Tag Archives: kalamatas

Seared Yellowfin with Kalamatas and Capers

Yellowfin with Kalamatas and Capers

My husband has been on a diet.  Sitting at a desk most of the day catches up with you when you least expect it, right?  When we returned from Italy this summer, he decided he was going to do something about it, paying close attention to what he ate, and getting regular exercise.

Since I’m the resident cook, I suggested that he might consider not going back for seconds at dinner, and that I’d help by reducing the quantity of food I cook.  I also suggested that instead of having a protein, starch, and vegetable with bread, that I’d focus on only a main dish, and a side dish.  The only exception would be to add a salad — and even then, the salad could replace the side dish.

He’s done his part by going to the gym we pay for in our HOA fees between 4-6 times a week doing both cardio work on the treadmill or reclining bike and then some weights.  I’ve done my part as well, and last night he informed me that he’s lost 11 pounds.  In two months, that’s the best sort of weight loss since it will most likely stay off over the long haul.  Outside of the numbers on the scale, I did notice yesterday that his trousers are riding a bit higher than before, and that the tailoring he had done when he purchased them to let them out will now have to be redone to take them in.

We won’t discuss whether any of this food regime has had any effect on my body, but I will say that it certainly can’t hurt.  I try to do my three miles three times a week and limit my portions.

We’ve been eating quite a bit of fish lately, and he said this meal was exactly what he wanted after he’d finished it.  Since I’ve tried many variations on it, I’ll agree that this is excellent, and is extremely quick and easy to prepare.  Because I’ve also experimented with a variety of types of fish, I know that it will taste good with the type you enjoy best.

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Roasted Swordfish and Mediterranean Vegetables

I cook such a wide variety of dishes and flavors from a seemingly crazy selection of recipes, that as much as you’d think I’d be satisfied with regard to food — I’m not.  Good thing I’m the cook, right?  Otherwise, that would sound truly ungrateful.

It’s difficult to explain, but at times like this, I need something to eat that really stands out:  a dish whose flavors come together perfectly, and no matter how many times I’ve had it before, I know it will be  perfect.  That I will never need to tweak the recipe — although I have — because it’s just right the way it’s written.

AND…it’s healthy! So that means I can submit it to all the lovely foodies at Equal Opportunity Kitchen and their Tried, Tested and True…Take Two event which is focused on not only good, healthy eating, but to building much needed awareness of the important cause of organ donation. Healthy food, healthy organs, right?

Although I’ve mentioned Michael Chiarello’s recipes in past posts, I haven’t shared this one in particular.  That’s odd because in my wild world of cooking, this reigns as one of the few recipes I’ve made again and again.  “Swordfish with Mediterranean Tomato Sauce and Linguini” is one of many outstanding recipes in his cookbook, Flavored Oils:  50 Recipes for Cooking with Infused Oils. I’ve tried over half the recipes in this book over the years, but this recipe is the best.

Yes, the flavors of the “tomato sauce” are my favorite, and yes, the pretty packets of fish and vegetables with pasta are something that can be special for a few friends who will think you’ve been slaving over a hot stove all day, or just the right touch to a special occasion dinner.  But my favorite aspect of this dish is that it takes almost no time to prepare from start to finish, and gives the impression that you’ve really put some time and expertise into it.  Plus, the packets make controlled portions, so going back for seconds isn’t an option.

I’ve never quite gotten the hang of folding the parchment exactly the way the directions describe, but it’s most likely from my lack of patience. But if you’re like me, wrap these bundles of deliciousness you own way.  Just make sure you try them.

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Grilled Rib-Eyes with Tomatoes and Kalamatas


I have a tendency to skip the sections in food magazines like “Quick Kitchen” in Gourmet, or “Too Busy to Cook” in Bon Appetit.  I look at the photos, am sometimes mildly curious, then realize there’s nothing to do.  What is that?  Do I long for the torture that inventive recipes sometimes entail?

Who knows, but recently a photo of steak simply displayed on a plate caught my eye.  Steak with Olives somehow got past my filter, bothering me each time I thumbed through the April issue of Gourmet until I finally gave in, realizing it was an easy way to make my husband’s suggestion for a sunny weekend “Summer’s Here” celebratory dinner come to fruition.

With Bellinis.

He said he was in the mood for a fruity drink, and this is a person who doesn’t normally drink.  His comment of, “You know, margaritas…” was heard, but I’d seen something about Bellinis somewhere and had white peaches on the brain.

