Monday, April 24, 2017

Mango Scallop Ceviche

Ceviche is one of my favorite foods.

Consisting of fresh fish 0r seafood marinated for long hours in some kind of acidic mixture, I ate it every time I was in Mexico. These days it’s a staple on Good Friday, when some of my loved ones won’t eat meat (I realize vegetarian options are good on this holiday too, but fish and seafood are traditional).

Ceviche is not an easy dish.

This is not because it’s hard to make. It’s actually very easy to do, but it is not for people squeamish about eating anything raw or that seems raw because no heat is needed in this recipe. All you need is the freshest fish or seafood you can find, a ton of lime juice and some other bits, and a few hours in the fridge. The acidic citrus juice cures the fish or seafood making it safe to eat, but if you’re still uncomfortable, this recipe is not for you.

My version of ceviche combines tender sustainable scallops with lime juice and herbs. Though tomatoes are the traditional fruit of choice in ceviche, I opted to use mangoes instead, which pair well with the naturally sweet scallops.

Try it!

It makes a wonderful appetizer, or served with home fries or crusty bread, an EXCELLENT main course!


Here’s How You Do It
Difficulty Level: Medium - Difficult
Prep time: 10-15 Minutes
Marinating time: 4 Hours – Overnight

Ingredients

3 Cups Fresh Scallops – I advise getting your scallops from a fish market rather than a grocery store as fishmongers’ reputations depend on the freshness of the only products they sell – fish and seafood. You can’t say the same about large grocers.

2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Mangoes, Peeled and Finely Chopped

Juice of 3 Large Limes – If you can’t get large limes, get 5 or 6 limes instead of 3

Zest of 1 Lime

1 Cup Fresh Cilantro/Coriander – If you can’t stand the taste of cilantro, you can use basil or fresh mint instead.

3 Green Onions aka Scallions, Finely Chopped

1 Italian Tomato, Seeded and Finely Chopped

Salt – To Taste

Hot Sauce – To Taste (Optional)

Equipment

1 Food Processor or Knife and Cutting Board

Measuring Cups

1 Large Bowl

1 Mixing Spoon

Plastic Wrap


Put the mango, tomato, green onion, and coriander (or herb of choice) in a bowl with the lime juice and stir everything together. Taste and adjust with salt and hot sauce– it should be sour and strong tasting, this will dull when you add the scallops. You could also do the combining with a food processor and a couple of pulses.

Add the scallops and stir everything to combine.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, put the bowl in the fridge, and leave it for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Take it out and give it a quick taste. It made need a notch more salt, or an extra squeeze of lime juice or hot sauce.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.










Friday, April 14, 2017

Speedy Breakfast Granola


When it comes to granola, some people think of those dreadfully dry sticky often chocolate covered bars parents put in their kid’s lunch boxes. Others think of a dry mealy cereal preferred by health nuts who eschew a REAL breakfast in favor of something comparable to horse feed.

But granola doesn’t have to come in bar form, and it doesn’t have to be loaded with sugar. It doesn’t have to be dry and unpleasant, but it CAN be an amazingly healthy and delicious breakfast item.

This granola adopts the KISS principle: KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID!

With just a few ingredients, and a few minutes in the oven you’ll have something tasty and protein filled that with a dollop of yogurt and fruit, becomes a deliciously healthy alternative to the fatty bacon-and-egg breakfast!


Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Easy
Prep time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Serves 4 – Can be kept in an airtight container on the counter for 2-3 days

Ingredients

1 Cup Quick Cooking Oats

½ Cup Plain All Bran Cereal

2 Tablespoons Sunflower Seeds Or Crushed Nuts – Use what you like

4 Tablespoons Margarine

2 Tablespoons Smooth Peanut Butter – Optional – It adds extra protein but if you or your loved ones are allergic, leave it out

3 Tablespoons of Sugar

3 Tablespoons of Honey

1 Pinch of Salt

½ Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon

Equipment

1 Bowl

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Rubber Spatula

1 Baking Sheet

Parchment Paper or Silicone Baking Mat to line the baking sheet with

Preheat your oven to 325 oF

Mix all the ingredients in your bowl using your trusty rubber spatula until thoroughly combined.

