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Archive for the ‘snapper’ Category
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
Vertigo runs in my family. I’ve always been prone to motion sickness but about six years ago I went on a ferry in Sydney and my head thought it was still on the ferry for about 5 days. I’d be standing in the kitchen pouring a cup of tea and the whole room would spin. Since then I can’t swing on swings, jump on trampolines or, I thought, go on boats. I’d never in my life been on a sail boat. Why would I do such a thing when I’d just spend the whole time heaving over the side?
Well, before we left for this trip, I got transderm scopolamine from my doctor. That’s the little patch that goes behind your ear and sucks all the water out of your inner ear so there’s no sloshing happening. I’m very sloshy. I had no idea if this thing would work or if I’d have side effects or anything. I just stuck it behind my ear, washed my hands really well so I wouldn’t touch my eyes and dry them up, and then headed to the dock. I’ll end the suspense…the patch worked! The water wasn’t smooth by any means, we were up and down and all around but I didn’t feel a single worble. I can go on boats!!! I also wasn’t worbly when I got back on land. Maybe I should wear these patches all the time ;-)
So, we got on this catamaran along with a couple of dozen other people and sailed about 45 minutes out to Stingray City. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced anything like this. I’ve petted the manta rays at the Monterey Bay Aquarium but they’re small, don’t have stingers and half the time are huddled in the pool away from people. Stingray City was a whole other kettle of fish (*groan*). My son and I were the first down the ladder (well, he was first and I followed) and then he was the first to stop and get scared to jump down. The water was choppy and he wasn’t going to be tall enough to touch the bottom. So I passed him and jumped down first, tried to convince him to jump to me and then got doused by a wave and got about a quart of salt water up my nose. That’s a great start. But I recovered, got him down and then we were surrounded by stingrays! It was unsettling at first, and then really, really cool. They feel soft and a little slimy and have spent their whole lives at the sandbar where people come and feed them so they are really friendly…almost too friendly. We all had them swim up to either side and slap our legs looking for squid. It was CRAZY!
We spent about 30 minutes in the water with them then headed back up to the boat for some tequila drinks, lots of water, and a sail to Rum Point for some burgers. Since my husband’s foot is still healing from his accident in September, we always had to search out a place to sit first. We camped out in some beach chairs right next to the water, the margarita stand, and Eric Ripert’s station.
Sweeet. I had to pass on Spike Mendelsohn’s burger because it was lamb and I know how I am about lamb. I love rack of lamb. Let it grow up and it’s too lamby for me (I can’t overthink the baby-eating part of that). So I just wandered on and got one of Eric’s snapper sliders with spicy aioli. I actually got one for myself and my hubby and my son got one without the aioli. Then I went back and got another, and I’m pretty sure another. I scoped out the other burgers and taste-tested a few but always went back to Eric. To quote my son, “How does he make food taste so good?!”
Eric wasn’t overly busy, this was a small event, so I went up to attempt a conversation. I was doing really well! I was asking about the capers and the peppers on the fish from the Barefoot BBQ the night before. He said the capers were brined Spanish capers (they were amazing and unlike any caper I’d ever had) and the peppers were a local island pepper that he didn’t know the name of. I was commenting that I was surprised I liked them because they weren’t hot but they didn’t have the flavor of bell pepper at all which was great. See? Going well right?! Then I spilled champagne down my shirt. *sigh* It wasn’t sexy with me in a bikini, splashing champagne on myself in a hair-flipping, buxom, margarita-fueled craze (I was not in a bikini, nor am I buxom). I basically drooled. Someday I will manage to not look like a fool.
We had to finish up and catch the first catamaran back to get our son to his snorkeling camp before we went to see Eric and Tony Bourdain do their demo and talk. So we waltzed back to the catamaran and had a lovely sail back to the resort.
It’s always fun to listen to Eric and Tony razz each other. They didn’t do the Good vs. Evil routine (they’ll be on tour with that this spring) but they did a basics of cooking demo and Q&A session. They addressed things that people regularly screw up in the kitchen. First up, the omelet. Tony made a simple omelet, Eric acted shocked that Tony could cook. Their kids taste tested it and got the thumbs up :) Eric talked about how Tony has taken up meditation. Tony looked quite shocked and confused by this idea. And then of course Eric throws the punchline out which is a stack of photos he has taken, and I’ve seen him post them on twitter, of Tony sleeping on airplanes. This bromance can get catty!!
Eric then showed how to property tie up a chicken for cooking to keep its shape and juices in. He made scrambled eggs which were to die for! They passed them out in little egg shells. He cooks them through then whips in creme fraiche and chives. I am going to try this technique. Then they started going through the list of things people do not do right in the kitchen. First up, grill a steak. I was happy to hear them go through the list of do’s and don’ts and know that I was doing it all right! Let the steaks come up to room temp, salt them right before putting them on a not-too-hot grill (or you get raw inside, charcoal outside), DON’T touch them. Flip the steaks only once, don’t cut or poke them, leave them the hell alone. Then let them rest for about 8 minutes before serving. Yup, I do all that! For pasta: lots and lots of water, tons and tons of salt and don’t put oil in the water. It does nothing to keep the pasta from sticking. Oil and water don’t mix.
