Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Menu ideas and recipes for crab, macaroni and cheese, speckled sea trout, chermoula, fish fillets, black beans and strawberries

Special macaroni and cheese

Delicious Miss Brown on the Food Network made crab macaroni and cheese a few weekends ago. I was entranced so ordered a pound of lump crab from Locals Seafood along with my usual weekly fish share. Last Sunday, we feasted. Wow. Cue horn fanfare… the highlight of the week.

Menu ideas and recipes for crab, macaroni and cheese, speckled sea trout, chermoula, fish fillets, black beans and strawberries

Boxed macaroni and cheese made special

Bored with boxed mac ‘n’ cheese? Here’s an idea. When Jim is working, he doesn’t always have time to make everything from scratch like I do, so he relies on sides like boxed macaroni and cheese. But he does take the time to zhuzh it up by adding sautéed onion, jalapeños (or pickled jalapeños) and/or ham (or kielbasa).

Speckled sea trout with chermoula

I made chermoula to put on top of baked speckled sea trout. My chermoula recipe is a mix of parsley, cilantro, mint, rosemary, lemon juice, garlic, and ground spices—fennel, cumin, white pepper—plus red pepper flakes and olive oil. You can use it on all kinds of things besides fish—chicken, pork and eggs come to mind. I put it on steamed asparagus later in the week. I can imagine it on white beans, chickpeas, potatoes or roasted vegetables, or swirled into yogurt or sour cream for a dip.

Simple fish prep

When in a pinch, you can put fish fillets in an oiled baking dish and top them with…

  • Lemon juice, melted butter, Aleppo pepper flakes (or regular red pepper flakes) and salt
  • Basil pesto – or any pesto – mixed with room temperature butter
  • Breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and salt – you could also add dried herbs like basil, oregano or thyme, and Dijon mustard
  • Ritz (or other) crackers tossed with melted butter, lemon zest, garlic powder and salt

Black bean bake

Did you stock up on canned or dried beans? This cheesy spicy black bean bake was a side for us but it would also make a great dip. I added sautéed onion, jalapeno and garlic to ours.

Menu ideas and recipes for crab, macaroni and cheese, speckled sea trout, chermoula, fish fillets, black beans and strawberries

Strawberries

It’s strawberry season here. Jim brought home a big bucket from a local farm. He made fruit salad twice and I made a strawberry cake from Smitten Kitchen. If you make this cake, store it in the refrigerator, otherwise the strawberries might go off a bit.

Some of my other favorite strawberry recipes are:

We’ve had a lot of rain lately so the next bucket might be bland. When I encounter bland or watery strawberries, I roast them – it concentrates the natural sugars. Cut the berries in halves or quarters, toss them with a mix of maple (or brown) and white sugar, and roast them in a 375 or 400 oven until they look a bit shriveled but not burnt.

Until next week, stay safe, stay well, take care.


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