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Making Monkfish on a Friday

Well it’s Friday and time for the seafood meal of the week, although the trout I had last night was delicious while Michelle and Sean had fettuccine. Monkfish was on sale so that’s what I decided to cook with tonight. Monkfish is pretty creepy looking if you saw one in the ocean, an aquarium or even a whole one at a fish market:

 

Not the prettiest one in the ocean, but it tastes great. It’s sometimes referred to as “the poor man’s lobster” because the tail meat is very similar in texture to a lobster, although with seafood costs the way they are, it’s not really a poor man’s fish. Anyway, I really enjoy the flavor of it and found this recipe for a Bacon Wrapped Monkfish with Beurre Rouge (basically a red butter sauce)

Bacon-Wrapped Monkfish with Beurre Rouge

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup minced shallots

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

4 (6-ounce) monkfish fillets

Salt and pepper

8 thin bacon slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 stick butter, cut into 10 pieces

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the vinegar, wine, shallots and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup in volume, about 10 to 15 minutes. Strain into a clean saucepan. Season the monkfish lightly on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place 2 slices of bacon on a flat surface. Lay 1 fillet on top, skin-side down, and wrap the bacon completely around the fish. Secure with toothpicks, and repeat with the remaining fish and bacon. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fillets, skin-side down, and cook for 5 minutes on the first side. Turn the fillets and cook for an additional 5 minutes on the second side. Remove the fish to a platter and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Bring the wine reduction to a simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, allowing each piece to become completely incorporated before adding the next piece. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon 1 tablespoon of sauce on the bottom of 4 serving plates, and place 1 bacon-wrapped monkfish fillet on top. Spoon the remaining sauce over the fish, and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

It’s not a difficult dish to make and doesn’t take long at all. I’ll be serving this dish with some white rice and green beans, but a green salad would go nicely with this dish as well, or this recipe I found, which is for Seared Baby Bok Choy with a Bacon Vinaigrette.

Seared Baby Bok Choy with Bacon Vinaigrette

1 1/2 to 2 pounds baby Bok choy, parboiled and shocked

4 slices of bacon, finely chopped

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

5 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil

Cut the bok choy in half lengthwise and put the cut side down on paper towels to drain. Meanwhile. put the bacon in a small pan over medium-high heat. When it starts to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium and cook until crisp and the fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then whisk in 3 tablespoons of the oil. Set aside.

Put a large skillet over high heat. When it’s very hot, add the remaining oil and put a few pieces of bok choy, cut side down, in the pan (it will spatter, so be careful!). Do not overcrowd the pan; you want at least one inch on all sides between the pieces. Cook the bok choy without moving it until the cut side is dark brown and slightly charred. Continue cooking the bok choy in batches. Pile the seared bok choy on a platter in a serving bowl; give the bacon vinaigrette a stir and drizzle it over the bok choy. Serve warm or at room temperature.

You could substitute Napa cabbage, endive or radicchio for the bok choy if it’s easier to get one of those vegetables. As far as the “shocking” that is mentioned in the recipe, it’s quite a simple process and produces, nice, vibrant vegetables. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt it well. Set up a large bowl of water with lots of ice cubes. Drop the vegetables into the boiling water. After about 30 seconds, start testing – you can poke with a thin-bladed knife or taste; you’re looking for the vegetable to be just about tender, but not quite. When that happens, take the vegetables out with a strainer, tongs or slotted spoon and put them in the bowl of ice water for a minute or two. When they’ve cooled down, remove them from the ice bath and drain in a colander. Squeeze the drained greens tightly to remove as much water as possible then chop, slice or cook the vegetables according to the recipe you are using.

