Tag Archives: seafood

Crispy Baked Haddock

Greg brought home some haddock, a flakey white fish, from Wholey’s and I took on the task of making it. In the past whenever I had fish at home I would call my sister for a recipe. She eventually grew tired of this routine and gave me a cookbook: America’s Favorite Fish Recipes from The Freshwater Angler. I finally opened it up and found a recipe for Crispy Baked Salmon, which I thought sounded (and looked) really tasty.

Continue reading

Crab Pesto Grilled Pizza

Yes another crab dish and I think that this may have been the best one yet.  We had a hankering for some pizza and being that we live in Maryland, making your own pizza is the only option.  So we stopped at Marchone’s Italian Market in Wheaton and grabbed a frozen dough ball.

A thorough thaw is very important

This was about 2 hours of thawing and the dough had expanded to about twice the original size.

Thoroughly thawed and ready to work with

If the dough is not thawed to room temperature, it will be very difficult to work with which I have learned from experience.  At the same time, you can’t work with the dough too much and remember that flour is your friend!

I rolled the dough out to the desired size while the grill was heating up.  Once the dough and grill are ready, give the top of the dough a thorough spray of oil.  You will then put the dough on the grill otherwise plain.

Straight on the grate oil side down and plain

Leave the dough on for about 3-5 minutes.  Just until the down side is lightly browned and basically firm enough to pick the whole piece up without folding and flopping like raw dough.

We need a new grill!

The bottom of this piece is uncooked.  The top would look better if we had a better grill that cooked evenly(grill companies we are looking for a sponsor!).  When we move, the gas grill is not coming.  The grill doesn’t know that, but I guess once this is published the news will be out.

Now it is time to dress the pizza with your toppings as you normally would and then throw it back on the grill.  Instead of a red sauce we used a pesto base.

Summer basil is great

Next we used some more of the famous leftover crab which was starting to run low.  Note that this was published well after the dish was made and we did not keep fresh crab in the fridge for 3 weeks.

We were able to be pretty generous with the crab since we had so much.  This was almost but not quite a pound.

Cheese it up

We used a store bought Italian blend.

Fresh tomatoes

We love fresh tomato slices on pizza.  Now it is ready to go back on the grill for a little longer than the plain dough.

Close the lid, which will help to melt the cheese.  I gave it a few turns because of our extremely uneven grill as you can see the full blast flame or no flame options.  It would be a good idea to give it a spin either way though.  This stage will take closer to 7-9 minutes to melt the cheese and cook the pizza through.

Summer basil again

It turned out great!  Slice it up, cheese it up, and go to town!

Recipe for Standard Pesto with Walnut

Greg

(Since I have been begun posting over the last month, we will start to tag our posts)

Seared Salmon Salad with Grilled Tomato and Avacado

Summer!

This was another summery grilling inspiration.  I had a hankering for seared salmon and figured to keep it light by having it on a salad with an oil based dressing.  I also decided to spruce up the salad with some methods that I had never tried and some that were truly experimental, but worked out.  This turned out much better than the last post, but we give you the truth here!

First off the primary ingredient, the salmon.

It did have the skin on it and I had an idea of how to get it off.  I have tried to cut it off, but I always feel like I lose so much in the difficult process.

All dressed up and nowhere to go!

I sprinkled a store bought cajun seasoning on the meat side only.

Next was to prep some of the other salad ingredients.  The first was to prep a foil packet of walnuts, sliced garlic, oil, and salt and pepper.

Ready for the grill

I had never roasted walnuts and garlic on the grill like this but it worked out.  This packet went right onto the grill for about 6-8 minutes each side.  The flavors intermingled well and I threw them right on the salad though I know some would be weary to throw the roasted garlic on the salad.  Feel free to discard it or recycle it for another dish, but I think that it worked out well and was not too overpowering.

