Who is this “Margie”?
Hi, I’m Margie. I consider myself a functional cook, not a fine chef – I don’t have time for fancy (I don’t garnish, and I rarely measure!). I cook what comes in our weekly CSA (community-sponsored agriculture) delivery…what’s on sale when I shop…and I triage what’s hanging around in the refrigerator that needs to be cooked because I hate throwing out food.
Of the four family members living at home (our two oldest daughters are married), we are all off gluten, cane sugar, chicken eggs and dairy…and then various sensitivities that vary by person. For example, one daughter can’t have black beans or pineapple…another can’t have citrus or garlic…my husband can’t have eggs or oatmeal or soy…I can’t have coffee (it doesn’t affect my cooking, but it is a major drag; I love coffee!). It was pretty complicated at first, but I don’t like cooking multiple meals, and so I have learned to be creative. And we are all healthier for it.
This first blog post is dedicated to the July Fourth partiers that, due to different allergies, intolerances, or food preferences, feel a little left-out during the celebration. Fear no more! The following dinner AND dessert recipes are perfect for us dairy-defiers, gluten-renegades, and refined sugar-shunners! But, based on the reviews from our frequent dinner guests, I don’t think anyone will feel deprived by this red-white-and-blue feast.
My Culinary Salute to America
I don’t typically plan dinners ahead – my usual approach is to see what’s in the fridge, and figure out something quick from that. But since my first blog is running just in time for Independence Day, I decided to cook only in red, white and blue.
For dinner –Warm Blue Potato Salad…Zesty Red Beet Salad and Whitened Pan-Seared Halibut.
My instructions are easily adaptable for whatever amount of food you want to make.
Now, let’s dig-in! (pun intended)
Warm Blue Potato Salad
Blue potatoes are the only ingredient I went out of my way to buy for this menu. But I was glad that I did. Besides their being a superfood, they are super-delicious, with a much richer flavor than regular white potatoes. This preparation tastes great warm and cold – we ate it warm at dinner, and cold as leftovers.
- Blue potatoes
- Onion, minced
- Garlic minced (optional)
- Olive oil (I used regular olive oil to sauté and lemon-infused to finish)
- Lemon juice (optional)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Wash potatoes, put into a pot and add water to cover and boil until soft, about 12-15 minutes, depending on how soft you like your potatoes. (Use a fork to test doneness.)
- While the potatoes are boiling, peel and mince an onion.
- Remove the potatoes using a slotted spoon, and put into the refrigerator to cool a bit. (Hint: You can save the water and use for soup at another time.)
- Put pot back on the stove and warm on medium heat. When the pot is hot and any residual water has evaporated, add some olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent. This will only take a few minutes. [Variation: If you are a garlic lover, I suggest adding some minced garlic to the onion]
- Remove onion from heat.
- Remove potatoes from the refrigerator, and cut to the desired size. I did quarters. Mix in onions, add salt and pepper to taste. [Note: If it weren’t a 4th of July dinner, at this point I would also add some minced fresh herbs – such as dill, parsley or rosemary. Any fresh herb will be delicious.]
- Finish with an additional splash of olive oil (here’s where I used the lemon oil) and a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired.
Raw Beet Salad
I’ve never been a big beet fan until I made this salad. Now I can’t get enough! If you think you don’t like beets, give this a try. Raw beets taste nothing like cooked – in the way that raw carrots taste so different from cooked carrots.
- Fresh Beets
- Fresh Lemon
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Wash and peel the beets. Hint: I wear latex-free gloves when I work with beets (and anything else messy) so my fingers don’t turn red
- Grate the beets – I used the grating disk on my food processor, but you can use a hand grater or a mandolin. Put into a bowl. (I recommend a glass bowl so that the beets don’t stain your ceramics.)
- Zest the lemon into the beets. (I know lemon zest isn’t red, but the beets will turn them red, so it didn’t harm my color scheme.) Note: I prefer using organic lemons because I like to use the zest. I don’t go out of my way to buy organic oranges or grapefruit because I only eat their insides.
- Halve the lemon, remove the seeds (I use the tip of a paring knife) and squeeze juice over the beets. I use the juice of half a lemon per one large beet.
- Drizzle with olive oil (I used lemon-infused oil here too). Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix and enjoy.
Whitened Pan-Seared Halibut
I used the (wild caught) halibut fillets that I already had in the freezer, but this recipe will work with any white fish — or any fish at all that you prefer. I like halibut because it has a very mild flavor that would let the white sauce really shine. It’s so yummy — you could put it on anything!
- Halibut filets
- Olive oil
- Minced garlic
- Lemon juice
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Warm up a skillet (I like cast iron) on medium-high heat.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on the top of the fish.
- Once the skillet is warm, add a bit of olive oil to the pan, and put in the fish, salt-and-pepper side down. (Hint: I wash my hands a lot when working with fish so that I’m not spreading fish goop – and potentially dangerous germs – around the kitchen).
- Add salt and pepper to taste to the top of the fish.
- Cook about three minutes, until the fish is cooked about half-way up.
- Flip and cook another three minutes. Remove to a plate so the fish doesn’t continue to cook on the residual heat.In the few minutes that the fish is cooking, mix up the white sauce:
- I used about 1/2 cup of mayonnaise (I actually use Vegenaise because it is egg-free), minced garlic (a clove), lemon juice (I used the other half of the lemon that was leftover after making the beets), and a small squeeze of honey.
- Mix and adjust ingredients to your taste. For example, if it’s too garlicky, add more mayo.
- To serve, spoon white sauce over the fish.
(Hint: If you prefer to broil your fish, Linda Gassenheimer has very easy instructions here)
I had a lot of fun creating this meal for everyone, and I hope you have a great holiday weekend. If you created any of the recipes above (including your own variations), please comment below! We’d love to feature you on Facebook!
And stay tuned for a delicious dairy-free pudding that I’m posting tomorrow!