Monday, August 31, 2015

Sweet Smoke Broiled Fish


Hola, everyone!  Thanks for sticking around.  I'm back and rested from my trip to Oklahoma and am anxiously awaiting the beginning of autumn.  Tick tock tick tock.

This first recipe is one I could hardly wait to share.  I had never had cobia before, but if you've had Chilean Sea Bass, well, to me it is the same.  This is a Publix recipe and they call for swordfish or mahi-mahi as a substitute, but I'm not big on fish steaks.....for me, they're much firmer and drier and the sea bass or cobia.  

So I am obviously in the cobia camp on this one.  Regardless, it's a wonderful recipe....I mean, it's got honey and liquid smoke......how could it not be delicious?!!!

I served it with a sesame cashew warm slaw (recipe to follow) and a baked red potato.  Fast, easy, and oh so good!!!

SWEET SMOKED BROILED FISH (4 servings)

1 1/2 lb firm white fish fillets (cobia, swordfish, or mahi-mahi)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 ground (dry) mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 Tbsp sliced green onions

Preheat broiler on high; place oven rack 6" from heating element.  Line baking sheet with foil.  Always check fish for bones (wash hands).

Whisk S&P, mustard, honey, vinegar, olive oil, and liquid smoke until blended (reserved 1/4 cup for later use).  Place fish in sauce and let stand 10 minutes to marinade.

Place fish on baking sheet (discard marinade); broil 4 minutes.  Brush with remaining 1/4 cup sauce and broil 2-4 more minutes or until fish is 145F (or opaque and separates easily).  Drizzle with any remaining sauce and top with onions.  Serve.

Recipe Source:  http://www.publix.com/recipes-planning/aprons-simple-meals/sweet-smoke-broiled-fish-with-sesame-cashew-slaw

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Absence







Hi, Friends,

Just a note.....I'll be away for a bit but I hope you'll return later.  My best to you all.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cream of Zucchini Soup


Are you dealing with a plethora of summer garden goods?   Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini?  Well, here's a wonderful and easy home for those zucchini.

While I'm so looking forward to autumn and the cooler weather it brings, for me soup is a go-to for any season.  This one makes full use of the height-of-the-season zucchini crop using just a handful of other ingredients.

CREAM of ZUCCHINI SOUP (makes about 7 1/2 cups)

2 medium onions, chopped
2 Tbsp butter, melted
6 medium zucchini, sliced (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)
shredded Cheddar cheese (for garnish)

Saute onion in butter in a large saucepan until tender.  Add the zucchini and broth, stir well.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.

Use an immersion blender to puree the zucchini/onion mixture (or blend in a blender).

Return the pureed mixture to the saucepan.  Stir in half-and-half and seasonings.  Cook zucchini mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thoroughly heated.  Ladle soup into individual soup bowls.  Sprinkle evenly with shredded Cheddar cheese.

Recipe Source:  www.food.com

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Red Chile Enchilada Sauce



I generally keep a can of prepared enchilada sauce on hand to make a quick dinner or refried bean side dish (I mix a can of refried beans with some sauce, diced onions, chopped cilantro, and cheddar or Mexican blend cheese then bake until heated throughout) and thought I had some on hand but, alas, I didn't.  But a quick search on one of my favorite food blogs turned up this incredibly easy and absolutely delicious sauce.

I had everything on hand (including a half of a jalapeno I had thrown into my freezer "pepper bag.")  Halving the original recipe gave me enough for 4 good-sized enchiladas and leftovers to mix into my beans.

With this sauce, all you need is some shredded chicken, beef, or pork, some cheese and cilantro.  Mix it all together, roll it up in corn or flour tortillas, top with more sauce and cheese, and bake (see full recipe here: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/red-chile-sauce-chicken-enchiladas/).  

RED CHILE ENCHILADA SAUCE (makes about 2 cups)

1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine
1 tsp canola oil
3 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2-3 tsp sugar
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
S&P

In a saucepan, combine the onion, jalapeno, 1/2 tsp salt, and oil.  Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the onions and pepper have softened, 8-10 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar and cook until fragrant, less than 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomato sauce and water.  Bring to a simmer.

Continue to simmer the sauce over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Strain the sauce through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible.  Season sauce with additional and pepper to taste.  Save the leftover onion mixture to stir into the fillings of your enchilada.

Recipe Source: www.melskitchencafe.com




Sunday, August 9, 2015

Asian Noodle Bowl


I used to do a lot of Asian cooking, but somehow got away from it a few years ago.  I really seem to have come back full steam for two reasons.  One:  I love it...anything Asian.  and Two: I generally have everything on hand to make a last- minute dinner.  Oh and Three (ok....three reasons): It is incredibly versatile...swap vegetables or protein (or leave the protein out altogether for a vegetarian {not vegan} meal).

Rice noodles are like pasta in that the dried noodles will keep in your pantry for just about forever.  As are the sauces like soy or tamari and the chili garlic sauce.  Keep 'em in the fridge and they're good for a couple of years (and unless you cook Asian every single night, that's about how much you'll use).

