June 4, 2010

Blackened Tuna Steaks with Mango Sauce

jlasserton, June 4, 2010, PWYF forum

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tuna steaks

1 fresh mango – peeled, pitted, and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons olive oil


1. Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and garlic in a bowl. Rub the tuna steaks with the mixture. Place the steaks in a sealable container and chill in refrigerator 3 hours.
2. Combine the mango, bell pepper, Spanish onion, green onion, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper in a bowl; stir. Add the lime juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and toss to combine. Chill in refrigerator 1 hour.
3. Stir together the paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, salt, pepper, thyme, basil, oregano, and garlic powder in a bowl. Remove the tuna steaks from the refrigerator and gently rinse with water and then dip each side of each steak in the spice mixture to coat.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Gently lay the tuna steaks into the hot oil. Cook the tuna on one side for 3 minutes; remove to a plate. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into the skillet and let it get hot. Lay the tuna with the uncooked side down into the skillet and cook another 3 minutes; remove from heat immediately.
5. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the mango salsa onto each of 4 plates. Lay the tuna steaks atop the salsa and serve immediately.


Mrs. Redboots: “Falafel” on February 3, 2010

75g dried chickpeas, soaked for c 24 hour (or mixture chickpeas & butter beans)

1/2 tbs gram (chickpea, besan) flour
1 small red onion
1 clove garlic
1 large handful flat-leafed parsley
Small squirt harissa paste
Salt & pepper

Put it all in the food processor and blitz until very fine; squoosh into burger shapes, as many as feel comfortable. Grease large baking-tray and plop the burgers on to it. Bake at mark 6 for 30 minutes or so.

Zucchini Mushroom Couscous with Cheddar

Erika in Colorado, 1 Sept 09, PWYF forum

This is something I made up for lunch one day:

3 servings couscous made with chicken broth

Saute together:
1/2 c zucchini, 1/2 c mushroom, 1-2 cloves minced garlic, splash of olive oil, dash of basil, dash of oregano

Mix sauteed veggies with the couscous and then stir in 1c shredded cheddar cheese.

Parmigiana di Melanzane

AJLR, 15 April 09, Recipe Thread

Antonio Carluccio, from ‘The Taste of Health’, BBC, 1985
Serves 4

2 lbs aubergines/eggplant (I use two large or three medium sized ones)
some olive oil
2 x 6 ox fresh mozzarella, ie, the small ball of cheese in whey, in a sealed bag
2 x 14 ox cans chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
2 T freshly grated parmesan cheese
seasoning to taste

First make the tomato sauce: crush/chop the garlic cloves, fry in a medium saucepan in some hot olive oil. After 30 seconds add the two tins of chopped tomato, some freshly ground black pepper, and a half tsp of sugar. Bring to simmering point and leave to cook and thicken on a low-ish heat for about 15 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, wash the aubergines and cut into slices of about 1cm or half inch thick. Place in a single layer on a grill pan, brush with olive oil and put under a pre-heated, grill until browned. Turn slices over, brush with a little more oil, grill till brown. Repeat until all slices browned on both sides. Keep the slices warm.

Take mozzarella cheese balls out of their little bags and dry. Slice them fairly thinly. In a large oven-proof dish (about two litres/five pints) spread 3 – 4 T of the tomato sauce on the bottom, add a layer of aubergines slices, then some mozzarella slices, repeat until all three ingredients are used up. Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the top of the final layer. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes in the centre of an oven preheated to Gas Mk 7.

NB Needs a sharp knife to cut into portions and even then the melted mozzarella will try to hang on to everything within reach.

Eggplant Parmigiana

cgbookcat1, 15 April 09, Recipe Thread

From The Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas

Eggplant Parmigiana
1 medium eggplant, sliced thick
1 egg beaten with some milk
dried breadcrumbs, wheat germ, or cracker meal
olive oil
1/2 lb Swiss or Mozzarella, sliced
6 oz tomato paste
white or red wine as needed
pinch of oregano
clove of garlic
salt and pepper
1 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese

Wash your eggplant and, without peeling it, slice it about 3/4 inch thick. Dip these slices first in flour, then into the egg, then into the breadcrumbs so they are well coated. Sauté them in a little olive oil, a few at a time, until they are nicely browned on both sides; tend them carefully and add oil if it is needed.

