Category Archives: Fish & Seafood

Quick Calamari in Tomato Sauce

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~

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I’m a Johnny-come-lately to the pleasure of calamari.  For most of my life if you had offered them to me – my automatic response would have been “If I wanted to eat rubber bands, they certainly wouldn’t be the fish flavored ones!”

I think I started to change my opinion at Carmine’s, a family style restaurant.  Someone ordered fried calamari for the table and insisted I try one.  OMG!  Who knew how delicious, tender, and non-rubber bandy they could be.  I couldn’t stop eating them…and now I dream of them.

But that was fried calamari…let’s be honest if you fried fishy rubber bands and gave me a delicious dipping sauce for them , I might fall in love with them too.  The transition to non-fried calamari came in a seafood cooking class.  One of the dishes was a squid salad and one of my tasks was cleaning the squid (which I was awesome at) and after doing all that work, I had to try the dish.  Okay, not love a first bite – but pretty good.

Fast forward to last week and I’m at the farmer’s market where the fish monger has fresh squid and some weird impulse seduced me to buy some.  I think it was more to see if I remembered how to clean them (the class was several years ago) then to actually eat them.  But here I am, a bunch of perfectly cleaned calamari and wondering what to do with them.  This recipe was my answer…and an excellent answer it was!

BTW if you want a really speedy version of this recipe, just heat up your favorite spaghetti sauce and stir in some calamari slices and cook a minute or two until opaque.

Of course I serve mine with zuchetti, if you are not paleo or gluten free, you can use any kind of pasta.

Bon Appetit!
Continue reading Quick Calamari in Tomato Sauce

Mussels in Thai Green Curry Sauce

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Paleo ~~~

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I really love the fish department at Whole Foods, so whenever I’m there I check it out to see if something is calling to me.  This week it was the mussels – they were the small ones that I prefer (though I know many people live the larger meatier ones).

I usually try to buy only wild caught fish, mussels are the exception.  The difference between farmed and wild caught mussels are….sand – and lots of it.  Although I rinse and scrub my mussels before cooking them, no matter how hard I work there is always at least a few gritty mussels.  Now I like gritty people just fine, but gritty shellfish (or vegetables for that matter) are just not acceptable.  To explain the difference between farmed and wild here’s a piece from Sunset magazine  http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/flavors-of-the-west/seafood-farmed-or-wild :

Mollusks

Clams, oysters, scallops, mussels are the ideal farmed seafood. In the wild, they may be harvested using hydraulic dredges, which rip up the ocean floor.

Farming, on the other hand, involves either raising the mollusks on beaches and hand-raking to harvest, which has very little impact on the beach itself; or growing them on strings hanging from floating platforms or in metal-mesh sacks laid on floating racks, neither of which does any environmental damage whatsoever.

Moreover, these little bivalves eat plankton, so do nothing to deplete other fish populations. And best of all, they’re filter feeders, leaving the water cleaner than it was before.

Now about the sauce…I use store-bought Thai green curry sauce (I bought it at Whole Foods but I know they also carry it at Trader Joe’s and most gourmet stores have it in their Asian section or of course you can find it online).  I don’t feel guilty about buying it prepared as there is a large list of “unusual” ingredients that goes into it like galangal, lemon grass, coriander roots, and shrimp paste.  Surprisingly the prepared pastes are generally paleo.  Check the label before you buy it.

This is one really delicious way to prepare mussels.  Enjoy!
Continue reading Mussels in Thai Green Curry Sauce

Paleo Sukiyaki

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~

Paleo Beef Sukiyaki

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Despite the fact that I grew up in a family that loved good food, the number of different cuisines we tried was pretty much limited to Hungarian, Italian, Chinese, French, and Deli.  It wasn’t until after college that I first had Japanese food and then it took me another 30 years before I tried sushi.  In those before-sushi-years my go to dish was always beef sukiyaki.  I loved the flavors as well as the show they put on when they cooked it at your table.

