Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Spicy Melon Salad


Sometimes you just want something different.
Not the same old green salad, not a fruit salad... 
Something to tantalize your taste buds.
Do you like Thai food?

Now maybe putting sriracha and fish sauce is not your idea of a great idea, but if you like Thai food, I'd say give this one a try.
It got so many great qualities; Fresh, Cool, Crunchy, Sweet and Spicy

I love the crunch of the peanuts, the zip of the cilantro and the sweet tangy spice of the dressing on the cool, sweet melon.  

For the record, you can't even taste the fish sauce.  If you wanted you could substitute soy sauce instead.  However, soy sauce is technically fish sauce too... just saying.


Serves 2-4
Ingredients

1/2 cantaloupe, peeled and sliced
1/2 honeydew melon, peeled and sliced

Dressing:  
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha 
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp chopped peanuts
1 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped for garnish
1 Tbsp fresh Mint, chopped for garnish (optional)

Remove rind and slice thinly (about 1/4 inch) the melons.  Arrange on a plate.
Whisk the sugar, veg oil, fish sauce, sriracha and lime together.  Drizzle over the cantaloupe and honeydew melon. Top with chopped peanuts, cilantro and mint.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Breakfast Paella


This is my own creation, though I will admit to being inspired by a great brunch in Vancouver earlier this Spring. If you get up to Canada, you got to go to the Medina Cafe. It was an incredible meal and the place was packed!  We waited over an hour for a table, but I would definitely do that again to eat there.  It was worth it.  Best mini waffles I've ever had, served with a caramel peach sauce... but you have your choice of about a dozen other amazing sauces.  Just order a side... like toast.  Haha.  
While they are famous for their waffles, it's the breakfast paella that blew my mind and kept me thinking of it again, and again.  What an easy and interesting way to get some different, exotic flavors into your brunch menu.

This would be easy enough without meat too, just do it with veggies, salsa and a crispy fried egg!

NOTE: Crush and soak saffron to release its flavor. Saffron threads are quite frail and can easily be crumbled between your fingers, although for a more uniform powder, use a mortar and pestle. Measure (or count) saffron threads before crushing. A "pinch" is about 20 medium saffron threads.



Serves 4
Ingredients

1 cup orzo
1/2 med zucchini, cut into chunks
1/2 red peppers, cut into chunks 
1 jalapeno, cuts in chunks, (cut enough for 1 Tbsp in a mince for the salsa)
1/2 onion, cut into chunks (cut enough for 2 Tbsp in a mince for the salsa)
2 sausages- chorizo, hot links or andouille, cut into chunks
2-3 Tbsp Chunky bacon or pancetta, diced
1 tsp smoked paprika or chili powder
A pinch of saffron, crushed and soaked in 1 Tbsp water

Rough Cut Salsa
8-10 cherry tomatoes, diced small
1 Tbsp Jalapeno, minced from above 
1-2 Tbsp onion, minced from above 
Fresh cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt & Pepper

For the top:
1 avocado, cut into chunks
Fresh cilantro
4 eggs, fried crispy 

Boil about 1-2 quarts of water, cook orzo for 6 minutes. Drain.
While the water is boiling and the orzo cooks, prep the salsa so that the flavors have time to meld. 
Add minced tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno and fresh cilantro.  Juice 1/2 a lime in the mixture, adding salt and pepper.  Stir and let sit while the rest of your meal cooks.



Slice sausages, cook over med high heat to get a nice sear
Add bacon and cook for another 2-3 minutes, take off heat and add to a plate, reserving it while you cook the veggies next.

(Next time I might cut these a little smaller, just sayin'!)
Cook veggies in the same pan, try to get some color/crust on the veggies.  
Try not to over cook the veggies.  Sprinkle with chili powder and saffron/water mixture.  
Add in the reserved meats, and stir.  Add in the cooked orzo and mix.  
Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cover with a "tent" of foil, or a lid while you fry eggs.

Here's a photo of the veggies before I started cooking. I did some pretty big chunks.




Crispy fry eggs, serve on top of orzo, veggie and meat mixture.
Sprinkle with fresh salsa, avocados and chopped cilantro.
Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

Here's a shot of the orzo, meat and veggie mixture before adding the egg.  This was great reheated the next day for lunch (but without the egg), I just added a dash of hot sauce and was incredibly happy with it.