Pan-seared Halibut with Melted Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon (& review of The Nourished Kitchen cookbook)

KimiHarris

I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

pan-seared halibut with melted cherry tomatoes and tarragon

Tender and moist, halibut is cooked quickly on the stovetop and then graced with the bright flavors of bite-sized tomatoes, gently cooked into a simple, yet flavorful sauce. This is a perfect example of the simple, delicious food that Jenny from Nourished Kitchen produces time and time again.

And that’s why I am thrilled to share this beautiful recipe from her incredible new cookbook (amazon affiliate link), The Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle. This book is a real gem. Truly. Each section helps you know how to serve food from the sea, pasture, garden, field, wild, orchard, range, and larder. It’s real food at its best.

What I love about Jenny’s recipes is that they allow the true flavors of the food to shine. Her writing style is warm, reassuring and poetic, and her photos do justice to the natural beauty of the food without trying to manipulate food into something it is not (can you tell I’m a fan?). The section this recipe comes out of (from the waters) has a variety of dishes I am drooling over and can’t wait to try. This includes Salt-Roasted Clams with Garlic Butter, Whole Mackerel Roasted on Potatoes, and Grilled Sardines with Preserved Lemon Gremolata. Dr, Weston A Price was impressed with the health a seafood-centric traditional diet produced, and we know that there are a variety of nutritional benefits to eating seafood on a regular basis. Jenny’s recipes will certainly help get it on your table.

Nourished kitchen

Special Pre-Order Bonuses

I was lucky enough to get a preview copy, but you can pre-order her book right now! As a cookbook author, let me say this: It really helps authors out when you pre-order, so if you are planning on ordering it, do it now. If you do, you can also email your receipt to nourishedkitchen@tenspeed.com,  no later than April 15 at midnight pacific time, and you will get special access to the cookbook’s membership portal which includes instructional videos, menu ideas, a few sneak peek recipes from the book as well as an exclusive look at recipes that they did not include in the book due to space constraints.

Giveaways

Jenny’s also doing giveaways to promote her book as well, so if you want the chance to win some great things, check it out. 

Virtual Dinner Party

This recipe is part of the virtual dinner party we bloggers are doing in celebration of Jenny’s book. It’s a great opportunity to see some of the beautiful recipes in the book before you buy. Here’s the schedule:

• April 6: Chapter 1: Diana @ My Humble Kitchen
• April 7: Chapter 2: Kresha @ Nourishing Joy
• April 8: Chapter 3: Jill @ The Prairie Homestead
• April 9: Chapter 4: Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet (that’s me!)
• April 10: Chapter 5: DaNelle @ Weed ‘Em and Reap
• April 11: Chapter 6: Aubrey @ Home Grown and Healthy
• April 12: Chapter 7: Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship
• April 13: Chapter 8: Tamara and Kelly @ Oh Lardy

And without further ado, here’s this lovely recipe.

Pan-seared Halibut with Melted Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon
 
Author:
Serves: 4

 
During the first few weeks of summer, tomatoes trickle slowly into the farmers market, a few baskets at a time. Such a short supply after months of cold-weather crops like roots and greens means those first few tomatoes command hefty prices and seem to disappear the instant the market opens. So I wait to purchase tomatoes until late summer, when their newness wears off and baskets at the market overflow with a seemingly continuous supply of marble-sized cherry tomatoes or even the heftier golden Amana tomatoes that can weigh 2 or 3 pounds each. The price of tomatoes falls as the supply increases, and I buy them by the case. I call on close friends and we preserve as much as we can, but I also serve them with nearly every meal—a few dropped into an omelet, roasted with fennel for soup, tossed with greens for salad, and, frequently, as a simple sauce for fish or meat. While creamy white-fleshed fish like halibut pair beautifully with mild flavors, buttery sauces, and a very light introduction of lemon or fresh herbs, they also marry well with more robust and assertive flavors like tomato. I reserve this dish for late in the summer, when bright, ripe cherry tomatoes are both inexpensive and abundant. Once they hit the hot pan, they nearly melt and their flavorful juices concentrate in the heat, becoming syrupy and thick. I like to throw in a handful of tarragon at the very end, though both basil and flat-leaf parsley also work well.
Ingredients
  • 4 (4- to 6-ounce) halibut fillets
  • ½ teaspoon finely ground unrefined sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter (page 59, of book, see below)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle the halibut with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Set the fillets on a plate and let them rest a bit while you prepare to cook the fish.
  2. Melt the butter in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, arrange the halibut skin side down in the hot fat and sear for 4 or 5 minutes, until the skin crisps and browns. Flip the fish and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it flakes easily when pierced by a fork. Transfer the halibut to a serving plate and tent it with parchment paper or foil to keep it warm.
  3. To prepare the tomatoes, set the skillet you used to cook the fish over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Toss in the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and translucent, about 6 minutes. Toss in the tomatoes and sauté them with the shallot and garlic until they soften and release their juice, about 2 minutes. Add the tarragon and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  4. Uncover the waiting halibut. Spoon the melted cherry tomato mixture over the fish and serve immediately.
Clarified Butter
 
