Now that I am spending more time at home cooking for my girls, it’s time to start adding recipes of my newest creations. This one is a quick and tasty treat after the hill. Or after a day of babysitting as in my case. Try to buy only locally produced, organic chicken if possible. Enjoy!
Red onion (medium) – chopped into small chunks
Tbsp. grated fresh ginger – chopped finely
2 Tbsp. grated garlic – chopped finely (Make sure that the garlic is not from China! More about that here)
1 tsp. dried chili pepper flakes
Whole Chicken – cut into 8ths
½ lb fresh asparagus – cut into thirds. (If it’s stupidly expensive, replace with celery.)
8 large mushrooms – chopped into quarters
2 cups fresh washed leaf spinach
1 large can (16 oz) crushed tomatoes
½ cup white wine (house wine)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large frying pan melt a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil (or olive oil) and sauté onion, ginger and garlic at medium heat for 5 minutes. Add chicken and chili flakes and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cover.
In a large saucepan, heat two tablespoons olive oil to medium heat and saute mushroom for five minutes. Do not burn the olive oil. Add asparagus and spinach, and cook at medium for another 5 minutes. Add contents from frying pan, crushed tomatoes and wine. Simmer on low until pot contents bubble slowly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and cover for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
As for accompaniments, both a simple pasta or rice make an excellent bed.
Remember: Buy Local and never buy any food from Asia, especially seafood.
Ok – this isn’t my recipe, but damn if I can’t share it anyways!
Submitted By: Starr
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“I grew up in Nova Scotia where seafood was cheap. My Mom and grandmothers had some pretty inventive ways of making lobster ‘not-boring!’ Now, lobster is a treat and costs a fortune. I’ve paid over ten dollars for one of these lobster rolls in Cape Cod and it wasn’t half as good or half as big as the ones my Mom taught me to make. This is a wonderful summer (or winter) treat and makes a fancy luncheon to impress your friends.”
I feel the pangs of fall hitting, and sometimes you need a little spice to warm yourself up. This dish makes a great accompaniment or may be served alone.
5 cups fresh mushrooms
4 tbl. butter
2 tbl. sliced green onions
2 tsps. curry powder or to taste
1/3 cup white wine
salt and pepper
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup half and half
Heat butter in heavy frypan and stir in onions, curry powder and mushrooms and cook over medium heat tossing for two or three minutes. Stir in wine, salt and pepper and cook for a further two to three minutes or until wine has reduced slightly and mushrooms are almost cooked. Mix cornstarch and cream and add stirring until thickened.
This is nice light dressing that works on almost any salad or bed of greens and has very little fat.
In a small bowl combine the following (serves 2):
½ teaspoon Finely chopped garlic
½ teaspoon Finely chopped ginger or ½ tablespoon of pickled ginger
¼ teaspoon sesame seed oil
¼ teaspoon light soya sauce
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
Dash of Patrick’s Super spice (see recipe at http://patricksmyth.ca/patricks-super-spice/)
Stir the ingredients and let sit at room temperature for at least ½ hour before drizzling over salad
So many times in the past I have found myself combining spices when I cook, and generally they spices that I use have been store bought in those little expensive containers. The following is a mixture that I came up with that works well on meat and grilled veggies.
I wouldn’t recommend it on fish or pasta though because of the ginger.
Go to the bulk section and buy the spices…it’s much more economical.
In a clean, very dry bowl combine the following:
½ tablespoon of crushed chili peppers
1 tablespoon of ground pepper
2 tablespoons of seasoning salt
1 tablespoon of ground ginger powder
2 tablespoons of garlic powder (NOT salt)
1 tablespoon of onion powder (NOT salt)
1 tablespoon of mustard powder
Mix thoroughly and put into a spice container/shaker (188 gram / 6.5 ounce size) . Use when you can and don’t be shy!
Patrick Smyth’s Famous Oyster Soup
Who doesn’t like oysters? Really? Who? Anyways, I collected some big beach oysters the other day while at Saltspring and decided that being August, a month without the letter “R”, we should cook them. (see why you should only eat oysters raw during months with an “R” in them after the recipe)
And so this is what we perfected over the course of about a week of cooking.
- Fry 2 cloves garlic and 1/8 red onion on low in 3 tablespoons olive oil till cooked. (Not brown)
- Add 1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms and brown on medium for about 5 minutes.