Post Grill

That was one of the new methods mentioned, the next is also a new method and one that was truly experimental and I was not sure if it would work out.  I sliced 2 tomatoes in half and an avocado in half, sprayed them with a little oil, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper and then……

Whats next?

Probably not a big surprise, but right on the grill face down!

It worked out just fine and I would suggest it and try it again myself!

Maybe a minute or two less next time though

I wasn’t sure how the avocado would fare on the grill and it could have used a minute or two less but I was able to peel away some of the burnt parts sort of like peeling the blistered skin of a roasted red pepper.  I sliced them and added them to the salad.

Back to the salmon.  I was planning to sear it and placed it skin side down first.

Ok, I forgot my plan and put it down meat side for a second.

Once I flipped it after a few minutes, the skin came right off which was the hopeful plan!

Skin came right off. Nice!

Once the salmon was done, I sliced it and put it atop the rest of the salad ingredients.

We used some olive oil and vinegar as a dressing, though much wasn’t needed since there were so many great flavors.

In addition, I threw a little bit of goat cheese on the salad.  The warm salmon and grilled veggies melted it a bit and the creaminess tasted great.  Overall, was a good meal.

Grilled Skewered Scallops

With some siracha garnish

Scallops were on a great sale at Giant, $7.99 a pound for sea scallops down from the usual $10-$11 or even more so I got some but did not have a vision of what I was going to do with them.  As you will notice we are big grillers, and being that it has been so hot recently I have been trying to keep most of the cooking to outside which led to grilling.  I have tried to grill scallops right on the grill grate before, but that was a wasteful disaster.  I have also grilled them in the grill basket, but it was not great.  The only other grilling possibility seemed to be skewering, which I had never tried with scallops but was hopeful.

The sale item

I decided to use a standard array of skewer vegetables, but also decided to fall upon the cliche garnish of bacon wrapping some of the scallops.

Raw ingredients, spice, and the soap that cleaned it all afterwards

I skewered everything in a somewhat random order on the bamboo skewers which were soaked in water to try to dissuade their burning which still occurs a bit.  I cut the bacon in half and did not wrap every scallop as I wanted it to be an accessory and not a main ingredient.  I didn’t want them to be bacon wrapped scallops, but to have bacon be an ingredient in the mix.

I cut the jalapenos into rings and incorporated them into the skewers because I love spice.  If you were to do this, you should warn others and even be cautious yourself because as much as I love the heat it definitely got a bit hot at times!  Despite that, I will always persevere with the spice!

To season them, I used a storemade tequila lime seasoning from Whole Foods, which we got during our shopping trip for sushi, which was so graciously provided by Whole Foods.

Ready to go

I grilled as you normally would and kept a close eye in order to rotate them well and try to cook them evenly, while not overcooking the scallops.

Remeber to wash the dish before putting the cooked product back in

I also threw a single cup of brown rice in the rice maker to supplement the skewers and for some substance.  We often try to eat low to no carbs, but I knew with these skewers that they needed something with them or you would be full after eating, but then be pretty hungry in an hour or so.  Just a bit of rice did a great job as a component to the dish and to fulfill the role that I wanted it to.

Grilled scallop skewers

And the completed dish with brown rice and some siracha on the side.  We pulled everything off of the skewers and placed it upon the rice.  As mentioned, with the jalapenos the siracha was not called upon much, though I use it on many dishes.  Overall, this dish was great and I recommend it as a good way to grill scallops, keep the summer cooking to the outside heat, and bring some summery grilled veggies into the mix.

Moules Fromage Bleu

You know that show on the food network called The Best Thing I Ever Ate where famous chefs tell you where they had the best whatever the theme happens to be that day? Well, if I were ever asked what the best mussels dish I ever ate was it would hands down be the moules fromage bleu from Granville Moore’s in DC. In fact, these mussels beat Bobby Flay’s in his mussels throw down episode! Yeah, I love the food network 🙂

I have recreated them several times at home, and it’s actually quite simple. The ingredients are the same, but just not of the same quality as GM’s. (Sorry Giant, but you lack gourmet ingredients). But that’s how it goes sometimes and that’s OK! This dish still tastes amazing, particularly if you are a fan of bacon and blue cheese (an unbeatable combo in my book).

