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Seared Fish, Garlic Roasted Leeks & Potatoes with Celery & Olive Salad


i haven’t cooked crap for the last year. obviously. crickets. cooking for the week feels like a chore, and i really stopped enjoying cooking. it’d take a solid hour to write a menu, and make a shopping list. then, off to the grocery store to fight the checkout lanes with grumpy biddies–who argue about bogos and .30/lb bananas. and also, the cashiers–they ask too many questions. i don’t want to tell you what i’m doing this weekend! and finally, i’d spend 3-4 hours cooking meals for the week, and another hour cleaning the damn dishes.


enter blue apron. i read about blue apron somewhere on the interwebz. they make your menu, and send all the ingredients, pre-portioned. all you do it cook it and clean it up. so check and check. also, three more checks: 1. pre-portioned means i won’t overeat, 2. new and cool ingredients that i don’t usually buy (so new! so shiny!), and 3. vegetables (i don’t eat enough of ’em). i had to try it out.


blue apron is not sponsoring this post, nor did they pay me or send me any food. i paid full price for this. anyway.


you get an email each week showing the 3 meals they’re sending (with the option to skip if they look blah). it costs $9.99 per person, per meal (shipping included). which is kind of a lot, but since we’ve been eating out more and more often, spending either the same of more for kinda crappy food, i felt validated (i mean yeahhh, there’s chipotle, but i get sick of it.). this works really well as a supplement to the quick & easy stuff i usually do each week (eggs, oatmeal, etc.).


my first shipment came friday. we got home from the gym around 8:30 that night, and found these giant boxes sitting at our door. i opened it up, and everything i needed for making 3 curated meals (including the step-by-step recipes) was included–except cooking fat, pepper, and salt. it was freaking adorbs. everything was labeled, and you get all these cute bottles and containers. i got pretty excited. it was weird.

blue apron


there was this fish dish, an asian chicken with rice and ponzu, and pork chop croque monsieur with a bacon and radish salad.


it was all sooooo good.


the first thing i made was fish with roasted leeks & potatoes, and a celery, parsley & olive salad (more like a garnish salad, not a side-dish salad). it sounded pretty fancy pants, but look about 40 minutes total (potatoes took forever, i should have cut them smaller.), and clean up was not bad at all. i bought the 3 meals for 4 people subscription, hoping i could squeak out 3 meals–one big one for b and 2 normal ones for me. so that’s why you see 2 of everything above.


fish. love. roasted anything…again, totally love. but a salad made of mostly celery and parsley, i was turning my nose up at it. to me, parsley tastes like dirt and celery just isn’t something i like in salad–it reminds me of health food. but truly, honestly…this salad was amazing. i will make the taters & leeks, and salad again for sure.


i made a few adjustments to the recipe, so here’s what went down in its entirety.


these photos come courtesy of my iphone 4 (i left my camera at the gym). sorry y’all.




for the garlic roasted leeks & potatoes

  • 1-1/2 pounds of fingerling potatoes, cut in half (the smaller you cut them, the faster they’ll cook)
  • 4 leeks, trimmed of tops and roots, cut into strips and washed well
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • butter, olive oil for drizzling
  • salt
  • 1 t piment d’Espelette (or red chili flakes and some paprika mixed together)




preheat your oven to 400ºF.


line a baking sheet with foil. lightly drizzle the foil with olive oil.



add the potatoes and leeks to the pan. top with garlic, lemon zest, dots of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. sprinkle with piment d’Espelette and be generous with the salt.


cover with a piece of foil. roast for 15 minutes. remove the foil and roast for another 10-15 minutes. make sure the potatoes are soft!


meanwhile, we’ll make the salad…




for the celery and olive salad

  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 16 kalamata olives, chopped
  • 5-6 sprigs of parsley, minced
  • juice of 1 to 1-1/2 lemons
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt, to taste (remember, olives are salty (i forgot))




in a bowl, combine all the ingredients. toss to combine. taste and adjust seasoning. place in the fridge until ready to serve.




for the fish

  • 4 filets of firm white fish (cod and mahi are my faves-easy to cook (and not overcook))
  • 1 t butter and 1 t olive oil for the pan
  • 1 t piment d’Espelette (or red chili flakes and some paprika mixed together)
  • salt, to taste


for the fish


once the potatoes are about ready to come out, start the fish.


heat a (non-stick!!) saute pan over medium heat. melt your fat. sprinkle the fish filets with spices and salt. saute until done in the center, about 3 minutes on one side, and 2 minutes on the other.