- Add 3 coarsely chopped green onions (Spring onions) and cook for another minute on medium.
- Add 1/2 dozen big oysters (chopped in quarters), 1 cup milk, 1/4 lb butter and 1 cup stock (stock should not be overpowering – I prefer knorrs veggie. If you can get seafood stock, use something light like shrimp stock.)
- Simmer for 10 minutes stirring so as it doesn’t burn.
- Add 2 ounces of Dad’s finest cognac, dash crushed pepper, stir and serve.
Sometimes I add some paprika to spice it up. You shouldn’t need any salt though because of butter.
An old myth specifies the best time to eat oysters is during months that contain an “R” (i.e. September through April) and to avoid eating oysters in months that do not contain an “R” (May through August).
While levels of certain naturally occurring marine bacteria, like Vibrio, are higher in coastal waters during warm weather months, the bacteria may still be present, although in lower levels, during cold weather months.
While most consumers are not susceptible to infection by Vibrio vulnificus, consumers who have certain illnesses or health conditions (see above list) should only eat molluscan shellfish that is cooked and abstain from eating it raw or partially cooked, regardless of the month.
Because heat kills harmful bacteria and viruses, thoroughly cooked oysters, clams, and mussels are safe for anyone to eat all year, as long as they are legally harvested.
Mather’s Mojito (per drink)
First invented in Cuba, this version has been updated by Patrick Smyth when he lived in West Vancouver to meet the west coast climate!
3 fresh Mint sprigs
1 oz simple syrup (see recipe)
3 tbsp Lemon juice (or lime), fresh
1 ½ oz Amber rum
¼ oz Grand Marnier (optional)
Club soda, Chilled
Simple syrup – this is an excellent thing to keep around for drinks, lattes and so forth. Take 1 cup water and add 1 cup sugar. In a saucepan bring sugar, and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer syrup, undisturbed, 2 minutes. Pour syrup through a fine sieve, pressing on solids. Cool at room temperature and store at room temperature.
Mojito – In a tall thin glass, crush part of the mint with a fork to coat the inside. Add the simple syrup and lemon juice and stir thoroughly. Top with ice. Add rum and mix. Top off with the club soda. Add a lime slice and the remaining mint. Serves one.
I know it’s early in the season to be thinking about baking, but this morning I found that we had let our bananas blacken…so here we go
1/2 cup Shortening
1 cups Sugar
2 Eggs; beaten
3 Bananas; ripe
1 tsp Baking soda
2 cups Flour
4 tsp Sour milk (add a smidge of vinegar to milk to make sour milk)
Dash of Captain Morgan’s dark rum (any dark rum will do, but Captain Morgan is a family ancestor)
|Cream shortening; add sugar and beat well.
|Beat eggs and mash bananas and add them to the above.
|Sift flour, salt and baking soda, add alternately with sour milk and beat until smooth. Add dash rum.
|Bake in a greased pan at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until it’s done. Cool well before slicing.|
This is Patrick Smyth’s recipe for ceviche – a great twist on a Peruvian classic
This Spanish classic is easy to make, and with scallops makes for a foo-foo appetizer which is a specialty in County Cork, Eire. The acidity of the citrus fruit ‘cooks’ the fish, and makes for a nice refreshing appy on a hot summer day.
½ kg bay scallops
Juice from 6 lemons
1 onion – sliced thinly
2 sticks of celery – diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ground pepper
½ tbsp white salt
1 tsp ginger – chopped finely
¼ cup fresh cilantro – chopped
In a glass bowl (never metal!) combine the lemon juice, ginger, celery, onion and olive oil. Add the scallops, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for no less than 2 hours. If possible, a full day of marinating is best and if there is now enough of the marinade to cover the mixture completely, add some water (not too much) until it is completely submerged, and cover with Saran wrap. The flesh of the scallops should be white and opaque when ready.
Just before serving, add cilantro and toss. Serve in glass bowls – Tall ice cream sundae dishes are the best
When the ceviche appetizer comes to the table, it’s as beautiful as a peek into a tide pool brimming with sea life. A bright clamshell opens next to a curling purple octopus tendril; there’s a flash of pink shrimp tail and a pretty bed of green and red vegetables.
