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Posts tagged ‘lime’

more questions than answers & tasty little fritters

Change it up. Keep it fresh. Variety’s the spice of life. So clichéd, but the same can be said of many of our food choices.

Are we guided by some intention around food and nutrition or do we fall into the habits that we developed growing up? Do we “fear” change, and is that evidenced by what we eat, and refuse to eat, as well? What would it look like if we ate “outside” the boxes we tend to create for ourselves? What would our dinner table feel like if we decided to be adventuresome spirits when it came to food? What if our dinner table became a place we had fun, played, experimented, made a bit of “art”, didn’t fear making “mistakes”? I hope you know, I’m not preaching…just pondering possibilities.

At least once a week we’re trying something very new to us. It’s not always “successful”, but we rarely regret having tried something new. And at least once a week around our house, it’s vegetarian meals only. Do we feel deprived when those days come, like we’re sacrificing something? Oh not one bit!  So long as food is full of flavor and easy on the eyes, it satisfies. (Satisfaction turns out to be an important principle, and not just from a pleasure standpoint. Studies have  shown that we actually tend to eat less when the foods we eat are flavor-full as opposed to bland or one-dimensional, because they satisfy more quickly. If we’re battling our weight, there’s something to consider.)

These tasty little fritters showed up on our vegetarian menu the other night with cumin-roasted carrots and beautiful green salad…(and then again the next morning for breakfast – can you believe it?) and we were smackin’ our smiling lips…both times.

This recipe comes from Ottolenghi…one can hardly go wrong…

Cauliflower & Cumin Fritters with Lime Yogurt Dipping Sauce

  • 1 small cauliflower (about ¾ lb. or 320 g.)
  • about ¾ cup flour (4 oz. or 120 g)
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more to garnish
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • neutral (high-heat) oil for frying – canola, sunflower or grapeseed – about 2 cups (500 ml. or 16 oz.)

Yogurt Lime Sauce

  • 10 ounces (300 g.) Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • grated zest of 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Taste – you’re looking for a vibrant, tart, citrusy flavor. Adjust the seasonings accordingly. Chill or leave at room temperature for up to an hour.

To prepare the cauliflower, trim off any leaves and use a small knife to divide into little florets. Add them to a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 15 minutes or until very soft. Drain into a colander.

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a menu for valentines & a stacked bistro salad

Can I see a show of hands? Who among you would like to spend several hours in the kitchen preparing a beautiful meal for your love on Valentines Day?     Oh. Well that’s surprising.  Alright then, Plan B. Who among you would like to spend under an hour (excluding dessert) preparing a luscious and (well) sort of sexy Valentine dinner? We got some hands on that one!

Let’s talk about the menu then…You with your hands up…this is for you…(the  others, you’re obviously being well taken care of.) What are we looking for in a meal for lovers? Ok, it was already decided that we want it easy. Of course you’re right. After all, where do we want to spend our love and energy?  (That’s rhetorical – thanks, but no need to share.)

Ok. What else? Color? Good! It should be pretty shouldn’t it. Sensuous? Oh, I like that! What else? Not too heavy? Oh that’s a good one, yes! Who’s looking to drift into a coma immediately after pushing their plate back. Anything else? Oh, taste! Of course! It should taste really good!

What do you think of this then?

A Valentine Dinner for Lovers

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To whet (& wet) the Appetite:

Passion Fruit Cocktails for Two

Stacked Crab Bistro Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Dinner:

Seared Sesame-Encrusted Ahi Tuna

Snap Peas with Shiitake Mushrooms and Ginger

 oh-so Forbidden Rice

Dessert:

a sweet multitude of options

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Tomorrow I’ll post the 3 dinner items, along with how to get it done in less than 1 hour, with just a tiny bit of prep work the night before.  Each is so easy.

I’ll have one more dessert as an option, posted Saturday I think.

Now, for the appetizer:

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Halibut Tacos with Tequila-lime Marinade


It’s becoming apparent, isn’t it? We eat our share of seafood.  In these pages what you’ll mostly see is what I get excited about – and this time of year it’s the bountiful variety of fresh-picked produce, grown nearby – and  fresh fish, line-caught. Yesterday felt remarkably like – well, summer - and fish tacos seemed like such a festive way to celebrate a day so beautiful.

Halibut Tacos with Tequila-lime Marinade & Red Cabbage Slaw

(serves 4 ~ or more)

For the red cabbage slaw

  • 3/4 pound red cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the tequila-lime marinade

  • 1 lime, first zested, then juiced (about 1 tsp. zest and 2 Tbl. juice)
  • 2 Tablespoons tequila
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 small jalapeños, halved, seeds and membranes removed, sliced crosswise into half rings
  • 1 small red onion, cut into thin half moons (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the halibut

  • 1 pound halibut fillet, skinned
  • 1 Tablespoon high-heat vegetable oil

For the taco bar

  • Flour tortillas, warmed
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole (for a quick, easy home-made version see NOTE below)
  • Extra limes

To prepare the slaw, toss the cabbage with the salt. Place in a colander and put the colander in the sink. Using a bowl that fits well into the colander, fill with water and place on top of the shredded cabbage.  The weight of the water-filled bowl will force moisture from the cabbage, concentrating its flavor.

In a large bowl, mix together the shredded apple, mustard seeds, cilantro, vinegar and olive oil. Then, using your hands, lift the cabbage and squeeze it well. Rinse the salt from the cabbage with plenty of water, then squeeze again, getting all the liquid out. Combine the cabbage with the rest of the slaw ingredients, stir and season with salt if needed. Set aside.

To prepare the marinade, combine all of its ingredients in a small bowl.

