Category Archives: SEAFOOD RECIPES

SHRIMP APPETIZER OR MAIN COURSE SALAD

I love shrimp salad. But I don’t much care for the tiny, pre-cooked shrimp that are labeled “salad shrimp”. I prefer the nice big guys, lovingly sautéed just before adding to whatever version of a shrimp salad I happen to be preparing at the time. And yes I do know that the biggies are more expensive, but I’d rather have less shrimp if push comes to shove.

So, when good friends Jim and Margo invited us to dinner a couple weeks ago, and I asked what I could contribute, Jim said “how about an appetizer salad?” I said “how about a shrimp salad” and he said yes!!

So this is the result.

And if I do say so myself, it turned out pretty darn tasty. Plus it was very easy to prepare. (I just love it when a recipe comes together and it works! But believe me, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I try a dish, and although it is edible, it’s not something I ever want to serve again or pass on to my readers.)  But this recipe is a keeper. It’s terribly elegant when served as an appetizer and just plain wonderful when served as a main dish salad.

Speaking of main dish salads, I simply must tell you about eating a salad for dinner while on our recent trailer trip to British Columbia. (You can stop reading now if all you care about is this recipe. But if you want to hear a bit more about our recent trailer trip, continue reading at your own peril.)

As the pictures below show, we had a fabulous campsite at BCs Juniper Beach Provincial Park on the banks of the Thompson River. Ideal setting with the river so close, but not the ideal backdrop for a quiet dinner. I say, not quiet, because just across the river the main east/west line of the Canadian Pacific Railroad runs about 30 trains over any 24 hour period. And on the side of the river where we were camped, the Canadian National Railroad runs another 30 or so trains a day on their own east/west main line. So in case you are mathematically challenged, that’s a total of about 60 trains blasting our camp site with noise during every 24 hour period. And these are not dainty little trains. These are all incredibly long mother bear trains! Mr. C. counted the cars on a good number of the trains. The longest was 230 cars long! I kid you not! The average size was only about 150 cars long. Only! And many of the cars we counted had a second container on top of the one that was riding the rails. We didn’t even bother counting the second tier freight cars. It was just too overwhelming.

We were at Jupiter Beach for three nights and the trains won, hands down! Before camping at this park, I absolutely adored the clickety-clack of trains, especially at night. But after this episode with the trains from hell, I feel like a new mother just having gone through a difficult childbirth and saying to herself and anyone else who would listen, that never again would she subject herself to such an experience! But I suppose, like childbirth, the memory of “the trains” will fade and I will once again be able to look at a train and not flinch. I hope so. Because for 73 years I have loved trains with a passion. I hope to get back to that place, but frankly only time will tell. (Mr. C. thinks I’m suffering from PTTD (Post Traumatic Train Disorder), and I think he may be right. But good news. I recently read that gin helps with this disorder, so that’s encouraging. If gin truly is the wonder treatment, I should be fine in no time. I’ll let you know if it works.) Enjoy the recipe.

  • 1 T. unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. lg. uncooked shrimp
  • ½ tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • ½ c. finely diced red, yellow, or orange bell pepper (or combination of peppers)
  • juice of ½ lg. lime
  • 2 T. mayonnaise
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • dash hot sauce or 1 jalapeño, seeds and veins removed and finely diced
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 Hass avocado, diced
  • romaine or Bibb lettuce leaves

Heat the butter in a medium-large fry pan. Add the shrimp and sprinkle on the seasoned salt. Sauté until the shrimp are just done. Do not overcook. Remove the pan from heat and set aside. Rough chop the shrimp when they are cool.

In a medium sized bowl combine the shallot, celery, bell pepper, lime juice, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, Old Bay Seasoning, and dash of hot sauce/diced jalapeño. Let stand for at least 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning. Gently fold in the chopped shrimp, tomato, and avocado. Adjust seasonings and serve as an appetizer either wrapped in lettuce leaves, heaped on one lettuce leaf, or over cut salad leaves. (See picture above.) Or serve as a main dish salad (see picture below) with whatever amount of cut lettuce you want stirred in with the other ingredients.