Fast forward many years – I’m a vegetarian and writing my book “1,000 Vegetarian Recipes” and as you can imagine, I’m trying to find diverse recipes for each chapter.  Memories of beef sukiyaki float to my mind and before you know it I developed a great tofu sukiyaki.  I will say that of the 1,000 recipes in that book, the tofu sukiyaki was  probably one of the top ten I made over and over…you can tell by looking at the soy sauce stains on the page. In fact one it was one of the things that I really missed when I became paleo.

Never to be one to pass up a challenge, this week I set my mind to paleo sukiyaki.  I went back to the original beef sukiyaki that started my love for it and then set about converting the sauce to paleo approved ingredients.  Surprisingly it was really easy to achieve a super delicious version.

Coconut aminos, that I usually find to be a somewhat less than perfect substitute for soy sauce, turns out to be a natural for sukiyaki.  Because the sauce for sukiyaki is quite sweet, the sweetness of the aminos allowed me to eliminate the need for sugar in the recipe.  I added just a little fish sauce to intensify the saltiness and that was it!

When I made tofu sukiyaki I would use bean threads as my noodle of choice, but for this I found that sweet potato noodles work just as well (shirataki noodles would work well too).  I get my noodles in Chinatown, but you can get them here:  https://www.amazon.com/Dragonfly-Sweet-Potato-Vermicelli-ounce/dp/B005S9U0A8

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I use dried mushrooms I also bought in Chinatown.  To be honest I have no idea what kind they are.  They were in an open bin along with lots of other types of mushrooms and I just pointed to number 1046 and hoped it was good.  I think dried shiitaki mushrooms would be a good substitute.  For the fresh mushrooms I used a mixture of white and brown beech mushrooms as well as enoki.  Just regular white mushrooms, sliced would also work here.

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For me this recipe is a real success and I’ll be making it often.  Hope you like it too.

Enjoy!
Continue reading Paleo Sukiyaki

Manhattan-style Clam Chowder

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~~

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Every now and then I get a craving for clam chowder. In my dreams it’s that velvety, unctuous, creamy New England Clam Chowder with just a hint of bacon…

Oh well, that was before the “dairy and wheat problem” and now I can dream of it, but sipping it is out of the question. But that doesn’t mean I have to forgo Clam Chowder – there is always Manhattan-style that has its own special appeal. Personally, I like it with a bit of a bite from plenty of black pepper, but you can tone it down to your own tastes. Also, after lots of fooling around with the recipe, I find that chopping all the vegetables fairly finely helps the flavors meld so much better than larger pieces. Of course having a food processor makes this a snap.

I make this on a kind of regular basis. It’s only fair to tell you that this is more of a vegetable soup with clams than a clam soup with vegetables.   It makes a large batch, but it freezes nicely so you don’t have to worry about what to do with leftovers.

About the ingredients:

The Clams – So I confess that I am a horrible person because all the recipes I saw online from “big name” cooks start out with fresh clams and honestly – that is not something I routinely keep in my pantry or even refrigerator. So, I use canned minced clams and if I want to boost the clamminess, I substitute clam broth instead of some of the vegetable or chicken broth.

I use waxy (boiling) potatoes because I think they hold together better than baking potatoes.

I use 2 kinds of canned tomatoes – crushed and stewed.  The crushed gives a more intense tomato flavor and the stewed (or you can use diced) gives you the tomato pieces.

I love this soup because I always have the ingredients on hand so when the weather is particularly nasty and I want soup, I don’t have to go out of the house to buy any ingredients. Continue reading Manhattan-style Clam Chowder

Lemon and Herb Baked Salmon

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Parve * Paleo~~~

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Another brief post because I am very very busy this week.  I’m having 17 for first seder, and for the second seder I am cooking (with a lot of helpers) for 142 (yes, you heard that right) for my synagogue.  Since the second seder is on Shabbat (Saturday night ) and you can’t turn the oven on until after sunset; we are serving a cold meal and this salmon is the main entree.  Not only is it delicious cold, but it’s just as good served hot.  It also makes a nice change from gefilte fish as an appetizer.

