Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

These days, I’m thankful for our chest freezer and my seafood store. Locals Seafood is still open for business at the Raleigh State Farmers Market. I’d think the market and nearby shops would be considered essential since they’re sources of produce and protein—and protein is rather scarce in the supermarkets. The shelves in my local Food Lion were completely empty except for a few flank steaks, containers  of chicken livers, and corned beef briskets. It’s funny to see what no one wants.

blackfin tuna with citrus harissa marinade

blackfin tuna with citrus harissa marinade

Harissa citrus tuna

Here’s an easy and excellent recipe for a busy weeknight: sheet pan harissa salmon with potatoes and citrus. I used blackfin tuna instead of salmon, but any sturdy fish will do, or sausages or chicken, if you can find some. I worried about the tuna drying out since it’s the least fatty of all tunas, but the marinade must have prevented that.

I added carrots like someone in the recipe’s comments suggested. Since I didn’t have quite enough harissa, I supplemented it with red curry paste. Harissa is a North African chile paste, but you could also use another chile paste like sambal oelek or gochujang.

If you don’t have any of those chile pastes, you could make your own with the spices and oil you have in the cabinet. I bet a Google search would bring up a recipe. Low on spices? Get some delivered from The Spice House.

shepherd's pie with ground lamb

shepherd’s pie – looks boring but isn’t

Shepherd’s pie

On Sunday, I made a big shepherd’s pie so we could have it again on St. Patrick’s Day. My recipe is from The Irish Pub Cookbook by Margaret Johnson. It was the second time I’ve made this recipe—it’s a keeper. If you need a comfort food meal, give it a try—or find yourself a recipe online.

Shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb (our favorite) and cottage pie is made with ground beef—just so you know, I didn’t. I sometimes go way off recipe and make a “shepherd’s pie” with ground turkey and a sweet potato topping. Maybe I should call that one a Southern farmer’s pie.

Our sides for the week were predictable—greens, but with cabbage in the mix. Cabbage and carrots store well in the refrigerator so stock up when you have the chance. The sweetness of the carrots is a nice contrast to the more bitter greens—of any type.

That’s it for now. I’ll cover this past weekend’s meals in the next post. Wishing you all wellness!

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