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Fluke Ceviche

From Dish Rachelle:
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The Boy and I recently joined a CSF (Community Supported Fishery), on the recommendation of former Dish Jess who, with her husband, runs Fair Share CSF in San Francisco.  I’m bummed we can’t support her business but we’ve fallen in love with the Village Fishmonger! Once a week we get a small bundle of fish, anything from Yellowfin tuna, to monkfish, to trout, to clams.  As adventurous eaters and pretty capable cooks, we love the challenge of working with a surprise ingredient every Monday.  It’s like our very own episode of Chopped.

I like ceviche but this is my first time making it at home, in part because I’ve never before had access to a seafood source that I trusted enough to go raw.  But week-after-week of beautiful fish convinced us to take the leap – and I’m still very much alive to tell the tale.

This simple recipe is pretty free form, and you can substitute any of the ingredients for others, if you prefer – lemons for lime, cilantro for parsley, etc.  However, if you’re going to use another fish, do a little research.  Fluke can (and should) be tossed in the marinade and then served almost immediately; if you let it soak in acids too long, it will get tough.  However, if you use raw shrimp, for instance, you’ll need to let it sit overnight before serving to get the texture right.

Ingredients

Serves 2-4

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2 medium fluke filets, sushi grade

½ ripe avocado, diced

Juice of 2 limes

Juice of 2 blood oranges

Salt

Oregano

Fresh jalapeno slices

Chopped scallion

Sliced radish

Chopped parsley

Olive oil

Sea salt

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Make your marinade.  In a large bowl, combine juices, salt, a pinch or two of oregano, some jalapeno slices (to taste), some scallion – and anything else your heart desires.  Taste it to make sure the salt levels are right and it’s something you want to eat.

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Let stand for about 15 minutes so that flavors combine.

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Just before you’re ready to serve, slice your fluke into bite-sized pieces.  If there’s a little lag time between slicing and serving, put it back in the fridge – you want the fish as cold as possible.

When you’re ready to eat, toss the fish and avocado in the marinade, stirring to combine.  Let stand for 3-4 minutes so the flavors soak in, then plate, garnishing with scallion, radish, parsley, a sprinkle of olive oil and some sea salt.

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From Dish Danielle:

Pinch a Pisces!
…Or maybe make them some ice cream instead?

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March marks my birthday month and to celebrate like any sweet-toothed Pisces should, I gathered my nearest & dearest round for some cones & cocktails.  I’d tried my hand at this recipe the weekend prior, but on my 31st, I wondered if the wisdom of this new prime number might perhaps enable me to make a more sophisticated batch…?

I was absolutely spot on, and my second try absolutely bested my first.

Did you know Pisces are apparently very intuitive?

zest again

Ingredients:

2c whole milk

2c heavy cream

6 blood oranges: 4tbs zest & 1c juice

6 large egg yolks

¾ c sugar

zest infusing 2

In a small pot, place milk & cream over low heat.  Add 3tbs zest, whisking to incorporate. Allow liquid to come to temp slowly, letting the zest impart its delicious flavor.

yolks

Put yolks in a small bowl next to the pot on the stove. When milk/cream is hot enough, (just before boiling), add juice & sugar to yolks.

orange juice

Whisk vigorously to incorporate. Use a spouted receptacle and scoop up approx. 1c of hot liquid. Pour liquid in a slow and steady stream into the yolk mixture while SIMULTANEOUSLY whisking like hell. Once the yolks have been tempered, (that’s what that last move is called), dump that mixture back into the pot. Using a wooden spoon, stir slowly while custard continues to cook over low heat. Prepare an ice bath with a glass or metal bowl nested on top. The custard will eventually begin to thicken considerably, which means the yolks have been cooked properly (don’t raise the heat much—that could result in an overly eggy-flavored ice cream. Patience is a virtue that this Piscean dish barely has. If I can wait it out, you can too!).

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Once the custard has thickened, immediately pour it through a fine strainer and into the bowl in the ice bath. This will strain out the zest—we’ll add a bit of fresh stuff later. Stir gently to cool. Once the custard has come down in temp, place it in the fridge for a good 5-6 hours, or overnight.

icecream

Once you’re ready to churn, get your ice cream making apparatus ready. Before pouring the custard in, buzz the liquid with an immersion blender if you have one, (if not, pour it into a well sealed container and shake it like mad). After 20-25 mins of churning, your ice cream should be close to ready. At this point, with the machine still running, sprinkle in the remaining 1tbsp of fresh zest for a pop of color and an added zip of flavor. Store in a freezer friendly container once it’s finished. I usually allow the ice cream to sit in the freezer for another few hours before serving.

ladies eating icecream

Scoop into sugar cones and dole out to your guests during your next social gathering!

