Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays: Steak Frites with Shallot Glaze

Tonight, Mark and I are going to a test dinner at the new French bistro opening up in our neighborhood. I couldn't be more excited. First of all, I L-O-V-E French bistros! They are always so charming. I love the look and feel of them. And who doesn't like when everything on the menu comes with pommes frites! From the mussels to the steak, bistros serve fries with it all. The other exciting thing about tonight is that we'll finally have a neighborhood restaurant again! We loved walking over to the Bistro at Habersham when it was open. We went often and saw friendly faces each time we were there. It's amazing how much having a cute little place in the neighborhood makes you feel right at home. So in honor of the opening of Bistro Patois, I thought I'd put up a recipe for Steak Frites with a shallot glaze. It sounds delish! I especially found the addition of soy sauce interesting! I bet that gives it a nice saltiness that would pair well with the sweetness of the reduced shallots. Click on the link for the pommes frites. they look yummy too! But if you want to keep it a little lighter, serve the steak with a side of salad greens topped lightly with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Serves 2
1/2 cup (about 4 medium-large) shallots, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup
Homemade Chicken Stock, or low-sodium canned
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds shoulder blade or skirt steak, trimmed and patted dry
2 tablespoons peanut or olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Frites (French Fries)
Boil shallots with red-wine vinegar in a heavy, small saucepan until the mixture is reduced to a glaze. Add wine, and boil until sauce is syrupy. Add chicken stock, garlic, and soy sauce, and boil until it has reduced and thickened to a saucelike consistency. Season with salt and pepper. (This can be prepared several hours ahead, cooled, covered, and set aside at cool room temperature, or refrigerated.)

Season steak with salt and pepper. Place a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and film with oil. Sear both sides of steak in skillet, and place in a 300 degree oven, and cook until steak is medium rare. Transfer steak to a cutting board, and let it rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile add shallot glaze with butter to skillet to deglaze.

Slice steak diagonally crosswise. Overlap the slices on a plate and pour the glaze over the steak. Serve immediately with frites.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Fridays Five Favorite Things - Minneapolis

  1. The accents - Being from a place where the accent of the people greets you the minute you step off the plane/bus/train, I have a fond appreciation for the vast array of American dialects. My favorite of course is New Orleans own "Y'at" accent because there is nothing else that reminds me more of home than hearing "Hey baby, hows ya mamma and ya daddy doin'?" But a close second has to be the accents of Minnesotans and North Dakotans. It's just so friendly and inviting. It has a sing songy quality to it that I just love. I have found myself saying "Oh" a lot in the past few days!
  2. The Lakes - Minneapolis is beautiful. I had no idea what to expect in regard to how the city would look. I felt like everywhere I turned there was a lake surrounded by people. It was the coolest thing. Alissa was explaining that each of the lakes has its own personality in terms of the people who you will see spending time there. There's sort of the young hippie lake, the yuppy sophisticated lake, and the family friendly lake. A little something for everyone I guess.
  3. The shopping - Any place that has a shopping center titled "The Mall of America" is fine by me. And although I thought that was where the locals would do their shopping (a bit like thinking New Orleanians spend every night in the Quarter I suppose) I quickly learned that there were other very quaint areas of shopping in Minnie. We went to the Galleria and had a great time trying on super fancy (but very on sale) shoes. My favorite area was called "50th and France." It is a charming little neighborhood with specialty shops and boutiques that were to die for. Allie got a fantastic pair of gold fringe flats at one little store. I'm still having shopping envy that I didn't try those on!
  4. The dining - When I learned that Mark would be going home to NOLA for the bachelor party and I'd be going to Minneapolis for the bachelorette party, I certainly didn't think I would be taking home the prize for best foodie weekend. But I think I did. We had lunch at this precious bistro with an outdoor patio. I had an amazing raspberry mojito. I love afternoon drinks! For dinner we ate at a super cool place called 112Eatery. Amazing! I had the fois gras meatballs and we shared these snap peas in a rep pepper flake oil. For dessert we split the butterscotch pudding topped with caramel and smoked sea salt. Holy cow it was amazing. Saturday we had a lovely brunch followed by a very fun dinner! I really can't say enough of the food culture there. It was unexpected and very much appreciated!
  5. The people - I went on this trip only knowing the bride-to-be, and I left with a whole host of new friends. The girls couldn't have been more warm and inviting. I felt at home with them immediately. It was truly wonderful to meet such amazing women. We talk a lot in the South about how hospitable we are, and there's certainly something to be said for being a sweet southern girl, but I have to hand it to the Mid-Westerners, they too are quite the host! Thanks ladies for such a great weekend and for showing me a part of who you are. Minneapolis is wonderful!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Trendy Wednesday - Cheating Politicians

