Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

My kitchen saw a lot of fish the week before last. One night I made Sicilian Tuna and Potatoes (which I already wrote about) and Slow-Roasted Green Beans. The green beans were so good they deserve their own post, but until then you can find the recipe on Bon Appetit.

Slow-Roasted Green Beans recipe

We had a lot of different salad greens from our CSA – lettuce, spinach, arugula, frisée and chickweed — plus I had a head of radicchio in the refrigerator – leftover from making Roasted Butternut Squash with Radicchio and Parmesan. On my next dinner duty night, I made two big salads and topped each one with a fillet of pan-roasted salmon. The skin was so crispy that Jim thought there was bacon in the salad!

Even though the salads would have been enough, I wanted something else on the side. (This kind of attitude is why I can never lose weight.) One of the pins on my Pinterest “vegetable recipes to try” board was Crispy Baked Portobello Mushroom Fries from the Closet Cooking blog. I served a marinara sauce on the side. To make that, I quickly sautéed some diced onion and garlic and added a 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes to it along with red pepper flakes, basil, parsley, salt and pepper.

Baked Portobello Mushroom Fries with Marinara Sauce

The “fries” didn’t wow me but they were good – something different and a good side dish for the salad.

On Sunday morning that week, we went for a six-mile hike in Umstead Park and stopped by the NC State Farmers Market on the way home. I wanted to get some fish for dinner from Locals Seafood. On the way there I looked at their Facebook page to make sure they would be open. They had just posted a photo of a fish I had never seen – ribbonfish – along with a link to a horribly written and hard to understand Chinese recipe.

But that recipe gave me an idea. I used its ingredients as the basis of another creation. I sautéed bell pepper, onion, ginger and garlic, then added a mixture of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, Thai chili sauce and chicken broth, and the fish. Once cooked, I topped it with a lot of chopped scallion greens. Boy oh boy, it was good. I’m making it again soon. And since I forgot to take a photo, I’ll share the recipe (and photo) after I make it. Alongside the ribbonfish I served sautéed arugula and spinach – the last of my CSA greens until the spring – and spicy, roasted sweet potato cubes.

A satisfying week in the kitchen. But my good kitchen juju faded last Tuesday night – more about that soon.

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