Friday, May 23, 2014

I love Martha. And Fish. And Cast-Iron Skillets.

These are a few of my favorite things.

A short conversation with me is probably all it takes to learn that I love Martha Stewart. It's not my leather boots, flannel shirt, or tattoos that give it away. I'm sure. It's probably due to my love for cooking, entertaining, cleaning, organizing, and crafting. Maybe it's the way I mention her name and tips as if I'm talking about the Pope. Or, how I sometimes give out Martha quotes, which is kind of weird. Anyway, my point is that I'm slightly obsessed with her and you'll see that in my blog posts. Often times, my meals are inspired by her recipes. I've had a Martha Stewart Living subscription for years. Last time, I didn't renew it because I was busy having the baby and learning how to be a Mom. So, a couple days ago I decided to download the June issue on my iPad. Have you done this yet? If not, you should! It was so fun to click around the magazine and as always, there's great recipes in this issue. As I was scrolling along, I fell in love with a certain recipe. Titled "Fish Skillet" it's a one-pan meal on the grill that takes probably 5 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook.  It was love at first sight, I knew I had to test this one out.

My nutrition programs are designed to get people cooking at home. The only obstacle I face when trying to get people to do so is that most people lack confidence in the kitchen. Like any challenge in life, I don't think "I don't know how" is a proper excuse. And of course, you'll never learn if you don't try. A great way to get more comfortable in the kitchen is to start finding recipes you might like in magazines or online, and altering them slightly or dramatically. The freedom of adding whatever you want and creating things to fit your personal taste will teach you how to be a better cook. More importantly, you'll start to enjoy it more.

I do this naturally. I LOVE reading recipes in books, magazines, and the internet. I also love creating original recipes. So, I find an "idea" and make it my own. That's what I did with Martha's "Fish Skillet". It's also very beneficial to cook this way when you're on a budget, as you can add or take away anything you have or do not have in your pantry. One last tip- I usually make heartier versions for my Husband. This way, both of our bellies and wallets are satisfied.

Fish is always my favorite meal. It's healthy, it makes me feel good, and it's very versatile. It also goes with wine. And I like wine.

I cook everything I possibly can in a cast-iron skillet. I have one that sits on top of my stove constantly. I use it 2-3 times per day and oil it when I'm done. When a cast-iron pot or skillet is well-seasoned, it acts just like a nonstick pan. That's a plus because you won't have to cook with so much butter or oil. I typically use a little coconut oil or canola/coconut oil blend and that's it! I'm sure you've heard, nonstick pans are full of harmful chemicals that can cause many health issues such as; liver damage, cancer, and even early menopause. Yuck! Cast-iron doesn't give you any of that. Maybe a little iron in your food, which is beneficial, but no harmful chemicals. As Martha would say, "That is a very good thing."

Here's the recipe for Martha's "Fish Skillet" and below it, is my version. They're very similar, but I used what I had already in my home and added a couple of ingredients. I'm thinking next time I'll take the same technique, but use chicken and beer.  I loved this idea so much, I might keep it going with the one-skillet meals all summer. Enjoy!

Fish Skillet from Martha Stewart Living 

22 ounces cherry tomatoes
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and sliced
2 cans (13.5 ounces each) whole artichoke hearts, drained, halved if large
1/2 cup pitted olives, such as kalamata
1/2 cup caper berries
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds skinless firm white-fleshed fish, such as cod or monk fish, cut into 4 pieces
1 small lemon, thinly sliced
Crusty bread, for serving

1. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, artichokes, olives, caper berries, oil, and wine in a large straight-sided skillet (it will be used on the grill). Season with salt and pepper, then season fish on both sides with salt and pepper and arrange on top. Place lemon sliced on top and around fish.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high. Place skillet on grill, cover grill, and cook until fish is opaque throughout, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately with bread.

Malorie's Fish Skillet

2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup kalamata olives
1/4 cup caper berries
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup vegetable stock
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons classic medley or any fresh herbs of your choice
4 white fish portions, I used Halibut
1 small lemon, thinly sliced
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnishing

  • Combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, artichoke hearts, olives, caper berries, sun dried tomatoes, oil, stock, white wine, and seasonings in a cast-iron skillet. 
  • Place the fish on top and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Place lemon slices on top and around fish. 
  • Preheat grill to medium-high. Place skillet on grill, cover grill, and cook until fish is opaque throughout, bout 20 minutes. 
  • Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a hefty sprinkling of fresh parsley. 
  • Optional- Serve with gluten free bread, saffron rice, or pasta. 

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