Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chipotle Lime Butter

didn't get home until after 7, so left the guys in charge of dinner...and it was great. Mark took the jar of bulgogi marinade we got at H Mart and marinated chicken in it, then did it up on his smoker/grill...awesome. He also grilled veggies (eggplant, zucchini, summer squash and peppers) that he had marinated in a mango-curry concoction...a little sweet, but a nice change. Alex was in charge of corn-on-the-cob, and it was perfectly cooked - cooked through, but plenty of snap.

Of course, they left me in charge of chipotle-lime butter :)

This butter is something that I just started fooling around with this summer...can't even remember where I first heard about it, but the first time we made corn this year I got "Chipotle Lime Butter" stuck in my head. I love fresh corn in the summer anyway, but this just really elevates it.

Chipotle Lime Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pinch salt
zest of one small lime
juice from about a quarter of the lime
1/8 tsp (or more to taste) chipotle powder

Mix this all up, and get ready for corn greatness :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

No fish tonight :)

Grilled polenta with marinara...tomato-mozzarella salad with homemade balsamic dressing

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

what a day !! (with recipes and photos)

oh, what a day...big success food-wise, for sure !

Everything came out soooo good....got everything brining, drying and marinating....spent the afternoon drinking beer in the backyard...then cooking, and feasting !!

Going to try and record everything here - hope I remember it all !!

Photos :

Pirate Beers :)

Finished Finnan Haddie

Asian Crispy Fish

Dinner !

Finnan Haddie

Yield – 4.25 lbs Finnan Haddie (Smoked Haddock)


For Making the Brine and Brining the Fish

2 gallons Water

8 ounces Kosher Salt

2 ounces Sugar

3 ea Bay Leaves

1 tsp Black Peppercorns

5 lbs Haddock Fillets

For Smoking the Haddock

Cherry or Alder Wood for Smoking (amount needed will depend on smoker used – should be about 4-6 ounces of wood)

Brined and Dried Fish from Above


For Making the Brine and Brining the Fish

1. Combine the water, salt, sugar, bay leaves and black peppercorns in an appropriate sized pot and bring mixture to a boil to dissolve the salt.

2. Once the brine has reached a boil turn the heat off and remove the brine from the stove and allow it to cool completely by either setting it aside at room temperature until cool (will take at least a couple of hours) or cool in an ice bath to speed process

3. Once the brine has cooled to room temperature place the brine and fish together in a non reactive dish (plastic works well for this) that can hold both.

4. Place the fish and brine into the refrigerator and allow them to sit for 1.5 hours

5. Once the fish has been brined for 1.5 hours remove the fish from the brine and set the fillets onto smoking racks.

6. Place the smoking racks into a refrigerator with the fillets and allow them to dry
7. Once the fillets have dried in the refrigerator the fish is ready to be smoked

For Smoking The Haddock

Prepare the smoker for use by placing a few pieces of smoking wood (if using chunks of wood or a handful of chipped wood if using that) into the smoker and turn the smoker on low to get the wood smoking.

Once the smoker is smoking turn the smoker off (the wood should continue to burn once it is started) and add the fish and smoke for an hour or so

Set it aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Coconut-Citrus-Marinated Ceviche with Mango Pico de Gallo

This recipe is an adaptation from Mod Mex by Scott Linquist (Andrews McMeel 2007)

* * * * * Ceviche * * * * *

¾ cup canned coconut milk

¼ cup lime juice

¼ cup orange juice

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce

½ habanero chile, seeded, membrane removed, and cut lengthwise

1 tablespoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger

Kosher salt

2 pounds raw FRESH fish, cut in 1-inch cubes - or cooked lobster or shellfish (see notes)

* * * * * Mango Pico de Gallo * * * * *

2 cups diced mango

1 cup diced red onion

½ cup diced red bell pepper

½ cup diced poblano chiles

1 habanero chile, seeds and membranes removed, diced

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon kosher salt


Make the Ceviche: If using raw fish : In a nonreactive bowl, mix together all of the ceviche ingredients except coconut milk, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Mix in coconut milk before serving. If using cooked shellfish, mix everything together at once and refrigerate for one hour. (if using a mix, just mix methods - keeping in mind that the raw fish doesn't "cook" well with the coconut milk mixed in.

