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Biscotti Cookbook Update

First Bake - Ancho Chili Chocolate

I thought it was time to give a Biscotti Cookbook Update! We’ve been baking off the recipes in each chapter, as a final quality control check, and photographing them for the book. It’s been fun and I’ve had the pleasure of working with two fantastic high-school interns this summer, Caroline and Katie.

I’m very happy with the end result of four years of creating, testing, retesting, and re-retesting these biscotti. There’s been lots of tasting going on, too. I’ve taken many, many samples around to friends and family, even my hairdresser, and my husband has taken them to the office to share with colleagues. Many of whom have provided extremely helpful feedback and I’m very grateful. You’ll all be listed in the book – promise!

My dining room has become the biscotti holding area. All of my ingredients are either on the dining room table or a metal cart.

Holding Area for Biscotti Ingredients

I never realized there’s an extract for almost every flavor possible! This was an important find. Flavor dissipates during baking and since the biscotti are twice baked, a good dose of extract makes flavor pop.

A Bin full of Extracts

The finished biscotti are hidden in the dining room, though my husband managed to find them and eat a bunch before one of the photo shoots! Fortunately, there were enough left and I didn’t have to bake more. Need to put him in a room with a lock and key!

Finished Biscotti Ready for Photographing

I usually make six batches in one day, which takes a good four hours. Fortunately, I have double ovens. Each recipe is set up in advance to keep production moving.

Recipe Ingredient Line Up for Testing Biscotti Recipes

Here are some “action” photos from our Ancho Chili Chocolate biscotti.

Mixing

Mixing Biscotti Dough

Rolling

Rolling the Biscotti

Egg wash.

First Bake - Ancho Chili Chocolate

First bake.

First Bake - Ancho Chili Chocolate

Slicing

Slicing Biscoti

Second bake.

Ancho Chili Chocolate - Second Bake

Cooling is an important step, especially for gluten-free biscotti. The starches need to set and the soft, melty ingredients, like chocolate, need to cool and reform. That melted chocolate right out of the oven is lava-like in texture and heat!

Cooling Biscotti

Once properly cooked, the biscotti loaf slices nicely into individual biscotto and retain its shape.

It takes three days to complete a chapter, another day to temper chocolate and dip some of the biscotti.

Dipping Biscotti in Chocolate

Pack it all up, label it, and get ready for another day to shoot the biscotti.

Red Velvet Biscotti

We photograph outside on our screened-in porch, which provides lots of natural light. Lately, however, we’ve been holding the inventory due to very hot and humid weather. You just can’t think when the temps and humidity are in the 90s, and those little beads of sweat running down your nose are not conducive to styling and photographing!

Here’s a shot from Chapter 7 – Nut-Free Biscotti.

Shot of Chapter 7 - Nut-Free Biscotti

The goal is to have all the quality control and photography done within the next 30 days or so and then put the text and recipes into book format. Off to the publisher prior to Thanksgiving, then editing and indexing the final manuscript after the New Year. Ideally the book will be available late winter, 2019.

Still have to think of a title for the book. The basics are: Honeypie’s Recipes: 75 Biscotti Recipes – Sweet, Savory and Gluten-Free. Any suggestions?

Winter Greens

Mustard Greens

My husband and I love greens of all kinds.  Hearty, leafy winter greens are readily available during the winter months; a welcome addition to our table. Look for collard greens, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and turnip greens.

See this post for two recipes using winter greens.

How to Clean, Store and Use

Look for greens that are crisp and vibrant in color. Avoid yellowing greens with droopy leaves and thick stems. To prepare, remove and discard the thick stems.

KaleChop roughly, including the more delicate stems.

 

KaleSoak in lots of cool water and swish around to loosen any dirt. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat until the bottom of the bowl is free of any grit. To store, lightly spin dry; some residual moisture is desirable, which keeps the greens crisp and fresh. Roll in paper towel and place in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to a week.

Not only are greens delicious, they are low in calories, a good source of vitamins A and C, calcium, folic acid, and potassium. Greens mostly water (85-90%) and therefore shrink considerably during cooking. One large bunch will feed 2 people, so judge accordingly when purchasing.

Each green has a distinctive flavor and they are a great addition to soups, just stir in during the last 10 minutes of cooking. As a side dish, sauté with diced bacon or ham, onions, garlic. Add cooked potatoes, beans or rice for a heartier dish.

For post for two hearty winter green recipes.

