Whole Red Snapper in Spicy Sauce

Whole Red Snapper in Spicy Sauce

If you haven’t eaten anything with a face on it lately, you might like to try this.

Tonight I finally rose to the occassion and made this Chinese dish using the star anise I bought months ago. My Chinese friend made snapper something like this – in his dorm room, no less – when I visited him years ago and it was great, so I’ve been meaning to try it myself.

To prepare: remove the scales from the cleaned fish (it’s a good idea to do this out in the yard :-), and cut some slits in each side and fill them and the cavity with coarsely chopped fresh ginger and garlic.
For the sauce, mix the following in bowl: water (perhaps 1/2 cup), a couple tablespoons vegetable oil, apple cider vineger, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, chopped ginger and garlic, black pepper, five spice powder, perhaps 5 star anise pieces, 4 hot red thai bird peppers (finely sliced), minced onion (I used red onion because I didn’t have scallions), and bring this mixture to boil in a hot pan. Next, reduce the heat and place the fish in the pan, and cover with a slightly vented lid, cooking the fish until it is opaque and flakes easy, flipping it once half way through (perhaps 5 minutes per side on medium high heat). Move the fish to a serving platter; in the pan, add some corn starch to the sauce and return it to a boil to thicken it.

Lastly, I sprinkled the dish with sesame seeds and garnished with cilantro leaves and served it with steamed brocolli and white rice.

I also made a similar video recipe for Chinese Red Snapper:

Here’s one recipe I consulted for hints: http://chinese.food.com/recipe/whole-red-snapper-in-szechuan-hot-sauce-53686

Squash, Potato, and Chard Curry

Squash, Potato, and Chard Curry

This is one of the first Indian-style foods that I’ve made – a vegetarian dish that is both spicy and sweet; its inspiration was simply to make use of the fresh vegetables at hand and the Garam Masala I’d bought a couple months ago but had yet to use. :-)

Starting with one acorn squash, cut it in half, remove the seeds, but do not remove the squash peel; the peel will keep the squash from disintegrating during cooking, yet will become tender enough to eat. Cube the squash into approximately 1″ pieces and one medium potato to about 3/4″ pieces, and one coarsely chopped tomatillo. First, toast about two tablespoons of cumin seed in a pan (large enough to hold all ingredients), and remove them from the pan. To the pan, on medium heat, add a few tablespoons of canola or other oil and return the cumin seeds to the pan. Then add a coarsely chopped red onion and sauté it until the onion begins to turn translucent. In a mortar or bowl, mix four crushed garlic cloves, a finely chopped jalapeno and thai pepper (both with seeds), perhaps a teaspoon each of these spices: garam masala, turmeric, ground ginger, ground cloves, curry powder, and make it into a paste by stirring in about a quarter cup of water. Next add the squash, potato, and tomatillo to the pan and thoroughly stir in the spice paste, then cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and simmer on medium-low heat until the squash and potato is tender – about 20 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes to check tenderness and add a bit of water as necessary to prevent burning. Lastly, add chopped green swiss chard, and cook for a few more minutes until the chard is cooked tender.

Serve over rice cooked with cumin seed. Enjoy!
I like this with tzatziki too; that’s arguably very similar to raita (Indian yogurt sauce), e.g., http://www.phamfatale.com/id_1846/title_Cucumber-Raita-Indian-Yogurt-Recipe/

I took some hints from the following recipes:
“Vegetable Masala”: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/vegetable-masala/detail.aspx
“Rava Dosas with Potato Chickpea Masala”: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Rava-Dosas-with-Potato-Chickpea-Masala-356035
“Acorn Squash Masala Fry”: http://yummyodds.blogspot.com/2011/01/acorn-squash-masala-fry.html

Baked Panini

Baked Panini

This is a great sandwich that I make quite often; I don’t have a panini press, so I bake it instead.
I start with a thin layer of relish or sauce (here I used the Red Pepper Spread from Trader Joe’s), but tomato paste or hummus is also good), on multi-grain sourdough then a single layer of salami slices, topped in order with sharp chedder, fresh sliced mushroom, thinly sliced roma tomato, then some red onion, red pepper strips and thin slices of garlic.
Tip: its best to put cheese and mushrooms first so they don’t overcook, and the peppers/onions/garlic at the top to receive more direct heat.
Bake open-faced, on a baking sheet in a toaster oven or conventional oven at 300-350°F for perhaps 15 minutes until the cheese is well melted and the garlic slices or vegetables on top just begin to brown. Top with another slice of lightly toasted bread, perhaps with a bit of mayonnaise and/or hot sauce if you like!

Chicken Skin Tacos

Chicken Skin Tacos

Today I made these tacos for friends, inspired by this recipe:
and two salsas. The crispy chicken skin strips add a nice texture, somewhat reminiscent of deep fried wonton strips or bacon.

For the tacos, I baked thigh/leg quarters rather than breasts, and spiced them as in the aforementioned recipe put also added smoked paprika. As shown here, this taco was built with the shredded chicken, then finely diced red onion, romaine lettuce, two salsas, a bit of grated cheese, and topped with crispy fried chicken skin.

The first salsa was a four pepper salsa including diced peppers: sweet red pepper, seeded jalapeno, chocolate bell pepper, a hot thai (?) pepper, some diced heirloom and yellow tomatoes, diced avocado, garlic, lime juice, crushed whole oregano, and salt.

A tip: To keep diced avocado from messing up the appearance of your salsa, they must be somewhat firm (but still ripe); so, save the softest ones for a blended salsa, such as the following.

The second salsa was a classic mexican tomatillo-avocado salsa, e.g.,http://iamahoneybee.com/2009/09/24/tomatillo-avocado-salsa/: dry roasted tomatillos, an avocado, a couple jalapenos (with seeds), cilantro, lime juice, and salt – puréed in a blender.

Assemble tacos in warmed corn tortillas accompanied by tortilla chips and jalapeno red beans and rice, and a bunch of awesome beers and treats that friends brought for the NFL game. :-)

Skillet Pizza Potatoes and Fried Egg

Skillet Pizza Potatoes and Fried Egg

This morning I made “pizza” potatoes with sliced red potatoes and lots of favorite pizza toppings (strips of salami, red onion, mushroom, olives) and spices (oregano and fennel seed) and fresh vegetables (tomato, pimento and other peppers)… topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano, red pepper flakes, and a bit more oregano. It was quite nice and now the house smells like pizza! :-)