Archive | July, 2012

Whole Grilled Golden Trout and Grilled Corn

31 Jul

This whole grilled golden trout stuffed with lemon, dill, and garlic served alongside an ear of grilled Ohio sweet corn is tasty summer simplicity at its finest.  The golden trout is lightly perfumed with the citrus of the lemon and flavors of dill and garlic with crispy, lightly charred skin and tender, flaky flesh.  The natural sweetness of the corn is coaxed to a new level from the caramelization on the grill, making this some of the best corn I’ve ever eaten.  The husks prevent the kernels from burning, while allowing the smokey charcoal flavors of the grill to make their mark.

I cooked the corn on the grill first before cooking the fish because our grill is tiny and it acted as a great appetizer.  If you have a big grill, then there’s no need to do that.

Whole Grilled Golden Trout and Grilled Corn

Whole Grilled Golden Trout:

1 whole golden trout, weighing approximately 1 lb.

1 lemon, cut into half moon shapes

1/4-1/2 cup dill fronds

3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Non-stick cooking spray

1 lemon, for serving

Make sure all cavities in the fish are empty and trim off all fins using a pair of kitchen scissors.  Cut three deep slashes in each side of the fish, to but not through the bone.

Rub fish inside and out with olive oil.  Season the inside of the cavity of the fish, the slits cut into the fish, and both sides of the fish liberally with salt and pepper.

Squeeze a tablespoon or so of lemon juice into the cavity of the fish.  Stuff the cavity of the fish with most of the lemon wedges, dill, and most of the chopped garlic.  Stuff remaining chopped garlic into each of slits cut into the fish.  Place a few slices of lemon both under and on top of the fish.

Let marinate, refrigerated, for about an hour (not necessary but I believe helpful).

Preheat your grill to medium-hot.  Make sure your grill grate is clean and very hot.  Spray the grill with non-stick cooking spray.

Add fish, removing any lemon wedges stuck to the bottom and placing on top.  Let cook, without touching for 5-8 minutes.  Using a spatula and tongs, carefully un-stick the fish from the grate of the grill.  Let cook another 3-4 minutes, for a total of 8-12 minutes.  Remove the lemon wedges from the top of the fish.

Carefully flip the fish.  Replace the lemon slices and cook another 5-8 minutes before carefully un-sticking from the grate of the grill.  Cook another 3-4 minutes.

When cooked through, the flesh of the fish should be opaque and semi-firm to the touch.  The skin of the fish will be darkened and even charred in some areas, and the internal temperature should reach 140º.

Carefully remove to a serving dish and serve immediately with another lemon for squeezing.

Grilled Corn:

2 ears corn

2-3 tbs. olive oil

Butter, to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Take corn and pull back outer green husks without removing them.  Remove the silk of the corn and discard.

Brush the kernels of the corn with olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Reposition the husks back over the kernels.

Place corn on grill heated to medium heat.  Grill approximately 20 minutes, turning as necessary to keep from charring, covered.  When cooked through, the corn will flex in your hands without breaking (be sure to wear oven mitts), the husks will be darkened and charred in places, and the kernels will slightly darker in color and tender.

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Triple Herb and Almond Pesto

30 Jul

Originally, this fennel, dill, and parsley pesto was to be served over a poached whole fish.  But the fish was, um, bad.  Really bad.  So instead, I made a dinner out of nice bread spread with a touch of butter and this fresh pesto.  This differs from a traditional pesto because its cooked in some white wine to help tame the assertive flavors of the fennel and dill.  It still has that herbacious, garlicky, nutty flavor of a traditional pesto, though.

This is a really great way to use up the lovely fennel fronds that you get when you purchase a bulb of fennel.  Because of their strong anise flavor, its sometimes hard to figure out ways to use them.  But a pesto is the perfect application, because it allows the strong flavors of the fennel to shine and balances them out with pungent garlic, creamy olive oil, and the nutty flavor of whatever nut you choose to add.  The positive outcome of this dish made me feel not too terribly bad about the awful failure of the fish I had tried to cook, so I thought it was worth a post despite its simplicity.

