Poke Bowl with Avocado Rice 

Usually, Saturdays are cooking days in my house while I get ready for my blog dates with Merideth. In the heat of the summer, this is way less exciting. I just got back from a week in California and, now that I’m home in, realized I never truly appreciated how absolutely hot it is in Florida. This minimal-cooking, refrigerator friendly recipe is perfect for lazy, hot summer afternoons when you want to make the most of your air conditioning and chilled white wine.

Ingredients

Ahi Tuna and Marinade 

  • 1 tuna steak, sushi grade (about 1lb), cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs ground ginger 
  • Toppings: Sriracha, green onions, and/or sesame seeds (optional)

Avocado Rice

  •  2 cups cooked jasmine rice 
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1 tbs ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper 

Instructions

  1. Whisk marinade ingredients together and pour over tuna in a bowl and Marinade for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Stir diced avocado into jasmine rice until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and ginger.
  3. Top rice with marinated tuna and other accompaniments as desired.

Wine Pairing: Though I’m tempted to justify a Pinot noir because I tend toward red wine, this tuna was great with a Pinot Grigio, which is slightly sweeter than a Sauvignon Blanc without being too rich.

Stir-fried Scallops with Strawberry Spinach Salad

Merideth and I are big fans of  MasterChef and their “stunning” dishes, including the signature “me on a plate” entries. In honor of the newest season, Merideth and I made our own signature dishes! For me, it’s scallops and a spinach strawberry salad. Probably not MasterChef worthy in its complexity, but tasty, light, and protein rich! Scallops and spinach are also high in iron, which I am usually low in due to my exercise.

There are two types of scallops you’ll commonly find: bay and sea scallops. Usually, I get sea scallops, as they are larger and better for pan-searing, but I didn’t pay close attention and got bay scallops for this dinner instead. No worries though – bay scallops are well suited for stir-frying! In both cases, seasoning with salt, pepper, and some lime juice is all you need.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 lb scallops (about 25)
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lime juice
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Vinegrette: red wine vinegar, olive oil

Instructions

  1. Lay out scallops on a cutting board or plate and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper and let sit for about 5 minutes. Pat dry again.
  2. Heat canola oil in a skillet on medium-high heat and add scallops. If using the larger sea scallops, sear for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the top and bottom are caramelized. If using smaller bay scallops, stir fry for about 5 minutes or until scallops feel more dense.
  3. Meanwhile, slice strawberries and use to top spinach salad. Dress with oil and vinegar!

Wine Pairing: I usually prefer red wine, but this goes well with a Sauvignon Blanc or, if you’re feeling fancy, some bubbly!

File Gumbo

Merideth and I share a lot of the same tastes in food including, as we discussed over one of our recent Distance Dishes dinners, food that can be served in bowls! For me, this is mostly for convenience (read: laziness), but combining food in one pot also gives the flavors a chance to blend together.

This dinner happened to fall right before Mardi Gras, so I thought something Creole would be fun! Plus, it gave me an excuse to go spice shopping (I have the Room of Requirement of spices) to get file powder. File powder is ground sassafras root that serves as a thickener stirred in just before serving and adds a sweet flavor. I also used homemade seafood stock with the peeled shells of the shrimp I needed and vegetable scraps (carrot tops, onion skins, celery hearts) that I save in the freezer. Store bought works as well, but homemade has better sodium content and makes me feel good for upcycling kitchen scraps!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable or seafood stock (homemade recipe here)
  • 2 tbs canola oil
  • 2-3 diced medium onions (about 1 cup)
  • 4 diced celery stalks
  • 2 chopped bell peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp hot sauce, or more to taste
  • 1 tbs creole mix seasoning
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 lb crab meat
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve shells for seafood stock, if making homemade)
  • 1 1/2 tbs file powder

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Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large pot. Add onions, celery, and green pepper and saute until onions brown lightly.
  2. Add garlic, hot pepper sauce, and creole seasoning. Stir frequently and saute for 4 minutes.
  3. Add tomato sauce and simmer for 3 minutes. Add stock and summer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add shrimp and crab meat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Just before serving, add file powder and stir to combine.

Wine Pairing: Just before I made this recipe, I received my seasonal subscription from my local winery! I signed up for a mixed shipment hoping to broaden my horizons past red wine, and one of the white wines, a Viognier, was just what I needed for the gumbo. It has a little bit of the rich oak taste that makes wines like Chardonnay pair so well with shellfish, but has a fruitness that tones down the spice from the hot sauce. Refreshing!

Homemade Stock

Seafood Stock

Ingredients

Discarded seafood, including shrimp shells, crab shells, or fish heads or bones

2 small onions, 2 medium carrots, and a stalk of celery (or, conversely, saved scraps of these vegetables, which can be kept in the freezer until needed)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Arrange fish or shellfish scraps on cookie sheet with vegetables. Roast in oven for 5-10 minutes or until the seafood is browned on edges.
  3. Place the roasted ingredients in large pot. Add 8 cups water, or enough to cover ingredients and fill pot about halfway full.
  4. Bring the stock to a simmer (not boil). Skim fat off the surface of the stock regularly, simmering for three hours with the pot uncovered.
  5. After simmering for three hours, strain the stock through a colander or, preferably, a sieve.
  6. Allow the stock to cool to room temperature, removing any remaining fat before storage. Use within 3-4 days.

 

Chicken Stock

Ingredients

Chicken carcass

2 small onions, 2 medium carrots, and a stalk of celery (or, conversely, saved scraps of these vegetables, which can be kept in the freezer until needed)

Instructions

  1.  Rinse chicken carcass with cold water and trim any visible fat.
  2. Place the carcass and chopped vegetables or vegetable scraps in a large pot. Add water until carcass is nearly (but not entirely) covered.
  3. Bring the stock to a simmer (not boil). Skim fat off the surface of the stock regularly, simmering for three hours with the pot uncovered.
  4. After simmering for three hours, strain the stock through a colander or, preferably, a sieve.
  5. Allow the stock to cool to room temperature, removing any remaining fat before storage. Use within 3-4 days.

Baked Salmon in Foil

I’ve always thought of salmon as a fancy dish, but tin foil makes it so easy! Merideth and I made this during our beach retreat, and we both have made it at home since. My favorite part about this recipe is that it is more a cooking technique than a set formula: you can change the flavors to your taste (or what you have in the pantry!). The wrapped foil packets are forgiving as well: as someone who is non-crafty and terrible at gift wrapping, my salmon looked like it had been crumpled in tin foil, but it still got the job done!

At the beach, Merideth and I cooked this with lemon and leeks. We also tried cooking the filets on a bed of asparagus, but they didn’t quite hold their crispiness with the juices of the salmon. If you are going to steam vegetables in the packet with the salmon, I would suggest a heartier vegetable or potato.

Ingredients

  • Salmon filets (estimated 8 oz per person)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 leek
  • Rosemary sprigs 
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  • Tin foil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lay salmon filets in enough foil to create a packet around the fish. Season salmon with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. If desired, add slices of lemon and leek. Note: we did not remove the skin, but you can if desired.
  3. Wrap foil packets, making sure all sides are covered, and place seam side up in the oven. You can place them on a cooking sheet or, as we did, directly on to the racks.
  4. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until salmon flakes and has taken on a more opaque color.

 

Enjoy!

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I recently did this cooking method with a seasoning from my Raw Spice subscription  (birthday present from Merideth- I love the recipes they include with each batch!) The smokey Bloody Mary seasoning was perfect on salmon.