Category Archives: seafood/fish

roasted shrimp with feta and tomatoes

Dropped off a bit there, didn’t I? Yeah…. I can explain. New job. Busy spring season for the hobby-job. Not enough hours in the day and tired, tired most of the time. I’ve still been cooking – but it hasn’t been anything overly inspired and – even if it was – I probably lacked the energy to worry about presentation and pictures.

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This, though… this was worth the effort. Both in cooking (don’t worry – there’s really not much effort needed for this one)… and shooting… and blogging.

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Somehow, I often manage to forget how much I love shrimp. And though it’d be nice to live near a coast and have easy access to fresh goods, I’ve learned to be okay with picking up a bag of frozen at the supermarket.

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This one comes together quickly – 30-45 minutes from the start of prep to having a yummy, healthy meal on the table. Gotta love that! Be sure to serve it with some good, crusty bread so that you can soak up all the tasty sauce. Yummmmm.

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Roasted Shrimp with Feta and Tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
12 ounces shrimp, peeled, deveined & tails off
4 large roma tomatoes, cut into eighths
3 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes. Pour in canned tomatoes and simmer for 5-7 minutes until sauce has reduced slightly.

Add shrimp, tomatoes, parsley, chives and s&p and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

Top with feta and place skillet in preheated oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes until mixture is bubbly and cheese has begun to melt. Remove from oven and serve with warm, crusty bread.

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culinary capers – pears… and tilapia

Ahhh… the holiday season is upon us. Many, many things to do… precious little time to do them in! Case in point? Culinary Caper challenges! We extended our “pear challenge” from one week to two… and still I didn’t get it done! So, when tilapia was chosen as this week’s ingredient, I knew my best bet was going to be to knock both of them out together! (After all I still had pears sitting around in my kitchen!)

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This recipe is perfect for this time of year. Why? Because it’s easy and it’s super quick to prepare. The slightly spicy cajun-ish rub on the fish is a great complement to the cool sweetness of the pears – always a great combination, if you ask me! It’s best if you can let the salsa flavors meld for a little while in the fridge… but if you don’t have the time, no worries… it’s still really good! Oh, and it’s pretty easy on the waistline, too. That means you can enjoy a couple of extra Christmas cookies without any added guilt.

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Spicy Tilapia Fillets with Fresh Pear Salsa
Pear Salsa
1 ripe pear, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1/8 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate at least one hour.

Spicy Tilapia Fillets
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 4-ounce tilapia fillets
2 cups of your favorite rice, cooked

Mix first 8 ingredients (paprika through cayenne) together in a small bowl and set aside.

Melt butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Pat tilapia fillets dry and rub each side with spice mixture. Place fillets in pan and cook over medium heat for approximately 4 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Serve each tilapia fillet over one cup rice and top each with 1/2 the salsa.

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culinary capers – raspberries, pt 1 of 2

An old friend of mine recently came up with the idea of starting a little group for folks who enjoy cooking… the process of creating something amazing in the kitchen… playing around with ingredients… and of presenting them beautifully. He threw the idea at me one day and we kicked around some ideas… and a few days later, the culinary capers were born.

We’ll pick one ingredient every week and group members will create and cook a recipe featuring that ingredient. Fun stuff (and a great way to get back into the swing of blogging)!

First ingredient… RASPBERRIES!

I had a hard time narrowing down all of my options this week… I blame too much time spent on the internet considering all of the possibilities. So, I settled on three recipes. That’s right. Three. I’ll share two today and another tomorrow (after I make it!). Enjoy!

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First up… Raspberry Baked Brie. I adore baked brie. Creamy and warm in a flaky crust… perfection. Rather than make a huge one for just the two of us, I went with a mini for my husband and I to split. Three ingredients and thirty or so minutes later, we had an amazing, warm little appetizer to enjoy with crisp apple slices. Mmmm….

