Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Holy Halibut!

Pete and my pound of halibut
So I was wrong!  There IS still halibut in season.  Saw Pete, the fish guy, (aw, isn't he cute?!), yesterday, and he had some all ready for me to take home.  (Always ask him if he's hiding anything special...)  He told me that which kind of fish he can get is based on quotas, and I guess they hadn't fished the halibut quota yet, so Henry and I luck out tonight.  Such a delicious, easy fish, don't know what I'll do with it yet, but probably something simple, with a little kale, always lemon, and garlic.
We'll also be carving our pumpkins this week, hope to toast up those seeds and nibble on 'em!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mamma Ghanouj

Henry and sister Gillian feed the monkey.  Success!
This is a real crowd-pleaser, and believe me, I've NEVER made a crowd-pleaser before.  Yes, it's true, the bar is set wicked low when I bring a dish somewhere, but my husband is brutally honest, so I know this one is good.  (And I like to think the bar is getting higher and higher.)
I bought some eggplant from the farmers market, just 'cause they were so purdy, not knowing what the hell I was going to make with them, so I went looking around on the internet.  Epicurious.com had a nice, easy Baba Ghanouj recipe, but I modified it to my liking.  Generally, the first time I make something, I'm a little stressed, never completely confident that I won't end up with an overly seasoned pile of crap, or worse, a tasteless pile of crap, but this was a very pleasant surprise, a recipe I've repeated many times since.
I get two eggplants about the same size, (the bigger ones), so they roast in the same amount of time.  Preheat oven at 375 degrees, generously oil a baking sheet, cut the eggplants into halves, and place them cut side down on the sheet.  I salt them, though I'm not sure why, I think someone told me to and I do what I'm told in the kitchen!  Roast them until they're soft to the touch, the big ones for about an hour, but I check on them at 45 minutes, because I'm paranoid, a common theme you'll recognize in my cooking...  Take them out and let them cool, depending on my schedule I leave them out from 15 minutes to an hour, I don't think it really matters.  Then you scoop out the eggplant, or pull off the skins, and place the pulp in a strainer over a bowl for 30 minutes, letting some of the liquid drain out.  This all may seem a bit time-consuming, but the workload is actually minimal, as you can walk away from most of these steps--have a nap, read a book, watch Real Housewives of Botox.
Before the oven
Ready to eat!
Irma Thomas
Transfer the pulp into a blender or food processor, I use a blender because I like it smooth.  You heard me, I like it smoooooooth, like Irma Thomas smooth, (download her!)  Add a 1/4 cup of olive oil, a 1/4 cup of sesame seed paste or tahini, a peeled clove or two of garlic, (depending on your taste for garlic.  One clove is surprisingly strong, so I usually taste it after one clove, then add another one; note aforementioned paranoia.)  I squeeze about five small, organic lemons into the mix.  I LOVE lemon, I think the recipe calls for 3 tablespoons, which I think is waaaaaay too little and just plain stupid.  Add salt, pepper, paprika if you like, and I'm sure other spices, like cumin are great, then blend it all up.  You can blend it a little so you have some chunks, or until it's smooth.  The feedback I've gotten is that people can be a little skeeved out by the texture of chunky eggplant, but gobble it up once it's pureed smoothly.  Cover it and chill, this can certainly be made a day earlier.  I keep this on hand in the fridge a lot, it's always nice to have when people stop by, serve with some chips, pita wedges, carrots or other veggies.  OH, and when you serve it, drizzle a little olive oil on top, with a sprinkle of paprika, looks nice, makes it look fancy.  Let me know how it goes!

Monday, October 18, 2010


I'm a pretty new mom, Henry's 2 years old, and I'm also VERY new to the kitchen.  (I mean NEW, new, like I didn't know how to boil an egg five years ago, and I'm not being hyperbolic.)  I had no idea I would love cooking this much, although I'm rather "challenged" when it comes to all-things-cooking, I've discovered a hobby that I really love practicing.
Also, May 1, 2010, I decided to STOP SHOPPING.  I proclaimed that for one whole year I wouldn't buy any clothes, shoes, or accessories for myself, (I couldn't stop buying things for my son, who do you think I am?!), and in place of my shopping escape, I've taken even more to the kitchen.  A great diversion.
Here's a dish I make regularly, and please excuse my terminology, I'm certainly NO expert here!
I get this Halibut from the Plummer Park Farmers Market in Hollywood (Mondays, 9am-1pm), from Pete, the fish guy, such a sweetheart, very knowledgeable, and quite a character.  (He accepts cash, checks and credit cards!)  Although Pete sadly informed me that Halibut is now out of season, you can still get it at your local market, and he'll gladly recommend which fish to buy on the day you're there.  Trust him!
I wrap the Halibut in tinfoil, surround it with grape tomatoes, pour a couple of glugs of olive oil on it, salt and pepper, and squeeze a lemon.
I throw it on the BBQ, (but it can also go in the oven), for about 30 minutes, depending on the thickness.  You want the fish to turn opaque white, but don't overcook it, keep an eye on it.  If you're like me, "challenged," you'll have to take a peek or two before removing it.  Once it's ready, the tomatoes are also nice and steamed and flavorful, then just add some quinoa, rice, harvest grains, what have you, and a nice green veggie, I like sauteed kale with sesame seeds and garlic, and voila, you're done.
I like Halibut because there are so few bones and I don't have to worry about my toddler eating it, which he does, and loves it!  My hubby, on the other hand, finds cooked fish rather vile, so he's on his own when it's fish night!