Tag Archives: fish

Photo Teaser: Jiauzi (Chinese Dumplings)

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Cooking with my mom in Portland today. She taught me how to make “jiauzi” or Chinese style gyoza. Yum!

The dough was made by hand. And the filling is a combination of shrimp, sole, green onion and chives.

Recipe to come.

Gravlax: A Lesson in Home-Curing Salmon

Lox ‘n’ bagels is kind of special occasion food in my family. It’s my dad’s way of saying “I love you” to my mom: “Happy birthday, dear. I got you schmear.”

The parents were actually here visiting this weekend—not for any special reason (I did get a new job this week, which I’m totally over-the-moon stoked about, so I guess that IS something). So I thought their visit as good a reason as any to try my hand at home-curing fish.

Anyway, I always thought there was some complex and almost magical process behind the making of lox. Ha—there isn’t! Impressive home gourmet doesn’t get any simpler than this: mix, spread, wrap and refrigerate.

The original recipe from Apples and Butter used a slightly different herb rub—I decided to add grated lemon zest to mine. It also says to refrigerate for 24 hours; I refrigerated for 36 for good measure and extra flavor.

If you’re wondering about whether to use fresh or previously frozen fish, I’d normally say fresh is always preferable. After doing a little online research on the subject, however, it looks like the frozen kind would work too. Actually, there was some discussion about freezing the fish in order to kill bacteria, so maybe previously frozen isn’t such a bad idea. In any case, I went with fresh; it looked prettier at the store.

Seriously incredible. I had my dad try it and he thought it was store-bought!! But way better! Can’t wait to try this out with other fish. In my family, we always serve this on bagels (or toast or crepe) smeared with cream cheese and topped with sliced avocado and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It’s divine.

Enjoy!

Gravlax (adapted from Apples and Butter)

printable recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. fillet salmon, skin removed

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tbsp sugar

zest of 1 organic lemon, grated

1/2 bunch dill, including stems, finely chopped

1 tsp water

METHOD

  1. Coat salmon in chopped dill and lemon zest. Stir together salt, pepper, sugar and water.
  2. Place half the salt mixture on a piece of plastic wrap, place the salmon on top of the salt and coat the top and sides of the salmon with the remaining salt mixture.
  3. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and place in a rimmed baking dish (the salmon will give off a good amount of liquid). Place another dish on top of the salmon and weigh down with a few cans of food. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  4. Remove from the plastic wrap and wipe off the salt. Slice thinly and serve (in a salad or, as we do in my family, on a bagel, toast or crepe smeared with cream cheese, topped with avocado and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice).

Heart Healthy Salad for Dinner

See—Little Baker does healthy too 🙂

Fast and good for your heart.

Enjoy!

Two Heart Healthy Salads (recipe by me)

printable recipe

Serves 1.

Broccoli-Tuna Salad

2 tbsp dijon mustard

splash balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

1- 6 oz can tuna, drained

1/2 cup frozen broccoli florets, defrosted (or fresh)

small handful raisins

salt and pepper to taste

Tomato-Jarlsberg Salad

1/2 medium tomato, sliced (4 slices)

4 small slices Jarlsberg cheese

splash balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

For Broccoli-Tuna Salad

  1. In a small bowl, mix together mustard, onion, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  2. Stir in tuna, followed by broccoli and raisins. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Adjust flavor to taste by adding more mustard, vinegar, salt, etc. Serve along side tomato-cheese salad.

For Tomato-Jarlsberg Salad

  1. Spiral out tomato and cheese in alternating layers on a plate. Splash balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Peruvian Potato and Tuna Salad Rolls (Rollos de Causa Rellenos con Atún)

Causa is Peru’s version of potato salad and it’s also one of my favorites. It seems unfair to compare it to the yellow, mayo-laden, eggy stuff we have here in the US. Causa is actually more like a cold gratin with layers of creamy pureed potatoes, tuna (or chicken or crab), avocado and a garnish of tart olives and hard-boiled eggs.

