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Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

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Today’s dish can’t get any simpler. I wanted to have a dinner that is both light and flavorful. Since I got shrimps , then shrimp it is. Grilled shrimp. We have not had this in quite a while.

Now, I still need to think of something to go with the shrimp. I wanted the skewer to look, not only pretty but tasty as well. My initial plan was to grill some onions and bell peppers with the shrimp, but I changed my mind. I wanted something else, something different.

As I was contemplating on this, the mangoes on my kitchen counter caught my attention. Hmmnnn…. I have a couple that need saving, as I never want to throw anything away. I’d have to use my mangoes then. My initial thought would be to make a mango salsa, but I thought of something else. How about grilling the mangoes with the shrimp? Well, there’s only one way to find out… And that’s
how this dinner came about.


grilled shrimp with mangoes served on a bed of shredded lettuce & carrots

It is such a simple recipe. I rubbed the shrimp real good with the spices and let it rest for a while, allowing a little time for the shrimp to soak in those spice-goodness. But my anxiety lies in the combination of the shrimp and mangoes. How would they come out, I wonder? I’ve never had grilled mangoes before, so there was an element of suspense in this dinner. (Watch the skewers closely as shrimp cooks in no time.) We shall see (or taste, in this case) the result.

And.. drumroll… well, the mangoes tasted real sweet and smokey. It balanced the spicy shrimp very well. I like it. But best of all, I got a thumbs up from the hubby. It’s another successful experiment.

Spiced Shrimp With Mangoes

1-1/2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deviened
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1-1/2 tsp olive oil
2 pc ripe mangoes
10-12 skewers, soaked in water for 2 hrs.
Lime wedges
Chives, for garnish

1. In a bowl mix sugar and the next 5 ingredients (thru oregano).
2. Add shrimp to bowl and make sure that all shrimp are coated with the rub mix. Set aside.
3. In the meantime, peel mangoes. Cut the flesh into 2-inch pcs.
4. Thread shrimp and mango alternately into skewers, 2 pcs of shrimp and mangoes.
5. Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Place skewers on grill rack and cok for 2 minutes on each side, or until the shrimp is no longer gray.
6. If preferred,drizzle a bit of lime over the shrimp. Serve immediately garnished with chives.

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It all started when I saw the beautiful tuna steaks in the supermarket. I couldnt resist them so I bought, albeit with eyes half-closed because this fish could get a little pricey. But heck, we’re treating ourselves tonight because all work and no fun makes us dull…. yep, good food is fun, especially the kind that you don’t have to feel guilty about after having wiped out your plate. And this dish fits the bill (no pun intended).


I love fish, and if you’ve read my previous blogs, I grew up in the Philippines having the freshest fish from the Pacific Ocean. (Just an observation, I think the seafood from the Pacific Ocean taste much sweeter than those from the Atlantic… in my opinion). Anyhow, we try to eat fish once or twice a week. First , because I’m not really a big meat eater (Mr. J is, though), and second, because of all the nutrition that you can get from them (Omega 3 acid, most especially).

I have made this dish before, but this time I just dressed up the tuna a little bit with the black and white sesame seeds. Honestly, as much as I love fish — I can’t say which one I love better in this dish- the tuna or the cippolline onions in balsamic reduction. I think they go oh so well together that one cannot be without the other.

I served this this with a Peanut-Ginger Rice (see recipe in my next blog).

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Sesame-Crusted Tuna
(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 tbsp sesame oil
4 (6-oz) Yellowfin tuna steaks*(about 3/4 oz thick)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted ( mix black and white sesame seeds if you have them)
pinch of salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp green onions for garnish

1. Combine tuna , soy sauce and lemon juice in a bowl, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle tuna with salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt because the soy sauce is already salty. Let tuna marinate for a few minutes.
2. In the meantime, heat oil in a large , non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
3. Dredge the edges of tuna in sesame seeds.
4. Add tuna to pan and cook until desired degree of doneness.
5. Serve tuna with the cippollini onions (recipe follows) and peanut-ginger rice (recipe following this post).

*NOTE: If you want your tuna cooked rare, buy sushi-grade tuna.

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Roasted Cipolline Onions
1 lb cipolline onions (or pearl onions)
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Peel the onions and cut off the root ends.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
3. Toss the onions, vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper in a baking dish.
4. Roast in the oven until the onions are tender and golden, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes to 1 hour.

GAME PLAN:
1. Get the onions to the oven first as this takes the longest to cook.
2. 20 minutes before the onions are done, get the rice started.
3. 10 minutes later, start on the tuna. By the time tuna gets done, the onions and rice should be done and just waiting to be served.

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Restaurant menus, most of the time, have dishes under the appetizer section that are enough to serve as an entree, for me that is. And I do order those appetizers as my main meal once in a while, especially when I am trying to save enough room for dessert later.. ;o).

The dish I have here is actually meant as an appetizer,usually served as is, or with bread. But to have it for our dinner, I had to pair it with something substantial. So I served the scallops with pasta in alfredo sauce.

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Seared Scallops With Parsley And Garlic
1 lb bay scallops (or 16 large scallops)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pcs anchovy fillets
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced

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1. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
3. Add scallops, saute 2-1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Set aside and keep warm. Repeat procedure with the remaining scallops. Wipe pan clean with paper towel.
4. Add butter to pan; reduce heat. Add anchovies and cook, stir until fillet has dissolved and melded into the butter.
5. Stir in garlic and parsley. Cook 15 seconds. Return scallops to pan. Toss to coat. Remove from heat and add lemon zest and juice.

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I used my favorite bottled 3-cheese alfredo sauce with garlic for the pasta.

