Smoked Trout with Roasted Red Pepper "Caviar"

These smoked trout hors d’oeuvres were in actuality a quick lunch for Georgia & I, thrown together with just three ingredients: Trader Joe’s Smoked Trout fillets, mayo, and roasted red bell peppers. While sold canned, these trout fillets don’t have the tinny flavor of chunk tuna fish, and are a quick & easy nitrate-free source of protein and healthy fats.

My daughter will eat this salad by the spoonful; but, served on mini 12-grain crackers (also Trader Joe’s) with a garnish, it’s passable as cocktail party fare. Diced small enough, roasted red peppers resemble salmon roe and add sweetness and acidity to balance the smoky. Serve this with potassium-rich fruit (to offset sodium) such as melon, kiwi, mango or citrus. And maybe some bubbly for the grown ups.

Smoked Trout Salad

Drain the oil from two (3.9 oz) cans of Smoked Trout fillets. Place fillets in a small bowl and flake with a fork. Add 2 Tbsp of your favorite mayonnaise and mix with fork until smooth. Spoon onto crackers and garnish with a very-small diced roasted red pepper.

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Pickled herring, egg salad and bad posture: 2012 is sure shaping up to be “Year of the Granny.” Since the new year, I’ve shared Shelsky’s pickled herring with my folks, made several batches of egg salad, and have resolved to go to bed in the 10pm range. I’m also up before dawn every day, so I’m earning that granny badge!

2011 took it out of me. I spent most of last year hunched over…my little person, the stove, strollers, my blackberry. I put all my energies into stay-at-home mothering with very little relief in the form of grandparents, babysitters or vacations (sometimes I’d convince myself that cooking without a toddler underfoot was very much like a vacation). Which brings me to tight budgets and living over a thousand miles from your family=really tough. But single-income economics was, and continues to be, a fun game of strategy for my husband and I. When you succeed at living simply it is a bit exhilarating. We really should run a weekend seminar on the ins and outs of stretching the dollar in this not-so-cheap city.

As for family meals last year…a little blurry since I failed t0 document most of them on this here blog; but, I cooked plenty. It was budget-conscious and heavy on the Trader Joe’s supplements. (fyi, I fell hard for Trader Joes last year. If you don’t understand the appeal of TJ’s, please talk to me. We schlep there and back on the subway like pack mules for a reason. Even though I hate every second of the schlepping part. Their canned smoked trout whipped up with Hellman’s original mayo is some of the best white fish salad I never knew I could make (granny badge earned!)

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I was really, really tired last year. We ate, but hardly slept. Facebook-ing was far easier than blogging, and there was some good stuff on TV (Parenthood, Breaking Bad, Dexter). Cooking for my family was a lot of muscle memory, but I usually found some small joy in each meal. Especially watching my toddler’s face when taking the first bite of a new food. When she liked it, pure joy, and relief. When she did not, and spat out the food, and proceeded to scrape her tongue of any lasting, horrible flavor, it still made me smile.

So 11.5 months to go to fix my slouch, create new recipes, and share the successes here. And if you don’t hear from me for an extended period of time, I sure as hell hope I’m somewhere on vacation.