Archive for ‘Meats/Fish’

December 25, 2010

Mexican-style Shrimp Cocktail

Inspired by my recent trip to Monterey, CA and more specifically eating at the Old Fisherman’s Grotto on the Monterey Wharf.

Exploring Monterey means not only visiting the sights at Cannery Row and Carmel not only hearing the sounds and feeling the sea air by the sandy beaches, but you will also notice the smells of food everywhere you go. If I had to sum up what Monterey smells like I really only remember smelling food everywhere, occasionally you get to smell some salty sea air, occasionally…The walk down the Wharf is pretty much window shopping for the perfect restaurant. You have clam chowder samples being thrown at you left and right, fresh seafood in open air delis. I wanted to eat something from each place, but my stomach wasn’t big enough. Clam chowder and fish and chips are all phenomenal. But I tried this mexican style shrimp cocktail and that is what impressed me the most. It’s like salsa, avocado and shrimp with some cocktail sauce…wow! It was so fresh tasting, with a hint of spicy chilies. Very impressive. I knew I had to try making my own version.  I hope you enjoy, please let me know of any suggestions you might have.

 

1 lb cooked peeled shrimp (41-50ct)

2 tomatoes, diced

1/2 bunch cilantro coarsely chopped

1 jalapeno finely diced

4 green onions

1-11.5oz can tomato juice

1 T horseradish

1 tsp sugar

salt and black pepper

1T olive oil

Sprinkle Old Bay seasoning

1 lime, juiced

1 ripe avocado

Dice the tomatoes, chop the cilantro, finely dice the jalapeno and slice the green onions. Toss together with the shrimp in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, mix the tomato sauce, horseradish, sugar, salt and pepper. Add more or less horseradish for more or less heat. Sprinkle the old bay seasoning and mix again.

Pour the cocktail sauce over the shrimp mixture and stir until combined. Leave in the fridge overnight to meld the flavors.

before serving squeeze the lime over the shrimp cocktail and dice the avocado and stir in.

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Serve with tortilla chips.

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December 12, 2010

Waldorf Salad

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With the holiday season in full force, many of us start to see an increase of the scales! OH NO! To counteract all the season treats I like to eat, I try to make my daily meals on the lighter side. It’s the holiday season after all and I want to enjoy all the goodies that you only get once a year. Most of my meals include fruits and veggies and low fat meats (chicken and pork) and then I get to have fun at parties and family dinners.  Here is a very simple recipe and it helped me use up the rest of the rotisserie chicken I bought to make chicken noodle soup.  Instead of mayonnaise I used 2% plain greek yogurt and I was surprised that I liked it because I don’t usually like the yogurt substitution. (Maybe I will start trying it more often). Enjoy!

2 cups cooked chicken, diced

1/2 apple (I used Fuji for the sweet/tartness with a crispy texture)

1/2 cup red grapes, halved

1 celery, sliced thin

1 green onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup slivered almonds (pecans or walnuts work too)

2T blue cheese

1/2 cup 2% plain greek style yogurt (you can use mayonnaise as well)

1T red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)

1tsp kosher salt

  1. Dice the chicken and apples. Slice the grapes in half. Slice the celery and green onion. Toss it all in a bowl with slivered almonds and blue cheese.
  2. Mix together the yogurt, vinegar and salt. Pour over the chicken mixture and toss.
  3. Serve with whole lettuce leaves. Spread chicken mixture over a lettuce leaf, roll up and eat!

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November 1, 2010

Pan Dripping Turkey Gravy

This recipe is a traditional type pan dripping gravy, with a twist. The turkey stock is made with roasted turkey wings to add depth to the stock. This gravy recipe is a collaboration of difference sources. I was watching Tyler Florence on Food Network one year and Tyler made gravy with a roasted turkey wing stock and I have made my stock for gravy with a roasted turkey wing stock ever since. Roasting wings is much easier than making an enitire roasted turkey or chicken. The wings have a lot of flavor so you will not miss out on using the entire bird. The base for my gravy I learned from my mom, which she learned from my grandmother. The milk idea I picked up from a friend one Thanksgiving and the brown gravy mix I have heard numerous people say they add to their gravy for added depth. So this recipe is a melting pot of tips and tricks I have picked up over the years. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8

Turkey Stock:

  • 2 Turkey Wings
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme
  • water
  • salt and pepper

Gravy:

  • pan drippings from roasted turkey
  • butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups turkey stock (see above)
  • 1 packet brown gravy mix
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Roast wings for 2 ½ hours.
  3. Chop onion, celery, carrots and sauté in butter.
  4. Add thyme bay leaf and wings (with drippings from the roasting pan). Cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim any foam and reduce the heat and simmer for 1 ½ – 2 hours until the water reduces.
  5. Strain off the solids and cool the stock if you will freeze it, or use it right away.

