Category Archives: Seafood

Lobster on Thick Cut Idaho®Potato Chips with Spicy Saffron Aioli

17-lobsterDress up your favorite Idaho® Potatoes with lobster and saffron aioli for a special holiday appetizer! Salty, crunchy thick-cut chips are a sturdy base for buttery lobster tail.  Topped with a spicy saffron aioli and chives, it makes an elegant nibble for any party.  This post is sponsored by Idaho® Potatoes. All opinions are my own.

The holiday season is upon us, which means HOLIDAY PARTIES!  It’s a special time of year, so I don’t feel guilty about a little splurge.  The end of one year, the beginning of a new one…  It’s a time to celebrate with friends and family and it’s a time to pull out all the tricks and SHINE!  I make one or two special appetizers for parties and lobster on thick-cut potato chips is no slouch.  The saffron aioli elevates it to “high falootin’ status” and this appetizer is always the first to disappear.  It looks much fussier than it actually is, everything except the chips can be made in the morning and set aside in the refrigerator for later.  This is key when you have lots to do before guests arrive.

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Curry Coconut Corvina with Idaho® Potatoes

Corvina and Idaho Potatoes with Coconut Curry

This is my first in a series of sponsored posts by Idaho® Potato!   I’m thrilled to be working with them, they are the BEST!  All opinions are my own. 

Curry seems to be one of those flavors that people feel very strongly about.  They either love it or they hate it,  there’s not much middle ground.  I’m in the “love it” camp.  Just the smell of curry makes my heart flutter.   A long, long time ago in a city far, far away when I was in culinary school, we would wander the streets of NYC and more often than not we ended up in an area of Manhattan that had lots of spice shops and Indian restaurants.   I think that’s where my love of curry was born.

I suggest making this with a meaty fish like corvina or halibut.   A delicate fish like sole would get lost in the aggressive flavor of the curry.  That being said,  the potatoes are really the star of the show.   They absolutely make the dish.  The crunchy outside and fluffy inside of the potatoes make it a perfect vessel to soak up that luscious sauce. The bright tang of the tomato combined with the heady, warm spiciness of the curry against the creamy flesh of the potato makes for a perfect bite. 
It’s so good that I’ve considered making it vegan by omitting the fish, doubling the potatoes and adding in more peas, onions, chickpeas, etc.

A word on trial and error:  
Cooking well takes practice.  The more you cook, the better you get.  You will begin to develop a feel for flavors that pair well (sometimes without even needing to taste it, you’ll just “know”) and even after you’ve been doing it professionally for 14 years, it’s not always perfect.  See Below…  

Recipe Testing:
This was the first version. Do you see how yellow the sauce is?  The curry was just a “pinch” too much. It overpowered the coconut flavor.  I backed off just a half teaspoon the next time around and it was perfect.   
Take risks, learn from mistakes…  That’s the only way to develop your palate and learn.  That statement also applies to so much more in life.  It’s a pretty good mantra. 

First round

 
Chef’s Tip: How to get those potatoes SUPER crispy

  • Soak the potatoes in cold water.   This helps to remove some of the starch, which helps them to crisp on the outside and remain tender and fluffy inside.  The water will become cloudy.  I usually let them soak for 15 minutes and change the water once, then let them sit for another five minutes or so. 
  • Drain and pat dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
  • Why does this matter?  The excess starch can sometimes prevent the potatoes from cooking through before they begin to brown too much,  leaving you with dark potatoes that aren’t cooked properly.  Every restaurant I have ever worked in, potatoes always get a soak before frying so it stands to reason that if we are “oven-frying”, the same rules apply. 

Corvina and Potatoes with Coconut Curry

 
Chef’s Tip: Always put the “good side” face down first in the pan.  
How do you know?  Here’s a photo to help!
 Chef Tip

Assemble like a Pro:
Corvina Potato Collage

 

 

Let’s Cook!