 

CHINESE SPICY ORANGE SHRIMP

I think I have previously mentioned that I love Cooking Light – the magazine that is! (I like cooking light too, but I don’t always succeed in that arena.) So for a dinner party I hosted recently, I decided to cook Chinese food. OK, American Chinese food. Although I know traditional ingredients like tripe, chicken feet, and bitter melon are available in Seattle’s International District, it’s too far to drive just to obtain a few authentic products. (Oh who am I trying to kid. I wouldn’t cook with tripe, chicken feet, or bitter melon if they were personally delivered to my front door by Ming Tsai himself!)

So what’s left – BBQ Pork, steamed dumplings, fried rice, etc. Basically the usual suspects found in every Chinese restaurant around the world. (Except China, of course.)

So call me plebian if you must, but I do dearly love American Chinese food. Well, maybe I better qualify that statement. I love good Chinese food. Defined by me as containing no MSG and just a modicum of oil, the exclusive use of low sodium tamari or soy sauce, super fresh veggies and meat, and a whole lot of restraint shown when adding salt.

So when I came across this recipe from the August 2007 issue of Cooking Light while setting my menu, I knew from just reading the ingredient list that this dish would be a winner. And it sure enough was! I changed/added a couple of ingredients, but basically it remains yet another example of the wonderful recipes that can be found in Cooking Light. (And no, I am not on the Cooking Light payroll, nor do I receive a free subscription. My words are unsolicited, which by definition make them 100% accurate. Right???) But back to the issue at hand.

As you know, citrus works very well with seafood. And something about the orange zest and juice along with the other ingredients work well to enhance the flavor of the shrimp rather than detract from it. And we’re talking only 2 teaspoons of oil in this recipe. Hurray for that!

So if you too love Chinese food, I suggest you try this delicious shrimp recipe. It is definitely a quick and easy dish to prepare, making it perfect for any night of the week. Served with Chinese Salt and Pepper Beans and steamed brown rice, you have a dinner that will please your entire family. Just remember to start your brown rice first. It will take longer to cook then both of the other recipes.

And if you haven’t learned to love brown rice yet, try using low sodium broth in place of the water when you cook the rice. Also, and I can’t believe I am going to put this in writing after railing above about too much salt, but a tiny pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper will also add to the overall flavor of the brown rice. (Sorry to go all pettifogging on you when it comes to the issue of salt, but rest easy. I’m working on the problem!) Enjoy the shrimp. Thanks again Cooking Light for this delightful recipe.

  • 1 lb. peeled and deveined uncooked large shrimp
  • 1 T. cornstarch, or more as needed to coat the shrimp
  • 1-2 tsp. orange zest
  • ½ c. orange juice
  • pinch kosher salt (unless using regular soy sauce)
  • 2 T. low sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 T. rice wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. Sriracha or chili sauce, or more to taste
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 T. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ c. chopped green onions

Place shrimp in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch; toss well to coat. Set aside.

Whisk together the orange zest, juice, salt, tamari, honey, vinegar, and Sriracha. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced ginger and garlic to pan; stir-fry for 20 seconds or until fragrant. Add shrimp; stir-fry for 3 minutes or until almost done. Add juice mixture and green onions; cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens and shrimp are done, stirring frequently. Serve immediately.

 

 

BAKED COD WITH CAPERS, KALAMATA OLIVES, AND GARLIC

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It’s a beautiful warm and sunny day here on Camano Island. As I am typing away, Max, one of my orange kitties is dozing on a towel on my desk, Mt. Baker is out in all its glory (I can see it from my den window), Mr. C is off golfing with a friend, and I have the day to myself. I don’t even have to cook dinner, because I have leftovers from last evening.

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Mommies little helper Max (16 months) – sound asleep

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Time to add his 2 cents worth

Usually I look forward to cooking our evening meal. But when what I have to look forward to, like some more of this delicious cod, I can easily forgo the pleasure of cooking for the taste treat I know is in store for me. And frankly folks, I can hardly wait for dinner and its only 9:58 am!

I am always looking for ways to cook fish that are not only tasty but good for us. And what I mean by “good for us” is that the fish isn’t fried or needs a caloric tartar or aioli sauce to provide additional flavor.

So when I went searching for another way to bake cod, I found 3 recipes that I found interesting. Two featured capers and Kalamata olives; the third lemon, garlic, and either fresh thyme or rosemary. So I took what I thought was a good combination of all three recipes and the following baked cod dish is the result.

