Seafood


Summertime is Strawberry Time.  I remember going as a little girl to a local patch with my Nanny and picking strawberries (popping them into my mouth instead of the little bucket she gave me), and relishing in winter the super-sweet strawberry jam she made the summers before.  Maybe this is why I love them so much.

Tonight, when I found myself with 3 quarts of strawberries fixing to round the bend, I decided to make a feast of them.  Two strawberry sauces and one lovely fresh salad later, we had a supper perfect for a summer evening.

Strawberry Salad

Toss organic baby spinach and spring greens with almonds, feta, and sliced strawberries. Dress with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Voila!

Strawberry Salad

Salmon in Strawberry White Wine Sauce

This is a basic packet salmon in parchment recipe (25 minutes in a 400 degree oven). The innovation is a sauce made of white wine (chardonnay is what I had on hand), sliced strawberries, a pinch of ginger, and 1 tbs of honey.  Combine these ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat, stirring periodically until it begins to simmer and the sauce turns a lovely strawberry pink. Spoon the sauce over the salmon in the parchment (or foil) packet, seal, and cook until done though.

Strawberry Salmon

My supper companions said that the fish was moist without being mushy, and flavorful without being too sweet.  Seconds were had, so I’m thinking this concoction was a winner.

Strawberry Pinot Sauce

I also made a red wine sauce with 1 cup of Irony Pinot Noir and 1 cup pureed strawberries, brought to a boil in a saucepan and then slowly reduced. I used this one to finish a pan-cooked boneless sirloin steak.  Also yummy, but not as pretty as the salmon with sauce (hence, no picture).

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This lemon-herb concoction is easy to whip up in a food processor and is great on fish or chicken.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 lbs fresh wild Alaska halibut, cut into 8 fillets
the peel of one lemon
6 sprigs of fresh organic thyme
1 handful of Italian parsley
1 tbs Land o’ Lakes light butter with canola oil, melted

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a large baking dish with aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick spray.  Arrange the halibut in the dish.

Because you’re going to use the food processor, you can just peel the lemon with a vegetable peeler.  Combine the lemon peel, thyme, and parsley in the food processor and pulse until it starts to come together in a paste.  Slowly add the melted butter as you continue to process the lemon and herbs.  When you have a lovely fragrant paste, you’re done.

With a silicon pastry brush, cover the halibut with the lemon-herb concoction.  Bake the halibut covered for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 10 minutes or until the halibut is cooked through.

How It Turned Out:

The fish was firm and flavorful, and paired well with a spring vegetable pasta.

Halibut

This recipe couldn’t be any easier, and it is a healthier choice than the original fried version.

Ingredients:

2 8oz containers of cream cheese with chive and onion
12oz of crab meat (you can use imitation and it’s just as good)
all natural won ton wrappers (read the label — plain ones have all kinds of weird stuff in them)
olive oil cooking spray
1/8 cup water

How I Made Them:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with non-stick aluminum foil.

In a big bowl, combine the crab and cream cheese.

To assemble the crab rangoons, spoon a little of the filling into the middle of a won ton wrapper.  Dip your finger in the water and wet the edges of the wrapper (so they will stick together).  Pull two opposite corners together, to make a triangle. Pull a third corner up and pinch it together with the first two. Pull the fourth corner up and do the same, making a pinwheel shape.

Place the crab rangoons on the baking sheet in tight rows (not touching, but since they won’t expand like a cookie, you can fill the sheets). Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges brown (not burn, just brown).

Serve hot with sweet and spicy sauce or another fun Chinese condiment.

How They Turned Out:

AWESOME!  Always a popular part of the buffet table, these never last long.

Best Rangoons

Makes 40+ crab rangoons.

Sometimes, I just can’t face another night of the Single Girl Standby (aka cereal). So, instead of corn flakes, tonight I pulled together a simple pasta dish that’s easy, colorful, and healthy.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb wild Alaska halibut cheeks
3 tbs Litehouse bleu cheese vinaigrette
1 cup whole wheat rotini
1 cup frozen organic broccoli florets
1/2 cup frozen organic sweet corn
1/4 cup organic tomato, diced
fresh mozarella (optional)

How I Made It:

Marinate the halibut in the halibut in the bleu cheese vinagrette for 30 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box, adding the frozen broccoli and corn for the last 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the halibut in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it is cooked through (no longer translucent). One trick is to cook it uncovered for the first few minutes, and then cover it until it’s done so that it doesn’t dry out.

