What a awesome fall it has been at our house! Although summer will always be my favorite season, fall has recently become a super close second. The seasons don’t change as beautifully as they do up north, but Georgia doesn’t disappoint. The other thing that doesn’t disappoint is the food that my young chefs continue to create.
It’s so entertaining to watch them playfully sparring about their culinary skills. Chef Jess is really hard on her older brother … not because she thinks his dishes are bad, but because she is motivated by him. She looks up to him in just about everything, and she really seeks his approval … Though she HATES to admit it. 🙂
On this day, Chef Jess had too much homework to join us in the kitchen. Instead, she poured over her books and paperwork nearby in the dining room so that she could keep tabs (aka….spy) on what big bro did. For good reason, because I grilled him about his girlfr… Ahem…girlf…AHEM… girlfriend. There I said it! I actually prefer to refer to her as “a girl he happens to know.” Just seems to roll off my tongue. ijs Anyhoo! They’ve been “dating” (yuck) for a few months now, and they both seem to be smitten. Sigh…
Chef Fresh was totally in his element tonight! His earbuds were in, and he listened to his favorite hip hop artists as he went to town in the kitchen!!!! As he put it, “I’m sick of meat. Tonight it’s gonna’ be seafood.” He hasn’t been as active in the kitchen since school started because homework has been plentiful. As a result, baby sis has been the one designing the menu. She’s a natural born carnivore who loves a mean burger, chicken, quail, bacon, lamb, goat, pork chops….you get the point. 😉
So, that’s pretty much what we’ve been eating in the past two weeks. That is, until Chef Fresh pumped the brakes. Tonight, he created a Thai inspired dish that was light, but truly satisfying. This required a quick trip to the farmer’s market. You guys know by now that my favorite farmer’s market in metro Atlanta is the DeKalb’s Farmer’s market. But, our after work/school schedule is really tight, and it would be too far to travel. The next alternative was to head out to Sprouts Farmer’s Market. It’s really pretty much a grocery store….but with really fresh produce and seafood.
He ultimately decided to make a seared Cod in a Red Curry Coconut sauce, and served it with Udon noodles. What I love most about watching Chef Fresh cook is how serious he is about what he creates. He has passion, and a very clear flavor palate. He’s also very, very, uber serious about plating and styling his dish. Most of the time, he takes the camera from me so that he can snap the perfect shot of his culinary creation. Sigh… First I’m the sous chef, now I’m the flunky photographer.
The coconut curry sauce was the perfect combination of sweet and spicy, and really complimented the Cod. He even added some shredded carrots and edamame beans for added crunch and color.
I continue to be impressed by my Young Chefs as they explore their creativity in the kitchen. And….I love being able to relax a bit while they handle meals. WINNING!!!! lol
Faith, Family, Food… In that order
- •4 tablespoons coconut oil
- •salt and pepper to taste
- •1 TBSP onion powder
- •3 shallots, diced
- •3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- •2 TBSP finely grated fresh ginger
- •2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- •1 ½ cups chicken broth
- •1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
- •1 TBSP sugar
- •4 Cod fillets
- •¼ cup cilantro, plus more for garnish
- •¼ cup green onions, sliced
- •1/4 cup shredded carrots
- •1/2 cup edamame beans
- •1 tsp cayenne pepper
- Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and ginger to the pan. Cook until tender and fragrant. Add the curry paste, followed by the chicken broth, coconut milk, salt/pepper, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and allow the curry to reduce by half. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed. Also add the cayenne pepper. When reduced, add the cilantro.
- Season the cod fillets lightly with salt, pepper, and onion powder. Heat another skillet with 2 TBSP coconut oil. Sear the fillets on both sides. Make sure not to over cook.
- Distribute the curry sauce in four bowls, and add a handful of cooked Udon Noodles, and a seared cod fillet. Garnish with green onions, shredded carrots, edamame beans, and a few sprigs of cilantro.
- Dial up the spiciness and the sweetness by adjusting the cayenne and sugar to you palate.
