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Simply Delicious: Cooking just for two – Wicked Local Truro |

Simply Delicious: Cooking just for two – Wicked Local Truro

 


We’re finally back to cooking just for two. That doesn’t mean a whole lot less cooking – just less volume.

On Saturday, the Kitchen Genius and I worked side by side with our favorite music playing. I was preparing a puttanesca sauce for our swordfish dinner that night. He was making short ribs for dinner on Sunday.

All stews and soups taste better the next day, but with short ribs the 24-hour wait is crucial. They have a lot of fat. If you refrigerate them overnight, you can just skim the thick layer off the top and be left with a much leaner sauce.

Our oldest daughter Jess bought us a gorgeous lapis 7 1/4-quart Le Creuset Dutch oven for Christmas and I’ve been dying to use it. But KG pointed out that it was much too large for a meal just for the two of us.

Instead he chose to use the 2 3/4-quart lapis Le Creuset Dutch oven he found at a yard sale. He likes to cook stews and soups in the smallest pan possible to concentrate the flavors. It was actually the perfect size for four short ribs.

We’re newbies to Le Creuset, but it didn’t take us long to figure out why people love this cookware. It’s simply amazing. The cast iron pans covered with double porcelain enamel distribute heat slowly and evenly. They brown meat beautifully and go from stove top to oven to finish cooking, which is one of KG’s favorite tricks.

We love cast iron in general, but the enamel on Le Creuset means that is simple to deglaze a pan. Clean up is also a snap.

While he got busy browning the short ribs and layering his flavors of onions, garlic, celery, carrots, tomato paste and beef broth, I put a spaghetti squash in the oven and began chopping onions, red bell peppers and garlic for swordfish puttanesca.

The other nifty kitchen tool we got for Christmas from my mother was a Prepara Herb Saver Pod. It’s slender enough to fit on the refrigerator door and made of BPA-free clear plastic so you can see the herbs inside. You simply open the plastic pod like a book and place your herbs inside of it. Then place the pod in the holder and fill it with water via the handy fill cap.

The device is supposed to keep herbs fresh for up to three weeks. So far, our week-old parsley looks as fresh as if I bought it today. It’s a nifty toy for people who love fresh herbs the way we do. We have rosemary, basil, oregano and a bay leaf tree growing inside, but our parsley was overrun by aphids so we had to ditch it.

The Prepara Herb Pod means that we will always have fresh parsley – and we use fresh parsley in just about every recipe. It brings a pop of bright flavor that enhances everything from eggs to seafood. In this case I used it to garnish my swordfish puttanesca.

Cooking two dinners on Saturday meant we could play all day on Sunday. After church we had brunch at the Piccadilly Café and Deli in Yarmouth. Then we headed to Gray’s Beach to check out the damage to the boardwalk.

We took a long walk on Nauset Beach, where we inexplicably saw a naked girl sitting in the snow right where the water lapped the shore. It was part of a photo shoot, but we couldn’t imagine why anyone would choose a 12-degree day to do such a project.

Next, we stopped by Nickerson State Park and walked across the frozen ice on Little Cliff Pond. We chatted with ice fishermen who were having a great deal of success. A final stop at Linnell Landing ended our adventure as we contemplated ice that seemed to reach as far as Provincetown.

The holidays were wonderful, but it’s nice to have our regular life back.

SWORDFISH PUTTANESCA WITH SPAGHETTI SQUASH

Serves 2

1/2 spaghetti squash 2 swordfish steaks, skin and bloodline trimmed off 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat spaghetti squash half with olive oil and place face down in a baking dish. Add about a half an inch of water and cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until squash is tender. To serve, gently run the tines of a fork through the flesh of the squash to create spaghetti like strands.

In the meantime, prepare sauce.

Puttanesca Sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 anchovy filets 1 medium onion, chopped 1/2 cup diced orange or red bell pepper 3 medium cloves garlic, minced 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1/4 cup white wine 1 quarts canned tomatoes 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 6 grinds fresh black pepper 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced 2 teaspoons fresh basil, minced 1/2 teaspoon sugar 2 tablespoons capers 1/2 cup green olives, cut in half 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, cut in half 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and anchovies and sauté stirring constantly until anchovies dissolve. Add onions, red peppers, garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté until soft, about five minutes. Add white wine and cook for 3 to 4 minutes to burn off alcohol. Add tomatoes and crush with the back of a large spoon. Add remaining ingredients, except parsley, and stir well to combine. Turn burner to medium high to bring to a boil. Once sauce is bubbling nicely, turn burner down to medium and cook for 30 to 45 minutes until it is thick. Add parsley and cook for an additional five minutes. Serve over spaghetti squash. When puttanesca sauce and squash are just about finished, lightly season the swordfish steaks with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add swordfish and cook for 4 minutes until golden brown. Flip swordfish and place skillet into the already hot oven. Bake for an additional 4 to 5 minutes until done. Serve fish on top of spaghetti squash and puttanesca. Garnish with more fresh parsley.

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