That’s all there is for tonight. We didn’t really get to talk about next week’s menu yet, other than the St. Patrick’s Day meal for next Saturday, but hopefully I will have everything to post for tomorrow’s blog entry. As always, all questions and comments are welcome. If you are looking for a recipe for something, let me know, I may be able to find one for you. Until tomorrow, enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Seafood, Vegetables

 

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Serving Up Some Shrimp Stir Fry

Today will be the last meal of the Sean choices for the week. I was a little surprised he opted to go for this one, but he knows that one meal has to be a seafood meal, and he likes shrimp, so he opted to go for this one. Today’s dinner will be Shrimp with Hoisin Sauce and we’ll be having Fried Rice again, but will just be using the leftovers from last night’s stir fry dinner (which was delicious by the way, not much left in the way of leftovers for Michelle’s lunch today. I try to use fresh shrimp as often as I can. You can usually find a sale on it somewhere during the week, so buy it the day of cooking or the day before at the most. If you want to buy frozen, which I do on occasion, buy shrimp that are already deveined and shell split, it will make your life a lot easier as far as cleaning.

Shrimp With Hoisin Sauce

1 pound medium-sized fresh shrimp, shelled and deveined

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 thin slices of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced

1 clove garlic, crushed 3 scallions,

cut into 1-inch pieces

Mix the water, cornstarch, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce in a bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger root and garlic and stir continuously until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn the heat up to high, add the shrimp and stir-fry until they turn pink, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the sauce mixture and coat the shrimp, stirring and mixing; cook for about 2 minutes and serve over rice.

The cooking time for this meal is only about 10 minutes. Remember, don’t cook the shrimp too long (or any fish for that matter) or they will get tough and rubbery. if you’ve never deveined a shrimp before, take the time to do it. Starting at the head of the shrimp, make a shallow cut with a knife all the way down the middle of the back. Hold the shrimp under cold running water to rinse out the dark vein, or just pull it out yourself and rinse the shrimp off when you are all done. if you don’t want to use shrimp, you could scallops or another fleshy fish, or I think chicken would work nicely in this dish as well.

We’ll be using the same fried rice as we had last night, so if you want to check yesterday’s blog recipe for it, please do so, or you can use plain white rice instead. I think either will work well here. While I won’t be making these tonight, Sean came across a recipe for Fortune Cookies that we are going to try one night when we have a group over for dinner. It will be more fun to do the fortunes with other people around, but here is the recipe if anyone wants to try it out.

Fortune Cookies

1 cup margarine, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and stir everything together to form a ball of dough. Lightly flour a wooden cutting board or flat counter surface. With a rolling pin, roll half of the dough very thin. Use a circle-shaped cookie cutter or the top of a large glass (about 2 1/2 inches wide) to cut circles in the dough. Put a fortune in each circle, off to one side. Fold the circle in half, and then in half again. Pinch the edges to seal the dough. Re-roll leftover scraps of dough to make more cookies out of them. Then roll and make cookies from the other half of the dough. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes on a baking sheet in the oven until they are lightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Part of the fun of this, of course, is being creative in making up the fortunes for each cookie. They can be predictions, lottery numbers, old sayings, or just fun, goofy things. You can print out 25 or so fortunes on a piece of printer paper and cut them into strips to use for the cookies. i would suggest about 2 inches long, at the most, so they fit nicely in the cookie.

More easy recipes for the day and that wraps up Sean’s week of dinners. We had a lot fun choosing and cooking everything and they were all quick, easy and tasty meals with little clean up. We haven’t picked next week’s meal plan yet, but that will be tonight’s chore after dinner, so I will post it tomorrow. If you want to print your own meal planner, here’s the document:family_meal_planner We are off to Saranac Lake tomorrow for Winter Carnival, so I won’t be cooking for Friday and Saturday, and most likely Sunday as well since we’ll be getting home Sunday, but i do plan to post some things. I’ll be bringing Chicken Corn Chowder up to Saranac Lake with us, so I will post that recipe on Saturday. if you have any questions, comments or just want to say hello, feel free to leave a comment and I will reply as soon as I can. Enjoy your day today (it actually feels like winter here in New York for a change today) and enjoy your dinner!

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Rice, Seafood

 

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

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