Entries Tagged as 'Seafood'

A Little Something Special

December 8th, 2011 · 14 Comments · Birthdays, Holidays, Celebrations, Dinner, Rituals, Seafood

New Year’s Eve is so overrated. I realize I’m not breaking any ground with this statement — which became a mantra in our house long before we even had kids who would’ve insisted on playing Dora dollhouse at 5:30 AM with no regard for how much champagne was consumed the night before. All it took was one aggressively mediocre $100 prix fix dinner out — which offered nothing more special than what you’d find on the menu on a Tuesday night in March — to convince us that we’d be much less resentful of the New Year and way better fed if we just stayed home for the night and watched Larry Sanders re-runs.

That doesn’t mean we don’t properly recognize New Year’s Eve. (As my friend Rory noted the other day, my family has never met a ritual or an opportunity to celebrate that we haven’t seized upon.) Before the kids came along and before Andy’s brother, Tony, and his wife Trish had to go and move across the world to Hong Kong, we used to dress up in our holiday best (for me: black velvet Ann Taylor pants, chunky-heeled Nine West loafers, something shiny on top from Banana) and make multi-course dinners in each other’s Brooklyn apartments that almost always included something worth a splurge. Something special.

Something Special could mean just about anything: a bottle of Champagne that was not procured from the sale bin (1995); a tin of beluga caviar that one of us had received as a corporate gift, served on blinis with creme fraiche (1996); a bottle of 1963 Port that Andy’s dad had been saving for a big night (1999!). But if I am to believe my Dinner Diary — and why wouldn’t I? — the “something special” that, as of 2002, began dominating our New Year’s Eve celebrations was… is lobster.

It might be dipped in Champagne butter. It might be part of a paella or served alongside a wild mushroom risotto or a citrusy salad or horseradish mashed potatoes. Early on in our parenting career, it was usually just the two of us feasting on 1 1/4 pounders after the girls went to sleep; later the lobster dinner became a family affair that would splinter into two teams: The Tail is Better Team (me and Abby) and the Claws are Better Team (Andy and Phoebe). No matter how the lobsters are prepared or who is eating them, there is a 100% chance that they’ll wind up in the family photo album, with Andy or me doing our obligatory imitations of Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Annie Hall.

And that’s the plan for this year, too. (more…)

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Last Gasp

October 4th, 2011 · 6 Comments · Grilling, Quick, Seafood, Sides, Salads, Soup

We’re not the types who keep the Weber burning all year long — something just doesn’t feel right to me about grilling a leg of lamb while wearing a parka. Which means that this past Saturday night, when the sun was on its way down before the girls’ muddy cleats had been kicked off, may have just marked our final grilled fish dinner of the season. But it was a good one. (more…)

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Detox Dinner

September 20th, 2011 · 8 Comments · Dinner, Quick, Seafood

And so the question is, what does one have for dinner the night after she swears off eating for a year? The answer: Fish in Parchment Paper. We had a ton of vegetables left over from the shoot (if anyone needs to borrow an onion, I’m your lady) so Andy sliced them up, arranged them on a cutting board, then asked the girls to top their flounder filets with whatever topping they wanted. We’ve written about these before (“fish presents“) but I was reminded of how flexible the recipe is — we never make it the same way twice. Last time we wrote about them, we went in an Asian direction with bok choy and sesame oil. This time we went in a more classic (if slightly purply) direction: purple peppers, purple potatoes, shallots, asparagus, haricot verts, kale, lemon slices, olive oil and sea salt.

Fish in Parchment Paper, A Refresher Course

You’ll need one square of parchment paper or aluminum foil per filet. (Again, we used flounder, but you can use any fish you want: sole, salmon, tilapia, sea bass, snapper, you can’t go wrong.) Lay the fish on the paper, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover with thin slices of lemon and shallots.

Layer on your desired toppings (see photo above) drizzle with olive oil, then add herbs (parsley, chives, cilantro), a squeeze of lemon, and a final dash of salt.

