Posts Tagged ‘seafood’

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Best Friend’s 25th Birthday, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen – San Antonio, TX

April 28, 2012

My best friend turned 25 on April 20th. We celebrated at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen here in town and had an amazing time! For a chain restaurant, the food is simply sublime.

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He loved the custom card I made him. When we were younger, we played a lot of Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2, and ultimately JK3. We were always the portly Rodians. We called ourselves The Garbage Men. :p Those are the beasts you see on the front of the card. The red thing between them represents my little brother’s character back then — he was always a Red Reborn. Good times. 🙂

When we played that game, he couldn’t decide what to name his particular character. I said the little green head on a plump body like that looked like a hairy kiwi. So he called himself “MrHairyKiwis” and it stuck! To this day, that’s still his nickname. Rarely do we call him “Nathan” — always “Kiwis” or another term of endearment, “Rhino.” 😀

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First appetizer — Frog Legs, (two pictured, two were already consumed). These were delicious! The breading was light, crispy and well seasoned. The frog was tender and silky, as to be expected. I’ve always loved frog legs. Many say frog tastes like chicken but I think they taste more like testicles, if I had to compare them to anything.

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Second appetizer of Baked Oyster Duo, three Oysters Pappadeaux (crabmeat, spinach & hollandaise) and three Oysters Baton Rouge (romano & parmesan cheeses). I loved them both equally.

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My entrée! Pan broiled with dirty rice. They were excellent! They weren’t exactly tiny, either. I took one home.

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My brother’s entrée: Grilled Caribbean Lobster Tail. He said it was really good, if not a bit on the salty side.

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I had a side of spaghetti squash. Yum!

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Our best friend reacting to some vulgarity my brother shot his way. 😀

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We had some of these — Baton Bellinis! Flor de Cana 7 year aged rum, Hornitos Plata tequila, peach, fresh lemon & lime, finished with Saracco Moscato d’Asti. Best cocktail of the day.

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And some of these — The Patrón Perfect. Patrón Silver tequila & Patrón Citrónge Orange liqueur with fresh lemon & lime. Quite tasty.

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This is the Captain Morgan rum on the rocks my brother had beside this MONOLITH of a brownie that we annihilated. That thing wasn’t just fudgey and chocolatey and sweet and caramel-y and delicious, it was a TAUNT to a sucrose coma. Finished off with some vanilla ice cream, it was a flawless finish.

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My beloved Jameson Irish Whiskey on the rocks and I. I’m a complete sucker for Jameson!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY! KANPAI! ~(\=^-^)=/ ~So happy you can see my Speak Now bracelets!

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Shrimp & Lobster Risotto

August 13, 2010

Made this awhile back but it’s a favourite! Another good way to get your Pescetarian on! 😛

Trick to risotto is a good starchy rice. Arborio is ideal, as is any short grain because, if you use a long grain or some such business, the whole grain-melding thing won’t happen. Here’s an excellent write-up abuot risotto’s classic technique from About.com: http://italianfood.about.com/od/tipstricks1/a/aa091697.htm

Shrimp & Lobster Risotto

8 cups Seafood, Shrimp or Lobster Stock
4 Lobster Tails
1 lb. 21A Shell-on Shrimp (or your size preference)
1/2 cup fine diced onion, (I used vidalia)
1/3 cup fine diced shallot
1-2 tbsp. minced garlic, use amount based on your taste/tolerance for it
1/2 cup good white wine (use what you like to drink! Golden rule)
2 tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Butter (I no longer use cow butter but you may if you’re privvy to it) + 2 tbsp. good olive oil
2 cups Arborio or other short grain rice
Diced scallion for garnish
Parsley for garnish (I used curly)
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh ground mixed pepper or Grains of Paradise to taste
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
Pinch of Cumin

First! The Shellfish!

In a large saucepan or short stock pot, bring stock to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, add shrimp and lobster and cover. Give it about 4-6 minutes. Then, uncover & check shrimp. if they’re pink all over, remove and set aside. If not, wait till they are, then proceed. Cover with foil to keep warm. Recover lobster tails and allow to simmer an additional 4-6 minutes. The size of your lobster tails will depend on how long they SHOULD be left to simmer. It’s when you leave your shellfish simmering/boiling forever that you reduce them to pencil eraser texture, which is criminal. Once red and looking pretty, remove and cover under foil to keep warm.

