Tag Archives: fish and 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 Passover Potato Kugel with Shallots

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

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Last Passover my friend Hadley and I decided to have a leftovers dinner.  Since we each held a seder in our homes, we were unable to attend the other’s seder and this way we could at least taste what the other had served.

Now, not to be boastful, I am an awesome cook and the food at my seder was amazing.  We both made pot roast from brisket and used approximately the same recipe so that was a wash.  Our Tzimmes’ were both delicious in different ways – mine had a very deep richness and Hadley’s had a fresh quality to it that I liked (so much that I’ve made it for this year).

Our menus diverged at the kugels.  I made a matzoh kugel using matzoh farfel, chopped carrots, onions, celery, and parsnip.  I moistened it with vegetable broth and olive oil and seasoned it with salt, pepper, chopped parsley and dill, and poultry seasoning.  This dish has been a hit for the past 15 years – but then I tasted Hadley’s potato kugel and I was blown away.  It was the best potato kugel I had ever tasted.  The other thing about it was it’s paleo and I can eat it!

So here is the recipe with very significant changes but equally fabulous results!  Enjoy! Continue reading Paleo Passover Potato Kugel with Shallots

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

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