Crab Stuffed Ravioli

Our good friends Rob and Mandy love fresh crab as much as we do … and that is saying something! She is brilliant at the cooking and prep – something we look forward to so much! Last time we restrained ourselves just enough to have a cup of fresh crab meat left over …. that became tonight’s crab ravioli. Unbelievably good ….

Crab Stuffed Ravioli

Crab Stuffed Ravioli

When I have time I prefer to make my own pasta dough, but in a pinch, these little dumpling wrappers from the Asian market are fabulous.

Won ton or dumpling dough
egg
filling
butter
lemon
freshly chopped chives & parsley

FILLING
1 cup fresh crab meat
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

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Blend everything just until combined, taste and season if necessary.

Using dumpling wrappers, put 1 tsp on one round – brush egg wash around and top with another dumpling wrapper – squeeze the excess air out and seal well.

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Allow to dry while you prepare a sauce.

Melt 1/2 cup butter, stir in juice and zest of 1 lemon. Toss in fresh chives and parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook ravioli in well salted boiling water. Be careful not to cook too many at a time or the water temperature will drop.

Once they have bounced around the surface for a couple of minutes, transfer to sauce pan with lemon butter sauce, adding a tablespoon or so of pasta water. Toss with a bit of the fresh herbs and season to taste.

Asian Style Salad with Red Rice

I love salads that make a whole meal – perfect for hot summer nights that let you feel satisfied but not stuffed!

Asian Style Salad with shredded chicken on a bed of cooled red rice

Asian Style Salad with shredded chicken on a bed of cooled red rice

Tonights version included:

base – cooked red rice
mixed greens and fresh seasonal vegetables
poached shredded chicken (easily substitute prawns)
roasted peanuts and sesame seeds
slivered green onions

DRESSING
2 tbsp Thai sweet chile sauce
1/4 tsp chile flakes
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp raw sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 rounded tsp peanut butter
1 garlic clove

Blend all ingredients until smooth – gradually add in 1/4 cup peanut oil until well incorporated.

Every brand of these ingredients is different. Start from here and then taste it. I usually take a lettuce leaf and dip it in. If I don’t love it, keep adjusting! It should have a balance of sweet, salty, spicy and tangy ….

Shrimp Stuffed Sole with Caper Butter Sauce

I felt like making a special dinner tonight …. will be away for 9 days without Grant, in Phoenix.  Nope, not for shopping, or golf, or even the spring training going on at the ball diamonds.  No, Hayley is having surgery again, and we are putting our trust and all our hope in the physicians that we have grown to know and love at the Mayo Clinic.  

I often make a rolled, stufed sole dinner but this one was so delicious it had to get on the blog before I forget what I did … something I am known for….

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Serves 2, but of course, feel free to adjust for however many people you are serving.

Preheat oven to 350

2 good sized sole fillets (of the same size)

4 large fresh shrimp (or prawn)

1 shallot (minced)

2 tbsp capers

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup bread crumbs

2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley (or whatever herb you have on hand that you feel like using)

1 tbsp olive oil

butter

In a small saucepan soften minced shallot in 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tbsp butter.  When softened, remove half the shallots to a small bowl.  To the rest of the shallots, add 2 tbsp good, dry white wine and 1 tbsp white wine vinegar.  Allow to cook just enough to reduce a bit, and add the capers.  Add another 1 tbsp of butter and allow to keep warm.

To the reserved shallots add the bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste and 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley.

Season the sole fillet with salt and pepper, lay the shrimp/prawn down at the thick end and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on.  Roll up tightly and allow to rest.

Heat an oven proof saute pan, melt a little butter with oil and gently place the rolled fillets in.  Place in preheated oven (350) and cook for 25 minutes.  Be watchful for this – depending on the size of your fish, and your stuffing, it could take as little as 20 minutes, or as much as 30.  Do not overcook your fish – as soon as it flakes easily it is done.

Remove from heat, stir the remaining parsley into the butter caper sauce, and season with freshly squeezed lemon juice and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.  Drizzle over the fish.

Asian Noodle Stir Fry

This is easily one of the simplest noodle stir fry dishes I have made, and packs lots of taste in every bite.  I think the secret is the spicy vinegar for the finishing touch!

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¼ cup vegetable oil

½ red onion, julienned

1 sweet red pepper, julienned

2 cloves garlic, chopped

⅓ cup oyster sauce

⅓ cup water, mixed in with oyster sauce

2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped

1 bunch green onion, chopped

Flavoured Vinegar

½ cup rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons palm sugar (or natural sugar)

1-2 tablespoon chili oil

1 bunch chives, finely chopped

salt

 

Stir all vinegar ingredients together and set aside – really important to do this to your individual taste – SOME LIKE IT HOT …

Mix oyster sauce with water

Soften egg noodles according to package directions, but be careful not to overcook them.

