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Flounder Almondine. Photo by Paul Goldfinger. Edward Weston slept with his models. Paul gets to dine with his.

 

By Eileen Goldfinger, Food and Garden Editor    @Blogfinger

 

Fish:

1/2 pound flounder

freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Smart Balance margarine


Sauce
:

1 tablespoon minced parsley

1 teaspoon Smart Balance margarine

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup Kitchen Basics seafood broth or chicken broth

10 whole roasted almonds, chopped


Sauce preparation:

In a small sauce pan heat margarine and olive oil on low and add minced garlic.

Let garlic soften in mixture for 10 minutes. Add additional ingredients, stir, raise the heat to medium-low and simmer until fish is ready to be served.


Fish Preparation:

Heat 10 inch non-stick fry pan on medium for 10 minutes.  Add oil and margarine and brush them to cover bottom of pan.

Sprinkle black pepper lightly on both sides of flounder filets. When oil and margarine start to bubble, add filets to pan and cook until fish browns;  then turn filets over and brown on other side.

Place filets on plate and serve sauce on the side.

Serves 2


Cooks note:

The fresh flounder is from Iceland.

The corn and tomatoes are from New Jersey farms.

The wine is a Pinot noir from France. (Note the fleur de lis on the glass)

SOUNDTRACK:  Let’s listen to something French while we are waiting for dinner.   It’s Rina Ketty  in 1938 with “J’Attendrai”  (I Wait)

 

Editor’s Note:  This amazingly delicious recipe is a perfect heart healthy dish.  We have fresh fruits and vegetables, no sugar, no added salt, low calorie content, excellent portion size, protein, minimal carbs, good oils (fish,  olive, and Smart Balance in small doses), red wine, and nuts (almonds are particularly healthy.)  The corn on the cob, without butter, but with a small amount of margarine, is about 150 calories, mostly from the complex carbohydrate content.      Paul Goldfinger, MD

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By Eileen Goldfinger  (food editor at Blogfinger)

4 cups fish broth
1 cup water
6 ounces halibut, cut in 2 inch pieces
4 extra large sea scallops
7 ounces cooked lobster meat
1/2   32 ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes, hand crushed
1 sweet onion, diced
1 Anaheim pepper, seeded, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
pinch of sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 large leaves of Swiss chard,  remove center stem, slice leaves in 1/2 inch strips
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Use a heavy 5 quart Dutch oven with a lid.  Heat oil on medium heat, then add diced onions. Cook onions until they begin to soften, approximately 10 minutes.  Add the Anaheim peppers, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper;  stir and cook for another 10 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes, return the heat to medium and cook for an additional 10 minutes

Remove fish from refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature.

Add the broth, water and Swiss chard to the pot, stir, bring to a boil, cover the pot, lower heat so the liquid simmers and cook for 45 minutes.

Taste the soup and adjust seasoning.

Add halibut to soup and cook for 5 minutes.  Next add scallops to soup and cook for 7 minutes.  Finally, add lobster and cook for 2 minutes.

Serve with grilled Ciabatta bread and sautéed slices of polenta.

Serves 2

Cook’s note: A more economical version could substitute any solid white fish such as cod loin for the halibut. The lobster could be replaced with shrimp.  A good wine with this is Cavit’s Pinot Grigio  (from Italy) served chilled. It is inexpensive and quite delicious.

Editor’s note:  This recipe is 100% heart healthy. Fish is a nutritious protein source which contains no saturated fat and very low amounts of total fat. Lobster and scallops are shellfish which contain only small amounts of cholesterol.  All these fish components are heart healthy due to their fish oils. Note that the cooking oil chosen is olive oil, which is a “good oil” high in monounsaturated fat.  Swiss chard is high in anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals.    This recipe originally posted on Blogfinger in 2011.  PG

MUSIC: To play while you enjoy your Italian Fish Soup by candlelight :  Puccini, from La Boheme, “Musetta’s Waltz”–Kiri Te Kanawa:

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Cabbage soup, Russian style. Blogfinger photo. 2014

Cabbage soup, Russian style. Blogfinger photo. 2014. Click to enlarge.

