Posts tagged Entree
Australia GP 2019: Shrimp on the Barbie (Grilled Shrimp and Corn Rolls with Smashed Avocado)

What an exciting start to the 2019 F1 season! I love a good first turn upset and seeing someone other than Lewis win! The start to the season was definitely a tough one with the sudden passing of Charlie Whiting, who was adored by everyone in F1, just before the first race. But as Martin Brundle says, the world keeps turning and the race must go on.

All in all it was a great race, the cars looked crazy fast, and there was more than just strategy calls mixing up the field.

For the Australian Grand Prix this year we made Grilled Shrimp and Corn Rolls with Smashed Avocado spread. They were delicious! Served with a bright little salad and a few bottles of Cooper’s Beer, it was a lovely start to the new season. I couldn’t resist find a recipe for grilled shrimp, just so I could say we were having shrimp on the barbie!

Shrimp on the barbie is one of those things that Americans in particular think all Australians eat and say and indeed that it is a pastime of the ages. According to the internets it actually originated from an Australian Tourism ad campaign with Paul Hoge where he states “there’s plenty of shrimps on the barbie”, I’ve posted the video below for your viewing pleasure. I suppose the world just took it from there! Liam Hemsworth, on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert is particularly adamant that this is one of the most annoying things people say to him, perhaps even more than “thats not a knife!”, furthermore, they don’t even call them shrimp! So maybe we will make amends by doing a prawn boil next year and writing an apology letter to Liam Hemsworth and all of Australia for our terrible attempts at Australian accents and for insisting that we all eat more shrimp on the barbie!

Though perhaps I can change his mind by sending him this recipe, because these sandwiches were delicious! It sounded like an odd combination at first, but honestly all the elements work great together and these were super tasty. I highly recommend you heat up the barbie and throw some shrimp on :)

Shrimp and Corn Roll

Grilled Shrimp and Corn Rolls with Smashed Avocado

Adapted from Gourmet Traveller  

2 corn cobs, husk and silk removed
olive oil
24 large uncooked shrimp, peeled and cleaned (approximately 1 pound)
3 limes, halved
2 large avocados, halved
½ small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small red chili, finely chopped
½ cup cilantro coarsely chopped
4 large white rolls  or 6 small white rolls
mayonnaise

Spiced salt
1 tsp coriander seeds,
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
zest of 1 lime
1 Tbsp sea salt

 For spiced salt, dry-roast spices in a small sauté pan until fragrant about 1 minute, remove from heat and then grind with a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Combine in a small container with lime zest and sea salt, seal and shake to combine. Set aside

Preheat a grill to high. Drizzle corn with a little oil and grill, turning occasionally, until tender and slightly blackened (15-20 minutes). At the same time, grill the lime halves, cut-side down, until char marks appear and they become juicy (4-5 minutes). Remove both corn and limes from grill and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, thread shrimp onto metal skewers or soaked bamboo skewers, drizzle with a little olive oil and juice of a grilled lime. Season with a few pinches of spiced salt and set aside for flavors to combine (10 minutes).

Scoop avocado into a bowl, add onion, garlic, chili and a little oil, season to taste with spiced salt and coarsely smash the avocado. Squeeze in juice of barbecued lime to taste, stir in cilantro and set aside.

Grill the shrimp, turning once, until they’re just cooked through (3-4 minutes). Meanwhile, cut corn kernels from cobs.
Once cooked, remove shrimp from skewers.

Spread rolls with a little mayo on the bottom, spread smashed avocado on the top and stuff with shrimp and some grilled corn. Serve with lime halves and extra spiced salt to taste.



As promised, the Australian Tourism Ad Campaign


And Liam Hemsworth telling us to cut it out.
(Minute 4:35, if you don’t want to hear about his water buffalo catching father and being stuffed in a dryer by his brother).



Abu Dhabi GP 2018: Koobideh, Shirin Polo, and Fattoush

It is already the end of the season! Hard to believe. It was a great first half with proper competition between Vettel and Hamilton and the Red Bulls putting up a fight. Though Hamilton started to dominate toward the end it was fun to watch the top 6 duke it out on track and lots of drama in the mid field. Congrats to Hulk for winning the F1.5 competition as well!

My three favorite moments from the 2018 season:

  1. Max tearing through the field race after race, particularly his win in Mexico and his excellent drive in Austria.

  2. Kimi’s solid win at the U.S. GP, it didn’t hurt that we saw it LIVE!!

  3. Lewis smashing the track record at the Singapore GP, pure perfection, with the added bonus of the new coined term: “Lewis Lap”.

Three things I am looking forward to for 2019 season:

  1. All the new blood! Looking forward to seeing all thenew F1 rookies: Norris, Giovinazzi, Albon, and Russel! Also super excited to see how LeClerc and Gasly stack up to their more experienced teammates of Vettel and Verstappen.

  2. New regulations might bring the pack together a little more and create more excitement! Especially simplifying the front wing which will likely make for better following and passing opportunities.

  3. Jenson Button commentating for Sky! I’ve missed JB and look forward to seeing how he contributes to the race weekends.

What are you looking forward to?

Of course I’m also excited about continuing to find new dishes and explore more traditional foods, my Christmas wishlist is replete with cookbooks and cooking implements like tagines, maamoul molds, pasta cutters, and the like. I have expanded my spice collection and have learned a lot of new techniques this year. I never thought I would make bagels, let alone croissants. I think I’ll take some time over the winter to work on my pasta making skills!

Our last meal of the season for Abu Dhabi was a nice little feast. We grilled up some koobideh kebabs, made shirin polo, and fattoush, and my friend made a delicious dessert of basbousa.

Abu Dhabi Meal

Koobideh

Adapted from 196 Flavors

 A few saffron threads
¼ cup water
1 lb ground beef
1 onion
½  tablespoon turmeric
½  tablespoon sumac
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 roma tomatoes

1. Soak saffron in ¼ cup of boiling water, infuse for 10 minutes.

2. Grate entire onion on a box grater or in a food processor with the grater attachment, then using a dish towel or paper towel squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the grated onion.

3. Mix the ground meat with the grated onion, then add the spices, salt and pepper. Stir for 2 minutes or until fully incorporated.

4. Finish with 2 tablespoons of infused saffron water and mix well again.

5. Place in a covered container in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

6. Make 4 koobideh kebabs by pressing the meat well onto wide barbecue skewers. If you do not have traditionally wide koobideh skewers, simply form into a 8-10 inch log shape. (Standard skewers or bamboo skewers will not hold the beef and it will slip around or even slip off easily.) Optional: Pinch the meat with your fingers regularly throughout the log/skewer every inch to give it the characteristic koobideh shape.

7. Grill the skewers on a grill or grill pan over high heat. Turn them regularly to ensure even grilling for approximately 7-10 minutes (depending on the heat of your grill or pan). At the same time, grill the tomatoes until lightly charred in parts and softened.

Shirin Polo

Shirin Polo

 Adapted from Food 52 recipe by Fig & Quince

Rice
2 ½ cups Basmati rice
Water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter 
Toppings
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound carrots, julienned
½ cup barberries (soak in cold water for 5-10 minutes, rinse a few times, drain)
2 tablespoons sugar, separated
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon ground saffron, dissolve in 2 tablespoons hot water
¼ cup almonds, slivered or chopped
¼ cup pistachios, chopped

1. Wash rice with cold water, using your hands to swish it around. Repeat several times until the water runs clear. Drain.

2. In a large pot bring 2-3 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Gently add the rinsed rice. Bring to a gentle boil again and boil rice for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally & gently. Drain in a colander. Pour 2 to 3 cups of tepid water over the rice in the colander. Drain again.

3. In a big pot, preferably nonstick, bring 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons oil plus 1 tablespoon of butter to a boil. Then, one spatula of rice at a time, arrange rice in the pot by first covering the bottom of the pot, using a spatula to spread it, then layering the rest of the rice to taper on top in the form of a pyramid or dome. Make several wells in this rice dome with the handle of a wooden spoon. Cover and cook over medium heat until rice steams – usually around 20 minutes.

4. Once steaming, reduce heat to low, and continue to cook for another 30 minutes until rice is fully cooked. When done, turn off heat and let rice rest undisturbed in the pot for 5 minutes. (Your goal here is to both produce fluffy steamed rice and a crusty bottom referred to as tahdig.)

