South of Broad Living July Issue

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One fish, two fish, blue fish, red fish. Whatch yall know ’bout red fish?? I’ll tell yall what, Ben’s been catching it like crazy out here in Charleston. Again, I can’t give away the secret spot, but it has done us well. Ben went out in his kayak the other day and brought back a big ‘ole red fish and we got to cooking. picstitch (2)

My job was to fillet the fish. After some you-tubing, I learned to make the first incision behind the side fin of the fish and cut up towards the top. Once at the top of the fish, cut down the line of his back. This creates two fillets on either side. I cut very close to the rib cage and slowly separated off the meat. It was a little tricky because I had to pierce through the scales, but the job got done.

Next job-how to cook the thing. There are so many different ways to cook fish and my mind was racing because I wanted the best of the best. My co-worker Clay had recently prepared a fish dish where he baked it in parchment paper. This really intrigued me and still does, but I was without parchment paper and too late to buy some. I am also currently without a grill so that is always out. So then the frying pan, I believed and hoped that I could not go wrong here. I did some research and came up with a Blacked Redfish recipe.

Spices you will need:

Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper, Oregano, Paprika, Basil, and Thyme.


I first dipped each fillet in melted butter. Then I mixed all the spices together and gently rubbed the fillets with the mixture. I heated up just a tiny bit of olive oil in the skillet and then seared the bad boys on each side for probably one minute, they cook very quickly!fish

Meanwhile, Ben had been creating a fancy Burgundy Mushroom Sauce. He heated up some butter (yes we’ve used a lot of butter…we’re Southerners get over it) and threw in mushrooms, green onions, and garlic. mushrooms green onionsThe mushrooms cooked for a good couple of minutes and then Ben added about a half cup of red wine. While this was simmering, he also added some sour cream to thicken the sauce up a bit. After tasting the mushroom sauce, it didn’t have the sweetness kick Ben was hoping for from the wine. He went in the fridge and came out with a spoonful of strawberry jam and mixed it into the pot. Voila! Next, we boiled a pot of water to also have some fresh green beans as another side.

rooms and beansThe whole meal turned out excellent. I think we were both really proud of ourselves and felt like real adults. To be able to eat fish that is caught straight out the water is crazy good. It tastes more heroic and the meal feels like more of an accomplishment. The fish was seasoned perfectly and browned to a crisp with a soft inside. The mushrooms were ridiculous. They were creamy and had enough sauce to pour over the green beans. I think the only thing we need to work on is our plating. Plating food is definitely an artwork and ours looks a little overloaded, but hey we ate every last bite.

instaThe picture below is what Catherine would call “Crockpotwednesday.”
cpt wedHappy Crockpottuesday!photo 5

Tomato-Basil and Spinach Risotto

“Cooking is at once one of the simplest and most gratifying of the arts, but to cook well one must love and respect food.” –Craig Claiborne

For some reason I did not get any artistic genes. I can’t paint, draw, sing (except when I play the Susu game ‘Sing Serious’ and belt out When a Man Loves a Woman), act, pose with pursed lips into a camera, heck my handwriting isn’t even good. BUT- I do have love and respect for food. When I browse for recipes, the pictures of food are what first catch my eye and captivate me.  The radiant colors from fresh ingredients, the placement of food on a clean plate, the garnishes, and the drizzled sauce designs for the overall appearance of the dish are all ART and crafted with purpose. The Tomato-Basil and Spinach Risotto immediately grabbed my attention for those reasons and the vibrant red and green colors in the dish.


  • 2-1/4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tlbs butter
  • 1/2 Shallot, minced
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 3/4 cup Arborio Rice
  • 1/4 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Container of Grape Tomatoes (about 25)
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • Fresh Basil leaves
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated

To begin, heat on low butter in a sauce pan and heat chicken broth in a separate pot. Add the shallots to the heated butter and saute until they are clear. Next add in the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, adding salt and pepper to season.


Then add in the arborio rice, making sure it is covered in the butter.


Next add in the white wine, I used Pinot Grigio, and make sure to continuously stir the rice

Now for the heated chicken broth on the back burner. Add the broth one ladle at a time to rice. The key is to ‘just keep stirring, just keep stirring’ and slowly add ladle by ladle. This takes about 15 minutes.


After all of the broth is absorbed, add the grape tomatoes followed by the spinach and basil leaves.tom spinache

The final step is to grate the parmesan cheese on top!


I served the risotto with tilapia, a fresh water white fish. I prepared the fish by splashing it with lemon juice, sprinkling on lemon pepper seasoning, and then placing panco breadcrumbs on tops. I baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. Note: I would recommend first browning the fish on the stove in some olive oil to create a crispy outside. My fish was too bland and needed a crunch to mix up the soft

Please leave me your suggestions on how to perfect the act of cooking tilapia!

Fresh Salmon!

Recently salmon has been my go to meal when I want to cook something nice for myself. I’ve been getting it fresh at the grocery store and it is super easy to cook, doesn’t take long, and I like to think pretty healthy. I have made salmon dishes twice in the past couple weeks and have been very happy/impressed with the outcomes. The first time I made it I created a marinade of:

1.5 tsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp fresh parsley

3 fresh cloves of garlic

1/8 cup of olive oil

2 tbsp of lemon juice

1/2 tsp of salt

image I mixed everything together in a bowl and then generously brushed all sides of the Salmon. imageThen I placed the salmon in a casserole dish and a thought came to me. I had a bunch of left over walnuts that I needed to use so I decided to crush them up and place them on top of the salmon. I baked the salmon at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, making sure it was cooked through but also nervously checking to ensure not overcooking the fish. image It ended up being perfect. Can you say that salmon is tender? It sounds weird when talking about fish, but this salmon separated with the touch of my fork. The dijon and lemon flavors were radiant and the walnuts created a warm crust on top which I was so happy about. I served the salmon with a pesto basil cous cous, tomato, and avocado salad.


The 2nd Salmon dinner night I was feeling confident and decided to hell with the measurements, I’mma wing it! I used all the same ingredients, but made the marinade much thinner by adding more olive oil so I could also use it as a salad dressing. I also decided to leave out the walnuts on this one. I lightly brushed the salmon with the dressing and then hit it on the stove top first before transferring it to the oven. The skin of the fish immediately started sizzling and once it was browned I finished it off in the oven. HOLY FISH. The skin was amazing. It tasted like the skin from fried chicken. I placed the salmon on top of a beautiful salad with arugula, avocado, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, goat cheese, and beets. The rest of the dressing I poured on top and had myself the perfect salad.


In the past I have never really cooked with fish and now I am a huge promoter…screw the chicken.