It’s hard to believe that summer is nearly over, and that my young chefs are headed back to school in just a few days! This summer has been a blast, and while most days were spent at the beach or in a pool, these guys have still carved out time to “play” in the kitchen.
The inspiration for tonight’s meal came after spending time with my brother and his beautiful fiancé in July. They prepared the most delicious Poke bowl with Ahi Tuna and Salmon! It was so fresh, and soooooo flavorful. Ever since then Chef Jess has had Poke on the brain. 🙂
The bottom line is that you’ve got to have fresh sushi grade Ahi to make Poke. So, here in Atlanta, the best place to get the freshest seafood is the Atlanta Farmer’s market.
The original recipe that Uncle Joey shared also called for pineapple, but she decided that this wasn’t the flavor profile she wanted the recipe to have. Instead, she opted for diced jalapeños and carrots so that the Ahi could be the star.
The tuna steaks were beautiful! Chef Jess took time to chop them into roughly equal sizes, and placed them in a bowl while she quickly whisked together the marinade. She allowed the tuna to marinade for about an hour in the fridge.
I seriously cannot put into words just how DELICIOUS the tuna tasted. To be honest….I could have simply eaten a bowl full of the Ahi itself. 🙂 But, the rice and veggies really helped to balance the dish (Not to mention…the tower looks really super beautiful. 😉
We’re pretty much a brown rice kind of family, so this is what she used to create the tower. However, you can use whatever rice your heart desires. ♥
Faith, Family, Food… In that order
- 2 large sashimi grade Ahi tuna steaks (cut unto cubes)
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 1 English cucumber (thinly sliced)
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
- 2 jalapeños (partially seeded and diced)
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 3 TBSP sesame oil
- 2 avocados (chopped)
- 1 TBSP grated ginger
- 2 TBSP sesame seeds (both black and white)
- Room Temperature Cooked rice (Brown is our favorite)
- A sheet of seaweed paper cut into strips
- Rinse the Ahi and cut it into bite-sized cubes
- Rinse the green onions and chop them finely
- Mix soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, vinegar, green onion and half the sesame seeds in a bowl.
- Add the tuna and mix well. Let it sit in the fridge for an hour for the flavors to mix.
- Place a layer of sliced cucumbers on a plate making a circular shape.
- Lightly grease a one-cup measuring cup with sesame oil.
- Fill it with rice and pack it down.
- Turn the measuring cup over on top of the cucumbers and gently remove the rice.
- Top the rice with some shredded carrots and green onions.
- Next, place a layer of chopped avocados.
- Top with a healthy serving of the marinated ahi.
- Garnish with black and white sesame seeds, jalepenos, and green onions.
- Add a few strips of seaweed
The warm summer days are here, and our taste buds reflect it. The Atlanta weather has been soooo beautiful and enjoyable! This means much more time frolicking, and less time indoors. We’ve been camping, road tripping, and basking in the sun…while cheffn’! Lol
One of Chef Fresh’s favorite things is to eat outdoors when the weather is warm enough. So, today we did just that! He wanted to make a salad inspired by a menu item from one of our favorite brunch spots called Dune Deck Café. We absolutely LOVE this place because it’s a low key Diner that’s right on the ocean in Lantana, FL. It’s a popular place because the food is really good, and the view is ridiculously breathtaking!
They serve a grilled calamari platter with pita bread and various sauces that has me questioning why I’ve been eating fried calamari my whole life!!!!!
With the calamari as his inspiration, Chef Fresh decided to make a salad filled with all of the things that he loves….SEAFOOD!!!! This required a trip to our Farmer’s Market because he wanted fresh calamari, tiger shrimp, and scallops. Our local Farmer’s market is amazing! You can literally find anything you need, and the prices are truly reasonable.
Some days we stroll through trying to look for unfamiliar and peculiar looking foods. The weirder it looks..the more intriguing it seems to be to them. But on this particular day, we had a time constraint, so Chef Fresh made a Beeline to the seafood stand.
