Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Halibut with Zucchini and Toasty Garlic Mojo


I recently bought Rick Bayless' cookbook Mexican Everyday and every recipe I've tried so far has been stellar. This is one of those recipes.

When I think Mexican food, I usually think of cheese-laden, heavy dishes, rice, refried beans, burritos and tacos. Obviously, Mexican cuisine encompasses so much more than that, but I don't think I am alone in my mental image. This is not one of those recipes. It is light and fresh, but full of so much flavor. I am not a huge fish fan, but even I was wishing for another bite once we were done eating.

Halibut with Zucchini and Toasty Garlic Mojo
Hipogloso al Mojo de Ajo con Calabacitas


Source:
Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday

Ingredients
1/3 cup olive oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
2/3 cup chicken broth
salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning the fish
Four 4 to 5 ounce fish fillets (1 to 1.25 pounds total) Halibut, snapper, mahimahi, catfish or bass
1 pound zucchini (I used calabacita [Mexican squash])

1/2 cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro
1 large lime, cut into wedges, for serving

Directions
Turn the oven on to its lowest setting and place an oven safe plate inside. 

In a large skillet (12"), warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, fragrant, and lightly browned (about 4 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, scoop the garlic out into a food processor or blender, leaving as must oil in the skillet as possible. Set the skillet aside.

Add the chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper to the food processor. Blend until smooth.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Blot any moisture off the fish and generously season both sides with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot, place the fish in the skillet and cook until browned (about 2-3 minutes). Flip and cook the other side about 2 minutes. Transfer the fish to the plate in the oven to keep warm.

With the skillet still over medium-high heat, add the zucchini and cook, stirring regularly, until lightly browned, but still crunchy in the middle (about 6 minutes). Add the garlic mixture and cilantro. Stir until the sauce reaches a boil and the flavors come together. Taste and season with additional salt, if needed.

Spoon the zucchini and sauce over the fish. Serve right away with the lime wedges.










Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pan Seared Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Garlic

I need to start documenting what we eat again-crappy pictures be damned-so I can remember the meals we love. Too often I make something new, we enjoy it, but when I want to make it again, I can't remember where I found the recipe or what changes I made.



I wasn't too concerned with plating or lighting (obviously!) with this picture because I just wanted something to jog my memory when I go looking for a lamb recipe.

Pan Seared Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Garlic
Source: Primal Palate

Ingredients
4 lamb chops
1 head of garlic
1/4 cup rosemary
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
salt and pepper

Directions

1. Heat the oven to 400 degress

2. Mince the garlic and rosemary.

3. Heat the teaspoon of coconut oil in an oven safe skillet over medium heat. Sautee the minced garlic and rosemary until soft. Remove the garlic and rosemary from the pan and set aside.

4. Heat 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil in the same skillet over medium high heat. Sear the lamb chops for two minutes on each side (three minutes if they're thick). Sear the edges for 30 seconds each.

5. Top the chops with half of the sauteed garlic and rosemary. Put the skillet in the oven and cook for 2 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven. Plate the lamb chops and top with the remaining rosemary and garlic.



Monday, September 2, 2013

Roasted Fig Flatbread Salad with Goat Cheese Spread

It wasn't until my senior year of college that I first tried figs. I happened upon them at a little grocer in the SF Ferry Building, and having heard of them but never tasted them, decided to buy a little basket of the expensive fruit. Well, actually they're a flower--isn't that so weirdly interesting?

I was hooked on their sweet flavor right away. Now nearly 10 years later, I continue to seek them out each summer and savor their sweet flavor before their short season ends. This year I bought several baskets at Whole Foods, but stupidly tried to make them last for a week since the closest Whole Foods is about 40 miles away. Most of them turned moldy and gross a few days later and I learned my lesson- figs must be eaten right away!

The husband, who doesn't get excited about food the way I do, and definitely has never cared about figs before, is in love with this salad. So much so that he requested it for breakfast one weekend morning. :) There is something about the play of flavors here that is just so right. So much so in fact, that we're planning on eating it again this week and as many more times as we can fit in before figs are gone for another year.



PS: The recipe as written calls for 16 ounces of figs. I just buy a basket, or a clamshell (Fresh and Easy), of whatever variety I can find and use all of them. 

