Monday, January 24, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes at Fisherman's

It started when I read the Fannie Flagg book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. I became obsessed with tasting a dish that hinted at exotic Southern cookouts, where belles drank mint juleps and fanned their faces in the afternoon sun from all the humidity. It sounded so odd that people would eat green tomatoes.

I finally got a chance to eat this tasty dish at Fisherman’s Market and Grill the other day and it was worth the long wait. For $5, I received a plate of six hearty tomato slices coated in a crispy batter and served with the perfect, refreshing tangy white sauce. Biting into the tomato was a delight; the frying makes the normally hard green tomatoes soften, to release flavorful juices, but without getting mushy like the red, ripe ones would.

This is only one of the many things I love about Fisherman’s Market and Grill, the fact that on any given day there are unique little specials offered that rotate based on freshness, availability and season.
Thirteen years ago lifelong friends Louis Pagano (who grew up in San Pedro on his father’s fishing boat) and Bill Mortz opened up the restaurant to deliver the catch of the day to desert residents. Now, four restaurants later, the places are known for their casual atmosphere, glass deli counters that showcase slabs of fresh fish, and no nonsense

For me it’s become the place to go for the perfect cajun salmon Caesar salad or baja fish tacos on busy workdays, hearty swordfish sandwiches for early evening dinners, oysters and chardonnay on lazy spring Sundays, or raw ahi for sushi-making dinner parties. Located between Trader Joe’s and Michaels with a large patio for eating alfresco, it also provides great people watching in the bustling shopping center.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Year's Resolution Meal Making Debuts

I have vowed this year to cook more. Kind of difficult in a miniscule kitchen in a life of constant opportunities to dine out for work and play but I am determined. And not only am I determined to cook more, but I am determined to make my own meals from scratch straight from my creative brain without looking for recipes. Oh, and throw in the equally important intention to be healthier this year. All those things combined are quite a tall order, and honestly a little intimidating, which is why I let most of January pass by before even beginning. But alas, a few nights ago I gave in to my sincere desire to actually keep a resolution this year, and made my first meal that fits the requirements of all the above. I must say, I am quite impressed with the outcome and now have slated an hour every Sunday to making lists and shopping for food for the following week in some semblance of organized fashion. I have even started a coupon file. My grandmother in Iowa with her lard-fingerprint smudged coupon accordion file would be proud...

Kimberly's Date and Veggie Israeli Couscous Delight
(Takes a pan and a pot to make but in the end turns into a one pot meal!)


One medium sized zucchini
2 full baby bok choys
2 diced garlic cloves (or a squirt of prepared chopped garlic from a bottle)
Israeli couscous, dry (I like the kind in the long bag at Fresh and Easy)
4 Medjool dates
Your favorite balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1-1/4 cup chicken broth
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop up the zucchini into same width slices and clean and remove the good bits of bok choy. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and throw in the garlic and let it start to sizzle on high heat. Put the zucchini pieces into the pan on top of the garlic and let sear on one side. Then turn the zucchini pieces over and add the bok choy and turn the heat down to medium and cook until desired tenderness. About fifteen minutes does the trick for me. At the last moment, throw in a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and mix around. Take from heat, cover and let steam and sit while preparing the cous cous.

In a saucepan, boil 1-1/4 cup of chicken broth and one healthy pat of butter. Add 1 cup of the couscous and cover. Turn the heat down to low and steam for ten minutes. While steaming, cut up the dates into tiny pieces. When done steaming, fluff the couscous and add the dates and mix. Let sit for about a minute as the date flavor infuses then throw the whole pot into the pan with the zucchini and bok choy. Toss and serve as a one plate entree dish!