Keeping it very simple and close to the earth…
Buttered Baked New Potatoes with Cheese, Sour Cream, Green Onions, and crisped Csípős Kolbász (a spicy Hungarian air dried sausage).
Beverage accompaniment: Chilled Káposztalé (a tart fermented cabbage juice).
I look forward to the weekends when Petra & I have the house all to ourselves and I can have free and total reign of the kitchen. We still had some Mahi portions in the freezer and plenty of hand picked walnuts from grandma’s garden, and this season we’ve been blessed with splendidly sweet mandarin oranges. So today for lunch I decided to do walnut crusted Mahi. This time around, I chose to serve it up on a bed of crisp Romain tossed with cukes, red bell peppers, dried cranberries, cherry tomatoes, and cinnamon cayenne candied walnuts all dressed with a citrus ginger vinaigrette. For added richness I also served up a mandarin orange avocado salsa.
- First I marinaded the Mahi portions in an emulsion of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs and let them sit in the fridge while I continued with the rest of the prep.
- Prepared the avocado salsa with diced cherry tomatoes, diced red onions, fresh squeezed mandarin orange juice and lemon juice, chopped flat leaf parsley, salt & pepper to taste.
- Candied some walnuts with sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.
- Chopped some walnuts for the crust and blended them with seasoned bread crumbs.
- Portioned the salad components.
- Prepared the vinaigrette by emulsifying ginger, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper, & sugar to taste.
With all the cold prep out done, I coated the Mahi portions with the walnut breading and seared them on a hot pan with clarified butter. Plated the salad and topped with the Mahi…
Paired with a Lychee spritzer
For lunch I prepared seared salmon filets served w/ a savory polenta with grilled carrots and broccoli.
Coming out of the oven now…Lemon kissed cupcakes with roasted walnuts.
A Savory Polenta Recipe:
Note: Feel free to substitute Parmesan with your cheese of choice. I’ve used Roquefort (great w/ steak), Manchego (great with chicken), Cheddar (great with a fried egg and grilled sardines).
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for grilling or sauteing if desired
- ¾ cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 quart chicken stock or broth
- 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ounces Parmesan, grated
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large, oven-safe saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and salt and sweat until the onions begin to turn translucent, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.
3. Turn the heat up to high, add the chicken stock, bring to a boil. Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once you have added all of the cornmeal, cover the pot and place it in the oven. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring every
4. 10 minutes to prevent lumps. Once the mixture is creamy, remove from the oven and add the butter, salt, and pepper. Once they are incorporated, gradually add the Parmesan.
5. Serve as is, or pour the polenta into 9 by 13-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
6. Once set, turn the polenta out onto a cutting board and cut into squares, rounds, or triangles. Brush each side with olive oil and saute in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, or grill.
My wife brought home some anchovies last night, and after taking a quick look in our cupboard and fridge, I knew what I would be making for lunch today….Puttanesca.
- garlic chopped
- tomatoes diced
- red pepper diced
- olives sliced
- olive oil
- parsley fresh, chopped
- basil fresh, chiffonade
- bay leaf fresh
- red pepper flakes
- pasta of choice (linguine is my favorite)
Start the pasta, and while that is working, get your prep done and start making your sauce.
Brown the garlic in olive oil and then add the tomatoes, peppers, olives, capers, anchovies, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and simmer for about 10 minutes until thickened.
The pasta should be just about done… al dente. Add the basil and parsley into the sauce and toss in your pasta. I didn’t have any linguine on hand, but I did have some left over Penne.
Plate, serve, and enjoy!
My wife and I were invited to have lunch with an Indian family. We tried to think of what we could bring. The family is vegetarian and does not drink alcohol…making us wonder how they manage here in the Czech Republic where meat and alcohol are the standard staples. We settled on cookies American Style.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Cream together butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in peanut butter. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to peanut butter mixture and blend in. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and crisscross mark them with a floured fork. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until cookies just start to colour around the edges.
2. Yield: 2 dozen cookies
With the wet weather we’ve been having lately, a lazy stroll through the forest can result in some gastronomic finds. For today’s lunch… Wild Mushrooms in White Wine.
- Porcini, sliced
- Olives, chopped
- Scallions (or shallots)
- Garlic, minced
- Tomatoes, chopped
- Green Pepper, chopped
- White Grapes, sliced
- White Wine, dry or demi
- Stock (chicken or vegetable
- Olive Oil (or butter for sautéing)
- Herbes de Provence
- Fresh Bay Leaf
- Salt & pepper to taste
Sautée the mushrooms with the garlic, herbs de Provence, bay leaf, and scallions.
Add the olives, peppers, tomatoes, and deglaze with white wine.
Add the stock, grapes, and reduce.
I served it over some left-over rice pilaf which accompanied the Mujadara I made for dinner last night. This would also be fantastic served over linguini.