Tag Archives: Fish / Seafood

Moules à la Provençale

Mussels are something that you either love or hate, in my opinion.  I know many people, including one of my closest friends, who despise them.  I however, adore them. They are versatile and so easy to prepare, but when you serve them to guests’, they are so beautiful and impressive.  I would order mussels at any opportunity and given I live(d) in Vancouver, where seafood (including the best salmon) are bountiful, this was quite often.

I still remember the first time I made mussels.  I had two of my girlfriends over and I decided to make mussels.  So, over I went to Granville Island (in Vancouver, BC) and I went straight to the wharf where the fishermen bring in their bounty.  I walked from stall to shall and finally chose my fisherman (lol, this sounds so wrong).  I came home with these beautiful, dark purple creatures of the sea and had no idea what to do from there.  So, google I did and away I went (as an aside, am I the only one that wonders what I did before google?!) I remember Mel and Bart, my two friends, were literally speechless when I served them and I remember Mel taking a picture and sending it to her boyfriend, saying ‘ha ha’, look what I am eating.  The recipe below is identical to the ones I served them almost 3 years ago, it hasn’t changed a bit, you just can’t mess with perfection when they are this good (and I think I may have won over a few more friends along the way with this recipe, including you Caits!).

Here in France, “moules frites” are very popular, especially now that mussels are finally in their prime season.  I walked by the fishmonger in the market every day, just waiting for mussels to be there.  Finally, last week, there they were – just waiting for me.  I immediately bought 1.5lbs and ran home (side note – they were so inexpensive – like 2 euros, which is a steal).  Needless to say, it was a happy happy night in my kitchen (and I made CH very jealous via Skype that night, as I devoured my mussels without him!)

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do and don’t forget to serve a fresh baguette alongside, soaking up the broth is one of the best parts!

Moules à la Provençale

Yield: About 4 servings (figure about 1lb of mussels per person, for main course)
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  10 – 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4lbs fresh mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  • 1 large leek (white parts only), minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine (I use a French muscadet or a sauvingnon blanc)
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 4 – 5 roma tomatoes (or two large tomatoes), diced (or whatever tomatoes you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
  • 2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 lemon
  • S&P

Directions:

Prepare your mussels for cooking by removing the beards and scrubbing them clean.

In an extra large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once glistening, add the leek, shallots and garlic.  Sauté until shallots are translucent and leeks are slightly soft (2 – 3 minutes).

De-glaze the pan with the white wine and cook for 1 – 2 minutes (this will burn-off the majority of the alcohol).

Add the mussels to the pan and stir gentle to coat, then add the chicken stock to the pan and cover with a tight fitting  lid.

Cook mussels, covered, for 3 – 4 minutes.  Remove the lid and check the mussels.  If more than 2/3 of them are open, proceed.  If not, replace lid and give them another minute or two.

Add the tomatoes, butter and parsley to the pan and stir gently.  Cook the mussels for an additional 2 – 3 minutes (without the lid), until the tomatoes are soft.

When ready, place the mussels in a large serving bowl/platter, and top with the liquid (which is delicious soaked up with a toasted baguette).   Place lemon wedges alongside the mussels, to garnish as you please.

Enjoy.

Recipe Adapted From Tyler Florence

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Filed under Appetizers, French, Healthy, Mains

Recipe Exchange – Asian Noodles with Chicken & Shrimp

I finally got the chance to make my recipe exchange dish and I am so happy I did.  It was a great dish, full of vegetables, protein and a delicious sauce.

As I prepared it, CH said “wow, that smells good and totally different from any other smell that’s come from our kitchen”. It’s true, I very rarely cook eastern Asian dishes, aside from my recent Thai inspired soup & mango salad (both of which I learned from a cooking class).  I guess this would be a good time to admit that I don’t like Chinese food (read: North American Chinese food).  I really enjoy traditional dim-sum, but please do not ask me to order from a fast-food chain or those food-court counters in the mall – it would be my last choice of foods to eat for dinner. However, Vietnamese is a weekly go-to, and although I eat Thai less frequently, I still love the flavours that come with it.  I love sushi & sashimi (especialy when I am home in Vancouver) and I really love izakaya style Japanese food. Korean and anything from south of Singapore is cuisine I have yet to venture in to.

