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Although I could go on and on about the spicy-sweet glaze on the salmon or the subtle sweetness of the hominy purée, I do love hominy, I’m going to tell you about my foot instead. You see, I finally got around to going back to a doctor yesterday.

The bad news: I have, for the most part, stopped running since mid-March and it looks like I will be out fo 6-8 weeks longer before a very gradual ramp-up over another 6-8 weeks. Not really such a bad thing though. That was pretty much in line with my expectations going into the appointment.

The good news: Over the next few weeks I will go back and have an insert made for my running shoe to take pressure off of my sesamoids. This should allow my foot to heal fully and hopefully reduce the risk of reinjury.

Now to get myself psyched up for a lot of cycling. In the next few weeks most of it will be indoors because of the massive amount of rain that we get in Southern Indiana in the Spring. (It is really poor mountain biking etiquette to ride on wet trails because it tears them up and ruins them for other users.) I should check out some of those spinning DVDs to switch up my scenery some!

From Bon Appetit.

Ingredients:

  • 3 chipotle chiles from canned chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam or preserves
  • 1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Nonstick  spray
  • 4 4-oz salmon fillets with skin (scant 1 inch thick)
  • 2 15-oz can hominy, drained, juice reserved
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • Salmon:
    • Pre-heat oven to 450°F.
    • Using back of spoon, press enough chipotles through fine sieve into small bowl to measure 2 tsp purée.
    • Mix chipotle purée, jam, vinegar, and cumin in bowl, then season to taste with salt.
    • Coat a small rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Arrange salmon on sheet; sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
    • Distribute the glaze evenly over the fillets.
    • Roast until just opaque in center, about 10 minutes.
  • Hominy Purée:
    • While the salmon is cooking, purée hominy plus 6 tbsp reserved juice in mini processor until almost smooth.
    • Transfer purée to a small skillet and add butter and cilantro.
    • Stir over medium heat until warmed through, mixing in more reserved juice by teaspoonfuls if too thick.
    • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Divide hominy between plates, top with salmon, and serve.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 374, Fat ~ 16.3 g, Carbohydrates ~ 23.6 g, Protein ~ 31.1 g

From the moment I saw these on Shelby’s blog, I knew that I needed to try them. She always has tasty looking dinners, and this one was no exception.

Shrimp rangoons were a major win in my book. They took just minutes to put together and in my typical style, I was able to have the whole kitchen cleaned up before they were out of the oven.

Excellent “after work” dinner choice. Equally good for a snack or appetizer. Best of all, this dish gets the “we can serve this to other people” seal of approval.

After I put my rangoons in the oven and shifted my focus to the dipping sauce, I realized that I was missing one key component from Shelby’s recipe: apricot preserves.

I searched high and low for a good substitute, but all of our preserves were berry flavored. Berry dipping sauce just didn’t seem right.

By the time Chris got home from work, I was feeding him a spoonful of sweet and spicy red dipping sauce out of the food processor and asking “Does this taste like an Asian-ish dipping sauce to you?”

It did. Peach pineapple chipotle salsa puréed into oblivion and masquerading as Chinese dipping sauce.  Sweet (and spicy) success!

 

From Shelby at eat, drink, run

Ingredients:

For the rangoons:

  • 6 oz salad shrimp, ours came pre-cooked, peeled, and w/o tails
  • 12 wonton wrappers
  • 1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili paste (or sub 1/2 tsp Sriracha)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • olive oil spray

For my sauce:

For Shelby’s sauce: (I didn’t try this one because we had no apricot preserves, but I imagine that it would be tasty as well and the ingredients are probably easier to find.)

  • 2 tbsp apricot preserves
  • 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • splash of soy sauce

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • If your shrimp are damp, put them on a baking sheet in the oven for a few minutes as it heats to dry them out.
  • Combine cream cheese, scallions, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, chili paste, garlic and sesame oil.  Stir until smooth.
  • Lightly spray a 12-cup muffin tin with olive oil spray, ensuring that each cup’s bottom and sides are coated.
  • Press a wonton wrapper in to each cup.
  • Place about 3 small shrimp in the bottom of each cup reserving 12 shrimp for toppers.
  • Divide cream cheese mixture among cups, spooning it on top of the shrimp.
  • Place one shrimp in each cup on top of the cream cheese mixture.
  • Bake until edges of wontons are brown and crisp, about 12-15 minutes.
  • To make my sauce: combine ingredients in food processor, pulse until smooth.
  • To make Shelby’s sauce: stir together all ingredients.

