Cuban Ceviche

You know the feeling when you haven’t talked to an old friend or relative for ages? Maybe even one you are pretty close to and that you really like and care about? And you keep waiting for that perfect afternoon when you are carefree and ready to cozy up in your favorite chair or kick back on the couch and just dive into a conversation for hours with your 100% undivided attention? But then days go by and months and you have fleeting glimpses of perfect moments that slip through your fingers.  And you’re like hell- just pick up the damn phone and call- RIGHT NOW.

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

And really whether it’s been months or over a year- you can just start right where you left off with this person- some smiles, some laughs, maybe a little sorrow- but you are just fully present. Can you see my point here?  I don’t have to spell it out in anymore detail right? I’m picking up the damn phone and don’t have anything glorious to share here or really even the time to share it if it were. But we just got back from Florida and we had some killer ceviche in Miami and I was like BAM- get some pics of this stuff and let people know you haven’t let go of this blog thing!

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

The last 8 months were very full and this sharing space made itself comfortable on a back burner with no flame- We had a wonderful year at the store and at the end of it I decided to take another break from retail. I’m on about a 3-4 year cycle. I’m rolling one thing out as I simultaneously roll something in. My latest venture is Real Estate. It’s a far cry from creative but I like people, I like property and I like selling. And a slow 2015 Winter gave me ample time to study and get my license. And being on this island for over 20 years doesn’t hurt in that job.

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

And then there’s those silly goats. They are keeping us plenty busy- especially since we never found new homes for our 2 kids, Jane and Rocky. We are still open to seeing them relocate but only for pets and milk- not the freezer thank you very much. ALTHOUGH having said that- we have our 3 does knocked up and I’m already mentally preparing myself for the fact these offspring may not reside here long term. We just don’t have the capacity. Ok- I may keep our Lagerian kids from Dinah- but they (LaMancha/Nigerian cross) will be small and hardly count.

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

We also built a studio for O man (my husband for those of you who forgot because it’s been EIGHT MONTHS of not hearing a peep from me). And did I mention the real estate thing- last year I was basically working 2 jobs and it was tricky. Then there’s the garden and yada yada yada… I still cook practically everyday from scratch. That’s just a given.

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

We spent only a week off the farm. And we got that time because we were so fortunate to have folks move into our cabin who love to farm sit. A little shout out to Coffelt Farm because that’s where one of them works:) We visited family near Vero Beach and we hiked down to Miami for just one night to visit our dear friends Teri and Jochen who moved there from Hamburg. One laughter filled, food filled evening spent with them on Ocean Drive at Lario’s on the Beach followed by chatting as we walked the boardwalk and ended with a stroll down Lincoln Road Mall. Loveliness.

Here’s a shot of the fresh snapper we had that night.Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com-5-2

Avocado salad

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com-4-2

And the ceviche and plantain chips that have been making me want to eat ceviche non-stop!

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com-3-2

Ceviche and steak might be the two things I’d eat all day everyday. A Cuban ceviche is often shrimp or scallops but it got a northwest spin because I have a fair amount of halibut in the freezer. Of course I’d recommend fresh but we do what we have to. I also saw a little note here….. that Cuban ceviche will have a dash of allspice. I didn’t see much other differentiation (except um for fish they tend to use scallops and shrimp). Sometimes a little tomato. But they are God awful right now in the Pacific Northwest so I skipped that. This link gave a little breakdown of ceviches and allspice seemed to be the little somethin’ somethin’ here. I pulverized whole allspice berries due to lack of ground allspice- but the whole berries actually proved more aromatic. So maybe this post should just say Ceviche with nutmeg…

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

What I am missing from my very large repertoire of  dish/glass ware and general accessories is martini glasses- which is a lovely way to feature ceviche. Now of course I might have to pick up a few just for my raw fish cravings. And my mom likes a very dirty martini- so there you have it. I should get some martini glasses.

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

~”Cuban” ceviche recipe~  now anybody who is actually from Cuba who might want to set me straight – I’m all ears!