Anyways, back to this recipe. I signed up for another WC recipe exchange and the theme was “Asian”. Obviously this is a very diverse theme and could mean a lot of things, but when I received my recipe from The Cookaholic Wife, I was intrigued and content – and happy to give a new recipe a try; that’s what this is all about!  I was also pleased that it was simple and quick to prepare!!

I didn’t have any beef in the freezer and because we are leaving tomorrow for France (ACK!!) and I didn’t want to buy any additional groceries, since I still had some stuff  in the freezer to use.  Thus, I decided to swap out the beef for chicken & prawns, and it was a great decision! I’m not sure I would make it with beef next time – it was that good (and I don’t eat a lot of red meat anyways).

The mix of vegetables was great too, the colors were so appetizing!  I used a few additional ingredients than the original recipe called for – spinach and edamame beans – and they both worked well.  There was quite a bit of heat in this dish, so be sure to adjust the hot-sauce to your level.  I would rate it a good 8/10 on the heat scale. [CH: It wasn’t involuntary nose running like really hot chicken wings, it was more like involuntary coughing from the heat. Either way, delicious, but I admit I needed water to finish.]

I will definitely make this again, especially when I am in the mood for an exotic-flavour hit.  Thanks Cookaholic Wife :)!

Asian Noodles with Chicken & Shrimp

Yield:  4 Servings
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients – Part I (For the Marinade & Chicken/Prawns):

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 200 grams), cut into thin strips
  • 10 prawns, shells removed (tails too, if you prefer)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water (or chicken stock)
  • 1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • S&P, to taste

Directions – Part I:

Place the chicken and prawns into two separate bowls.

Combine all of the ingredients, except the chicken & prawns, in separate glass bowl and whisk to combine.

Pour 2/3 of the marinade mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.

Pour the remaining 1/3 of the marinade mixture over the prawns and stir to coat.

Set-aside the chicken & prawns to marinate while you prepare the vegetables below.

(Note – the original recipe says to marinate the beef for 3-8hrs.  I marinated the chicken & prawns for about 20 minutes in total.  I prepared the meats and set them aside while I washed & sliced all of the vegetables.  I was very happy with the results of this dish, but feel free to marinate the chicken & prawns longer if you wish!).

Ingredients – Part II (For the Vegetables/Stir-Fry):

  • 1 small red pepper, julienned
  • 1 small yellow pepper, julienned
  • 1 small orange pepper, julienned
  • 2 handfuls of sugar snap peas, ends removed
  • 8 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen edamame beans
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz. noodles (I used 1/2 box of spaghetti noodles – but feel free to use what you like!)

Directions – Part II:

Prepare your noodles according to the directions on the box.  Drain and set-aside until needed below.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add oil.

Remove the chicken strips from the marinade mixture and reserve.

Place the chicken strips into the sauté pan and cook until nicely browned on all sides. Add the reserved marinade to the pan and bring to a boil.

Add the prawns and its marinade to the sauté pan with the chicken & sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes (until the prawns are pink and starting to curl inwards).  Remove the cooked prawns from the pan and set-aside.

Now, add all of the vegetables to the sauté pan, except the sugar peas, along with the additional 1tbsp of sriarcha, 1tbsp rice wine vinegar and 1 tbsp of soy sauce.  Cook the vegetables in the sauce & chicken mixture, until the vegetables are slightly soft – about 5 minutes (I prefer quite crisp vegetables, so feel free to cook them longer if you like them a little softer).

Add the cooked noodles, snap peas and cooked prawns to the chicken and vegetable mixture and stir well to combine.  Allow it cook for a few additional minutes, to allow the noodles to soak-up the additional sauce.

Season with additional S&P and serve immediately!

Enjoy!

