Do you believe it already?

With this title I probably have you a little confused, but relax. My question is do you actually believe that an entire year has gone by so quickly and we are already one week into January 2018?

The snow came on New Year’s this year instead of Christmas Eve, which is fine and we all accepted the snow, but probably not the freezing temperatures.

We are still fortunate to live in this area with a few inches of snow rather than like up north and out west where the snow is knee deep and more. We do need the cold however to kill the germs and bacteria.

Have you started you New Year’s resolutions? Don’t delay because there is a good chance according to studies a great majority of the people will break their resolutions within a couple months.

2017 was full of good and bad things that took place and hopefully 2018 will be full of good and positive things and zero bad things. Time will tell!

We can not control things that happen in the world, but one thing for sure we can control ourselves. With the snow and freezing weather last week, I had a chance to stay home and read and try different recipes, but of course some spices are pretty pricey and maybe only used in one recipe. Cooking is one of my addictions, but I do not complain because all of my family enjoys most of my creations, plus I enjoy trying different dishes.

Everyone has some talent for something and my kids tell me they can not believe how I can spend so many hours in the kitchen without getting bored and tired. I am not sure how many more years my addiction will last, only time will tell. Of course I do wish I had an addiction to some exercising but no one is perfect, however we do have a son George that his nickname is Mr. Perfect since he was very young because he wanted everything (school, work, sports, running and so on) to be perfect. One thing for sure he did not get his running talents from his dad or mom, although he has picked up many others over the years.

He and his wife Neysa and son Franklin run daily and do not consider what the weather is like. It can be raining, snowing, freezing, solid ice on the streets and so on and away they go…

Don’t give up on your resolutions.

Until next week!

***

Grouper Cakes with Spicy Dill Tartar Sauce

Sauce:

2/3 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt

3/4 cup finely chopped spicy sweet pickles

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Cakes:

1 1/2 pounds skinless grouper fillets

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, divided

1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs, about 3 slices sandwich bread

1/3 cup minced red bell pepper

3 tablespoons minced celery

3 tablespoons minced green onion

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 large egg, lightly beaten

4 tablespoons canola oil

For sauce: In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a small rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. For cakes: Sprinkle fish with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place on prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Let cool completely. Flake fish into a large bowl, and add bread crumbs, next 6 ingredients, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper; stir until combined. Shape mixture into 8 patties and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 450. Drizzle oil onto a small rimmed baking sheet and place in oven to heat for 5 minutes. Place cakes on hot pan and bake for 3 minutes per side or until lightly browned.

***

Grilled Grouper salad with Lemon-Oregano Vinaigrette

Dressing:

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 small clove garlic, minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped oregano

1/4 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

Salad:

4 6-ounce skinless grouper fillets

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 large head romaine lettuce, torn

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives

For dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon zest and next 6 ingredients. Whisk in oil and in a slow, steady stream until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. For salad: Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Brush fish with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Break into 1-inch pieces. Divide lettuce, tomato, feta, olives and fish among 4 serving plates and drizzle with dressing.

***

Heirloom Tomato and Herbed Cheese Tart

8 assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 box frozen puffed pastry, thawed

1 egg, lightly eaten

1 5.2-ounce package Boursin garlic and herbs cheese

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Garnish: fresh arugula, halved fresh cherry tomatoes

Place tomato slices on serveral layers of paper towels. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and let stand for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400. On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll each pastry sheet to 15×10 rectangle. Cut one pastry sheet ton 2-inch wide strips. Brush full pastry sheet with beaten egg. Place one layer of pastry strips on top of full pastry sheet around edges to create a border. Brush border with beaten egg. Transfer parchment with pastry to a large baking sheet. Using a fork, prick pastry sheet inside border at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Spread cheese onto pastry inside border. Top with tomatoes and sprinkle with pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until pastry is golden-brown. Garnish with arugula and cherry tomatoes.

***

Sweet Pea Hummus

2 cups frozen peas, thawed

1 16-ounce can chick peats, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup tahini

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper

In the work bowl of a food processor, process together all peas and ingredients until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

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Baked Pimiento Cheese Dip

1 16-ounce box processed cheese product, shredded

1 8-ounce package Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat together all cheese and next 5 ingredients with a mixer on medium speed until well combined. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with pecans and bake 15 minutes more. Serve warm.

***

Lemon Cheesecake Parfaits

2 cups crushed vanilla wafers

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 pint fresh raspberries

In a medium bowl stir together crushed wafer and melted butter. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and next 3 ingredients with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and beat in whipped topping until combined. In individual serving dishes, layer wafer mixture and cream cheese mixture as desired; top with raspberries.

***

Kiki Angelos is a columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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