Now if you want want to see some beautiful photography and step-by-step instructions on this recipe, look here: http://iowagirleats.com/2015/07/20/asian-noodle-bowls/.  Kristin is just the cutest thing and one heck of a cook.  She is now gluten-free, so if you're looking for a good GF food blog, be sure to check it out.

ASIAN NOODLE BOWL (3-4 servings)

1/2 lb rice noodles (they come in different widths....use what you like and soak in hot water until they are al dente....20-30 minutes, less if using a really thin noodle...stir to make sure the noodles aren't sticking together)
1/2 cup soy or tamari sauce
2 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce, depending on how hot you like it (I only used 1/2 Tbsp and it was right the right level of heat for me.   Start small and add until it's to your liking/tolerability)
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 eggs
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 lb frozen thawed, peeled, and deveined shrimp, any size
S&P
2 Tbsp grapeseed, peanut, or high-heat oil, divided (I used canola and didn't have my pan on high heat)
1 zucchini, sliced in half then into half moons
1/4 cup large grated carrot
3 tsp minced fresh garlic
3-4 gren onions, chopped and divided
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
fresh chopped cilantro or parsley

Pre-soak rice noodles according to package directions.  In a small bowl combine soy (or tamari), brown sugar, chili garlic sauce, and fresh ginger then stir to combine and set aside.  Whisk eggs and sesame oil in a small bowl and then set aside.  Pat shrimp dry between layers of paper towels then set aside.

When rice noodles have 10 minutes left to soak, heat 1/2 Tbsp of oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half the shrimp, season with S&P, and then saute until cooked through, 30 seconds to make 1 minute on each side.  Remove to a plate then heat another 1/2 Tbsp oil in the wok, saute remaining sauce, and then add to plate.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in the wok then add zucchini and carrots, season with S&P, and then stir fry until just barely crisp-tender, about 2 minutes (don't cook them through as they continue to cook through the rest of the recipe).  Add the garlic and half the green onions then stir fry for another 30 seconds.  Push the vegetables to the side of the wok to create a well in the center then add the egg and sesame oil mixture.  Let sit for 30 minutes then scramble, and then mix to incorporate into the vegetables.

Drain then add the rice noodles to the wok and toss to combine.  Add sauce then turn heat up to a boil and stir fry for 3-4 minutes or until rice noodles are tender.  Add shrimp back into the wok then toss to combine.  Divide noodles between bowls then top with reserved green onions, chopped peanuts, and chopped cilantro or parsley.

Recipe Source: www.iowagirleats.com


Monday, August 3, 2015

Corner Market Texas Waldorf Salad


Here's a very simple twist on a forever family favorite: the Waldorf Salad, Texas-style.

I adore regional cookbooks.  I love trying recipes specific to different parts of our wonderful country.  This is a Southern Living Cookbook that covers the loverly South/Southeast from OK/TX to SC/FL and parts in between (gots to love them Southern cooks!!!)  

We've all had the traditional Waldorf salad:  apples, celery, walnuts.  But this is with a Texas twist.  Substitute pecans for walnuts and add some pears, dried cranberries, and some poppy-seed dressing.  Lovely.

CORNER MARKET TEXAS WALDORF SALAD (5 servings)

1/2 cup pecan halves
2 cups (1") cubed unpeeled Granny Smith apple
1 1/4 cups (1") cubed peeled Bosc pears
3/4 cup seedless green grapes
3/4 cup seedless red grapes
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp bottled creamy poppy-seed dressing

Preheat oven to 350F.  Bake pecans in a shallow pan 5-6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.  Let cool separately.

Toss together apple and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl.  Drizzle dressing over fruit mixture; sprinkle with nuts, and toss to coat.  Cover and chill until serving, if desired.

Recipe Source:  Southern Living: Off the Eaten Path: Second Helpings, 2014, p. 17

Friday, July 31, 2015

Shrimp Stock


OK....this may not be something you were expecting, but let me tell you..... following a real stock recipe made all the difference!

We eat a lot of shrimp here.  I mean A LOT!!!  I learned several years ago that the second best thing to shrimp are the shrimp shells and starting making my own stock (when peeling uncooked shrimp, wrap the shells in plastic wrap and put into a ziplock back until you have about a filled gallon-sized bag.)  Generally with stock, chicken or shrimp, I generally throw in celery, carrots, onions, and maybe a few herbs, always with good results.  But for some reason, I actually searched for a published stock recipe and found this one from Emeril Lagasse of Food Network.

I followed the recipe almost to the "t" making adjustments only with the amount of shells and water.  This stock is perfection.  It is now in my freezer waiting for a good gumbo and seafood chowder day.  Tick tock, tick tock.  I can hardly wait!

SHRIMP STOCK (makes about 9 cups)

about 1 1/2 pounds shrimp stock
10 cups water
1/2 large onion, quartered
1 lg celery rib, quartered
1 lg carrot, quartered
stems from an 8 oz package of mushrooms
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
Sachet consisting of the following:
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp crushed black peppercorns
4 parsley stems

Put the shells with the remaining ingredients into a stockpot.  Bring to a boil.  Let simmer for about an hour.

Strain through a colander.  I put 2 cups of stock in each freezer bag (1 bag had one cup), label, and wait for some cool weather!

Recipe Source: adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/shrimp-stock-recipe3.html