Friday, July 26, 2013

Almond Crusted Sea Trout

I guess it's not coming as a surprise to anyone that lately, Ben and I have both been trying to eat a little healthier.  Have you noticed an absence of sweet treat posts?  This doesn't please me, but I know it's a blessing to be able to maintain health by eating right, so I'm trying to have a good (or accepting) attitude! 
Sometimes though, eating healthy can be a pleasure and this was one of those times!  Our friend and neighbor brought over his latest catch of the day, Texas Gulf sea trout.  Really fresh fish is one of those lovely things that tastes great AND is good for us, so I was happy to come up with a recipe that showcased this local delicacy!
Of course, around here, FRIED fish is the cooking method of choice, but baking, broiling, and grilling are wonderful!  I wanted to do something different and I LOVE trout almondine, but somehow, pan sauteeing the fish in browned butter with loads of almonds and MORE butter just didn't seem the way to go under the circumstances.  Still, I knew almonds, in moderation, were very good for us, so what could I do....?
Here's a recipe I came up with that uses a small amount of almonds, and a TINY bit of butter to make a delicious, nut crusted fish that's tasty, light, and healthy!  Hope you like it!  It will work with any type of mild filet.  Happy and healthy eating!

Almond Crusted Sea Trout (serves 2)
2 filets of sea trout, about 1 inch at the thickest end, each cut in two cross-wise
1/4 cup sliced almonds, chopped up and put on a piece of waxed paper or a dish
1 egg white
salt and pepper
celery salt
powdered or granulated garlic
a baking sheet and baking rack
1 T. butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Dry the filets well with paper towels.  Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, celery salt, cayenne and garlic to taste.  Press the seasonings into the fish.  
Put the egg white in a shallow bowl, add just a few drops of water and beat with a fork until foamy.
Put just the fleshy side of the fish down into the egg white.  Allow the excess to drip back into the dish and press the filet down into the almonds.  The egg white will cause the almonds to stick well.  Put the filet on the baking rack and repeat with the other ones.  Drizzle each filet with the melted butter.  It will be just a few drops, but it will help the almonds to brown and they will taste great!
Bake the fish for 10 minutes, or until the almonds are slightly browned and the fish is cooked through.  Serve immediately.  Yum!

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Perfect Poached Eggs / Smoked Avocados

Hi!  This title might seem a little random...and it is!  But I thought you might enjoy a few tips on making poached eggs (there actually are some tricks!) and I had to let you in on the most delicious, easy, new (to me!) way to eat avocados!
While we were in Park City, we enjoyed a delicious guacamole made with smoked avocados.  This sounded very exotic and difficult to me, but I asked the waitress about it and she made it sound very simple!  And guess what?  She was right!  It literally is a 5 minute process and the result is scrumptious!  The next time you're grilling, be sure to try this because it is SO worth it.  You can make guacamole, or you can just serve the smoked avocado slices-- either way, they are definitely yummy!
Now, about poached you like them?  I do!  There is something elegant about a beautiful poached egg, but at the same time, they are simple and just tasty!  If you've ever tried making them and they ended up being a ragged mess, please try again using this method!  I think you'll be successful and your family will be SO impressed at your next brunch! :)  In the photo, I've placed them atop a grilled veggie ratatouille.  Along with the smoked avocado, this made a tasty, healthy lunch!  Poached eggs are very healthy by themselves, but of course, there's delicious hollandaise, buttery English muffins, fried Canadian bacon.........well, you get the idea! :)

Smoked Avocados
2 (or more) ripe (but not over-ripe) avocados, room temperature
lemon juice
olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut the avocados in half length-wise and remove the seed.  Brush the cut sides with lemon juice and olive oil.  Place cut-side down on a hot grill for 2-3 minutes (just until there are definite grill marks).  Remove the avocados and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Serve sliced or mash up with your favorite guacamole fixings!  Really good!

Perfect Poached Eggs (makes 2)
*2 super fresh, large eggs (Like from the Farmer's Market if you can get them.)
1 T. white vinegar, depending on the size of your saucepan
a medium saucepan (2-qt is good) filled about 1/2 way with water
salt and pepper

First, the eggs must be room temperature, so if they're straight from the fridge, microwave them (yes, in the shell is okay!) for 10 seconds on high, or until they don't feel cold.
Heat the water and vinegar until the water is almost boiling.  Crack one egg in a small cup like a custard cup or tea cup.  
Hold the cup close to the surface of the water and pour the egg in quickly.  It will set almost immediately into an oval shape.  Keep the water just below the boiling point.  Repeat with the other egg, slipping it in far enough from the other egg to not crowd them.  Poach the eggs for 3 minutes if you want a runny yolk.
Use a slotted spoon to lift an egg out of the water.  Hold a folded piece of paper toweling under the spoon to blot the excess water, then touch it lightly on the egg surface to remove the moisture there.  Put the egg on whatever you're serving.  Repeat with the other one.  Serve immediately!

OR:  You can make the eggs ahead and keep them in a warm water bath for a short time (30 minutes).  I've heard you can even put them in cold water and keep in the fridge for longer (re-warming carefully when needed), but I haven't tried that yet!  Be sure to blot them well before serving.

*Using the freshest eggs you can find is very important.  A really fresh egg stays together in the water a LOT better than a not-so-fresh one.  The vinegar helps to coagulate the white also.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Easy Shrimp Creole with Garlic-Chive White Beans

We're back from a lovely long weekend in Park City, Utah!  It was a great way to enjoy the Fourth of July and to celebrate my son-in-law, Miles', and Ben's birthdays!  We had some very tasty meals in the charming restaurants in Park City, but now we're home and it's back to thinking about what to make for dinner!!
Usually, I look forward to getting back to my own kitchen and this time was no different.  The weekdays don't leave a lot of time to spend making dinner, but this is a good, short-cut recipe for shrimp Creole.  It's usually served with rice, but since Ben needs to watch the carbs, I made a bed of white beans, garlic, and chives.  It was a pretty tasty substitute!

Easy Shrimp Creole with Garlic-Chive White Beans (serves 2-3)
1/2 lb. shrimp, cleaned, deveined, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 14.5oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 Tbl. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions and green pepper in the olive oil in a medium pot until they are limp.  Add all the other ingredients except the shrimp and lemon.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the shrimp and simmer 5 minutes more.  Add the lemon juice.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.   Serve with rice or........

Garlic-Chive White Beans 
1 1-lb. can white cannelini beans
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 Tbl. chives, chopped
salt and pepper

Rinse the beans in a colander, then place in a small saucepan with about 1/2 cup water.  Add the garlic and simmer slowly while the shrimp Creole is cooking.  When the beans are nice and super soft and the water is almost evaporated, add the chives.  Cook a few minutes more.  Use a fork to coarsely mash the beans (leave some texture).  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.  

Kale with red jalapenos from the garden!