Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Shrimp with Udon Noodles

It's not easy cooking for one. Every time I cook for myself, I tend to over-do it and I always have left overs. And before I know it, I have left overs after left overs in the fridge and, eventually, I have to throw it out or feed it to Max (shhhh, don't tell his mom). So, I'm sticking to easy things for now, and this udon soup is SO EASY. I had a few frozen shrimp, some left over baby bellas, and exactly one egg, and voila, my masterpiece! What's great about this recipe is that you can customize it to your liking. I'm thinking next time I'll add some bok choy and thinly sliced beef.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • One package of udon noodles, shrimp flavor (in the refrigerator section)
  • 6 medium to large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup sliced baby bellas or white mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallions
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Place your egg in a sauce pan and fill with water to just cover the egg. Bring water to a boil. Cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let it cook with steam for 10 minutes. Drain and let egg cool. Slice and set aside.

In a skillet, add 2 teaspoons olive oil on medium high. Add the shrimp, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the white wine or lemon juice. Saute another 2 minutes until shrimp is cooked, mushrooms are soft and lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.

Follow the cooking directions on udon noodle package and make the noodles, except only add 1/2 of the shrimp packet (flavoring). Then add the shrimp , garlic and mushroom mixture.

Serve udon noodles with shrimp and mushrooms and top with slices of egg and sprinkle scallions on top.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Blackened Tuna with Five Pepper Sauce

Matthew is still in Virginia and he has had some incredible seafood. He recently visited Croc's in Virginia Beach and had their blackened tuna with the five pepper sauce. This recipe is not from the restaurant, but it's pretty close. It's both sweet and sour and just slightly spicy because the chili garlic sauce gives it a kick. If you can't find chili garlic sauce, you can use 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes instead.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • 2 (8 oz.) Ahi tuna steaks, about 2/3" thick
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 8 oz. dark syrup
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Prepared mashed potatoes

To make five pepper sauce: In medium saucepan, add syrup, chicken stock, vinegars and stir in sugar. Let sauce reduce by 1/4 over medium heat, about 15 minutes. Once liquid is reduced by 1/4, add all the peppers, chili garlic sauce, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until all the peppers are translucent in color, about 15 more minutes.

To make the tuna: generously coat tuna with Cajun seasoning.

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over high heat. When oil is nearly smoking, place steaks in pan. Cook on one side for 3 to 4 minutes, or until blackened. Turn steaks, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes for medium rare.

To serve: place a portion of mashed potatoes on center of a plate. Place your blackened tuna steak over the potatoes, then pour the five pepper sauce over blackened tuna fillet and serve.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Grilled Asparagus

It's late May and it's so hot. Why? It's supposed to be gray and slightly cool. Where is May gray, Mr. Weatherman?

I can't write. My fingers are overheating. I can't cook. My kitchen is 85 degrees...AND I HAVE TWO FANS AT FULL BLAST.

Must find shade.

My chanclas are hating the hot pavement. What am I going to eat?

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 2 bunches asparagus (2 pounds total), tough ends removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 12 ounces cavatappi or other short pasta
  • 1 small log soft goat cheese (5 ounces), crumbled
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives, for garnish (optional)

Preheat your outdoor grill to high.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta--if you have a fancy grill with a burner, then you can do the whole thing outside.

Place asparagus on a plate and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place asparagus on grill over high heat turning each spear occasionally for 3-4 minutes, or to desired tenderness (asparagus should begin to brown in spots); cut into 2-inch lengths.

While asparagus is grillin', generously salt boiling water. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Set aside 1 1/2 cups pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.

In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese, 3 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 cup pasta water. Season with salt and pepper, and whisk until smooth. Add goat-cheese mixture and asparagus to pasta; toss to combine, adding more pasta water if necessary for sauce to coat pasta. Serve pasta garnished with chives.

Recipe adapted and modified from Everyday Food.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Steamed Shrimp

Wow, it was 80 degrees today in San Diego, and it's suppose to be in the 100's tomorrow! The last thing you want to do on hot days like these is cook in a hot kitchen...or even cook at all. This is when fast cooking proteins, like seafood, become your best friends. And shrimp is just perfect for hot summer days. I have to tell you that I'm a fan of Old Bay Seasoning now, because you can use the seasoning on pretty much all seafood. Oh, and if you want to pair this dish with beer, try Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus. I'm not a beer fan, but this combination is so refreshing!


  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon OLD BAY SEASONING
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, with shells on

In saucepan, combine first 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Add shrimp, stir gently. Cover; steam until tender, about 5 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and drain shrimp. Serve steamed shrimp with a side of cocktail sauce and melted butter.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oysters Rockefeller

My husband is currently in Virginia Beach, VA, and he recently paid a visit to the Seaside Raw Bar. It's a little whole in the wall, yet their menu is respectable and the food delicious--the cocktail choices are not bad either. Matt had the oysters rockerfeller for the first time and, as he told me, "they were out of this world." Small oysters, such as P.E.I. oysters is a good choice for the recipe below.