Although Calamari is the star, Chef Fresh also wanted the other components to “compliment the dish.” He decided to keep the seasoning simple so to not overpower the sweetness in the scallops and shrimp. He rattled off his chore list then put in his earbuds to jam to some rap song. sigh… I’ve been trying to brainwash him into loving my kind of music. It’s proven to be futile…for now. 😉
My task was dicing garlic and cilantro, and tossing the jumbo shrimp with lemon juice. I was told to “correctly grill the shrimp.” He must have forgotten that I taught him how to…”CORRECTLY GRILL THE SHRIMP!” smh
Chef Jess was put on asparagus duty! After trimming the stems, she lightly coated the spears with EVOO and dusted with salt and pepper. Then she seared them on the indoor grill.
Chef Fresh skewered the marinated calamari, then cooked them on the indoor grill. He also sautéed the scallops in a little butter, lemon juice, and a touch of salt and pepper.
The beautiful thing about this salad is that you can include whatever your favorite seafood is. Substitute the shrimp with lobster or crab, or add them all!
Chef Fresh asked me to make the vinaigrette recipe that I typically make for salads. It has the perfect balance of lemon, garlic, and oregano flavor, and you can use it on any type of salad that requires some type of vinaigrette and/or dressing. It’s a recipe that I learned from my mother because she rarely ever bought salad dressing when I was younger.
The key to this salad is improvisation, and being open to adding whatever ingredients are available to you. The goal is to create a fresh and light salad that is exploding with flavor. With all the seafood, the kids actually don’t realize that they are chowing down on healthy vegetables. 🙂
Faith, Family, Food… In that order
- 10 large tiger shrimp
- 1 lb small scallops
- 4 whole squid with heads, cleaned and sliced into 1 1/2 in rings
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Sliced English Cucumber
- 1 lb asparagus, with ends trimmed
- Chopped Romaine Lettuce
- Thinly sliced fennel
- 3 Hard boiled eggs (halved)
- 4 Lemons (2 for juicing, 2 for garnishing)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Paprika
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Combine the olive oil, garlic, cumin, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and thyme in a bowl.
- Place calamari in the bowl and toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for an hour or two.
- Remove from the fridge and return to room temperature.
- Skewer calamari (About 3-4 on a skewer)
- Preheat grill to high. Oil the grill before grilling.
- Remove the calamari from the marinade, and discard the marinade.
- Grill until done (Apprx. 3 minutes per side)
- Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail intact. Gently run a small knife down the center of the backs to butterfly the shrimp.
- Put in glass bowl and mix in 2 cloves of chopped garlic, juice of a 1/2 lemon, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Let marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
- Heat grill and cook for 1-2 minutes per side. Do not overcook.
- Heat 2 pats of butter in a pan and add scallops. Squeeze juice from a half lemon, and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. It cooks quickly, so make sure not to overcook them. Set aside when done.
- Sprinkle with EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and salt and pepper. Grill them on a hot grill, and turn to make sure to make beautiful grill marks. Remove when the are cooked through.
- Add all ingredients to a mason jar or any type of container with a top. Cover and shake vigorously until combined. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Stir before serving.
- Lay Romaine lettuce on a large platter, and arrange the tomatoes, asparagus, cucumbers, and fennel on the lettuce leaves. Next, add the shrimp and scallops side by side, and lay the calamari skewers on top. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the platter, and finish by adding the boiled eggs, and lemon quarters.
It’s one week after Thanksgiving, and I don’t know about you, but I honestly don’t care to eat another slice of turkey ANYTIME soon! lol Although we had a fabulous time seeing family for the long weekend, we are now back to our regular routine. Of course this means cooking together!!! YAY 🙂
As usual, I (the Sous) stayed out of the way and allowed Chef Jess and Chef Fresh to come up with different menus. I was mum even when overhearing an argument about who would cook the protein. Chef Jess wanted steak, but Chef Fresh moaned that we had eaten enough meat during the holiday. Eventually they were able to settle down and agree on a seafood dish. So seared salmon with garlic spinach and a dill beurre blanc it was!
