Friday, September 19, 2014

Conquering Succulent Grilled Rainbow Trout

I had an “Ah Ha” moment last night. For years I’ve admired whole fish in the market, from afar. So beautiful and glistening, on ice. Bright eyed (hopefully). Yet, also rather intimidating looking, if you ask me. The skin-crawling thought of touching...well, it's a whole little slippery animal there. Eek! Without fail, I would get right up to the moment when the butcher asks, “May I help you.” That’s on a good day. Other days it’s an annoyed, "Can I get you something" or the always welcoming Grunt that signals. “if you absolutely need something, I will begrudgingly assist with some eye rolling and judgment.” What’s up with all the rudeness lately, anyway?! Like Knox sings, “Why ya gotta be so RUuuuuUDE?!”

Like I was saying, I would get right up to pulling the trigger and would have an out-of-body moment my mind is thinking one thing but I hear myself say, "I’ll take a pound of…pause…(butcher's looking rather annoyed)… shrimp ::insert salmon, swordfish, any other already fileted fish here::” Then, I'd shrink away still thinking about that beautiful whole fish on ice. This is all really weird, because I'm usually fearless in the kitchen.  Okay, so yeah, yeah enough about this whole whole-fish anxiety! I’m here today to say I BEAT IT. Why THE HELL was I so hesitant?! Finally climbing that mountain and buying a whole fish, namely Rainbow Trout from Idaho (but in Las Vegas), was the best decision I made this week. Please, if you or someone you know are suffering from whole fish anxiety – seek help – I recommend facing your fear. With this recipe.

Grilling the Trout whole leaves succulent, tender fish that literally falls off the bone in one juicy beautiful fillet. No muss, no fuss. No picking bones with tweezers. No pulling bones out as you eat. So easy.
Now get out there and JUST DO IT!

 Whole Rainbow Trout

Grapeseed oil
Sea Salt
Granulated Garlic
1 Tbsp Butter per fish, softened
1 tsp Dried Dill per fish
1/2 Lemon, sliced thin
2 Whole Trout (Approx. 1.25 lbs)
Nonstick Cooking Spray

Let's start with little bit about buying the fish...I won't pretend to be an expert. I do know, if it smells funky, it IS funky. Not funky fresh, just funky. The eyes should be clear and bright. If they are cloudy, that's an old fish. 

Also, the fish should be firm. Like Jax Teller (a.k.a Charlie Hunnam, previously known as Christian Gray for a day, yet us XX chromosomes still wish it was so.) If your finger mushes into the fish or indents the flesh and the intention stays...that's an old fish.

Seriously...if you have a funky fish in question, trust your instinct, you will know...and don't forget:

So, get rid of that shit. That's a Proverb so thus goes for life, as well. I've been tossing those rotten fish and bleaching my kitchen. Life is fresher than ever!

Alright, so now you've chosen the freshest, most beautiful trout in the bunch and you are ready to grill!


Rub both sides of the fish with oil. Sprinkle skin on both sides with plenty of sea salt and black pepper, some dill and garlic powder. 

Open the fish by separating at the middle – where the fish has been sliced to clean the “stuff” out (by the butcher because I'm not THERE yet!) Sprinkle the inside liberally with dill, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper. 

Coat the inside of the fish with softened butter – about 1 tablespoon per fish (both sides of the filets should be exposed by a slit down the belly of the fish when cleaned properly). I used ½ the butter on one side of the exposed flesh and then the other half on the other side.

Slide two or three slices of thinly sliced lemon into the fish and close, like a sandwich.

Prepped & Ready for the Heat


Preheat grill to medium heat.

Spray a grilling basket lightly with Cooking Spray. Place the fish in the basket and then on the pre-heated grill. Turn grill down to low and close the lid. Come back in 6 minutes and flip.

A Doors song reference comes to mind here

Cook another 6 minutes and remove from heat.

Let fish rest for a few minutes to cool.

Pull the skin from the meat and discard. GENTLY. Using two forks, slide the filet off of the bone in one piece. I found using two utencils helps, by gently pressing the filet away from the bone, while stabilizing the bone with the other fork. The tiny little bones will start to pull away from the meat, just keep gently wiggling them free and soon you'll have the full filet sans bones free and beautiful.


Garnish with a couple of the slices of grilled lemon from inside the fish, salt and pepper. Serve over rice.

