One woman's foray into cooking for herself, for her family, and for her friends. It's not always picture-perfect, sometimes a little messy,
but it's always delicious. Join me in exploring new recipes, savoring the "résultats" and learning from the "erreurs".

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shrimp & Snap Pea Salad with Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette

There is so much to like in this salad.  Quickly cooked tender shrimp, blanched-and-still-crunchy snap peas, juicy cubes of mango, and the Asian flavored dressing with soy, ginger, lime, and a slight pop of heat.  It's seriously good but oh so simple.  It makes for the consummate meal as the weather starts warming up.  The perfect bite contains mango, shrimp, a snap pea, a few bits of chopped roasted cashew, all dressed with that beautiful vinaigrette.  The mere memory of it makes me smile!

Shrimp & Snap Pea Salad with Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette

Serves 4 as a main course

1-1/2 pounds large shrimp (about 32-36 per pound)
2 cups snap peas (about 1/2 pound, trimmed)
3 green onions, trimmed and minced

Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon honey (my "tweak")
3 - 5 dashes hot sauce

1/2 cup diced mango
1/2 cup chopped roasted cashews
lime wedges

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add shrimp and cook 3 - 4 minutes, until they turn pink. Drain, run under cold water, peel and devein.

Meanwhile, bring another pot of salted water to a boil, drop in snap peas and boil, uncovered, 2 - 3 minutes, until just tender and still bright green. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water to stop the cooking.

To make vinaigrette: Whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, ginger, honey, and hot sauce in a small bowl until well-combined.

Put shrimp, snap peas, and green onions in a large bowl, add vinaigrette, and toss well. Divide the mixture among 4 plates and garnish each serving with the diced mango, chopped nuts, and lime wedges.

Source: The Beach House Cookbook, copyright 2005

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Grilled Tuna with Pineapple Relish

I'm making a concerted effort to try and eat healthier. Fish always seems to fit into the category of 'healthy living', so fish it is!  Tuna, to be exact.

One of my favorite cookbooks containing wonderful seafood recipes is The Beach House Cookbook.  This book has a plethora of lighter-fare recipes full of great flavor, and the Grilled Tuna with Pineapple Relish did not disappoint.  The bulk of the recipe concentrates on the relish:  a little chopping, a little grating, a little squeezing, and it's made.  Though the recipe doesn't call for it, I also added a teaspoon of finely minced jalapeno, which added just a hint of heat. With all that lovely flavor, the fresh tuna only needs a dribble of olive oil and some s&p before going onto the grill (or, as I did this time, into the grill pan).  So quick and easy (my recipe adjectives of choice these days) without skimping on flavor at all. 

I feel healthier already!

Grilled Tuna with Pineapple Relish
Serves 6

Pineapple Relish:
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple (I used Golden pineapples - beautiful rich yellow color and incomparable flavor)
1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded & diced
2 green onions, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon finely minced jalapeno
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar (unnecessary if using Golden pineapples as they are quite sweet on their own)

6 tuna steaks (about 8 ounces each and about 1-1/2 inches thick)
olive oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Pineapple Relish:  Combine pineapple, bell pepper, green onion, ginger, lime, soy sauce, jalapeno, sesame oil, and sugar (if using) in a medium bowl and mix well.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Prepare gas or charcoal grill (or heat grill pan on stove).  Brush tuna lightly with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with salt & pepper.  When the grill (or pan) is medium-hot, grill fish until it is barely opaque, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

Spoon generous portion of the relish over (or beside) the fish and serve at once.

Source:  The Beach House Cookbook, copyright 2005

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Appetizer: Scallops with Chili & Honey

Cooking has taken a bit of a sabbatical in my home, but the kitchen is open again!  And what better way to get cooking again than with a simple but delicious recipe.  I stumbled upon this recipe at Sweet Paul's: Scallops with chili & honey on a golden wonton.  So pretty and the perfect bite.  A bit sweet with a little bite of the finely minced chili, the tender scallop contrasts beautifully with the crisp wonton.  Instead of (what looked to me like) an over-sized square wonton wrapper, I used a fluted biscuit cutter to create pretty little rounds on which to place the golden scallops.

The recipe suggested adding the scallops and the honey at the same time.  I tweaked that a bit by browning the scallops first (make sure to pat them dry before adding to the pan), then added the honey, brought the "sauce" to barely a simmer, and finished cooking the scallops through.  Finely sliced green onions formed a little bed on the wontons on which to place the scallops and added yet another texture contrast. The whole recipe took just minutes to make, and, truth be told, just minutes to eat... I couldn't help myself!

A fine way to get cooking again, don't you think?!

Scallops with Chili, Honey on Crispy Wonton
Serves 4 as an appetizer

4 small wonton sheets
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red chili, finely chopped
4 large scallops, cleaned
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 spring onion, thinly sliced

Heat the canola oil in a pan and fry the wonton sheets until puffy and golden.  Drain & cool on paper towel.

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add chili and sauté for 30 sec.  Add the scallops and cook for 40 sec on each side until golden.  Stir in the honey and bring to a simmer.  Add a little salt.

Arrange wonton and spring onions on small plates, and top with the cooked scallops.  Drizzle a tiny bit of the honey and chili mixture over, and serve while hot.

 Source:  Sweet Paul blog
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