Recipe Adapted Slightly From The Cookaholic Wife

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Filed under Healthy, Mains

Shrimp & Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Wow, these were good and SO simple to prepare.  They definitely taste like they took a lot more work than they did!

It was CH’s birthday on Sunday and I told him that I’d make him anything he wanted for dinner.  I told him lamb, steak, halibut…anything. He hemmed and hawwed, but couldn’t decide. He knew he wanted his chocolate cake and bruschetta – but couldn’t decide on a main dish.  He finally decided… quesadillas.

Quesadillas? Really, over all of those other delicious items?  He said yupp, with a smile, and that was that.  He did demand at least 2 or 3 different quesadillas, so at least I could have some fun! [CH: For clarification, quesadilla is like pizza. Lots of variety in flavour, warm and gooey, and always super delicious.]

I came upon Eat Live Run’s recipe and knew it was perfect.  CH (as we know) LOVES goat cheese and shrimp, so it was a perfect combo. I also liked the addition of the roasted veggies and of course, the spices!  I also sliced my shrimp in half, horizontally, which gave me double the amount of shrimp and ensured that every bite had a good amount of shrimp!  Yumm!

The flavours worked so well together, the warm creaminess of the goat cheese, mixed with the spicy shrimp and sweet roasted peppers – it was definitely a match made in heaven!

I roasted my own peppers (an additional step from the original recipe) and added some garlic powder too, which I feel just really added to the flavour. I also used mozzarella, which blended really well with the goat cheese!  Topped with a little sour cream and fresh guacamole, they were so tasty!

Note – I do my quesadillas a little differently.  I use one tortilla per quesadilla.  I lightly brown both sides of the tortilla, fill one-side of the flattened quesadilla with the goodies and then fold-over the other side and allow to brown a little more on both sides (and blending the flavours/melting the cheeses).  In my opinion, this way is much easier and keeps more of the goodies inside when you cut/serve it.

Definitely give these a try if you love goat cheese (and shrimp) as much as we do!  It will be on our table in the near future, I can guarantee that!

Enjoy!

Shrimp & Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Yield:  2 quesadillas
Prep Time:  15 minutes (including roasted peppers)
Cook Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 8 uncooked shrimp (remove tails)
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • 1/4 orange pepper
  • 1/4 yellow pepper
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 3/4 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • sour cream & guacamole for serving

Directions:

Peppers

Preheat your broiler to the HIGH setting.

Place peppers and onion on a baking sheet and place under broiler.

Allow to cook until each side’s skin is blistering and softened  (around 5 minutes per side or 10 minutes total).

Once all sides are sufficiently blistered, remove from oven, place in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set-aside until ready to use!

Shrimp

While peppers are broiling, prepare the shrimp.

Heat a small sauté pan over high-heat.  Add olive oil and allow to heat for 30 seconds.  Add shrimp to the pan and cook for 1 minute.

Add chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne and salt to the pan and continue to cook for another 30 seconds – 1 minute, or until shrimp are pink and cooked throughout.  (Be careful not to overcook the shrimp – they only take 2 – 3 minutes – at most!)

Remove shrimp from heat and set-aside to cool.

Once cooled, slice the shrimp in half horizontally (essentially butterflying the shrimp but completing separating them).

Quesadilla Assembly

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.  Place one tortilla in the pan and allow to brown slightly on both sides (around 1 minute per side).

Remove the tortilla from heat (and remove the pan from the element until ready for use again) and scatter mozzarella on one side of the tortilla.

Layer 8 pieces of shrimp (4 whole shrimp) on-top of the mozzarella and scatter the peppers over-top.

Crumble the goat cheese over the peppers & shrimp and fold-over the tortilla.

Press down firmly on the tortilla to incorporate all of the ingredients.

Return the filled-tortilla to the pan and cook on both sides until nice and brown and the cheeses have melted (about 3 minutes per side).

Remove from heat & repeat with remaining ingredients.

Slice quesadillas into quarters and serve warm with sour cream & guacamole (or salsa!)

Enjoy!

Recipe Adapted From Eat, Live, Run

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Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Mains, Mexican, Vegetarian and Vegan