You ‘red’ it here first — a simple way to cook fish

Using a bed of chopped tomatoes and onions keeps fish moist while it cooks. Photo by Laura Groch

Using a bed of chopped tomatoes and onions and low heat keeps fish moist while it cooks. Photo by Laura Groch

Lots of people are frightened by fish — by cooking it, to be more exact. It can be intimidating — and easy to dry out — but I think I have a way to keep it moist and cook it more easily.

The idea is to poach the fish over a bed of juicy vegetables so it can’t burn, be overcooked or otherwise become unpalatable. It’s also a way to make use of some of those bushels of tomatoes everyone seems to still be harvesting.

This recipe came from seeing other recipes that called for cooked-down cherry tomatoes. Continue reading

Chili Without Carne — and chili — is right up my alley

Chili Without Carne goes easy on the chili powder but is still flavorful and has great texture from all the vegetables. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Chili Without Carne goes easy on the chili powder, but is still flavorful. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Anyone who knows me knows better than to invite me to a chili cookout. It’s never been one of my favorite dishes, and when I was a food editor I turned down many requests to judge chili contests. (It just wouldn’t have been fair. I would have rated everything C-minus.)

Chili has wonderful ingredients in it — meat, beans, onions, garlic, tomatoes — but the “authentic” chili seasoning just turns me off. I’ve always found it bitter and harsh. So I Continue reading

A nice (rice) way to handle leftovers

fried rice

Fried rice is an easy way to use leftovers and a fun addition to the dinner repertoire. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Lots of folks made ham for Easter, others did a nice brisket for Passover. (We did a pork roast, make what you will of that, Facebook)

So: leftovers. (By now I hope yours are neatly packaged in your freezer, awaiting the call for meals like this.)

This Fried Rice recipe isn’t anything new or fancy, but it’s a fun change of pace and a Continue reading

Post-pumpkin, a few tasty ideas

pumpkin oatmeal

Pumpkin is a warm, welcome addition to your morning bowl of oatmeal. Photo by Laura Groch

Halloween is over, but pumpkin is still with us. And will be with us through year end. And really beyond, because pumpkin is just too good not to eat more often than just in chilly weather.

It’s nutritious, full of beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber, and you can use it in myriad cakes, pies, muffins and cookies — none of which I’m going to discuss here.

Instead, I’m going to suggest a few simple ways to use the rest of that can of pumpkin you Continue reading

Too much arugula? Polenta to the rescue

Polenta With Arugula

Polenta With Arugula (topped with mushrooms I also had on hand) was a delicious solution to the problem of overabundance. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Can a Californian have too much arugula?

Well — maybe.

I’m a fan of this peppery little salad green, and one day at the supermarket I was seduced by the sight of a large plastic container of arugula  — one pound — on sale — for $1.69.

I could not resist.

So I brought it home. And I started adding handfuls to my salads.

Continue reading

Valentine’s Day cookies spread the love, too

Toffee Bars, Almond Roca Bars

Almond Roca Bars or Toffee Bars are a sweet way to show the love. Photo by Laura Groch

December was a bit of an unsettled month for us. A death in the family meant our Christmas celebrations were low-key.

Homebaked cookies are my usual contribution to holiday cheer. But I didn’t bake for myself, or friends, or family. Missed the annual cookie exchange, too.

But we did have some very nice homemade cookies at the funeral reception, Continue reading

Pumpkin mac and cheese needs some pumping up

Pumpkin Macaroni And Cheese

Pumpkin Macaroni And Cheese is colorful, but needs a bit more punch than fontina cheese can offer. A few frozen peas add a bit of color contrast. Photo by Laura Groch

It’s pumpkin’s season to shine, and why not? Full of nutrients, fiber and beta-carotene, it’s always a winner in the kitchen.

But sometimes it needs a little help.

I clipped a recipe recently for a Butternut Squash Macaroni And Cheese from Dr. Oz’s Continue reading