Category Archives: Pescatarian Dishes

Easy Salmon Poke

For Christmas Eve Dinner, I make my version of the American-Italian Style Feast of the Seven Fishes.  I had never heard of this before meeting my DH. 

On one of our visits back East to see his family, we were fortunate enough to go during the Holiday Season.  My Sister-In-Laws banded together and made the meal the way that their family does it.  Neither DH nor myself could eat very many of the dishes because we have Seafood allergies.  The following year I decided that I would do it my way and have done so ever since. 

This year, DH requested that we try a different dish, one that I have never made, but okay.

Let’s give this a whirl. 

On our last trip back home to Hawaii, I brought back this bottle of Poke Sauce, HMMMM!  

Easy Salmon Poke 

2 servings 

1 6–8 ounce Salmon Fillet, ½ inch dice 

2 Tbsp. Sweet White Onion, finely minced 

2 Tbsp. Green Onions, sliced on the diagonal, divided Greens & Whites 

¼ tsp. Alaea Hawaiian Salt (you can use regular Sea Salt too) 

¼ tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes 

2 Tbsp. Tanioka’s Shoyu Poke Sauce *  

¼ tsp. Sesame Oil 

1/4 package Noh’s brand Poke Mix Ogo Seaweed-optional, but really worth the effort **

¼ tsp. each Toasted & Black Sesame Seeds 

In a bowl, gently combine all of the ingredients, excluding the Green Onion tops. 

** If using the Ogo Seaweed, follow the packages direction and soak it in water for a few minutes and then squeeze it dry, breaking it up into small pieces.

Cover and chill until ready to serve. 

For service, transfer the Salmon Poke to a lovely bowl and top with the reserved Green Onions and a bit more Sesame Seeds. 

Isn’t that pretty? 

This can be served as a Poke Bowl, aka serve the cold Poke over hot steamed White Rice. 

*I know that not everyone has access to premade Poke Sauce, so I’ll add an easy one that you can make at home. 

Auntie’s Easy Shoyu Poke Sauce 

2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce 

¾ tsp. granulated Sugar 

½ tsp. Fresh Ginger, finely grated and include any juice 

½ tsp. Fresh Garlic, finely minced and include any juice 

¼ tsp. Sesame Oil 

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl until the Sugar is dissolved. 

** Noh brand Poke Mix is so handy. I either bring it back with me from Hawaii or Las Vegas or I order it online. It makes your Poke taste that much more true to how we make it in Hawaii. The reason why I say it’s worth the effort is in that package has not only Ogo Seaweed from Hawaii, but Hawaiian Alaea Salt and Chili Pepper as we call it. I never use the entire package, because I make small batches of Poke, so I keep the leftovers in a Spice Jar.

Remember, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own.   

Cook for your friends and family!  

… and if you could, hit that ‘like’ button, leave a comment below maybe just to say ALOHA; subscribe to my blog if you like what you’re reading and get an email when a new post has been uploaded.  

MAHALO! 

Cream Cheese And Chives Soufflé Ala Jacques Pépin 

I’m always looking for different lunch ideas, and I was watching Jacques Pépin on You Tube make this recipe. 💡

I had some fresh Chives in the vegetable bin of the `fridge that I know desperately needed to get used up before it went south on me. I also had a brick of Cream Cheese … let’s get cookin’ !!!

Cream Cheese And Chives Soufflé Ala Jacques Pépin 

1 Tbsp. Butter, softened 

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan Cheese

8 oz whipped Cream Cheese (spreadable cream cheese works too), softened 

1 Egg, beaten

3 Tbsp. freshly chopped Chives 

Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste 

Preheat the oven to 400°F  

Whisk the Egg into the Cream Cheese very well

Stir in Salt, Pepper, and Chives  

Butter the insides of two 1 cup ramekins

Coat the Buttered ramekins well with the grated Parm, pressing it into the Butter, all around-bottom and sides

Spoon the Cream Cheese mixture into the ramekins 

Put the ramekins on a foil lined sheet pan 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the Cream Cheese mixture is set and browned a bit on top 

Serve in the ramekins. It will deflate a bit as it cools; they can be served unmolded 

This was an absolutely lovely lunch that I served with a small Green Salad, topped with some of my homemade Three Bean Salad. I liked the textural difference of the soft Soufflé and the Parmesan crust on the outside. I think the only thing that was missing was a nice glass of dry White Wine. 😉

*Cook’s note: If you can’t find whipped or spreadable Cream Cheese, you can always use just a regular block Cream Cheese and whip it well before starting this recipe, that’s what I did.

