A while ago, I wrote about the dilemma with which my youngest daughter grapples around how she feels about eating animals. One day she wants to be a vegetarian, the next she finds an uneasy truce with eating meat, day after that she’s back on the no-meat team, and so on.

Our family eats meat, but I do cook for a good number of vegetarians, and if that’s the way she decided to go, that would be her choice, and I’d work around that in the kitchen.

On the other hand, I’m not big on the idea of doing extra work for her in my kitchen if she’s just going to go out and order a burger. That scenario would happen only one time in my house, so I’ve been waiting to see where she falls and getting out of her way so that she can make her own decision void of pressure or support from me either way.

Whether or not a person eats meat is irrelevant to the dilemma that we all face, to a greater or lesser degree depending on how sensitive or practical one is – making peace with the fact that when we eat meat, an animal by definition must give its life.

The night that I served this meal of monkfish, a favorite of my daughter’s, she was residing in the house of vegetarian. As she sat, watching us eat our fish, she slumped in her chair, gave a big sigh and said, “Mama, I’m just thankful to the animals for giving us this food.”

“Me too, honey. Me too,” I said with a big heart.


If you’ve got hungry people to serve, you could add another 1/2 to 1 pound of fish, but the medallions stretch it a bit, and with a hearty side of potatoes or rice, this could be the perfect amount.

1 pound monkfish, trimmed

1 cup flour

Kosher salt to sprinkle

Several grinds of fresh black pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Cut the monkfish into 1/2-inch medallions and gently, with the flat of a tenderizing mallet or other heavy object like the bottom of a small saucepan, flatten into 1/4-inch-thick medallions. Dredge in flour.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, and add the oil. Carefully add the medallions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and fry for about 2 minutes each side. Serve with lime wedges.

Serves four.


2 cups minced spinach

2 cups (about 1 1/2) cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced

1 cup finely diced tomatoes, about 1 tomato

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Makes 4 to 5 cups.


1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup uncooked orzo

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 cup cous cous

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Bring the broth to a low simmer in a small saucepan. Melt butter in a small stock pot over medium heat. Add the orzo, and stir frequently until light brown. Add pine nuts and again stir frequently until both the orzo and pine nuts are golden brown.

Add the cous cous, salt and hot broth to the orzo and pine nuts, stir and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Serves four to six.

Anne Mahle of Rockland is the author of “At Home, At Sea,” a recipe book about her experiences cooking aboard the family’s windjammer. She can be reached at: [email protected]