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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

I had a fabulous surprise waiting for me when I came home from work on Friday evening. Let’s just say that I have the best mom ever. We’ve been trying to perfect pizza lately, (expect a future pizza post!) and thanks to this lovely lady, I now own my very own Emile Henry pizza stone! I am so excited to begin experimenting with it. I shall keep you all posted!

Here’s a link to the one my mom chose: http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-1953769/Emile+Henry+Flame+Burgundy+Pizza+Stone;jsessionid=F819A093AE7702659CD882C1A937F343.slt-app-02-p-app2

IMG_4624She also got me something that I’ve needed for a while, but haven’t really thought to buy; a trivet! To cool things, I’ve been using a rack that came with an all-clad roasting pan. Now I can cool my food in style!

I bought my mom an orange Le Creuset trivet a few years ago, and she loved it so much that she got another in yellow as well. Like everything LC makes, this trivet is as gorgeous as it is functional. I am thrilled to add another piece to my LC collection.

Last weekend I was looking through the Publix weekly ad and making my grocery list, when their crunchy Asian salad caught my eye. It looked fantastic, so I decided to make my own for lunch this week. I found a similar recipe and it turned out so well. Better yet, it was super easy to whip together and much more interesting than your typical salad. After mixing in the peanut dressing, it only got better once it sat for a little while. I did add a few slices of mandarin orange, and it would be even better with some chicken breast or shrimp on top. IMG_4634This is definitely going to make it into my regular rotation.

You can find the recipe here: http://www.onceuponachef.com/2011/03/asian-slaw-with-ginger-peanut-dressing.html

That’s all for food news this week. I’m excited to cook up a storm tomorrow 🙂 Stay posted for next week’s recipe, and have a happy Father’s Day, everyone!

The Dish

Since I’ve been back at work, I’ve been really racking my brain for healthy, satisfying lunch ideas to make ahead at the beginning of the week and just grab on my way out the door in the morning. After having been in school for the past twenty-something years, you’d think I have a hefty reserve of lunch recipes. But honestly, you can only eat so many ham sandwiches, boring salads, and microwaved leftovers while at work or school. Lunch is supposed to be that special meal that reinvigorates students and employees to get them through that last stretch of the day. Fortunately, with a little bit of digging, I found a fabulous recipe that is satiating, delicious, and easy to make. Not to mention it only gets better after the flavors meld a bit. Here is the link to 101 Cookbooks’ incredible Sprout Salad, one of my favorite go-to lunch or snack options:

http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/sprout-salad-recipe.html

Until now, I had only made the recipe with Leasa brand “Snack Sprouts,” which is a combination of adzuki, lentil, and mung bean sprouts. This was all that was available at my local supermarket, but I found the mixture to be very flavorful!

Another favorite item that’s been on my mind this week happens to be a prepared food. I know… I already feel guilty wanting to feature this snack, but it is so worth mentioning.

I have countless cherished memories of growing up in the Florida Keys, and one of these happens to be snacking on smoked fish dip out on the water with friends and family.

I can't get enough of this stuff.

I can’t get enough of this stuff. (Also, I made that fantastic dish with my bare hands at camp!)

A few months ago, I was making a quick run through Whole Foods Market’s seafood section to grab salmon for dinner, when I saw a guy setting up a sample table out of the corner of my eye. He casually started a conversation with me and explained that he was about to kick off a sampling of fish dip from the keys. Of course, I felt compelled to tell him that’s where I was born and raised. Although I was in a hurry and he had barely unpacked his merch, he opened the first container just for me try. At first taste, I was immediately transported back to the salty fishing town I grew up in. Voila—Islamorada on a buttery cracker. I told him I was sold, grabbed a container of my own, and bustled on home.

This dip certainly gets me smilin'!

This dip certainly gets me smilin’!

I must warn you, though, this stuff is addicting. But, your guests will definitely thank you if you serve it at your next summer get-together. (You might want to buy a couple of containers, though!) Smilin’ Bob’s ships their dip, and there’s a list of locations where it’s available on their website.

That’s it for the dish this week! Enjoy your weekend, everyone 🙂

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