Pan Seared Halibut with a Yogurt, Blood Orange + Saffron Sauce

This recipe came together over a day.  I ended up having all the ingredients on hand, and it worked out very nicely.

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Ingredients

1/2  cup plain yogurt
Salt and pepper
Hefty pinch of Cayenne pepper
1/2 shallot, peeled and minced
1/2- 1 tsp. saffron threads
Juice of 1/2 blood orange, or to taste

2  halibut fillets
1 Tbs butter + 1 Tbs olive oil

In a small bowl,  with a fork whisk yogurt together with salt, Cayenne and shallot. Rub saffron between your fingers to crush it, then stir it into the yogurt mixture. Let sit for about 20 minutes . Before cooking the fish, add the blood orange juice, taste, and adjust seasoning.

Season halibut with salt and more Cayenne, (if you don’t like spicy, replace with white pepper or cracked ground pepper). Place butter and olive oil in large nonstick skillet and turn heat to medium high. When the butter melts, add fish, sear for about 4 minutes then turn. Continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes until done.

Serve fish warm or room temperature, with the yogurt sauce on top. Add extra Saffron or Cayenne , if you wish.

I served this over wild rice and riced cauliflower along some farm fresh roasted carrots.

Birthday

How am I 40 years old? Not sure I am okay with it, definitely  don’t want to talk about it.

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We were lucky enough to escape for a full 24 hours! We being me and Shane, no kids allowed. All that was set in stone was dinner and brunch reservations, the rest was…whatever the hell we wanted.  We checked into our hotel room downtown about 4:00 and then to Little Italy where Brian Malarkey’s latest restaurant aka our dinner reservation was. We started at a wine bar that was packed, luckily we got ourselves a table and a nice long chat with the owner.

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The weather was crap, not the day to just stroll from place to place so we needed a game plan. We booked it around the corner to Juniper and Ivy. An amazing restaurant by the brilliant Richard Blais. We cozied up with some wine and just perfect bites of food.

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Pork belly at it’s finest!

The worst part or maybe the best part is that I didn’t take more than two pictures. We just enjoyed the night. Looking back I wish I had, and I knew I should but the moment took over that thought, do you feel me?

After a cracking experience at Juniper we headed around the corner to Herb & Wood. The menu is so great that I struggled to choose. I ended up ordering something I would never order, lamb bolognese with fresh pasta. Not going to dive into food reviews, it was good, not great and having been to all of his restaurants I still, hands down think Herringbone is the front runner.

After dinner we Ubured ( is that even a word? ) to a “supposedly” speak easy wine bar with an Alice in Wonderland theme. The idea was fun,  taking the stairs down to a grass wall that was actually a door. We sat at the bar and quickly realized it wasn’t an actual wine bar, more just a bar that had wine. The best part was the TV above us that was recording everyone coming down the outside stairs to the “hidden” doors. People are hilarious.

We moved on, now pretty good and buzzed we wandered into a bar with a live band. It was a good time but we both were ready for bed. I think we were in bed by 11:00 pm. Not bad for 40!

Our Brunch reservations were for 10:30…. I think. Wags picked us up at the hotel and we headed to Old Town to a restaurant we have never been to. The Tequila Factory,  a restaurant in a hotel in the heart of Old Town. We parked underground and it really was a mess trying to find the restaurant.  Once we reached the hostess she said we were 30 minutes late so we had to wait… unless we were okay with a few stairs. Shane looked to Wags’ and then back to the hostess, we told her we would be at the bar.

Finally we were seated out on the patio, the sun decided to show up. We had a good time, the food…eh,  everyone else seemed to be really enjoying it.

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A guitarist that has been working there for years  serenaded us for a few songs, one was Stairway to Heaven because Wags.

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Our bellies full we strolled through town wondering what we should do next when Old Town Saloon came into focus. An actual  21+ bar and I had never been there. We put money into the jukebox, quarters into the pool table and had a BLAST.

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I used to be good at pool, really. But now I am not. Shane won every game. Bullshit! 40 is in the bag!

 

Hawaiian Poke

We took the kids to the beach park in La Jolla last week. It was sunny but cold and the wind had a mind of it’s own, so did the damm seagulls. But it was beautiful out.

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There was a flock of thieves stealing snacks from our hands, so brazen they probably would have landed on our heads for just a nibble of whatever we were eating. They even took sunscreen and wipes out of our bags, but quickly dropped them when they realized it wasn’t the goods they wanted. Kaili wasn’t having any of it, she would run after them, screaming and arms flailing but they were unfazed. Tucking our stuff away and making sure all was zipped up, we headed down to the water.

fullsizerender-1img_1338The younger one decided she was done and wanted to head back up to dry land. Probably one of the hardest parts of parenting multiple children, keeping track of children wanting to go separate ways. We dredged back up to the boardwalk  where we stopped and attempted a few pictures, this was the best.

There is nothing like getting home from the beach, your skin is sun-kissed, your hair has that sea salt texture and your skin has a hint of saltiness. I love the coast and I love seafood and that night I wanted fish, raw fish, good raw fish….like a delicious Poké.

Saturday morning we headed to our local wholesale seafood market. We bought some A. Apples, B. Bananas….just kidding. Does anyone else remember that car game? No, great, moving on.

Tuna, sushi grade tuna, Big Eye tuna to be exact.I haven’t worked with fresh raw tuna before. It’s been only the past few years that I have had some really good Poké, trying it at random but appropriate restaurants if you catch my drift. As time went on I really wanted to try and make it myself but the Mr. isn’t a fan, so I needed the right timing to make it for someone other than myself. After our beach day this was the time.

