Healthy Veggie-Stuffed Squid


by

When living in Greece, I developed a taste for calamari..  Not the tiny rubber band-sized rings so heavily coated in batter that you wouldn’t even notice if they’d left out the squid, except for the fact that the texture resembles a rubber band as well.  Not that kind.

The calamari in Greece was generally in thick slices or rings, lightly coated in batter, fried just until tender and topped with fresh lemon, so that you could still taste the squid.  MM.

You can see my attempt and this here.. though I admit the beer battering was heavier than necessary.  And I need a fryer.

The other way I enjoyed squid abroad was baked or grilled whole, stuffed with something delicious.  This could be crab meat, feta, dandelion greens, etc.  I decided I wanted to try something new and healthy with my squid and settled on this:  Baked, vegetable-stuffed whole squid.  The basic premise involves pureeing some of the vegetables to stuff inside the squid, then chopping the rest and adding a little tomato sauce and broth to the pan to bake the calamari in.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole squid (I used wild turbo squid from the H Mart)
  • 8 button mushrooms (half blended for the stuffing, half chopped for baking)
  • 1 yellow squash (1/3 blended for stuffing, the rest chopped for baking)
  • 3 or so stalks (tops) of a fennel plant (you can probably use any part, really). Blend half for the stuffing, chop the rest
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2-3″ section of leek
  • 3 Tbsp of fresh ginger
  • 1 can Canellini (white beans)
  • 1 leaf Kale or any other green
  • 4-5 stalks Chinese broccoli (you could alternatively use more greens like kale and regular broccoli, or sub some other crunchy and leafy veggie.  Chinese broccoli has both–crunchy stalks and leafy tops)  Blend 2 stalks/leaves, chop the rest for the baking dish
  • Tomato if you have it (dice and lay over the dish), if you have enough you can leave out the pasta sauce
  • 1/2 C tomato sauce or pasta sauce.  If you have homemade, this would make me happier.  I had no tomatoes so I had to use a jar of sauce, which is easier and still works.  You could just use a lot of fresh tomatoes.
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • Season with: black pepper, oregano, paprika

 

Step 1: Make the stuffing

  • First puree the leek, garlic and ginger.  Set 1/3 of that aside to add to the baking dish, and put the rest in a bowl for the stuffing mixture
  • Next blend in a food processor (in batches, if necessary–it took me 2) 1/3 of a yellow squash, 3-4 mushrooms, 2 stalks of Chinese broccoli,  kale, and 1/3 of the can of white beans.  You should leave the mixture somewhat chunky, not completely pureed.

    IMG 0938 300x243   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Fennel, Mushroom, Squash in the food processor

  • Add all the blended ingredients to a bowl and mix together

    IMG 0942 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Squid stuffing: pureed mushroom/squash/fennel/ginger/garlic/leek/chinese broccoli/kale/white bean

Step 2:  Stuff the squid

  • Thaw and rinse the squid and pat dry
  • Turn each squid inside out.  One reason for this is so that you can clean it better, in case it hasn’t been completely cleaned.  You can try to rip off any extra membrane which ensures your squid will be more tender and less chewy.  The other reason is that the squid will tend to curl up outwards as it bakes due to the difference in texture inside and outside.. if you flip the squid inside out, it will curl inwards, holding the stuffing inside.
  • Use a toothpick to hold the ends together as you stuff the squid.

    IMG 0944 255x300   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Turn the squid inside out, place toothpicks at one end if both have holes in them, and stuff with mixture

  • Place squid in a baking dish and generously coat the stuffed squid with fresh squeezed lemon

    IMG 0946 300x228   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    After stuffing, use toothpicks to close up the ends slightly. Place in a pan and squeeze a lemon over each squid.

Step 3: Add the rest of the veggies and sauce

  • Chop the rest of the squash, 3 more stalks of Chinese broccoli, any tomato you have, and fennel and add to a bowl
  • Add the rest of the drained cannelini (white beans), and the rest of the blended garlic/leek/ginger mixture
  • Mix all ingredients with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Spread veggies over the squid in the pan
  • Add 1/2 cup or so of pasta sauce
  • Add 1/2 cup or so of chicken or vegetable stock

    IMG 0948 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Cover squid with chopped veggies (chinese broccoli, squash, mushroom, white beans, garlic, leek), 1/2 C (chicke/veggie) stock, 1/2 C tomato or pasta sauce, drizzle of balsamic vinegar, paprika, oregano, black pepper

  • Season with fresh ground black pepper, paprika, and oregano

    IMG 0953 241x300   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Squid baking

  • Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes.  Optionally uncover for the last 5 minutes of baking.  Cooking times may vary depending on how large your squid are and how thick your veggies are in the pan.

 

Serve each squid with veggies and sauce from the pan.  Makes 2-4 servings, depending on how big your squid and appetite are 🙂

IMG 0958 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

Plated squid and veggies. Add a squeeze of lemon.