And oh-my-gosh the cod was good. You could still taste the fish, but the topping was just a perfect augment. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I started with fresh cod. And baking it at 475 degrees (which was recommended in one of the recipes) was genius. The fish was firm but still very moist.

So if you too want to add more fish to your diet, but don’t want to feel like in doing so you are adding a ton of unnecessary calories from frying, coating, or dipping your fish in tartar sauce, give this recipe a try. Obviously there are a few calories in the caper-Kalamata spread, but nothing compared to a breaded and deep fried piece of fish accompanied with tartar sauce.

Now don’t get me wrong. One of my favorite meals is fish and chips. But my stomach sometimes rebels when I feed it all that grease. With this recipe, there is no after dinner upset or guilt. And although you can’t measure the calories in guilt, it can still weigh you down. And not as in helping your scale show lower numbers, but as in a mind suffering from regret! So don’t let that happen to you. Try this recipe and relax. You are going to love serving this dish to your family. It’s quick and easy to prepare. And you are going to feel so good providing a healthy and delicious alternative to fried fish. A little happy dance before serving the fish would not be inappropriate! Neither would a nice glass of white wine!

  • 1 lb. cod fillet, bones removed and cut in portion sized pieces
  • 1½ T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme or rosemary, lightly chopped
  • 2 tsp. capers, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 T. chopped Kalamata olives

Place the cod in a lightly buttered 8×8 or 9×9 glass baking dish. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, thyme, capers, and olives together in a small bowl. Spread evenly over the cod.

Bake in a pre-heated 475 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until the flesh is opaque in color. I serve the cod with plain rice, spooning the juices from the pan over the fish and the rice. Add a salad or veggie, and dinner is ready!

Note: Would be great with any firm, white fleshed fish.

CREAMY SMOKED SALMON PASTA

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As I have grown older, my stomach has started to rebel against certain foods such as those high in fat. And my lower GI tract, which until a few years ago was able to accommodate almost anything I sent its way, has now seemingly turned against me. So, contrary to the popular belief I once held, my brain is no longer in charge of my body. That happy distinction has now shifted to (you guessed it) my lower GI tract!  And just to confirm my long held belief that God has an ironic sense of humor, my taste buds remain unimpaired. So, my mouth still craves a buttery and creamy pasta sauce, while other parts of my body are praying that I can withstand temptation. Sometimes I feel like a royal battle is being staged in my body with no consideration being paid to what I still desire and need. (Perhaps that’s the true definition of growing old!)

Regardless, I have decided that I am going to fight for my rights. I still want to enjoy creamy pasta sauces, but I must respect the fact that my brain GI tract probably knows what’s best for me in the long run. Hence, this recipe.

So if you too love pasta, but are trying to reduce the amount of fat in your diet, may I suggest this recipe the next time a creamy and rich tasting pasta sauce calls your name. With this recipe, you can actually listen next time it happens!

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 lg. finely chopped shallots (about ½ cup)
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • ¾ c. light sour cream (Tillamook “light” sour cream is really very good)
  • scant 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. dill weed, or more to taste
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt  
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ c. frozen petite peas brought to room temperature
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon, cut into small chunks
  • ½ c. grated Parmesan cheese + more for passing  
  • 12 oz. pasta*, cooked al dente (reserve about a ½ cup of the pasta water)

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add wine and simmer until reduced to about ½ cup, about 6 minutes. Whisk in the sour cream, lemon juice, dill weed, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 1 minute or until the sauce is hot. Stir in the peas, salmon, and Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and add the hot al dente pasta and about ¼ cup of the hot pasta water. (Add more pasta water as required.) Adjust seasoning and serve immediately. 

*penne, farfalle, orecchiette, conchiglioni (seashell shaped), farfalloni (bow tie shaped), etc.

And remember, you never want your cooked pasta to wait for your sauce to be done. If anything has to wait, be sure it’s the sauce.

CEDAR PLANKED SALMON

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When it comes to BBQing, I am so far behind most of my friends that it is really quite embarrassing. But I have vowed to catch up, or at least become semi-proficient with a long handled spatula and welding gloves! (Actually I would consider myself blessed if I could just became less intimidated by that scary black covered appliance that lives on my deck.) But I’ll tell you, with this recipe now in my repertoire, I am well on my way to becoming at least a passable griller. (It also doesn’t hurt that Mr. C. bought me a beautiful new Webber for my birthday. At least now I have a BBQ with automatic starters for the burners and internal workings that aren’t half rusted away! Ah the joys of living near salt water.)

