Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grilled Octopus Sandwich

Hubby and my son have always loved octopus in sushi, and prepared other ways. I however went towards the fried version with a spicy marinara. But in Spain I ate some of the freshest squid and octopus with my son and hubby's encouragement. What a delight. So I decided to buy some our local fish market. What would I do with it?

I decided pan grilling it would be fun, with a Spanish Sheep's milk cheese. Similar to a soft Goat's milk, and on grilled bread, then served with a salad. I recommend putting a brick on top when cooking. Otherwise they looked like dancing acts from a children show, and the tentacles shrivel up.

For show I put them whole on the bread, but I suggest you get out the cutting board and slice slice slice!

Octopus marinade (in a baggy overnight to tenderize)- I used this recipe for Greek Grilled Octopus on the internet, and it was quick. He was right, outside the fact I did not use skewers, a grill, or have a smokiness, but the marinade and grill pan cooking method rang through. I could see Nibble Me This trying this! I added fresh cooked Balela to the greens, therefor adding zing and more fiber.

Don't be scared off by the fact that this Greek dish requires whole baby octopus:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How About Some Chow and Chatter

I was so excited when Rebecca of Chow and Chatter announced she had developed her Apple App! No I wasn't, I was jealous LOL Yes, a little! but you know she is so cool to know how could I not go over and put it on my new anniversary prez. Hubby surprised me at our hotel when we returned from the youngest of eight siblings wedding (and final). I am learning how to use the new gadget, and downloaded her Chow and Chatter app on my iPod touch.

Hubby asked what it was for, and I said...when I send you to the store for ingredients for a meal you want, and you cannot get a hold of me. "What" he said. Yes sweetie when you want something special for dinner, or are just hungry you can go on her app, pick something out, and then the recipe and ingredients are right there! He still looked at me with a blank stare, and I said "Oh okay, then I will have it when I am out with you", and he began looking at it.

The app is so easy to use. Right at your finger tips are recipes, Rebecca's website (for reading when you have to wait in line), and so many possibilities for healthy meals when you cannot think of what you want on a minutes notice! I love her app, and am so happy to have it on my iPod Touch. Go check it out, and here is some other information below. OH, PS- its only $.99 to upload it!

After making some Lamb Barley Soup to get us through the weekend after the holiday eating, I am going to sit back, sip down some and play with the iPod Touch to see what I am making this week from her app!

Chowandchatter.com is proud to announce the release of its recipe app for the iPhone, and other compatible Apple products. It features a selection of the most popular global recipes from the food blog complete with easy instruction and pictures. The app comes with user friendly search options by cuisine, ingredient and by dish and allows you to email your favorites to friends or family. The app also has a link to the Chowandchatter.com blog allowing you to enjoy reading it on the go.

Stay tuned for periodic updates complete with more mouth watering recipes making it a cooking application that will never go out of date. We invite you to treat yourself to the gift of learning new and healthy recipes from around the World, or gift it as a fun stocking filler to friends or family.
About Chow and Chatters Author

Rebecca Subbiah RD, SRD is a registered dietitian in both the UK and the US, a food blogger and radio host. Food and travel are her passions and through traveling hopes to inspire others to try new recipes from other countries that are healthy and easy to make.

Rebecca Subbiah RD, LDN, SRD

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Gift of Giving is upon us!

My own family was less fortunate in many ways when I was growing up, but my mom always taught me- you can always volunteer your time, and there is never too little for sharing with others. We would go out and collect can goods for the local church pantries, she would make extra pies and other food for the church to give to other families. Families are under stress during this time of the year, because of pressure to give their families gifts and to have good food on the table. Giving on all levels does help ease the stress on so many levels.

When my children were young and the holidays and cold weather would approach, we would volunteer to hand out blankets and meals. Anelisa and Aaron along with me, loved making others smile. However I also told them we should act as though it was Valentine's Day and Christmas every day of the year.

I was happy when my friend Elaine emailed asking to share the news about Silver Diner. I am hoping this becomes more than a holiday event for the company...

UOSS Proudly Announces 11th Annual Thanksgiving FEASTival Dinner
Hosted by Silver Diner in Cherry Hill and Cathedral Kitchen in Camden, NJ

Union Organization for Social Service (UOSS), in conjunction with The Volunteer Center of Camden County, will host the 11th Annual Thanksgiving FEASTival for Camden County’s low-income working families, veterans, and disadvantaged community members on Nov. 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Silver Diner on Route 38 across from the Cherry Hill Mall and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Cathedral Kitchen,1514 Federal St., Camden, NJ.

The Thanksgiving FEASTival rewards people with a luxury many of us take for granted – a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings and lots of holiday fun. UOSS developed the FEASTival 10 years ago in response to the need expressed by many working families struggling with the cost of providing a Thanksgiving dinner for their families.

Silver Diner and Peggy Grossmick, Operating Partner for the third year in a row is paying it forward by providing 200 turkeys and all the fixings to help feed 500 families in the Camden, NJ area this year.

