Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Grilled Mahi Mahi Caesar Salad

Warmer weather, for the time being at least, means a lot more greens in this house.  I really don't think that you can end an 80 degree day better than with a great salad for dinner.  Relaxing on the patio is essential too.

Here's another ode to St. Lucia.  This was one of my favorite meals, so much so that I went to the restaurant twice just to have it.  BEST MAHI MAHI EVER.

One of my local loves is Allspice, a quaint little spice shop in the East Village.  I get in trouble in that store.  It's dangerous for someone like me because I feel just like a kid going into a candy store.

They had some new vinegars at my last visit and I was super excited to see a Mango White Balsamic.  And before you think that there is no way you would use a fruity vinegar for Caesar dressing, think again my friends.  It was a perfect balance of sweet and savory.

If you live in Des Moines, go there.  Soon.  You won't regret it.  Well, maybe your bank balance will.

1 lb. mahi mahi, cut into even size strips
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Malden sea salt and freshly ground pepper

3 heads romaine, shredded by hand or lettuce knife into bite size pieces

1/2 c. excellent quality olive oil
1/4-1/3 c. mango white balsamic vinegar
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1-2 cloves garlic, minced*
2 anchovy fillets, minced

Prepare grill by preheating.  Coat fish in olive oil and generously salt and pepper.  Grill over medium high heat until done, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillet.  Set aside while you prepare the vinaigrette.

Put all the dressing ingredients in a bowl big enough to use an immersion blender.  (I'm telling you, this is essential for a perfect creamy dressing!)  Using low setting on blender, mix until thick and foamy.  It won't take long.  Adjust oil and/or vinegar as needed.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the mahi mahi into bite sizes pieces and place on top of romaine.  Pour dressing over the top, lightly pepper and add a quick few shavings of Parmesan if you allow dairy in your diet.

*A side note on garlic.  I find that if I remove the peel and lightly blanch it in boiling water, that you get a smoother taste and that it doesn't overpower what you are eating.  I use this method anytime garlic is not being cooked in a recipe.

Friday, April 26, 2013

St. Lucian Jerk Chicken

One of my many treasures brought back from the lovely island of St. Lucia was a super size bag of jerk seasoning from the Castries market.  I love good jerk, and this really is as authentic as you can get.  I scoured each stand to make sure I was getting some that was fresh and local.  First up, jerk chicken.  

It's  a toss up between pork and chicken as my fave for jerk so I knew I couldn't go wrong with chicken legs.  

I would have grilled the night I made this, but it was raining...again.  Freaking rain and cold.  But hey, yesterday it hit 61 so we MIGHT be on to summer already.  Iowa doesn't do spring anymore.

3 lbs. chicken legs
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tbsp. jerk seasoning
2 tsp. salt

Mix the lime juice, zest, olive oil, jerk and salt together well.  Add the chicken legs rub with the seasoning so they are coated well and the put in a container to marinate.  Marinate at least 4 hours or overnight preferably.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, oven rack in the middle.  Place the chicken and marinate in a 9 x 13 pan.  Cook for about 20 minutes, then turn pieces over and brush marinade from the bottom of the pan over each piece.  Bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until they are done.

Finish with a squeeze of lime.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Chocolate Pot de Creme

Taking a close second to my favorite dessert, the earlier posted Flourless Chocolate Torte, Pot de Creme is a classic french dessert that is rich and smooth.  It is traditionally baked in a water bath, however, this spin on the dessert, adapted from a cookbook called Colorado Cache, is by far the best I have tested. 

Finish this elegant dessert with coconut whip cream and raspberries and no one will ever know how easy it was when you present it to your dinner guests.

10 oz. melted chocolate, 70% or more
6 tbsp. Kahlua 
6 tbsp. fresh orange juice, strained
1/2 c. raw honey
6 egg yolks
1 1/4 c. coconut milk, canned

Melt the chocolate with the Kahlua and oj in a double boiler.  The chocolate needs to be completely melted and smooth.

Meanwhile, in a food processor mix the egg yolks and the honey.  Once the chocolate is melted, with food processor running, slowly add the chocolate mixture, scraping down as necessary, until the mixture is well blended.  Keep the food processor running and slowly add the coconut milk until it starts to thicken and completely incorporated.

Pour into serving size bowls and refrigerate until set.  Remove from fridge about 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sweet N Spicy Ribs

I love ribs.  I never used to, in fact, I tried them for the very first time about five years ago.  And I am hooked.  But I have to say, they MUST be cooked right.  I rarely dine out and order them because they are always a HUGE disappointment.  However, I have mastered them and I am not afraid to toot my own horn.

I usually make them with a great dry rub and BBQ sauce, but I am not ready to share that recipe yet, cause I think it's kinda bottle worthy.  

Anyway, sweet and spicy was on my mind and this is what I came up with.

1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 c. coconut amino's
1/2 c. raw honey
1-2 tbsp. sriracha, depending on spicy desires
1 tsp. salt
2 racks ribs

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Allow ribs to come to room temperature, generously salt and pepper and then place them on a rack in a rectangular cast iron dutch oven, and then cover.  Place in oven and cook for about 2 hours.

In a bowl, mix together ginger, amino's, honey, sriracha and salt.  

When the ribs are done, increase oven to 400 degrees, remove lid, and coat the ribs with the sauce using a brush.  Keep the lid off, and repeat with the sauce coat every three minutes until the sauce is gone. 

Serve with your favorite sides...I did sesame roasted veggies are they were a perfect accompaniment.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lobster Newburg

My trip was great.  I could have used another 10 days on the beautiful island of St. Lucia.  The weather was perfect, around 85 degrees every single day.  The people were wonderful, the food was delicious and the scenery was breathtaking.  Go check on my pictures on ginniecolemanphotography.com.

Anyway, right before I left I came up with this spin on the traditional Lobster Newburg that I think you might like, unless you are a purist and don't eat dairy.  But I am fortunate enough to be able to get my hands on grass fed dairy, so once in awhile I use it.  This is once in awhile and totally worth it.  I promise.  Remember, don't thumb your nose...moderation in all things.  Use this as a cheat meal!

2 tbsp. ghee
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 egg yolks
1 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. kerrygold butter
3 tbsp. sherry
1 generous pinch saffron
pinch of ground nutmeg and ground cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1 lb. lobster meat, cooked and chopped into bite size pieces

Melt the ghee in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the asparagus, cooking until tender. Remove from pan.  Mix the egg yolks and the cream together in a small bowl.  Melt the butter in the pan and then slowly add in the cream mixture, whisking well.  Add the saffron, nutmeg, and pepper, again whisking.  Cook until the mixture starts to thicken, without boiling.  With the cream coats a spoon, about 10-15 minutes, salt to taste.  Then add the asparagus and lobster.  Finish with freshly ground white pepper.

Serve alone or over almond flour biscuits.