So if you too are even slightly intimidated by your BBQ, this recipe is ideal. First of all the salmon tastes amazing. And by using a cedar plank, you don’t even have to set the fish directly on the grate. Is that great or what?

No mess to clean up, unless of course you forget to soak your cedar plank before placing it on the BBQ. Then you and the fire department might have a huge mess to clean up. But forewarned is forearmed as the saying goes.

So get that BBQ out of mothballs, shoo any resident critters out and away, and get ready for one of the best ways to enjoy salmon ever invented by someone other than me. (I got this recipe from my dear friend Linda, who got it from her cousin (I think) Lynn, who found it somewhere…………) I modified the recipe slightly, but to whomever it was who gave birth to this recipe originally, I salute you. It is the best grilled salmon recipe I have ever found.

  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1½ T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. capers or rough chopped green olives
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 3 lb. salmon fillet
  • cedar plank(s) – soaked for 1-2 hours 

Sauté the olive oil, butter, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, capers, salt, pepper, basil, dill, and cayenne together for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Set aside. 

Heat grill to 350 degrees. Set salmon skin side down on soaked cedar plank. Slather the olive oil mixture all over the top of the salmon.

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Place plank(s) on BBQ. Shut lid and depending on thickness, BBQ for 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the fish reaches 135 degrees. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. No sauce or aioli required.   

Please Note: Do not use cedar from Home Depot, Lowes, or any lumber yard. The cedar sold for building purposes is treated. Use cedar planks that you either cut yourself or buy from a grocery or kitchen store specifically packaged for the purpose of using with food. Thanks Jim for this very valuable bit of information.

 

SHRIMP AND FRIED TOFU PAD THAI

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The other evening I had just an overwhelming hankering for Pad Thai. But having never made it before, I had to go to the internet for help. I only knew that whatever else the dish contained, mine had to have bite sized pieces of shrimp, crispy cubes of fried tofu, and of course rice noodles.

One of the first recipes I found was from Jennifer Steinhauer. I added, subtracted, and generally had my way with her recipe, but the basic ingredients she used became the backbone for the recipe you find below.

Jennifer’s recipe, as did almost all the other Pad Thai recipes, called for tamarind paste. Now I live on an island with just one humble grocery store. And granted, our store does its best with the limited space it has, but I didn’t even bother looking for tamarind paste. So I researched substitutions. Apparently equal parts of fresh lime juice and brown sugar is close enough for practical purposes. (And in my case, practical purposes includes not having to drive all over the region looking for tamarind paste!)

So there is no tamarind paste in my recipe. And as far as my taste buds can tell, the basic flavor of a good Pad Thai sauce has not been jeopardized by the absence of this quintessential Pad Thai ingredient. (Plus from everything I read about tamarind paste, it’s a pain in the patootie to work with! And frankly, I no longer have the time or patience for high maintenance ingredients!)

So if you too love Pad Thai and would like to serve it at home, give this recipe a try. It has lots of wonderful flavor without being too loaded with fat or salt. And it’s a one dish meal. And if there’s any phrase I’m beginning to like more and more, it’s “one dish meal”. Of course in my case, that one dish should be a big old salad, not a plate of noodles. But one simply must listen to one’s own hankering every so often. How else are we to keep our souls alive if we neglect our bodies wishes all the time? Perhaps I should research that subject on the internet. (I’ll let you know if I find an answer that still allows me to eat Pad Thai once in a while!)