5. Meanwhile prepare the carrots and barberries. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add carrots and sauté over medium heat until slightly soft, around 5 minutes. Season carrots with cumin, coriander, cinnamon  and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir to combine, then cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe skillet with a paper towel, heat ½ tablespoon olive oil till very hot; reduce heat and sauté barberries with 1 tablespoon sugar on low flame, stirring frequently, for no more than a minute. Remove from pan and set aside in a separate bowl.

6. Once rice is ready to be served, place 2 spatulas of rice in a small dish and sprinkle with saffron water, using a fork to fluff the rice grains and color it with saffron water. Lightly mix the colored rice into the pot, not fully integrating so that you will still be able to see it when it is served.

7. You have two options for how to serve the rice: 

Platter inverting method: Using a butter knife run it along the edge of the pot to separate the tahdig (crisp rice) at the bottom corners of the pot. Then, using a large platter, set it over the rice cooking pot and invert the contents of the pot onto the platter in a quick flipping movement. If the tahdig does not comes with the rice just take a moment to release it in as few pieces as possible and layer it on top of the rice pile. Top with prepared carrots and barberries in between or next to the tahdig. Garnish platter with the pistachios and almonds.

 Scooping pyramid method: Alternatively, taking one spatula full of rice at a time, arrange a layer of rice on a platter and then top with a third of the carrots and barberries. Then add another layer of rice, forming a pyramid or dome with each new layer, top it again with another third of the carrots and barberries. Repeat till you've used all the rice, reserving just a little of the carrots and barberries to serve as garnish. You will then reach the tahdig, or crispy bottom. Try to separate this from the pot as gently and as in tact as possible. Top the pile of rice with the tahdig to serve. Garnish everything with remaining barberries and carrots, and the pistachios and almonds.  

Brazil GP 2018: Grilled Steak (Picanha Fatiada) with Fresh Salsa

The penultimate race.

Somehow it is here again, the end of the season. At least these final races are great spectacles and keeping us on the edge of our seats! As a solid Max fan I couldn’t believe he got run off the track by a backmarker. What drama! But all is fair in love and racing and it was an awesome race nonetheless. You could tell how proud Lewis was to win it for Mercedes and solidify the championship. This year he really did show he is a real champion. He was fast, focused, and didn’t make any mistakes. Three cheers for Lewis, or hell give him and the team five!

We went all out for a Brazilian feast. All the recipes come from ‘The Food and Cooking of Brazil’ by Fernando Farah. A gift from our tenant and Brazilian friend Luis before he moved back home last year.

We started off with Pastel de feira de carne (Fried pastel pastries) and Batida cocktails. And our dinner featured Pichana Fatiada (Grilled Rump Steak), Fried Polenta, Brazilian-style shredded greens, Palm heart salad, and Fresh Brazilian-style salsa.

Brazilian Steak

Grilled Rump Steak

Adapted from ‘The Food and Cooking of Brazil’ by Fernando Farah

1 whole cut of beef rump (picanha) about 2 ½ pounds
2 tbsp coarse sea salt

1. Rub the salt all over the beef, massaging it in. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Slice rump steak into 4 inch thick steaks 1½-2 inches each.

3. Pat the steaks dry on both sides and grill them on the barbecue or hot grill pan until medium rare or done to your liking.

4. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

5. Cut each steak into ½ inch slices for serving, pour juices over on serving plate.

Serve with any or all of the following: White Rice, Farofa, Brazilian-style salsa, Deep-fried Polenta

Steak and salsa

Brazilian-style Salsa

Adapted from ‘The Food and Cooking of Brazil’ by Fernando Farah

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 plum tomatoes or 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 large white or red onion, diced
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

1. Place all chopped vegetables in a large bowl.

2. Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl, or combine in a mason jar and shake.

3. Pour over vegetables and mix well.

4. Serve immediately or cover to chill and let flavors meld together for no more than an hour.

Mexico GP 2018: Pollo en Mole Verde

Sometimes I find, the food is more exciting than the F1 races. At those times I think, maybe this blog should just be food from around the world. A-Z cooking, International Cuisine, something clever to do with how each region makes pot pies… I don’t know. But then, then there are races like Mexico. Can’t tear your eyes away, did Max really just make that pass? what happened to Sainz?? oh, no, that isn’t Checo is it??? This is why we watch Formula 1. It is turning into a cracking end of the season, even with the Driver’s championship tied up and the Constructor’s about to be, there is still some awesome fighting spirit left in all the drivers and teams.

Mexican GP Meal

For the Mexico race we made Chicken with Mole Verde Sauce, Mexican Rice, Asparagus, and for dessert Mexican Chocolate Pot de Creme. The Mole Verde sauce was the star of this meal. We all determined that we would eat just about anything if it came in this sauce. Rich, vibrant, creamy, savory, so good.

Chicken with Mole Verde

Chicken with Mole Verde Sauce

Adapted from Saveur

For the Chicken

1 (3–4-lb.) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro stems
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 bay leaf

For the Mole Verde

8 oz. tomatillos, peeled and chopped
2 jalapeños, stemmed and chopped
1⁄2 cup cilantro leaves
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (8-inch) flour or combination corn and flour tortillas, toasted
1 cup chicken stock or water
3 tbsp. canola oil

1. Place chicken, cilantro, salt, peppercorns, garlic, onion, bay leaf, and enough water to cover the chicken, in a large dutch oven or 6-qt. saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prep sauce ingredients. Heat tomatillos and jalapeños in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and slightly darkened, about 10 minutes.

3. Transfer to a blender with cilantro, salt, garlic, toasted tortillas, and 1 cup water or chicken stock; puree.

4. Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; add tomatillo sauce and fry, stirring constantly, until it thickens into a paste, about 5 minutes.

5. Remove chicken from saucepan and strain liquid through a fine strainer; reserve 3 cups, and save remaining liquid for another use (such as Mexican Rice). Set chicken and liquid aside.

6. Whisk in to the cooked tomatillo sauce the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes.

7. Add chicken pieces and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes.

 

Russia GP 2018: Lamb and Barley Stew (Tyshyonaya Baraninaz Gribami I Yachmenyom)
Russian stew

The most exciting thing about this race was… this stew. Not a phrase I would usually say, but the Russian track is indeed boring, and this stew is indeed delicious.

Although this recipe takes a good amount of time, it is not a whole lot of work, for what turns out to be a great flavor and a hearty meal. We served it with Russian Black Bread and enjoyed it all week.

Stew and Black Bread

Lamb and Mushroom Stew

Adapted from Russian Regional Recipes by Susan Ward

2 ½ pounds of lamb shank or neck of lamb, cut into large pieces
7 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 long red medium hot peppers, seeded and chopped
½ pound white or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and chopped in half, or whole if small
1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
2 ½ cups chicken stock
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4-6 ounces pearl barley
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 whole cloves
salt and freshly ground pepper
8 ounces sour cream or yoghurt
handful flat leaf parsley finely chopped (optional)

1. In a dutch oven or heavy pan over medium heat brown the lamb pieces in 3 ½ tablespoons of the oil. Remove and set aside. Add the onion to the pan, and cook until it is soft, about 6 minutes.

2. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside with the lamb. Add the rest of the oil and sauté the red peppers and mushrooms for about 5 minutes until softened. Remove and set aside in a separate bowl.

3. Preheat oven to 325 F. Stir the onions and lamb back into the pan along with the mustard, chicken stock, and white wine vinegar. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 1 ½ hours until the lamb is very tender and falling off the bone.

4. Remove the lamb from the pan and using tongs or your hands pull the meat off the bones and shred or chop into smaller pieces. Return to the pan and stir into the stock along with the barley, cumin seeds, cloves, and seasoning to taste. Simmer for about an hour until the barley is tender and the stock has been absorbed.

5. Stir the red pepper and mushrooms into the stew, along with the sour cream or yoghurt. If you want more of a stew, add additional chicken stock (up to 4 cups). Heat through for 10-12 minutes, take off the heat, stir in the chopped parsley (optional).

Singapore GP 2018: Chili Braised Prawns, Coconut Rice, and Stir Fried Greens

Hamilton continues to pull away in the championship and races continue to be textbook.

Want something less than textbook? How about Char Kway Teow that comes together crazy quick and some yummy Singaporean side dishes to spice up your kitchen?

