I’m a very passionate cook. I love it. Nothing brings me more joy than chopping vegetables and creating delicious things for me and my husband to eat. I haven’t always enjoyed cooking though. In fact, it wasn’t until my mid 30s that I even started learning how. Prior to those years my best recipe was Cheeseburger Macaroni. Using the stuff from the blue box, I’d add in some cooked onion and ground beef and call it a masterpiece.
As I began to learn to cook, I would carefully follow the recipes, frightened of impeding disaster if I did not. As time went on I gained some confidence in my cooking abilities, so much so, that now it’s rare for me to use recipes at all unless it’s something I’m completely unfamiliar with. Instead, through a process of trial and error, I create recipes of my very own. It’s not something I decided on doing, it just happened naturally, over time. I’d make a meal and we’d enjoy it so much, I’d find myself wishing I’d wrote down some instructions so I could make it again, exactly the same way.
I still have my share of kitchen blunders. I’m certainly not a chef but creating delicious and healthy food is my passion. These days, it’s actually not so unusual for me to lie awake, late at night, thinking of a certain ingredient and dreaming up an entire meal around that ingredient, in my mind. Sometimes what I dream up is absolutely spot on, like the recipes I’m sharing below. Other times though, they need some more work.
We all know that cooking our own meals saves money and it’s healthier. I’d also suggest that exploring different foods and giving yourself permission to create, and even fail, will allow you to get to know yourself in ways that you’ve never considered. Perfectionism is so overrated. When creating meals, it’s important to allow yourself to have some fun and move beyond your self-imposed limitations. Doing so will give you more confidence in your abilities and it will make you an even better cook. Don’t forget to invite me over for dinner. 🙂
Pecan Crusted Alaskan Halibut, Sweet Potato Puree
and Sauteed Greens with Onions and Cranberries
Remember that Alaskan Fish I was telling you about? Well, I’m here to tell ya, I’m completely hooked. As long as Beth keeps selling it, I’ll keep buying, cooking and eating it. I created this recipe with the Alaskan Halibut in mind. The ingredients go together so well, after the first bite, I wanted to get up from the table and do a little happy dance to celebrate. Call me crazy, but that’s just how I roll.
Pecan Crusted Halibut
4 filets of Halibut
2 cups of Pecans, *ground fine
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2-3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Season both sides of the filets with salt and pepper. Dip each in the egg to moisten then dredge through the nuts. Sauté over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness, or until fish is cooked through.
*Grind nuts in a food processor with a pinch of salt until fine. If you don’t have a food processor, place them in a Ziploc bag and smash them fine with a rolling pin or object of your choice.
Sweet Potato Puree
4 small Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chopped
1-1/2 tsp Salt
1-1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1-1/2 cups Chicken Stock, warm
Place potatoes in pot, cover with water and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook till tender. Drain potatoes then place back in the pot. Add in the remaining salt and cinnamon. Add stock slowly and puree to desired consistency. You may not need all of the stock.
Sautéed Greens with Red Onions and Cranberries
4-5 cups of fresh, tender greens
1 Red Onion, slice thin
2 tbsp Dried Cranberries
1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
Add oil to a large sauté pan and heat over medium. Add in the onion and sauté till translucent. Add in the greens and combine to wilt. Add in the salt, pepper, vinegar and cranberries. Combine well and remove from heat.
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Tammy Batcha is a life-long resident of the Shenandoah Valley. A long-time commuter, she seeks to reconnect to her community. With a background of more than twenty years in publishing, she is founder of The Goodness and Grace Company. A board certified, health and wellness coach, she continues to study integrative nutritional theory while guiding others on a path to wellness.