  • 8 oz. stir-fry rice stick noodles (the noodles are almost fettuccine-width)
  • ½ block firm tofu
  • 2 T. cornstarch, or more as needed
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. chili oil
  • 2 T. fish sauce
  • 1 T. granulated sugar
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 2 T. fresh lime juice
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ c. water
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 2 small garlic cloves, finely minced  
  • 2 tsp. minced ginger
  • ½ small carrot, grated
  • 1/3 c. finely chopped red bell pepper, opt.
  • 2 c. chopped baby spinach or shredded Napa cabbage
  • ¾ – 1 lb. uncooked large (16-20) shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into thirds
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 c. bean sprouts
  • 1/3 c. chopped salted peanuts
  • 2 T. sesame seeds, opt.  
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add the rice noodles; let stand for 8 minutes or until the noodles are soft but firm. (Basically al dente.) Rinse under cold water; drain well. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cut drained tofu into 1/4-inch slices and coat with cornstarch.  Combine the sesame oil and chili oil in a medium frying pan. Bring oil to medium heat and fry the tofu until both sides are a nice golden brown. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel. When cool cut into bite size pieces. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, granulated sugar, brown sugar, lime juice, crushed red pepper flakes, and water; set aside.

Set a wok or large fry pan over high heat for 1 minute, then add the canola oil and heat until the oil shimmers. Add the garlic, ginger, carrot, red bell pepper, and spinach; sauté for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and sauté until almost cooked through, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the noodles to the pan and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour in the fish sauce and toss to coat the noodles. Cook until the noodles are hot, then push them to one side of the wok/pan and scramble the eggs in the remaining space. Add the reserved shrimp mixture, fried tofu chunks, green onions, bean sprouts, and half the peanuts. Toss to mix. Garnish with the remaining peanuts, sesame seeds, and lime wedges. Serve immediately.

 

 

SEAFOOD AND FRIED TOFU LO MEIN

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I love one dish, one pot meals. And I wish I could tell you this was one. (Well, it is a one dish meal. But as hard as I tried, there is just no getting around the fact that your kitchen help is going to have several bowls and a couple of fry pans to wash after dinner.)

Now in my case, Mr. C is our after meal kitchen clean up crew. And he knows, from years of dish washing experience, that I have washed as many bowls and utensils as possible as I went along. But with this recipe, every part of the dish comes together at the very last minute. So there is no time to wash dishes, much less take a sip of martini (for that matter). (Not that I would have experience drinking a martini while fixing dinner you realize. Right! Only about 25 years of experience, but who’s counting……)

Anyway, regardless of the number of bowls and pans involved with this Lo Mein, you are going to love diving into a plate of this yummy homemade Asian inspired noodle dish. And unlike Lo Mein prepared in a restaurant, there is a lot less salt and fat, and not a sprinkle of MSG to be had. Plus you can make it with as many or as few veggies as you like. (When I fixed this last evening, I used the veggies listed below, because that’s what I had on hand. But next time I can see myself adding or substituting red bell pepper, those darling little corn cobs that come in a can, a small amount of broccoli, or maybe some re-hydrated dried mushroom pieces. This is a “clean your vegetable bin” kind of dish. In other words – the best kind of dish.)

So if you too are a Lo Mein lover, give this recipe a try. And to you or anyone else in your family who gets stuck with the dishes, please accept my apology.

Oh – one last thing. This is a Lo Mein, rather than a Chow Mein because the noodles are not fried. Same kind of noodles are used for both dishes, but in an effort to keep the fat content as low as possible, I decided the cooked noodles really didn’t need to be stir fried in additional oil. (Another positive proof that I am on your side in the quest for healthier eating.) Your welcome!

And yes I do know that tofu is not always used in either Chow Mein or Lo Mein. But we happen to love it. Plus it’s just one more source of protein. Actually, if you wanted to make this an almost* vegetarian dish, you could simply substitute vegetable stock for the chicken broth, and skip the seafood altogether. The tofu could absolutely hold its own as the requisite protein component. It’s good that way!

*Oyster sauce has a bit of oyster extract

Tofu:

  • 1 lb. firm tofu
  • 3 T. low sodium Tamari or soy sauce
  • 6 T. cornstarch, or more as needed
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil

Sauce:

  • 2 T. water
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1½ c. low sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ c. oyster sauce
  • 3 T. GF low-sodium Tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 2-3 tsp. Sriracha

Veggies and Seafood:

  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 8 thinly sliced white button mushrooms
  • 2 c. Napa cabbage, finely shredded or 1 c. finely shredded regular green cabbage
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tsp. minced ginger
  • 8 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
  • 12-15 peapods, sliced in 3rds
  • 1 lb. mixed seafood* (shrimp, scallops, calamari, etc.)
  • 2 T. vegetable oil (needed when veggies are stir-fried)

Noodles:

  • kosher salt
  • 6 oz. chow mein or Chinese egg noodles (I use Sun Luck chow mein noodles mainly because I can buy them at my local grocery store)

Preparation: (Complete each step below before actually cooking the Lo Mein)

Tofu – Remove the tofu from its watery container. Using paper towels, gently squeeze as much liquid as you can from the block of tofu. Cut into 32 pieces and place in a flat pan. Pour the soy sauce over the tofu cubes, turning as required to coat all surfaces. Leave for about 5 minutes.