When they are crisp and brown, arrange them in a baking dish and put a slice or two of Swiss or Mozzarella cheese on each one. Make a thick tomato sauce by diluting the tomato paste with wine. Mix the tomato sauce with the oregano, salt, pepper, and crushed garlic clove, and spread 2 to 3 tablespoons on each slice. Finally, sprinkle the grated Parmesan on top of it all. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes and serve steaming hot.

This hearty dish will serve 4 to 6 people.

‘What’s in the Fridge’ Omelette

AJLR, 9 March 09, Recipe Thread

Filling for two omelettes:

2 heaped T cooked spinach (which has had as much moisture as possible squeezed out of it)
1 small clove garlic (optional), peeled and crushed
1 rounded T pine nuts
2 rounded T crumbled feta cheese
2 tsps oil or butter
a scrape of nutmeg (optional)

Dry roast pine nuts in a smallish pan, for the few minutes until golden on both sides. Put pine nuts to one side for a moment and heat oil/butter in the pan, then add the garlic bits. Heat for 30 seconds then add the spinach and nutmeg. Stir over medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes, then add the feta. Heat for another minute and then add the pine nuts. Use half straight away as the filling in an omelette (that you’ve had cooking in a separate pan at the same time). Repeat with second omelette.

Stuffed Peppers of Triumph

SusieBirds, 14 Feb 09, Recipe Thread

4 medium sized red bell peppers (get squat ones, not tall ones)
1/2 dry couscous (cooked in 1c water, no idea final volume, 1C, maybe?)
Some olive oil for sauteeing stuff (2-3T?)
1 large onion, finely diced (use a walla wall sweet or a red)
1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1 large rib of celery, finely diced
1/4 cup finely chopped purple cabbage
2-3 large kale leaves, ripped to little shreds, no stems (you could use spinach or chard for this as well)
1/4 raisins
4 big cloves garlic
1/2 package of cream cheese (or goat cheese if you like)
dried savory
smoked paprika
red pepper flakes
uh, some other herbs I don’t remember

Wash the peppers and neatly cut the tops off, empty and de-seed and de-rib them. Rub *very* lightly with olive oil (a fingerip in some oil will go a long way) and, if possible, fire-roast lightly. If you have a gas stovetop, this is easy – just set the burner on high, and set the pepper down on top of the grate-thingy that holds up the pots (can you tell my voacabulary is gone today?). Rotate every minute or so until the outer skin get blackened in spots and it smells like roasted peppers.

For the stuffing:
Cook the couscous, set aside. You could also use rice, barley, whatever. It was probably 1C cooked total volume.

Sautee onions in olive oil until clear, then add and sautee mushrooms until soft, then add/sautee celery, then cabbage. When it’s all cooked down, add a dash of cumin, some dried savory (1tsp maybe?), salt, whatever other herbs you like (I cook by taste with herbs and spices).

When herbed to your satisfaction, mix together with couscous in a big bowl, then press two large cloves of garlic into it. Mix in the raisins and kale while it’s still hot, so they get moist/melty/wilty. Set aside.

For cheese mix:
Blend cream cheese with a bit of salt, press two cloves of garlic into it, add dash of red pepper flakes, and I put in a tiny tiny pinch of smoked paprika (that stuff is *very* strong), and add another dash of savory on top. Mix until everything is well blended. You can season this with whatever strikes your fancy – if you were in a hurry, you could even just use a pre-prepped boursin or herbed goat cheese.

To stuff:
Fill each pepper halfway with the stuffing mixture, put in a generous dollop of the cheese mix, then fill the rest of the way with stuffing. Put top back on the pepper.

