Halibut with Lemons, Olives, and Rosemary

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We have enjoyed halibut and salmon from the fishing trip that Joe and our sons took to Alaska in May.  I am still experimenting with different ways of serving the halibut, but all of them have been delicious. This is my favorite, a variation on a recipe I found from cooking.nytimes.com. The time my family spent living in Indonesia created for us a fondness for Southeast Asian food and I love using a spice blend from Penzey’s called Singapore Seasoning. This is aromatic mixture that contains lemon peel, garlic, turmeric, cumin, fennel, ginger, and cayenne pepper among other spices that are perfect for fish and chicken.

Roasted Halibut with Lemons, Olives, and Rosemary

Halibut Filets (I used only one large filet for 2 of us)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Sea salt

2 teaspoons Singapore Spice Blend from Penzey’s

Fresh rosemary

1 lemon, sliced thinly

1/4 cup sliced, pitted Kalamata olives

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Lay the fish in pan, then brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and Singapore spice blend. Top with twigs of rosemary and slices of lemon. Sprinkle olives and remaining olive oil over all and bake 15 minutes or more, depending on thickness of filets.  Lemons will brown and fish will flake when pulled with fork.  I like to make this with roasted fresh green beans and red potatoes, baked in the same oven.

Squash Verole

IMG_3111There are so many ways to enjoy summer squash!  I used my 8 inch iron skillet to make this delicious Mexican flavored crookneck squash, a real treat along with some fresh purple hull peas.  I found the recipe in an all time favorite cookbook, The Texas Experience, Friendship and Food Texas Style. I use the cookbook so often the back is coming off and the pages are loose, and I always smile when I see my friend’s handwriting inside the front cover:  “To my best friend with much love, Merry Christmas 1984  Sondra.

It has been almost 30 years since we lived near each other, but I still miss her, and every time we talk, we pick back up where we left off!  Thank you, Sondra.  For the book, and for the friendship!

Squash Verole

4-6 yellow squash, sliced into rounds

1 onion, choed

4 tablespoons oil of your choice (I used coconut)

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped green chiles

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated.

Saute squash and onion in oil until tender.  Add milk, chilies, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove fro heat and add cheese. Serve hot.

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Blueberry Muffins

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Fresh blueberries usually disappear before I have a chance to cook with them, because we love them fresh, with yogurt, and in smoothies. But prices have been good lately and I decided to use some of the most recent purchase making these fresh blueberry muffins. These were wonderful fresh from the oven, but this makes a large batch, so I stored them in the refrigerator for breakfasts and snacks. This recipe has more berries than most, so they are moist, full of berry goodness, and a little crumbly – yum!

Blueberry Muffins

12  cup butter, at room temp

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons baking powder

1teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

1cup milk

2 1cups fresh blueberries

1 Tablepoon sugar and 1.2 teaspoon nutmeg for topping

Heat oven to 375°. Mix 1 Tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg for topping and set aside.

Grease 18 regular-size muffin cups  In bowl, mix butter and sugar until creamy.Add eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla, baking powder and salt.

Fold in half of flour, followed by half of milk. Repeat for other half. Fold in blueberries.

Spoon into muffin cups and sprinkle topping  onto each muffin.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and test done..

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Fig and Apple Chutney

IMG_2836One of summer’s gifts comes to us from the fig tree in our garden. When its fruit begins to ripen around the first week in July, it seems as if its branches will break from the hundreds of green figs. The foliage is so dense that I really have to work at finding the blushing fruit whose softening texture and slight bent on the stem say “pick me” even more than the color. This year because we had such a wet June, the harvest began a bit sooner. Picking twice a day can be a chore, especially as the temperatures rise.  We have many ways we like to use the figs, but because I know we won’t use all of them, I start giving bags away to those I know love figs, and try to make at least one batch of fig chutney.  This year, the figs I used for a small batch were almost the last to ripen.  Because of the sudden extreme heat, the tree went into preservation mode and all the green figs on the tree stopped ripening, hardened, and began to drop.  Even though we watered heavily, there were no more ripe figs.  So the few little jars of fig and apple chutney will have to do. It is some of the best I have made, so I will certainly try the recipe again next year.

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Fig and Apple Chutney

1 pound of fresh figs

2 apples 1

1 1/4 cup of sugar

1 / 2 cup cider vinegar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Clean the figs and halve or quarter depending on size. Peel and cut apples into cubes. Put everything in a saucepan with sugar, vinegar, spices and salt. Heat until boiling. Reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Ladle the hot chutney in sterilized jars. Close immediately. Turn the jars over until completely cooled. Best after 2 or 3 days. I store mine in the refrigerator.

Tarragon Chicken

IMG_3031My neighbor brought me a wonderful gift last week. She knocked on my front door and I opened it to find her smiling and holding out a bunch of sweet-smelling herbs from her garden, all tied up with yellow ribbon. Since tarragon is difficult to grow in this part of Texas I substitute an easier to grow herb, Mexican MInt Marigold, in my own garden so this was a real treat!  Tarragon is called the “King of Herbs” by the French, and with good reason. It is the main flavoring in many of the sauces that form the foundation of classic French cuisine. I understand that Tarragon Chicken was one of Jackie Kennedy’s favorite dishes (Another neighbor years ago gave me a cookbook titled Cooking for Madam, written by the woman who began as nanny and became the Kennedy’s housekeeper and cook.).

Tarragon Chicken

3  large unpeeled garlic cloves

4 small skinless boneless chicken breast halves 

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Heat small cast iron skillet, add garlic and cook, turning occasionally  until browned in spots and tender when pierced with knife tip. Remove to cool.
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter in larger skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate but do not clean skillet, as browned bits will be deglazed by wine, adding delicious flavor to sauce.
 Peel garlic. Add garlic and wine to same skillet; cook until reduced by about half, mashing garlic finely with fork, about 1 minute. Add broth and tarragon; simmer until liquid is reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cream and simmer to thicken slightly, about 1 minute. Return chicken to skillet with any accumulated juices. Simmer to heat through, turning occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; spoon sauce over. Serve with rice.