When ready to fry, coat all sides with corn starch. Heat the vegetable and sesame oils in a large fry pan. Add the tofu cubes and fry until all sides are crispy and golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside until needed.

Sauce – Whisk together the water, corn starch, chicken broth, oyster sauce, Tamari, sesame oil, and Sriracha in a small bowl and set aside.

Veggies – Cut all the veggies as instructed above. Set aside. Combine seafood in a bowl and set aside.

Lo Mein assembly: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the noodles according to the package directions. While the noodles are cooking, heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a very large fry pan or wok. Add the celery, carrot, mushrooms, and cabbage to the hot oil and cook for 3-4 minutes. (You want the veggies to be crisp tender.) Add the garlic, ginger, green onions, and pea pods; cook for 1 minute. Finally add the seafood and cook until almost done.

Add the sauce and cook only until thickened. Drain the noodles and add to the fry pan along with the fried tofu. Remove from heat when all ingredients are hot. Serve immediately.

*You can use chicken, beef, or pork instead of seafood. Just add in place of seafood and cook only until done.

 

 

ASIAN MARINATED SEARED TUNA

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(Sorry about the fuzzy picture, but before I could take a picture, the tuna was all but consumed. Then before I could actually check to see if I had taken a decent enough picture, it was all gone!)

If there is anything better than having wonderful neighbors, I can’t think what it could possibly be? Except of course if said neighbors are also good friends AND bring you fresh tuna. Now that is what I call a winning combination.

So when Jerry and Jeanie got back from their fishing trip and asked if we would like some fresh tuna, we jumped at the chance. It isn’t just every day that we get to sink our teeth into such a delicacy. Plus this is a delicacy that takes very little effort or time to prepare. (Another winning combination!)

With such an amazing piece of fish (about 2 pounds), the last thing I wanted to do was prepare it in such a way as to spoil either the delicate flavor or moistness of the fish. So off to the internet in search of both elucidation and inspiration. I knew I wanted to either grill or sear the tuna, but did I want to marinate the fish or serve it with something like a wasabi aioli? After remembering that I wanted to cut down on the amount of sauces and aiolis I served, I decided that a marinade was the answer.

I was lucky enough to stumble on a Youtube by Chris Henry, a personal chef. The tuna she prepared on her video looked so delicious, I just knew it would be outstanding. And take it from me, this was the best tuna preparation I ever tasted, much less prepared myself. And like I mentioned; simple as can be.

So next time you want to treat your family and friends, I suggest you find yourself a lovely hunk of tuna and use this recipe. So thank you Chris for sharing your recipe. And thank you again Jerry and Jeanie for your lovely gift of tuna. But mainly, we both want to thank you for your friendship. It means more to us than even the sushi grade tuna you gave us. And that my dear friends, is saying a lot!

  • 2 T. GF, low sodium Tamari
  • 2 T. regular soy sauce
  • juice of ½ of a lime
  • 2 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger root
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 – 1½ lbs. fresh tuna fillets or steaks
  • extra virgin olive oil

Combine the Tamari, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, and garlic in a covered bowl or airtight freezer bag. Add the tuna and place in refrigerator for an hour or up to 4 hours (if the steaks are really thick). Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to cook the steaks. (I marinated 1½-inch steaks for 2 hours the other evening and they were perfect!)

Remove the steaks from marinade. Discard marinade.

Coat a medium sized fry pan with olive oil. Heat the oil until just before it starts to smoke. Fry the steak(s) for about 1½ – 2 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches between 115 and 120 degrees.* (You never want to overcook tuna. So this is one of those times when an instant read thermometer is worth its weight in gold!) Remove tuna from pan, let sit for 3-4 minutes, then slice thinly against the grain. Serve immediately.