Also, try one of the Cream Cheeses that already has goodies added to it.  I saw a Garlic & Herb, Garden Vegetable, or add-in what you have on hand, Dill, Green Onions … the sky’s the limit. 

Remember, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own.  

Cook for your friends and family! 

… and if you could, hit that ‘like’ button, leave a comment below maybe just to say ALOHA; subscribe to my blog if you like what you’re reading and get an email when a new post has been uploaded. 

MAHALO! 

Meatless Quesadilla For Lunch

I was hunting around the kitchen for a different sort of dish for lunch for myself. I found about a half a cup of canned Black Beans that I had stashed in the deep freeze, along with some Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Corn, Hatch Green Chiles and some Flour Tortillas from my local Carniceria.

A Meatless Quesadilla!


I’m thinkin’ y’all don’t need a recipe per se for this dish, but for those of us who do …

Auntie Doni’s Meatless Quesadilla

2 large Flour Tortillas (our’s are about 9inches or so)
1/2 C. canned Black Beans, rinsed and drained well
1/2 C. frozen Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Corn, thawed & drained (or any one you have on hand)
1/4 C. Green Chiles, chopped and drained well
1/2 – 3/4 C. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (you choose what you like)

In a dry 10 inch skillet, heat over medium-high until it’s good and hot.
Place one of the Tortillas in the pan, cover with the rest of the ingredients, starting and ending with the Cheese.
Place the second Tortillas over it all, pressing it down gently with a spatula.
Once the Cheese starts to melt on the bottom, carefully flip and toast the other side.
Remove to a cutting board and slice into either 6 or 8 pieces.
Plate and serve with your choice of toppings, or not. I just used more Cheese, `cuz there’s never too much Cheese for me! I would have loved some sliced Avocado, Sour Cream and Salsa 

I think next time I make myself a Quesadilla, I’m going to use this:


along with some shredded Chicken 

Remember, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own.

… and if you could, hit that ‘like’ button, leave a comment below maybe just to say ALOHA; subscribe to my blog if you like what you’re reading and get an email when a new post has been uploaded.

MAHALO!

Instant Pot® Egg Bites, My Way

Okay, so this is IP cooking for only my 6th time, so
here we go.

 

I saw some Egg Bites for sale in our local market for a fairly good chunk of change,
and I thought, I could make these for far less money in my Instant Pot®.

Game on!

I did some research on the WWW on Egg Bites and did
my usual of a mish-mash from different recipes
to create my own version.
Mainly because, almost all of the recipes called for Cottage Cheese,
which I know darn well that DH WILL NOT EAT! Never tried that with him, nor will I ever 

Here’s what I did:

 

Clean 3 four ounce mason jars (well 2 + an 8 oz’er `cuz that’s all I had)
Butter the inside of each jar, well (ssshhh! don’t tell DH )

In a 2 C. measuring cup, whisk together:
2 large Eggs
1/4 C. Whole Milk
2 Tbsp. grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
S&P to taste

In the bottom of each jar, sprinkle about 1 tsp. Bacon Bits
(reads as to your taste)

(I cheated, photo courtesy of Walmart.com)

Pour in the Egg mixture to fill each jar about half way.
Cover with tin foil.
In your Instant Pot®, place the trivet along with 1 cup of water.

Carefully place the filled jars onto the trivet.
Close and seal your IP.
“Steam” on “Normal” for 8 minutes.
Do a Natural Release for 10 minutes.

Release the vent value and using a jar lifter (or a pot holder works too),
remove the jars to a cooling rack.

Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese between the 3 Egg Bite tops.

Run a butter knife around the edge of the Egg Bites, extricate to your plate…

… and devour while still warm.

Our opinions?
Both DH and I said the same thing, it’s okay, but we don’t see all the hop-la over these.  They’re basically omelets.
I think if I were hosting say a Sunday Brunch Buffet, I would serve these, but for just us two, meh, NO!

Now, to be fair, I will try this again using the Cottage Cheese, just not when I’m feeding DH 

So, how did I do on beating the price of the pre-made Egg Bites you may be saying?

Here’s how I figured it:

Eggs: $2.50/dz. = 20¢/Egg
Bacon Bits: ($1.33/30 Tbsp.) ÷ 3) ÷ 3 = 2¢
Cheese: (38¢/oz. X 2) ÷ 3 = 25¢
Milk: ($1.90/qt. ÷ 16) ÷ 3 = 4¢
Butter: (22¢/oz.) I used about 1 tsp. total = 11¢ ÷ 3 = 4¢

I come up with 55¢ per Egg Bite.

