Tag Archives: Corn

Summer picnic on crack

A little while back I wrote about “summer picnic,” Nadia’s favorite dish of grilled shrimp and asparagus (abd sometimes other random grilled meats and veggies) with toasted bread. We recently started limiting our bread, pasta and sugar intake, so instead of the bread, I just upped the veggies and the meat.

I purchased the asparagus, red bell pepper and corn from casinoin.us the Laguna Niguel Farmers Market. The chimichurri on the shrimp, the beer-marinated chicken and chorizo Argentino came from Puerto madero in Santa Ana.

Everything was finished with a spritz of lemon.

Everything was totally awesome.

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Stretching your pesos: Fat Dude’s Mexican Fiesta, Part 6—Oregano-lime shrimp salad with jicama and corn

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If you’ve been following along with our improvised Mexican menu, you’ll be happy to know we’re coming to the end of our south-of-the-border marathon. I’m happy to say I used nearly every last component in my fridge until there was nothing left–therefore maximizing the dollars I spent to throw a small family party.

I had a bunch of iceberg lettuce and an ear of corn in the fridge, plus shrimp left in the freezer. With these ingredients I figured there was a salad to be made. The only thing I needed was jicama from the store and it was go time.

For the shrimp: I used 5 large shrimp per person. To season them, marinate the seafood in the juice of 1 lime, salt, 1 clove of garlic, minced, and 2 T of Mexican oregano. Sautee the shrimp in a pan over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until they turn from translucent to white.

For the salad veggies: Shred the lettuce, cut the jicama into strips and cut the corn from the cob. You can eat the corn raw, or bring a pot of water to a boil, turn off the heat, and bring the corn to temperature in the pot–with the cover on–for about 5 minutes.

To finish: Toss the shrimp and veggies together with a dash of salt and a good squirt of lime juice. That’s your dressing. Plate each salad and garnish with chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of cotija cheese.

Stretching your pesos: Fat Dude’s Mexican fiesta, Part 3—Poached shrimp and cotija-lime corn

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We wanted to add some variety to our list of Mexican leftover meals so I picked up a couple pounds of shrimp at the market to throw in the mix.

I knew I wanted to use the reserved braising liquid from when I made chicken tostadas to poach the shrimp in, and later reduce into a sauce to finish the dish. As always, devein your shrimp if they need it. Better yet, buy your shrimp from a place that will do it for you.

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I turned the braising liquid into a poaching liquid by straining it and adding the juice of 1/2 a lime, plus black pepper, garlic and bay leaf. To poach the shrimp in the liquid, bring it to a boil, reduce to medium and toss in the shrimp.

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Start the reduction by adding a cup of the braising liquid to another pan and cook over medium-high until nearly all of the liquid is gone and the reduction lightly coats the back of a spoon.

Time the reduction and the shrimp so they come to temperature about the same time.

When you plate the shrimp, arrange in a row and add just a drizzle of the reduction across the shrimp. You’ll need to add a spritz of lime to the mix to balance all the salt that was concentrated when you reduced the braising liquid.

For the corn: Use a pot with a lid that is large enough to hold the amount of corn you want to use. I used 1/2 ear per person. To cook the corn, bring enough water to cover the corn to a boil, then remove from the heat, add the corn to the pot and cover for at least 5 minutes. That’s it. Add a light coating of butter or sour cream, cotija cheese and cilantro.

Stretching your pesos: Fat Dude’s Mexican fiesta, Part 2—Rice bowl with braised chicken and pickled red onion

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My main problem with restaurant rice bowls is the amount of rice they use. I’ve flipped out a rice bowl from Flame Broiler before and counted full 2 cups of rice. That’s 400 calories of non-nutritious filler before you even get to the stuff on top.

A better serving of rice is 1/2 cup, which will leave you with enough grains to feel substantial without drowning the dish in carbs. With less rice in the mix, you can fill up the bowl with better ingredients including lean meats and veggies. Brown rice would be best, but I’m still working on giving up white rice and pasta, which is hard for me anyway, because I don’t eat much of either so I think

Here’s a recipe that will leave you with four rice bowls:

Make the rice, Chef Brian’s version: Saute 1/2 onion, small diced, adding 1/2 t ground cumin and 1/2 t ground coriander. Add 1 cup of rice and mix well. Use a ratio of just under 2 cups of liquid (chicken stock or water), subbing in 2/3 cup of the amount of water with tomato sauce–preferably El Pato brand, which has some good spice to it. Throw some frozen peas and carrots in too if you’d like.

Bring the contents to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, pickle the onion: Slice 1/2 red onion into thin slices and coat with a healthy pinch of salt and the juice of 3/4 of a lime. Give it a few stirs within the 20 minutes the rice cooks and by the time that’s ready, so will the onions.

Prepare the chicken (recipe here): Instead of shredding the chicken as we did for tostadas, cut the meat into larger chunks. Use 1/2 chicken breast for every serving–2 breasts total. Warm the chicken in a pan with a little cooking spray, 1 can of black beans, drained, and 1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels.