The funniest bit was when Sandra, Eric’s amazingly awesome, beautiful, funny wife, asked what they make when they cook romantic dinners for their wives. Eric replied with, “I’m not married.” Ouch! And then said they go out to eat. Poor girl’s never going to get a romantic home-cooked meal! That’s what you get for marrying a chef.
After it was over I got Tony to sign my Get Jiro! book and then we went and got our son from snorkeling and, yet again, spent the rest of the day in the ocean, on the beach or in the hot tub. It’s hard to be back home now!
Read about Thursday and Friday!
Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
We arrived a day early and spent my birthday in the amazing waters of Grand Cayman. We snorkled and swam and snorkeled some more. The water is warm and clear and full of some of the cast of Finding Nemo. It was incredible. I snorkeled in Hawaii many years ago but it was not like this. The water here was warmer and clearer.
We were going to be booked solid with demonstrations, lunches, dinners and events so I wanted my birthday completely schedule free. Because of that however, we didn’t make dinner reservations. Once we got in from snorkeling, I realized I really wanted to be able to eat at Blue by Eric Ripert for my birthday. We called. They had a 9:30 table. We have a 7 year old. That wasn’t going to work. My husband had booked it though before we got back to the room and decided that was a bad idea. So we walked down to Blue to tell them we wouldn’t be using the 9:30 table assuming we’d be heading to one of the other hotel restaurants for dinner. We were in shorts, not dressed for an Eric Ripert dining room. They said they could seat us then if we wanted. OK!! We sat and were presented with the many choices for dinner and, surprisingly, a kid’s menu! I never expected that. Le Bernardin sure doesn’t offer a kid’s menu. ;-)
They brought out the amuse bouche which was a tortellini with…honestly I have no idea but it was so wonderful, and a scallop ceviche bite. They gave my son what looked like two tater tots but they called “potato croquettes”. He was not interested. I told them he’d really rather have the scallop and they brought him the “grown up” dish instead. He loved it, they thought he was awesome.
He got tomato soup with croutons and local snapper with rice and vegetables from the kids menu. We ordered the 3 course a la carte menu since we knew that he wouldn’t have the stamina for a full many-course, multi-hour tasting menu. I started with hamachi 3 ways, then the lobster and for my main the tuna. My husband got the conch ceviche, the tuna with foie gras (a signature Ripert dish) and the snapper.
While we were eating, we got to ogle the table full of celebrity chefs and they’re beautiful wives having dinner on the patio outside our window: Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain, Jose Andres, Richard Blais, Francois Payard, April Bloomfield and others. It was hard not to stare. The weekend had just started so we hadn’t had our brush with culinary fame yet. This event is so small (compared to most food events) that you are constantly running into a culinary hero as you’re walking the beach, traversing the hallways of the Ritz or at the events.
Dinner was spectacular. The service at Blue is on par with Le Bernardin. The sommelier noticed our son was getting antsy and came over an made him a mouse out of a napkin! They were so incredibly accomodating even though they were also having to serve their boss and some of the best chefs in the world on the patio just outside.
This is one of those meals ….one of those weekends…that it seems silly to “review” the food. It was excellent of course. That’s what we flew many hours on a red eye with a bonkers kid playing 12 hours of video games for. The hamachi was clean and refreshing, acidic and salty, rich and cool and the same time. The conch had no chewiness like I expected, but it also had bell peppers so I only snuck a tiny bite from my husband to see what it was like. The lobster was, well, lobster at Blue! Imagine it and you’ll probably be correct!
I ordered the chocolate death for dessert and it arrived with “Happy Birthday” written in chocolate on the plate. I am not one to hide the fact it’s my birthday. I don’t worry about getting older. I tell everyone I meet it’s my birthday. I revel in my day. It’s all about me. I got a candle and a chocolate wish. And I was in the Caymans with my favorite chef in the world. My birthday was the most amazing one I could imagine. Well, except for the woman who told me her husband flew Eric Ripert to her house to cook dinner for her and 6 friends. That is unbelievable but nevermind that. I would never dream of anything better than the Cayman Cookout for my special day.
And it would only get better.
Read about Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4!
Friday, January 21st, 2011
It has been like summer here in the Bay area this week. Actually more like summer than our cold summer was!
Inspired by the sun, I thought I’d grill. This was easy and turned out to be great!
First I made a vinaigrette of:
1 large shallot, minced
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
1/4 c. champagne vinegar
1/4 c. parsley
I brushed that over my snapper fillets (I had about 1 lb of snapper). I let that sit with the vinaigrette marinade brushed on it for about 30 minutes. You can’t do it for too long because the vinegar will cure the fish and you’ll start getting ceviche!
