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

 
 

Shrimp Saag Remix


When I first started cooking, I experimented with Indian dishes. I loved the Saag that I ate at a local restaurant, but I knew it was loaded with heavy cream, butter, and everything delicious for me and bad for my arteries. I tried this recipe 🙂

My Shrimp Saag Remix is served on top of a mound of Carrot Sweet Potato Mash. It’s fairly easy.

Carrot Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients:

carrotsweetginger 300x255   Shrimp Saag Remix

Carrot Sweet Potato Mash

 

  • 4-5 Carrots, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 Yams or Sweet Potatoes, peeled, chopped  into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • dash Cinnamon
  • dash ground Cloves
  • 2 tbsp butter Butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Almond Milk

Boil the vegetable and ginger until the potatoes are tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl and add butter and almond milk and more spices. Mash with a whisk until ingredients are blended and similar to mashed potato consistency. Use more or less liquid for creamier potatoes.

 

For the Saag, I combined the following ingredients:

  • 4-5 stalks of leafy greens, or around 8 cups of chopped greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard)
  • Trifecta of Awesomeness (garlic, leek, ginger) I don’t measure (maybe 1/2 cup of leek, 1/4 cup ginger, 4 cloves finely chopped garlic)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

I sauteed the Trifecta until the leek was clear. Then I added the spices. I hear they activate when you place then in the hot skillet, before adding bulky ingredients. Once I could smell the spices, I added my greens. I cooked them until they were soft, but not soggy.

In another skillet, I cooked my shrimp (seasoned with curry and garam masala. I may have added Old Bay. There are similar ingredients.)

The Plate

topshrimpsaag 300x263   Shrimp Saag Remix

Shrimp Saag Remix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try a garnish with fresh cilantro, thai basil, and greek yogurt 🙂

aerialshrimpsaag 300x225   Shrimp Saag Remix

I must cook with music playing 🙂

Head Over Feet (acoustic cover) – QueenEarth

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dish serves well as leftovers. I’ve eaten it with lamb, chicken, beef, and tofu. Season to your liking, but definitely, try this healthy Saag alternative.

 

June 10, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Dinner Party: summer rolls, snails, smoked trout, shrimp, lamb loin chops and potatoes


Had a dinner party for 9 people last weekend. Fine wine and dine with some fine people in my life 🙂

I’ve never had endives before. They are bitter in its raw form. For pairing I chose basil and tomato, just to play it safe. Who doesn’t like a classic combination? And because I had a mixed crowd of meat eaters, seafood eaters and a muslim, I had to come up with a combination appetizers to please the crowd. Hence there were a plate of basil tomato smoked trout on endive and a plate of basil tomato pancetta on endive. Besides those, I also threw in some mini vietnamese summer rolls in there to ‘borrow time’ (cooking main courses!). Earlier on that day, I came across some cute little snails on sale at H mart. I had to try them and make the dinner a little exotic AND of course I had 4 newcomers to my dinner party…so I felt like shocking them with some snails!

Main courses of the night were Malaysian/Singaporean (even this Malaysian is confused about the originality of this dish lah) chilli shrimps or other Chinese/Hongkongese call it ketchup shrimps. The other main course served was Grand Marnier rack of lamb cooked to medium raw…medium, in my twist of my own ‘angry sauce’. I grew up eating lamb with a hint of orange and I think they make a great combination as you know how gamey lamb could get. Orange mellows the lamb-yness down a notch.

Some people missed dessert. Nothing particularly special…just some oranges (duh!) and red bean mochi ice cream.

 

 

May 2, 2011
Food

 
 

Healthy Veggie-Stuffed Squid


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When living in Greece, I developed a taste for calamari..  Not the tiny rubber band-sized rings so heavily coated in batter that you wouldn’t even notice if they’d left out the squid, except for the fact that the texture resembles a rubber band as well.  Not that kind.

The calamari in Greece was generally in thick slices or rings, lightly coated in batter, fried just until tender and topped with fresh lemon, so that you could still taste the squid.  MM.

You can see my attempt and this here.. though I admit the beer battering was heavier than necessary.  And I need a fryer.

The other way I enjoyed squid abroad was baked or grilled whole, stuffed with something delicious.  This could be crab meat, feta, dandelion greens, etc.  I decided I wanted to try something new and healthy with my squid and settled on this:  Baked, vegetable-stuffed whole squid.  The basic premise involves pureeing some of the vegetables to stuff inside the squid, then chopping the rest and adding a little tomato sauce and broth to the pan to bake the calamari in.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole squid (I used wild turbo squid from the H Mart)
  • 8 button mushrooms (half blended for the stuffing, half chopped for baking)
  • 1 yellow squash (1/3 blended for stuffing, the rest chopped for baking)
  • 3 or so stalks (tops) of a fennel plant (you can probably use any part, really). Blend half for the stuffing, chop the rest
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2-3″ section of leek
  • 3 Tbsp of fresh ginger
  • 1 can Canellini (white beans)
  • 1 leaf Kale or any other green
  • 4-5 stalks Chinese broccoli (you could alternatively use more greens like kale and regular broccoli, or sub some other crunchy and leafy veggie.  Chinese broccoli has both–crunchy stalks and leafy tops)  Blend 2 stalks/leaves, chop the rest for the baking dish
  • Tomato if you have it (dice and lay over the dish), if you have enough you can leave out the pasta sauce
  • 1/2 C tomato sauce or pasta sauce.  If you have homemade, this would make me happier.  I had no tomatoes so I had to use a jar of sauce, which is easier and still works.  You could just use a lot of fresh tomatoes.
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • Season with: black pepper, oregano, paprika

