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Chile Citrus Shrimp

11 Jun

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A quick, flavorful recipe that can be served as an appetizer or main course. I served the shrimp over brown rice seasoned with butter, salt, and green onions as well as black beans with sauteed onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, coriander and salt.

Time: 15 minutes                   Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveiend (I used Black Tiger)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp rainbow peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

How to make it


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Combine all ingredients except shrimp in a mixing bowl. Whisk to incorporate.
  • Pour mixture into skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until thick and reduced by half, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, turn and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and serve.lunapic_1368472858702_22
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Honey Lemon Lamb En Brochette

5 Jun

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Here it is folks! This is the dish I prepared for the the lamb challenge on Episode 3 of MasterChef Season 4 on FOX. When we were waiting to go in to meet with the judges and found out our challenge, the smells that come with fresh livestock came wafting in to my nose. I looked around to see if any of the other contestants noticed and it seemed many did not. We were all anxious and excited to find out what our challenge would be and for a moment I had a flash of panic, thinking “what if we have to slaughter something?!” After a few minutes, which felt like hours, we were brought in to the judges to find out what we would be doing. When I first saw the sweet little lamb that Gordon Ramsay held in his arms, my heart dropped.

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Then, the rest of the herd was let in and our challenge was announced. We could create any dish with lamb as the star ingredient and we had our pick of any and all parts of the animal. In addition, we had the privilege of using the fully-stocked MasterChef pantry. I had to shake the feeling of being sad for the little lamb and keep my head in the game!

I got the inspiration for this dish from a recipe in Matthew Kenney’s “Big City Cooking”. One of my dearest friends, Katie, gave the book to me as a gift years ago – before I discovered my passion for cooking. It’s a lovely book and back then I found it quite intimidating as many of the ingredients were unfamiliar to me at the time and the preparations are so elegant. I used to flip through it and think, “one day…” Now I can really dig into it. Thanks, Katie!

Time: 15 minutes + marinating                  Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 2 cups 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless lamb loins – about 10 oz each – cut crosswise into pieces 1-inch thick
  • mint leaves, for garnish

How to make it


  • In a large non-reactive bowl, combine yogurt, oil, honey, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Whisk together to incorporate.
  • Add lamb loin to marinade and cover. Refrigerate for 3-6 hours or let set on the counter for about 40 minutes before grilling.
  • Preheat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
  • Thread lamb onto metal or wooden skewers (if using wood, be sure to soak in water for 10 minutes so they don’t burn). Reserve marinade.
  • Place skewers on hot grill/grill pan and cook, turning occasionally, until desired doneness – I go 5-6 minutes for medium-rare.
  • Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with mint leaves.

As we were cooking, the judges came around to talk to us, see what we were up to, and in some cases take a taste. Gordon Ramsay came to my station and asked me what I was preparing. After I described it to him, he stuck his index finger in the bowl of marinade, lamb and all, stuck it in his mouth and proclaimed, “It’s fucking delicious!” I may have been sent home on this challenge but this was a great affirmation! I know I think it’s delicious, but to know Gordon Ramsay does too… That’s saying something! Check me out doing my thing in the second row from the bottom on the left.

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The marinade may not look like much, but it does great things! The yogurt tenderizes the meat, while the lemon tames the lamb’s robust flavor.

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The lamb is served over a Moroccan Cucumber Mint Salad which provides a wonderful textural contrast and freshness. Recipe coming soon.

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The dish is also served with Harissa

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…and Honey Cumin Yogurt.

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It also pairs perfectly with Moroccan Carrots.

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Cornmeal Fried Okra

6 May

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I was going to prepare the okra I got from the farmers market as Sambal Bendi with chili paste and dried shrimp but then I thought… I’ve been posting a lot of Asian inspired recipes lately, and while there’s nothing wrong with that b/c I love to cook and eat Asian cuisine, I wanted to give you all some variety. Now let’s bring it back to the bottom of the map. Somewhere I stumbled at, somewhere they eat gumbo at. Yes, I am paraphrasing Lil Wayne. Most people who know me know that I get amped up on hip hop to start my day. Plus my momma is from New Orleans so this recipes has me really excited!

Time: 15 minutes                     Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 1 pint fresh okra, rinsed & patted dry – try to avoid large pods as they tend to be tougher
  • 1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal
  • 2 tsp Creole seasoning
  • 1 tbsp flour (I used brown rice flour for a wheat-free option)
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • sea salt, to taste

How to make it


  • Preheat oil to 375F in a deep fryer or wok.
  • Cut tops and ends off okra pods, then cut into about 1″ discs.
  • Combine cornmeal, flour, and Creole seasoning in a large, shallow dish. Add okra slices, in batches, and toss to coat.
  • Working in batches, drop okra into hot oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove and transfer to a paper towel lined. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Arancini

23 Apr

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I’ve had the pleasure of eating arancini several times. One memory stands out more than others, Angelina Bistro in Detroit. I had never made them before, so when my chef asked me to prepare them for a tasting for a wedding I was excited! He put me on all of the family recipes for Italian classics as according to him I am an “Italian specialist”. Family recipes, huh…Oh and did I mention the groom is a chef too and the family recipes are his?! Well, the arancini were an absolute hit. And I must admit, and I can here, that I did leave a fingerprint.