 

IMG 0959 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

Baked stuffed squid

April 12, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Roasted Veggies and Sauteed Scallops with Swiss chard


by

This was a dinner based on ‘what’s left in the fridge’.  It turned out pretty tasty, though the scallops/swiss chard were a little too salty for me.  The other issue was that there was a wide range of cooking times required for the veggies to roast to the proper tenderness and instead of caring, everything just went into one pan.

This is:

Sweet potato, carrots, zucchini, kohlrabi, diced leek and large chunks of garlic tossed in a little olive oil with salt/pepper, oregano, basil, and fresh rosemary, then roasted in the oven until done / until we got too hungry to care.  Pretty good!   It needed to have the kohlrabi replaced with fennel or anise (YUM, try that roasted) and the carrots were lackluster, but the zucchini and sweet potatoes were delicious as always.

Then, a whole pack of scallops were sauteed in a little butter and white wine with garlic, ginger, and leek.  Five large stalks of colorful swiss chard were added, and this cooked down significantly.  I think maybe it was salty because I salted the dish before seeing how much the swiss chard cooked down…

This was seasoned with fresh lemon, salt and pepper only.  There ended up being a fair amount of liquid in the pan as these cooked… probably from the swiss chard.  It was red, which was fun, because of the stalks…. so I added a tiny bit of cornstarch to thicken the liquid and sprinkled parmesan cheese on top (salt factor?)

In the end it turned out pretty good, pretty easy.. and the greens mixture went well mixed with the roasted veggies, and evened out the saltiness.

 

mms picture   Roasted Veggies and Sauteed Scallops with Swiss chard
Roasted Veggies and sauteed scallops with swiss chard

 

 

 

March 22, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

QueenEarth at Terra Cafe


In my spare time, I am a musician, among other things. Every Friday, I have the pleasure of playing a lunch gig at Baltimore’s Terra Cafe (101 E 25th St.) from 12-2pm. This restaurant is one of my favs for food, atmosphere, and for their support of local musicians and artists. I have a good relationship with those guys (my boys work hard), so good that they gave me an original sandwich creation.

This is the QueenEarth!!!

bakedQEsand1 300x225   QueenEarth at Terra Cafe

QueenEarth fish Sandwich from Terra Cafe (101 E 25th St)

The famous Terra Cafe fish sandwich (I call it famous because any patron who visits the place will be eating a fish sandwich or they will wish they had ordered it when they see your plate), baked or fried, on a bed of leafy greens and tomatoes with a light layer of chipotle mayo, all served on a fresh baked sub roll. You can add cheese. What makes it a QueenEarth vs regular fish sandwiches? I add a healthy serving of sautéed spinach, mushrooms, and onions. It’s heavenly.

I usually order the potato salad (it tastes like Mom’s) but I was urged to try the yams. They make them with pineapple!! Need I say more?

 

If you order a QueenEarth sandwich, you can also get my EP, Introducing . . . QueenEarth for half price. That’s a helluva deal 🙂

I forgot to mention the desserts. Cakes and pies!! WORD!!

cakesandpies 300x225   QueenEarth at Terra Cafe

Terra Cafe Dessert Selection

 

 

March 18, 2011
Food, Restaurants

 
 

Recipe: Broccoli and white bean soup


by

The soup mentioned in  the post on Vegetable couscous, broccoli and white bean soup can be recreated with the following recipe or modifications:

 

It was originally adapted from a recipe in the Whole Living magazine:

Serves 4

  • 1 head broccoli (1 pound), cut into florets, stems thinly sliced  (Added Chinese broccoli as well)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock (Replaced with vegetable stock)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted  (Replaced with Almond slivers)
  • 1/2 ounce shaved Parmesan, for serving  (Replaced w/ asiago)
mms picture1 300x225   Recipe: Broccoli and white bean soup

prepping for the broccoli and white bean soup

Directions

  1. Steam broccoli florets and stems until tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly. Reserve 1/2 cup florets for garnish.
  2. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add beans and stock and bring mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat and add broccoli; puree in batches in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish each bowl with broccoli florets, toasted pine nuts, and shaved Parmesan.
blackbean 300x225   Recipe: Broccoli and white bean soup

Broccoli and white bean soup with black bean burger

Shown here (left) with the homemade black bean burger

Read more at Wholeliving.com: Creamy Broccoli-White Bean Soup

 

March 11, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Beer-battered calamari, dandelion greens, and ginger, carrot and white bean soup


by

Beer-Battered calamari strips (Pescatarian)

Boiled dandelion greens with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper

Ginger, carrot and white bean soup (recipe) — cooked and blended, garnished with sauteed leek, garlic, mushrooms, and sliced carrot  (Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Pescatarian)

Sherwood Cocktail (knockoff): vodka, St Germain Elderflower liqueur, Lemon, white wine, (Thai) basil,  simple syrup

 

wpid mms95picture 5   Beer battered calamari, dandelion greens, and ginger, carrot and white bean soup

March 10, 2011
Drink, Food, Recipe