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Next… the perfect welcome to Autumn (which seems to have finally arrived this week)… and just the thing for chasing away the chill of a very rainy day… Grilled Cheddar, Raspberry and Apple sandwiches. Crunchy, tangy, savory and just a little sweet all at once – these sandwiches were pretty amazing. The savory raspberry sauce is the perfect complement to the sharp cheese and the sourdough.

Raspberry Baked Brie
(serves 2)
1/3 of one sheet of puff pastry dough, thawed
1.5 tablespoons of seedless raspberry jam
1 ounce of brie (I used a wedge of Wee Brie)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place puff pastry dough on parchment-lined baking sheet. Drop jam into the center of the dough and place brie on top of the jam. Gather corners and seal  the dough around the filling completely.

Invert the dough-wrapped brie on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until puff pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Serve with apple wedges and/or crackers.

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Grilled Cheddar, Raspberry and Apple Sandwiches
(serves 2 – adapted from food.com
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon raspberry jam
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
5 ounces white cheddar cheese, sliced
1 granny smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
4 slices sourdough bread
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a food processor or blender, puree raspberries with raspberry jam. Pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Once seeds have been removed, whisk raspberries with honey, mustard and balsamic vinegar. Pour into a small saucepan and simmer over low heat until reduced by one-third to one-half. Remove from heat and allow to cool while assembling sandwiches.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Spread raspberry sauce on two slices of sourdough, layer 1.25 ounces of the cheese plus apple slices onto each slice. Top each slice with an additional 1.25 ounces of cheese and finish with a second slice of bread.

Place sandwiches carefully in warm skillet, turn heat to low and cook for approximately 5 minutes each side until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Serve any remaining raspberry sauce on the side for dipping.

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Crab Tostadas just in time for Cinco de Mayo

As promised, we’re getting back to our regular blogging schedule here at Culinography. In addition to the craziness that I referenced back before Easter, I’d kind of been feeling like I’d lost my cooking mojo. I just haven’t been terribly interested in getting into the kitchen, much less planning out posts, taking pictures, and blogging recipes. Thankfully, things seem to be turning around and I’ve recently found myself back in the kitchen and enjoying myself 100%… and this is GOOD!

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What better way to get back into the swing of things than with a little fiesta? Cinco de Mayo is just a day away and this recipe, with a nod to the holiday but a whole different twist on Mexican food, is just too fun not to share. Buttery crab, creamy avocado, and crunchy tostada shells create the perfect seafood-gone-Mexican-storm. And, if you’re not into tostadas, you can always serve this as a dip… that is IF you’re willing to share.

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It’s a thing of beauty. Enjoy, my friends, and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Crab Tostadas
(slightly adapted from Epicurious)
10 ounces lump crabmeat
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 jalapeño, stemmed and finely chopped
3 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 limes, finely grated zest and juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 flat tostada shells, packaged or homemade (recipe follows)
2 avocados, pitted and thinly sliced
2 limes, quartered, for garnish

Put the crabmeat in a bowl. Pick through it with your fingers to remove any cartilage. Add the oil, mayonnaise, onion, jalapeño, tomatoes, corn and lime zest and juice. Using a rubber spatula or spoon, gently combine all ingredients until well blended. Season well with salt and pepper.

Top each tostada shell with a few slices of avocado, a generous serving of the crabmeat mixture and garnish with a lime wedge.

Homemade Tostada Shells
8 corn tortillas
olive oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay tortillas out on a baking sheet and brush one side lightly with olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes, flip tortillas and continue to bake for another 3-5 minutes until slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before handling.

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What’s been going on at FGG?

I’ve been remiss about keeping you all up-to-date on what’s been going on over at FGG for Foodie Fridays. So, in case you haven’t been keeping up, or are looking for some more great recipes, allow me to get you up to speed…

First, there was the Pomegranite Granita. For those of you still enjoying the warmth of summer, this is a great, easy treat.

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Then came Black Bean Burritos. Uber-healthy, so you don’t have to feel guilty about using real sour cream and full-fat cheese.

