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Archive for the ‘chili’ Category

Tomatillo’s

Are they tomatoes? I don’t know. They look like tomatoes, but they also look kinda like a Cape Gooseberry. Well, I’ll tell you one thing: they make a great salsa, and since we’re hanging on to the last shreds of Summer by our fingernails here, I’m going to be making Summer Salsa’s until they become … uh … Seasonically Illegal. Or something.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

8 or so green Tomatillo’s
2 small peach delicious tomatoes (or other yellow tomatoes)
1 small jalepeno
1 clove garlic
salt to taste
1 ripe avocado
2 Tbsp chopped Cilantro

– put the tomatillo’s, tomatoes, jalepeno and garlic in a blender and pulse a few times until it’s all finely chopped, but not liquid

– bring mixture to a boil and simmer for about 10 mins

– allow the mixture to cool a bit, then put back in the food processor with the avocado and cilantro and salt to taste and blend until fairly smooth.

Salsa Verde 2

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Red Snapper with Lemongrass and Sweet Chili

This is one of my favourite dishes to make. It’s really easy, involves little actual cooking and is great tasting and healthy too. Also, it’s an impressive and exotic looking dish for a dinner party, if your friends don’t mind the whole fish. Actually, most of the flavour of a fish is in the bones and the skin, so cooking a whole fish makes much more sense. Just mind the bones while eating! I’ve adapted it from a recipe from Australian Women’s Weekly (some of my favourite books are from this range) for an outdoor barbecue dish, where the fish is grilled on a barbecue in banana leaves. A bit difficult to get in Toronto! I added a sliced banana underneath the fish and it absorbs all the flavours and sticky sweet spices from the fish to make a very complimentary chutney. Serve it with a sticky rice such as Thai, to sop up all the juices, a fresh salad (recipe underneath the fish) and edamame, boiled for a few minutes in salty water.

Red Snapper with Lemongrass and Sweet Chili 2

Red Snapper with Lemongrass and Sweet Chili

1 large, whole Red Snapper, descaled and cleaned by your fishmonger
1 big fresh lemongrass, thinly sliced (to make about ⅓ cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh grated gingerRed Snapper with Lemongrass and Sweet Chili in parcel
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup sweet chili sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 banana, quartered length-ways
2 Tbsp chopped Cilantro
– wash the snapper under cold water and pat dry with paper towel

– in a bowl, mix garlic, ginger, lime, soy, chili, fish sauce and sesame oil.

– lay out a piece of baking parchment with a equal size piece of foil on top, large enough to wrap the fish

– lay 3 quarters of the banana in the middle of the foil.

– put the fish on top of the banana, put the remaining quarter banana inside the fish cavity

– cut three slashes into each side of the fish. Top with ginger/lemongrass, rubbing some mixture into each cut. Sprinkle with Cilantro

– wrap the fish in the foil and then in the parchment, tie with string to secure. Rest in Fridge for 20 mins.

– pre-heat oven to 420˚F. Bake fish for 20 – 30 mins until done.

Carrot and Cabbage Salad

3 small carrots, julienned
3 0r 4 outer leaves from a fresh, green cabbage, finely sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
Cilantro,chopped to make ⅓ cup
Basil, chopped to make ⅓ cup
Parsley, chopped to make ⅓ cup

dressing:

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

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Thai Summer Salad

We were blessed, this weekend, with extraordinarily good weather on our portage trip. Which meant a clear, deep, warm blue sky bereft of clouds, temperatures perfect for swimming and lounging on rocks like lizards and no need to ever use the gas burners to cook our food on. All meals were prepared over an open wood fire from start to sweet, gooey, smorsey end. Now, usually after 4 or so days in the bush eating what you managed to drag with you leaves one craving some or other comfort food from home, not to mention ones own mattress and a hot soapy bath. On this trip, however, the wonder-woman in charge managed to organise meals of such fabulous diversity and succulence that ne’er a soul hankered after anything for their belly that wasn’t somehow already there. No dehydrated-rehydrated pea passed the lips. No thirst went without quenching by beer or wine or cold, fresh water. And, thanks to our (rather belated) discovery of a little thing called the Thermarest, no ache graced a bone in my back through the nights. All said and done, it was a trip which bordered on the sublime and trembled dangerously near perfection.

And after a long, long weekend of, in one team member’s words, Ghetto Gourmet, what better way to get back on the bright side of health and digestion than a salad made from the sweetest, most succulent of Summer’s wares? After a trip to the farmer’s market on our return, I picked up a selection of crisp, freshly picked goods for a dinner filled with all the flavours of a gorgeous season. Due to the abundance of things like garlic, Shitake mushrooms and Cilantro (coriander leaf) I opted for a somewhat Thai inspired arrangement.

 

summer bounty

Thai Summer Salad with Sweet Corn and Watermelon Beetroot

for the topping
¼ cup pine-nuts, toasted

1Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp canola oil (or other veg oil)
1 onion, thickly sliced
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
about 1 cup Shitake mushrooms, sliced

for the saladwatermelon beetroot
small bunch of lettuce, torn
1 big handful fresh basil leaves, torn
1 big bunch Cilantro leaves, torn
a dozen or so golden cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ear of sweet corn, kernels removed
2 new carrots, julienned
2 watermelon beetroot, scrubbed and thinly sliced
⅓ garden cucumber, peeled and julienned
2 spring onions, thickly sliced

for the dressinglettuce
1½ Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small chili, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime

– combine all dressing ingredients and leave to infuse.
This dressing is particularly good made a day ahead.

– keep toasted pine-nuts to one side

– in a skillet, heat oils. saute onions until they just start to brown slightly. Add mushrooms and cook on a medium heat until mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat.

– when cool, add pine-nuts and mix. Set aside.

– combine all salad ingredients, top with mushroom pine-nut mix and dress only when ready to serve.

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Spicy Mayan Chocolate Mousse

Who doesn’t love a bit of chocolate? I’ve gone, through the years, from gorging myself on sweet, Cadbury’s Milks Chocolate as child at easter, to savouring a small piece of dark, almost black, 88% cocoa under my tongue in a sort of ecstasy. On lazy Sunday afternoons in the Winter, the ever-present Winter sun of the Highveld would stream through our living room windows and we would all sit around, as a family, on the floor or the sofas, reading consecutive bits of the Sunday Paper and nibbling on the 3 or 4 slabs of chocolate my Mom had bought earlier on.  Mint or Topdeck were my nibbles of choice.  I loved to split the white from the dark on the Topdeck to melt each in my mouth separately.

I was really only introduced to the idea of adding chili to chocolate a few years ago in an ice-cream confection in a cosy restaurant in Johannesburg. The idea of adding a spice used traditionally in savoury dishes to a sweet scoop of ice-cream was both foreign and exhilarating to me, and I was hooked straight away. What a combination!

Spicy Mayan Chocolate Mousse

200 g dark chocolate (60 – 70 %)
120 ml heavy cream
4 tsp sugar
6 egg whites
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp cayene pepper
¼ tsp ground cloves

– melt chocolate in a large bain marie

– Heat cream with spices until just boiling, remove from heat

– Add cream to chocolate and mix until mixture thickens and is completely smooth

– Whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar and continue whipping until stiff, but not dry

– Take about 2 Tbsp egg white and mix into chocolate mix to lighten. Gently fold in the rest of the egg white in 4 batches until incorporated

– Makes 6 – 8 individual portions or one large bowl

– Refrigerate for at least an hour before eating, can be made the day before.

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