Char Kway Teow
Prawns

Red Chili Braised Prawns

Adapted from Martin Yan’s Asia: Favorite Recipes from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Japan

Spice Paste
1 stalk lemongrass, use bottom 6 inches, thinly sliced
2 fresh red jalapeños, seeded
1 small shallot
3 slices ginger, quarter sized
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 tablespoon curry powder
½ inch piece of galangal, sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup water

 ¾ pound large prawns, shelled and deveined, tails in tact
2 green onions, cut into 2 inch lengths
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ cup diced fresh pineapple
1 ½ cups seafood broth
2 teaspoons tamarind water (combine ½ cup hot water with 2 ½ tablespoons tamarind pulp)
Soy sauce

1. Combine all spice paste ingredients in food processor or blender.

2. Place wok over medium-low heat until hot. Add shrimp and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add green onions and pineapple; mix well. Add seafood broth and tamarind water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until shrimp are cooked, 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with soy sauce.

3. Place in a deep serving bowl and garnish with cilantro.

Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice

2 cups Jasmine or Basmati rice
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 inch piece of ginger
2 inch piece of lemon grass, lightly crushed

1. Rinse rice well in strainer.
2. Add to rice cooker. Add coconut milk, water, and salt and stir. Top with ginger and lemongrass.
3. Cook, using rice cooker instructions.

Asian greens

 Stir-fried Asian Greens

Adapted from Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia by James Oseland

1 medium bunch Asian greens such as bok choy, water spinach, or choy sum
3 tablespoons peanut oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled slightly crushed, chopped into chunks
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1-2 red thai chiles

 1. Clean greens and dry completely
2.  Chop greens into 2 ½ to 3 inch pieces as needed
3.  Heat the oil in a large wok or Dutch oven over medium high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking add the garlic, salt, and chiles. Sti fry 1 minute. Don’t let the garlic brown.
4.  Add the greens. Raise heat slightly and immediately begin stir-frying greens vigorously around the pan. Stir0fry until greens are limp but still bright green. Taste for salt and only add a little if needed.
5.  Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.





Perfect Pasta Sauce

If you say "Marcella Hazan's pasta sauce" although she has many, this is the one everyone will immediately think of. Three ingredients. Perfection. Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter. The name is the recipe. 

I am not the first, nor the last I am sure, to share this recipe. It is a gem that should be in everyone's repertoire. Easy, homey, delicious. 

I tried my hand at homemade pasta this past weekend for the Italian Grand Prix. It was fun, but my kitchen was like an explosion of flour with tea towels everywhere, strips of dough, boiling water, a churning pasta machine, and me running around nervous and off balance. Having this sauce just simmering on the back burner wafting the smell of melting onion, simmering butter, and softening tomatoes for the 45 minutes of pasta induced stress was positively lovely. 

Although delicious, this sauce does not steal the show away from a delicate pasta, a flavorful gnocchi, or in this case a first crack at homemade pappardelle. 

Pasta Sauce

This picture doesn't do this dish justice. Homemade pasta, though tasty, is not very photogenic. And although the pasta was what took the time and energy to make, the sauce is what really pulled the meal together. 

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

From Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

2  cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt
1 to 1 ½ pounds pasta
Freshly grated parmesan

Put the tomatoes in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt. Cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for 45 minutes. Stir from time to time, mashing any large pieces of tomato. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta.

Grate fresh parmesan over each individual bowl of pasta and sauce. 

 

 

 

Italian GP 2018: Roast Chicken with Lemon
Chicken with Lemons

I love the intro Marcella Hazan gives this dish:  “If this were a still life its title could be ‘Chicken with Two Lemons’ " 

Simplicity is sometimes the best thing you can choose. The name of this dish is the recipe Roast Chicken with lemon(s). No oil or butter, no herb blend, beyond a couple lemons it is just the addition of a little salt, pepper, and heat. It self-bastes in the oven with the steam of the lemons and the fat of the chicken. By flipping it part way through, the breasts stay moist and the skin has a chance to crisp up to perfection. 

Chicken with Lemons Pieces

Roast Chicken with Lemon

From Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

A 3-4 pound chicken
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 small lemons

1. Preheat oven to 350 F

2. Wash the chicken and dry well.

3. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper rubbing all over with your fingers on the outside and in the cavity.

4. Wash the lemons in cold water and dry them. Soften each lemon by rolling it on the counter using the palm of your hand to press it into the counter. Puncture the lemons at least 20 times with a toothpick or skewer.

5. Place both lemons in the bird’s cavity. Close the opening with toothpicks or truss it, being careful not to close it too tight as it could burst. Wrap kitchen string around the legs, not too tightly, just to keep them in place as the bird roasts .

6. Put the chicken in a roasting pan, breast facing down. No need to add any fat, this is a self-basting bird. After 30 minutes, turn the chicken over, trying not to break the skin, this helps the bird steam and the skin will puff up if in tact, but it is delicious either way. 

7. Cook for another 30 minutes, then turn oven up to 400F, and cook for an additional 20 minutes per additional pound over 3lbs, or until the thigh meat reaches 165 F.

8. Serve whole at the table and carve in front of guests. Spoon pan juices over the chicken pieces.

 

Belgian GP 2018: Waterzooi

Belgium. Always one of the best races of the year. Not only is it the return after the summer break so everyone is raring to go, and the gossip is flying through the paddock, but it is also in BELGIUM. Spa-Francochamps is one of the oldest and most beautiful tracks on the F1 calendar. In the forested hills of the Ardennes, it is pristine and gorgeous. It is also the land of fabulous beer and my husband's heritage. So much to love, so little time. The one thing I know a little less about is the food. 

We had the opportunity to travel through Belgium a few years back, and I have wonderful memories of home cooked meals, frites, waffles, and lots of bread and cheese. But after that my list comes up short. I think I was so focused on being with people I love that I failed to learn about the food or get to know local specialties. Shame on me. I intend to make up for that. Both with a future trip back to Belgium (come on cousins, lets get some weddings on the books!), and also by working my way through my husband's grandmother's cookbooks she left to us. 

Waterzooi

This year I am continuing working through 'Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook' by Ruth Van Waerebeek. Waterzooi and a Salad from the Ardennes made up our dinner for this year's Belgian GP. Waterzooi is a classic Belgian dish, somewhere between a soup and a stew. SImple in its ingredients and execution, but with an interesting addition toward the end of a cream and egg mixture that brings the whole thing together and makes it very distinct. Served with some crusty bread and a light salad, it is a great heartwarming meal. 

We, of course, started the day with Belgian Waffles. Served simply with powdered sugar and sliced strawberries and a nice cup of coffee. Plan for an early morning or a late breakfast because the yeasted dough needs at least an hour to rise and build flavor. 

And in true beer loving fashion, we took the whole weekend to work our way through a few work-of-art beers. To be honest, I am a bonafide IPA fan these days. The hoppier the better, crisp clean clear, or hazy as it can get, fruity and tangy or floral and danky, I love them all. But, coming back to a proper Belgian tripel or quad reminds me what a proper beer tastes like. One that makes you pause, close your eyes, and just hum a little under your breath with a long mmmmmm. 

Speaking of paddock gossip, this time of year is called "silly season" because everyone is suddenly a rumor monger, and they all want to know one thing: which drivers will be racing for which teams in the next F1 Season. The summer break brought some serious drama with Ricciardo's announcement that he will be leaving Red Bull for Renault for 2019. This really shook things up and has led to out and out chaos in the driver market. Alonso also announced his official retirement at the end of the season leaving room in the Maclaren team roster, and there are some serious rumors that Raikonnen may be on his way out as well, with the young hotshot Leclerc taking his seat at Ferrari. Generally, all this feels a little, well, silly. But, this year there are so many possible moves, and a very solid set of midfield teams for drivers to move around within, which is making the drama feel a little less silly, and a little more exciting! 

Waterzooi Chicken

 

Waterzooi of Chicken

Gentse Waterzooi van Kip
Waterzooi de Poulet a la Gantoise

From Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook by Ruth Van Waerebeek

1 (3 -4 lb) whole chickens
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh parsley
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
4 -6 cups chicken broth
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
5 medium leeks, rinsed well, white parts only, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
2 medium celery ribs, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
4 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1⁄2 cup minced fresh parsley

1. Remove excess fat from chicken cavity. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Place 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon thyme in cavity. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Melt butter in a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent (but not browned); about 5 minutes.

Place the chicken, breast side up, in the Dutch oven, on top of the onions. Add chicken broth to mostly cover the chicken (by about two-thirds). Cover and simmer gently over low heat for 30 minutes.

3. Skim the surface to remove any foam and any fat that has risen. Add the carrots, leeks, and celery. Add the remaining parsley sprigs, thyme and bay leaf. Cover, and adjust heat to maintain a slow simmer for another 30 minutes.

