Tag Archives: ceviche

Fiji…

Friday, October 5 –

Fiji turned into a house full of friends, an entire kitchen full of food, and lots of empty wine bottles by the end of the night. We had: BestestFianceEver, Bestie Extraordinaire, Mistress Whiskey, MoneyShot, RubsWithLove, Sir VJ, GingerNuts, NoPoots, ChinUp, and MyBuddy. Bestie Extraordinaire and Mistress Whiskey made squash and chana dhal, MoneyShot brought a salad and wine, RubsWithLove made a ceviche, Sir VJ made crabby patties and a remoulade, GingerNuts and NoPoots brought wine and bread, ChinUp and MyBuddy made ginger fish and brought wine, and I made Fijian raita, chicken palau, and rice and brought wine. Holy goodness, it was a lot of food and wine!

I started by making the raita so that the flavors could sit and blend a little in the fridge. I grated the cucumber and lightly salted it and let it sit in a colander while I grated the carrot and chopped the jalapeno. Blended altogether in the yogurt it turned a pale orange color from the carrot juices. I wrapped it up and let it chill while I started on the chicken.

Starting the chicken dish I chopped an onion, the cloves of garlic, the jalapenos (keeping the seeds), and the chicken and set them separately in bowls. I also chopped half an onion and the cilantro for the rice. With the pan hot I put in the oil, then the onion and garlic, then the spices (using curry powder instead of curry leaves, but everything else as it is listed below). Once the onion was translucent and starting to brown I put in the rest of the spices and the jalapenos. In went the chicken and the salt. Left to simmer I moved on to the rice.

I changed up the rice so that I sauteed the onion, spices, and rice but then I dumped it all into my rice cooker. I knew I had someone that was coming over that doesn’t like to eat chicken and I wanted the rice available as a side without being tainted, so I kept them as separate dishes.

Did I mention there was a lot of food? Delicious, aromatic, mouth-watering food. The crabby patties with the remoulade were everything you ever wanted out of a crab cake. The squash and chana dhal was flavorful without being too spicy. It had a good, not-too-gooey texture. The chicken palau was spicy but a little dry. It could have been cooked for much less time. The ginger fish was moist, flaky, and simple in flavor, which worked really well with the rest of the dishes on the plate. The rice went with everything. The salad added a good crunch. And last but not least, the ceviche was so good that I can’t even properly explain it. Wrapped in butter lettuce with tender fish and a tangy sauce, it was perfect.

There might have been 11 of us, but we were all well fed that night. Three cheers to Fiji and their exceptional food!

Fiji
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.angelfire.com and www.fijibure.com)

Fijian Raita

  • 2 cups light sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili such as Serrano or jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt to taste

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Allow to sit for an hour to blend the flavors. Yield: 6 servings. Heat Scale: Medium

Chicken Palau (Pulao)

  • 1 whole chicken (cut in curry pieces)
  • oil 4 tablespoons
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • curry leaves – 6
  • cumin seeds (jeera) 1 teaspoon
  • mustard seeds (sarson) – 1 teaspoon
  • fenugreek seeds (methi) – 1/2 teaspoon
  • cardamom pods – 3
  • cloves – 3
  • cinnamon stick – 1 small piece
  • Palau masala or garam masala – 2 teaspoons
  • 3 chilies – chopped
  • salt to taste

For rice

  • water – 6 cups
  • rice – 3 cups, washed and drained well
  • ghee or oil 3 tablespoons
  • 1 onion
  • cardamom pods – 3
  • cloves – 3
  • cinnamon stick – 1 small piece
  • 1/4 chopped fresh coriander leaves (dhania)

Method:  Heat up a fairly large pot, add oil, then onion, garlic, curry leaves, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick. Cook for stir for approximately 5 minutes. You may add a little more oil if it sticks to pan. Add palau masala or garam masala and chili. Stir for a minute then add chicken. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add salt. Let cook for 45 minutes on slow/medium heat. Add 1/4 cup water if it sticks. On another burner heat up ghee [clarified butter]. Add onion, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Add rice and fry for approximately 5 minutes. You may add a little oil if it sticks to pan. Add water and let cook for ten minutes. Add cooked chicken. Stir all together and let cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes on low heat without opening lid. Lastly add coriander, stir and switch off burner. Adjust salt. Serve and enjoy.

