Friday, March 27, 2015

Fried Fish Over Cheesy Cauliflower

Every year around Lent, the supermarkets would have fish on sale so I would normally stock up on my fresh cod fish fillets and periodically give into the temptation of the $5 Friday fried pollock fillets in the hot section.  This year it took me 5 weeks before I decided to get a pack with the end of Lent on the horizon.

But everything in moderation right?  Fish for dinner- GOOD!!  Fish is fried - NOT SO GOOD!  So I went carb free and had it over cauliflower -
http://www.cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2015/01/cheesy-cauliflower.html = GOOD!!  But then I topped the fish with Thousand Island = NOT SO GOOD...  But it was fresh vs. bottled dressing so I added more ketchup and less mayo = OKAY, CALL IT A TOSS UP.

Thousand Island Dressing Recipe - http://www.food.com/recipe/thousand-island-dressing-100355

Price:  $11 for 4 servings = $2.75 per serving












Thursday, March 26, 2015

Portuguese Sausage Musubi with Hanalei Poi

Musubis have always been popular in Hawai`i but have also gained steam on the Mainland as well.  Often a slice of Spam pan fried and soaked in a sugary mirin soy sauce mixture and nestled between rice and wrapped in nori, it is a convenient and easy to carry to go snack.  Over time, the meat of choice had expanded to Portuguese Sausage and even chicken katsu.  Since I have yet to master the chicken katsu, I made them with Spam's sister the Portuguese Sausage this time around and put in a secret ingredient for an additional taste of the island, Maui Preserved Pickled Maui Gold Pineapple.  Since there are a few chunk sized pieces on top of the spears, I made use of those in the musubi and it really made it pop!!  Paired it with some smooth Hanalei Poi that I picked up at Takahashi Market in the Peninsula this past weekend and I felt like I was back on island.  

By now, I am sure that if you had tried poi before or heard about it, you may be grimacing at just the mere mention of it.  But I have always been a big believer of trying things more than once and after 3 tries have finally acquired a taste for it.  Since Hanalei poi tends to be smoother and without the sourness that turns many non-locals off, that is a good one to introduce yourself to the world of poi.

Ingredients
4 cups uncooked Japanese rice
4 cups water
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup soy sauce 
1/4 cup sugar
Portuguese sausage - you can buy musubi shaped ones now
Nori Seaweed Sheets
Secret ingredient:  Maui Preserved Pickled Pineapple

Preparation
1.  Cook rice in rice cooker
2.  Mix mirin, soy sauce, and sugar in small saucepan over heat until sugar is completely melted and set aside
3.  Pan fry the Portuguese Sausage slices (no oil needed)
4.  Dip the pan fried slices into the mixture and let soak for a couple of minutes
5.  In the meantime, split 5 nori seaweed sheets into half so that it would be musubi sized
6.  If you have musubi maker, place over the middle of the half sheet nori
7.  Spread 1/4 in cooked rice across bottom of maker on top of nori
8.  Place pre-soaked Portuguese Sausage on top of rice
9.  Place about 3 pieces of diced pickled pineapple on top of sausage
10.  Spread another 1/4 in cooked rice on top of pineapple
11.  Press down the top layer of rice with musubi maker insert
12.  Remove musubi maker, fold and wrap to cover entire log
13.  Cut log into 3-4 pieces and serve warm or hot

Note
I did not have Japanese rice on hand so I just used Jasmine which is fine taste wise but is much looser in texture

Price:  $16 for 4 servings = $4 for serving - bit pricier than what you might expect but most ingredients are from Hawai`i direct





Monday, March 23, 2015

Mushroom and Leek Gratin

This past weekend especially Saturday was one of nonstop overindulgence.  I have been anxiously waiting over a month for the chance to experience Chef Ravi's newest restaurant venture, the recently opened Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco.  Opened just less than two months ago, it is already one of the hottest and hard to get reservation in town.  Even though I was probably one of the few who were not already followers from his popups, when I saw that it was headed by a local boy from Oahu, I knew I had to support his newest venture.  With reservations made about a month ago, as Murphy's Law would have it, I found out just this week that I got onto the guest list of a North Bay Yelp Elite event organized by the wonderful North Bay CM Kevin, where we were very well fed with food and drinks from noon to two.  I did not know how I could possibly have room to enjoy an early dinner but I also knew that I could not wait another minute, forget about another month to try Chef Ravi's creations.  

Hop over to luckylotus.yelp.com to read all about my decadent first spring Saturday and you will understand why I needed a more vegetable based dinner last night.  So I popped over to TJ's and picked up 3 packs of portobello mushrooms and leeks for a still satisfying mushroom and leek gratin.  Paired with half a tuna panini - http://www.cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2014/05/tuna-panini.html and it was filling enough in its own right.  

