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.

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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.

Sushi Ceviche

I couldn’t come up with a better name than Sushi Ceviche because this is really a pure fusion plate of food. Using Japanese ingredients of a simple salmon avocado roll, but the cooking style of making ceviche.

[100% organic, Norway farmed salmon]

For the Sushi Rice

  • ¼ cup sushi rice
  • 1 TBS rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Soak the rice for ten minutes and cook the rice. Don’t over cook it because you want to see the individual grains. Cool the rice at room temperature and mix in the seasonings, then set aside.

For the Ceviche

  • ½ lb salmon
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ cherry bomb pepper
  • 1 lime, juiced

Cut the salmon into medium dice. Thinly slice the red onion and pepper and set in a bowl. Add the lime juice and toss the salmon in it. Refrigerate and marinate for 10 minutes, depending on how thick/big/small your salmon pieces are.

For the Finish

  • 1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ½ avocado, cut into wedges
  • ½ mango, diced
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • Nori sheet

Cut nori into thin strips. Toss avocado wedges in lemon juice, right before assembling.

Strain the ceviche, discard juices but reserve red onion and chili pepper slices.

TO ASSEMBLE

Arrange cucumbers in a circular pattern on the plate. In a ring mold, pack the rice on the bottom, over the cucumbers. Place the avocado wedges along the rim and pack the ceviche into the center. Top with nori strips and scatter mango dice around plate.

*Adapted from From Buenos Aires to Paris.

Virgin Mojito Granita

NEW POST!!! Finally! This weekend, I had time to make new things and update my food blog. Who knew that starting a new full-time job and moving apartments could make me so busy, so incredibly busy that I wouldn’t be able to do two of my favorite pastimes: grocery shopping + cooking. I am finally not living out of suitcases anymore.

I know this dessert is ideal for the summer time but I’ve been dying to try another flavor since making the raspberry granita in Boston. Nevertheless, it is refreshing and a great palate cleanser. This granita is both sweet and bitter at the same time – love!

[100% organic]

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 5 limes, zest and juiced
  • 1 cup packed mint leaves, torn
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish

Make syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat: combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil and carefully stir until sugar has dissolved. Add in torn mint leaves and steep for 15 minutes, covered. Strain in a bowl and cool over an ice bath.

Stir in lime juice and zest and pour mixture into a shallow pan and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove and scrape the crystallized lime-mint syrup from the sides of the pan and return to the freezer. Repeat this process every 45 minutes, until completely frozen or for about 4 hours.

Serve by fluffing the flakes with a fork and garnish with a mint sprig.

Tuna Tartare with Pineapple Sauce

You know me, I love sashimi and any type of tartare. But I love this tartare recipe exceptionally well because of the pineapple sauce it pairs with it. I never got the recipe from Oceana directly but this is what I tasted when I had the pineapple sauce.

I served this as the appetizer to my 4-course dinner. I plated this as a smiley face.

[100% organic, wild tuna]

For the Garnish

  • 3 cucumbers, julienned
  • Salt
  • EVOO
  • Microgreens
  • 1 cup pineapple, small dice
  • 8 wonton wrappers
  • Sesame seeds, as needed
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 300°F. Cut the wonton wrappers in half diagonally and then again so you get four triangles from each piece. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Then sprinkle sesame seeds over wonton wrappers. Place in oven on a sheet tray for 4-6 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Put in an airtight container and set aside.

Peel the cucumbers and on a mandolin, julienne the flesh parts only. Do not julienne the core or seeds. Place in a container and set aside in the fridge.

For the Tartare

  • 9 oz. tuna
  • 2 pineapples
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, finely sliced
  • ½ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • Salt & black pepper
  • EVOO

Cut pineapples into small squares, reserve 1 cup for garnish. Reserve scraps, trimmings, and core for sauce and place in blender. Do not keep any flesh with the black bits.

Cut tuna into small dice and set aside, on an ice bath or in the fridge. The tuna and pineapple dice should be relatively similar in size and shape.

In a large mixing bowl, mix diced tuna, chopped pineapples, green chilis, basil, and cilantro. Do not season with salt nor add lime juice until ready to serve because the salt and lime juice will cook the fish. Set aside on an ice bath or place in the fridge.

For the Sauce

  • Pineapple scraps & trimmings
  • 1 tsp agar-agar
  • One 17 oz. sweet rice wine / mirin
  • Cayenne pepper

Place all non-black bits of pineapple scraps and trimmings in a blender, along with the agar-agar and rice wine. Blend until smooth. Pour everything into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. The sauce should be sweet but have a kick at the end. Do not strain the sauce and cool it down immediately.

*Inspired by Oceana.

TO ASSEMBLE

Season the tuna tartare with salt, pepper, lime juice, and EVOO. Mix well and using a 2-inch ring mold, spoon tuna tartare into the mold, on the plate, half way up and press down to firmly pack it in. Season the julienned cucumber with salt and EVOO. Twirl the julienned cucumbers and place on top of the tuna, in the mold. Spoon cold pineapple sauce onto the plate and garnish with 1 tsp pineapple dice and microgreens. Remove ring mold, place two wonton chips in tartare and serve.