Ginger Fish

  • 2-3 pounds of snapper, grouper or cod — or any firm white fish
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup corn oil
  • 3/4 cups white wine
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • parsley, coriander or slivered ginger root for garnish

Rinse & dry fish well. Cut lemon in half and squeeze, rubbing juice into fish, inside & out. Refrigerate for about an hour then rub with vegetable oil and place in a shallow baking dish. In a blender, mix thoroughly soy sauce, corn oil, white wine, garlic, sugar and ginger. Pour over fish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until the fish flakes easily and juices are opaque. Baste frequently with sauce. Garnish & serve. Yields 6 portions.

Squash and Chana Dhal

  •   1 cup channa dhal (yellow split peas)
  • 1 small yellow squash, peeled and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil or clarified butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1½ teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • ½ teaspoon crushed garlic
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
Wash the split peas thoroughly and place in a pan with four cups of lightly salted water. Boil, uncovered, until the peas are soft, about 20 minutes. Add the squash and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the squash is soft. While the squash is simmering, heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the onions for three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except the lime juice, and stir well. Continue to saute for 5 minutes.
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Chile… {potluck!}

Saturday, April 28 –

Chile was done as a potluck because there were too many delicious recipes to even begin to only choose one. So there were twelve of us total for this dinner, and everyone brought something to eat and/or drink: ZombieMode (aka Wonderful Boyfriend) {prosciutto wrapped kiwi and cucumber}, Roommate Extraordinaire {rabbit in orange sauce}, Mr. Hero {cilantro chicken}, BabyBear, MoneyShot {naan}, SlotMachine {wine}, WingWoman {salmon with lemon butter sauce}, LightsOn {fish with mango habanero sauce and corn salsa}, RubsWithLove {sangria}, Ser VJ {Chilean sea bass ceviche}, SpicyLady {salsa and chips}, and me {pork empanadas and lemon dill yogurt sauce}.

The prosciutto wrapped kiwi and cucumber was an interesting combination of flavors, slightly salty with the sweet and crunchy textures in the middle. I’m not sure I’d chose to make them again, but they were fun to try. The rabbit in orange sauce was rich, sinful, and delicious. The rabbit was salty but tender and the sauce was a creamy gravy with orange tones. While he was making it our whole house smelled amazing and it didn’t disappoint when it was done. The cilantro chicken is a dish I would make for dinner any time. The chicken was tender, the sauce was the happy medium between thick and thin – just gooey enough to want to smack your lips while you’re eating it. So were the salmon, corn salsa, and the fish with mango habanero sauce. The salmon was buttery and flaky. The fish with mango habanero sauce was surprisingly spicy (in a good way) but if you weren’t ready for it the sauce probably would have been too much. The corn was a good cut to the sweet and hot flavors. The sangria was sweet with a bite at the end – just the way I hope sangria will be every time. The ceviche was ridiculously good. The fish was buttery with buttery avocado with hints of other veggies and flavors. The homemade salsa was super spicy but I kept going back for more. My empanadas were on the dry side but the flavors were ok. If I had to do it over again I would slow cook the pork and cook them for slightly less time. Once I had made the yogurt sauce to go with them they were much better.

At the end of the evening, Sir VJ inspired everyone to try a Chilean specialty – tiger’s milk. This is where you take vodka and the juice from the ceviche and you make a shot out of it (picture is below). I didn’t work up the courage to try it, but they kept going back for more so it couldn’t have been too awful!

I know the photos below don’t do this dinner justice, but I was trying to take them quickly before everything was devoured! The next two dinners will also be potlucks: China (Fri. 5/4) and Columbia (Sat. 5/12). So stay tuned for more amazing dishes!

{Chilean sea bass ceviche}

{tiger’s milk – vodka with ceviche juice}

{salmon with lemon butter sauce}

{corn salsa}

{rabbit in orange sauce}

{mango habanero sauce}

{spicy salsa}

{cilantro chicken}

{pork empanadas}

{prosciutto wrapped kiwi and cucumber}

Chile

(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.foodnetwork.com and chileanrecipe.com)

Piggy Pie Spicy Pork Empanadas

Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (12-ounce) pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut into 1/3-inch medallions
  • 1 serrano chile, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 tablespoons chopped toasted almonds
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder

Dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup masa harina (cornmeal)*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick)unsalted butter, melted, cooled
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 large eggs

Directions:

For filling: Heat oil in large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add pork, serrano, chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder, cinnamon, and allspice to the skillet and stir for 3 minutes. Add raisins and lime juice, bring to a boil and cook until almost all liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Mix in the almonds and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Cool.