Heat oil in wok, add onions and saute until softened and translucent, add ginger, garlic and red pepper.  Stir fry until just softened.

Add some of the oyster sauce and stir until well combined – add most of the rest of the sauce and stir in the noodles.  Stir fry until all the noodles are well coated and heated through – finish with the last drizzle of the oyster sauce.

Serve with chives to garnish.  I served the vinegar on the side for everybody to add as they pleased, but it could easily be added as soon as the dish is finished.

This dish is really made for you to experiment with – go green instead of red and stir in chopped fresh spinach or sliced snow peas right before serving and garnish with cilantro, green onions and bean sprouts.

For a complete meal add some prawns or thinly sliced chicken – stir fry with the onion/pepper mixture before adding the noodles.

Roasted Squash Soup with Chipotle & Chorizo

It is squash season and soup is the best way to enjoy those cool fall nights.

Chipotle Chorizo Squash Soup
1 butternut squash

1 red onion

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 chorizo sausage

2 tsp chipotle chile in adobo sauce

cilantro, roughly chopped

green onion, sliced

 

Quarter a whole squash lengthwise, quarter the onion, & drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast at 375 until fork tender.

While the squash and onion are roasting, remove chorizo from casing, and crumble into soup pot.  Fry until sausage is crispy, and allow to drain on a paper towel. Drain any residual grease from pot, but do not clean.

In same soup pot heat up chicken or vegetable stock.  When squash and onions are fork tender take them out of the oven and remove skins and put the pulp into the pot.  Simmer until quite tender.

Using an immersion blender puree until smooth.  (Alternatively you could use a blender and blend in small batches, but always remember to leave room for the steam to escape out the lid or it will explode and you and your kitchen will be covered in hot, steamy soup …. NOT a good thing).  

Return to simmer, and taste – adjust for seasonings with salt, pepper and if you like it spicy, add a bit more chipotle.

Garnish with cilantro, green onion and crispy chorizo.

Serve as a starter course or a whole meal with fresh hot baking powder biscuits.

Use your imagination – all soup recipes are just a starting point.  Tonight’s version of this soup included some leftovers …. in this case I had some leftover stewed yellow heirloom tomatoes with squash (yum yum), and a little bit of chipotle chicken leftover, so they went into the pot before using the immersion blender.  

Chicken in Caper Cream Sauce

Chicken in Caper Cream Sauce

 

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts – lightly pounded to uniform thickness

1 tsp lemon pepper

(or finely grated lemon zest and 1 tsp freshly ground pepper)

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

3 tbsp. butter

lemon juice

olive oil

1 cup whipping cream

4 tbsp capers – drained and rinsed           

garnish:  parsley/lemon slice

Lightly rub chicken breasts with lemon juice and a wee bit of olive oil.  Combine all the spices and sprinkle over the chicken, allow to rest for a bit.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Increase heat to medium high and add chicken breasts – turning often until they are browned – about 5 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium again and cook for a further 7 minutes, until chicken is just barely cooked through.  Remove chicken to a warm serving platter and keep warm.

Increase skillet heat to high, add whipping cream and whisk continuously until sauce has reduced enough to be thick and glossy.  Remove from heat and add capers.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  (add any juices that have run out of the chicken)

Spoon over the chicken breasts, garnish with parsley, lemon slice and serve over a bed of herbed noodles.

Variation:  Use dill weed instead of paprika!

SUSHI – (deconstructed and in a bowl!)

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On a hot night like this it is hard to think of cooking, or even standing over a grill ….. in fact standing and rolling cold items like sushi seemed a bit of a stretch …. this was just perfect – so cold and refreshing and really hit the spot.  Give it a try with any of your favorite sushi ingredients.  Great for a family too – serve it the way I did – on a large platter and let each person make their own bowl up as they go.

SUSHI SAUCE

zest 1 lemon and 1 orange, and reserve

juice of each: 1 lemon, 1 orange

1 tbsp. brown sugar

On medium heat cook on a gentle boil for 2 minutes, stir in:

3 tbsp. soy sauce

3 tbsp. rice vinegar

Heat again on a gentle boil for about 3 minutes until it thickens slightly.

Taste!!!!  I can’t say this enough …. you need to make sure the flavours are balanced, playing with each of the simple ingredients above.  If you think it can stand a bit more citrus, add in the zest.  If you like your sushi spicy, add in either wasabi paste or a minced chili pepper.

Toast nori sheets lightly, just until crispy.  Slice in thin strips, and again dice if you like small pieces or leave it in strips. 

Cook some sushi rice according to directions on rice

Finely slice whatever ingredients you like in your sushi

For us today this included:

imitation crab meat

shrimp

cucumber

carrot

avocado

cabbage

green onions

toasted sesame seeds

But really – use whatever you like!  Put a little rice in the bottom of your bowl, assemble a few of each of the ingredients and lightly drizzle with the sushi sauce – have fun – you will love it!

