Moist Saute’ Halibut

I spotted some fresh halibut at the market today and selected a piece that was 1.37 lb.  Perfect for making 2 dinner for my husband Jeff and me.  A little bit of a splurge at $5.82 per serving x 4 servings but the quality was great and having a minimally processed fresh dinner tonight followed by some halibut tacos tomorrow was enough to hook me!

Serves 4

If serving 1, cut the fish into 4 crosswise pieces, prepare what you will use for dinner and a left over dinner tomorrow.  Place the other 2 pieces side by side in a freezer ziplock bag.  Using a permanent marker, write the contents “Halibut” across the bag and the date you placed the halibut into the freezer “3/31/20.  Plan to prepare a meal with the frozen leftovers within 3 months.  Defrost the fish in the fridge prior to cooking.

Here is the preparation for our fresh halibut that we enjoyed tonight.  The moist fish flaked perfectly after cooked by saute’ method in a ribbed grill pan on the RV stovetop.


1.37 lb                              fresh halibut

1 tsp                                unsalted butter

generous sprinkle        Old Bay seasoning on both sides and a few dashes of smoked paprika on each side


  1.  Use a medium saute’ grill pan or skillet.
  2.  Heat the pan over med/high heat adding the butter when the pan I warm.
  3.  Rince the halibut and pat dry then add to the pan.
  4.  Let the fish cook for 4 – 5 minutes or a little more if needed on each side.
  5.  While the fish is cooking tilt the pan to keep the butter moving under the fish.
  6.  If the butter is browning too quickly just adjust the flame down to medium.
  7.  Flip the file over after about 4 – 5 minutes or when the fish releases easily when you attempt to turn the fish.  Don’t force the flip, wait until the fish is ready and releases easily.
  8.  Continue cooking the fish for another 4 – 5 minutes until the raw look of the middle of the halibut changes to opaque but shiny.  The fish may well break apart some as you prepare it in the saute’ pan, no worries, just follow the break away lines and let the halibut naturally divide into 3 – 4 pieces… no problem.
  9. I served our halibut with broccoli crowns cooked in a microwave safe bowl with 2 oz. of water.  Cover the broccoli with saran wrap and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Perfect!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chef MJ                                                                                                                                        My cookbook Small Kitchen Big Flavors! is available at a great Introductory Price on Ebay and my blog site at : http:/

Instant Pot Paella

Here is a crowd pleasing meal that is both simple to prepare and has a lovely blend of complimentary flavors.     Whether you are adventure camping, preparing for a road trip or fixing meal at home.

This recipe is delicious and leftovers can be easily frozen in desired ziplock bag sizes appropriate for the number of servings you are planning for a dinner and leftovers.

Recipe serves 6 – 8 in a 6 quart IP

Serves 12 – 15 if you double the recipe using an 8 qt IP


4 tbsp.                      olive oil

1                                whole red onion, diced

2  cloves                   garlic, minced

1/2 tsp                      garlic powder

2 tsp                         smoked paprika

1/2 tsp                     oregano

1                                bay leaf (remove after cooking)

1/3 tsp                     cayenne pepper

fresh ground salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup                   dry white wine

14 oz.                      diced canned tomatoes

2 cups                     uncooked basmati rice

36 oz                       chicken or broth (reserve 4 oz. to add at the end of the cooking cycle)

1 lb uncooked       chorizo (pork, beef, soy or combination of both.                                                                              If chorizo is in casings remove and cut in 1″ pieces)

3/4 lb                     raw peeled, deveined shrimp

1 1/2 lb                   cooked chicken, deboned, diced (COSTCO has precooked rotisserie                                           chicken sold in the cooler section)

