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I really do enjoy the flavor of fish. It’s really light and doesn’t take a long time to cook. Lately, I’ve been trying to expand my taste buds for the different types of fish. Now I really do enjoy snapper but it is definitely a fish that you have to be able to afford. At times you may have to substitute another fish if your budget isn’t prepared for this dish. So, if you can’t find snapper, try any of the following: Pacific Rockfish, Striped Bass, any Sea Bass [European, Black Sea, Chilean], Catfish, Walleye, Haddock or Yellowtail. Make sure you have fillets with the skin left on for this recipe.

Grilled Red Snapper

Grilled Red Snapper

Grilled Snapper

Prep Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb skin-on snapper fillets
  • Juice of a lime
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1 T. black pepper
  • 1 dried cayenne pepper or 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 T. coriander seed
  • 2 T. achiote seeds (available in Latin markets)
  • 1 T. dried oregano (Mexican oregano is best here)
  • 1 1/2 t. Kosher salt
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 2 T. canola or other vegetable oil

Preparation:

  • There are two ways to do this spice mixture: With whole seeds, which you then grind, or with powdered spices.
  • If you have whole spices, toast the coriander, the cayenne pepper, black peppercorns, achiote seeds, and oregano in a dry pan over medium-high heat until you can smell them, shaking the pan often. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
  • Skip this step is you are using powders, because toasting them is tricky — they burn easily. Incidentally, toasting makes the spices smell better in the finished dish.
  • Achiote seeds, which look like little red nuggets, are a key to this dish. But if you cannot find them, you can substitute more paprika. It will not be the same, but is an OK alteration.
  • If you are toasting and using whole spices, grind them into a powder in a spice grinder.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a plastic container or plastic bag, add the oil and the lemon and lime juice. Put the fish fillets in the juice-filled container and move around to coat. Now sprinkle the spice mixture over the meat side of each fillet. Don’t bother to spice the skin side. Lay the fillets skin side down in the container or bag, then let this marinate in the fridge for 2-4 hours.
  • After the fish marinates, remove it and pat the skin side dry with a paper towel. Coat it with a bit more oil and lay the fillets down on a well-oiled, preheated grill. To cook this dish, you will need an “open” space on your grill with no heat – either one section of burners turned off, or a spot where there’s no charcoal underneath. This is where you lay your fish down. If you cannot do this for some reason, wait until the fire is subsiding or turn the burner to its lowest setting.
  • Grill the fish for 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness. Do not flip. If you do, the fillet will fall to pieces. That’s why you leave the skin on. Once the meat flakes near the head end of the fillet, carefully remove the fish and set it on a platter to cool for a minute or two. Serve with flavored rice, as a sandwich filling, or break it into pieces and use it for fish tacos.

“Fish, to taste right, must swim three times — in water, in butter and in wine.”
-Polish Proverb

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Now this is something that I really do love. I like them fried, boiled, broiled, steamed, grilled, etc you get the picture. When I first started writing this blog I told Budget Blogger Meg [@CallMeHoppe] about it. I got that she was kind of disturbed when she said, “This isn’t going to be some gross homage to the old adage, ‘Do you know what’s actually in there?!’ is it?” When I told her that there was nothing gross, she agreed to read it after some “it better not be’s” So, to ask the age old question, hold the gross:

Pink's Hot Dogs, the legendary LA hot dog joint. Courtesy of kaszeta on Flickr

Pink's Hot Dogs, the legendary LA hot dog joint. Courtesy of kaszeta on Flickr

What are hot dogs made from?

Are hot dogs made of pork, beef, or something else? What are hot dogs made of? Frankfurter content is regulated by law in the United States. Traditional hot dogs are made of beef, pork, veal, chicken or turkey. They are available with or without skins and may contain up to 30%  fat and 10% added water. For vegetarians, there are tofu hot dogs.

Hot dog sizes range from about 2 inches (cocktail wieners) up to the famous foot-long hot dogs popular at sporting events. The most popular hot dog size is the standard 6-inch length usually sold in packages of ten.

Hot Dog Terms Regulated by Law
–Beef or all-beef: Contains only beef with no soybean protein or dry milk solid fillers added.
–Kosher: All-beef, usually heavily seasoned with garlic.
–Meat: A mixture of pork and beef, usually 40% pork and 60% beef with no fillers.
–Frankfurter: May contain up to 3.5 percent fillers and made from a combination of meats.

