Category: Fish and Seafood

Salmon on Two-Cheese Tabasco Grits

Salmon on Two-Cheese Tabasco Grits

Sometimes dinner just looks like a party!

You either love grits or you hate them. They’re one of those kinds of things. If you grew up eating them, as did I, they’re comfort food par excellence — we so need comfort food now — whether buttered and tucked under a big plate of eggs over easy with spicy patty sausage or baked up all cheesy in a casserole dish for the Thanksgiving or any other buffet. They do not, as some folks will insist, taste like paste. (I always liked paste myself.) The trouble has come with the advent of instant grits, which while technically kinda-sorta grits, are nothing compared to the pot of goodness made with stone-ground grits that take longer to cook and definitely need more attention than mashed potatoes. I’d just as soon skip grits if they’re instant, but I’m sure they have their place for folks camping with a bunch of kids demanding a hot breakfast 10 minutes ago.

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Cod with Arugula-Basil Pesto

Cod with Arugula-Basil Pesto

Even before Covid-Cooking Time, I for years stocked the garage freezer with everything from extra baguettes to whole chickens to cookies to quarts of chili and chicken broth. Pork chops found on a great sale were purchased in quantity and leftovers suitable for quick lunches had a home. Nights when I was too tired to cook meant I tossed a couple of quarts of stew under the stream of a hot kitchen faucet for few minutes, popped them out into a 4-quart pot, covered them, and set them over low heat until they bubbled up dinner. A frozen half baguette heated beautifully in about 20 minutes in the oven at the same time.

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Melon and Grilled Shrimp Salad with Lemon-Lime Vinaigrette

Melon and Grilled Shrimp Salad with Lemon-Lime Vinaigrette

This is best with a fresh mint garnish, though I forgot to get it on here before snapping the photo!

If you’ve been a food blogger as long as I have, you’ve been through a few different stages of the sport. At one time many of us joined in blog hops and all blogged around a particular subject, chef, or book for sometimes months on end. I belonged to several such groups over the years, but one of my favorites was INA FRIDAYS, which I organized, developed, and participated in April, 2013 – December, 2014. Our fun group of bloggers — many of whom are still blogging years later — cooked and wrote about an Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) recipe the first Friday of every month; I have wonderful memories of the entire escapade! We all learned lots, but for me, maintaining a job, two blogs, writing a book, and keeping up the house got to be a wee much after a while. I was relieved when we decided we maybe had eaten the best of Ina after all! There’s no doubt though I’m still a big Ina fan and you’ll often see a book or two of hers next to my reading chair or on my counter anytime of year. Type in “Ina Fridays” into the search box and catch a few Ina Fridays if you like.

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Spicy Citrus Halibut with Asparagus + a Grilling Book Recommendation

Spicy Citrus Halibut with Asparagus + a Grilling Book Recommendation

Come summer, I grab a stack of grilling books and magazines and leave them by our chairs in the sunroom, rotating them every few weeks so we have new things to consider as the summer moves along, the heat builds, and the kitchen is used less and less. (I have a horrifically hot range–wonderful in the winter and a bear in the summer.)

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FRIDAY FISH: Skillet Lentils and Tuna for Dinner

FRIDAY FISH: Skillet Lentils and Tuna for Dinner

Flexible is this meal’s middle name. Change out the vegetables, broth, protein, and/or herbs to make it your own.

I don’t remember eating lentils as a kid. Even lentil soup — on many tables this week as it’s such a pantry-friendly meal — came to me in adulthood, albeit from a much-loved friend and oddly enough during a hot week at the beach on the Outer Banks. If I ate it earlier, I have no memory of the meal and more’s the pity. The “Lentil” I knew was the Lentil of Caldecott Award- winning author Robert McCloskey (MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS) fame since I’m a lifelong avid reader and also trained and worked as a school librarian at one time in my life.

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Crustless Shrimp+Green Chile Quiche

Crustless Shrimp+Green Chile Quiche

If you are a cook anything like me, you’re always on the lookout for something new for brunch–that lazy, laughingly-slow, boozy late morning meal reserved for special occasions or holidays. Even my husband, visiting his folks a few weeks back, texted me to say, “Anything new on the brunch front?” I guess he or his parents were a little tired of their go-tos and that’s a bit on the odd side because most people in the world are very attached to their breakfasts, if not their brunches.

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FRIDAY FISH:  One-Pot Shrimp  and Asparagus Rice

FRIDAY FISH: One-Pot Shrimp and Asparagus Rice


I wasn’t taught to fast as a child; it wasn’t part of our tradition, but was something those interesting Catholics down the street did. I was happy as a clam about that because it meant I got cheese pizza on Friday nights at my Catholic girlfriends’ houses. This was so cool because, 1) to “give up meat” seemed a neat thing (foreign) to me and 2) There was no pizza, aka “junk food,” at my house.

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FRIDAY FISH: Tuna Flatbread

FRIDAY FISH: Tuna Flatbread

Some days, nothing but tuna will do. Healthy, tasty, already-in-your-pantry canned tuna has solved many a meal dilemma at my house and probably at yours, too. Blast from the past ladies’ luncheon tricks like tuna salad stuffed tomatoes (or Hot Tuna-Stuffed Peppers)

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FRIDAY FISH:  Salmon on Caraway Cabbage with Horseradish Sauce

FRIDAY FISH: Salmon on Caraway Cabbage with Horseradish Sauce

Salmon has become sort of the steak of fish over the past ten years in the U.S. I have no data with which to prove that statement, but offer it up only from my own cooking, teaching, and eating experience. And how that happened is only your good guess, but I’d say it didn’t happen by itself.

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FRIDAY FISH: Cheesy Crab and Corn Chowder

FRIDAY FISH: Cheesy Crab and Corn Chowder

I’m not big on giving something up for Lent, though I’m observant as a progressive protestant Christian can be. I’ve been writing FRIDAY FISH every week on the blog for five years now just as a way to think about fasting from meat and to increase our health. What’s happened is that I’ve become more of a fish and seafood cook and have gone out on a pole limb recipe-wise. Gotten out of my recipe card so to speak. Each year I’m catching something new (oh, gee), tweaking an old dish, or just looking for less-expensive or more available options –particularly for those of us who live in landlocked states like Colorado where fish is available, but not on the scale or quality it is on the coasts.

…scroll down for more info on lent or eating fish on Fridays…

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