Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fish in a Green Sauce (salsa verde)









Here's something new, you probably don't notice me posting many seafood recipes that's mostly because it's one of the hottest topics these days and I haven't figured it out quite yet. Issues like over fishing, farmed fish vs. fresh and Canadian fish being shipped halfway across the globe for processing. Many of our fish mongers sell imported fish and if you want a good fish it is quite expensive, plus all they do is thaw out frozen fish at the "fresh fish counter" it seems.
I once paid $22 for a small "fresh" fillet of grouper from a reputable fish monger. At that price you lose your appetite.

When I was little we had fish on our table from time to time, it was a bit of a ritual and usually my mother carefully flaked apart pieces to make sure none of us choked on bones. The fish was also an oily river fish because after we ate the smell did not come off our little hands and we all had to wash up from this tall glass jar of lemon cologne like hand wash that my dad brought with him from his travels. None of my sisters or my dad were really fans of fish but we ate it as a family (for health reasons I guess? or maybe because the guards happened to think it was a good idea to pick some up from time to time while out shopping for us at the market)
My mother loves ocean fish, shrimp, things of that nature which she was familiar with from her upbringing back in Canada which is why she usually jumped on the opportunity of ordering these items whenever we were in Turkey.

I love fish and seafood, simply grilled up with some lemon is all you need! It's one of nature's most delectable bounties I think. As many of you may or may not know I used to be a vegetarian for about ten years, so seafood was my protein source but once I stumbled upon a nice piece of reasonably priced catfish and made a delicious curry out of it only to discover that it threw me into a bit of a coma (oh wait that was the allergy pill that put me in a coma, haha!) ever since then I tread carefully when it comes to seafood.

My favourite place to eat fish is when I'm away, in Cuba or the Dominican, it's fresh, locally caught and while most try to secure themselves as much local lobster as possible I take all the other fishies and have the chefs do a quick simple preparation for me.

As I promised in my previous post about octopus that I would try to include more fish recipes so here is one that is not only yummy but super fast and only uses a handful of ingredients.

Inspired by Annie Sibonney's recipe at the secret food society in Spain


Substitute Hake for Cod or Haddock (they come from the same family) I went with a lighter fish like Ocean perch. Or use any white fish of your preference.

You're going to need a nice fresh bunch of parsley (chopped finely)

Garlic
Good olive oil

Clam juice or stalk

Flour

Salt

I don't cook with alcohol either so no white wine for me. Here is the original recipe, I remembered the preparation on tv so just went with it but use the recipe if you're more comfortable using exact amounts.

This dish was so good that I didn't even miss lemon!! Wine is acidic so you may want to substitute something with a note of acidity if you're omitting it.

Don't forget to get a nice crusty piece of bread, you'll want to mop up those juices!



Monday, September 26, 2011

Pink Lemon Poppy seed cake




Here's a fun cake!

A little contrast with the frosting made this lemon poppy seed cake POP!

The frosting is a new recipe, normally I make swiss meringue buttercream but not having any egg whites on hand (sometimes a bad thing can turn into a great thing!) I ventured out to try something new.

A cooked buttercream recipe, the milk, sugar, heavy cream and a tad bit of flour are cooked into a bachamel type consistency then it's cooled down and whipped while small cubes of room temp butter are added.

It's really amazing!

The recipe is courtesy of Bourbonnatrix without the caramel part, and even so the sugar amount was perfect.

She mentioned having a little trouble with it going soupy and thankfully that did not happy with me, I cooled the creamy mixture down really well and actually made the entire process by hand (I know, totally stupid but my kitchen aid broke down!! Check out the bang up marks on my hand from whisking like mad with my teeny tiny whisk)

It worked! Had to put it in the fridge a few times before it was about to split, and also while adding the food colouring. You could use red food colouring or concentrated beet juice (if I had any I would have gone with it - natural colours are so much healthier than artificial)

Frosting:
Cooked Frosting
Inspired by Baked Explorations recipe

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Add:

1 1/3 cups milk (I used 2% honestly)
1/2 cup heavy cream

If using whole milk use 1 1/2 cups and 1/3 heavy cream.

Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10-15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat with the paddle attachment until cool. Reduce speed to low, and add:

1 1/2 cups softened butter, cubed
1 tsp pure vanilla

Mix until thoroughly incorporated, the increase speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

If using food colouring add it in at the end or mix it with the creamy milk mixture.


Cake recipe is thanks to Technicolor kitchen

I varied it slightly by using up some extra coconut milk I had instead of the water in the glaze.
Also using sour cream instead of buttermilk and thinning it down to the consistency of buttermilk also using canned coconut milk.

She got 3 cakes out of the batter and I measured 2 and 6 cupcakes. All the syrup was used to drench the two cakes.













Friday, September 23, 2011

Fresh Coconut Loaf cake



I saw this fresh moist looking coconut cake and knew my little sister would love it!

There were two versions of the cake on the original site (here) and I went with fresh, it was a lot of peeling and shaving and to be honest half of the flesh did not infuse into the milk at all (which evaporated into about 1 tbsp) so I went with the fresh flesh and canned coconut milk to make up the rest of the milk that had evaporated.

The glaze also split once, then the second batch split while on the cake (which was probably still warm) but all in all it was good, and everyone loved it!!

So for all you coconut lovers out there this is a keeper, but I would recommend adding a coconut extract for more flavour and maybe finding a good coconut tasting fresh coconut (some of them taste of nothing)
If you can buy pre shredded then you're in luck as it'll save you lots of time.

Give it a try and let me know! :)

p.s I got one loaf by halving the fresh coconut recipe but using 3 eggs instead of 2.5 as there is no point in trying to halve an egg.


Thanks to my sisters for the lovely shots, that's me holding the cake in the shots below and pigging out while they both shoot the cake.






Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cabbage Dolma




Making cabbage dolma (Iraqi style!)

Forgot to add the minced meat (Ground beef) in the rice mixture. But oh well, vegetarian is always good!

Included is a photo-sequence on how to seperate the onion layers and stuff them.

Remember not to fill with too much stuffing as the rice expands and fills out the onion nicely. Laying them loosely is fine and letting them "burn" or brown a bit on the bottom of the pot is always the best part.

Yum!


Credit: Thanks to my lovely talented sister S for taking the pictures.