Tag Archives: prawns

Greenland…

Saturday, January 5 –

Greenland turned out to be a very simple dinner, once I decided to cheat a little and use pre-made pasta. It took three pans to make this dish: one to cook the pasta, the second to cook the shrimp in oil and balsamic vinegar, and the third to saute the bell peppers and the tomatoes. Just as simple as that. Serve with a salad and you are good to go. BestestFianceEver, Hot Momma, and Baby Bear all thought it was a pretty delicious meal. Easy to make, easy to enjoy. Perfect!

Greenlandphoto(11)
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.recipes.wikia.com)

Tagliatelle with Prawns

Ingredients:

  • 400 g (14 oz) prawns

Pasta dough:

  • 200 g (7 oz) flour
  • 2 eggs
  • a little water
  • ½ dl (1.5 fl. oz) oil

Vinaigrette:

  • 1 dl (3 fl. oz) olive oil
  • 1 dl (3 fl. oz) balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Vegetables:

  • ½ red pepper
  • ½ green pepper
  • 400 g (14 oz) tomatoes
  • a little rose pepper
  • a little fresh coriander

Pasta dough:

Put the flour into a bowl, make a hollow in the middle and break the eggs into this hollow.

Add water and a little oil.

Knead the pasta dough and run it through a pasta machine.

Put the pasta aside.

Vinaigrette:

Mix the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Vegetables:

Cut the peppers into small cubes and blanch them.

Blanch the tomatoes, remove the skin and seeds and cut the flesh into cubes.

Chop the coriander.

Boil the tagliatelle in lightly salted water for approx. 5 minutes.

Sauté the prawns in olive oil and balsamic vinegar; let it simmer for approx. 2 minutes.

Serving:

Put the tagliatelle on a plate and mix with pepper, tomato and coriander.

Sprinkle the prawns on top.

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French Polynesia…

Saturday, November 3 –

This dinner was much less orchestrated, much less planned, and workout out just fine anyway. We decided to combine BigMan’s birthday with this dinner so everyone could get together, and in the chaos of our Halloween party I told A LOT of people about it. But I had no idea who would really show up. So I just picked one dish and let the rest happen by itself.

The people who showed up were: BestestFianceEver, Hot Momma (wine), Mr. Hero (birthday cake, plates, ice, rum, and sodas), BigMan, MissingMan, WingWoman (squash coconut soup),  LightsOn, ChinUp (Tahiti-style Mahi Mahi), MyBuddy (Coconut Vanilla Prawns), and I cooked Polynesian pork ribs and rice and provided some wine.

These ribs were the easiest thing in the world to make. I bought four pounds of pork ribs (the meaty kind), cut them apart to fit better then added two chopped onions, six minced garlic cloves, and a whole can of crushed pineapple. I set it to cook on low in my crock pot for eight hours. By the time I came back to it, the meat had fallen completely off the bones and it smelled heavenly. So I drained the liquid into a bowl, thinking I might need it, then pulled all the loose bones out, and put it back into the pot. It looked like chunky pulled-pork.

Into a small bowl went one and a half cups of ketchup, six tablespoons brown sugar, six tablespoons of hoisin sauce, and a chopped up length of ginger that was about the size of my thumb, just a little thicker. I left the chop pretty course so that we would get little sparks of ginger along the way. (My mouth is drooling right now thinking about it…) I dumped this mix on top, mixed it altogether, turned it on high for about 45 minutes, came back and it was sticky, lumpy, and delicious.

The mahi mahi was pretty good, but it would have been better if we could have served it right away. We had to wait for everyone to show up so it had dried out a little. The coconut vanilla prawns were soupy and sweet – not the way I prefer my seafood. I want my seafood to be savory or spicy. So it was ok, but I personally didn’t like them much. The squash coconut soup was bland at first. Then we added more salt, pepper, chili powder, and, of course, bacon. Because all squash soups (in my humble opinion, anyway) deserve a little smoky, salty bacon to round off the flavor.

All in all it was a successful, friend-, rum-, and wine-filled evening. Thanks to everyone who showed up for BigMan’s birthday!

Next up – G countries!

