Baby Octopus, Soft-Shelled Crab, and Wild White Shrimp in Red Curry

It’s been a really long time since I last made Thai red curry at home. I wanted something quick to reheat for lunch with less fuss. The seafood for this initial dish is quite fussy but mainly because my kitchen is so small. For lunch reheats, I’m just going to cook the number of shrimp I would like to eat in the portioned curry plus some vegetables.

[Makes 2 quarts]

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For the Curry

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch ginger, sliced into thin planks
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup red curry paste
  • 1 TBS fish sauce
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • ½ cup dashi broth
  • Three 14 oz. cans coconut milk
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Olive oil

In a large pan, coat the bottom of it with olive oil on low-medium heat. Sweat the shallots. Then stir in the minced garlic and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic.

Add the curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, and mix well to coat completely. Shake the cans of coconut milk before opening and pour into the pan with the dashi broth and lime juice. Increase heat to medium, and bring the curry to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning for taste. Pour through a mesh strainer and into a clean pot.

TO ASSEMBLE

Arrange whatever seafood (or protein or tofu) you want into a bowl, add in vegetables (I used bok choy and cucumber), pour the curry into the bowl, garnish with sliced jalapeño, cilantro, and Thai basil. Serve with jasmine rice.

Scallop Crudo with Shichimi, Shimeji, Haricots Verts Salad & Fennel Foam

This was the first course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people. Originally, I had another course before this but I cut it once I realized that the duck confit would take too much of my time and I didn’t want to overwhelm myself.

Serves 6.

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[100% organic, wild scallops]

For the Fennel Foam

  • 2 large fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • Bouquet garni: white peppercorns, 1 garlic clove, fennel fronds
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream

In a pan, sweat the onion, fennel, and bouquet garni with vegetable oil. Once the vegetables have soften, deglaze with white wine. Reduce until au sec, then add the cream and simmer for 15 minutes.

Pour mixture into a blender and blend well. Do not strain. Pour purée into a whip cream dispenser and charge twice. Keep warm.

For the Salad

  • 2 packets brown shimeji mushrooms
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 1 bunch cilantro, picked
  • 1 cup neutral oil

Cut base off of mushrooms (save for stock making) and cut off ends of green beans. Blanch in salted water then shock in iced water.

In a blender, blend on high the cilantro leaves and oil. Blend until the oil is warm, then strain through a fine mesh strainer or through cheesecloth/coffee filters. Reserve oil into a squeeze bottle.

For the Finish

  • 18 diver scallops, soaked in salted cold water, drained, then sliced
  • Shimichi Togarashi
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Cilantro oil (from above)
  • Micro cilantro
  • Fennel fronds (if saved, and I forgot to use it)
  • Sea salt/Maldon salt
  • Lemon

TO ASSEMBLE

In a bowl, lightly toss blanched mushrooms and green beans with cilantro oil,  lemon juice, and salt. Slice scallops into thin rounds.

On the plate:

  1. Season mushrooms and green beans with lemon, cilantro oil, and salt. Arrange salad.
  2. Place scallops on plate, season scallops with crushed sea salt, lemon, and togarashi.
  3. Squeeze an odd number of fennel foam dots.
  4. Garnish with micro cilantro, pomegranate seeds, fennel fronds, and more cilantro oil.

Grilled Shrimp in Thai Curry Peanut Sauce with Cilantro and Lime

I held a rooftop party yesterday and this was one of the things on the menu. I’m amazed at how well the sauce came out. It was so good that I was drinking it.

Yields 1 quart sauce.

shrimp[100% organic, shrimp from Thailand]

For the Shrimp

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled with tail intact, deveined
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ TBS ground tumeric
  • ½ TBS fish sauce
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp dried ginger

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the shrimp and mix well. Stir the shrimp in, cover, and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Grill/sauté/bake the shrimp until cooked through then skewer shrimp.

For the Peanut Sauce

  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 TBS Thai red curry paste
  • ½ cup (fresh) peanut paste
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 TBS fish sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 TBS brown sugar

Heat the coconut milk in a pot over medium heat. Add the red curry and whisk thoroughly to blend the paste into the milk. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat, and let the sauce cool down to room temperature (or slightly warmer), and serve the sauce with the grilled shrimp.

