Donna’s recipe is really paper-bag snapper with preserved lemons. I had the will to make this but not all the ingredients. I looked for snapper, but it was not to be found. And I live in a state with tons of seafood. So I settled for catfish.


But Red Snapper would have been SOOOO good.

The fish is cooked in parchment with Basil, Preserved Lemons, Garlic, White wine, and Olive oil for about 30 minutes. The fish is flavorful, flaky, and definitely repeatable. No clean-up. Perfect!!


This was Gaye’s pick this week and the recope is from Donna’s book, Seasons. (page 40) So check on Gaye’s fish and then go over and visit with

We are a small group cooking from two of Donna Hays books and her recipes on line. Occasionally we branch out into other of her books. If you would like to join us just leave one of us a comment.


It seems we are in a tomato-basil trend right now for DH Wednesdays. Last week we made Permesan Crusted Veal cutlets which were served with a basil/tomato sauce. This week we are serving

    Tomato and Basil Poached Fish.

This is a simple but delicious Mediterranean dish. Light and healthy it is simply thinly sliced potatoes stewed in a tomato basil sauce. Right before everything is done the fish fillet is placed on top to quickly poach in the sauce. I used Redfish so it didn’t take long – Donna says about 2 or 3 minutes – for the dish to be complete. The fish is then served on top of the potatoes and sauce for a quick meal.

You can find the recipe on page 96 of Donna Hay’s off the shelf

And visit Chaya and Gaye for their delish fish dish. This was Kayte’s pick, but she is not blogging right now. It was a good pick.

And remember I said we were on a tomato/basil trend? Next week is Pasta with Tomato, Basil, and Olives!

How would you like to live a Fit and Spicy Life? I know I would? And this past week or so I did – virtually – through Mellissa’s foodie blog – A Fit and Spicy Life. Mellissa’s blog was my ‘assignment’ for April’s The Secret Recipe Club. And, as usual, I found a blog full of tasty treats and interesting entrees.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to some of Mellissa’s recipes.

For breakfast one morning we had:

      Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

If you like pumpkin and all the spices that go with them then these muffins are right up your alley. Filled with cinnamon and nutmeg they are sweet and spicy. Especially warm from the oven. 1/2 of the recipe resulted in 12 regular muffins and 10 minis. Perfect!!

    3 cups sugar
    1/2 cup oil
    1/2 cup applesauce
    4 eggs
    2 tsp. vanilla
    3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour {I used half AP flour and half Whole Wheat}
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp nutmeg
    2/3 cup milk
    1 15oz can of pumpkin
    1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray muffin tins with a bit of non-stick cooking spray.
Beat together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl until well mixed.
Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a separate bowl
Mix the milk, pumpkin, and applesauce in another bowl.
Add the flour mixture in 1/3’s to the wet sugar oil, vanilla and egg mix.
Add half the milk and pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the rest of the milk and pumpkin.
Stir in the chocolate chips
Add batter to muffin tins until about 2/3 full
Bake for 20 minutes

Good breakfast.


Dinner found us eating Risotto and Fish. To be exact we had…..

      Foil Packet Fish with Tomato Corn Relish
    1 teaspoon coriander seeds
    1 cup fresh parsley
    1 cup fresh cilantro
    1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    1 can of corn, drained
    1 heirloom tomato, chopped {I used sun dried tomatoes since Tomato season is no where near!}
    Mahi Mahi (or any other white fish) {I used VERY fresh Catfish, it was swimming that morning!}

Preheat a grill to high the oven to 350.
Toast coriander seeds in a dry skillet over medium high heat, tossing, about 3 minutes.
Crush the seeds and add to the food processor with the parsley, cilantro, ginger, vegetable oil, salt and 1 tablespoon of water.
Toss the corn and tomatoes with 3 teaspoons of the herb mixtures in a bowl and season with salt
Tear off foil sheets for each piece of fish. Please fish in center and top with herb mixture while placing tomato and corn relish on the sides of the fish. Fold up foil packets, but leave room for circulation.
Grill Bake the packets, covered, until the fish is cooked through, 10 – 15 minutes. Place a foil pack on each plate and open very carefully!

Talk about easy, and tasty, and quick. And no dishes to clean afterward if you leave the fish in the pouch. I loved the play of the ginger with the sweetness of the corn and the herb mix was just perfect with both the fish and the veggies. When summer comes along and we can actually find DECENT tomatoes I want to try this one again.

