Posts Tagged ‘grains of paradise’

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Day 12 of Living Pescetarian – Olive Oil Poached Blacktip Shark & Horseradish Mashed Taters

July 23, 2010

So, as you can tell, I’ve spent quite a bit of time experimenting with various lifestyles to find what fits me best. I’ve always been into health and fitness but, as a Chef, it’s WAY TOO EASY to give in to excess and carelessness and just indulge in anything and everything, (which I’ve done in the past). Honestly, when I had at whatever I wanted, I would get bored. It’s not that I’m a big fan of conformity or break-back rules but I felt like a spoiled brat having at whatever dead animal I could find and it’s been bothering me for a long time now.

So, I’ve been looking into ways to adapt to a program! I love programs! Exercise programs, scheduling daily goals, etc. I feel a gleaming sense of accomplishment when I hit achievement-high-marks, large or small. Yet, I’m not OCD about it. I’m not spastic or neurotic. I LOVE living care-free but I prefer to do it within some sort of reason. Does that make sense? lol ~I guess it’s all about finding a balance. Which perfectly describes my dietary quest!

Balance! Over the years, (some recently documented on this blog), I’ve done the raw vegan thing, the vegetarian thing, tried quite a few detoxes/cleanses and then I came to Pescetarianism, which builds heavily off a classic Mediterranean diet, (which I LOVE!) ~And, I think I’ve found a home. 🙂

Firstly, I grew up and still live in Texas. All the stuff you see and hear about reguarding our INFATUATION with meat and smoking everything TO DEATH, (gogo BBQ overdose. . .?) is true. My dad was always a BBQ maniac, had to slap EVERYTHING on that grill and smoke it into oblivion. I mean, the animal is already dead. No need to kill it again! ~I’ve had my fill. :p

~Anyway, did you know there’s only ONE Vegetarian restaurant in my city of San Antonio, Texas? Sad, huh? It’s called GREEN and it’s fantastic! As a tourist city (and one of the largest Metropolises in the United States), San Antonio has plenty of places that offer vegetarian and vegan selections but the general atmosphere is pretty carnivorous.

I’ve wanted to change that influence within myself for a long time. I’ve researched my choices and former lifestyles ENDLESSLY, (researching is quite the hobby of mine, as anyone who knows me can confirm), and I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t NEED all that meat! As far as proteins go, the insane amounts of vegetable proteins out there do a body well, (Quinoa, Chia, Tempeh -Oh-My!), and Pescetarianism allows dairy & eggs so it’s not like there is any deprivation going on here. Also, I’ve been interested in eliminating growth hormones from my body. As a Chef, I know from where to source hormone free, free range, pampered product but if I’m going out somewhere, there’s no way I can know if what I’m eating meets the personal standards I’ve set for myself. But does that beg the question if going Pescetarian has anything to do with waxing Philosophical?

Kinda yes, kinda no. It may sound selfish, but my first intention is to better my own body. And I just don’t feel like I need all that meat. Granted, I LOVE seafood. Just love it. When I was on my raw vegan stints and vegetarian stints, while I was fulfilled, I had an outstanding longing for the seafare I’ve always enjoyed. As it goes, some of the healthiest proteins and fats come from the sea – even non-fishy sorts like seaweed! – so I feel I’ve found a middle ground in my desire to better my body and lessen my carbon footprint.

But this brings us to point of endangered species of the sea. I’m quite concerned about the way commercial fisheries operate and the manner in which we’re depleting things like Blacktip Sharks. The photo of a shark steak in this post is probably the last you’ll see from me because I feel really bad we’re fishing them into extinction. 😦  As with most things, the human race is overdoing it and I’d like to help fix it or contribute to making it better anyway I can. ~By the way, that was a damn good dish I made, (Olive Oil Poached Blacktip Shark Steak). >.> C’est la vie. . .

Granted, I still have LOTS of researching to do. I know where to source lots and lots of farm raised seafood and I’m a pretty damn good fisherman myself so I’m a step up in that reguard. But my feeling is, if I’m going to do this Pescetarian thing, I’m going to do it the best, most responsible way possible. That’s through education, information & respect for the world I live in.