To “wrap the presents,” lift up the sides of the parchment paper until they meet above the fish. Turn down a few times and  fold the ends under the fish — picture the way the deli guy wraps a sandwich — creating a seal so the steam doesn’t escape. Slide the packets onto a cookie sheet, and bake in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes. (It’s hard to overcook the fish when steaming it like this.) Remove from oven and serve on plates. Be careful when unwrapping, though: steam is hot.

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What is All That Stuff?

August 24th, 2011 · 10 Comments · Dinner, Seafood, Travel

At the end of an eight-hour Paris wander session that began in Luxembourg Gardens, took us down rue Mouffetard, and ended up in the Marais, I collapsed on our sofa and began to scroll through the photos on my camera. There’s Abby feeding the remains of last night’s baguette to the ducks. There’s Phoebe gaping at the 6-month-old monkey at the zoo at Jardins des Plantes, there’s Andy drinking a Kronenbourg at a cafe one block from Place des Vosges, there’s….my dog in New York. It was like the screeching of a record player seeing that image — which was part of a video that doesn’t automatically download with still images. You know it’s a successful vacation when you are looking at photos of your house and you have to struggle to remember what it feels like to be standing in your own kitchen. I played the video and looked around at all the stuff that was littering the counter — bottles of vinegars and bowls and knives and spice jars and…what is all that stuff? What was I making? We had become so used to cooking in our French kitchen with the bare minimum that I thought Maybe I should just throw everything away when I get home. That night I picked up sole (aka, the most family-friendly fish there is) from the fish guy at the Marche Saint-Germain, Andy made a simple salad with peas, butter lettuce, and tomatoes, and we sliced up a baguette. Making sure we saved a little of the bread for next morning’s ducks. (more…)

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Korean Pancakes for Dinner

August 15th, 2011 · 24 Comments · Dinner, Seafood, Vegetarian

Phoebe has been on a tear in the kitchen lately. I would love to say this is due to the fact that she’s watched her parents cook every night for her whole little life, and so now, at 9 1/2, her interest in cooking has finally kicked into high gear, but I think it’s more likely due to something else: Farm Camp. She has spent the last four weeks spraying pigs to keep them cool (did you know they don’t sweat?) harvesting yellow cherry tomatoes (which we then bought at the market for $8 a box), examining microbes in the compost pile, herding sheep, and cleaning and collecting eggs. In other words, we’ve been paying for her to do slave labor.

Not really — there are, of course, other activities like soap-making, hikes around the lake, painting with egg tempera, and cooking with the farm chef — a guy named Dan. I don’t know who this Dan guy is, but he not only sent home a little packet of inspired plant-based recipes after the session ended, but he also sent home a blossoming little cook. Last week, Phoebe invited our 20-year-old neighbor/friend/babysitter for dinner and oversaw the production of a pile of Korean Pancakes for her. And when we were finished she held up the heel of a carrot and asked where we keep the compost pile. I guess I know what our next project is. (more…)

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It’s Just a Scallop

July 19th, 2011 · 20 Comments · Dinner, Picky Eating, Quick, Seafood

This is a cheap shot kind of story but I’m going to tell it anyway.

Last summer I was having dinner at a friend’s house. She is about ten years ahead of me in the parenting game and I’ve always looked to her for advice on everything from day camps to birthday cake bakeries to how best survive third grade clique drama without ending up in the headlines.  She has three daughters, each one more accomplished than the next. At the time of this dinner, the oldest was about to start her junior year in college, the middle one, a homebody, was getting ready to leave for her freshman year at a big school in the Midwest, and the youngest, a high school sophomore, had just returned from doing volunteer work in South America. None of them were at the dinner table with us. In fact, none of them were in the house — until about half way through our delicious grilled salmon, at which point the middle daughter wandered into the kitchen and opened the fridge. (more…)

