Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blackened Ahi

Oh my goodness my friend came by my house with a bunch of fresh caught Ahi! My husband LOVES blackened Ahi. One of his favorites. Great for me! It is SO easy to make.

Here is how I make my ahi seasoning:
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Store in an airtight container. This makes plenty for several times of cooking. Sprinkle the spice mixture on a plate.
Heat up a skillet on high.. Dip Ahi in spice blend and press down to make sure it is coated.
 Turn over and do it again. Once pan is nice and hot add 1 TB canola oil and put Ahi in.
Sear until crisp… 1-2 minutes. Flip over and do it again. A perfect Ahi is crunchy on the outside and raw on the inside.

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Chicken Carbonara Gluten Free

Today was busy at work. Mostly because even though it is a Tuesday, it is a Tuesday after a holiday weekend. I am the dog clothes diva haha! I wish I could just wake up each morning, head to the farmers market and spend the day cooking in my kitchen without interruption. Oh well, that is not the way life works is it? I am blessed to live in a beautiful place, with a beautiful family and have a great job that is flexible. So I am not going to complain, but a girl could wish right?

My husband just recently told me that his least favorite food is chicken and pasta dishes. Sorry hunny, this one is NOT for you. For Randy I made up some blackened Ahi. He brought me home pretty flowers today, so the least I could do is make him a special side dish.
The rest of us get Chicken Carbonara. First of all, Hold on to your seats... this pasta is amazing!
I wanted to make my gluten free pasta from scratch. I have done this successfully with my lasagne noodles. This is the first time I am making a gluten free batch of fettucine type noodles. I am not ready for spaghetti noodles yet. Doing the same process I used to make the lasagne noodles. I sucessfully made these using my handy kitchenaid attachment.
You can see the pasta making process here I doubled it this time, because we all devoured it quickly last time. Extra noodles will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Pasta ingredients:
2 cups better batter gluten free all purpose flour
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup white wine

Carbonara Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, chopped (you can omit and use bacos if you are pescatarian)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
8 large egg yolks
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
4 cups coarsely shredded chicken (from 1 roasted chicken, or just roast chicken breasts)
Freshly ground black pepper

As I have shown before, When you mix the pasta, use the pasta attachment on your kitchenaid. Add all your flour, make a dip in the center and add your wine and egg yolk.
Turn the kitchenaid on high until all the flour is mixed well and a large ball is formed.

Seperate your dough into small enough batches to work with.
For Fettuccine style noodles you first need to flatten them.

Then you process them again through the fettuccine attachment.

Set the noodles aside on a floured surface until ready to cook.

Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and garlic and saute until it is brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, cheese, yolks, basil, and parsley to blend.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until it is just tender but still firm to the bite,  about 2 minutes (unless you are using boxed pasta, then cook al dente according to box instructions). Drain.

Add the chicken to the pan with the pancetta and stir to combine.
Next, add the pasta and the cream mixture and toss over medium-low heat until the chicken is heated through and the sauce coats the spaghetti thickly, about 4 minutes (do not boil or you might end up scrambling the eggs).
Season the pasta, to taste, with pepper and salt if needed (the pancetta will likely add all the salt you need). Transfer the pasta to a serving dish. Sprinkle the parmesan and basil, and serve

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Chocolate Pots de Crème Gluten Free

I am sure you have seen all the different posts for Pots De Crème. I always read them and think... "yeah, that sounds yummy", but I never get around to making them. I am not sure why. They seem pretty simple. Fattening yes, But I really don't care. There is a time and a place for everything. They are naturally gluten free, and will be a nice treat on this warm spring day in Southern California. I think the thing I like most about these is that you can make them ahead of time. So you can make them a day ahead and pull them out when you need it. I think I will make these for the boat sometime. If you get half jars with lids they would make a good portable treat.

Chocolate Pots de Crème
adapted from Bon Appetit

2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 300º. Place six 6-ounce ramekins in large baking dish.

2. Add cream to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir till chocolate is melted add vanilla and mix thoroughly.

3. Whisk eggs and sugar in a large bowl, till thick and pale.
Drizzle a bit of the hot chocolate mixture into eggs to temper, whisking constantly. I found it easiest to use my kitchenaid mixer for this.

Continue slowly adding hot liquid while whisking till all liquid is incorporated. Avoid incorporating air into mixture if possible. If you find you have some small, unmelted particles of chocolate at the bottom of the saucepan, gently heat till melted and add to bowl.

4. Place a fine mesh sieve over a large measuring cup. Strain custard.
Pour custard into the ramekins, then pour enough hot water into pan to reach halfway up ramekins. I find it easiest to use a pitcher to fill the pan so none of the water spills into the ramekins.
Cover pan with foil and poke a few holes in foil to allow steam to escape.
Bake 25-30 minutes or till outer inch of custard is set. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate till serving time.

Serve with a dollop of white chocolate whipped cream (recipe below).

White Chocolate Whipped Cream
adapted from Bon Appetit
2 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup whipping cream

Combine white chocolate and 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream in small microwave safe bowl. I microwave mine for 3 minutes on 50% power stopping and stirring frequently, till chocolate is melted and smooth. Cool 10 minutes. Whip the remaining cream to soft peaks. Whisk in white chocolate.
 Cover and refrigerate. I like to put mine in a x-large ziplock bag.