Another day, another cheating politician. I really want to say I find the discovery that Governor Mark Sanford is having an affair with a mysterious Argentinian woman is a surprise, a shock, a disappointment. And while it is all of those things, hearing that a politician has cheated on his wife just isn't news anymore. The funny thing is, had this affair been uncovered in a fine dining establishment in Columbia, people would have already moved on. The only real reason this particular instance of infidelity is even making headlines a day later is that the guy was missing for several days. I don't say it like this to trivialize the act of unfaithfulness, but merely to point out how sad it is that it has become so common that we only really notice it if it's with a member of the same sex or an Argentinian. Take Louisiana's great Senator David Vitter for example. The man's number is found in the DC Madam's black book, and because he held a press conference saying he confessed a grave sin to his Parish priest, we have all but forgiven him. Seriously, it is a touchy subject in LA if you even for a minute question his character. It is just CRAZY to me that we are expected to look past these things and say that it is a personal matter meant to be discussed only between a family. Absurd. Every time a situation like this arises, the politico has a press conference where he resigns from some position in the party that has given him a significant opportunity to bring prestige and honor (and let's not forget about gov't dollars) to the state in which he was elected (for LA, let's think about all we lost when Bob Livingston had to resign because of his affair). Their character matters for many reasons, but most of all because we have elected them to make our locality, state, country better.
It's kind of a what-comes-first-chicken-or-egg thing. Do the guys who make it into positions of power have the personalities of a cheater or do they cheat once they get the power you have after getting into politics. I don't know. Maybe it's a combination. Either way you play it, it's a tired game.
Let's hope it's a trend that's going out of style sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays: Peanutty Coleslaw

Do you find that during the summer you go to a lot of outdoor potlucks where you're asked to bring a side? I am always puzzled at what to bring. I find cooking for a crowd can be daunting sometimes. I came across a recipe in the July issue of Southern Living last year that I found intriguing - Peanutty Coleslaw. I am fickle when it comes to liking coleslaw. The only version I have ever really liked is my dad's. His is very savory and is not prepared with sweet pickle relish or sugar. It's hard to find coleslaw that tastes anything like his. So when I saw a recipe for peanutty coleslaw, I thought I'd give it a shot. Maybe something with a whole different flavor profile would get me past my coleslaw prejudice.

The recipe calls for wasabi paste. I don't consider myself a picky eater, but after a bad experience with some shrimp cocktail, I have an aversion to shrimp, horseradish, and also wasabi. The smell alone gives me goosebumps. So as you can imagine I left out the wasabi paste. For a little extra crunch, I used one package of ramon noodles (no spice package) crumbled. It was quite a hit!

Peanutty Coleslaw
Prep: 15 min., Chill: 1 hr. Wasabi paste can be purchased in the Asian section of most supermarkets. If you prefer a creamy coleslaw, double the amount of dressing.
Makes 6 servings
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons wasabi paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (16-oz.) package shredded coleslaw mix
3/4 cup lightly salted peanuts
1. Whisk together first 10 ingredients in a large bowl; add coleslaw mix, stirring to coat. Cover and chill 1 hour; stir in peanuts just before serving.

So next time you need a go to side, give this dish a shot.

PS - Two peanuts were walking down a dark street - one was A Salted. Haha!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Traveling Circus

Mark and I had another big weekend of travel this past weekend. We went our separate ways to celebrate the impending nuptials of his brother Barnaby and our soon to be sister-in-law Alissa. Mark headed back to New Olreans to meet up with the guys, and I travelled to Minneapolis, MN to meet up with the girls!

Aren't girls' weekends the best!! I remember crying like a baby as my friend Anna (my first friend to get married) and her hubby drove away from their reception saying to Mark "we'll never have another sleepover again now that we're all grown up." Well, that would be just crazy! Six years later, I'm still going to the best sleepovers a girl could ever imagine.

