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Island Fever

26 Apr

Chicken spiced with Indian and Caribbean flavors. A vegetable side that represents the most nutritious food you can possibly consume.

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Feeling Spicy: Cajun Shrimp

20 Apr

hrow a mid-week party for your taste buds with this simple and flavorful meal. 

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Thai Style Mahi Mahi with Riesling

4 Aug

Generally when I make a dish and post the recipe, I have attempted a maximum of two times before I feel ready to share. I experimented at least four or five time on the red curry sauce listed below. The inspiration for this sauce came from my garden. Since April, I have had a red chili pepper plant that has been growing into a small tree. Considering I have more hot peppers than I know what to do with, I immediately seized the opportunity to tackle a recipe I always viewed as complicated and difficult. Thai and Indian restaurants have always impressed me with their spicy and creamy curry sauces. So many different herbs and spices unleashed with each bite, I find it very hard to decipher exactly what ingredients are used and the proportions. After looking over some recipes online and in my cookbooks, I originally attempted with a simple red curry sauce… red curry paste, minced red chili peppers, coconut milk, lime, and basil. I would pan fry boneless chicken breasts and pour the sauce over in the last few minutes of cooking. I determined the chicken was too dry and the sauce needed much more flavor. On my next attempt, I tried to slow cook chicken breasts on the bone and added some ginger. The chicken was actually too juicy and thinned out the sauce more than I would have liked. Within my next few trials I made the mistake of using light coconut milk over whole, adding chicken broth to the sauce, and not adding enough red chili peppers. I finally realized the following: a light fish would be the preferable meat and adding interesting ingredients like corn would help create my Thai masterpiece. See below wine pairing  for final recipe.

Considering this dish has a white fish and a spicy quality, I would recommend a wine with floral components. Riesling from Germany and Gewurtztraminer from Alsace come to mind. They both have a nice golden color which adds body complementing the oil in the fish. A slightly sweet Riesling offsets the spice in the dish. Kabinett, Spatlese, and Auslese are generally on the label and signify different levels of ripening. A Kabinett refers to grapes picked first. A Spatlese will have more color and concentration. An Auslese has been left on the vine longer than the two previous and can be much sweeter. Gewurtztraminer from Alsace is generally dry but has a rich color like Chardonnay and the floral qualities pair perfectly with Thai food. Windisch Niersteiner Spiegelberg Kabinett is one of my favorite traditional Rieslings and a great value.

Mahi Mahi in a Thai Red Curry Sauce
– 1 lb Mahi Mahi into 2-4 fillets
– 1/2 white sweet onion chopped finely
– 1 clove garlic minced
– 1 corn on the cob shaved into single kernels
– 1 tbsp sliced ginger
– 2-3 red chili peppers depending on desired spice
– Cumin, salt, and pepper
-1 lime squeezed
– 1 tbsp fish sauce
– 1/2 can whole coconut milk
– 1 1/2 tbsp red curry paste
– 1/2 cup chopped basil
– 1 tbsp butter
– 1 tbsp peanut oil

In a sauce pan, heat the oil on medium heat and add onion, garlic, corn, ginger, and peppers. Cook until softened. Add the cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir into vegetables. Add lime juice and fish sauce and stir. Add the curry paste and stir. Stir in the coconut milk, add basil, and simmer for 30 minutes. In another pan, melt butter on medium high heat and add fillets seasoned with salt and pepper. Once a crispy brown edge is formed, flip the fish, turn off the heat, add the sauce, and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve. I made this with sauteed asparagus and Basmati white rice. Basmati is definitely the rice of choice for Thai and Indian style dishes. Enjoy!

Lemon Shrimp Risotto & Vernaccia

10 Mar

This past Saturday was the warmest day in months. As a result, my taste buds have instantly shifted toward spring flavors – fresh, zesty, and light. Lemons are a fruit I keep around through the warmer months. Whether I use them or not, they make such a beautiful centerpiece in the middle of the table. A wonderful ingredient to add to sauteed vegetables, vinaigrette’s, and marinades.
Tonight I made a risotto with lemon flavored shrimp and fresh farm stand zucchini. Many times when we think of risotto, the creamy buttery fatty part doesn’t seem like the healthiest option mid-week. I’ve omitted butters and creams and replaced them with olive oil, milk, and Parmesan shavings. I think the thyme and lemon zest add a concentration of flavors that add a nice dimension to the dish. Enjoy!
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
1 shallot chopped finely
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup dry white rice
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 – 1 cup milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb frozen raw shrimp
1 lemon juiced
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
sliced zucchini
salt and pepper
In a deep saucepan, saute garlic and shallot. Add rice and saute for a few more minutes. Add thyme, lemon zest, and add 1/2 cup chicken broth at a time over med-low heat. Cook slowly, continuously adding more liquid. Finish with milk and let absorb into rice. Add Parmesan, cooked shrimp, and cooked zucchini. Let warm up together for a few minutes.
To cook shrimp, put in saute pan still frozen and add lemon, wine, and spices. Cook until pink. Saute zucchini for a few minutes on each side until bronzed.
Serve with Vernaccia – a crisp white from the Tuscan region of Italy.
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