  • 3/4 cup firmly packed watercress sprigs (2 oz before discarding coarse stems), finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups firmly packed baby spinach (1 1/3 oz), finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped scallion greens
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons minced celery
  • 3 tablespoons coarse fresh bread crumbs (preferably from a day-old baguette)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon Pernod or other anise-flavored liquor
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 3 bacon slices
  • About 10 cups kosher salt for baking and serving (3 lb)
  • 20 small oysters on the half shell, oysters picked over for shell fragments and shells scrubbed well

PreparationToss together watercress, spinach, scallion greens, parsley, celery, and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon bread crumbs in a bowl. Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, then add watercress mixture and cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in Pernod, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste, then transfer mixture to a bowl and chill, covered, until cold, about 1 hour.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.

While watercress mixture chills, cook bacon in cleaned skillet over moderate heat, turning, until crisp, then drain on paper towels and finely crumble.

Spread 5 cups kosher salt in a large shallow baking pan (1 inch deep) and nestle oysters (in shells) in it. Spoon watercress mixture evenly over oysters, then top with bacon and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons bread crumbs. Bake oysters until edges of oysters begin to curl and bread crumbs are golden, about 10 minutes.

Serve warm oysters in shells, nestled in kosher salt (about 5 cups), on a platter.

Oysters Rockefeller at the Seaside Raw Bar

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

California BLT

There comes a moment in a woman's (or man's) life when we desire the crispy taste of pork bacon in our mouths. The desire is so great that we'll sometimes go to great lengths just to eat Mr. piggy. Whenever I walk into a house or restaurant and smell the smoky sweet bacon in the air, my mouth begins to water. And don't get me started on apple wood smoked bacon--that sh** is the bomb! I love bacon so much, I even contemplated joining the Bacon Club of the Month. But, I decided to be somewhat healthy because I do feel guilty eating bacon as it's full of sodium and saturated fat. So, I've been limiting myself to a couple of slices of good bacon once a month. And when I do cook bacon, I always make sure I make it for a special meal or add it into something yummy. And this BLT is awesome because it has avocado in it. Bacon lovers, rejoice!

INGREDIENTS (makes on mean BLT)

  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 1 beefsteak tomato
  • lettuce leaves
  • 2 slices of bread, such as 7 grain, sourdough or your favorite bread
  • Half an avocado, sliced
  • Mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Begin by broiling three slices of bacon under the broiler. Drain on paper towels.
  2. Slice one beefsteak tomato; wash and spin two lettuce leaves.
  3. Lightly toast your bread slices, if desired.
  4. Assemble the sandwich: spread mayo on both slices; arrange bacon (cut in half if you need to), followed by avocado slices, and tomatoes. Season with a little salt and pepper before you top with lettuce.
  5. Serve with salt and vinegar chips and enjoy!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Chiles Rellenos

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. I spent my weekend in Mexico. I first attended my cousins quinceaƱera on Saturday; and I went to Puerto Nuevo with my entire family to eat some delicious spiny lobster on Sunday.

So, I probaby don't have to tell you that Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday in Mexico. It commemorates the victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza over the French occupational forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. History lesson over, now go make these chile rellenos. Once you have everything assembled, the cooking is fast, but the entire process will take you 45 to 60 minutes. Salud!


  • 6 Poblano chiles or Anaheim
  • 1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup flour + 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups salsita roja (recipe below)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  1. Preheat your oven to broil.
  2. Rinse the chiles. Place the chiles in a 9 x 14 baking dish and place on the top shelf of your oven. Watch and listen closely. When the skins start to char and turn black in places, take the chiles out and flip them over. Be sure and use a potholder or tongs so you don't burn your hands!
  3. When both sides are fairly evenly charred, remove them from the oven.
  4. Wrap each chile in a moist paper towel or place in a sealed plastic bag to steam. After a few minutes, check them. Once the skin comes off easily, peel each chile.
  5. Cut a slit almost the full length of each chile. Make a small "t" across the top, by the stem and remove seeds and ribs.
  6. Insert the cheese through the slit in the chili. Put in a good amount but don’t stuff it tightly as it expands when it melts. Seal the slit in the chili with thin wooden toothpicks.
  7. Dredge the stuffed chiles in 1/4 cup flour and set aside.
  8. Whip the egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer, until stiff peaks have formed.
  9. Beat the egg yolks with one tablespoon flour and one teaspoon salt. Fold the yolks into egg whites and combine well.
  10. Heat the oil in a large skillet with high sides on medium high.
  11. Dip each chile in the egg batter. Coat evenly. Fry, seam side down on both sides until golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain.
  12. Meanwhile, heat the salsa in a medium saucepan. Place one or two rellenos on each plate and pour salsa over them. Serve them immediately and don't forget to serve Sol beer, too!



  • 2 large tomatoes
  • A quarter of a large onion, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • A handful of cilantro, lightly chopped

In a medium sauce pan add the tomatoes, quarter of an onion and garlic cloves. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tomato skins start to break and peel.

Drain, but reserve 1/4 cup of cooking liquid. Peel the skins off the tomatoes.

Place the ingredients in a blender, along with salt, pepper and cilantro. Blend on high for one minute, until you get a sauce. Taste for seasoning. If you want your sauce to be more watery, add a few tablespoons of the reserved water. Serve sauce warm. You can also use this sauce for tostadas or sopes. Can you feel the Mexican love?