Thai Corn Chowder

I’m in garde manger, and level 5 has a corn chowder on their menu. My group sneaked a few ladles of it because it is so delicious!!!! It tasted like pure “heart attack” – reduced cream and sweet corn. I thought the soup was odd for the current season. If I was dining at L’Ecole on a hot humid day, I would not want hot creamy soup as my appetizer. Even in the kitchen, we were taking sips of it and then mouthfuls of ice cold water because it’s so hot in the kitchen. For the first two days, I was working on the lobster dish, which is a cold dish. I wasn’t even near the stove yet my legs were trickling with sweat! Nahhhh-stayyy!!

I was going to make an exact replica of the corn bisque from school but it’s so unhealthy. There was bacon grease, reduced cream, and lots and lots of butter!!! I like Thai influences so I came up with this. And it tasted BETTER; better in my opinion since it’s healthier!!!! No butter. No cream. No milk.

[100% organic]

For the Chowder

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 ears corn, shucked and cores reserved (broken in half)
  • 2 Idaho potatoes, chopped into small squares
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS Ginger, grated
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested with a peeler
  • Bouquet garni – 8 black peppercorns, Thai basil, cilantro stems, lemongrass
    stalk (smashed & cut into thirds), lime zest
  • One 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • EVOO
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

In a large pot/pan, heat extra virgin olive oil over low heat and then sweat onions until translucent. Add smashed garlic, ginger,  and leek whites and continue to sweat until soft. Season gently. Add in the celery, potato, corn cores, bouquet garni, and enough water to cover halfway. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Then add in corn kernels and lime juice to pot and continue simmering for another 10 minutes. Remove cores and add in coconut milk until boiling. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until simmering. Remove from the heat and strain and then blend with an immersion or regular blender.

For the Finnish

  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • Cilantro leaves, garnish

Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with radishes and cilantro leaves. Soup can be either hot or cold to serve.

Flounder en Papillote with Fennel, Grape Tomatoes, Tarragon & Lime

This is an update to my Tomato Basil Salmon en Papillote and Shark Loin in Foil Packets. Those were before my chef training days and the wrapping of the parchment paper is incorrect because there’s no room for the steam to baste every ingredient with its own juices! I also didn’t seal it properly. The foil is the modern way of wrapping it and it requires less “skill”/technique. But to my recollection, both ways still tasted great and I loved how there was little/minimal clean up involved.

In school, we practiced this technique twice; once in level 1 and the other in level 3. Well, repeatedly in level 3, which focused on consistency. In level 3, we did it with striped bass with tomato fondue, mushrooms duxelles, and julienned carrots, leeks, and celery. It definitely wasn’t “quick and easy” as I have labeled here on my blog. We made 4 portions: we had to fillet our own fish and OMG, pin bones!!! Stubborn pin bones, DIE!!! Cooking the finely diced tomatoes and mushrooms, separately, took a long time. Then with your knife, we had to julienne those three garnitures and cook them, separately, until tender, before putting them into the parchment paper envelope. I hate julienning carrots because when you slice a carrot really thinly, it curls and, gahhhhhh! It just gets frustrating.

There are three cooking techniques in papillote: baking, braising, and steaming! Or if you want to be really “French” about it: VAPEUR!!! That’s what our chef instructors drilled into our heads. Haha.

Anyway, I also decided to make this because I still can’t stop using my Japanese mandolin! Even after my accident at work last week!

By the way, this recipe serves 1.

[100% organic, wild flounder]

  • 10 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ small onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ small fennel bulb, fronds reserved
  • 1 large flounder fillet
  • 2 slices lime
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tarragon leaves
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 egg white
  • White wine, splash
  • EVOO
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

In a small pan, sweat the onions on low heat with 1 TBS of olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the half of the minced garlic and sweat for another 30 seconds. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let it cool at room temperature.

In a bowl, mix the grape tomatoes with the remaining minced garlic, some salt, pepper, and EVOO. Toss and set aside.

Using a mandolin, slice the fennel bulb razor thin and place in ice cold water with ice.

Remove yolk from egg, keep white and beat lightly.

TO ASSEMBLE

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Take shaved fennel out of the iced water and dry on paper/hand towels and season with salt, pepper, lime juice and apple cider vinegar. Toss and set aside.

Cut the parchment paper (12 x16 in) into a heart shape. Season the fillet with salt and pepper. Place the cooled onion mixture on one half of the heart-shaped parchment paper, but not too close to the fold. Spoon tomatoes in a single layer over onions. Sprinkle the tarragon leaves over tomatoes.

Fold/roll the fillet so that it fits nicely on top of tarragon, tomatoes, and onions. Top with seasoned fennel and remaining tomatoes. I put 1 TBS of butter into the folded fish fillet and the other 1 TBS butter around at the end. Lastly, splash some white wine over the fish.

Brush the edges of the paper heart with the lightly beaten egg white. Fold paper heart in half, and press the edges together to seal. Brush the edges of the folded package with the beaten egg white and make a series of short folds along the edges. For an extra secure seal, repeat by brushing the edges again with egg white and repeat the short folds. Using a pastry brush, very lightly oil the top of the papillote so that the paper doesn’t burn too much in the oven.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. When finished, piece a tiny hole on top of the papillote and serve immediately with toasted bread to soak up the juices!