Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sea Bass with Lemongrass and Chili in Puff Pastry

Still trying to clean out the freezer so we can re-load it with salmon within the next 30 days, halibut in the next 60 days and, hopefully moose within the next 120 days.  I had full intentions of making some beer battered deep-fried halibut tonight but found some sea bass from 2008 that begged to be used first.  I remembered a recipe for a Thai-style fish and thought to revise it a bit to fit my needs--it's healthier than deep frying in grease.  I had the lemongrass and chili on hand and had recently attended the Dutch Oven cooking class this last weekend and was inspired to try a recipe that involved puff pastry and baking instead of frying.  Why can't I marinate the sea bass in a mix of spicyness and then wrap them in puff pastry and bake in parchment paper?   So here we go....a nice salad made of my own garden veggies, sea bass baked in a puff pastry, and rice mixed with fumi feritaki.  For dessert, Blueberry Cheese Cake Delight.

This is what you need:

1/4 cup lemongrass
3 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP lime juice
3 tsps garlic chili sauce
1 TBSP packed brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup peanut oil
2 lbs white fish (halibut, sea bass, orange roughy etc) deboned and skinned
1 sheet Puff Pastry, thawed and rolled out to 1/4", cut into two equal parts

Mix together the lemongrass, fish sauce, lime juice, chili sauce, brown sugar, garlic and peanut oil---then emulsify in a blender, food processor or with a whisk.  Cut fish into two equal parts and marinade in the above mix for at least 45 minutes.  

Lightly roll out puff pastry and divide into two equal portions.  Place fish portion in the center and wrap with pastry crust.  Pinch seams shut and place in a parchment bag or parchment paper.  Cut two big slits to allow steam to escape.  How much fun is this?????

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until puff pastry is lightly browned.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pizza and my new toy!

I have a new toy for making grilled pizza.  I'm re-posting my favorite pizza crust recipe (look in 2009 for the original post).  Tonight I am making just a meat lover's pizza with traditional toppings.

Jamie Oliver's Pizza Crust:

5 cups bread flour
2 cups semolina flour
1 TBSP sea salt
mix this together.......

5 tsp. yeast
1 TBSP. raw sugar
4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water (make sure it is not so hot to kill the yeast, but hot enough to bribe the yeast---about wrist temp)

Mix the flours and salt, let the yeast, sugar EVOO and water sit in a bowl or measuring cup for a few minutes (until frothy and happy)...add to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until kneadable (is that a word?)

Knead until soft, elastic and might need to add a little more flour. Let sit in a bowl until double (an hour or two). This recipe makes a whopping 6-8 medium pizzas...or in my case 2-3 big ones.  No worries about using it up all at once....this crust freezes well!  Just wrap the leftovers into individual pizza dough balls and freeze.

Now for the stone for the grill.  Place stone on the grill and turn on low for 5 minutes.  Increase to medium temp for 5 minutes.  While it is heating lightly dust a pizza skin or a cutting board with cornmeal.  Place the thinly rolled out crust on top of cornmeal dusting and add ingredients you want.  Slide the pizza onto the stone on the grill.  Close the lid and check after about 3-4 minutes...use tongs or a large spatula to turn.  Allow the crust to get crispy and the toppings to melt.  Take off heat with a pizza skin and allow to rest for 3 minutes before cutting.

If using the oven:  Preheat the oven to 475 degrees, get a stone really hot in that oven and slap down your pizza crust on that hot stone. It will begin to bake immediately and give you the next best thing to a wood fired oven baked pizza. Start putting on your toppings and you'll be a hit in 25 minutes! Pizzas should usually bake for 18-20 minutes at that temp....let them sit for 5 minutes out of the oven before slicing (I know it's hard to wait!)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Blueberry Syrup

I made a Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole for a short overnight camping trip last weekend.  The recipe was passed onto me from a parent at our school who made this for staff appreciation week.  The recipe for the casserole can be found online at and by typing in:  Overnight Blueberry French Toast.  The REAL reason for this post though is for my friend Marie Brooks whose husband Roger loved the Blueberry Syrup that is poured over the creation hot out of the oven and  is ready to serve.

NOTE:  In the casserole portion of the recipe I would increase the number of eggs to 18, add another 1/2 cup of milk and increase the maple syrup to 2/3 cup (I thought it was a little dry.)


1 cup white sugar
2 TBSP cornstarch
1 cup water
After the above ingredients have boiled for 3-4 minutes then add:

1 cup blueberries
1 TBSP butter

Combine sugar, cornstarch and water.  Bring to a boil and, stirring contantly, allow to boil 3-4 minutes.  Mix in the blueberries, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until the blueberries burst.  Stir in the butter.  We like to serve this warm over pancakes, waffles, French toast or I suppose one could even serve over ice cream or a white cake.  This sauce/syrup will keep in a jar in the fridge for a week or two.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

German-Style Potato Salad

Bacon?  Really can any recipe that includes bacon be wrong?  This recipe comes to you from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 75th edition.  I wasn't pleased with the Ruralite recipe and have tried others...this one is yummy.  Moist, has that bacon element, and a mustard taste too.

