Calamari with Cilantro-Lime Sauce


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Calamari served with Broccoli white bean soup 225x300   Calamari with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Calamari served with Broccoli white bean soup

 

Previously I made a beer-battered calamari, which, while delicious, was a pain to fry and the batter was nearly overpowering the seafood in flavor.

This calamari ‘recipe’ (it’s so simple, is it a recipe?) is much lighter, and reminiscent of the fried calamari I frequently ordered in Greece– large tender pieces of squid with a light batter, covered in lemon–no sauce necessary.

I didn’t have lemon, so I opted to make a cilantro-lime dipping sauce for this dish.

Calamari (serves 2):

  • 4 squid (I only made 2 and I could have easily eaten double, but if you are having this as an appetizer or side dish, 1 per person is enough)
  • 1 C flour
  • Club soda (for marinating)
  • Seasoning: salt/pepper/paprika or cayenne pepper (basil/oregano if you desire)
  • Grapeseed or other frying oil

Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime

Calamari Directions:

Slice the squid into fat rings, or whatever size you prefer.  I like to taste the squid, personally.
Submerge the calamari rings in a bowl of club soda for about ten minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and spices.
Drain and gently squeeze some moisture from the calamari.  I did this one by one to let the other rings soak a bit longer.

dredging calamari in flour 300x225   Calamari with Cilantro Lime Sauce

dredging calamari in flour

Dredge calamari in flour / spice mixture.  Set aside.

Calamari before frying 300x225   Calamari with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Calamari before frying

Heat grapeseed oil on the stove in a deep pan for frying.  I don’t really have appropriate pans for this so I used a deep wok with a nonstick finish.
Once oil is hot, add each ring and cook a minute or two on each side, until light golden, depending on how fat the rings are.  Don’t overcook or it will be chewy.  If you overcrowd the pan, the cooking temperature will go down and the squid will stick together.

Calamari frying 300x225   Calamari with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Calamari frying

Place fried squid on paper towels to soak up excess oil.

 

 

Cilantro-Lime Dipping Sauce:
Combine mayo, lime juice, and cilantro.  Stir until blended.
I’d really like to try this with yogurt instead of mayo.  I hate mayo..  This sauce was yummy, but why not make it healthier!?

Cilantro lime sauce 300x225   Calamari with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Cilantro lime sauce

We enjoyed the calamari served along with some leftover broccoli white-bean soup.  Delicious, and filling!

calamari and soup dinner 300x225   Calamari with Cilantro Lime Sauce

calamari and soup dinner

June 15, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Ginger-Basil Simple Syrup


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My love of ginger causes me to experiment with it not only in food, but also in drinks and cocktails.
Tonight I decided to attempt a ginger simple syrup.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup thinly sliced or diced fresh ginger
handful of fresh basil
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar

ginger basil simple syrup 300x225   Ginger Basil Simple Syrup

ginger basil simple syrup

Usually simple syrup is 1 part water to 1 part sugar.  I toned it down in sweetness in order to get more ginger/basil flavoring in the syrup.  This way you can add more syrup without over-sweetening your beverage.

  • Heat the water over the stove in a small sauce pan.
  • Add ginger and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add basil and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Add the sugar and stir constantly.
  • You may leave the ingredients on the heat for as long as you like while the flavors soak in, so long as the sugar doesn’t burn, so add that last.
  • Remove from heat.

I put mine in a mason jar once cooled and refrigerated it.

Add a few teaspoons or tablespoons to cocktails or even food.  This may be good in or on waffles or as a sweet glaze or salad dressing.

strawberry ginger basil mint cocktail 225x300   Ginger Basil Simple Syrup

strawberry ginger basil mint cocktail

I added it to muddled strawberry, mint, and vodka (or gin) with club soda.  Yum!

June 14, 2011
Drink, Recipe

 
 

Healthy White Sauce Alternative (White Beans and Cauliflower)


I have made some soup dishes with White beans and vegetables. I found them both on this site.