Turkey Stock

  1. GRAVY:Once you remove your roasted turkey from the pan, place the whole roasting pan over the med-low heat on the stovetop (my roasting pan takes up two burners so I turn both on med-low heat). Or transfer the pan drippings to a pot.
  2. Once the pan drippings are bubbly add enough butter to make about ½ cup of fat. Whisk in the flour and cook stirring frequently about 2 minutes.
  3. Once the roux is golden brown whisk in the turkey stock, milk and gravy mix packet, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. (I add the milk to help cut the greasiness from the turkey drippings but keep the flavor of the drippings).
  4. Simmer until the gravy has thickened to your likeness, about 10 minutes.
I submitted this recipe for a contest with Food52 which all winners will be added to the Food 52 cookbook that results from the year of contests. As well as the chance to win some money to Williams Sonoma, and other gift packages from Viking cookeware, and OXO. Wish me luck! Hope you try this gravy this holiday season, it’s super good! I will be making my wing stock shortly!
October 3, 2010

Meatballs

Meatballs in Vodka Sauce

Homemade meatballs are pretty easy to make. I think people are intimidated thinking the process of cooking meatballs will be involved and take a long time. However, they are much easier and more approachable than you think!  Also, I just cannot bring myself to buy the frozen meatballs in the freezer section, they are filled with so many preservatives and high in sodium and probably start with highly processed meat. Unnecessary in my opinion, and homemade meatballs taste so much better! I’ve made these meatballs for sandwiches, fondue parties, spaghetti, ravioli. You can even use them for the sweet and spicy meatballs you see at potlucks, mix them with some barbeque sauce, or sweet and sour appetizer…the possibilities are endless!

 This recipe is easy enough for weeknight cooking with the indulgence of homemade comfort food!

1lb ground beef
1 lb mild Italian sausage (not in casings)
1T Herbs de Provence (or dried basil and oregano)
1 egg, beaten
½ c. bread, torn (can also use bread crumbs, finely crushed crackers)
¼ c heavy cream
¼ c. parmesan
1/8 t. nutmeg
S&P

TEAR up bread into small pieces and pour cream over bread. Meanwhile, crumble ground beef and sausage in a large bowl. Add herbs, bread, and parmesan. Whisk egg lightly and add. Toss meatball mixture to make sure ingredients are spread throughout meat.  Do not over work otherwise the meat will be tough.

PREHEAT oven 400 degrees.

ROLL meatballs into a bite-sized balls. Add to a cast iron skillet and brown all sides. Move skillet to oven and finish in the oven 15 min. (Can also place on a baking sheet if all the meatballs don’t fit in one pan or if you don’t have a oven safe skillet).

Serve as an appetizer with dipping sauce, or with pasta and an italian sauce sauce (Vodka Sauce).

September 28, 2010

Pot Roast (in the slow cooker)

As a kid, my mom’s pot roast was my and my brother’s favorite dinner! Anytime she would ask us what we wanted for special occasions we always opted for the Pot Roast. The tender meat with buttery potatoes topped with gravy make my mouth water just thinking about it. When I came home from school the house would smell so good and feel warm and cozy. Now I can have the same experience by cooking the roast in my slow cooker. My mom would make it on the stove and cook it for an hour and a half, but I cook mine in the slow cooker so I can put it on my menu during the week.  Coming home from work on those days is a treat. The house is filled with the wonderful smell of a dinner that is essentially ready, with just a few finishing touches. It is a comforting and warming feeling in the fall and winter.

This is my mom’s recipe, but of course I have altered it just a bit. I just can not seem to make a recipe without changing something up. However, it stays true to my mom’s version. 

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I use small whole potatoes when I can find them, if you cook potatoes in liquid with the skins on, the potatoes do not dry out and get too starchy. If you do not have whole potatoes cut your potatoes into quarters.

1 Chuck Roast (any size that will feed your family 2-3lbs)
1 yellow onion (quartered)
3 large carrots (cut into thick coins)
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. of potatoes (I use the small yellow potatoes and leave them whole)
2 sprigs of thyme
3 cloves of garlic, left whole
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
flour for dredging
salt and pepper

Dredge all sides of the roast with flour seasoned generously with salt and pepper. Brown the meat on all sides. Deglaze the pan with the wine and a little of the broth. Simmer for 2 minutes then pour the liquid into the crock pot.

Place the potatoes and carrots in the bottom of the crock pot. Lay the roast on top and place the onion and garlic cloves around the roast.  Pour the remaining broth and sprig of thyme in the crock pot.

