FRIDAY FISH: Chili Fish Nuggets with Two Sauces (Air Fryer or Oven)

…a sweet whisper of chili in both the breading and the sauces


Looking for St. Patrick’s Day Ideas? Just click on “St. Patrick’s Day” in the categories section at right to find my favorites including Salmon on Caraway CabbageIrish Soda Bread with Potato SoupSalmon on ColcannonColcannon SoupTraditional Kerry Apple Cake, and more.

Palos Hills, courtesy Chicago Trib

If you’ve followed the blog for long (THANKS!), you’ll know that I’m a midwest girl. Born to southern parents who moved north for work during the depression and settled in Chicago, I grew up with nearly all of the basic northern Illinois culture. That meant lakes or even the Kankakee River on the weekend with the whole fam, a Polish for a special lunch out whenever I could and Italian Beef or thin crust pizza (yes, thin) the rest of the time, tobogganing at Palos Hills in the winter and riding the rollercoasters at Riverview in the summer, visiting Marshall Field’s at Christmas, shopping German bakeries for coffeecake and bread, vacationing in Wisconsin and Minnesota (more lakes/more beer), and so on.

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Salsa-Black Bean Dip

…for garlic lovers only

I’m not a football fan. At this point in my life, I don’t think it’s going to change. I’m occasionally somewhat nasty or worse about it, but skip that here because in the U.S., if there’s a get together on any Sunday afternoon in January or early February, it’s likely to involve football. Hmm. The Super Bowl (February 13, 2022–6:30 pm ET) is coming like a freight train barreling down the track to your family room as well as to your kitchen and mine. So just to get my two cents in, I usually make a concerted effort to at least add something tasty and even healthy to the game day food lineup. This year, it’s an addictive, pantry-centric southwestern black bean dip that’s perfect with a cold beer at kickoff or even for dinner some other time. (Why can’t we have dip for dinner? I think we can. I’ll write you a note.)

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Colorado Bean Dip for Memorial Day

In 2020, our ubiquitous all-American cookouts — which roar on ad infinitum Mother’s Day through Labor Day — were often a tad sad little affairs if we had them at all. Instead of the jumbo party packs of burgers and brats, unending veggie or cheese trays, boxes of big cupcakes, and the super-sized bag of red, white, and blue paper napkins to last all summer long, we were buying a single pound of ground beef, 4 buns, a pint of vanilla, and left the colored napkins on the shelf. Fireworks, if available on the 4th, were viewed from apartment building balconies or hillside decks. We were masked and our celebrations felt the same.

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Melissa Clark’s Greek Goddess Dip — Again–for Holiday Fun

Sugar snap peas (blanched), new broccoli, and tiny baby bok choy were fun additions to the usual veggie “platter.”

At Super Bowl time a couple of years ago, Melissa Clark, in her NYT Good Appetite column, wrote up a great dip that I immediately made and took to a Super Bowl party.  While I bring many pots of herbs in for the winter, I didn’t have the needed parsley, dill, and basil.  (Rosemary, thyme, mint, sage–yes)  Buying plastic packages of herbs mid-winter is tediously expensive, but I did it.  A party.  Special occasion.   I thought at the time, I have to remember to make this in the summer.  Herbs are cheap or growing in the garden and the farmer’s market vegetables are luscious.

And here we are.  It’s summer.  Friends were coming for the evening.  And I remembered this dip.  Thanks, Melissa!  (If you haven’t read her newest solo book, it’s full of great recipes and want-more stories.  Wondering what you’ll take to the Fourth of July cookout?  Look no further.  Get your sous to cut the veg; you throw the dip in the food processor.   Done.

In October, she’s got another (order early) book out:   Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Make.  

Melissa Clark’s Greek Goddess Dip

1/2 cup packed fresh dill

1/2 cup packed fresh mint
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
1/3 cup packed fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise, optional
Raw chopped vegetables or pita chips, for serving.

1. Place dill, mint, parsley, basil, garlic, scallions, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
2. With motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Add feta and process until smooth; pulse in yogurt. Taste dip and add more salt, if desired. If you like a creamier, richer dip, add mayonnaise and pulse to combine.
3. Serve dip immediately with vegetables or pita chips or cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

These are my changes, etc:  Yes to a bit more salt.  I also added a few grounds of freshly ground black pepper, as well as a few drops of Tabasco.  I skipped the mayo to keep it a bit lighter and healthier.   The first time through,  I made my own pita chips–so much better than the ones in the bag.  (Cut up strips of pita bread,  sprayed them wih Pam, sprinkled on sesame seeds/salt/pepper.  Baked for 12 minutes or so in 350 degrees F til brown.)  Note:  If you keep the dip overnight, it thickens. 

This time, I made no pita chips.   The veg from the market was plenty and we had a filling meal ahead.  If you have tons of dill, basil, etc.,  this garlic-filled, spicy herb dip will be your summer staple.  It goes together all in the food processor and you could vary the herbs or leave some out depending on how your garden grows.  Simple, fresh and for Fourth of July?  You’re now ready to roll.  Do leave the dip in a bowl of ice (change often) to keep it cool out there.

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
Just some summer stuff.  Have cooked, but have been busy.  It’s all good!

Two beers we tried on Lake Superior.  One–a Winter Ale:  yum.

At the cabin.

Making eggs in the hole.  Mary Pat calls them “mouse in the hole.”

Caribou Lake

Chilling at Gun Flint Tavern in Grand Marais

Father’s Day at Sue’s

Friend Rocky resting.
Does your heart good, huh?

Dave with his Tucker

Love my window boxes on south side.

 My fresh strawberry pie with berries from the farmer’s market–recipe and directions on

Here it is with my tiny driveway berries.  Has  a lemon-scented crust.

Just working on fried rice–here’s the snap pea version.  Talk about good.  Wrote it up on
Wally–doing the dishes.
Gab and Tuck with friend Mac:   Dogs just want to have fuh-un.
Use ’em or lose em.
Recent Dinner Place blogpost on  Poached Egg Chef’s Salad
Early summer south yard.

Farmer’s market sugar snaps–manna.

 Sing a new song,