4. Add the potatoes and continue to simmer until potatoes are done and chicken is very tender, about 20 or 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

5. Remove chicken and transfer to a large plate. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove parsley and bay leaves from broth. Let the chicken rest until it is cool enough to handle, then use your fingers to remove the skin and meat from the bones. (Set skin and bones aside for future use ie making more broth.) Continue to use your fingers to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces.

6. Place Dutch oven back over medium heat. Meanwhile, beat the cream and the egg yolks together in a bowl. Now, take a ladleful of hot broth and slowly add to the egg yolk mixture, while stirring. This tempers the yolks. Then, slowly stir the tempered egg yolk mixture into the larger pot of broth and vegetables. Do not allow to boil or the egg yolks might curdle. Add the chicken. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

7. Serve in bowls, with a hearty loaf of hand-sliced bread.

 

Hungarian GP: Pesti Csirke AKA Chicken Breast a la Budapest
Hungarian Dinner with Zwakhatten

If you are an F1 fan, do you watch just the race or do you go all in and watch the qualis, pre race, post race, Ted's notebook, the whole gamut? This year's Hungarian Qualifying, may have taken the cake for edge of the seat excitement. All in all, it was more exciting than the race and well worth a watch. The weather and team strategies made for some rain soaked and nail biting moments, and reminded me why I love the sport. The race itself had its fair share of drama, but if prizes were going out for most watchable, I'd go qualis for this one. 

We made some Hungarian classics from a local library find, an excellent 1970's Hungarian cookbook: Flavors of Hungary by Charlotte Slovak Biro. 

The Hungarian GP, for us at this point is just a great excuse to pull out the Zwack. Haven't tried Zwack yet? It is an herbal liqueur that gives any cocktail an interesting twist. Our go-to is the Zwack-hatten! But of course, we would never leave you with just one beverage to choose from. So this year we tried out the simple, yet tasty Emperor (recipe forthcoming). A mixed on the sweeter side apertif, perfect for a heavier meal like this one. 

For the race we made Chicken Breast a la Budapest (I love 1970's cookbooks, don't you?), Paprika Potatoes, and Green Peas. If I'm honest, this chicken may not be the prettiest thing you've seen all week, but it sure was tasty. The butter and wine make a great braising liquid, while the sour cream and bread crumbs form a crisp, yet moist topping. All in all, warming, tasty, and easy to boot. 

Chicken Breast a la Budapest

Chicken Breast a la Budapest

From Flavors of Hungary by Charlotte Slovak Biro

1 ½ pounds chicken breasts (about 4 breasts)
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
black pepper to taste             
4 green onions, chopped     
3 cloves garlic sliced
1 cup sour cream (1/2 pint)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 teaspoon paprika
 ½ cup dry white wine
parsley sprigs for garnish   

1. Pat chicken breast dry, if whole cut in half and remove skin and bones.

2. Preheat oven to 375℉.

3. While oven is preheating, place butter in baking dish and allow butter to melt in the preheating oven. Check after 5 minutes to make sure butter doesn’t burn.

4. Arrange breast halves side by side in dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, turn breasts over, and sprinkle other side. Distribute onion and garlic evenly among and beneath breasts.

5. In a bowl combine sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir until slightly liquid, pour over chicken breasts to cover completely. Combine bread crumbs and paprika, sprinkle over chicken.

6. Bake chicken for a total of 45 minutes - 1 hour. Start by baking for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add half of the wine, pouring it in along edge of dish. Bake an additional 20 minutes and add the remaining wine, again pouring it along edge of dish. Continue baking chicken until tender and internal temperature reaches 165℉.

Serve with your choice of sides or Paprika Potatoes and Green Peas. 

Hungarian Dinner
2018 Germany GP: Bratwurst, Warm Potato Salad, and Mixed Green Salad

What a race! So many unexpected turns of events and what felt like a redemptive victory for Hamilton after his loss at Silverstone and his break down in qualis on Saturday. From being slumped over his car almost in tears, to jumping in celebration in tears of joy, what a difference a day makes! 

With rain and a mixed up pack, this race was destined to be an exciting one and it didn't disappoint. It is always a shame to see a driver crash out at their own home race, especially when they are destined for victory, but it is all part of the game! Vettel will bounce back and lives to fight another day. 

Thinking about Germany always makes me immediately crave brats. I know there is more to their cuisine than that, but who am I to deny a craving?

German meal

Brats can be done in many ways, but a favorite for me is poaching in beer and then either grilling or pan frying until just crispy on the outside and still juicy on the inside. It's a pretty easy dish to make without a recipe, but in case one would help: Sausages Poached in Beer recipe from 2016. If you are not much of a cook-with-beer fan, these are great even just poached in some water or chicken stock and then pan fried at the end. 

sausages

To go along with it this year I made the ubiquitous German Warm Potato Salad, which after tasting the first bite I realized why it is so ubiquitous, one word: Yum. In addition, we made a Mixed Green Salad with Horseradish dressing. Surprising flavors all around, but perfect together with some savory brats. 

Germany dishes

Last but not least, for race day snackage I tried my hand at Pretzels, so good! Not nearly as tricky as I expected and so delicious hot out of the oven. Dipped in some grainy mustard, we were in heaven. 

Pretzels

 

 

2018 Austria GP: Chicken Schnitzel and Egg Noodles

My real proud moment of this weekend was having both my parents and my husband's parents under one roof, all eating chocolate cake. I love having family near enough to visit, who wish to spend time together, and who can all enjoy a little cake on a Sunday afternoon. 

Sachertorte

For Austria, I had to make the famous Sachertorte. It turned out well enough given I had never made glaze before. All I can say is that it was a tasty mess. And that the cake itself was scrumptious. See the post and recipe: Sachertorte. (coming soon!)

Chicken Schnitzel and Noodles

For our meal for Austria I kept it simple. I made my tried and true Chicken Schnitzel and a side of Egg Noodles with Mushroom Butter Sauce. This meal comes together fast and is much more than you would expect for the effort involved, especially with a nice grainy mustard to dip your chicken in. 

Egg noodles with Mushrooms

 

Egg Noodles with Mushroom Butter Sauce

Adapted from Rachel Ray, Passport to Vienna

1/2 pound wide egg noodles
2 tablespoons butter
15 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large shallot, finely chopped
A handful fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

Cook egg noodles until al dente, drain and set aside. Add butter to a sauté pan, when hot add sliced mushrooms and shallot, cook over medium heat until tender, 3-4 minutes. Toss noodles with muchrooms, add parsley, salt and pepper. Serve hot.

 

2018 French GP: Almond Sole Meunière, Leek Gratin, and Endive Salad

The return of F1 to France seems like a good omen for the sport. New races like Austin are going strong, and returning to classic tracks, and really where Grand Prix racing started, feels like progress and history getting along just fine. 

This is race one of an F1 tripleheader, and on a personal note, it is coinciding with a crazy work schedule, in-laws in town, and the World Cup. So many things to prep for, do, cook, watch, and recover from. So, forgive me for my delays. I do promise there will be delicious recipes and an assortment of fanfare… just doled out over time.

Sole, Gratin, Endive

For France, I couldn’t do just one thing, or even just one cocktail, or one meal. Every time I tried to rein in my menu planning I thought about just that one or maybe two other thing I wanted to make or eat and the recipe lists I came up with go on for pages. What I ended up making is my poor attempts at reining in, but luckily I wrote down all my ideas, and I am already drooling thinking about next year.

For this year I wanted to try my hand at some classics. We started the weekend with croissants. I want that to be what I say every weekend from now on. “We started the weekend with croissants.” Handmade or from the little patisserie we have fallen in love with downtown, I just want more croissants in my life. Although they took three days and a solid day or rolling, folding, refrigerating, waiting, rolling, folding, and so on... they were so worth it. The crispy outside shattered to perfection, the inside was steamy and light and oh so buttery. I am smitten. If you have 20 minutes on a Friday evening and a free weekend, I highly recommend you try your hand at croissants. It is soooo rewarding. And your kitchen smells like HEAVEN.

Croissants

For dinner we started with a favorite of my husbands, escargot. Our local Whole Foods had them pre-stuffed with an herb butter mixture so my job was easy.  A little toast and some clever tinfoil molding (to prevent the butter from leaking out of tipped over shells) was all I needed to do. 

Escargot

The main meal consisted of Almond Sole Meunière, Leek Gratin, and Endive, Apple, and Roquefort salad. I gathered all my French cookbooks and supplemented with another tall stack from my local library. I think I marked over a hundred recipes and read about French cooking and culture to my heart's content. I chose these to complement each other and because they kept catching my eye each time I flipped through the books.

