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Posts Tagged ‘appetizer’

Ceviche is a popular dish in Central and South America and is gaining popularity in The United States. It is certainly one of my favorite dishes. In a ceviche, cubes of fresh, raw fish are marinated in citrus juice, which denatures the surface proteins as cooking would. I designed my recipe based on my dad’s nostalgic description of the dish he had in Costa Rica. My ceviche has a subtle sweetness from a bit of sugar and a splash of gingerale, which balances the tart lime. Avacados and corn are classic pairings, but I also added juicy  costa rican pineapple, cherry tomatoes, and edamame.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Marlin and Tilapia, cubed
  • Ripe Avocado, chopped
  • Pineapple, diced
  • Frozen Peas, thawed
  • Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Corn (frozen or fresh)
  • Red Onion, diced
  • Canned Chickpeas

Marinade:

  • Lime Juice, be generous
  • Ginger Ale, a splash
  • Fresh Garlic, minced
  • Jalopeño, minced
  • Salt and Pepper, don’t skimp
  • GOYA Cilantro Cooking Base
  • Sugar, a hint

Directions:

  1. Prepare marinade and pour over ingredients in a shallow dish. There needs to be enough liquid to almost cover the fish. Refrigerate covered for about 1 hour, carefully folding every 15 minutes. Serve alone or with tortilla chips.

Tips:

  1. The fresher the fish, the safer and tastier the ceviche.
  2. Be sure to use enough lime juice than you think or you’ll be eating sashimi, not ceviche
  3. Cut your ceviche pieces all the same size.
  4. Ripe avocados should be tender to the touch. Next, break off the stubby stem. If it’s green, it’s fresh.
  5. Slice lengthwise all around the avocado and twist to open. Take a careful wack with the chef’s knife and twist to dislodge the pit.

 

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On a hot, summer day a mango salsa is the perfect refreshing snack. The tanginess of the tomatillos makes a good backdrop behind the sweet mangos while the char from the grill adds a welcomed complexity. Honey and lime round out the flavors, while tempering the heat of the jalapeño—which I tend not to go easy on.

Directions:

  • Peel two mangos, remove the pits, chop and mix with diced red onion. Add a generous amount of lime juice. Grill one ear of corn, half a jalapeño and the tomatillos (with the husks on), turning them until they are charred and soft. Remove the husks and stems and pulse in the blender with a drizzle of olive oil, one chopped garlic clove and jalapeño to taste (remove the seeds and membranes for a gentler heat).
  • When it has cooled, mix with the mangos and add salt, more lime and a healthy drizzle of honey. Remove the corn kernels and mix in. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips. My favorite brand is Xochitl totopos de maíz sold in a large paper bag. Chopped scallions make a pretty garnish.

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Photo by Jordan Emont

You don’t need a stove to make a delicious seafood dinner. By marinating diced tilapia and shrimp in an acidic mixture, the seafood flesh actually cooks. Well, it’s not cooking per se, but the denaturing of the proteins mimics the process. With fresh ingredients, the South American dish is perfectly safe. In fact, my Peruvian ceviche is both low in calories and high in vitamins and protein. The seafood has a tender, yet resilient texture, which, along with ripe diced avocado, tomatoes, and red onion, soaks up the flavor of the marinade, tangy with lime juice and slightly sweet from fresh coconut water. Served in a coconut bowl, the only other perfect accompaniment would be Peru’s national cocktail.

Sneak Peek: Check the blog next week for my take on the Pisco Sour.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 1 coconut/ ¼ cup coconut water
  • 1 tilapia filet, diced
  • ¼ pound peeled rock shrimp meat, diced
  • ¾ cup lime juice
  • 1/8 habañero pepper, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons small-diced tomato
  • 3 tablespoons small-diced diced red onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • ½ avocado, diced

Important: Because the ceviche marinade will only kill surface bacteria, the tilapia and shrimp must be extremely fresh. It is best to prepare the ceviche on the day of purchase.

Directions:

 1. To make the coconut bowl, use a screwdriver to make a whole in the base, drain the water and reserve.

2. Place the coconut on a towel in your palm. Use the blunt side of the knife to whack it forcefully where a natural line is visible—be sure to wear protective eye gear. Once a crack forms, continue to pound it until the crack spans its entirety. Pull it apart and fix jagged edges.

3. Generously salt the equally sized tilapia and shrimp cubes and mix with ¼ cup of the coconut water, the lime juice (with habañero and garlic added), the tomatoes and the red onion. Make sure everything is submerged in the marinade. Refrigerate for 40 minutes, mixing at least once.

4. Generously salt to taste and add chopped cilantro, and avocado. Add fresh ground black pepper. Scoop into the coconut bowl, draining the ceviche of excess marinade. Serve immediately as it will continue to “cook”.

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This salad was the second appetizer in our Sophisticated Soirée. I founds the combination of goat cheese, honey and thyme in another recipe. I decided to use the flavors in my own appetizer, involving puff pastry. This recipe couldn’t be easier and it apparently even sounds good when spoken. I guess titles are important parts of Dishes. I could have called them Cheesy Honey and Herb Pastry Discs. I guess that sounds a little less enticing.

  • I bought pre-made puff pastry. It came in a package of two. Allow it to thaw (it comes frozen) for 10 to 15 minutes or until it becomes malleable. Roll it with a rolling pin, on a well-floured surface, until it is even. I bought spreadable goat cheese that came in a fist-sized container and slathered it on. I suggest buying another container for two sheets of puff pastry.
  • Slather on a generous layer, covering the entire sheet. Drizzle liberally with honey and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Roll the puff pastry, forming a log, and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove it from the freezer and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Let the slices sit for about ten minutes and preheat the oven on 375°. Cook until golden brown and puffy. Try one. If it’s doughy, keep it in longer.

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This was the first course of a five course meal that I prepared for my friends. The theme was class, sophistication, and elegance. This dish embodies them all. Served in a Martini glass, this salad is colorful, light, and refreshing.

  • Cut the avocados, mangos and tomatoes into similar sized cubes. A good ratio is 1:1:1. This will yield mostly mango, some avocado, and a little tomato. This creates the best balance. They should be, at most, half of an inch in length, width, and height.
  • Make sure that the fruits are as ripe as possible. Ripe mangos are usually a bit yellowish in color, tender to the touch, and fragrant. The avocado flesh should give a little when pressed, yet should not feel mushy. After this test, take the stem off the avocado; if the flesh is a green color, you’re in business.
  • Make a dressing by chopping a large handful of fresh cilantro very well. Add 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of Extra-virgin olive oil and the juice of one lime (The zest is a great addition as well). Season with salt and pepper and, for sweetness, add 1-2 tablespoons of honey or agave syrup.
  • Slowly add the dressing to the salad, while mixing. It is important that the dressing only coats the fruits. Serve in an elegant cup and wow your guests. Heck, put some on a burger and eat it, alone, in your underpants.

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