Welcome Roxie Rae

Roxie Rae, Miniature Pinscher

We have a new family member here at Honeypie’s Recipes and we’re so enjoying our new little girl, Roxie Rae. She’s a gorgeous red Miniature Pinscher. We got her eight weeks ago at eight weeks old and 2.4 pounds. She now weighs 6.8 pounds. I think she’s going to be a big girl for her breed.

Roxie Rae, Miniature Pinscher

She’s full of energy. We need two 30-40 minute hard-working outings per day to release all that energy. She’s just learning to fetch – chases the ball and brings it back, but doesn’t release it! She’s a real athlete. I love watching her run and jump and hunt. However, she’s a real mama’s girl. If I leave the room she cries until I come back. It took a while to get her used to a collar and leash, but now she LOVES our walks.

Roxie Rae, Miniature Pinscher

She takes up a lot of my time and getting posts out over the last several weeks has been challenging. We’re getting into a routine now and things are getting back to normal, whatever that is. Fortunately, she sleeps well after a good workout!

Roxie Rae, Miniature Pinscher

 

Building the Perfect Sandwich

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Making the perfect sandwich is a creative endeavor. Once you decide what kind of bread you like, whether the crust stays or goes, and if you eat it whole, cut in half or in quarters, you need to decide what goes in the middle.

When I cut two slices from a loaf of bread, I know that the crust will stay on and it will be cut into quarters, not squares, but triangles. My husband is a hard roll with the bread centers removed kinda guy. My farther, who is 88, likes to have the crusts cut off his bread. I prefer whole grain, hubby likes white and Dad likes rye. And that barely scratches the surface of the wide variety of breads, rolls and wraps to choose from.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Next decision is what goes in the middle. Peanut butter and jelly. Tuna salad. Chicken salad. Egg salad. Cold cuts – roast beef, turkey or chicken (roasted, smoked, spicy, barbecued, honey), ham (boiled, Virginia baked, honey roasted, spicy) bologna, salami, pepperoni. In the summer when tomatoes are at their peak of ripeness, there is nothing like a BLT on lightly toasted bread. Or just a tomato sandwich! Leftovers – roasted vegetables, roast chicken, chili, cheese(s). There isn’t enough room in this blog to list the endless possibilities for sandwiches.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

The selection of condiments is innumberable. Mustard, and don’t get me started on the varieties of mustard! Ketchup. Mayo. Hot sauces. Salsas. Guacamole. Horseradish. Salad dressing. Sub sauce. And on and on and on…..

Most of my sandwiches are crowned with lettuce, which adds a crisp texture and great color. Then some succulent thin tomato slices sprinkled with salt and pepper and thinly sliced red onion. And what is a sandwich without some dill pickle slices! Sometimes a few crunchy, salty potato chips, roasted bell peppers, pickled jalapenos or a different kind of pickle, say bread and butter, garlic, half sour or cornichons are the perfect accompaniment.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

My default sandwich is tuna salad. It’s versatile because it can be plain and simple: mayo, celery, onion, salt and pepper. But, there are also many ways you can flavor a tuna salad. Skip the mayo and use a favorite mustard, try balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mashed avocado. Lots of different veggies can be minced and stirred into the salad, bell peppers, jalapeno, zucchini, kale. Add in herbs like dill, chervil, tarragon, cilantro, basil, or mint. Other aromatics include minced ginger, lemongrass, sprouts, shredded carrots, shredded cabbage (green, red, or Chinese). And finally, let’s not forget the delicious tuna melt!

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Just thinking about it gets my stomach rumbling and my mouth watering! Here’s my go to tuna salad sandwich. I always have these ingredients available for a last minute lunch choice.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

 

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Tuna Salad

Tuna Salad Sandwich

A basic tuna salad with red onion, celery, gherkins, and just enough mayo to hold it together. Slather some honey mustard on the bread and top with lettuce and tomato!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Sandwiches
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (3 ounce each) tuna, drained
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 heaping tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 8 gherkins, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 slices bread
  • honey mustard
  • crisp green lettuce leaves, such as Romaine
  • thin tomato slices
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Place the tuna in a medium-size bowl and use a fork to break it into small pieces.
  2. Add the onion, celery, gherkins, salt, pepper and mayonnaise with the tuna and stir until combined.
  3. Spread the honey mustard on all bread slices. Top two slices of bread with one-half of the tuna. Lay the lettuce on top of the tuna, the tomatoes on top of the lettuce and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Cover, cut and devour!