Along side the fish we enjoyed…

      Leek Bacon and Pea Asparagus Risotto

    2 leeks (use just lower half)
    12 cups chicken broth vegetable broth
    4 slices bacon
    2 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
    1 cup dry White Wine
    3/4 cup frozen peas chopped asparagus
    1/2 cup of finely grated Parmesan
    1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    Salt and Pepper to Taste

Finely chop leeks and bacon
In a saucepan bring broth to a simmer over medium heat
In a large skillet cook bacon until crispy, add leeks and cook until softened
Add rice and cook about a minute, ensure it is coated
Add wine and stir until evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Add broth in 1/2 cup to 1 cup intervals and stir until absorbed, waiting about 2 minutes between additions for a total of about 30 minutes
Stir in peas asparagus after final addition of broth
Remove skillet from heat and stir in Parmesan, cover and let stand 2 minutes.
Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper
Serve remaining Parmesan on top of the risotto

I really liked the sweet crunch of the asparagus in the risotto. I had only used it because I couldn’t find the peas and I needed to use up the last of the asparagus. It is simply too good to waste. I am glad I couldn’t find the peas!! I have been making more risotto since I found out how easy it can be. It was always a dish that scared me. I mean, really, making risotto at home?? YES!!! And this one was delicious. The vegetable broth added another layer of flavor.

For dessert I made…

      Peanut Butter Surprises

You can find the recipe on Mellissa’s Blog. I’ll let you visit her and find out what the surprise is.

There are lots more recipes I want to try from Mellissa but they will have to wait.

Hop on over to the other SRC members’ blogs and see what fun they had exploring their ‘assigned’ blog. And if you want to join in the fun just visit The Secret Recipe Club. You could have a great time with your ‘assignments’!!

It’s Thursday! That means it is time for Pasta. Not just any Pasta but Hazan’s Pasta.

    Linguine al Ragù di Pesce

What I like about all of Hazan’s pastas is their lightness. They are not swimming in a heavy tomato sauce that hides the flavor of everything else. Don’t get me wrong I like a heavy speghetti sauce sometimes, but these light ingredients are so different than what I am used to.

It’s not often, as Americans, we eat FISH with pasta. Shellfish, yes, but NOt FISH!! Hazan calls for Atlantic snapper but also suggests grouper, halibut or striped bass. I had white perch (we have friends who fish and share!) and it worked out just as well.

The perch held up nicely with the initial cooking but reheating left overs (and even tho’ I only made 1/2 the recipe there was enough for 3 servings) meant the lighter fish fell apart more. But it was mighy tasty. Mighty Tasty!! The other ingredients included a light mix of onion, fresh chopped tomatoes, garlic, and pepper flakes mixed with the pasta (and I used spaghetti because I keep forgetting to buy linguini – need to make it…).

This recipe is on page 103 of Hazan’s Thirty Pasta Pasta.

Kayte made Spaghetti al Cacio e Pepe so go check it out. Glennis is also a ‘member’ of Thirty Minute Thursdays.

Craving Ellie is a small group. There are only 19 of us. That means that every 19 weeks one member gets to pick an Ellie recipe. That’s the good news!! And the bad news?? We get to pick every 19 weeks. And that is HARD!! Sort of. But if there is a seafood recipe in there, it is usually going to be my pick. I don’t think I could ever get enough seafood – shrimp, crabs, crawfish (although that is technically NOT seafood), and any kind of fish. It doesn’s surprise any of the other members either.


“is an Italian fish stew with a savoury tomato and wine broth chock full of fish and shellfish.” says Ellie!!

And it is – shrimp, scallops, and halibut, eh… cod, okya, fine – catfish.

    1 tbl olive oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    2 stalks celery, chopped
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tbl chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried {I used ground ’cause that’s all I had.}
    1 bay leaf
    1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    1 tbl tomato pasate
    1 cup dry white wine
    2 14.5 oz cans no-sald-added diced tomatoes
    1 cup fish stock or water
    1 Tbl red wine vinegar
    3/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp freshly ground balck pepper
    1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
    1/2 pound scallops
    1/2 lb skinless halibut fillet, cut into 1″ chunks {Couldn’t find halibut, cod looked dry, used catfish}
    2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
    1 loaf whole-wheat Italian bread

Heat the olive oil over the medium-high heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, an additional 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the wine, bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat for 3 mintues.
Add the tomatoes with their juices and the fish stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, salt, and pepper. This base may be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
When ready to serve, reheat the soup base on the stovetop, if necessary, and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp, scallops, and fish. Reduce the heat and simmer, until everything is just cooked, about 5 minutes. Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with the parsley. Serve with the bread.

So what’s the verdict on this one?? I liked it but I didn’t love it.

    1. Using catfish was a mistake. The flavor of the catfish is way too strong for this dish. Next time – cod. I don’t think I have ever seen halibut anywhere near here.
    2. I think I would use sea scallops instead of bay scallops next time. The texture would be better.
    3. I used some focaccia that I had made earlier that had Italian seasoning in the dough. It was really good with the stew. Added great flavor.

I so hope the other CEinMB members liked this dish. I tried to chose something different but good. Check theirs out and see if I got it right.

And in 19 weeks I get to pick again. Better start looking at those recipes!!!!

NaBloPoMo day 18.

      O Canada!
      Our home and native land!
      True patriot love in all thy sons command.

      With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
      The True North strong and free!

