Posts Tagged ‘seafood’

Key West Fish Tacos & Slaw

October 24, 2012

Living on the ocean has its perks. Fishing off our back deck happens to be one of them. Not only is it a great hobby for my hubby and our girls but we catch some pretty tasty fish, mainly mangrove and yellowtail snapper. At one point I was getting tired of fish and chips so I decided to make up a new recipe for our daily deck catch. My mom had given me this batter recipe for the fish and I combined a few great slaw recipes I read into a delicious dinner. The fish batter was like nothing I have ever been able to create at home, it was amazing! The beer really adds a great flavor to the batter and it helps the fish fry up so nice and crisp. Throw it on some warm tortillas and add your favorite taco toppings and you have a great summer feast.

English Pub Style Fish Beer Batter

BEER or CLUB SODA (ENOUGH TO MAKE THICK BATTER) – I used almost a full bottle of Blue Moon


Tara’s Special Slaw

Take cabbage, fresh cilantro, red onion, green onion, sliced thinly, tossed with about 1/2 cup or more of mayo and fresh squeezed lime juice (to taste, I used 1 lime), a tiny bit of chopped canned jalepenos and garlic, to taste, and viola – homemade slaw that is the perfect companion for this fish. Modify as you like using purple cabbage, carrots, no peppers, more or less cilantro or onions, and top tacos with avocado and tomatoes too if you like.

oh and don’t laugh at my crappy pic above, I scarfed down 2 tacos and took a pic of half of one that was left, before I ate it all!

Let’s go to Venice for Dinner

August 18, 2012

Now that we moved to paradise I am taking full advantage of the multitude of fresh seafood available at my doorstep. My hubby and my girls have been fishing off our deck after dinner and catching inspiration for my recipes. What is the main thing they catch you ask? Well it is snapper. You can’t beat fresh caught snapper, it is so tender and flaky and not at all fishy. We have had it in a fish fry, fish tacos and most recently, Venetian Fish soup. Even my picky girls slurped happily on this soup.

This recipe is in one of my favorite go to cook books that I have done many posts from over the years – Quick from Scratch Italian (hint: most of the recipes are available online). Some of my faves are gorgonzola fettuicine, sicilian meatball stew, and an upcoming potatoes with sausage post. This recipe was easy to make and it tasted amazing. I got some fresh shrimp at a local fish market as the recipe called for, and I really think the shrimp stock was the secret ingredient here, as well as the clam juice, a key ingredient in chowdah. I chose not to use fennel but you can add or omit ingredients as you see fit. The red pepper flakes added a little kick to the delicious tomato broth. We enjoyed dipping some Cuban bread in our soup as we gobbled it down. So take a trip to Venice tonight from the comfort of your own kitchen…

Venetian Fish Soup

  1. 1/2 pound large shrimp, shells removed and reserved
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 2 carrots, chopped
  5. 2 onions, chopped
  6. 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  7. 2 ribs celery, chopped
  8. 6 cloves garlic, minced
  9. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  10. 3 1/2 cups bottled clam juice
  11. 2 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (from a 28-ounce can)
  12. 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  13. 5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  14. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  15. 1 teaspoon salt or more, depending on the saltiness of the clam juice
  16. 2 bay leaves
  17. 2 pounds moderately firm white fish fillets (use a mixture of 2 or 3 kinds), such as cod, halibut, ocean perch, orange roughy, pollack, red snapper, or tilapia, cut into 1-by-1-inch pieces
  18. 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  1. Put the shrimp shells and the water in a small pot; bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain the shrimp stock into a bowl. Discard the shells.
  2. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the carrots, onions, fennel, celery, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine; cook until it almost evaporates, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shrimp stock, clam juice, tomatoes, red-pepper flakes, 4 tablespoons of the parsley, the thyme, salt, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes. Taste for salt and, if needed, add more. Remove the bay leaves.
  3. Add the fish, shrimp, the remaining tablespoon parsley, and the pepper to the pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the fish and shrimp are just done, about 2 minutes.