 


By Eileen Goldfinger, food editor @Blogfinger.net

 

1 large head green cabbage, slice into 2-3 inch pieces

2 24 ounce jars marinara sauce

4 24 ounce jars water

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon

2 medium onions, diced

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

salt to taste

2-3 pounds short ribs, trimmed of fat

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

 

In an 8 quart stock pot heat oil on medium low. Add short ribs and brown on all sides. Remove ribs from pot and set aside. Add onion and cook until it wilts.

Next add marinara sauce, water (use the marinara jar for measurement), lemon, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until liquid begins to simmer. Add cabbage and short ribs, then stir.

Place lid askew on pot and cook at a simmer for 2 hours or until meat is ready to fall off the bones.

 

Serve with boiled potatoes and Russian rye bread.*

 

Serves 4

 

* We like Pechters Russian rye bread (made in Harrison, NJ) with seeds, purchased at Wegmans. It’s not packaged, it is displayed at the fresh bread section

 

THE GRASCALS  featuring music from the Andy Griffith show  “Boil Them Cabbage Down”

 

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October 2015. Design by Eileen Goldfinger. Blogfinger.net photo. Ocean Grove. October 2015.  Design  by Eileen Goldfinger. Paul Goldfinger photo.  Fresh cranberries harvested  at Chatsworth, NJ.  Leaves from the Garden State Parkway.  Eileen’s homemade cranberry sauce is  in the center.  Click to enlarge.  © Blogfinger.net

 

Cranberry bog. nchip.uga.edu Harvest time.  Cranberry bog. nchip.uga.edu

 

 

By Eileen Goldfinger, food editor @Blogfinger and Paul Goldfinger, official taster and photographer  @Blogfinger.

In October we usually attend the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival. It’s fun. Read about it at http://www.cranfest.info.

It was cancelled for 2020.

The Festival  is a very crowded event in the Pine Barrens, about an hour from here.  The best bet is to go on Sunday morning early and park along the side of the road.  Mark your calendar for October 2021 and check the date on-line since that date has not yet been announced.

New Jersey is one of the most important cranberry growing regions in the world with over 3,500 acres devoted to the crop.  In the US, we are second in size to Wisconsin and Massachusetts.  Cranberries are grown in bogs where the soil and water requirements are quite complicated. The harvest is usually complete by the end of October.

In New Jersey, most of the growing occurs in Burlington County, around Chatsworth, where the annual Cranberry Festival is held.

 

Annual Cranberry Festival. Chatsworth, NJ. Oct. 19, 2013. Paul Goldfinger photo © Annual Cranberry Festival. Chatsworth, NJ. Oct. 19, 2013. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click left

We go to the Festival  to enjoy this unique cultural event—-Appalachia in Jersey.  Hear bluegrass music and  buy fresh picked cranberries.  Eileen purchases her usual 7 pound box. Vendors make all sorts of products from this versatile fruit.

In 2015 we were away for the Festival, so we drove to Tabernacle, NJ  ( BF search “Tabernacle”) down the road from Chatsworth, one week later,  and visited Russo’s Farm Market where Eileen purchased her supply of cranberries. That’s where we went recently (2020)

She makes fresh cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and freezes the rest of the berries in small Ziploc portions to use throughout the year.  Fresh cranberries can be purchased at Wegmans and Delicious Orchards.  Or take a ride to Russo’s.  But remember the Pine Barrens scene in The Sopranos.

 

Fresh cranberries from New Jersey. Photo design by Eileen Goldfinger. Background is a 1950's dish cloth. PG photo © 2013  photo design by Eileen Goldfinger. Background is a 1950’s dish cloth. PG photo ©. Left click to enlarge.

Below is Eileen’s recipe for homemade cranberry sauce.   It’s a treat for your company on Thanksgiving, so don’t get bogged down with that gelatinous canned stuff.

 

 

EILEEN’S CRANBERRY SAUCE:

1 cup of water

1 cup sugar

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 orange, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon orange zest

1/8 cup Grand Marnier (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Mix sugar and water in a medium sauce pan.

Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.

Add cranberries and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat and gently boil for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat.

Cool to room temperature.

Add diced orange and zest and Grand Marnier.

Refrigerate.

Makes approx. 2 cups of cranberry sauce. In general, if used as a condiment, it will serve about 4 people.

