Welcome to my kitchen! I don’t take the time to cook at home as often as I’d like, but when I do, I’m always happy that I did. I cooked for Jack, my daughter, Mackenzie and her friend, Miles, yesterday. We’re leaving for vacation in a few days, so I wanted to get one last meal of fresh Florida grouper in before we leave.
Fresh Corn, Tomato, Avocado & Red Onion Salad
Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
Snowy Brown Grouper
Chocolate Cream Pie
Mackenzie’s favorite summer salad; I mix freshly cut corn off the cob, diced Roma tomatoes, avocados and red onion with a simple dressing of olive oil from Mazzaro’s Italian Market, unfiltered, extra virgin, lime zest and juice from one lime, fresh cilantro, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Be sure to let it stand in refrigerator at least an hour before serving so that flavors blend and come alive, and it’s even better the next day.
If you haven’t been to Mazzaro’s Italian Market, you’re missing out. If you drive 30 minutes or more to get here, be sure to bring your cooler so you can take home some of their delicious gourmet imported meats and cheeses and freshly made pastas. Don’t miss the bakery where you’ll find the best breads I’ve found in Florida, and authentic Italian desserts.
Another favorite of Mackenzie’s is stuffed bell peppers. I have several recipes for stuffed peppers, but Sunday I stuffed red and yellow bell peppers with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, black beans, yellow onions, jalapenos, fresh cilantro and quinoa.
Saute one chopped yellow onion, three cloves of finely chopped garlic and one jalapeno seeded and finely chopped, in extra virgin olive oil 4 to 5 minutes, then set aside in large bowl. Boil cubes of one medium sweet potato for about 6 minutes, drain and add to onion and jalapeno mixture. Cook one cup of quinoa in two cups of vegetable stock undisturbed for 15 minutes once water boils, reducing temperature to a simmer and with a tight-fitting lid, rinsing before and after, then add to bowl with one can of black beans, rinsed and drained, a handful of fresh cilantro chopped, two Roma tomatoes seeded and diced, and a half cup of vegetable stock. Add one tablespoon of chili powder, one teaspoon each of ground cumin and dried oregano, and a half teaspoon each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, adding cheese to the top during the last five minutes. Healthy and delicious!
Maximo Marina Seafood Shack is our go-to place for fresh seafood, and they didn’t disappoint, again. One of St. Pete’s best kept secrets, you can enjoy a shrimp boil on-site with a beer, fresh pan-seared grouped sandwich, or smoked fish spread, while watching the boats bring in the catch of the day, or get your seafood to go. It’s always fresh, and always cut and packed with a smile, and some home preparation advice. Sunday’s fresh catch was snowy brown grouper. A first for me, both eating, and preparing. I marinaded the two-pound filet in my Three Birds Tavern Carrot Ginger dressing, filled with fresh carrots, ginger, lime and cilantro with sesame oil, then baked at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes. The fish was mild, meaty and moist, but Jack still prefers black grouper to all the delicious grouper varieties we’ve been introduced to through the Seafood Shack, and in Belize.
And finally, I made dessert. This is unusual in our house. As much as I love to cook, baking has never been my thing. I used to be able to say that not only did I not enjoy baking, but I wasn’t very good at it. Since I’m not good at following the rules, I was never very good at precisely following recipes either, and I’ve learned the hard way, this is a requirement in baking. However, over the years, I must admit that I’ve gotten pretty good at some desserts, plus, I know my limits, and usually choose pretty basic recipes. Jack and Mackenzie both love chocolate, so we wanted something cool on a hot August day in Florida, and something very chocolatey. I chose this recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie from Food & Wine. Since I’m not good at coloring within the lines, I made the crust thicker, the filling chocolatier, and the whipped cream topping thicker, and it was delicious.
A sample Sunday in my kitchen, out of football season, of course. What did you make for Sunday Supper?