French meal

As French culture requires, we followed this up with a cheese course. My strategy for cheese plates is generally one hard cheese, one soft, something stinky, and something I’ve never tried before. It works splendidly.

Cheese plate

Having all this deliciousness along with a couple cocktails, I cannot say that this weekend wasn’t one of decadence, indeed it was. But it was also one of memories, trying new foods and new techniques, and one of inspiration to remember in my daily life to enjoy the little things, especially when they are layered with butter. 

Speaking of memories, this weekend really brought back to mind one of my favorite trips of all time. Almost five years ago I got the opportunity to travel to Belgium, France, and Luxembourg visiting family of my husband's and exploring three beautiful countries. I had many wonderful experiences and quite a few food firsts along the way. That trip included my first experiences with escargot, frogs leg, Alsatian wine, foie gras, fondue, real Parisian croissants, saboyan, epoisses, and so much more. One of my favorite memories was of a picnic to end all picnics. We had a large family group and so we drove around in 4 or 5 cars, and one day our train of cars drove out into the country, each following the others trusting we would end up somewhere beautiful.

Once we reached the top of a hill, a view like no other, everyone piled out of the cars, popped the trunks and pulled out the most amazing picnic I have ever seen. Proper picnic baskets, a travel box filled with real wine glasses, cases of Alsatian wine we had picked up on our short stay there, pots of pate, foie gras, perfectly fresh bread, fresh fruit, so much deliciousness, and 20+ family members laughing, drinking, eating, and just enjoying each other's company. It is always my wish to bring that kind of joy into other's lives, and indeed to have it in my own. This French F1 weekend was a chance to do a little of that. I hope you enjoy the recipes and have an excuse to have your own virtual trip through the flavors of France. 

Sole Meuniere

Almond Sole Meunière

Serves 4

Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

2/3 cup ground almonds
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
4 sole fillets, about 6 ounces each
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2-4 tablespoons cold salted butter

Lemon wedges, for serving
Toasted sliced almonds, for garnish
Parsley, for garnish

1. Mix the ground almonds, flour, lemon zest and salt and pepper together on a plate.

2. Pat sole fillets dry. Using a pastry brush lightly coat one side of the fillets with beaten egg yolk. Dip the coated side of each fillet in the almond mixture.

3. Cook fish in batches if needed, do not crowd them. (Warm oven to 300 to keep fist set of fillets warm, if cooking in batches.) Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet until it melts and lightly browns, about 3 minutes. Add fillets to pan almond mixture side down. Season fish in the pan with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-low heat until coating is golden and fish is cooked halfway through. Add another ½ tablespoon butter, flip fish very gently. Cook until fully cooked, about 2 minutes. Repeat with additional fillets.

4. Serve fish with a squirt of lemon and lemon wedge. Top with parsley and sliced almonds.

 

Additional Recipes:

Leek Gratin
Endive, Roquefort, and Walnut Salad
Classic French Cocktails

2018 Canadian GP: Montreal Style Bagels

If we have to talk about the race I would like to take the interview technique of sandwiching the bad within the good. Montreal is an awesome city, with amazing food, super cool people, and a fervor for F1 resulting in a sold out race! The race was utterly boring. The championship is still alive! 

Welp, that's that. Let's talk about bagels! I had never thought about making bagels, ever. I just assumed it was too hard, they'd be too complicated, or they couldn't possibly be as good as my local bagelry. Turns out I was wrong on all accounts. Yes, they took time and a bit of fiddly effort here and there, but if you have half a day and are willing to do a little trial and error it is totally worth it. These are Delicious. 

Montreal Style Bagels

We ate them fresh with whipped cream cheese, lox, a little onion and capers and then had them the next morning lightly toasted with a smear of butter. We took them to work with scrambled eggs and bacon slices for a simple lunch. They were delicious on all accounts. 

Bagel with lox

When it came to making these, as usual I found too many recipes and couldn’t decide which one to follow, and inevitably ended up choosing two and following both… Sometimes this totally ruins things, like when I ended up putting yogurt into a hot curry and curdling the whole thing. Oops. But, this time, it worked like magic and these bagels were amazing! The only thing I would change is to make 18 rather than 12 as they were rather large and my understanding is that Montreal Style Bagels are meant to be on the smaller side. 

Montreal Style Bagels

Adapted from The Spruce and My Second Breakfast with help from Lori McKinnon's Youtube video

4 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast (2 packages)
1 1/2 cups warm (not hot) water
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup honey, divided
1/4 cup canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
About 4-5 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose)
1/2 to 1 cup poppy seeds or sesame seeds (optional)

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Add yeast and water to mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, add egg, and egg yolk, whisk until combined. Mix in ½ cup honey, the oil, and salt.

3. Add flour one cup at a time mixing until combined. Add flour until dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, this may be 4, 4 ½ or 5 cups of flour.

4. If using a stand mixer, change mixer to dough hook and knead for approximately 10 minutes. If kneading by hand, turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until it becomes firmly elastic. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

5. Prepare 2 cookie sheets covered in parchment paper, sprayed with cooking spray, and have ready two sheets of parchment sprayed with cooking spray to lay on top of bagels.

6. Divide dough into 12-18 evenly sized pieces. Roll each piece into an 8-10 inch rope, then bring the ends together and press to shape into a circle. I found the Youtube video, mentioned above, helpful in seeing a good technique to bring the dough together.

7. Set each shaped bagel on prepared cookie sheets, let them rest of 30 minutes. In the meantime, about 10 minutes before they are done resting heat oven to 425 F and start a large pot of water boiling. Once water begins boiling add ½ cup honey and stir in to dissolve.

8. Prepare more baking sheets, lined with parchment paper (no spray this time). Make egg wash, by whisking one whole egg in a bowl. Set poppy seeds and/or sesame seeds in dishes ready to be sprinkled on bagels. (I like to use a spoon or my hands to sprinkle on, dipping is far too messy.)

9. Boil bagels for 45 seconds on each side. You can do this individually or in batches as many as at a time as your pot (and attention) will allow.

10. Remove from pot and set on paper-towel lined plate to remove excess water. Dip in egg wash on both sides, and sprinkle on poppy seeds or sesame seeds, set on parchment lined baking sheets.

11. Once you have a full sheet Bake at 425 F for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. You may flip them if you like, but they will bake through without flipping to preserve a fluffier top.  They can burn quickly due to the egg wash and seeds, so keep an eye on them after the 10 minute mark.

12. Cool on cooling racks, eat fresh or keep on counter for 2 days in airtight container. Freeze the remainder to keep fresh.

 

Bagels cooling
2018 Monaco GP: Gnocchi with Mushroom Ragu & French Country Salad

Monaco always gives me a feeling of flighty, effervescent, indescribable excitement. The race is set amongst a weekend filled with sparkling locations, yachts in one of the most famous and beautiful harbors in the world, celebrity faces, smiling drivers, and excitable teams. This is a race weekend when qualifications are almost more important than the Sunday race. The drivers put it all on the line, just them against the clock, against the world. Coming so close to barriers you can barely watch sometimes as they fly around the track. Ricciardo showed the world just what he was made of this weekend. Fastest lap - ever - at Monaco in qualifications and he managed the race handily.  And as the consummate racer he is, he showed his humor and grit throughout. From "I got this buddy" in response to his Engineer near the end of a tough race, to a quick bow to the Prince and Princess before doing his now requisite shoey, he made the day for more than just his fans. He showed the world who he is. 

I always know what I am watching over this weekend, but what to eat is a whole other story. Searching for Monagasque Cuisine has not been the easiest venture. Even the Wikipedia page is sad and practically empty save for two dishes I see time and again: Barbajuan and Socca. In fact the only people apparently searching for specifically Monaco inspired food are other people cooking for F1 races! I found this blog in my search: Race Day Recipes ! I knew I couldn't be the only one with this hobby... Over time, I have also found some fellow enthusiasts on Instagram who I am always inspired by. 

I suppose the challenge may come from the fact that "Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, nestled on the east coast of France near Italy on the Mediterranean. Given its location, the cuisine of Monaco is heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. " Vagabond Journeys

Instead of fighting against the influences, I looked to French and Italian cuisines and Monagasque chefs and restaurants to build a menu for the Monaco GP. Inspired by recipes of Chef Alain Ducasse (of Restaurants Paris, and  Le Louis XV - à l'Hôtel de Paris in Monaco, fame) I decided to make Gnocchi with a Mushroom Ragu. Served with a French Country Salad and simple French Vinaigrette. For starters we decided to just go for it and have caviar and champagne cocktails. Alongside I found some delectable cheeses from France and Italy. All in all, it turned out positively lovely. 

