A Delicious Day!!! Deep Ocean Red Snapper Sushi and Smoked Pork Ribs and Dill Potato Salad

I am home for 2 days and Matt has made it a delicious time!  Oklahoma weather was beautiful despite the insane wind. The trees are blossoming which makes it feel like 2014 is promising and all wonderful things are to come!  Gardening is beginning.  Studio is crisp and clean.  The doors and windows are able to be left open, with the wind in mind of course.  I LOVE Spring!  I love it!  I was zipping through DC on a bike eating all day and taking in the beautiful weather and also the entire city taking it in as well.  Spring time makes everyone happy.  They just want to be outside to enjoy the weather.  I use to do digital work on photographs and would go into work at 6am just so that I could get out by 2 or 3 just so that I could be outside.  Luckily that only lasted for half a year to prepare for my year of travel. 

We were at the Super Cao Nguyen Market and there laying in the display case was the most beautiful little fish.  The eyes are so crystal clear and it wasn't even stiff from rigamortis.  Its a deep ocean line caught red snapper from Japan.  They say its sustainable.  We had them descale it and gut it.  He didn't do that great of a job, so Matt cleaned him a bit more at home.  Cleaning fish in the kitchen reminds me of my childhood.  

This takes a sharp knife and some skills.  I do not do well with eyeball proteins.  Matt is fileting the fish and also taking the cheeks out.  You don't have to have it perfect because afterwards nothing really goes to waste. You'll see. 

We took the the sashimi slices of the snapper and put it ponzu and topped it with a slice of lemon, serrano, green onion, and my homemade chili sauce (which, by the way is insanely good with sushi).  Not only is it beautiful, but is freaking amazing!  Amazing!  

While we were eating the sashimi, we were waiting on the fish carcass and skin to bake in the oven.  It was placed on a sheet pan and baked at 425 for about 10 minutes.  The skin crisped up like bacon and now you can flake and pick on the the rest of the meat.  I remember being served a mackerel sushi in San Diego and at the end of it they brought out this beautiful fried mackerel so that we could eat the flaky meat off of the carcass.  Its so good!  You could even save the head and bones to make a fish stock.  

This is the snapper on top of Japanese brown sushi rice and topped with crispy snapper skin and green onion.  Yes, it is as good as it looks.  Lightly dipped in ponzu.  Soy is too strong for this fish.  The rice was cooked and lightly tossed with rice wine vinegar.

Now its time to prepare dinner.  Matt is starting up the Hasty Bake grill with hardwood charcoal and some oak.  A nice pile of twigs and leaves is a perfect way to start the fire.  

This is a slab of pork ribs that are really easily prepared.  Salt and pepper it evenly along with good ole chili powder.  Its also sprinkled with fresh oregano that is going crazy in our backyard and canola oil.  Rub it in or brush it in.  Place it on the grill.  200 degrees is the ideal slow smoke temperature for these ribs.  It took us about 5 hours for this guy.  

It was perfect!  Perfectly smoked. They were moist with a nice crust on the outside

We served the ribs with a vinegar based dill potato salad.  

3 lbs potatoes diced
2 cups of chopped dill (save the stems)
2 stalks chopped celery
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 stalks of green onion chopped
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons sweet relish
salt and pepper

Put your diced potatoes in a pot of cold water, along with a bundle of the dill stems.  Cook until fork tender.  In the meantime, add about 2 tablespoon of chopped dill to the vinegar and heat it up in the microwave for about 30 seconds to let it steep.  Once your potatoes are done and drained, drizzle over half of the vinegar over the potatoes.  Let them cool for at least half an hour and then add the rest of the ingredients.  Toss lightly.  This is a delicious potato salad that is bright and healthy for you!

Our dinner was served with homemade tabbouleh, potato salad, and Matt's bbq sauce.  People that love ethnic food, herbs, and spices seem to swoon over this stuff. I think because its so unique and compliments bbq instead of takes it over.  I truly dislike sweet bbq sauce. This batch was particularly good!

Just a simple Monday night dinner. 

Get outside and enjoy it!!!

Veggie Chili, Green Chicken Curry, and A Mini Sandwich!

Its the perfect temperature to enjoy just about anything.  Cool enough for comfort warm pots of food, but warm enough for salads and grilled things.  I'm excited about everything blossoming, and I hope I don't miss out on all the good weather in Oklahoma while I'm traveling a bunch in the next few weeks. We always leave when the weather is fantastic.  Ce la vie.

I'm obsessed with veggie chili.  I love it.  I crave it all the time.  Its made an appearance on the blog one too many times I'm sure!  There's so many variations to do with it and it never gets old!  At least to me.  This version is inspired by a combo of Cook's Illustrated's recipe, plus my own.  My own is much more spices and bolder flavors.  I like lots of vegetables such as jalapeno, celery, carrot, onion, baby carrot.  I also add mushroom soy, chipotle in adobo sauce, worcestershire, and hot sauce.  

Thai food!  I have given up on eating Thai food at any restaurant in Oklahoma City.  OK ok, unless I get a legit recommendation, fa get about it! I am making green curry and trying to duplicate as close as possible to what I've had that I think is memorable and delicious.

I've got all my goods in place.  I made this last week when we still have pho veggies leftover.  I'm throwing in baby corn, jalapeno, potato, carrot, onion, chicken, red bell pepper, Thai basil, bean sprouts, saw tooth, and cilantro.  The curry sauce is green curry paste ( I bought the premade stuff in the plastic tub), a can of coconut milk, galangal, and keffir lime leaves.

