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Beef, Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Meat, Seafood, Side Dishes, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Papas Rellenas (de pescado)

Papas Rellenas de Pescado

Papas Rellenas de Pescado (potatoes stuffed with fish)

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenged us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas (de carne) adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

Total time: About 3 hours.

For the dough:
2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes
1 large egg

For the filling:
2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
½ lb (250 grams) ground (minced) beef (I used flaked cod)
6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives)
3 hard boiled large eggs, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml))
½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
1 finely diced aji pepper (ok to sub jalapeño or other pepper – if you are shy about heat, use less)
2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)
Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

In order to save time, you can boil the potatoes, and while they are cooling, you can make the filling. While that is cooling, you can make the potato “dough.” In this way, little time is spent waiting for anything to cool.
For the dough:
1. Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them from the water and cool.
2. Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).
3. Add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

While the potatoes cool down before finishing the dough, you can make the filling:
1. Gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes).
2. Add the chili pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes.
3. Add ground beef and brown.
4. Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).
5. Deglaze the pan with white wine.
6. Add olives and cook for a few moments longer.
7. Add hard boiled eggs and fold in off heat.
8. Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Papas Rellenas de Pescado (before closing and frying)

Papas Rellenas de Pescado (before closing and frying)

Forming and frying the papas:
1. Use three small bowls to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water. Put bread crumbs in the third
2. Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.
3. Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat with all dough (you should have about 6 papas).
4. Heat 1 ½ – 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 – 190°C).
5. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs.
6. Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to brown both sides.
7. Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.
8. Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately.

I was too chicken to try the ceviche (I’m not ready yet!), so I thought I’d combine the challenge and make potatoes stuffed with fish instead of ground beef. This was incredibly tasty, and they cook fast in the deep fryer. It definitely needs the salsa criolla or some other tangy sauce if you do fish. Sour cream and hot sauce just didn’t cut it.

I put a pair of jalapenos in there, too, but I didn’t even remotely feel them because of all the potato. The filling needs to be a little saltier and spicier than you want it before you surround it in potatoes to fry.

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Sauces and Dips, Seafood

Not-so-Old Bay Seasoning

Old Bay Seasoning

More like "everything but the kitchen sink" seasoning.

I’ve never tasted Old Bay Seasoning, so I don’t know how close this comes, but I thought it tasted pretty awesome in Jen’s Grandma’s Best Crab Cakes. You need a spice grinder or mortar & pestle.

Total time: 8 minutes

4 bay leaves
2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground mace
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground allspice

Most people use Old Bay Seasoning for seafood, but I hear tell of folks who put it on everything like a season-all or season salt.

I had to grind them all together in my mortar. I suspect I could have gotten away with ground bay leaves if I had them and ground celery seed or maybe even celery salt (to replace seeds & salt), but I think grinding up the red pepper flakes is important, too.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Indian, Meat, Sauces and Dips, Seafood, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Baked Goan Fish with Fresh Green Chile Chutney

Goan Fish

Raw Goan Fish, ready for foil and grilling

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

One 2-pound (1 kg) firm fish, such as pickerel, trout or red snapper, cleaned and scaled – I used pink salmon
about ¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
about 8 fresh curry leaves – I didn’t know where to use these, so I skipped it
2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon (15 ml/18 gm) fine sea salt
½ cup (120 ml/110 gm) Fresh Green Chile Chutney, plus extra to serve as a condiment

Preheat your grill or start your charcoal.

Wash and dry the fish. Cut slits every three to four inches along each side of the fish.  Grease a large stretch of foil 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of the oil.

Goan Fish

Goan Fish, fresh off the grill with lots of juice!

Rub the fish inside and out with the lime juice, then with the salt. Stuff some of the chutney into the slits you made, and put the rest in the belly cavity. Place the fish on the oiled foil and rub the remaining oil over it. Wrap the fish tightly, using more foil if necessary.

Move your charcoal to one side of the grill or turn off the heat on one side of your grill.  Place your foiled fish on the “off” side and close the lid.  Grill 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your fish (10 minutes per pound), keeping the heat at 400F or above.  Depending on the size of your grill, you may need to rotate your fish halfway through.

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Sauces and Dips, Seafood, Side Dishes, Soup and Salad

Salmon Feta Salad

Salmon Feta Salad

Spinach, salmon, feta, nuts and grapes with a spicy orange cilantro dressing.

Total time:  10 minutes.

Serves 2.

1 bunch spinach or 1 package of baby spinach
1 cup smoked salmon, deboned and separated
1 cup red grapes
1 cup feta cheese
1/2 c pecan pieces
1/2 c pine nuts

3 T olive oil, divided
1/4 c minced ginger
1/3 c orange juice
1/3 c red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp orange zest
1/2 c loose chopped cilantro
2 T brown sugar

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan on medium heat for 1 minute.  Add ginger and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes.  Add orange juice and brown sugar and bring to a boil.  Continue to boil for 3-4 minutes until the orange juice feels reduced and slightly thicker.  Remove from heat.  Add orange zest.  Puree together with remaining dressing ingredients.

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Poultry, Seafood

Salmon Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Salmon Stuffed Chicken Breast

Salmon Stuffed Chicken Breast

Total time:  1 hour.

2 boneless chicken breasts
3/4 c smoked salmon, separated and deboned
3/4 c feta cheese
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Serves 2.

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a small bowl, mix together feta, salmon, garlic, dill and salt.

Using a sharp knife, slice open each chicken breast horizontally, almost all the way through, leaving the two halves attached.  Open up the split breasts and lay them out flat.  Place each piece of chicken, laid out flat, in a plastic bag or plastic wrap one at a time.  Pound the chicken pieces to ¼-inch thickness.