Cook on Low for 8 hours.

GRAVY – My mom would always make the broth into gravy using this method, it’s quick and easy. Place 2 cups of the broth in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Add some salt and pepper. Using cornstarch and cold water (about 2T cornstarch and 1/4 c. cold water) whisk into the boiling broth, it will thicken pretty fast. Add a little more cornstarch/water if you want a thicker gravy.

Serve with your favorite type of bread – garlic bread, croissants, bread sticks, or rolls.

Alternate stove-top method: Follow the first step and brown the meat and remove it from the pan, then deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the onions, garlic, and thyme to the pot and add enough broth to just cover the meat. Simmer for an hour and a fifteen minutes, then add the carrots and potatoes and cook for another 30-40 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are tender and the meat falls apart.

September 20, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup w/Homemade Noodles

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There is something about the smell of onion, celery, and carrots cooking (“mirepoix”) that is comforting and soothing to the soul. The combination is used as the base for so many comfort foods like soups, stews and stocks. The combination is usually 50% onion and 25% each of carrots and celery.  Other vegetables and garlic can be used as well. In the culinary world there is a name for that but I will save you the details.  Even though we are still in 80 degree weather, I am feeling Fall in the air.  Last weekend was the last Farmer’s Market and that is when I really know Fall is coming. Fall is my favorite season, so my motivation is really kicking in. So far I have received a few requests for Fall friendly recipes, so I figured I should start now.  So here is the first Fall recipe of the season. Chicken noodle soup is a classic so why not start with that? 

1/2 white onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrot, diced
2T butter
1 spring thyme
2T Italian parsley, finely chopped (plus more for garnish)
1 clove garlic
4c chicken stock (I use “Better than Bullion” according to the jar plus 1 extra tsp, if I don’t have homemade chicken broth)
2 bullion cubes (use only if you use homemade chicken broth)
2c. cooked shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken works well or left over roasted chicken)
1c. Noodles (see recipe below)
1/4 c heavy cream

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Make the noodles and lay out to dry a bit. I usually make the noodles an hour or so before.

Saute the mirepoix (celery, onion and carrots) onion is translucent. Add garlic until fragrant.  Add the thyme, bullion and broth.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the shredded chicken and noodles and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the heavy cream, stir and turn off the heat.

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Top with with shredded parmesan cheese and roughly chopped Italian parsley. Serve with some yummy crusty artisan bread and salted butter.

NOODLES – this recipe makes enough for two batches of soup
2 c. flour
¾ t. salt
1 egg
1/2c. milk

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Mix the flour and salt. Lightly beat the egg then make a well in the flour and pour the milk egg mixture in the middle. Gradually incorporate the flour into the milk mixture. You will have to use your hands to knead the dough at the end.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a large rectangle about a 1/4 inch thick. I find a pizza cutter works really well for this part, cut the dough into long skinny strips,then cut noodles to about an inch in length.

August 15, 2010

Fish Tacos

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My 4 year old daughter loves fish tacos, when I told her I was making fish tacos she said “YUUUUM.”  Usually when you see fish tacos in the restaurants they are made with Mahi-Mahi. So out I went to find US caught Mahi at the stores, because that is what the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide says to get, instead of imported Mahi (btw if you have an iPhone, there is an App for the Seafood Watch guide! Get it and use it).

SIDE NOTE: What I have noticed while using this guide there are some general rules you can remember and follow when choosing fish if you don’t have a guide with you. 

  1. Non-imported fish and if you can find out,
  2. Fish that is “troll, pole-and-line gear” caught, (if you can find out).
  3. Sick with wild-caught fish rather than farmed fish. Apparently there are environmental concerns related to farming some fish, plus wild fish are usually healthier for you.

Also of note, which you might already know. the higher up on the food chain the fish, the higher levels of mercury the fish will likely have: swordfish, shark, rock cod (is really shark), sturgeon, Rockfish (buyer beware: Rockfish is marketed as red snapper or Pacific snapper – there are no snappers on the US West Coast, per the Seafood Watch guide, so if it’s marked as Pacific – it’s rockfish and high in mercury and PCBs). Eat with caution.

So I went against the rules and purchased Peru Mahi – next time I will head to Whole Foods to get Mahi from the US (or you can choose another white fish such as, cod, halibut (Pacific, not California) or shrimp even.

