Sunday, April 29, 2012

*screams* A Squidie Post!!

Don' skerd.  It's just a squid!  :)  They aren't hard to break down into an edible form, but it's a bit tedious.

AAAGH they're swarming!!  lol

1. Pull out head
2. Feel for the sharp point near the large opening, grab ahold, and pull it out.  It will be a large, oval-shaped clear poky thing.  It's the spine, and trust me you don't want to eat it!
3.  Near the tip of the body you will see 2 fins.  Pull at one while holding the body, and the skin will pull away to reveal a white flesh.  Continue pulling it off until all you have is a hollow white cone.  
4.  Starting at the pointed end, squeeze out "the guts"  
5. Done!

6. Find a sous chef and make her do it.  ;)

Blanch arugula, then toss in ice water.

Chop basil, I used Greek basil but any would be fine.

Toast breadcrumbs, then cool.  Toss with blanched, drained, & chopped arugula, garlic, SnP, chopped tomatoes, and olive oil.

Stuff the calamari. tedious.  And hard.  I won't lie.  But you'll get there.

A tomato sauce in the making: tomatoes, garlic, oregano, SnP.  Blend.

Simmer, then cool outside on your patio if it's cold and rainy, because it's faster that way.  :)

Pour the cooled sauce over your calamari, add white wine, and bake at 325 for 30 minutes.  Serve with a salad and more white wine.  Of course.  :)

Raw Tomato Goodness

Staring at my heirloom tomato plants daily got me to talking about raw tomato sauces with a friend this week.  They are very easy, and when tomatoes are in season and fabulous, this is how you want them! least one of the ways.

A photo of almost everything, although I forgot to include the balsamic and capers.  My apologies.

Chop tomatoes, then toss with minced garlic, capers, SnP, oregano, basil, and olive oil.  Allow the tomatoes to marinate while you cook your pasta.

When the pasta is cooked, drain but do not rinse it.  Toss it straight into your tomato mixture and combine, taste for SnP, and dress with some balsamic.

Warm olive oil, garlic slices, and red pepper flakes until fragrant, but do not let the garlic brown.  In the seasoned oil saute 1 lb. shrimp until just shy of pink, add a splash of white wine and lemon juice, and  serve immediately.  If you add the wine and lemon any earlier your shrimp will just get tough and grainy.  Blech.

I served a cheesy garlic bread on the side, but a salad would of course also be fantastic.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A BBQ for friends

The beginnings of a coconut rice pudding: cook long grain rice with orange peel & a cinnamon stick.  Then add to the cooked rice: 1 can cream of coconut, 1 can evaporated milk, 1/2 tsp almond extract.  Next time I'll try it with rum!  :)  Simmer slowly, watching it for scorching, about 20 minutes or until thick.  It can be eaten hot, room temp, or chilled.  I topped it with grilled mango and toasted coconut.

Speaking of toasting ~ in a dry pan toast garlic cloves, skin on, until black in spots.

Cool, peel, and chop.

To ground beef, add the chopped garlic, cilantro, scallion, 2 chopped chipotles, and the zest of a lime.  Form into burgers & grill until perfect!

Sweet corn, boiled in salt & sugar, then when cooked and hot toss in Old Bay.

Not a great photo, but everything tasted great!  You will have to trust me on this one.

A Lunch Post, whaaa?

A Chicken Salad Sammie with Grapes

For the chicken's boil: kosher salt, a bay leaf, a shallot split, peppercorns, a chili, 2 cloves, a garlic clove smashed.  Add chicken parts, cover with water, and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 45 minutes, or until no longer pink.

Skin, then chop the chicken.

Dressing: equal parts mayo & plain yogurt, a splash of lemon juice, fresh dill, SnP, and tumeric.  I can hear someone whining right now, "But I don't liiiike dill."  Fine.  Don't use perfectly good dill and whine about it.  Save it for the rest of us that learned to eat our greens.

1 shallot chopped, and split red grapes.


Eat on sourdough, with blue corn chips.  Be happy.

On not making the house hot

Entertaining when it's hot out ~ never a fun task if you decide to fire up the oven.  So don't!  That's why god invented bbqs, I'm sure of it.  Santa Maria-style tri tip is simple but has very good flavors.  Add a marinated tomato salad and some grilled flatbreads to the table, and you've got a great dinner and you didn't even have to turn on the oven or stove once!

