Jamaican Jerk Shrimp with Mango Salsa

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Fun fact, did you know that mango skin is related to poison Ivy? I found out the hard way years ago after I developed a rash on my hands and face from devouring a case of mangoes. Maybe that isn’t such a fun fact.

It’s hard to beat a perfectly ripe and juicy mango. Delicious on their own but they are also perfect partners for seafood. Mango salsa cools the palate from the spice in this recipe. Save a batch of seasoning for a super easy weeknight meal and don’t be afraid to venture into another type of seafood, this would be good on salmon or a meaty white fish.

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*recipe adapted from MyRecipes

INGREDIENTS

1-2 mangos, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 red onion, diced

salt to taste (garlic salt is even better)

2 lbs large raw shrimp

2 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoon Jamaican Jerk spice mixture **recipe below**

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Combine the first 5 ingredients together and set aside.

Toss shrimp (tails on or off it’s your meal) with olive oil and spice mixture, mix to coat. Heat large skillet or grill pan over medium high heat. Add coconut oil, when hot add your shrimp. Cook 3 minutes per side or just until shrimp turn pink.

Serve on a bed of mango salsa. Coconut rice would be a wonderful team player.

**JAMAICAN JERK SPICE MIXTURE

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1/3 cup paprika

2 tablespoons ground allspice

4 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well, store in an air tight container.

 

 

 

Mother’s Day

I hope all you wonderful moms had a great Mother’s day. We earned this holiday! I grew two  human beings inside of me and went through hell to get them to exit my body in a safe and timely manner. Then there is the aftermath of the birth, the NICU, the bleeding, the pain!  Being a mom is hard and it definitely takes a village. But we do it, everyday. We, you and me, we are badass!

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Kaili made me the sweetest Mother’s day gift at school. She knows me pretty well.

Saturday I was taken out to brunch at my favorite of the Brian Malarkey restaurants, Herringbone, where “fish meats field.”

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The atmosphere in the place is just amazing.

We decided to graze through a bunch of dishes that we normally wouldn’t order for brunch. Settling in with the endless Rosé, we started with oysters.

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I am a huge seafood cheerleader. I have had oysters before and eh, they are fine. I don’t get all the hype, especially when someone says they love them. Wait, do you like the taste of a fresh plain oyster or do you like to dump all the fixings on it? Because I feel like you’re not really tasting the oyster when its dripping with horseradish and lemon juice. Anyways….Here is Shane’s first time trying a raw oyster.

Pretty underwhelming reaction huh? Thats pretty much how I feel about them too.

Next we tore into a perfectly piping hot basket of beignets. We kept having to swat the kids hands away. Back up ladies, eat your eggs, these are ours!

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For our third course we decided on the whole fish ceviche. Basically a raw crudo of Branzino. It was amazing. So fresh and clean, like eating the ocean with bits of chili and micro cilantro for a proper punch and crunch.

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The girls were being so very good. I think this is a first time in a long time that they were this good at a restaurant. We decided to go with it and try one more dish while they were on this best behavior kick.

The lobster roll. I have yet to have a really good one in my 40 years so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

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But this, this was delicious. The lobster wasn’t hidden under globs of mayo, it was left to shine. The brioche bun was pillowy soft, buttery and melted in your mouth. I was so surprised with how much I liked it.

There was some live music in the front of the restaurant, we took our wine and went to listen for a bit. The girls played around patiently waiting for us while simultaneously asking for ice cream every two minutes.

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This entire meal from the kids, to the food was perfect. By far the best dining experience I have had in a long time. Since we know I am picky when it comes to dining out, you should all stop by Herringbone if you are in La jolla. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

 

Roasted Whole Fish

I have always loved dining on a whole roasted fish, faces don’t scare me. I mean I sucked the brains out of a chicken head in China! But cooking a whole fish was intimidating because one….how do you know it’s really a fresh fish, aside from the eyeball test…and two….. where do I get a whole fish from? Well, luckily we found a local wholesale fish market that serves all the finest local restaurants here. Catalina Offshore is where all the chefs go to get their seafood, so now when I eat at a restaurant and I order an amazing Branzino or Salmon, I know where they got it. Priceless in my opinion. Not only because you know exactly what you are putting into your body and where it came from but NOW, I know that I can also make that same dish, just as good, for a lot less chaaaa-ching!

We all know I have talked Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook to death, but in all seriousness, I think she and I share palates. I could cook through the book and probably not be disappointed in anything. When I decided on cooking a whole fish for the second time in my life, I wanted to do what she did, clearly can’t go wrong!

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Team Players

1 (2 lb.) whole fish, white striped bass or branzino

Kosher salt and pepper

15 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 Tbs olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 lemon, sliced

3-4 springs of herbs, thyme, rosemary, sage

1 lbs heirloom tomatoes, slices or cut into wedges

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. ( just do this with anything you roast)

Place fish on the foil lined sheet and season like its your job all over with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes and then rub it all over and inside the fish.  Place the lemon rounds inside the cavity along with the herbs.

Arrange the tomatoes underneath and around the fish, then drizzle the whole party with olive oil.

Roast until fish is flaky, 20 minutes should be perfect.

Serve right away.

AND don’t forget the fish cheeks, the best bite of the entire fish!

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Hawaiian Poke

We took the kids to the beach park in La Jolla last week. It was sunny but cold and the wind had a mind of it’s own, so did the damm seagulls. But it was beautiful out.