Will this be where my dietary adventures stop? I don’t know, honestly. I know it’s working for me NOW. Does that mean I’ll fall back on old habits? I’d like to say NO, but I’m not perfect. And! If I fuck up, I’ll be sure to let all of you know because that’s part of taking responsibility for one’s actions. Will I end up a full-blown Vegetarian, even Vegan, one day? Probably lol. And that’d be pretty cool. I never felt better than during Raw Vegan Adventures but I just LOVE cooking things. When I’m fixing things in the kitchen, it’s not just work or technique. It’s passion AND very therapeutic! It’s just what I do. Also, I don’t intend to stop preparing what others want. These decisions I’m making are for me, personally. I have NO intention of forcing my choices on anyone else by saying, “Oh, well I don’t eat steak anymore so I refuse to cook you one!” ~I feel decisions like these are arrived at after a bit of a journey and it’s out of my boundaries to place any restrictions on how another person lives their life. I’ll be a travel-pal to any person along any journey they want or desire company on. While we’re on whatever road we’re on, if they want some hot wings, I’ll fix ’em some hot wings. And they’ll be the best goddamn hot wings ever. 😀

As for me, personally, I’m doing a few things differently and already feel tons better for it. 🙂

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Olive Oil Poached Blacktip Shark w/ Horseradish Mashed Taters

*Recipe for an intimate dinner for 2*

2 Blacktip Shark Steaks
2 cups Extra Virign Olive Oil (maybe more or less, we’ll see)
Herbes de Provence
Grains of Paradise or Freshly Ground Mixed Pepper Corns
Sea Salt
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Basil
Fresh Lemon (Zest + Juice)
Earth Balance (your choice!)
Prepared Horseradish
Chopped Scallion for garnish
Fresh Parsley for garnish
(like in the photo, Fresh Blackberries for garnish)

Marinade the shark steaks in about a cup of olive oil, 2 tsp’s fresh lemon zest, 4-6 large fresh basil leaves, torn to release fragrance and 4-6 sprigs of fresh rosemary. 30 mins to an hour before preparing works but overnight is best, if you can swing it.

Next, heat a large stew pot or saucepan over LOW heat. Remove shark from marinade and season well with sea salt, pepper or Grains of Paradise & Herbes de Provence. Add olive oil marinade to cooking vessel, followed by the steaks. If anymore olive oil is needed, add now so that the steaks are JUST submerged. Cover and pamper these babies for a good 10-12 mins. Again, we want our oil WARM. You should be just about able to stick your finger in it, so low to med-low. We want to poach, not deep fry. This is something you’ll have to play around with and get just right based on your stove and your sense of timing! If you need to let these things poach to 15 mins to be comfortable with their level of done-ness, go ahead but after awhile, you’ll get the hang of it!

*Good Vid on Poaching Fish like Halibut in Oil*

For the mashed taters! (Again, being from the South, I call ’em Taters!) Dice 1lb potatoes of your choice. Peeling is OPTIONAL. I like skin in my mash so I never peel them but it’s up to you. Start with a pot of cold water, add potatoes, about a tsp of fresh rosemary, 10-12 fresh basil leaves, 2 tsp sea salt, 2 tsp fresh ground mixed pepper or Grains of Paradise, half a lemon’s juice and – after being careful not to get seeds in your pot – go ahead and add the lemon chunk so it can boil, as well. Cover and bring to a boil. Remain covered and boil for 10-15 mins, or until pierced easily. Once done, drain and remove the lemon chunk.
Next, add to the pot 2-4 tablespoons of your choice of Earth Balance (I used their Vegan Butter sticks, which have a STELLAR flavour), about 1/2=3/4 cup of your desired milk, (I used unflavoured Soy), and as much Horseradish as you can take. Generally, you want to add by the tsp and taste-test. For this recipe, I used 4 tsp and the horseradish DID NOT overtake the flavour of the mash. It was back there, the fragrance of it, but not stinging the tongue. It was so fantastic! But based on what brand of horseradish you buy, this effect will vary and take some experimentation to get correct!

When butter and milk are hot, (not boiling, just hot), remove from heat, add horseradish and rice your taters into it. You may also remove the liquids to a huge bowl and do the combining there, such as rice the taters into the bowl or mash them by hand or with an electric hand mixer. Be sure to get the rosemary and basil in there. You can even add freshly minced garlic or garlic powder! Once that’s done, adjust seasoning to taste.

Uncover the shark. They should look like Mother of Pearl; this delicate, gentle white colour.

To plate, carefully lift steaks with WIDE spatula and allow to drain most of the excess olive oil off, but not all. That oil is part of the prize and part of the flavour. Pile up mashed taters, lay the shark beside, kinda overlapping, spray with lemon, sprinkle with chopped scallions, garnish with parsley & blackberries and Bon Appetit!

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Seafood Stew & Midwest Couture Blog

June 9, 2010

A bit ago, the glorious Trasi Kromer of Midwest Couture Blog turned me onto a photo-contest that I ultimately missed the date on (oops!) but she was wonderful enough to blog about the event and post my recipe! She’s honey-sweet, gorgeous & insightful so I hope you pay her blog a visit!

