Malaysian Coconut Milk Soup

BEAUTY FROM THE BEAST

before and after

No time to angle and fillet one the ugliest eating fishes available?  Not a problem…this a deceptively easy seafood soup, especially if you purchase a firm white fish or prawns from your grocery store.  This recipe is also versatile in that it can be served as a canapé such as above, or in a soup bowl with rice.

 

serves 4-6 as an entree

 

4 pounds of firm white fish, or 20 prawns

1 stalk of lemon grass

1 shallot, finely chopped

1/4 – 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped

1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

pinch of saffron

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

1/2 cup of coconut milk, well stirred

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1-2 teaspoons Nam Pla or other fish sauce

lime or lemon juice to taste

Cilantro rough chopped

rice (optional)

 

Remove tough outer leaf of the lemon grass and grate or chop finely.  Place lemon grass, shallots, chilli, ginger, garlic, spices and oil into a bowl with choice of seafood.  Let marinate for an hour in the refrigerator if you have time.

Place a pot over medium heat.  Add marinated seafood and cook until just fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.  Add coconut milk, salt and pepper.  Bring to simmer and cook until just cooked.  Add fish sauce and citrus to taste stirring to incorporate.  Garnish with cilantro.


Whew at Ballymaloe!

It has been a whirl wind lately.  I finally made it to Ballymaloe Cooking School in Ireland!  Last time I tried to make it over for their 3 month course a volcano erupted in Iceland – that little devil Eyjafjallajökull – yes, it is now a curse word in many parts of the world.  I made a pact with myself that I would faithfully update my blog and emails daily, but have failed miserably. Unfortunately there’s no internet in my cottage and we’ve been going flat out at the school.  We have survived the first hectic week which has been packed with information from short pastry making to fire safety.  I hope to get a little more organized and include some of the amazingly delicious recipes soon, but for now a very brief glimpse of arriving, learning and cooking:

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Jailhouse Jambalaya

bedraggled and ready to eat

We have been working hard on the farm lately. Our weather is beginning  to turn toward Autumn and soon all outdoor work will come to a halt – so we’re kicking it into high gear.  We have the scintillating task of clearing a large field…of all rocks, all rose hips, all by hand.  In my previous life I was a suburban girl; I don’t remember all this manual labor being in the brochure.  I call Steve ‘The Warden’ now – he works me like a dog.  An upside is my pants fit a little better AND I can eat tasty, meaty dishes without as much guilt –  Such as this streamlined, bastardization, Pacific Northwestern version of a creole classic.

jailhouse jambalaya


serves 4-6


1 tablespoon olive oil

4 links of cooked sausage, such as Hempler’s, cut on the bias

6 bell peppers, seeded and rough chopped

1 large yellow onion, rough chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced

1 tablespoon coarse salt

1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or fresh minced)

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

2 cups cooked brown rice


In a large heavy saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot add sausage and brown on all sides.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Add onion, peppers, spices and herbs to the pan (add additional oil if needed).  Saute vegetables until soft but snappy.   Add the sausage back to the pan and cook until heated through.  Turn off the heat and add butter, stirring until melted.  Serve with brown rice.



Perfumed Sea Scallops

fresh and delicate

Scallops have such a mild flavor, it often gets lost when paired with heavy accoutrements such as bacon. Goodness knows I love bacon, but I think a lighter hand with this bivalve is the best approach.  When more robust flavors are incorporated the scallop becomes more like tofu or a cracker where it’s just a vehicle for less subtle elements.



serves 4 appetizer portions


12 sea scallops

1 teaspoon basil, chopped

1 teaspoon mint, chopped

1 teaspoon lemon thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon chives, chopped

1 teaspoon tarragon, chopped

1/4 teaspoon culinary lavender, chopped

extra virgin olive oil, about 2-3 tablespoons (the good stuff)

coarse salt

black pepper, fine grind

agave nectar

Squeeze of fresh lemon

8 metal skewers


Dry the scallops with a paper towel.  Place scallops, herbs, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix until combined.  Let marinate in the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour to an hour.  Meanwhile prepare grill for medium heat.  For every three scallops thread two skewers, leaving a bit of space between the scallops for more even cooking.  Lightly drizzle both sides of the skewered scallops with agave nectar.  Rub grill with more oil to prevent sticking.  Cook for about 2 minutes per side.  Try to get a light caramelization without overcooking the scallops.  Give a quick and light squeeze of lemon over the top.