Roasted Fig Flatbread Salad with Goat Cheese Spread
Source: slightly adapted from Annie's Eats

Ingredients
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 Tablespoon butter
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
16 ounces fresh figs, stemmed and halved
brown sugar
4 ounces plain goat cheese, slightly softened
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of honey
Baby spring mix, or other salad greens
2 flatbreads

Directions
Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the butter and the onions and reduce the heat to low. Stir gently, cooking the onions until they are soft, golden brown, and caramelized; about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set the figs, cut side up, on a baking sheet or glass baking pan. Lightly sprinkle the figs with brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven 10-15 minutes, until softened and juicy. Do not over bake them!

Meanwhile, mix the goat cheese, milk and honey together in a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment until smooth and fluffy.

Heat the flatbreads in the oven for about 2-3 minutes. Let them cool for about 3-5 minutes. (I heat them while the figs are in the middle of roasting, in order to give them time to cool off a bit.)

Spread the flatbreads with the goat cheese mixture, top with the greens, caramelized onions, and figs. Serve right away and enjoy!

Note: I found it easier to eat these if I cut the flatbreads into four slices with a pizza cutter prior to toping them.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sesame-crusted Seared Ahi Tuna


Now that I am no longer pregnant, I have been venturing back into eating sushi again. But, I think pregnancy whacked out my taste buds because sushi hasn't tasted as good as it did pre-pregnancy. I really want to enjoy my beloved raw fish once again, so I decided seared ahi would be a good re-introduction.

In pursuit of this goal, the husband and I recently had the seared ahi appetizer and the ahi crunchy salad at the Yardhouse, and man it was so good I wanted to order another round. We kept talking about recreating the appetizer at home, so when we found ourselves at Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck!) near Huntington Beach, we picked up an ahi steak and set out looking for a sauce recipe to replicate the Yardhouse's appetizer. I didn't find any recipes claiming to mimic the Yardhouse, but with some minor adjustments, a P.F. Chang copycat recipe came pretty close.


Sesame-crusted Seared Ahi Tuna
Sources
Tuna: adapted from Life Tastes Like Food
Sauce: adapted from P.F. Chang's Copycat Recipe

Tuna Ingredients
1 ahi tuna steak
1/2 cup sesame seeds
salt
olive oil

Sauce Ingredients
1 Tablespoon wasabi paste
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon ponzu or soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions
Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Pat the tuna steak dry. Pour the sesame seeds onto a plate and press the tuna onto them. Flip the tuna over and coat the other side. Repeat with the edges.

To cook the tuna, pour just enough oil to coat the bottom of a pan and the heat over medium high heat. Once the oil is shimmering and hot, place the tuna in the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Flip over and cook the other side for 30 seconds. Using tongs, sear the outside edges for about 10-15 seconds.

Remove the tuna from the pan and place on a cutting board. Slice into thin pieces and serve with the sauce.

You can either drizzle the sauce over the sliced tuna or you can spoon the sauce onto the plate and top it with the tuna. I prefer to do both-spoon sauce onto the plate, top with seared tuna, then drizzle additional sauce on top. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lobster Roll

lobster roll

The husband and I recently tried the lobster roll with butter from the Lobsta Truck at a local food truck fest. We're both big fans of lobster-well, of shellfish in general, really-and I'm a fan of food trucks, so we were pretty excited to eat at the Lobsta Truck. Since there were so many different  food trucks there that I wanted to try, and the fact that a lobster roll was $12, we decided to split one.

The lobsta roll was definitely great, made even better that they dressed the hunks of lobster in butter rather than mayo (I am decidedly not a fan of mayo). As we walked away, finishing the last few bites, the husband and I started talking, as we so often do, about trying to recreate it at home.

It seems Costco has their seafood road show every other weekend, with amazing prices on scallops, crab, and of course lobster, so it was only a short amount of time until we found ourselves in possession of some huge lobster tails (these bad boys were about a pound each!) and able to attempt a recreation. I did a quick Google search and couldn't find any recipes for lobster rolls that did not use mayo, so I decided I'd just wing it and keep it simple.

I quickly steamed the tails, melted some butter with a squeeze of lemon juice, and put together two sandwiches. Gloriously delicious! They were better than what we sampled from the Lobsta Truck-so much so, that we had the same thing for lunch two days later.