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I wanted it to sit for at least 3 hours before it was served. I based my recipe off what I love most in a Poké, soy, sesame and onion in the leading cast. After a little recipe hunting I had decided on a final ingredient list.

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Now, if you don’t cook often a lot of these ingredients might seem daunting  or maybe they are items you don’t normally have in your pantry. For me,  they are staples, I just needed to pick up a sweet onion and macadamia nuts, this was an easy shopping list for me. Simple to throw together, no recipe, just my thoughts. The final product made me proud, really proud. This was probably the best I have had and I never say that lightly, especially when I’m the one in the kitchen.

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Ingredients

1 lb. sushi grade tuna

1/4 cups small slices of sweet onion

1 green onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. black sesame seeds, toasted

1 Tbs. macadamia nuts, roasted and salted, chopped

1 Tbs dark soy sauce

2 Tbs light soy sauce

1/2 Tbs. Mirin

1 tsp. chili garlic sauce

2 Tbs sesame oil

Kosher salt to taste

* I made a Wasabi drizzle with a little mayo, wasabi powder and lemon juice. All to taste. I put the mixture into a sandwich bag, snipped the end off and piped it on top. If you like it spicy and the flavor of wasabi I recommend you give it a go!

Directions

Slice the tuna into 1 inch cubes and place into a non reactive bowl aka glass.

Add all the other ingredients and mix. Cover tightly and let hang out for a couple of hours. Serve over rice, wonton crisps or just dig in with your hands.

 

 

 

Shrimp in Thai Coconut Sauce

Thai and Coconut, probably two of my favorite things but when you mix them together with some spice, its pure harmony. Most of the time we have a bag of Kirkland raw, peeled, tail on shrimp in our freezer. No fuss and cooks up in minutes, perfect for a weeknight meal. If you can prep everything, cut all the veg and make the sauce…. or as the French say, “mise en place” then this dish comes together in no time.

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Ingredients

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails on or off, your preference)
4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided (you can use vegetable oil)
2 gloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
½ onion, peeled and sliced
½ red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
½ orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
½ yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 cup coconut milk
3-5 tablespoons high quality fish sauce (start with 3 tablespoons and add more to taste)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
Serrano pepper sliced for the heat lovers

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Directions

Place the shrimp in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil, garlic, ginger, kosher salt and red chili flakes. Toss to coat and let marinade for 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

Heat a good sized skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the peppers and onion to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the shrimp for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until opaque, transfer shrimp to a plate.

In a medium bowl whisk the coconut milk, fish sauce, peanut butter, lime juice, brown sugar and stir well. Transfer the cooked onion and peppers to the skillet and pour the coconut milk mixture of the peppers. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp to the skillet with the basil and cilantro and toss to coat.  Garnish with more cilantro and basil, chopped green onion and sliced Serrano. Serve over rice, noodles or riced cauliflower.

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*Recipe adapted from Foodie Crush

Growing up

I have been talking to Kaili a lot about kindness and empathy. After showing her a few videos and having conversations she seems to really be absorbing the message. The other day she told me that a girl at school was crying in the bathroom. She asked the girl what was wrong and if she was okay, but the girl didn’t answer. I told her that was all she could do and a high five for being a caring friend.

I went to her class party yesterday and was able to observe since I was the only parent there..side eye parents. I browsed the kids work posted on the walls and watched the them finish their work and hand it in all while Kaili was still sitting, dilly dallying. I came to find that Kaili doesn’t have the best penmanship, isn’t the first one done with her work and isn’t the most mature girl in her class.

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One little girl wrote that her favorite thing to do will be playing with her granddaughters. Can we say wise beyond age?  All said and done, none of this matters. She will catch up on all of this! What does matter is kindness. Humor. Empathy, all the things that our world really needs.

Averi asked to go to bed a little early so I told Kaili she could stay up until A was settled. I put on Free Willy  a movie she hasn’t seen, just to see what she thought. It was towards the end with an hour left but she got sucked in. This girl doesn’t watch movies…like ever…and it’s because she isn’t interested. After 10 minutes she climbed onto the couch with me, snuggled under the blanket and we discussed everything that happened. When it came to the end and Willy was released back into the ocean, she was tearing up. ” This makes me sad mom.” Empathy! At the end of the movie she was snuggled in my arms crying. I asked her why she was sad. This was a happy ending and the boy did a great thing, Willy now had his family and freedom. She said, wiping her tears…” I am sad that the boy lost his friend.”

 

Where Do the Days Go?

Is it really the middle of February? What the hell? I am turning another year older next week that probably explains why I can’t remember what we have done the past few weeks.

Aside from a couple of kids birthday parties and making hummus, my new weekly hobby, life has been mundane. I did, however make it to a USMNT friendly match. They played lousy but we still had fun time, with great seats on the field.

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I have been trying to take the girls to the park on Wednesdays, we have been exploring outside of our neighborhood park. Finding ourselves mostly at parks near the water when the weather is beautiful.

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Averi really wanted to hand feed the pigeon a chip, I almost thought she would succeed but   the bird chickened out.img_1137-1

The past few recipes I have made have been duds, I need to make something good enough to post. Luckily next Saturday Brian Malarkey will be cooking us dinner as we try out his new restaurant. What else should we do with a free night downtown?