Now, granted, I’m not the best in math, but …

These prices are based solely on what I paid here in Arizona at my local markets. Of course your costs may vary, but still, it gives a pretty good picture…

Remember now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own.

Cook for your family!

The Best Shrimp Scampi I’ve Ever Made!

There seems to be a pattern going on here in My Kitchen In The Middle Of The Desert …

But truly, this is the best Shrimp Scampi I’ve ever made!
I’ve tried this dish a bunch of times, but never got it
quite right. Then I saw a magazine recipe (I forget which one)
that suggested making a Shrimp Stock with the shells

Let’s try this!

Auntie Doni’s Shrimp Scampi

1/2 lb. 16/20 Shrimp, shelled & cleaned
1 C. Water
S&P to taste
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. Lemon Zest
2 Tbsp. White Wine
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes

In a small pot, boil the Shrimp shells in that 1 cup Water, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half.
Strain and set aside the liquid.
Season the Shrimp with S&P.

In a medium sized pan, melt the Butter over medium-low heat; add the Oil, Garlic, Parsley and Zest, cook until the fragrant.
Add the Shrimp and continue to cook until the Shrimp are just pink, turning only once;
add the Wine to mix by swirling the pan and reduce for a coupla minutes.
Pour in that reserved Shrimp Stock, give it a good stir and simmer on low for 1-2 minutes.
Add the Lemon Juice and Red Pepper Flakes.
If the sauce is too thin for your liking, swirl in a teaspoon of cold Butter to thicken.

Serve in a warmed bowl, with an added flourish of fresh Parsley,
and devour!

`Member now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea,
you take it and make it your own.

Cook for your family!

My Copycat Zippy’s Macaroni Salad

Originally, I posted this back on January 15, 2013 … WOW! More than seven years ago. “My Quest For Zippy’s Macaroni Salad”.
I’m changing the title to better describe what I’ve been trying to do, replicate a beloved dish from Hawaii.
Anyways, since then, I have fiddled with this recipe for my version of Zippy’s Restaurant Macaroni Salad. I’ve even gotten DH to finally try my Mac Salad and like it, just so long as I don’t add the second round of Mayo to his portion.

Here’s what I’ve discovered:
1) When using Barilla Brand of Elbow Macaroni, boil for at least 11 minutes.
2) Use only 1 1/2 tsp. of Mustard, much better actually.
3) Once everything has been mixed together and sat in the `fridge for at least an hour, go back and take a look at it. Is it a little dry looking? Has the Macaroni absorbed most of the Mayonnaise?
Stir in a tablespoon at a time to bring it back to where it should be, I added close to a 1/4 cup more Best Foods Mayo; then cover and refrigerate for another hour so that everything has mingled nicely. 

Something alot of local folks from Hawaii don’t share too often on the WWW, is that we like to add in stuff to our Mac Salad.

Try some canned Tuna and chopped Black Olives, OH MY! 

I’ll also add in more shredded Carrots and Celery for crunch extra crunch. This version is very tasty served on a bed of chopped greens of your choice. I usually have Romaine Lettuce in my crisper, this makes a lovely lunch.

So as I said, this is the re-boot of the original post from 2013 …

My Quest For Zippy’s Macaroni Salad

I have been trying to get the correct proportions of a recipe from a restaurant in Hawaii. Zippy’s is an institution on Oahu to be specific; they have many menu items at their fast food take-out locations as well as casual diners. One side dish that has been long coveted is their Macaroni Salad. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, yeah, so what?

Why don’t you try a Google search of Zippy’s Mac Salad and see how many hits you’ll get from us forlorn Islanders who have moved away to the Mainland.

I have been searching the internet for years trying to unearth the recipe, only to find others doing the same. At one spot, I found a letter that was sent to the Zippy’s Customer Service Manager, and the response was just a list of the ingredients, along with an invitation to the recipient to “experiment with it”.

Well, guess what I did, and I got it!

I meshed together different recipes, suggestions and some back and forth with other folks from Hawaii. The frugal homesick island gal that I am, I didn’t want to waste anything. So I made my first batch with a quarter of what I felt would make a full recipe. Seeing as my husband despises mayonnaise, I didn’t want to be eating Macaroni Salad for the next 5 days; though I do love my Mac Salad, not that much. You can try this smaller version or increase the quantities appropriately to your crowd.