Mushroom and Leek Gratin - Martha Stewart Recipe
http://www.marthastewart.com/868607/mushroom-and-leek-gratin

Price:  $15 for 8 side servings or 4 full servings of Mushroom and Leek Gratin = $1.88 per side serving or $3.75 per full serving



Friday, March 20, 2015

Turkey Burger with Chips

There was another BOGO sale for ground turkey breast this week so since we have been on red meat overload this week with the St Paddy's Day dinner and the lamb kofta, it was time to switch it up a little bit with a more figure friendly option just using what I had at home.

Ingredients

1 1/4 lb ground turkey breast
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 onion chopped
Handful of chips
Olive oil tbsp
4 slices of Swiss Cheese
4 Dill Pickles
4 Hamburger Buns

Preparation

1,  Lightly brown the chopped onion in 1 tbsp olive oil in a small skillet and set aside
2.  Mix ground turkey breast with the ketchup, yellow mustard, and cooked onion
3.  Score the meat into 4 portions
4.  Roll each portion and flatten into equal sized burgers a little thinner in the middle and thicker on the edge
5.  Grill for about 5 minutes flipping once until it is cooked thoroughly and white in the middle
6.  Top the hot burger with a slice of Swiss to let it melt a little bit while you toast your hamburger buns
7.  Place a handful of chips onto bottom bun, layer with burger on top, and top bun.  Serve with a dill pickle on the side and more chips if desired.

Notes:
1,  Since I used the George Forman Grill, I did not have to flip the burger but just cooked it through for the full five minutes
2.  I originally just served it with chips and pickles on the side diner style but experimented with the chips in the burger itself and liked it even more
3.  Since turkey breast is so lean, it doesn't really hold together very well so the ketchup and mustard not only flavors it already but keeps the meat moist enough to handle.
4.  Also since it is so lean, the burger doesn't shrink as much as beef burger

Price:  $5 for 4 servings = $1.25 per serving




Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lamb Kofta

When I picked up my pound of ground lamb for the Shepherd's Pie, we bought an extra 1/2 lb to experiment in making lamb kofta.  I had made chicken kofta in the past - http://www.cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2014/06/chicken-koftas-with-tzatziki-sauce.html but since lamb has a gamier taste, I expected to use different herbs to offset it.    

Ingredients
 
1/2 lb ground lamb
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 lemon zested and juiced 
1 cloves minced cloves
Pinch of salt and black pepper
4 tbsp. Greek yoghurt
Arugula 
1 Roma Tomato diced
2 tbsp. Pistachios, chopped
4 Mediterranean Flatbreads
Honey

Preparation

1.  Mix all the spices and lemon zest with the ground lamb and season with S+P then mold into 4 sausages.  You can sprinkle additional cumin on kebabs if you like.  

2.  Rub a little oil on the kebabs then grill for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side until it is done.  When almost done, drizzle some honey on kebabs

3.  Lightly toast the bread on the grill

4.  Mix arugula with lemon juice and yogurt with a little coriander and some pistachios

5.  Place lamb in flatbread, top with arugula, tomato, yogurt, and some pistachios, roll and enjoy!!

Note:  

1.  Since we used the George Forman Grill, it grills both sides simultaneously so only took 4-5 min total


Price:  $4 for 2 servings 




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St Paddy's Day

I was at a Pi Day birthday party for my nephew’s 16th birthday this past weekend so Pie ended up being the theme.  Aside from the regular sweet pies, there were quite a few savory ones as well including Shepherd’s Pie which incidentally I found out was technically Cottage Pie since it was made with beef vs. lamb.  With St Paddy’s day just a few days later, I decided to make the true Shepherd’s Pie this year using the same recipe as last year's except with lamb, since I thought that was what I had been doing all along.  They weren’t kidding when they say you are never too old to learn something new. 

So this year, I had my parents and cousin over for St Paddy’s Day dinner of traditional American corn beef and cabbage and the finally traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie. 
 
 
 




Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cauliflower Risotto

Cauliflower can be a bit like Brussel Sprouts, where many love it and probably just as many hate it.  As winter is coming to an end, I thought I would take advantage of this winter vegetable before the season ends.  I feel that how you cook with it is just as important as what the ingredient itself is in the raw.  So if you’re on the fence or think you don’t like cauliflower, hopefully pureeing it and folding it into a creamy risotto will change your mind.  Otherwise, the Cheesy Cauliflower http://www.cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2015/01/cheesy-cauliflower.html  definitely would. 


Price:  $6 for 4 servings = $1.50 a serving