Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Simply Perfect Egg Salad

So sorry my posts have been fairly scarce lately.  That trend will probably continue for a few weeks because:

1.)  I have been eating like a rabbit everyday due to the fact that I have to be in a bathing suit in front of my colleagues in less than 10 days.  Trust me, the juice and salads that I have been making are not even remotely interesting.


2.)  We will be off to San Juan and the Caribbean for over a week and I will be completely off the grid.

It has been a bit of a rough week around here for a few reasons so I decided to treat myself with some, wait for it...egg salad. 

You might be asking yourself, "Is she really showing me how to make egg salad?".  And the answer to your question is...YES!  I am convinced that this is the most perfect egg salad recipe out there. 

The funny thing about egg salad is that, at least for me, it isn't always at the top of your list of things to make. But then you see a picture of it and insane cravings take over until you get yourself an egg salad sandwich!  I've had my fair share of too-mustardy-no-flavor egg salads and that all stops here.  

This recipe is extra special because it incorporates some pretty awesome ingredients like mascarpone cheese and truffle oil, as if it wasn't decadent enough.  I've made mine like this for years; open faced with thinly sliced cucumbers on toasted whole grain bread.

So, did I inspire you to make some egg salad today?  Do you still have Easter eggs left?  If so, then I have done my good deed for the day!    

Simply Perfect Egg Salad
6 hard boiled eggs (for perfect method on how to cook eggs, click here)
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1/4 teaspoon truffle oil 

Chop up the eggs and scallions and throw in a mixing bowl.  In a smaller bowl, mix mayo, mascarpone, salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard and truffle oil together until smooth.  

Add mayo mixture to eggs and mix until combined.  Toast bread and top with sliced cucumbers, egg salad and a pinch of fresh cracked pepper.     

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Crispy Red Snapper with Chili Tamarind Sauce

If you are from Cleveland, then you most definitely have been to the West Side Market before.  It is one of my absolute favorite places in this city.  If you are visiting from out of town and want to go somewhere with a rich, local history and amazing food, then get your tush down to the West Side Market.  

The market is filled with tons of unique and local vendors.  Pretty much anything you want, it's there.  Spices. Oils. Meats. Smoked Meats. Cheese. Produce. Crepes. Gyros. Breads. Sweets. Fish. It is truly a gem in this great town.  

We went last weekend and found this gorgeous red snapper at the Classic Seafood booth.  The nice gentlemen at the booth filleted it for me and sent me home with the bones and head to make some stock! Since I had an empty schedule that day, I decided to make something special and this is the end result.   

I realize you are probably looking at this recipe and probably saying, "I don't have time nor do I have half of those ingredients!".  Well, the good thing is that you don't have to make it all if you don't want because each of the separate components are just fine on their own.   The slaw is light, fresh and a perfect side.  The crispy fish can be served with a little squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.  

Take what you wish from this but if you do have the time and resources, it really is a stunning dish!  

You don't have to make fish stock but I had the time and ingredients to do so.  Low-sodium boxed would do just fine.

This slaw is so refreshing and pairs nicely with the crispy fish and rich sauce.

Here are most of the ingredients for the sauce.  It is a mix of sour, spicy, salty and sweet and super delicious.  This Tandoori seasoning is made up of coriander, cumin, sweet paprika, garlic, ginger, cardamom and saffron and can be purchased here. If you don't have coconut sugar, brown sugar or honey would work just fine.  

Chop and grate the ginger, chili, garlic and shallot.

Fish stock is ready.  Strain and cool.

Add the aromatics to the coconut oil.

Then add stock...

And tamarind paste.  This is one of the main ingredients used in Pad Thai and has a sour taste.

This is with all of the ingredients added.  It really thickens up.  Add more stock as needed while cooking on low.

I made a quick little dressing for the slaw.

Be sure to season the fish with salt and pepper.

Batter time!  The rice flour makes for a very light and crispy crust, very similar to tempura.

Dunk the fish in the batter.

Then fry in 375 degree oil. 

I also like to dress the slaw last minute so it stays crisp and not soggy.  

Crispy Red Snapper with Chili Tamarind Sauce

2 carrots
2 ribs of celery
3 cloves garlic
1 onion
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
6 cups water

Throw all ingredients in a pot and simmer over medium heat for 30-45 minutes.  Drain and reserve for later use.

