Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gwyneth Paltrow's Grilled Halibut with Mango-Avocado Salsa

Who would have known that Gwyneth Paltrow knew how to cook? The June issue of Bon Appetit has an article about Paltrow featuring some of her recipes. We tried her Grilled Halibut with Mango Avocado Salsa and it's a keeper! It was simple, fresh, had depth and was satisfying. If this recipe is any indication of what's in her new cookbook, My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness than I am submitting in my amazon order now. You can order one here.
We used snapper and sea bass instead of halibut. Tasty!
Here's the recipe:


1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
1 medium ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 6-ounce halibut or mahi-mahi fillets
4 lime wedges


Prepare a grill to medium-high heat. Gently combine the avocado, mango, tomatoes, basil, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a large mixing bowl. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper and set aside at room temperature, gently tossing occasionally.
Place fish fillets in a 13x9x2" glass baking dish. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoon lime juice over. Season fish with salt and pepper. Let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes, turning fish occasionally.
Brush grill rack with oil. Grill fish until just opaque in center, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plates. Spoon mango-avocado salsa over fish. Squeeze a lime wedge over each and serve.

Serves 4

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Roman Loranc

I was doing some research online when some photos caught my eye. They were taken by a photographer named Roman Loranc. He immigrated to the US from Poland & settled in the California Central Valley in the 1980s. He prefers black and white film & uses a 4 x 5 field camera. He mainly does landscape photography.
He has spent twenty years photographing the Cosumnes River Preserve. Every winter the river floods the 700+ acre Preserve's grasslands, fields and forests. Seasonal flooding creates wetlands and a rare river valley oak forest. Loranc tries to capture the mystery and beauty of the winter floods. He photographs other areas and things as well. He is particularly interested in photographing places of prayer in his native Poland and Lithuania. To learn more about Roman Loranc visit his website here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kanom Krok... Grilled Coconut Rice Hot Cakes

I was looking for some different recipes to try with my ebelskiver pan. I came across a recipe for Kanom Krok from a few different sources that said it came from a book called, It Rains Fishes by Kasma Loha-unchit. I thought I would give it a try.

The recipe is as follows:

1 3/4 cups coconut cream and 3 1/2 cups lighter coconut milk
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs sugar
2 1/2 Tbs tapioca starch or arrowroot flour
3 Tbs uncooked white rice
1/3 cup finely shredded fresh coconut or 1/4 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups rice flour
2 tsp sea salt
2 to 3 Tbs palm oil or peanut oil

Optional filling ingredients:
1/4 cup green onions, cut in thin rounds
1/4 cup fresh corn kernels
2 Tbs cilantro leaves

If using canned coconut milk, spoon into a small saucepan 1 3/4 cup of the creamiest part from the top of three cans of coconut milk. Heat just enough to melt and smooth out the lumps. Add sugar to the coconut cream and stir to dissolve. Cool before mixing in 2 1/2 Tbs of tapioca or arrowroot flour. Stir until smooth. Set aside. This is the coconut cream mixture that goes on top of the hot cakes.

Combine the remaining coconut milk from the cans. If there is less than 3 1/2 cups, add water to make up the difference. Stir until smooth, heating if necessary to melt the coagulated parts. Allow to cool. Grind the uncooked white rice in a clean coffee grinder as finely as possible. Do the same with the shredded coconut. Combine the two with the rice flour, salt, remaining 2Tbs sugar and add to the lighter coconut milk. Stir and mix until well blended and smooth. This is the rice batter.

Heat a well-seasoned kanom krok griddle (or substitute with an Ebelskiver pancake griddle) on the stove. When the griddle is hot, brush the surface indentations with the palm or peanut oil. Wait a few seconds before spooning the rice mixture into each indentation to about two-thirds full. The batter should sizzle when it hits the hot metal. Add a dab of the sweet coconut cream mixture over the top to fill and sprinkle the center of each cake with a little bit of one of the optional toppings, or leave plain. Cover with a round lid and allow to cook for a few minutes, or until the pancakes are firm and crispy brown on the bottom. Remove gently with a rounded spoon. Re-grease the griddle before making the next batch. Because rice flour tends to settle, stir the coconut mixture well before pouring onto the griddle. Serve warm.