Triple Herb and Almond Pesto

4 cups fennel fronds, loosely packed

2 cups dill fronds, loosely packed

2 cups flat leaf parsley, loosely packed

1/2 cup almonds

4-5 cloves garlic

2-3 tbs. olive oil

1 cup white wine

Using a food processor or blender, finely chop almonds and garlic.  Add herbs and finely chop as well.  With machine running, add olive oil.

Transfer to a medium sauce pan.  Add white wine.  Simmer over medium-low heat until most reduced.

Serve, as pictured, on bread with a light smear of butter, with fish, or with pasta.

Geauga Family Farms Summer CSA – Week Three

28 Jul

Geauga Family Farms Summer CSA – Week Three

I’m very excited about this week’s haul.  In our share this week, we received a head of green lettuce, two patty pan squash, a pint of jewel-like cherry and grape tomatoes, six gorgeous peaches, a pint of blackberries, a yellow onion, a head of cabbage, two green peppers, and half a dozen ears of Ohio sweet corn.

We did a good job of using up last week’s ingredients.  All we have left are the green beans and potatoes.  It has been too damn hot to turn on the oven, otherwise I surely would have made crispy roasted green beans and some roasted and smashed potatoes.  The heat is supposed to break a little bit, so I’m thinking those are on the table for this week.  The miso glazed beets I posted this week used the beets from week one of the CSA.  The mushroom and silken tofu in miso-dashi broth used a knob onion from last week, though not much else.  I made a pesto-like spread using the fennel fronds which I should be posting shortly.  We also ate a big salad with loads of CSA vegetables including the zucchini, some cucumber, onions, all of the lettuce, and some of the tomatoes with a homemade Caesar dressing using anchovies – delicious!  Zak made a really yummy stir fry using up a lot of other vegetables as well.  Finally, another onion and the fennel bulbs were braised in beer and vegetable stock and served over creamy polenta.

As I already stated, I am really, really, really happy about this week’s share.  The variety is awesome, and I have so many ideas for how to use it all.  I definitely want to tackle the leftovers from last week by roasting and smashing the potatoes and making crispy roasted green beans.  I want to stuff the patty pan squash with some sort of cheesy rice and/or barley mixture, so hopefully the weather will accommodate and grant me with a cooler day to do that.  I want to make a broiled and/or fried pepper sandwich with at least one of the green peppers.  The berries and some of the peaches are going to wind up as blackberry and peach jam, since I’m almost out of my blueberry jam.  I’m not sure what to do with the cabbage and don’t have anything “fancy” planned for the corn (yet).

By the way, if you’re a member of a CSA and want to share what’s in your box (is it bad that whenever I hear “what’s in the box?” I think of Brad Pitt saying it in a hysterical voice over and over again during the last scene of “Seven”?) or need some inspiration for what to do with your box ingredients, check out the link party at In Her Chucks.  It’s got loads of links to other CSA’s and ideas for what to do with the ingredients in them – it’s become a go-to source for me over the past couple of weeks to drool over, envy about, and put on my “to do ” list.

Mushroom and Silken Tofu in Dashi-Miso Broth

27 Jul

I’ve made this soup a couple of times now, and each time we enjoy it more than the last.  It is excellent both with and without noodles – the long, springy enoki’s add enough of a “noodle-y” texture, but it’s definitely pumped up to a full meal with the addition of the ramen.  This soup is reminiscent of a simple miso soup, but the added fire-y heat of the sriracha and plethora of meaty mushrooms makes it more interesting and more substantial.

