August 26, 2013

Louisiana Inspired Seafood Sauce

Way back in January I posted a Louisiana BBQ Shrimp recipe over at my main blog Wish Upon A Dish.
Not the Emeril's version that was my first introduction to a non BBQ BBQ shrimp, but an Atlanta Chef's version.
This one had no cream and no spices. I wanted to try it, to compare it to Emeril's and because it was healthier without all the cream.

While I love Emeril's version, with a small change here and an addition there, this one could make one hell of a seafood sauce.

I went to work. If you are familiar with NOLA BBQ shrimp, you will be familiar with these ingredients.
Louisiana BBQ shrimp is not even BBQ'd. It's poached in a savory, spicy, cream sauce that screams BREAD PLEASE. I surmise that the Spanish influence of sizzling garlic shrimp helped fuel the sparks that started this dish. Whatever started it, everyone should try it at one time in their life.

This version is extremely easy with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
Let's get cooking.

You will need a pound and a half of shell on, deveined large shrimp. A head of garlic, one large lemon, a stick of unsalted butter, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces. See? Nothing unique.

I made this batch with a touch of cognac to be spooned over a beautiful snapper fillet that I roasted in the oven. The longer you simmer the sauce, the more mellow the ingredients become so for a simple fillet, it's perfect. If I was serving this in a big bowl with peel 'n eat shrimp, I would add minced fresh garlic right before serving.

<U>Louisiana BBQ Shrimp Sauce</u>
makes 1 cup

* 1 stick unsalted butter
* 3 large garlic cloves + 1 for garnish
* 1 tablespoons freshly minced rosemary
* Juice from 1 large lemon, the rinds chopped
* 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
* 1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco
* 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
* Freshly ground pepper
* 1 tablespoon cream
* 1 tablespoon cognac or brandy

1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan and saute minced garlic until it is fragrant. Add the rosemary, lemon juice and skins, Worcestershire, Tabasco, salt & pepper. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Strain.
2. Place strained sauce back into the same pan and using the residual heat, melt the rest of the butter into the sauce. Add the cream and cognac. Stir to combine and serve.

June 16, 2013

Miso Marinade

I posted this recipe on my sister site (Wish Upon A Dish), last week, as an entry into a recipe contest sponsored by the Honey Board.
Contest has ended and I wanted to share it with you............

Honey provides balance to any dish, complementing and enhancing a variety of foods and flavors: sweet, savory, sour, bitter and salty.

We all know marinades and BBQ sauces use lots of brown sugar for not only the sweetness but for a molasses flavor.
Did you know that buckwheat honey also adds that rich, dark molasses flavor and color to these foods, making it ideal for browning and glazing?

Learning that information led to the development of this marinade and basting sauce using honey instead of the traditional brown sugar.

Now I have a great recipe, using whole foods to make it healthier and diappropriate. Although the Honey Board's recommendation is a substitution of up to half the sweetener in any sauce or marinade, my sweetener was 100% honey. It needed nothing else.

As a matter of fact I used the "bottom of a honey bottle" to make and to store my marinade. Just shake and use.

Many years ago I was introduced to miso. 
Still not an easy item to find, I was lucky and found mine at a local Asian market. Near a Whole Foods? You can buy miso there and if not, since it requires no refrigeration until you use it, this is also an excellent on-line source for all your miso needs.

What exactly is it? It's like yogurt and is generally made with soybeans.
It's fermented and contains a culture.
Most miso is consumed in Japan and is a side or condiment that is added to a meal uncooked.
Like yogurt, once you cook the miso you kill the live culture.
Like yogurt or any fermented food, it is an excellent tenderizer.
Unlike yogurt, it is classified by grain type, color, taste and background.
  • mugi (麦): barley
  • tsubu (粒): whole wheat/barley
  • genmai (玄米): brown rice
  • moromi (醪): chunky, healthy (kōji is unblended)
  • nanban (南蛮): mixed with hot chili pepper for dipping sauce
  • taima (大麻): hemp seed
  • sobamugi (蕎麦): buckwheat
  • hadakamugi (裸麦): rye
  • nari (蘇鉄): made from cycad pulp, Buddhist temple diet
  • gokoku (五穀): "5 grain": soy, wheat, barley, proso millet, and foxtail millet
Most Americans are familiar with miso in soup form, that uses dashi (bonito flakes), shiitake mushrooms and tofu. Not so familiar to Americans is it's use in salad dressings and marinades.

You are now going to be very happy and will want to hug me. Two distinct reasons:

This marinade includes all 5 taste senses.....
Bitter & Sour - ginger and naranja agria (sour orange)
Salty - fermented soybeans (miso)
Sweet - honey
Umami - sake (seasoned white wine)

......making it the PERFECT MARINADE.