  • 1# fish – I’m fairly flexible here. Halibut, ling cod, snapper of course,scallops, parboiled shrimp. But I like it to be a white fish
  • 1 sweet red pepper – or go for rainbow with yellow and orange if  available- I like that too
  • ½ bunch of cilantro- approx. ½-¾ cup
  • ½ cup red onion
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper (seeds removed)
  • 1 cup citrus juice- 3 limes, 1-2 lemons, 1 orange
  • zest from 1 organic lime
  • ½ tsp salt
  • good pinch of ground nutmeg (then taste it and see if you want more!)
  • garnish with green onion

When eating it for a light meal I didn’t mind serving it up on shredded romaine tossed with olive oil and lemon. You’ll find a little jalapeño,red pepper, red onion, lime, lemon and orange. And a little side of mango and avocado.

I even tried frying up some plantains. They weren’t deep fried so not as crispy as what we ate in Florida but yummy none the less.

So having prepped you in the first paragraph you’ll see this post come to an end- it’s not going to be a novel and I’d like to think you’ll hear from me again sooner than later.

Cheers,

WT

Time for lamb (and a little fish on the side)

Although I am completely consumed with planting vegetables in the garden, watching berries develop by the day, and still do the occasional juicing, I’m also working on keeping up with the meat in the freezer.

So before you get the onslaught of garden posts (haha- lest you think 1 or 2 posts/month is an onslaught!) I’m going to throw out a few of our dinners as of late. These are all real time. No props or primping or going out of my way to edit much. Just some solid dinners to inspire you cause let’s face it- my blogging calendar sucks. I could have stretched these photos into months but ummmm… that’s not happening.

rump roast

When you can buy meat in bulk locally, it is a chunk of change up front but still more economical with far superior quality. Last year we were fortunate, as I’ve mentioned, to purchase from Coffelt Farm located about 15 miles from us, a 1/4 of a cow along with a 1/2 of a pig, 1 lamb and a dozen chickens. We also purchased a second lamb from our neighbors. This has kept us fluid in proteins for the past year. We will be getting ready to purchase more starting the end of May. We have also finished one 10# case of salmon steaks, one 10# case of salmon filets and one 10# halibut filets.

salmon dinner

Salmon steak baked with olive oil and salt at 400 for 15 minutes. We like it RARE. Asparagus and zucchini fennel side…this huge steak fed me for dinner and lunch the next day.. FYI!

Salmon filets baked at 375 for 12 min with olive oil and lemon, side of grilled bok choy

Salmon filets baked with leeks at 375 for 12 min with olive oil, lemon and capers, side of grilled bok choy w/ bits of bacon

 

 

The freezer actually has room for a pint of ice-cream.  All went well except for one freezer partial meltdown but we all got the benefits of this Scallop Chowder.

We cruised through the steaks and chops and then had some fun with ribs (do I sound primal?)

lamb chops

Searing lamb chops on a hot pan

lambchops2

Seasoned chops baked at 400 for 5 minutes then flipped, brushed with a little dijon and pinches of fresh thyme and cooked another 5-8. Again. rare.

 

Mustard lamb chops, greens, creamy parmesan polenta, house made red kraut

Mustard lamb chops, greens, creamy parmesan polenta

 

and now we are left with large roasts- like the rump roast, (which this is not- and it took me about two hours of studying the photo to confirm this- note string tying up ROLLED boneless shoulder). Rump roasts and the LAMB SHOULDER I have here, work great on a work day when left in the slow cooker as do pork shoulders and butts which we have gone through already- Read pulled pork.

lamb shoulder

First seared in oil and butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then laid atop carrots, potatoes, onions, a few sprigs of time and 3-4 bay leaves- cup and a half water at the bottom. Cooked on low for 8 hours.

 

At first I thought I should be saving them for dinner parties. Dinner parties I do love to have but let’s be honest, they don’t happen every weekend.

Polenta is a great side and I use it often instead of potatoes or just for a little variety. This polenta was put hot in the tin and I fried up the wedges

Polenta is a great side and I use it often instead of potatoes for a little variety. This polenta was put hot in the tin and I fried up the wedges

 

So I just started cooking them up for our little family and invited Dad up.

Rump roast w/ polenta

Slow cooked LAMB SHOULDER & jus, veggies from the slow cooker atop a fried wedge of polenta with a little garnish of parsley

 

I love to cook a roast on a Sunday.

leg of lamb raw

Bone in leg of lamb spiked with slivers of garlic and dressed in freshly chopped rosemary, sage and thyme.