Time: 45 minutes              Serves: 12 pieces

Ingredients


  • 1 cup short grain risotto rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
  • 1-2 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed – enough for 12 pieces
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used fresh)
  • oil for frying
  • handful basil, chiffonade

How to make it


  • Preheat oil to 375F in a deep fryer or wok.
  • Cook rice uncovered until tender, but firm – about 20 minutes. When done, remove from heat and add butter. Mix to incorporate. Spread out on a large parchment lined tray to cool.
  • Once cooled, place in a large bowl and add egg yolks and parmesan cheese Mix well.
  • Take about 1/3 cup of rice mixture and shape into a ball in the palm of your hand. Make a well in the center of the ball and place a piece of mozzarella in the center. Rework the ball to enclose the cheese.
  • Put the egg whites in a bowl, beat until stiff.
  • Put bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
  • Coat rice balls with stiffened egg white one by one, then roll in bread crumbs, pressing around to coat evenly. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Fry for about 4 minutes until golden brown and crispy all around. Remove and transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet.
  • To serve, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and basil chiffonade. Enjoy as is or with a delicious sauce such as my Tomato Butter Sauce.

Langostino Cocktail Salad In Cucumber Cups

7 Apr

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I’ve seen a few photos floating around where cucumbers are used as edible serving vessels. What a great idea! Feel free to sub shrimp, crab meat, or lobster tail for the langostino tails.

Time: 10 minutes + chill          Serves: 6-8

Ingredients


  • 8 oz. cooked langostino tails, thawed (I got mine in Trader Joe’s freezer section)
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • sea salt, to taste
  • Sriracha, to taste
  • toasted sesame oil, to taste
  • 1 large seedless cucumber, ends trimmed slightly for flat surfaces

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How to make it


  • Finely chop langostino tails. Place in non-reactive mixing bowl.

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  • Add mayo, lemon juice, and Worcestershire. Mix well to incorporate. Season to taste with sea salt, Sriracha and sesame oil. Mix well once more and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Cut cucumber into about 2 inch pieces. Scoop out middle with a melon baller, careful not to go through the bottom. Place pieces scooped side down onto a paper towel.
  • Stir langostino salad before assembling cups. Divide salad equally among cucumber cups.

Edamame Dip With Won Ton Chips

5 Apr

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A protein-rich, low fat and low cal appetizer. Makes for great snacking! Healthy & tasty. Someone asked if it was a big bowl of wasabi 😉 Recipe slightly adapted from one I found on the Tasty Kitchen site by Eat 80/20 Dietitian.

Time: 15 minutes                Serves: 10

Ingredients


  • Dip


  • 4 cups shelled edamame, cooked according to package instructions
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed & minced
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water + more as needed
  • 1/3 tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • Chips


  • 30 won ton wrappers, cut in half diagonally
  • olive oil spray
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground – to taste

How to make it


  • Dip


  • Place edamame, garlic, lemon juice, 1 tsp olive oil and 1/2 cup water in food processor fitted with S-blade. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Process to combine. Add more oil and/or water as needed to reach desired consistency.
  • Chips


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet (or 2) with parchment paper. Spray with olive oil.
  • Place won ton pieces onto sheet so they are not touching. Spray with olive oil then sprinkle with sea salt & pepper.
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the edges are lightly brown. Remove from oven. Chips will continue to brown while left on the baking sheet.
  • Once cooled, place in serving dish. May be stored in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.

ねぎ巻き Negimaki – Japanese Beef Rolls with Pea Shoots

18 Mar

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This is a dish I’ve been wanting to make for some time now. I found a wonderful Asian market called Matsuwa here in LA and finally got on the ball!

Time: 15 minutes             Serves: 6

Ingredients

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  • Negimaki


  • 1 pound thinly sliced beef- shabu-shabu (I used Prime Chuck Roll)
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, trimmed & halved
  • 6 scallions, trimmed & halved
  • 100 grams enoki mushrooms, trimmed
  • olive oil & toasted sesame oil, for cooking

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  • Shabu-Shabu Sauce


  • 1/3 cup tamari
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sweet sake
  • Pea Shoots


  • 4 bunches of snow pea shoots
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • splash tamari
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

How to make it


  • Negimaki


  • Combine shabu-shabu sauce ingredients and whisk to incorporate. Handle meat with care as the pieces are sliced thin and are delicate. Place into sauce and let marinate for 5 minutes.
  • Divide into 6 equal parts, then lay pieces out stacked horizontally so they slightly overlap.
  • Place enoki mushrooms, asparagus, and scallions onto the left side of each stack of beef. Then carefully roll meat over veggies gently but tightly. Place seem side down.
  • Heat olive oils in a skillet over medium high. Place negimaki seam side down into pan. Cook one minute on each side, browning all around.
  • Remove from pan and allow to rest before cutting in half

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  • Pea Shoots


  • Heat oils in a skillet over medium high. Add pea shoots and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Turn down to medium low, add tamari and red pepper flakes, and saute an addition 2-3 minutes until wilted down and bright green.