For dough: Butter 2 large baking sheets. Mix flour, masa harina, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Stir in melted butter. Whisk water and 1 egg in a small bowl to blend. Add to flour mixture; knead in bowl until smooth pliable dough forms, about 2 minutes. Working with half of dough at a time, roll out on floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch diameter biscuit cutter, cut out rounds. Reroll scraps and cut out additional rounds for a total of 12 rounds per dough half. Whisk remaining egg in a small bowl to blend. Place 1 tablespoon filling in center of each dough round. Lightly brush edges with egg. Fold dough over, pressing edges with fork to seal. Place on prepared baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap; chill. Note: dough can be made 1 day ahead.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush empanadas with beaten egg. Bake until light golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Kiwi-on-a-Stick

  • 4 large kiwi fruit,peeled
  • 1 small diameter cucumber (yield 12 slices) washed with end removed
  • 3 oz. Proscuitto, 6thin slices, cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 garlic powder
  • 12 short 5 or 6-inch skewers

Methods:

1. Stroke kiwi fruit and cucumber lengthwise with fork to decorate. Carefully slice in slices of equal thickness. Kiwi should yield 6 slices each, cucumber 12 slices.

2. Stack one slice of cucumber in between two slices of kiwi fruit, matching diameter of slices. Carefully wrap each kiwi stack with a half-slice of proscuitto and mount diagonally on the tip of a skewer. Proceed with remaining skewers.

3. Brush all with combined lemon juice and garlic powder mixture and allow to chill, covered, until ready to serve.


American Samoa…

Thursday, August 4 –

American Samoa was perfect, in a way, for such a warm day. Almost no cooking involved. I did, however, happen to pick two recipes that were so similar to each other that it was like tasting variations of the same thing. I started with the tuna dish, to let it marinate. I had a small amount of fish (because of how expensive sashimi-grade fish is), so I only used part of a cucumber, part of a tomato, juice from two limes, coconut milk from a can, some chopped green onion, salt and pepper. I let that sit while I worked on the next dish.

This next dish, I have to say, made me nervous. Mostly because I don’t really like grapefruit or coconut. So I started with having my Wonderful Boyfriend hack open the coconut. Which required a how-to YouTube video and a cleaver. Then I took one grapefruit, the meat from the coconut, juice from two limes, one whole shallot, two shallots, coriander, chives, salt, one celery stalk, and part of a cucumber. I was still very skeptical about it, even seeing it mixed together. Then I just poured the “dressing” straight onto the mix, and used the juice from the coconut we hacked open, white vinegar (instead of coconut vinegar because I couldn’t find it), olive oil, sugar and salt. I just poured dollops into the bowl until it tasted right so I don’t have very good measurements to share. More oil than vinegar and more sugar than salt. Then – surprise, surprise – it actually tasted good! Even my Wonderful Boyfriend who feels the same way about coconut and grapefruit that I do liked it. Weird blend of flavors, but good.

We sat down to these two dishes and I realized that I didn’t have a starch, or a main dish, or anything else that would fill up a real “dinner plate”. I basically had two sides. But brave it we did (along with some fabulous wine that I’ll write about below) and it was pretty good. But not great. And I lost interest in it about 4 bites in. We sat there and looked at each other over empty plates and full serving bowls. It might have been a fail…

But then I hopped up and grabbed the soy sauce and wasabi about of the fridge and started pulling the tuna dish apart. Both my Wonderful Boyfriend and I are sushi fiends, so we started eating the tuna as if it was just sashimi and some cucumber, and it was amazing. It totally saved the day. The grapefruit dish sat there, forgotten, but not quite disliked.

After dinner I moved on to making the banana doughnuts. And… YUM! They were like homemade pillows of warm yumminess with a slight hint of banana. They made a whole pile of them, but they were worth it to save for the next day. I made them exactly as the recipe called for and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Things I have learned: Remember to make two different dishes. If they are too similar I will lose interest in them very, very quickly. Desserts are a fun part of this process and I should find more sweets to go with the dinners.

