Turkish-Spiced Halibut Skewers With Yogurt Sauce

Many people grill year-round, but our grill hibernates during the winter. 😦 Thankfully, it is unseasonably warm here this week (Yay!), so I am going to share a couple of belated grilling recipes.

This first recipe is an adaptation of a Turkish dish typically made with local swordfish and fresh bay leaves. This version, from David Tanis of The New York Times, uses firm-fleshed halibut with thinly sliced lemons and onions. The fish is only marinated for an hour, grilled, and served with a wonderful and fresh cucumber-yogurt sauce.

We ate the skewers with hummus, warm naan, Israeli couscous, and steamed spinach on the side. If grilling season is over for you, this dish can easily be replicated using a broiler. Great!

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless halibut or other firm-fleshed fish
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 garlic clove, grated or smashed to a paste
  • 8 bay leaves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 small cucumber, about 2 ounces, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

  1. Cut halibut into large chunks of equal size and thread onto skewers. You should have 4 kebabs weighing about 6 ounces each.
  2. Lay them in a shallow dish. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, put cumin, coriander, paprika, red pepper flakes, onion, lemon, minced garlic and bay leaves. Add olive oil and stir together.
  4. Spoon mixture over fish skewers and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Put yogurt in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then add garlic paste, cayenne and cucumber.
  6. Mix mint, dill and parsley together, add half to yogurt mixture, and reserve the rest. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  7. Heat a grill or broiler. When it is hot, cook skewers for about 2 minutes per side, until just opaque. (Leave some lemon, onion and bay leaf clinging to fish, so they char a bit.)
  8. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with remaining herb mixture, if desired. Serve with yogurt sauce on the side.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Caramelized Onion Dip


My kids have been taking piano lessons for a few years. Starting in October, they study a lot of Christmas music in preparation for a Christmas performance for their grandparents. This year, a couple of my friends enrolled their kids in lessons with the same piano teacher. My kids and their friends performed in a Christmas concert at our house for all of the parents- and each other!- followed by a reception. It was fabulous!!

I first saw this recipe on Feasting with Friends. It was perfect for the occasion. We also served wine, lemonade, double cream brie with sourdough baguette slices, and mini red velvet cupcakes. My friends brought tasty appetizers as well. I loved it- I hope it becomes an annual tradition. We ate the onion dip with kettle chips and crudités. This recipe was adapted from Alton Brown, via foodnetwork.com. It is super easy and delicious- it would be perfect for the Superbowl as well!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow or sweet onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  1. In a saute pan over medium heat add oil, heat and add onions and salt. Cook the onions until they are caramelized, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Mix the rest of the ingredients, and then add the cooled onions.
  3. Refrigerate and stir again before serving.

Two Years Ago:

Chicken, Spinach, & Mushroom Casserole with Parmesan Croutons

This dish is a quick and creamy comfort meal utilizing a store-bought rotisserie chicken. I lightened the recipe by substituting half of the half & half with milk. I also modified the original recipe by using red wine instead of white, significantly increasing the amount of spinach, and adding cremini mushrooms to the filling as well as Parmesan to the crispy bread topping.
This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. We ate it with a green salad on the side. Great! 🙂
This week I am bringing this cozy and delicious casserole to Fiesta Friday #8 at the Novice Gardener. Hopefully it will bring some warmth to others experiencing a cold early spring. 🙂
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
  • 4 cups torn bread (I used a baguette and kept the crust)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste (about 2-3 tablespoons)
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds flat-leaf spinach, washed
  • 2 large yellow or sweet onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine bread with 2 tablespoons of oil; season with salt. Add freshly grated Parmesan, if desired. Set aside. In a medium pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high. Add spinach; season with salt. Cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander, let cool, then squeeze out water. Coarsely chop.
  2. Wipe pot clean and heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium. Add onion, garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5-8 minutes longer.
  3. Add wine to pot and cook until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in half-and-half and milk. Add lemon juice and bring mixture to a boil over high.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in chopped spinach and chicken; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 6-quart baking dish.  (The dish can be assembled and refrigerated up to this point, uncooked, a day ahead.) Before baking, top with bread pieces. Bake until bread is golden brown and mixture is bubbling, 8 to 10 minutes.


