My “recipe” included linguiça, red onion, red and orange bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, garlic, broccoli florets, snap peas, grape tomatoes, corn, spinach, basil, canned clams and their juice, fettuccine, pasta water and butter. Here’s how I did it.

  • Get your pasta water boiling. When it’s ready, add pasta and salt. Cook per package instructions. Ladle out and reserve at least a cup of pasta water before draining.
  • Sauté 1 pound of chopped linguiça in a bit of olive oil in a large pan. When done, remove the sausage but leave in the oil.
  • Add more oil if necessary. Sauté chopped onion, sweet bell pepper and squash. Season with salt. When nearly done, make room in the middle and add minced garlic. Cook for a minute or until it’s starting to golden.
  • Add broccoli (if it’s already cooked, if not, add it to the onion mix), chopped snap peas, halved tomatoes and corn (I scraped the kernels off 2 cobs). Season. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the tomatoes soften.
  • Put the linguiça back in.
  • Stir in chopped spinach (I used about a half package, the kind in the salad mix section of the supermarket), basil (as much as you like), two cans of chopped or minced clams with their juice.
  • Add drained pasta and about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Mix it all up and let simmer a bit. Add more pasta water if you want more liquid.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in a few pads of butter.

Sorry, no amounts because you rely on your judgement/taste—and I can’t remember what I ended up using since it was a mix of leftovers and fresh ingredients.

Linguiça is a mildly spicy Portuguese pork sausage made with garlic and paprika. I buy mine online from Gaspar’s in southern Massachusetts.

Until next week, stay awkward, brave and kind. (phrase from Brené Brown)


HTML:

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


 

Menu ideas and recipes for bluefish, tilefish, sweet bell peppers, zucchini, corn and greens

Menu ideas and recipes for bluefish, tilefish, sweet bell peppers, zucchini, corn and greens

Bluefish and tilefish recipes

If you like spicy, check out this recipe for cherry pepper sauce. Although meant for pork chops, I made it for bluefish. I also added eggplant (in season!), onions and basil. It’s a keeper.

My mint was getting leggy and in need of a serious pruning so I made a coconut mint chutney to serve with blueline tilefish. To me, it’s more like a pesto than a chutney, but nevertheless, tasty.

Update: Reading this article on Indian-style chutney, now I realize it really is a chutney. Learn something new every day.

Discovery of the week: shrimp kielbasa

Sunday’s dinner was the highlight of the week thanks to shrimp kielbasa from Locals Seafood. OMG. So good. I’ll buy more of that.

Menu ideas and recipes for bluefish, tilefish, sweet bell peppers, zucchini, corn and greens

This savory summer clafoutis is nothing much to look at but it’s really tasty

Savory summer clafoutis

The Sunday sides weren’t too shabby either. First, a sweet bell pepper and zucchini clafoutis. I subbed sour cream for crème fraîche, and added corn, onion and jalapeno. It wasn’t as pancake-y as fruit clafoutis I’ve made, more like a frittata, but plenty tasty.

A new ingredient for greens

My regular collards got an upgrade thanks to ground chorizo. I often add bacon to my greens but chorizo, wow. The rest of the mix included red bell and corno del toro peppers, onion, carrots and jalapeño.

Until next week, stay awkward, brave and kind.*

*I picked this up from Brené Brown, known mostly as a shame researcher, whose podcast I’ve been enjoying lately. She also said, shame is not a tool for social justice, but for oppression. I wish more people would listen to her and shut up.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.