Polynesian Pork Ribs

  • 2 lbs boneless country-style ribs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple, undrained

Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ginger root, grated

Cooking Instructions:  Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place pork ribs, garlic and onion in slow cooker. Spoon about half of the pineapple with some of the juice over ribs. Reserve remaining pineapple and juice. Cover; cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours. About 35 minutes before serving, drain and discard cooking juices from slow cooker; wipe edge of cooker clean. In small bowl, combine ketchup, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, ginger root and remaining pineapple with juice; mix well. Spoon or pour evenly over ribs. Increase heat setting to high; cover and cook an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until ribs are glazed. Servings: 6


Antigua and Barbuda…

Wednesday, August 31 –

Let me start this post by saying there was some really good food from these recipes, there was also some tragically terrible food, but because of good friends and company while cooking it all ended in laughter anyway. This dinner I not only had the company of my Wonderful Boyfriend and Roommate Extraordinaire, I also had the company and help of Sassy Country Girl who not only braved fish, which she doesn’t ordinarily enjoy, she also participated by bringing two desserts and two beverages.

I started with the sauces, knowing that there would be several steps when making these dishes so I wanted to be as prepared as possible. From the top of the list down I made the spice paste, and then the citrus souscaille, and then the mix of ingredients that was to go on the fish. The first thing I noticed was the spice paste made about half of a blender full and the recipe only called for one tablespoon. I can’t handle that much waste, so I prepared myself to find a way to use it later in the cooking process. Then the souscaille came next, and it smelled absolutely heavenly. Last was the mix that went onto the fish, which was also supposed to be “discarded” after sitting for a bit, and I couldn’t handle that kind of waste either. So the creative part of my cooking-brain was kicked into high gear.

My helpers, Wonderful Boyfriend and Roommate Extraordinaire, sat at the table and wrangled the prawns out of their shells and cleaned them and de-boned the fish fillets. I am very, extra thankful that they were there to help or else this dinner would have taken me forever to make. Sassy Country Girl showed up about this time and started blending beverages, which were called Lighthouse Bay Malibu Twister and Barbuda Sands. My thoughts on those? YUM! And more, please. I’ll make sure to put the recipes and links on the recipe page.

So the mix went onto the freshly de-boned fish. The extra spice paste went onto the prawns. The souscaille was set aside for topping the finished product. On to the part that was a whole lot less clear, the stuffed plantains. I have never cooked plantains before, let alone stuffed them, so Sassy Country Girl and I just made it up as we went along. We split them (in their peels), then pulled the flesh away from the sides, and then as she held the split and sides open I put the stuffing in with a spoon. I chose to take the word “blend” in the recipe seriously, so my filling came out as a wonderful smelling sauce. Then we tried to wrap them in plastic wrap, twice each, so that we could heat them in warm water. I made the water hot but not boiling and placed them as gently as I could in the pot so they wouldn’t tip over.

Moving on to the fish and the prawns… I heated two separate pans with olive oil and put the prawns with spice paste in one and the fish with curry sprinkles and the topping still on them into the other. The recipe said it would take about 3 minutes each side but I think it took them a little longer than that. I cooked the prawns until pink and then set aside. I cooked two fish fillets at a time, because that’s what would fit in my pan. After all of the seafood was done and on plates I took the plantains out and unwrapped the messy things as carefully as I could. I quickly heated the tomatoes (I used a mix of red, orange, and yellow cherry tomatoes) and put them on to finish the plates. Dinner was served!

The results of this medley of sauces, spices, and crazy trying-not-to-be-wasteful-improvisation? The prawns were tasty but cold by the time I got to sit and eat. The fish was good, the souscaille was amazing, and the curry was strangely fitting, but I really wish it had been on a better (in my opinion) fish – something like halibut. I think that would have taken the dish from good to great. Cooking it with the mix still on top was a good choice, and the tomatoes on the side were a wonderful addition. The plantains… well… taught me a lesson. That lesson is to NEVER ever use slightly green plantains. Use the yellow ones only. Two of us got slightly green ones and two of us got ripe yellow ones. The green ones were so bad on the first bite that I almost spit it out into my hand to make it stop assaulting my mouth with its horribleness. The ripe ones were so delicious that it knocked my socks off. So we quickly threw the green ones away (NEVER AGAIN!) and split the other two, sharing them around the table. I am definitely taking the leftover sauce for these and making them again this weekend.

