Delicate Smoked Fish Dip with Charred Leeks and Capers

Making smoked fish dip-A Stack of Dishes

Looking for a smokey dip that doesn’t include bacon? I can’t say it’s an equal exchange, because really- what is?, but this smoked fish dip has great flavor in a light and delicate base, which makes it easy to indulge in.

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of smoked fish, and not just salmon. I grew up by the sea, and many of my school chums had families that fished those local waters (many of the others farmed the fields we drove past every day). Though I grew up on Long Island, it was far enough eastward to not have those glorious Jewish delis with their smoked sable and whitefish. Instead there was a guy, who is the son of a guy, who had been smoking his over-catch in his garage for decades.

 

Mixing the Smoked Fish Dip- A Stack of Dishes

The fishes that are best for capturing and infusing the flavor have the most fat, which is why salmon is such a favorite. My preferred fish is Bluefish. It was a bit of a bastard fish as a kid. Fresh it is grey in color, super oily, and it has a pretty decent fishy smell when cooked. Quite the opposite from say something like flounder or sole, which is virginal white, delicate and light- the princesses in the fish world. Bluefish, when smoked, is just so moist and buttery in texture. It can easily be mashed onto a cracker, no little annoying bones like trout, and a fraction of the cost of salmon.

Slicing leeks to be charred- A Stack of Dishes

The natural oiliness in the fish is not only the healthiest of fats you can eat, but it also means that when incorporating this fish into your recipes it becomes the flavor carrier. Most dips and spreads at a gathering are super fat bombs. One or two tablespoons can knock your diet socks right off- and who has just a tablespoon or two? I love them, I really do, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t be enjoyed, it’s just so super wonderful when you can enjoy something rich tasting and not have your liver end up in crisis. [Read more…]

Artichokes Pan Seared with Pesto

Artichokes Pan Seared -A Stack of Dishes

Hey! I’ve got a secret, and the best part of it is that it’s incredibly delicious.

Here is my secret, I will admit it. I’m on a diet. Shocking right? New Year, new me! Please allow me to back up and say that every ounce that I gained this past Summer and Fall were completely worth it. Completely. It was a wonderful time of fantastic food, even more delicious wine, shared with great friends. I enjoyed the crime- now I will do my time- though so far my plan has been enjoyable and soul satisfying.

Cut Artichokes before Searing- A Stack of Dishes

For most of my young life dieting initiated a knee jerk reaction to stock up on cottage cheese and don a heavy cloak of sadness. ‘Cause it’s supposed to suck, right? ‘Cause that’s the penance, right? Well, sorry folks, I just can’t buy into that anymore. I’m cottage cheesed out! [Read more…]

Sweet Dumpling Squash with Yogurt Sauce and Pomegranate Molassas

Sweet Dumpling Squash-A Stack of Dishes

 On my desk I have a teeny tiny brass Buddha. It sits just above my keyboard and so it catches my eye several times a day. Most days I shift it back and forth out of my way, but then there are the days when we share a real moment. This tiny Buddha, with it’s quiet wisdom, reminds me that nothing stays the same, and I have no control over any of it. Of course I love to think that I do, or even better, I get all proud of myself when I feel like I do.

Nothing has gotten my wheels turning like the election results last week. The bitter divide between people is astonishing to me. I am struggling to understand how that can be. I believe in differing opinions, and I like to think my perspective is pretty keen, but I am just shocked at how far apart so many of us are.

My partner and I had an interested dinner last week with a friend who voted for Donald Trump. She’s a smart, educated woman, and btw- doesn’t always vote Republican (in fact, she voted for Obama). So I was fascinated to hear her give her point of view. I have to say it was an amazing discussion. One point she made several times was to ask that we put ourselves in the opposing shoes. With her guidance I was able to understand her perspective, and have respect for her and her decision. Of course, I still disagree, but I was left thinking about all the things I don’t know, or don’t fully understand.

Cut Sweet Dumpling Squash- A Stack of Dishes

I have to admit I remain anxious about a man who, to my experience, has shown such volatile leadership manners. Let’s be honest, he’s got a lot of learning to do, and so does the rest of the world, as we get to fully understand what this man is all about.

Meanwhile, I try to get comfortable with change and upheaval. It brings me back to the core. I am so glad that Thanksgiving is next week. I am looking forward to spending time with people I love. There will be hugs, there will be laughter, there will be good food. I find my solace at the stove and gatherings around a dining table, always have.

Peace to all of you my dear ones. 

Where would we be without each other?

Sweet Dumpling Squash- A Stack of Dishes