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From Dish Nicole:

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It sometimes works out in the land of Saucy Little Dish that we dishes have the same thing in mind.  Last week Deanna posted her quinoa recipe and simultaneously I had quinoa on the brain when I came across this recipe for a quinoa bake in the New york Times.  Quinoa is classified as a pseudo-cereal rather than a true cereal, or grain so I decided to make it pseudo-healthy and bake it into a gratin.  Who doesn’t love a delicious cheesy gratin anyway??  Plus I was just bringing the side dish; my good friend was making us the healthy main dish of fish and asparagus to accompany my quinoa creation.

1 6-ounce bag baby spinach

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 plump garlic cloves, minced

4 cups cooked quinoa, (1 cup uncooked)

2 large eggs

3 ounces Sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (3/4 cup)

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

1 ounce Parmesan, grated (1/4 cup)

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and start out making your quinoa as instructed (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water).  I added chicken broth instead of water for added flavor.  While the quinoa is cooking, prep your ingredients and wash the spinach.  Leave a little of the moisture on the spinach and heat in batches in a large skillet over medium heat.  Once the spinach is wilted let it cool or rinse with cold water, squeeze out the excess water, chop and set side.

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Next you will want to heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add in your onion and cook until soft.  Add in the garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute before adding in the chopped spinach.  Add salt and pepper and set aside.

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Next beat the eggs in a large bowl and add in the sage, spinach mixture and the cheddar cheese and mix well.  Pour into your gratin dish (aka baking dish) and smooth out.  Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese on top, drizzle a little olive oil and bake until golden brown.  Approximately 30 minutes.  I prefer the top a little crunchy so I left it in a little longer.

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End result: crunchy, cheesy, yummy.

*The original recipe called for Gruyère, I chose to use sharp white cheddar instead.

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Whoa Quinoa!

From Dish Deanna:

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I’ve never actually made quinoa before this recipe. I’ve always been a rice and couscous kind of girl but something about quinoa really intrigues me. Quinoa is appreciated for its nutritional value (14% protein!) and considered easy to digest. Those two things are very important to me in my diet so I decided to give it a try. If you don’t season it well it could be very bland, much like couscous. I find this grain so interesting because it can be made for so many different things. Plenty can be put into it and made as a whole meal, or it can be enjoyed as a side dish. For this recipe, I made a sweet quinoa side dish!

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

½ cup sliced or chopped almonds

1 cup chicken broth

1 and ½ hot water

½ tsp salt

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

½ cup dried cranberries

almonds

First, over medium heat, I toasted the almonds. Make sure that you stir continuously or they’re likely to burn. When the almonds turn golden brown add the quinoa into the pan. Stir for a few more minutes until the quinoa begins to darken.

almonds and quinoa

Transfer the toasted quinoa and almonds into a saucepan and add the water, chicken broth, salt, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and cranberries. Bring to a boil, simmer, and then cover for the next 20-25 minutes. When the quinoa has consumed all the liquids, fluff it with a fork. Don’t forget to take out the cinnamon stick and bay leaf! No one wants to chew on those…

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Let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes before serving and then ENJOY!

me with quinoa

From Dish Amelia:

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Nalewka (Pronounced Nah-Lef-Kah) is a Polish cordial or aged homemade alcoholic tincture. This variety happens to be lemon and honey but you could make it with nearly anything. It is meant to be sipped and is even regarded as having a medicinal purpose; whether to calm the stomach or make you sleep soundly (heh). I got curious about this concoction when my favorite tall Pole described it to me as a popular traditional project. Then messages had to be sent, many questions asked, and a loose recipe transcribed and then tested. Looking through a variety of recipes, I would say this is a Polish version of Limoncello, perhaps. I now want to make a cherry and a ginger one. You know, for medicinal purposes.

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1 bottle Spirytus (This is grain alcohol which is scary stuff. One reason this is so easy to make is that you can dilute the alcohol as much as you choose, and a bit at a time) Start with this amount and it will go quite far.

10 lemons, juiced. (The Pole noted to keep at least a seed or two, and as much pulp as possible, as this is a homemade product and this helps to signify this.)

water (You must do this to taste. We started with 1:1, but this was too strong, so we added 200 more ml. (When you make this drink you have to use the metric system.)

a bit more than 1/2 cup honey. (Also to taste)

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Pour the honey and a bit of water into a saucepan and heat, so the honey dissolves into the water. Let this cool a bit or put it in an ice bath. Mix all of the ingredients, pour into bottles, shake, and store in the freezer. Serve in tiny glasses and sip.