Please note: the marinade gives the tuna a wonderful flavor. In my estimation no other condiment or sauce is necessary, in fact it might detract from the glorious flavor of the fish.

*To cook and serve rare tuna, the tuna must be free of parasites. In order to do that, the just caught tuna must either be frozen at -4° F for 7 days or frozen at -31° F (“flash frozen”) for 15 hours. Even if the tuna in your store is marked “sushi or sashimi grade” (considered safe to be eaten raw) you can’t always be sure you are receiving a safe product.

According to Marc Matsumoto, “The term “sushi-grade” is often tossed around to imply some level of freshness, but in the US, there’s no regulation around the use of the phrase, so it can be used to describe anything. That said, most stores aren’t in the business of getting their customers sick, so they usually reserve the label for their freshest fish.” (Which I have discovered in my research doesn’t mean the fish is free of parasites. It just means it’s “fresher” than the fish that isn’t labeled “sashimi or sushi grade”!)

So moral of the story: Trust your fishmonger and buy tuna from a reliable source or buy commercially frozen fish.

 

SALMON CAKES

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There is just something about a homemade cake. And I don’t really care if it’s chocolate, carrot, apple, etc. as long as it’s moist and delicious. And that goes for the savory varieties of cakes also.

To my mind, there is nothing worse than a crab or salmon cake that has the consistency and look of particle board that has gotten wet! Now granted, I have never tasted wet particle board, but I have an active imagination. And what my imagination tells me is that wet particle board tastes a lot like a poorly prepared crab or salmon cake! (If any of you have firsthand knowledge on this subject, please don’t hesitate to correct me if I’m wrong.)

Anyway, what I am trying to say in my own indomitable way, is that these salmon cakes are not dry. They are delightfully tender, moist, and juicy. They are also very easy to build, especially if you use planned over salmon, which it what I usually use when I make these cakes. I look for salmon on sale, then buy 2 pounds rather than just one. Then I cook both pounds setting one pound aside to use within the next couple of days. Then with my planned over salmon I either prepare this dish or one of a handful of other dishes like Salmon Caesar Salad or Salmon, Bacon, and Corn Chowder. (Both recipes can be found on this site.)

One additional detail I should really mention before I shut up so that you can go to the store and buy the ingredients to make these little darlings for dinner. These salmon cakes are absolutely delicious. (I know, you probably already ascertained that little detail since I posted the recipe in the first place.) But I still felt it was obligatory to state the obvious. (A little compulsion left over from my days in human resources. “Miss Smith, you were applying for “work” when you came to us for employment. So now, please just sit down and do the job for which you were hired.”) I loved my job! But back to salmon.

So keeping in mind that salmon is a good source of niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, phosphorus, vitamin B6, choline, pantothenic acid, biotin, and potassium, make up a batch of these tender and delicious salmon cakes at your earliest convenience. They truly are a salmon lover’s delight. You might even be surprised if one of your family members, who professes to hate salmon, suddenly becomes a huge fan. It has happened before and it can happen again. Enjoy

  • 2 T. unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 T. finely chopped red bell pepper
  • ¼ c. finely diced celery
  • 2 T. finely minced shallot or green onion
  • 1 egg
  • ½ c. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp. hot sauce (I use Frank’s RedHot Sauce)
  • 1½ tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 T. finely minced fresh parsley
  • 1 T. capers, drained
  • 10 finely crushed unsalted or low salt saltine crackers (I use the kind with no additional salt on the top)
  • 1 lb. cooked salmon, flaked
  • ¾ c. Panko bread crumbs, or more as needed

In a large frying pan, bring 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to medium-high heat. Add the red pepper, celery, and shallot; sauté for about 4 minutes or just until the veggies are starting to soften. Take pan off heat, remove the veggies with a slotted spoon, and set veggies aside to cool. (Don’t wash the pan. You are going to be frying the salmon cakes in this same pan.)

Meanwhile lightly beat the egg in a medium sized bowl. Whisk in the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, Old Bay Seasoning, black pepper, parsley, and capers. Stir in the finely crushed saltines, the cooled vegetables, and the salmon. Form the mixture into 8-10 small flat cakes. (Will be messy!)  Coat each cake with Panko and place on a wax paper lined plate*. Cover and  refrigerate for at least 2 hours before frying. When ready to cook, heat the remaining butter and olive oil in the reserved fry pan. Fry cakes over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. (About 4 minutes per side.)