Some information that may be helpful when trying this recipe:
This recipe was a little hard to follow. I would read it over to be clear about what to do before starting. Good brands of coconut milk are Chao Koh and Mae Ploy. Chao Koh is more delicate and sweet where Mae Ploy in more rich and creamy. Other brands of coconut milk will change their name by only one letter so be aware of this when selecting the coconut milk. You can find coconut milk at Southeast Asian Markets such as this one. The recipe recommends 3 - 14 oz. cans of coconut milk for the coconut cream and coconut milk. To separate the coconut cream from the coconut milk, the can needs to be settled. There may be an easier way to do this but I found it hard to differentiate the two. I just used a can of Chao Koh coconut cream instead. Tapioca starch and arrowroot powder are the same thing. I used a container with a spout to pour the batter which made things a lot easier. I used Jasmine Rice. I have never had an authentic Kanom Krok so I am not sure how mine would compare. They were time consuming but fun to make. I used these ebelskiver turning tools. They were easier to use than anything else once I got the hang of it. The Hot Cakes weren't as sweet as I thought they would be which was nice. The flavor was subtle. The recipe says to serve them warm but we liked them cold as well. I would definitely make these again.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Speed Clean your Freezer in 20 Minutes

I don't know about you but I am willing to try anything that might help get cleaning done faster. I found this information in an article in this months Real Simple Magazine. I plan on trying this out this week. If anything it will motivate me to get the job done.

You'll need rubber gloves, a large cooler, a sponge, a rag, rubbing alcohol, a plastic spatula, a cleaner container/spray bottle, white vinegar, dish soap and paper towels.

Minutes 1 to 3 ~
Unplug the refrigerator. Put on rubber gloves. Empty the ice from the freezer trays into a large cooler. Scrub the trays with water, liquid soap and a sponge. Set aside to dry.

Minutes 4 to 7 ~
Unload the freezer. Ditch anything that has expired or is freezer-burned and covered in ice crystals. Put the rest in the cooler.

Minutes 8 to 11 ~
Remove the drawers and detachable shelves and place them in the sink. Scrub them well with soap, water and a sponge. Set aside to dry. Note: Most freezers defrost every 8 to 12 hours. If yours has more than 1/4 inch of ice on the base or walls, manually defrost it. Before proceeding to the next step, dip a rag in rubbing alcohol, then cover the ice. Chip away frost with a plastic spatula.

Minutes 12 to 13 ~
In cleaner container/spray bottle, make a cleaner from 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon white vinegar and a teaspoon dish soap. Shake to blend.

Minutes 14 to 17 ~
Douse the interior with the cleaner. Wipe down the walls and shelves with paper towels.

Minutes 18 to 20 ~
Plug the unit back in. Return to shelves and food. All done!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Local Find... Lucky Seafood

If you are looking for Asian food products in San Diego County, Lucky Seafood is a good place to find them. Even though Lucky is a Vietnamese market, they have many other Asian products. They have a large and varied selection of fresh produce and even carry good fresh oxtails. We went there for some sauces and coconut milk. You will find Lucky Market at 9326 Mira Mesa Blvd, just west of the 15. It is much cleaner than Thuan Phat in Linda Vista. They have a restaurant connected to the west side of the store. It is a good place to have some Pho.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Queen Bee Market

the Queen Bee Market I'm looking forward to The Queen Bee Market. It's gonna be a fresh, modern craft show. It will be happening on Friday, May 6th from 4 to 9 pm & Saturday, May 7th from 9 am to 4 pm at the Del Mar Hilton in the Grand Ballroom. Find more information here!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mint Cuttings

It is finally warming up. It makes me feel like getting out in the yard and tending to all my plants. I have a large collection of mints and decided to offer some cuttings here! If you are interested in mints, check them out. I have some different varieties such as candy mint & sweet pear mint! They are super easy to grow and come with an instruction sheet on how to start them and how to care for them.