Baked blackened tilapia with tomato and cucumber salad

Ahhhh… It’s Monday, Monday is rough… sigh… I need something that has a kick. Kick me right in the head, and kick me out of the blue… 

And yes, I don’t want to stand around the kitchen and slave myself. Man, that’s how much I don’t like Monday….

So this dinner, it’s done in 20 mins, and you can eat it in 5 mins. Pour myself a drink, ahhhh… life ain’t bad after all

Ingredients

2 tilapia fillet 
1/2 tsp each of paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, ginger powder and salt
15 super ripe cherry tomatoes
1/2 cucumber (quartered and sliced into chunks)
1/2 small red onion (thinly sliced)
1 tbsp each of rice wine vinegar, mirin and koji 
2 tbsps of olive oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven at 425F.
Mix all the dry ingredients: paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, ginger powder and salt. Pat it on both side of the fillets.
Coat the baking sheet with some oil and bake the fish for 15 mins.
In the meantime, make the salad. Squeeze the juice out from cherry tomatoes and mix it with rice wine vinegar, mirin, koji and olive oil. Season with pepper. Toss with tomatoes, onion and cucumber. Let it chill in the fridge while the fish is cooking.

Serve the salad around the lovely fish.

Charred octopus with lemon

Feeling lovely after coming home from a barre class and farmers’ market, I feel refreshed (but stinky) and powerful (but tired), I decided to make some salad with the greens and Japanese tomatoes from farmers’ market. I also made some octopus for dinner ๐Ÿ™‚ yummy!

2 octopus  (defrosted) Cut into 2 inch pieces

1 small onion (cut into small pieces)

2 oyster mushrooms  (cut into small pieces)

2 lemons halved 

2 tbsps each of paprika, garlic powder and olive oil 

1 tsp of salt

Preheat the oven at 400F. 

Add everything into a baking pan. Bake for 40 mins. Done!!

Kabocha Squash Soup

I love soup. I love having soup when it’s cold, hot, rainy days…. well, everyday ๐Ÿ™‚ Having a kabocha on hand is great especially when it’s gloomy out, since I can have my sunshine soup in 1.5 hours ๐Ÿ˜€

1/2 onion (finely chopped)
1 medium kabocha squash
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup of diced pancetta
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of mixed dried herbs

Preheat the oven at 350F. Poke a couple of holes on top. Bake the whole kabocha for 45 mins. (Yup, I didn’t wanna hurt my hand cutting the raw kabocha, lol) Let it cool for 20 mins or when it’s easy to handle. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Then cut into chunks.
In a big pot, add 1 tbsp of pancetta over medium heat. Brown them until golden, about 8 mins. Remove them and set aside.
Add the chopped onion in the same pan. Cook until translucent. About 5 mins. Then add paprika and herbs.
Add the kabocha squash and sautรฉ for 5 mins.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Using a skewer, insert into kabocha and check if itโ€™s fully cooked.
Puree the soup in batches in blender or puree with an immersion blender until smooth.
Top it with the reserved pancetta.
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Napa cabbage blossom

I love meat. I love seafood. I loveeeee foodddd. And since this weekend I had so much meat and seafood, I need some veggie to balance my diet a bit. I have a whole head of napa cabbage, shabu shabu pork and mushrooms.. well, put them all in a pot. That should be decent, right?

Napa cabbage blossom
1 napa cabbage
1 pack of shabu shabu pork
3 small oyster mushrooms  (thinly sliced, lengthwise)
6 shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of mirin
1 tbsp of korean chili flakes
4 tbsps of chicken broth (salted)

Cut the napa cabbage into quarters lengthwise. Without cutting the edge, wash the leaves carefully and drain well.

Place each slice of pork between the napa cabbage leaves. I had some extra cabbage, so I stuffed them with thinly sliced oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms.

Once everything is tucked in, cut the napa cabbage into 3-4 pieces.

Start packing the layers of napa cabbage/pork/mushrooms from the outer of the pot and work your way towards the center. The outer layers should be packed tightly as they become loosen once it starts cooking.