Monaco Dinner

 

Gnocchi with Mushroom Ragu

Adapted from Food & Wine, Serious Eats and Smitten Kitchen

Gnocchi
3 pounds russet potatoes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Mushroom Ragu
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds mixed mushrooms, such as porcini, oyster and hen-of-the-woods, quartered if large (cremini work equally well and are more widely available)
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth, plus more if making sauce ahead of time

To make the Gnocchi

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Set on a wire rack over a baking tray. Bake for 45 minutes – one hour until tender throughout. Rotate halfway through for even cooking. In the meantime, prepare the mushroom ragu.

2. Remove the potatoes from the oven once tender, let cool slightly. Using tongs or a kitchen towel to hold potatoes, peel them, being cautious of the steam they will release.

3. If you have a potato ricer, that is the right tool for the job. If you don’t… try Smitten Kitchen’s solution and use a box grater. Or my solution and use a food processor with the grater attachment. (Honestly, it is not perfect, but it’s also not a mono-tasker!) Rice or grate potatoes onto a clean work surface, let cool for a few more minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl using a bench scraper.

4. Gently stir in egg, egg yolk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and ½ cup cheese.

5. Add flour a little at a time to the potato mixture, mixing with your hands. Use only as much as you need so that dough does not stick to your hands.  Bring dough together with your fingertips and transfer dough, and bits in the bowl, to a cleaned and well floured work surface. Using a fold and press motion, gently knead until smooth. (Serious Eats cautions against using the smearing motion commonly used when kneading bread.) Once the dough is a uniform texture separate it into four balls.

6. Clean work surface well, and dust with fresh flour. Roll out one of the four pieces using your fingertips into a long rope about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces using a bench scraper. Transfer to a floured baking tray.

If you want the traditional gnocchi shape, press each piece of dough against the tines of a fork. With your finger, gently roll the dough over the back of the fork creating indents.

7. To cook the gnocchi, place them into a pot of boiling and well-salted water. Stir once very gently with a spider or slotted spoon to prevent sticking. After a few minutes the gnocchi will float to the top. Continue to cook for one minute then remove with a spider or slotted spoon, shaking gently to drain before placing in serving bowl.

8. Serve topped with mushroom ragu and a healthy sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

To make the Mushroom Ragu

1. In a very large skillet, cook mushrooms in batches by melting 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add half of the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until tender and just browned, about 7 minutes. Add half each of the shallots, garlic, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. In the skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and repeat with the remaining mushrooms, shallots, garlic and thyme.

2. Return all of the mushrooms to the skillet. Stir in the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.

3. Add the broth and season the ragù with salt and pepper; keep warm over low heat.

4. When ready to serve stir in extra broth to get to desired consistency and warm through.

Notes on the Ragu:

Ragu can be made ahead and set on low on a back burner or even refrigerated for up to a day, before serving add just enough chicken broth to rewet ingredients and create a sauce to your preferred consistency.

It may seem finicky to cook the mushrooms in batches, but this is important to promote browning and prevent them from just getting mushy from steaming them in their own juices when they are crowded in a pan. Take the time to cook the mushrooms in batches, and you will be rewarded with delicious browned rich flavor.

 

French Country Salad

French Country Salad

Adapted from Mon Petit Four and Recipe Tin Eats

5 oz arugula, approximately 5 cups
1/2 pound asparagus tough ends trimmed
1/2 cup sliced cooked beets canned
1/4 cup walnuts halves, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

French Vinaigrette

1 tbsp finely chopped shallots
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2-4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake until emulsified. Set aside.

2. Steam asparagus until just tender, rinse under cold water to stop cooking process. Set aside.

3. Combine arugula and cooled asparagus in a bowl, top with desired amount of vinaigrette, mix until well coated. Transfer to serving bowl. Top with sliced beets, walnuts, and goat cheese. Drizzle on a little more vinaigrette as desired.

2018 Spanish GP: Paella with Guest Chef: Rob!

The Spanish Grand Prix is a lovely spectacle and a great excuse to eat tapas and drink sangria.

It's always fun rooting for drivers at their home races. Swaths of yellow Sainz hats, and an abundance of Alonso flags filled the audience. Alonso as usual, out drove his car and made his way into the points in 8th to the pleasure of the crowds, but his Spanish compatriot Carlos Sainz showed him up to reach 7th place. 

Hamilton and Mercedes managed to outpace the whole field and came home with a resounding 1, 2. Ferrari seemed a little perplexed about Hamilton's new pace and maybe even a little worried about what's to come. Hopefully we continue to see competition at the front, it's definitely too early in the season to see a dominant team run away with the championship. All in all a fun race despite Romaine Grosjean taking out Hulk, Gasly, and himself in the first lap. It was great to see Leclerc earn his first points and the two Spainards being up there for their  home race gave the crowds a lot to cheer for. 

For this race, we had a guest chef! Talk about something to cheer for :) 

For over a year now, our friend's Liz and Rob have been inviting us over for Paella. Life and work and god knows what else always seemed to get in the way. And believe me there must have been good reasons because I rarely say no to someone offering me food and even more rarely would I say no to Paella. But whatever the circumstances were, we could never make it happen... until now! Sometimes things just work out for the best. This was the perfect opportunity to have my first Guest Chef post, and honestly it was fabulous. I worked all day on Friday and Saturday at a work function, and to have someone step in and make me a fantastic Paella which was passed on from father to son, was beyond amazing. 

Rob learned to make Paella from his father who in his army days was stationed for a time in Morocco. It was great hearing stories about food, travel, and family tradition. Rob now uses the Paella Mixta recipe from Saveur as a base recipe, as it is the closest he has found to his father's take on Paella. 

Hope you enjoy it! 

Paella

 

Paella Mixta

Adapted from Rob’s fathers time in Morocco and Saveur

10 threads saffron, crushed
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2" pieces
10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 dried bay leaves
3 medium tomatoes, minced
1 small onion, minced
7 cups chicken broth
2 1⁄2 cups short-grain rice, preferably Valencia or bomba
8 oz. fresh or frozen peas
3 jarred roasted red peppers, torn into 1⁄2"-thick strips
12 mussels, cleaned and debearded (optional)
1 (9-oz.) box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed

1. Soak saffron threads in ¼ cup hot water, let sit while preparing chicken and shrimp.

2. Season chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat ½ cup extra virgin olive oil in paella pan over medium heat. Add chicken and shrimp, cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove shrimp and set aside.

3. Add smoked paprika, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes and onions to pan, stirring often cook until onions are softened about 6 minutes. Add saffron mixture and broth, do not add more broth than almost reaches the top of the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat.

4. Add rice by sprinkling over pan to distribute evenly. Cook, without stirring, until rice has absorbed most of the liquid. This will take 10-12 minutes. Rotate on burner every 2-5 minutes, if pan is larger than your burner.

5. Add shrimp back to pan, and top with mussels. Nestle mussels gently into the paella and cook until mussels have opened and rice has absorbed the remainder of the liquid. Remove pan from heat, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

2018 Azerbaijan GP: Chicken Kebabs, Dolma, and Chopped Salad

Baku!!!! What a crazy race! As soon as you thought the drama was over something else exploded, someone ran into someone or something else, and all hell broke loose. Some major disappointments, but it sure did make it exciting! I, for one, am glad to see teams allowing their drivers to race each other and be ambitious and aggressive out on the race track. Every race is a learning experience for the drivers and the teams. I hope to see even more wheel to wheel racing in the upcoming races, and more crazy Max too! 

On a personal note, the past couple weeks and weekends have been so busy I haven't been able to keep up in life or on here, my apologies for the delay on this post. On that note, I am also going to take a break from writing up pre-race posts. I'm going to focus that energy on creating awesome meals and including desserts and drinks for as many races as possible. I promise I'll make it delicious. Let me know if there are specific dishes you'd like to see included, or ones you've cooked and would recommend! 

For this meal we went simple summertime (I know it's only May, but I am ready!) with some grilled chicken kebabs, chopped veg salad, and dolmas with grape leaves from my Mom's garden. 

Grape leaf for Dolma

The kebabs were super easy to prepare and turned out really tender and juicy. They would go great with rice, green salad, or grilled veggies.  The dolmas took a little work but were well worth it. I'm thinking I might even try out a vegetarian version this weekend. I discovered that we have a volunteer grape vine growing on the side of our house that is just begging to be made into dolmas! 

