My very first food blog was written just in time for 4th of July. I don’t like repeating myself but I thought it would be interesting to revisit those recipes to see if there were anything I might do differently now. I’m pleased to say that I still think it’s yummy…but, yes, I’ve also made some improvements.
This flavor-packed dinner— Zesty Red Beet Salad, Pan-Seared “Whitened White” Fish and Warm Blue Potato Salad is allergen-friendly, free from gluten, eggs, dairy, soy and sugar. And for dessert—Tangy Raspberry Pudding, which can easily be made nut-free. My instructions are easily adaptable for whatever amount of food you want to make.
WARM BLUE POTATO SALAD
Besides being a superfood, blue potatoes 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. (It’s delicious added to a salad!) I can’t always find bags with just blue potatoes, but it’s generally easy to find them in a 4th-of-July-appropriate red, white and blue mix.
- Blue potatoes
- Onion, minced
- Garlic minced (optional)
- Olive oil (I used regular olive oil to sauté and flavored oil to finish)
- Lemon juice
- 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 or simply let them sit on the counter to cool a bit. (Hint: You can save the water and use for soup at another time.)
- Put the 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, you can add some minced garlic to the onion]
- Remove onion from heat.
- Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces, which means anywhere from quarters to eighths, depending on the size of the potato. Mix in onions, add salt and pepper to taste. [Note: If it weren’t a 4th of July dinner, I would also add some minced fresh herbs – such as dill, chives, parsley or rosemary. Any fresh herb will be delicious.]
- Finish with an additional splash of olive oil (last year, I used lemon-infused olive oil; more recently, I used basil-and-garlic olive oil) and a squeeze of lemon juice.
ZESTY RED BEET SALAD
I was never a 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. This salad is also delicious mixed into a green salad, as a garnish on fish tacos (and maybe add a sprinkle of cumin and some fresh cilantro) or on a sandwich—or breadless lettuce wrap—instead of coleslaw.
- Fresh Beets
- Fresh Lemon
- Olive oil
- Onion powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Wash and peel the beets. I wear latex-free gloves when I work with beets (and anything else messy) so my fingers don’t turn red.
- Grate the beets. If I’m making a lot of this, I use the grating disk on my food processor or a mandolin. But for just one or two beets, cleanup is easier with a hand grater. (Keep the gloves on if you’re hand grating to protect your fingertips.) Put into a glass bowl. (I recommend a glass so that the beets don’t stain your ceramics.)
- Zest the lemon into the beets. While lemon zest isn’t red, the beets will turn them red, so it won’t harm the color scheme—and zest is too delicious not to use. Note: I buy 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…one-quarter lemon for a small beet. But adjust to your taste.
- Drizzle with olive oil (you can use flavored oil here too). Sprinkle on some onion powder (this is a new addition from when I first created this recipe) and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix and enjoy.
PAN-SEARED “WHITENED WHITE” FISH
This recipe will work with any white fish (or any fish at all when it’s not for a 4th of July-themed dinner). The first time I made this, I used the wild caught halibut fillets that I already had in the freezer. This time, I used wild-caught haddock, which was on sale. This dish works best with a mild fish so you can fully enjoy the sauce.
- Fish fillets, such as halibut or haddock
- Olive oil
- Mayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise-type spread
- Minced garlic or garlic powder
- Lemon juice
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- White horse radish or chili garlic sauce (optional)
- If the fillets are large, cut them into serving-sized pieces. This will make them easier to handle while you’re cooking. I did this when I unwrapped the fish—in the paper it came in to minimize clean-up.
- Warm up a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat (7 out of 10).
- 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. (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).
- Turn on your broiler. The first time I made this, I flipped the fish in the pan—but starting on the stove and finishing in the oven is much easier.
- Cook three to four minutes, depending on thickness, until the fish is cooked about half-way up. If you don’t have a stovetop-to-oven pan—or if you’re making more fish than will fit in one batch in the pan, transfer the fish to a broiler-safe pan.
- Put the fish under the broiler for three-or-so minutes, until fully cooked.
- Make the sauce. I used about 1/2 cup of mayonnaise (I actually use Vegenaise because it is soy-free and egg-free), garlic (the first time I made this, I used fresh minced garlic, but I have since made this with garlic powder when I’m feeling lazy) and lemon juice. Mix and adjust ingredients to your taste. For example, if it’s too garlicky, add more mayo. My original recipe called for a squeeze of honey, but I now prefer leaving it out.
- Since first creating this sauce, I’ve experimented with additional mix-ins. My favorite is white horseradish; my youngest daughter prefers chili garlic sauce (similar to sriracha sauce but there’s no added sugar). Start with half a teaspoon to make sure you can tolerate the hotness, and add from there.
- To serve, spoon white sauce over the fish.
TANGY RASPBERRY PUDDING
The first time I made this dairy-free dessert, I used both raspberries and rhubarb—and it was delicious. But I’ve been making it ever since with just raspberries, since rhubarb hadn’t been in season and I don’t like the quality of frozen rhubarb. And it’s as yummy as ever. I haven’t tried it with other types of fruits, but there’s no reason not to. I do, however, recommend it with frozen fruits, which are juicier and mushier than fresh, and therefore make for better pudding.
When I brought in a batch for my coworkers, several of them also said they’d love to have this as a spread—use anywhere you’d use jam, such as a multigrain English muffin, a scone, etc.
Note: Except for the one bag of raspberries, all measurements are approximate because I never measure for this. My typical measurement is “a heaping soup spoon” or “a splash” or “a sprinkle.” Don’t worry! Start low and adjust as your taste buds guide you…and I promise it will be delicious.
I love the depth that the almond butter and almond extra add, but I’ve also made it without these ingredients for friends with nut allergies and they love it too.
- 1 bag frozen raspberries, defrosted
- 1 Tablespoon Coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract (lower to ½ teaspoon if you use Almond extract too)
- Juice of ¼ lemon
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ to ¾ cup Sugar (Note: Of all of my food sensitivities, cane sugar causes the worst reactions in my body. When I substitute, I like to use a combination of other natural sweeteners—here, coconut sugar, maple sugar and raw honey. They each bring a different quality that fills out the flavor in a way that just doesn’t happen with only one of them.)
- 2 Tablespoons Corn Starch or Tapioca Starch
- ½ teaspoon Almond Extract (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons of Almond Butter (optional)
- Warm up a saucepan on medium heat. Add coconut oil to melt.
- Add raspberries and mix.
- Add vanilla and almond extracts (or just vanilla extract) and lemon.
- Add sugar. Despite my precise-sounding measurements above, I actually used two heaping soupspoons of coconut sugar, one heaping soupspoon of maple sugar and a heaping teaspoon of raw honey. Use what you like and sweeten to taste.
- Mix in a heaping spoon or two of almond butter. The mixture should be pretty soupy.
- Add a heaping spoon of corn starch (or tapioca starch) and keep mixing until the pudding thickens, bringing it just past a bubbly boil. (If you’ve ever made lemon meringue pie, the consistency should be similar to the lemon filling when it is fully cooked.) Don’t worry if the corn starch clumps a bit—any lumps are fun and tasty to chew.
- Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer.
- Pour into dessert dishes (this made four servings for us). Garnish with fresh blueberries and coconut chips. Other white topping alternatives: Whipped cream, white chocolate chips or shaved white chocolate (all foods I wish I could eat but, alas, cannot!).