      From far and wide,
      O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

      God keep our land glorious and free!
      O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

      O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, The Merry Cooks of My Kitchen My World gastronomically visited Canada this month. And it wasn’t any easier than visiting the USA. Over 100s of years Canada, like the rest of the North American as well as the South American continent was settled by refugees. Individuals who for one reason or another were another were ‘forced’ out of their own country and sought refuge in a new world. Mostly it was due to religious persecution, but some were adventurers who wanted to see new places. And the New World was NEW!!

French and English made up the majority of the immigrant population (AFTER the Native Americans) so there is much French and Engllish/Scottish/Irish influence in the foods of this land. It was not easy to choose. But I did…

    Salmon and Potato Pie

is a French-Canadian dish. Call it Canadian Comfort Food. Passed down for many generations, it is a mix of potatoes, salmon, onions/garlic, and spices baked as a two crust pie. Thanks Mackensie and Daryll for this one. Absolutely delicious!

I made 1/2 of the recipe and it was just enough for a 7″ pie plate (that I bought this summer and have been dying to use….).

Filling as it was there was still a need for DESSERT

    Butter Tarts

According to Nick Malgieri in A Baker’s Tour

    “…these probably came from Scontland and became popular in Canada early in the 20th century when corn syrup was first marketed in Canada.”

They are similar to a pecan pie, but with no pecans. And SWEET!!!!

      Butter Tarts

    4 Tbl (1/2 Stick) unsalted butter softened to mayonaise consistancy
    1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
    1 cup light corn syrup
    2 large eggs
    1 tsp Vanilla extract
    I recipe pastry dough. (Use your favorite.)

Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees
Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into three pieces. {I am assuming you have already made your dough and it is in the chill chest}
Place one of the pieces on a floured surface and flour the dough.
Roll into an 8″ square.
Using a 4″ round cutter, cut 4 rounds from the dough.
Press the small rounds into buttered muffin tin cavities as they are cut. They will not come all the way to the top.
Chill tartlet shells while preparing filling.
Place butter in a medium bowl and whist until smooth.
Whisk in brown sugar.
Whisk in corn syrup about 1/3 at a time. Whisk until mixture is smooth.
Whisk in the eggs one at a time.
Whisk in vanilla.
Pour the filling into a measuring cup (you don’t have to but easier) and fill tartlet shells leaving abut 1/4 inch empty at the top of each tartlet.
Bake until crusts are baked through and fillin is set – about 25 minutes.
Cool tartlets in the pans on racks for about 5 minutes. Run aparing knife around each cavity and lift the tartlets from the muffin pans.
Cool completely on a rack.

I don’t know why, but mine shrank some. The tartlets are supposed to be full and puffy. So I filled them with a little whipped cream.

But it must not have mattered because they were gone – fast.

You can find the other Merry Bakers at

And if you are looking for TWD, it’s just below.

When am I going to learn to trust Ellie? I have yet to be disappointed in her food (even tho’ sometimes the Guys aren’t impressed!). As I was putting part of this week’s dish together I was thinking there is no way this is going to taste good. But!! I was wrong. So very wrong!! What were we cooking?? Salmon!!

Specifically – Salmon Cakes with Ginger-Sesame Sauce!!

Salmon Patties make an appearance often in this Louisiana household. They are so easy and I have been using the same recipe for years. It was time for a new one. And here came Ellie with just what I needed. The recipe I have used just uses eggs, cooked potato, onion, and canned salmon. Ellie’s is completely different. Instead of potatoes she uses Whole Wheat Bread as a binder. (I made my own because I just could not bring my self to buy brown sponge at the store.) Most of the other items in the patties is standard except for one – chopped water chestnuts which Ellie says adds some Asian Flair. I think this is the reason it was not a big hit with the family. Ah, well. I liked it. And it was even better with the Ginger-Sesame Sauce. That was the reason I just knew this would not be any good. Boy, was I wrong.

This simple sauce made with mayo, yogurt, sesame oil, ginger, and soy sauce and it was tart and refreshing with these patties. Usually the patties come with tarter sauce, but this is So. Much. Better. So much!!! In other words I really enjoyed the Salmon Cakes. So, thanks, Sarah, for this pick. Delicious!! 1/2 recipe gave me six nice sized patties. You can find the recipe on Sarah’s Site and also on The Food Network Site. It is also, of course, in Ellie’s The Food You Crave. You won’t be sorry when you make these. (Even though they are really hard to make pretty in the pictures.)

I needed a side dish so I turned to Ellie (it is all about her food here, anyway…) and made her Ratatouille.

It is full of fresh eggplant, zucchini, garlic, basil, and onions as well as canned diced tomatoes. It all comes to gether really quickly. And deliciously. In So Easy Ellie pairs this with Snapper. It worked just as well with Salmon.

I made my own Whole Wheat Bread (medium size loaf) for this one.

    1 cup water
    1/4 cup butter
    1 egg
    2 Tbl sugar
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    2 cups bread flour
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
    1 1/2 tsp yeast

    Place all ingredients into bread machine. Just that easy. And it is really good bread. Soft crumb perfect for toasting.

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