1 dozen                  fresh live clams

1 1/2 cups             frozen petite peas


  1. Place 2 tbsp of olive oil in the IP stainless steel liner.  Turn IP to Saute’ and cook/stir the diced onions for a minute then add the chopped/minced garlic and deveined shelled uncooked shrimp.  Saute’ until shrimp turns pink and is partially cooked (approximately 2 min.) for large Argentinean shrimp.
    Turn IP off and pour the shrimp/onion mixture into a medium bowl, set aside.  Pour the wine into the IP and stir to deglaze the browned bits at the bottom of the IP. 
  2. Add diced tomatoes to the wine, then the add rice, bay leaf, spices and 4 cups of the broth.
    Note: Check the clams to ensure that each one is closed or that they close when lightly touched with your index finger.  Discard any clams that do not close.  Add the uncooked rice and closed clams to the IP and stir.
  3. Turn the IP to manual high pressure mode, select 8 minutes.  Lock the lid in place and turn the steam valve to the seal position. 
  4. When cooking is complete, do a quick release.  Discard any clams that are closed, failing to open during cooking.
    In  a separate pan, saute’ the chorizo in 2 tbsp. of olive oil for a few minutes until cooked through then add the chorizo to the IP and stir.
  5. Add the remaining 1/2 cup broth, the peeled deveined saute’ shrimp, diced cooked chicken and the peas and stir.    Turn IP off, close the lid and let the cooked ingredient ingredients warm in the IP for a few minutes.
  6. Garnish with chopped parsley (optional) or a wedge of lemon and some warmed garlic bread.


    Chef MJ

    My cookbook Small Kitchen Big Flavors! is available at a great Introductory Price on Ebay and my blog site at : http:/

Homemade Bread

Dutch Oven Bread


Homemade breads are delicious and easy.  Whether you are cooking over a campfire with a cast iron Dutch Oven or Baking a loaf in your enamel coated cast iron oven you can make a tasty loaf!  If you are looking for a great crunchy crust on your bread with a pillow soft interior go for high heat (475 degrees) and knead and rest your bread overnight…. but if you are craving a homemade loaf and your convection oven in your RV only reaches 425 degrees, here is a recipe that will be delicious. The bread is a little denser and the crust a little softer but it is still good eats for sandwiches or making toast!




1/2 tsp                active  dry yeast

3 cups                all purpose flour

1 3/4 tsp             sea salt (do not use regular table salt)

1 1/2 cups          warm water (90 degrees)

1 tbsp.               uncooked cornmeal


  1. In a large bowl combine flour, sea salt and yeast.  Stir to combine.
  2. Add water, stir with a wet wooden spoon to mix ingredients together, cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Let dough rise for 12 – 18 hours.
  4. Preheat convection oven to 475 degrees.  I use a slightly lower temperature when traveling in our RV as the maximum is 425 degrees.
  5. Place the empty 6 quart Dutch oven with the lid on into the convection oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Using pot holders carefully remove the Dutch oven and place on the stove and remove the lid.
  7. Pour cornmeal into the bottom of the pot then top with the rounded dough. Using pot holders place the lid back on the Dutch oven and transfer the covered pot to the convection oven.
  8. Bake for thirty minutes.  When time is up, remove lid (using pot holders) and continue baking the bread another 20 minutes.

NOTE:  Be careful not to add water that is too hot or the yeast will be inactivated and bread will not rise.

My cookbook Small Kitchen Big Flavors! is available at a great Introductory Price on Ebay and my blog site at : http:/



Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup


Love the slight bite of fresh ginger and wanted to make a vegan soup to go with the sour dough bread I made the day before and I was certain the combination of warm soup and bread would warm us up on this cold winter day.