Reduce heat on broth to low and cover so it’s good and ready for our next step. The rice!

Start by heating butter & olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, shallot & garlic and sauté till translucent and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Don’t let anything burn! It’ll go bitter and sully your dish!

Add rice and stir to coat, about 3-4 minutes. Season with a bit of salt and pepper (or Grains of Paradise) and pinch of cumin and stir further to combine. Then, add wine and continue to stir till the wine has been nearly absorbed.

Broth time! Add broth by the substantial ladel-full and keep on stirring till it’s absorbed. At each stage, right before it’s all gone, add the next ladel and just keep at it. It’s a bit of a process that you will have to practice to get correct but it’s sooo fun and the results are stellar!

It should take about 30 minutes to use up the broth and get the rice to where we want it to be. Taste it, see how it is. Adjust seasoning if need be. Finally, add lemon zest, stir in and plate as pictured immediately, (or be creative yourself!). Garnish with diced scallions & parsley. Serve family style.

*Additionally, you can add grated parmesean cheese at the end along with the lemon zest but, for this recipe, I did not.

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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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Shrimp & Noodle Bowl w/ Edamame, Broccoli, Chaoyte & Cilantro

July 8, 2010

Here’s a quick and easy dish I love slapping together! This sort of thing really suits me because — even though I feel fantastic and content rocking a vegetarian diet — I REALLY miss and REALLY crave seafood. I don’t miss beef. Pork is an afterthought. I was always a runny yolk kinda guy but when I think of what they said in Culinary School — “100% of the fat in an egg is IN THE YOLK!”  — I kinda mope and put it out of my mind. Sometimes, I crave chicken but it’s not like I dream about it or anything, (and I certainly don’t crave insane levels of growth hormones. All the chicken I prepare for my work as a Chef is Free Range. And I know which farms they come from).

But seafood. :p I’m afraid we’re inseparable! So, my personal diet may be shifting to the Pescetarian angle.

Here’s a recipe for two!

Ingredients

24 Shrimp (pre-shelled & de-veined if you prefer but they’re easy to clean yourself)
1 cup edamame beans
1-2 Chayote Squash (I just half and large dice ’em)
1 cup broccoli florets
Handful rough chopped Cilantro
1 cup Shrimp or Seafood Stock
2 packages Instant Ramen Noodles (YES! Chefs have a torrential affair with Ramen noodles! That’s what I used for this picture/recipe but you can use WHATEVER noodle you want; udon, angel hair, penne, vermicelli~ Up to you!)
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black (or mixed) Pepper (or Grains of Paradise) to taste.

First, bring half a cup of stock, chayote and edamame up to a simmer. It only takes about 10 minutes to get them good to go. I don’t prefer my squash soggy-slop, I like a bit of texture, so 10 minutes should be plenty. And the edamame doesn’t need anything, really. You can eat them raw (same with the chayote) but let’s go ahead and heat things through for this dish.
About 7-8 minutes in, add broccoli and cover so that our broccoli won’t overcook or get soggy. With such a short cooking time, it will stay bright green and maintain a bit of a crunch.
While that’s working, we can rock out with our shrimp! 🙂
Toss fabricated shrimp in extra virgin olive oil (or sesame oil), sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, ground mixed pepper or grains of paradise.
Saute shrimp over med-low heat until pink on both sides, about 2-3 mins per. When shrimp is pink, it’s done! Careful not to overcook or your shrimp becomes eraser-tough! ~What I like to do is cover them as soon as they hit the skillet. Let that gentle condensation action I always talk about around here happen. When you uncover, you’ll see lots of the shrimp’s natural juices forming a broth.
When done, remove shrimp and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add other 1/2 cup of stock to skillet and soften ramen noodles in the shrimp/stock broth till done, about 3 minutes. Personally, I prefer ramen noodles al dente, where they still have that funky curl.
When done, toss noodles, chayote, edamame, all broths and shrimp in huge vessel and divide between two bowls. Top with chopped cilantro and bon apetit!

Oh, and ignore that piece of shell in the picture above. >.> No idea how that got there! I think it walked over and snuck in. . . must have missed its shrimpie buddies!

Also, check out Lauren E. Clark on Chayote lol! So funny! 😀

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