Author:

 
Clarifying butter deepens its flavor and color and concentrates its butterfat by removing its milk solids. The process also helps to extend its shelf life. Store clarified butter at room temperature out of direct light, just as you would store olive oil, coconut oil, or any other concentrated fat. Once you’ve removed the milk solids from the butterfat, there’s little risk of spoilage.You can apply high heat to clarified butter in ways that would cause regular butter to scorch. Makes about 12 ounces.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
Instructions
  1. Place the butter in a wide sauté pan set over low heat. Allow the butter to melt slowly. As it heats, froth and foam will gather on top of the liquid butter. Skim this off and discard it. Continue heating the butter until it becomes perfectly clear, about 10 minutes.
  2. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth or a single layer of butter muslin. Pour the melted butter through the cloth and into the bowl. Discard the milk solids in the cloth, then pour the clarified butter into three 4-ounce jars or one 12-ounce jar and cover tightly. Stored in a cool, dark space, the clarified butter will keep for up to 1 year.

 
Reprinted with permission from The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther, (c) 2014.
Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Photography (c) 2014 by Jennifer McGruther
Publisher retains all copyrights and the right to require immediate removal of this excerpt for copyright or other business reasons.

Healthy Strawberry Lemonade (Stevia-Sweetened)

KimiHarris

I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

Healthy Strawberry Lemonade

Tart lemons and sweet strawberries, are gently sweetened with stevia in this simple, but lovely strawberry lemonade for a delicious beverage. Lemonade is a very fun and delicious way to get some vitamin C. Strawberries increases the vitamin C content, and adds other antioxidants as well. I like to get my vitamins from food as much as possible, instead of depending on supplements, so this is a great way to give myself a boost of vitamin C. Dr. Price also considered vitamin C content important for a healthy diet!

Lemonade is one of my favorite drinks, but I don’t do well with the usual high sugar content of lemonade, even the more natural ones. Stevia does well with lemon, and doesn’t raise your blood sugar,  so is perfect for my needs (read my back-in-the-ancient-days blog post about my first ventures with stevia-sweetened lemonade as well). This version with strawberries makes it beautiful in color and taste. Another favorite recipe is this Orange Lemonade Sports Drink. It uses just a small amount of raw honey (or you could use organic cane sugar), and is delicious as well. A great option for a stevia-free version. :-)

Disclaimer: Post contains some affiliate links

What stevia brand you use will definitely make a difference.

My current preference is to buy a stevia that is not heavily processed. I used Now Stevia #amazonaffiliate in this recipe. It doesn’t have a bitter taste, and it is specifically made to contain the whole leaf extract, and then is enzymatically treated to remove the any bitterness. It does have a very sweet, but slightly herbal taste, which some may not like as well (though note that in a recipe like this, the lemons and strawberries hide the stevia taste a great deal). A brand that I’ve used with a lot of success that is more processed, but not herbal tasting is NuNaturals. I use stevia so little that I’ve had the same bottle for a couple of years, and I’ve heard they changed the formula around a little recently, but it’s still good, I believe. On the under end of the spectrum is this stevia liquid concentrate that is not processed at all. This will have the strongest taste (I haven’t tried it yet, but will try order a bottle soon to taste-test!). The whole stevia debate is a little beyond the scope of this article, but I will be writing the arguments surrounding stevia soon. So stay tuned for that!

If you don’t want to use stevia in your strawberry lemonade, I recommend making simple syrup with organic cane sugar, or a honey simple syrup, and using that to sweeten to taste. It will be delicious that way as well.

Strawberry Lemonade (Stevia-Sweetened)
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Prep time:
Total time:

 
How sweet your strawberries are will make a difference in how much stevia you need to use. Start low, and creep up until it’s just right (it’s easy to overdo stevia, as it’s so concentrated!). I used my Blendtec to blend this, if you find it too pulpy, or seed-y when using a regular blender, you can always pour through a fine sieve before adding the 5 cups of water.
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces strawberries (if frozen, defrosted), about 15 large strawberries, stemmed if fresh
  • 2 cups of water
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 5 cups of water
  • 30-50 drops liquid stevia
Instructions
  1. Combine the strawberries, 2 cups of water, and lemon juice in a blender. Blend until very smooth.
  2. Add the five cups of water, and then sweeten to taste with the liquid stevia, starting low and working up, stirring well before taste-testing. Serve chilled or over ice.