Servings ~ 2

Calories (rangoons) ~ 361, Fat ~ 10 g, Carbohydrates ~ 41 g, Protein ~ 26 g 
Calories (rangoons w/my sauce) ~ 465, Fat ~ 10 g, Carbohydrates ~ 69 g, Protein ~ 26 g
Calories (rangoons w/Shelby’s sauce) ~ 422, Fat ~ 10 g, Carbohydrates ~ 57 g, Protein ~ 26 g

After making a huge bowl of peach salsa, Chris and I needed to get busy eating peach salsa like nobody’s business.

Putting the peach salsa on tacos over shrimp seemed like a no-brainer.

Not only was this a super tasty meal, it was pretty healthy, and even quick and easy to make. This one is likely to go into our regular rotation!

Incidentally, the leftover peach salsa is also really good as a topping for cottage cheese. Does anyone else regularly eat salsas on cottage cheese?

Chris and I were debating the salsa on cottage cheese thing over lunch today as we each scarfed some down. We both did it before we met, but I am convinced it is out of the norm. He is convinced that it is commonplace. What do you think?

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. salad shrimp w/o tail
  • cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, finely shredded
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups (about 4 servings) peach salsa
  • olive oil spray

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to broil.
  • Cook shrimp, I defrosted pre-cooked frozen shrimp by steaming them.
  • Spray tortillas with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and place them in the oven. Heat tortillas in oven until they are pliable.
  • Shred cabbage and set aside.
  • Drain shrimp, then season to taste with cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Assemble tacos with cabbage, shrimp, then salsa on top.
  • Other tasty toppings might include sour cream, hot sauce, or guacamole.

Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 350, Fat ~ 5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 51 g, Protein ~ 29 g

We have another winner! Duke’s House deems these “Good enough to serve to other people!”

The prep time on this dish was a bit longer than I typically like for a week night dinner, but it was well worth the effort. I suppose that I could have chopped up most of those veggies the night before to cut down prep time, but that would involve planning my meal ahead. Highly unlikely.

I read yesterday that jicama could be used as a substitute for watercress in stir fry, so I thought, why not use my leftover jicama from my Corn and Jicama Salad in some egg rolls? It was a great plan!

I highly recommend serving these with Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce. Chris was kind enough to make the dipping sauce, which seemed a little overwhelming after cutting all of those veggies and filling the egg rolls. It could easily be made a day ahead of time, or there would have been plenty of time for me to make it during the 14 minutes that the egg rolls were in the oven.

We both enjoyed these tremendously and will probably serve them as hors d’oeuvres next time we have a party.

Adapted from LovesToEat.

Ingredients:

  • egg roll wrappers (I used 16)
  • 1/2 lb. salad shrimp, deveined and w/o tail
  • 1 avocado, sliced thinly
  • 1 mango, peeled and sliced lengthwise very thinly
  • 1/2 orange pepper Julienne
  • 1/2 green pepper Julienne
  • 6 scallions sliced lengthwise very thinly
  • 1 cup carrots sliced very thinly (I used about 10 baby carrots)
  • 1 cup jicama sliced very thinly (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • olive oil spray

Directions:

  • Cook shrimp. When finished, drain and set aside.
  • Slice vegetables as described above.
  • Crack one egg into a small bowl and beat egg.
  • Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Coat a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  • Assembling the egg rolls:
    • Place an egg roll wrapper on a flat surface.
    • Put a few pieces of each filling ingredient on a diagonal across one corner of the wrapper.
    • Begin rolling from the corner about 1/2 of a turn, then fold the two sides in snugly.
    • Continue rolling until about 1″ of wrapper remains.
    • Use a brush to brush some egg onto the corner flap to stick it down.
    • Brush the remainder of the egg roll lightly with egg, then place on the baking sheet.
    • Repeat as needed.
  • When all of the rolls have been assembled, bake for 6-7 minutes at 425 degrees.
  • Flip the egg rolls, then bake for an additional 6-7 minutes.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
  • Serve with dipping sauce, I recommend Mango Dipping Sauce, hoisin sauce, or soy sauce.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 465, Fat ~ 9 g, Carbohydrates ~ 76 g, Protein ~ 24 g

Just as I was thinking about how lame my dinner plans for this week were, my friend Rayna came to the rescue. “Do you want to try another Lebanese dish? Have you ever had Samkeh Harrah?’

