Showing posts with label fish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fish. Show all posts

Monday, March 14, 2011

Daring Cooks Challenge:¡Me Encanta Peru! Ceviche and Papas Rellenas

After a great challenge last month (tempura and soba noodle salad), I was excited for another Daring Cooks adventure.

This month our challenge took us south, to Peru! Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenged us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra. For a full recap of the challenge, visit the Daring Cooks challenge description.

I was thrilled about the papas rellenas! Fried mashed potatoes are a little excessive, but so delicious. For our wedding we served what was essentially fried mashed potato patties (they had a much fancier name, of course). Needless to say, we really enjoyed the results of this challenge.

Tackling this challenge for one meal required a lot of organization. It was important to map out all the steps and organize the ingredients before starting. I tackled the potato preparation first. There were two papas rellenas recipes provided - one with meat and one vegan. I created my own combination using ingredients in the refrigerator and pantry. I paired a tofu and vegetable filling with the 'dough' from the meat papas.

While the potatoes boiled, I prepared the filling. First step, cutting up a block of extra firm tofu. I placed it under a towel and a weighted plate to remove excess moisture. Using a mixture of leftover vegetables, I sauteed onions, mushrooms, garlic, a diced hot pepper, and some spinach. I can't remember what spices I used, probably some paprika, salt and pepper. After the tofu dried out, I crumbled it and added it to the pan. I didn't take any notes as I went along, I was just giving everything an eyeball measure. I ended up with a lot of extra filling to add to lunches for the rest of the week.

Next step, assembling and frying! I made six giant papas rellenas, but found that the first one fell apart when I tried to flip it over in the frying oil. I cut the remaining five in half and reshaped them into smaller balls. This made them much easier to fry and a more manageable serving size. They were crispy, delicious, and very filling. I'll refer you to the Daring Cooks recipes, since I didn't follow them very closely.

Before I started frying, I prepared all of the components needed for the ceviche. Once I started frying I put it all together and into the refrigerator to 'cook' for about 15 minutes. I cut the ceviche recipe in half knowing that we were having papas rellenas on the side.  I used a Wild Alaskan Halibut steak and plenty of fresh lime juice and cilantro.

I used a red fresno pepper to add a little kick to the dish. One thing I learned the hard way is that hot pepper oil on your fingers does not mix well with contact lenses. No matter how much you wash your hands, you will still scream when you take your contacts out at the end of the night. Thankfully, I found a solution to the problem - a finger guard! It seems silly, but it is completely worth it. It keeps your fingers off of the pepper and lets you slice and dice without any painful side effects.

I let our fish cook for about 10 minutes, until just opaque. Here's the fish in the 'cooking' liquid:

When the potatoes were all fried and the fish was ready, we sat down to a delicious dinner! Thanks Daring Cooks for the opportunity to try out another new cuisine and technique!

Ceviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche):
Adapted from recipe by Annik Franco Barreau
1 lb. Wild Alaskan Halibut steak
1 garlic clove, mashed
1 red fresno chili pepper, minced
1/2 - 3/4 cup  freshly squeezed lime juice (enough to cover fish)
1 tablespoon  fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Rinse fish and pat dry
Cut into 1 inch cubes (anywhere from 1/2 inch - 2 inches, depending on your preference)
Place fish in a thin layer in a non-reactive dish
Combine lime juice, chili pepper, garlic and cilantro in a dish
Pour marinade over the fish and lay sliced onion on top
After 10 minutes (approximately) fish will be 'cooked'
Remove from the liquid and serve

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Grilled Tilapia - Quick and Tasty

Things have gotten busier around here with school starting, so my food and menu planning has changed. Now meals are falling into two categories: quick and easy and good for leftovers. Having less time doesn't mean that the meals are any less fun and creative!

This meal falls into the quick and easy category. I challenged myself to only buy only items on sale for my trip to the grocery store. From the fish case I picked up two tilapia filets for dinner. In an effort to support the local farmers, I also bought some local zucchini. From the pantry I used some couscous and some mushrooms that we already had on hand. This was a 5-10 minute prep meal (depending on your chopping speed) and 5-8 minute cook time. Dinner was on the table is about 15 minutes for us.

I decided to fire up the grill to cook the fish. I stood in front of the fridge for a few minutes thinking up a quick marinade. Tilapia takes well to a variety of flavors - I decided on a jalapeno lime marinade with a little ginger and garlic. The couscous was a box with a garlic and olive oil spice pack. I sauteed the zucchini along with some diced crimini mushrooms for the side dish. Here's how to do it at home:

Grilled Jalapeno Lime Tilapia

2 half-pound pieces of tilapia
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno, sliced into rings (keep seeds in)
1 teaspoon ground ginger (fresh grated if you have it)
1-2 shakes of garlic powder (fresh minced if you have it)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place tilapia in a pie plate (or shallow bowl with flat bottom)
Cover with lime juice, olive oil and spices, turning to coat
Place jalapeno rings on the top
Cover and marinate while you chop the veggies for the couscous

Heat the grill to medium
Make sure to rub oil on the grill before putting the fish down (ours stuck a little)
Cook the fish for about 3 minutes per side, until just cooked through

I've posted versions of the couscous before, so I won't bore you with it again. Just a photo of the veggies. Have I mentioned how much I love to chop vegetables?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fresh Fish Tacos (made at home)

Inspired by the trend of tasty tacos at some of our favorite restaurants, I decided to try my hand at making them at home. We're having a beef-free week - after documenting our meals we realized that we were eating red meat a little too frequently. The hot item in the food world right now is fish tacos. The dish incorporates a few of our favorite ingredients: avocados, cilantro, lime, and fresh fish. I opted for a pan friend (not breaded and fried) version to keep it on the lighter side.