Drain the pasta and vegetables, and add the tomato (and mozarella, if you choose).  Plate with the halibut and enjoy.

How It Turned Out:

It was good. I probably wouldn’t serve it to company, since there is no “wow” factor to it. Other than how easy and quick it was to make. Makes 2 servings.

When a single gal is sick, the go to meal tends to be something easy: canned soup, cereal, tea and toast. After seven nights of this hand to mouth existence, you start to crave something real — even if you barely have the energy to boil water. Lucky for me, I had a few ingredients handy to throw together to make this tasty and relatively healthy dish. (Just beware, shrimp are high in cholesterol, so make sure you eat more of the veggies than the shrimp).

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen large shrimp (peeled and deveined, tail off), thawed
1 cup whole wheat farfalle, cooked
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup broccolini
1 tbs shaved parmesan

How I made it:

Bring the shrimp to a quick boil to remove the grey color (this is optional — I just can’t stand how creepy they look raw).

While the water comes to a boil, heat the olive oil in a heavy non-stick skillet over medium heat.  As soon as the shrimp pot comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and transfer the shrimp to the skillet with a slotted spoon. Add the broccolini and toss to coat in the olive oil. Cook covered over medium heat for about 7-10 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your veggies. You can add garlic, shallots, or crushed red pepper for flavor (I just left it plain).  When the shrimp and broccolini are done, add the cooked pasta and mix gently.  Serve with a little shaved parmesan on top.

How it turned out:

Easy, flavorful, and a nice break from chicken and stars.  It makes two servings, so there are leftovers for lunch the next day.

My dearest friend is Italian, so for Christmas this year I wanted to make a traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes. But that seemed like far too much food (and effort) for just two people. This pasta dish with crab, scallops, and shrimp was a wonderful compromise (half the fishes made for a perfect two-person feast).

Ingredients:

1 lb frozen medium size shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 lb sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 lb lump crab meat, rinsed and patted dry
2 tbs unsalted butter
4 tsp minced garlic
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
3/4 cup shredded parmesan, divided in half
salt and pepper
2 cups frozen broccoli florets
8 oz fettucini, cooked

How I made it:

Thaw the shrimp in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter.  Saute the garlic for 2 minutes. Add the scallops and turn down the heat to medium.

Blanch the shrimp in boiling water for 2-3 minutes (it helps address the yucky grey color of the shrimp). Remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and pat dry (carefully, they’ll be hot). Add the shrimp to the skillet, then the crab.  Turn the scallops and continue to cook until the seafood is heated through.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the heavy cream first, then the half and half. Stir to combine.  Sprinkle half of the shredded parmesan over the seafood mixture and stir again.  Salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat down to low, and stir occasionally so that a skin doesn’t form while you prepare the pasta.

Cook the fettucini according to the package directions, adding the frozen broccoli four minutes before the pasta is al dente. When done, drain and rinse the pasta and broccoli.

Combine the pasta, broccoli, and seafood mixture in a large bowl, using tongs to ensure that the pasta is thoroughly coated. This is a thin sauce, so it should combine easily. Top with the remaining shredded cheese and serve.

How it turned out:

Wonderful! Not only was it delicious the first night, the leftovers were even better.

(Makes 6 servings)

This is my friend’s Shannon’s recipe. It’s an easy appetizer that can be kept light.

Ingredients:

won ton wrappers
1 8 oz container 1/3 less fat Philadelphia Onion and Chive Cream Cheese
1 cup crab meat (or krab meat)
2 tbs water

How to make it:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Chop the crab/krab meat finely.  Mix it into the cream cheese, making sure to blend thoroughly.

Spoon a 1-2 tsp sized dollop of filling into the center of a won ton wrapper. Don’t over fill it. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water (a quick swipe of the finger is enough). Fold the corners together to create a purse, sealing the edges closed. Continue to make the rangoons until you are out of filling.

Place the rangoons on a non-stick baking sheet (or a sheet lined with non-stick foil).  Spray with olive oil in a mister or an olive oil cooking spray. Bake until the won tons are crispy and golden (about 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them).

How they turned out:

Good, and with less guilt than the fried version at your favorite Chinese restaurant. But — they are only good while hot.  Right out of the oven, they are too hot (you’ll melt your mouth).  After about 15-20 minutes, they get cold and gummy.  So only make as many as you will need, or make them in batches so that your guests get hot and yummy appetizers.

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