Lobster Rolls with Butter
Source: Inspired by the Lobsta Truck, execution my own

Ingredients
3/4lb to 1 pound lobster tail meat
1/2 stick butter
lemon juice to taste (I used about a 1/2 teaspoon in the butter and then added more to my sandwich after assembly)
garlic salt to taste
about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
2 sandwich rolls

Directions
Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, split the top of the shell down the middle, exposing the meat. Crack open the shell, leaving it attached on the backside. This will help the lobster meat steam and will make it easier to remove the shells once the tails are cooked.

In a large stock pot with a steamer basket, bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, place the lobster tail(s) in the basket and cover.

Steam the lobster until the meat turns white all the way through, about 8 minutes per pound.

Meanwhile, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, combine it with the lemon juice, garlic salt, and dried parsley in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Once the lobster is cooked through, remove from the steamer basket and let sit on a cutting board about 3-5 minutes, until cool enough to handle. While the lobster cools, split the rolls in half, and toast.

Completely remove the shells and discard. Cut the lobster meat into bite-sized chunks.

Add the lobster meat to the butter mixture and toss to combine. Spoon the lobster onto the sandwich rolls and drizzle with remaining butter mixture. Sprinkle additional lemon juice onto each sandwich, if desired.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Singapore Sling

singapore sling

 I think I may have established that I love gin (Janet Collins, Ginger Mayhem. It is definitely my go to spirit, replacing vodka's long-held top spot as my boozy favorite. And my current favorite gin-based drink is this retro cocktail: the Singapore Sling. It's a fruity, sweet concoction that reminds me of Hawaii (even though I pretty much only drank Mai Tais and beer in Hawaii). If you're hesitant to give gin a try, this is the perfect cocktail.

Singapore Sling 
Source: Drinks Mixer 


Ingredients
1 ounce gin
1/2 ounce cherry brandy
4 ounces pineapple juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/4 ounce Cointreau orange liqueur
1/4 ounce benedictine herbal liqueur
1/3 ounce grenadine
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
ice


Directions 
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Combine all the ingredients in the shaker and shake until the shaker is well frosted.

Fill a lowball glass halfway with ice and strain the liquid into the glass. Garnish with a pineapple slice and a cherry if desired.

 Makes one cocktail

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ginger Mayhem

I like booze. I like champagne, sweet wine, craft beer, and cocktails. I'm constantly seeking our new micro or craft brews to try,and buying champagne to fancy up ordinary dinners. I especially like making cocktails, and drawing inspiration from Mad Men, vintage cocktails. I've conquered the Singapore Sling, the Bahama Mama, and Rum Runners. If it involves gin, I like it.

The husband and I have built up quite the alcohol cabinet, from the basics (gin, vodka, tequila, rum), to the less likely (blue curacuo, cointreau, creme de cacao, benedictine), to a plethora of mixers (grenadine, Rose's sweetened lime juice, oj, pineapple juice, and club soda). Basically, we have pretty much whatever you need to make almost any cocktail.

So when we went out to a new restaurant/lounge and I tried their Ginger Mayhem, a strongly ginger-flavored gin cocktail, I knew I needed to try mixing it up at home. It's different than many other cocktails out there, but in a good way. The ginger is spicy and warm, but plays well with the botanical flavors of the gin, especially with good quality, small batch gin.

I've tried this with store-bought ginger beer and homemade ginger syrup. Each version is good, though the ginger syrup gives it a bolder, spicier, ginger flavor, whereas the ginger beer is a bit more mellow and cool. Either way, ditch happy hour and make these cocktails at home! :)

I like to play around with using lemon juice, bottled key lime juice, and fresh lime juice, with each variation slightly changing the final drink. You could also try Rose Sweetened Lime Juice for a sweeter drink. I also play around with different varieties of gin, form Tanquery, to Hendricks, to small batch Leopolds; again, each variety changes the end result, and all have been a success. That's what I love about homemade cocktails--the ability to tweak each drink to your own specific tastes.

With summer right around the corner, and finally some warm spring weather, this is a cocktail I'll be enjoying again and again.

Ginger Mayhem
Source: Inspired by the Ginger Mayhem at Ra Pour

Ingredients

3 shots ginger syrup or ginger beer
2 shots gin
1/2 shot lemon or lime juice
cubed ice

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into a low ball glass with cubed ice.

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