We are also trying to stick to a stricter budget for food, so the fish choice was based on the lowest price at the store that day - cod fillet. For the two of us (no leftovers) we got 1/2 pound of cod fillet (on the thick side). I decided to wing it and make up my own recipe instead of looking one up.

This was great with the cod - the hubby decided that the recipe would be tasty with salmon or mahi mahi (and fresh tuna if it ever went on sale). For the wrapper we used a small corn tortilla that had more flavor and was easier to manage than a giant burrito sized flour tortilla. Topping included a quick pickled cabbage, diced avocado, fresh tomato salsa, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

This was a quick meal. While the fish was marinating I chopped veggies for the salsa and the black beans. The beans were started, salsa and avocado prepared, and then all that was left was cooking the fish and warming up the tortillas. I only wish that we had some margaritas to enjoy with the meal...there's always next time.

Here are some photos and recipes. I didn't write down measurements as I cooked, this is my guess at what I did!

Fresh Fish Tacos
1/2 pound fresh cod fillet, cut into 2 inch cubes
About 1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
2 dashes of green Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper (just a sprinkle of each)

Put half the olive oil into a bowl with the smashed garlic clove and jalapeno
Put the cut fish into the bowl
Sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, Tabasco, and salt and pepper
Put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes (or as long as you need to prep the other components)

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat (on a 1-10 dial, I used 5)
Remove fish from the marinade and put into the skillet
Cook for 4 minutes on the first side
Flip, and cook for 2 minutes on the other side
When the fish is cooked through, use a fork to break up the big pieces (it will flake along the grain)

Serve with warmed corn tortillas and the following toppings

Quick 'pickled' Slaw
I cheated and used a prepared coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots). Use only enough for this meal. The idea is to get a nice tangy slaw to play off the salsa and avocado flavors. You could try any vinegar you have (in the next post on turkey tacos, I used red wine vinegar)

Coleslaw mix (or chopped green cabbage)
About 3-4 tablespoons or so of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Toss cabbage well with the oil and vinegar
Season with salt and pepper
Keep in the refrigerator until just before serving

Tomato Salsa
2 plum or roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/4 of a white onion, diced
A small handful of chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Mix well and chill

Black Beans and Red Pepper

1 can black beans, drained
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1/4 onion, diced
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a small pot over medium heat
Add in red pepper, garlic, jalapeno, and onion
Cook for about 5 minutes, until just softened (don't burn the garlic!)
Add in beans
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer
Simmer until the rest of the meal is ready

Other Toppings
Diced avocado (squeeze lime juice over it)
Lime wedges for a squeeze over the whole taco
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tasty Tuesday Dinner

I had the day off on Tuesday, so I spent some quality time at the regular grocery store and Whole Foods looking for interesting ingredients. In the fish case they had a delicious looking Orange Honey Pecan cod. I picked that up (for a good price) and took it home to cook with some fresh veggies. Enjoy!

Orange Honey Pecan Cod
Thanks to Whole Foods - no prep needed.

Heat oven to broil.
Broil fish approximately 3 minutes on each side

Crispy Stir-Fried Veggies
1 red pepper, chopped
1 broccoli crown, chopped
1 small can of water chestnuts, rinsed
1/2 cup snap peas
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Splash of soy sauce

Heat small amount of oil over medium heat.
Add veggies and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently

Serve with cous cous and enjoy!

Prep Time - 10 minutes
Cook Time - 10-15 minutes
1 cookie sheet (for fish), 1 skillet, cutting board and knife, and serving dishes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Healthy and Fast Cod w/ Fresh Parsley and Garlic

Tonight's dinner was a quick version of a fancy meal. Inspired by the sale at Whole Foods, I decided to get some cod. I looked at a few recipes and adapted it to how much fish I had. It was tasty and would work well with any white fish (on sale of course) Here's what we had:

Cod with Parsley
1/4 cup or so Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 pound of cod, cut into 4 even sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and over low heat for about 10 minutes.
Add fish and turn heat up to medium low.
Cook for 4 minutes.
Turn fish over, add parsley, and cook for about 8-10 minutes (until fish is done).

I served it with peas and cous cous. It would be tasty with any type of rice and green vegetable.

Prep time - about 5 minutes

Cook time - 15 minutes
1 skillet, chopping board and knife


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