Sunday, June 28, 2009
For Father's day dinner I wanted to do something extra special. Since I just got back from Greece I had the Greek food I ate on the brain, including Greek salads and these really fresh grilled fish we had. I was so inspired that I ventured over to Tan-A for some shopping. They have some of the freshest fish I've seen. The tilapia is literally swimming in the tank. I wasn't sure the exact procedure to be had, but I saw the Red Snapper they had and knew that was the fish for me. I love snapper! If you've never been to an Asian grocery, you should find one and go, just for the experience. They have all kinds of meat cuts, short ribs, duck legs, and even more chicken feet than I've ever seen in one place at once. Stumped on the fish ordering protocol, I picked a couple out, and put them in the provided bag. Do I take them to the front as is? Do I need some sort of sticker and bar code? I don't know!! I was dismayed because they had the scales on and the last thing I wanted to be doing was scaling fish in my backyard. Scaling is hard work, and you get really gross in the process. Scales fly everywhere, you stink of fish and you get covered in slime. It's pretty gross. Anyways, eventually the minimally English speaking men behind the counter got to me, and I handed them my bag. They took it, weighed it, printed a label and asked me if I wanted it scaled. With elation I said yes, and he went to work de-scaling my fish for me. Success!!
Once at home, I took notes from the Leftover Foodie on how to prepare raw fish. I followed his lead and made two diagonal slits on each fish side, stuffed them and the cavity with garlic cloves, salt, cilantro and lime, and drizzled each one with olive oil and some more salt on the skin. Here are the stuffed fishes, ready for cooking! They're on my big jelly roll pan... those fish are HUGE!
Popped those babies on the grill for 8 minutes or so per side and VOILA! Unbelievable restaurant quality dinner, nice enough to make whoever is eating it feel super special. I served the fish with Greek salad (tomato, red onion, green pepper, olives, lettuce, feta, olive oil and vinegar), Corn (cut fresh off the cob, sauteed with butter, sugar, salt and pepper), roasted fresh garden veggies, a pumpkin and flax bread and a lemon caper chicken that my brothers love.
Overall, it was really good, and really special. A perfect tribute to the greatest dad on the planet, mine.
Pops, little bro and me, circa 1990
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Ahh, the Bakewell Tart. A delicious combo of shortbread crust, sweet filling, and a light almondy cake (frangipane) on top. The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England. If you're not sure what a Bakewell Tart is, check it out on Wikipedia, the all knowing resource.
The recipe is pretty simple- a shortbread crust, jam, and frangipane. I made mine with kumquat jam I made, strawberry jam, blackberry jam and a couple of both kumquat and strawberry mixed for fillings. I also made tartlets in a muffin pan. They turned out pretty well. I have to say I don't love to eat them, but it was alright. As you can see from my pictures I overbaked the frangipane a bit, but the flavor was still good. Either way, the kumquat jam is amazing, so I'll give my rough estimation of the recipe. It was really a delicious experiment. If you haven't had kumquats you should try them. You can eat them whole, each one is little, the size of the end of my thumb about. They are bursting with citrusy goodness. The flavor is like combining lemon and orange together, but sweeter and more sour. Its hard to explain, but its amazing. Buy a container from the store sometime, you'll be happy you did!
Overall, a decent dessert, but I'm not itching to try it again. After reading Diana's reviews then maybe my problem was in the overbaking of the frangipane and I should try it again, but if mine came out how it was supposed to taste then I probably won't make it again. She's singing its praises majorly, so I may have to give it another go.
Check out all my fellow Daring Bakers here, and see their interpretation! Special shout out to my partner in kitchen crime, Diana of Thyme to Lime, and her Bakewell Tart interpretation!
**all measurements are approximations, use your best judgement!
2 containers kumquats, sliced or roughly chopped
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
Put sugar, kumquats and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool, put in airtight jar, let cool. Enjoy!
So sad: Michael Jackson, hopefully he is finally at peace.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I was SUPER psyched to see Dumplings as this months challenge for Daring Cooks. I love to order these morsels as appetizers at Asian restaurants. Thin dough wrappers filled with countless combinations of sweet and savory, spicy and crunchy. I was in foodie bliss. I got started on this challenge early, because right now I am actually sitting in the airport on my way to Greece for ten days with a friend!! YAY! Talk about last minute posting. Anyways, back to the goods. These potstickers are SOO good its ridiculous. I could eat an entire batch. I literally had to restrain myself. I stuck with the original recipe provided, except I changed the pork to ground chicken, and made ground chicken ones and shrimp ones. The ground chicken ones were really good. The combination of spices was perfect, and I added a little bit of chili-garlic sauce to spice it up a bit. The shrimp ones were really phenomenal, little chunks of shrimp, crunchy morsels of water chestnut and some heat from that chili-garlic sauce. Delicious! They were SO good!!
The only thing is that stinks is the amount of time you have to put into the dough and actually making the dumplings! They're kinda time consuming, but worth the effort in this case. I would plan to make the dumpilings an entire afternoon so you're not rushed, especially if you're a one person team.
Here's the filling for the chicken ones... yumm
Pleated buns pre cooking
post pan fry
shrimp one in half. yum
shrimp one in half. yum
Here's the recipe. I love these, and I will take