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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Eating In: Preparing delicious side dishes, other leftovers; plus, first soft-shell crabs

A POUND GOES A LONG WAY: When I prepare a pound of organic whole wheat fusilli pasta with bottled sauce, chopped garlic and organic diced tomatoes, the leftovers provide a ready side dish for a breakfast of organic eggs or dinner, above and below.
DINNER OF LEFTOVERS: Both the fusilli and the Icelandic cod with spinach, tomatoes, capers, black olives and Greek yogurt were leftovers.


-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

"Cooking ahead" means preparing larger quantities than we'd consume at a single meal, yielding leftovers that cut the time it takes to put future meals on the table.

If you have a tasty preparation of whole wheat fusilli in the refrigerator, you can enjoy a breakfast of pasta and eggs in about 7 minutes (the time it takes to reheat the pasta and prepare an omelet or two eggs sunny side up).

The same goes with preparing other whole grains, such as 2 cups of organic quinoa or organic brown rice with chickpeas and organic diced tomatoes, either as side dishes or as a light dinner topped with salad.

If that package of fresh, wild-caught Icelandic cod at Costco Wholesale is close to 2 pounds, you can prepare it all at once, providing that night's dinner and a couple of lunches or snacks.




A pan of skinless-and-boneless Icelandic Cod with fresh organic spinach, tomato, black olives, capers, fresh lemon juice and salt-free all-purpose seasoning is ready after 15 minutes in a preheated 400-degree oven. I add Greek yogurt just before serving the fish.
You can find fresh wild Atlantic Cod from Iceland for $7.99 a pound at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro.
Sweet potatoes mashed with extra-virgin olive oil and seasonings is a favorite side dish. Here, I heated up leftovers to eat with the Jamaican national dish, Ackee and Salt Fish, that my wife prepared with salted cod, canned ackee fruit, and sweet and hot peppers.
Before Easter, the ShopRite in Paramus was selling 5-pound boxes of Sweet Potatoes for $2.99 each. I baked some of the potatoes, and mashed the rest.
A pound package of organic whole wheat linguine and other shapes are available at ShopRite, Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's for about $1.50.
I poached two organic eggs from Costco (2 dozen for $5.99) in leftover pasta sauce, and sauteed fresh spinach in organic chicken stock, sesame oil, sake and organic no-salt seasoning, above and below.
I ate the eggs over leftover organic whole wheat pasta shells in a spicy bottled Fra Diavolo sauce with canned sardines and anchovies.
Warm organic brown rice with chickpeas and organic diced tomatoes topped with organic spring mix, which I dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
For another quick preparation of Icelandic cod fillets, poach the fish in a 16-ounce jar of 365 Everyday Value Roasted Chipotle Salsa from Whole Foods Market with added lemon juice. You can also add onions, chopped fresh garlic and chopped olives, above and below. The side dish is leftover mashed sweet potatoes.


Add the sliced onion, garlic, olives and lemon juice to the salsa, cover, bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes. Then, add serving portions of the fish, seasoned with a little sea salt, cover again and cook for about 7 minutes for fillets up to a half-inch thick.
An egg-white omelet with leftover fusilli pasta and chopped callaloo, a collard-like green available in cans.
Here is a stuffed egg-white omelet with salted cod fish, smoked wild salmon, reduced-fat Swiss cheese, Mexican-style salsa and Greek yogurt laced with wasabi. The finishing accent is crushed red Aleppo pepper from Fattal's, a Syrian baker, butcher and grocer at 975 Main St. in Paterson.

Soft-shell crabs

Every spring, seafood lovers eagerly anticipate the appearance of soft-shell crabs in markets and on menus.

This week, I met my friend Arthur at Seafood Gourmet, the fish market-restaurant at 103 W. Pleasant Ave. in Maywood that is his go-to place for lunch on Mondays.

Unfortunately, when we were seated at about 1 p.m., the kitchen had only two soft-shell crabs left, so we split a special, Gingered Soft Shell Crabs served with Jasmine Rice and Vegetables (Market Price).

The lunch entree was delicious, but came with a little heartburn: 

We were charged $24 for two crabs -- that's $12 bucks each. 

Explore: Do You Really Know What You're Eating?


A half-portion of Gingered Soft Shell Crabs with Jasmine Rice and Vegetables at Seafood Gourmet in Maywood.
We also split Seafood Gourmet's Coconut Shrimp ($8).
On Easter Sunday, I paid $13.99 a pound for two live lobsters at the ShopRite in Paramus -- more than double the price when they are on sale.