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From Dish Danielle:

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What’s a dish to do with the ugliest character in her winter CSA share!? Eat ‘em fresh! I personally had never been confronted by this mysterious German turnip before, and I will admit, that I left it abandoned in my fridge’s crisper for far longer than I should have… Once I finally worked up the nerve to peel, slice, and sample this crunchy orb, I found it surprisingly mild in flavor and still very fresh considering it’s relegated hibernation…ahem. A fresh winter salad recipe is below. This is loose so feel free to add/subtract & riff on it to create the perfect winter salad for you:

Kohlrabichiffonaide 2cut

Ingredients:
-1 medium Kohlrabi, peeled
-1 medium bunch Lacinto Kale, destemmed and chiffonaded.
-1 bunch of dill, rough chopped
-1 c dried sour cherries
-grated zest of 1 lemon
-4-6 tbsp, fresh squeezed lemon juice
-few splashes of olive oil
-a squeeze or two of honey
-2-3 garlic cloves, minced
-S&P to taste
-1c alfalfa sprouts (if you’d like)

matchsticks

Peel the kohlrabi and cut into thick matchsticks that are 1/4″ wide & 2″ long.

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Place all ingredients, (minus the sprouts if you’re using them), into a medium sized salad bowl. Get in there with your hands and massage the mixture–this allows the lemon to soften both the kale & kohlrabi just a bit. Let the salad sit for about 10minutes.

*chef’s note: I only had 1/2 a bunch of kale, so I used a mixture of kale and added 2 large handfuls of my CSA mesclun salad mix, which was great!

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Add the sprouts and mix once more–making sure to separate the threadlike bundle and incorporating thoroughly. Now’s the time to taste and adjust the salt/honey levels if needed. If you find a puddle of dressing at the bottom of your salad bowl, using tongs, lift the salad and place into another bowl leaving the juices behind.

Happy crunching!

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From Dish Rachelle:
Clam chowder
I’m pretty sure that in my lifetime I’ve done some serious damage to the clam population of the Northeast. Some of my favorite dishes – and my family’s favorite dishes – center around this one simple ingredient. I grew up eating fried clam strips with tartar sauce with my Mom at Howard Johnson’s at brunch on Sundays and at fish fry places on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore. I always ordered the chalky New England clam chowder at Friendly’s when I was little (and we know what a big part Friendly’s played in my childhood). I’ve known my father to cook three dishes, and three dishes only: 1) “Cheese eggs” (aka scrambled eggs with American cheese) 2) Linguine with white clam sauce and 3) Baked clams (see the bottom of this post for a neat trick he taught me). I love Zuppa di Clams and even raw ones on the half shell with cocktail sauce. This is really just starting to sound like a survey of New Jersey restaurant menus.

I’ve made Manhattan clam chowder before (“red”) but never New England. I was very pleasantly surprised. Sorry, clams – this might become another go-to.

Ingredients (makes 2 entrée-sized portions or 4 appetizers)

18 raw whole clams, shells on
2 strips bacon, chopped
Olive oil
½ large yellow onion, chopped
splash of dry white wine
1 large baking potato, diced small
clam stock (see below)
1/3 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
Ground pepper

Start by steaming your clams open. In a large, deep saucepan, place rinsed clams (shells on) in about a half-inch of water. Cover and steam over medium-high heat, giving the pan a shake every few minutes. Cook until the water looks foamy and the shells are all wide open, about 10 minutes.
Steamed clams
With tongs, remove the clams to a bowl. Do not drain or discard the clammy water at the bottom of your saucepan, because this will become the base of your stock! Remove the clam meat from the shells and reserve for later. Place the empty shells back in the saucepan and add about a pint and a half of water, covering and bringing it up to a simmer. Let this cook while you prepare your other ingredients.
Coming out of their shells
Clam stock
Cook the chopped bacon in a soup/stew pot over medium heat. When it looks about done, add the onions and a little bit of olive oil so they don’t stick, and soften. Deglaze with the white wine and add the potatoes.
Diced potato
Return to your clam stock and taste it. It will likely be very salty. Remove shells* and pour the liquid through a cheese cloth to remove any sand or grit that has come from them, and then pour the strained liquid straight into your soup pot. Add some fresh water if necessary to cover ingredients and dilute the salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, mostly covered, about 15 minutes.

Check your potatoes and make sure they’re done. If so, roughly chop the clam meat and add to the pot along with any liquids that emerged. Add the corn and stir. Cook, mostly covered, over low heat for another 5 minutes.
Chopped clam
Add heavy cream and if you prefer a thicker soup, the cornstarch (you can dissolve it in a little bit of warm water first to make a paste so that it’s not gritty in your mouth). Plate and season with ground pepper.

*You can toss them, or rinse and save them for another use. My Dad used to make baked clams using canned clams – easy, but without the benefit of shells for easy baking and nice presentation. No problem: when he ordered clams casino at a restaurant, he used to ask the waiter if he could keep the empty shells so that the next time he felt to urge to make baked clams he’d have them on hand.
Mutual admiration society, clam edition