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Finger Food For Grown-Ups

July 13th, 2011 · 19 Comments · Entertaining, Posts by Andy, Quick, Seafood, Uncategorized

Let me put your minds at ease, right here at the top: No, our kids do not love clams. They’re kids, first of all, and clams are kind of freaky. The most I can say, while maintaining journalistic integrity, is that our kids and clams are in the process of learning to coexist. They’re getting to know one another. They’ll eat one or two, at most — warily, and with some prodding — before they move on to the safety of chips and guac. But learning to coexist is important, and exposure, as we have argued here before, is half the battle. And, this summer, we’re not having any trouble in the exposure department. This summer, we are all about clams.

At the risk of sounding predictable, Jenny and I are sticking to a script these days when it comes to entertaining – and, more specifically, when it comes to appetizers. There will be no elaborate cheese platters, no overly-produced dips, no bruschetta. (Okay, maybe some bruschetta.) Whenever we have people over, and even when we don’t, we do up a bowl of littlenecks from The Fish Guy at the farmer’s market, slice a fresh, crusty loaf of bread, set out some napkins and forks, and let that be our appetizer plate. We find that even if the kids won’t touch the clams, they’ll gladly take a hunk of that bread and dip it into that deep, salty broth. Which, as my parents always used to say, just means more good stuff for us grown-ups. There are endless variations to this dish — spicy, not spicy; garlicky, not garlicky; wine, no wine; basil, or tarragon — but it’s easy and fast, it only dirties up one pot, and clams are, on the farmer’s market spectrum, a relative bargain. Plus, there’s just something festive (and yes, I just used the word festive) about sitting outside with some friends on a summer night, as dinner sizzles on the grill, burning through a bowl of clams and a loaf of bread and tossing the shells — clank, clank, clank — back into the bowl. That’s living. – Andy

Steamed Little Necks
Maybe the best part: there’s no stress about overcooking or undercooking when it comes to clams; these things literally open their mouths and tell you when they’re done. (more…)

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The What’s-For-Dinner Worksheet

May 27th, 2011 · 14 Comments · Dinner, Picky Eating, Quick, Seafood

Fried Shrimp Rolls

Add vegetable oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. In a bowl mix together 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup club soda or seltzer, salt, and pepper. On a plate, mix about 1 cup bread crumbs or panko with a few tablespoons of fresh oregano. Dredge 1 pound shrimp in the flour mixture, then the bread crumbs. Fry them in a pan until cooked through, about 2 minutes a side. Drain on paper towels and stuff into split hot dog buns with tartar sauce. (Sometimes I hollow out the buns a bit with my fingers so they’re not too bready.)

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How Lucky Are We?

May 18th, 2011 · 18 Comments · Grilling, Quick, Seafood, Sides, Salads, Soup

Have you ever stopped to think about how lucky we all are to be parents in 2011? Not just because DVD players are built into back seats or that iTunes offers a staggering selection of white-noise-for-baby songs (including vacuum!), but because cooking for our children is overlapping with the here-to-stay movement of cooking simple, fresh, food. I don’t know about you, but when I first decided I was going to teach myself to cook, I was picturing fancy and dreaming big. The recipes I gravitated towards involved lots of steps and artery-clogging ingredients. (I’m talking to you Silver Palate Tortellini with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce!*) Those were the meals that professional cooks made, right? I realize that Chez Panisse had been open for a full 20 years by that point in my life, but if you asked me who Alice Waters was when I was 22, there’s a 100% chance I would have told you she was the author of The Color Purple. The point is, we are so lucky that simple food equals good food, and that you can brush a little smoked paprika butter* on a piece of just-off-the-boat super-mild tilefish and have a sophisticated dinner that doesn’t necessarily alienate the kids. And that’s just what we did last weekend.

**Yes, I debuted it for Andy on July 16, 1993 and took notes.

*I loved every page of Blood, Bones, and Butter, but I think every page I dogeared mentioned smoked-paprika butter.