Thoughts about wine: I went on a hunt for the recommended wine from my friend Leigh Olson, Cracker Sommelier. The first wine I picked up was an Oregon wine and then I finally settled on an Italian wine, thanks to the handy guy at the grocery store. I opened the Italian wine as recommended, and didn’t get to the Oregon wine, so I’ll have to save it for this weekend. (shucks!) It was the perfect wine to go with the tuna and it even continued to drink well with the doughnuts.

Recommendations from our sommelier: This American Samoan meal, accented with citrus notes and grounded in the richness of Ahi Tuna demands a crisp, refreshing Pinot Grigio.

An Italian cousin to Pinot Gris (actually the very same grape just raised up in a different country) produces a light, crisp wine that will complement the bright citrus notes as well as create a lovely contrast to the luxuriously rich Ahi.  Exhibiting flavors of lemon ~ great compliment to all of the citrus in the recipes ~ minerality ~ think about the saltiness of seafood ~ and some subtle white pepper notes, this is Perfectly Paired with today’s Devouring the World Meal.

· For an everyday wine, pick up a Portia Pinot Gris.
· If you want to step it up a bit choose a Jermann from the Fruiuli-Veneze Giulia region of Italy.
· And if money is burning a hole in your pocket grab a Tiziano Pinot Grigio.
· Rely on your wine steward at your local grocer.  They are most usually a great resource.  Share the ingredients and let them show you the wines!

Fun Facts: Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio is mutant of Pinot Noir and retains a dark colored skin, but yes, produces a white wine.  It originated in France and spread to Switzerland ~ where it was allegedly the favorite of Emperor Charles IV ~ Germany and Italy.  California and Oregon are also producing some nice Pinot Gris/Grigios.  Pinot Gris means “Grey Pine Cone” grey for the skin and pine cone for the shape of the clusters.

Serving Temp: Mid 40’s.  No wine cooler, no problem.  Store your Pinot Grigio in the refrigerator and pull it out 45 minutes before serving. Forgot to do that?  Throw it in the frig 2 ¾ hours before serving.

Vessel of Choice:  Riedel Vinum Sauvignon Blanc Wine Glasses.  No budget for specialized wine glasses, a general purpose wine glass will be perfect. Just don’t pour this wine into a red wine glass, the subtle aromas will escape at an alarming rate.  No aromas, No taste…

American Samoa
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.whats4eats.com, blog.aucklandmuseum.com, and www.allrecipes.com)

Poisson Cru, or E’ia Ota (Tahitian lime-marinated tuna)

  • Highest-quality ahi tuna, cut into 1/2-inch cubes — 1 1/2 pounds
  • Lime juice — 1/2 cup
  • Coconut milk — 1/4 cup
  • Cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes — 1 small
  • Tomato, seeded and diced — 1
  • Scallions, chopped — 3 or 4
  • Kosher or sea salt — big pinch
  • Fresh ground pepper — pinch

Method: Mix all the ingredients together in a large, non-reactive bowl and set aside to marinate for 10 or 20 minutes. Drain excess liquid and adjust seasoning. Garnish with some freshly chopped scallions and serve in a decorate bowl or large clam shell.

Variations: Make sure to use very fresh, high-quality fish for this dish. Such fish is often marked “sushi grade” in the market. Use other fish — halibut, snapper, swordfish — if you like.
Other possible additions: cubed red peppers, grated carrots, diced red onion, minced garlic. Sometimes a pinch of sugar is added to take the edge off the acidity.

Samoan Vegetarian Ceviche

  • 1 green coconut
  • 2 pink grapefruit
  • 2 limes
  • 3 shallots finely sliced
  • 2 radishes sliced
  • Baby coriander
  • Chopped chives
  • Salt
  • Celery stalks, finely sliced
  • Cucumber, finely sliced

Method: Crack the coconut open, reserved some juice for the dressing, use a spoon and scoop out the flesh. Place flesh with the citrus in a bowl, add shallots, cucumber, celery and dressing, let stand for 5 min to marinade, add herbs adjust seasoning and serve garnish and coriander.