In a hot wok, or cast iron skillet add about 3 heaping tablespoons of the curry paste and let it fry up and make your house smell amazing.  Then add about 2 tablespoons of fish sauce.  Then add the can of coconut milk.  Let that come to a simmer and then add everything in except the herbs.  Then add about a 1/2 tablespoon palm sugar, about 5 1/4 inch slivers of galangal, and about 4 keffir lime leaves.  Once it has all cooked through, add the herbs and let them simmer for a few more minutes.  Add fish sauce if you need it saltier.  I usually have condiments out for Thai food.

A side of rice.  Condiments which consist of a dish of fish sauce with chillies in it, ground peanuts, toasted dried chillies, and pickled peppers.  My favorites are the fish sauce and peppers. Matt loves the pickled serranos.

This is really really good!  Key is not to overcook your veggies.  

Who doesn't love a mini sandwich?!!?  Philly cheesesteak mini sandwich.  Sauteed onion and peppers, rib eye, and bierkase cheese.  Melty, hot, and spicy philly on a ciabatta.  Can I get a hell yeah?!!?

Homemade Pasta with Dashi Broth, Veggie Moussaka Lasagna..the shocker is that its vegan!

Last week was my dear father in law's birthday.  Matt wanted to get him a pasta maker.  He figured since he liked to make pasta, than his Dad would too.  Genetics! The day after he received the pasta roller, Matt went over to his house to give him a pasta lesson.  We used his pasta to make a simple dashi soup with Chinese broccoli and carrots.  He made a shrimp dish that I hear was incredible!  He may be hooked to fresh pasta.  Its completely different from dried.  Its easy to get hooked, especially once you get the hang of making it and eating it.

This dish shocked me!  It turned out better than I could have imagined. I got the recipe idea from the book Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. I added the pasta, artichoke hears, and spinach.  Its traditionally made with zucchini, but I didn't have any.

 I roasted in the oven 3 small potatoes, 2 Japanese eggplant, and 1 large bag of thawed artichoke hearts.  They were all sliced about 1/4 inch thick tossed in olive oil (brushed on the eggplant), and roasted on separate trays at 400 degrees until toasty and cooked through.

The sauce is 24 oz crushed tomato, 1 garlic, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1/4 teaspoon fresh good cinnamon, a bay leaf and about 1/4 teaspoon oregano.  Let that simmer for about 15 minutes.

I only used 3 sheets of lasagna pasta because I only made one layer of pasta.

The bechamel that is traditionally poured on the top of a moussaka is made of tofu!  Its one package of soft tofu that is whizzed in the food processor with 1 clove of garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of fresh nutmeg, salt, pepper, and add water if it seems thick. 

Ladle a casserole dish (depending on how thick you want it use the size you like) with the sauce, top it with a layer of eggplant, a layer of drained frozen spinach, potato, and another layer of sauce.  Next layer I did the pasta, artichoke, and eggplant. Ladle sauce, and then poured the faux bechamel on top.  

Bake in a 400 degree oven, covered for about 30 minutes.  Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.

This dish is unreal!  I usually question vegan dishes, but this dish has made me a believer.  Meat eaters LOVED it.  Its rich in a light way.  You don't feel like a lead weight after eating it. It makes you  feel great!  The pureed tofu totally surprised me.  I thought it sounded nasty, but it turned out to be one of the best parts.  I ended up charring the last eggplant on the stove top and the sauce took on the smokiness of it.  

Its beautiful and delicious!  A vegan moussaka/lasagna.  

Annual Garage Sale! Sausage, Egg, English Muffin, Smoked Bologna Chub & Chicken, and Marinated White Anchovies!

An exciting weekend for eating.  Its officially Spring!!  We kick it off with our annual garage sale!  I have been doing garage sales with my best friend, Emily, for several years!  It started over 10 years ago when she lived in Norman.  Every year that we've done this, we meet so many incredible people.  So many characters that show up.  Now, they leave by saying "alright, see you next year!"  The neighbors anticipate Matt's grill, and they also tell us how we motivate them to try to organize a neighborhood block party. Always a good time at a Em and D garage sale!

First day started out with Sausage, Egg, and English Muffin sandwiches.  I love this!  I forgot how wonderful homemade english muffins are.  I used the Bread Bibles recipe, which if you have ever used this book, it has many steps.  I stayed up until about 4am making them.  I had a vision, and it wasn't going to be going through the Mcdonald's drive thru for breakfast.  I used a cookie cutter ring to make the egg the perfect size of the english muffin. 

I put some of my homemade sriracha on it.  LOVE this!!!  So good!

Matt smothered the bologna chub with Seikel Mustard and rubbed the hippy chickens from Wholefoods with paprika, salt, and pepper.  He smoked it perfect.  The chicken was out of control amazing.  So good you didn't need to dip it in any of his homemade bbq sauce.  It was so moist and perfect.  I love a good chicken.  I think these hippy chickens taste WAY better than those unhappy chickens.  

The bologna was grilled after being smoked and we dipped it in Matt's bbq sauce.  One man came by, and his 2 teenage daughters had NEVER had bologna.  Times are changing.  

Now the winner of the weekend.  This is the dish that has inspired Matt's taste buds and also love for food.  This is marinated white anchovies.  A Spanish dish called boquerones. First he marinated the little white anchovies in salt and also a blend of vinegars of rice wine vinegar, white vinegar, and pinot grigio vinegar.  After they marinated overnight, he pulled the spines out.  A task that requires lots of patience.  Lastly, they are marinated in good extra virgin olive oil, parsley, and a little white onion.  They are incredible tasty little morsels.  Perfect for tapas, a salad, pizza, and just to snack on.