I arrived in Minneapolis and had a great day of shopping and lunch with Alissa, her sister Allie, and her friend Katie. After a tour of the city (which is truly one of the most beautiful places I have been), Alissa and I relaxed a bit in our hotel. We had a great dinner with Katie and another friend Trisha. We finished our night at a great pub that had rooftop lawn bowling! Fun!

Saturday was a busy day. We had Alissa's shower in the morning. I got to visit with Miss Joan and Aunt Kay (my mom-in-law and aunt-in-law!) and got to meet Alissa's mom, grandma, and aunt. I also got to meet Angie, Alissa's other sister. Thanks to Allie, Angie, and Mrs. Thompson, the bridal shower was an amazing party. It was so wonderful to be surrounded by so many wonderful ladies who love Alissa as much as Mark and I do. I felt like you could see our families joining - isn't that the most wonderful part about weddings - the joining of two families!

After the shower, Alissa and I met up with some of Alissa's friends at the Mall of America. It's HUGE!!!! I found the most beautiful makeup at Bobbi Brown. I just love adding new colors and palettes to my collection! After shopping, Alissa drove me to St. Paul where I was able to see the rehearsal dinner spot and the reception spot. Gorgeous! I cannot wait until the big day. The locations are all so charming and special - just right for Barn and Alissa!

Saturday night, we had Alissa's bachelorette party! We had a great swanky room at the W hotel where we started the party. Wine and chocolate - can't go wrong with that!!! We followed the shower with dinner at this great place - Lurcat! yummy!!!! Dancing at a few bars lasted until the wee hours of the morning! We had a Prince (look alike) spotting which topped off our night!

I could go on and on about how great this trip was! It was so wonderful to get to meet Alissa's family and friends (Lisa, Amy, Melissa). They are FABULOUS! They could not have been warmer or more gracious in including me in all of the festivities. I absolutely cannot wait to see Barnaby and Alissa meet at the Alter. A beautiful celebration for a beautiful couple!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Trendy Wednesday - Oversized Photo Frames and Mats

I thought I'd shake things up a bit and chat about a trend for the home that I happen to love. I have been trying for years to decide what to do with the pictures we ordered from our wedding photographer. We will celebrate our fifth anniversary in December, and we have yet to frame the pictures from our wedding. I am really bad about getting this kind of thing done. I get really nervous about having to make big decisions that require a big financial investment (hence we still sit on $19.99 barstools instead of the super fancy modern ones I fell in love with). I don't know what it is. I think I just always worry that a different decision would have been better. This wedding picture procrastination started from the very beginning. It took me a year to pick out the 40 pictures I wanted developed into 8x10s and put in this beautiful leather bound book. I swear I changed my mind about one thousand times. Then it took our photographer a while to get the book to us, so he threw in three 11x14 prints for free. Imagine the anxiety this caused me! I couldn't decide whether to go with a black frame, a dark brown frame, or a polished nickel frame. And then came the mat choices. Oh my goodness the possibilities are endless (and overwhelming and pricey!).

Finally, the other day I got the latest Pottery Barn catalogue and for the first time since we've been married, they are carrying a frame that holds 11x14 prints! And the frames are gorgeous. They are simple and elegant, and I think that the oversized mat adds a modern twist to the frame. I went with the polished nickel because I felt that would give us more freedom to hang them in various locations and not have to worry about matching wood to wood. I cannot tell you how much I love them and how beautiful the pictures look. I feel like our living room looks complete now. We were able to add a truly elegant touch to the room for under $300. That is the cost I assumed we would pay for having one photo framed professionally. Not bad!
Some things are worth waiting for (or procrastinating over)!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Light Remake of Carraba's Chicken Marsala

I love chicken marsala. I don't usually love chain restaurants. But I love the chicken marsala at Carraba's. It is to die for. The thing is nothing comes out that yummy without butter and cream. I found a recipe for a copycat version of their dish, and I thought I would try to lighten it up a bit. We're still trying to do the low carb for dinner thing at our house, so I am going to sub sauteed spinach for buttered pasta.

