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.