Sauce helps

I am not good with meat, and that includes poultry and fish. I can’t bear to look at it or touch it when it’s raw. My stomach hurts if I eat too much, and I lack skill in cooking it.

But recently, I’ve had some success in preparing fish with sauces. I’ve found that you can just bake the fish and if you put a decent sauce on it, it seems like a fancy meal even though it’s not.

I did this first with Sonoran Tomato Sauce over cod. Cod=blah. But the sauce _ another winner from Joanne Weir _ was spicy enough to make it interesting. I served the cod with wild rice cooked with cilantro and chioggia beets.

Then G. had a conference in Chicago last week and passed Crate & Barrel on his walk from the hotel where the conference was held to my apartment. He bought me pestos, tapenades & spreads by Stacey Printz.

I made the Thai pesto because I had most of the ingredients on hand, and we had that over salmon with sautéed Swiss chard on the side. Delicious.

If you want to try it, here’s Printz’s recipe:

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup chopped cashews

Zest from 1 lime

Juice from 1/2 lime

1 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger

1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon dried lemon grass

3 tablespoons olive oil.

Combine everything except the olive oil in a food processor, and then slowly pour in the oil while the machine is running. This makes about 3/4 cup.

I used fresh lemon grass instead of dried because I’ve been growing it in my pot of herbs. The exchange worked fine. Also, I didn’t grate the ginger or finely chop the peppers in advance. I just threw them into the food processor and let it do the work. That didn’t seem to hurt either.

I also doubled the recipe since we have a lot of basil. Last summer, G. introduced me to a great way to store pesto. You put it in a freezer bag and then press the bag flat so that the pesto is evenly distributed in a kind of pancake. That pushes all the air out of the bag, and then you can seal it. Lay the bag flat in the freezer until the pesto is frozen. When you need pesto, you can just break off a piece that’s the size you need and thaw that.

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