1. Carrot Ginger White Bean Soup (delicious!)

2. Broccoli and White Bean Soup (With Homemade 12 Bean Burgers and Better Black Bean & Mushroom Burgers is thebomb.com)

What if I tried to make a white soup just like the recipes above, using cauliflower and white beans? After finding some good music, QueenEarth performs ”Super Model” @ Across Words 2011, here is what I tried:

 

 

IMG 21731 300x219   Healthy White Sauce Alternative (White Beans and Cauliflower)
White beans, cooked, drained, and rinsed.

 

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • I bag of white cannellini beans (cooked and boiled)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chicken stock (substitute with vegetable stock)
  • 2 cups water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • oregano
  • basil
  • crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup almond milk

Directions

  1. Steam cauliflower  florets and stems until tender. Let cool slightly.
  2. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Saute leek and garlic until translucent, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower, beans, and liquid
  4. Puree cauliflower in batches in a blender until smooth. IMG 21841 300x225   Healthy White Sauce Alternative (White Beans and Cauliflower)
  5. After the food processor, I put my mixture back into a large soup pot.
  6. Add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and herbs and season to taste.
  7. Add almond milk
  8. Simmer 15 minutes and serve.  I have a theory that I can “mute” this sauce by taking out the herbs. In large batches, I can easily store my white sauce, and use it as a substitute. I could do a curry variety, stick with the Italian version, or use it as a gravy. I’ll be posting my concoctions, but here is what I’m imagining:

Seafood Alfredo?
Warm Caesar Dressing Over Leafy Greens?
Replacing Cheese in Lasagna (A friend at the farmer’s mentioned that he adds white beans to his lasagna to get more protein)?
Instead of mayonnaise in cold summer salad?
As a sauce over homemade Egg Foo Young instead of gravy?

IMG 21721 231x300   Healthy White Sauce Alternative (White Beans and Cauliflower)

Cauliflower

I don’t know what will happen, but the feel free to try and add your thoughts and creations!

 

 

 


Food, Recipe

 
 

Summer Garden Salad


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Salads have become standard in my daily diet as the first crops from my garden ripen and become available.

I have been growing a bounty of spring / early summer salad components, including:

  • Mixed romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Mixed fancy lettuce

    greens 300x225   Summer Garden Salad

    Garden Greens--Mixed Romaine, Spinach, Fancy Lettuce

  • Arugula
  • Radishes
  • Sweet Peas
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Sweet Basil
  • Thai Basil
  • Mint

    peas and basil 300x225   Summer Garden Salad

    Garden Greens: Peas, Thai Basil, Sweet Basil, Arugula

There’s much more (especially in the herbs department–including parsley and celery greens which are delicious in salads) ripe for the picking, but this salad includes all of the above.

I added strawberries from the local farmer’s market, as the bunnies seem to have been munching on mine as they ripen. 🙁

strawberries 300x225   Summer Garden Salad

Strawberries from the farmer's market

I like to add walnuts (or almond slivers) to my salads to make them more filling.  Some crumbled feta is delicious as well.  Tip: Buy feta in a block, not in the pre-crumbled packages.  You get more for your money if you crumble it yourself.  It’s really not that difficult to do…

The final product (including some carrot shavings that had nothing to do with my garden):
I dressed this salad with a homemade vinaigrette  made from olive oil and balsamic, salt, pepper, oregano and basil.

summer salad 2 300x225   Summer Garden Salad

Summer Garden Salad

 

June 13, 2011
Food, Gardening, Recipe

 
 

Cocktail: Strawberry-Lime Tequila


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A remix of the Summer of Tequila cocktail, this one involves delicious fresh strawberries.

Ingredients:1-2 strawberries per drink
1/2 lime
Cilantro
Tequila
Club soda, sprite, or ginger ale

strawberry lime cilantro tequila 225x300   Cocktail: Strawberry Lime Tequila

Strawberry lime cilantro and tequila cocktail

Tequila is delicious with lime.
This cocktail is summery, refreshing, and slightly sweet.

Muddle strawberries and the juice of 1/2 a lime with some fresh cilantro.
Add to tequila, over ice, and top with your fizzy drink of choice: club soda, sprite, or ginger ale.
Enjoy!

June 12, 2011
Drink, Recipe