Serves 4


1 lb carrots      rinsed, cut in 3″ pieces then cut each carrot in half vertically (I used organic produce throughout the recipe)

1 rib                  celery

1/2 cup             red onion, diced

1/2″                  piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated or minced

24 oz               low sodium organic vegetable broth

15 oz               can of coconut cream

2 tsp                 powdered curry

3/4 tsp              powdered curry

1                       bay leaf

2 tbsp.             olive oil

fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste


  1.  In a medium bowl, toss carrots in 1 tbsp. of olive oil.  Add sea salt and ground pepper to taste.
  2.  Place seasoned carrots on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet.
  3.  Roast the carrots in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until carrots are slightly browned and soft (about 35 minutes).
  4.  Remove pan from oven, set aside.
  5.  Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to a Dutch oven, small stock pot or large saucepan.  Turn heat to med/high.
  6.  Add diced onions and stir while cooking for 2 minutes.
  7.  Add diced celery and minced ginger to the pot, lower the heat to med/low and continue stirring for 1 – 2 minutes.
  8.  Add vegetable broth and coconut cream to the pot.  Stir then let the soup simmer for a few minutes.
  9.  Take the pot off heat, add the roasted carrots.
  10.  Carefully puree the soup using a stick blender or regular blender with a lid on.                                                                       Note:  The soup contents should not fill the pan or blender much more than half way.  Blend in batches if needed.                     If using a regular blender, hold the lid on snugly, cover with a clean dish cloth then add downward pressure with 1 hand as you turn the blender onto a medium setting to puree.
  11.  Serve with some good quality bread or a fresh salad on the side.

Homemade Caramels

Homemade Caramels

Can you make homemade candy for Holiday gifts easily in a Small Kitchen or RV Galley and get Big Flavors! The answer is YES.  This recipe relies on the use of a microwave oven, a 2 quart microwave safe glass measuring cup and a heat tolerant spatula.

Makes about 180 individual caramels


1 cup or (2cubes)   unsalted butter

1 tsp                       unsalted butter (1/2 tsp to coat each of the baking parchment sheets of paper)

1 cup                     dark brown sugar

1 1/2 cups             light brown sugar

14 oz                     sweetened condensed milk

1 cup                     Karo light corn syrup

1 tsp                      pure vanilla extract

t/2 tsp                    coarse sea salt



  1.  Place a sheet of baking parchment paper on each of 2 –  9″ x 11″ baking pans.
  2.  Lightly coat the top of each parchment paper with 1/2 tsp of softened butter, set aside.
  3.  Place the butter in the 2 quart glass measuring cup, melt on HIGH for 1 minute.
  4.  Add sweetened condensed milk, brown sugars and karo syrup, stir.
  5.  Heat in microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes, stir.
  6.  Heat in microwave on HIGH for another 5 minutes, stir.
  7.  Heat in microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes, then stir and do a sample test to check the consistency of the candy to see  if it forms a ‘soft ball’  when a half a teaspoon of the boiling syrup is added to a cup that is 2/3 full with cold water. Gentley move the caramel blob at the bottom of the cup to see if it holds a soft squishy like ball shape or close to it!
  8.  Heat the caramel again in the microwave as needed using 1 minute intervals, checking the candy consistency as noted in #5.  I did this for a total of 3 times which made step #5 a total of 4 minutes plus, 1 min. plus 1 min., plus 1 minutes…4 plus 1 minute bursts of microwaving and stirring which made this step 7 minutes.
  9.  Add the vanilla, stir and pour the caramel (semi-liquid onto the buttered parchment paper on 2   9″ x 11″ baking pans.
  10.  Lightly sprinkle coarse sea salt.
  11.  Let the candy cool.  I placed the baking pans on hot pads in the fridge for an hour.
  12.  Lift the parchment filled candy out of the baking dish, cut the caramels into about 3/4″ x 3/4″ pieces.
  13.  Roll the individual caramels in wax paper and twist the ends to seal each caramel.  Use wax paper squares that are almost 3″ x 3″ in size for wrapping the candies.

Note:  My total microwave times were 5 minutes, plus 5 minutes plus 4 minutes, plus 3 bursts of 1 minute – for a grand total of 17 minutes.

My cookbook Small Kitchen Big Flavors! is available at a great Introductory Price on Ebay and my blog site at : http:/

Chef MJ

Homemade Limoncello


Having made Limoncello using the 3 – 5 week method which infuses the lemon peel with the alcohol over a long period of time, I was interested in trying a Sous Vide water bath method to see if the results were – worse, the same or better!