Corvina and Idaho®Potatoes with Coconut Curry
Serves 4
A delicious, healthy meal with a simple coconut curry sauce that will make this easy dinner feel like a special occasion.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 lb. piece of corvina, cut into 4 equal pieces
  2. 2 large Idaho® Russet Potatoes, sliced into 1/4" rounds
  3. 1 - 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  4. 1 - 13.5oz can coconut milk
  5. 1/2 cup frozen peas
  6. 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder (yellow curry powder)
  7. 1 clove garlic, minced
  8. 4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  9. kosher salt
  10. black pepper
  11. white pepper
  12. canola oil for frying and baking
  13. nonstick cooking spray
Special Equipment
  1. parchment paper
  2. sheet pan
Make the crispy potatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C)
  2. Line sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment with cooking spray. This will help to ensure we don't have to pry the potatoes off, leaving our crunchy outside stuck to the paper.
  3. Soak potatoes (as described above), pat dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Toss to evenly coat potatoes and lay them on the parchment-lined sheet pan, put in the oven on the middle rack.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip potatoes over. Rotate the pan and slide back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are crispy and cooked through. Sprinkle with a fat pinch of kosher salt while they are still warm.
  5. *Your oven may run hot or cold, so times may vary! Keep an eye on the potatoes after you've flipped them.
While the potatoes are baking, cook the fish
  1. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and drizzle in 2 TB canola oil.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of the corvina with kosher salt and white pepper, place fish in the pan, good side down, and cook for 8-10 minutes. Using a fish spatula, carefully flip the fish over and cook for another 5 minutes. The time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish.
  3. Remove the fish and set aside. DO NOT CLEAN OUT THE PAN.
  4. Add in garlic and let it saute for a minute, then add in coconut milk, curry powder and tomatoes. Let the sauce cook down for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, then add fish back into the pan along with the peas. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes, until fish is warmed through.
  5. Place potatoes on the plate and ladle sauce over them. Place fish on top and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
Notes
  1. Corvina varies in thickness, try to choose a piece that is fairly even from one end to the other. This will make it easier to portion into equal sized pieces and it will guarantee that the cooking rate for all the pieces will be the same.
  2. If you have one piece that is very thin and one piece that is very thick, the thin piece will be cooked through well before the thicker piece. In that case, put the thicker piece of fish in the pan first and let it get a head start on the thinner piece(s).
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
Used in this recipe:
Amazon Affiliate Links,  I get a few pennies if you click on the above photos.  I only promote what I actually use and love!

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Langostino Mac & Cheese with Crispy Bacon and Chives #SundaySupper #JuneDairyMonth

Langostino Mac & Cheese

This post is sponsored by Florida Dairy Farmers in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

This week, I am partnering with Florida Milk to talk a bit about what they do as a part of my post.  I happen to be a fan of farmers.  I grew up surrounded by family farms, so I have an appreciation for them.  I am also acutely aware that without them, food would be scarce to say the least. 

When I moved to Florida a few years ago, I, like most people, really only thought of beaches or theme parks and not much else. But, did you know there are more than 130 dairy farms here and most of those farms are primarily owned and operated by second and third-generation farming families.  They are hardworking men and women who care for their cows and the land, and they are leaders in their communities. Meet some of Florida’s Dairy Farmers here!

A few fun facts about Florida Cows

The majority of the dairy cows living in Florida are Holsteins (the black & white cows) and most dairy herds range in size from 150 to 5,000 cows.  That’s about 123,000 dairy cows in Florida (with Lafayette and Okeechobee being the leading dairy counties) that collectively produce about 2.34 BILLION pounds of milk a year.  That equates to 277 million gallons of Florida-produced milk at the grocery store.

Cheesy Goodness

I’m celebrating “Dairy Month” with one of my all-time favorite foods: Macaroni and Cheese.  It has long been one of my comfort foods.  Mac & cheese has been around for hundreds of years, so I’m sure it has been a comfort food for many.  When I was a teenager, it was my favorite after school snack.  You know the one –  the box with the shockingly orange powdered cheese.  I hadn’t yet learned how to make mac & cheese from scratch, so to my untrained palate it was gastronomic bliss!  I have since learned the delights of real macaroni and cheese.  Thankyouverymuch. 

While I still enjoy plain macaroni and cheese (probably more than I should), I wanted to “fancy it up” a bit and add in sweet langostinos with a handful of crispy bacon.  (Langostinos look like tiny lobsters, but are actually more closely related to certain species of crab.)  Normally, I use extra-sharp cheddar in my mac & cheese because I like the pronounced cheesiness.  However, when paired with the delicate flavor of langostinos, the cheese should complement and not overpower them so I went with a mellow cheddar.   Feel free to add in other cheeses.  Play around with the recipe, swap out one for another, try different combinations… just make sure you keep the same quantity.  Cooking should be fun and creative, recipes like this are a perfect place to start experimenting.

Baked

Mac & Cheese is perfection.  Pasta mixed with a creamy cheese sauce, topped with a layer of (even more) cheese & breadcrumbs and baked.  It’s so simple and satisfying.  
Enough talk, let’s get cooking…

Langostino Mac & Cheese with Crispy Bacon and Chives
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked according to package instructions
  2. 5 TB. unsalted butter
  3. 4 TB. AP flour
  4. 2 C. whole milk
  5. 1 C. Half & Half
  6. 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  7. 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  8. 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  9. 2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese + 1/2 cup for sprinkling on top
  10. 1 1/2 C. langostinos, cooked
  11. 1 C. cooked bacon, chopped
  12. 2 TB. chives, chopped
  13. 1/4 C. seasoned breadcrumbs
  14. 1 TB butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a small pot, combine milk and half & half. Heat until warm, cover and set aside.
  3. In a medium pot, melt butter over low heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Turn heat up to medium and whisk roux for 2 -3 minutes. Add milk mixture and whisk to combine. Using a rubber spatula, go around the edges of your pan to make sure all of the flour gets incorporated.
  4. Continue whisking frequently until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add dry mustard, salt, pepper and 2 cups cheddar. Stir continuously until smooth and uniform.
  6. Spray or butter 9x13 baking dish, set aside. In a large bowl, combine: cooked macaroni, cheese sauce, bacon, langostinos and chives. Stir to combine.
  7. Pour into glass baking dish. Stir together 1 TB melted butter, breadcumbs and remaining cheddar. Sprinkle over macaroni and bake for approximately 20 minutes, until bubbly and browned on top. Remove from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. Langostinos are most often sold frozen, already cooked.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
 

Pin it to your Pasta board!

Mac & Cheese Pin

Want to meet the cows, get recipes from the Florida Milk Kitchen (including a lavender milk bath!) and see what’s new on the farms?  Check out Florida Dairy Farmers and keep up with Florida milk in the news and in the schools.

You can also keep up with Florida Dairy Farmers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Here are more recipes from the folks at Sunday Supper featuring Florida milk:

Milk in the Morning:

Milk during the Day:

Milk in Desserts:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

florida dairy

 

 

Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp) #SundaySupper

Gambas al Ajillo

I was in my late 20’s the first time I went to Spain.  I remember crossing the border from France onto Spanish soil and the flood of emotion I felt.   It was as if I was coming home.  But, I had never been there before…  It was a surreal experience and I knew right then that I would be back.

I fell in love with Spain.   The food, the history, the culture… all of it.  I had been studying Spain and Latin America since I was 14 years old.  I had a degree in Iberian & Latin American studies (don’t ask me what to do with it), but I had never set foot in Spain.  (I did the study abroad program in Guadalajara, México)  It was over a decade in the making to be able to finally experience everything I had read in books.

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Honey Chipotle Salmon

 

Honey Chipotle Salmon 010

Getting dinner on the table in record time is a priority, but clean up…  yes, clean up is the real deal breaker.   If I have a recipe that requires me to use separate bowls and pans for everything, I’m less likely to make it during the week, or maybe at all.

When I was cooking in restaurants or in catering, I rarely had to think about the amount of dirty dishes.  Now that I have my own business, there is no (paid) dishwasher!  And might I just say, the dishwashers are the unsung heroes of restaurant and catering kitchens everywhere!  Without them, things would come to a screeching halt, so thank you… Thank You to all the dishwashers who have cleaned up after me.

As my friends lovingly send me “friendly reminders” that they need recipes for dinner that are healthy, fast, easy and inexpensive with minor clean-up and “oh, if only you were here to cook for me” … I give you this Honey Chipotle Salmon.   I’m hoping you will love it as much as I did, but if your family (or a certain friend who refuses to eat what she deems ‘fish food’) is not a fan of salmon, feel free to swap it out for chicken.

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Shrimp & Slaw

shrimpRecently I posed a question on the Facebook page asking what people wanted to see and one of the requests was “a meal that can be made in about 30 minutes, when I get home from work”.   I get it,  life is crazy busy and the last thing most people (most sane people) want to do after coming home from work is stand in front of a stove for any length of time.

This is a meal I made for a client of mine and it took well under 30 minutes to make, she loved it and requested I make it again.  I probably need to get in the habit of sharing what I cook for clients…

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NoLa

A few months ago, The Girl and I went to New Orleans for a little getaway.  As a properly organized food person, I had a list (a very long list) of places to eat.  That was pretty much my agenda.   Sure, there are tons of things to do in New Orleans and we did a few of them, but my main objective was food.  How could it not be?

NoLa 029

So, our itinerary pretty much looked like this Every Single Day (swapping out restaurants, of course):

  • breakfast : Café du Monde
  • lunch: Antoine’s
  • dinner: Pesche

Oh, did I mention it was restaurant week when we were there?!  Yeah, that’s like putting a fat kid in a candy store and telling him to only pick 3 things.  Not likely… 

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Cod & Tapenade

Some things just go together…  peanut butter & jelly, bacon & eggs,  mashed potatoes & gravy,  champagne & …  hell, ANYTHING.

For me, another one of those pairings is fish and any kind of salty condiment.  I love salt.  I know it isn’t good for you in excess,  but I can’t help it.  There are at least 8 different kinds of salt in my kitchen at this very moment.  Smoked Salt, Truffle Salt, Hawaiian Pink Salt, French Sea Salt, Kosher Salt,  Maldon Salt, Australian Pink Flake Salt, Sel Gris,  but NEVER idiodized table salt.

I am not alone in this near-obsession.  As is the case with most Chefs, we have a salty palate.  What I mean by that is we are so accustomed to highly seasoned food that for the average person it can be a bit too salty. (My Mom used to tease me that she was going to buy me a salt lick at the feed store by our house).

To feed my addiction,  I made olive tapenade.  It is one of the most delicious things and it will keep in your refrigerator for over a week.  It can be eaten on its own:  spread of a piece of warm, toasted baguette, or use it as a flavoring on a piece of fish for example.  Luckily for me I have a great  fishmonger a few blocks away, which brings me back to some things just go together…  Fish loves salt.  It doesn’t have to come from actual salt,  it can come from bacon, capers or olive tapenade!  If you think about it, it makes perfect sense.  Where do fish live?  (in salty ocean water…)

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