 

 

Outdoor Living – August Gardens

We’re nearing the end of the summer season and making every effort to enjoy our outdoor living spaces while we can. The days are becoming a little cooler and dryer, and of course, growing
shorter. The early mornings and late evening sometimes require a sweater. The gardens flourished this year with very little damage from the deer. One of our Beech trees, however, took a beating from the yellow-bellied sapsucker.

My Beech tree.

My Beech tree.

We lost a couple of branches, which saddens me. This is the tree I see first thing upon wakening each morning. Interestingly, the tree leaves turn brown in the fall, but remain on the tree until spring. They continue to flutter and entertain, hold snow and bear up under some pretty harsh conditions. Our arborist is coming to wrap the trunk and limbs in wire to prevent further damage next spring. I hope it works.

Notice the rows where the saplings pecked for sap. Above you can see one of the two limbs we lost :-)

Notice the rows where the saplings pecked for sap. Above you can see one of the two limbs we lost 🙂

We’ve gone about 85% organic on the property recently. It’s an experiment at this point. Dennis from Bren Landscaping and Masonry is using a citrus oil (and I’m sure there’s clove oil in there, too, a very distinct aroma) to spot spray the weeds. It kills them within an hour. What we’re interested in finding out is if it goes all the way to the roots.

Weeds treated with the organic spray.

Weeds treated with the organic spray.

Lacy went nuts over the spray and rolled and rolled in it. The aroma is extremely intense. I think she regretted her decision, because as we walked the property discussing other issues, she started rolling in the green grass seemingly to rid herself of the smell. She got a bath as soon as we went in and she has never rolled in the spray again!

Lacy

Lacy rolling in the grass to rid herself of the citrus oil!

 

Lacy

Lacy

I’ve also consulted with Almstead Tree & Shrub Care about going organic. We had a good discussion and there a couple of areas that he can’t guarantee that serious damage won’t be done to our pines (deer spray) and our wild apple tree (some kind of bugs) without a traditional spray. These sprayings occur very early (crab apple tree) and very late in the season (deer spray – protecting about 40 pine trees). I worry less about the dog in the grass at this time of year because our outdoor time is less in the yard and more at the park for walks. Also the pool has been winterized.

 

Crabapple tree that requires a non-organic spray.

Crabapple tree that requires a non-organic spray.

I made the choice because the dog, our dear little Lacy, recently had a growth removed from her chest that was cancerous. Fortunately, they got clean margins and she’s okay. Also, when I swim, I get water in my eyes and mouth and it just seems a prudent thing to do.

We have a huge responsibility to keep the grounds healthy. We’ve spent lots of time and money to bring it to its current magnificent condition and I would be loathe to lose anything. We’re hoping that the plan works and can be tweaked to our advantage as needed.

Some of the 40 pines on the property in the background.

Pool pavilion with some of the 40+ pines we’ve had planted on the property.

Planter speakers for the pool sound system.

Planter speakers for the pool sound system.

Pool and upper gardens.

Pool and upper gardens.

 

Pool garden left side.

Pool garden left side.

 

Front garden under master bedroom.

Front garden under master bedroom.

 

Driveway and stairs to the front entrance.

Driveway and stairs to the front entrance.

 

Burgundy-colored hydrangea.

Burgundy-colored hydrangea.

 

Backyard Garden at the Master Bedroom

Backyard Garden at the Master Bedroom

Backyard Rock Garden to the Left

Backyard rock garden to the left.

 

Backyard rock garden to the right.

Backyard rock garden to the right.

Outdoor Living – July

Selfishly, I was glad the weather wasn’t so great while we were away. I didn’t feel I missed so much of our outdoor living time, which is so limited here in the Northeast. I guess I paid for my
selfishness, because the 4th was relatively cool and rainy, followed by heat and humidity that was just plain unpleasant and then yesterday I sat on the porch wrapped in a blanket!

Today is a glorious summer day; mid-80s, low humidity, sunny and gorgeous. I finally put the pillows out on the pool furniture. Last week Paivi and Julie came and planted the annuals in the pots around the pool house and along side the pool. They add so much to the ambience of the outdoor living space. Three of these Palermo woven planters from Frontgate, which have a tropical look to them, go along the right side of the pool.

Three Palermo woven planters with annuals run the length of the pool.

We have stereo system built into the pool house. In addition to the speakers in the “rafters,” these nifty speakers are also planters – the sound comes from the bottom. They not only sound great, but look great.

outdoor speakers/planters

Outdoor speakers for the pool/poolhouse.

We’re ready for swimming, sunbathing, lawn darts, croquet or bocci ball!