With the holidays approaching a small homemade bottle of limoncello can make a nice gift.

We have enjoyed homemade limoncello when getting together with friends and family and a good friend of ours has a super recipe in my cookbook for the longer method… which does not require a Sous Vide.

My findings on comparing the traditional 3-5 week method of making this liqueur vs. the ‘sous vide’ method, surprised me.  The quality and flavor of either method are the same in fact we thoroughly enjoyed the Dous Vide Limoncello so I’m sharing the steps I took to make this liqueur in the post below.

If you make this liqueur be certain to use organic lemons…. and remember the alcohol content of liqueurs isabout 30% so 1 30 oz. serving is plenty!

10 organic lemons, scrubbed
750 ml Everclear 121
Simple Syrup
3 cup sugar
3 cups water
For the Lemon infused Everclear
  1. Preheat a water bath to 141°F.
  2. Lightly scrub the outside of the organic lemons; next zest the yellow portion of the peel into a quart sized Ball or Mason jar.
  3.  Add the bottle of Everclear to the quart sized jar with the lemon peel. Place the lid on the jar and tighten before processing in the water bath.  Set a steam rack in a large stock pot, place the sealed jar of Everclear with the lemon zest directly onto the steam rack.  Add enough water to reach the top of the quart jar lid. Infuse for 2 1/2 hrs. at 141 F setting on the Sous Vide.
  4. When the time is complete, carefully lift the jar from the Sous Vide with canning jar tongs and rest the jar on the stove or on a pot holder placed on a flat surface.

For the Simple Syrup
  1. Combine the water and sugar in a pot and heat over medium-high heat, stirring for a minute until the sugar dissolves completely. Take saucepan off heat and bring the mixture to room temperature.
To Assemble
  1. Stir the lemon Everclear and simple syrup together.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, then pour into clean bottles place the lid on and store for 1 month in the fridge.
  2. Best served chilled.  Serve small 1 oz. portion as the alcohol content of liqueurs is potent.


A Cocktail recipe

1 oz Limoncello

4 oz Prosecco

2 – 3 mint fresh leaves

2 – 3 fresh basil leaves


Garnish with a thinly sliced wheel of lemon

Refreshing Salad with fruit and berries

Fruit and berries are plentiful right now at both the Farmers Markets and grocery stores.

I created this flavor combination for a main meal to enjoy on a day trip in our RV yesterday.  Our destination, the beach at Mugu Rock near Malibu, CA.

The ingredients listed are for an individual salad main meal offering for 1.  Increase the quantities as needed to serve the number of people you will be serving.

balsamic tomato saute


5         rinsed and dried butter lettuce leaves

1/2      peeled, sliced peach

5         fresh raspberries

4         cherry tomatoes, rinsed, cut lengthwise

1/2      slice sour dough bread, cut in cubes

2 – 3    tbsp. butter

balsamic glaze

fresh ground pepper

dressing of choice (for a homemade blue cheese dressing see below).

Directions: Stir dressing in a small bowl to combine ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

1/4 cup each   blue cheese crumbles, mayonnaise, cream cheese

1 tsp                 Worcestershire sauce

dash or 2         hot sauce

squeeze           of lemon juice

balsamic tomato and fruit salad

Directions (for the salad)

  1. Rinse lettuce leaves, pat dry and place 5 leaves on each plate.
  2.  Top each plate with sliced peaches and fresh raspberries.
  3.  Saute’ bread cubes in 1 – 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat until bread cubes are golden brown.  Remove sauteed bread from pan, set aside.
  4. Add 1 – 2 tbsp butter to the pan and saute the cherry tomatoes over medium heat for a few minutes, turning them once.
  5.  Drizzle balsamic glaze over the tomatoes in the pan, saute on low for a minutes.
  6.  Add the sauteed tomatoes and freshly made croutons to the salad.
  7.  Serve the salad with a favorite salad dressing.