Category Archives: Fish

Asian Dumpling Soup

adsRemember that time you had that soup at that place? The broth was the perfect combination of flavorful, smooth, and sort of exotic tasting without having too much heat or ginger? Remember how you thought “I can make this at home!” Yeah. No you can’t. But thanks to the magic of Imagine Food broths, you will get darn close!

I’ll try to keep this tale as short as I can. At Whole Foods, my son decided he wanted some salmon candy (smoked salmon that is sweetened with sugar or maple syrup. Very tasty). Next to the salmon candy, there were some Sea Bast Dumplings Intriguing. I remembered a friend at church had told me about some great soup she had at Trader Joes that was simply some wontons in Miso broth with a few veggies. Hmmm. The gears were spinning fast! I picked up some mushrooms, and snap peas and threw together what turned out to be an incredibly tasty soup.

Asian Dumpling Soup
1 quart Imagine Ramen Broth
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
Small bunch of chopped green onions – keep an inch of the green
2 cups snap peas
12 medium dumplings

  1. Saute the mushrooms and both types of onions for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Onions should be translucent.
  2. Add the peas and broth and heat thoroughly.
  3. Add the dumplings and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until dumplings are hot. Be careful not to leave them in too long. They will get kind of soggy and pasty.

I am not ashamed to use prepared broth. I consider prepared broths to be a precious gift. I always keep a few boxes in my pantry. They allow me to make delicious soups which are very important to my existence as a human being in no time at all. I am always very happy to find new varieties and the Imagine Ramen Broth didn’t disappoint. I look forward to trying it again and sampling a more of their offerings.


Balsamic Maple Glazed Salmon

bmsWith dreams of a lovely smoked salmon for dinner one night this weekend, I picked up a pretty decent sized piece of salmon from the store.

Sadly, work and other things got in the way, and if I wanted salmon, I was going to have to make it myself. I’ve had great luck slow roasting my salmon. It’s a very hands-off and simple way to prepare salmon. And it’s virtually impossible to overcook it this way. I’ve prepared Slow Roasted Salmon many times. I wanted to change the glaze a little bit.

Balsamic Maple Glazed Salmon
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Sea salt
Salmon, of course!

  1. Combine all the ingredients (except the salmon)
  2. Put your salmon skin side down on a pan either prepared with cooking spray or covered with a Silpat or similar liner.
  3. Brush on some of the glaze.
  4. Bake at 250 for 40 minutes per pound.
  5. If you want, set a timer for 20 minutes, and glaze again.

Easy. Tasty. SOOO TASTY!!! Everyone loved this. I was hoping for enough for two full meals (it was a fairly giant piece of salmon) but no go. Just enough left for a couple lunches.

Easter is right around the corner and so is Passover. If you’re looking for something a little different for your table, this would fit the bill. It’s great with asparagus, and baby potatoes. The sweetness of the maple syrup is balanced nicely with the garlic and balsamic vinegar. I really recommend the second glazing. With the salmon warm, the glaze sticks a little better and the flavor is great!

This would be a great way to prepare other fish too. Just remember, 40 minutes per pound!


FIRST Fish Stew

ffsDoes this happen in your house?

“What would you like to take for lunch next week?”

[deafening silence while the wheels in the little 13 year old brain of My Faithful Assistant churn…]

“I KNOW! Let’s make something that has ingredients that spell out FIRST!”

Oh. Yay.

The boy knows his mom and I do love a culinary challenge. So here is our FIRST week of school FIRST Fish Stew.

FIRST Fish Stew
2 lbs fish of choice (F)
1 lb Idaho potatoes – chopped and roasted (I)
1 red pepper, chopped (R)
1 bunch of scallions, chopped with at least an inch of the green part (S)
1 tsp Tumeric (T)
1 can coconut milk

1. Chop the fish and combine with the roasted potatoes, scallions, tumeric, and coconut milk in a large skillet. Cook until fish is done. It took mine about 20 minutes because I cut the fillets  into smaller chunks to fit in a thermos.
2. When the fish is done, add the chopped red pepper and simmer for another 10 minutes. The peppers will still be slightly crisp.
3. Serve!

This was a really delightful stew, if I do say so myself. The coconut milk made it very aromatic. It was filling but not too filling. In my opinion, it is a perfect lunch food. Lots of protein and veggies. Good stuff! Of course, when it came time to actually make lunch, My Faithful Assistant decided for his old favorite, Practically Instant, Homemade Potato Soup. Oh well! It was still fun to make the stew!


Happy Anniversary, Open Doors!

tmmcOriginal post: July 12, 2014

Last November, I wrote a post about something I called “Let’s Be Thankful Soup”. I made soup for my family with canned goods like the ones I imagine someone would get from a food pantry. It turns out I was pretty spot on.

