recipe

What to pack, how to prep when you're a food-allergic traveler

The thrill of travel is my siren song. I used to dream of filling a passport before it expired. Never happened, but I did manage to get to many great places. Machu Picchu, Xi'an, Tulum. Life can throw you one curveball after another, some good, some not so good. Layoffs, pink slips, food allergies. My high-flying life came to a decidedly more earthbound home. For several years I had time to travel but not the money.

The bitter and the sweet

As we get older, we begin to appreciate that one is enhanced by the other. Fast-forward several years and I am slowly building an entrepreneur's life. This means we swing from one trapeze landing to another, sometimes the grip is so tenuous, the next check so long in coming. But we learn to live with the anxiety that would have done us in before and push on, move forward. Grab and let go. Let go, grab.

This week I'm preparing for my first trip to Europe since my flight through de Gaulle to go to Mali but the last visit when I stayed and explored was a media trip to Valencia, Spain. That was wonderful, too. Both trips like evanescent dreams. Wonderful memories.

New opportunities, new challenges

I'm getting on a plane again 48 hours from this moment. I'm off to Brussels to work with the fabulous Nathan Fong on behalf of sustainable, delicious British Columbia seafood. After our success at  Seafood Expo North America (#sena2014) - stir-frying with the Trade Minister! We're bringing the dynamic duo to the largest seafood expo in the world, Brussels! Now I'm dealing with multiple food allergies. Looking at the food there, dairy is definitely going to be a problem. I won't have time to shop all over and my Flemish is pretty weak. I think I've got this one down though: "Aangenamen Kennismaking" (Nice to meet you) it's just plain fun to say, isn't it?

It's hard to explain to someone who doesn't have food allergies. But imagine you're somewhere unfamiliar, and you literally cannot risk eating food because you may end up in anaphylactic shock. And traveling in a professional capacity, you don't want to make every group meal a tiresome litany of your issue and allergies. "Who knows Flemish for 'allergy'?"

Moules Frites? Waffles? (butter, dairy) Carbonnade? Waterzooi? (butter, cream) Food, glorious food. It's what I live for, what I organize my life around, what I share with friends, family and clients. But the prospect of being unable to find anything to eat made me realize I now have an extra list of travel prep tasks: researching, prepping, baking, planning. Even the flight to Belgium is a problem. Special diet meals include vegetarian (with cheese, nuts) Asian Vegetarian (may include dairy); Vegetarian (dairy). So what can I eat during the flight? Grab and go in the airport? Can you trust the labels on pre-packed foods? The fast food training? Erm, no. Basically, there was not one option that I could choose that was both free of dairy and free of tree nuts. Swiss International Airlines announced an "allergy friendly" service but to me it sounds like only a baby step further than what other airlines do.

Chips? (made in a facility that also processes nuts) etc. It's impossible!

Luckily, I'm a good cook. And I have good friends. And a very caring husband. He has turned into the best food sleuth!

My goal was to find things easy to pack and dense with protein to keep me going in the worst case scenario.

Tips:

1. Research, research, research. What are the typical foods in your destination? What capacity does your hotel have to accommodate your allergies? (Or even, to speak English?) Check with TSA and your airlines.

2. Pack pouches. Really good tuna, quinoa cereal, and terrific peanut butter all come in these easy-to-pack pouches. Thanks Doc!

pouches

3. Bake ahead. Energy Bites; Crackers, Apple-Quinoa Cake.

choco chunks, fruit

rye crackers

travel snack

4. Try to order Allergy warning cards in the destination language. I ordered cards from Allergic Traveler - hope they'll arrive in time!

 

Recipes:

The energy bites are great pre/post workout snacks. I love that they're not overly sweet and they're super easy to customize. This is based on Kim O'Donnel's original recipe from her Washington Post days. Her Lulu's Cookies became my Choco-fruit Energy Bites.

