Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pico de Gallo Halibut on Warm Rice Salad with Bacon Pintos

Pico de Gallo Halibut on Warm Rice Salad with Bacon Pintos

   Yes, my jeans are tight.  I'm sure they shrank.   Didn't yours last month?
Whatever--I'm working on lighter meals, like this halibut, to make up for things like whole baked potatoes with butter and sour cream (Did I do that???  I did.) at MacKenzie's Chop House.

  I'm also working on a series of meals that will use each of a dozen great foods (a la Dana Jabobi's 12 BEST FOODS COOKBOOK) and do double duty--decrease my waistline and make me tres healthy.  How about you?  You could get in on it, too.

The list of the twelve best foods reads like this:

  1. Broccoli
  2. Black beans
  3. Tomatoes
  4. Salmon
  5. Soy
  6. Sweet potatoes
  7. Oats
  8. Onions
  9. Blueberries
  10. Walnuts
  11. Spinach
  12. Chocolate
We used sweet potatoes in the Potato Gratin with Rosemary Crust (last post).  One down.  
Next is tomatoes and tomatoes we have here in abundance with our halibut.  Onions is another and we've got onions in two places here.  3 down, folks.  Ok.  Let's talk fish for the halibut.  Bad joke from the Three Stooges. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Halibut, well, it's just an incredible fish.  Meaty, bright, filling, flexible, dependable.   Currently not cheap.   Good with nearly anything.  I had (bad me) frozen two pieces that just weren't going to get cooked last week.  I also had a quart of pico de gallo (the first I've ever bought instead of made) that said, "Use within 14 days of opening."  (The 14th day was fast approaching.)  It seemed the pico and the fish were meant for one another.  Add to that I had some rice from an old favorite dish (rice with creamed pork tenderloin and mushrooms) that also needed a home and this easy, fresh  mid-week meal was born.

Warm Rice Salad in process.

If you never cooked beans, you don't know how non-descript they can look in the pot while all the while tasting scrumptious.  Definitely not my photographic skills, right?  And, yes, they take a while at altitude.   They're good in the microwave, though.  I cooked these earlier in the afternoon so they were very tender by dinner time.  You could choose canned beans, unsalted or drained and rinsed very well indeed.

The beginning of cooking the halibut--salted and peppered, it just goes into a very hot skillet with some olive oil.  Cook it for 4 minutes, turn and throw it into the oven (400 F) for about 6 minutes and it's done.

Cilantro, tomatoes and avocado for the rice salad.

When the halibut is cooked, pull it out and top with pico de gallo, thus warming the salsa.

Add the rice "salad" to warmed bowls or plates, top with fresh tomatoes, cilantro and avocado and lay the fish w/ salsa on top.  Spoon some beans along side and squeeze fresh lime over all.  Maybe a quick dust of black pepper?  Eat while it's hot.

Pico de Gallo Halibut with Warm Rice Salad and Bacon Pintos    serves 2

Beans:   (Follow directions below or use canned, drained and heated beans.)

1/2 # pinto beans (you'll have  alot left over for huevos or chili)
2 onions, chopped (divided--1 for the pintos and 1 for the rice)
3 cloves garlic, minced (divided--2 for the beans and 1 for the rice)
4 thick-cut pieces of bacon, diced
Fresh ground pepper
Kosher salt 

Warm Rice Salad:
1 T olive oil
(onion and garlic from above)
1 Medium zucchini, diced
1 Yellow squash, diced
2-3 c cooked rice
1/2 c fresh cilantro, divided
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 Avocado, ripe, diced
1 Lime, divided


2 T olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pieces (4-6 oz) fresh or unthawed and patted dry halibut filets
1/2 c pico de gallo, home-made or store-bought 