Let’s share some hot dog recipes and their origins
–Chicago dogs: a steamed, boiled or grilled – but never broiled – all-beef

Chicago Style Hot Dog courtesy of kaszeta on Flickr

Chicago Style Hot Dog courtesy of kaszeta on Flickr

hot dog on a poppy seed bun, originating from the city of Chicago, Illinois. The hot dog is topped with mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish (usually a dyed neon green variety called “Nuclear Relish”), a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt; sometimes, but not always, cucumber slices. [Not to be biased as a Chicagoan, but these are the BEST hot dogs you could ever hope to eat!!!]
–Kansas City dogs: Sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese on a sesame seed bun.
–New York City dogs: Steamed onions and pale yellow mustard sauce.
–Coney Island dogs: Topped with a spicy meat mixture.
–Southern slaw dogs: Served with coleslaw on top.
–Corn dogs: Placed on a stick, dipped in corn bread batter, and deep-fried.
–Tex-Mex dogs: Topped with salsa, Monterey Jack cheese, and chopped jalapenos.
–Pigs in a Blanket: Wrapped in pastry and baked.
–Baltimore Frizzled: Split and deep-fried.
–Lillies: Short for Lilliputians (from the Jonathan Swift novel Gulliver’s Travels), these are about half the size of a man’s thumb, also commonly called cocktail-size, and usually served as an appetizer in a sauce.

Hot Dogs Around the World
The popularity of the American hot dog has spread worldwide. In Russia, where they are known as Sosiska, Russians prefer their dogs spicier, so those exported to Russia generally contain a lot more garlic. Whereas, in China, where hot dogs are known as Rouchang, a fully cooked, cold hot dog wrapped in red plastic is eaten like a popsicle, slowly peeling the red plastic down as it is consumed or warmed on a stick with no condiment embellishment. However, no other country to date can keep up with Americans who consume over 20 billion hot dogs a year [we have to win at everything we do!]

Where did the term “hot dog” come from?
Although the history of sausage goes back a long way, hot dogs are as American as apple pie. There is no certain etiology of the term hot dog, but two theories are the most prominent.

The popularity of the term hot dog is generally attributed to sports cartoonist T. A. “Tad” Dorgan, who caricatured German figures as dachshund dogs just after the turn of the 19th century. His talking sausage cartoons generally denigrated the cheap wieners sold at Coney Island, crassly suggesting they contained dog meat. It was such bad publicity that in 1913, the Chamber of Commerce actually banned use of the term “hog dog” from signs on Coney Island.

The term actually first appeared in print in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1900. German Americans brought us wienerwurst, German for Vienna sausage, which eventually became shortened to wiener. Other German immigrants referred to smoked sausages as bundewurst, which is German for dog sausage. By the late 1920’s, weinie roasts became the rage, with guests bringing their own hot dogs to roast over an open fire.

Credit for putting the hot dog into a warm bun and topping it with various condiments goes to Harry Magely, catering director of New York City’s Polo Grounds, who reportedly instructed his vendors to cry out, “Red hots! Get your red hots!” Also credited for the idea of warm buns is Charles Feltman, of Feltman’s Gardens in Coney Island amusement park. Corn dogs were introduced in 1942 at the Texas State Fair, created by Texan Neil Fletcher.

Now that we know how wonderful my hot dogs are let’s stop reading here and go and have a wonderful hot dog experience with everything on it!!

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I was looking at some of Hank Shaw’s fish recipes the other day and I stumbled across a great one for sardines. I know that most people think of the stinky fish in the aluminum container when they think of sardines. However, what people don’t realize is that sardines are absolutely amazing fish to grill and eat on a warm summer night! Sardines are also great for the memory, check out my earlier blog: Taking a Trip Down Memory Lane for other great memory enhancing tips.

If you think that you can challenge your mind to think of and try something new, give this recipe a go.

Fresh Sardines Grilled and Stuffed

Grilled, semi-boneless fresh sardines are a fantastic fish to serve in summer. This sardine recipe uses grape leaves to hold in a simple stuffing — and keep the fish from sticking to the grill. Sardines are a full-flavored fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but they are bony. Good news is that it’s easy to remove most of the bones with a method describe below.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8-12 fresh sardines, scaled and gutted
  • 8-12 grape or fig leaves
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • 2 T. chopped parsley
  • 2-4 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 T. of your favorite herb — I like to use basil in summer, sage in winter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preparation:

