Vaguely Indian Fish and Tomato Curry

Recently, I was at my farmers’ market looking for Roma tomatoes to roast and can, but there were none to be found. I got to talking to one of the vendors and he had about 8 lbs of “unsellable” tomatoes; those that were too blemished or ugly to sell. I bought them for 75 cents per pound and ended up with about 7 pints of tomatoes. Score! I highly recommend using homemade roasted tomatoes. I served this over rice.

3 small tilapia filets, cut into chunks
1 medium zucchini, cubed
1 pint fire roasted tomatoes, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 Serrano peppers, minced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon garam masala

In a large saute pan, heat the vegetable oil and mustard seeds. When the seeds start to pop like popcorn, add the zucchini and Serrano peppers and saute, stirring frequently, until the zucchini has just started to soften. Add the tomatoes and all of the remaining spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Place the fish on top of the sauce, put a lid on the pan, and simmer gently for another 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Give it all a stir and serve over rice.

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Roasted Okra

Okra season is in swing! This makes me happy. According to the Monash University Low Fodmap Diet app, 3 pods of okra are acceptable on a low FODMAP diet. I have no idea what that means because okra pods range in size from tiny to gigantic. I assume that a serving is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped okra.

The traditional American approach to okra is to either stew it, put it in gumbo, or coat it with cornmeal and fry it. Those can all be good but I am a huge fan of roasting it. It is delicious just tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. But it can also be tossed with any number of other spices. One of my favorites is chaat masala. The brand I have in my cupboard is Shan and it is a blend of different peppers and spices. It does not contain any garlic or onion.

For roasting, I always buy the smallest okra I can find. I don’t use any that are bigger than my pinky finger.

Okra
Olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425F. Toss okra with just enough olive oil to coat it. Spread it out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet or in a large, flat bottomed roasting pan. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Roast in a hot oven for 15 minutes or until browned in spots. You might want to check it about half way through and give the pan a shake. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with any other spice mixture you might like. Or not. Serve hot.

OMG Blueberry Pie

I’M USING ALL CAPS BECAUSE THIS PIE IS SO GOOD. AND IT IS SUPER EASY.

What a great way to indulge in blueberries. The cookie crumb crust is easy and delicious. I use Mi-Del brand arrowroot cookies; I find them in the health food section of my supermarket. If you are very sensitive to lactose, just leave off the whipped cream. Believe me, the pie is still delicious without it. Or you could try and find a non-dairy whipped topping that you like and can tolerate. Some folks swear by whipped coconut milk but I haven’t tried it.

For the crust
2 cups arrowroot cookies
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons melted clarified butter or ghee
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon water
4 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
pinch salt

For serving
lightly sweetened whipped cream or low FODMAP alternative

Make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9 inch pie plate. Put the cookies and sugar in a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and vanilla and pulse a few times until thoroughly combine. Dump the mixture into the pie plate and pat it out with your hands across the bottom and up the sides. Try to get it as evenly distributed as possible. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until it starts to look golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Make the filling:
Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water and set aside. Combine 1/2 cup water, 2 cups blueberries, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, stir in the cornstarch mixture, lemon juice, and salt. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining blueberries. Pour into the prepared pie shell. Let cool and then refrigerate until cold. Serve with or without whipped cream.

Spicy Slaw

I made the Aloha Skewers the other day, substituting shrimp for chicken. They were fantastic. I served this slaw alongside.

4 cups thinly sliced cabbage (Napa or regular)
1 serrano chile, finely minced
1 bunch scallions, green parts only, chopped
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Toss together the first four ingredients. To make the dressing, whisk together the next four ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine the dressing with the salad, add a little salt to taste, and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberries are in high season; I picked quite a few from bushes I helped plant at our local community garden. They are delicious. This recipe for a gluten free muffin came from a cookbook I have, Gluten Free Every Day. If you have an all-purpose, wheat-free flour that you like, you could probably substitute it without any problems. The muffin batter for this recipe was quite stiff; almost like a drop cookie dough but not quite.

1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour cake enhancer (optional)

6 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk (lactose-free)
1/4 cup Greek style yogurt
1 large egg
2 cups blueberries

TOPPING:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon clarified butter or ghee, melted

Preheat oven to 400F and line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Whisk dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk butter, sugars, milk, yogurt, and egg together until thoroughly combined. Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold in the blueberries. Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle it over the tops of the muffins. Use all of it! Bake the muffins for about 25 – 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.

Aloha Chicken Skewers

I might try substituting shrimp for the chicken in this recipe. I bet it would work well. Store bought teriyaki sauce often contains some FODMAP ingredients. You can easily make your own, leaving out the offenders. Here’s one recipe; just leave out the garlic.

