Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tzadtziki Sauce

Lowfat and lowcal but not low flavor. This is the sauce to use on gyros and souvlaki, but I usually serve it with crudite and/or pita chips for an appetizer.

Start this an hour or more before serving.

1/2 a large container of nonfat, plain yogurt (about 1 cup)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and shredded
1 clove garlic, pressed through the garlic press or finely diced
Juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 at a time
1-2 tbl olive oil
1 tbl or more dry or fresh dill
1-2 ounces feta cheese (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

An hour or more ahead. Place the yogurt and the cucumber in cheesecloth in a strainer over a bowl and let drain. If you don't have time to do this don't worry about it. It improves the texture, but is not absolutely necessary.

Put the drained yogurt and cucumber into a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients. Taste and add more lemon juice and seasoning to taste.


Quick, easy, and no-cooking involved. You'll need a food processor or stick blender for this recipe. Serve this with pita chips or crudites.

1 fat clove garlic
1 can drained chick peas
Juice of 1/2-1 lemon
1-3 tbl olive oil or 2-3 tbl nonfat yoghurt
2 tbl feta cheese
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
salt, pepper

In a food processor, puree the garlic, add the beans and process until smooth. Add 1/2 the lemon juice and olive oil or yoghurt, feta, salt, and peppers. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Melon & prosciutto

This is so easy that you don't need a recipe, just the best cantelope you can find.

For a first course cut the cantelope into slices and wrap a slice of prosciutto around it. Serve 2 slices per person.

For an appetizer, cube the melon, wrap with a small piece of prosciutto, and stick a toothpick into each cube.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Summer Rolls

Aunt Ellen made these last night and they were wonderful; perfect for a hot day because there's no cooking involved. These probably will involve a trip to an Asian market, but that's the only difficult thing.

1 pkg summer roll wrappers/rice paper rounds(they look a little like hard, semi-translucent tortillas, but they're made out of rice)
1 bag cole slaw w/ carrots
1 1/2lb pkg of pre-cooked shrimp for shrimp cocktail
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 C fresh mint, chopped
red or yellow pepper, sliced thinly (optional)

Take the tails off the shrimp and slice them in half lengthwise. Dampen a couple of thickness of paper towels to cover the rolls with and spray your serving plate with a little Pam so they won't stick to it.

In a dish large enough to hold the wrappers heat water until it's hot, but not too hot for your hands. Don't leave the roll in the water, just lay it in for about 10 seconds & take out as soon as they're pliable. Fill w/ coleslaw, cilantro, mint, & half a shrimp on each side. Roll like a burrito--fold the sides in over the filling and then roll up. Place on serving plate & cover w/ damp paper towels. Repeat until you've used up all the filling.

Dipping Sauce:
1/2C rice vinegar
8 tsps hoisin sauce
2 tbl minced fresh ginger
4 tsp chili-garlic sauce

When you're ready to serve slice each roll in half diagonally. These will keep refrigerated covered w/ damp paper towels in a tightly closed container.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Ahi Tuna Appetizer

Katie-this one is for you. Mr. Jim just loves the ahi tuna appetizer at Cha Cha's so I invented this.

4-6 appetizer servings or 3 main course servings

1 tuna steak, 2-3 inches thick & about 1 pound
black or white sesame seeds (I use the black)
soy sauce

1/4-1/2 cabbage, sliced thinly or 1/2 bag of cole slaw mix (I like the thinly shredded)
4 green onions, sliced thinly
1 tsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
1/4 Cup soy sauce
1-2 Tbl rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
1 tsp sugar
Salt & pepper to taste

Dipping sauce:
1/2 Cup Soy sauce
1 Tbl rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp or so sugar
1/4 tsp of sesame oil (optional)

Pickled ginger
wasabi paste (look for the stuff in a tube)

1-2 hours ahead:

Cut the tuna steak in 3 or 4 pieces so that you have quadrangles that are roughly 2 inches x 2 inches x however wide the tuna steak is. Flavor with some soy sauce and roll each one in sesame seeds. Heat a heavy iron skill over high heat until very hot. Sear one piece of tuna at a time about 30 - 60 seconds per side. On the end you can see how done it's getting. We like ours very rare. Remove immediately and let cool about 10 minutes. Wrap the tuna pieces tightly in
saran wrap and refrigerate until cold. This helps the texture of the tuna and makes it easier to slice. Remove from the fridge and slice thinly through the saran wrap. Remove saran wrap and arrange on the plates.

Slice cabbage and green onions thinly. Toss with remaining ingredients. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour or so. Stir, taste, and correct seasonings.

Dipping sauce: mix all together, taste and correct seasonings.

To serve: Put some slaw in the middle of the plate. Arrange the tuna slices on 1 side in a semi-circle. Put a little pile of pickled ginger and a squirt of wasabi on the other side. To serve this as a main course, I'd add rice.

Mojito Sorbet

Miss Debbie and I invented this the other night. It was delicious! You'll need an ice cream maker for this. Be careful with the alcohol--too much and this won't freeze.

The day before put your ice cream maker container in the freezer (I store mine in the freezer so that it's always cold.) and make your simple syrup.

Juice of 6 lemons or 9 limes or a combination
2 cups simple syrup, cooled (2 cup of water boiled w/ 2 cups of sugar & the mint)
Big handful of fresh mint leaves
grated rind of lemons &/or limes
grated rind of 1 orange
2 shots of white rum
1 shot Cointreau or Grand Marnier

Make the simple syrup by boiling 2 cups of water w/ 2 cups of sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the mint. Let cool and strain. You can make this ahead and keep in the fridge. You can use this to make regular mojitos too.

Mix 2 cups of simple syrup with all other ingredients. Taste and add more lemon/lime juice if necessary. This should be highly flavored because the cold tends to make things taste blander.
Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to directions.

You could probably make this into a granita as well, by freezing it in a shallow baking pan and scraping it up after a few hours of freezing, refreezing, and scraping again.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Miss Debbie's Corn Salad

This was fantastic--very fresh and delicious. If you can make it with fresh summer corn is is exquisite. If you want to make this ahead, don't add the avocado until you're ready to serve it.

Serves 6-8

6 ears of corn, shucked and the kernels sliced off the cob or 1 bag of frozen Green Giant white shoe peg corn, defrosted
1 container of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 fresh jalapeƱo, chopped
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 avocado, chopped
juice of 2 limes
juice of 1 orange
salt & pepper to taste
1-2 tbl olive oil (optional)

Mix all together. Taste and correct seasonings.

Xni Pec

This is Yucatan's answer to pico de gallo. It means dog's nose in Maya because it will make your nose wet when you eat it.
1 small cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/2-1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1/4 c chopped cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime & 1/4 orange *
1 habanero chile, seeded & chopped **
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together, taste & correct seasonings.

*In Yucatan they would use sour orange which is unavailable here. A mixture of lime and orange juices tastes really similar, but it should be balanced, not too sour. You may need to add more lime or orange juice.

Fish Tacos

We had this last night with Miss Debbie & Mr. Hank. Miss Debbie made a delicious corn salad to go with it.

5 servings

2 lb.s grouper fillets (snapper or any firm white fish can be used)
juice from 2 limes
juice from 1 orange
about 2-2 tbl recado rojo (optional, available at Latin markets)
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt & pepper

Put all in a ziplock bag and marinate refrigerated for 2 hours. Remove from bag, pat dry, and
grill about 10 minutes, but this will depend on the thickness of your fillets. We grilled these on a grill pan with smaller holes rather than on the grate. Be sure to spray your grill with high-temperature Pam and don't move the fish more than once.

Serve with hot corn tortillas and a double recipe of xni pek (pico de gallo).