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Molten Chocolate Cakes made a grand appearance when my need for emotional eating kicked in. Easy, decadent, and portion-controlled!

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The following week featured Roasted Edamame — perfect for feeding that salty snack craving.

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As the weather turned cooler, I turned to Stovetop Mac & Cheese for a little comfort.

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We talked about the simplicity of good ingredients and made Bacon-Wrapped Scallops (check these out if you’re looking for a great appetizer for your upcoming holiday get-togethers!).

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And, finally, this week we baked up some Chocolate Banana Bars. YUM.

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I’m back in the kitchen this weekend, so there will be more fun to come soon!

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blogging by mail and chowdah!

I love getting mail. There’s something really satisfying about finding a handwritten note or card from someone who cared enough to take the time to send it. Sadly, in the age of e-mail and mobile phones, those days are few and far between. So, most days, my trip to the mailbox is rather unfufilling. Bills and junk mail. Junk mail and bills. Perhaps the occasional interesting catalog. The good days bring a magazine or two. But, birthdays and holidays aside, rarely much more than that.

That’s exactly why I signed up for Stephanie’s Blogging by Mail event. A reason to send and get really good mail? Oh yeah!

Last weekend, my package from Pam arrived. I tore into it like it was Christmas and, with each item that I pulled from the box, the bigger my smile grew. What a great box of goodies!

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Here’s what Pam sent in her New England-themed package:
Two bags of incredible tea from her favorite tea shop
Chocolate covered cocoa nibs
A lobster sucker
A star bowl
Chocolate covered dried cranberries (YUM!)
A purse-sized recipe journal
Two postcards – one with a great note from Pam and one with a great recipe from Pam
An uber-cute lobster cookie cutter

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Awesome! Thank you, Pam, for a wonderful package!

I knew when I saw her recipe for Clam Chowder that I had to try it out before every trace of cool weather was gone. I was given just the opportunity last night when a day of blustery wind actually blew in some rather chilly temperatures. So, I ran to the store for clams and got to work.

The problem? I had really wanted to feature the adorable lobster cookie cutter she sent as well, but I just didn’t have the time to pull together rolled cookies. Then, inspiration struck! I didn’t have time for cookies… but I did have time for crackers! And what goes better with chowder than crackers?

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That’s right. Clam Chowder with Lobster-Shaped Crackers! Not only was it fun, but it was incredibly tasty. That’s some good chowdah! I highly recommend working it into your menu before Spring arrives (though, in Pam’s family this is apparently a classic “summer day at the beach” food – so you really could do it any time!).

Since it’s just the two of us and the Husband is a little weird about leftover seafood, I knew that there was no way I could make the full batch as she had written it. So, I cut the recipe back and made just one small adjustment and… it really (REALLY!) hit the spot.

Clam and Corn Chowder
(adapted from Mom’s Clam Chowder, by Pam @ Cave Cibum)
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup white onions, chopped
2 large potatoes, cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons AP flour
1 can minced clams
1 cup heavy cream
1-2 cups whole milk
1 cup fresh corn kernels
salt and pepper

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and potatoes and saute until onions are translucent. Stir in flour until incorporated and cook to form a roux. Add clams (including the juice in the can), cream, and 1 cup of milk, and corn. Stir. Cover and simmer over low heat until potatoes are soft, about an hour. Add extra milk if you like a thinner broth. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve with oyster crackers OR homemade crackers (see below).
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Crispy Homemade Crackers
(adapted from various recipes across the internet)
1 cup AP flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup milk (approx.)
1/2 cup butter, melted and divided
Salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour in 1/4 cup of the butter. Stir in just enough milk to make a stiff dough. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8″ thickness.

Cut cracker dough into squares or desired shapes with cookie or pastry cutters. Place crackers on lightly greased or silpat lined cookie sheets and pierce with a fork.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with additional salt. Allow to cool to room temp. Enjoy!

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Seafood stew over quinoa (the savory)

We’ve covered quinoa as a breakfasty sort of thing. Now let’s talk about quinoa in a more savory capacity. I’m telling you, folks, it’s good no matter what you do with it!