The interplay of colors and forms in Nobu Malibu’s ceviche hints at the amazing nuances of flavor to come: sweet seafood enlivened with bright citrus flavors and set off by summery tomatoes and an undercurrent of chile and ginger.
Once found only in Latin American restaurants — Mexican and Peruvian mostly — ceviche has become a favorite of chefs at many of the most innovative restaurants in town, and it’s gaining almost a cult following among diners. The familiar appetizer of raw fish “cooked” in lime juice and tossed with vegetables and chiles has gone creative and global in L.A. these days, blithely crossing boundaries and showing up in all sorts of new guises in all sorts of places — steakhouses, neighborhood California cuisineries, formal French restaurants and Japanese restaurants too.
Chefs just seem to love creating new ceviches — they’re found on many tasting menus — improvising new combinations of flavors with each new season or seafood delivery. Spontaneity is the point: making something wonderful with whatever’s freshest and best at the moment — and that means an ever-changing palette of seafood, citrus and vegetables.
Ravel Centeno-Rodriguez, co-owner of Minibar in Studio City, loves ceviches so much he’s dreamed of opening a “cevichería.”
Minibar offers ceviches with different ethnic twists — Ecuadorean, Hawaiian, Thai — on the regular menu, changing every few months. Chef Thomas Deville also dreams up a continuous line of ceviches du jour. One recent example, the Hawaiian ceviche, is made with ahi tuna, pineapple, soy sauce, shaved fennel and “gyoza chips.” Another with a Mediterranean twist cooks rock shrimp and albacore in a crunchy marinade of lime and orange juice, fresh tomatoes, diced red bell pepper, ginger and honey. Coming soon, as part of Minibar’s expansion: a raw bar with a big ceviche section.
Other restaurateurs might be a bit less ceviche-mad than Centeno-Rodriguez, but not by much. It’s no surprise to find it on the menu at Latin-focused places such as Norman’s in West Hollywood, Paladar in Hollywood or Border Grill in Santa Monica. But it’s also showing up at restaurants as different as the French-Mediterranean Lucques, the Japanese Nobu Malibu, the steakhouse Boa, and Meson G, where small plates rule.
Go ahead: improvise
The spirit of improvisation has always animated ceviche makers (the dish probably originated with fishermen who couldn’t cook on their boats and so “cooked” their catch with lime juice and added tomatoes, cilantro or whatever was at hand), so the current anything-goes mood among chefs is a natural stage in the dish’s evolution.
It’s also a product of distinctly L.A. conditions: the availability of great, incredibly fresh fish; a customer base that’s wild for flavor but shies away from carbs and calories; and a local love affair with raw fish — be it sushi, sashimi, ceviche or crudo.
“Ceviche tastes good, it’s refreshing, you feel good after you eat it,” says Suzanne Goin of Lucques. “It’s brightly flavored. In L.A. we eat a lot of sushi and sashimi. For me, ceviche connects with that too. That’s the nice thing about being a chef now in Southern California. I’m definitely not a fusion person, but you’re not so boxed in.”
Goin’s ceviche was inspired by a farmer’s “amazing” tangelos and Reed avocados to create an appetizer of pink-fleshed nairagi (the Hawaiian fish also known as striped marlin, or a’u) quick-marinated in lime and lemon juice, and served with avocado, tangelo, jalapeño and pistachios. Goin then worked with her Hawaiian fish supplier, who brought her different fish to sample, and she tasted various options until she settled on the nairagi. “It all came from a tangelo-avocado-pistachio place. The tangelos and their juice are bracing and taste really good cold; the avocados are buttery; and the fish is something that’s good very cold with a lot of lime and sea salt.”
At tiny Chloe in Playa del Rey, co-chefs de cuisine Abigail Wolfe and Ian Torres worked together to create their ceviche, a salad of albacore marinated in lime and tangerine juices, then mixed with a confetti of diced cilantro, cucumber, radish and corn and served mounded on greens.
“Albacore’s a really cool fish,” says Wolfe. “It’s really pale, and then when you toss it with the citrus, parts of it turn white. You don’t want it to ‘cook’ evenly. It’s beautiful when you can see the opaque and translucent parts.”
Torres, she says, had the idea to incorporate the vegetables so that it would be equally vegetables and fish, with lots of colors and textures. Thrilled with the arrival of early summer corn and cucumber, Wolfe and Torres tossed those vegetables into their surprising ceviche.