Have a wonderful holiday this weekend – be it Easter or Passover.
Continue reading Lemon and Herb Baked Salmon

Better Paleo Soy Sauce and a recipe for Soy Sauce Shrimp

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Tamari (soy sauce minus the wheat), one of the pantry staples I was using when merely gluten-free, is now off limits since I’m paleo and beans are out.  The paleo substitute for soy sauce is coconut aminos.

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It’s true that it tastes sort of soy sauce-y, but in truth it tastes much more like teriyaki sauce – meaning it’s much sweeter and much less salty and concentrated than soy sauce (coconut sap blended with salt – whatever that means).  It actually makes a yummy dipping sauce for sashimi when mixed with wasabi – better than soy sauce to my way of thinking, but when it comes to cooking stir-frying or making marinades, they come out lacking something (flavor?).  Not being someone who rests content with less than good, I let my little scientist alter ego wander and I think I’ve found an excellent answer.  Marmite.  Huh?

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Marmite is a pretty vile tasting goo that is popular with the British, especially the colonials so I am told.  I was having coffee with my friend Pene ( who happens to be South African) and we were talking about breakfasts. She mentioned that one of her favorite breakfast items is buttered toast with Marmite.  In an effort to enlighten me she brought out the the jar of Marmite and put a little on a spoon for me to taste. OMG – ghastly!!!!  The only way I can describe it is a prune colored, thicker than syrup substance that tastes like pure salt with a hint of bitterness.  Now I’ve seen jars of Marmite in stores but never really gave it much thought but now that I tasted it a light bulb went off in my brain – paleo soy sauce!  Think about it…if you thinned out the marmite, wouldn’t that be pretty much the same as soy sauce?  I could have left it at that, but truly I wasn’t looking for an inedible substitute for soy.

I went directly to Zabar’s (our local super delicacy market) and picked up a jar.  When I got home, I started playing with the proportions of marmite to coconut aminos.  I actually needed more Marmite than I had predicted, but in the end, I believe I have a very satisfactory soy sauce for those of us who don’t eat soy.

Here’s the formula:

Heat 1/4 cup coconut aminos in a microwave oven until warm (about 20 seconds);  stir in 1 teaspoon marmite (or more or less to taste) until dissolved.

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Pour into storage container and store in refrigerator.

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Happy Asian Cooking!
Continue reading Better Paleo Soy Sauce and a recipe for Soy Sauce Shrimp

Mussels and Clams Provencal

Paleo * Gluten free

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I was at a birthday brunch for a friend on West 20th Street and the magnetic pull of Chelsea Market Place extended the 5 blocks I needed to walk there.  I love going to Chelsea Market Place, it’s a New York City food mall and home of The Food Network (I’ll remember to take pictures for you the next time I go), the shopping is great.

I went to the fish store and opted for the mussels and clams because it was Sunday and no matter how excellent the fish store, Sunday is not the best day to buy fish.  Bivalves, on the other hand, are fine as long as they are still alive – and any good seafood monger will only put “good” ones in your order.  I chose to use both clams and mussels because they looked so good and were both small – the way I like them.  You can use either clams or mussels with equally good results.  Cooking times may vary on this recipe as it takes longer to cook larger clams and/or mussels than it does the small ones I chose…and if you are using both clams and mussels, put the clams up to cook first as they always take longer to open than comparably sized mussels.  Also, clams are brinier so you don’t need salt for them; if you are only using mussels, you may want to taste the sauce and see if it needs salt before serving. So I got home and was deciding whether to make a red or white sauce for them when I saw these two previously beautiful tomatoes still languishing on the counter.   That sealed the deal…Provencal…and yummy. Continue reading Mussels and Clams Provencal