What WOULD Bekki Eat?

Well, I'll start with what I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't eat margarine. Or tofu. Or lowered-fat anything. Olestra is right out. Hydrolyzed, isolated, evaporated, enriched, or chocolate flavored "phood" won't pass these lips.
What will I eat? Real food. Made-at-home food. Food that my great-great-grandmother could have made, if she had the money and the time. And if she hadn't been so busy trick-riding in a most unladylike way.

Monday, December 29, 2008

More raw fish!

Not sure why, but I seem to enjoy repeating themes.

The sushi the other night was faboo... so I immediately put ceviche on the menu. I buy our fish from Vital Choice whenever I can, so it is all good quality and worthy of eating raw. Ceviche gives it a cooked texture, but really it is still raw, and therefore still full of all it's goodies... enzymes, delicate vitamins, probably flavanoids and such. Good stuff.

Plus it's easy.

I realize it's not quite ceviche weather where most of y'all are... but today was sunny and fairly warm, so I wanted something summery.

This time I used a recipe from Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday. I absolutely LOVE this book, by the way (please notice I did not call it a cookbook, because although it clearly is such, it's the other stuff in it that I love with a passion. Someday I hope to meet Rick in person and thank him for being so cool.) This recipe was Ceviche Salad with Avocado, Cilantro, and Green Chile. Please notice that I said "was." Because, I am who I am, and I am psychopathically incapable of following a recipe. :-)

First of all, I used an unapproved fish. Halibut. Vital Choice has a pretty good deal on random bits of halibut, which if you sift through and cut up the bigger bits, work really well for stir fries or ceviche. Next, I used more garlic than he calls for, and honestly didn't even notice it in the final product. I also didn't have a ripe avocado available... 2 hours in a paper bag with a banana just wasn't enough for the softest rock the grocery had available. I really missed the avocado. And finally, I had the Grill Geek do up some bacon-greased sliced onions and bell pepper, as well as add a bit of char to a stack of corn tortillas. We ate our ceviche like fish tacos.

Bekki's Nummalicious Easy Ceviche

1 cup fresh lime juice (oops, another change... I used lemon, orange, and lime)
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 loose cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, stemmed and roughly chopped
2 generous pinches of salt
About 1 pound high-quality, sushi-grade fish: salmon, tuna, snapper (or halibut!)

1 ripe avocado, cubed
1 large head Boston, Bibb, or Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 sliced onion, grilled
1 sliced red bell pepper, grilled
1 or 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Grilled corn tortillas

Use a blender or food processor to whiz up the juice, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, and salt until smooth. Pour over the fish (in bite-size pieces), in a non-metal bowl, and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
Pour off the marinade, and save for ceviching something else!
Toss the lettuce with a bit of rice vinegar and olive oil, and salt to taste.

Stuff corn tortillas with all the goodies and make lots of happy noises while eating.

Friday, December 26, 2008



I guess we like it. :-)

Tonight's sushi was for our seventh wedding anniversary. Seven years. Wow.

Our first anniversary was celebrated at a Joe's Crab Shack in Lexington, Kentucky. Our second, third, and fourth (I think) were at a restaurant called Thai Lotus, which also offered sushi. We honestly can't recall how we spent our fifth or sixth... there was a lot going on those years. But this year we ate fabulous food and spent the evening chatting out in our gazebo in the warm, humid air.

The food was all fabulous, too. Even the salad... which was our nod to the old Iron Chef, for it's apparent oddness. It really was quite tasty.

Sea Garden Squid Appetizer Salad A small serving of mixed seaweed and Squid prepared with sesame oil

Salmon Musubi Sushi rice mixed with Grilled Smoked Salmon, shaped like a triangle,lightly baked with a touch of Sesame Oil.

Nigiri-Zushi Yellowtail (Hamachi)

Sashimi Tuna (Maguro)

Sashimi Salmon (Shake)

Maki-Zushi House Specials:

Summer Roll Tuna, Salmon, Yellow Tail and Avocado. Rolled with Nori on the outside and topped with Ikura Salmon Caviar

Crunchy Salmon Skin Roll Crunchy salmon skin, pickled burdock, cucumber, and kaiware sprouts, rolled urimaki-style

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Ah, the holidays... that time of year when I cook feast after Feaste... and frankly, finally, get really tired of cooking. Almost unbelievable. Because I love to cook. Partly because I love to eat, and partly because... I actually enjoy the chopping, stirring, making-changes-on-the-fly... the whole thing.
And for personal reasons it has been a bit of a bah-humbug kind of season.

But this meal, this feast, was my redemption. Have you ever had a meal that felt... like a turning point? I swear I almost saw the clouds part and the sunbeam shine down in all it's blinding glory. I almost heard the choir of angels singing "Aaaaaaahhhhh!" This meal was a great big sigh of relief. A reset button.

A feast.

I am sorry I didn't take more pictures. I didn't expect to finally be inspired to blog again.