If you would like to help in your area, contact local family services or government agencies to see what you can do. Make it a year long effort to help those in need. Some open mic performers have taken to performing at local retirement and assisted living homes to help bring music and poetry to a few forgotten elderly this year. Something we have wanted to do for has finally come to light.

For more information contact the Volunteer Center of Camden County at (856) 663-9356.

This year I have given many gift cards I myself received for gifts this year to others I knew might not otherwise be able to enjoy such luxuries. I myself have more than I need (my dish and catering closet is busting at the seams), and heard one girl really enjoyed shopping at the William Sonoma store.

Another company who is also interested in helping the less fortunate by bringing some of the leading fair trade artisan products is NOVICA. They contacted me a while back asking if I was interested in checking out their products. Novica is similar to another company here in Princeton which sells products many of us might not have access to otherwise. Doing this provides work and an income for those who struggle to survive in other countries.

Novica works with National Geographic to give talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market. They have thousands of top fair trade corporate gifts and home decor items on the website. They have many things that would interested food blogs such as yourselves for entertaining during the holidays, or any day of the year.

Novica Philosophy-
At the deepest essence of our philosophy, we want to create a bridge between you and the many talented artisans across the globe. We want you to know about who you're buying from. We want you to feel that attachment to the product and to the hands that created it.

DISCLAIMER- I feel the company is sound and the products are worth their value. Actually many things are more than reasonably priced. Many friends who are local and artist from abroad as well as myself, believe in supporting the arts.

I have not been paid by either companies (Silver Diner, or Novica) for this blog mention. Actually I decided this summer not to continue promoting products on my site, due to my husbands and my own feelings about corporate shilling. This will be the last company CookAppeal promotes. The gifts received by Novica are being donated as gifts to the less fortunate. Purchase one of their products and make it an angel tree gift!

Try these links-

gifts for mom

gifts for him


Monday, November 22, 2010

Black Seedless Grape Tuna Tartare

In the mood for Tuna? Want to take tartare in another direction? While looking up recipes in my Asian books, there was a recipe using pears. I did not have pears, but I had lots of black seedless grapes the.They are sweeter, not the sour punch the green and purple variety can be at times. Let them sit and they just sweeten up as days go bye!

How in the heck do you crush grapes with out stomping on them? Hmmm, a tenderizer? Nooo, too messy. Use a plastic bag? No, would lose too much of the juice in the plastic. Look in the drawers for a lost gadget? Yes...

Viola! The garlic press; it worked beautifully. Used 12 or so grapes along with a dash of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, shallots, home made chili paste, olive oil, salt, pepper, mashed roasted garlic, and a tablespoon of some fresh squeezed lemon.

Cut the more tender loin part of the tuna steak into small pieces, and let it marinate for about thirty minutes. Use the tougher, membrane ends of the tuna for searing after marinade. Serve with a three green salad- saute dandelions, Swiss chard, and kale with tomato bits, onion and shallots, a dab of mustard and roasted garlic. Adds a nice bite and flavor to some brown rice.

We love rare and raw fish in our house, but it is not recommended for pregnant person's and anyone with a sensitive stomach to eat fish and meat this way. You can marinate and then fully cook it through if you wish. I used sashimi grade tuna steak for this recipe, but there are still no guarantees. Buy fresh, and use immediately.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hake & Autumn

My favorite time of year- I adore fall and its bounty of color. We got married in October, love all that is pumpkin and squash! I also am adoring all the pumpkin and squash recipes out there, fantastically presented on many of your sites, so I thought I would share this one I made incorporating a whole grain cereal. Something I was told by the dietitian to use as a filler snack when I am hungry, and I am hungry throughout the day it seems.

Fresh market catch- Hake with an organic apple and acorn squash stuffed with crushed cereal, and a dash of maple syrup.

For years I did not like eating meals with a fruit twist. Now I adore it, as long as my taste buds have that spice finish. Spicy, like chipotle.

Puree apples without skin along with some apple cider and poppy seeds, and a sprinkle of chipotle (dried smoked jalapeno in coffee grinder- to a powder form). Acorn squash cleaned, halved, and filled with whole grain cereal, onion, white sweet potatoes, parsnips, apple pieces, drizzle of maple syrup, salt, pepper, Jamaican allspice powder, and less than a pinch of chipotle powder. Don't forget the crushed cereal, and there are some out there with less than 5 grams of sugar added that taste good (not panko or bread crumbs when eating gluten free like I am, but you feel free too).

The sweet balances out the heat.

More information on Hake (my fish book, and on-line)...

Hake is the Rodney Dangerfield of the whitefish world. It's the fish that just can't get any respect. At least that's the story in America, where the seafood industry goes to great lengths in its efforts to perpetrate a hake cover-up.

In places like St. Louis, hake is called jack salmon. The Midwest, where until recently most people didn't know the difference between a cod and a coho, is a traditional dumping ground for cheap fish. On the West Coast, home to one of the largest hake fisheries in the world, seafood processors changed the name of Pacific hake to Pacific whiting in the 1970s in a fruitless attempt to give their fish an image boost.

When it's not being passed off as some kind of a piscatorial puzzler, hake is simply sold as whitefish, or more often as "fried fish."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Date with an Endive

This may look like a chensy date, but not really- its packed with fresh ingredient flavor...

