Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's too hot not to eat seafood

It feels a whole lot hotter out than it probably is. I think I've lived in FL long enough to realize there isn't much difference between 80, 90, and 100 degrees. The heat really ruins the appetite but lighter fare is abundant. Fish is not only a light meal but also a great go-to, throw-together-in-a-hurry meal. I normally just put some rice in the steamer and dinner is on the table in no time. Jaden's citrus-soy fish with soba is my new go-to meal. You can pull this one off in less than 15 minutes.

Citrus-Soy Salmon with Soba
as seen on Steamy Kitchen

6 oz soba noodles, I like to use cha (green tea) soba
1 lb fresh salmon fillet, cut into 2 portions

1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tblsp honey
zest of one lemon
2 tblsp lemon juice
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine (I used rice wine vinegar, in retrospect I think sake would work as well)

In a large pot of salted water, cook the soba according to the package directions. In a small saucepan add all your sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiled, return to a gentle simmer and reduce slightly. Clean and prepare your fish. Season the flesh side with salt and pepper. In a hot pan with some olive oil, sear the fish skin side up for about 2 minutes (time will vary depending on thickness). I like to then flip the fish and finish them in a hot (400-450) oven. Cook for another couple of minutes or until just flaky. Drain the soba and plate them with fish on top. Pour the sauce over your creation and serve. If you like more sauce, double the recipe.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


It makes me sad when I hear someone say they don't like fish. In the back of my mind I immediately think that they've never had a fresh, right out of the water fish. Fish is mild, with some exception, so I can never accept someone telling me they don't like it. They just haven't had it cooked properly and were left with a fishy taste in their mouth. Or there is the possibility that they had a bad experience with a fish stick as a child.

Fish should be done simply, and taste like the sea. All seafood should taste like the sea for that matter. Mollusks, shrimp, scallops and crabs are all relatively mild in taste but vary greatly in texture and richness. Scallops in particular can be super rich which is probably why you get so few when you order them in a restaurant. If you eat too many, you'll be bursting at the -- nearly the equivalent of a big bowl of pasta. Just like fish, I like my scallops done simply. If you want to add some richness to a light white fish (flounder, halibut, tilapia, cod) throw a couple scallops on top for a very satisfying meal. I like to match the subtle sweetness of scallops with an equally subtle spice, curry.

Curry-dusted Scallops
adapted from somewhere...Gourmet?

1 lb fresh scallops, tough ligament removed
Madras curry powder
sea salt and pepper

Properly clean and prepare your scallops. If you get them at the grocery store like I do, make sure you get dry packed. They may have been previously frozen but if they're dry packed, liquid won't seep out after you cook them. Fresh is always best of course. If you can find pink scallops use them; they are slightly richer than the white and look beautiful. In a small bowl mix a good portion of curry powder (scant 1/4 C) with about a tsp each of salt and pepper. Eyeball it! Pat the scallops dry them dredge them in the curry mixture, shake off excess and set aside. In a very hot pan with a thin layer of olive oil or some melted butter, sear the scallops. Cook about 1 min a side and be very careful not to overcook. Give them a little push/squeeze to see if they're done. Also remember that they will continue to cook after you take them out of the pan. Scallops are delicate and easy to overcook so be careful and patient. It's better to under cook than overcook!

Served above with panko-crusted halibut, Parmesan wilted spinach and sauteed shitakes.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Summer Wine

My favorite wine of the moment is perfect for Summer. For under $10 you can serve it up at your next BBQ. Check out Oregon's 2006 A to Z Rose. A to Z's Pinot is also excellent and under $10. Check them both out.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I scream, you scream

I love Haagen-Dazs Reserve ice cream. Every flavor I've tried so far has been incredible. If you can still find some of the older flavors try Sticky Toffee Pudding, Caramelized Pear and Roasted Pecan, Toasted Coconut and Sesame Brittle, and Hawaiian Lehua Honey and Sweet Cream. I've never been that big into ice cream but I was really able to get into these new sophisticated flavors. They are a lot more exciting than plain vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.

The latest flavor is Fleur de Sel Caramel. P thinks it's too salty but I think salt and caramel are a match made in heaven. mmm.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Tomato

One of my favorite things about summer is the fresh homegrown tomato. It was always fun to run around outside and snatch cherry tomatoes off the vine. The crunch and squirt of a fresh cherry tomato always reminds me of summer. It might be harder to find perfectly ripe, juicy tomatoes these days but your local roadside stand or farmer's market usually has a nice variety.

Whether you roast them, slice and dice them, toss them in a salad, or serve them atop a burger you can't go wrong. But have you ever tried tomatoes my favorite way? Macerated? Tomatoes are a fruit after all... Try your summer's best tomatoes diced with a sprinkling of sugar on top. Let them sit for a minute and stir them around. I think macerated tomatoes go best with freshly fried fish -- a lovely alternative to fish and chips. Try them other ways too like with a nice cheese, some herbs, or maybe....strawberries?