Fish and Seafood

Blackened Snapper with Pineapple Salsa

Kevin and I are not fish lovers.  Period.  Sure, we know its healthy, but I have to admit to we both feel less than excited anytime fish is on our dinner menu; unless, of course, it is battered and deep fried and served with chips and copious amounts of tartar sauce.

Alas, that is not the healthiest way to get our Omega-3’s so I look for healthier yet tasty ways to prepare it.

This dish is one that we both actually liked, and look forward to eating again.  I followed the original recipe , from Canadian Living, exactly as written the first time, except that I subbed Alubia for Black beans.  With the beans, the salsa was too creamy for our tastes so I made some changes which we thought improved the texture and flavour of the dish.

I serve this with plain white rice and a mixed green salad to round out the meal.

Blackened Snapper with Pineapple Salsa

The Salsa

1 1/2 cups pineapple, diced

1/2 small red onion, diced

1/2 cup cilantro, leaves & tender stems, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon lime juice

1 Tablespoon canola oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

The Fish

1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 Red Snapper fillets, about 4 ounces (110 grams) each, about 3/4″ thick

2 Tablespoons Canola oil for frying

Lime wedges for serving

Make the Salsa:  Toss all ingredients in large bowl to combine well.   Set aside.

Now, for the Fish:  Pat fillets dry with paper towel and place on work surface.  Stir together first 5 ingredients.  Rub fish all over with seasoning.   Cook fish in 2 batches – heat half the oil over medium high heat, add 2 fillets and cook, turning once until fish is “blackened” and flakes easily in the center.  About 5 minutes, depending on thickness of your fish.  Transfer to plate, tent with foil to keep warm and repeat with remaining fish.

To serve, place fillets on plates and top with pineapple salsa, add a lime wedge on the side.    Add the rice and salad and you have a complete plate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Salads · Uncategorized

Arugula Salad with Apples & Walnuts

This is a nicely balanced salad, sweet enough to serve with brunch, but also great with a grilled chicken breast for dinner!

This will serve 4 as a side, or 2 as a main.

arugula salad

Arugula Salad with Apples & Walnuts

Dressing

3 Tablespoons plain unsweetened yogurt (homemade if you have it)

Juice from half a lemon

1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive oil

1 Tablespoon liquid honey

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Salad

2 cups baby arugula

3 cups leaf lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

1 apple, cored and thinly sliced

1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted   See Cooks Notes below

1/4 cup dried cranberries

2 Tablespoons raw, unseasoned sunflower seeds

Whisk dressing ingredients together in large bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add arugula. lettuce, apples and walnuts to dressing in bowl.  Gently toss to combine well.

Sprinkle toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds over top.

Serve immediately.

COOKS NOTE – to toast walnuts,  heat in a dry skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally until beginning to brown and slightly fragrant.  Remove walnuts from pan immediately (so they don’t burn in the hot pan).  Set aside to cool before adding to salad.

Muffins and Quick Breads · Uncategorized

Banana, Oat and Nut Bread

3 years ago, I planted 2 baby banana trees in our front yard.  They are surprisingly easy to grow, and already, they have given us 3 large stalks of filled with bunches of beautiful, ripe bananas.  The thing  is that once they begin to ripen, the whole stalk seems to become ripe all at the same time!

Of course the stalk is hung within easy reach so our guests can enjoy a fresh banana whenever the fancy strikes them.  Still, there are always more than we can enjoy right off the vine.  Those, I peel and freeze for later use, such as this banana bread.

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Banana, Oat and Nut Bread

1 1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup brown sugar, well packed

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 quick cooking oats (or pulse regular old fashioned oats, in your food processor for a couple of seconds)

1/3 cup canola oil

2 eggs beaten

1 cup well mashed bananas (about 3 medium)

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder salt and oats together and make well in centre.

In a second bowl, mix oil, eggs and bananas together.  Gently stir into the flour mixture until just mixed.  Fold in walnuts and turn into prepared loaf pan.

Bake 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.

 

 

 

Muffins and Quick Breads

Peanut Butter -Banana Muffins

A nice change from banana bread.

 

Peanut Butter -Banana Muffins

1 cup white flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup peanut butter (like Skippy, not natural)

1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup mashed bananas

2 Tablespoons milk

2 eggs beaten

peanuts for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F.  Place 12 muffin liners in muffin pan and spritz lightly with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

Whisk together both flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.

Measure peanut butter, oil bananas, milk and eggs into another bowl and stir/mash to combine well.   Add to the flour mixture and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Be warned, there will be lumps.  Careful not to over mix or your muffins will be tough.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.   Add peanuts on  top for garnish if using.

Bake 12 – 15 minutes, until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.  Cool in pan 5 minutes, then dump onto wire rack to cool completely.

 

 

Beef · Main Courses · Soups and Stews

Beef Chili

Yes, I know, I have already posted a chili recipe, but I like this version too.   The dried chilies in this recipe add a nice depth of flavour that will help chase away those winter blues.    They are easily found here in Mexico, but depending on where you live, you may have to do a bit of searching.  If your local grocery doesn’t carry them, look around for a Mexican or East Indian market.  They often carry spices that the big name stores do not.   I realize it could be a bit of a treasure hunt for some of you, but I’m pretty one bite will convince you that finding the chiles was worth the effort.

This serves 8.