Brine:
7 cups cold water
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt

Skewers:
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into large cubes
1/2 lb thin sliced bacon, pieces halved cross-wise
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cubed (I buy it already peeled and cored from the supermarket)
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (preferably homemade to avoid FODMAP ingredients)

Combine brine ingredients until salt and sugar are thoroughly dissolved. Put the chicken pieces in the brine and refrigerate for an hour. When ready to grill, preheat the grill or light the fire. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Roll a half slice of bacon around each piece of chicken. Skewer the chicken pieces alternating with the pineapple pieces. Grill over a hot fire, basting with the teriyaki. Grill time should be about 8 – 10 minutes.

Butter Braised New Potatoes with Herbs

New potatoes are in season. I found some tiny gems at my local farmers’ market. I have copious amounts of parsley, chives, and dill in my garden. Use whatever fresh herbs you can get your hands on. Be sure to use clarified butter as it has had the FODMAP ingredients removed.

1/3 cup clarified butter or ghee
1 quart tiny new potatoes (I bought a quart-size basket at the farmers’ market; maybe it weighed about 1 1/4 pounds?)
1/2 cup minced fresh herbs (I used parsley, chives, and dill)
salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a large sauce pan with a lid. When it is starting to shimmer, drop in the potatoes and put on the lid. Keep the heat on high until the butter is bubbling around the potatoes then turn it down to low. Braise the potatoes for 20 – 30 minutes until they are cooked through; give the pan a shake every 5 minutes or so. Toss in the herbs, put the cover back on, and remove the pan from the heat. Let is sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper.

Skillet Salmon and Quinoa

You need a large, lidded skillet or saute pan for this.

1 lb or slightly larger salmon filet, cut into 4 roughly equal sized pieces
vegetable oil for sauteing
2 cups water (or homemade low FODMAP chicken broth)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups torn spinach leaves
1/2 cup chopped scallion greens
1/4 cup minced garlic chives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
freshly squeezed lemon juice for serving

Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large saute pan until it is shimmering. Put the fish, skin side down, in the pan and let sit over high heat for 3 minutes. Salt and pepper the fish while it cooks. Remove fish from the pan and set aside on a plate, skin side up.

Return the pan to the heat and add the water or broth. Bring it to a boil and add the quinoa. Cover the pan, turn the heat down to a simmer and let it cook for 8-9 minutes. Stir in the spinach, scallions, chives, feta, olives, and dill. Nestle the salmon pieces, skin side up, in the quinoa mixture. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the salmon is just barely cooked. Serve salmon and quinoa mixture drizzled with a little fresh lemon juice.

Grilled Pork Chops with Orange Tomatillo Salsa

I bought some chops from my farmers’ market that were about 1/2 inch thick. I brined them so that they would be tender and juicy after grilling.

For the brine:
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 cups water
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2-3 bay leaves

5 thin cut pork chops

For the salsa:
1 lb. tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles
1 large seedless navel orange, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped scallion greens
1 tablespoon garlic oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Make the brine. Combine the salt, sugar, and 2 cups of the water in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer until everything is dissolved. Remove from heat, add the peppercorns, bay leaves, and 6 cups of water. Refrigerate until cold. Put the brine and the chops in a gallon size ziploc bag. Squeeze out the air so that the chops stay submerged. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Make the salsa. Preheat the broiler and put HALF of the tomatillos on a ridged baking sheet. Broil them for about 5 minutes, until they are starting to blacken. Flip them over and broil another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT the oranges in a food processor and pulse until the raw tomatillos are chopped fine. Dump into a bowl and stir in the chopped orange. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry. Oil the grill grate and preheat the grill. Grill the chops over a very hot fire for about 5 minutes per side. Serve with the salsa on the side.

Ham and Greens

According to the low FODMAP diet app from Monash University, the following leafy greens are OK for all sensitivities: bok choy, common cabbage, chicory leaves, choy sum, endive, kale, radicchio, spinach, and Swiss chard. I used escarole when I made this (it is a variety of endive) and had no problems. This is a super easy recipe for a weeknight dinner. You could even cook up some wheat-free pasta and toss it with this dish if you are in need of some carbs!

Grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 country ham steak, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 heads of escarole chopped or enough acceptable greens chopped to make 16 cups
olive oil for sauteing
2 tablespoons butter

In a large saute pan, heat a little olive oil and add the ham. Let is sizzle a bit until the ham starts to brown. Add all of the greens, turn down the heat, and put a lid on the pan. Stir the contents every few minutes and return the lid to the pan. Cooking time will depend on the type of greens you used. Spinach will be done in a few minutes, tougher greens will take longer. When the greens are done to your liking (I like mine soft), add the butter and let it melt. Stir to combine and remove from heat. Toss in the lemon juice and zest. Season to taste.