The nutritionals are blockbuster good.....
Although very high in sodium (over 400% DV), one cup (275 g) of miso paste is an excellent source of dietary fiber (59%) and protein (64% DV), as well as a good source of minerals. Miso paste is also high in amino acids, the basic building blocks of protein. An excellent source of vitamin K and a decent source of riboflavin (38% DV), miso also provides small amounts of other vitamins. One major benefit of miso is its extremely high omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid content, although the balance is six times greater for omega-6 than omega-3. A cup of miso soup can be a complete meal depending on what other ingredients are included.

Now for the bonus reason.....
I have used it on pork, salmon and chicken. All with great success.  I can only imagine what it would do to a steak or better yet, mixed into a hamburger.
Trust me, you will never use another marinade. If you want other flavor components, like say, garlic, herbs or spices, go ahead. All compatible.

Miso Salmon
Prep time: 10 minutes
Unattended time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes an inch
Makes: 4 servings

* 1/4 cup sake (or gin)
* 1/4 cup Goya naranja agria (or fresh sour orange juice)
* 1/2 cup red or white miso
* 2 tablespoons amber honey
* 2 tablespoons buckwheat honey (optional) or 1/4 cup total favorite honey
* 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Place ingredients in a bowl and whisk to incorporate. Shake before using.

* 4 (6oz) salmon fillets, skin on
* 1/4 cup miso marinade

1. In a bowl or large plastic bag add the salmon and marinade, turning to coat on all sides.
2. Heat a gas, light about 25 charcoal briquettes or heat a heavy-weight grill pan. While grill is heating, marinate your salmon.
3. Place the salmon, skin side down, directly onto the heated grill, over the heat and close the lid (or cover with foil) and cook for 10 minutes an inch. Thinner fillets will only take about 5-6 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat, tent with foil allow the fish to rest for 5 minutes.

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May 29, 2013

Pesto Vinaigrette

The other day I made this pesto vinaigrette. It has reflamed my love of pesto, which was hiding in shame from an unintentional snub. Dare I remind us of the time, not so long ago, when pesto covered every food known to man. Can you blame me for such neglect?

Has pesto gone the way of Cosmopolitans? I hope not because I like pesto more than a Cosmo.
Make this soon and use it on vegetables, warm roasted potatoes, a steak salad and a cool summer pasta salad.

Pesto Vinaigrette
makes 1/2 cup
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 0

* 1 1/2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 3 tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin preferred
* 1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
* salt & pepper to taste

I put everything into a container, snapped on a lid and shook. The pesto and honey will act as an emulsifier, so if it's too thick to drizzle, add more vinegar. I bet after you make this vinaigrette you will keep a container of pesto in your freezer (measured into small condiment cups) so that the next time you grill vegetables you will have it on hand. Something so simple, can only be wonderful and this does not taste like pesto straight up. I can guarantee non pesto people will love this, and the rest of us, will love it once again.

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May 25, 2013

Avocado Crema

I know it's an oxymoron and I try not to do it but I just made a wonderfully healthy tequila avocado crema that works well in so many applications.
So what's the oxymoron in that statement?

Well, my crema is a margarita crema made with tequila and cointreau and those two ingredients with the word healthy makes it an oxymoron.
You could take out the Cointreau (or triple sec) and use orange zest but I don't think there is a substitute for tequila. On the bright side, did you know tequila has the least amount of carbs of all the liquors out there?

I am not going to change a thing. You shouldn't either. This is great on anything you would use sour cream and avocado on, like tacos, burritos, enchiladas, dips and a garnish for any southern style soup. It would make a hamburger sing and a steak whistle at the baked potato.
Plus it's a lovely shade of green.

Tequila Avocado Crema (make this and use it on everything):
makes 1 cup

Puree in a blender
* 1/2 ripe avocado
* 1/4 cup cottage cheese
* 2 tablespoons sweet and sour mix
* 1 tablespoon each Cointreau and Tequila
* Salt &amp; pepper
* Dash milk to thin

April 17, 2013

Salsa Fresca

Couple month's ago I posted a recipe for these and the green pepper salsa was the clear winner of this dinner.
Last night I prepared chicken & pepper quesadillas and although I like quesadillas, I really wanted to make a batch of green pepper salsa again so I could snap a decent pic and post the salsa here and on my sister blog.

Traditional salsa is tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, red peppers (or canned green chilies), onions, lime juice and oil. Some are made with canned tomatoes (gives it that steamed in a jar texture), roasted garlic and peppers and while they are all good versions, I like the ones that use all fresh veggies. Europeans would call this a salsa fresca or a relish. This is so healthy and vibrant, it would add something terrific on something plain Jane.

