Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Menu ideas and recipes for tuna, catfish, mackerel, drum, flounder, chickpeas, ground beef, greens, root vegetables, green beans, carrots, eggplant and peppers

Menu ideas and recipes for tuna, catfish, mackerel, drum, flounder, chickpeas, ground beef, greens, root vegetables, green beans, carrots, eggplant and peppers

Gusto fell off my weekend to-do list while we were on vacation and I just now noticed. Whoops!

The new tuna noodle casserole

While we were away, my weekly fish share was frozen and put aside for me, which is how I ended up with a pound of frozen yellowfin tuna. What to do? I defrosted it and made a luxurious tuna noodle casserole. Casserole recipes are flexible by nature, so instead of asparagus and scallions, I included broccoli stems, carrot and garlic chives along with the other vegetables.

Menu ideas and recipes for tuna, catfish, mackerel, drum, flounder, chickpeas, ground beef, greens, root vegetables, green beans, carrots, eggplant and peppers

Tuna casserole before the breadcrumb topping was added

Catfish, mackerel and drum

I found an old bag of jalapeno pretzels hiding in my pantry—which is actually a designated bookcase in my office. Since the pretzels were stale, I crushed them in the food processor and turned them into a coating for pan-fried catfish—first dredging the fillets in flour and then egg—buttermilk works too. I must say, what a super idea it was.

When in a time crunch, this recipe for maple barbecue glazed fish is a cinch. It’s one of my standbys for boldly flavored fish like Spanish mackerel.

Another simple fish preparation is blackened fillets. One night I made blackened red drum with cheesy grits—a winning combo—and another night I did the same with black drum.

Indian fish fry

I was hankering for Indian food so one weekend I pan-fried flounder per this recipe for chepa vepudu aka fish fry. Ooh, that spice paste was excellent. I served the fish with mint-cilantro chutney, a recipe from Modern Spice, an Indian cookbook by Monica Bhide.

On the side, I made mustard greens (and kale) masala. The recipe didn’t include ingredients for the ginger-garlic paste so I used some of the fish recipe’s spice paste. So good. The leftovers have been great for breakfast in an egg fried rice type of thing.

On the side, a fantastic chickpea salad with dried apricots and almonds.

Indian feast 9-20

Taco casserole

Southwestern flavors are always a favorite in this house, so we enjoyed this taco casserole. I went with two layers instead of three (so less cheese and tortillas) and added jalapeños to the mix. I used this recipe for homemade taco seasoning.

Fall veggies

Green beans are looking really good in the farmers market right now. I can’t resist their deep color and snappiness so I just lightly season and steam them.

Roasted root vegetables will make regular appearances from now on. This week, I served sweet potatoes and baby turnips tossed and roasted with red onion, garlic, smoked paprika and thyme.

Another good recipe to keep handy is roasted carrot fries.

I can only go a week at most without having greens. Lately, we’ve been enjoying mustard greens, kale, radish greens and baby greens sautéed with red onion, sweet peppers and garlic.

Since I’ve been getting all kinds of peppers (sweet, bell, shishito and poblano) in my CSA share, I’ve been sautéing them with eggplant, red onion, garlic, basil and red wine vinegar.


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