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There was a flock of thieves stealing snacks from our hands, so brazen they probably would have landed on our heads for just a nibble of whatever we were eating. They even took sunscreen and wipes out of our bags, but quickly dropped them when they realized it wasn’t the goods they wanted. Kaili wasn’t having any of it, she would run after them, screaming and arms flailing but they were unfazed. Tucking our stuff away and making sure all was zipped up, we headed down to the water.

fullsizerender-1img_1338The younger one decided she was done and wanted to head back up to dry land. Probably one of the hardest parts of parenting multiple children, keeping track of children wanting to go separate ways. We dredged back up to the boardwalk  where we stopped and attempted a few pictures, this was the best.

There is nothing like getting home from the beach, your skin is sun-kissed, your hair has that sea salt texture and your skin has a hint of saltiness. I love the coast and I love seafood and that night I wanted fish, raw fish, good raw fish….like a delicious Poké.

Saturday morning we headed to our local wholesale seafood market. We bought some A. Apples, B. Bananas….just kidding. Does anyone else remember that car game? No, great, moving on.

Tuna, sushi grade tuna, Big Eye tuna to be exact.I haven’t worked with fresh raw tuna before. It’s been only the past few years that I have had some really good Poké, trying it at random but appropriate restaurants if you catch my drift. As time went on I really wanted to try and make it myself but the Mr. isn’t a fan, so I needed the right timing to make it for someone other than myself. After our beach day this was the time.

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I wanted it to sit for at least 3 hours before it was served. I based my recipe off what I love most in a Poké, soy, sesame and onion in the leading cast. After a little recipe hunting I had decided on a final ingredient list.

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Now, if you don’t cook often a lot of these ingredients might seem daunting  or maybe they are items you don’t normally have in your pantry. For me,  they are staples, I just needed to pick up a sweet onion and macadamia nuts, this was an easy shopping list for me. Simple to throw together, no recipe, just my thoughts. The final product made me proud, really proud. This was probably the best I have had and I never say that lightly, especially when I’m the one in the kitchen.

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Ingredients

1 lb. sushi grade tuna

1/4 cups small slices of sweet onion

1 green onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. black sesame seeds, toasted

1 Tbs. macadamia nuts, roasted and salted, chopped

1 Tbs dark soy sauce

2 Tbs light soy sauce

1/2 Tbs. Mirin

1 tsp. chili garlic sauce

2 Tbs sesame oil

Kosher salt to taste

* I made a Wasabi drizzle with a little mayo, wasabi powder and lemon juice. All to taste. I put the mixture into a sandwich bag, snipped the end off and piped it on top. If you like it spicy and the flavor of wasabi I recommend you give it a go!

Directions

Slice the tuna into 1 inch cubes and place into a non reactive bowl aka glass.

Add all the other ingredients and mix. Cover tightly and let hang out for a couple of hours. Serve over rice, wonton crisps or just dig in with your hands.

 

 

 

See Food

Catalina offshore is a local seafood market. We were told about it by a neighbor and watched it make its debut on a travel channel show. I don’t know why it took us so long to make our appearance.

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We strolled in early on a Saturday morning side swiping the local chefs and fishermen. A cook behind an enormous stock pot was  handing out bowls of piping hot bouillabaisse while we waited for our order. We came for mussels but left with a side of snapper. I love a whole roasted fish, if it’s one the specials at a good restaurant, chances are that will be my choice.  But scaling and cleaning a whole fish and then worrying about cooking it has intimated me. But standing in front of this array of fish, I decided this was my time  to tackle the snapper.

First up, mussels. We had an amazing dish at a local seafood restaurant a few weeks back.The Mr and I love our shellfish and after 10 years I think we agreed that those mussels were indeed some of the best. I needed to replicate this dish!  After intense recipe research I chose a favorite blogger of mine and used this recipe. They turned out better than I imagined, the mussels were the plumpest and juiciest I have ever had and the coconut curry broth was drinkable, like pour in a glass and cheers!

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Then there was the Snapper. Since I hooked it on a whim, I really had no idea what I was going to do. I chose to keep it simple and let the fish shine. I grabbed some lemon, herbs and salt. I wrapped it in foil and roasted it,  at the end I let it sunbathe under the broiler for a minute.

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We delightfully dug in.

IMG_8778 Along side we enjoyed caprese and grilled artichokes with an aioli, never forgetting the crusty bread.

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It was some good eating!

Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp with Homemade Chili Sauce {CBL April}

When this recipe came across my Feedly the other week I sent the link to a few people and said “look at this bowl of heavenly goodness”. Then  I drooled on my keyboard as I bookmarked the recipe to make for my culinary bucket list this month.

I must admit this was almost too effortless for me to use as my recipe of the month…almost. Also it  was pretty  easy on the pocketbook as I already had every ingredient besides the shrimp.

Homemade sweet chili sauce is ridiculously good. I can’t believe I have been buying the stuff all these years. Sure a bottle in the pantry is good to have on hand. Perfect those nights when you just need a small amount for your Thai noodle dish or to dip an egg roll in but if you are really going use it, please make it. I made mine a tad spicier and added a touch more garlic. I was super impressed when it was done and I wished I had an egg roll to dunk in it but my fingers worked just fine.

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This entire dish takes only minutes to prepare so in no time you get to sink your teeth in to these sweet, spicy and luscious shrimp.

It tasted just as I had imagined, amazing.

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