Szechuan Shrimp & Eggplant

I bought Iceberg lettuce for the first time…like ever. I must admit, I was kind of embarrassed. I had a basket (I buy less if I carry it, as opposed to push it) full of vegetables and I was toting it around like, “Look at how healthy I am, suckers.” Ok, not really. But still…there was something about putting Iceberg in my basket that made me feel like I was doing something wrong. Like what about the mesculan mix or baby spinach, perhaps some arugula or what about the hydroponic stuff? I guess I feel like Iceberg is some kind of vegetable impostor…you’d buy it if you were “trying” to be healthy, but not actually eat it, and let it go limp in the back of the crisper drawer.

Anyway, this recipe helped me get over that. Because really, there isn’t a better lettuce for the buck, for wrapping up a bundle of goodness to shove into your mouth.


  • fat of choice
  • 1 schmedium (small-to-medium) eggplant, peeled & diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 2 teaspoons coconut (or palm) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons wheat-free, low sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Iceberg lettuce for wrapping


In a large skillet, heat a few tablespoons of your fat of choice over medium heat. Saute the eggplant and mushrooms until soft. Add in the ginger, garlic, shrimp, vinegar, chili sauce, sugar and soy. Stir around until the shrimp have cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.

Turn the heat off. Stir in the green onions, cilantro and sesame oil.

Eat as is or serve in lettuce cups, if you’d like.


Citrus Scallop Summer Salad

Not to worry, I’m not asking you to go out and spend the big bucks on the mack daddy U-10 scallops. Instead, I stuck my lowly head in the freezer section of my local conventional (real food exists outside of Whole Foods too!) grocery store and found some wild-caught bay scallops normal priced at about $8 a pound. Considering that these little suckers thaw & cook up quickly, I most definitely consider them a convenience protein, so I’ll pay $8 a pound for that.


  • 1 lb bay scallops
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • juice of 1 grapefruit
  • juice of 1 orange
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, ½’d
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • salt


Bring a medium pot full of water to a simmer. Add in a generous pinch of salt.

Take a look at the scallops. Sometimes they’ll have little “beards” attached to them. You’ll want to peel those off and discard them. Add the scallops to the simmering water and let them cook for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the onion, citrus juices, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro and salt.

Add in the scallops. Mix to combine. Eat now or stick the bowl in the fridge until the scallops have had a chance to chill out.



Spicy Mango Mahi Mahi

I’m pretty sure this is the first seafood/fish recipe I’ve posted in about 6 months. Oops. We just don’t eat that much fish. Not that I don’t like it, it’s just hard  to find any decent, not previously frozen options ’round these parts. Waaaa. Have no fear, I do manage to snarf down a few cans of wild-caught sardines each week, just to stave off any ensuing fish deFISHent maladies. So lame. But seriously, it’s a much cheaper (and filling) alternative to fish oil.

I’m filing this recipe under the Fast, Cheap & Easy recipe set, because I timed myself while I was making this. I had it from fridge to oven in less than 12 minutes. And though Mahi Mahi isn’t necessarily a cheap fish, any of its substitutes (cod, orange roughy) are definitely inline with a shoestring budget.


  • 1 lb mahi mahi (or other firm textured fish)
  • 2 generous T mango chutney
  • 1 t sriracha or chili garlic sauce
  • juice of 1 orange
  • salt
  • green onions, chopped or sliced


In a small bowl, whisk together the chutney, hot sauce, orange juice and a bit of salt.

Now let’s prepare the pouches. I’m stealing my pictures from Spring Onion Salmon, so just pretend the salmon is whatever fish you’re using.

Get your oven to 350ºF. Tear off as many sheets of parchment paper as you have fish filets, making sure the parchment is rectangular in size. Place a fish filet on each piece of parchment, positioning it like the image/illustration below.

Pour the spicy mango sauce over your fish and top of a generous handful of green onion.

To seal the pouches:

1. Referring the illustration above, at the bigger, horizontal dotted lines, join the ends of the parchment paper around the salmon filets.

2. Now, fold down the edges, either by crimping them (lazy way) or folding them over each other, like closing a coffee bag (fancy pants way), all the way down, until you’ve reached the top of the fish.

3. Refer back to the illustration above, the vertical, thin dotted lines are where you’re going to fold and tuck in the sides of the parchment paper.

Place all the pouches on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15-25 minutes. Depending on the the type of fish and thickness of the filets, the cooking time will vary.

