Thai Seafood Pumpkin Curry

If you know me, you know I love Fall and pumpkins!  Better Half is away at work for a couple of weeks, and I must confess that while he’s away I don’t fix normal dinners for myself.  I’ll eat popcorn, cereal, cake. . . .   I must, absolutely must, cook something decent.  I’m worth it!  Of course, I really want pumpkin bars or something of the sort, but that would be bad.  Very bad.

Pumpkin.  Hum.  I had shrimp in the freezer, along with flounder.  Half a can of frozen red curry paste.  Frozen peppers.  Coconut milk.  See where I’m headed?

This is really not a set recipe, per se, and it’s very forgiving.  I would have used chicken, mushrooms, fresh peppers, bamboo shoots, etc., if I’d had them.   If you don’t have the fish sauce, forget about it!  Same with lime leaves—instead throw in half a lime!  Also, I like my curry more like a soup, so I make mine with a lot of liquid and mix it with the rice.  All I can say is when I was done, I ran my finger around the inside of the bowl and. . . .



Onions and Good Karma

Yes, a weird title:  Onions and Good Karma, but they do go together.  Hang with me!

When I planted my little garden this year certain people (Better Half and mom-in-law [amazing gardener]) scoffed at me because I was planting onions from seeds.  Yes, seeds.  Itty, bitty, teeny, tiny seeds.  Ha, the Karma Gods smiled on me because all summer long I’ve had onions and just pulled my last little bit (above).  All I have left to pick are butternut squash.  However, we did plant turnips, lettuce, peas, and beans for a fall harvest.  Cross your fingers. . . .

My husband has a good number of close friends he’s had since elementary school; that’s like 37 years ago.  Amazing.  The other amazing thing?  Cool wives (yep, me included!).  Seriously, isn’t it horrible when you have a really close friend and your respective spouses don’t jive?  Urg.  We jive; we really jive!  In fact, the wives and I are great friends and don’t require the men to have a rockin’ good time.  Although (and don’t tell), I love the husbands, seriously–love them.  They crack me up.  These boys were wild animals and the stories they tell… every story involves either: a) a gun; b) a bus; c) a hot rod; d) beer; e) a creek, etc.   The fact that these men are all alive and are amazing husbands, providers, etc. is (frankly) a little astounding (particular the case with Better Half!).

So, you ask:  onions and good karma?  Well, one of the couples go together like PB&J, wine & cheese, Laurel & Hardy, you get it.  We always have a fun time when we’re together.  The problem is that we can’t get them down here often enough, but since they live where Better Half grew up, we’re up there a lot— meaning we are frequent house guests.  They are so generous, kind, and accommodating; it makes me feel bad, but we love being around them!  If their darn house just wasn’t so stinkin’ cool…  Any hoo, because they have been more than good hosts to us on a regular basis I know they have stored up major karma points.  A couple of weeks ago Mrs.  C sent me a recipe that was to die for and it was based on:  you guessed it—onions!

I wish I had a picture to share, but we were vultures when it came out of the oven all hot and bubbly.  It’s like a sophisticated, grown-up version of onion dip!

Baked Vidalia Dip

2 cups grated Swiss cheese
2 cups chopped Vidalia onions (or sweet onions)
2 cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Combine the first three ingredients, stirring well. Spoon mixture into lightly greased 1-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 325 for 40 – 45 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.  It makes a pretty dish. Serve with Ritz crackers, pita chips, French bread, or whatever you like best.

Rainbow Trout with Mushroom Crab Dressing

I love fishing like a fat kid loves cake.  Or, like I love cake.  I love fishing so much it is one of my favorite things to do if I am given a choice.  When fishing I do nothing but concentrate on fishing (well, and not falling down in the river, which I do; a lot…).   Maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces that I love the water and fish so much.  When I was a small child there was a yard in our town that had a “water feature” in their front yard.  I would beg my mother to drive by this house so I could see the fish.  I beg Better Half all the time for a “water feature” to which he proclaims (rightly so), “You live on a river.  That’s your water feature.”   He did surprise me one day with my own personal “water feature” by making the pipes connected to our rain gutters lead off the bluff onto rocks he had strategically placed to look like a mini-waterfall.  It’s quite charming and sort of cute (in a weird way).  I’m blessed.  I have a wonderful family and great friends.   I even think the fish like me which is why they jump onto my line!