Put in oven-proof baking dish with a bit of water (1T) in the bottom and bake at 350 for around 20 minutes.

Makes 4. Serve warm, chop open, mix melty cheese into stuffing, consume. Paired with a good salad, it makes an excellent light dinner. Paired with wine and chocolate cake afterwards, even better.


Dances-with-needles, 9 Feb 09

Son #2 is in culinary school and has shown me some good stuff. Over the holidays he showed me how to make Lox, fresh.
I cook by ratio because I often have to increase or decrease amounts depending on how many show up. So, for every pound of fresh salmon fillet you will need 1/2 cup kosher salt” and 1/2 cup sugar*, 1 tsp dried thyme, or dill or whatever herb you like with fish$. Use a glass or non reactive pan. Spread half the salt/sugar on the bottom mostly where the salmon will be sitting, lay the skin side down on the salt, sprinkle the thyme and other favorings over the flesh and spread the salt mix on top of that. Cover the meat as evenly as you can. Cover the pan, I use plastic wrap ( also known as dammit), and place in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. The time depends on the thickness of the meat and the size of the piece. Check on it every so often and if all the salt had vanished from the top spread some more on. The salmon goes from limber like a washed sock to kind of stiff, like the one you wore for a week. My son says Firm. When past the 24 hour point and stiff enough for your sense of things, rinse the salt off, pat the slab dry and slice at an angle rather thinly cutting it away from the skin as you go. A pound of this will serve one person for three or four meals or big snacks, and two people will demolish it all in five minutes. It is especially good with boiled potatoes mashed with lemon and olive oil dressing on the nights where I am just too tired to cook a meal and too hungry to skip it. Keep it wrapped in the wrap that was on top of the pan, in the refrigerator.

” this is important, the salt needs to be not iodized and have large granules

*This can be raw, turbinado, brown, or nasty old white sugar. I haven’t tried honey yet, so if someone does, please let me know how much works

$Thyme, Citrus peel, Onion Powder, Garlic powder, Dill weed, Ginger root, Just not all at once.

Shrimp and Asparagus Improv Salad

Black Bear, Recipe thread, 3 January 09

Get a small bunch of thin asparagus spears, and cut ’em up in half inch pieces.

Heat up a pan with a little olive oil.

Take a shallot and mince it up as fine as you can; set aside about a tablespoon of it, and then put the rest of the shallot, the asparagus, and a pinch of salt in the pan and saute them til the shallot’s looking translucent and soft, and the asparagus pieces are tender. Should take about 5-6 minutes.

In the meantime–oh, wait, maybe you shoulda done this first–cut up some cooked shrimp into chunks. If you hate shrimp, no reason you couldn’t do this with some bits of stir-fried chicken, or anything else that’s bitesized (and already cooked.) Toss the meat into the pan and saute for just enough time to warm it up–if you’re using cooked shrimp, they’ll get tough if you cook them too much longer, plus they release a lot of liquid. So just another minute or two really ought to do it.

For the salad dressing, put 3 tbl of olive oil, 2 tsp of your favorite vinegar (i’ve got some with garlic in it, which is nice) and the shallot, plus a little salt and a tablespoon of grainy mustard in a jar, and shake it up til the mustard dissolves.

Get a bowl of your favorite salad greens–I used Boston lettuce last time–and put the shrimp/asparagus shallot mixture over it, then drizzle the dressing over the whole mess. There you go.