 

Step 1: Make the stuffing

  • First puree the leek, garlic and ginger.  Set 1/3 of that aside to add to the baking dish, and put the rest in a bowl for the stuffing mixture
  • Next blend in a food processor (in batches, if necessary–it took me 2) 1/3 of a yellow squash, 3-4 mushrooms, 2 stalks of Chinese broccoli,  kale, and 1/3 of the can of white beans.  You should leave the mixture somewhat chunky, not completely pureed.

    IMG 0938 300x243   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Fennel, Mushroom, Squash in the food processor

  • Add all the blended ingredients to a bowl and mix together

    IMG 0942 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Squid stuffing: pureed mushroom/squash/fennel/ginger/garlic/leek/chinese broccoli/kale/white bean

Step 2:  Stuff the squid

  • Thaw and rinse the squid and pat dry
  • Turn each squid inside out.  One reason for this is so that you can clean it better, in case it hasn’t been completely cleaned.  You can try to rip off any extra membrane which ensures your squid will be more tender and less chewy.  The other reason is that the squid will tend to curl up outwards as it bakes due to the difference in texture inside and outside.. if you flip the squid inside out, it will curl inwards, holding the stuffing inside.
  • Use a toothpick to hold the ends together as you stuff the squid.

    IMG 0944 255x300   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Turn the squid inside out, place toothpicks at one end if both have holes in them, and stuff with mixture

  • Place squid in a baking dish and generously coat the stuffed squid with fresh squeezed lemon

    IMG 0946 300x228   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    After stuffing, use toothpicks to close up the ends slightly. Place in a pan and squeeze a lemon over each squid.

Step 3: Add the rest of the veggies and sauce

  • Chop the rest of the squash, 3 more stalks of Chinese broccoli, any tomato you have, and fennel and add to a bowl
  • Add the rest of the drained cannelini (white beans), and the rest of the blended garlic/leek/ginger mixture
  • Mix all ingredients with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Spread veggies over the squid in the pan
  • Add 1/2 cup or so of pasta sauce
  • Add 1/2 cup or so of chicken or vegetable stock

    IMG 0948 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Cover squid with chopped veggies (chinese broccoli, squash, mushroom, white beans, garlic, leek), 1/2 C (chicke/veggie) stock, 1/2 C tomato or pasta sauce, drizzle of balsamic vinegar, paprika, oregano, black pepper

  • Season with fresh ground black pepper, paprika, and oregano

    IMG 0953 241x300   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Squid baking

  • Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes.  Optionally uncover for the last 5 minutes of baking.  Cooking times may vary depending on how large your squid are and how thick your veggies are in the pan.

 

Serve each squid with veggies and sauce from the pan.  Makes 2-4 servings, depending on how big your squid and appetite are 🙂

IMG 0958 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

Plated squid and veggies. Add a squeeze of lemon.

 

IMG 0959 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

Baked stuffed squid

April 12, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Roasted Veggies and Sauteed Scallops with Swiss chard


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This was a dinner based on ‘what’s left in the fridge’.  It turned out pretty tasty, though the scallops/swiss chard were a little too salty for me.  The other issue was that there was a wide range of cooking times required for the veggies to roast to the proper tenderness and instead of caring, everything just went into one pan.

This is:

Sweet potato, carrots, zucchini, kohlrabi, diced leek and large chunks of garlic tossed in a little olive oil with salt/pepper, oregano, basil, and fresh rosemary, then roasted in the oven until done / until we got too hungry to care.  Pretty good!   It needed to have the kohlrabi replaced with fennel or anise (YUM, try that roasted) and the carrots were lackluster, but the zucchini and sweet potatoes were delicious as always.

Then, a whole pack of scallops were sauteed in a little butter and white wine with garlic, ginger, and leek.  Five large stalks of colorful swiss chard were added, and this cooked down significantly.  I think maybe it was salty because I salted the dish before seeing how much the swiss chard cooked down…

This was seasoned with fresh lemon, salt and pepper only.  There ended up being a fair amount of liquid in the pan as these cooked… probably from the swiss chard.  It was red, which was fun, because of the stalks…. so I added a tiny bit of cornstarch to thicken the liquid and sprinkled parmesan cheese on top (salt factor?)

In the end it turned out pretty good, pretty easy.. and the greens mixture went well mixed with the roasted veggies, and evened out the saltiness.

 

mms picture   Roasted Veggies and Sauteed Scallops with Swiss chard
Roasted Veggies and sauteed scallops with swiss chard

 

 

 

March 22, 2011
Food, Recipe