Monk Fish with Ratatouille…Early Fall on a Plate

My mom sometimes made fish for dinner and one of her favorites was monkfish, sometimes called poor man’s lobster. If you google monkfish it is one big ugly black fish. Luckily it tastes pretty good and is a change of pace from the fish I seem to be in a rut of choosing. I can’t remember how my mom made it but I saw this recipe on epicurious and decided to try it with some fresh veggies straight from the garden as a treat for her.  We both love ratatouille so what could be better?

I made a few small changes and cut the ingredient amounts in half for just two (my mom and I).  I was blown away by the rich flavors of the roasted ratatouille and the delicate but meaty monk fish fillet.  I think its nick name is due to the texture which does remind me of lobster, sort of.  It isn’t the most popular of fish (insert salmon her!) but this dish might change your mind and make the list of top ten fish recipes for your family. We ate every bite of the fish and those incredible veggies. I almost forgot to mention; this entree is ridiculously easy to make and is naturally gluten free.  Perfect!

The amounts are flexible; if you love eggplant it could be a bit more and if you have yellow squash instead of zuke that is perfect. I used that skinny Japanese eggplant but any regular eggplant cut in strips and then cubes would be perfect. The original recipe used canned marinara sauce but I chose to use some tomato paste from a tube and the fresh plum tomatoes. I was concerned about having a runny sauce but if you want more liquid add some sauce to thin things down.

I carefully transferred the dish to a glass oven pan and baked it just long enough to get the pan hot before putting on the lid and heading over to where my mom lives.  You don’t have to take that step but this is an easy meal to transport which makes my life a bit easier.

My starch was fire roasted russet potatoes but I am thinking this would be awesome with either gf noodles, gf pasta or rice pilaf.

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I just sprinkled dried basil on top of the veggies. Will stir and add fish before roasting some more. You can add more wine if necessary.

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Capers are on top, in my lidded glass oven dish.

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About to dig in…yes…that’s a paper plate. I am at my mom’s assisted living room……easy clean up. This is just a blog. Not the food network, lol.

Monkfish with Ratatouille

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes (1.5 cups)

1 cup sliced zucchini

1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium onion, cut into thin segments from top to bottom

2 teaspoon olive oil, divided

Vegetable oil cooking spray

2 to 4 tbsp. dry white wine (or red if you prefer)

1 large clove garlic chopped coarsely

2 tbsp. tomato paste.

3 big plum tomatoes cut into chunks

2 monkfish fillets (about 5-6 ounces each)

1 tsp dried basil or 1.5 tbsp. fresh

1 tablespoon drained capers

PREPARATION

Heat oven to 425°F.

Coat a shallow baking pan with cooking spray. Place eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper and onion on the sheet and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss a bit…I used a pancake turner to do that operation. Then spread the vegetables out over the pan so they are in a thin layer and roast until tender, about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with white wine, garlic and tomatoes. Cover loosely with foil and roast 5-10 minutes more. Remove pan from oven. Stir in basil. Lay fish fillets in the middle of the veggies; push them aside first to make a cleared space; drizzle with remaining teaspoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Cook about 10-12 minutes.  Sprinkle with capers and fresh basil if you have some.

I served this with grilled potatoes but if you are low carbing leave off the starch and you won’t be disappointed by the results.

Autumn Plum Tart: Plumalishous!

There is a huge abundance of fruit in September.  Still some peaches, plums, grapes and nectarines while apples and pears are pouring in.  What to bake?  Tough decision, I decided to go with something I rarely use: we love juicy ripe plums but I seldom bake with them.  This is one of the only recipes I can make gluten free with blue plums; these are those oval plums, sometimes called prune or Stanley plums that are only available for a few weeks in the early fall.  purple plumThey are inexpensive, not too sweet and they get soft and purply delish in this simple tart.  It is modeled closely after German plum tarts I had enjoyed in my wheat loving past life.  I think it replicates them quite well.  I posted this last year (2014) but wanted to share it again. This time I found really huge Stanley plums and tried them instead of the small ones I have always used in the past. They were great so you can definitely go with either size of oval plum.  I think you could make it with round plums but I do think the oval ones have more flavor and are more suited to baking than round eating plums.

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Candied lemon peels before blending into lemon powder

I use my favorite cobbler mix which makes this really simple.  I will put the mix recipe down at the end of this post. It was created by Bette Hagman. I keep it in my freezer and one cup is the dry ingredients for a great cobbler or for this tart. To this particular batch I added a couple teaspoons of dried lemon peel powder.  This ingredient is made of lemon peels rolled in sugar and dried, leftover after make homemade lemoncello liquor.  They become powder after a few moments in my spice blender. The fine powder adds a subtle lemon flavor but its okay; you don’t absolutely need it to make this recipe work.  It is in the original recipe but I never bothered before to make some even though I had the dried lemon peels.  The addition is great and if you can add it you won’t be disappointed.