One Year Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Red Onion Soup with Gruyere Toasts


I had to squeeze in one last batch of warm and cozy soup before the end of winter. 🙂 French Onion Soup is one of my all-time favorites. I expected that this dish would be simply a different version of French Onion Soup, but it lacked the sweetness that I love. I added sugar to offset the bitterness of the red onions and it was much improved. (I never add sugar to savory dishes! I guess never say never…) I also substituted homemade turkey stock for half of the water in the recipe. The rich and dark color from the caramelized red onions was gorgeous and the fabulous cheesy herb toast topping made the soup just right. This recipe was adapted from Jacques Pépin, via David Tanis of The New York Times.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

  • Olive oil
  • 6 pounds red onions, peeled, sliced 1/8-inch thick (about 8 large onions)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 LARGE bunch thyme, tied with string
  • 16 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 2-4 tablespoons brandy (optional)
  • 2-4 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional), or to taste
  • 8 -10 slices day-old bread, lightly toasted (I used a sourdough baguette)
  • 10 ounces grated Gruyère, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped sage
Set 2 large, wide skillets over medium-high heat. When pans are hot, add 1 tablespoon oil and a large handful of sliced onions to each pan. Season onions with salt and pepper, then sauté, stirring occasionally, until they are a ruddy dark brown, about 10 minutes.
Transfer onions to soup pot and return pans to stove. Pour 1/2 cup water into each pan to deglaze it, scraping with a wooden spoon to dissolve any brown bits. Pour deglazing liquid into soup pot. Wipe pans clean with paper towel and begin again with more oil and sliced onions. Continue until all onions are used. Don’t crowd pans or onions won’t brown sufficiently.
Place soup pot over high heat. Add wine, bay leaves, thyme bunch and garlic. Simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, then add stock and 4 cups water and return to boil. Turn heat down to maintain a gentle simmer. Add 4 teaspoons salt. Cook for 45 minutes. Skim off any surface fat, taste and adjust seasoning. (May be prepared to this point up to 2 days in advance.)
To serve, add brandy and/or sugar to soup, if using, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove the thyme. Make the cheese toasts: Heat broiler. Place toasted bread on baking sheet. Mix grated cheese with chopped thyme and sage, along with a generous amount of pepper. Heap about 1 ounce of cheese mixture on each toast. Broil until cheese bubbles and browns slightly. Ladle soup into wide bowls and top with toast. (I sprinkled the soup with extra cheese as well!)
One Year Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Buckwheat Crepes with Mix & Match Creamy Mushroom, Caramelized Sweet Onion, Sautéed Greens, & Citrus Shrimp Fillings

Crêpes are a special dish in my family. Growing up, my dad made them every Sunday morning. He gave me my fabulous crêpe pans when I went away to college. 🙂 I made this dish to celebrate a BIG birthday coming up for my Mom when she and my brother came to visit. It was fun to eat with a group because the toppings could be mixed and matched to each persons’ taste.

This recipe was adapted from Food Network Magazine.

Yield: about 6 servings

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • canola oil, for the crêpe pans or skillet
  • Assorted fillings (see below)


For the Crêpes:

  1. Combine the melted butter, both flours, the milk, eggs and salt in a blender and process until smooth. Let the batter rest at room temperature at least 1 hour or overnight. Stir in the parsley, if desired.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat the crepe pans (I use 2 at a time) or a skillet over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles in it. Lightly oil the pan(s), then add a scant 1/3 cup batter and quickly swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook until the crepe sets and browns around the edges, about 2 minutes. Carefully lift with a flexible metal spatula, flip over and cook about 30 more seconds. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil as needed and stacking the finished crepes. Wrap the crepes in a damp dish towel and place in the oven to reheat, about 10 minutes.
  4. Serve with assorted fillings.

Note: Crêpes can be made a day ahead. Just wrap in plastic and refrigerate, then reheat before assembling.

For the Creamy Mushroom Filling:

  • 3 T butter
  • 20 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add wild mushrooms and 2 thyme sprigs; saute until the mushrooms are golden, about 10 minutes.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and add 2/3 cup heavy cream; toss to warm through.
  3. Remove from the heat and add a handful of parsley.

