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The Dish

Squid is patriotic, right?

I’ve recently realized that The Twine has another serious content gap—seafood. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the Florida Keys and live the first 13 years of my life eating the freshest fish the ocean and Gulf have to offer. It’s actually been a serious challenge to find anything comparable ever since we moved north in 2004.

Since then, I’ve pretty much begged any friends or family still in the keys to freeze some of their extra catch for me, but it’s also been a learning curve to figure out how to satiate my seafood tooth with the sad frozen and ‘fresh’ offerings that are available at the local supermarket.

One of the best things I have discovered is calamari. It comes frozen, withstands the cold temperatures far better than delicate fish, and cooks up almost immediately. As much as I love fried calamari, my mom and I have discovered a less fattening and labor intensive method of cooking this mollusk: squid salad! All it takes is a bit of vegetable chopping and a quick blanch before you’re chomping down on a healthy, delicious meal.

Here’s the recipe:

Squid Salad

  • ½ jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, small dice
  • ½ red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, small dice
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled, small dice
  • ½ yellow onion, small dice
  • 4 scallions, small dice
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 lb. thawed calamari (tubes and tentacles)
  • Juice of 4 ripe limes
  • Juice of ½ orange
  • Generous pinch kosher salt
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
Raw, thawed calamari.

Raw, thawed calamari.

Cut tubes crosswise into about ½-inch strips. Leave tentacles whole unless they are very large, then cut them in half.

In boiling, salted water, cook calamari for 3 minutes. Remove from pot with spider or slotted spoon and immediately drop into ice water bath to stop cooking. Cool for about three minutes, then drain onto paper towels. Remove as much water as possible.

After it's been blanched, the squid needs to be drained of water.

After it’s been blanched, the squid needs to be drained of water.

Add the cooled squid to the vegetables in a large bowl and add the lime and orange juice, salt, red pepper, and cilantro. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving in order to let the flavors develop fully.

That’s all for The Dish this week. I hope you all have a fantastic holiday weekend!

The Dish

About a year ago, my mom gifted me two new nonstick pans. I was excited, but couldn’t understand why she had spent the money on something I already had—two sad, cheap nonstick skillets from Target. As soon as I cooked with these pans, I realized what the fuss was about. They’re made by SCANPAN, a company in Denmark, and they are zero fuss, easy-to-clean nonstick pans like I have never seen before. The best part? SCANPAN uses recycled aluminum to make their pans, and the nonstick coating is free of carcinogenic chemicals like PFOA and PFOS. Any time I’m whipping up dinner and don’t care to spend extra time cleaning up (which is pretty much all the time), I use these pans. They work like magic for cooking eggs, which, I have to admit is another area of cooking that I haven’t quite perfected. However, with these pans I finally felt comfortable with experimenting, and they’re indirectly responsible for me attempting to perfect fried eggs. Here’s the link to their website: http://www.scanpan.eu/

The broccoli and other veggies simmering in chicken stock.

The broccoli and other veggies simmering in chicken stock.

For this week’s Dish, as usual, I have another soup recipe for you all. My office at work is perpetually freezing—two of my co-workers actually have mini space heaters under their desks—and so I’ve found that warm soup is a warm, welcome reprieve during the day. For lunch this week, I made my version of a healthy cream of broccoli soup that I enrich with nonfat Greek yogurt.

Greek Yogurt Cream of Broccoli Soup

  • 2 entire heads broccoli, stalks trimmed, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 petite red potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
The soup can be blended with an immersion blender or a regular blender/Vitamix. Just be careful!

The soup can be blended with an immersion blender or a regular blender/Vitamix. Just be careful!

In the bottom of a large pot, melt the butter and sauté the carrots, celery, and onion until slightly soft. Add the garlic, sauté briefly, and then add the broccoli, chicken stock, and potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until all the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne, if desired. Once the vegetables are done, puree using an immersion blender, or a regular blender in batches. Stir in a dollop or two of Greek yogurt before serving. That’s all for The Dish this week. Have a happy (and vegetable-filled) weekend!

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