Just a quick trip to the supermarket, and we each began our cooking tasks. Chef Jess was still just a little pouty that her big brother was spearheading the menu, but she did really well with chopping the herbs. It’s amazing how her knife skills have improved! Chef Fresh made me chuckle because he seasoned the salmon steaks with such intensity…like it was brain surgery. 🙂
As usual, we talked about a whole range of topics as we stood shoulder to shoulder. See…we attended church earlier in the day during which the sermon was about intentional living, and doing things that add value to others. We talked about how we can do this on a daily basis, and why this is important. I shared the idea that you never truly know what a person is going through, and gave a few examples. There was one about how there may be a kid in the class who seems to always misbehave. While everyone sees them as bad, they may actually be acting out because they’re going through something really horrible at home. It was my next example that really seemed to resonate with my young chefs….especially my son. I simply stated that it is very likely that there are some students in their class that probably only eat when they are at school because their families are unable to buy food. He looked down at the salmon that he had so carefully seasoned, and said softly “That’s so sad. That’s so sad.”
From this discussion, we were able to brainstorm ways to intentionally impact others through our kindness….Not only during the holiday season, but as a way of life.
Faith, Family, Food… In that order.
- 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 3 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) salted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
- 2 large bunches of spinach, about 1 lb
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon water
- 4 6-ounce salmon fillets
- Garlic Powder
- Emeril's All Natural Fish Rub
- Olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 Lemon
- 1. In a heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the shallots, wine, and lemon juice. Boil the mixture until it is thick and syrupy.
- 2. Reduce the heat to very low, and add the cream, salt, pepper, and dill. Whisk in the cubed butter, a little at a time.
- 3. When the butter is fully combined and the mixture is emulsified, remove it from the heat. The sauce can be made up to about an hour before serving, and then reheated. HOWEVER...Do NOT let it bubble as you reheat.
- 1. Cut off the thick stems of the spinach and THOROUGHLY clean the leaves.
- 2. Heat butter on medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until the garlic is translucent.
- 3. Add spinach and water to pan. You may need to pack it down to get it to fit. Cover for 5 minutes. Uncover, and turn spinach over to coat with butter and garlic. Recover, and allow to wilt.
- 4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- 1. Sprinkle the salmon fillets with pepper, garlic, and fish rub. Be careful not to go too heavy handed with the fish rub because it contains salt.
- 2. Coat the bottom of a large, cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan with oil, and place over medium-high heat.
- 3. Once the oil is hot, add the salmon fillets. Please do not overcrowd the pan. Cook, without moving. There is nothing worse than overcooked fish! So, cook the 1st side until the it is cooked about 1/4 of the way up the fillet. Flip it, and repeat for the other side. The fillet will continue to cook even after it is removed from the fire. Drizzle each fillet with some lemon juice.
- The fun part is the plating! Pick your plate, and place a serving of the garlic spinach in the center. Lay a salmon fillet on top, and spoon some beurre blanc around the bottom of your beautifully balanced culinary creation! Enjoy!
Some school nights are more hectic than others. Last night was one of those hectic ones! Both chefs had TONS of homework, and the Sous chef had several work deadlines to meet. Despite the chaotic evening, we were able to make this amazing dish. What made it most delicious was Chef Fresh’s decision to add different elements to this classic comfort recipe. He really prides himself on being the seafood expert in this house. 🙂
Chef Fresh opted not to use cheddar in the grits (The Sous Chef’s go-to favorite), and instead used smoked guyere and camembert cheeses. The richness, creaminess, and the smokiness really complimented the spice in the shrimp and crawfish sauce….which was honestly good enough to eat alone like a fish stew. I (Sous Chef) was simply floored by how yummy it was, and was reprimanded for “taste testing” (aka, sampling) too much. LOL! While Chef Jess had a lesser role, she definitely made her mark by adjusting the Cajun seasoning and suggesting a touch of fresh basil.