You can find smoked paprika in the spice section of most ethnic markets or at Penzeys.com.

To make the smoked paprika butter: Beat together 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick) with 1 tablespoon smoked paprika and a large pinch of kosher or sea salt until it’s blended together.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt your smoked paprika butter and pour into a heatproof bowl.

Grilled Fish with Smoked Paprika Butter
This is the second Sunday in a row that we’ve started off on a healthy note and I’m hoping to keep it up through summer. The formula is pretty simple: grilled seafood +  healthy grain + anything with kale.

Prepare Your Grill. Marinate a 1-pound piece of firm white fish (such as tilefish, swordfish, mahi mahi) in a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. (Add the lemon only about five minutes before you grill.) Once grill is hot, grill filet about 4-5 minutes a side depending on thickness brushing smoked paprika butter as you go. (Fish is done when it’s firm to the touch with out being rock hard.) Remove fish from grill and brush one more time with butter. Serve with braised kale salad and herby barley salad (simple!) below.

Simple Barley Salad

Bring 1 cup pearl barley, (rinsed and picked over), a teaspoon salt, and 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes until barley is firm but cooked through. Toss with a few tablespoons chopped herbs (I used parsely, thyme), olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped scallions, and a squeeze of lemon (or tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar).

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Here’s the Plan

April 15th, 2011 · 12 Comments · Dinner, Quick, Seafood, Sides, Salads, Soup

Two things happen to me when the weather starts getting nice: First, I don’t have the primal urge to cook up a bolognese for the freezer in the middle of a sunny day. Second, I want my dinner cold. This shrimp and avocado salad is a riff on a ceviche I had at Los Gemelos (website is somewhat bizarre, but attn: Westchester bretheren, food is real-deal amazing) that was so fresh and flavorful I had to attempt replication for dinner. You can of course make it when you walk in the door after work, but if you make it ahead of time, the flavors have some time to mingle together and you get the satisfaction of going to work on Monday knowing that family dinner is chilling in the fridge waiting for you at home. Is there a better way to start the week than that?

Sunday morning
When you go shopping pick up the following ingredients: 1 1/4 pounds shelled shrimp, 1 avocado, 1 jalapeno pepper, 2 limes, 1 small container grape tomatoes, 1 small red onion, 1 bag corn tortillas or tostadas.

Sunday afternoon
Boil your shrimp for three minutes. Drain and let cool. Chop your tomatoes, mince 1/3 onion and 1/2 the jalapeno (remove pith and seeds if you don’t want the heat). Mix with the shrimp and squeeze juice from the two limes over everything. Add a little olive oil, salt, pepper. Chill and let flavors mingle.

Monday night
Walk in door, heat tostadas as directed, chop your avocado and mix into the shrimp salad. Pile your salad on top of the tostada and serve with a squeeze of lime. Summon the troops for dinner.

Note: If you can’t find tostadas, fry corn tortillas in a healthy glug of vegetable oil over medium-high for about 2 minutes a side until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

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Special Today: Coconut Shrimp

February 15th, 2011 · 10 Comments · Dinner, Seafood

When I was little, shrimp did not qualify as seafood. Seafood was the stuff my mom picked up at the dreaded fish market (my twin brother and I used to hold our noses in protest whenever she made us go in with her) and was what she might have made for people coming over for dinner once her bratty brood was safely out of the way, upstairs watching The Love Boat. But SHRIMP! Oh man, shrimp was something else entirely. We liked it one way: On ice with cocktail sauce, and whenever possible hooked around the rim of a wide champagne glass. Because if we were eating it that way, it meant we were out to dinner somewhere special — I can’t remember a single time I ate shrimp at my own dinner table growing up. (Or at my friends’ dinner tables either come to think of it.) This is amazing to me, considering today shrimp is perhaps as popular in our house as pizza is. Which is great, except for the fact that it is perhaps as popular in our house as pizza is. In other words, how to keep things interesting and not fall back on tacos and Phoebe’s favorite 5-minute spicy shrimp again and again? The answer — at least for this week — seems to be adding coconut to the dredge. This gave the shrimp a sweet crunch (I can’t remember seeing a new meal disappear so fast from Abby’s plate) and added just enough of an excitement factor to an otherwise kinda boring salad for the grown-ups.

