Thursday, April 25, 2013

Grilled Swordfish

Leave it to humans to be competitive enough to see a giant fish with a WEAPON attached to its face, and think, “Hmmm. I bet I could kill that and eat it.” I don’t know who was the first person on Earth to take on that challenge and prevail, but I have to admit that I’m pretty glad they did. Swordfish is a meaty fish. There’s a reason why they call it swordfish steak. But even though it’s really meaty, it also has a delicate flavor. It takes on marinades well, and I really love it with citrus. The few times we had it when I was a child, my mom just made it with lemon juice, salt and pepper and it was excellent. I found this simple lime-based marinade on The Stay at Home Chef and wanted to try it out. We only left our swordfish in the marinade for about 20 minutes, and I do wish we had gone the whole recommended hour. Even so, it was really good, it just could have imparted more flavor given a little more time. I served it with a great side of Spicy Corn Salad (you can get the recipe here) and it made a really delicious dinner that felt somewhat light, yet filling.

2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp basil
½ tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
2 swordfish fillets

Simply whisk all the marinade ingredients together and pour it into a Ziploc bag with your swordfish. Marinate it for an hour (don’t be impatient like me!). And then grill it! It should take about 5-7 minutes a side, depending on how thick your cut is. When it’s done, it should flake easily with a fork. And there you have it. Here’s hoping that you conquer the swordfish yourself someday soon. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Beef and Broccolini Hash

I’m generally an egg traditionalist. I like eggs for breakfast. I like them paired with the usual suspects (bacon, cheese, sausage). Outside of that, I pretty much only use eggs in baking. I’ve never been a big eggs for dinner person (although I used to make pre-basketball game omelets fairly often). And I don’t often pair it with unexpected ingredients. But after trying this Beef and Broccolini Hash, I might just change my tune. It was really flavorful, with crisp broccolini and the yolk kind of brought it all together. I found this recipe on Finger, Fork & Knife, but I made a few changes. I didn’t go on a hunt for coriander roots, which are pretty hard to find. I read that you can substitute cilantro, but ours had gone bad before I made this recipe, so we skipped it. When I make it again, I’ll definitely add it. Also, our beef was a tad chewy, being slightly overdone. I think that the order of the recipe was a little off, so I fixed it below. I also used tomato sauce instead of tomato chutney. It could have used a little more spice as well, so in the future I might choose a spicier pepper.

1.5 pounds flank, skirt, or flat iron steak, sliced very thinly
Juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp mirin
Peanut or Canola oil
2 tbsp tomato chutney – or tomato sauce
4 coriander roots, roughly chopped (or a handful of cilantro)
1 large red chili, sliced thinly
1 bunch broccolini, sliced into 2cm pieces
3 spring onions, sliced into 2cm pieces
2-4 eggs

Make sure you prep everything in advance because the cooking process happens very quickly. Mix together the tomato sauce (or chutney), soy sauce and mirin together in a small bowl. Set it aside, and heat your wok over high heat. Add just a little bit of your oil. Toss in the chili and coriander roots if you have them. If you are using cilantro, wait until later in the process (with the onions) to add it. Cook for about a minute. Next the original recipe wants you to add just the beef, but I think it would be good to add the broccolini and beef together. The broccolini needed just a touch more cooking, I thought. Cook this for about 2 minutes and then add in the sauce and the onions and cook for a minute or two more. Remove from heat and portion out onto plates.

In another small pan heat a little more oil and fry your eggs sunny-side up (set whites, runny yolk). Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top. Carefully place one egg on top of each of your beef and broccolini servings. Squeeze some lime juice over top and add a little pinch of sea salt. The sauce is the most flavorful part so make sure to get plenty. I hope this changes your views on eggs as well! 

Jerk Chicken Tacos

We do already have a couple jerk chicken recipes up on the blog, but since everyone’s tastes vary, and this one is a little different, I thought I’d add another. Besides, this is a taco recipe, and we all know that I have a bit of a thing for tacos. Just a bit. I found this recipe on Nutritionist in the Kitch, and she also included a slaw with kale and healthy stuff. Even though I’m a somewhat adventurous eater, I just am not ready for kale. Sorry. It often looks good to me, but I can’t take the risk of the kale coming in here and ruining my tasty tacos. Just can’t do it. So I went with my tried and true southwest slaw recipe (using broccoli slaw instead of cabbage this time). But hey, if you want to dance with the kale, by all means follow the recipe link and try it. The chicken turned out pretty good, although I thought it could have used a bit of salt. The Hubs was really happy, but I have to caveat that he had just flown in from Milwaukee and was quite hungry. So he might have been a little skewed.

4 6oz chicken breasts
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sea salt
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

So this is pretty simple. Just mix up all the jerk seasoning ingredients in a small bowl (everything but the chicken). Remove the seeds and ribs of the jalapeno if you’re a big baby about spice. In a baking dish, rub the seasoning mix into the chicken, making sure it’s all covered and using all the marinade. Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands after this step and avoid touching your eyes! Let that marinate for at least 30 minutes. Then preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake your chicken for 20-25 minutes. I actually had to go to 30 because the breasts I used were pretty thick. Then remove the chicken and carefully shred it in the baking dish. It’s important to keep it in the dish so you get all the extra marinade and spices into the chicken. Once it’s all shredded, serve in a tortilla with some slaw (kale or not) and sour cream. Boom. Jerk chicken taco.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits

One of my all time favorite meals growing up was Fried Fish and Grits. We had wonderful neighbors across the street who would go fishing, and bring my parents back some of the fish they caught. This made me so happy, because I knew my mother would be making that dish. Well, as an adult one of my favorite dinners is Shrimp and Grits. I remember the first time I had Shrimp and Grits. I was working at a golf course in Charleston, South Carolina. After a late day at the clubhouse; my co-workers and I went out to dinner at a local restaurant. Everything on the menu sounded delicious, but I decided to give Shrimp and Grits a try. I remember my first bite: I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was so delicious. Now, I'm unsure why I've never tried making this at home until now. But, this recipe was easy to make and very good. I wouldn't say this is restaurant gourmet delicious, but it's a solid recipe and I urge you to give it a try. I mean a 5 star recipe on The Food Network has to mean something, right? Enjoy!