For the Garnish

  • Fresh cilantro, picked
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Sprouts (not pictured)
  • Lime wedges

TO ASSEMBLE

Add the peanut sauce to the bottom of whatever you are using to serve, sprinkle and arrange the garnish ingredients. Place the shrimp skewer in the cup/glass and serve.

Seared Tuna over a Bed of Cucumber with Pickled Peanuts

This was the second course to my 2012 Thanksgiving dinner.

I could eat this non-stop and never get tired of it. I made the dressing and let it macerate overnight and it became very spicy actually – from ONE Thai chili pepper!!

[100% organic, wild tuna]

For the Peanut Pickle

  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup peanuts

In a pot, bring all the ingredients to a boil and take off heat. Let it steep at room temperature, until cool. Then place in refrigerator.

*Chef Jasmine Shimoda’s recipe.

For the Dressing

  • 4 limes, juiced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 Thai chili, thinly sliced
  • 1 Kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS baby lemongrass, finely minced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 TBS sesame oil

Mix everything together, infuse for 30 minutes, and set aside.

For the Tuna

  • ½ lb tuna
  • Salt & pepper

Season tuna with salt and pepper then sear for 10 seconds on each side.

For the Finish

  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber

Peel the cucumber and using a mandolin, slice into ⅛-inch rounds.

TO ASSEMBLE

Cut the tuna into cubes/rectangles and put them onto the cucumber slices. Drizzle some dressing over tuna, top with pickled peanuts and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

Squid Ink Risotto with Seared Sea Scallops, Calamari & Cherrystone Clams, Pistachio Cilantro Quenelle, and a Saffron Dashi Velouté

This dish totally didn’t turn out the way that I had planned but as Tim Gunn says on Project Runway, “Make it work!” I made it work.

My original plan failed because of my crappy food processor. I’m still using the same one when I was back in Texas. It’s so small and the plastic pieces keep on breaking and the speed is quite weak… I also wanted calamari tentacles but at Whole Foods, they only had the tubes. Anyway, the final product was quite delicious.

[100% organic, wild sea scallops, calamari from Thailand, clams from USA]

For the Risotto

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 6 cups dashi stock
  • 2 TBS squid ink
  • ¼ cup parmesan, freshly grated
  • Salt & pepper

Heat up the stock and keep simmering at low heat. In a pan on medium-low heat, melt the butter and heat up the olive oil. Sweat the garlic and shallots and sweat until translucent. Stir in the rice and make sure the butter and oil fully coats the rice. Cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the wine and cook until completely absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding ½ cup stock at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is al dente, about 20-30 minutes. Before adding the last addition of stock, stir in the squid ink.

When risotto is done, season with salt and pepper. Then fold in the grated cheese and combine well. Adjust seasoning and keep warm.

For the Pistachio Cilantro Quenelles

  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, and extra for ganish
  • 2 TBS miso
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt & pepper

The miso already has a lot of salt in it so be mindful of when you season. Put everything into the food processor and blend until desired consistency. Remove and set aside.

For the Calamari

  • 3 calamari tubes
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & pepper

Slice the tubes into rings. Sauté the calamari for 1-2 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Drain from pan and keep warm.

For the Clams & Velouté

  • 2 cups dashi stock
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 4 Cherrystone clams
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS AP flour
  • Salt

If you have remaining dashi stock from the risotto, add that to the 2 cups for the velouté. Place the saffron into warm dashi stock and let it infuse for 15 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Add in the clams and bring to a slow simmer. Once the clams have fully opened, they are ready.

Remove clams from shells and keep warm. Strain dashi through a strainer lined with cheesecloth and into another pot. Slowly whisk in the butter and flour, to make the roux, and once sauce as thickened, adjust for seasoning and keep warm.

For the Scallops

  • 4 colossal sea scallops
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat a pan over high heat and add in enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Before you add in the scallops, you should see the tiniest bit of smoke. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Once you put the scallops into the pan, DO NOT MOVE THEM and turn heat to medium. Cook scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on how big your scallops are.

TO ASSEMBLE

In a ring mold, pack the risotto. Top with the calamari rings and clams. Place scallops on the plate, drizzle velouté over scallops and top of risotto and calamari. Using two spoons, make quenelles from the pistachio cilantro mixture.