So, a little backstory. I got off on the wrong foot when I started trying to cook fish at home years ago. My first few forays into the fish world were less than successful and left me feeling pretty discouraged. So, I just stopped cooking it at home. But that’s no fun, now is it? So, in the last six months or so, I decided to give it another try.

I’m not sure what’s changed, but things are definitely going better than they did back in the day. I’m no longer afraid to cook fish at home and, as my confidence continues to build, I want to do it more. Consequently, one of the things I want to focus on in the new year is incorporating more fish and seafood into our diet. Not only is it quick, it’s healthy, and it’s a nice change to our usual staples.

Enter seafood stew…

seafood stew over quinoa

We’re still trying to detox a bit from all of our holiday eating, so this is a great, healthy choice. It’s perfect as-is, served up in a bowl with a piece of crusty bread. But layer it over quinoa (yes, I’m obsessed) and it’s even better.

Not too fishy, but packed full of shrimp, tilapia, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions, this is a hearty cool weather food. If you want to play with the recipe a bit, you can certainly add whatever seafood you like as well as a host of other veggies.

seafood stew over quinoa

Seafood Stew
(adapted from Sunset)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 pound red potatoes, quartered
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
cayenne pepper to taste
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, rinsed
2 medium (approx. 4 ounces each) tilapia fillets, rinsed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Cooked quinoa (cooking instructions HERE)

Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and 6 to 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups water, potatoes, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. (If cooking quinoa, start it now.) Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

Stir in seafood. Cover and simmer until shrimp and fish are opaque but still moist-looking in the center of thickest part, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in parsley. Spoon quinoa onto rimmed plates and top with stew.

Serves four.

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healthy starts

This looks like a new year’s resolution, doesn’t it? Lean protein, lots of veggies, omega 3′s…

quinoa encrusted salmon with dijon sauce

We all know, though, that looks can be deceiving. This was dinner – but I didn’t take a picture of dessert. Mostly because you’ve already seen it. That’s right, we polished off the last of the cake tonight. So, although dinner was wonderfully responsible, dessert pretty much negated any good that we might have done there. Oh well. It was all good anyway.

Whether you made the resolution to eat better in 2008 or you’re just looking for a new and easy (and quick!) way to prepare salmon, this is a good dish either way. It was my first foray into quinoa, which is becoming all the rage. I have big plans to actually cook some soon, rather than to just use it as a crust, but this was a nice, low-key introduction that bolstered my quinoa confidence a bit.

quinoa encrusted salmon with dijon sauce

Quinoa Encrusted Salmon with Dijon Sauce
(adapted from the BBC)
4 4-5oz. salmon fillets
1/2 cup quinoa
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream
2.5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven 400 degrees F.

Pat salmon dry and season one side lightly with salt and pepper. Roll the salmon in the quinoa, pressing the quinoa into the salmon to coat all over (the quinoa falls off easily – it may take a couple of rounds of pressing very firmly – use care when transferring the fish to the pan to ensure you don’t lose your crust).

Heat the oil in a medium to large ovenproof frying pan and fry the salmon for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the crust is lightly golden-brown.

Transfer the salmon to the oven and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat the sour cream and mustard in a small pan and stir until smooth and well combined. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

To serve, place the salmon onto a serving platter or directly onto dinner plates and pour the sauce over the fish.

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night at the improv

Riddle me this…
What do you get when you combine a bag of frozen shrimp, a red bell pepper, and some couscous?

Why, a quick and easy sweet and saucy shrimp on couscous, of course!

After a long afternoon out with the throngs of holiday shoppers (I’m not sure why… maybe I have the crazy… maybe I was in desperate need of a new pair of jeans), I was happy to get home and not at all very interested in meal preparation. Nothing’s quicker than couscous (five minutes, baby!), so I just needed something to drop on top of it. Shrimp cooks up almost as quickly as couscous… a marriage made in heaven.

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp

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