You may wonder why, if I like fishing so much, I don’t subscribe to the catch and release trend.  I like to eat fish, and I like knowing the food on my plate is local and wild.  Plus, I caught it, I Better Half cleaned it, and I cooked it.  I know it’s fresh.  I believe in the circle of life, and I know overcrowding, be it people or critters, is not good for nature.  If I keep a fish, you can bet your sweet britches I’ll be eating that fish.  Here’s the fresh rainbow trout Better Half and myself caught and put in our pie-holes within three hours of catching.  Now that’s fresh fish!

Rainbow Trout Mushroom Crab Dressing

I’d like to say there’s a recipe, but alas, no.  But, here are instructions.  We had five rainbow trout.  They were relatively small, so no dressed fish, but fillets worked fine.  Better Half cleaned and filleted the trout.  Meanwhile, I sautéed a small amount of diced onion, diced celery, and chopped garlic in butter/olive oil until partially tender.  Then I added about one cup sliced cremini mushrooms and sautéed until everything was tender.  I mixed the veggies with about 8 ounces cooked crabmeat, about two cups fresh breadcrumbs, about ¼ cup melted butter, 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, salt and pepper to taste, and put the mixture in the bottom of a buttered casserole pan.  I laid the trout on top,  sprinkled on a few shakes of seafood seasoning, salt and pepper, and then covered them with sliced lemons .  I drizzled olive oil on top and cooked at 350° for about 20 minutes, or until the fish was flaky and cooked in the middle.  Yum.  Now, got catch you some!

Flounder with Pineapple Salsa

Fish night.  We’ve had enough red meat since Better Half returned so it’s time for some of the other, other white meat!  I had flounder in the freezer and the last of my yellow tomatoes hanging on for dear life, along with a luscious pineapple winking at me, so here’s the result.   I served it on top a simple rice mixed with two big cloves of sautéed elephant garlic from my garden.  FYI, Better Half was digging this fish and dish!

Flounder with Pineapple Salsa

(serves four)


(The first four ingredients should be chopped into approx. ¼” cubes)

½ cup pineapple
½ yellow bell pepper
1 yellow tomato, seeded
½ cup sweet onion
½ jalapeno, finely minced (w/ seeds)
½ cup loosely packed cilantro
½ lime, juiced
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt/Pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate at least two hours prior to serving.


Four flounder fillets, thawed and patted w/ paper towel
1/4 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter

Season flour with salt and pepper.  Lightly dredge flounder fillets in seasoned flour.  Melt butter in skillet over medium heat (approx. 350°).  Sauté (yes, I’m aware it’s really frying, okay?)  flounder (approximately 10 minutes per 1″ thickness of fish) on both sides until done.  Top with salsa and dig in.

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Protein, must have protein.  This morning at 2:00 (yes, 2:00 in the morning) I was up with a spoonful of peanut butter in my pie-hole.  I don’t like peanut butter that much.  But the last few days I’ve been really lax in eating which, given my love of food, my body probably appreciated the break!  Nonetheless, I’m not up to cooking a huge meal since Better Half isn’t home, so beans and rice it is.  In honor of Better Half’s imminent arrival home and since he’s not too far from Cuba, I’m cooking Cuban Black Beans and Rice.

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

1 pound black beans (cooked per package instructions)
4 cups cooked long-grain rice
1 cup chopped green pepper (mixed colors are great)
1 cup chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 lime, cut in half
½ tablespoon cumin seed
1 jalapeno, sliced crosswise
Salt/Pepper, to taste

About 15 minutes prior to beans and rice being fully cooked, saute onion, peppers, and garlic in olive oil until just soft; add ground cumin, cook for one more minute, and combine mixture with beans.  Stir vinegar into beans.

Plate rice and top with beans.  Squeeze lime halves over entire dish.  Sprinkle cumin seeds and jalapeno slices on top.  Salt and pepper to taste.

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