Monday, January 19, 2009

Thai Influenced Shellfish

First off I must say this was a very very entertaining night. Second I'm sorry for all the shitty pictures, but since there was a lot of alcohol consumed during the prep, the composing of the meal and the consumption. I am plaesently surprised on how well everything came together.

What you have to your left is a dish inspired out of a cookbook called Wok Works. I was looking through it one day and saw mussels cooked in coconut milk, but it looked a little plain so i thought I'd put my spin on it. So the dish you have in front of you is mussels, bay scallops and shrimp cooked in a coconut broth infused with lemongrass, ginger and a homeade shrimp stock....oh and there's some chicken breasts in there also. So on for the recipe.......

2 cups Shrimp Stock (Recipe Follows later)
3/4 # Shell on Shrimp (Shelled and devained, w/ shells kept to make stock)
3/4# Bay Scallops
1# Mussels
2 Small Potatoes, Diced
1 Mango, Diced
Juice and Zest from 2 Limes
2 Cans coconut milk
2 Serrano Peppers, Finely diced
1 Lemongrass stalk, beaten with the back of a knife
1/4 Cup chopped Cilantro
1/4 Cup chopped Basil
1/8 Cup chopped Mint
1 T grated Ginger
1/4 Cup finely sliced Scallions


1/4 Stalk of Lemongrass, smashed w/ back of knife
Rind of 1/2 Blood Orange (or any small orange)
1/2 Small Onion
Shells from Shrimp for the stew

First I started by making a stock using the shells from my shrimp....... It's very simple. First saute the onion in a little butter and after they cook a bit and start to carmelize add the shrimp bodies and cook until orange. You can really get the true sweet smell of the shrimp. Then add the lemongrass and the orange rind and fill with water a 1/4 inch above the bodies. Bring to a boil then simmer and skim to get any gunk off the top. Cook until the liquid is very flavorful (about an hour). Then strain through a fine mesh sieve or chinnoise. Put back on fire and reduce until there is about a pint of liquid left....and there you go a nice flavorful stock ready in about an hour and a half.

Now for the rest of the dish. This is fun and easy to do with friends or famil cause like I did you can get them to help out a little and make them earn their dinner. first things first is you want to infuse the cooconut milk with the lemongrass, ginger, and serrano. So put both cans of coconut milk along with 2 cans of water, the lemongrass stalk, grated ginger, and serrano into a medium sized pot and bring to a simmer. while the soup base is infusing you and/or your friends can start dicing all the garnishes. When the coocnut milk starts to taste like lemon and ginger then you can start to add the seafood. Put the shrimp in first, the the scallops, and finish with the mussels. The beauty of this dish is that the fat from the coconut keeps the seafood from becoming tough and the flavor of the milk really gets into the meat. When the mussels have opened everything is done. To plate just spoon everything in a bowl and top with mango, tomato and the herbs. It's great by itself or as we did it on top of some jasmin rice. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Snapper and Bay Scallops W/ Rum Glaze, Polenta Cake and Jicama Salsa

This is one of my signature dishes I have made several times and it always gets better. A few nights ago one of my roommates asked me to teach him to cook so he can impress his wife for Hallmark day..oh sorry, Valentine's Day. This dish immediately came to mind because I've made it for girls in the past and they LOVED it. So a few nights ago we went to the market an came back to start his 1st cooking lesson. I'm sorry I didn't take any pics through the process, but V-Day is still a month away and he still needs more practice so I'll take more pics next time.

So on with the recipe......

1 Whole Red Snapper, scaled and filleted then cut into 4 pieces

½ pound Bay Scallops

1 roll pre-made polenta cut into ½ inch thick disks (available at Trader Joe’s) or small batch of soft polenta

1 Recipe Rum Glaze

1 Recipe Jicama Salsa


1 Qt Orange Juice ½ Cup Spiced Rum (i.e. Captain Morgan)

½ Cup Brown Sugar ½ Cup Honey

¼ Cup Cider Vinegar 1 Habanero, halved

2 Cloves Garlic ½ Small Onion

1 Cinnamon Stick 4 Cloves

1 Teaspoon Ground Allspice 1 Teaspoon Nutmeg

In sauce pan add OJ and spices. Reduce until ½ cup. Strain. In other saucepan sauté’ onion and garlic until lightly brown. Add Brown Sugar and Honey, stir until dissolved. Add OJ, vinegar, half the rum and the habanero. Bring to a slight boil and simmer until syrupy consistency. Keep warm.

Jicama Salsa:

1 Medium to Large Heirloom Tomato, diced 1 Large or 2 Small Avocados, diced

½ Small Jicama, cut into thick Julienne 1 can crushed pineapple, drained and juice reserved

¼ cup Chopped Cilantro Juice of 2 Limes

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Combine tomato, avocado, cilantro, pineapple, and lime juice, splash of pineapple juice, and salt and pepper. Toss in jicama right before serving to ensure crispness.

To Serve:

Pre-heat oven to 200®. In skillet heat pat of butter in some vegetable oil. When smoking add polenta. Sauté until brown and flip. Place in oven to keep warm. If you have 2 pans sauté scallops and snapper in butter in both pans simultaneously. If not sauté the snapper skin side down until golden brown. Flip. Cook until done, around 3 minutes. Put in oven to stay warm. Then sauté scallops until brown, around 3-4 minutes. Take polenta and snapper out of oven. In shallow bowl or a rimmed plate place spoonful of sauce in center. Place polenta disk on top. Followed by snapper skin side up. Spoon glaze on top. Place scallops around base of dish. Top with salsa.

The Finished Product.......

Picture perfect dinner. If this doesn't get you laid you did something wrong!

Cook Free or Die

This is a blog used to expand my creativity and chronicle my culinary adventures. Food is my passion. I love big, bold flavors, and trying not so common food pairings. So be prepared for some different dishes. Feel free to send in suggestions on places to eat or new or unusual ingredients to try. I enjoy trying new bring it on. Cook Free or Die: Cooking without Boundaries!