Chicken Kebabs

Toyug kebabs (Azeri sour chicken skewers)

Adapted from SBS Recipes by Adam Liao

1 ½ lb chicken thigh fillets ( approx. 4 fillets)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ small brown onion, roughly chopped
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 pinch of sugar
6-8 skewers (bamboo or metal)

To serve
¼ cup finely shredded coriander or mint
¼  cup finely shredded flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp sumac
lemon wedges (optional)

1. In a large bowl or ziploc bag, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, onion, salt, pepper and sugar. Add chicken and marinate for 2 hours or overnight.

2. If using bamboo skewers, soak them for at least 10 minutes before using.

3. Skewer the chicken evenly onto 6 or 8 skewers (depending on their size).

4. Grill over medium-high heat on a grill or grill pan.  Cook until chicken reaches 165 degrees F or until juice runs clear.

5. Serve with herbs scattered over top and lemon wedges (if desired).

Dolmas

Dolma, Azerbaijani-Style Stuffed Grape Leaves

Adapted from AZ Cookbook by Feride Buyuran

½ pound ground beef
½ medium onion, grated
¼ cup medium-grain white rice, thoroughly rinsed (do not use long grain rice)
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint
½ teaspoon salt
pinch ground black pepper

About 20-30 medium-size fresh grape leaves
1 ½  tablespoons butter

Garlic Yogurt Sauce
½ cup Plain Yogurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed

1. Combine first seven ingredients to make stuffing. Mix until well combined.

2. Blanch grape leaves. Boil a small saucepan of water, blanch the fresh grape leaves in batches of about 10 at a time, for about one minute. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon, drain on a plate with a paper towel, and allow to cool.

3. Prepare a medium saucepan by spreading a few leaves to cover the bottom.

4. Stuff the grape leaves. Hold a leaf shiny side down in your hand, place about a tablespoon of the stuffing in the center of the leaf. Fold the top down, then the sides over the filling and roll tightly into a round ball or cylindrical roll. Set seam side down in the prepared saucepan. Arrange dolma snuggly next to each other. Continue until all leaves or stuffing are used up.

5. Dot the top with butter, pour water in until it reaches halfway up the dolmas. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour or until leaves are tender and filling is cooked. (If liquid completely absorbs during cooking, add a little more and continue to simmer.)   

6. Serve with Garlic Yogurt Sauce: Combine yogurt and crushed garlic to make sauce.

 

Chopped Vegetable Salad

Chopped Vegetable Salad

Inspired by NPR Recipes

1 bell pepper, chopped in large chunks
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, partially peeled and chopped
5 radishes, quartered

juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix all vegetables in a large bowl. 
2. In a mason jar or small container, combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Shake to emulsify and make dressing. 
3. Pour dressing over vegetables and mix until just combined and dressing is distributed. 

2018 Chinese GP: Chicken Wings, Noodles, and Cabbage a la All Under Heaven

Hoorah for a proper exciting race! The first half seemed to be a repeat of 2017, Mercedes, Ferrari, blah blah blah, until bam! A safety car and the Red Bull boys with excellent timing and guts to spare come up the field and mix it up!

I love seeing Ricciardo on top of the podium, that grin just makes my day. We kept an eye on Alonso throughout the race as well, as per usual he was driving that car beyond its abilities, even passing Championship leader Vettel in the final laps. Hopefully this race is a sign of things to come. I was literally on the edge of my seat wondering who Verstappen was going pass at the last second into a corner never made for passing... despite all the controversy, and possibly losing himself a podium, I still say 'Go Max!' because god its so much fun to watch! 

Chinese meal

I hope you enjoyed the race as much as we did. It was made even better with the meal of authentic Chinese dishes from All Under Heaven, a fantastic tome of traditional Chinese cooking. It was so hard to choose which dishes to make, but these turned out to be just challenging enough to learn a little but not get overwhelmed, and they were properly delicious. 

A few new techniques were added to my repertoire with these dishes and new ingredients too! Dry-frying chicken, just coated in corn starch, was a revelation. It turned out so crispy and soaked the sweet and spicy sauce up perfectly. This was also my first introduction to Sichuan peppercorns which are a total kick, they are floral and pungent and have a numbing quality that make them really unique (we even made a cocktail with them!). Honestly, that might be my favorite part of cooking for the races, trying completely new things, both in cooking and eating. Hope you try out a few too!

Dry fried chicken wings

DRY-FRIED CHICKEN WINGS
GĀNPĒNG JĪCHÌ 乾烹雞翅 _

Adapted from All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China by Carolyn Phillips

Serves 4 as an appetizer or part of a meal

12 chicken wing pieces (wings and drummetes)
¼ cup cornstarch
2 cups (or so) peanut or vegetable oil for frying
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 green onions, trimmed and finely chopped
10 dried Thai chilies, or to taste, broken in half and seeds discarded, and/or smoked paprika
¾ cup pale rice vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon toasted Sichuan peppercorn salt, or to taste (recipe below)
2 teaspoons regular soy sauce

1. Start this recipe at least 6 hours before you want to serve it. Place wing pieces in a work bowl and sprinkle the cornstarch over them. Toss the wings in the bowl until thoroughly coated. 

2. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet, arrange corn starch covered wings, not touching, on the rack. Refrigerate uncovered so the cool air slightly dries out the wings. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

3. Pour the oil into a wok or heavy bottomed pan (I use my dutch oven for most frying),  heat over high heat until it reaches 350F. Use a splatter screen to prevent oil splashes. Carefully add 4-6 wing pieces to the hot oil.  As soon as the wings are golden on one side, approximately 3-5 minutes depending on the size of the wings, flip to brown other side. (If you have an instant read thermometer, chicken should reach 165F.) Remove the wings to a large work bowl once they are nicely browned and cooked through. Repeat with remaining wings in batches.

4. Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a separate saucepan, place it over medium-high heat, and add the garlic, ginger, onions, and chilies, toss in the hot oil to release their fragrance, and then add the rest of the ingredients. Turn the heat to high and quickly boil down the sauce. Boil until it reaches the consistency of syrup, remove from the heat. Toss the wings in the sauce to coat them completely. Arrange the wings on a serving platter and eat while hot. 

To make peppercorn salt:  combine 1/2 cup whole Sichuan peppercorns and 1/2 cup salt in a dry wok, cook over medium heat until salt browns and peppercorns start to pop, let mixture cool. Pulverize in a spice grinder, shake through a fine mesh sieve, and store in a tightly sealed jar.

 

green onion noodles

 

FRIED GREEN ONION NOODLES
CONG YOU BAN MIAN, 葱油拌面

Barely adapted from: All Under Heaven by Carolyn Phillips

Serves 4-6

Fried Onions
12 green onions
1 ½ cups peanut or vegetable oil

Sauce
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock

Noodles
4 quarts  water
2 tablespoons sea salt
12 ounces thin dried noodles of any kind

1.  Clean and trim green onions, pat them dry (to avoid oil splatter), slice them on an angle into long, thin ovals.

2. Line a plate with a paper towel and place it next to the stove along with a slotted spoon. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. When the oil just begins to shimmer, add a few pieces of onion. What you want is for the onions to gently bubble, so adjust the heat as needed and then add the rest of the onions. Stir the onions every minute or so and let them slowly cook, giving them a chance to release their fragrance and gradually dry out, approximately 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye on the onions (don't walk away!), as soon as they start to smell toasty and a few begin to brown, stir them almost constantly so they toast evenly.

Once almost all of them are brown, remove them from the oil with the slotted spoon and place them on the paper towel lined plate.  Set the wok with the hot oil aside. If you’re going to continue the recipe immediately simply allow to cool as you continue. Otherwise, let the seasoned oil cool, then pour it into a clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator. 

4. Pour ¼ cup of the soy sauce and ¼ cup of the stock into a large work bowl and stir in about ¼ cup of the flavored oil. After adding the noodles, add each of more as needed. I used all of it as my noodles absorbed a lot of liquid. 

5. Put the water in a large pot, add the salt, and bring to a boil. About 5 to 10 minutes before you want to serve this dish, stir the noodles into the water and gently swish them often so they don’t stick together. As soon as the water starts to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook the noodles until they are barely done (check package for time). Place a colander in the sink and drain the pasta into it, but don’t rinse it, as the starch on the noodles will help to thicken the sauce and allow it to evenly coat each strand.