Pool area

And, lounging around with friends, or just hanging with my little buddy, Lacy (9-year old Min Pin), and soaking up the beauty around us!

Pool house

And, of course, dining al fresco!

Dining al fresco

All of the gardens are filling in and so far, the deer seem to be doing minimal damage. I was concerned because it was so cold and the snow lasted a long time, which usually means that the deer are starving by spring. So far so good….

Rock garden to the left.

Rock garden to the left.

Backyard garden

Rock garden to the right

The Hydrangeas are doing spectacularly well this year after last year’s fiasco – they never bloomed. I can’t believe the size of these white ones. I’m picking some later for the dinner table, which usually causes me some angst. I feel if I pick them the bush will look barren, but that can’t possibly be the case. They’re bountiful as well as magnificent!

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Look at the size of this blossom!

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My first clippings ever from the gardens!

My first clippings ever from the gardens!

This hydrangea bush is an enigma. I’ve never seen one bloom both blue and pink before. In previous years, it’s always been blue; and the pink seems unusually pink. I know that the acidity of the soil has something to do with the color, but I can’t imagine how this bush came to bloom in multicolor. But, I’m loving it!

Multicolored Hydragena

The entire weekend is supposed to be like today and I look forward to enjoying every moment and taking in the beautiful landscaping designed and maintained by Bren Landscaping and Masonry.

The Gardens

The gardens continue to blossom and delight the senses. Outdoor living can’t get any better when you’re surrounded by such beauty. There’s been a mini drought in our area and the recent rains were welcome.
I was late getting the sprinkler system open, but things are greening up nicely.

The tree experts were here to do an inspection the other day and we have two oaks that are stressed. They think the roots were disturbed by the retaining walls we built around the pool area. To remedy this they’ll remove the grass around the base of the trunk, which competes for water, and do a little digging around to give them more room. I hate the thought of losing such beautiful trees and hope this resolves the problem.

Stressed Oaks

Stressed Oaks

The rhododendrons are in full bloom.

Purple Rhododendrons

Purple Rhododendrons

And, the azaleas are bursting forth.

Baby Pink Azaleas

Baby Pink Azaleas

This little mugo pine has taken a beating over the last few years. We had an October snowfall that flattened it one year and again the next year with more heavy wet snow. I was sure we’d lost it, but this year it seems to have regained it fullness and has new growth!

Mugo Pine

Mugo Pine

The back rock gardens I think we should call it the boulder gardens is my view from the porch. The tall grasses fill in and give movement to the garden,

Back Garden with the grasses emerging

Back Garden with the grasses emerging

and the continuous colors are a joy to behold.

Back "boulder" garden

Back “boulder” garden

 

Spring Has Sprung!

The days are warming up and the sun is shining on consecutive days — hurray! The Bren Landscaping crew were here Friday and Saturday mowing the lawn and laying rich dark chocolate
sweet peat throughout the gardens. The colors are eye-popping.

I love the vibrant colors of spring, the yellow daffodils and forsythia, the pink and white of the magnolia tree. Purple hyacinths and the green backdrop of the revived lawn is pure perfection. Here’s a peek at our gardens as they come back to life.

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This garden in the middle of the circle driveway is one of my favorites. The rock was picked especially for sitting on and taking in the views.

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This is the backyard garden. More rocks (big fan of big rocks!!) and it flowers continuously throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Here are before and after pictures – what a difference that sweet peat makes!

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I took this picture (above) Friday. The picture below on Saturday after the sprucing up.

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I’ve also included some shots of the masonry work on the property. The tiered wall down to the pool is just magnificent and the garden path to the stairs is lined with stone. All the stone you see came from our property!

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And of course, no outdoor living space is complete without a fire pit.

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Happy Spring Everyone!

Chapter 7 – Nut-Free Biscotti

This was a fun chapter to create. Lots of interesting and diverse nut-free biscotti flavors!

CHAPTER 7  – NUT-FREE BISCOTTI

Banana Split Biscotti
Candied Grapefruit & Thyme Biscotti
Caramel Sea Salt Biscotti
Chai Biscotti
Cherry Vanilla
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Biscotti
Eggnog Biscotti
Ginger Biscotti
Gingersnap Biscotti
Key Lime Biscotti
Lavender Biscotti
Lemon Poppyseed Biscotti
Matcha Green Tea Biscotti
Molasses & White Chocolate Biscotti
Peaches & Cream
Peppermint Biscotti
Pineapple Biscotti
S’mores Biscotti

Chapter 5 – Savory Biscotti

Here are Chapter 5  – Savory Biscotti recipe titles for my upcoming biscotti cookbook!