The ingredients:

From top left to bottom left: Blue cheese, mussels, lemon juice, shallots, spinach, and bacon. MIA- the white wine and oil.

Once you get cooking here, the process is very quick. However, first, it’s a good idea to put the mussels in a bowl and fill it with water. This allows any sand in the mussels to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Just remember to not drain them by pouring them out as this will just dump all the sand back onto them. I used a plastic strainer/spatula to remove the mussels from the bowl.

Next, it’s bacon cooking time! The recipe calls for cooking the bacon IN oil. I was very hesitant to do this, but I went with it. It forms the basis of the broth, but I find it very understandable if you wish to omit cooking your BACON in OIL.

Once the fat was rendered, I added the sliced shallots.

Doesn’t that look divine? And you can imagine how great it smelled. How can a dish go wrong from here?

[The next sequence of events is done rather quickly. My sous chef/photographer was feeling a little under the weather, so I was on my own. I tried my best to capture each step!]

At this point you want to add the mussels, wine and lemon juice and stir ’em up.

bacon shallots mussels

Once they are about half way open you want to add half of the blue cheese. You want the blue cheese to melt into the broth. I tried to move the mussels to one side of the pan to achieve this.

Just keep stirring and incorporating everything together.

Once they are fully open, you want to add the spinach.

That’s pretty much it. Once you spoon them into the bowls, top with the remaining blue cheese.

SO GOOD!

Recipe for Teddy Folkman’s Moules Fromage Bleu

Seared Tuna atop a Red Cabbage and Lime Slaw

Sorry that new posts on the kitten have been a little sparse lately! It’s summer and work is busy (and my dropbox had been blocked for several weeks, but now it’s suddenly working again!) but here is a dish that I made recently that I hope you all will like! I started off by making a version of Smitten Kitchen’s cabbage and lime salad with roasted peanuts. Lucky for me, SK and I share an affinity for slaw and she has several recipes on her site which all look amazing. I did not have any peanuts at home (gasp! for those who know me, you know my squirrel-like nut obsession) nor did I have green cabbage or spinach. I did have carrots and bok choy (thanks to Kensington’s farmer’s market!) however, and so this is what I came up with. As you can see, I topped it with some seared (grilled) tuna and topped it with some remaining dressing from the slaw. This dish totally rocked and is pretty much summer on a plate.

First, the slaw. Per SK’s recipe, I shredded my cabbage and placed it in a colander with at least one healthy tablespoon of kosher salt. The purpose of this step is to wilt the cabbage.

While that was happening, I shredded the carrots and sliced up the bok choy. I also added some green onion.

I also created the dressing for the slaw (process not pictured).  The ingredients of the dressing are certainly unconventional for a slaw (at least in my humble opinion) so check them out! Obviously you know one ingredient- limes!

Once the slaw was completed, I prepped my tuna. All I did was drizzle a little hot chili oil onto each side, and coat them with sesame seeds. Greg fired up the grill and seared each one for just a couple of minutes per side. I sliced them up and dinner was served!

Recipe for Red Cabbage and Lime Slaw

Spicy cilantro and green onion crab cakes & Asian-style slaw

Though we live in Maryland, we rarely eat crab cakes. I don’t particularly care to order them from restaurants because the crab to filler ratio is poor and they can be quite expensive. Well, luckily, crab cakes are relatively easy to make and when you can get crab meat on sale it can actually be quite inexpensive.

Such was the case when Greg found crab meat on sale at the Teeter.

On the back of the can was a crab cake recipe from Phillips. We decided to use that as our base, but also spice things up and use some ingredients we had in the house. We added jalapeno and green onion for some extra kick and used cilantro instead of parsley.