  1.   BEANS   --  In a 6 qt. kettle, place picked over and cleaned pinto beans and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for two minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for an hour.  Drain and replace beans in pot; pour in about 4 qts of water.  Add 1 chopped onion, 2 cloves of garlic minced, all of the bacon, the pepper and several drops of Tabasco (or a whole, fresh jalapeno).  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2-3 hours until beans are tender.   While beans cook, check pot regularly and add water if needed.     When done, cover and keep warm  or cool and reheat when needed.  Taste and adjust seasonings before serving.
  2. WARM RICE SALAD --  In a large saute pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions and squashes.  Cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes or so until nearly tender. Stir in garlic and continue to cook until all vegetables are tender.   Add rice, stir, and season well with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with most of the cilantro, saving a little bit for garnish at the end.  Squeeze the juice from half of the lime over the rice and stir.   Turn off heat and cover to keep warm while you cook the fish.   Add the fresh tomato, cilantro and avocado right at serving time.
  3.   HALIBUT  --   Preheat oven to 400 F.  Heat a medium skillet over medium- high heat with 2 T olive oil.  Season fish well with salt and pepper and place skin side up in hot pan.  Do not disturb for 3-4 minutes until well-browned.  Turn fish over and place  skillet in oven for about 6 minutes until fish is firm and flaking.  Remove from oven and spoon salsa on top of each piece.  Let fish sit a minute or so.
  4. TO SERVE:  Spoon rice onto warmed plates or large shallow bowls (pasta bowls are nice) and top with halibut and salsa.   Add the tomato, the avocado and cilantro to the top of the rice.  Spoon some beans to the other side of the rice and fish.  Squeeze the other half of the lime over all of the food in each bowl or plate.  Dust with pepper if you'd like.
  5. Serve immediately while hot.   
What I'm Reading, Listening to, Working at or Doing around the 'Hood:

Had neighbors for dinner Sunday night at the spur of the  moment.

Enjoyed my husband at travel this week.

Wondered about a job for me..did some work on that.

I'm reading DEVIL'S TRILL by Gerald Elias (I told you that.) and ordered DANSE MACABRE,  too.   Ah, violin mysteries.

 I also picked up, and started, THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE.  (I know--you read this in '03)

I'm still reading Barbara Brown Taylor's AN ALTAR IN THE WORLD.  Superb.
THE ART OF CURATING WORSHIP by Mark Pierson arrived, but I haven't started it yet.

The book club book is Isabel Allende's DAUGHTER OF FORTUNE.  Not yet, either.  Nope, I haven't begun it.

I taught piano lessons and learned alot.  I let a student choose a piece to work on and it was Bach. 

I did my best to listen to myself playing and singing old standards.  Piano bar retirement plan.  You know those jars that say, "Piano Player's 401K?"  They're real.  Put something in them, please.
As I write, I'm listening to Patti Digh's 37 DAYS, which you can listen to, too, right on her blog of the same name. (Link on my blog)  What would you do if you had 37 days?  Patti travels and speaks...if you can get her.

We watched "Did You Hear What Happened to the Morgans?"  Glad it happened to them, though the bears are here, too-so that wasn't so funny to me.
I played through/listened to the new Lenten cantata from Pepper Choplin/Lorenz.  Hm.  Jury is out there.

I think I finished washing all of the linens from Christmas.

I'm looking at local hunger issues for and figuring out a series of articles on same. 

There's a second article about where to drink just a glass of wine in Co. Springs in the works as well.

I played with the dogs every chance I had.

Today--reupping my "Y" membership.

Talked to my daughter on the phone twice and texted back and forth to Jeanne...several times.

Spent a long time on the phone with Sue..,..such a treat.  A treat to have the time and a treat to have Sue.  Prayers here and now for Sue's father-in-law, in the last stages of cancer in Virginia.   Also praying for friend, C, recovering from surgery.

Kept up with my family via fb.  My nephew is deer hunting and I wish I could get some sausage.  One of my nieces  is on the way to new health after a long New Year's hospital stay.

Went out for supper at old-time family Italian Luigi's  to share a pizza and salad with Dave in front of their fireplace.  Listened to his work stuff and was grateful my jobs don't involve that kind of stuff.  The tough ones for me are getting mah, may, me, moh, mooo right.  Or answering questions like, "I don't see any reason why we shouldn't sing that hymn this Sunday.  You tell me why?"  I get to help make people happy, healthy and wise as they sing their hearts out or cook yum food for loved ones. 

Nice work if you can get it.

Healthy... yes. 

Thanks, God.
Two-Dog Kitchen

Be well in 2001 as you sing a new song,


  1. Great recipe and I love how you combine food with life!

  2. Thanks! I've visited you, too--great pics...and know what you mean about winter. (Though we have little real winter here.)


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