This leaves us room for fat-free, sugar-free pudding. Mark makes the most delicious FFSF pudding in the world. For a long time Mark thought that when my sister used the term "sous chef" she was saying "soup chef." He thought that the Steakhouse had its very own soup chef! How fancy and specific of them. Mark was so disappointed after hearing the actual term, because he had deemed himself our "pudding chef." He's starting to think he might have to add a few more things to his repetoire now that he knows you don't hire a chef to make one dish and one dish only. Last week we did FFSF vanilla with fat free graham cracker crumbles and thinly sliced bananas. Mmmmmm....
So here goes the light version of Carraba's Chicken Marsala...

1 tablespoon I can't believe it's not butter (vs. 4 tbsp butter)
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 shallots, chopped fine
1/2 lb mushroom, sliced
1/4 cup dry marsala
skim milk for creamy color (vs. 1/2 cup heavy cream )
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tsp corn starch (blend with a small amount of liquid and add to sauce for thickening - add more as necessary)

1Pound chicken breasts to even out thickness and lightly salt and pepper.
2In large skillet, saute chicken in 1 T melted butter until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side.
3Remove from pan and set aside.
4 Spray pan with cooking spray and add shallots and mushrooms.
5Cook until mushrooms are lightly browned.
6Add Marsala and bring to a boil, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan.
7Add milk and lemon juice and return to a boil. Add cornstarch mixture.
8Season with salt and pepper.
9Return chicken to pan for about 3 minutes to reheat and finish cooking.
10Serve with sauteed spinach.

Can't wait!

Monday, June 15, 2009

What a weekend!

Well, we had a fantastic time in New Orleans this weekend! Here's a breakdown by day...

Thursday evening - left work early only to find flight out of Savannah delayed by two hours. Had a good cry at the Samuel Adams pub in the airport about how much I miss home and how flight delays make me miss home more (a bit dramatic, I will admit). Landed and got a ride to the Loews Hotel by my lovely parents. Felt like a tourist in my own city staying on the 17th floor of this beautiful hotel with a view of the river and downtown. Had jazz music playing on the CD player in our room. Awesome. We met Mark's fellow Ochsner OB/GYN grads at the Bourbon House for dinner. It was good, but not as good as it had been in the past. But the andouille steak sauce was amazing!

Friday day- had a yummy egg white omelet with my mom at Navarre Cafe, met with the partners from the CPA firm I was with in NOLA to touch base about our return home (went well ;)), Mom, sissie, and I had lunch at Cafe Degas. It was delish - arugula with crabmeat, crispy shallots, grapefruit, and a yummy herb vinaigrette. Spent some down time with all the girls and dad. Went to BCBG (got two pairs of pants and a jacket for less than the full pice of the jacket), checked out WINO (the coolest place ever), and had a mojito with the gang at the Swizzlestick Bar.

Friday night - Mark and I went to the Weed Conference (the OB conference we were in town for) reception at the Plimsoll Club. It was wonderful. The fourth year residents gave very sweet speeches and a few thanked Mark for all they had learned from him. We had fancy drinks at the W. I had a grapefruit basil martini, actually make that three of them! Then we went to the Red Eye. We danced here until the wee hours of the morning. But the best part - Mark got to get a picture with Jeremy Shockey! It was awesome! Mark was wearing his Navy whites and Shockey loved it! Got me ready for Saints season!!!

Saturday - We went down to the Quarter for the Seafood/Zydeco/Creole Tomato Fest. I took a picture with a girl dressed as a tomato for my farmer friend Christie! We watched the executive and sous chefs from my sister's restaurant do a demonstration of a BBQ Shrimp Salad with Creole Tomatoes - smelled amazing. We met up with my friends, Charli and Doug, and Lucy and Ricky at Charli's house for a pool party. It was so wonderful to catch up. We got to see their new house and to spend some time with their kids (Mark delivered their youngest girl and she's now three!)

Saturday night - we spent some time with our good friends Sarah and Stephen. We saw there house for the first time. It's adorable. We had dinner at this French bistro on Metairie Rd. Very authentic vibe! Then we met my sister and a few of her friends in the Marigny at DBA. Such a cool bar! We had the new Abita Satsuma. Tasty, but I still love the strawberry version more. We heard this great band called the Zydepunks. It was a Yiddish zydeco band. Sounds like a crazy combo, but they were fantastic!!

Sunday - took a short walk around Lake Vista with my dad. It's amazing how far the neighborhood has come! Fewer and fewer lots and more and more houses. Yay! Then the whole fam had brunch at Mr. B's. It was delish and very festive. My very favorite banjo player was there. He's this lovely older gentleman with the biggest smile I've ever seen. And if you close your eyes, you'd swear Louis Armstrong was singing for you. Away we went to the airport. Flights on time and everything!

