Saturday, July 30, 2011

Seafood Throw Down

Ingredients ~

One cup brown Basmati Rice 
12 jumbo shrimp pre cooked
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 ripe mango pealed and cubed
6 ounces salmon dusted with dried lemon peal
2 crab cakes (these were already in the freezer
that broke down from the other night, store bought,
you can read all about that magic day, on my main 
blog under the Snap Crackle Babble post)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup orange marmalade 
2 table spoons butter
A pour of extra virgin olive oil (*)
4 slices of pickled ginger chopped
(from a left over sushi craving of a few days prior)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup salted macadamia nuts
1 large lime
a pinch of salt
dried lemon peal for the dusting of the salmon
1 shot of Tequila, preferably Reposado(mellow oak flavor)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 cups mixed spring greens

Ok, this is how it works for me. When I get a taste for
something, but have no idea what I want, I peak in my fridge 
or freezer. Desires, flavors, ingredients start to holler. I grab this, 
grab that, oooh this would be great with that, oui oui, 
I must have this too, and the dish builds itself as I'm choosing, 
tasting, chefin' it up.

This throw down is easy, more of a tinker with time
ordeal than anything.

Rinse the rice, and place in a rice cooker, love my rice cooker,
plug and go rice, how great is that, let's me turn it on and
forget about it.

Wash the salmon, lightly dust with the dried lemon peal,
place on a baking pan with the 2 crab cakes,  temp 350
for 28 minutes.

Sauce pan on the stove on medium, pour in bit of olive oil
(laughs at myself, I forgot that on the ingredient list, goes up top
type type type, ok fixed (*), and the 2 tablespoons of butter. 
When it is melted, pour in the orange juice, add the marmalade,
salt, ginger, cayenne pepper, and tequila. Stir briefly to mix,
squeeze in half of the lime. Let this sauce bubble and simmer for 
about 5 to 10 minutes to reduce and thicken, not real thick, 
just like a syrup thick, coats the spoon but runny.

When you have 3 minutes left on the baking of the
fish and crab cakes, add to the sauce the shrimp, chopped
mango, sugar snap peas and thyme sprigs. Let simmer
while you plate the rice, seafood and spring greens.

This dish is very pretty, especially when you take a picture of it
BEFORE you begin eating(refers to the picture up top) which 
should have looked more like the description that follows.

Place half of a cup of rice on the top half of  two plates, half cup each.
Place in a tier formation, one half of the salmon, one crab cake,
adding the shrimp and sugar peas on top of all of the above. Pour over
this entire composition the sauce. Garnish with the macadamia nuts.
Toss a  handful of spring greens along the side plus 2 lime wedges.
(Sea salt macadamia nuts add a creamy texture. I smashed 
the whole ones into smaller chunks.)

Spritz the lime over the mixed greens and seafood for a nice
citrus contrast to the sweetness of the sauce.
I also add more cayenne 'cause I like it spicy. 

This serves 2 people, there will be rice left over, and
some of the sauce too, but after you taste it, maybe there won't!

Gnom Gnom Gnom 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Makings Of My Kitchen Life

It all begins with children, who demand to be fed. A simple thing,
if you know how to cook. As a newly married mother of one child,
baking was my forte (I'll get back to that in another post).
Cooking meals was mmm, my mom's job.

I was now The Mom.

My first dish, because it was served on a plate, not that it was a
gastronomic delight or anything worth mentioning, consisted of a can
of mixed vegetables, two bullion cubes to make a gravy, a half of a
pound of hamburger, and rice, which I prepared twice. The first round
of rice we do not speak of, giggle about, or refer to around family gatherings.

What is worth mentioning, is how my kitchen life grew and my ability
to cook, as I was blessed with four children, who though now
all grown and in their own kitchens, still text me via their cell phones,
"Whacha' makin' for dinner Mom?"


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients ~

One medium eggplant
1 16 ounce jar of meat and mushroom Spaghetti Sauce
1 16 ounce extra firm Tofu
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 - 4 ounce cans mushroom pieces

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
3 cups Corn Oil
6, 4 inch ramekins

Note ~
While preparing your eggplant, keep the oil
warming on medium low. Turn the oil up to
medium high, when you begin preparing the last
two slices of eggplant for frying.

Beat the eggs in a large shallow saucer, put on the side.
Place the flour into a large freezer bag for shaking.
Slice the eggplant into 12 thin slices, blotting both sides
dry with a paper towel.

Immerse the eggplant one slice at a time into the egg
wash, gently shake off the extra egg, place immediately
into the flour bag and shake, fully coating both sides.
Place the coated slice aside onto a tray. Repeat until all
of the slices are coated with flour.

Place 3 or 4 coated slices of eggplant into the oil, (so they
do not over lap or touch), brown one minute on each side,
remove slices from the oil to a paper towel, repeat the
process for all the remaining slices of eggplant.

Layer the ingredients into the ramekins beginning with the
sauce,  follow with a slice of eggplant, sliced mushroom
pieces, crumbled tofu, then the Mozzarella, make a second
layer beginning with the sauce repeating the steps, however
on this layer put the sauce over the tofu first and finish with
the cheese on top. (separate each of your ingredients into
6 fairly equal portions if you are not comfortable eyeballing
the amounts for each ramekin.)

Repeat these steps with the remaining 5 ramekins.
Bake in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.

Gnom Gnom Gnom

Sunday, July 17, 2011


“Mom can I have an orange?” Leah says, her beautiful big blue eyes staring at me, the tiny little fingers of my six year old daughter, gripping the side board of my platform water bed.

“No,” I groan. “It’s five in the morning honey.” I would like to have thought 
that I responded with sweetness to this little person whom I love.

She sinks down out of my view, fingers still gripping the bed side. 

I had just fallen asleep, not yet quite ready for my kitchen life. Through my 
lashes I see her rise, eyes peering at me, fingers still in place.

“Mom, can I have an apple?” Leah is the only one awake at this hour.

“Mommy needs to sleep baby, please let me sleep just a little longer?" 
I whisper back. 

She slips away and reappears one last time. “How about a banana, can 
I have a banana?" 

My eyelids clinch tight, I scream, “Fine eat the whole damn kitchen, 
don’t care!” Burrowing myself deep under my pillow, I hear her little 
feet pad pad pad out of my bedroom.

“Thank you Mommy,” she sings back to me.  

I can still see in my mind, the triumphant smile that graced her face 
that particular morning.