Hawaiian Ono Poke’

nephew Grant holding our dinner

Ono, also known as wahoo or peto is a delicious saltwater sporting fish found in warm waters.  The flesh of the fish is mild and is easily adapted to various cooking (or non cooking) methods such as grilling, braising, sashimi,  and Hawaiian poke’.  There are as many poke’s as there are Texas chili’s, but this particular mixture went over very well in our group.

serves 4-6


I pound sashimi grade Ono, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons Maui onion, minced

1-2 tablespoons quality mayonnaise

1 tablespoon flying fish roe (tobiko)

Sriracha sauce to taste


Combine cut fish and mayonnaise.  Add onion and Sriracha tasting for heat.  Gently stir in roe until combined.  Chill for 1 hour.

Ono Poke'



Spicy Mango Wings & Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

A few bottled products are used for these dishes, not necessarily as shortcuts-although welcome, but because they add a truly unique flavor boost!


serves 4 as main or 6 as appetizer

For the Wings:

8 chicken wings

5 ounces of PickaPeppa Spicy Mango Sauce (not so spicy actually)

1 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat (toaster) oven to 350°. Place wings in a sealable container, add sauce and salt and mix thouroughly.  Let marinate for 1-3 hours in the refrigerator. Spray a sheet pan with non-stick spray and line with foil.  Spray the top of the foil with non-stick spray as well.  Place the wings on the sheet pan so they don’t touch.  Bake wings for about 3o minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare or preheat the BBQ for a 2 station area – one at about 300° and the other about 350°.  Your shrimp will cook over the 300° and your chicken will brown over the 350° area.


For the Shrimp:

8 extra large or jumbo shrimp (26/30 or 21/25)

8 strips of bacon, thick cut

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

salt and pepper

8 toothpicks, soaked in water


Preheat (toaster) oven to 400°.  Place a wire rack into a rimmed pan and lay the strips of bacon on the rack.  Bake the bacon for 10 minutes.  Remove pan from oven.  Add a grind or two of pepper.  Turn bacon over and brush with maple syrup, adding more pepper.  Bake for another 3 minutes. Place bacon maple side up on paper towels.  The bacon should be soft, pliable and just about cooked through.  Cool.

Remove the shells and de-vine shrimp.  Season with salt and pepper.  Wrap each shrimp with maple bacon and secure with a soaked toothpick.


When your BBQ is ready, place the wings over your hotter station and the shrimp on the cooler one.  Watch, and turn each piece so that it browns but doesn’t burn, moving if necessary.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes.  Use Patak’s® Medium Mango Relish as a dip for both the wings and the shrimp.

far tastier than it appears! Patak's Mango

The Patak’s® Mango Relish medium is actually pretty darn spicy so a little can go a long way.  It’s intense and very unique flavor adds an amazing dimension to many dishes.

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Fusion Roll

a mixedsoup creation

You can whip this appetizer up before you can say ‘Kanpai!’

makes 24 mini-rolls


8 ounces of cold smoked salmon lox

4 ounces quality cream cheese

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1/2 teaspoon lemongrass, peeled and finely grated

caviar, tobiko, wasabi paste, sriracha‘ for garnish

If necessary, cut the lox into smaller pieces about 1 1/2 inches wide by 4 inches long or smaller if preferred.  In a bowl combine ginger, lemongrass and cream cheese until completely blended.  You may want the cream cheese to be closer to room temperature for easier blending.  Spread approximately 1 teaspoon of the filling on each lox piece, leaving a small border so the filling doesn’t ooze out when rolled.  Top with a garnish.

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