March 28-30 and a very Le Creuset Le Birthday

my delicious  birthday lemon pie from Jen!

March 28   Red curry made with the leftover Pork with Orange, Cumin and Cilantro
March 29   I worked late and Shack turned the bolognese into a tomato based meat sauce
March 30   Fried haddock with cornmeal, green beans & birthday lemon meringue pie courtesy of Jen

This is my birthday week and that usually means it is full of food and eating out but it was also a busy week so it was more of an every man for himself type of week. I didn't even have dinner on the 29th for my birthday since I worked until too late but I did get to come home to a nice bottle of wine and a fun card game with our friends, The Neighbours. These wonderful friends also gifted me with a HUGE, sexy, silky white stoneware Le Creuset roaster! They are the best neighbours and the best friends you could ever hope to have and we adore them. Now I just have to figure out what to cook in it for it's maiden voyage. Then, if that weren't enough,  Shack and Little Shack surprised me with yet another a Le Creuset beauty - an enamelled cast iron dutch oven so I am a very, very, lucky, happy old girl. I guess this is also my cue to get cooking and put these babies into action.

On the 30th, I was not feeling up to a celebratory dinner out yet because I was still tired from my long work day on the 29th and I have a head cold so I chose to cook. I started out with fish that I made at supperworks and I doctored it up a bit. I wanted to make really crispy shallots for my green beans and I tried to follow a Martha Stewart recipe but it was all wrong and the shallots are caramelized instead. I threw in some crispy pancetta and almond slices just to make sure the beans would be tasty. They weren't what I started out making but they were good anyway.

Jen, our noreEATS partner in crime, stopped by with a lemon meringue pie for me as well! I am not much of a cake girl and so she remembered me telling her that my mom always made me a lemon meringue pie for my birthday right up until she fought her first bout with cancer. This is the first lemon meringue birthday pie I have had in almost a decade and I will be forever grateful for this very special pie.

Cornmeal Crusted Haddock
adapted from a Supperworks dinner

3 pieces of haddock
1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup parmesan
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp grated lemon zest
pinch kosher salt and a few grounds of black pepper
1 to 2 tsp fresh sage, chopped

soak the fish in the buttermilk while you mix the breading ingredients together and put in a shallow bowl. Heat a heavy sauté pan over med high heat and add a glug of olive oil and about 1 tbls of butter. Take fish out of the buttermilk, wipe off the excess butter milk with a paper towel and put it into the shallow bowl of the cornmeal mix and turn it to coat each side.

Put the fish in the sauté pan and fry for about 5 or 6 minutes before turning it over and cooking for another 4 on the other side.

Green Beans
For the green beans I made a small batch of caramelized shallots using 3 large shallots that I sliced very thinly. Cook them in a tbls of butter over med low heat until really brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes at least. Remove them and set them aside.
Next, chop up a small chunk of pancetta (you should have at least 2 tbls of chopped pancetta or more if you really like pancetta) and sauté that in the same pan that you cooked the shallots in until crispy. During the last minute or two of cooking , add a couple tbls of sliced almonds to let them brown up a bit too. Take the pan off the heat , add the shallots and set aside

Steam or boil about 1/2 lb green beans for just a couple of minutes and toss with the pancetta/shallot mixture and serve.

Cornmeal Haddock with green beans, mixed rice and arugula salad with beets and radish