Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Catch of the Day

While on our beach vacation my dad and uncle went fishing on the boat and brought home no less than four flounder and a sea bass, so naturally we got creative with them and made: crab "Imperial"-stuffed flounder, Thai-Mediterranean fusion fish with fresh basil and chili, flounder with tequila lime butter, and grilled crispy Asian sesame sea bass. From the water to our table for dinner!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday Night Gourmet

"Friday Night Gourmet," as my mother calls it, was a tradition in our house growing up that I've tried to carry on, and last night's dinner was a wonderful summer meal of Southwestern flavors. I got fresh tuna from the fish market, and made grilled tuna with yellow mole - mole is Mexican sauce, most commonly red mole made from poblano peppers and a variety of chiles including ancho, pasilla and chipotle, finished with chocolate to create a spicy-sweet flavor. Yellow mole uses yellow peppers, mango, tomatillos, corn tortillas, pumpkin seeds, white pepper and white chocolate to mirror the sauce preparation, creating a savory-sweet combination that packs a real punch - so good. The yellow mole was perfect to top the delicate tuna, which I served with stewed chayote, a squash typical in Costa Rica. For an appetizer I served lime cerviche of fresh tuna, mango and avocado:

So delicious. The tuna was excellent quality, like soft rubies melting in your mouth, really. This meal was light and fresh, perfect for summer, and filled with flavor. I made my "Lime Breeze" cocktails: limeaid and Brazilian cachaรงa, garnished with fresh mint and a lime slice. Ahh, summer ...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fresh Crabs

In true farm-to-table fashion, this documents the ... bay-to-table process of crabbing for our annual family Crab Festival.

Catching blue crabs from the boat in the bay:

First catch of the day! (Using chicken necks and lines.)

Cooking the crabs in proper Maryland style, steamed with Old Bay seasoning:

Eating the fresh crabs for dinner that night:

Picking crabs ... and more crabs ...

Until stuffed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grilled Nectarine Salad

I made this grilled nectarine salad for our annual family reunion at the beach, and it turned out really well:

6 ripe nectarines (I used half white, half yellow, extra juicy)
A few strips of pancetta or thick-cut bacon
1 leek
Mixed greens
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
Fresh mint leaves for garnish

For the dressing:
1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil
1/8-1/4 cup rice wine vinegar / splash white wine vinegar
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 tsp. Dijon mustard (I used a French blend with herbes d'Provence)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1) Saute pancetta/bacon to render drippings into pan. Slice leek and place pieces in bowl of water to remove grit (dirt will fall to the bottom.)
2) Remove pancetta to drain on paper towel and add leeks to saute in drippings (for extra decadence you can add a tsp. of butter); season with salt and pepper.
3) Slice nectarines in half and remove pits - grill cut side down until caramelized. Cut warm nectarines into wedges and pour all juices into the pan with leeks/renderings. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine vinegar to bring up all the bacon bits. Remove from heat.
4) Pour nectarine juice/leek/etc. mixture into large measuring cup and whisk in apricot preserves, rice wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, then pouring the olive oil in a steady stream while whisking with the other hand. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5) Toss greens with nectarine slices, sunflower seeds, crumbled bacon and dressing to coat. Chiffonade the fresh mint leaves and garnish over top.

This salad is best if served while the nectarines are still warm - enjoy!

Triumphant. (and wearing a t-shirt over my dress since there were no aprons in the new kitchen)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fresh Ice Cream

Fresh homemade peach ice cream, made from pureed peach, cream, sugar and a hint of vanilla - when it comes to ice cream, using the pure simplest ingredients makes the best product. Topped with dried peach slices, this ice cream was light and refreshing, my best homemade ice cream yet!

Monday, August 1, 2011


I've been experimenting with the raw diet these past few weeks - after all, what better time to each fresh, raw food that in the heat of summer? I must admit, the first days I went all-raw it was hard (you think, "sushi! Sushi's raw ... oh right, rice. Ok .. sashimi! Hmm, is seaweed salad raw?" Then later: "does raw cookie dough count?"), but after a few days you start to feel really great. Here are some examples of raw dishes I whipped up that I recommend:
Fresh pineapple chunks with blueberries and raw almond slices, tossed with lime juice
Raspberries topped with raw oats drizzled with raw honey or pure maple
Fruit smoothies - blend fruit with fresh pineapple juice
Greek salad of fresh cucumbers and tomatoes tossed with lemon juice and fresh dill
Green apple slices with raw organic almond butter
Mixed green salad with sliced strawberries, radishes and sunflower seeds
Leafy greens and raw cashews - season with fresh chili for a kick!
Sorbet made from frozen banana and blackberries, blended
Pudding made from ripe avocado, a few spoons each of raw cocoa powder and raw honey, mixed
*Note: this sounds strange, I know, but the avocado gives the texture a creamy consistency - I used this as a base for a berry smoothie and it tasted like chocolate raspberry ice cream, but with no dairy - only fruit and the secret vegetable ingredient!