Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ginger Garlic Lemongrass Snapper with Persian Rice and Cucumber Feta Salad

This is the second week of our CSF (community supported fishing).  Last week was Black Cod, this week, Ling Cod and Rock Fish (red snapper).  Craig and I talked this morning about how we were going to prepare the fish and side dishes.  I was pretty set on the cucumber feta salad, and when I mentioned green onion rice, he said, maybe I should make traditional Persian rice with saffron.  Any time he offers to cook, I'm just fine with that.

When we picked up our fish today, we noticed that both fish combined, we at least 2 meals.  So while we had planned for tonight's dinner, we quickly planned a dinner for tomorrow.  Back to tonight’s dinner, when I heard we were getting Ling Cod, I immediately thought of an Asian marinade.  Garlic, Ginger Lemongrass marinade. So dinner tonight was a team effort.  Craig did his traditional Persian rice with saffron and I made Cucumber Feta salad and the marinate for the fish. 

Lemongrass Garlic Ginger marinade

2 stalks lemongrass

2-inch piece fresh ginger (about 3 tablespoons finely minced)

5 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper, finely minced

4 tablespoon palm sugar (or use brown sugar)

3 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoon rice vinegar

If you haven’t used lemongrass before, this is what you do for this recipe: Peel outer layer of lemongrass. Cut off top third of stalk, then cut off root end of stalk; discard. Thinly slice rest of stalk crosswise, and then finely mince it. It should smell lemony!

Peel and finely mince the ginger and garlic. Finely minced the pepper (if you like a milder flavor, begin by slicing pepper in half and removing seeds before mincing). I have done all this mincing of ginger, garlic and pepper by hand, or the short way in my mini food processor. Suit yourself.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together lemongrass, ginger, garlic, pepper, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, oil and rice vinegar.
Place fish in marinade, and let set for 15-20 minutes. Drizzle a little of the marinade on top of the fish.
Pull fish out and place on lemongrass, slices in half and placed on the hot grill. Grill for 3-5 minutes, until fish is firm.  

Cucumber and Feta Salad

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced into pea-sized pieces
coarse salt
8 ounces (225g) feta cheese
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, peeled and finely-diced
1 tablespoon (each) chopped fresh mint, parsley and fresh dill

1. Place the cucumber pieces in a colander, mix with a light sprinkling salt, and let drain 30 minutes to an hour, shaking the colander from time to time.
2. Crumble the feta into a bowl and mash together with the olive oil, lemon juice, water, and a few turns of black pepper.
3. Mix in the cucumbers, onions, and herbs. Taste, and add more salt if desired.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Chicken, Leek and Brie Rustic Pie

A couple of weekends ago, Craig and I drove out to the Olympic Peninsula, the northwestern most point in Washington.  This area is a rain forest, so there is usually a lot of rain and wetness. The trip was an adventure, as we had to take a ferry across the Puget Sound, across the floating bridge in Hood Canal, through Port Gamble (such a cute little town), through Sequim, and Port Angeles, by Lake Crescent, La Push and finally to Forks… know the town when the Twilight books and movies were set.  While we're not vampire or werewolf fans, so the references were just wasted on us.  Either way, we had a great time, doing just what we like, seeing the national parks, beaches and shopping at a few farmers markets.

Hurricane Ridge
Beach at La Push

That brings me to this post.  While in Port Angeles, on our way back from Hurricane Ridge, we stopped by the Farmers Market and picked up a few things, some great bread, potatoes, and a few leeks.  I didn't want to do my typical Potato Leek soup, so I did a little research and came up with inspiration for this delicious recipe. Check it out below….

Chicken, Leek and Brie Rustic Pie
Serves: 4

2 large square sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 oz  butter
1 leek thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 T fresh rosemary, diced
14 oz skinless chicken breast, diced into 1 inch cubes/stripes
½ cup white wine
½ cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons cornstarch 
¼ cup cold water
¾-1 cup grate Parmesan 
3.5 oz brie thinly sliced
¼ cup parsley chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper

1. Heat oven to 390 and line a cookie tray with parchment paper (or a Silpat). 
2. In a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter and cook down the garlic, leek and rosemary for around 8 minutes until soft. Add chicken and cook throughly. 
3. Add the wine and stock to the saucepan and continue to cook for 5 minutes (make sure it reduces, by half). Season with salt and pepper.
4. In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch and water to create a paste. Add this to the chicken mixture along with the chopped parsley. Mix through and remove from heat.
5. Place the first sheet on the cookie tray and spoon the chicken mixture into the center. Spread the mixture out, leaving a ½ inch boarder. Place the slices of brie on top. With a pastry brush (or your finger), brush some of the beaten egg around this border. 
6. Take the second sheet of the puff pastry and place on a cutting board. Cut sheet into ½ inch strips, “braid” the strips over the top of the chicken mixture, press down the border with your fingers and brush the egg over the top of the pie. Sprinkle some finishing salt on the egg wash.
7. Cook for around 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

Leeks and garlic sautéing in butter
Added chicken
Chicken mixture with wine and stock, reducing and thickening,
Spoon mixture on puff pastry
Top mixture with Brie, 
Cut second sheet into strips
Braid strips, brush on egg wash,
Sprinkle with park and salt,
Finished Pie.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Tikka Masala Soup

I came across a recipe a while back, I'm really not sure where it came from, as the piece of paper it was on was floating around my car for quite some time.  Now, I love me some curry, so when I read this recipe, I was like I need to make this.  And as you know, I write a menu each week to ensure I stay on track and continue to use up my hoard of food products.  Well, this has been on the menu for several weeks now and keeps being pushed back.  With the recent warm weather in the Northwest, and things going on in my life, it just didn't fit in with my schedule.  It's really more of a cool weather dish.  

