Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cooking Light with Fish

For those of us looking for the lighter side of great tasting gluten-free foods, a wonderful option is fish. Granted, fish cooked with a little cream sauce is always a family favorite but so are countless fish recipes that accentuate the delicate flavor of fish without heavy or calorie laden sauces or toppings.

Because fish is cooked quickly, it is perfect for grilling, broiling, roasting, baking or poaching. Additional flavor can be added either before, during or after cooking. Marinades or rubs impart a variety of flavors from delicate to robust without adding fat or many additional calories. Two fabulous examples are Moroccan Spice Marinated Halibut and Wasabi & Ginger Halibut Skewers. We used halibut for these recipes, but any firm white fish can be substituted.

Fish can also be lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and then cooked and finished by drizzling with a light vinaigrette as in Snapper with Tomatoes & Spinach or Grilled Salmon with Citrus & Fresh Herbs or even with a home-made pesto as in Grilled Tuna with Pesto.

Incredible flavors can also be added to fish with salsas. Traditional salsa or salsas with less conventional ingredients are perfect accompaniments. Try salsas with fruit such as Cantaloupe & Roma Tomato Salsa, Cherry Salsa or Mango Jalapeno Salsa. Two 'must try' fish and salsa combinations are Grilled Fish with Basil Roasted Pepper Salsa and Grilled Salmon with Fresh Corn Relish.

Still need more ideas? A lovely low-fat favorite is Fish & Vegetables with Pesto Baked in Foil; great flavor with no clean-up!

To assure that your light fish meal with be perfectly cooked, here are a few tips about the various cooking methods for fish.

Broiled Halibut w/Lemon & Tarragon

Broiling is basically an indoor version of grilling with the heat coming from above instead of underneath. Any fish that can be grilled can be broiled.

Guidelines for broiling fish:

  • Fish that is 1/2" thick should take approximately 2 minutes to cook per side, about 2" from the heat source. A 1" filet or whole fish should be about 4" from the heat and should take about 4 minutes per side.
  • The broiler should always be preheated
  • Lightly oil fish before broiling
  • Place fish on an oiled piece of foil on top of the broiler pan.

Additional Recipes: Broiled Salmon with Ginger & Scallions and Broiled Halibut w/Lemon & Tarragon


Grilling, although basically the same thing as broiling, in our opinion is superior because of the wonderful nuances that cooking over coals or wood can impart to what you are grilling.

Guidelines for grilling fish:

  • Select fish that is at least 1/2" thick
  • Grill fish with skin on as it seals in flavor and helps hold the fish together as it cooks
  • Rub fish and grill with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Oil the grill prior to heating.
  • The best fish for grilling are oily fish such as salmon or tuna
  • The grill should be very hot before adding fish to minimize sticking
Oven Roasted Salmon w/Potatoes

The terms 'roasting' and 'baking' are sometimes used interchangeably, but the difference has more to do with dry or wet baking. Roasting is done in the oven with dry air and baking generally refers to oven cooking with liquid or wet ingredients that cause steam, which is really quick braising.

Guidelines for baking fish:

  • Oven temperature should generally be between 400-450 degrees F, depending on the thickness of the fish
  • Baking time depends on the thickness of the fish and whether or not it is whole or a filet or steak. For whole fish, a rule of thumb is 15 minutes per inch of thickness.
  • Fish is done when the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F.

Additional Recipes: Oven Roasted Salmon w/Potatoes and Roasted Salmon w/Tarragon & Tomatoes

Poached Salmon w/Vegetables

Poaching is simply simmering fish in enough liquid to cover the fish. Poaching liquids can have different ingredients, but the following ingredients will get you in the ballpark: water, onions, carrots, fresh parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, fresh thyme and dry white wine.

Additional Recipes: Poached Salmon w/Vegetables and Whole Poached Salmon

Monday, June 14, 2010

Meringue Desserts

It is likely that you have made meringue at some time or other. Typically ones' first exposure to meringue is in a Lemon Meringue Pie. Although meringue does make a great topping for pies, it is also wonderful in many other types of desserts from cakes to meringue mushrooms used to decorate Buche de Noel or Yule Logs.

Meringue is very simply, egg whites beaten with sugar. Finished textures can differ greatly and are created by the ratio of eggs to sugar and the temperature and length of baking time. Crisper meringues are baked at a low temperature, 200 degrees F. for longer periods of time, up to 2 hours, to dry out the meringue. Meringue baked at 275 degrees F for half the amount of time will result in a dry meringue on the outside and a wetter or marshmallow texture on the inside.

A few years ago, we prepared a recipe that we called, 'Meringue Clouds w/Fresh Nectarines'. So named because that is exactly what it reminded us of, delicate clouds of meringue topped with fresh sweetened fruit and a dollop of sweetened creme fraiche. The dessert is delightful, easy to make and versatile.

Caramelized Banana Meringue Dessert

This month we bring you two new variations on the same idea, 'Caramelized Banana Meringue Dessert' and 'Lemon Meringue Dessert'.

These are great desserts to serve for guests as the meringue bases should be made ahead. Just before you're ready to serve, simply top with fruit, a mousse or curd and a dollop of whipped cream and you've got a fabulous dessert perfect for spring or summer entertaining.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sweet to Red Hot BBQ Sauces

Summer grilling and barbecuing just wouldn’t be the same without great BBQ sauces. Making your own BBQ sauce is not only fun, but we think they are far better than sauces you can buy off the shelf and they are easy to make. BBQ sauce can also be frozen, so make sure you make a large batch.

BBQ Sauce is generally made from a combination of tomato ingredients, sweet ingredients, sour ingredients, liquid flavors, and spices.