Difference with this is the amount of green peppers and the secret ingredient addition of ketchup. I love tart but I am from the B.Flay school of adding a touch of sweet to take that rough edge off the tart.
Now that low sugar ketchup is available, it makes the perfect sweet to the lime juice and gives the sauce a slight thickness to it.
The Nudge loves the green peppers, so since both of us loved this salsa, it will be our go to all summer. I might just have to buy a bag of tortilla chips.

Salsa Fresca
makes 2 cups
* 1 very large ripe tomato, seeded and diced
* 1/2 medium green pepper, diced
* 1 large jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed
* 1 tablespoon low sugar ketchup (Heinz makes a good one)
* 1 lime, juiced
* 1 tablespoon minced cilantro or parsley
* 1/4 small red onion, minced
* salt & pepper to taste
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 6 shakes of Tobasco
* 1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix everything on a small bowl and serve.

Ideas for using fresh salsa (besides Tex-Mex foods):
Spoon on top of steamed and cooled mussels.
Warm and spoon on top of grilled or roasted fish.
Add to rice and serve hot or cold.
Make a black bean salad.
Grill crostini and use as a bruschetta.
Add to macaroni and cheese.
Stuff into a chicken breast.
Bake it on bread for a change from calorie laden Garlic Bread.

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April 4, 2013

Carbonara Sauce

This is a post about the sauce. You can use any pasta your family likes or not.
How about no pasta but chicken or turkey? Maybe toss this sauce with vegetables, YUMMY!

Although there is no cream in this sauce, the eggs make a velvety rich sauce and the grated cheese takes it to another level.

I do know the correct way this dish should be prepared but I am slightly squeamish about undercooked egg whites. If I see them I will push my dish away. Every one has a food fetish, that is mine.

To make sure this does not happen I beat my eggs well, and then add in the cheese (you could also use just the yolks but it might be too much). All that gets tossed with the hot pasta (or not), bacon or pancetta, pasta water (or vegetable blanching water) and lots of black pepper. Some people will add peas or even asparagus, we like ours simple. If I want a vegetable, I will serve spinach on the side and have been known to make that, into a salad.

Serve with extra grated cheese. This is one pasta presentation we never tire of and The Nudge thought it was worth an extra helping.

Carbonara Sauce
makes 4 servings

* 2 large eggs
* 1/2 cup grated cheese, divided
* 5 pieces of pancetta, diced or 4 strips bacon
* 1 tablespoon reserved pancetta fat
* 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
* Pinch of salt
* Generous amount of black pepper
* 12 ounces fresh pasta or 8 ounces dried spaghetti

1. Beat eggs, half the grated cheese (1/4c) and cooled bacon drippings. Set aside.
2. Boil pasta according to package directions.
3. Pour egg mixture into large pasta bowl.
4. Using a spider or large slotted spoon, add pasta to mixture in bowl. Toss quickly to coat.
5. Place bowl over pasta water pot and continue to toss until the sauce thickens and adheres to the pasta. Add the pancetta (bacon), black pepper and pasta water to loosen the sauce. Taste for salt.
6. Remove pasta bowl from pot, sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese and bring to the table.

Happy Eating!!

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January 15, 2013

Lousiana BBQ Shrimp

Fifteen years ago, when in Las Vegas, we made it our mission to check out two of my favorite chef's restaurants. Emeril's Fish House and B.Flay's Mesa Grill. The first dish I ordered was the infamous BBQ shrimp (for which Emeril sold aprons imprinted with the recipe). Now Vegas plays host to hundreds of star chefs, but back then you could still count them on your fingers.

My main meal was a crawfish stuffed mignon. Needless to say I came home, bought his cookbook and made both those dishes with great success.

That was the last time. Not sure why I had a hankering to make those shrimp after all that time but after we ate, I immediately put them back on the menu for February.

If you have never eaten a Louisiana BBQ shrimp I implore you to make them. Louisiana "barbecued" shrimp never touch an actual barbecue. Created at Pascal's Manale restaurant in New Orleans in 1954, the recipe has become a Southern staple. The approach may vary, but it's certain to include ample amounts of shrimp, butter, and garlic. This version is almost always served with French bread for soaking up the rich sauce but I made a small batch of Basmati rice.

Louisiana BBQ Shrimp
Makes 4 servings
Although there is a whole stick of butter in the sauce, serving rice allowed me to cut way back on the amount of that sauce I would actually eat if using bread.

Next time I make this, I will being recreating a lighter version with all the same flavors that make this dish phenomenal.

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