When chefs mix it up with ceviche, they ring changes in one or all of the three elements of the dish: seafood, citrus and vegetables.
The seafood can be all of one kind or a mixture. Mild-flavored white fish are often used, but these days, chefs might taste half a dozen fish — such as sea bass, halibut, hamachi — before selecting the right one for a particular ceviche. Shrimp, rock shrimp, scallops, squid, octopus have all shown up in a citrus bath on someone’s appetizer list. When fresh calamari came to town, Ciudad featured a minted calamari ceviche. Lee Heftner at Spago often has a ceviche on tasting menus there, frequently using hamachi.
At Boa Steakhouse and Lounge on the Sunset Strip, ceviche livens up the seafood platter appetizer, an amusing and impressive edifice of king crab legs, lobster and shellfish on ice. Served with warm, chewy sourdough rolls, the tangy ceviche of shrimp, fish, scallops or conch, depending on the season, complements the sweet cold crustaceans.
Even Umenohana, the Beverly Hills bastion of handcrafted tofu, offers an appetizer ceviche: a single shrimp and a single scallop marinated in lime juice, served in a chilled martini glass on a slice of lime and topped with a tiny scoop of apple-tomato sorbet. The sorbet’s designed to soften the acidity and enhance the sweetness, a departure from traditional chile-spiced ceviches.
“You have to have some kind of acid,” says Minibar’s Centeno-Rodriguez, “citrus or vinegar. The fish has to cure.”
While South American ceviches often use vinegar, just about every kind of citrus juice seems to have made its way into L.A. ceviches lately: tangerine, orange, lemon, lime, tangelo. Fish “cooks” differently in different citrus; chefs often combine less acidic juices such as orange with traditional lime.
Nobu Malibu’s ceviche is made with various combinations of white fish, shellfish, octopus, squid and shrimp in a sauce of yuzu and lemon juice, soy, ginger, garlic, black pepper and spicy aji amarillo chile paste.
Ceviche lovers look for a little something on the side too. At Café del Rey, the halibut ceviche, made with Buddha Hand citron juice and toasted coriander seeds, is served with Thai basil granita. Peruvian ceviches are served with potatoes and corn, but most of us, accustomed to Mexican ceviches, look for a chip equivalent.
“You always have to have a little bit of crunch,” says Centeno-Rodriguez, “whether it’s from the ceviche itself or what accompanies it. I always like ceviche with some kind of dipping tool — gyoza chips, arepas, plantain chips, tostones [plantain fritters], jicama chips, yucca chips. That’s part of the fun. It’s a little party in a bowl.”
Roots in Latin America
Ceviche was a specialty of Mexican beach resorts back in the day, and for decades it was most closely connected with Acapulco.
Longtime Mexico travelers remember that on boat tours taken from coastal resorts, the destination was often an isolated tropical beach where the boat crew would prepare ceviche for the visitors. Recipes for slightly more complicated ceviches using pompano, haddock, oysters, shrimp and snapper appear in cookbooks published in Mexico from the 1950s onward.
Ceviche is also a traditional dish in Ecuador and Peru, where it’s most often made with whole shrimp marinated in lemon juice then stirred into a salsa of finely diced tomato, onion and cilantro. Other fish and shellfish are also used, and many recipes call for the inclusion of chopped chiles, celery, garlic and other ingredients.
Ceviche’s roots make it a favorite among Latino kitchen staffers around town. It’s a popular staff dinner at Water Grill, where Chloe’s Wolfe, who is from Vermont, had her first taste of it while working at the downtown restaurant. It’s also often a staff meal at Cobra & Matadors, though it’s not currently on the menu there.
Caribbean, Asian flavors
Some dishes billed as ceviches veer off into tuna tartare or semi-sashimi territory. At Noe downtown, chef Robert Gadsby’s tuna ceviche with Bermuda onions and wasabi is soft slices of seemingly seared tuna — no chill, no crunch, no chiles. The ceviche on the menu at Ortolan veers a bit too: white salmon is marinated briefly in lime, then served with caviar and lime-and-lemongrass milkshake shots.
