Salt-Baking a Whole Fish

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

As with many topics of culinary history, the origin of cooking foods encased in salt is up for debate. Several cultures lay claim to the invention — from the Iberian Spaniards and Portuguese, to the Mediterranean Italians and Greeks, and further east to the ancient Persians and Chinese.

Whatever the truth, salt-baking, or salt-roasting, has stood the test of time. Similar to tagines and clay pots, this centuries-old method traps steam heat to infuse moisture, amplify flavor and retain nutrients. So remarkably tender and succulent are the foods cooked inside these paradoxical salt igloos, that this otherwise humble technique has even been likened to the light-years-more-high-tech magic of sous vide.

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Quick Weeknight Sole and Sausage Gumbo

Eat Well Edibles Grow Well Recipe

Once upon a time we made Gulf seafood gumbo for four on a twilit beach in Corpus Christi with only a butane burner and cookware borrowed from a rental kitchen. Grey-blue crests and frothy white caps crashing behind us, visibility at that time of night zero save a flashlight and the dome light of our truck bed, crude sand walls built to prevent the struggling, wind-whipped flames from going out.

The inexplicably successful bowls of steaming hot gumbo were well-earned (and quickly finished) — at that moment, seriously superior to every other gumbo, anywhere, anytime. Forevermore, it will be a meal that instantly transports us back to that night on that beach.

Mardi Gras — or Fat Tuesday, if you prefer — falls on the last day of February this year. Because it’s a weeknight, I’m sharing a quick-fix version of our New Orleans classic that goes from cutting board to table in just about 30 minutes.

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Kitchen Scraps to Homemade Stock

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Happy 2017!

At the start of every new year, I make it a goal to refresh the kitchen. Refrigerator, freezer, pantry — no drawer or door is left unopened. It’s cathartic to give everything a good cleaning, all the while taking inventory of what needs to be replaced or replenished.

Always at the top of my list, though I make it many times throughout the year, is a big pot of rich homemade stock. Not only is this liquid gold cheaper and better tasting that store-bought, it feeds into another of my goals, to reduce food waste.

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Spicy Calamari Stew with Garlicky Croutons

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Our first taste of the autumn chill has arrived. The days break foggy and crisp, and though the afternoon sun is still quite warm, bracing morning and evening winds prompt yearnings for warm, soul-satisfying foods.

This recipe for a tomato-based calamari stew with chillies and herbs more than satisfies. Sometimes ladled over a small mound of grains, I served these bowls with cubes of homemade ciabatta bread tossed with olive oil and garlic and baked briefly until crisp and golden.

A simple yet elegant meal that feels like one foot in summer, one foot in autumn, and an arm in winter.

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Creamy Carrot Lentil Soup with Crunchy Almond-Coconut Dukkah

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

There are a few sections in my raised bed where the soil leaves quite a lot to be desired. I (un)affectionately refer to these as “dead zones,” and after seasons of disappointment, began to expect little, if any growth at all.

This past autumn and spring something spurred me to give the entire bed extra attention in the form of homemade compost tea, manure, and a new layer of peaty garden soil. Spread, till, spread, till, spread, till, wait.

Lo, and behold, a variety of carrots called Short ‘n Sweet came to represent not only the first carrots in my history of gardening, but also the first crop to outfox a dead zone. Though the size and harvest of these gnarly munchkins were small, it was a bounty considering, and proof of what the earth can provide if only we give it love.

Baby carrot harvest

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