For the Caramelized Sweet Onion Filling:

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. Add 2 sliced onions and 2 thyme sprigs. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onions are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

For the Sautéed Greens Filling:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 16-20 oz (or more!) mixed greens such as spinach, kale, chard, beet greens (I used kale, chard & beet greens)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add greens and cook until just wilted, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

For the Citrus Shrimp Filling:

  • 1 1/4 pounds shrimp (peeled)
  • 1 strip lemon zest
  • 2 sprigs parsley or tarragon
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  1. Sauté shrimp in 2 tablespoons butter with lemon zest, tarragon (or parsley) sprigs, and salt and pepper until the shrimp turn pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add lemon juice and white wine and simmer 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Vidalia Onion Tart


We are starting to feel like we live in San Diego- it has been beautiful, warm, and sunny for WEEKS here in Long Island. We have been able to enjoy eating outside- wonderful. Last night we ate this onion, cheese, and bacon tart outside with roasted asparagus and red wine. GREAT. It was super-flavorful and the house smelled AMAZING while it was in the oven. This recipe was adapted from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison, via the New York Times.

Yield: 4 main course servings, or 6 to 8 appetizer servings

For the filling:

  • 3 large Vidalia onions, or other sweet onions
  • 2 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into small pieces, optional
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 heaping teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 2 pinches dried
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese

For the crust:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole-wheat
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into small bits

1. To make the crust, put flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the cutting blade. Add 6 tablespoons butter and pulse until butter has broken into small, pebble-size pieces, about 10 times. Drizzle in ice water until dough looks clumpy and damp, about 10 seconds. (You’ll use about 3 tablespoons or less if the butter was soft.) Form dough into a disk or a rectangle to correspond to the shape pan you’re using. You have a few choices: a 9-inch tart pan, a square tart pan, or a rectangular one (11 x 8 1/2 inches), all with removable bottoms. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate.

2. To make the filling, cut onions in half, peel them, and finely dice them. Heat pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons butter. When melted, add onions, thyme and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes in all. At first the onions will be very moist, but after 10 minutes their water will have cooked off and they’ll begin to color. They needn’t be caramelized, but just take on a faint golden hue; I prefer them caramelized. When done, let them cool slightly. Taste for salt — they’ll be very sweet so you might want to add more — and season well with pepper.

3. If you’re using bacon, place diced pieces over paper towels on a microwave safe plate. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until nearly crisp.

4. While onions cook, whisk eggs with heavy cream (or crème fraîche) and milk. Stir in cooled onions, cheese and bacon, if using.

5. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough to fit your chosen tart pan, then drape dough in pan. Neatly press dough up the sides of the pan and shape it. Set it on a sheet pan. When oven is ready, pour onion mixture into tart pan, even out mixture, then bake until surface is golden and browned in places, 35 minutes on convection. Let cool to warm before cutting into slices and serving.



French Onion Soup


I love French Onion Soup. I always use this recipe from Vegetarian Cooking: Exciting Ideas for Delicious Meals published by Crescent Books. It was one of my first cookbooks -given to me by a co-worker when I started becoming interested in cooking. I like this recipe because it is simple, doesn’t use any alcohol, and because the cheese doesn’t have to be melted under the broiler. Before I had broiler-proof bowls, I would lightly toast a slice of baguette and cover it with shredded cheese in the bowl. When covered with hot soup, the cheese melts- delicious. I use homemade turkey stock, and substitute gruyere cheese for the cheddar and parmesan. I also always double the recipe!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 3 medium onions (I use sweet onions)
  • 4 T butter
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/3 cups vegetable (or poultry) stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices French Bread, cut crosswise
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Slice the onions very finely into rings.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot, add the onion rings and fry over medium heat until well browned. (The onions must be very well browned, as this gives the rich color to the soup.)
  3. Mix in the flour and stir well until browned.
  4. Add the stock and seasoning, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Toast the bread on both sides.
  6. Combine the cheeses, and spread over the bread slices; broil until golden brown.
  7. Place the slices of bread and cheese in the bottom of individual soup dishes and spoon the soup over the top.

french onion soup

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