The recipe I found in a newspaper article from The Olympian is excellent and seems pretty close to authentic (at least to me). Especially helpful is the explanation on how to make aji amarillo (yellow Peruvian chile) paste with dried chilies. You can find a lot of “exotic” ingredients in Portland, but it’s still rather limited compared to the selection available in bigger cities. Here in San Francisco, I can buy frozen aji amarillos, but in Portland, I only found dried, which are available at Whole Foods. In any case, the recipe lists the chilies as optional, but I wouldn’t dream of leaving them out; they’re used a lot in Peruvian cooking and also provide a very particular spice, color and heat to the food.

In making this, I should have paid better attention to the ingredients list. First, I didn’t use Yukon gold potatoes, which are a must because of the characteristic yellow color and texture they give. I used regular baking potatoes, which I found too starchy and also a lot less pretty. Also, I forgot to garnish the top with olives and boil eggs; instead I used only chopped parsley.  Another thing I did differently, on purpose, is that I didn’t make mine in gratin form, but rather made mine maki-sushi style, i.e. rolled. I’ve seen it served both ways and since there was already so much food, I think the smaller pieces fit better.

I’ll definitely be making Causa again—it’s simple, comfort kind of food, which I love, but can be dressed up to be super elegant too.

Enjoy!

Rollos de Causa Rellenos con Atún (adapted from an article found in The Olympian)

printable recipe

INGREDIENTS

Potato Paste

1 1/2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes (ca. 8-10), washed and scrubbed, but not peeled

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup lime juice, or more if necessary

1 tbsp aji amarillo paste, optional

salt to taste

Filling

2 cans tuna, drained (I used white tuna in water)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp chives, finely chopped

1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp red bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)

1/4 cup frozen corn, peas and carrots mix, thawed and drained

salt and pepper to taste

2 medium avocados, peeled and sliced thinly lengthwise

Garnish

3 hard boiled eggs, cut into wedges or sliced into rounds

6 kalamata olives

METHOD

For the Potato Paste

  1. Cook potatoes until tender. Peel when still warm, then put through a ricer. Mix riced potatoes with oil, salt and aji amarillo. Add lime juice and stir the mix until the dough is soft and well blended. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

For the Filling

  1. Add mayonnaise, thawed vegetables, chives, cilantro, salt and pepper. Mix well and add salt if necessary.

For Assembly

  1. Maki-sushi style: Line a bamboo maki mat with plastic wrap. Spread a portion of the potato paste to the edges of the mat.
  2. Then, spread filling over the potato paste, leaving 1/4 inch space at each edge. Distribute evenly 1/4 of the avocado slices on top.
  3. Roll, pulling out the plastic as you go and wrapping it around the roll to finish. Repeat for remaining paste and filling. Place wrapped rolls on a platter and refrigerate. When ready to serve, unwrap and place back on platter. Slice into 1 1/2 inch pieces, sprinkle chopped parsley on top and serve.
  4. Traditional Squares: use a square baking pan, lightly oiled. Spread half of the potato paste in it, then spread the chicken filling. On top of the chicken filling spread the other half of the potato paste. Cover the baking pan and keep in the refrigerator until serving. Causa is a cold dish. When ready to serve, cut the causa into squares. With the help of a spatula, transfer each piece to a salad plate. Once on the plate, use the slices of avocado, egg and olives to decorate each piece. Each piece should have an olive and the same number of egg wedges and slices of avocado. (I didn’t add the olives or eggs; just topped mine with more chopped parsley)

Hint: You can make your own aji amarillo (yellow Peruvian chile pepper) paste with one pound of fresh aji amarillo and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Place aji in a saucepan with water and boil for 5 minutes. Change the water and repeat procedure twice. Cut, seed and devein ajies. You can peel some ajies to reduce spiciness. Blend with oil until you get a creamy paste.

As an alternative to fresh aji amarillo, you can use dried chilli-peppers (known as dried aji mirasol), which are easier to find outside of Peru. The procedure is similar to the fresh ajíes, just add some water when blending until you get the creamy paste.

Tuna – Gigantes Bean Sauté

Mmmmm….beans. Beans are a good source of protein and fiber; beans are cheap—so cheap that I can even afford to buy organic.

I’ve recently discovered the wonderful world of bulk foods at Rainbow Grocery. Gigantes beans (aka giant lima beans), are just one of my latest discoveries from the bulk bin! Gigantes are meaty, creamy and buttery. And they’re HUGE: after soaking overnight and cooking, they grow to about the size of a thumb tip—what is that, like 2 inches? (P.S. Did you know that lima beans are actually named after Lima, Peru? I always wondered…you can read more here.)

