Sunday, November 20, 2011

Grilled Ono fish....OMG

Chances are, unless you've been to Hawaii, you are unfamiliar with the Ono fish. It is also known as Wahoo on the island, and aside from there you can sometimes find it along the West Coast. I happened across in the frozen fish area at my local Trader Joe's and it was remarkably affordable AND very recently caught and packed. Anyway it is a dense, white fish and is similar enough to both Halibut and Mahimahi - so you can substitute those two fishes if Ono is just out of reach.

Anyway, the only way to prepare this is on the grill, which means that a marinade is in order. I used a simple marinade that just included 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup white wine, two teaspoons of sesame oil, 1 minced clove of garlic (more if you like garlic...we used close to two cloves) and about 1 tbsp of chopped, fresh ginger. I let it soak, covered in the fridge for close to two hours (you can let it sit for more but I wouldn't exactly do it a day ahead of time or anything as if it was beef) then took it to the grill.

As it is a lean fish (no fat to trim!) you want to avoid overcooking, so do it over a medium flame. For timing figure something like six to eight minutes per inch of thickness of the filet - ours worked out to be closer to eight minutes a side but we kept a close watch!!!

To accompany the fish, I sautéed fresh spinach (stems and all) with a little olive oil, a few splashes of dry white wine and ground white pepper. Then I topped that with the garlic cloves I had roasted in the oven in more olive oil, savory and pink Himalayan salt (about 10-15 minutes, small ramekin, on 350 degrees).

Also served with a sticky brown jasmine rice.

- Melissa

Just a little inspiration for feeding guests....

Cheese plate extraordinaire intended to serve as a great and easy appetizer...perhaps for upcoming holiday gatherings? Clockwise from left: mixed olives, cracked pepper Toscano, fresh basil leaves, Dubliner cheddar, lemon spicy almonds and pistachios, sliced aged hard salami, aged provolone (never smoked!) and  rosemary olive oil triscuits.

So served with wine. Heh.

- Melissa

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Some things enjoyed in wine country...

I wish I could say that this post offered recipes, but it is truly just an excuse for me to, ahem, brag about a few things we ate on vacation as well as make a couple recommendations should you in the Mendocino, CA or Portland, OR areas. 

At Cafe Beajulois ( in Mendocino we weren't expecting to be impressed. We'd eaten at a place the night before (MacCallum House Inn - it is also a B&B - and found it to be ok, but certainly not up to the hype that preceded it. So when we arrived at the Cafe, which is a small house converted into a quaint eatery, we were hungry but hadn't been banking on what T is still calling "the best meal of my recent life."

Delicious 2009 Esterlina Vineyards Pinot Noir. Amazing.
Especially considering we'd had lunch at that very winery.
T's claim of the best thing he ever copied from the menu itself:

Petaluma Duck Two Ways (Crispy Skin Breast and Leg de Confit),
Caramelized Onion Buttermilk Spätezle, Wilted Kale & Balsamic Jus Lié. 
No mere filet mignon...more like a truffle-topped step into heaven. 
Again, as per the menu: Niman Ranch Filet Mignon, Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, 
Sautéed Broccolini, Truffle Butter,  Sauce Au Poivre. 
We concluded that meal by not only finishing our wine, but with a cheese platter that did not disappoint either.

On our way back we also stopped in Portland and ate a shockingly GREAT lunch at 50 Plates ( which is located in the historic and hip Pearl District of the city. The place has great service, a menu that is both mind-blowing while remaining fairly healthy and is affordable (at least for lunch, though I cannot imagine dinner would break the bank). 

Seafood Chowder, courtesy of 50 Plates in Portland, OR. Chock full of
seafood including mussels, clams and giants chunks of a white fish. Not to
mention the peppery, tomato-based broth and large cuts of new potatoes. 
More from 50 Plates...this is the BLT&T. So the amazing BLT,
on a crispy tortilla, coated with garlic aioli mayo and rare Ahi tuna.
What's not to love? Oh, and ps, the bacon was more of a chopped bacon
jelly, so while there were pieces of actual bacon, it was all over the sandwich!
So that's that. Now, assuming you have all enjoyed a little food porn, I will return to normal food posts with recipes next.....perhaps some grilled Hawaiian Ono and garlic clove & spinach salad? Stay tuned....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chicken with a Dijon Radish Sauce

So, uh, you have some radishes? Not sure what do with them outside of a salad? Better yet, do you see them in the store and wonder what in the hell people are doing with them at home? Well aside from my penchant for pairing them with sharp cheeses (believe me, it totally works), I was in that same boat. So with a little research and tweaking, I came up with this....

First things first - you'll need radishes. Just rinse them thoroughly (they tend to be fairly grimy), trim all the greenery off and set them aside. Next up is the chicken - I used boneless cutlets that I cut down further and pounded out a little, making more of a scallopini cut. Take the chicken and cook it over medium heat in a large sauté pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until it is browned on both sides, but not completely cooked. Now take the chicken out and place it onto a covered plate, but do not empty the sauté pan. Toss in some chopped shallots (1/4 cup, maybe a smidgen more) and let them cook for about a minute. Then stir in 1/3 cup of white wine and 3/4 cup chicken broth and let it all simmer to a slow boil.

Once it is boiling, turn the heat down a little and then stir in 2-3 tbsp of dijon mustard (seriously grey poupon is a must have) and 2-3 tsp of tarragon. Now return the chicken to the pan and let it simmer away in the sauce, while adding in some butter (margarine is my stand-by), say 2 tbsp and let it continue to cook. Halve the radishes (remove the roots too, by the way) and place them in the sauce and replace the pan's cover. Let the entire dish simmer over LOW heat for another 5 minutes and then serve. More tarragon can be added once it is plated.

Served with potatoes, sautéed with onions, and a salad.

- Melissa

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