Duck. For a Midwestern girl like me, duck was completely foreign. I remember cooking my first duck just a few years ago. It still feels unfamiliar to me, but after tonight's duck, I have a hunger to get on first-name terms with this lovely creature. It's all dark meat. Did you know that? Even after eating two other ducks in my life, I did not. Somehow I missed that. Maybe because my other ducks were from the commissary... and less than half the price of tonight's duck. I wonder now if they were even the same species.

Anyway, the luscious duck was prepared using a very simple recipe from Cook With Jamie, (by cutie-pie Jamie Oliver) one of my favorite and horribly under-used cookbooks. Rub duck with salt (possibly crushed with fresh sage, but I can't find my mortar and pestle), stick a quartered orange up it's backside, and roast at 350 for about 2 hours. Flip it a couple of times, and make sure to drain off (and SAVE) the luscious fat. I did mine on top of a bed of aromatics- celery, onion, garlic, and carrots. Deep-duck-fat-fried garlic cloves are heaven.

As a somewhat unnecessary, but delicious side, I made mashed potatoes and parsnips. Perhaps it's because I can no longer mash my potatoes with cream, but I must say... I really like mixing my potatoes halfsies with parsnips. Very tasty when mashed with copious amounts of butter. And the leftovers will go atop Shepherd's Pie.

Also on the side were Mystery Greens. I used every tool at my disposal to identify them, but I have no idea what I just ate. I got them in my weekly Greenling produce delivery... so I knew they were food. Beyond that... I think they were a member of the mustard family. Quite a bite to them, so I did a quick braise in bacon fat and the turkey stock that I happened to have simmering on the back of the stove. With a bit of vinegar, a few dashes of garlic Tobasco, and some salt... they were very tasty.

There was also a salad, which was forgotten until the end (and was surprisingly refreshing at that point) with fresh local greens and sprouts. But really, the duck stole the show. The Grill Geek and I each ate half the duck. It was a bit of work... it hadn't quite reached the tender stage, but we did not let that hold us back. We both abandoned our cutlery in carnivorous desperation. Every possible morsel was hunted down and consumed. A new craving was born in my soul at the same time that all the stresses of the holidays were greased over with lovely dark meat and duck fat.

I now need duck. Tonight's duck was not what I'd consider regularly affordable... so perhaps it's time to take up hunting? Buy a house with a pond? Learn to use a blowgun and hunt them at the city parks? I'm not sure, but I am sure that I am now deeply in duck love.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Secret Ingredient: Chicken Thighs

Tonight was almost an Iron Chef night. It was nights like this that inspired me to do Iron Chef Mom... last-minute dinner ideas based on what's on hand and needs to be eaten.

We got back from our Thanksgiving trip late Sunday... and it was a doozy of a trip. Monday was spent doing mountains of laundry after spending half the day at the doctor, confirming a miscarriage. Tuesday was more laundry, and lots of cat hair removal. Apparently they molt when the humans are away. Yesterday the Grill Geek flew out to be the grand marshal of his hometown parade. To summarize, I haven't been at the top of my menu-planning game.

I grabbed several things out of the deep freeze, to keep us fed, and left it at that.

Tonight the chicken thighs were due for a turn... but I thought I wasn't in the mood to get creative. I googled recipes, and came across this one. But what to feed the child who hates chicken? Hmmm... perhaps pasta. Perhaps pasta tossed in the extra saucy bits from the chicken! Only 4 chicken thighs, but do the full recipe of sauce, so there's extra.

And maybe add half a sliced onion... red...

And maybe a few sliced mushrooms...

Cooked up in a little of that melted garlic butter.


The picture to the right is the Fairy Child's debut into blog photography. My hands were all chickeny before I realized I wanted a picture of the veggies. So she took this shot for me!

And here it all is, before it went in the oven. I poured the saucey stuff on top... baked it at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Probably should have done 45. Hope I don't die.

Next time I would cut the butter by half (yikes, am I really saying that?)

I cooked up some rice pasta and tossed a salad while the chicken baked. Once it was done, I poured some of the saucey stuff with some of the noodles. Next time I would toss them with about a tablespoon of soy sauce (tamari) first, so they could suck up that flavor before being coated in greasy goodness. And goodness, there was a lot of grease. That's why I recommend reducing the amount of butter. But it really needed a LOT more garlic, especially to earn the right to have "garlic" in the recipe name. Some green onions at the end would have been nice, too.

And, yeah... that was a rather epic mound of pasta. And really teeny chicken thighs.

About Me

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Tejas, United States
I am many things... all at the same time. (No wonder I don't get much done!) I am a wife to a retired infantryman, mother of 3, stocker (and stalker) of the fridge, passionate fan of food, nutrition, ecology, coffee, wine, and college football. I love all things witchy and piratey. I often cook with booze. I feed stray cats. I don't believe in sunscreen. I don't like shoes and really hate socks. And I currently can't eat any gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, coconut(!?), or sodium metabisulfite (aw, shucks, no chemical snackies.) Sometimes even citric acid gets me. But only sometimes.