Archive for ‘Seafood’

July 6, 2011

Coconut Shrimp Curry with Cumin Green Beans

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Coconut curries in my experience have been sweet, viscous, strangely oily sauces with little or no heat from spice, adorned with some sort of meat floating in it over rice. In other words not so appetizing. Not so any longer! This was clean, fresh, warm with just a hint of tropical and easy to make, around 20 minutes. This dish packed a lot of flavor while remaining quite light.

Step one:

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 dried red peppers (we used arbol)

Put the spices and the vinegar in a bowl together to soak while prepping the rest of the delightful dish.

1 large red onion (any onion will do) chopped and fried with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil until quite brown. To this add a whole garam masala mix which is always bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves and green cardamon seeds. We used 1 large bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 5 cloves, and 3 cracked green cardamom pods.

Also needed:

1 lb shrimp, cleaned and deveined, we actually had to use frozen raw shrimp because the fresh didn’t look so hot, and it was fine

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 tablespoon fresh garlic (or paste)

1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger (or paste)

1 tomato, chopped (if not available use 1/3 cup yogurt)

3/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

When the onions are done, remove the whole spices and put the onions into a food processor with the vinegar spice mix from above, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, garlic and ginger paste, three raw shrimp, and blend.

Add tomato to this not quite smooth paste and blend again, adding water if necessary until this consistency:

Take this paste and put it into a pan and cook it until almost dry.

Add 2 cups water and shrimp.

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Add the final touch, 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves, stir in and serve immediately over rice.


Cumin Green Beans

1 lb green beans snapped in half

1 teaspoon asafoetida (a spice derived from a species of giant fennel, it has a really great and unique flavor)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Heat oil in pan a roast the turmeric, cumin seeds and asafoetida until seeds begin to pop add green beans and salt and cover until cooked, stirring often. When beans are almost done, remove cover and cook off liquid.

June 22, 2011

Golden Tile Baked in Banana Leaves

Cooking food in banana leaves is one of those things that I have always wanted to do because it seems like a cooking technique that can easily be transferred from steamer, to grill, to oven and pan.  I don’t really have  good excuse as to why I hadn’t done it before other than pure lack of motivation. Shiva thus far has largely been teaching me vegan/vegetarian dishes, so it was a little exciting to broach the animal protein barrier. Shiva just asked me to pick up fish, and I didn’t know if we were cooking the fish whole or in fillets so I brought over this guy, which is a Golden Tile from New Jersey, whose head I am cutting off.

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After the fish was butchered (I kept the body left overs for stock) we cut the fish into portions and sprinkled the fish with 1 teaspoon salt. Then we took 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and rubbed the spices into the fish. Then we just sprinkled with fish with 1/2 teaspoon more salt.

Banana leaves are surprisingly available because they can be frozen, and are easy to handle. You can just tear off strips to the size you need.

Before we tied the fish up we put a little of this mustard sauce, as in about 1 teaspoon per serving in each packet, I apologize for the photo.

Put the fish on a piece of leaf, add mustard sauce and just fold and tie with butchers twine. Pop into a 400F preheated oven and cook for 5 minutes, longer if you want your fish more cooked. You can either remove the fish from the leaf or just open the packets and sprinkle with cilantro and serve. This really did render beautifully, moist, flaky and flavorful fish and can be cooked with pretty much any fish you have on hand.

January 7, 2011

Thai Inspired Oven Roasted Dungeness Crab and Some Alfalfa Action

I’m spoiled when it comes to seafood because I am from Seattle where it is plentiful, high quality and relatively inexpensive.  A result of my love for the bounty from the seas is the belief that seafood of all kinds needs very little additions when it comes to preparation. In general I’m a melted butter on the side kind of girl, maybe a few herbs here and there. But the baking barrister got me to thinking with her lovely post about herb rubbed dungeon crab that she then oven roasted. The combination of her pictures and the lovely accident of Dungeness crabs being on sale inspired me to come up with this recipe. The truly nice thing about this is that the marinade nicely flavors the sweet smooth meat of the body and when you are cracking the crab itself, the marinade on the shells give the leg meat just the hint of heat and crisp cilantro acts essentially like the acid from a lemon nicely balancing the decadent buttery depth of the more fibrous leg meat. Other than the marinating time, this is a super quick recipe that yielded a lovely dinner. I served the crab with a salad of Asian pears, butter lettuce and scallions with a light sesame salad dressing.

Thai Inspired Oven-Roasted Dungeness Crab

For two crabs

2 Dungeness Crabs (cleaned, and cracked in half, the fish monger can and should do this for you)

2 cups rough chopped cilantro (including the stems)

4 cloves garlic

1 Thai chili (if you can’t find them use a Serrano instead)

½ cup Olive Oil

1 teaspoon black pepper

Place all of the ingredients, except the crab… into a food processor and blend until a paste like consistency.  Rub the cleaned crab all over with all the paste. Place in a bowl or shallow baking dish and marinate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the crabs in a roasting pan or baking dish and roast for ten minutes. Serve immediately.

Alfalfa Alert!!

If you feel as strongly a I do in wishing that Monsanto and others would keep their grubby little paws off of our food supply especially on a genetic level, here is a moment to tell the President exactly that.

Monsanto is threatening to contaminate yet another crop and this time it is alfalfa. This is especially important because obviously the cows that give us organic milk and other dairy products eat organic alfalfa, if Monsanto has its way this will all be threatened. Please click-through to sign the Food and Water Watch’s petition to President Obama.

