Tag Archives: fish

Go Team Steph! Daring Pâté and Bread

Trout and Shrimp Pâté round

I have a bit of a history with pâté. Growing up German, I ate loads of Braunschweiger, which may be a liverwurst and not technically “pâté” per se… but kinda is pâté in its spreadable variations. I used to gross out my friends, who were normal and didn’t eat weird things like Braunschweiger.

One time in grade school, in particular, I had spooned some into a little lunch container and packed it with some crackers. Knowing what it was, and that people thought it was gross, I showed my friend Heather. She just smiled and made yummy actions. Confused, I asked her if she ate Braunchweiger… also confused, she told me she had thought it was chocolate ice cream. I totally grossed her out by telling her what it actually was. I never did figure out how she thought I kept the ice cream frozen in my bag.

Braunschweiger is one of the weirdest meat things that I missed when I stopped eating meat.

Raw Trout and Shrimp

Raw Trout and Shrimp

I can’t say I’ve tried to replace Braunschweiger with something veg. I sampled a couple of vegetarian pâtés at the Veggie Food Fair, but I never really felt the need to buy them. Now that I am an occasional meat eater, I haven’t jumped at the chance to have meat pâté again.

Not sure why, but it just hasn’t been on my radar.

Then I got the Daring Cooks‘ challenge for June. Make a pâté –  and like it! I chose to make the trout and shrimp pâté partly because it’s made up of seafood, and partly because the description claimed it was passed down through a variety of nameless people, and possibly their grandmas and their grandma’s neighbours or something. I like recipes that just randomly work their way through people.

Sourdough Ciabatta, with Vinifera

Sourdough Ciabatta, made with Vinifera flour

The second part of this challenge is to make a bread, which is where the “Team Stephfood” silliness comes in. J is the bread maker in the house, and I’m very happy to leave that to him. We opted to complete this challenge together. For his part, he made a ciabatta bread with his sourdough starter and Vinifera flour. Vinifera is neat, because it’s made from the skins of grapes. It imparts a purplish hue (depending on how much you use, and what you mix with it), and adds a tart flavour.

Trout and Shrimp Pâté on Sourdough Ciabatta, with Vinifera

Trout and Shrimp Pâté on Vinifera Sourdough Ciabatta

The bread was amazing, and added some complexity to the pairing. The pâté was very mild, and I thought it needed some extra zazz. The bread definitely helped with that.

I enjoyed this challenge. It wasn’t something I would have looked for on my own, which makes it a good challenge for me. I don’t know for sure that I will make this regularly, but we thought it was tasty and different. It definitely goes well with our ‘spread’ dinners.

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

Desperately Seeking Sumac

Crusted Fish and Rice Pilaf with Asparagus

Crusted Tilapia and Tomato Pilaf with Asparagus

Soon, I will be off on an adventure in a strange land, eating exotic food and exploring things older than my country.

Dramatic, yes! J and I are off to Turkey, and while there I will be taking in all of the new flavours. In fact, I’ve decided to start early. I bought some sumac, which is used in some Turkish dishes, and I’m ready to explore.

What is sumac like? This sounds kind of silly, but it tasted like smokey fire roasted tomatoes and berries. Weird, no? That’s what I thought of while I was eating it. I think it’s also important to be able to smell it, which is why it’s great to top a dish with it. The smell is at the same time intoxicating and bizarre. Seriously, I can’t think of any other spice that is like this. I think I’m in love.

OK, so I don’t know what constitutes “authentic” Turkish cuisine. Most of the dishes I see include some lamb, which I’m not against trying but will not be preparing any time soon. I’m also not quite ready to make a table full of Turkish mezze. I did a little bit of digging, and found this interesting sounding dish consisting of breadcrumb coated fish and a tomato rice pilaf.

Is it Turkish? Not sure. It sounds inspired by Turkish food, at the very least. It also sounds yummy.


Finally! Fresh, in-season, Ontario asparagus!

I added some local fresh asparagus, and was ready to roll! How was it? I really liked the coating on the fish, and had lots left over (wish I had more fish to coat!). I had to cook the fish a little longer than the recipe called for, but in the end it was cooked perfectly. I thought that there was not enough sumac in the dish – the smell and taste of the sumac got a little lost in the breading. I added some extra to the bread crumb mixture, and ended up sprinkling it all over the rice pilaf.

Intrigued? You can find the recipes I used at the links below. I used tilapia instead of flathead, I used pecans instead of walnuts, I think I doubled the sumac in the coating and I cooked the fish a little longer than suggested… but yeah, really great recipes from a site that I think I will have fun exploring. Check it out!

Recipes from What You Having for Your Tea?

Continue reading Desperately Seeking Sumac

Mustard Trout

Tarragon & Chives

It may only be mid-March, but my tarragon and chives are already up!! I was excited to use some fresh, homegrown herbs – it’s been months since my summer crew began their long Winter nap!

J picked up some rainbow trout, so I decided to make something special and yummy to go with the trout. Inspired by a mustard sauce I had a while back, I decided to make a creamy tarragon mustard sauce for the fish. I don’t have an exact recipe, but I started with a roux (equal parts butter & flour), some fresh chives and tarragon, some whole mustard seeds, a little bit of ground allspice, some cheese and broth. Oh yeah, and a few tablespoons of some yummy chardonnay mustard we got at Southbrook winery!

I prepped the fish with some salt, pepper, garlic, dill and fresh lime juice. It was seared in the grill pan (just enough so that I could peel off the skin), then loaded up with dry white wine and cooked (is it grilled? is it poached? who knows!) with some mushrooms, onions and cherry tomatoes. Served atop some fluffy quinoa, it was the perfect dinner!

Mustard Trout

Rainbow Trout with Mustard Sauce, on top of Quinoa


The thing about challenges is that they are, well, challenging.

Part of the reason I started this blog is to challenge myself to try new things, learn some new dishes and have fun. I was told about a site called the Daring Kitchen, where challenges are issued each month and members are required to follow the same recipe (with few alterations permitted). This was just the kick start I needed, so I signed up for an account. I won’t actually hear back about starting the challenges for a couple of weeks, however.

I decided to try one of their prior challenges to get warmed up, jumping right into an area that I have never tried before – pastry. I started with the recipe for Salmon en Croute.


Salmon en Croute – fresh out of the oven!

I’m not really much of a baker, so I enlisted the help of my husband, who helped by making the short crust and rolling it out. Neither of us have worked with pastry crusts before, so we found it to be pretty tricky to work with. It did not turn out exactly as described in the recipe, or the helpful video tutorials. After much work, and a little creativity, we managed to wrap the salmon in the pastry dough and get it into the oven.

Imperfect, yes, but still a success! It was a fun learning experience, and it tasted great!

Complete! Salmon en croute for dinner.

Complete! Salmon en croute for dinner.