Be careful when you open the pouches since they’ll have a bit of steam in them.

Seafood Soups

Curry Fish Chowder with Crou-tains (Paleo Croutons)

I know this looks like a long ass list of ingredients, but bear with me. I’ve tried my hardest to simplify the process of adding a ton of flavor without having to be a slave to the method or the list of ingredients. What I mean is…I am lazy. I really dislike recipes that make you constantly look back and forth at the dizzying lineup of spice quantities. 1/8 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon and 1/2 tablespoon. That’s recipe whiplash and I’m suing. So, for the recipe below, almost everything is measured by ones. Not hard to remember, and easy to customize if you’d like more or less of any particular flavor.


For the Chowder

  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1 t brown mustard seeds
  • 1 thumb size piece of ginger, finely minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t curry powder (sweet or hot)
  • 1 t garam masala
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 lbs white, flaky fish (we used cod)
  • salt
  • juice from 1 lime

For the Crou-tains

  • 2-3 green plantains, diced small
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • salt


For the Chowder

In a medium sized soup pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the cumin and mustard seeds. Let them dance around the pot for a minute or two and then add the ginger, garlic and onion. Saute until the onion is cooked through. Add the curry and garam masala powders. Dump in the can of the coconut milk. Stir everything around to combine.

Now add the fish. Just toss the whole fillets in there. Stir them around in the pot, every so often, until they’re cooked through. Take 2 forks and pull the fish into flakes (just like if you were pulling apart a chicken breast or beef brisket). Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the lime juice.

For the Crou-tains (Paleo Croutons)

In a large saute pan, melt the coconut oil. Add the diced plantains. As always, the smaller the dice, the faster they’ll cook. Let the plantains fry until they’re cooked through and have a nice crust on the outside. Shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.

Just like regular croutons, the crou-tains taste better the day they’re made. Not that they’re inedible the next day, they’re just not as crispy.



Paleo Fish Sticks (No Nuts Involved)

paleo fish sticks

Perfectly crispy and easy to make, these fish sticks may fool even the most seasoned fish stick connoisseur.


  • 1 ½ lbs haddock (or any firm, meaty white fish)
  • roughly 6 oz of plantain chips (Check labels, ideally just plantains, palm oil and salt)
  • F.O.C. (fat of choice), palm and coconut will work well here


In a food processor, crush up the plantain chips until they’re the consistency of fine bread crumbs. Place the crumbs in a zip-top bag and add some salt, if the chips haven’t already been a-salted, I mean, salted. Corny? Yes.

Slice the fish fillets into strips/planks/sticks, widthwise. Working in batches, add a few fish strips to the zip-top bag and shake around until the strips are completely coated.

Melt your F.O.C. in a saute pan over medium heat. Place the coated strips in the pan and let them get brown before you flip them to the other side. This should take less than a minute for each side. If you’ve cut the fish sticks pretty thick, don’t forget you’ve got 4 sides to brown, not just 2.


Paleo Fried Calamari

Calamari is cheap, cheap, cheap. I paid $5/lb for wild caught. I know calamari can lend itself to more versatile recipes than just deep frying–but it’s just so goooood, I couldn’t help myself. There are no messy dredging stations and “club hand” simply does not exist.


For the Sauce

  • 6 oz (roughly 1) roasted red peppers
  • couple leaves of basil
  • 2 T olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt


In a medium sized bowl, mix together the potato starch and a few dashes of salt. In a sauce pot, melt the palm shortening over medium to medium-high heat. The smaller the sauce pot the higher the oil level will be, but the smaller the batches will be, so choose accordingly. Line a pan with a few layers of paper towels and set next to the oil. Blend the ingredients for the sauce together in a blender or small food processor.

While the oil is heating up, make double sure your calamari tubes are cleaned by sticking your fingers inside and checking to see nothing gelatinous is inside. This would be a great task for a little boy, huh? If there is, pull it out and throw it away. Slice the tubes into rings. Leave the tentacle whole.

Working in batches, lightly dredge the rings in the starch and toss them into the oil. Don’t over crowd or they’re all stick together. You want to hear the sizzle and see bubbles. If you don’t, the oil isn’t hot enough. Using a spider or slotted spoon, swirl around the calamari every few seconds until they’re crispy. You’re NOT looking for brown-ness. Browned potato starch tastes burned. Test one or two out if you need to, before pulling the whole lot out. Place on the lined pan and sprinkle with salt.