When I bought my giant limas, I really wanted to make this, a dish I found on Closet Cooking…but I just didn’t have the time or the patience to boil, saute AND bake dinner just for me. No time for messing around when I’m hungry 🙂

I was inspired by the traditional Italian dish, Fagioli con Tonno (cannellini beans with tuna), when I was trying to figure out what to make.

Tuna and beans are such a clever combination. Hearty, interesting texture and go great with all kinds of herb combinations. I threw in some sad swiss chard left over from my CSA, a little garlic, onion and oregano—and that’s it. Dinner. To go with the main, I made a quick tomato-avocado salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Photo taken from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska

Enjoy!

Tuna – Gigantes Bean Sauté

Serves 1.

INGREDIENTS

Sauté

1 can white, no salt added tuna

1/4 cup Gigantes beans, soaked overnight

2 large leaves swiss chard, roughly copped

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

1/4 cup onion, roughly chopped

1 tsp dried oregano (I used Mexican; it has more flaaavor)

salt and pepper

olive oil

Tomato-Avocado Salad

1 small vine-ripened tomato, diced

1/4 small avocado, diced

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

a pinch of evaporated cane sugar

salt and pepper, to taste

a squeeze of fresh lemon

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

METHOD

  1. Boil the beans over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, but reserve about 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Set aside.
  2. While the beans are cooking, prepare the salad: in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Add the diced avocado and tomato. Set aside.
  3. Back to the beans: In a small pan over medium-low heat, sauté the onion, garlic and swiss chard until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the tuna, oregano, salt and pepper and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked beans and reserved liquid into the pan. Reduce the heat to low and stir to combine. Fry until the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Plate the tuna and beans with your prepared salad, drizzle a little more fresh lemon over the top, and serve.


Peruvian Style Arroz con Mariscos with Papas a la Huancaina y Salsa de Cebolla Peruana

Traditional arroz con pollo is made with chicken—duh— but I adapted it for my two hungry Pescatarian girls at our monthly roommate dinner.

I have Dennis’ mom, Ana, to thank for the recipes and mi Guapito to thank for the translations!

For more Peruvian recipes, Yanuq is a great source. I found the recipe for the onion salsa there.

Note: The aji amarillo chiles used in these recipes are Peruvian yellow chiles. They should be pretty easy to find frozen in any Latin American grocery store. As for the choclo (large-grained white corn), I couldn’t find it fresh, but did find it dried. Worked OK here, but obviously fresh is best.

Arroz con Mariscos (Mixed Seafood Rice)

Recipes courtesy of Ana / Translated by Dennis

Serves 6.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 lbs mixed seafood (I had tilapia and shrimp at home, so that’s what I used.)

3 cups rice

1 large red onion

1 large clove garlic

6 aji amarillo chiles, deseeded, deveined and minced, divided

1 red bell pepper

1 large carrot, peeled

1 ear large-grained white maize (Peruvian corn / “choclo”), husk removed and kernels sliced off the cob

1/2 cup green peas, frozen or fresh

3 bunches fresh cilantro

3 1/2 cups water, divided

1 dark beer

salt and pepper, to taste

1 bay leaf

olive oil

4 limes (2 for juice, 2 sliced into wedges for serving)

METHOD

  1. Drain the seafood well and pat lightly with a paper towel to dry. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top. And then in a hot skillet, lightly fry in a little olive oil until no longer translucent (about 1 minute). Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Dice the onion, pepper and carrots into roughly the same sized square pieces. Wash the rice. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, combine the cilantro, water and 1/2 the minced aji amarillo chiles. Mix until completely blended.
  4. In the same pot used to fry the seafood, fry the onions, garlic, remaining chiles and a little salt and pepper in olive oil. Pour in the cilantro mixture and allow to cook down for a few minutes before adding the entire bottle of beer.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, allowing the alcohol to evaporate.
  6. Add the seafood and a little more salt and pepper to the pot. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes (be careful not to overcook). The liquid should be a little salty.
  7. Once the seafood is just cooked through, remove it and in the same pot, add the rice, fried vegetables, corn and peas, plus 2 1/2 cups water.
  8. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  9. Squeeze in the lime juice. Serve with onion-lime salsa and huancaina sauce.