Chili Tamarind Sauce
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knob ginger, grated
1 Thai chili pepper, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup fish stock
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or honey or brown sugar)
1 teaspoon Tandoori seasoning (can be purchased here)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons Sriracha

In a shallow sauce pan, melt coconut oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, ginger, chili pepper and shallot and saute for 5 minutes until soft.  Add stock, tamarind paste, coconut sugar, Tandoori, fish sauce and Sriracha.   Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Fish and Batter
1/3 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup water, chilled with ice cubes

2-4 red snapper fillets, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
Cilantro, roughly chopped for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

Peanut oil for frying

Add enough oil to the pan so it is about 1/2 inch deep.  Preheat until oil reaches 375-400 degrees.

In a small bowl, add rice flour, salt and baking powder.  Whisk to combine.  Slowly add ice cold water and whisk until a thin batter forms.

Season fish with salt and pepper.  Dip each filet in the batter then place in the hot oil. Fry for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined sheet pan.  Place fish in 250 degree oven to keep warm.  

When ready to serve, place fish on top of a plate with spoonfuls of tamarind sauce.  Top with cilantro and wedges of lime.

Slaw + Dressing
2 cups savoy cabbage
1/2 cup red pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare vegetables by chopping and slicing them.  Place in a bowl.

For the dressing, add soy sauce, vinegar, honey, sesame oil, onion and garlic powder to a small bowl and whisk together.  Slowly add the olive oil and whisk until emulsified.

Ten minutes prior to serving, toss vegetables with dressing.  Serve as a side for the fish.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Roasted Corn and Jicama Guacamole

Hello my lovelies!  Have you all been having fun playing around with my new layout?  I'm not going to lie... I am absolutely thrilled with the new design!  I finally feel like a real blogger!

We got a taste of spring here in Cleveland this weekend and boy did it feel nice.  The sun was shining and I was able to get out with the dogs a few times for some long walks in the park.  

There is this restaurant here in Cleveland called Momcho and it is amazing.  Basically, they serve Mexican cuisine with a modern twist and the entire menu is inventive and delicious. One of my favorite things to order is a sampler of their different types of guacamole.  I love when a classic dish is shaken up a bit.

And that is what inspired me to make this Roasted Corn and Jicama Guacamole.  My love for avocados is unwavering and I could make a meal on just this.  Well, I also washed this down with a few margaritas.  Sunshine, drinks and guacamole... I am one happy girl!     

Did you know that you can roast corn in the oven?  I discovered this a few months ago and I don't think I will ever go back to the traditional shuck/boil method.  It is so easy because you just throw the whole thing in the oven.  And best part is that you don't get corn silk and husks all over your kitchen!

What the heck is that?  Jicama!  Otherwise know as the Mexican turnip.  The best way to describe the taste is crisp and fresh with a texture similar to an apple or water chestnut.

If you've never worked with one before, you can see it is pretty simple to chop up.  Slice off both ends.

Then run your knife down the side to peel the skin off.

Slice into 1/4 inch slices.

Now you can stack and chop into sticks or cubes.

It's also really good plain.  Toss with some chili powder, salt and lime juice for a healthy snack!

See how easy that husk peels right off?

You don't have to char the corn but I like the way it looks and tastes.  In effort to save time, I just ran my kitchen torch over the kernels a few times.  I love getting my torch out because it makes me feel like a bad-a$$!

Prep all of the veggies.

Then slice the avocados.  To remove the pit, whack it with your knife and twist.  Then I just use a spoon to remove the flesh.

You don't want to mash the other veggies so add those later.  The little bit of sour cream adds a touch of creaminess to the guac.

::quick tip:: 
To keep the guacamole from turning brown, place plastic wrap directly on top of it.  It will keep the air out and prevent the dip from turning that nasty brown color.  Cool, eh?!?!

Roasted Corn and Jicama Guacamole
4 Avocados
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup jicama, chopped into small cubes
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon jalapeno, minced

To roast the corn, place ear, husk and all, in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.  Shuck the corn, then either throw on the grill, under to broiler or use a kitchen torch to char the kernels.  Run a knife down the length of the corn to remove the kernels.

Prep vegetables by chopping and mincing the jicama, red onion, cilantro, garlic and jalapeno.

In a large bowl, add the flesh of the avocados, salt, pepper, hot sauce, sour cream and lime juice.  Using a potato masher, mash all of the ingredients until combined but still leaving small chunks of avocado.

Add the jicama, red onion, corn, cilantro, garlic and jalapeno and mix with a spatula until combined.  Serve with corn chips and jicama sticks.

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