The desserts were one part hilariously not-yummy and one part please-give-me-more-delicious. The sugar cakes, as you see in the photo as the blue lumpy cookie-type things, were basically just sugar, coconut, almond flavoring, and blue food coloring. They crunched in your teeth like eating a spoonful of sugar and didn’t taste like much of anything except the coconut and almond. We gave up on them immediately and moved on to the rum-soaked bananas. These bananas were so good I almost went back for seconds. They were banana, rum, brown sugar goodness that we put on top of vanilla ice cream. If we had to do it over again we would have used a little less rum and lime juice (less rum because I misread the recipe and we poured all of the rum in during the beginning instead of splitting it in half for the flambe… oops!).

Things I have learned: Friends make everything better, even terrible things like unripe plantains. I already knew that, but this was just one of those nights where I’m glad to have the people in my life that I do. Never ever use unripe plantains. (Can you tell that this experience scarred me?) Adding lots of different rums together can make delicious drinks – but watch out for making them midweek! Take courage from Sassy Country Girl’s willingness to try fish from an untried recipe. Some of these will be great and some of them not so much, but after 4.5 years of this I will have lots of great memories and new cooking skills.

Recommendations from our sommelier, Leigh Olson: (Even though we didn’t have wine this time I love having her thoughts and notes about pairing, so if you feel more like wine than rum, here’s some good tips for you!) With its unique fusion of Spanish, French, African, Indian and Native American cultures the cuisine of Antigua and Barbuda is quite complex.  And this meal doesn’t disappoint when it comes to complexity.  This one was a bit of challenge.  Let’s see lemon ~ lemon works with wines that show a bit of acidity like an Albarino.  But wait now throw in some capers.  Also very acidic but these little babies add a little funk to the acidity. Maybe a Rioja Reserva which is aged for 3 years with at least one in oak.  But wait!  How about a Scotch Bonnet pepper ~ with its 2,500 – 8,000 heat rating on the Scoville Scale. This pepper is what gives Caribbean jerk its distinct flavor.  So we have acid, funk and heat.  HMMMM. I am thinking a good ol’ German Gewürztraminer.  This wine has enough fruit to help put out the fire of the jerk seasonings and many Gs also exhibit flavors of nutmeg and cloves ~ yet another element in the recipe.  Yep, I am going to have to go with the Gewürztraminer for this pairing.

My recommendations:

  • Everyday, Easy Drinker |  Martinelli Vineyards Gewürztraminer Russian River Valley
  • Step it up | Trimbach Gewürztraminer
  • Money is No Object | 2005 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Gewürztraminer Heimbourg Selection de Grains Nobles (half bottle)

If you can’t find one of these, ask your wine steward at your local grocer.  They can be great resources.  Just tell them you are planning on pairing with a spicy complex

Fun Facts: Gewürztraminer literally means Spice Traminer.  Tramin (where the grape got it name) is the village in South Tyrol ~ yep that would be Italy.  And guess what else?  They speak German there!

Serving Temp: Mid 40’s – 50 degrees.  No wine cooler, no problem.  Store your Gewürzt in the refrigerator and pull it out 45 minutes before serving.

Vessel of Choice:  Zwiesel 1872 The First Gewürztraminer Wine Glass.  Ok, truth be told I am not sure that I would spend $70.00 on one wine glass ~ unless of course Uncle Buford left a couple of mil.  But check it out.  This really is a beautiful glass!

Antigua and Barbuda
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://uktv.co.uk and www.dishbase.com)

Grilled Red Snapper with Citrus Souscaille

For the spice paste:

  • 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small spring onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 Scotch bonnet chilli, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 tsp thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tsp marjoram leaves
  • 2 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • small pinch ground cloves
  • pinch coarsely ground black peppercorns

For the citrus souscaille:

  • 1 tbsp spices, paste (see above)
  • 1-2 lime, juice only
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley, or Caribbean celery leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the fish:

  • 2 limes, grated zest and juice, plus an extra squeeze of juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander, or Caribbean celery leaves
  • 4 x 175 g red snapper, sea bream fillets, or 400g king prawns, shelled, deveined
  • 1 tsp Madras curry powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp butter

Directions:

1. For the seasoning paste: Tip all the ingredients into a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. This paste tastes best if left for a few days to mature before using.