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A few instructions to assist you if you make this tart: I cut up the plums first and sprinkle them with sugar, let them stand while I mix the dry stuff up and then stir up the wet items in a small mixing bowl.  If you want it lower in sugar just leave off that sprinkle here; it will still taste great.

Be sure to use a 10 inch tart pan; if you made the tart in a 9 inch one it may well spill over and burn on the bottom of your oven which is never a good thing.

We like it with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. It is fine all on its own.  Makes a great breakfast too with a cup of coffee or tea.

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This is the tart I made Sept. 2014 in a 9 inch tart pan; very very full!

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This tart was made in September 2015 with big fat Stanley plums: just before putting in the oven. Made in a a ten inch ceramic tart pan.

Angie’s Fall Plum Tart

1 cup cobbler dry mix; recipe below

¼ c sugar

—-

2 eggs

3 Tbps. buttermilk

2 Tbps. melted butter

1/2  tsp. vanilla

1/2  tsp. almond extract

1 ½ lbs prune plums (enough to cover the entire tart pan) pitted and cut in half.

Mix them with 2 tbsp sugar

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Spray a 10 in deep tart pan or 9 in pie pan with cooking spray

Cut up plums; be sure to get all the pit; sometimes a small bit of it can be left up near the pointy end where the plum attached to the branch.  I like to cut them in half along the crease; get a  nice pair of plum halves that way. Sprinkle with the sugar and let them sit while you make the batter.

Beat eggs in bowl, add rest of wet ingredients, mix well, add to dry ingredients, stir the batter briefly to fully blend.  Pour into the prepared pan and spread it out with a spatula.  It often just spread great if you tilt the pan a bit – the batter will spread all on its own. Top with plums, cut side up, push each in slightly into the batter and cover the entire surface of tart base. Sometimes I cut up a few plums and fit the chunks in around the halves but this time I didn’t; works either way.

Bake 30 min.  Top with mixture of 1 ½ tsp sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon

Bake 4- 10 more minutes or until top looks done.

Cool somewhat before slicing/serving.

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Plum tart September 2016

Dry Cobbler Mix –   (Bette Hegman recipe)

2 ¼ cups white rice flour

½ cup potato starch

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp. baking soda

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/3 cup sugar

Reposted – originally posted in 2014 and again in September 2015,

Corn Chowder, Delightfully Fresh and Delish!

Corn on the cob continues to be tasty if you can source it locally.  I found some the last two weekends and have made some delightful corn chowders.  While both were excellent I chose to share this slightly more traditional version with you. Using just 2 big ears of corn I was able to make 4 servings of hearty soup.  I took a recipe off the epicurious website and made only a few changes – it was very easy to put together. This version met my three qualifications: gluten free, simple and yummy.

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Even if the corn you find isn’t the greatest this late in the season I am betting this chowder will be a hit with your family.  The mixture of veggies adds so much flavor especially since they are not masked by a lot of spices.

Notes: I put in the cobs (I cut each one in half to fit) as my soup broth simmers because they are crammed full of corny flavor that can perfect your chowder. Do not leave out or change the cream; it isn’t that much per serving and it won’t have the right consistence without the heavy cream.  Finally, be careful with the broth; a lot of commercial broth’s are not gluten free; for some weird reason there is gluten in many varieties.  Kitchen Basics is great or Kitchen Accomplice concentrate (used that this time) is very convenient; squeeze bottle in the fridge.

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Angie’s Corn Chowder

Serves four

Ingredients

1 slice of bacon, diced

1 large onion, diced (1 cup)

1 large carrot diced

1 small celery rib diced

1 medium potato peeled, either Russet or Gold Yukon

2 ½ cups chicken broth, low salt or homemade

1 sprig of fresh thyme

2 large ears of corn; cut off the cobs.

¾ cup heavy cream

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Sauté the diced bacon in a large heavy saucepan.  Remove the crisp bacon.  Add the onion, carrot and celery.  Sauté ten minutes, until the vegetables are fairly soft.

Add the potato, broth, thyme, and corn cobs; simmer 15-20 minutes until the potato chunks are soft.  Remove the thyme and corn cobs.  Add the corn, cream, salt and pepper.  Cook 3-5 more minutes.  If it seems too thick add up to another half cup of broth. Serve with the bacon sprinkled on top or stirred in.

Optional additions which I didn’t use; half a red bell pepper cooked with the carrot/onion/celery, half a sweet potato diced and added with the white potato and 1 diced tomato and some chives sprinkled on top of the soup.  I might try some or all of them next time, yes I plan on making this again soon before the corn gets too tired; it was delightfully fresh tasting.  You could leave off the bacon if you are meat free; substitute in some good quality olive oil; maybe 2 tbsp. of it and use a veggie broth instead of the chicken broth.