Choco-fruit Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C of a combo of: sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sesame seeds (I omitted sesame and used a combo of peanuts, bran, amaranth for the third 1/2 C.)
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds.
  • 3 C flour [I used 1 C Irish Wholemeal flour +1 C White Whole Wheat + 1 C AP flour]
  • 2 cups rolled oats [I used rolled instant] + 1/3 C brown rice crispies + 1/4 flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried fruit - cherries, prunes, apricots
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3/4 C coconut + canola oil
  • 3/4 C honey + golden syrup
  • 1/2 - 3/4 C cup Enjoy Life chocolate chunks (free of 8 major allergens and made in an allergen free facility)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast seeds on a baking sheet about 8 minutes, or until the seeds turn a golden color. Be careful not to burn seeds.
  2.  Remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly.
  3.  In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder and salt.
  4.  Soak dried fruit in hot water for about 15 minutes. Drain, but reserve soaking water.
  5.  Add dried fruit soaking water to dry mixture, plus oil and honey. With a rubber spatula, stir until combined. Add cooled seeds and stir to combine, then add fruit and chocolate chips. Don't over-mix.
  6.  Form teaspoon-sized patties onto a cookie sheet, preferably lined with parchment paper.
  7.  Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Don't over-bake; the cookies will turn into rocks.

Makes about 50 cookies.

I love that these are like two bite energy bars without all the overly sweet, highly processed ingredients. These are like bites of shortbread chunks of sweet dried fruits and chocolate.

 

What are your tips for traveling with food allergies or intolerances?

Next up, the apple quinoa cake!

The Last Roast Chicken Recipe

A few months ago, Melissa Clark asked if anyone really needed another roast chicken recipe? And then, she answered in the affirmative. After trying this technique - I'll suggest you may need no other the next time someone asks. This one, you need. I would be hard-pressed to think of a time I'd do a roast chicken differently. It's near to perfection and dead easy. Pretty quick. Nothing wrong with that combination! I call it a technique more than a recipe because that's what I take away. I've tried it three or four times since the article caught my eye back in May and not once have I made exactly as this recipe calls for, that is to say, not with ramps. What I have done, is to take this method and added my own Chinese Five Spice powder and other vegetables, but the technique and inspiration, I owe to Melissa.

The secret is a cast iron skillet and screaming hot oven. Starting with a really good quality bird doesn't hurt either.

5 spice splayed chicken

Look Ma! No Fat!*

Six Steps to Perfect Chicken (Seven including cocktails)

I start rice and rinse my veg before the chicken goes into the oven.

Step one: Rinse the best chicken you can afford (this one was on sale at Whole Foods, 4.5 lbs for something like $8. We had 4-5 servings and a good carcass for stock!) Pat it dry. Sprinkle with homemade or store-bought 5 spice powder. Place uncovered on a plate in the fridge overnight to dry the skin which makes it crispy. (This could be day two or done on the same day a few hours later. The idea is to give the chicken a good day in the fridge, even several hours. Try it, you'll thank me.)

Step two: Jack your (clean) oven up to 500 degrees, with your large cast iron skillet inside.

Step three: Splay thighs. Cut the skin that connects the leg to the bird, and spread those legs! Pop the hip joints out so the thighs will lie flat on the skillet. Pop a lemon half or two into the cavity, if you remember.

Step five: When oven has pre-heated, carefully slide the rack out with that screaming hot pan and place the chicken on the hot skillet, pressing the legs down. Then slide rack back into the hot oven.

Step six: Have a drink while you try to remember the last time - cough, cough - you cleaned the oven. Remove (or slide rack out) the chicken after 20 minutes, nestle some greens and some garlic smashed or sliced, between the hot, hot pan and the gorgeous chicken. Return to oven.

Step seven: Ten minutes later, remove pan from oven. Careful it's very hot. I leave oven mitts near the pan to remind myself. Sometimes it even works.

Let the chicken rest, while you pour wine or iced tea, plate the rice.

EAT. You will marvel at the crispy, browned skin. You'll cry out in joy over the moist breast and perfect thighs. You'll nibble the greens and garlic with rice realizing the only adornment needed is only the juices spooned from the pan. You'll feel virtuous that you used no fat at all and dirtied no other pots.

Praising yourself for the lack of fat used in the one-pan meal, you'll sit back and tell yourself that maybe tomorrow, cough, you'll finally clean the oven. Maybe.