2. For the souscaille: combine one rounded tablespoon of the seasoning paste with the lime juice, sugar, celery leaves, coriander, red pepper and olive oil. Taste for seasoning – adding more sugar or lime juice if needed. Aim for a tart, tangy flavour.

3. For the fish or prawns: combine the lime rind and juice with the garlic, red pepper, spring onion and coriander and spoon over the fish or prawns and leave on one side for 5 minutes. Remove from its marinade and sprinkle with curry powder just before frying.

4. Heat the oil in a sturdy frying pan set over a medium heat and fry the fish for 3 minutes, skin side facing downwards. Flip the fillets over and cook for a further minute until it flakes easily. If you are using prawns, fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring all the time, over a moderate heat, until they have turned pink. Remove and set aside.

5. Tip the tomatoes into the same pan while still on the heat. Add the butter and sharpen with a squeeze of lime.

6. Spoon a dollop of souscaille sauce over the fish and serve any extra on the side. Accompany with the warmed tomatoes.

Stuffed Plantains

  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 Pineapple
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 8 oz. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 HD. Cilantro
  • 1/2 HD. Parsley
  • 3 Mangoes
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 2 Sprig Garlic
  • 2 TBL. Sugar
  • 1/2 Hd. Fresh Basil
  • 1 LB. Butter
  • 8 Plantains

Directions: Peel and Julienne Carrots, Mangoes, Pineapple, and Green and Red Peppers and Garlic. Heat Pot.  Add 3 Tbs. Olive Oil, Carrots, Mangoes & Pineapple.  Add Peppers, Garlic, Salt & Pepper to taste.  Sautee for 3 Minutes.

Sauce: Blend Cilantro, Parsley, 4 Tbs. Olive Oil, Basil, Sugar, Salt & pepper to taste. Butterfly Plantains.  Add all ingredients to the plantains, roll in a plastic wrap, put in hot water for ten minutes.

Baked Bananas

  • 4 large bananas, peeled
  • ½ cups brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ cups light rum
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • some butter

Instructions: Split the bananas lengthwise, then in half across. Arrange in a well-buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with the sugar, lime juice, ¼ cup of the rum and the allspice. Dot with butter. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes, basting two or three times during cooking. Just before serving, heat the remaining ¼ cup of rum and pour over the bananas, and set aflame.


Angola…

Monday, August 15 –

This week was very exciting for me because I had the chance to cook for more people (our sommelier Leigh Olson and her husband who brought the wines to go with this dinner – her notes below!), who had never had my cooking before. The pressure was on! Trusting recipes that I didn’t create or modify (very much) is hard when you want to make sure to impress people…

I started with the fennel salad, figuring that it was the least time-sensitive dish, knowing that I could just throw it in the refrigerator until it was time to eat. So I washed and thinly sliced the fennel blubs, used 1.5 lemons for the juice, threw some parmesan on top and gently mixed it together by hand. It turned out crisp, bright, and not really liquorice-like at all. The combination of lemon, fennel, and cheese was interesting and delicious. It definitely complimented the rest of the plate.

Next was the rice, which was browned and then tossed with veggies and cilantro, and then finally simmering in broth to finish cooking. I didn’t turn the heat down far enough during the simmering so mine dried out pretty quickly. I threw some more broth on top, turned it down to the lowest setting on the burner, and let it finish cooking the rice. It turned out fluffy, a little dry, and the vegetables mixed in almost seamlessly in flavor. I would be interested to see how it would turn out with cooking the rice in the rice cooker and then blending in the sauteed veggies.

As the rice was simmering I made the “raw sauce” that went with the prawns. It smelled good as soon as I started blending everything together. The recipe didn’t specify what kind of wine vinegar, so I chose red wine vinegar (because that’s what I already had in my kitchen). Definitely the right choice! I could eat that sauce on fish, chicken, stir-fried veggies, and almost anything else that likes a tart, flavorful sauce. It stole the show of the entire dinner, that’s for sure. I think most people went back for seconds just so they could have more of the sauce!

The prawns turned out good, with that smoky charred flavor that you get from barbequing, which blended in well with the rice and the sauce. I will definitely make that dish again.