CHAPTER 5 – SAVORY BISCOTTI

Bloody Mary Biscotti
Blue Cheese Biscotti
Cheddar Dill Biscotti
Chive Biscotti
Curried Raisin Cashew Biscotti
Falafel Biscotti
Four Peppercorn Biscotti
Jalapeno Monterrey Jack Cornbread Biscotti
Pesto Biscotti
Pizza Biscotti
Polenta Asiago & Black Pepper Biscotti
Porcini Rosemary Biscotti
Rye Bacon & Gruyere Biscotti
Tapenade Biscotti

Biscotti Cookbook Update – Chapter 4 Sweet Nutty Biscotti

 

Here are Chapter 4 recipe titles for my upcoming biscotti cookbook!

Chapter 4 – Sweet Nutty Biscotti

Almond Biscotti
Anise Almond
Apricot Saffron Biscotti
Banana Bread Biscotti
Blueberry Almond Biscotti
Candied Orange Peel Dried Cranberry Biscotti
Cinnamon Pecan Biscotti
Fig & Sage Biscotti
Granola Biscotti
Hazelnut Dried Fruit
Mango Toasted Coconut Biscotti
Maple Pecan Bacon/ Biscotti
Maple Walnut Raisin Biscotti
Passion Fruit Biscotti
Pear Biscotti

Roasted Halibut with Tomatoes and Bell Peppers Recipe

Saturday nights are a great time to ease back and have a leisurely dinner at home. This Roasted Halibut with Tomatoes and Bell Peppers recipe comes together in about an hour, is very flavorful and makes enough to easily serve six.

My family is not crazy about tomato sauce made with whole tomatoes; they prefer a smooth sauce. I used a combination of tomato puree and diced tomatoes (I like a little chunkiness and snuck it in!). Use whatever works best for you.

Bring a pot of salted cold water to a boil while making the sauce and cook the pasta, any shape will do, while the fish is roasting. Halibut is a mild-flavored fish with a firm texture and needs to be cooked through.

Method

Ingredients: olive oil, onions, bell peppers, garlic, Italian herb mix, crushed red pepper, tomatoes.

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Sauce

Thinly slice a medium onion (2 cups) lengthwise.

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Heat the olive oil in a large covered pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and one teaspoon salt, cover, lower the heat and sweat for five minutes.

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Trim the ends and remove the seeds from a red, yellow and green bell pepper and thinly slice lengthwise.

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Add the bell peppers to the onions, stir, cover and sweat another five minutes.

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Mince four garlic cloves.

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Stir in one tablespoon Italian herb mix, the minced garlic and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes.

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Add the tomatoes, stir, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

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Finished sauce.

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Fish

Place the fish on the lined sheet tray and lightly brush with oil.

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Season each side with a sprinkling of Kosher salt and…

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and a couple of grinds of pepper.

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Slide into the oven and roast for 14 minutes; this filet was one inch thick. Adjust for more or less time depending on thickness.

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Remove to a warm plate and top each filet with 1/4 cup sauce and garnish with parsley and serve the sauced pasta on the side.

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Here’s what an alternative dish looks like when someone doesn’t want fish – grilled chicken with tomatoes and bell peppers.

Recipe freezes well.

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Roasted Halibut with Tomato Bell Pepper Sauce

roasted halibut
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 portions 1x
  • Category: Fish
Scale

Ingredients

  • Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut in thin slices lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in thin slices lengthwise
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut in thin slices lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb mix
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 28-ounce cans tomatoes
  • Halibut:
  • 6 six-ounce halibut filets
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil for brushing the fish
  • optional garnish: freshly chopped parsley, about 3 tablespoons

Instructions

  1. Set up:
  2. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  3. Line a 10- x 15-inch baking tray with parchment or foil.
  4. Method:
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large covered pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and salt, cover, lower the heat and sweat for five minutes. Add the bell peppers, stir, cover and sweat another five minutes.
  6. Stir in the herb mix, garlic and pepper flakes. Add the tomatoes, stir, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
  7. Halibut:
  8. Lightly brush both sides of each fish fillet with oil and season with a sprinkling of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper.
  9. Slide into the oven and roast for 14minutes for a one-inch thick fillet. Adjust for others.
  10. Top each filet with 1/4 cup sauce and garnish with parsley.
  11. Serve the sauced pasta on the side.