1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, boil until almost soft about 30 minutes
4 slices of bacon, fried crisp and chopped (I am in an organic stage and use only organic bacon)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 TBSP flour
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. celery seeds
1/2 tsp. hearty mustard
dash of good black pepper
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar

Boil potatoes until almost soft.  Peel and cut into a 1/2" dice.  For the dressing:  Cook bacon until crisp.  Crumble bacon and reserve oil.

Add onion to the bacon fat and soften (about 5 minutes).  Stir in the flour, sugar, salt, celery seeds, mustard and pepper.  Now stir in the water and vinegar and allow to may want to add a little more water if needed.  Add potatoes and bacon...Cook for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

I'm serving this tonight with charcoal grilled Moose Brats and some of our 2011 saurkraut!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Garam Masla Halibut with Watermelon Curry

Damn Supertramp!  "It's Raining Again"....that song has stuck in my head for the last 3 days...but how appropriate!  I can't get outside to garden, clean up the yard or even target practice.  It's a little chilly so what to do but cook something really decadent!  Perusing my freezer I find I have one lonely package of halibut left.  I also have a shelf full of watermelon jelly that never jelled.  What does one do with watermelon jelly that did not set? Last year, after making a batch of watermelon pickles (made of the rind), I was left with 3 large watermelons and happened upon a recipe for watermelon jelly. Sounded good at the time, but it did not set and I was left with this delicious watermelon "syrup". I've thought long and hard about what to do with these jars of ruby-colored treasures. It makes sense to pair this sweet confection with something that has a bite! Chile or curry is an obvious choice...but how and with what? I took out the last package of halibut today and knew I wanted to do something different and use that watermelon jelly.

I am using a recipe from Thailand but changing it considerably by using my watermelon syrup and adding halibut. The original dish does not include meat but tofu.  I've also changed the ingredients in that I am using garam masala heavy with cinnamon and cumin. By the way...the ONLY place I have found you can purchase whole okra is the Asian Market in the Aurora subdivision. These vendors are very friendly and's the only place I have found kafir (lime leaves for Pad Thai and Lau Lau).  Ask me for watermelon jelly as I you wont be able to buy it anywhere. 

For the reluctant chef, I advise skipping this recipe....This is for the intermediate to advanced chef. Newbies will hate just shopping for the ingredients, much less the time it takes to prepare and cook.

Let's get started.

4 halibut fillets, skinned
garam masala, to coat both sides

Bake halibut in a 375F oven until almost done (10-15 minutes). Debone and chunk into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Watermelon Curry:
Watermelon (peel, seed and chunk the red(**Set aside, this goes in last), cube the white peeling to cook like you would a potato. Zucchini cut diagonally
Eggplant, peeled and diced into 1" dice
10 okra, wash and slice off the head but leave intact or whole
2 sweet peppers siced
3 green chiles, sliced
Thai green curry paste (use to your preference--we like it hot)
1/2 pint of watermelon jelly
1 can Coconut Milk
1 tsp. fish sauce
Sesame Oil

**Watermelon chunks are the last to add.

Heat oil in a wok or large skillet. Add white watermelon rind, zucchini, eggplant, okra, and peppers. Cook until tender and add green curry. Add watermelon jelly and simmer for 5 minutes. Add water to simmer and reduce heat for 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add chunked halibut, fish sauce and the red part of the watermelon. Mix lightly and serve over rice.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Texas Caviar

Thank you Shanna and Tommy for the Everything Tex-Mex Cookbook. I am making the Texas Caviar tonight to go with the La Posta Green Chile Enchiladas. I LOVE black eyed peas, and the addition of red tomatoes, red onions, and jalaneos appelaed to me. So I am giving it a try.

This book was a gift this year for my birthday present. or ISBN 13-978-1-59337-580-5.

1 (15 oz can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 TBSP. seeded and minced jalapeno
3 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 TBSP minced cilantro
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
18 tsp. cayenne

Combine all ingredients, blend well, cover and refrigerate 2 hours. Serve with chips.

Alaska Blueberry Special Cake

While clearing out some of last year's salmon to make room for this years supply I noticed that I haven't used many blueberries this year. I took out a pint and pondered what to do with them. I've already made pies, jams and syrups. Turning to a cookbook on the shelf, "Best of the Best from Alaska Cookbook", I found two recipes that competed for my attention. Alasks Blueberry Special Cake and Blueberry-Rhubarb Pie (which I WILL try later). ISBN 18936062-42-2 about $11.82 if purchasing in Alaska....$16.92 elsewhere.

This cake does take a bit of preparation but uses few ingredients and was fairly easy to prepare.

1 yellow cake mix
1 large package lemon pie filling (I like the cook and serve best---but if short on time go ahead and try instant)
1 (12 oz.) carton Cool Whip (I used 8 oz. just because I don't like whipped cream)

Mix cake according to package directions. Bake in a 9 x 13" pan. Cool. Mix lemon pie filling accordi9ng to package directions. Top the cooled cake with the lemon pie filling; let cool, cover with Cool Whip. Serve with Blueberry Sauce (see below).

Blueberry Sauce:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 TBSP corn starch
dash of salt
2/3 cup water
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (yes, there is a difference between wild and farm-raised blueberries)

Cook all ingredients except the blueberries until thick. Add blueberries, return to boil, chill completely and serve over the cake.