Finally, the papaya with port dish. As my Wonderful Boyfriend grilled the prawns I peeled, seeded, and sliced two different kinds of papaya. I set them in a dish with a glass of port next to it so that people could choose how much they wanted to pour on top. The flavors mingled so well that you almost couldn’t tell it was wine, it just deepened the flavor of the fruit. The fruit flesh that was pink tasted sweet like dessert and the fruit flesh that was yellow tasted more like mango but was still amazingly delicious. Next time I think I’ll just pour the port over the fruit and let it sit in the fridge for a while to soak up the flavor of it.

Things I have learned: Must turn the burner down to the absolute lowest setting to simmer rice on the stove. Cleaning and cutting papaya is tricky because it gets slippery very quickly; remember to peel it over the cutting board rather than the garbage and then just scoop the peels later. Fruit soak up wine to a certain degree, but for more flavor let them sit longer in the fridge to meld together. And finally there is a fine line between fully cooked shrimp/prawns and charred. Remember to tell helping cooks that when they are opaque they are done, and it is ok to cut one open to double check. This dish would have been excellent if they were a little less black.

Recommendations from our sommelier, Leigh Olson: Angolan cuisine, which has been significantly influenced by Portuguese colonialization, combines indigenous ingredients with Portuguese-inspired ingredients such as coriander, garlic and of course Port. The resulting meal was both delicate and commanding.  Many of the ingredients showed their “greenness” in this meal so we turned to a Sauvignon Blanc.  BUT this time it was from the Loire Valley in France and is called Sancerre.

This wine exhibits a nice bright balance with some flinty characteristics ~ which wine geeks attribute to the Kimmeridgian marl soil in the area ~ they call this terroir (more on this later).  The brightness compliments the acids in the recipes and that flinty character works fabulously with the seafood.

My recommendations:

  • Every day, Easy Drinker |  Domaine Fouassier Sancerre Domaine les Grand Groux
  • Step it up | Domaine Daulny Sancerre
  • Money is No Object | Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Etienne Henri
  • If you can’t find one of these, ask your wine steward at your local grocer.  They can be great resources.  Just tell them the ingredients you are using and let them show you the wines!

Fun Facts: Sancerre is named after the region in which it is vinified ~ as are most wines in France.  These areas in France are designated as Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC).  Look for this on the bottle.

Serving Temp: Mid 40’s – 50 degrees.  No wine cooler, no problem.  Store your Sancerre in the refrigerator and pull it out 45 minutes before serving.

Vessel of Choice:  Riedel Vinum Burgundy/Pinot Noir Wine Glasses.  No budget for specialized wine glasses, a general purpose wine glass will be perfect.

Angola
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.food.com and www.celtnet.org.uk)

Grilled Prawns With Raw Sauce (Camaro Grelhado com Mohlo Cru)

  • 1 lb prawns
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup green onion, including tops, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons water

Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients (except the prawns!) and grinding them into a paste. Put the prawns on the skewers and brush with sauce. Grill until done (they should lose their translucent color), about 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with extra sauce on the side.

Papaya With Port Wine

  • 1 papaya
  • 1 lime
  • 4 tablespoons port wine or 4 tablespoons madeira wine

Slice the papaya into 12 slices. Slice the lime into quarters. Arrange 3 papaya slices on 4 plates and put a lime wedge on the side of each. Sprinkle port wine over the top of each plate, or serve it on the side.

Arroz Verde (Green Rice)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g (just over a cup and a half) white rice
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 medium green pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 50g chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 900ml (just over a cup and a half) chicken broth

Heat the olive oil in a deep pan, add the rice and stir to make sure every grain is coated with oil. Then add the onion, green pepper, garlic and coriander. Season with salt and pepper then stir to mix thoroughly and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the chicken broth, stir to mix and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until the rice is done.

Lemon Salad

  • 60ml (about 4 tablespoons) lemon juice
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 50g grated parmesan cheese

Whisk together the lemon juice, oil, 2 tbsp water and a pinch of salt. Meanwhile trim the fennel and slice thinly. Reserve about 50g of the fronds, trim very finely and add to the dressing. Mix together the fennel and dressing in a bowl, sprinkle with the parmesan and serve.