Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vodka Ginger Mahi Mahi with Asian-Inspired Quinoa

Is it bad that I just ate this meal, and my mouth is still watering over the picture? This meal came about after seeing a recipe for Tequila Lime Mahi Mahi that, naturally, called for tequila. Now, I don't know about you, but I am entirely too old to have tequila in my possession. What I do have is a lovely bottle of Skyy Ginger-Infused Vodka that is my current martini-making favorite. To make the martini, I simply shake two shots of the ginger vodka with a splash each of pineapple and lime juice. Rub the inside of the glass with fresh ginger, and you have yourself a perfectly lovely cocktail.

As it turns out, the spirit (ha!) of the martini also makes a pretty nice mahi mahi steak. I served the fish as you see in the photo--over a bed of quinoa and topped with the red pepper puree. I feel the flavors compliment each other very well, and the puree adds a little kick of acid and heat. Enjoy--with or without an accompanying martini!

Ginger Vodka Mahi Mahi

3 tbs ginger-infused vodka
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
1 tbs sugar
juice of 1 lime
12 oz mahi mahi (generally 2 steaks)
1 tbs peanut oil
salt and pepper

Combine vodka, ginger, sugar, and lime juice in a shallow bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Marinate mahi mahi, skin side up, in vodka mixture for 15 minutes.

Heat grill pan over medium heat and add oil. Season mahi mahi steaks and place skin side up in pan; cover. Grill each side 3-4 minutes, depending on thickness of steaks (if the steak is over and inch thick, I'll also flip it on each edge for a minute or two). Remove from heat and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving. Serves 2-4.

Asian-Inspired Quinoa

1 c quinoa
1 tbs peanut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c pineapple, chopped
1/2 c bell pepper, diced
1/4 c onion, diced
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 c roasted cashews
handful of fresh basil leaved, torn
1 tbs tamari
salt and pepper

Prepare quinoa according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Stir-fry garlic and pineapple for 2 minutes. Add pepper, onion, and ginger; stir-fry another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the prepared quinoa. Stir in cashews, basil, and tamari until combined. Season to taste and serve. Makes about 3 cups.

Ginger Red Pepper Puree

1 tbs chili-infused oil (or add cayenne to taste if un-flavored oil is used)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbs onion, diced
1/2 c red bell, chopped
1 lime wedge, skin removed
several fresh basil leaves
1 tsp ginger root
1 tbs vodka
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt, or to taste

Heat oil over medium heat in small skillet. Sauté garlic, onion, and pepper for 2 minutes and remove from heat.

Puree sautéed components in a blender with remaining ingredients. Season to taste. Makes about 1/2 cup of puree.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Steak Tacos with Mexican not-Rice

What a busy month it has been! I've been absent from the cooking scene thanks to a variety of reasons (end of the school year, family vacation, work-work-work). This week I will be doing plenty of cooking, though, since I am on a daywalker's schedule for a change. It'll be interesting to see how the other half lives....

Tonight we had steak tacos. This is a simple enough meal with a ton of flavor. Because I'm a fan of irony and new ventures in cuisine, I stole my friend Amber's recipe for a vegan, raw, substitute for the traditional Mexican rice (which of course I added my own touches to). She illustrates beautifully on her page the preparation of this squash-based side dish. Meanwhile, I was lucky to get a photo of my own finished product. Seriously, you try fighting off two hungry spawn who could easily toss you over the balcony if you stood between them and dinner....

Not that I blame them. I mean, us girls gotta eat!

Steak Tacos

1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c dark Mexican beer (I used Negro Modelo)
1/4 c tamari
juice of one lime
1/2 tsp each fresh cracked pepper and salt
2 tbs oil (chili oil for a little heat)
1.5 pounds flat iron steaks
8 tortillas

In a resealable plastic bag, combine all ingredients except tortillas. Marinate steaks at room temperature for at least an hour (if marinating longer than 2 hours, refrigerate).

Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Add steaks and grill to desired doneness (3 min each side for med-rare). Remove from pan and allow to rest 10 minutes.

Warm the tortillas according to your favorite method (I like to warm them one at a time in a skillet over medium heat, about a minute each side). Slice the steak into thin strips and divide among warmed tortillas. Add your favorite taco fillings and serve.

[In the photo we have sour cream, avocado, pico de gallo, cilantro, and a little shredded cheese in addition to the steak.]

Squashed Mexican "Rice"

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 2 cups)
1/2 c tomatoes, diced
1 tbs green chilis, diced
1/4 c red onion, diced
1/8 c chopped cilantro
1/8 c arugula, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
pinch garlic powder
juice of 1/2 lime

Place the squash cubes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse into small, rice-sized pieces.
Transfer to mixing bowl and add all other ingredients. Mix well and serve.

[I used half cilantro and half arugula instead of all cilantro, because my oldest offspring is not a big fan of cilantro. Were she not a factor, I'd have used all cilantro as Amber does in her recipe; the arugula did add a nice peppery touch, however!]