Papa a la Huancaina

Papa a la Huancaina Sauce (Potatoes with Aji Amarillo-Cheese Sauce)

Recipes courtesy of Ana Yi / Translated by Dennis Yi

Serves 6.

6 medium potatoes, scrubbed

6 aji amarillo chiles, deseeded, deveined and chopped finely

200 g queso fresco (Latin American fresh cheese), crumbled

1 medium purple onion

1 clove garlic

1/2 pkg saltine crackers

1/2 can evaporated milk

1/3 cup oil (I used olive oil)

salt and pepper to taste

the juice of 1 lime

boiled eggs, sliced into wedges, to serve

METHOD
  1. Boil the potatoes, skin on.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, fry the chiles, onion and garlic in a little oil until golden. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Put the cooled pan contents into a blender, along with the oil. Blend.
  4. With the mixer turned on, gradually add in the cheese and evaporated milk. Once combined, add in the saltines, salt and pepper and lime juice. Blend until thoroughly mixed. If too thick, add a little more milk.
  5. Peel the hot, cooked potatoes and then cut into thick slices. Place into serving dish and pour the sauce on top. Serve with sliced boiled eggs and fresh onion-lime salsa (see recipe below).


Fresh Onion Salsa (from Yanuq – Cooking in Peru)

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 aji amarillo, deseeded, deveined and minced finely

juice of 1/2 lime (or more, according to your taste)

salt

pepper

1/2 tbsp parsley, chopped

METHOD

  1. Finely slice the onion and quickly rinse with water.
  2. Put the onion in a bowl and combine with the remaining ingredients.

Delicious Peru

I’m back.

Ten glorious days of stuffing my face with as many Peruvian culinary delights as possible—now that is my idea of vacation. My body is a little mad at me (and was really pissed on the flight back home) for being such a glutton, but I don’t care. It was worth it.

I’ve posted pics of my favorite food memories. (Photo-quality was not my main priority when I took these—obviously.)

Papa a la Huancaina (Potatoes with Aji Amarillo Cheese Sauce)

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Pollo Relleno

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Ceviche Mixto

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Arroz con Mariscos

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Ceviche de Pejarreyes

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Tamal Verde

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Chicharronnes

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Choncholi y Rachi Rachi

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Lomo Saltado

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Pachamanca

(I realize that this post is REALLY LONG because of the photos, but I couldn’t get the pictures to appear next to each other. (Does anyone know how to do this???)

Fish Baked in Foil-Purses and Topped with Homemade Spinach Pesto

Last night was Melita’s birthday. So we three girls decided to celebrate the occasion with a mini-celebration at home. We started with fondue, which we ate standing over the stove :P. For the main course, I made this amazingly easy and healthy baked fish topped with homemade spinach pesto. And for dessert, leftover tres leches cake from dinner the night before and a lemon tart (recipe to follow).

I’m tired and want to go to bed, so I’m not going to say much about this recipe, except that it’s dead easy to prepare and super healthy and oh so delicious—especially with the pesto and goat cheese.

Enjoy!

Tomato, Spinach and Fish Baked in Foil-Purses with Homemade Spinach Pesto (adapted from this recipe found on Apartment Therapy The Kitchn)

Serves 3 hungry girls ;P

INGREDIENTS

Fish

3 filets of white fish (not sure what kind I used—tilapia probably)

3 large handfuls baby spinach

2 roma tomatoes

1/2 purple onion, sliced thinly

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

salt and pepper

basil (I used dried.)

the juice of 1 lemon

olive oil

goat cheese, to top

Spinach Pesto

2 handfuls baby spinach

1 handful walnut halves

1/4 cup aged gouda, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic

juice of half a lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For the Fish: Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Prepare 3 large pieces of aluminum foil.
  2. Divide the spinach leaves among the three sheets, laying them close together in the middle. Lay one piece of fish on each bed of spinach. Season generously with salt, pepper and basil.
  3. Divide the garlic and tomato and onion slices between the three pieces of fish, laying them on top. Squeeze a wedge of lemon over each. Then sprinkle another pinch of salt and pepper over each. Then drizzle a little olive oil (ca. 1-2 tbsp) over each pile.
  4. Fold up the edges of the foil to create a closed foil-purse and bake, on a baking sheet, for about 20 minutes, just until the fish is opaque.
  5. Open the purses and put the oven on broil. Broil for 2-3 minutes.
  6. While the fish is baking, prepare the pesto: Combine all ingredients except the olive oil and lemon in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Then, while the machine is still on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice. Mix until combine. Taste and season with a little more salt and pepper. Set aside.
  7. Once finished baking, plate the fish and veggies, spooning the juice over each pile. Then top with a generous spoonful of pesto and a dollop of goat cheese. Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon.