While that was sitting, I cooked the quinoa (1 cup quinoa, 3 cups water, boil then simmer until water is gone and quinoa is tender).
I used the rest of the vinaigrette to make the quinoa salad. I added 1/2 a cucumber chopped into 1/4″ cubes and a few chopped up basil leaves…yeah, basil isn’t in season but I bought some the other day for another dish and had some left over…moment of winter weakness!
Mix the cucumber into the vinaigrette-mixture, add some salt and pepper, and when the quinoa is cooked, mix that in too. I didn’t end up using quite all the quinoa I cooked, the ratio of quinoa to cucumber would have been off. I used probably 3/4 of it.
Brush your grill with olive oil, drizzle some olive oil on your snapper fillets and grill on med-high heat for about 5 minutes per side or until the snapper is cooked through…maybe less than 5 minutes.
Then to plate put a pile of the quinoa salad, place a snapper fillet on top and VOILA!
I sprinkled some Kilauea Onyx salt from my newly acquired salt collection on the fish. It had a nice little crunch and also has activated charcoal in it so it went well with the grill flavor.
Friday, July 16th, 2010
Rub snapper fillets with grated ginger and garlic. I grate them on my microplane grater right over the fish…works pretty well. Pour juice of 2 limes over the fish. I let it sit for about 30 minutes. Not long enough to cure the fish but long enough to get a good flavor. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and grill.
For the pesto:
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup almonds
1 – 1 1/2 cups or so cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lime
Blend all that in the food processor then add enough olive oil, with blade going, to reach the consistency you like. I like drier pesto so I stop when it’s a paste.
For the slaw, well, it wasn’t my recipe…*gasp!* I got it from Epicurious and it was really good. Highly recommend that one.
Friday, March 19th, 2010
Hana Japanese Restaurant
101 Golf Course Drive
Rohnert Park, CA
I found this restaurant purely by accident, chance, kismet, whatever you want to call it. I call it scrumptious fate! We were in the area and it was lunchtime. I don’t know anything around the north bay so I just searched on my phone for, I kid you not, “lunch”. This was the first result that came up. We were just on the other side of the freeway so I maneuvered through the construction zones and, with a bit of difficulty, found Hana hidden in the parking lot for the Double Tree hotel.
For lunch I had the Sushi and Sashimi combo lunch. Three types of nigiri, three types of sashimi, all wonderful (tako, maguro, hamachi, sake, and 2 others!). I was surprised to see that they had my favorite sake by the glass as well, Kanchiku. Smooth and delicious.
I returned the next day for dinner with my husband. We couldn’t go home without him experiencing this place. I got the Chef’s Sushi Omakase. My only stipulation was no Uni. Can’t do it. Don’t like it. Don’t want it anywhere near me.
I got a gorgeous plate of 10 nigiri: Tai (snapper), aji (jack mackerel), hamachi, sake, sawara (spanish mackerel), mirugai (giant clam), aorika (cuttlefish), toro, house-smoked salmon and anago (fresh water eel). Both the sawara and the aji were amazing. I hate saba so I didn’t realize other mackerels could be so lovely. The clam and cuttlefish were not my cup of tea. There wasn’t anything wrong with them, they were far less chewy than I thought they’d be. They weren’t gross by any means, just not my thing. I guiltily ate the toro. I think the bluefin ban should go into effect sooner than later. All the other fish were amazing and not moving towards extinction from overfishing. That’s my one qualm with Hana, they should take bluefin off their menu.
I hope I find myself hungry in the north bay again. This was a wonderful lunch and a wonderful dinner. Tucked away, totally unexpected.
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
I made a summery version of this. Similar recipe, dropped the saffron. Instead of topping with pesto, I topped with fresh tomatoes and basil.
Onion, Leeks and Celery
Tomatoes, marjoram and thyme
Snapper and Chicken broth
Soup topped with fresh basil and tomatoes
I picked up some snapper at the farmers market the other day with the plans to make fish tacos. When I went to actually prepare the fish tacos I realized I’d forgotten to go to the store to get anything else for them such as tortillas, salsa, etc. So I had to move on to plan B. I whipped up a fish soup. I, unfortunately, spaced out taking a picture of it but I did note down the recipe:
1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 smallish fennel, 2 stalks celery — all diced or chopped
Throw all those in the pan and sauté them until they are soft.
Add 1/4 teaspoon saffron, 1 bay leaf, 2 diced tomatoes, and a pinch of chili flakes.
Let those cook together a few minutes.
Add 2 cups white wine and let that cook until it reduces down to about 1 cup.
Pour in 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add 3/4 pounds snapper cut into bite size pieces and let that simmer until the snapper is cooked.
Serve the soup poured over garlic toasts and garnish with pesto (I made my pesto with marjoram, parsley, basil, garlic, pecans, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper)