MAHI-MAHI IN THAI-CURRY SAUCE

This is another example of a “lightened-up” version of a classic that worked so well I could not wait to share! Two ingredients are absolutely mandatory: red curry paste and fish sauce. I realize that opening that bottle of fish sauce requires a little psychological preparation, but it is worth it. Just hold your breath as you measure the amount. Actually, I do have a very sharp sense of smell, so it could be less of a problem for you.

MAHI-MAHI IN THAI-CURRY SAUCE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste 
1/2 cup unsweetened light coconut milk 
1/2 cup full-fat yogurt
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced 
1 cup sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 mahi-mahi filets, cut in chunks
smidgen of olive oil + squirt lime juice + salt + pepper to season fish
fresh cilantro leaves
lime zest for serving

In a medium pot over medium heat, whisk together the curry paste, coconut milk, and yogurt. Bring to   a simmer and cook, whisking until the mixture is smooth, but don’t let it boil too hard. Add the fish sauce, sugar, and water; stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for a couple of minutes, cover and remove from heat. Reserve.

Season the pieces of fish with a tiny bit of olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. I just squirt a very small amount of oil to lightly coat the pieces, no need to measure. Use a light hand. Same goes for lime juice, salt and pepper. Reserve.

Heat a 12-inch skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once it is hot, add the oil and heat until it is shimmering. Add the bell pepper, and mushrooms, and cook until the vegetables are starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Then add the fish and sauté for a few minutes. Pour the curry sauce into the skillet and heat it through. Serve the curry over rice, garnished with fresh cilantro and a little bit of lime zest, added right on the plate.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was such a delicious meal! It had that feel of “eating out” which… come to think of it we cannot do that often, as our little town does not have a Thai restaurant. It is probably my favorite type of food, but I can only enjoy it when we travel. You know travel, right? That act of leaving your home with luggage, stepping on a plane and landing in a totally different spot? Yeah. It’s been a while.

We enjoyed it over white rice. I added a bit of lime zest on my serving, and to my taste it was perfect. You can use a squirt of lime juice or omit it altogether, but if you have the same passion I do for all things citric, go for the zest. It packs a nice little punch of flavor. The only thing you need to be careful about is not boiling the sauce too hard. Because it has less fat than a regular recipe, it tends to separate a bit.

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FENNEL-RUBBED SHRIMP IN LIGHT COCONUT SAUCE

Nothing comes together faster than a meal involving shrimp. Or sea scallops, for that matter. But in this neck of the woods it is a rare, very rare event to find dry scallops, whereas good quality shrimp is always available. For this preparation, instead of using a full can of coconut milk (so common in recipes everywhere), I opted for full-fat yogurt with a touch of light coconut milk. Worked wonderfully well. Tasty but considerably lighter.

FENNEL-RUBBED SHRIMP IN LIGHT COCONUT SAUCE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 + 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground Kashmiri chiles
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/3 cup cashews, toasted
1/2 cup full-fat yogurt
1/4 cup light coconut milk
drizzle of honey
dried mint, to taste (optional)

Combine the ground spices and salt in a bowl, add the shrimp and mix to cover it with spices. Refrigerate for 30 min to 1 hour, if possible, but you can start cooking right away. Mix the yogurt with coconut milk and honey, reserve.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp, cook, stirring them for a couple of minutes. Add the yogurt-coconut mixture, and cook in low-heat until shrimp is fully cooked and the sauce reduces a bit. Add the cashew nuts, dried mint (if using), and serve..

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I am calling this dish “Fennel” shrimp because it was the flavor that came through more obviously, at least for me. If you like more heat, add more pepper, or add a touch of cayenne. I love the flavor of Kashmiri pepper, so that’s what I used. If you are like me, and twist the nose at dried mint, I suggest you give it a try. I lost my dried mint snobbism after reading about it in Middle Eastern cookbooks. It has a permanent spot in my pantry now.

Shrimp in light coconut sauce over white rice. So simple, and so satisfying! My kind of dinner!

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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES FOUR: OCTOBER 2020

It’s been a while since I shared with you recipes that are super simple but tasty enough to justify being featured on a blog post.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #1
EGGS WITH ZA’ATAR AND LEMON

This very simple “recipe” is from a wonderful cookbook called “Falastin.”  Gently boil as many eggs as you want, but just for 6 minutes. The idea is to get the yolk still pretty creamy. Now in a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, and za’tar. Peel the eggs, and chop them coarsely, drizzle your little sauce and sprinkle salt on top. Amounts are totally flexible, I usually go with 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon olive oil and then improvise.  I don’t know how many times I’ve called this lunch, with Ak-Mak crackers or a slice of sourdough bread. So good!

 

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #2
SMOKY CHICKPEAS

Inspiration for this recipe came from Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea (I adore it). You will need some smoked tea (Lapsang Souchong), but it is totally worth it to get some and keep in your pantry, even if you don’t enjoy it as a regular tea. I use it in chocolate ganache and quite often in cooking. It gives the food a very nice, subtle smoky flavor.

Slice open one bag of smoked tea, mix its contents with some cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. Open a can of chickpeas, drain and rinse well. Add into a bowl, drizzle some grape seed oil all over it, add the dry spice mixture and mix.  Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and roast in a 400F oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.  Once again, amounts can be totally eye-balled, no need for precision here. Relax and have fun with it.

 

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #3
AROMATIC BASMATI RICE

I found this gem of a recipe at Spice House website and made it four times in a row. That tells you how much we enjoyed it. It just turns a regular batch of rice into something special.  I made some adjustments to their recipe as I felt that the rice was turning out a bit too underdone for our taste.