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Salmon if You’re Sick of Salmon

February 1st, 2011 · 16 Comments · Dinner, Seafood

If you’ve been following this blog for a little while, you know by now that salmon was the first fish our kids ate. Which was fine by us — it was healthy, flavorful, and one of the few foods (in general) that we could all eat the exact same way at the dinner table. So we ate a lot of it. A lot of it. With yogurt-mustard-dill sauce, with hoisin glaze, mixed into salmon salads and salmon-rice bowls. At Japanese restaurants, I’d watch with both pride and horror as Phoebe would peel off the salmon from my sushi with her fingers then dangle piece after piece into her mouth. We have eaten so much of the omega-3 powerhouse in fact, that on Sunday Andy found his heart sinking a little at the fish counter when Phoebe pointed definitively at the wild salmon filets. Her choice for dinner.

What was he going to do, say no? No, he wasn’t. So he also picked up some coconut milk and lemongrass — ingredients that are not regularly in our pantry — and got motivated to make something that was different than any other salmon we’ve eaten. And he did. Browning the salmon in a skillet then letting it finish cooking in a pool of aromatic coconut milk gave the fish the most delicate texture — almost like it was poached.  Goes without saying that we will be eating it again soon. (more…)

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Salmon Rice Bowl

January 11th, 2011 · 5 Comments · Dinner, Seafood, Sides, Salads, Soup, Time for Dinner: The Cookbook

Have you guys found the recipe for sushi rice on page 165 of the cookbook yet? And have you found the recipe for the salmon teriyaki in the “restaurant replication” section (p. 112)? I have! And that’s what was for dinner last night — a combo of the two: Rice bowl with Salmon, and crumbled on top: those Trader Joe’s dried seaweed chips which have inexplicably become Abby’s new fairy dust. Put it on anything and dinner goes down the hatch. (Ketchup? So 2010!) I served with Andy’s favorite side dish from when he was a kid– a halved avocado filled with ginger dressing. Only at his childhood dinner table, I believe the dressing of choice was Wishbone Italian.

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Chop-and-Chat Recipes

December 13th, 2010 · 11 Comments · Dinner, Quick, Seafood

With all the rather large variables conspiring against family dinner (long hours, long commutes, overscheduled kids) sometimes the best thing you can do to feel in control of the situation is eliminate a bunch of the smaller variables. You know how I feel about getting the milk poured before you start to cook, and about dreaming up strategies to distract the kids while you go about your mincing. But, in my humble opinion, the biggest of the little variables is choosing meals that you are comfortable making, meals that don’t require a recipe or so much focus that you can’t simultaneously chop the tomatoes and carry on a conversation about the cafeteria seating politics of third grade. Not only is it more likely you will cook a fresh, homemade meal, but — if you are working outside the home — you won’t feel like you’re spending yet another half hour apart from the kids after being away from them all day. Only you know the recipes that are filed in the chop-and-chat category in your house, but in mine, it’s this shrimp taco recipe. You should of course feel free to steal it, practice it, and make it your own.

Could anything make me less angry than my little companion stealing cabbage while I prep the fixins?

Easy Shrimp Tacos
Commit this to memory and then throw away the recipe!

Squeeze some fresh lime juice over 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds of shelled raw shrimp. In a large skillet, heat a few glugs of olive or vegetable oil over medium heat and add 1 halved garlic clove. Cook until garlic is golden but not burned, then remove from oil. Add a handful of chopped onion (red, yellow, whatever), a dash of red pepper flakes to taste, salt, and pepper. Add shrimp then cook about 2 minutes a side until the shrimp has been cooked through. Remove to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warn. Wipe down skillet with a paper towel and heat as many whole wheat tortillas (over high heat, about 30 seconds a side) as you need to feed the family. (Six works for our family of four.)