Greg originally wanted to call these ‘green crab cakes’ because of all the green ingredients we added. I was unsure about calling a seafood dish green though, but the name works once in the right context.

All of these ingredients were mixed together and formed into patties. We pan friend them in canola oil. Once they were finished we placed them on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

I just read a great article in Cooking Light that discusses how frying can be a relatively healthy way to cook foods and may not be as bad for you as once thought if done properly. Though these crab cakes were fried, they were still very light and not greasy at all.

To accompany the crab cakes I made an Asian inspired slaw. I used purple and green (white?) cabbage, carrots, green onions, and cilantro. I dressed the slaw with rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds. It was light and crisp and perfectly paired with the tender cakes.

When we were grocery shopping I was searching for the pre-cut cabbage but Greg encouraged me to buy the whole cabbages and use our food processor to make the slaw instead. I am so glad he did, because the outcome was so much fresher and tastier than the pre-packed cabbage.

All in all, this was one of the best meals we’ve made at home in a while. I really recommend making crab cakes at home if you are a fan of them!

Recipe for spicy cilantro and green onion crab cakes

Recipe for Asian-style slaw

Grilled Red Snapper & Swordfish with Fresh Guacamole and Cilantro

Well it’s official. Grilling season is upon us. Yay! We took full advantage of that and the seasonable weather and made a fabulous grilled fish dinner.

Harris Teater’s seafood selection is awesome. Greg got some really nice looking seafood while there and the prices were also very reasonable. This meal was entirely his inspiration and I am so glad it was!

On the left is the red snapper, on the right the swordfish.

He made some fresh guacamole for the topping. His recipe for guac is the same as mine (avocado, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper) though he also added a chopped jalapeno.

He (expertly) grilled the fish and topped each fillet with a hefty spoonful of guacamole, fresh chopped cilantro, and some chopped tomato. He placed the fish on a bed of wilted spinach.

Though this dish may seem a but underwhelming, I assure you that the simplicity and freshness of the ingredients makes this dish so amazing.  It was a light, but very filling meal at the same time. If you like guacamole, the possibilites seem endless in terms of what to serve it on or with. This is just another great way to use it. I preferred the swordfish over the snapper because it was stronger in fishy flavor. If you are open to eating fish, but don’t want a fish intense in flavor snapper is a great option. Both held up well on the grill so it’s really up to you.I can’t wait for more!

Sushi Party!

Sushi!

Last year on Christmas I gave Greg a sushi making kit- it was something I put together for him with all of the sushi making essentials and we have been making sushi ever since. Well, he has been making sushi and I have been the sous chef.  We decided to show off our skills and invited a few folks over to partake in a sushi party.  Greg has two friends that live in Japan right now and one happened to be in town with his Japanese girlfriend (as in, lived in Japan her whole life and only in the states visiting right now kind of Japanese!!).  The pressure was on! In preperation for this event, I contacted Melanie at the Whole Foods in Silver Spring to let her know we’d be stopping by the store to pick up some ingredients. She graciously met with us and was so generous! Thank you Melanie! We picked up some beautiful looking seafood, produce, and some odds and ends and headed home to begin making the sushi.

One thing I have struggled with as the sous chef is making the rice. Obviously, this is an essential element to the sushi, but man, I just can’t get it right! Our Japanese guests highly suggested using a rice cooker, which I have but did not use. I will definitely try that next time. For this go round, however, I made it on the stove top and used this:

I followed the directions to a tee. First rinsing it and cooking it exactly how the container’s directions suggested.

It looked pretty good and I was encouraged! It was a teeny bit crunchy still though- wtf?!