3/4 cup instant grits (I used Quaker Oats Instant Grits)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (I omitted this step)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 tsp Cajun season (optional)
Zest of a lemon (optional)
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus wedges for serving
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley

Follow the directions on the Quaker Instant Grits box. If you have parmesan cheese on hand add this at the end. I also added a tablespoon of butter once the grits finished cooking. Set aside and keep warm.

Pat dry the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. I also seasoned the shrimp with Cajun Seasoning and the Cayenne pepper.  Take out a non-stick skillet and add two tablespoons of butter. Set the burner to medium heat. Sprinkle in the lemon zest. Add the garlic and shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is pink about 4 to 5 minutes. Next, add in the lemon zest and parsley. Spoon the grits into a bowl and add in the shrimp with some of the juice. Enjoy.

Asian Grilled Salmon and Pineapple

First off, can we all just agree that grilled pineapple is kind of amazing? There’s just something magical about pineapple when it’s warmed up and maybe even a little caramelized. Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about salmon and pineapple together. I’ll admit it sounds a little weird. I’m not a big fruit and fish person, although I know it’s been done many times, and a lot of people really love it, it’s just not my jam. But this actually turned out to be good. The Hubs really liked it, I thought it was just fine. It was pretty sweet, but the touch of char and the sesame oil kept it from being too cloying. I think it could have used a touch more soy sauce because it felt like it needed that pop of salt. Especially the rice. I found the recipe on Half Baked Harvest and she actually served it as lettuce wraps, which we did not do. I’m sure that would be fine, but we thought it was an extra step that wasn’t really needed. She also had a honey glaze that we skipped. Maybe that would have made it better, but I worry that it might have taken the sweetness over the top. If you’re interested in that, follow the link to the original recipe above. Anyway, if you are into fruit on your fish, I definitely think you should try this.

1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon wasabi powder (optional)
4 green onions, sliced, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 of a medium size pineapple

In a small bowl mix the honey, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic and wasabi powder together, whisking until the wasabi powder has dissolved. Then stir in the green onions and sesame seeds. Put your salmon into a large Ziploc bag and then pour about ¼ of the marinade over it and put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime slice your pineapple into long spears (remove the rind and the core, of course) and toss half of it with about two tablespoons of the marinade. The other half is yours to do with what you will! Heat up your grill and start with the pineapple. Grill it about 3-4 minutes a side. Put your salmon on the grill, skin side up, and grill for 3-4 minutes (depending on the thickness of your salmon). Flip it and baste with the reserved marinade and cook another 2-3 minutes.

While you’re grilling also make your rice. When it’s done you’ll want to mix in about 4 tablespoons of the reserved marinade. Personally, we thought the rice was rather blah. It could have used a little salt, or maybe it was because it was brown rice instead of white and we are terrible white rice people. Not sure. Anyway, once it’s all done, cut your pineapple into cubes. Serve the salmon over your rice and spoon some pineapple on top! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mexican Meatballs

Ok, so I already have a fantastic Italian meatball recipe (seriously, they are pretty amazing, and what’s this? Oh, a handy link to the recipe!) But the idea of a Mexican meatball was intriguing to me and anyway, can you really have too many great meatball recipes? I think not. I found this recipe on Cook Smarts, and it looked very tasty, very unique and not too incredibly difficult. It turns out that these meatballs are all of those things. They really pack a big aggressive punch of flavor with nice level of spiciness. I served these with some cilantro-lime rice, and I will say it was a little strange at first to eat meatballs and tomato sauce with rice, but you get over that pretty quickly. It also got a little salty by the end so I’d leave the salt out of the meatballs next time. 

Meatball Ingredients
2 Jalapenos, diced small
½ cup Red Onion, diced small
Handful of Cilantro, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 lb Ground Pork
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Kosher Salt (I would recommend omitting this or cutting in half)
1 tbsp Canola Oil
Crumbled Cotja cheese (I used Queso Fresco)

Tomato Sauce Ingredients
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Canola oil
28 oz can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes, diced
1 cup Coconut Milk
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt

Start by making your meatballs. Mix all the meatball ingredients except the canola oil and cheese together by hand. If you don’t already have cooking gloves, you can make your life immensely better by getting some. It makes jobs like this so easy, trust me. Roll your meatballs to be about an inch or so in diameter. Or however big you want them. I don’t judge. Just remember that adjusting the size will mean adjusting the cook times.

Preheat your oven to 375. In a saucepan, heat up your canola oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook for just about a minute, making sure not to burn the garlic, and then add in the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, you can cook your meatballs. Heat the canola oil over medium high heat and brown the meatballs for about 2 minutes each. You don’t need to cook them through, just get a nice sear on the outside. Don’t overcrowd the pan; do them in batches if you need to. Then move the meatballs to a baking dish and pour the tomato sauce over the top. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, and then crumble your cheese over the top and serve over rice. I made cilantro-lime rice by just adding some cilantro, lime juice, and salt to the rice to taste. I think these were a great option for a meatball, if you aren’t craving the typical Italian version. Hope you like them!