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If you enjoy a sauce with your salmon cakes, may I recommend Old Bay Aioli. (See recipe below.)

*I use my 2-inch diameter ice cream scoop, drop the balls in a small bowl filled with the Panko crumbs, roll the balls around in the Panko, and then place the coated balls on a wax paper lined platter. Flatten each ball slightly with your hand.

OLD BAY AIOLI

  • ½ c. light mayonnaise (I use Best Foods Light Mayonnaise)
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. granulated garlic
  • ¼ tsp. sriracha
  • 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • kosher salt to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, granulated garlic, sriracha, lemon juice, Old Bay Seasoning, and pepper. Add salt if needed.

 

 

GRILLED MARINATED SALMON

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I found this recipe on the allrecipes web site. I was researching seafood dishes because we need to add more seafood to our diet. And since salmon is one of our favorites, I jumped all over this recipe when I read the ingredients list. Now granted I did change out olive oil for vegetable oil, and low-sodium, GF Tamari for regular soy sauce. But the bones of the recipe are straight off the site. (And thank you allrecipes for that!)

What appealed to me most when I first read this recipe was the fact that I could probably get away without serving a sauce of some kind with this marinated and grilled preparation. (And believe me, my dear husband loves tartar sauce or aioli with his seafood!) So finding a fish dish that wouldn’t require a sauce is exactly what I was looking for when I went searching. After all, if you are going to go to the trouble of adding more foods to your diet that were designed by Mother Nature to help lower cholesterol, like salmon, then adding a sauce made with mayonnaise isn’t the wisest choice as an accompaniment! (Kind of bad karma trying to mess with Mother Nature that way!) Plus, did you ever hear the term “defeating the purpose”? Well that’s exactly what I would have been doing if I had served this salmon with Mr. Cs favorite aioli or tartar sauce! Not to mention; any sauce I could have prepared would have detracted from the subtle and delectable flavor the salmon derived from its short bath in the Asian inspired marinade. So, as they say – mission impossible (serving fish without a sauce) became mission accomplished (he didn’t miss a sauce in the least)!

So please give this recipe a try if you too are trying to add more seafood to your diet. It’s really an outstanding seafood dish. And as a personal favor, since he rarely reads my blog, please don’t mention this post to Mr. C. I am slowly and surely reducing the amount of fat in our diet to try and bring both of our cholesterol levels down. But I don’t want him to feel deprived, so the less Mr. C. knows of my master plan, the better off he’ll be! (In more ways than one!) Thanks

  • 1½ – 2 lbs. salmon fillet or fillets*
  • granulated garlic
  • sea salt
  • lemon pepper
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. low sodium GF Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. chicken stock or water
  • ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil

Moderately season the salmon with granulated garlic, salt, and lemon pepper. (Flesh side only. No need to season the skin.) In a shallow pan, whisk together the brown sugar, Tamari, chicken stock, and olive oil. Place the seasoned salmon fillet or fillets flesh side down in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

When ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium. If you have a basket or other grilling container, lightly coat with cooking spray. If not, lightly coat the grill grate itself with cooking spray. Place the salmon in the basket or on the grate skin side down, lower lid and let cook for about 4-8 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish. Discard marinade. When time to turn, carefully lift the salmon and turn it over. (Usually the skin stays in the basket or on the grill.) Cook covered for another few minutes just until done**. Do not overcook or the salmon will be dry. Serve immediately or cool and serve at room temperature. No tartar sauce or aioli required.

*If I purchase one large fillet, I usually cut it in half. That way it’s easier to marinate and also to flip when grilling.

**The USDA recommends cooking salmon to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Push the tip of the meat thermometer gently into the middle of the salmon fillet at its thickest part to get an accurate reading.

Please note: Another method of grilling salmon or any fish with skin on one side, is to place the fillet skin side down on aluminum foil that has been pierced in several places with a table fork. Place the aluminum foil on the grill, lower lid, and cook for 4-6 minutes over medium heat. When it’s time to turn, grab the closest edge of the foil with both hands and slide it off the fire. Flip the fish gently onto the hot part of the grill. Gently remove the foil and the skin should lift right off. Lower the lid again and cook just until done.