I stuffed the center with napa cabbage leaves to make it nice and tight.

Combine soy sauce, chili flakes, chicken broth and mirin. Put the mixture on top of the napa cabbage.

Cook it over medium high heat for 20 mins. And it’s done!

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Oxtail risotto with broiled smelt

Yes, I haven’t posted anything at all for a long time; yes, I admit it, I am lazy. But I was busy working, eating and chilling.
Last week I made braised octopus from Alda, the owner/chef of Prune.

http://www.pbs.org/food/recipes/aldas-braised-octopus-potatoes/

It was amazing! And if you watch this episode, you know that she recycles, and it’s amazing!
I cooked my octopus in a seafood stock that cooked from fish bones and shrimp heads and shells.
After cooking the octopus, I have about 8 cups of broth left, then I used 4 cups of it to make an oxtail stew.
Then tonight, I used the broth from oxtail soup (about 2 cups) and octopus broth, about 1.5 cups, and made tonight’s dinner. Oxtail risotto!  I don’t have much oxtail left, so I broiled some smelt, and wah lah, dinner is served!

Oxtail risotto
1.5 cup of risotto rice
3.5 cup of broth
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup of chopped carrots
1 tsp each of paprika, oregano, garlic powder
3 tbsps of whiskey

Keep the broth hot in a pot.
In a wok, add 2 tbsps of fat (I have some oxtail fat left when I was browning the oxtail) over medium high heat, add celery and carrots. Cook for 4 mins and add rice. Make sure they are all coat with oil, add whiskey. Until it’s cooked off.
Add hot broth about a cup at a time. Stir and let the rice soak up the broth, and keep adding more when it’s needed. It takes about 30 mins to cook.
When you add the last cup of the broth, stir in the oxtail. Cook for another 5 mins, turn off the heat and let it sit for another 10 mins.

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Broiled smelt
8 smelt

Turn on the broiler, grease the pan and line the smelt on top. Season with salt. Broil for 10 mins.

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Indonesian inspired chicken

Ingredients:
5 cloves of garlic
3 small shallots
2 knots of ginger
2 stalks of lemongrass
4 pieces of dried bay leaves
2 tsps each of oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper
2 tbsps of chicken broth (I used water instead)
1 can of coconut milk
2 lb of chicken wings and legs

Direction:
In a food processor, blend the first 7 items (garlic, shallots, ginger, lemongrass, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper and water)into a paste.

In a bowl, marinate the chicken with salt, pepper, coconut milk and herb paste. Mix then well and refrigerate overnight.

Take the chicken out from the fridge 30 mins before baking.

Preheat the oven at 375F. Bake for an hour. Skin side down, flip them to skin side up at the 30 mins.
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Leftover veg with bacon and homemade breadcrumbs

Ingredients:
0.5 lb of pasta
3 cups of leftover veg – broccoli, butternut squash, sweet peas, carrots, onion, italian squash, red and yellow peppers (cut into bite size)
3 jalapenos (cut into bite size)
1/2 cup of bacon (cut into bite size)
1/2 cup of pancetta (cut into bite size)
1/3 cup of brandy
2 slices of day old bread I used sourdough (tear them up into small piece)
1/3 cup of mixed nuts
1 tsp each of oregano, red chili flakes, parsley
2 tbsps of olive oil

Direction:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 mins. Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, render the fat, then add pancetta, cook until golden brown (about 8 mins)

Add onion and jalapenos, cook them until soften (about 6 mins)

Add brandy to remove all the brown bites on the bottom

Add butternut squash and carrots, cook for 5 mins.

Add italian squash and sweet peas, cook for another 3 mins. Season with salt and pepper.

Add pasta to the skillet, mix well with all the veg and pasta water.

Turn off the heat and add breadcrumbs (direction below).

Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ready to serve.
Leftover veg with bacon and homemade breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs:
Add the last 4 ingredients (sourdough, mixed nuts, oregano, red chili flakes, parsley and olive oil) in a food processor, season with salt and pepper. It should come out crumbly, if it’s too dry, add a little more olive oil