There is virtually no limit to the types of sauces you can make by experimenting with ingredients. Around the country barbecue sauces range from vinegary to peppery to sweet. Many cities are famous for their types of sauces and trying to get an answer to ‘What’s the best barbecue sauce?’ can cause some pretty heated debates.

Although practically anything goes when making barbecue sauce, there are parameters that will help you get in the ballpark. Use the following formula to create your own special sauce: Tomato ingredients: 4 cups, Sweet ingredients: 1 cup, Sour ingredients: start with a little and add up to 1 cup, Liquid flavors: up to 1/4 cup, Spices: up to 4 teaspoons of any combination plus 2 Tablespoons chili powder and 1 Tablespoon black pepper.

Tomato Ingredients

  • Gf ketchup
  • Gf tomato paste
  • Gf tomato sauce

Sweet Ingredients

  • White sugar
  • Gf brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn sugar
  • Maple syrup
Sour Ingredients
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Wine

Liquid Flavors
Coffee, tea, fruit juices, hot sauce, soft drinks, gf soy sauce, gf broth, Worcestershire sauce

Allspice, basil, cayenne, celery, cilantro, chervil, chives, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, dill, dry mustard, fennel, garlic, ginger, horseradish powder, lemon pepper, lemon zest, marjoram, mint, nutmeg, onion powder, orange zest, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme, turmeric

Mix the sugar and other dry ingredients together and add half the liquids. Over medium-heat, dissolve the dry ingredients into the liquid. Add the ketchup and any thick syrups or honey and stir. Heat to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining sour liquid and seasonings to taste.

BBQ Sauce Recipes

My favorite BBQ sauce recipe is Bopper’s BBQ Sauce. This sauce is great on anything!

This month we feature two great fruit based sauces, Blackberry BBQ Sauce and Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce. Try them on chicken, pork or fish.

BBQ Mustard Sauce is always a favorite on fish!

All-Around BBQ Sauce Makes 2-1/2 cups


  • 3/4 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup gf catsup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons gf brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons gf soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon gf mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon gf hot sauce (add more if you like it hot)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Sauce can be stored in refrigerator for up to one week and frozen up to 3 months.

Kansas City BBQ Sauce Makes 4-1/2 cups


  • 3/4 cup gf brown sugar, packed
  • 1-2 Tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon mace
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 32 ounces gf catsup


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce will store in refrigerator for several weeks.

Mop Sauce Makes 4 cups


  • 2 cups gf beef stock
  • 1 cup root beer
  • 2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon gf hot sauce (add more if you like it hot)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Mop on desired meats.

Your next barbecue is sure to be a hit with any of these great bbq sauces. Or, if you like to experiment, try creating your own special sauce. Because BBQ sauces are usually made up of many ingredients, it’s a great idea to write your formula down as you go.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

20 Great Recipes for Shrimp!

As Bubba Gump said, there are limitless ways to prepare shrimp. You can boil it, fry it, grill it, steam it, broil it, or sauté it. You can make gumbo, ettoufe, soups, salads, stir-frys, fried rice, chowders, scampi, shrimp tacos, paella, spring rolls, and the list goes on...

From a limitless list, we have selected 20 of our favorite shrimp recipes with a variety of preparations. But first, a few words about shrimp, the most versatile and arguably the most universally loved shell fish.

Buying shrimp: Shrimp is sold in many forms, raw in the shells and headless, raw with heads, raw and peeled with the tails intact, cooked and live. In many parts of the country, shrimp is sold in grocery stores pre-frozen. Pre-frozen shrimp are usually imported and can suffer soft shells when they thaw on the grocery shelves. Whenever possible it is always preferable to buy local, fresh shrimp.

Fresh shrimp is firm with a fairly hard shell. As a rule of thumb, the softer the shells, the older the shrimp. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to buy shrimp right off a shrimp boat, you will have found that the shrimp were a little difficult to peel and the shells were quite hard. Shrimp this fresh have an incredible flavor with absolutely no ‘fishy’ taste.

Some people prefer to buy shrimp with the heads on. This type of shrimp can be found in fish markets and often in Asian markets. The shrimp can be grilled with the heads on and snapped off as they are eaten. The heads can also be removed prior to cooking and used to flavor sauces or soups.

Buying raw shrimp with the shells has many advantages. It is usually fresher, it yields more than pre-cooked shrimp because shrimp lose some of their weight when they are cooked and there are great uses for the shells. If you are not cooking your shrimp in the shells, peel them and freeze the shells. Next time you want to make a poaching liquid, simply use the shells instead of fish parts. This makes a great tasting poaching liquid that is quick, easy and on-hand.

Shrimp is delicious with the simplest of preparations. One of the easiest is to sauté in a little olive oil, add a little garlic, a dash of white wine, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper and you have a fabulous meal great alone or over rice or pasta.

Coconut Shrimp

Our top 20 picks for out-of-this-world shrimp are:

1. Shrimp & Mango Salad with Orange Dressing

2. Coconut Shrimp

3. Crab & Shrimp Risotto

4. Crab & Shrimp Macaroni & Cheese

5. Cream of Shrimp Soup

6. Shrimp in Mustard Sauce on Polenta Rounds

7. Lemon-Ginger Marinated Shrimp

Lemon-Ginger Marinated Shrimp

8. Noodle Salad w/ Shrimp

9. Shrimp & Fish Tacos

10. Shrimp Remoulade

11. Shrimp Stuffed Eggs

12. Spanish Paella

13. Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls

14. Shrimp & Pork Fried Rice

Shrimp Enchiladas w/ Sausage & Orange Sauce

15. Shrimp Enchiladas w/ Sausage & Orange Sauce

16. BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

17. Ginger Shrimp

18. Grilled Spicy Shrimp

19. Baked Pasta w/Shrimp, Tomatoes & Feta

20. Avocado, Shrimp & Mango Tostadas