Fish Tacos with a Chardonnay Parmesan Sauce

I used tortillas to make tacos in this recipe, does that mean that there is a Mexican influence in this dish? Living in Texas for 10 years, I never really got into Mexican food. Frankly, I don’t prefer it. When my friends and I would end the night out, we would always go to Kerbey Lane. They would always get queso to start with and ugh, I didn’t like it/I didn’t eat any of it. However, I do like guacamole and salsa. Anyway, when we would go to Trudy’s, I always ordered the club sandwich while everyone else would order tacos, burritos, and enchiladas.

What I’m saying is that, I found a new appreciation for tortillas. When I was interning at Oceana, one of the appetizers that I had to plate was fish tacos. It was topped with a lime-mayo sauce and served with pickled jalapeño peppers in a pink dipping sauce. I don’t like mayo so I made my own sauce.

[100% organic, wild hake]

For the Fish

  • 4 cups AP flour
  • 2 TBS ground coriander
  • 2 TBS cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ lb hake fillets or any other white fish

Cut fish fillets into thin strips and set aside.

In a ziplock bag, pour in the flour, ground coriander, and cayenne pepper. Shake it to mix well. Beat eggs in a bowl and set aside.

Work in batches, take a handful of sliced fish and drop them into the beaten eggs. Coat egg wash on each individual fish piece. Strain and give them a little shake before putting them into the ziplock bag. Close ziplock bag and shake to coat fish pieces. Take out of bag and place on a wire wrack with a sheet tray under it.

Freeze breaded fish until ready to use.

For the Sauce

  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS AP flour
  • ½ cup chardonnay
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper

In a small saucepan, melt the butter then add in the flour. Mix to combine well and cook for 1 minute to get rid of the raw flour taste. Whisk in the cream and wine. Cook until slightly thickened and add in the parmesan cheese, mix well to combine, and season with salt and pepper. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. Cool for 5 minutes and then place in a squeeze bottle.

Shake the bottle before using.

For the Tacos

  • White corn tortillas
  • 2 cups mesclun salad, packed

Scrunch up mesclun salad and slice thinly, set aside. Heat up tortillas according to package instructions.

For the Finish

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt & pepper

In a deep fryer, heat oil to 350°F. Work in batches, fry fish pieces until golden brown. When fish are ready, let it cool for 2 minutes over a wire rack and season with salt & pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE

Take a pinch of the chopped salad and place in the center of the tortilla. Place fish pieces on top of salad, top with cilantro leaves, and drizzle sauce over the top. Serve immediately.

*I forgot to put the cilantro leaves on, under the sauce. Oops!

**Inspired from Oceana.

Anything can be made into a tiny serving: bite size!

Cream of Pea Soup with Chorizo

I had some leftover frozen peas and I saw some fresh peas at the farmer’s market today so I decided to make some soup. This soup tastes great hot and cold. Now I have Katy Perry’s song stuck in my head.

[100% organic]

For the Pea Soup

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 Idaho potatoes, roughly chopped in 2 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1¼ lbs fresh peas, shucked
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche
  • Salt & pepper

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil to medium heat. Add onions and garlic, add a little salt to draw out moisture. Sweat until soft and translucent. Then add in chopped potatoes along with the 2 cups of water and chicken stock and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil and bring down to a simmer on medium-low heat, continue to boil for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, turn heat to high and add in the peas. Cook until peas are soft.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth then add in crème fraîche and continuing blending. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Cool immediately to retain the bright green color.

For the Chorizo

  • 2-inch chorizo sausage, small cubes
  • 3 TBS olive oil

In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat olive oil until hot then add in cubed chorizo. Let the chorizo cook for a few minutes then turn off heat. Let the chorizo steep in the pan and then drain, reserve oil as well.

For the Croutons

  • 2 slices white bread
  • 2 TBS butter

Cut off the crust of the bread and then cut into small cubes. In a hot sauté pan, melt the butter and toss the cubed bread. Toss evenly until golden, drain on paper towels and set aside.

For the Finish

  • Cilantro leaves, as needed

TO ASSEMBLE

For hot soup, heat the soup only until warm because too much heat will ruin the color. Pour soup into bowl and garnish with chorizo, croutons, chorizo oil, and cilantro leaves.