Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Menu ideas and recipes for stuffed flounder, striped bass, basil pesto, sage-walnut pesto, winter squash, chicken, spring risotto and quick bread

Menu ideas and recipes for stuffed flounder, striped bass, basil pesto, sage-walnut pesto, winter squash, chicken drumsticks, spring risotto and quick bread

Stuffed flounder

I’m constantly jotting down and pinning recipe ideas, including one recently for stuffed flounder. But when it came time to make the dish, I found myself ignoring the recipe and winging it instead. And you know what? The results were fantastic.

No real measurements here, sorry. Into a bowl went a package of thawed and squeezed (of its water) frozen spinach, a few ounces of softened cream cheese, maybe a quarter cup of grated parmesan, a handful of chopped parsley, a good sprinkling of garlic powder, and maybe a half cup of Italian and panko breadcrumbs mixed together. Mix it all up and top the fillets with the stuffing. Bake until the fish is done, and wow. Trust your gut, people.

Herb pesto bonanza

The next night I topped striped bass with homemade basil pesto. I make lots of basil pesto during the summer from my potted plants out on the deck and freeze it for the rest of the year.

Because I have a surplus of sage right now, I made sage-walnut pesto last weekend and stored it in the refrigerator. I also made dill pesto this week but I’ll tell you about that next time. Later in the week, I warmed the sage pesto up and tossed it with roasted caramelized kabocha squash, a good combo.

What else can you do with sage-walnut pesto? Maybe I’ll add it to fish, otherwise it would be great on roasted potatoes or root veggies. Stuffed in turkey, chicken or pork cutlets? I’ll freeze what I don’t use this week.

Turmeric chicken

In a chicken-buying frenzy at Mae Farms a few weeks ago, I took home two pounds of drumsticks they were selling from Dawnbreaker Farms. Farm chicken looks so much better than supermarket chicken—it’s pinker and not water-logged and puffed up like it’s on roids.

I made this turmeric chicken recipe. Oh my, it was so good. I added extra water to the sauce and now I have leftover sauce too. I’m tempted to slurp it down plain but will resist and use it on something else, maybe eggs or rice.

Menu ideas and recipes for stuffed flounder, striped bass, basil pesto, sage-walnut pesto, winter squash, chicken, spring risotto and quick bread

Local cheese

I also picked up a jalapeno chevre log from Goat Lady Dairy while I was at the Mae Farms shop in the Raleigh State Farmers Market. I’m giving into my cheese cravings during this pandemic because they help support local dairies.

Spring risotto

Never has risotto been so easy. I made lemon risotto with asparagus, peas and leeks in the Instant Pot, a forgiving method. After releasing the steam, I left it for a few hours while we hung out on the deck. When I came back in, I finished the recipe. The rice didn’t have that bite like regular risotto but it tasted fantastic so no biggie.

Menu ideas and recipes for stuffed flounder, striped bass, basil pesto, sage-walnut pesto, winter squash, chicken, spring risotto and quick bread

Quick bread for Sunday morning

I can’t seem to keep my flour canister full, which is a problem when the supermarket shelves are bare. Thankfully, I have a few extra bags in my pantry (aka my office). Last weekend, I made cinnamon swirl quick bread for Sunday breakfast—and Sunday snacks and dessert.

I chose this recipe because I had all the ingredients in house, including some very old buttermilk—however, regular buttermilk will do just fine for the recipe. Somehow the bread disappeared by the next morning.

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


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Creative Commons photo of the pretty goat by Kaleb Tapp via Unsplash

 

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