Make the pico de gallo: In a medium-size bowl, stir together the ingredients for the Mango Pico de Gallo and set aside.

To serve, spoon ceviche into bowl and garnish with Pico de Gallo .

Asian Crispy Whole Cod 

(adapted from About.com)

Prep Time: 30 minutes * Cook Time: 30 minutes * Total Time: 60 minutes


1 whole (but scaled and gutted) cod, 2 -3 pounds 

3 chopped green onions

A 1-inch piece of finely chopped, peeled ginger

1 T. Chinese cooking wine (or Japanese Mirin)

1 T. soy sauce

1 t. freshly ground black pepper

A 3-inch piece of peeled ginger, minced

1/2 medium onion

3 cloves garlic

1/2 finely chopped habanero chile, or 1-2 Thai chiles or 1 serrano

5 T. water

5 T. tomato sauce 

3 T. sugar

1 T. Chinese cooking wine (or Japanese Mirin)

1 T. soy sauce

2 T. sambal paste

1 1/2 t. corn starch

1 1/2 t. water

1 T finely chopped cilantro

1 T. finely chopped green onions or chives

4 cups peanut or vegetable oil

1 cups flour for dredging


Prepare the fish. Cut off the fins of each fish with kitchen shears or scissors. Remove the gills of the fish if they are still attached by cutting them out with the kitchen shears. Make three vertical slices along each side of the fish evenly spaced along its length. If you have a long fish, make four slices. Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry.

Marinate the fish. Mix the 3 chopped green onions, the 1-inch piece of finely chopped ginger, the tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine, the tablespoon of soy sauce and the black pepper together, then pour the mixture into a glass or plastic container, or a Ziploc bag. Place the fish in the container and make sure the marinade surrounds the fish.

Let this sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Prepare the vegetables. Mince the 3-inch piece of ginger. Slice the 1/2 onion into very thin half-moons. Slice the garlic cloves as thinly as you can along the long side of the clove to make long pieces.

Pour the oil into a wok and turn the heat on to medium. (If you do not have a wok, use the largest, deepest skillet you have)

Make the sauce. Mix the tomato sauce, sugar, soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine and sambal. Make a paste of the water and corn starch and whisk in to the sauce. Stir vigorously to combine. Set it aside.

Take the fish out of the fridge.

Check the oil temperature. You want it to be about 300-325 degrees. If you do not have a thermometer (you should buy one!) the oil is ready when a drop of water tossed into the oil boils away immediately.

Fry the fish. Remove the fish from the marinade and dredge in flour. Shake off excess, and when the oil is at hot, slip the fish into the oil.
Fry the fish for at least 5 minutes per side. You want it to be golden brown. With 300-degree oil, I will fry a 1-pound fish for 8 minutes on the first side, 5 minutes on the other side. Larger fish will need more time.

When the fish are done, ladle out all but about 1/4 cup of oil. Toss in the slivered ginger, the onion, the chiles and the slivered garlic and stir-fry over high heat for 2-3 minutes.

Add the sauce and stir well to combine. Bring this to a rapid boil and stir well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

To serve, pour some sauce on a plate, place the fish on top of it and garnish with the finely chopped chives and cilantro. This dish goes best with simple steamed white rice.

Coconut Rice

1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup Jasmati rice
2 T shredded coconut
scallions to garnish

Make rice according to package directions, substituting coconut milk for half the water and adding shredded coconut. Garnish with scallions.

Asian Slaw

1 package coleslaw mix (just veggies)
1 package broccoli slaw
1 bottle sesame ginger dressing
1 T toasted sesame oil

Mix and serve :)


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Finnan Haddie

Smoking away...

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here's what's going down today...

5 lbs of haddock (and pollock, but don't tell anyone ;) )  is on a journey to being Finnan Haddie - I just finished the brine, M will be smoking up a storm this afternoon. Another couple of pounds is about to be marinated for the infamous Coconut-Citrus Ceviche with Mango Pico de Gallo (M working on fish now, I'll be doing the Pico de Gallo later), and the whole cod is going to end up Asian-style, with coconut rice and Asian cole slaw (that's all me...)

Pictures and recipes to follow...feel free to stop by and observe if you're in the neighborhood ;)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lunch alfresco

Here's the whole lunch, served in the backyard...the Tuscan cod, gnocchi with J's gorgeous olive oil and grated parm (and marinara on the side) Caesar salad with white anchovies, and one of our favorite wines...2004 Salvalai Amarone Della Valipolicella. Hells yeah baby !