I was recently put in touch with a really lovely woman named Carol Hill. Carol and her friend Pam Gebhardtsbauer have been running a food pantry called the Open Doors Food Pantry out of their church, the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Highland, MD. This month, Open Doors celebrates one year of service to the community and I was asked to write about them.

Open Doors opened its doors in July 2013 after months and months of planning. Carol said she had visited a church in Carroll County with her mother in September of 2012. The church had a food pantry, and after helping there for a couple months, Carol realized it was something she could do in her own church. She remembers speaking to her pastor and saying, “I think I’m supposed to start a food pantry here.” Her pastor didn’t tell her he thought she was crazy, even though he did. Just a tiny bit. With lots of work, planning and determination, Carol and Pam opened their doors that first month to seven families.

Open Doors is open to its clients once a month and now serves about 30 families a month. Many families have just one parent. Some are shockingly like you and me. They have nice homes in a cozy suburb except at some point, something went terribly wrong leaving them to rely on help from the community until they can recover.

And recover they do! Carol told me that many of the clients do recover from the circumstances that have brought them to her.

While they are with her, Carol makes sure they are treated with the utmost dignity. As she says, she tells all her volunteers “Treat everyone like you would treat your mother, if you liked her.”

I asked Carol about what she needs. Summer, as you can imagine, is a time of great need for families. Many children who get meals at school are not getting those meals now. Their parents now have to stretch their limited funds to provide several more meals a week. Right now, Carol said she needs peanut butter and jelly, pasta sauce, paper goods, and individual servings of macaroni and cheese or Chef Boyardee pasta.

Carol has been very lucky to have some very consistent helpers with her mission. Last year, The Church of Latter Day Saints in Clarksville held an event called The Day to Serve. They collected food and funds that went to Open Doors and plan to do so again this fall.

She has a family that buys fresh vegetables every month for the food pantry and another that buys fresh fruit. She uses the loose change from the church collection plate to buy food from the Maryland Food Bank.

Carol said she can always use help. So if you know anyone looking for service hours, send them her way! But just know, Carol is going to make them work. More than one child has sat around goofing on a smart phone for two hours and left with an unsigned paper.

I asked Carol what people make with the food they get at Open Doors. She said she has searched for recipes online to give the families ideas to help them stretch their food into several meals. One of her favorites is Mac and Cheese with ground beef and stewed tomatoes. She said Mac and Cheese with tuna and bacon is also pretty tasty. Here is a recipe that combines Kraft Mac and Cheese, a staple for many low income families with a little ground beef, some tomatoes and bacon to make some pretty tasty Bacon Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese.  I chose to make a sort of Tuna Melt Mac and Cheese. I prepared the Mac and Cheese according to the directions, added a can of tuna, a little onion and tomato and a little extra cheese on top. It was delicious!

July 19th is the one year celebration of Open Doors. The food pantry will operate from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Then, at 1:00 pm, there will be a picnic to celebrate. If you want to help at the food shelf, the fun starts at 7:30 am, getting ready for the day. If you can’t make it to the celebration, but are interested in helping, you can mail donations to Mt. Zion UMC Church at 12340 Scaggsville Rd, Highland, MD, 20777. Please write “food pantry” in the memo line.

I hope you aren’t ever in a position to go visit Carol or the many of people like her who dedicate their spare time to helping those in need. I am very thankful for her.

July 20th 2013 ODFP Opening Day


Fish Cakes


Originally published Feb 2013

One day at Costco, I bought some frozen flounder and, I’m sad to admit, it was horrible. It was fishy and flavorless and the fillets were small and shrunk up to a fraction of their original size when cooked. The bag haunted me every time I opened the freezer. I decided it was time to open the pantry and see that I could find to jazz up the fish and get rid of it once and for all. Hmmm… Garlic, cayenne, cumin, bread crumbs. Egg, onion, lime and shredded cheese in the fridge… Fish cakes!

I make very good crab cakes. Very, very good. But half my family is allergic to crab. This made a fantastic alternative and with the right ingredients (Old Bay and Worcestershire , they can be made to taste just like crab cakes at a fraction of the cost!

Lenten Fish Cakes
1 1/2 lb flounder or other white fish, cooked, cooled and crumbled
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 onion, chopped
Zest of a half a lime
Juice of one lime
1 egg, beaten
1/2 bread crumbs
1/2 cup of shredded cheese (anything you have is fine)
Dash of cayenne pepper
black pepper

1. Combine all the ingredients and mix well.
2. Spoon into a mini muffin pan sprayed with cooking spray.
3. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

To make fake crabe cakes, add in about a tsp of Worcestershire sauce and 1/4 tsp of Old Bay.

Be brave and play with the seasonings! Give them a Latin flare with a little more cayenne and some cumin. To make them taste a little more Asian, add more lime and some grated ginger.

These were so good, I may actually buy the Costco flounder fillets again, just for fish cakes!