Cook Islands…

Saturday, June 2 –

Dear Cook Islands, please be in my kitchen and my belly ALL of the time. You were probably the best fish recipe I have made for this entire project and one of the best I’ve ever made in my life. YUM.

I started with making the onion tart. I put it together just like the recipe said, with maybe a little bit extra of the Gruyere cheese because of the block that I got from the store. Into the oven it went and it smelled like heaven turning warm and bubbly. While that was cooking I put together a simple green salad and set that aside. Once everyone was ready for dinner I started on the fish. It was simple to coat the filets in the egg-mixture, then the coconut-mixture, and then into the pan with some oil. I cooked them until they were flaky but still moist.

Simple, heavenly, and delicious. I couldn’t have asked for a better meal. Just scroll down, copy the recipes, and make them soon. I promise you they won’t disappoint! The fish was flaky, sweet, and the topping was crumbly and had just enough spice to it. The onion tart was cheesy, warm, bubbly, and I had to move it away from my plate to stop eating it. And the salad was a perfect counter point of fresh veggie. Magnifique!

Now let me tell you about the drinks that we had. Two new guests for dinner joined us, Kid Kreole and Harvey Danger, and they brought something called “yucca”. Take a whole mound of lemons and squeeze the juice into a container. Add some of the rinds in with the juice. Add the juice of one orange. Add some bakers sugar. Add a whole fifth of golden tequila. Close the container and shake it continuously for several (maybe 5?) minutes. Pour into a glass and sip cautiously! It will be sweet, tart, smooth, and dangerously good. And you won’t even barely taste the tequila. Holy cow was it good!

And last, but not least, are the desserts for this dinner. Sassy Desserts hosted this dinner at her house (and let me make a mess of her kitchen!) and she made two different desserts. The first was sugared doughnuts, which actually gave her a little trouble in the beginning. When we showed up to her house, she had a batch of the dough sitting to rise. But it was super soupy, and didn’t look like it was going to get anywhere any time soon. So she made another batch with less liquid added and set it to keep warm on the warming part of her stove. The dough did get nice and fluffy while we were eating dinner, and the other just kind of stayed soupy. So we made doughnuts with the second batch of dough and man, were they good. Just like the little doughnuts you get at the carnival stands. I would recommend that you make these, but only if you have the self-control to stop after a few!

The second dessert was baked papayas. She peeled them, cut them in half, scooped out the seeds, covered them in sugar and baked them for the whole time the recipe says. Then you pour in coconut milk and let it get bubbly and then serve it. The flavor was… ok, but not really good. The texture was mushy and a little odd with the milk on top. It was interesting to try but I wouldn’t make it again.

Cook Islands
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.tamarind.co.ck and www.foodbycountry.com)

Pan-fried Fish Coated with Coconut & Spices

  • 750g.(1 ½ lb.) fish fillets
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup grated coconut fresh, lightly toasted or desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala or mild curry
  • ¼  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Oil for shallow frying.

Method: Cut fish in lengthwise pieces, around 10cm.x 4cm. (6”x2”) or similar.  Combine milk and egg, beating lightly till combined.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour with the coconut, salt, chilli powder, garam masala and pepper. Dip fish fillets in egg mixture, and then flour/coconut mixture, shaking off any excess.   Pour oil to about 2cm. (3/4”) deep in a frying pan, and cook fish on both sides till golden about 5 minutes a side. Fish can also be cooked in a deep-fryer.  Drain on kitchen paper.

Onion Tart

  • 1 quantity quiche pastry or short crust pastry, home-made or bought
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 large onions, cut into quarters, then sliced very thin
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon wholegrain or French mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • A few drops Tabasco
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere or Cheddar cheese 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

METHOD: Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Roll out pastry to fit 23cm (9”)) quiche or pie dish, prick the pastry all over with a fork, brush with egg white and chill while preparing filling. Cook onions in butter for about 10 minutes over a gentle heat, until very soft. Once the onions are soft, remove from heat and stir in the flour till well mixed in. Meanwhile beat together the eggs, cream, and milk with the mustard, parsley, salt, pepper and Tabasco. Put ½ cup Gruyere or Cheddar cheese into the pie dish, followed by the onions, then pour in the egg mixture & sprinkle remaining ½ cup cheese on top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 160C (325F) and cook a further 30 minutes or until set. Allow to cool slightly before cutting. Serve the tart with a crisp green salad.

Variation (Bacon & Onion Tart.) Cooked chopped bacon or ham can be added to the filling. Stir into onion mixture.

Firifiri (Tahitian Sugared Doughnuts)

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1½ to 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Peanut oil, for frying (another oil may be substituted)

Procedure

  1. Mix the flour and dry yeast. Add water and mix to form a soft dough.
  2. Add sugar and let rise 4 to 5 hours. Divide the dough into about 12 to 15 pieces.
  3. Pull them into “ropes” and twist to form figure eights.
  4. Fry in very hot peanut oil until golden. Roll in sugar after frying. Makes about 1 dozen.

Baked Papaya Dessert

  • 2 small ripe papayas, peeled, seeded, and cut in half lengthwise
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1½ cups coconut milk (canned, bottled, or fresh; see recipe)

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Place the papayas, cut side up, in a shallow baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle with the sugar and add the water.
  4. Bake uncovered in the middle of the oven for 1½ hours, or until the papayas are tender but still keep their shape.
  5. Every half hour, pull out the oven rack and baste the papayas with the liquid from the dish (pour it over them with a spoon).
  6. Raise the heat to 400°F and bake until the syrup gets thick and becomes the color of caramel, about 5 minutes.
  7. Turn off heat and pour the coconut milk into the center of the papayas.
  8. Leave them in the oven until the milk gets warm, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve cold. Makes 4 servings.
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About devouringworldbites

A girl on a mission to cook, eat, and write about the world, one country at a time. View all posts by devouringworldbites

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