 

Notes:

1) To make any roast chicken, this technique or another, I highly recommend you rinse an organic, air-chilled chicken off then pat it dry. Set it uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry out the skin. This makes for a nice crisp skin. Even a good three hours helps.

2) If roasting whole, I like a V-rack (see Fennel Pollen roast chicken), which suspends the bird and also holds it together a bit, as if it were semi-trussed. But this new cast-iron technique, this is a keeper. I may never use my V-rack again (it's okay, inverted in my cabinet, it makes a very nice lid organizer.)

3) My Five spice powder has evolved to include coriander seed. So technically, this makes it Six spice powder. Start with the five and see what you think. I think a Garam Masala would be great, too. Or an Herbes de Provence.

4) Greens I've used successfully in this recipe include: Shanghai broccoli (rinse, halve) and Mushrooms; Dandelion greens and slices of garlic; Chard and garlic.

5) I don't think the whole chicken of this size took even 40 minutes beginning to end. I have a convection oven and that reduces the cooking time some. I use tongs about 20-30 minutes in to jiggle the leg, sometimes hit the breast with a thermometer. You will know your oven best or get to know it. My feeling is that you can always put the chicken back in if it's undercooked, but most people are used to overcooked, dried out chicken. This technique cooks the bird quickly in high heat, somehow retaining the moisture in the bird.

*Technically this is not a fat-free meal, just no added fat. But this can be our secret. I don't even put any fat on the bird. No butter, no oil, none in the pan. And the veg are cooked in the fat/juices from the chicken. That is it. Tasty, tasty.

 

 

Thanksgiving 2011 and other recipes to inspire you

Thanksgiving 2011 has come and gone, even the leftovers have been consumed, repurposed, or frozen. And Christmas is just five days away.

We had a giant group this year and hosted buffet style. Did a couple things differently, including allowing others to help. I refined a few things, added an item or two and of course, we had spreadsheets. It's all about project management skills, and for me, that admission does nothing to diminish my joy. I just love to feed family and friends.

We borrowed tables, chairs and service ware from a restaurant manager friend, Jesse, who cheerfully coordinated and schlepped a half dozen tables, couple dozen chairs, etc. with Nehal's help. We were honored that Zander has spent his first and his second Thanksgiving with us.

We ran tables diagonally through the loft, here you can see the trays of homemade bread cubes drying. Trifle dish and vases repurposed for silverware rolls.

At some point, I'll have some video to load, so you can get a taste of what the night was really like. For now, a few photos that I remembered to take, a recipe or two and the menu.

(I had a timeline, plus diagrams of what went into which ovens, and where, when the turkeys came out to rest. It almost happened the way I imagined it should. Almost.)

 

The Menu

  • Lisa & Nehal's Red sangria, White sangria
  • Hot apple cider from the Pioneer Valley (Thanks David & Stephanie)

 

Apps:

 

The dinner:

roast turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Bob’s Turkeys 2, 16 lb birds this year, Thanksgiving spice-rubbed
  • Kristen’s Ham - (D'Artagnan, too!) & cheddar chive biscuits
  • Kristen's truffled wild mushrooms casserole
  • Butternut Squash Soup (v, gf)
  • Kim’s Chard & Lentil Shepherd’s Pie w/ no bones gravy (v, gf)
  • Madeira gravy made from homemade turkey stock
  • Mushroom-herb-leek stuffing
  • Sausage-apple dressing
  • Killer sweets (Bourbon-orange sweet potatoes) (v)
  • Cranberry Sauce w/pomegranate, orange (v)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Martha's Sweet & White potato casserole
  • Green beans w/shallots, lemon (v)
  • Roasted root vegetables w/balsamic glaze (v)
  • Shaved fennel, celery, green apple (v, gf)
  • Arugula, Asian Pear, Pomegranate salad
  • Black quinoa with golden beets (v, gf) recipe below
  • Lauren’s squash casserole (v)
  • Butterflake bread, Golden Pumpkin Spice rolls

Kim O'Donnel's Meatless dishes are definitely not old school boring hippie veg. This Shepherd's Pie is proof! Look for Kim's second book in 2012...

turkeyout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the two ready to be carved. (See my giant new carving board? Love it!)