Dressing

  • 200ml (just under a cup) coconut juice
  • 100ml (just under a half cup) grapefruit juice
  • Lime juice
  • Coconut vinegar
  • 200ml (just under a cup) coconut oil or olive oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt to taste

Method for dressing: Mix juices with the vinegar, whisk in oil then season with sugar and salt.

Samoan Panikeke

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 6 cups vegetable oil for frying

Directions: Combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl until thoroughly mixed, and stir in the bananas, vanilla extract, and water to make a smooth, sticky dough. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). The oil should be deep enough to completely cover the panikekes while frying, or at last 3 inches deep.  Scoop up a scant 1/4 cup of batter with a large spoon, and use another spoon to push it off into the oil. Fry in small batches of 4 or 5 until they float to the top and turn golden brown, about 3 minutes, then flip them to fry the other side. Remove from the fryer and let drain on paper towels.


Caribbean Potluck Success… (and the map is up!)

Sunday, July 31 –

Our first potluck was a HUGE success. We had 13 people show up to our house and everyone made amazingly delicious food. I made pulled pork, mango and avocado salsa, rice, grilled peaches with honey and honey-nut cream cheese, and lime cheesecake with mango coulis. Other people brought two different kinds of ceviche, one that was shrimp and scallop based with tomatillos and lots of other fun veggies and spices, and the other was tuna based with cucumber and coconut milk. There was also mojito shrimp and grilled veggies, banana bread with zucchini and coconut, pasta salad, a spicy okra dish, and rum – lots and lots of rum. We managed to work around my crohn’s intolerance to food as well as a gluten and soy intolerance, and an amine intolerance. Talk about pretty talented cooks! (The photo below doesn’t really do the table justice, because people showed up in stages so food got devoured and more food got added to it. But it’s a good picture of the ceviches and dips.)

A quick glance at the beginning of the party.

I’m keeping track of the ideas that we came up with for our potlucks, including all the stuff that I wish I had time to make. Potluck Ideas.

Pulled Pork: I used pork shoulder, because the lady at the meat counter thought that it would be better than my usual tenderloin choice. I put the pork into the crockpot with enough rootbeer (yes, rootbeer) to cover it and I put it on high for four hours. At about half way I flipped the meat over and checked to see if the meat was ready to start pulling yet. It wasn’t, and seemed really tough still. So I waited until I had a half hour left and I checked again, and still no pull. So I grabbed a cutting board, cut the pork into bite sized pieces and put them all back into the pot. I finished out the four hours, strained the rootbeer from the meat, and put the meat back into the pot and covered it all with premade BBQ sauce. I love Sweet Baby Ray’s personally, and I use it when I don’t have time to make homemade sauce. I let that simmer on low until people showed up and it was ready to serve. Even though it wasn’t “pulled” as I had hoped it would be, the pork was amazingly tender and flavorful. It wasn’t what I expected it would be, but I’m very pleased with the outcome none-the-less.

Mango Salsa: I used two tomatoes, half an onion, one avocado, one mango, juice from one lime, garlic salt, black pepper, seeded jalapeno, and a handful of cilantro. Delish. It was like the best of salsa and guacamole and mango all smooshed together.

Cheesecake: I took three different recipes and blended them all together to make a lime cheesecake with mango coulis. It was a firm, baked, zested New York style cheesecake with the coulis on top. It almost vanished as soon as I set it down. Definitely a recipe that I will make again.

Things I have learned: Left to their own devices, people will usually bring side dishes to potlucks. I need to focus less on the fun little things for the side and make three times as much protein as a main dish. The pulled pork was gone in less than a half hour! Also, asking specific people to bring drinks was definitely genius. Hoping that enough people bring drinks with the food can be a very hit-or-miss issue. This way, they got to eat lots of yummy food and the cooks got to drink yummy drinks and most everything was well divided. And finally, one of my friends recommend that when serving cheesecake it is easier to cut it into squares than slices, and that way there was less mess and everyone got a chance to try it. Absolutely the way I will serve cake to large groups of people in the future. So easy and so smart!

Also… the map is up! I have the first three pins in it with strings leading to tags that say what I’ve cooked so far. I hope to have all of the pins leading to the tags all the way around the cork board by the time I’m done… 229 countries to go!

Next up for this week is American Samoa: marinated ahi tuna, veggie ceviche, and banana doughnuts.