Copycat Zippy’s Macaroni Salad

1/4 lb. Elbow Macaroni, cooked past al dente, so that they are fat and soft

1/2 C. Best Foods Mayonnaise (or Hellmann’s if you’re in the East, no substitution)

1 1/2 tsp. prepared Mustard (I used Dijon ’cause that’s what I had in the ‘fridge)

1 Tbsp. White Onion, finely grated, juice and pulp (I used a microplane)

2 Tbsp. Carrot, finely grated

2 Tbsp. Celery, finely diced

Salt and Pepper to taste (I used about 1/8 tsp of each)

Combine all ingredients but the Macaroni in a large mixing bowl.

Prepare the pasta as directed on the package. Test the pasta to make sure that it is past al dente, nice and soft but not falling apart. Drain well. While still warm, toss gently with the dressing and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. At this point, check to see if the Macaroni has absorbed too much of the Mayo, you may need to add more, possibly up to 1/4 cup. Combine well, cover and refrigerate for another hour before serving.

Enjoy this with your favorite Hawaiian-Style BBQ, steamed white rice or a tossed green salad and you’re now a local my friend! We call that a plate lunch in Hawaii. Gotta have my two scoops rice, mac salad and some kind of meat. It could be Beef, Pork, Chicken, Fish or for the vegetarians, Grilled Tofu.

 

My copycat Zippy’s Plate Lunch

ALOHA

Meyer Lemon Sherbert

A coupla years ago, my Mom gave me a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker for my Birthday.

I’ve only used it a handful of times since, but then I thought about making Sherbert. I do prefer Sherbert to Ice Cream really.

The other day I found fresh Meyer Lemons and bought a pound just because.

Let’s make some Sherbert!

Small Batch Meyer Lemon Sherbert

Serves 4

1/2 C. (approx. 3-4 Lemons) Meyer Lemon Juice & Zest from the Lemons
3/4 C. granulated Sugar
*2 C. Whole Milk

Prep your Ice Cream Maker to the manufacturers instructions.
Zest your Lemons, set aside; juice and strain for any pips.
In a microwave safe container, heat the juice just til it’s warm, about 10-20 seconds.
Add in the Sugar and Zest, then stir to dissolve.
Cover and chill in the `fridge overnight.

When you’re ready to churn, whisk together the Meyer Lemon simple syrup with the Milk in a pitcher or quart-sized measuring cup (it makes it easier to pour with a spout).

Start the Ice Cream Maker and slowly pour the Sherbert base into to the machine.
Follow your Ice Cream Maker’s instructions for making Sherbert or Sorbet, it should take 15-20 minutes to achieve a smooth and creamy soft serve consistency.
Enjoy now or transfer to an air-tight container and freeze 3 hours for a firm Sherbert … I like it either way.

*Cook’s note: You certainly could use any sort of Milk that your family likes, 2%, Non-Fat, Lactose-Free, Soy, or Nut Milks even.

And remember now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, you take it and make it your own.

ENJOY!

Anchovy Vinaigrette

Well, it’s Salad Season again and I love to make my own Dressings, which brought to mind this post from 2017 :

https://mykitcheninthemiddleofthedesert.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/a-different-twist-on-salad-dressing/

I didn’t tell you all about the Anchovy Oil that I save and use in the recipe above.

 

 

My Husband is crazy for these little Fishies, me, can’t stand them! I hunted high and low for Anchovies from Italy, and finally found them at Cost Plus World Market, love this store!

Once DH has finished a jar of these babies, I save the Oil for Vinaigrette.  But you can read more about that part in the thread above.

ENJOY!

Meyer Lemon Curd, YUM!

I’m going to post another throwback blog post.  The reason for this is I had made a batch of my Meyer Lemon Curd with the intent to use as a filling to either Lemon Bars or Pie, but things got away from me, so I stashed it in a gallon sized zip-top bag full in the freezer for later.

 

 

We’ve been invited to many Cocktail Parties in our Neighborhood since going into SIP Mode, sitting outdoors and maintaining our Social Distance, of course.

I was trying to dream up a Hostess Gift idea, and came up with this!

 

 

I just snipped a decent sized hole in the corner of the zip-bag and piped the Curd into a cleaned and sterilized half pint Mason Jar.  The frozen Curd was still quite malleable, but do be sure that you get as many of the air bubbles out with a plastic knife before sealing the jar.  The label I made myself on my laptop, printed that out, used some Craft Glue, Clear Wrap and some leftover ribbon that I have stashed away.  I added my Calling Card for our new Neighbor who invited a bunch of us over the other evening, and …

BAM!

Food As Gifts!

 

March 25, 2014

Years back, I use to watch Martha Stewart’s television programs and then, well you know, things happened.  One particular episode, I recall her making Lemon Curd and I thought that someday I’d try that.