Dessert:

  • Pumpkin Pie (one w/lard +soybutter crust; one with soy butter, coconut shortening crust)
  • Apple Crisp
  • Pecan Maple pie (variation on Melissa Clark's hot recipe of the year)
  • Snappy Gingersnaps
  • Chocolate truffles (oops)
  • Maria's dried pineapple & coconut cake
  • Anouschka's vodka spiked gummie bears

The gingersnap-pecan bottom keeps the pie bottom from getting soggy, tastes good, too! BlackQuinoaGoldBeets

Recipe: Black Quinoa with Golden Beets and Caraway

Inspired by a gift of black quinoa from my friend and restaurateur Mary Reilly, I turned to my friend Maria's beautiful Ancient Grains for Modern Meals book. Page 95 Cumin-scented Quinoa with Red Beets is a crunchy salad I'll try soon, loving all the flavors in it as I do. I was smitten with these golden beets at the Dewey Square market so this recipe came together. Beets love caraway. They also pair beautifully with cumin. Sumac is a middle eastern spice that has a beautiful red color and a lemony flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C black quinoa (rinse to remove soapy saponin that coats the quinoa, I put them in a fine mesh sieve and run under cold water grabbing with my hand and squeezing, almost as if you're kneading bread)
  • 2 golden beets (steam in microwave or roast in oven while you have it on for holiday baking - wrapped in foil the beets will steam till tender then you can easily slip off the skins)
  • 1/3 C onion
  • parsley
  • lemon juice
  • pomegranate seeds (remember how easily you can seed these)
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (if you don't like spice, cut back to 1/4 tsp or omit altogether if you wish)
  • 1 tsp each cumin seeds and caraway seeds

 

Assemble:

 

  1. Rinse quinoa (you may use any quinoa here, but I love the black or red for the dramatic color contrast on the table)
  2. Sauté onion in a little of the olive oil, add cumin seeds and caraway
  3. Add rinsed quinoa and about 1 3/4 C water, let it come to a gentle boil, reduce heat and cover. Liquid will be absorbed in about 15 minutes and you'll see the little germs of the seed unfurl like tiny little flags. That is when your quinoa is done.
  4. Toss scented quinoa with cubes of golden beets, chopped parsley and a handful of pomegranate seeds.
  5. Sprinkle with sumac, cayenne, lemon juice, best quality olive oil. Taste and adjust if needed - salt, lemon juice, more toasted cumin seed or caraway if you like.
Enjoy!

 

As is my tradition, I forgot these in the freezer:

choctruffles

Fragrant Food Memories - Humble, Stunning Ginger-Scallion Sauce

  If Proust had been Chinese instead of French we might all wax eloquent about ginger-scallion sauce instead of Madeleines.

This condiment, a humble but wondrous concoction, elicits squeals of delight and swooning beyond any rational explanation. Francis Lam suggests you might even find your sofa edible with the right spoonful. Pat Tanumihardja's Asian Grandmothers cookbook concurs. Ask any friend from Hong Kong and I'll bet they will claim their Mother or Auntie makes "the best" one.

ginger-scallion

I was researching this sauce in preparation for a dinner recently and C happened to walk by the desk, seeing a photo in someone's recipe I found online. He stopped. "Wow! I totally remember the smell of that being made. I LOVE that stuff. Can you make it?"

For the man to have that sort of Proustian moment - he went on to describe Mom's special bowl, just for making it; being at Uncle King's and smelling the fragrant steam waft up from the bubbling mix - for this guy to have that kind of moment stopped me in my tracks. I mean, I married a man that could just about live on neon orange Mac n Cheese from a blue box and cheap candy, the sweeter and more artificial, the better. So I knew we were on to something.

I recalled his beloved Aunt Linda gifting little pots of it to her daughters, our cousins, over the holidays, after we'd enjoyed yet another amazing meal at her house.

Digging, Scraping

Determined to come up with my own version of homemade ginger-scallion sauce, I began my research. I found Francis Lam's recipe in Salon.com in June of last year. It includes instructions to "Salt the ginger and scallion like they called your mother a bad name and stir it well." I followed these measurements and instructions.