Quick Dinner of Poached Egg Topped Salmon

Just a quick post about my kind of brill’ idea for dinner tonight: Goat cheese and poached egg topped salmon patty served with a balsamic-dressed red onion and corn salsa. (Yes, I realize that is the.longest.title.ever. I did try to think of a more eloquent way of putting it, but I just don’t have the energy right now. Forgive me.)

So tasty and FAST. (Golden and slightly runny egg yolks—yum.) The only downside is the number of pots, pans and dishes you end up having to wash after making this. Oh, you know what would’ve been good too? Butter, instead of goat cheese on top of the egg. And maybe a simple lemon juice-olive oil vinaigrette for the salsa.

Enjoy!

Poached Egg Topped Salmon and Balsamic, Corn & Red Onion Salsa

Serves 1.

INGREDIENTS

1 frozen salmon patty, defrosted

olive oil

dried basil (or any herb like dill, rosemary, oregano)

salt and pepper, to taste

1 large egg

1 tbsp white vinegar, for poaching

1 tbsp goat cheese

Salad

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

a pinch of sugar

1/2 cup corn kernels

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Fill a small saucepan with water and allow to come to a slow boil.
  2. Pat dry the salmon patty; sprinkle each side with salt, pepper and basil flakes. Place the patty in a pre-heated non-stick skillet, allowing to fry for ca. 1-2 minutes on each side or until browned evenly and cooked just through.
  3. Add the white vinegar to the boiling water. Reduce the heat and gently crack the egg into the water. Use a large spoon to fold the egg white over the egg mass, in order to encourage the typical poached egg shape. Poach to your desired doneness. (Ca. 3 minutes for me. I prefer a slightly gooey yolk consistency—not too runny.)
  4. While the salmon is frying and the egg is poaching, make the salsa. In a small bowl, combine all salsa ingredients, mixing until all ingredients are completely coated. You can use the back of a fork or spoon to squish the onion and speed up the marinating/cooking process.
  5. Arrange the salsa onto a plate. Then, place the salmon patty on top, followed by the poached egg and then finally, the goat cheese. Grind a little salt and pepper over the top. Serve.

Broccoli Carrot Raisin Salad Topped With Tuna and Goat Cheese

This is just another one of my “I’m too lazy to cook / I feel fat and vitamin deprived” salads. I originally planned on doing this with red cabbage, but as it turned out, Trader Joe’s had nothing except for a 10 oz bag of shredded cabbage that they were charging an arm and a leg for. So I went for the next best (and cheapest) thing: broccoli.

Broccoli turned out even better. My mom never made any of those sweet-savory American potluck salads when I was growing up, but I just adore them—especially coleslaw and broccoli-carrot-raisin salad. With those salads as inspiration, I did the following in just 10 minutes: blanched the broccoli for about a minute (to bring out that gorgeous green), rough chopped it and then tossed it with grated carrots, sliced red onion and raising in a slightly sweetened white wine vinaigrette. I then topped the salad off with chunk white tuna and a bit of broken up goat cheese.

Easy. Delicious.

Broccoli Carrot Raisin Salad Topped With Tuna and Goat Cheese

Serves 1.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

a pinch of evaporated cane sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 stalk of broccoli, washed

1/2 medium carrot, grated

1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly

1 tbsp raisins

1 can no-salt added white tunafish

1 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small saucepan of boiling water, blanch the broccoli, about 1 minute. Remove from stove, drain and cool with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the vinaigrette: Mix together the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper on a large salad plate.
  3. To the vinaigrette, add the carrots, red onion and raisins. Toss to coat.
  4. Peel away the tough outer layer of the stock and rough slice; break up the florets. Add to the salad. Toss to coat.
  5. Top the salad with tuna, breaking it up with a fork, and then the crumbled goat cheese. Season with a little salt and pepper.