Saturday, June 30, 2018

Halibut Fish Cakes with Remoulade

I used to love Crab Cakes, but I developed an allergy to Crab in my twenties and sometimes I still miss eating them so much. So I got a bit creative today and made Fish Cakes with fresh Halibut and they turned out remarkably like Crab Cakes. Using fresh Fish instead of cooked or canned Fish like in Salmon Patties is the secret. I also used Schaar Gluten Free Table Crackers. which taste remarkably like Saltine Crackers. The mixture barely holds together so be sure not to turn them until the bottom is completely browned and turn them carefully! 

The  texture was perfect and they were so delicious!  They remind me a lot of Fish Frikadeller in Denmark, but I used Old Bay Seasoning, which is the seafood spice most closely associated with the Eastern Seaboard of the US. My Father's is from Virginia, so it was a seasoning that he loved and I do too. I made a Danish style Remoulade to go with them which is made from Mayonnaise, Capers, Red Onion, a pinch of Sugar (as Danish Mayonnaise is a bit sweeter) and fresh Dill.  What a feast. I'm sure you can use any white fish in this recipe and it will turn out great!

Halibut Fish Cakes with Remoulade

1 pound Halibut, skin removed and cut into small chunks
3 Green Onions, green part only, cut into small pieces
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 cup Crackers, crushed into crumbs (I used Schaar Gluten Free Table Crackers)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

In a large bowl, mix together the Halibut, Green Onions, Egg, Cracker Crumbs, Salt and Old Bay Seasoning. Mix thoroughly and form into Patties on a large plate. You should have 5 big Fish Cakes or 6 smaller ones. 

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the Fish Cakes. Cook over medium heat until the bottom of the Fish Cake is browned. Turn over carefully and cook the other side until it is browned. Serve with Remoulade Sauce.


1/2 cup Mayonnaise (I used Best Foods/Hellmans)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Capers
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons minced Green Onion (the white part reserved from above) or Red Onion
1/4 teaspoon Curry Powder or Turmeric for color (I used Turmeric)
1/2 teaspoon Sugar

Five Element Analysis

Fish always belongs to the Water Element and the Egg adds even more. The Wood Element is represented but the Lemon Juice and Capers. The Fire Element is found just a little in the Old Bay Seasoning, which contains a lot of Paprika. The Earth Element is found in the Crackers, which are made mostly of Corn Starch and Corn Flour. The Metal Element is well represented by the Green Onions and all the spices. These are almost balanced all by themselves except the meal needs more Fire, so serve it with a Salad, which brings more of that Element in.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Scallion Oil Orzo

I marinated some Chicken Thighs in a homemade Teriyaki Sauce for two days and was getting ready to cook them when I decided I wanted something different as a side. Normally I make Rice, but tonight I was in the mood for something different. So, I made Orzo and dressed it in a classic Chinese Sauce - Scallion Oil. This condiment is usually made by browning Scallions (or Green Onions) in Oil and saving the Oil to use for any number of dishes. But for the Orzo, I cooked a lot of Scallions in a little bit of Oil until they just started to brown and get crispy and added some Sesame Oil for extra flavor. I stirred it into the cooked Orzo and it was so delicious! It's a simple side but full of flavor, yet it didn't compete with the Teriyaki Chicken. This is now going to be a regular side for me!

Scallion Oil Orzo

2 cups Orzo (I used DeLallo Gluten Free)
Salted Boiling Water
1 cup of Scallion (Green Onion) pieces (use the green part only)
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil (I used Safflower)
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Cook Orzo in Salted Boiling Water until al dente and drain.

Meanwhile, heat the Vegetable Oil in a small frying pan. Add the Scallions and cook over medium heat until the edges of are beginning to brown. Add in the Salt and Sesame OIl.  

When the Orzo is done, stir in the Scallions and the Oil, stir to combine.