This soup is incredibly easy and the “hardest” part is separating all the mushrooms from one another.  Mostly, you just boil water and throw a bunch of ingredients in a stock pot.  Still, the deep umami of the dashi, miso, and mushrooms, spice of the sriracha, fresh crunch of the scallions, and wonderful textures of the mushrooms combine in a way that makes this soup taste like it should have been a lot more work than it was.  The unique combination of flavors and textures is addictive, leading to inevitably licked-clean bowls.

Mushroom and Silken Tofu in Dashi-Miso Broth

1 block silken tofu, cut into large chunks

8 cups water

8 tsp. dashi powder

2 1/2 tbs. white miso

1 tsp. canola oil

1 package enoki mushrooms, separated

1 package white beech mushrooms, separated

1/3 cup sweet onion, thinly sliced

3 tbs. soy sauce

2 tbs. sriracha

Freshly cracked black pepper

2-3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped, for garnish

Ramen noodles, cooked, for serving (optional)

In a medium sauce pan, bring water to a rolling boil.  Whisk in dashi and miso until no more clumps remain. Cover and reduce to a simmer.

In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms, soy sauce, and sriracha.  Stir well to distribute the soy sauce and sriracha.  Cook 3-4 minutes until mushrooms and beginning to tender.

Carefully add chunks of silken tofu.  Pour miso-dashi broth over the tofu and mushrooms.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Serve immediately, placing cooked ramen noodles in the bowl first and ladeling soup over.  Garnish with scallions.

Miso Glazed Beets

25 Jul

For the past few weeks, it has been almost unbearably hot in Cleveland.  And everywhere else.  Living within miles of a Great Lake does not help – the humidity can be a little brutal.  Plus, we only have a window unit in our living room to cool the entire place, which is, as you may have guessed, highly ineffective.

So when we got beets in our CSA, I knew my beloved preparation of oven roasting the beets was out.  But pan-roasting was definitely in, especially since I had recently received some insanely beautiful copper cookware from my Grandma Pat as a gift at my wedding shower.  One of the pieces is a beautiful, deep sauté pan with a tight fitting lid that has already proved its worth beyond measure as far as evenly distributing a wide range of heats to any and all vegetables.  I had mentioned months and months and months ago that I wanted some copper cookware because I had heard about the quality and my amazing grandmother remembered and so now, as a soon-to-be married couple, Zak and I will have these beautiful pots and pans for years and years to come.  I have my wonderful grandmother to thank for that – and for these really yummy beets.

While Zak thought these were overly sweet, I thought the dish was tasty and well-balanced.  The sweetness of the beets and onion was a nice foil to the salty miso and acidic white wine.  The earthiness of the mushrooms and the beets is also quite pronounced, making this a really flavorful and delicious vegetable side dish.  It also reheats well as leftovers in the microwave, which is a big bonus for me since I pack leftovers for lunch most weekdays.

Miso Glazed Beets

3 beets, peeled

2 cups sweet onion (such as knob or Vidalia), sliced into 1/4″ slices

1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped

2 tbs. butter

3-4 tbs. olive oil

3-4 cloves roasted garlic

1 1/2 tbs. white miso paste

2-3 cups white wine, such as chardonnay

Parmesan, if desired, for serving

In a deep sauté pan with tight fitting lid, heat butter olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted.  Add roasted garlic and whisk until mostly incorporated into the oil.  Add miso paste and whisk until mostly incorporated into the oil.  Add beets, onions, and mushrooms.

Sauté vegetables 3-4 minutes, stirring often to coat with olive oil and miso.  Add 1/2 cup of white wine and cover.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 10-15 minutes.  Remove cover and sauté 3-4 minutes until all of wine is evaporated.  Repeat process 3-4 times until beets are cooked through but retain a bit of bite to them, for a total of about thirty five to forty five minutes.  Be sure to monitor the temperature, lowering if necessary.  Remove cover and cook, stirring frequently, until all wine is absorbed.  Serve immediately with starch of choice (we used pearled barley).  Top with a few shakes of Parmesan, if desired.

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