 Other Beverage Recipes on The Nourishing Gourmet: 

Simple Herb Garlic Butter

KimiHarris

I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

SO simple, but incredibly delicious herb garlic butter

Heavenly. This is such a simple recipe to make, but puts together a couple of my favorite things: butter (from grassfed cows), fresh herbs and garlic. The herbs add such a great freshness to the rich butter, and the garlic – a delicious savory shot of spiciness that only garlic can bring. Whirled together this spread is absolutely to die for on crusty bread, and is a lovely touch for serving to guests.

There are so many uses for it! It can be used to top pan-fried steaks, or as a delicious finish to fish or chicken. Toss with boiled pasta of any kind, top rice, or top steamed or roasted vegetables. Anywhere you usually use butter in savory foods, use this. It lasts two weeks (if you don’t eat it all), so having it on hand to use in different preparations works well.

This simple formula is easy to play with – use whatever herbs are your favorite, or you have on hand. I recommend pairing a couple different kinds, if possible.

Butter from grassfed cows is high in vitamin A and K2, and is an important part of a diet based on Dr. Weston A Price’s research. I used unsalted Kerrygold butter (#affiliatelink). Every single time I make a recipe like this with such high quality butter, I am reminded that every thing tastes better with butter, and even more better with the really good butter.

The other thing that is great about this recipe is that the fresh herbs and garlic add their own nutrition, as well as flavor. Herbs are surprisingly nutritious.

Good food is often good for you. Win-win. Enjoy.

Simple garlic herbed butter

Simple Herb Garlic Butter
 
Author:
Prep time:
Total time:

 
If you don’t want your butter to turn bright green like mine (which I think lovely), you can chop your herbs and garlic by hand, and gently stir into the butter. Makes about 1 cup.
Ingredients
  • ½ pound unsalted butter, room temperature (from grassfed cows, preferred)
  • 1 cup of loose herbs (such as parsley, chives, thyme, dill, oregano)
  • ½ teaspoon unrefined salt (skip if using salted butter)
  • 1-2 smallish garlic cloves (use only one if not a huge garlic fan), peeled and roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Prep the herbs, by rinsing and spinning or gently shaking/patting dry. Remove the stems from herbs like parsley and thyme. Parsley is a great filler herb, as it is fresh, but not to strong in flavor. I used ½ parsley, and then filled the rest with chives, thyme, and dill. Beautiful. Put in the food processor, and pulse until the herbs and garlic are finely minced
  2. Add the butter, and blend until the ingredients are well combined. Chill for a couple of hours to meld flavors. Then, enjoy with abandon at room temperature.

 

Beet Kvass: A Cleansing, Medicinal Tonic

April Swiger

Hi, I’m April Swiger, wife to my best friend, and worship-pastor, Adam. We are hopeful adoptive parents waiting to bring home children from foster care. We live in Connecticut, less than an hour from where I grew up. As a native New Englander, I was brought up on delicious meals by my mother who values the art of cooking. Her guidance instilled in me foundational skills, and confidence in the kitchen from a very young age.

After graduating from James Madison University I spent six years in campus ministry, including a year in East Asia. As a result, my cooking has been greatly influenced by Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. You can bet that I fully indulged in many traditional, and unique, Asian dishes that year!/div>

I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with simple, nourishing recipes, while strategically keeping to our tight ministry budget. On any given day you’ll find my crockpot bubbling with rich bone broth, mason jars full of coconut oil in the cabinet, and beans or grains soaking on the radiator. When I’m not caring for my husband and our home, you can find me reading, writing, blogging at Redemptive Homemaking, making my own beauty products, and researching new skills like gardening and lacto-fermentation. Whether it’s marriage, homemaking, or serving in our local church, I am first and foremost a follower of King Jesus, and my aim is to glorify Him with all that I do. 

beet kvass

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

Some of the most beautiful stains on my cutting board are from beets. Tangy, earthy, salty, and a little bit of fizz perfectly describe this deeply nourishing, and richly medicinal, fermented beet kvass tonic. It’s an acquired taste, which I have slowly become accustomed to, and I have fallen head over heels for this blood red drink. Traditionally, tonics like this supplemented the daily diet, instead of supplement pills. 