My darling husband goes nuts for Lemon Meringue Pie and don’t ya know, that’s what’s in the middle of it (shhh, please don’t tell him that, he claims to HATE curd, “that sounds gross”).

I found some more Meyer Lemons of all places, at Walmart, so here goes.

Auntie’s Meyer Lemon Pie Filling

12 Egg Yolks (freeze the whites in two separate containers for later use, like frosting for a cake)

2 C granulated Sugar

6 Meyer Lemons, juiced (approx. 1 C of juice, no seeds please)

2 sticks of Butter, diced

Zest from the Meyer Lemons

This recipe makes approximately 2 pints.

In a metal or glass bowl (heat-proof), whisk the egg yolks and sugar.  Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.  Pour in the juice and stir continually with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon for about 10-15 minutes, until the mixture thickens.  Make sure not to allow the mixture to boil.  Add the butter and stir until melted and well incorporated.  Whisk in the reserved zest.

Carefully pour the curd into sterilized jars, best to use half pints or smaller mason jars, leaving ½ inch of head space.  With a damp paper towel, wipe the rim of the jars and seal with the lids and rings.

If you would like to ‘put up’ your bounty for later consumption, process them in boiling water for 20 minutes, allow to cool overnight and store for up to one year (if they last that long).

Should you not feel so inclined to ‘can’ your curd, simply cool and then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

I gotta tell ya, the smell in the house was heavenly.  I got 4 half pint jars and then half of a 5th jar that I stashed in the `fridge for toast the next morning.  Not shown here was a huge dollop of Meyer Lemon Curd in my yogurt the following morning.

 

** Edit-2/2017- I was reading about dairy based canning recently; It is now recommended that instead of using the Water Bath method, Pressure Canning or Freezing is the preferred technique. **

Basic Mini Cheese Balls And Beyond!

During this time of Social Distancing, my next door neighbor has been hosting BYOB Cocktail Hour Parties on her rather large front patio.  We’re all comfortable within our own six foot area and we arrange a table in the middle with shared snacks.  It works really well for us.

I’ve been trying to take over Finger Foods that would be appropriate, you know, everyone being able to maintain their personal space.  Here’s an idea:

Basic Mini Cheese Balls

8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temp
2 Tbsp. Butter, room temp
2 tsp. fresh Lemon Juice
dash Worcestershire Sauce
dash of Hot Sauce (I didn’t have any, so I used a pinch of Cayenne Pepper)
1/8 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

Chuck it all into a mixer, Stand or Handheld, and blend until smooth

That’s the basic part, now comes the different flavors …

Divide the Cream Cheese mixture evenly between three bowls

Bacon & Ranch – stir in 2 oz. shredded Swiss Cheese and 1/3 Tbsp. dry Ranch Dressing Mix to the Cream Cheese mix; in a separate bowl, mix approx. 5 oz. finely crumbled Bacon (I bought pre-made Bacon Bites in the Salad Dressing Aisle) along with 1/3 Tbsp. dried Parsley, set aside

Garlic & Herb – stir in 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan Cheese to the Cream Cheese mix, 1 Garlic Clove finely minced, 3/4 tsp. dried Oregano, 1/3 tsp. dried Parsley, a good pinch each of dried Thyme, Dill Weed, Basil and fresh ground Black Pepper; in a separate bowl add about 1/3 C. dried Chopped Chives (fresh is fine too, whichever you have), set aside

Toasted Pecan & Dried Cranberry – stir in 2 oz. Sharp White Cheddar Cheese to the Cream Cheese mix; in a separate bowl mix 1/3 C. each finely Chopped Pecans & Dried Cranberries, set aside

NOW,
line a rimmed sheet pan with some foil; using a teaspoon disher aka cookie scoop; scoop out equal amounts of the Cream Cheese Mixture from each bowl in to their accompanying “dip”, coating each cheese ball well.

 

 

Shape/roll each in your hand to fairly uniform balls. Place them all on the sheet pan, and cover tightly with another sheet of foil. Stash in the `fridge for at least one hour, longer is best and serve with either a Pretzel Stick stuck in each Mini Cheese Ball or on a neutral flavored Cracker.  I went with the Pretzel Sticks for my final service presentation, it just makes it less stressful with a group of folks.  The plate with the Trader Joe’s Pita Bite Crackers was for my taste-test, MMM YUM!  I’m going to make this again!

 

 

I just love this plate!  My Mother gave me a set of three of these for Christmas and I knew it would make a great Pupu Platter!

 

 

Remember now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, you take it and make it your own.  Try different combinations, maybe some Dried Fruit or Seeds… My personal favorite is the BACON!!!!