Birthday feast for Nonna

January 30, 2012

I love an occasion to cook for. Cooking is my way of showing love for someone I care about. Its not so much the foods I make as much as it is the preparation or love that goes into the meal. I would rather spend all day making something from scratch for someone than taking them to a restaurant chain. My mom’s birthday was yesterday. For her present she requested a favorite meal of ours. My mom is the reason I cook, because she always taught me so many things in the kitchen. I love seeing her with the girls today teaching them the love of cooking. For her dinner she requested Penne with Crabcake pasta from the restaurant we had our wedding rehearsal dinner at. I always loved that entree so I recreated it at home till I got it right. It is extremely simple yet it plates and tastes like 5 stars. Then because my mom has a sweet tooth I made her a delectable chocolate cake. Who doesn’t want to try a new chocolate cake recipe? So here we go:

Crabcake Penne with Spinach and Sundried tomatoes

This recipe is one I made up to duplicate the dish we always enjoyed at one of our favorite NC places, Amos Mosquitos cafe. First I cook some garlic, about 6-8 cloves, roughly chopped in butter. Then I toss spinach in the butter and cover it to wilt, you don’t want it to cook too long. Then I add a about 3/4 jar of chopped sundried tomatoes in olive oil and I add some of the oil from the jar as well. I cook some penne till it is al dente and then I toss it in the saute pan with the spinach. I serve a bowl of this lovely pasta concoction with a crabcake sitting on top and some aioli on the crabcake. Sometimes I make my own crabcakes from scratch but lately I have been using Maryland Lump crabcakes from the freezer section. The crabcake is so happy to be sitting in this pasta nest. Aioli is what really adds the zing to this dish. For my aioli I use garlic, mayo, chipolte peppers in adobo sauce, dijon mustard, and white wine vinegar. I got the recipe from Food a while ago but I have since added to it. This dish has such few simple ingredients but it is really pleasing to the eye and the palate. It really makes a date night in look extra fancy.

For dessert we had the Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with Fudge Icing, pictured above. No matter how little time I have I just can’t use a store bought or boxed cake, as the ones from scratch taste so much better. I have made this recipe for so many special occasions before. It is so moist and light and fluffy. I have really never tasted a cake like it. In fact I think I am going to go taste some right now…


Polenta Virgin

January 21, 2012

So I am a polenta virgin. I am not ashamed to admit it. I just have never tried it, for some reason it has never appealed to me. Polenta is a very finely ground version of corn grits and if you cook it very slowly to get it creamy. It is often served with tomato and mozzarella or even chilled and sliced into circles for fancy appetizers. I see it on all different calibers of cooking shows and I am usually the first to try to make something if it is more challenging, but yet I have not tried it.

The other day on The Chew, Mario made Polenta with shrimp (shrimp are gamberoni in Italian) and he enticed me. So I bought some polenta and shrimp and I was ready to try it out. Following Mario’s directions were easy and the step by step video helped make my first time making polenta easier. I had seen other chefs use fresh herbs as skewers before in other recipes so I was excited to try this with the shrimp. Remember it has to marinate for 3 hours so plan ahead. Grilling the shrimp on the rosemary skewer really adds delicious flavor, I might use this idea for summer cookouts. Make sure not to grill it too long, you don’t want your shrimp tough, but tender and succulent.

When I made the polenta I made sure to pour it slowly and whisk as pouring, to me it was just like making cream of wheat, which I make often for breakfast, so it was easier than I expected. I got it to be just the right texture and then I scooped it out and served the freshly grilled shrimp on top. It was amazing! I am really glad I took the plunge. I can’t wait to try it chilled as a sort of cracker to serve a yummy appetizer on. I also am excited to try some other recipes, my friend said that she had polenta fries with gorgonzola dip at a restaurant, I want to find the recipe to make that too. So if you have not tried polenta but are feeling the urge, don’t be scared and you won’t be disappointed! Oh and please excuse the photo I snagged from the Chew site, I gobbled up my dinner so fast and forgot to snap a pic for my fans…