I also took cues from a recipe in Pat Tanumihardja's Asian Grandmothers Cookbook. It includes the common description of "a three inch piece of fresh ginger" (Sometimes I've seen "a large knob of ginger" sometimes also with a helpful descriptor "about the size of your thumb.")

As I reviewed recipes, I was thinking that so much of Asian cooking is by touch, by feel, by scent. I recall my friend Raghavan Iyer describing how Indians cook with their hands: "Cooking with utensils is like making love through an interpreter, it can be done, but it's not nearly as much fun!"

All this makes it difficult to teach a home style recipe via print or web, especially if you're not familiar with the ingredients or the techniques. This makes me appreciate my Asian cookbook authors even more!

Pat's book is a wonderful window into many favorite homestyle meals, comfort food to celebration food, from all over Asia. This is a visit with a friend, an introduction to cherished family recipes. So I was digging through recipes, scraping away papery ginger skin.

I noticed that my current ginger was rather large, and the next we purchased ginger was rather small...another variable. This recipe is so easy and enticing, so fragrant, it's the perfect foil to simple poached chicken or fish, I really wanted you to be able to try it at home.

convexspoon

Tip: the best way to peel ginger - scrape with a teaspoon. You will lose less of the juicy, fleshy part of the ginger than if you peel with a paring knife or vegetable peeler.

My first batch was a little salty to my taste (I have been known to fiercely defend those I love, so perhaps I should have dialed back on the imagined insult to my mother.) I grated a little fresh ginger into the slightly salty batch and it was a hit. I was immediately asked to replicate it, and I decided to make my own recipe, measuring things as I went along, to share it with you.

Ginger-Scallion Sauce

I think this is one of those recipes that each cook makes to her own taste. I've seen recipes that call for garlic, some that add soy. I followed Pat's and Francis' recipes to guide me in my first attempt. I measured things here to encourage you to try your own. Since there are so few ingredients, it is imperative that you use the best, organic ingredients you can get your hands on. It's served with simple poached or steamed or roasted foods, and many of us would feel no shame in admitting that the other thing you eat it with is merely a vehicle for conveying this yummy stuff to your mouth. Almost.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 C +2 TBSP of ginger, fresh organic ginger, peeled and chopped in food processor or by hand
  • 1 C scallion, chopped, process separately in food processor
  • 3/4 C best quality peanut oil, (I use Spectrum)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt (any salt but not Morton's Iodized)
  • 1/2 tsp best quality soy sauce

 

Directions:

  1. Peel, then mince ginger, chop in processor. Stop before it begins to turn to a paste.
  2. Place minced ginger in deep, heat proof bowl (like you'd use for making French onion soup).
  3. Mince scallions, process in same way.
  4. Add to ginger, you should still have room for mixture to bubble up some as the oil sizzles the ginger and scallion.
  5. Add the salt, mix.
  6. Heat your peanut oil - you want it really hot, but not burnt. As it heats you'll begin to see shimmery lines and it will become fragrant. Just when it starts to smoke, it is ready. The color will also become more transparent.
  7. Finish with 1/2 tsp of soy sauce.
The oil will sizzle and steam when it hits the ginger scallion mixture. This is what you want. My first batch was a bit too salty for my taste and I didn't see enough sizzle. It was still really good. This recipe and instructions will hopefully ensure that your first attempt is great and encourages you to make more. As Francis says, it makes everything taste good, though I'd stop short of the sofa.
Do you make this? Have you tried it?
Will you try it now and let me know how you like it?

 

BBQ Bonanza 2011 - Swordfish with Grilled Fennel and Tomatoes

Our BBQ Bonanza continues this week with a sustainable seafood lesson. If you have ever tried to figure out what makes a fish choice sustainable, you might have felt that choosing fish is anything but a walk on the beach. Our guest poster this week is the inimitable Amy McCoy, who was inspired by a much-needed tumble in the waves of Block Island.

photo by Denise Woodward, ChezUs.com

 

I will never forget Amy's hilarious post three years ago about DIY Turkey in a Hole in the Ground. Since then, she's become a published cookbook author. Her Poor Girl Gourmet makes a perfect housewarming gift for your niece or nephew just setting up their own apartment. I incorporated her Chicken in Cider Gravy recipe in my Sustainable Meats Class. It always pleases.

