June 21, 2016

Upcycled Crab, Tomato, Cucumber + Mozz Salad


Ingredients:
1/3-1/2 cup leftover blue crab meat (from 3 large crabs)
10 fresh mozzarella pearls
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1 cucumber, chopped
2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon fennel fronds
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Toss all ingredients together until thoroughly combined.



My thoughts:

The other night, we had my favorite kind of dinner (especially in the warm weather months but also a solid favorite for the winter holidays as well) that I like to call snackies. All appetizers and no main course.  It is sort of picnic-y and in honor of summer, this one was made entirely of food I did not have to cook. For an international flair, I had a super delish assortment of my favorite things (truffles, pickles, and sausage! oh my!) from Les Trois Petits Cochons: Mousse Truffée, Saucisson Sec aux Herbes de Provence (Dried Sausage with Herbs de Provence) and Cornichons; and from our local Italian grocery: bread, tomato and (mostly) mozzarella salad, various olives and marinated eggplant. We ended up with some leftovers from this exciting meal and I turned the handful of remaining mozzarella balls into a new salad by adding some grape tomatoes I had leftover from another salad, a forgotten cucumber and a bit of leftover steamed crab from earlier in the weekend. The new dish was a taste sensation that is easily made using bits and bobs of what is on hand. If you are not in Baltimore, feel free to omit the crab although it does make the salad much more of a treat!


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June 13, 2016

Smoked Gruyère Grits with Dandelion Greens, Mushrooms and Corn



Ingredients:
2 cups yellow stone-ground grits
6 cups water or chicken stock
1 cup grated smoked Gruyère
2 1/2 cups chopped dandelion greens
3 ears of corn worth of kernels
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, diced
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Heat a small amount of oil in a medium skillet. Saute the onion until starting to soften, 3-5 minutes, then add the greens, corn, and mushrooms and saute until the greens have wilted and the mushrooms are softened. Set aside.


Meanwhile, in a medium pot, bring the water or stock to a boil. Add the grits and stir continually for about 10 minutes or until all the broth is absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper cheese and greens mixture. Keep covered until ready to serve.

My thoughts:
I tend to forget about making grits and then when I do, I am always pleased with how they turn out. It is a great alternative to rice, potatoes or pasta. You can, of course, just stir in some cheese and call it a day but I like to spike them with a variety of vegetables for a really full side dish. My produce delivery service had dandelion greens again (a huge bundle this time!) so I used them but I think arugula would provide a similar peppery bite. I loved the juicy bits of corn, it isn't quite in season now but I found some corn from the south that was very good giving me hope for our corn season this year. The mushrooms? Well, I love mushrooms and couldn't resist tossing them in. If you have leftovers, try it topped with a fried egg for a quick, filling lunch.

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June 09, 2016

Super Umami Burgers


Ingredients:
1 1/4 lb 93% lean ground beef
8 oz crimini mushrooms, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

to serve:
6 slices fontina cheese
6 brioche buns
2 tablespoons grainy Dijon
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, mushrooms, onion, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce until well mixed. Form into 6 patties.

Prepare grill according to manufacturer's instructions. Grill the burgers for 5-8 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. When in the last minute or so of grilling, top with cheese and allow to melt. Remove to a platter.

In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon, mayonnaise, and pepper. Spread on rolls. Top with burgers. Serve immediately.


My thoughts:
Mushrooms are one of my favorite toppings for burgers. I shy away from them when making burgers at home because it usually involves me stuck inside sauteeing mushrooms and onions while the burgers cook on the grill outside in the sunshine. That's no fun! So for these hamburgers, I mixed in super finely chopped mushrooms and onions into the burger. All of the flavor and less work! Plus the mushrooms (chopped to the point of almost ground beef texture) stretched 1 1/4 lbs of ground beef into 6 good-sized burgers while adding a deeply savory note. I upped the umami factor by adding soy sauce and Worcestershire which made the burgers moist and flavorful without. Adding the mock mustard aioli, fontina and brioche just added to the wow factor. If you like savory, rich (but not heavy!) burgers, this one is for you!

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June 07, 2016

Roasted Shrimp and Snap Pea Rolls





Ingredients:
24 oz medium shrimp, peeled
3 tablespoons minced dill
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 lb sugar snap peas, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used Colavita prosecco vinegar)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 hot dog rolls

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400. Line one baking sheet with foil. Set aside.

In a small bowl, toss together the shrimp, sugar snap peas, dill, salt, pepper and oil. Pour onto the baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Roast for 10 minutes or until the shrimp is fully cooked.

Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar and mayonnaise. Allow the shrimp to cool. Stir together the dressing, scallions, and the shrimp/sugar snap peas mixture until well coated in a medium bowl. Divide among hot dog rolls. Refrigerate leftovers.