Spread the mixture out onto your baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes

Cool in the pan and serve as is or with a nice dollop of Plain Greek Yogurt and some fresh or thawed frozen fruit and honey.

Enjoy!

And HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!

-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.







Sunday, April 2, 2017

Chocolate Cinnamon “Oreo-Misu”


Of all the desserts out there, one of the most iconic is the Italian classic, Tiramisu.

Tiramisu is a sort of cheesecake consisting of decadent layers of creamy mascarpone cheese layered with coffee or liqueur-soaked lady finger cookies and topped with sifted cocoa powder. It’s not the sweetest of desserts, so it’s not for everyone and it’s with this notion in mind that I came up with this treat.

This cake is unhealthy and not for every day. It’s sweeter than the original, it’s rich, it’s decadent, and it’s loaded with calories…

…But I say, if you’re going to have a dessert, HAVE A DESSERT!

Instead of mixing the mascarpone with eggs as you would in a traditional tiramisu, I folded in some whipped cream to make it a bit lighter. Instead of using dry, spongy lady finger cookies, I used the more familiar oreo cookie. Instead of keeping the cheese filling one note, I snuck a cinnamon and chocolate-flavored layer in the middle.

This dessert looks fancy but is incredibly easy to do.

Try it and you may win over even the fussiest Tiramisu hater!

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium - Easy
Total Prep time: 30 Minutes
Rest Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

1 Pack of Oreo Cookies – the one containing at least 36 cookies, about 406 g

1 Carton of Whipping Cream (473 mL)

1/3 Cup White Granulated Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Containers of Mascarpone Cheese (275 g each)

3 Cups of Hot Water

4 Tablespoons Instant Coffee Granules

2 Tablespoons of Instant Hot Chocolate Powder or Chocolate Milk Powder

2 Teaspoons of Salt

1/3 of a Plain Dark Chocolate Bar, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons of Whole Milk

2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon divided

1 Tablespoon of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

IF YA WANNA GET FANCY…

Toffee Bits and Sprinkles for decoration

Equipment

1 Large Mixing Bowl

2 Smaller Mixing Bowls

1 Small Microwave-Safe Bowl

1 Whisk or Electric Mixer

1 Deep Serving Bowl – Cakes like these are best served in bowls. If you have a glass one, it’s even better as it will allow your guests to see all the layers of cookie and filling.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Rubber Spatula – The kind used for baking

1 Wooden Spoon

1 Fine Mesh Sieve

Plastic Wrap

In one of your smaller mixing bowls, combine the hot water, instant coffee, salt, and instant cocoa powder and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve and combine.

Set aside.

In your big mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.

Fold in the mascarpone, 1 container at a time, until you get a somewhat smooth consistency (a couple of lumps is ok).

Put the dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl with the 2 tablespoons of milk and microwave for 30 seconds. Give it a stir. If the chocolate isn’t melted, return to the microwave for another 20 seconds and stir again until smooth.

Scoop a third of the mascarpone mixture into the other small mixing bowl and add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and the melted chocolate mixture. Stir gently to evenly combine.

Get your serving bowl.

Soak some Oreo cookies with the coffee, cocoa, salt water mixture and put them in the bottom of the bowl. Soak one more cookie and break it into pieces to fill any gaps in between the cookies.

Scoop half the plain mascarpone cream mixture on top and spread it out to create a thick, even layer.

Soak more Oreo cookies in the coffee mixture and put a layer on top, soaking one or two extra cookies to break into pieces to fill any gaps

Dump the chocolate and cinnamon mascarpone mixture over top and spread it around for another thick, even layer.

Soak more Oreo cookies and spread them on top, soaking and breaking up more cookies to fill any gaps.

Top with the remaining mascarpone mixture.

Holding the sieve above the bowl, dump the other teaspoon of cinnamon and the cocoa powder into it and gently shake the sieve to evenly distribute.

If ya wanna get fancy, top with some sprinkles and toffee bits.

Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and give it at least an hour to fully set.

Enjoy!

-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.