So tonight, after we came back from a weekend get away to the Olympic Rain Forest and the surrounding areas, I decided a cold wet Sunday would be the perfect day for this soup.  It's a quick put together, and a great spicy dinner.  In the end, we decided it needed “something”, so Craig is going to try his hand in Naan bread making this week. 


Serves 4
* 2 tbsp coconut oil
* 1 small onion
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
* 1 tbsp garam masala spice mix 
* 1 tsp ground ginger
* 1/2 tsp cumin
* 1 tsp tumeric
* 1/2 tsp  cinnamon
* 2 cups chicken stock
* 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
* 1 (14 oz) can coconut cream
* 1-2 tsp kosher salt 
* 1 whole rotisserie chicken or 2lbs chicken, cooked and shredded

1. Heat coconut oil over med-high heat in a heavy soup pot. Sauté the onion for 4 minutes then add garlic for 3 more minutes. Add cayenne pepper, garam masala, ginger, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon. Sauté for 3 minutes longer until spices are fragrant.
2. Add to the pot, 2 cups of chicken stock, tomatoes and coconut cream. Simmer for 30 minutes. 
3. Using an immersion blender, or stand blender purée soup until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and add shredded chicken.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Korean Grilled Chicken Sandwiches

While I've been a little silent on the blog, I've been testing recipes.  I've had a few failures, and some ok’s, but only a few greats.  This is one of them.  A few weeks back, I was going through Facebook and came across a few delicious sounding Asian dishes.  I don't usually stick with a recipe exactly as written, here is my take on Korean Chicken.

Korean Grilled Chicken Sandwiches (also known as Chicken Bulgogi)

1/2 cup light soy sauce (not reduced sodium)
2 tablespoons Korean chili paste or Sriracha, depending on how hot you like things

1 small onion, peeled and grated or pureed in a food processor

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar 
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or finely grated
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (peeled or unpeeled)

freshly ground Chinese black pepper

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1 to 1 1/4 pounds)

4 Demi baguettes
Shredded cabbage
Julienne carrots
Mix together:
¼ cup mayo
3 Tablespoons Sriracha 

1. Mix the soy sauce, chili paste or hot sauce, onion, brown sugar, rice wine, garlic, sesame oil, ginger, a few generous turns of black pepper, and sesame seeds in a large zip-top freezer bag.( reserve ½ cup, or so)

2. Lay the thighs on a cutting board, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap, and pound them so they’re about 1/3-inch (1cm) thick with a meat pounder, rolling pin, or another heavy object. (You can also pound them, a few at a time, in a separate freezer bag to make clean-up easier.) Trim off any excess fat.

3. Put the thighs in the plastic bag with the marinade, press excess air out of the bag, seal it closed, and massage it so the marinade covers the chicken. Refrigerate for several hours, or overnight. The chicken can also be marinated in a stainless steel or glass bowl, covered and turned several times while it’s marinating.

4. To cook, heat your grill to high heat. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and lay them flat on the hot grill. When well-seared on the bottom, turn them over and cook another few minutes until the thighs are cooked through. The total cooking time will be less than 5 minutes. (You can baste the thighs with any leftover marinade while grilling.)

5. Heat and reduce reserved marinade for a glaze. (Do not use the marinade you soaked the chicken in!!)

To cook in a skillet, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces before marinading and put them in a large, lightly oiled skillet. When the chicken is seared on the bottom, stir the chicken and add any leftover marinade and let it reduce in the pan while the chicken finishes cooking.

From here, I used 4 Demi baguettes, sliced the ¾ of the way through, leaving a hinge. Dress with the Sriracha mayo, cabbage and carrots.  Place chicken on bread and serve. Drizzle glaze over chicken if desired.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Blackened Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Avocado Lime Sauce

16 years ago, when I met my now husband, he told me that he didn’t care for fish.  With his being a “vegetarian”, ok Semi-vegetarian, how do you cook for such a person.  Well, over the years I have introduced several types of fish to which I have had a great response.  Started with Copper River Salmon,  Fresh Halibut, and lastly True Cod.  (We canned Tuna this past summer, but have yet to have him try it)

So that brings me to tonight’s dinner, Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos with Avocado Lime Sauce.  I took a huge risk with making these, as Craig is not one to like new things….so how do you do introduce such a dinner?  You just dodn’t tell him what we were having, until it was in front of him.  

Here’s the recipe….

Blackened Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Avocado Lime Sauce

Avocado Lime Sauce-
 ½ cup sour cream
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
½ teaspoon serrano pepper seeded and chopped

Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos

1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1½ teaspoons dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground chili pepper
1½ pounds Mahi Mahi filets, cut lengthwise into smaller pieces if needed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
8 lime wedges
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup red cabbage, sliced thin
1 cup green cabbage, sliced thin
Cilantro, for garnish

1. Combine sour cream, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest and Serrano pepper in a blender; process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate.
2. Combine paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cumin and chili pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle seasoning evenly over both sides of the fish filets.
3. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add fish to pan; cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
4. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish evenly among tortillas. Serve with lime wedges, tomatoes, cabbage, and cilantro.

(I forgot to warm the tortilla’s, but otherwise these were amazing!!!)