NOTE: To perfectly brown scallops, I suggest that you cook them in batches. Add the scallops a few at a time so that the pan will not lose heat. Wait until the oil is hot (when you see ripples in the pan), then add the scallops – do not move them anymore until it is time to flip. The key to browning the scallops is – patience!.

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This dinner is reminiscent of what Mr. J and I had when we went to Christy’s restaurant (here in Miami) a few months earlier. I wasn’t really interested in ordering an appetizer then, but Mr. J suggested that we get the crab cakes. So I thought, why not? And you know what — I wished I had the crab cakes for dinner. They were oh soooo good. I think I liked it better than the steak… hahaha.. I just fell in love with their crab cakes and since then, I’ve vowed to try making my version that I hope would come close to the one we had in that restaurant.

But looking for a good crab cake recipe was a mission. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there’s ton of recipes out there.. It’s just choosing the right one that would get me close to what I had in Christy’s proved to be not an easy task. In the end, I had 3 different recipes at hand which I kind of combined to come up with my own version.

I don’t know if I even came close to Christy’s crab cakes, but this sure was delish. I got a thumbs up from the hubs — which was all I needed for my efforts to be worthwhile!

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Crab Cakes
1 lb crab meat, picked free of shells
1/3 cup panko (japanese breadcrumbs), plus more for dredging
1-1/2 tbsp Emeril’s Essence or Old Bay Seasoning
3 tbsp c finely chopped onions
1 stalk scallion (green and white parts only), finely chopped
1/4 cup pimiento
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tbsp butter
Olive oil, for sauteeing

1. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the crab meat, butter and olive oil.
2. When thoroughly mixed, add the crab met. Mix together gently, being careful not to break apart the lumps too much.
3. Using hands, shape the mixture into patties.
4. Place patties in a wax paper lined plate.
5. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes (or longer).
6. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
7. Take out crab cakes from fridge and dredge patties with panko.
8. When oil is hot, gently pace crab cakes, in batches, in pan and fry till golden brown, about 4-5 minutes on one side.
9. Carefully flip crab cakes and fry on the other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
10. Serve with Dijon sauce (recipe follows)

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Dijon Sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
pinch of kosher salt
pepper to taste
1 cup white wine
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp butter

1. Saute shallot and garlic in vegetable oil over medium heat, till shallot is transluscent.
2. Add wine to deglaze pan. Reduce liquid for 30 sec to 1 minute, or till wine is half its original amount.
3. Add mustard, salt and pepper. Bring to boil.
4. Remove from heat. Add butter. Stir. Serve with crab cakes.

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I enjoy watching reality TV shows, especially those that have something to do with cooking. I love learning and experiencing vicariously through the contestants on the show. It is interesting to see how they handle the challenges that are being hurled their way.

One of these shows is the famed Top Chef on Bravo Network. They have what they call the quick fire challenges (minor challenges to test their individual skills) where the winner gets the immunity from elimination for the next major (teamwork) challenge. One of the quickfire challenges that they had was to come up with a dish using just 7 ingredients (if I’m not mistaken), excluding oil, salt, pepper and sugar.

Well, our dinner tonight reminds me of that challenge. This dish only requires a total of 6 ingredients… yes, 6 ingredients, not counting the salt, pepper and oil. And what more, it only takes about 30 minutes to prepare.

I have learned all these years that the best dishes are prepared simply. The flavors of this dish do not disappoint, and I am sure you’re going to enjoy this – if you like fish, that is.

I served the fish with a plain couscous and steamed broccoli with lemon.

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Pan Seared Tilapia With Citrus Vinaigrette
(from Cooking Light)
cooking spray
4 (6-oz) tilapia fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

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1. Heat a non-stick skilet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.
2. Sprinkle fish evenly with 1/4 salt and 1/4 pepper.
3. Add fillets to pan. Cook for 4 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily.
4. Remove from pan. Keep warm. (Repeat procedure if you’re cooking in two batches)
5. Add white wine to pan. Cook 30 seconds or until liquid almost evaporates.
6. Add shallots and remaining ingredients, stirring well with a whisk.
7. Stir in remaining salt and pepper; saute 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently.
8. Top each serving of fillet with about 3 tbsp of sauce.

NOTE: This dish actually calls for sherry vinegar. So if you have it, I’d recommend you use it instead.

Plain Couscous
1 cup couscous
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp butter

1. Bring the chicken broth to a boil.
2. Add the butter, followed by the couscous.
3. Turn off heat. Cover. Let stand for 5 minutes.
4. Fluff couscous with fork and serve
.

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Southwest Style Shrimp

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If you look through my food in this blog, there would be one thing that you’ll notice – the recipes are no-fuss ones that are quick to make.

Well, this one is not an exception. This whole dinner will take you no more than 30 minutes to prepare, provided that your shrimps have already been shelled and deveined.

This recipe takes on a southwest inspiration. It calls for chili powder. If you’re not into spicy food, I suggest that you go easy on this spice. However, I guarantee you that despite the amount of chili powder required in this dish, it is not as spicy as you would expect it to be. And, the black bean and corn salad also balances the heat pretty well.

You may serve this with toasted pita wedges as I did. Or I’d imagine that yellow rice would go well with this too.

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Black Bean, Corn & Shrimp Salad
(Yields 4 servings)
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1-1/2 lb med shrimp, peeled and deveined
Cooking spray
2 tbsp fresh lime juice, divided
1-2/2 c frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1/4 c bottled salsa
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

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1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat
2. Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Add shrimp, toss to coat.
3. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp, saute 3 minutes or until done. Add 1 tbsp lime juice. Remove shrimp from pan. Add corn to pan, saute 1 minute. Stir in salsa, cilantro, and beans, cook 30 seconds or unti thoroughly heated.
4. Stir in 1 tbsp lime juice.
5. Serve shrimp over bean mixture.

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