Scoop filling into the chicken breasts and seal them with 3 or 4 toothpicks.  (Make sure you remember how many you use.)  Roll filled breast in breadcrumbs.  Repeat for the second one.

Bake 45 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes before trying to remove those toothpicks.

I use a glass baking dish whenever I bake meat. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to keep better watch on your chicken.

Cuppylicious!, Seafood, Side Dishes

Seafood-stuffed Lemons

Seafood-stuffed Lemon

Seafood-stuffed Lemon

Total time:  Approximately 35 minutes.

2 large lemons
1 cup chopped or shredded COOKED seafood
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 full scallion, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 stalk of celery, diced (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut each lemon in half the “short” way, so that each side can be cupped in a hand. Using a spoon, scoop out most of the fruit. Don’t dig deep!!!! If you cut into the rind, you’re likely to get some real bitter bites. The best way to do this is to just use a hand juicer to flatten the insides of the lemon. (I froze my leftover lemon juice in the ice cube tray, one tablespoon per cube.)

In a medium bowl, mix together meat, cheese, breadcrumbs, onions, celery, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.

Stuff each lemon half as tight as you can with the stuffing.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

I used 5 large prawns, a handful of crab meat, and a handful of tuna (leftovers from sushi night, fried in a pan). I was originally planning to put an egg in the mix to hold it all together, but I forgot. The filling was plenty moist and held together well, though, so I left the egg out of the recipe. Unless your meat is really dry, I see no reason to add an egg.

I baked my stuffed lemons in my cupcake pan.

Ethnic Foods, Formal Occasions, Meat, Pasta & Rice, Seafood, Side Dishes, Spanish, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Spanish Rice with Mushrooms & Artichokes

Creamy Rice with Artichokes, Mushrooms & Pasta Spools

Creamy Rice with Artichokes, Mushrooms & Pasta Spools

Total time:  1 hour, plus sofrito and aioli time.

Adapted from Creamy rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, this recipe contains no fish or meat. Daring Cooks’ August challenge.

* 1 cuttlefish or substitute
* 2 Artichokes
* 6 Mushrooms
* 1 Bay leaf
* 1/4 c of white wine
* “Sofregit
* 1 cup short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred, but you can choose any other short grain)
* Water or Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)
* 3-4 saffron threads (or ground turmeric)
* Allioli (optional)

If using vegan pasta, skip steps 1 & 2. Prepare your pasta according to directions, and add to the dish near the end.

1. Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
2. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
3. If you use fresh artichokes, clean and cut into eighths.
4. Clean the mushrooms and cut them into fourths.
5. Add a bay leaf, the artichokes and the mushrooms to the cuttlefish.
6. Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
7. Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the pan get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
8. Add a couple spoonfuls/scoops of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit (I’ve used anywhere from 1/4 c to 2 c).
9. Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
10. Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
11. Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
12. Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
13. Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.

Creamy rice with mushrooms, artichokes & pasta spools; this time, with more sofregit!

Creamy rice with mushrooms, artichokes & pasta spools; this time, with more sofregit!

The first picture:
1. Vegan pasta loops shaped to look just like cuttlefish.
2. I cooked and ate my artichoke leaves and used the stock in place of fish stock.
3. I blended up my mushrooms in my food processor before adding them to the skillet (hence the excessive brown hue).
4. I’ve never owned white wine, and I found a “substitute” recipe that included lemon, vinegar and water.
5. I followed the instructions as best I could, and I used 1/3 cup of my sofrito because it tasted so awesome.

The second picture:
Steps 1-4 same.
5. I used 2 cups sofrito, and then I stirred in 1/4 cup of aioli.

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Seafood, Side Dishes

Jen’s Grandma’s Best Crab Cakes

Salmon-Lobster Cake (After)

Salmon-Lobster Cake (After)

Total time:  Approximately 40 minutes.

1 lb crab meat
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
2 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning (this is a Maryland seafood seasoning, but can be found at most grocery stores)
2 pieces white bread (break into small pieces)
1 tsp salt (or less)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup mayo
1 med onion minced
1 sm green pepper minced
1 celery stalk chopped
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1 egg

Mix it all up shape into patties. (If patties feel too wet add a few more bread crumbs). Pan fry or broil until golden brown on each side (fried in olive oil is best).

Salmon-Lobster Cake (Before)

Salmon-Lobster Cake (Before)

I finally did this with some changes. Firstly, I’m still on a budget and I used salmon and a lobster tail I had frozen from Mother’s Day. Otherwise, I stuck pretty close to the recipe with brown mustard instead of yellow, Ritz crackers instead of bread crumbs, and a hearty slice of JB’s homemade bread instead of the white bread.   I also deep-fried them because we were doing deep-fried-finger-food night.  I could say they were good, and you’d say “OK”, but what about if I said “My kid ate it and loved it!”, then I know you’d believe me.

Meat, Sauces and Dips, Seafood

Curry Shrimp Dip

Total time:  Approximately 30 minutes, plus time to soften cheese

Received from the recipe exchange… I can never afford shrimp, so I still haven’t tried this one.

8 oz Cream Cheese (room temp.)
1 Tbsp. Curry powder (approx.)
1 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1/2 Lb. shrimp (drained on paper towel)
1 Bunch green onions, chopped
2 Hard boiled eggs, grated

Mix together first three ingredients, and spread evenly on a plate.
Mix together shrimp, green onions and eggs, and layer on top of cream cheese mix.