Serve with small bowls of chopped avocado, sliced red cabbage, sliced cherry tomatoes that have been tossed with a spoonful of salsa, and sour cream that has been mixed with a squeeze of lime, a pinch of sugar, and cilantro.

Have the kids assemble their own tacos at the table.

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Our Royal Family

November 30th, 2010 · 8 Comments · Dinner, Picky Eating, Quick, Rituals, Seafood

Phoebe was captivated by the the row of weeklies and their splashy covers on display at CVS last weekend. “Is that the new princess?” she asked. (I hoped she wasn’t referring to any of the half-dozen half-naked Kardashians.) I looked from Us Weekly to Star across to Hello. Yes! I said. That’s Kate Middleton. She’s the Salmon of Wales!

It took her a few seconds to get it. Oh, right! Salmon is the princess!

We’ve never been calorie counters in our house. The food pyramid — which I have a hard time even really trusting anymore — is not anything my children would ever recognize beyond a structure they might like to replicate with legos. There have been meals where we talk about our plates resembling rainbows, but in truth, our philosophy on teaching healthy eating habits has always been conveniently hands-off: If they are eating roughly what we are eating, they are probably doing OK*. Way early on, though, when we were just developing the dinner habit, and when they were just starting to recognize that the point of dinner was to eat the food, not chuck it, we came up with our own version of the food pyramid. The Royals (Disney and otherwise) had proven to be excellent bribery booty for toilet-training, so we decided to assign their venerable titles towards a few random superfoods we wanted the kids to eat and drink more of: Milk was the Prince. Broccoli, with its almighty supply of treasured vitamins and calcium, the King. Walnuts and eggs were the Queen and Queen Mother, since both of them, if you were to believe the headlines, contained enough omega-3s to triple our children’s chances of getting into Stanford. And salmon, pink and delicate: The Princess. I can’t call this strategy foolproof — as both Lady Phoebe and Lady Abby still recoil at the sight of an egg — but I do know that King Broccoli and Princess Salmon have remained in power ever since.

*Though I do lie awake worrying about our dessert habit.

Royal Salmon with Yogurt-Mustard Dill Sauce

Sprinkle a 1 1/4-pound salmon filet with salt and pepper. Roast in a foil-lined baking dish in 400°F oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the following in a small bowl: 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 2 heaping teaspoons mustard (preferably Dijon), 1 tablespoon chopped dill, squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. Serve salmon with a dollop of sauce on the side. Serve with green beans and soba noodles. (See the “pea” page in Chapter 4 of Time for Dinner for a good noodle recipe.)

Or serve with broccoli, eggs, and walnuts and a tall glass of milk.

Yogurt-mustard dill sauce: Elevating our simple salmon dinners since 1998.

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Shrimp, Meet Angel Hair

October 26th, 2010 · 10 Comments · Dinner, Pasta, Picky Eating, Quick, Seafood

My daughters are 20 months apart in age. When they were babies, people would take one look at the hollowed-out shells that once housed our functioning selves and say It’s tough now, but you’ll be so grateful later when they play together. I thought these people were lying just to make me feel better. We were so in the thicket of “now” that we couldn’t imagine a “later.” I could not fathom these helpless little things entertaining each other, or a time when we would trade in defensive parenting — hovering, watching, reacting — for active parenting. Nor could I imagine a time when they’d actually sit down to a real meal with us. The sitting part stymied me, as did the “real meal” part. Their plates held not so much dinner as a poor man’s tapas selection: cubes of raw red peppers, microscopic pieces of chicken or shrimp, a little bowl of noodles. But I turned a corner the day I decided to marry two of those foods to make one: Angel Hair with Shrimp. It’s so simple it seems almost stupid, but it worked as a perfect inaugural family dinner because the shrimp and pasta mix together without fully integrating. So if it flops, you can always send the ingredients back to their separate corners. And if it works, the kids get a real meal, and you get a glimpse of your future.