No, I had not. In fact, I had never even heard of Samkeh Harrah, but I was immediately off to Google to learn about it.

Not only does this dish have a recommendation from a trusted source, but it sounds tasty, reasonably healthy, and we happen to own all of the ingredients commonly found in Samkeh Harrah recipes! Win!

What I learned from my research is that there are many varieties of Samkeh Harrah. Some versions include fish, usually red snapper, that has been stuffed and then fried whole. Other recipes more closely resemble a stew with vegetables, a sauce, and shredded fish mixed in.

Because of my aversion to fish heads (Fish with heads look too much like creatures that may have been happily living and swimming along at one point.) and because of Duke’s House Budget (Remember the 4 lbs. of tilapia I got on sale a few weeks ago?) I have opted to go with the stew variety.

I’m not sure what type of Samkeh Harrah Rayna made, but it might be fun to get her recipe and try it out for comparison sometime. I can’t picture her stuffing a fish, head and all, but she always surprises me.

This recipe is cobbled together based on the ingredients and proportions of many other recipes, then adjusted to scale back the fat and calorie content, i.e. less tahini than recommended.

Ingredients

  • 24 oz fried or grilled fish (red snapper is recommended, but I used tilapia) flaked
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped coriander
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbps coriander
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground chili (red pepper)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • lemon wedges, toasted pine nuts, and parsley for garnish

Directions:

  • Bake fish in a lightly greased dish at 375 degrees until the fish easily flakes with a fork. (My tilapia took about 10 minutes.)
  • Saute the onion and bell pepper until the pepper softens and the onion turns translucent.
  • Stir in spices, salt and ground almonds.
  • Pour sesame paste sauce over the mixture, stir constantly on medium heat until the mixture thickens.
  • Pour mixture in serving platter over the flaked fish. 
  • Garnish with lemon wedges, toasted pine nuts and some chopped parsley.

Servings ~ 6
Calories ~ 237, Fat ~ 13 g, Carbohydrates ~ 7 g, Protein ~ 26 g

As a native Angelino and avid longtime surfer, Chris has many fond memories of surf trips to Baja where he would eat fish tacos from roadside stands and his favorite beachside cantinas. Unfortunately, Chris’s move to the Hoosier State has precluded weekend jaunts south of the border. Bummer.    

I had no pictures of surfing Chris, this is Chris in his current state instead. The fishing is fine in Duke’s Pond. This fish was not harmed in the making of these tacos.

In order to win Chris’s heart, I have spent years perfecting the art of preparing Baja-style fish tacos (sans authentic atmosphere). Hopefully my efforts more closely resemble the tacos from the cantinas than those from the roadside stands.      

There are several important components to this dish, the guac, the pico de gallo, the seasoning on the fish, the taco shell, the cabbage, and the hot sauce.   

 

First, the guac. You need a fairly ripe avocado or you will have a heck of a time mashing it. It then needs the right balance of cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and lime juice. If we weren’t cooking within the parameters of Duke’s House Budget, we would also add some diced jalapeño. If we weren’t cooking for Chris who hates raw tomatoes, we would add some finely chopped grape tomatoes. 

   

Next the pico de gallo. Ours is just finely chopped onion, preferably the white or red variety, and fresh cilantro.     

   

On to the fish. Nearly any type of mild flavored, crumbly fish will work, at Duke’s House we use whatever is on sale. This week tilapia was 4 lbs. for $9, so tilapia it is. Pollack, haddock, grouper, and flounder also work. Use your imagination. We usually season the fish with lemon juice, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. This isn’t fine fish, the point is to make sure that you don’t taste it.   

     

The taco shell must be a soft corn tortilla! Nearly the entire Hoosier state is staring wide-eyed at that last sentence. A whaaa? That’s right. No crunchy taco shells, or at least not the yellow U-shaped ones that you are thinking of. Not a four tortilla, not even if it is whole wheat. I’m talking about the 6″ corn tortillas that come bagged in stacks of 84. Don’t worry, I am pretty sure that they will stay fresh for a year or more in your refrigerator, not that they will last that long anyway. After you try these, you will be going through corn tortillas like nobody’s business!   

