Sunday, June 24, 2012

Shark Kebabs w/ Orange Avocado Salsa

For his birthday dinner this year, my seven-year-old requested two things: shark and broccoli. Happy to oblige, I came up with this simple and fresh meal. Grown-ups and kid were equally pleased (and there was very little clean up).

  1. I cut the shark steaks into 1" cubes and marinated them in orange juice, guajillo chile powder, salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil for about an hour. Then I threaded the cubes onto skewers and broiled them for about 12 minutes, turning once.
  2. While the shark broiled, I toasted some Israeli couscous in olive oil, then finished cooking it in a mixture of chicken broth and water. I would have added saffron if I'd had any lying about.
  3. While the couscous cooked, I steamed a head of broccoli, cut into large florets, and stirred together a salsa of chopped orange, avocado, cilantro, and onion with a bit of salt and pepper. I set some aside for Max, then added some finely chopped serrano pepper for the adults. I may have added a squeeze of lime; I don't recall.
That's it. The shark was more tender and juicy than I've ever had it; broiling small cubes was the key! This salsa would also be good on any seafood or grilled chicken. So simple; so healthy; so delicious.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Black-Eyed Peas with Citrus Chile Vinaigrette

I stole this recipe from Tyler Florence, but I first heard about it on my favorite food blog, Thursday Night Smackdown. It's amazing. The dry rub for the shrimp is great on anything, but the shrimp themselves don't add much to this salad. I make it in big batches, then eat it all week. I pretty much stick to the recipe as posted on the Food Network site, but I do add more veggies: diced cucumber, bell pepper, more tomato, etc. I think you could put anything in there and it would rule. I also don't bother cooking the black-eyed peas with ham hocks, because the ones available where I live have no meat or flavor on them. But, do what you will: the dressing is outstanding, and will make any combination of veggies delicious. I suspect it would also be nice drizzled on fish, grilled chicken, or any kind of taco.

Fake-and-Cheese Subs

A month or so before I made this, my sister called to gush over a Rick Bayless recipe for a warm salad involving chorizo roasted with mushrooms and onions. She had also made one of  his soups that week, with more mushrooms and some zucchini, and it occurred to me as she talked that those things could pair really well together. So this is what I did.
  1. I made fresh chorizo (it's so simple, you'll wonder why you've never done it before) from The Homesick Texan's recipe. It wasn't my absolute favorite recipe--I usually follow Rene Valenzuela's recipe from the Tampa Taco Bus--but I did like the added heat and the subtle cinnamon.
  2. I scattered the chorizo in lumps over a baking sheet, then sprinkled about a pound of various sliced mushrooms and a few shards of sliced onion on top. Salt and a very light sprinkle of olive oil over all, then roast the whole pan at 375 for about 15 minutes. Rick Bayless says to stop there, but I like my veggies really roasted, so I stirred it up and roasted for another 15 minutes.
  3. I halved and hollowed out some mammoth zucchini that I'd picked up at our new amazing farm stand, sprinkled with olive oil and salt, filled the cavities with the chorizo mixture, sprinkled the top with a vinaigrette of olive oil, lime juice, and oregano, and then added a bit of grated Parmesan. Baked the whole thing for maybe 30 minutes, covered, then another 5 to brown the cheese.
These were so, so freaking delicious. And fairly virtuous, compared to an actual steak and cheese sub. I can think of about a trillion things to do with that roasted chorizo/mushroom mixture, and I encourage you to try it as soon as possible. Rick Bayless, you pretty much win Food.