Tag Archives: lemons

Roasted Branzino with Lemon, Oregano, and Capers

I don’t have a bucket list in general, let alone a food bucket list.  But I do have a mind that sees something interesting and once captured, it stays and stays.  This particular oddity of mine isn’t limited to food, but because food is what I think of most, I can guarantee my mind is full of ideas just waiting for an opportunity to try.

Perhaps I do have a food bucket list.

Let’s take branzino for example.  I know.  I’d never heard of it before, but probably read about it in Saveur or something.  I love those experiences.  I read about something new and my curiosity is piqued.  Sometimes, that’s enough I think, realizing that in one lifetime, I can’t possibly fit every whim or fancy into reality.  I tell myself some things are best left for whimsy.

But I’m caught off guard occasionally.  Frequently would be more accurate, but who’s keeping score?  This past winter as I shopped for holiday menu ingredients, I spotted fresh, whole Branzino resting on a bed of ice behind the glass case at the market and without hesitation asked the clerk for two.  As I was waiting, a couple eased forward, looking at the Branzino as well, and I heard them talking about it in hushed tones, sharing memories of how it had been prepared and how much they enjoyed it.  When the clerk asked them about their selection, they responded with a request to have it “dressed.”

I, on the other hand, just wanted the whole fish — or two.  This means I left the store with the entire fish — guts and all and not a clue what to do with it.

For what it’s worth, I think the very best things in life come from experiences that haven’t been planned.  That’s a good lesson for me — someone who plans to the nth degree.  Obsessively.

Have you ever gutted a fish?  I hadn’t until this particular time, and I’ll spare you the details of my experience simply because I chose not to put my fishy hands on my camera, but am happy to say I pulled it off famously.

This is an extremely simple and classic preparation of Branzino which is also known as European Seabass.  If you’re someone who enjoys a light, tender piece of fish and likes to experiment a bit with ingredients, then this recipe is for you.

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Roast Lemon Chicken with Garlic & Olives

<img alt="Roast Chicken with Garlic & Olives"/>
I don’t really know how to truss a chicken.  At most, if I’ve attempted to do so, it has only been when I’ve stuffed the chicken and so I half-heartedly wrap cotton string around the legs a few times to keep things in.

Any number of resources are available that will explain why I should truss my chicken, how said trussing will affect the final product, and of course, show me how to truss effectively.  To be honest, this whole subject must have been determined by destiny.

Some people are destined to be famous and make millions, or influence hoards of willing subjects thereby changing the direction of humanity for the better.  I am destined to be someone influenced by clever and charming Foodie I happened onto a few days ago after I’d already made the decision to thaw the eight-dollar non-organic, mass produced big box grocery-store-bought Foster Farms roaster in my freezer and had some semblance of a recipe in mind.  I wasn’t looking for a lesson on trussing, but I got one anyway.  And  must have been a good lesson, because I’d read Thomas Keller’s viewpoint on the importance of trussing not too long ago, but wasn’t compelled to give it a go.  Of course, I didn’t have a chicken in my sink at the time.  Waiting.
So thanks, Matt of Wrightfood.  I enjoyed the video and your blog.

I’m not sure I was perfectly successful at the trussing (you’re not supposed to have a big “X” across the most delicate part of the chicken…), but I enjoyed myself, and will be looking into this business of trussing, adding it to the mental list of things I should do, but don’t, and then chide myself over mercilessly.  Our roast chicken was, however, very moist and flavorful with little or no effort.

There are quite a few variations on Chicken with Olives that I’ve come across, so I can say that they’ve all influenced my version one way or another — without the trussing.

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Lemon Berry Creme Gateau to LiveStrong For

I’ve been a serious slacker about this blog, but to be fair, it’s because I’ve been cooking and taking pictures.  I know — liar.  Well, not completely.  I did cook, but I’m also planning our Mother’s Day extravaganza, so also did some general cleaning, and planting, and enjoying the completely gorgeous weather we’re having.   So I’m going to slam out two or three of these posts today and be more responsible.  I promise.  Besides, I have to get this thing all gussied up with the new banner I made.  Writing first, then banner.  At this rate, it may be in the wee hours of my morning.  Right now, it’s a quarter after lunch time.

A good place to begin is at the end of the weekend and my entry in support of LiveStrong Day and amazing people who are battling cancer.  In particular, Barbara, author of Winos and Foodies (boy do I fit in there…) has organized A Taste of Yellow.  And I know the rest of you have already turned in your drooliscious entries, but I read that Barbara gave the rest of us slackers a few more days while she’s vacationing, and that means I get to creep under the finish line with my creation of this Lemon Berry Cream Gateau.  I know, it looks more red than yellow, but oh my goodness, this thing really tastes yellow!

I’m a sucker for food porn photos, and the March edition of Sunset magazine didn’t let me down.  Thanks to Sunset and E. Shulman in Arizona for her inspiration and her “Cream Puff Gateau.”  I used her recipe for the pastry, but from there, I morphed a few other things together.  What the heck is new, right?  The good thing is, you’ll always know whether my family liked the end product, and if not quite to our liking, some modifications I could make the next time — if there is a next time.

In this case, most certainly, I think the possibilities are endless.  And often I’d like to make a beautiful dessert without a tremendous amount of fuss, and find myself digging through cookbooks, or doing Internet searches.  I can keep this one, and change it however I wish, just as long as I remember to write down my variations so they can be used again.  I know.  You probably already do that.

Oh, and I apologize profusely to all the Daring Bakers who suffered through their Martha Madness last month for their baking challenge.   I know this gateau looks suspiciously like those crepes, and you are probably running for cover right now.  But don’t go.  It’s really very uncomplicated.  And I think you’ll agree that there are lots of ways to modify this one.  If the rest of you haven’t checked out their results, you have to!

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