You would honestly think that the chefs spent hours preparing this, but it took far less than an hour! Busy moms and dads can surely whip this up any day of the week. Who doesn’t love that? So, add this to your regular menu because your family and guests will definitely thank you!
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups vegetable Stock
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cups shredded Smoked Guyere cheese
- 4 oz camembert cheese
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup stone-ground grits
- 1 pound of crawfish tails (Find in seafood freezer section of grocery store)
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp (deshelled and deveined)
- 1/2 lemon
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 6 bacon slices
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely-chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 3 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp chopped Basil
- 2 TBSP Cajun seasoning (or more. Add to your liking)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 5 stems chopped green onion for garnish
- Hot sauce
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cream, and stock; bring to a gentle boil. Add butter and onion powder. Slowly add grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the grits are tender. Finish by stirring in cheeses, and adding salt and pepper (to taste). Add additional stock if your grits begin to harden. The consistency should be creamy. Keep warm.
- Sprinkle crawfish and shrimp with salt, and pepper; set aside. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from heat and coarsely chop. Put aside. Keep about 5 tablespoons bacon grease in the frying pan. Add onion, and garlic; saute 10 minutes or until the onion is transparent. Add tomato paste to pan and stir to coat onions. Add stock; stir well. Add paprika, Cajun seasoning, basil, parsley and lemon juice. Taste sauce to determine if it has the right level of heat. Add Cajun seasoning as desired, a little at a time. Turn heat down and add crawfish and shrimp. Allow shrimp to cook in the sauce. Do not overcook Remove from heat.
- To serve, ladle the grits into individual bowls. Spoon the crawfish/shrimp mixture over top the grits. Sprinkle with chopped bacon, and garnish with green onions.
- We are big fans of spicy food, so we add a couple dashes of our favorite hot sauce. However, you can easily omit this is your palate doesn't care for heat.
- 1 (8 ounce) package Lo Mein noodles
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 orange pepper, chopped
- 2 cups String Beans,
- 6 scallions, chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced
- 1 pound Scallops
- 3 Small Lobster Tails
- 1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, oyster sauce, and a pinch of the ginger in a bowl. Cover, and let sit.
- Heat peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear scallops on each side for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove and cover. Add steak to pan , and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside. Cook garlic and ginger in the same skillet until fragrant. Add vegetables to the skillet; cook and stir until slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Stir flank steak into the vegetable mixture, and turn off heat.
- Boil Lobster tails until appropriately cooked. Remove and chop. Let sit.
- Cook Lo Mein noodles in the boiling water until cooked through but firm to the bite. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle sesame oil over it, and toss to coat. Add to beef and veggie mixture.
- Add soy sauce mixture to noodle/veggie mixture. Toss until everything is coated.
- Plate by adding scallops and lobster on top of pasta mixture! Garnish with scallions and Enjoy!!!
- Make it spicy if you want! 🙂
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups cleaned and chopped kale
- 2 roasted red peppers, sliced
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups dried orechiette
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 bag of frozen mixed seafood, thawed (The one we get has shrimp, calamari, octopus, and mussels)
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1. Place chopped kale in sauté pan with half cup water, and cook until tender. Add water as needed if it becomes dry.When done, remove cooked Kale, and put aside for now.
- 2. In the same pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, and cook garlic and red onions until fragrant. Add thawed seafood, lemon juice, and cook for several minute. Making sure to mix. Add vegetable stock, and let cook for two minutes. Next add heavy cream and basil, and allow sauce to thicken slightly.
- 4. Add cooked orechiette (that has been cooked according to package directions) and kale to cream sauce and stir, making sure to coat well. Next add, sliced roasted red peppers, and salt and pepper to taste.
- 5. Sprinkle a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese on each serving after plating.
- You can add more vegetable stock if you find that cream sauce has become too thick. Also, don't be afraid to experiment with different types of seafood. 🙂