We love date or fig compote, along with goat cheese and almond spread on endive and served with arugala salad (dressed with lime and olive oil). There is just nothing more to say, except share the recipe...

Cut up dates, shallots, and saute together with a few tablespoons olive oil; add garlic, salt, pepper and chili powder, along with a splash of orange juice or apple cider; stir for a few minutes on med-high; then remove from heat, and continue stirring until thickens. Spread soften goat cheese onto endive, and then top off with the date compote.

Serve over arugula, or salad of choice.

Drizzle lime juice and olive oil onto entire dish; add tomatoes, or sliced apples (optional).

This batch I have wrapped with prosciutto San Danielle, serve with a Pinot Noir.

After having a horrible experience with a chain market's meat department recently (putting meat out that was horribly smelly and out of date), I have decided to only shop whole foods for my beef, poultry, pork and fish needs. I am also eating and cooking with uncured sausages by Nimen for my diabetic menu (not diabetic meats, but if you eat this way; it will save you weight and health headaches down the road). We also have had a lot more fresh fish, so many posts are filled with wonderful new recipes.

Can you dig Sweet Potato Crepes and Brussel Sprout-Apple Hash? Will tell you how it turned out next week!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dreaming of Spain

Sometimes you find there are so many things you want to share about a trip, but you do not want to bore people to death with the details. However it comes back to a longing for the trip in which you just had so much fun and such wonderful food.

I have quite a few special restaurants to post, but also many new dishes we have encountered in my kitchen.

Casa Paca was ranked #3 in the books for the best suckling pig. Their carpaccio was out of this world! The olives and local olive oil seem to bring it to life. Melt in your mouth.

You go in through the bar, and the restaurant is upstairs in the back area.

Looking through photos to see if I wanted to relive the experience I saw the one of hubby (top) in the square of a small town we visited after my son left. Just the walking around, site seeing, tapas and wine for lunch and dinner; it was wonderful. Most of the time we ate light, because we were saving our selves for a few special places and the suckling pig in Sevogia.

The suckling pig was not all presentation as portrayed in the video and brochures we saw, but it was fantastic (not so great for photo). We want to go back to Spain. So much to do and not enough time or stomach space for all the goodness!

That is all there is too it, we fell in love with Spain. This photo is just outside of two towns surrounded by castle walls.

"They do not waste any part of the animal" hubby said the next morning while roaming in a central market.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Three Step Squash Soup

A friend of mine called from the market and asked what I thought about using butternut squash in soup. I had just made a few of my own creations a few days earlier and had some thoughts to share.

1) Step- "Roast the squash with maple syrup and seasonings before adding it to your chicken stock" I told Phil along with how roasting vegetables before making soup, similar to making stock, always makes a great pot of goodness. A tip I picked up years ago. Also if you are making pumpkin or any squash soup, do not let it just boil away on the stove with out checking in on it. It tends to lose moisture fast, and will burn with out you knowing, at least until the smell comes your way. No way of fixing that is there?

2) Step- He then asked what I thought about adding some spicy pork sausage.  I said, "Of course, but make sure you add some pumpkin spice to give the sweetness of the squash an extra layer with the heat of the sausage.", and then added "Oh and make sure you take some photos, so I can share this with my blog readers"!

Hubby came home last weekend with a variety of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. So many possibilities run through your head. I even added some baked squash to a pot of spicy red tepary beans, and they were so good!

Phil reported back that night with photos and a report- "I did bake the squash with honey and olive oil/canola oil. The spicy sausage was just what it needed".

3) Step- "I used white wine to de-glaze the saute pan; added some chicken stock, milk and butter in the end to thicken, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg to add that sweetness you suggested with the sausage" and man was this good Phil exclaimed!

Baking vegetables like this, or roasting them adds a sweetness and flavor. Rather than just boiling them. Always a successful soup tip that never gets old.

I know Phil is enjoying these leftovers, as soup is always better the next day!

(Photos from Phil Southard's IPhone! and his recipe below...) 

butternut squash soup

3 Tbs of Olive oil/ Veg oil - 50/50
1 onion - diced
20 oz of Wegmans clean cut Butternut squash
2 cloves of garlic
32 oz of Wegmans chicken stock
spices - freshly ground or graded
1/2 cup of 1% Milk
1/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper
2 tbs of butter

pour chicken stock into large pot and bring to slow rolling boil
while stock is being heated, saute the onions for 2 minutes
add squash and saute until squash is browned. before squash
finishes browning add garlic to sweat it. Be careful not to burn the garlic

when squash is browned add white wine to sauce pan to deglaze the pan.
next pour contents of saute pan into the now boiling stock.

poach the squash in chicken stock for 15 minutes. After 15 min, turn the heat down to medium and then use a slotted spoon to remove the squash and place into a blender. Puree the poached squash. When finished, pour pureed squash back into the stock pot. and return the soup to a boil for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to medium. next add the milk and butter. next add clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey to your liking. then salt and pepper the soup and reduce until the soup coats the back of a spoon when dipped into the soup.

Happy Cooking

Phil Southard