And I’d seen the Steak with Olives for days and days, okay, months…scoffing at me from the magazine pages, challenging me each time I searched for something more interesting.  I was winning until I found the rib eyes on sale at my grocery store.  Nothing stimulates my brain like steak, a sale, and gorgeous weather.

Well, it sounds good anyway, right?

Suffice it to say I’ll look more closely at those “quickie” recipes from now on.  They’re a great springboard for other things…like the other recipe I saw for Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus with Parmesan.

Dinner time.

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Halibut with Veracruzana Salsa & Pasta

I’m on a a tomato pepper kick right now, so thanks for your patience.  It’s partly because of the weather, and partly because when I go to the store, I buy too much produce, and then have to make sure it gets used instead of ending sadly as a science experiment in my veggie bin.  Nothing new has grown in there lately, so I must be doing something right.

And thanks to Michael Chiarello for that.  Another recipe in his cookbook, Flavored Oils:  50 Recipes for Cooking with Infused Oils, is “Swordfish with Mediterranean Tomato Sauce and Linguini.”  It’s one of the only recipes that the Master of the House (MoH) actually requests.  “Can we have some of that fish in — you know — the white paper.  With the tomatoes?”  This would be the recipe he’s talking about.  I’m sure you can find the original in the “Great Places” area at Napa Style.  I, of course, was compelled to do something a bit different.  I can’t help it.

Somebody sends us Coastal Living magazine each month.  We don’t know who or why, but that’s cool, because it’s free.  And it has some tasty seaside type recipes in the back that I like to try occasionally.  In this May’s issue, “Veracruzana Salsa” caught my eye, and I figured I could use the halibut in my freezer and try this new salsa in the place of the tomato sauce called for in the Chiarello recipe.

I promise I’ll get off this toot and try to bake something with sugar and lots of fat calories. Maybe even tonight.  But for now, you’ll have to settle for this.  Oh, and yes, there are two kinds of pasta, because after going to the store twice, I forgot the linguini, so had to get by with what was left in two bags in the cupboard. *sigh* Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

Halibut with Veracruzana Salsa and Pasta

1 lb. firm, vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and halved
1 red pepper, seeded and halved
1 yellow pepper, seeded and halved
1 poblano chili, seeded and halved
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. cilantro, chopped
1/2 c. Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 c. capers, rinsed
1 c. pitted Kalamata olives, halved
juice of 1 lemon
2 T. red pepper olive oil
Halibut filets cut into 4 pieces about 4 oz. each
8-10 oz. pasta, cooked al dente

Set oven to broil and heat for 5 minutes.  Prepare pasta and reserve.

  1. Prepare tomato, peppers, and chili as stated above.  Place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Broil about 6″ from the heat for about 20 minutes or until skins are blistered and getting brown.  The tomatoes may be done sooner, so keep an eye on them and remove them earlier if needed.
  2. Remove from broiler, cool, and remove skin.
  3. Lower oven temperaure to 450 degrees and lower rack to a more central position.
  4. Cut peppers and chilies into strips and set aside.
  5. Cut tomatoes into large chunks.
  6. Loosely mix in a large bowl, peppers, chilies, tomatoes, onion, garlic, capers, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
  7. Tear off 4 large piece of parchment paper.
  8. Place about 1/2-3/4 c. pasta on each sheet.
  9. Top pasta with a piece of halibut, then drizzle a bit of the red pepper oil over each piece.
  10. Top each piece of fish with 1 c. salsa.
  11. Bring sides of the parchment together above the layered ingredients and twist tightly.
  12. Position all packages on a baking sheet, and place in oven for 12-15 minutes.  The packages will brown as the fish cooks, and may puff up a bit depending on how tightly they are sealed.
  13. To serve, remove packages from oven, and place on dinner plates.
  14. Open each package and fold down the sides of the parchment a bit.
  15. Place a wedge of lemon inside and enjoy.

This is another one of those recipes that is easily adjusted to suit your own tastes and flavor combinations.  I highly recommend making the Chiarello recipe exactly as it is to start — and having said that, don’t rip your hair out with the parchment folding directions that I have only attempted once.  Since then, I just do the parchment however I like.  The fish still tastes great, and the pasta, after being cooked in all that fabulous flavor is something out of this world.  I’ve roasted lemons, I’ve used non roasted veggies, but the one thing that I’d recommend you not omit is the Kalamata olives.  There’s just something about that flavor…

So have some fun and take pictures of the packages you make, which I’m certain will be more beautiful than mine! And one of these days I’ll truly figure out how to not have yellow pictures.  I’ve tried all settings, but I guess haven’t been persistent enough.  Look closely — the halibut is under there somewhere.