Family Style Indian Curry Chicken

I know the title says chicken curry - but the sauce made an awesome  Prawn Masala another day!

I know the title says chicken curry – but the sauce made an awesome Prawn Masala another day!

I don’t know how I have managed to forget about getting this recipe on here!  It is a tried and true favorite, and as delicious as it is the first day – even better the 2nd.  I always find my curry recipes make more sauce than needed on the first night and so the sauce will show up with a different protein or vegetable a couple days later – tasting amazing.

1/3 cup canola oil (or ghee)

2 cups finely chopped onions

3 inch piece of cinnamon stick

3 tbsp finely chopped garlic

2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

2 cups chopped tomatoes (or 1 large can)

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 lbs chicken thighs, bone in

1 cup sour cream

1 cup water

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In large pan, heat oil or ghee on medium heat until shimmering.  Add onions and cinnamon – saute for 5-8 minutes until they have reached a rich, golden yellow color.  Add garlic and saute for another few minutes.  Add ginger, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne.  Cook this over medium heat until the oil separates from the masala.

Wash chicken thighs well and add to the masala.  Stir well and cook chicken thighs until they look cooked on the outside (about 10-15 minutes).  Add sour cream and water – stir well.  Increase heat slightly until it starts to boil,then turn down to gently simmer.  Stir occasionally, and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through.  (at least 30 minutes depending on the size of the chicken thighs)

Remove and discard cinnamon stick.

Stir in cilantro just at serving time and serve with basmati rice.  We also love it served with Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower with Mint Cilantro chutney …. yummmmmmy.

Try this with cooking the masala, and then stirring in a vegetarian option of tofu or vegetables! Also amazing with any number of seafood options – pictured today here with prawns.

Greek Style Pork Baby Back Ribs

Greek style ribs in Phoenix

Every so often I crave a simple rib without barbecue sauce ….. yes it is true, ribs can be fabulous minus the barbecue sauce (even one as great as mine!)  Try these, very easy to do and fall off the bone tender.  Serve with a greek salad, some grilled vegetables and garlic toast – pretty darn yummy.

2 racks baby back ribs (membrane removed from back)

olive oil

juice and zest of 1 lemon

kosher salt

freshly cracked black pepper

basil

rosemary

oregano

dry mustard powder

dry garlic powder

Combine all the dry ingredients, mixing well.  In season I like to use fresh herbs, but in the winter when we just can’t get them I use either dried or frozen herbs.

Give the ribs a nice little massage with the olive oil – drizzle lemon over top.  Now generously sprinkle herbs with seasoning and the lemon zest, and give it another little rub to make sure all these seasonings are covering every surface.

Cover tightly and allow to marinate.  A couple of hours will do the trick, but I really prefer to do this the night before so the flavours go right through and the lemon has a bit of time to make those ribs even more tender. 

I find it easiest to do this right on a foil covered baking sheet, with the ribs covered in another sheet of foil – that way you can just put the whole thing in the oven without any further fuss.

Bake in a slow oven – about 300 degrees for 2 1/2 – 3 hours – until they are tender but not off the bone.  Finish on the grill just to crisp up the edges – drizzle lemon over top and serve!

Pork Tenderloin with Cumin Chile Marinade

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This is MOST excellent served with Sesame Peanut Noodles and Spicy Cilantro Salad.  That trio will make a meal complete.  Maybe a few steps, but WELL worth it! Our house is filled with tree planters right now, and I had to fight to get a few leftovers for lunch!

2 tbsp cumin seeds

4 scallions – 3 roughly chopped, 1 thinly sliced

1 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped  (remove seeds if you prefer mild flavor…)

1 2 in piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp oil, plus more for grilling

1 tbsp light brown sugar

2 tsp soy salt (plus 1/4 cup soy sauce for dip)

1 tsp chinese 5 spice powder

 kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

2 pork tenderloins

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

If you want to do these on skewers, make sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

To serve family style, simply slice pork tenderloin lengthwise, then in half – ending up with 4 pieces per tenderloin.

Toast cumin seeds untily lightly browned – set aside.

Combine scallions, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, 1 tbsp oil, brown sugar, 2 tsp soy sauce, 5 spice powder, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in food processor or blender.  Pulse until a smooth paste forms.  Add cumin seeds and pulse lightly until seeds are cracked.

Lightly season pork with salt and pepper.  Rub well with about 3/4 of the paste.

Cover with plastic wrap, or do this in a ziplock bag and seal in fridge for at least an hour.

Sauce:  Combine 1 tsp of cumin paste with 1/4 cup soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and 1 tbsp water. Set aside to drizzle after meat is cooked and to serve at table. Stir in sliced scallion and set aside.

Preheat grill to medium high heat.  Add 1 tbsp cumin paste to 2 tbsp oil and set aside to brush on while grilling.

Grill pork and brush with oil/cumin paste. 

Serve with sauce on the side, drizzling some of it lightly over the meat just before serving.