Assemble the bowl: When the mix is warm, add it to the rice and scoop into bowls for serving. Garnish with the pickled onion, a sprinkle of cotija cheese, cilantro and a squirt of lime from the remaining 1/4 you saved.

Up next: Poached shrimp with cotija-lime corn!

Week 31, Meal 3: The fiesta bowl

When I first started this blog, cooking was one of the worst ‘chores’ I had to do. I always felt like it was such a pain in the ass to cook my own meals everyday, so instead, I would hit the drive-thru.

It’s hard sometimes not to get bored or tired of cooking at home–I definitely do that in cycles– but Week 31, Meal 3: Salsa verde soup reminded me why I love to cook.

Toasting the coriander, tearing the husks from the tomatillos and that “a-ha” moment when the salsa verde broth came together revived my senses. Leave in the seeds when you chop up the chiles for a spicier broth.

And about that  bowl of soup? Better and fresher than I could have found in South Orange County at 9 p.m., that’s for sure. Keep reading for the recipe and how-to. Continue reading Week 31, Meal 3: The fiesta bowl

Week 28, Meal 1: A deceptively simple chicken dinner

We’re kicking off Southern week with one of Chef Brian’s most flavorful dishes to date, Week 28, Meal 1: Blackened chicken over black eyed peas, kale and ham hock.

What comes off the menu sounding deceptively simple is actually a bowl of steamy pork broth crowded with nutritious kale, savory ham hock, earthy black eyed peas, sweet corn and a juicy chicken breast that’s been kicked up with one awesome spice rub.

I suggest doubling the recipe on this one. Trust me, you’ll want leftovers. Continue reading Week 28, Meal 1: A deceptively simple chicken dinner

Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken taco deluxe

The tacos I used to eat were mostly made of that oat-beef crap they sell at Taco Bell.

Sure, I’ve encountered my fair share of traditional tacos (corn tortilla, meat, onions, cilantro, salsa), but never in my life have I eaten as many as I have since coming to work in Santa Ana last year. They’re low in calories, freshly prepared and contain little, if any, processed nonsense.

While I’m all good with simple, I’m definitely not gonna hate when something with many components comes together to create the perfect bite.

Here’s Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken tacos with avocado puree, lime sour cream, and grilled corn-jicama salsa.

Continue reading Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken taco deluxe

Week 25, Meal 2: I’ve never had fish like this

I’ve had plenty of fish and salsa dishes, but I’ve never had one like this.

For the second meal of Week 25, Chef Brian’s bringing ahi back with a coriander-and-garlic-spiked marinade that had my palate wondering what the heck hit it. The corn and black bean salsa is familiar enough, but a hint of basil elevated the flavors even more.

Add to it the coolness of sour cream, the creaminess of pureed avocado and a whole lot of sour citrus and you’ve got one heck of a fiesta in your tummy. (So yummy, so yummy.)

Without further ado, here’s Week 25, Meal 2: Coriander and garlic marinated tuna over corn and black bean salsa with avocado puree and lime sour cream. Continue reading Week 25, Meal 2: I’ve never had fish like this

Week 25: Mad Fresh Mex

We’re almost halfway through one year of recipes — this being Week 25 and all — but by the look of this menu, my midterm exam has arrived a week early.

Chef Brian’s “Fresh Mex” menu has a long list of ingredients and I’m a bit intimidated by a lot of prep and a lot of cooking going on at once, but after an easy week of making sandwiches I’m ready to jump into the mix in a big way. Here’s what’s cooking, amigos.

Week 25, Meal 1: Marinated pork loin over jalapeno corn pudding, sauteed peppers, smoky ancho sauce

Week 25, Meal 2: Coriander and garlic marinated tuna over corn and black bean salsa, avocado puree, and lime sour cream

Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken tacos with avocado puree, lime sour cream, and grilled corn-jicama salsa

Each recipe makes two servings. Continue reading for the shopping list.

Continue reading Week 25: Mad Fresh Mex

Week 21, Meal 3: How not to marinate steak

Chef Brian and I had a bit of a mix up with Week 21, Meal 3: Chimichurri marinated flat iron steak over ancho roasted sweet potatoes, corn and tomatoes.

The problem was in the instructions for the chimichurri, the condiment of choice for beef in South America — specifically Argentina. See, the chimi I usually have is mostly parsley flake, floating in olive oil. Chef Brian wanted me to mix up those ingredients in a food processor so that it created more of a paste to marinate the meat in.

He wrote mix, but meant “mix in a food processor,” so I mixed by hand and was puzzled by the consistency and it’s lack of liquid. So I doubled the liquid. Then tripled the liquid, and by the next day I had pickled a gorgeous piece of flat iron steak.

Bummer for me, considering I didn’t get to eat this one, but it’s probably better to post the recipe and cook it when I repurchase the ingredients, than hold on to the post for another day. Recipe and directions after the jump … Continue reading Week 21, Meal 3: How not to marinate steak

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