Lastly, the hot sauce. We have quite a hot sauce collection at our house: Tabasco, Sriracha, Frank’s Ret Hot, Cholula, we may even have some El Yucateco hidden in the back of the pantry, but at Duke’s House we only use Tapatio for fish tacos.   

The cabbage is pretty self explanitory. We usually buy ours pre-shredded because we’re lazy very hungry and short on time when we get home from work. Chopping it up from a head of cabbage would be great as well.   

We generally make up all of the individual components of this dish, warm up the tortillas, and assemble the tacos as we go. Note, if you do not warm up the tortillas, they will break and you will be wearing your dinner.   

   

Fish Taco Fish:   

Ingredients:   

  • 6-8 ounces of crumbly, mild tasting, light colored fish
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:    

  • Combine fish, lemon juice, and spices in a foil packet.
  • Grill over a medium heat until fish is flaky and cooked through.

   

Last fall when Chris and I visited Japan, we discovered Okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake/omelette hybrid topped with Okonomi Sauce and sometimes mayonnaise. We first had it in Hiroshima and then again in Osaka and I could not get enough of it. After being tipped off to a good recipe for Okonomiyaki, found on the back of the Otafuku Okonomi Sauce package, my adventure began.

I wanted to go to my local Japanese grocery store to pick up some Okonomiyaki flour and aonori-ko (seaweed flakes) before I made this last night, but we ended up going for a mountain bike ride instead. I ended up using all-purpose flour and skipping the aonori-ko. In retrospect, I could have just tried crumbling some nori into the batter. We always have nori on hand, you know, for all of those times that you need a sheet of seaweed in an emergency.

Since I didn’t make it to the Japanese grocery store, I decided to try my hand at making the Okonomi Sauce based on this recipe. Based on our memories of the sauce, it was a pretty good substitution. I’m interested in buying some to compare flavors.

The Okonomiyaki we ate varied widely between different cities and Okonomiyaki joints. Our experience was that either a restaurant specialized in it, and sold almost nothing except Okonomiyaki and beer or it did not have Okonomiyaki at all. It isn’t exactly like we were able to read the menu though, so this analysis could be way off. Because of the wide variety of ingredients we saw, I think this dish can be modified pretty dramatically without completely losing its authenticity.

The recipe below seems to most closely resemble the variety of Okonomiyaki that we ate in Osaka, while Hiroshima Okonomiyaki tended to have noodles (udon, ramen-looking, or soba) in it. In both cities, we were given the choice to include chicken, beef, pork, various types of seafood and number of eggs.

First, Okonomi Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until bubbly.
  • Simmer about 30 seconds more, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat.

Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 114, Fat ~ 0 g, Carbohydrates ~ 25 g, Protein ~ 0 g

Next, the Okonomiyaki:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Okonomiyaki flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 eggs*
  • 4 oz meat, chicken, beef, or pork (optional)
  • 1 3/4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 4 oz. cooked shrimp or other shellfish (optional)
  • non-stick spray or 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • Okonomi sauce
  • Mayonnaise (optional)
  • Aonori-Ko (seaweed flakes) (optional)

Directions:

  • Mix flour with water.
  • Stir in eggs, meat and vegetable ingredients.
  • Heat oil in griddle or large skillet. (I am attempting to use olive oil spray instead.)
  • Pour batter to make single cake about 1/2″ thick.
  • Cook on both sides on medium heat until golden brown (about 5 min).
  • Transfer to serving plate and top with Okonomi Sauce, aonori-ko and/or mayonnaise if desired.

Note: I am amazed that I flipped this thing whole. It was huge, this is the biggest skillet that we have!

Servings ~ 3
Calories (using EVOO non-stick spray and leaving out meat/fish) ~ 273, Fat ~ 7.3 g, Carbohydrates ~ 37 g, Protein ~ 14 g

*Next time I will attempt to substitute 8 egg whites for the 4 eggs to lower the fat and calories and up the protein. The nutrition info for that (still w/non-stick spray w/o meat/fish) would be:
Servings ~ 3
Calories ~ 220, Fat ~ 1 g, Carbohydrates ~ 37 g, Protein ~ 19 g