It was perfect just as I made it but I am betting any number of variations would work. Have fun with what you have available and what you like to eat.  Soup isn’t as technical as baking so mix it up! That is my philosophy of cooking with veggies.

Source recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-chowder.

Peach Melba Perfection

Peach season is nearly done.  I have enjoyed excellent cobbler, spectacular peach crumb pie, tasty peach muffins and lots of sliced peaches on cereal or just whole peaches Au natural: the peach fuzz is full of fiber!  One more good peach recipe for you: one with no cooking.  A recipe for a company dessert with next to no work, that sounds about perfect for my busy life.

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Your success depends on the quality of the three ingredients. Yes, just three so they better be the best you can find!  I like peaches direct from the orchard, the best quality raspberry jam you can afford (homemade jam is the bomb for this recipe!) and excellent vanilla ice cream; I prefer Turkey Hill handmade vanilla.

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This post is all about none other than Peach Melba, created by that world renown chef Escoffier in honor of an Australian opera singer, Nellie Melba back in the early 1890’s.  If you look it up on line you can find fancy versions in stemmed glassware using a whole peach.  It is old school but truthfully the classics never go out of style. The flavors are just perfect together with next to no effort on your part.

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My typical version of peach melba is very rustic; in a desert bowl, no stemmed glasses like above, no six dollar a pint ice cream but delightful.  A friend of mine wanted something special for company dessert, no baking, no gluten and fruit based.  I gave her this recipe and it was a huge hit.  Even a non-cook can put this beauty together in less then 10 minutes.

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Peach Melba

(quantity per person)

One perfect ripe peach

One-two scoops vanilla ice cream

1 Tbps. raspberry jam, stirred up until it is semi-liquid

Heat a pot of water deep enough to immerse your peaches, bring it to a boil.  Gently drop in the peaches, turn heat down to medium and simmer for 3 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon.  Cool enough to be able to peel.  Peel the fruit, cut in half and remove the pit.

Place the peach halves in a dessert cup.  Top with 1-2 scoops of high quality vanilla ice cream and then drizzle the raspberry jam over the peaches and ice cream.  That’s all there is to Peach Melba.  Takes like 5 minutes to put together.  I sprinkled some fresh raspberries, red and gold ones on my serving. You can guild the lily with slivers of almonds but I prefer it with no further additions.  The peaches and raspberries play off each other perfectly and the vanilla ice cream is the ideal base for them to be showcased with.  Enjoy this naturally gluten free treat before all the good peaches are gone.

Why This Blog….

Let me provide some minor clarifications for those who had questions about me and my blog.  Yes, I have celiac disease, diagnosed 2.5 years ago but probably sick for 3 years before; getting worse until the docs started seriously looking for a cause.  And yes, I had it as a kid; why I always had a tummy ache, couldn’t get to sleep, couldn’t gain any wait, thin as a rail and very anxious.  Bunch of other symptoms we won’t mention here for brevity’s sake. Illness disappeared by age 18 (no one could figure that one out back then) and did not return until serious stress about 5 years ago. This is not that uncommon with childhood celiac.

I do have one person in my family who has celiac, rest claim not.  I have my doubts. It does run in families.  I wish they would all get tested.

I never ever post recipes that I haven’t made myself.  Most recipes are versions of ones I have found in cookbooks or on line say at foodnetwork.com.  I seldom make a recipe exactly as it originally is.  I am a collector of cookbooks but I have gotten rid of a lot of baking ones.  They made me sad.  I have several new gf ones I am fond of.

I eat lots of vegetables and fruits: adore them but not fond of creamed corn, stewed tomatoes or succotash. Love potatoes, pasta and some beans. I do eat some sort of meat protein most days but completely enjoy a well crafted vegetarian entree.  I am not fond of raw proteins.  Nope. Nor organ meats or wild critters like rabbit or snake.  Not tried alligator yet.  Love elk, or deer and accept all donations of excess frozen venison. And yes, I love baking pies and muffins….made some apple muffins last night!

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Love cooking, love sharing food, love sharing recipes, that’s me.  Enjoy writing an awful lot; gives me a real rush to share my own posts.  I do this for that joyful moment when I push the publish button.  I hope I help educate those without celiac and give food/meal ideas to those who cook for someone with celiac.  Cooking should be fun as well as creative.  Substituting stuff for things you don’t have is okay! Being celiac is a challenge, not a death sentence.  I eat great and feel fantastic and I think that shows in many areas of my life.   My motto is Cook, Eat, Love and Write.  I cook so you have something great to eat!