The tradition of gathering for a Sunday meal may not have been my experience growing up but I liked what I read in books or saw in movies. My mom did try to get us to sit down for dinner. But I think in my mind the image was more the Walton’s or the Ingall’s and aside from all being of the human race, we had very little in common with either family. Oh and they are all fictional characters. But I’m getting off topic…

leg of lamb cooked

Preheat oven and cook at 425° for 10 minutes. Reduce temp to 350° and cook about 15min/pound for internal temp of 125° and about 20min/pound for medium (135°) and well after that I just can’t recommend… go to Morrison’s cafeteria.

Yukon Golds sliced thin on a mandelin and layered with salt and pepper and a little melted butter

Start with a crepe pan and a pat of butter and 1 T olive oil. Yukon Golds are sliced thin on a mandelin and layered with salt and pepper and a little melted butter

Cook on low-med heat gently pressing on potatoes with a spatula for about 8 minutes then bring the heat up to medium and brown. Gently flip like a big fat pancake and repeat on the other side. Cool and flip on a cutting board and cut into wedges like a pie

Cook on low-med heat gently pressing on potatoes with a spatula for about 8 minutes then bring the heat up to medium and brown. Gently flip like a big fat pancake and repeat on the other side. Cool and flip on a cutting board and cut into wedges like a pie- you’ll see the edges shrinking from the sides. Test that they are cooked through with a toothpick

Roasted leg of lamb, pommes anna, simple veggies

Roasted leg of lamb, pommes anna, simple veggies

Sometimes we have a good bit of leftovers for work lunches and maybe even a stretch to a second dinner. And sometimes I thought, was I thinking that this would serve 6-8? We can chow down pretty good on our own in a night after a long day in the garden. And a lamb sandwich to boot- hell yeah.

Leftover, sliced lamb, mayo, or garlic aioli even better, mustard lettuce, bread... salt and pepper

Leftover, sliced lamb, mayo, or garlic aioli even better, lettuce, bread

Please serve with a couple cornichons aka gherkins aka those little mini pickles

lamb sandwhichand a little hard cider like this one from Seattle Cider Co

hard ciderSo this should figuratively and literally give you something to chew on…

Stay tuned for loads of green posts and cute surprises to follow!

Wham Bam Thank you Ma’am Tuna Sandwich

Do you ever have those nights where you just aren’t in the mood… to make dinner. Well here’s a quickie that will put a smile on your face without a lot of effort. It’s just a little inspiration to pull from when you just can’t get your head around making anything.

Tuna salad with capers, avocado and tomato

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Goat Cheese, Lemon and Pea Pasta, Grilled Salmon and a peak at Frog Song Farm…

I’d like to introduce you to Frog Song Farm, our summer digs, with a couple of photos I snapped last night. This humble octagonal structure was built by a man child at the age of 24, so the story goes. And it miraculously still stands roughly 30 years later. My first introduction was a description of Frog Song Farm posted on a small blue lined 3×5 index card in the spring of 1993 at the Seattle Tilth office in Good Shepherd’s park. “15 Acre Organic Farm, cabin, mature fruit trees” it read.  I was just finishing my degree at Bastyr College. After my last class, we took a six week journey traveling up the inside passage with a VW bus on a boat, then drove back down through Alaska and the Yukon. It was the moment of our return that I found myself busting to get out of the city. Three weeks later I sat on the lawn outside of a then intact octagonal structure surrounded by a small picket fence smothered with trailing roses. Ripe fruits of mid August swooned me. Laying in the grass, cocked on one elbow twirling grass blades between my fingers, I, also ripe at 25, negotiated with the owner as to how I could make this work.

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Sushi for St Patty

Sushi for St Patty

We strayed far from a traditional St. Patty’s Day meal. No cornbeef. No colcannon. No Guinness chocolate cake… although that’s definitely on my list. No green or otherwise beer. We had an evening at the sauna, and Irish meals after an evening of swimming and sweating, I do not crave. Sushi on the other hand, like spring rolls, is perfect. Having filled my luck quota this weekend with the coincidental green liner and napkin under the last round of cupcakes meant no tuna for us on Saturday. I literally was behind the man who bought the last tuna steak at our fish monger. The tuna I had imagined, during my twenty minute wait, spicing up with chili oil and mayo. The tuna I would place next to sweet mango and avocado. I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking tuna for St Patricks Day.  I’ve honestly never made sushi without fresh tuna. We still enjoyed fresh salmon, smoked salmon, shrimp and tofu.

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