My thoughts:
When we left for our trip two weeks ago it was unseasonably cool and rainy. Then we spent nearly two weeks in London, Bath, Windsor and Lille where it was cool and rainy (I had to buy a scarf!) then came back to Baltimore where it is nearly 90, humid. What a change! For my first meal back I wanted to make something tasty but easy to ease back into dinner-making. Roasted shrimp has a great flavor and is super quick; only 10 minutes and doesn't require boiling water in 90% humidity conditions. The snap peas add crunch like celery would but provided a more summery touch. A picnic perfect dinner! Think of it as a lobster roll's more affordable cousin.

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May 17, 2016

Mortadella-Wrapped Asparagus Dandelion Greens Salad


Ingredients:

for the salad:

1/4 lb thinly sliced mortadella
1 lb asparagus
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 bunch red radishes, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1 large bunch dandelion greens, chopped
1/4-1/3 cup shaved parmesan or asiago (or a mix)

for the dressing:

1/4 cup white wine or cognac vinegar
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Tightly wrap two asparagus spears in one slice of mortadella. Repeat for remaining asparagus. Arrange in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Bake 5-10 minutes or until the asparagus is warmed through and the mortadella is crisping around the edges. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the remaining salad ingredients. Whisk together the dressing ingredients until well-combined.

Divide the salad among 4 plates. Drizzle with dressing. Top with wrapped asparagus.

My thoughts:
I saw a picture of a salad on Instagram that had a salad topped with asparagus wrapped in some sort of meat and thought it would be fun to make at home. It really took the salad from bland to much more exciting and meal-worthy. I love the imported mortadella I get from my local Italian store so I thought it would be the perfect meat to use around the asparagus. It added the same sort of meaty, salty flavor as the more common prosciutto but the garlic and pistachio added to the flavor as well. Plus it was easier to eat; the texture is much softer than the oft chewy prosciutto. Try, it might become you new favorite spring salad.

Apologies for the lack of posting this month! I had high hopes (May marks the 12th year I've been posting recipes here at Coconut & Lime) but life got in the way. Weekends have been busy and we have been planning the most important part of our upcoming European adventure: where to eat. I've been relying on old favorites and easy dishes too much this month! Look for more recipes in June (if not before) and keep up with me on Instagram and Twitter.


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May 02, 2016

Elotes-style Cauliflower




Ingredients:
1 medium-large head cauliflower, broken into florets
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Mexican crema or sour cream
1 tablespoon TAJÍN seasoning
1/3 cup finely crumbled Cotija cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onion (green parts only)
lime wedges

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat the cauliflower in olive oil and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast 30 minutes or until lightly browned and fork-tender. Allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, TAJÍN seasoning, and green onion in a large bowl until well combined. Pour over the cauliflower and stir to evenly distribute. Divide into bowls. Sprinkle more TAJÍN seasoning and Cotija on top as desired. Serve with lime wedges.



My thoughts:
Mexican street corn aka elotes, and its salad cousin, esquites, is corn-on-the-cob (or off the cob for esquites) spread with mayo, Cotija cheese, lime and chile powder. I love it but corn isn't in season now. I had cauliflower in my cart when I came across a huge bag of crumbled Cotija (at Aldi of all places) and we thought it would be fun to dress up roasted cauliflower elotes style.

When I've made it in the past, I've used ancho, chipotle or even just chili powder but I had some
TAJÍN seasoning leftover from another recipe and used that instead. Traditionally used on fruit, TAJÍN seasoning is a mix of chile peppers, lime, and salt, exactly the same ingredients you need to make elotes so it seemed like a no-brainer to use that on my elotes inspired cauliflower. If you don't have it, up the lime juice, add a sprinkle of salt and sub in your favorite chile powder.

I love how it came out, cauliflower can be a bit of a blank canvas so the flavors really stood out and I love the squirt of fresh lime. It was spicy, creamy and tart all at once. An inspired side dish as we move towards warmer weather.
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April 29, 2016

Baked Matzo Brei with Mixed Greens, Mushrooms and Smoked Herring


Ingredients:
1 6.7 oz can smoked herring in oil
1 bunch green onion, white and green parts chopped
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch spinach, chopped
1 bunch arugula, chopped
1 sheet egg and onion (or plain!) matzo, broken into 1/2 inch pieces
8 eggs, beaten
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Pour the contents of the tin of herring in a large skillet. Add the remaining ingredients. Use a spoon to break up the herring into bite-sized pieces and saute until the mushrooms are cooked and the greens are wilted. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, stir the salt and pepper in the eggs. Fold in the vegetables and matzo. Pour into a greased 8x8 inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until fully cooked through. Allow to sit 2 minutes prior to slicing and serving.

My thoughts:
Passover is wrapping up but maybe you are like me and still have a bit of matzo to use up. This dish transforms the traditional breakfast dish, matzo brei (basically sweet or savory scrambled eggs with broken matzo), into a dish that is much hardier and can even serve as a dinner, lunch or brunch dish. I used a ton of local fresh greens in this recipe; so much so the whole dish turned nearly green itself. The arugula added a peppery bite which offset the rich, smoking herring. The matzo get rather soft and disappear into the egg except for the bits that peek out of the top, they stay much crispier. Think of it as a Jewish twist on a breakfast casserole, frittata or strata.

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