Salads Seafood

Creole Shrimp Salad

We’re re-mixing the normal mayo-based salad. Don’t get me wrong, I like chicken salad (I’m partial to this one), but sometimes you just want something different. We’re using the classic ‘Holy Trinity’ of bell pepper, celery and onion found in Creole & Cajun dishes as the base of our salad, mixing in some Old Bay spiced mayo and viola–something different. We had planned to toss in some crawfish tails too–but after a trip to the grocery store, we kind of forgot about them and left them in the trunk to um…hang out. So, we nixed that idea and just bumped up the amount of shrimp.


  • 1 ½ lbs shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (whatever color is your favorite–or cheapest)
  • 4 stalks celery (and the leaves), diced
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 2 recipes mayo (about ½-¾ c)
  • 1 ½ t Old Bay seasoning (taste and then add more if you’d like, it’s quite strong)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • s&p


Bring a pot of water to boil, add the shrimp and cook until they’re pink, about 5 minutes. Once the shrimp are cool enough to handle, chop them up into bite size pieces. Dry them off really well with a dish/paper towel.

In your serving bowl, mix together all the ingredients.

Serve cold.

HB NOTE: I used the lightest green stalks of the celery. Since we’re eating it raw, it makes sense to use the most tender celery pieces and reserve the other dark green stalks for sauteing. Also, many people don’t know that the leaves of celery are edible–and make a wonderful salad, at that. We’ve made a few recipes using the celery root too.


Spring Onion Salmon in Parchment Pouches

Okay, really you’re supposed to call this kind of recipe ‘en papillote’…but that just sounds so stuffy and intimidating. It’s just some kind of protein (usually fish), aromatics (onions, lemons, herbs, etc.) stuffed inside a piece of  parchment paper that’s been formed into a pouch. This is an awesome way to cook any kind of fish, really. No mess to clean up and the steam created in the pouch keeps it nice and moist. We’ve got detailed, step-by-step pictures and even an illustration, so no excuses for not trying this out!


  • 1 lb (about 4) salmon filets
  • 1 leek
  • 3 green onions
  • thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • olive oil
  • salt


Get your oven to 350ºF. Tear off 4 sheets of parchment paper, making sure they’re all rectangular in size. Place a salmon filet on each piece of parchment, positioning it like the image/illustration to the left.

Cut off the green stalk of the leek, along with the root tip. Slice the leek lengthwise and continue to do so until the leek has been cut into thin ribbons (like the picture). Do the same to the green onions. Toss the leek and green onion ribbons in a bowl along with the ginger, olive oil and salt. Mix with your hands to combine.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top of each salmon filet and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Top each filet with a handful of the onion mixture.

To seal the salmon pouches:

1. Referring the illustration above, at the bigger, horizontal dotted lines, join the ends of the parchment paper around the salmon filets.

2. Now, fold down the edges, either by crimping them (lazy way) or folding them over each other, like closing a coffee bag (fancy pants way), all the way down, until you’ve reached the top of the salmon.

3. Refer back to the illustration above, the vertical, thin dotted lines are where you’re going to fold and tuck in the sides of the parchment paper.

Place all the pouches on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes. My filets were quite thin, as you can see from the picture. I did mine at 17 minutes and they were a bit overdone. Be careful when you open the pouches since they’ll have a bit of steam in them.

Seafood Soups

Fennel & Fish Chowder

Super quick fish chowder. I used cod because it’s a firm, meaty, flaky fish that’s pretty easy on the budget and difficult to overcook. I even found it wild-caught in the freezer section of the grocery store. Besides using my new favorite soup base of the cream-like, non-coconut tasting coconut creamer, I took out the normal chowder base of starchy potatoes and used fennel in its place, for texture and the nice anise flavor it adds.


  • 2 fennel bulbs, fronds and core removed, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • F.O.C. (fat of choice)
  • 1 pint original coconut creamer
  • 1 qt stock (I’d use chicken or veg, as beef may be too strong and tinge the color of the soup)
  • 1-1½ lb cod (not salt cod), cut into chunks
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • s&p
  • 5 slices bacon, crisped up & crumbled (optional)
  • green onions or chives, chopped (optional)


In a large soup pot, saute the fennel and onion in a few tablespoons of your F.O.C. (I’d recommend bacon renderings!) until soft. Add the creamer & stock. Let it come to a simmer. Add the fish pieces and let them poach until they’re cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Serve topped with crumbled bacon & chives.