(Disclaimer: Some links may be affiliate links, and this site has an affiliate association with Amazon)

Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions says (page 610): “This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”

According to this article by the Weston A. Price Foundation, kvass originated in Russia and was traditionally made with stale sourdough rye bread. It boasted of great immune boosting qualities, and although it wasn’t an alcoholic drink, it was similar to beer in taste. Kvass can also be made with beets, and traditional homes in the Ukraine always had a bottle on hand. It was often used as a tangy addition in soups, vinaigrettes, and borscht.

The health benefits of lacto-fermented food are undeniable. As chopped beets mix with sea salt, the sugar and starch convert to lactic-acid perfectly preserving the kvass. The finished drink is full of beneficial enzymes, friendly probiotic bacteria, and increased vitamin levels. Regularly eating lacto-fermented vegetables, or incorporating beet kvass into your diet, will promote healthy gut flora, and greater absorption of nutrients from your food.

The first time I made beet kvass, I used Sally Fallon’s recipe in Nourishing Traditions which calls for the addition of whey to inoculate the mixture. We don’t eat much dairy in our home, so I opted to double the salt, and ferment my kvass for longer than the recommended two days. The end result was way too salty! However, after it sat in the refrigerator for a few more days, the saltiness diminished quite a bit, and I was able to drink it and enjoy it.

Wild fermentation is truly an art, and takes a little trial and error. In recent months I experimented with decreasing the amount of salt in my kvass while still using enough to allow proper fermentation to take place. My most recent batch was the fizziest yet and absolutely delicious! Depending on the time of year, and the temperature inside your home, your kvass may need anywhere from 2-7 days to ferment. This winter I’ve been allowing mine to sit at room temperature for a full week before putting it in the refrigerator.

Fermentation Vessel Choice

There has been some debate about what the best vessel is for lacto-fermentation. Wardee at GNOWFGLINS breaks down some great options. I personally have always used a mason jar with a metal band and lid. None of my ferments have ever gotten moldy (mold isn’t necessarily a bad thing), and I typically burp them once a day to release the pressure that builds up. This works for me, but it’s good to explore other options that may better suit your personal preferences.

Foam/Scum on Top

A few times my kvass has developed a thin layer of white or brown foam at the top. It’s harmless, and I typically scoop it out with a spoon before putting my jar in the refrigerator.

Filtered Water

It’s very important to use filtered water, free from chemicals like chlorine and fluoride. These chemicals are typically present in tap water and can prevent your kvass from fermenting properly. I have been using a Berkey filter  for two years now, and love it.

Sea Salt

Celtic sea salt is my salt of choice. It’s unrefined and packed full of nutrients and trace minerals. Standard table salt has iodine added to it, which could inhibit the growth of beneficial bacteria. Table salt is not a good choice for fermenting beet kvass, so it’s best to go with an unrefined sea salt.

How will I know when my beet kvass is ready?

When the kvass is a deep red color, and you see fizzy bubbles moving upwards in the jar, it’s good for drinking! It should smell earthy and salty, like beets. If it smells rancid, throw it out. Your nose will know, so don’t drink anything that smells off. If your home is fairly warm (over 72 F), your kvass is likely ferment quickly, so keep an eye on it. I let mine go for a week during the winter, and only a few days during the warmer months.

You can also use your beets for a second, weaker batch. Save about half a cup of the kvass in your jar as a “starter”, fill it with filtered water again, and set it out on your counter for a few days. Your kvass will last for many months in the refrigerator.

Other Uses

You can use your kvass in place of vinegar for salad dressings, or as a tangy addition to soups. Be sure to reduce any additional salt in your recipe! A recent favorite of mine is adding beet kvass to Kimi’s everyday salad dressing recipe in place of apple cider vinegar. The color is beautiful!

Beet Kvass Vinaigrette

Other Lacto-fermented Recipes:

Beet Kvass
 
Author:
Recipe type: Medicinal Tonic

 
Beet Kvass is a medicinal tonic that cleanses the blood, liver, and promotes healthy digestion. Enjoy 4 ounces of this drink in the morning and evening. This recipe makes one half gallon jar, or two quart sized jars.
Ingredients
  • 2 large, or 3-4 medium beets (preferably organic)
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • Filtered water
Instructions
  1. Peel your beets, and chop them up coarsely (1-2 inch chunks). Do not grate your beets! This will cause your kvass to ferment too rapidly, producing alcohol rather than lactic-acid (Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, page 610)
  2. Put your chopped beets in your jar, or divide them equally between two quart sized jars
  3. Sprinkle the sea salt on top of your beets
  4. Fill your jar with filtered water, leaving about an inch at the top for headspace, and stir the contents well
  5. Secure the lid, and leave it on your counter for 2-7 days before moving it to the refrigerator