A basic yeast dough, but with 1 part whole wheat flour and 2 parts white flour.  The white flour creates the best texture, but I like the flavor added by a bit of whole grain.  Allow to double in size in an oiled bowl, then divide into 8 balls, cover again and allow to rise for about 30 more minutes.

Basic seasoning salt: kosher salt, granulated garlic, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne

Tri tip, about 3 lbs, trimmed of any large areas of fat.  Don't trim it all!!  You want some.

Rub the meat with your seasoned salt, allow to rest at room temp for 30 min - 1 hour.

You'll notice some moisture coming out of your meat after a while in the salt.  This is a good thing.  :)

Heat your grill, dumping all the coals onto only half of the cooking surface.

Working with two doughs at a time, pat out, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with ground cumin, smoked paprika, garlic, and kosher salt.

Start seasoning side down, and flipping only once, grill the breads until crispy and slightly puffed.  About 1-2 minutes per side.

Cut into wedges and serve with hummus, tzatziki, a salad, or just alone like we did, while standing around drinking beer and grilling the rest of dinner.

Our marinated salad!  Slice heirlooms, top with basil & capers.  In a small bowl mix: chopped shallots, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and dry mustard.  Pour over the tomatoes and allow to rest for part of an afternoon.  Serve over greens, drizzling with extra vinaigrette.  

Grill the tri tip over the hot coals, 6-8 minutes per side.  Slide over to the side of the grill with no coals, and allow the meat to cook, with the grill cover on, until it comes to 130 with an instant read.  Every few minutes I basted the meat with an equal mixture of garlic oil & red wine vinegar.  Don't do this while the meat is over the coals, it will just burn.  Rest your meat at least 10 minutes before you hack into it, or the juices will be lost.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Don't make tuna sad by putting it in a casserole

It was warm today, and I tend to use my quick cooking ideas on days like this....or the grill.  Anything that won't make my house stuffier than it already is!  Today I decided a quick tuna pasta would be perfect.

4 chopped garlic cloves, 1 crumbled chile de Arbol, the zest of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon capers, rinsed.

These are the capers I used.  I usually get the brined ones, but had been DYING to try these salt-packed.  Not a disappointment.  

Saute' garlic, red pepper flakes, and capers in olive oil until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add in the juice of 1 lemon, and 3 Tbl of dry white wine.  Bubble until reduced, about another minute.

Add in 2 cans of chunk tuna, drained, half of the zest of a lemon, and 2 Tbl. chopped parsley.  Stir to warm the tuna, but do not over mix.  I warned you.  If you ignore me, then you will have hot tuna salad mush and it won't be my fault!

Toss in cooked pappardelle, and 2-4 Tbl of pasta cooking water to bring the sauce together.  Then toss in 2 Tbl of butter, the remaining half of the lemon zest, and 2 Tbl more of chopped parsley.  Taste for SnP and serve immediately.  

Fish n Chippies

Frying is not evil.  Frying does not have to end with greasy food.  In fact, if your oil is at the correct temperature when you cook, the reaction to your food going into the oil will create a crispy outside & moist inside, as the steam leaving your cooking meat will protect it from too much oil coming in.  However, if your temperature is too low to create that steam in your meat (or whatever you're frying), then the oil will saturate your food and you are basically creating a oil poached whatever.  There's your greasy dinner.  Bleh.

This is the dry mixture of cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and Old Bay.

My apologies for the dark photo.  Apparently my camera is angry with me, because I swear it didn't look crappy when I took it.  :/

So the order is: dry mix, buttermilk, dry mix again, then batter.  The batter has 2 eggs, a lighter bodied beer, Old Bay, AP flour, and baking powder.  Make sure you make the batter and allow to rest for 20 minutes before you start dippin'.

Slice russets, I set my slicer to 1/4 in.

Let the fish drain while you fry the potato slices for 1-2 minutes in med-high oil.  You can use canola or grapeseed or whatever oil you have on hand AS LONG AS it has a high flash point.  If you don't know what that means, just look for the part on the label that tells you what to do with the oil.  If it doesn't say fry...don't fry with it.  It will either scorch your food or catch on fire.  (Probably not, but I like scaring you)  Then fry the fish in the same oil for  3-4 minutes or until golden brown.

Watch the potatoes, they will darken as they cook but you don't want them to burn.  Then they will be gross.  Drain them on a paper towel, or preferably a rack, salt while they are hot.

You can serve this with lemon wedges, but I have a particular fondness for malt vinegar.  Don't know why, I just do, but use what you love.