Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Caribbean Shrimp Salad

In August, my family went to Turks and Caicos for my parent's (1 year) belated 35th anniversary.  It was a beautiful time.  Thanks to my brother-in-law and sister, we stayed at an amazing resort where we had two personal chefs and two attendants.  Our meals were prepared to our liking each day, and though we gorged ourselves on food, it was all rather healthy and tasty.  Reid and I were sure we'd come back 10 lbs heavier, but he actually lost weight and I stayed the same.  We've both been trying to be more conscious about living healthier, working out and eating better so this was a delightful reminder that we can eat really well, but still be pretty healthy.  It inspired me to make some lighter, but flavor-filled foods when we got back, nice and tan ;)

In Turks and Caicos, we enjoyed a lot of conch salad, as it was conch season.  The chewy, salty conch was complimented well with a lemon juice and oil dressing and lots of fresh veggies.  Upon returning, I found out it's near impossible to get fresh conch in the US, so I substituted shrimp for a yummy seafood salad.  I think squid would also make a great alternative.  This came together so easily and was really satisfying on a hot day.  This recipe is from Epicurious

Caribbean Shrimp Salad
Source: Epicurious
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled, tails removed, and cooked
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs. finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 c. orange juice
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Haas avocado, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

    Directi
    ons:
    1. In a large bowl, combine shrimp, bell peppers, cucumber, onion, jalepeno, cilantro, orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice and olive oil.   Allow flavors to come together in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
    2. Fold in avocado and tomatoes.  Serve in chilled bowls!



    Wednesday, September 23, 2015

    Chả Cá (Vietnamese Tumeric Fish with Dill)

    Chả Cá is a fish dish originating from north Vietnam.  Tumeric marinated fish is grilled table-side, which was always fun for me as a kid.  The fish is served with rice noodles, peanuts, and plenty of dill!  All these great flavors combine to make a delicious, yet light, bowl of savory, crunchy, satisfying goodness!  For our last visit to Houston, I had my mom teach me how to make this dish.  Here's her version:

    Ingredients:
    4 catfish fillets, cut in 1" pieces
    1 tbs. rice flour
    2 tbs Greek yogurt
    1-2 tsp ground tumeric
    1 inch galangal, ground in a mortar and pestel 
    1 tbs vegetable oil
    1/2 tsp. shrimp paste (mam tom)

    Marinated for at least 4 hrs. 
    Bake at 400 for 5-8 minutes or until browned. 

    Fry in oil with 
    1 cup fresh dill
    1 cup green onion, cut in 1" long slices
    until fish is crisp, about 2-3 minutes. 

    Serve with:
    Black sesame chips (banh trang)
    Vermicelli noodles
    Roasted peanuts
    Nước mắm 
    Mam tom (shrimp paste mixed with lime juice and equal portions sugar and rice whiskey)
    Lettuce and herbs (IE: garlic chives, purple Thai basil, mint , cilantro)





    Joelle getting ready for the feast