  • Make the stuffing
    • Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the breadcrumbs, mushrooms, herbs, garlic, onion and salt in a food processor and buzz until combined. Do not work the mixture too long or the texture will taste odd. Just pulse it a few times so it comes together. Let this stand while you de-bone the sardines.
  • De-bone the sardines
    • Once you have scaled and gutted sardines, you need to remove most of the bones so you can eat them easily. Do this by taking your sharpest knife — a fillet knife is the best for this — and cutting along each side of the backbone behind the ribs.
    • Once you do this, slip the point of the knife (facing away from the backbone) under the ribs and free them from the meat. Do this on each side.
    • Using scissors or kitchen shears cut the backbone where it meets the tail and where it meets the head. You can remove the head if it bothers you.
    • To remove the backbone, work your thumb and forefinger alongside the backbone at the tail end to free it, and carefully lift it up as you go toward the head. Push down the meat as you go. Once you get near the end of the ribs, it will all come away with lots of bones attached. You now have a cleanly split sardine.
    • There will still be a few bones in the sardine, but they will be very thin and perfectly edible. Assemble. Paint each sardine with olive oil and fill the cavity with some of the stuffing
  • Moisten each grape leaf (fresh or the brined, canned ones from the store are each OK) with olive oil and wrap the sardine in the leaf. The oil will help them stick.
  • If you cannot find grape or fig leaves, you can omit them or use cabbage leaves that have been soaked. If you don’t use a leaf, you will need to sew the cavity shut or use a skewer to do so.
  • Grill the sardines over a hot fire for 5-6 minutes per side. Turn only once.
  • Serve with cold white wine. Try chenin blanc, pinot grigio, a Portuguese vinho verde, a Spanish Torrontes or with this dish, a Greek assyrtiko.
  • As a side dish consider a tossed salad with a nice vinaigrette.

Wishing you a lot of fun in trying a new recipe!

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I read recently that British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown stated that his favorite recipe is Rumbledethumps.

Now I asked myself, “What in the world is that dish?” To be honest, if I had continued reading the article, I could have spared myself looking it up on Google, but curiosity they say did kill the cat. After perusing Google for about a second, I stumbled upon something that sounded both fantastic and very interesting so here it is:

Mr. Brown is a Scot, and as any Scot would have told me, Rumbledethumps is the delicious Scottish dish made from cabbage, swede, and potatoes. It is common to use leftovers from Sunday lunch. Now, being from the south I feel as though hot peppers and corn bread are too vital to be missing as accompaniments for this Scottish dish; but I don’t think the Celtic population would necessarily agree!

After all of this of course here is the recipe enjoy and have a great travel experience!!

England has Bubble and Squeak, Ireland has Colcannon and in Scotland the delicious fry-up of vegetables is called Rumbledethumps. This Rumbledethumps Recipe is based on a classic recipe from Sue Lawrence one of Scotland’s most famous cooks.

Rumbledethumps

Rumbledethump’s Recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1lb 5oz/600g potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 14 oz/400g swede or turnip, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 3 oz/75g unsalted butter
  • 9oz/250g savoy cabbage or Kale, finely sliced
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 oz /25g cheddar cheese, grated

Preparation:
(Serves 6)

  • Preheat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas 4
  • Place the mashed potato and swede into a large saucepan.
  • In a small frying pan melt 2 oz/ 50g of the butter, add the finely sliced cabbage or kale and cook gently for minutes until softened but not brown.
  • Add the cabbage to the pan of potato and swede, add the remaining butter and mash together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place the mashed vegetables in an ovenproof baking dish, sprinkle the cheese on top, cover with a lid and bake in the oven for 30 – 45 mins until heated right through.
  • Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 mins or until golden
  • brown on the top.
  • Serve piping hot as a side dish with a casserole, pie or any
  • hearty foods.

“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.”

-Adelle Davis

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I love mushrooms!  The unique flavor that they add to stews, chicken, steak, salads, and other dishes that are enhanced from this flavor.

Because I love mushrooms, I am reading more about their benefits.As it turns out, mushrooms may have magical anti-aging and health properties.

That is a plus without a doubt!!

So now I have definitely 2 benefits of my mushrooms taste and anti-aging and I think I’m going to share my favorite recipe for mushroom burgers and a link for more health rewards for mushrooms!

mushroom burgerPortobello Mushroom Burgers

Ingredients

4 portobello mushroom caps
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
4 (1 ounce) slices provolone cheese

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place the mushroom caps, smooth side up, in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour over the mushrooms. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or so, turning twice.
2. Preheat grill for medium-high heat.
3. Brush grate with oil. Place mushrooms on the grill, reserving marinade for basting. Grill for 5 to 8 minutes on each side, or until tender. Brush with marinade frequently. Top with cheese during the last 2 minutes of grilling.

Enjoy and have a great travel experience!!

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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