Amy brings us a swordfish recipe inspired by local Block Island swordfish. Her sensible approach to sustainability is one that's near and dear to my heart. Here's a post with five tips for making Small Steps that Make a Difference.

 

 

Amy is the author of “Poor Girl Gourmet: Eat in Style on a Bare-Bones Budget” (Andrews McMeel, 2010), and the blog Poor Girl Gourmet, where she shares budget-friendly recipes, tales (sometimes of woe) of raising chickens and turkeys, keeping bees, and particularly woeful this year, gardening (Blight! Chipmunks! Squash bugs!).

Amy was scheduled to speak about eating on a budget at the International Food Blogger Conference in New Orleans, LA on August 28 (curse you Irene!), and her recipes and writing have appeared in many newspapers across the country.

_____________________________________________

Block Island Swordfish with Fennel and Tomato

Guest post by Amy McCoy

Fish has been stressing me out for a few years now. And I say this without so much as a hint of hyperbole; such a worrier am I.

I want to eat fish, but I want to do the right thing. I don’t want the oceans depleted, and, quite honestly, pulling out a chart that delineates what’s okay to eat and what isn’t takes a little of the joy out of fish eating. And what I like most about food – the making and sharing of food – is the joy of it all.

So stressed I have been.

But then I read a few words of wisdom from fellow BBQ Bonanza contributor, Mark Scarbrough, that boiled down to this: calm down, make good choices, and enjoy yourself some fish, already, darn it.

So I stopped with the stress (sometimes it only takes one slap to snap me out of it). And decided to apply a trusted mantra to fish shopping: Buy local.

Fortunately, living in southeastern Massachusetts, local isn’t too far away – generally less than an hour by car, and sometimes, it’s an additional 13 miles by ferry. If a jaunt to Block Island is in order. Oh, which it was this past week. Which it was.

Block Island is a quaint, well-preserved Victorian-era village surrounded by rolling hills dotted with stonewalls and stunning golden cliffs rising up above its beaches. The water is colder than on the mainland (of course), and if you aren’t careful, you may find yourself smacked down to the sandy shore by a giant wave. It’s a lot easier to get smacked down and find the wave giant if you’re short. Not that this happened to me, um, two days ago, or anything.

It also happens to be quite the swordfish harvesting ground, with “BI Swordfish” signs posted at local fish markets - on the mainland as well as the island - causing glee at the mere sight (and angst-free glee at that, for it is local). And that’s all before you’ve laid eyes on the fish.

As it happens, harpoon and hand line swordfish are both “best choices” on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide (okay, so I checked my chart – I admit it. There’s still some guilt, despite my best efforts at being effortless in fish shopping).

Back home with my Block Island swordfish, I decided to add homegrown fennel and tomatoes (it doesn’t get much more local than your own backyard – and it helps to keep the cost down, too), grill ‘em up, then add the grilled veggies to a pan of sautéed shallots with white wine, crushed red pepper flakes, and oregano (which is also homegrown, and threatens to overrun our property, prolific as it is) for a rich, yet summery sauce.

Swordfish with Grilled Fennel and Tomatoes

Serves 4

 

  • 1 pound swordfish steak, approximately 1-inch thick
  • 1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed of fronds, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch wedges.
  • 4 medium tomatoes (approximately 2 pounds), sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

 

For the sauce:

 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:

 

  1. Be sure that your grill is clean, and has been lightly oiled. Preheat the grill to medium high.
  2. Toss the fennel and tomatoes in a medium mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then season them with salt and pepper.
  3. Brush the swordfish all over with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the fennel and tomatoes on the grill, and grill until they are lightly charred and the tomato skins are beginning to peel, 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Remove the fennel and tomatoes from the grill. Using a fork or tongs, remove and discard the tomato skin.
  6. Before starting the swordfish on the grill – or simultaneously, if you are fortunate enough to have a side burner on your grill – start the sauce.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallot, and cook until it is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fennel, tomatoes and any accumulated juices, then add the crushed red pepper flakes and oregano. Next, pour in the wine, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, 10 to 12 minutes.
  8. Place the swordfish on the grill, flipping midway through the cooking time, and grill it until it is opaque and is easily cut with a fork, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
  9. Remove the swordfish from the grill, then cut it into 4 more-or-less equal sized pieces. Place the swordfish pieces in the saucepan, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the swordfish forth, topped with sauce.