(Serving 6 Tacos)

1 lb fish with skin on or shrimp

2 limes, juiced

1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsley chopped

1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced rounds

1t. paprika

1t. cumin

S & P

Spicy Jalapeno Coleslaw (see below)

6 corn tortillas (or flour if you prefer)

Garnishes:

sliced avocado

cilantro

cotija cheese

lime wedges

In a plastic seal bag or shallow glass dish, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Then add the fish and marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat your grill. this is why I said skin-on it’s easier to cook on the grill so the fish doesn’t fall apart.  Flesh side down, cook the fish for 3 minutes with the grill covered.  Then finish the fish off on the skin side for about 3-5 minutes with grill covered. Cut the fish into 1 inch pieces.

While the fish is finishing up heat the tortillas on the grill.

 

 Spicy Jalapeno Coleslaw

1 head of cabbage, thinly sliced

1/2 c. Jalapeno aioli

1T. McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning

S & P

Toss all ingredients together and let sit in the fridge while marinating and cooking the fish. Enough time to allow the slaw to, as Emeril would say, “get happy.”

Assembly:

Top tortilla with slaw, fish, and your favorite garnishes. Squeeze a lime over the entire taco and EAT!

August 5, 2010

Meatloaf Burger

By request I have made a burger version of my meatloaf, just for my Shawnee.  It’s really yum!

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2lbs ground beef (ground chuck is good because it has some fat, which is good for tender juicy burgers)

1/2c. bread crumbs

1/2 packet of onion soup mix

1T Worchestershire sauce

1T ketchup

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 egg

salt and pepper

sauteed red onion

avocado (optional)

Toss first 7 ingredients together, don’t mash it all together just toss it so everything is incorporated throughout. Once it’s incorporated, beat the egg in a bowl then incorporate into the meat. Work the meat just a little. The more you handle the meat the tougher it will be so handle it minimally.

Form into patties and generously sprinkle salt and pepper on each side of the patties.  Grill on medium-high heat until cooked to your liking.

Sauteed Red Onions

Thinly slice a red onion. On medium-low heat, melt butter in a saucepan, add onions and cook stirring occasionally until the onions caramelize. salt and pepper at the end.

Serve burger on a toasted ciabatta roll with mayonnaise, ketchup, and sauteed onions. MMMMMMM….good! It’s like a cozy winter meal, fit for a hot summer weekenight!

July 11, 2010

3-Pepper Tri Tip

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This rub recipe is nice and spicy with a hint of brown sugar for sweetness and it helps form a nice crust on the tri tip on the grill. This recipe is my go-to recipe when I have friends and family over. A signature summer dish in my opinion.

I serve the tri tip with corn and black bean salad and some good garlic or bread toasted on the grill.

3-Pepper Rub:

2T. black pepper
1/2T. cayenne
1/2 T. white pepper
1 1/2 T. kosher salt
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 T. oregano

Mix all ingredients in a jar that can be sealed in a pantry. Rub a tri tip roast on both sides with the rub. Allow the tri tip to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking on the grill.

Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. Cook until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 145 (medium-rare) or 160 (medium).

Allow the roast to sit for about 20-30 minutes before slicing.

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June 5, 2010

Grill It!

I love that we have hit the grilling season! No oven or stove necessary! Keeping the heat outside and the house cool along with a meal with little fuss and so MUCH flavor!

THE BASICS: A cut of meat (chicken, pork, fish, beef, lamb) grilled with a grilled veggie or salad and some fresh fruit. While you have the grill going, add a little more for easy no extra effort lunch or dinner the next day.

Grilled Sausage and Veggies

Here is an example of a simple meal I made last night… Sausage with Grilled Veggies

1pkg of your favorite Sausage
1 bunch of asparagus
1 bunch of green onion
2 medium zucchini
1/2 lemon, for juicing
1T olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Clean your veggies and then prepare. For the asparagus I just snap the bottoms off and the green onion I cut off the root end. For the zucchini cut the top stem part off, then slice down the middle. Then slice the sides in half again, making wedges.

Toss the veggies with olive oil and salt and pepper.

I like to put a piece of foil down on the grill to protect veggies from the direct flame, they will brown the same…

Heat your grill to about medium for the veggies and low for the sausages (you want the inside to cook and the outside to NOT burn, although I like some good browning on sausages).

I like to cook the sausage for about 6 minutes before adding veggies – so everything is done about the same time. Cook the sausage turning often to prevent burning the outside about 6 minutes. Now add your veggies. Turn your veggies about every 3 minutes or so, cook everything for another 3-6 minutes. I check the sausage with a meat thermometer and make sure it’s about 180° internal temp.

Remove everything from the grill and squeeze half the lemon over the veggies and finish off with some nice coarse sea salt.

Grilled Sausage and Veggies

This is only one idea, but using the “Basic” idea you can come up with your own simple ideas with your favorite ingredients! Enjoy!

Now for dessert!!!! Berries and Ice Cream