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Beef Chili

4 large ancho chiles

2 dried guajillo chiles

2 dried pasilla chiles

3 cups boiling water

3 Tablespoons canola oil

2 kilos boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2″ slices

Salt & pepper

2 large onions

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 bottle Corona beer (or any other kind you like)

1    14 oz can diced tomatoes

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 Tablespoon molasses

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

sour cream and grated cheese for serving

Wipe chiles with a damp paper towel to remove any dust or sediment.  Remove stems and seeds from all of them.  Tear into large pieces and place in large heat-proof bowl.  Pour boiling water over, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes to soften chiles.

Meanwhile, season beef with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, brown beef on both sides – about 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to plate.

Reduce heat to medium add onions and cook, stirring often until onions are translucent and very soft.  About 6 – 10 minutes.  Add garlic, cook one minute more.  Add cumin and oregano and cook, stirring one minute more.  Add tomatoes and brown sugar and scrape bottom of pot to loosen any spices stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Add the beer, increase heat to high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the beer has evaporated.  10 – 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put chiles and their soaking liquid into blender and blend on high until smooth.  About 1 minute.  Cut beef into 1/2 inch pieces.

Add beef, chile puree and 2 cups of water to pot.  Bring to boil, reduce and let simmer, uncovered, until meat is very tender and liquid has thickened slightly.  About 2 hours.

Stir in beans and cook just until they are heated thru, another 5 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat and stir in vinegar.

Serve with sour cream, grated cheese and /or whatever else floats your boat on the table so guests can help themselves to toppings.  Round the meal out with a  salad, baked potatoes or rice and garlic bread.

 

Appetizers and Snacks · Breads

Naan Bread

A happy day it was, when we learned how to make this at home!  these instructions are for grilling this bread on a charcoal grill, however, a gas grill or cast iron pan stove top will work just as well.  It may take some practice, and your first batch(es) may not be perfect (or edible), but if you are reading this, you probably already know that learning this will be well worth the effort.  Enjoy.

Pumpkin-Spice Hummus
Naan Bread with Pumpkin-Spiced Hummus

Naan Bread

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt (plus more for finishing)

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup plain yogurt (not greek) or sour cream

2 Tablespoons melted butter,  ghee or canola oil (plus more for finishing bread)

Whisk flour, sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl.

Stir milk and yogurt and 2 Tablespoons melted butter together to combine and pour into flour mixture.  Mix until a shaggy dough forms.

Turn  out onto lightly floured board.  Dough will be sticky.   Adding flour as needed, knead until a soft, smooth dough forms.  About 7 minutes.

Form into ball and place in lightly oiled bowl.  Turn to coat, cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm draft- free place until dough is doubled in size.  30 – 45 minutes.  (Instant yeast works faster than regular, so keep a close eye on it)

Punch down, divide into 10 pieces.  With floured hands, roll each piece into a ball and place on lightly floured cookie sheet.   Cover with flour dusted kitchen towel and let rest 10 minutes.   (If you are not making the bread right away, place the tray in the fridge -up to 3 hours covered with a kitchen towel).

Preheat grill to HOT.

On a lightly floured surface, and with  floured hands, pat and stretch dough into about an 8″ circle.  (honestly, the shape doesn’t matter.  You need to be concerned that the dough is more or less uniform thickness, about 1/8 inch.  You could roll the dough out, but the bumps left by your fingers  give the bread an interesting surface texture).

Toss onto preheated grill and let sit until dough starts to  bubble and the surface looks slightly dry, 2 – 3  minutes.   Flip over and cook for another minute or two, until charred in spots.  remove from heat, lightly brush with melted butter (or ghee) and sprinkle very lightly with salt.  Repeat for remaining pieces.

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Toss on preheated grill
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Fresh Naan!!

 

 

Fish and Seafood · Main Courses

South Indian Fish Curry

Full of flavour yet mild enough for those of you who are not lovers of spicy food.

The good folks at LCBO where this recipe came from suggest a cold Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc to compliment the flavours in this dish.

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South Indian Fish Curry

South Indian Fish Curry

Spice Mix

2 Tablespoons coriander seeds

1 Tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 whole star anise

1  teaspoon ground tumeric

1 teaspoon mild curry powder

4 – 5 Tablespoons water

The Fish

2 Tablespoons oil

1 large onion, diced

salt

3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely minced

2 teaspoons grated ginger – from about 1″ fresh ginger root

1/2 cup crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)

1 lb Mahi- Mahi, Red Snapper or other firm white fish cut into bite size pieces

Garnish

Cilantro leaves

lime zest

In spice grinder, mix coriander, cumin, peppercorns, mustard seeds and star anise and blend until finely ground.   Transfer to bowl and stir in tumeric and curry powder.  Add the water to make a paste & set aside.

Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat.  Add onions and a pinch of salt.  cook until onions are soft and just beginning to turn brown. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 1 minute.   Reduce heat to low, scrape onions to side of pan and  spice paste to the spot you have cleared.   Cook spice paste, stirring constantly, until most of the water has evaporated – about 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and coconut, increase heat to medium high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to med low and cook until sauce is slightly thickened – about 10 minutes.

Season fish with salt and add to pan, gently stirring to coat with the sauce.  Cover skillet and cook 4 – 5 minutes, just until fish is cooked through.

Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime zest and serve with plenty of rice and Na’an bread to soak up the sauce.