Here are the goods:

Seafood Stew Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 lb. Littleneck Clams
1 lb. Chilean Mussels
2 3-4 oz. filets Orange Roughy
2 3-4 oz. filets Halibut
4-6 fresh, cleaned whole squid, bodies sliced in rounds, with tentacles (for garnish)
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup fennel, diced
1/2 cup diced tomato
2-3 tbsp. minced garlic
2-3 good pinches of cumin
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil
1 cup seafood stock
Pinch good saffron (if unavailable, use Mexican Azafran)
4 oz cup organic tomato sauce
Sea Salt to taste
Grains of Paradise to taste (if unavailable, Freshly Ground Black Pepper will suffice)
Sprinkle of Herbes de Provence (Optional)

Preparation:

Heat olive oil in pot or large sauce pan over low heat. (On the side, have a skillet heating slowly. Keep on low till 5 minutes before the Halibut step).
Add diced onion, celery, fennel, tomatoes (and any stray tomato juice from dicing), garlic and cover immediately.
Uncover after 3-4 minutes. When you see condensation droplets, that’s the sweat you want. Add salt to allow vegetables to release moisture, as well as Grains of Paradise (or pepper if unavailable), cumin, saffron (or azafran if unavailable), thyme and bay leaves. This delicate process we’re orchestrating is like a seasoning infusion.
Cover to allow steam and precipitation to create a broth. Keep heat low and allow this process to work for an additional 5-6 minutes.
Uncover and stir to assure there is no to minimal browning. Then, recover for an additional 2 minutes to ensure a good sweat has been had.
Uncover and Incorporate seafood stock & tomato sauce. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Uncover and strain liquid. Discard or reserve solids for whatever you want to use them for. Up to you. For this particular recipe, we are creating a broth sans solids other than the seafood.
Return liquid to sauce pan or pot. Add Orange Roughy and poach 6-8 minutes covered.
Uncover and add squid. Poach an additional 2-4 minutes for a total of 2-4 minutes for the squid, 10-12 minutes for the fish.
When done, remove fish and squid and cover with aluminum foil to stay warm. Add mussels and clams and cover. Do not disturb for about 8-10 minutes.

*WHILE THIS IS WORKING, TIME TO SEAR OUR HALIBUT*

Bring additional (hopefully) cast iron skillet up to med-high heat. You know it’s hot enough when you sprinkle water at it and the water beads off very fast and vanishes. This is essential because, if your skillet is not hot enough, your fish will stick. Must allow the protein to hit a hot surface and sear. No fat is necessary in the skillet when you sear. (No oil, butter, lard, etc). (Optionally, you can saute the Halibut in a fat for 3-5 minutes on each side if you are more comfortable with said cooking method).

When skillet is hot enough, season Halibut with sea salt, Grains of Paradise (or pepper) and Herbes de Provence, (optional. There’s lavender in HdP which some people may find assertive). Sear each side 3-5 minutes. When done, set aside under aluminum foil to keep warm.

*BACK TO OUR SHELLFISH*

When you uncover, all mussels and clams should be open. Discard any unopened ones as those have gone bad and may get you plague-sick.

Time to plate! Ladel broth and shellfish in bowl. Wedge Orange Roughy in as best you can. Sprinkle squid. Wedge tentacles around, attractively. Top w/ seared Halibut and serve with crusty bread, (warm or toasty tortillas work, too!) & lemon wedges. Garnish with parsley.

Serves 1-2. Increase ingredients according to how many you’ll be serving. Feel free to swap in various fishes and shellfishes to suit your tastes. This is a homely recipe where components are at your discretion. Technique and timing should be the focus in practicing this recipe.

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GOOP Day 5 Recap

May 30, 2010

Day began with the standard water w/ lime. An hour later, I had a parsley tea w/ ginger juice & apple cider vinegar. It does a job to open the eyes!

For breakfast, I had a Green Monster! Can you tell I love Angela Liddon’s blog/activities? :p

This particular Green Monster had Broccoli, Kale, Baby Spinach, Cilantro, green grapes, some Benefiber powder, veggie protein powder, some almond milk & some crushed ice. All organic, of course. It was great! I’m really hooked on these things and the results of long-term ingestion pretty much kick ass. More energy, better hair, nails, skin; more general vibrance physically and in mood.

Then, my daily coconut water. 🙂 Been having one of these a day, btw. Forgot to add them to my posts!