 

MICHAEL GIACCHINO, COMPOSER OF THE MOVIE SCORE OF RATATOUILLE. From the soundtrack of the Disney/Pixar film.  The selection is “Le Festin” by Camille.

 

 

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pot roast

Eileen’s holiday pot roast. Photograph and recipe by Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor@Blogfinger.net .  ©  It’s as good as it looks.

 

Eileen’s Holiday Pot Roast:

Prepare 1-2 days before serving
Preheat oven 350 degrees

5-6 pound brisket
freshly ground black pepper
paprika
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cooking onions, diced
4 carrots, peeled, cut in ¼” rings
4 stalks celery with leaves, ¼” slices
1 package (8-10 oz) fresh cremini or white mushrooms, thinly sliced
5 small cans of whole white potatoes (drained of the liquid)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 8 oz jars beef gravy
1 cup red wine
1 box low sodium beef or chicken broth
½ cup marinara sauce

Rub paprika and black pepper on both sides of the brisket (approximately 2 tablespoons of paprika & 1 tablespoon black pepper.)
Heat a large oven proof pan (with cover) on the stove. When pan is hot place brisket in pan and sear until meat turns brown. Turn meat over and sear on the other side. Remove brisket from pan and set aside.

Add oil to the pan and heat medium low. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté on medium low heat for 15 minutes. Next add garlic, 1 jar beef gravy, red wine, box of broth, and marinara sauce. Stir the liquids with the vegetables and add the seared brisket to the pan. Place the cover on the pan and put it in the oven for 3 hours. Half way through the cooking time, turn the meat over and continue cooking with lid on pot.

After the 3 hours remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool. Place meat and gravy in a closed container and store in the refrigerator until the morning of the day you plan to serve the meat. Remove congealed fat and take brisket out of container (scrap gravy off the meat). Slice the brisket in ¼” slices on the diagonal, against the grain of the meat. It is very important that you slice against the grain or the meat will be tough and stringy.

Place the meat in the original pot. Add the gravy, all the potatoes, mushrooms, and 1 jar beef gravy. Place cover on the pot and place in the oven for 2 hours. I serve the brisket right from the pot it was cooked in. Serves 8

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A taste of Jewish history:  It’s now 5781 (the new year)  by the Hebrew calendar, and Rosh Hashanah is upon us. The Jewish New Year is a serious religious event, but, like so many of our holidays, food is a big deal, especially traditional recipes. There are a lot of moving parts, but if Eileen leaves out anything she hears about it.

We eat apples dipped in honey for a sweet new year. Pomegranates have a similar purpose. (Although the Chinese like this too.)  We have round  (goodness without end) egg breads (challah)–often with raisins.

Some of our foods are so good that they show up at multiple holidays.  For example there’s chicken soup with matzoh balls and/or noodles. Then there is sweet Kosher wine and, the piéce de résistance—pot roast.  (using a particular cut: brisket.)

Of course Jews were scattered all over the world for thousands of years, so there are variations in the foods.  If you are in the north east, brisket is usually used, but if you head to other parts of the country, the pot roast is made with different cuts of meat.

Many Jews that one might meet in New Jersey and New York are from families that escaped from eastern Europe during waves of immigration during  the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.*   So they brought pot roast with them.  On the other hand the Sephardic Jews in Deal might have couscous, leeks, pumpkin and fish with the head still attached.

My family, like most others, wanted to be Americanized as soon as possible. And that included customs, dress and language. But the foods were never forgotten. They spoke Yiddish at home because of the grand parents, but they always spoke English elsewhere.

*Another wave of Jewish emigration occurred in the 1930’s as Hitler took over Germany. Those who escaped landed anywhere they might avoid the “final solution.” So some wound up in places like China and India, but other safe places included America, Canada, Mexico, England and others.  When I was a kid my parents liked to go to Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY.  There, on the beach,  I noticed many folks with numbers tattooed on their arms.

Here is Mandy Patinkin who made an album of songs sung in Yiddish, and in this song he celebrates America–not the old world, but the new…..