Five Element Analysis

The Gluten Free Pasta is made of Corn, which is part of the Earth Element and Rice Flour, which belongs to the Metal Element. and the Scallions add even more. Finally, the Sesame Oil adds in a bit of the Water Element. So serve with some Water, Wood and Fire foods to create a balanced meal. I served it with Teriyaki Chicken, which is a Wood meat marinated in Tamari, which brings in more of the Water Element. I also cooked some Gailan, more of the Wood Element and served Strawberries, from the Fire Element for dessert.   

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Crying Tiger

My current favorite dish at any Thai restaurant I go to is Crying Tiger. It's basically Thai Steak served over some Lettuce, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Red Onion and slices of Steak. I'm eating a lot of Beef these days as I am blood deficient and grass fed Beef is one of the best ways fro me to build blood. I posted a recipe preciously for a Thai Beef Salad and it's really good, but I knew that it was missing something. So I talked to the owner of my favorite neighborhood Thai Restaurant and asked her what I was missing from my recipe. She told me that I needed to add Red Chili Powder and Thai-Style Roasted Rice. My proportion of ingredients was a bit off too. While she didn't give me an exact recipe, I came home and made a much better version so I'm sharing it with you. It was so good!

The dressing has a wonderful bright Lime flavor with less Sugar. And I added the Cilantro and Mint minced to the dressing so the flavors incorporated. I didn't have any dried Bird Chiles, which would probably be too hot for me anyway, so I used Korean Chili Powder instead. If you like it hotter, I would mix that with a hotter Chili, like Cayenne. The Roasted Rice was the only thing that was time consuming. It took a full 10 minutes to get it to brown properly and then I ground it up in a Mortar and Pestle. It has the ability to thicken the dressing slightly and gives a hit of a crunch that is really wonderful.  

I also marinated the Steak - another tip that made it taste so much better.  I bought two small boneless NY Steaks and seasoned them with a combination of Tamari, Brown Sugar, Fish Sauce and OIl.  I broiled them in the oven because I don't have a BBQ, but if you do, the charred flavor of Steak cooked that way would probably taste even better. But I am so happy with this recipe for one of my favorite foods that I can now make easily at home!

Crying Tiger

For the Marinade:

1 pound of good quality Steak (preferably grass fed)
2 Tablespoons Tamari
1 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Oil

Mix together the Tamari, Fish Sauce, Brown Sugar and OIl. Pour into a Plastic Bag that seals and add the Steak. Let marinate for several hours in the refrigerator or overnight. 

When ready to cook the Steak, broil for about 5 minutes per side or pan fry on a cast iron skillet or cook on the BBQ.  Steak should be Medium Rare - Medium.  Let rest and then slice into 1/4 slices.

For the Salad:

1/2 large head of Iceberg Lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
8 Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
1 large Cucumber, peeled, cut in half, dressed and cut into half moons
1/3 - 1/2  cup thinly sliced Red Onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced Green Onion tops

In a serving platter, lay down the Lettuce, and strew the Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Red Onion on top. When the Steak is cool add that on too.

For the Dressing:

1/2 cup fresh Lime Juice (about 5 - 6 medium Limes)
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoons minced Cilantro 
2 Tablespoons minced Mint
1 Garlic Clove minced
1/2 teaspoon Korean Chili Powder
Optional:  pinch of Cayenne

Mix together and when ready to serve, add in the Roasted Rice Flour and pour over the Salad and Steak.

For the Roasted Rice:

1/4 cup fat Sweet Rice (Short Grain)

Place Rice in a small frying pan and turn heat to medium low. Stir often for about 10 - 12 minutes or until the Rice is toasted to a light golden brown. Take off heat and let cool. Pour into a Mortar and Pestle or a Spice Grinder and pulverize until it is mostly a powder with some small granules of Rice. 

Five Element Analysis

Beef belongs to the Earth Element and so do the Cucumbers and also the Brown Sugar. The Metal Element is represented by the Red Onion, Garlic and Green Onion as well as the Rice, Mint and Cilantro. The Tamari, Fish Sauce contribute the Water Element and the Lim Juice makes sure the Wood Element is present. Last but not least, the Fire Element shows up in the Korean Chili Powder and the Tomatoes. This then is a perfectly balanced Salad covering all the Elements and their flavors!