September 1, 2010

Farmer’s Market Wednesday! Oven Fried Catfish with Scallion Tartar Sauce


Perfect Ninja Belly Slithering Ground

I do practice what I preach, and it isn’t easy.  I still struggle not to dress in ninja black and belly slither down the frozen food aisle where my beloved but HFCS befouled Froze Fruits live. I imagine sliding the frosty cool to the touch door open silently and clutching as many lime Froze Fruits as I can to my chest as I run from the grocery store dashing home to hide from the HFCS police. Then I snap out of it and have a talk with myself about what I can eat instead. Sometimes it helps the cravings sometimes not. This week’s trip to the farmers market where incidentally, ninja belly slithering is not cool yet, was dominated by a search for aqua or hydroponically grown vegetables and sustainable fish from the thumbs up list. Imagine my delight to find perfectly tender lettuce leaves with their roots attached, and how even more delighted to find farmed catfish.

This recipe is so simple and so much more flavorful than I expected it is definitely going into my permanent rotation. The fish really took on the mustard flavor as well as a little heat from the chilies. The crust was nice and crisp all the way around except for a couple of spots on the bottom of fillets where they were touching the broiling pan. The texture of the fish was delightful as well, perfectly moist and flaky at the same time.

Oven Fried Catfish with a Scallion Tartar Sauce

For 1 pound of Catfish, 2-3 servings


¾ cup mild Dijon mustard

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 heaping tablespoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt


¾ cup corn meal

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon hot paprika

Tartar Sauce

½ cup mayonnaise

1 scallion finely chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

juice from ½ lemon

1 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Place the catfish fillets in the marinade making sure the fish is completely covered, or you can use the plastic bag method of marinating. Make sure to marinate the fish for at least an hour, longer if you can. Mine marinated for 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 475 F. Coat a broiler pan with either a non stick spray or rub with olive oil. Mix all the crust ingredients on a large plate. When the oven is preheated take the catfish out of the marinade and dredge in the spiced corn meal flour. When the fish is thoroughly covered, place on the oiled broiler pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.

While the fish is baking mix all the tartar sauce ingredients together.

Check the fish after 15 minutes you might need a few minutes more depending on the oven and the fish. When the crust is a nice golden brown and your kitchen smells like spicy toast dinner is ready.

July 27, 2010

Steamed Mussels with Chorizo and Beer

The flesh of cooked mussels can be orange, or ...

The joy of shopping at a farmers market is the plethora of ingredients at your fingertips and the atmosphere you get to buy them in. The wonderful colors and smells, the buzz of conversation between vendors and customers, friends running into each other, customers talking about how good the peaches look, the changing perfumes of yeasty fresh-baked breads to the sticky sweet of blackberries all create a wonderful all five sense engaging experience. It can also be completely overwhelming. One can easily be seduced by the ingredients themselves and walk out of a farmers market with a collection of items that when put together don’t actually make cohesive dishes. As we have established I am a glutton and lack a certain level of impulse control so I always try to go with a loose framework of what I am thinking of making but also try to leave myself room for the creative cook in me to raise her hand and say: ‘Wait! Lets get this instead and wing it!” Many of my successful dishes have come from this method, but also some of my greatest failures.

The loose list is an important concept when because the farmers market isn’t necessarily going to have everything you need. Maybe it isn’t in season, maybe there isn’t a high enough demand for it, and maybe someone else came along and bought every single chili. I went to the market with a list that looked like this: fish, hanger steak (or something thin, I was thinking of marinating the beef in lime, soy sauce, salt and pepper for either a salad or a quesadilla) veggies, fruit, bread, coffee, milk, butter. This is what I bought: snap peas, Bok choy, French breakfast radishes, lettuce, pork chorizo sausages, 6 farm fresh eggs, a grass-fed and finished London broil steak and two pounds of mussels. So, there I am standing there with my purchases thinking: “Ok, now what are you actually going to make?” I turned myself around went back into the farmers market picked up a bunch of shallots and some flat leaf parsley, then got on my bike pedaled home and made this recipe which was quite lovely.

Steamed Mussels with Chorizo and Beer

Serves 2 as an entrée or 4-6 as an appetizer.

Note: Make sure that you wash the outsides of your mussels thoroughly, if you find any that are cracked, or open throw them away. Soak your mussels in cold water at least 20 minutes before cooking, this is important to do because the mussels breathe in the water and expel any sand as well as any salt they might have. Check the edges of the mussels for the beard, which are fibers sticking out from the shell, if you see them grab them and pull them towards the hinge and yank them out.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons minced shallots (1 large)

1 1/2  tablespoons minced garlic

2 chorizo sausage links (cook ahead of time and slice)

1 12-ounce bottle of beer, (something in the Lager or Pilsner family, I used Magic Hat’s Summer Seasonal)

1 lemon

Fresh ground pepper

3 tablespoons finely minced flat leaf parsley

In a pot that is large enough to hold your mussels and that you have a lid for, heat the olive oil and the butter together, once the butter has melted add your shallots and garlic and cook until softened about 3 minutes. Add the already cooked and sliced chorizo. Now add the lager followed by the mussels. Close the lid and steam the mussels until they open and the mussel meat is beige in color. About 5 minutes. Once they are open, turn off heat and place the mussels and sausage in a serving bowl (or bowls) leaving the broth in the pan. Squeeze a lemon over the mussels, sprinkle them with the parsley and top off with pepper.  You can at this point either ladle the broth over the mussels or serve separately on the side for dipping; it’s completely your call. If you have warm bread to dip in the broth, that’s especially heavenly.

I forgot to take a picture, so I’m giving you this one of lovely sugar snap peas.

Lovely Sugar Snaps!

Lovely Sugar Snaps!

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