But many of the best ceviches we’ve tasted lately owe their exciting flavors to Caribbean and Asian ingredients. Conch, coconut, lemon grass, Asian chiles, ginger, Thai basil and other ingredients from citrus- and seafood-loving cuisines work beautifully.
The trick is to keep it simple. No matter how inspired the experiment, ceviche has to stay honest to its humble roots to be ceviche. Improvise away — but keep the mood casual.
Just slice up the freshest fish you can lay your hands on, squeeze the juiciest limes or lemons you’ve got, toss in the tastiest combination of chiles, raw vegetables, herbs and other salad-y things that strike your fancy. Marinate, mix, chill — and call it cooking.
Total time: 40 minutes, plus 1 to 2 hours marinating time
Servings: 4 to 6
Note: From chef Thomas Deville at Minibar.
1 red bell pepper
1 jalapeño pepper
1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/4 pound rock shrimp
1/4 pound albacore tuna
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tomatoes, seeded, not peeled, and diced small
2 drops Tabasco
2 green onions, green part only, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons micro basil leaves or minced basil,
Toasted pita triangles
1. Char the bell pepper and jalapeño pepper on a grill or stovetop burner, then place in a paper bag. When cool, peel, seed and dice, and set aside. Sauté the onion 3 to 4 minutes in 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Cool.
2. Drop the rock shrimp into boiling water and cook for 2 minutes, then remove and plunge the shrimp into an ice bath. Drain and pat dry.
3. Cut the albacore into pieces about the same size as the shrimp.
4. Place the shrimp and tuna in a bowl. Add the reserved chopped bell pepper, jalapeño, sautéed onion, lime and orange juices, diced tomatoes, Tabasco, green onions, ginger, lime zest, honey, salt and pepper. Gently stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours before serving.
5. To serve, garnish with basil and drizzle with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. Serve with toasted pita triangles.
Each serving: 92 calories; 9 grams protein; 9 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 3 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 37 mg. cholesterol; 428 mg. sodium.
Mixed seafood ceviche
Total time: 30 minutes
Note: From Nobu Matsuhisa at Nobu Malibu. Look for yuzu juice in Asian markets; aji amarillo paste is available at Latin markets.
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons yuzu juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon aji amarillo paste
In a bowl, combine the lemon and yuzu juice, salt, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, pepper and aji amarillo paste. Set aside.
Seafood and assembly
6 ounces mixed seafood such as halibut, shellfish, octopus, squid, shrimp
4 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
3/4 cup peeled and thinly sliced cucumber
4 each red, yellow and orange cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cilantro sprigs for garnish
1. Very thinly slice the raw fish. Shuck the shellfish, if using. If using octopus, cook it 15 to 20 minutes in boiling water, until opaque. If using squid or shrimp, cook very briefly by plunging into boiling water; when the water returns to a boil, remove the seafood from the pot and put into ice water to stop the cooking. Pat dry and cut into bite-size pieces.
2. Combine the seafood, chopped cilantro and vegetables in a large bowl. Gently stir in the ceviche sauce. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro sprigs.
Each serving: 65 calories; 9 grams protein; 6 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 1 gram fat; 0 saturated fat; 33 mg. cholesterol; 437 mg. sodium.
Albacore ceviche salad
Total time: 30 minutes
Note: From Abigail Wolfe and Ian Torres at Chloe in Playa del Rey.
1 cup sweet corn kernels, cut from 1 to 2 cobs
3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
12 ounces raw albacore tuna
1/2 cup lime juice
4 tablespoons tangerine juice
1 1/3 cups peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
1 cup red radish, julienned
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
12 leaves red leaf lettuce
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
1. Cook the corn kernels in 2 teaspoons oil in a small sauté pan for 2 to 3 minutes on low heat until crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper; place in a small bowl and chill.
2. Remove the sinew from the fish and cut the meat into small dice.
3. Combine the lime and tangerine juices with salt and pepper to taste, then whisk in the remaining 3/4 cup olive oil. Marinate the fish in this mixture for 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Combine the marinated fish with the chilled corn and the cucumber, radish and chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. To serve, place 2 lettuce leaves on each salad plate. Spoon some of the juices onto the leaves. Using a slotted spoon, mound the ceviche onto each plate. Garnish with cilantro.
Each serving: 356 calories; 15 grams protein; 10 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 30 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 26 mg. cholesterol; 38 mg. sodium.