To prepare the halibut, place it in a large pan (glass or ceramic preferably) and pour the marinade over the fillet. Set aside for 20 minutes.

In a grill pan or sauté pan over high heat, add the vegetable oil. Add the halibut, reserving the marinade, and cook until the fish is browned on one side, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully flip the halibut over and continue cooking until the fish is not quite yet flaking (in other words, just slightly underdone. It will continue to cook removed from the heat.) Total cooking time will be about 8 minutes per inch of fish, measured at the thickest part. Transfer the fish to a platter. Then add the reserved marinade to the pan (or get a fresh pan if you grilled the fish) and cook the marinade over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and the onions and jalapeños are beginning to char. Then pile this mixture back onto the fish (which should be just perfectly flaking by now.)

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Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake – with margarita cream

Chocolate and orange (I’m repeating myself) is one of my favorite flavor combinations. But chocolate and lime? When I saw this recipe in Nigella’s Kitchen, frankly, it was a bit hard to imagine. Spree will sometimes take something “hard to imagine” as a bit of a challenge or a little invitation. In this case, she accepted and was very glad she did. A happy crowd at the table was delighted she did too! Happy birthday, Luke! Happy birthday, Spree!

Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake

with Margarita Cream

(In this recipe, the best quality chocolate makes all the difference!)

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped (3/4 cup chocolate chips)
  • 1-1/4 sticks of soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
  • 6 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 4 tsp. best-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • confectioner’s sugar, to dust
  • 1 x 9-inch springform pan

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter your springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a double boiler, or in a bowl sitting over (but not in) boiling water, melt together the chocolate and butter. Once melted, set them aside to cool slightly.

Beat the eggs and sugar together until they have tripled in volume.

In a separate bowl, mix together the almond flour and the sifted  cocoa powder and then fold this gently into the egg and sugar mixture. Then gently fold in the melted chocolate and butter mixture. Finally, fold in the lime juice and zest.

Pour this mixture into your prepared springform pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, though start to check it at 35. The cake will be just barely firm on top, but still have a bit of jiggle underneath. (Can’t you just taste that jiggle!?)

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Cilantro-Lime Green Salad

Cilantro-Lime Green Salad

This salad was the accompaniment to the grilled cilantro-lime chicken featured below. All the flavors played happily together, and it was just so dang pretty!

Green Salad Ingredients

  • Lettuce – either mesclun blend or cut romaine
  • Avocado, cut in chunks
  • Tomato, cut in shapes you like
  • Red onion, a few slivered slices
  • Some cilantro sprigs
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Cilantro-Lime Dressing (below)

If your pepitas are raw, put a small skillet on the stove on medium low. Add pepitas and slowly dry roast them in the pan, stirring frequently. As they begin to firm up and color a bit, add just a few drops of olive oil and a shake or two of salt and pepper. Continue roasting and stirring, watching carefully. They will start to pop and plump. This only takes a few minutes. Combine the salad ingredients (except for pumpkin seeds) in your salad bowl. Add some of your salad dressing – a little less than you think you’ll need – toss. You can add more if you need it. Serve with a scattering of crunchy little pepitas and a few whole leaves of cilantro and extra cut limes.

Cilantro-Lime Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • 3 Tbl. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbl. red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbl. fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard or dry mustard
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Drop all the dressing ingredients into your blender and process until a creamy, bright and beautiful spring green. Taste for balance of flavors, using a clean lettuce leaf for dipping.  (What you’re most interested in here is a balance between the salt and acidic lime juice and vinegar. Adjust if necessary.) Covered, this will keep in your refrigerator for 5 days to a week.

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(for printer-friendly version, click  here.)
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Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken

 Although this chicken is marinated before grilling, the preparation is surprisingly fast. In as little as thirty minutes, it will have taken on some of the marinade. For optimal results though an hour or more is best. The flavors here are authentic Mexican, bright with fresh lime, cilantro and garlic, and they only get better on the grill. But on rainy days a heavy cast iron or grill pan will do just fine. Served with grilled corn on the cob (brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with chili powder), and the salad I’ll share in the next post, mmm, so good! You’ll think it’s summer.

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken

(serves 6)

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each), tenderloin section included
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juie
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbl. chopped fresh cilantro (plus more sprigs for garnish)
  • 1½ t. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1½ t. kosher salt
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for brushing the grate or pan
  • 1½ cups favorite salsa
  • 1 cup sour cream, or Greek-style yogurt

Place a chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and, using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently and gradually flatten it until it is about ½ inch thick. Repeat with the other chicken breasts. Place the chicken in a 1-gallon lock-top plastic bag.In a bowl, combine the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, chopped cilantro, brown sugar, slat, cumin and pepper and whisk until thoroughly blended. Pour the marinade over the chicken, coating all sides well. Squeeze all the air out of the bag and seal it. (If using a shallow bowl instead, cover it.) If possible, refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or for up to 3. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Prepare a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill on medium.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and drain off the excess marinade. Brush the grill grate with vegetable oil. Place the chicken directly over the fire. Grill, uncovered, for about 1½ minutes. Rotate the chicken 90 degrees to create attractive cross-hatching and cook for 1½ minutes longer. Flip the chicken breasts over and continue grilling, uncovered, repeating the steps for cross-hatching, until tender and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife, 3 to 4 minutes longer.

Remove the chicken from the grill and transfer to warmed dinner plates or a lage platter. Spoon some salsa over each portion, followed by a dollop of sour cream. Garnish with the cilantro sprigs and serve immediately.

(Recipe comes from Nordstrom’s Entertaining at Home Cookbook.)

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