I can't believe we won't be back until September. It feels like an eternity already. But when we return, Saints season will officially be under way! How exciting. Life will begin again!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays: Grilled Pork Kebabs with Peaches and Red Onions

With bathing suit season upon us, Mark and I have been trying to do starch free dinners during the week. We've been doing pretty well with it so far. I started with the whole pureed cauliflower as a sub for mashed potatoes thing and when it went over pretty well, I decided maybe it's not so bad to go starch-less one or two nights a week. Sometimes, I get a creative cooking block and can't think of how to add a little punch to our two veggie one lean protein meal. That's when kebabs come in handy. Our house is kebab central these days. There are many plusses to cooking kebabs. First, it's just fun to say! Also, it makes for very easy kitchen clean up - typically no pots. The cooking time is pretty quick since everything is about the same size. The ingredients usually are very colorful which makes a meal seem more exciting and flavorful. Finally, you can put a lot of different flavors together and it almost always works.

A few of our go-to kebabs: Meditteranean Chicken with Zucchini and Squash, BBQ Pork with Pineapple, Bell Peppers, and Red Onions, Spiced Rubbed Pork with Corn and Onions (lots of paprika and cumin and a hint of brown sugar).

Tonight we're going to try Bourbon and Balsamic Marinated Pork with Peaches and Red Onions.

I don't have a recipe, so it's kind of a "wing-it" concoction so far. Here goes -

1 lb. pork loin, cubed

4 large peaches, peeled, halved, and pitted (about 12 ounces)
1 large red onion, Quartered
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

bourbon to taste

brown sugar, to taste

2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine vinegar through pepper in sauce pan. Simmer until sugar has dissolves and liquid has thickened slightly. Brush on prepared skewers. Grill 10-15 minutes or until pork is done.

Eeekkk!! It's kind of scary to cook with no recipe, but I'm excited to see how it comes out.

Hope it's just peachy!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fridays Five Favorite Things - Summer TV Shows

Remember when nothing good came on tv during the summer?? Not anymore. Here's a few shows that I'm looking forward to keeping up with over this long hot summer...

  1. The Bachelorette - Before last season's bachelor, I had only watched a few episodes of this show. I could never really get into it. And then Jason and Melissa came along, and I was hooked! Now every Monday night I sit by the tv with a glass of wine and thank God I'm not single. If the group of men Jillian has to choose from is what's out there, I'm scared! Especially Tanner P who talks about nothing else but her feet. He really creeps me out!

  2. So You Think You Can Dance - This is the first time I've caught this one. I was in love immediately. I could watch talented dancers perform for hours and not be bored. Plus, for some reason, I feel like if I watch how amazing they are, some of their moves might magically work themselves into my "late night at the Gold Mine" dance routine.

  3. Top Chef Masters - OMG!!! My favorite show supersized! I cannot wait to watch the world's most famous and acclaimed chefs compete against one another. New Orleans' own John Besh will be mixing it up. Now if only we could figure out a way to make our tv Scratch-n-Sniff compatible we'd be in business.

  4. Burn Notice - I LOVE this show. It's so supsenseful. It's about a US spy who gets burned (ratted out as a spy) and is living in Miami helping people who are in pickles while trying to find out who burned him. Each week he narrates the episode and tells you how to do crazy spy stuff with normal household things. I keep these tips stored in my brain for the nights when Mark is on call and I am alone and convince myself that the bad guys are hiding in our house and coming to get me in any minute. I need him to explain how to hurt a bad guy with hairspray, bobby pins, and OPI nailpolish. These are things I keep lots of handy in our bathroom.

  5. Chefs vs. City - It's the official name of the show my sister will be on on Food Network. Here's their description of what's set to happen "Acclaimed chefs Chris Cosentino and Aaron Sanchez are pitted against two local foodies in a winner-takes-all race through a different city each week. Each team begins with a clue leading them to their first food challenge. Challenges could include everything from wine stomping to eating the spiciest chili west of the Mississippi to diving for sea urchins! The five challenges take the chefs and foodies on an adrenaline-charged, food-lovers tour of each city, and once complete, it�s a sprint to the finish line to see if the locals can protect their home turf or if the Food Network chefs can conquer a new city." I can't wait for her tv debut!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Trendy Wednesday - Brights

On a good day, if you saw my closet, you'd think I was an incredibly organized person. The thing is, under the surface, I am a very messy person. I don't mean to be. In fact, I would love to be one of those people who is so organized that they know where everything they own is at all times. Unfortunately, I have a hard time putting things back where they belong.