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

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Stuffed Flounder With Shrimp

Eileen Goldfinger, Food and Garden Editor  @Blogfinger

Fish:

2 flounder fillets

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon Smart Balance  margarine

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon

Stuffing:

6 medium shrimp, diced and peeled

1 scallion, diced

1 shallot, minced

1 small celery stalk, diced

1/2 teaspoon ground garlic

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

pinch of salt

4 tablespoons Eggbeaters

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Prepare the stuffing:

Put the margarine and the oil in a 10 inch non-stick pan and heat on medium.

Add shrimp, scallion, shallot, celery, garlic, black pepper and salt.

Sauté until scallions soften, and shrimp turn pink, approximately  5 minutes.

Remove from pan and place in a bowl to cool.  Turn off heat under pan.

When the stuffing is cool, add Eggbeaters and Panko bread crumbs to the mix.

Prepare the fish:

Re-heat the pan on medium and add a little more oil if  necessary.

Rub the chili powder on both sides of the fillets. Lay the fillets, skin side down on the counter (the skins are removed), place half of the stuffing in each fillet. Pull the two ends of the fillet together, over the stuffing, and secure with a wooden toothpick.

Cook the fillets in the pan until they turn brown and then turn them over and brown the other side. While they are cooking, squeeze the juice from the lemon over them.

serves 2

Cookin’ Music:   Clifford Curry with “Mamma’s Home Cookin'”

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Eileen's Sautéed Flounder. Photo by Paul Goldfinger ©

Eileen’s Sautéed Flounder. Photo by Paul Goldfinger ©. Re-post from 2013.


By Eileen Goldfinger, Food and Garden Editor @Blogfinger

1/2 pound flounder

1 tablespoon of Wegmans pan searing flour *

4 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground garlic

4 tablespoons Wegmans shallot-thyme finishing butter **

1 tablespoon margarine

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 scallions, diced

1/2 lemon, juiced

Preheat 10 inch non-stick fry pan on medium low heat.

Fish: 

Dry flounder fillets with a paper towel.  (If the fish is wet, it will steam and not brown).  Sprinkle both sides of fillets with searing flour, paprika and ground garlic.  Place one  tablespoon of canola oil on each side of the fillets and rub the spices into the  fish.

Sauce:

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil, 1 tablespoon shallot-thyme butter and 1 tablespoon of margarine into the fry pan.  As the oils heat up, brush them over the bottom of the pan. When the oil starts to sizzle, place the fillets into the pan. The heat should still be at medium low. When the filets start to brown, approximately 7 minutes, turn them over. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and cook for 5 minutes.

Serves 2

* You can substitute all purpose flour that has been sifted.

**You can make the finishing butter or margarine yourself:  Let the butter come to room temperature and stir in 1 teaspoon of minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves and 1/2 minced shallot.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Wegmans  Ocean seafood department sold more fish than any other of the 81 Wegmans branches in the entire country on July 4.  Currently they are featuring whole red snapper. Here is a link to Eileen’s recipe for whole baked red snapper.     —PG

Eileen’s whole baked red snapper

LOUIS PRIMA:   “Che La Luna.”  (Italians like ribald lyrics, like the Jews from the Yiddish theater.)

There’s the moon in the middle of the sea
Mother, I must get married
My daughter, to whom will I give you
Mother, I’ll leave it up to you
If I’ll give you to the fisherman
He’ll come and go
He’ll always have a fish in his hands
If he’ll get any ideas
He’ll fish you oh my daughter
La la la, fried fish and baccala
We don’t want any calamari”

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August is the right time for the Jerseys. We got these at Matt’s in Belmar. $$3.00 per pound on Aug. 10, 2020. Blogfinger photo.  We also got some fine specimens at the Saturday  Sunset Avenue market in A. Park

 

By Eileen Goldfinger, food editor @Blogfinger.net and Paul Goldfinger (right hand man)

We had family over for a chicken dinner last night, but the stars of the show were the Jersey tomatoes done up by Eileen who prepared her Caprese (Capri style) salad  with slices of tomato alternating with sliced  fresh mozzarella;  See the actual recipe below.

The chicken thighs and wings were prepared with a dry rub and then finished with Wegmans’ Organic Sweet Chili sauce.

In addition we served fresh white Jersey corn and fresh green beans.

