Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Buttermilk honey bread plus menu ideas and recipes for striped mullet, flounder, salmon, dill, greens, eggs, leftovers and tequila…

Menu ideas and recipes for striped mullet, flounder, salmon, dill, bread, greens, eggs, leftovers and tequila…

Sauces for baked fish

Make a sauce, pesto or other condiment-type-thing once, then bring it back for encore performances. Last week, I baked striped mullet fillets and offered two sauces on the side, you might remember them from last week: chermoula and turmeric sauce.

The next night, I baked flounder and topped it with dill pesto. The dill pesto came back another night: tossed with roasted gnocchi, asparagus, red onions and peas, more on that next week.

Salmon coconut curry

We’re suckers for any spicy coconut curry recipe. In an attempt to use up some of the older items in the chest freezer, I dug out a bunch of wild salmon fillets from the deeps and made salmon and bok choy green coconut curry, except I used pac choi, a bok choy cousin. Dang, it was good, especially over the frozen cauliflower rice I found too.

Buttermilk honey bread plus menu ideas and recipes for striped mullet, flounder, salmon, dill, greens, eggs, leftovers and tequila…

Bread baking bandwagon

Now, let’s get something straight, I’ve always liked making bread, I’m not a Johnettey-come-lately bread baker, although I welcome all you newbies to our fold. I will never tire of the smell of bread rising and baking. This weekend we demolished a loaf of buttermilk honey bread, a recipe from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger, which is on sale for only $2.99 right now—Kindle version. The other loaf is in the freezer, for now.

Another greens variation

Sautéed greens are usually on our menu once a week. This week, the mix included kale, radish greens, turnip greens and green cabbage, along with bacon, spring onions, carrot, jalapeño, orange bell pepper, dried apricots and sliced almonds. I liked the hint of dried fruit sweetness and crunchy nuts.

Leftovers frittata

What do you do with leftover greens or any other orphaned vegetable in your refrigerator? Make a frittata. I usually start by sautéing an onion (or spring onions) and then add whatever looks sad in the produce drawer—for this one, I had arugula that wasn’t going to make it to the next salad. Broccoli stems make regular appearances.

I’m making one tomorrow morning with leftover sautéed greens—they’ve made two dinner appearances already so it’s time for them to retire permanently. You could add meat, rice, potatoes and definitely herbs. Avocado makes a great topping. I sometimes top the frittata with cheese—I think Gruyère’s on this one but I’ve used all kinds of cheese. Feta doesn’t really melt but it’s excellent on top.

One more thing, I don’t bake my frittatas. After I add the beaten eggs to the pan—all the other ingredients are cooked or heated up first—I turn the burner to the lowest setting, put a lid on it and cook until the top has just about set. Then I take the pan off the heat, add cheese and cover it again until the cheese melts. I suppose you could put it in the oven and do the same thing but for some reason I never do.

Arugula frittata plus menu ideas and recipes for striped mullet, flounder, salmon, dill, bread, greens, leftovers and tequila…

Tequila happy hour with NC cheese

The highlight of the week might have been our Saturday happy hour cocktail, although the curry was right up there. We loved this retox cocktail featuring muddled jalapeño slices, maple syrup, lime juice (instead of lemon) and reposado tequila. On the side, Hickory Grove cheese from Chapel Hill Creamery was a nice balancing act to the tart heat.

I’d make these cocktails again today (they are soooo good) but I have a bucket of strawberries so I’m going to make strawberry margaritas—not frozen, although I’ll use the blender to purée the strawberries along with the liquids. I’ll report back next week.

Stay-at-home cooking with Rachael

I’ve always been a Rachael Ray fan. I know she has haters, but, in my experience, her recipes always turn out well. And, let’s face it, her garbage bowl is a brilliant idea. I use a compost container now but when I lived alone, I always cooked with a garbage bowl nearby. Plus, she shares my birthday (day, not year) so we’re birthday buddies too.

Her husband has been filming videos of her cooking at home. She said she misses talking to people as she cooks. I love when she riffs on menu ideas. Sometimes I think she’s had a few glasses of wine or John’s cocktails before the filming starts, who knows, but she’s a lovable kitchen companion.

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

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