Glistening, moist & flavorful...this will be a fan favorite!!!

For proof of fear conquered...

The bone came out whole, the first try!! Score!

Onto the next!

Until next time...Happy Cooking!!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Vert & Violette Salad & Yogurt Bleu Dressing

Life Hack: Here's a little info graphic laying out all the nutritional details

Originally, I made this dressing as a dip for these Crispy Baked Chipper Chicken Fingers.

Then, it turned into a whole salad thing. Then, it was all so good, I decided I must share. After researching the calories in a typical Blue Cheese, I did the calculations for this delicious recipe. We are talking HUGE!

2 Tbsp of Litehouse's Original Bleu Dressing rings in at 150 calories...
2 Tbsp of  this Yogurt Bleu Dressing rings in at 45 calories! I had to do the calculation several times, on different websites - just to be sure. This is crazy good dressing, crazy low cal!

Yogurt Bleu Dressing

1 ½ Cup Plain Yogurt

3” x 2” chunk Castillo Blue Cheese (about 1/3 Cup crumbled)

Heaping tsp “Really Raw” Honey (1 ¼ approx. tsp)

1 Tbsp  Red Wine Vinegar

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp Black Pepper

½ tsp Salt

Very & Violette Salad

Radicchio (Used Treviso variety here)
Bunch of Radish
Mix up your dressing first.

Measure out the ingredients into a small mixing bowl. 

Salt and pepper - don't skimp on either

A little sprinkle of garlic powder

Adding a little dash of honey enhances the sweetness - needed against the tart yogurt/bleu blend

Red wine vinegar gives it all a little sweet snap

If using block blue cheese, chop it up a bit first for easier stirring. 

Crumble the Bleu Cheese first - it blends much easier

Bleu Cheese in....time to whisk, whisk, whisk 'til smooth

I whisked and whisked and whisked to help the blue cheese smooth out into the yogurt – these things take a little time. Use your whisk to chop up bigger clumps as you go.

Chill dressing while you clean, chop and slice up the lettuce and radish for the salad.

Serve dressing over salad or even as a dip for chicken fingers, fries, hot wings, or veggie sticks.

Toss the greens and serve them as a bed under the Cripsy Baked Chippy Chicken, with a little cup of dressing and some sliced radishes to dip in place of real chips (since we’ve got our fill of potato chips crusted around the chicken). Yum!!

Until next time everyone...Happy Cooking!!!


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Crispy Baked Chipper Chicken Fingers

Weeeee’rrreee back!!! From vacation, that is. I am working on a little photo blog…do they call that a Plog, I wonder??... as I was saying, I am working on a photo blog of ALL the THINGS. We ate and we cooked, we shopped, we did had some fun, saw some things, most of all we EXPERIENCED! It was exhilarating and refreshing. I came home very relaxed yet only motivated to do one thing…MOVE!

We are looking, seriously, and looking at places far away. Maybe we'll pick up and move to France or Spain, or Italy…Ahhhh yes, Italy, and all the pasta. Greece, maybe, seafood on the rocky cliffs. I can feel the water misting my shoulders. Vivid imagination. OH, and the VINO….all the vino. None of this is reasonable, of course, starting with the simple fact that neither Superman nor I are remotely close to being fluent in any of these languages. But, I am fearless in a strange way that laundry is intimidating and threatening but moving to a foreign place seems reasonable – like, let’s just DO it and we’ll thrive. I have this theory that if we are dropped in a situation, human nature forces us to figure the thing out and our nature as a family forces us to thrive.

The fella doesn’t know that we are looking, of course, but…that’s to save for another day.

I’m only kidding. He is warm to the idea (closer to the luke end of the spectrum). To a place that’s maybe a hop, skip and a jump. Like, an hour plane ride would be perfect. But not Los Angeles…he’s been there, done that, and “has no desire to be back there, again.” I think he’d take Tuscan country side over the thought of driving to and from the Valley five days a week. So, that’s a win for me, for now… I’ll keep ya’ posted.

As for the today's recipe, it was inspired by an old movie favorite, Father of the Bride. We’ve all lost a lot of comedic powerhouse as of late. I turned to Father of the Bride, Martin Short and Steve Martin. I am such a sap for this movie. Without further ado, the scene that always leaves me laughing - when George loses his sh*t:

Ah HA! George was on to something….the CHIPPER CHICKEN, indeed.