If you put the bag around a bowl it is easy to put it in. Then it is all ready to swirl on top of the pots de creme,

Keep in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

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Limeade Recipe

Oh yes, the quest for the use for all of my limes continues. I am not complaining. I always snicker a little bit when I go through the grocery and see people paying sometimes up to $1 per lime. My lime tree is called the steroid tree because she produces more than all our other fruit trees combined. I am happy to announce though, that our limes are low. Yep, I have successfully not had to throw away a single lime this year so far. With the help of friends and some creative recipes on my part, the tree met the perfect amount of supply and demand this year.

Any way this is a nice refreshing drink to have on a Spring or Summer day. I hope you enjoy it!

1 cup freshly squeezed organic Lime juice (for me it took 6 Limes)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup filtered water
6 cups filtered water
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Place 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Stir until it is  completely dissolved, and remove from heat. You will know the sugar is completely dissolved when the water is clear again.
Let cool.

2. Add 1 cup freshly squeezed Lime juice,
 6 cups filtered water and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract to the sugar water mixture. Stir well and chill.

3. Pour over a glass of ice and serve with a wedge of lime. For an adult version you can add 1 shot of vodka for a cocktail hour treat.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lettuce Wraps Recipe

As most of you know, my husband and I love to sail. Well, he loves to do the sailing and I love to be on the boat and sunbathe and feed people, Pop some champagne and relax. So we are talking about buying a boat. This is my first post about the boat that we may purchase. We have plans. He wants to retire and spend the rest of his days sailing. I want to spend the rest of my days with him cooking and travelling. My daughter is 18 and my son turns 17 in a little over a month. So you can see why we have these plans in our sites. Still in the early stages, but we are right now tossing around a name for this boat. I plan to blog from my galley on all the foods and flavors I create. We will be tossing names around for the next year, but it has been fun trying to come up with them. If anyone knows of a word or two that has to do with gourmet food and travelling and sailing, let me know. I looked up what the true definition of "gourmet" is, because we had tossed around the idea of the travelling gourmet. According the dictionary a "Gourmet" is a person devoted to refined sensuous enjoyment (especially good food and drink). That is fitting for sure.  Right now the name in the lead is Bon Vivant. In French it means "Good Living". Dictionary defines it as: "a person who enjoys the good things in life, especially good food and drink". What do you think? Hopefully this time next year we will be closing in on purchasing her and we will have a name.

In the meantime, I am in my grounded kitchen in Carlsbad California. You can find me at local farmers markets and sprouts gathering the best ingredients I can get. My Orange, Lemon and Lime trees sing to me just outside my kitchen window.
What is on the menu tonight?
One of my favorite appetizers! Lettuce Wraps!

1 head of Lettuce, about 8 large leaves from the head for wraps
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. Ground Chicken
1 cup carrots (sliced into matchsticks)
1 cup chopped shitake mushrooms
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 green onions, chopped, for garnish

*optional additional sliced almonds for garnish

1. Preheat large skillet. Drizzle with olive oil. Add sesame oil and ground chicken. Add mushrooms and onions. Brown chicken. Add garlic and carrots. Then add almonds, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, grated ginger and soy sauce. Mix well and simmer until sauce has thickened.

2. To serve, spoon ground chicken mixture into lettuce leaves. Garnish with green onions and almonds.

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Adult Tater Tots

Once a year I have to go to Las Vegas for my job in the pet business. As most of you know I make and sell dog clothes for small breeds. I really don't like going to Vegas.  I know it is a draw... the bright lights, party town etc... I go for work. The one thing I do get out of it is all of the amazing food. A friend of mine in Oregon mentioned I should try STACK at the Mirage in Las Vegas. It is a casual place that serves amazing treats. One of them is Adult tater tots.  I keep saying I am going to create these at home. So this is my shot. They are gluten free and a really yummy side dish. Especially since we are coming up on barbeque season.

These are so far the most amazing dish to ever come out of my kitchen. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. They are naturally gluten free.

Adult Tater Tots
1 large baking potato
Canola oil as needed for frying
2 TBSP potato starch
1 egg
¼ cup minced shallots
1 tbsp minced chives
2 slices cooked crumbled bacon (or use baco as substitute)
4 oz Brie

Lightly coat the potato in oil, season with salt and pepper, pierce it a few times with a fork and bake at 350 degrees until three-quarters cooked, approximately 40 minutes.
Remove potato and let it cool to room temperature.
Peel and box-grate the potato.
 In a medium bowl, combine the grated potato, starch, egg, shallots, chives and salt and pepper to taste.

In another small bowl, thoroughly incorporate the chopped bacon and Brie.

Fill a one-ounce ring mold halfway with the potato mixture,
then place a small scoop of the cheese and bacon mixture in the center and top
Top with more potato. Press down to firmly compact the potato and unmold.
Repeat to use all ingredients

Fill a heavy skillet with enough vegetable oil to cover the tots. Heat oil at medium high, approximately 325 degrees, add tots and cook until golden brown. They start to float when they are done cooking.

I served mine with my homemade jalepeno ranch.

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