According to our Japanese guests, any short grain rice will do and you don’t have to purchase “sushi” rice. So American, right? They made a great analogy to their experience eating bread at Italian restaurants  in Japan. It’s bread, it tastes like bread, but it’s not as good as “real” Italian bread. That’s pretty much how this rice was for them-  standard rice, but not GOOD rice.  Next time, I may try to buy Japanese rice… eek!

While the rice was cooking we prepared the fixings, fish, and other fillers.

I purchased this wasabi and  pickled ginger at Whole Foods.

It’s powdered wasabi so in order to make it you combine equal parts powder and water to form the paste.

I made a lot!

I pulled out the shiso leaves because I never had them before. Pretty lame, I know.

We purchase three types of fish (tuna, snapper, and salmon) and some shrimp (for shrimp tempura rolls). The quality of the fish was excellent- look how pretty!

The (heart shaped) tuna!

The snapper ( I believe of the red variety).

The salmon (so gorgeous!).

Shrimp!

We tempura battered and fried the shrimp.

Everything needed to be cut down to size for the rolls. We sliced up the fish and also the cucumber and avocado that would go in many of the rolls.

So, now on to the fun, yet most difficult part. We used these nori sheets:

We added rice wine vinegar to the rice.

and the sushi rolling began…

This was a spicy salmon roll.

Uh, yeah! That’s a sushi roll on a Steelers plate.

Next, the making of the shrimp tempura roll.

The whole rolling process went on for nearly 2 hours- I kid you not! It takes a lot of time and hard work, but just look at these results! MMMMM….

The “everything roll” (above)- all three types of fish, cucumber and avocado and a crazy assortment below.

I could not get the camera in focus for these close-ups because I am clueless when it comes to cameras, but I wanted you to see the shrimp tempura roll (front) and the salmon roll behind it.

Below, another out of focus shot (grr!) of the tuna rolls.

There were so many combinations of rolls and we also made some nigiri.

All in all, TONS of sushi!

Everyone happily ate and we almost finished it all! We had about 8 pieces leftover, which is not bad at all! We also got the chance to open some Saki that had been given to us for Christmas, by none other than one of our guests tonight! I have never been into Saki, but this one was really good! It was served cold and did not taste like rubbing alcohol, which is always a plus :]

For dessert, we served tiramisu. Wait, what? That’s not Japanese. Yeah, I know, but I had most of the ingredients and everyone loves it. I followed my own recipe and it came out great! I actually made it two days in advance this time, which worked really well. Everyone scarfed it down, so I take that as a success!

Pistachio crusted flounder with creamed veggies

We bought some fresh flounder at Giant the other day and decided to try it with a bread crumb-less pistachio coating. I perused the internet and found that most pistachio crusted protein recipes included bread crumbs in the breading (go figure!). I didn’t want to use them though, so I just left them out. I also did not dredge the fillets in flour prior to dipping them in egg either, aiming to keep this recipe as low carb as possible. I started off with about 6 flounder fillets.

I crushed the raw pistachio nuts in a food processor, but left them sort of “chunky”. I think next time around, I will just pulverize them into crumbs completely to try a different “breaded” texture than what I got this time. Really, it’s up to you how chunky you’d like it!  A dip in the egg and then they were covered on both sides with the pistachio “breading”.

Into the baking dish they went.

They cooked for about 12 minutes or so. I knew they were ready when I could break the meat apart with a fork.

Interestingly, Greg and I cooked in a rather unusual fashion for us for this meal. I was responsible for one thing and he the other. I had a vision for the fish that didn’t match his so I took over on that. He focused on the veggie side dish, which was pretty amazing! He started off by sauteing some carrots, onions, and broccoli and then made a decadent cream sauce to pour over top.

The flavors of this meal were very rich and decadent. A little went a long way here and it was very filling for being a fish and veggies dinner. The pistachio crust still needs a little perfecting, but I was intrigued by the prospects. I may incorporate some almond flour to make it more breaded than coated next time. We’ll see…

Recipe for pistachio crusted flounder

Recipe for creamed veggies