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Tuscan style cod

Roasted tomatoes, capers, olives, basil, garlic....

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Friday, August 27, 2010

fish frenzy

Note - this should have gone up this morning, but I was still way too wiped out after the fishing trip ! Will try and stay more timely :)

Yesterday was deep sea fishing with both resident foodies...belated birthday present for the younger one. We did a "Super Thursday" marathon trip with Yankee Fleet, out of Gloucester. 12 hour trip...2 hours out to the fishing grounds, 8 hours fishing, 2 hours back. This was my second time going out with them...can't say enough nice stuff about these folks, they really do a fantastic job - http://www.yankeefleet.com . Excellent haul - 12 keepers between the three of us, a mix of cod, haddock, cusk...and my monster pollock, shown below :

36 inches...he's a big 'un :)
One of the nice things about Yankee Fleet is that they clean and fillet your catch for you right on board...not that I can't, of course, but hey, if they want to do the work, I'm all for that !!. Me being me, I kept one cod whole (with a particular recipe in mind), and I kept the other 11 heads for making stock. Came off the boat with that, and three huge bags of fillets - I'm lowball guessing about 40 pounds (that's just the fillets), though I've given some away already so I can't weigh the whole lot.....suffice it to say, a f'ing ton ! The heads are in the freezer, and the plan for the weekend is to cook up as much as I can - including smoking some - then freeze the rest for soups. Will definitely be blogging about my various fish exploits over the weekend, so watch this space !

I knew after a 12 hour fishing marathon plus a few hours drive time that I'd probably be too exhausted to do anything too involved when I got home (and cleaned up), but of course I couldn't resist super fresh fish. And though I do usually tend to do things the long and from scratch way, I'm definitely not above using a few things that make life easier - as long as they pass my deliciousness test :). One such item that comes in very handy after a hard day of fishing is this :

available at my local Stop + Shop !
It's a little kit that comes with nori sheets (already cut small)  and a bowl of sushi rice...heat up the rice to make it workable, then roll in the nori with fish and avocado (at least that's how we roll here :) ). Chill a bit...very, very tasty, perfect for a quick sushi snack.

However, last night I went a little further...I wanted to make more than what the kit had, so I had stocked myself up with full size nori sheets and some cooked Nishiki rice. Seasoned the rice up with rice vinegar and a pinch of sugar, and we were off.....finished product below :

sushi goodness...
I really need to get a bamboo mat - next H-Mart trip, someone remind me !  - but freehand, after being awake 18  hours ? I'm thinking not too bad  !!

off to sleep, to dream about all the cool stuff I'm making this weekend....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

we have a name....and EGGS !

thank you all for your name suggestions...winning entry is from the other resident foodie cook (the old one - the young one doesn't cook for himself at home much, despite having been a culinary tech student for a year of high school). I'm still tweaking the format, not 100% satisfied with the way everything looks yet - but at least we have a name !

In the meantime, since he won and all, the first official food post will be something he made - Spicy Pickled Quail Eggs. He's been trying to get me to eat pickled eggs for years, and so far I've resisted....but I promised to try the quail ones, and I have to say they are really good - and quite addictive ! He's not one for recipes so much, but here is approximately what he did :

Spicy Pickled Quail Eggs

24 hard boiled quail eggs (boil gently about 5 -6 minutes)
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbs pickling spice
1 Scotch Bonnet pepper, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 small Vidalia onion
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

Slice onions and garlic. Dice chili pepper and put in sauce pan with its seeds. Add the white vinegar, cider vinegar, water, and spices, bring to a boil, then let cool slightly.

Put peeled hard boiled eggs, sliced onions, and garlic in glass jar. Pour in sauce, cover jar tightly, and refrigerate. (If sauce doesn't fill the jar, top off with white vinegar until it is about 1/4 inch from the top).

Let sit 2 - 3 days

Yum !

Monday, August 23, 2010


Pic test

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testing, testing....

so - as threatened on Facebook - I am starting my own food blog. Naming contest is running through tomorrow, though I have to say "Culinary Orgasm" is in the lead so far (hence the URL)

Working on design now...check back soon !