Antioxidant Happy Salad – Called this a Happy Salad because of how peppy it made me feel. Maybe I’m just high on the whole health binger thing lately and Day 5 was a very green, very refreshing day but lunch made me beam. This was very simple; torn green leaf lettuce, curly endive, (there’s a layer of baby spinach under there, too!), raw okra, raspberries, a strawberry & lime wedge, all sprayed w/ ginger/lime juice/red wine vinegar (w/ pomegranate).

Dinner was a spin on Gwynnie’s Detox Teriyaki Chicken. I don’t really enjoy Mirin so I took an axe to that. Instead, I seasoned a boneless, skinless chicken breast w/ Herbes de Provence, a small amount of sea salt and Grains of Paradise. Grilled it to prettiness and had it with with a tangy balsamic vinegar/ginger juice dipping sauce. And some green leaf lettuce salad on the side.

Will post Day 6 tomorrow and wrap up my GOOP 7 day detox! 😀

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GOOP Day 2 Recap

May 27, 2010

This gets easier and easier every time I hop on GOOP. It’s already Day 4 and I have no idea where the time went. It’s such an easy, fulfilling regimen (at least for me). I hope everyone gives it a go at some point.

Here’s how Day 2 went!

Day 2 Morning Water

My morning water w/ lime.

For tea time, I had Parsley Tea. Actually, I’ve been guzzling this stuff all I can stand because parsley is a natural diuretic and fantastic for eliminating water retention. So, if you find yourself frumpy with bloating issues, fix up some parsley tea to help get it all out. Hound down lots of watermelon, too!

Parsley is also high in antioxidants. However, word around the campfire is pregnant women should steer clear as it can contribute to premature labor.

I like this page from Your Cup of Tea.

Breakfast = Avocado, Strawberry & Mint Smoothie. Made w/ 1 Avocado, 4 Strawberries, 4 roughly chopped mint leaves & 1 cup Almond Milk, topped w/ Flax Seeds. All Organic.

My local Sun Harvest ran out of raspberries but I bought some blackberries and strawberries. 🙂 *As of 6:12 A.M. CST, their website is acting fussy but here’s a link to the weekly ad: http://www.mygroceryads.com/ads/tx/sun_harvest_san_antonio/

I used my own salad recipe for lunch.  It features a decorative Chayote Carpaccio, baby spinach salad w/ julienned carrots & a focal sauerkraut stuffed strawberry. To do that, I fanned the strawberry and stuffed some sauerkraut in the center. It may sound odd but the combination of tart/sour and tart/sweet make for a miraculous treat! Everything is organic and sprinkled with red wine vinegar, (my favorite of all vinegars).

Dinner ROCKED! I had the salad Gwynnie suggests on the GOOP menu here (scroll down some). (Salad w/ Carrot & Ginger Dressing). Salad assembly is simple. Torn lettuce, sliced red onion rounds, cubed avocado (that’s a how-to vid), and Ginger/Carrot dressing. However! Instead of using the blender, I fell back on my Mexican roots and whipped out the Molcajete!

Chef Charlie’s GOOP’d Up Ginger Carrot & Cilantro Dressing

1 large carrot, peeled & diced

1 shallot, peeled & diced

1 clove garlic, chopped (no need to mince, it’s gonna get smooshed to all Hell soon!)

1 tbsp. grated ginger

1 tsp Herbes de Provence

1 tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 tbsp. organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar (or whatever your favorite vinegar is)

1/4th cup organic vegetable stock

Sea Salt & Grains of Paradise (or black pepper or mixed peppercorns if unavailable) to taste.

*I keep fresh ginger root in the freezer. It makes it super easy to pop out and grate with a small hand or box grater. Also, if you leave the frozen ginger to thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter for a bit, you are able to squeeze all the juice out once it’s soft. So, you can adapt that into this recipe. Instead of adding grated ginger, u can squeeze 1-2 tsp of juice into it.*

Heat olive oil in pan and saute carrots over med-low heat till carrots are soft, 6-8 mins or so. Cover to help the process, stirring occasionally.

Uncover. Add garlic, shallot, ginger, Herbes de Provence and saute till fragrant, 2-3 mins.

Add vegetable stock and simmer 2-3 mins.

Dispense mixture into molcajete. Add sea salt, Grans of Paradise or (freshly ground pepper), chopped cilantro, vinegar and get to mashing! It’s a bit of a process but it’s fun! Do it gently so you don’t make a mess! Once it’s reduced to a balance between clumpy and runny (see pictures above), it’s ready for storing or application.

You may adjust the recipe for the size of batch you’ll be making. You may allow to cool (as I did before distributing over the salad) or use warm to wilt the greens. Refrigerate unused portion for up to a week.

So, GOOP is going fantastic! I’ll try to post Day 3 pictures later today. I need to do some writing!

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