Admittedly, I have gotten much better since college. My roommates and I hosted the pre-party before formal my junior year. You'd think that'd be reason enough to straighten up, but seriously, I think everything I owned was scattered in piles across my room. There were hangers in the closet, but no clothes on them. It was so bad, that the boys were going in there just to see it. Never good when messiness impresses a fraternity boy.

When we moved to our condo here, one of the things I was most excited about was having a huge closet to organize. I decided it was an opportunity to start fresh. So I decided I would color code my wardrobe. It is amazing what you learn about yourself when you do this! I learned I buy everything in twos, and that I buy mostly brown and black. While the closet was neat - I have all of the hangers facing inward; items first separated by category - jackets, then tops, then skirts, then pants, then denim, then dresses; items then separated by color (ROYGBV); items finally separated by pattern - patterns in front of solids in color order, one thing it was not was bright. Even the items I had in colors other than brown, black, or neutral were dull. It really just needed a little umph, a little pizazz.

In came the brights! It is amazing how one top in a bright fuchsia silk can turn the whole thing around. That and a really good pair of white jeans. Now I can't stop buying brights. I recently got an adorable canary yellow sweater with a little white tie at the neck. I also just bought a super cute pepto pink BCBG bubble dress with ruffles at the neck and the waist. With a pair of gold strappy wedges - it'll be perfect for summer parties. I find that my closet looks a whole lot more fun. It bursting with colors of vibrant orange, plum, lemon, cantaloupe, lime. It sounds like I'm describing the newest line of flavors for Starburst. That's king of what it looks like too!
So, next time you go to try on that perfect tee or a simple little jersey dress in black or navy, see if they carry it in turquoise or red. If you do, I'm sure it will BRIGHTEN your day!
PS - It works for shoes and handbags too!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays: Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut-Curry Sauce

This weekend Mark and I went on a little getaway to Jacksonville. Aren't weekend getaways just the best? We love heading to Jax for a few reasons: a quick drive, a room at the Navy Lodge on the Ocean for $70/night, fantastic shopping, and great food. We make this little trip about twice a year. It can be difficult not to get caught up in the tourist traps of cities you don't know too well, so I always go to http://www.chowhound.com/ before we travel to get the locals' perspective on the dining scene. We went to a great little tapas place called 13 Gypsies which was very charming. We had dinner Saturday at this uber-chic place called Matthew's. It was a beautiful place with a very sophisticated menu. Yum! Our most authentic experience was at a seafood hut called "Singleton's Seafood Shack." Our table looked out over the water where there were five or six working shrimp boats docked. It reminded me of the great seafood places out on Lake Pontchartrain before Katrina. Nothing too fancy, but with great, fresh seafood and a local touch that just seems very humble and authentic. I had the grilled mahimahi with collards. It was wonderful. It also made me anxious to cook the tilapia we have in our freezer that we got a few weeks back.

I like this dish because I think cooking with international ingredients always makes me feel like we're more exotic than we actually are. This dish is especially nice because even though it calls for some unusual things, they are not overpowering. I usually add chunks of fresh pineapple as I'm adding the onion and red peppers. It realy compliments the fish well. Because it adds some bulk and some liquid, I try to cut back on the amount of coconut milk. Even though it calls for light coconut milk, it is still high in fat.

Whether it's a weekend trip to Jacksonville or just a culinary escape to Thailand, sometimes it's just nice to travel outside of your normal routine.

Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut-Curry Sauce

4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet, 1/2 cup sauce, 3/4 cup rice, and 1 lime wedge)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, divided
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
Cooking spray
3 cups hot cooked basmati rice
4 lime wedges
Preheat broiler.
Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add pepper and onions; cook 1 minute. Stir in curry powder, curry paste, and cumin; cook 1 minute. Add soy sauce, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and coconut milk; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.
Brush fish with 1/2 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve fish with sauce, rice, and lime wedges.


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