Crispy Baked Chipper Chicken Fingers

Crispy Baked Chippy Chicken Fingers Printable Recipe Card HERE!!

2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

1 Cup Milk

1 Large Egg

4-5 Cups Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips (2.5 Cups Crushed)

Salt & Pepper

Non Stick Cooking Spray

Yields 14-16 Chicken Fingers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


Like the melted knob?

Speaking of melting ... This is too cute

Or this one from a cute little blog called

That's an actual silhouette, she explains it step-by-step on her blog!

Now, I'm reminded that I need to order that replacement knob; as cute as these crafts are, "Salvador Dali" isn't the theme I'm going for in my kitchen! ���� 

....back to the chicken!

Cut chicken into strips, about 1 ½ “ wide and 1” thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let them rest while  you prep the coating.

Crunch up the chips into “Chip Crumbs”. I used a Pestle but a plastic bag works wonders here, too. Just throw them in the bag and scrunch them up!

Whisk egg and milk together in a bowl.

Lay out the crunched chips on a plate.

Prepare a baking pan with non-stick cooking spray before laying coated chicken on.
Prep a station for easy dipping and rolling by lining everything up something like this ::think assembly line::

Assembly Line setup makes coating cleaner and easier

**Kitchen Tip: Use one hand for picking up the raw chicken and laying in the "chip" crumbs and the other hand, reserve for rolling & patting (marking with a B). Use the same hand that you use for dipping in the egg mix, for laying the coated chicken on baking dish. This way, you always have a "crumby" hand and a cleaner hand. Otherwise - if you are like me - you'll be washing your hands every few pieces.

Dip chicken in egg mix, twice. Drip off excess for a second, then roll in Chip Crumbs. I like the cover and pat method myself (see photo process below).
Here's my "process"

Once coated, lay chicken fingers on the prepped baking sheet.

Before their stint in the Oven. Looking so young and innocent ... like a little Lindsay ��  �� 

Bake chicken on 400 degree for 20 minutes. Turn oven off and let rest another 5 minutes while oven cools.

Crispy Golden Goodness

The coating on the chicken needs no extra oil or fats, the fats in the chips help to crisp up the coating and still keep the chicken moist. By baking, we've eliminated about 50 calories...this recipe comes in around 150 calories per finger; a typical restaurant fried chicken finger comes in over 250 cals per finger. No flavor lost, no cheat point lost!
Served here with Vert & Violette Salad with Yogurt Bleu Dressing


Until next time, everyone...Happy Cooking!!! Also, check in soon for the next posting on - Yogurt Bleu Dip/Dressing!

***UPDATE: That DELISH Yogurt Bleu recipe can be found RIGHT HERE!!





Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cheese Tasting Printable with Pairing Suggestions

Getting ready to head out on vacation and couldn't be more excited. My brain is swimming with details, though, and I'm making lists like a bandit. Oh the LISTS! 
On top of the packing for myself, the little man and my guy, I've been planning a wine tasting for my family (we like---scratch that---LOVE---our wine) and then on top of that, we added a cheese selection to the list (same goes for cheese.) So, I thought, I would include a little sheet to help us along as we try new cheeses. 

There's nothing worse than going in blind. "What does this go with?!?!" If it's overwhelming, no one enjoys it, no one "gets" it. That was my motivation on making this little info sheet. I thought I would share these with ya'll as I make them, in the happen-chance that you might be looking at doing a cheese tasting sometime. Just print out this handy dandy sheet and set it out for guests to read as they eat. It's a little bit of what to expect, and some ideas on what cheeses work with what. A little disclaimer - I ran into a problem when saving, and lost my Photoshop file :( so since it was a just-for-fun thing, I skipped remaking the file - which means there are some spelling errors and visual errors that I normally would have tweaked : /  tend to be a little OCD with this stuff, so it's driving me a little crazy, actually, but still - good information for a cheese tasting that can become a convo starter at your next gathering- so I am sucking up my OCD and sharing anyways - :)

I am still working on one more of these handy dandy info sheets - for another 5 - YES FIVE- more cheeses! Needless to say, there will be cheese....there will be wine....there will be A GOOD TIME :)

Until next time....Happy Cheesin' !!!