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…]

Dark Chocolate Popcorn with Sea Salt and Peanuts

Dark Chocolate Popcorn with Sea Salt and Peanuts - A Stack of Dishes

In anticipation of next weekend’s big game I decided to get my groove on and make some dark chocolate popcorn with sea salt and peanuts. As you can imagine, watching the game is more of a social event than a die hard fan thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch football. In fact, I was Captain of my cheerleading squad in high school- so I’m pretty sure I have the rules down. I’m just not much of a sports chick- I’m interested, just not involved.

So my “game on” is what ends up on the cocktail table in front of the TV. So why not some jazzed up popcorn? All that game day food is usually pretty cheesey, greasy and heavy on the gut. Who doesn’t love it- I just want some fresh ideas out there. 

Making popcorn certainly is not the same as when I was a kid. There was real reverence and hard core focus when it came to making popcorn. It was a bit of right of passage for us kids. We had a certain pot we used only for popcorn making. We knew just how much oil to put in, how high the flame, and a capful of kernels was the perfect amount for the pot. Standing on a chair it was sacred duty to shake the pan relentlessly during the furious popping stage, and then came the fine art of knowing when to remove the pan from the heat to get all the kernels popped without scorching the pan. Ain’t nothing worse than burnt popcorn. Not Pleasant.

Dark Chocolate Popcorn- A Stack of Dishes [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…]