 

This dish goes well with grilled potatoes, and can also be served stew-style: I recommend toasting (on the grill, of course) a slice of country bread, rubbing the bread with garlic, then placing it into a bowl and topping with fish and sauce. No guilt there at all, I can assure you. Only glee.

 

 

Great News from Our Sponsors


 



...is giving away another set of their terrific barbecue sauces (exclusively available for us); each winner will receive:

  • one bottle of Carolina sauce (for dressing pulled pork);
  • one bottle of pomegranate chili sauce (versatile sweet/sour/spicy);
  • and one bottle of jerk marinade (meat brine or stew base or ceviche base).

 

Comment on BBQ Bonanza August posts also enter you to win Fire it Up: 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything. (Even includes recipes for goat! Donuts, I kid you not, and scallops with grapefruit mojo. Really there ARE recipes for grilling everything!)

 

 

The good people at OXO have graciously added this Four Piece Grilling Set to our August Contest!

 

How to win one of these THREE prizes:

  1. Enter a comment in any August BBQ Bonanza post.
  2. Write your own post on the theme of Sustainability at the Grill and link back here. You'll get a second entry!
  3. Hit the Silk Road! Find the phony location of a Silk Road yurt, post the true and the false locations in your comment here, and gain another chance to win.
  4. Tweet, RT (#BBQBonanza), post to Facebook.

 

DIY Lobster Rolls - Best Ever

 

I once wrote a guide to the Best Lobster Rolls in Boston. While I couldn't include my own, you'll note the reference to Yankee Lobster as the place for DIY lobster rolls. This is our go-to spot for ready-to-eat, shelled lobster meat. It's not cheap, but there's nothing but tails and claws, beautifully cooked and removed from the shells. Whether you have your own recipe or want to give the one below a whirl, Yankee is a great source.

So, now you know where to eat them when dining out, and where to buy the meat to make them yourselves at home.

Nothing says summer in New England like a nice lobster roll in a top split bun. Add corn on the cob from the Dewey Square farmers' market and a chopped salad of heirloom tomatoes, Diva cucumbers, red bell pepper, red onion, a little feta cheese. Dress the salad with some lemon zest if you have an organic lemon on hand or simply red wine vinegar and a couple glugs of good olive oil. Here I added some fresh dill and fresh parsley.

Do you know lobsters don't scream when you boil them? Total food myth. But wait, there's more: Ten Things You Never Knew about Lobsters. Here's a terrific, easy, recipe that has been well-tested.

Leather District Gourmet Lobster Rolls

Makes ten.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs lobster meat
  • 1/3 C organic* celery, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 TBSP each: chervil, tarragon, parsley, chives, minced
  • 3/4 C homemade mayo

Directions:

  1. Break up the lobster meat into bite-sized pieces. Mince the celery and shallot, herbs. Make the mayonnaise. Mix it together, sea salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Chervil is a delicate Springtime herb that pairs really well with seafood. It looks like tiny cilantro, but the flavor is nothing like cilantro. The taste of chervil is a light anise flavor. Tarragon is similar in flavor and also pairs well with seafood. You need not stress if you have neither of these, simple parsley and chives are easy to find year-round and delicious, too. I'd keep to only a tablespoon per each herb. Too many of anyone of these will begin to take over the taste of the lobster.
  3. And yes, I want you to use homemade mayo. Don't look so surprised. It's worth it and so easy. Really. I want you to try it.

Here's a terrific recipe from Nourish Network's Alison Ashton: Homemade Mayonnaise. You can control the quality and type of oil you use. In this batch I used one of those heart-healthy canola blends and some grapeseed oil.



 

* Did you know conventional celery can contain as many as 67 pesticides. 67!

 

More Lobster Love