Almost all the tomatoes were gone because they were so delicious.   Go out now and buy some.   Remember to look for the fruits where the red reaches the stem and don’t buy if they are too mushy to the touch.

They should have a slight give when gently squeezed, as my friends. (PG) and I discovered in high school.

 

Here is Eileen’s Caprese salad recipe:

 

August 10, 2020. Eileen’s photo in her kitchen.

 

CAPRESE SALAD:


Ingredients:

NJ beefsteak tomatoes

Handmade mozzarella*

Fresh basil

Fig flavored balsamic vinegar

Tuscan extra virgin olive oil

Salt


Assembling the salad:

Cut four quarter inch slices of beefsteak tomato

Place the slices on a plate and sprinkle with salt

Place a slice of mozzarella on top of each tomato slice and place one or two large basil leaves on each slice of cheese.

Drizzle a small amount of balsamic vinegar over each stack and then drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil over each stack.

Repeat the above steps creating four stacks of 2-layers each.

Use smaller basil leaves as garnish on the plate.

Serves two.

*The wonderful homemade mozzarella came from Antonio’s Gourmet at 2201 Sunset Avenue, Wanamassa, in the same strip as the liquor store.

 

Fill the night with song…    Music, family and good food—-a fine recipe for a family gathering:

 

PINK MARTINI:  “Hang on Little Tomato.”

 

And here is FRANK SINATRA regarding a tomato he found in Italy:

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By Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor  @Blogfinger

Preheat cast iron skillet on medium heat.  It needs to be very hot.

8 large sea scallops

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt

freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Salsa:

1/2 mango peeled and diced

1/4 red bell pepper, minced

1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, minced

3 scallions, minced including part of the green section

1/4 teaspoon ground garlic

1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

pinch of salt and freshly grated black pepper

2 tablespoons Ponzu (or 1 tbs. orange juice and 1 tbs. soy sauce)

Mix all the salsa ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Scallops:

Sprinkle a small amount of salt, pepper and chili powder on both sides of the scallops.

Put the olive oil in the cast iron skillet and brush the oil to cover the pan surface.

Place the scallops in the pan and don’t move them until they form a brown crust on the bottoms. This should take about 3 minutes.  Turn them over and repeat the process on the other side, cook another 3 minutes.

Cut into one of the scallops, if the inside is still translucent, continue to cook scallops for another 1 or 2 minutes.

Remove scallops from  pan, plate them and dress them with the salsa.

Serves 2

Photo by Paul Goldfinger

MUSIC:  By Celia Cruz (The Queen of Salsa): “La Vida es un Carnival.” (Life is a Carnival).

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Recipe by Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor @ Blogfinger.net. Photo by Eileen ©

 

Eileen’s Baltimore Crab Cakes:

 

Ingredients

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat

20 Saltine crackers, crushed

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

2 rounded tablespoons Hellman’s mayonnaise

1 large egg

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons canola oil (may need more for cooking)

1 tablespoon butter

1 ½ – 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seafood Seasoning

 

Prepare crab cakes

Place crab meat in a large bowl. Gently pick through the meat and remove any shells. Add the cracker crumbs ( I place the crackers in a zip lock bag and pound them with a wooden mallet or rolling pin to make the crumbs), Old Bay and chives.

Gently mix these ingredients together, use your hands, and break apart some of the larger pieces of crab.

In a separate bowl whisk the mayonnaise, egg, and mustard together. Stir this into the crab mixture using your hands. Be careful not to break the pieces of crabmeat.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This will help form the crab cakes and prevent them from falling apart.

Scoop approximately ½ cup amount of crab mixture in your hands and carefully form cakes about 1” thick. This should make 6 crab cakes. Place them on a tray until all cakes are formed.

 

Cooking crab cakes

Heat a 12” non-stick fry pan or cast iron pan (my preference) over medium heat.

Add the oil and when it begins to simmer add the cakes to the pan. Cook cakes for 4 minutes or until they turn golden. Lower the heat to medium low, add the butter to the pan and turn the cakes over.

Cook them for 4 minutes or until they turn golden.

 

Serves 3

 

STUART MATTHEWMAN   from the movie Twin Falls Idaho.  “Amapola”

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