Angel Hair with Shrimp

In a medium pot, cook angel hair as directed on package. Drain and toss with olive oil in the colander to prevent noodles from sticking. Return the pot to the stovetop and turn heat to medium. Add more olive oil, one chopped shallot (or 1/2 onion), one clove of garlic (minced), a few red pepper flakes (optional), salt and pepper, and cook about one minute, nestling garlic amidst the onions to prevent it from burning. Push to the side, turn up heat slightly, and add 3/4 pound of cleaned shrimp. Cook about 1 1/2 minutes on one side, then when you flip them over, pull in the onions and toss until everything is cooked through. Squeeze a little lemon on the shrimp, then add the angel hair, tossing to combine. Add a handful of chopped parsley, unless you think it will render prospects of consumption null and void.

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Fish & Chips

October 18th, 2010 · 19 Comments · Dinner, Quick, Seafood

I was thinking of adding a new category on the right over there called “Meals That Are Impossible To Photograph Because My Daughter Can’t Help But Eat The Subject.” Because don’t you think it’s saying something about the deliciousness of a meal when I have to instruct my poor, hungry, 8-year-old model “Stop eating your dinner!” as she mauls what’s in front of her — in this case a fried fish sandwich with sweet potato chips — before I even have the chance to finish shooting it? She just couldn’t help herself. So I never got to capture a close-up, which means you’ll have to trust me that this crispy flounder sandwich has potential to convert even the staunchest fish-anthrope. My kids like them with tartar sauce, but don’t be afraid to use ketchup if you think it might increase your chances of success.

Pan-Fried Fish Sandwiches
We made these with flounder, but it works with other mild white fish like sole, tilapia, or hake.

Set up dredging station for fish: one plate of flour, one plate of one whisked egg, one plate of bread crumbs(preferably panko or Kelloggs Corn Flake crumbs) seasoned with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to a skillet that’s been set over medium-high heat. Dredge fish filets (about ¾ pound that have been trimmed with a knife or kitchen scissors to sandwich-size pieces) first in flour, then in egg, then in bread crumbs. Fry about 2 minutes a side until crust is crispy and fish is cooked through. Serve on whole wheat buns with tartarsauce (or ketchup) and sweet potato fries (I love Trader Joe’s frozen brand) or sweet potato chips (recipe below). (more…)

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The Accidental Keepsake

September 27th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Grilling, Kitchenlightenment, Rituals, Seafood, Travel

Last week I forced myself to put together an iPhoto album from my massive file of summer vacation pictures. I try to do this once a season and enlist the girls help with caption-writing — the final product could rival a John Irving novel for how many exclamation points they make me use – and usually this is all I need to do to feel like I’ve sufficiently locked away the memories for safekeeping. But this time, I added a new album to the mix. It’s a collection of our “car quizzes” (above) which we’ve relied on as road trip boredom busters for the past few years. The quizzes are exactly as they sound: an assortment of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, or true or false questions about wherever we’re headed or returning from. My initial goal for the 828-mile trip back from South Carolina was to write a straightforward list of 100 things we did on vacation, but the girls, who have a sixth sense for dutiful, linear, decidedly un-fun games, of course refused, instead begging for quiz after quiz after quiz after quiz. It wasn’t until I got home and looked through all the questions that I realized I had a keepsake that was every bit as revealing as a boring old list.

The quizzes reminded me of so many moments that have already been pushed aside to make mental space for less lovely thoughts, such as Don’t Forget to Call the Oral Surgeon. Like the fishing trip (above) where the girls reeled in some sea trout (below). It was so fresh that all Andy had to do to make it memorable was add a little olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon before grilling to perfection.

Needless to say, more than a few questions end up being about food and dinner.

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