AROMATIC BASMATI RICE
(adapted from Spice House)

1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed
1 Tablespoon grape seed oil (or another mild-flavored oil)
5 whole cardamom pods
2-3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
salt to taste
2 cups cold water  

Add oil to a non-stick saucepan and place the pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cardamon (you can lightly crush them if you want more flavor), cloves and cinnamon stick to saute briefly. When fragrant, add rice and salt. Saute a minute or so to coat the grains of rice with the flavored oil. Add water, but don’t put the lid on yet.

Once the water boils, turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for 7 minutes. Cover the pan, and let it cook on very gently heat for 7 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let the rice sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the spices and fluffing the rice for serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Make sure to count how many little spice pieces you add to the pan so you can be sure to remove them all, although they are pretty visible on the cooked rice later.  There is so much flavor in this recipe, I guarantee you will be hooked on it.

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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #4
BAKED SALMON WITH SOY-GINGER GLAZE

BAKED SALMON WITH SOY-GINGER GLAZE
(inspired by At Home with Natalie)

3 salmon filets
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil (do not add more, it is powerful stuff)
salt to taste
sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Place the salmon filets (skin side down) over a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil leave at room temperature while you heat the oven to 350F and reduce the sauce for glazing.

Mix the soy sauce and mirin in a small non-stick saucepan, add the ginger, brown sugar and sesame oil. Simmer gently for a few minutes, until it starts to get a little thicker.   Brush the top of the filets with some of the glaze, season very lightly with salt, and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Reserve the rest of the glaze.

Remove the pan from the oven, brush with more glaze and sprinkle sesame seeds. Return to the oven, and cook until done to your liking. Serve immediately.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

We eat salmon every week, but usually the husband is the seafood cook in our house. I rarely venture into his department, but was tempted to try this very simple preparation. I know I’ll be making it regularly, the only key thing is to get the fish cooked to the exact point you want (which is easier to do with sous-vide, but sometimes it’s nice to simplify things further).  Probe the filet with a paring knife, and remove from the oven when it reaches your personal Nirvana level.

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CASHEW SHRIMP CURRY

If you need a super quick recipe for dinner, look no further. The preparation is a bit unusual in the sense that you mix white vinegar (which has pretty high acidity) with some ground cashews and spices, use that to marinate the shrimp for a short while, cook it and you are basically done. The shrimp turns out fresh, bright, and with perfect texture. This goes to our regular rotation for sure. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

CASHEW SHRIMP CURRY
(adapted from 660 Curries)

¼ cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup raw cashew nuts, ground to a powder
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
water
finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Combine the vinegar, coriander, cumin, cayenne, salt, turmeric, and cashews in a small bowl, and stir to make a smooth paste. Pour this over the shrimp, toss well to coat the shellfish with the marinade. Refrigerate, covered, for about 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, arranging them in a single layer and reserving the residual marinade in the bowl. Sear the shrimp on each side, not more than 1 minute per side, so it does not get over-cooked. Pour in the residual marinade and stir once or twice. Lower the heat to medium add a bit of water, the lemon juice, and simmer until the sauce is reduced, about 5 minutes.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I am usually not too fond of books that showcase hundreds of recipes, but 660 Curries is a beautiful exception. My friend Courtnie recommended and I can see why. It has no photos for the recipes, so it could be a drawback to many people, but the recipes are so varied, creative, that I truly don’t mind using my imagination.

You can definitely use peanuts or other nuts in place of cashews, and when I make it again (because I definitely will and very soon), I will add a few toasted cashews, whole, when serving.

We enjoyed it with sauteed broccoli and a simple rice with chickpeas.  A very simple but super delicious meal…

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PRUE LEITH’S SMOKED SALMON AND BEETROOT BLINIS

This recipe was chosen by Prue as a technical challenge for the Great British Baking Show last year. Of course, small details in the preparation are not shared with the contestants, but the online recipe tells you pretty much all you need to know to make them without stress in the comfort of your kitchen.

SMOKED SALMON AND BEETROOT BLINIS
(slightly adapted from Prue Leith’s recipe)

For the blinis:
170g all purpose-flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 large egg, separated
1 tbsp olive oil
220ml whole milk

For the topping:
100g cooked beetroot
1 tsp hot prepared horseradish
pinch of crushed sea salt
125g cream cheese
smoked salmon, flaked
¼ lemon

Make the blinis. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre, then add the egg yolk and the olive oil and whisk, drawing in the flour. Slowly add the milk, whisking to a smooth batter.

In a separate bowl, using a hand-held electric blender, whisk the egg white to stiff peaks, then gently fold them into the batter.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Once the pan is hot, spoon 1 tablespoon of the batter into the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes, until the edges are set and the mixture is bubbling. Turn the blini over and cook until golden brown on the other side, then place on a wire rack to cool. Cook in batches using the remaining batter until you have 12 blinis. Set aside to cool.

For the topping, place the beetroot, horseradish cream, salt and 50g of the cream cheese in the bowl of mini food processor and blitz until smooth. Spoon the beetroot mixture into a clean bowl and fold in the remaining 75g of cream cheese, until evenly combined, thick and smooth. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium piping tip.

Pipe a swirl of beetroot mixture onto each blini, then top with flakes of the hot smoked salmon. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top, then garnish with fresh dill.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: These were very delicious!  I made them as an appetizer for our Valentine’s dinner but as you know, I can be pretty slow to blog on stuff, so you only got to see them as July is coming to an end. Such is life.

The main issue the contestants had with the recipe was cooking the blinis. Many added oil to the pan, and that’s a mistake. Even if it seems like it cooking them on a dry pan will end in tragedy,  that’s how you get the right searing, proper texture and no excess oil as you bite into them. They are delicate, soft, and I find the addition of beets to the cream a real touch of class. Cannot beat that color. Or…should I say cannot “beet” that color?  (ouch!)

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