6. Put the cooked noodles into your work bowl with the sauce and toss them well. You want the noodles slightly soupy since they’ll absorb some of the sauce, so add more stock if needed. Taste and add a bit of soy sauce or green onion oil, if you want.

7. Serve noodles garnished with all of the fried onions.

 

GOLDEN-EDGED CABBAGE
JĪNBIĀN BÁICÀI 金邊白菜

From: All Under Heaven by Carolyn Phillips (also on her blog!)

Serves 4

1½ pounds napa cabbage (about ½ large head or 1 small head)
5 dried Thai chilies
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1½ teaspoons regular soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1. Rinse the cabbage carefully, removing any damaged leaves. Shake the cabbage dry and then cut out the core. Separate the leaves into stacks of 3 or 4 and place them curved-side down on a cutting board. Use the side of a cleaver, or the bottom of a small pan, to lightly whack the stems; this will serve to gently break them open, and then cut them into pieces approximately 2 x 1 inches in size.

2. Break the chilies open and discard both the seeds and the stem ends. Cut them into smallish pieces. Heat a wok over high heat and then pour in the oil. Immediately add the chilies and fry them quickly until they have crisped up. Toss in the ginger and the cabbage and stir-fry the cabbage over high heat. As soon as the cabbage has wilted, add the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Continue to toss the cabbage until all of the edges are a golden brown. Serve hot.

 

2018 Bahrain GP: Falafel with homemade Pita

Bahrain is one of those enigmatic places that you just can't place your finger on. It is a clash and mix of cultures that make it lovely, full of life, and fantastical. On top of it all, the race is a night race which shines bright and adds that element of sparkle to the race calendar. This race tends to include plenty of passing opportunities and makes for exciting racing and lots of drama. This year did not disappoint! 

As for dinner, it also did not disappoint. I found some amazing recipes for some Bahraini favorites: Falafel, Pita Bread, and Tzatziki. As mentioned previously, these tasty Middle Eastern bites are not indigenous to Bahrain but favorites nonetheless. We also made some fabulous hummus and finished it off with Baklava, so yummy! (Recipes to come.)

Falafel

FALAFEL

From Epicurious

1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 red and  1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt to taste

1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. 

2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.

3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the food processor. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts. (Before rolling all the balls you may want to test one to check that it stays in the formed ball when fried.)

5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375ºF in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 5 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

6. Mix tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and bell peppers with lemon juice and olive oil, salt to taste. 

7. Serve with tzatziki and chopped vegetable salad. Serve in pitas or simply with a fork and knife!

 

Pita

PITA BREAD

From Serious Eats

1 cup (8 ounces) water, 105–110°F
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) whole wheat flour
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1. Mix water, oil, sugar, yeast, salt, and whole wheat flour with a wooden spoon until combined and smooth. Stir in all-purpose flour until the mixture comes together into a shaggy mass.

2. Using clean hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and very elastic, adding only very small amounts of extra flour if dough is extremely sticky (see note). Alternatively, knead dough at low speed in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment until dough is very elastic and smooth, about 8 minutes.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and form into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a clean mixing bowl and place the dough inside, then rub oiled hands over the top of the dough. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

4. Meanwhile, place a baking stone on the top oven rack and preheat oven to 500°F. Line a plate with a large, clean kitchen towel and set aside.

5. Punch down the dough, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and cut into 6 even pieces. Form each dough piece into an even ball. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

6. Roll each piece of dough into a 7-inch circle, no more than 1/4 inch thick, taking care not to tear dough and keeping the thickness even all around. Place dough disks on a lightly floured surface, cover with a damp towel, and let proof until slightly puffy, about 20 minutes.

7. Working with as many pitas as will fit on the stone at once, pick up each pita and place onto the stone top side down. Immediately close the oven door and bake until pitas have puffed and are slightly golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake. Place baked pitas onto towel-lined plate and wrap with the overhanging towel. Repeat with any remaining pitas.

8. Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat until smoking. Working with one pita at a time, briefly heat each side until charred in a few spots, about 30 seconds. Return pita to towel and cover. Repeat with remaining pitas and serve immediately. Alternatively if you have a gas stove simply toast pita over flame being careful to be quick so as not to burn the pitas on either side. 

 

Tzatziki

Tzatziki

½ medium cucumber
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1clove garlic minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt to taste

Partially peel  and grate half a cucumber. Squeeze grated cucumber to remove excess water. In a small bowl combine grated cucumber, yogurt,  juice and zest of  the lemon, grated or minced garlic, and a pinch of salt.

2018 Australian GP: Tandoori Snapper & Chilli Salt Squid Salad

For the Australian Grand Prix I pulled a few recipes from a 1990's-era nouveau cuisine cookbook: A Taste of Australia. We made Chilli Salt Squid Salad and a Tandoori Marinated fish. Cooking with squid is relatively new to me, and this was only my second time making calamari. It turns out to be super easy (given that the squid is cleaned ahead of time for you)! The spice blend on the calamari and the kick of chili in the dressing for the salad were surprising flavors and really quite good. With my penchant for vegetables and simpler meals, I think the salad would make a good meal in itself. Served with a nice cold glass of Australian chardonnay I'm set!

Australia Dinner

The tandoori marinated fish, though tasty, was a bit overcomplicated and underwhelming. I think the flavor of the fish disappears a bit in the melee of other spices in the marinade and sauce. I think it could be simplified. Maybe next year I'll do some more recipe development and bring it back around! In brighter news, I went on a proper hunt for an Australian cocktail and found a beauty: Spiced Pineapple Cocktail (recipe coming soon!)

Australia is always a great spectacle because it is the start of the season and everyone is raring to get back into the swing of things. The race itself was not very eventful when it came to championship challenges, overtaking, or on track drama. Only the double retirement of the Haas team and the heartbreaking video of the distraught mechanics broke up an otherwise straightforward race. It was great to see McLaren in good form and Alonso do what he does best: go fast! Ricciardo was also fun to watch, there is always a little more punch when it's one's home race. We cheered and watched rapt the whole race because no matter what the race was or was not, F1 IS BACK! 

Chilli Salt Squid Salad

CHILLI SALT SQUID 

Serves 4-6

Dressing
2 fresh Serrano chili peppers
3 cups rice vinegar
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice

Seasoned Flour
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon cayenne powder
½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon fine sea salt

Salad
1 lb squid, cleaned
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 large carrot
1 large red chili pepper
1 small red onion

vegetable oil
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or if you want to be finicky you can pull cilantro leaves of the stems for a pretty finish)

To make dressing, cut the chili peppers in half lengthwise. Place the rice vinegar, sugar, and chili peppers in a saucepan over medium heat, reserve lime for adding at the end. Stir to dissolve the sugar and simmer for 20 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to a thin syrup. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice. Strain and let cool.

To make seasoned flour, mix the flour and spices together and set aside.

To make salad, slice squid into 1/2 inch rings. Finely julienne the peppers, carrot and chili pepper. Finely slice the onion and mix it with other vegetables.

Heat vegetable oil to a depth of 2 inches in a deep saucepan over a medium heat. Dip the squid in the flour mixture until each piece is well coated and then fry until the flour is crisp, about 1 minute. Drain and then slice the squid into 1/3 inch thick rings.

To serve, add the squid to the prepared vegetable and pour over the dressing. Toss and add the chopped cilantro.

 

Tandoori Marinated Snapper

TANDOORI MARINATED SNAPPER - WITH MINT AND YOGHURT SAUCE

Serves 4

Tandoori Paste
4 garlic cloves
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 medium tomato
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, roasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon fennel powder
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 snapper filets (6 oz per person), or other firm fleshed fish

5 red shallots
1 large green (Anaheim) chili pepper
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 cup plain yoghurt (not greek yogurt, you need the loose yogurt and the tang of plain yogurt)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Steamed basmati rice to serve

 

To make paste, peel the garlic and ginger and chop roughly. Quarter the tomato and remove the seeds. Chop roughly. Place all the paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and process to a fine paste. Lightly smear both sides of the fish fillets with the paste and set aside.

To make sauce, peel the shallots and chop roughly. Roughly chop the chilli pepper. Place all the ingredients, except the yogurt in a food processor or blender and process to a smooth paste. Place the mixture in a bowl and stir in the yogurt bit by bit until desired creaminess.

To cook the fish, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan or skiller over medium heat. Pan-fry the snapper fillets.

To serve, place the snapper fillets on plates and spoon mint and yogurt sauce over. Serve with steamed basmati rice.