Friday, June 15, 2018

White Beef Ragu Pasta Sauce

I was in the mood for pasta last night but did not want to make a Tomato-based sauce. I had read about a "White Bolognese Sauce" a while ago and have thought about making it but just didn't get around to it. Apparently when it was first published as a recipe in the NY Times, it cause quite a stir with Italians as the only true Bolognese Sauce must have Tomatoes. So, I decided to call it a White Ragu instead and of course, I used my own version of Bolognese Sauce to play with to make this white version. And basically,it includes everything that is usually in a Bolognese Sauce, minus the Tomatoes or course, and I added in some Zucchini because I wanted to up the vegetable quotient. Mushrooms would no doubt be good too, although I didn't have any on hand. I also used a Shallot instead of Onion and Garlic because it melts into the Sauce better. And I finished it with a small amount of Cream to make it unctuous. I'm quite sure this is authentic, but it did turn out to be a delicious gravy-like sauce that I really enjoyed so I'm sharing it with you. I served it with Gluten Free Spaghetti although next time I will probably use a small Pasta like Gluten Free Elbow Macaroni since I just ordered some. I will definitely be making this again because I loved it!

White Beef Ragu Pasta Sauce

1 pound ground Beef
1 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 Celery Stalks, trimmed and chopped fine
1 large Shallot, minced
1 cup White Wine
1 cup Boiling Water
1 Beef Bouillon Cube
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 cup Whipping Cream

Heat Butter and Olive Oil until the Butter melts. Add in the Carrots, Celery, Shallots and Ground Beef and cook until the Beef is no longer pink. Add in the White Wine, Bay Leaf and Thyme and cook on at a simmer until it is mostly absorbed. Add the Bouillon Cube to the Boiling Water and stir to dissolve. Add into the Broth and Cream and taste for Salt. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes and serve over the pasta over your choice.  Serve with Parmesan Cheese on the side.

Five Element Analysis

Beef belongs to the Earth Element and the Carrots and Zucchini add even more. The Metal Element is represented by the Whipping Cream, Butter, Thyme, Bay Leaf and Shallots. The Wood Element is present in the Celery and Olive Oil. And the Fire Element is represented by the Wine. Only the Water Element is a bit deficient so be sure to serve another dish that brings that Element in. Eggplant would be a good choice as an appetizer - in a dish like Caponata or think about serving dark berries for  dessert.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Gluten Free Banana Coconut Bread

As you probably know by now, if you've been following my blog, that I rarely use recipes from somewhere else as is. The exception is always for baking, because it's a science and exact measurements are pretty important. I had some leftover Coconut Milk from making a Thai Curry and I was looking for something to do with it and iI wanted something sweet. I came across a recipe for Banana Coconut Bread on the Cup4Cup website. It turned out so good that I have to share it. This Banana Bread comes out moist and delicious and the Coconut flavor is subtle and the Coconut Flakes actually gives it more texture. This is now one of my new favorite Banana Bread recipes!

Gluten Free Banana Coconut Bread – from Cup4Cup

1 1/2 cups Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 large mashed ripe Bananas
3/4 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted Butter, melted
1/3 cup Coconut Milk
1 large Egg
1/2 cup Coconut Chips (unsweetened)

Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a loaf pan. Mix Cup4Cup Flour, Baking Soda and Salt into large bowl. Combine Bananas, Sugar, melted Butter, Coconut Milk and Egg in medium bowl. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then, fold in the Coconut Flakes. Pour into the buttered loaf pan and bake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean - about 55 minutes. 

Five Element Analysis

Banana and Coconut are both Earth Element foods and as a sweet bread, this is clearly primarily an Earth food!  The Egg brings in a bit of the Water Element and the Butter contributes the Metal Element. If you serve it with a cup of Tea or Coffee, you will be adding the Fire Element. Then only the Wood Element is missing so be sure to eat some green vegetables some other time of the day!