Spanakotyropitta (or Greek spinach pie with cheese)

Susan from Athens, Recipe thread, 25 December 08

Asking a Greek cook about their spinach pie is like asking for a saga of personal choices in a sea of other people’s failures, because each Greek cook is convinced that their spanakopitta or spanakotyropitta is the best – or their mother’s or grandmother’s version is. And there are as many versions as there are ways of putting together a herb garden. The main ingredients are obviously spinach and in most cases feta cheese, although on Crete that will be a mild cottage-cheese like mizithra or a salty graviera. And there are those who want big thick chunks of cheese and others who want their barely discernible (I belong to the latter category and like my feta very finely chopped indeed and will pulse it in the food processor to get it that way). And it doesn’t end there: you add other greens as well. Plain spinach is OK but it is plain. Everybody adds spring onions (green onions for the Americans) chopped into rounds – some sauté them, others don’t. Then we have myronia and kafkalithres (Caucalis), which are wild greens that add flavour and sweetness. Others add parsley by the handful and dill – which are easy to find. But you can also add maratho (fennel fronds) and even wild carrot greens which offer a variety of flavours. Fresh coriander and spearmint are also good. Lots of people add dried bread crumbs, rice or bulghur to absorb the juices, so the pastry doesn’t get soggy, but that does change the texture.
Adding to the variety you can make it with phyllo pastry (ready made or homemade) or homemade pastries of many varieties. You can put it on a baking dish like a baklava, or roll it up like a strudel or a long cigar-like shape that you roll up like a Danish pastry. You can sprinkle the top with sesame seeds or not (usually with phyllo pastry you don’t). The varieties are endless. Going for simple and internationally available I give you the following recipe. It works for a 10 by 14 inch baking pan or any near enough in size not to stretch the filling too thin or make it bunch up too thick) You will need approximately:

1 1/2; kilo phyllo pastry (A total of 12 sheets and save the good ones that aren’t cracked for the top)
2 kilos spinach washed with roots cut off
salt and pepper
1 cup olive oil or slightly more
4-5 spring onions – chopped medium fine
300 grams feta cheese chopped finely or pulsed in the food processor
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped dill

When making the filling you want to wilt the spinach. You can do this in two ways: (a) by chopping finely, rubbing with salt and allowing to drain for about an hour (which will be high in sodium but very tasty) or (b) by placing it in a large pan with no water over a low heat, covering and leaving it for about six minutes, whereupon the large pile of spinach will have reduced by a lot, into a little mound (this is how I do it).
Either way: place the spinach you have wilted in a colander and press hard to squeeze as much water out of it as possible. Put some elbow grease into this process. Whatever water you do not remove here will end up giving you soggy pastry later on. It is worth the extra effort to squeeze it out well. If you have wilted according to method (b) you should now chop your spinach mound thoroughly and salt to taste (about half to a teaspoon of salt is sufficient).
In a large pan add about half a cup of olive oil, sauté the spring onions lightly – you don’t want them to brown and add the spinach and sauté for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly and add the fresh chopped herbs and the cheese.

Prepare your phyllo dough. If it is frozen or ready-made and paper-dry, lay it out and cover it with a damp dish cloth. After you remove each sheet of pastry replace the cloth, so that it doesn’t dry out entirely. Lay out a bowl with olive oil and one with water and have a pastry brush on hand.
Oil your baking dish and lay down one layer of phyllo pastry. Oil it lightly (i.e. you want a very fine layer of oil over it all but you don’t want oil dripping and pooling). Place your hand in the water bowl and flick very lightly so there are some beads of water on the pastry. In similar fashion layer down six sheets of phyllo pastry with oil and water between each layer (as the pie heats up this water will turn into steam and cause the layers to separate and crisp up). Go up the sides of your tin and don’t worry if the phyllo gets torn or shredded – it won’t show up on the final product. The final layer you brush more liberally with oil.
Next lay out your filling evenly over the whole of the pastry and cover with another six layers of pastry. Trim the corners well and tuck them in (if you don’t cut off a lot of the corner pastry the corner pieces will be very thick with phyllo which some people prefer). Oil well and score through the top 4 layers of pastry with a sharp knife, cutting into 4-5 cm strips from one end of the pan to the other and crosswise into squares or diamond shapes. Brush more oil into the cuts and down the sides and sprinkle the top with water to prevent the pastry sheets from curling upwards. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven (175 degrees Centigrade) for 40-45 minutes, until golden with the sheets of pastry separating.

Cool slightly and cut the pieces. Serve hot or cold.

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