Dining Outside the Home: Ray’s Seafood in Rye, New Hampshire! Baked stuffed lobster doesn’t get any better than this. No cracking the shell and digging for the meat. The chef at Ray’s Seafood takes care of that for you. As the server places the plate of succulent lobster chunks bathed in high-quality sherry and parmesan seasoning on the table, take note of the buttery cracker topping. It’ll makes your taste buds drool. Not what you’d expect from an ordinary fish shack. Ray’s is a cut above the rest. Go for the freshest seafood and house-caught lobster. But also go for an outstanding ocean view.
Dining Outside the Home: JJ’s Broiler in Lihue, Kauai. Even if you’re not a sport enthusiast, you can still get a healthy meal with an oceanfront view of Kalapaki Bay. Portions are generous, so sharing is encouraged. Order several menu items for a taste explosion of flavor. For starters, Crispy Won Tons with two dipping sauces is amazing: salty soy or hot mustard. Double-dipping allowed, as long as your partner doesn’t mind. The Cobb Salad is practically a vegetable garden on a platter. Crispy romaine lettuce provides a bed for chunks of turkey, ham, and bacon. Add avocado slices, chopped tomatoes, sliced eggs, and bleu cheese crumbles. Now you’re talking. Smother it with salad dressing, toss, and eat. Life doesn’t get any better than this.
Dining Outside the Home: Coconut’s Fish Café in Kapaa, Kauai. Anyone who likes coconut shrimp will absolutely flip over this Happy Hour appetizer: Half price Coconut Shrimp with a fiery sweet chili pineapple dipping sauce. A generous portion count of six batter fried fan-tailed shrimp is enough to share or make a substantial meal for one. Don’t judge me. Another winner is the Ahi Poke: raw tuna chunks marinated in soy, garlic, and green onions. Try not to drool. Long story short, if you like to save money and don’t mind a late lunch or early supper, spend more time at the beach and then head over to Coconut’s Fish Café for a great taste of seafood.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: One Fish, Two Fish! The health benefits of eating tilapia are enough to make you feel like a poet. By choosing a fish that is high in protein and low in calories, why not get creative with a baked and crispy crust? This one has a kick of spice balanced with natural cornmeal and grated cheese. Give it a whirl and pass your comments on to me. I’d love to hear from you.
ONE FISH, TWO FISH
2 tilapia fillets, boneless and skinless
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 cup Jazzy Jerk Sauce*
Preheat oven to 425°. While the oven is preheating, cover the bottom of an iron skillet with the olive oil. Place skillet in oven while you prepare the breading for the tilapia. Mix together all dry ingredients and spread on a sheet of waxed paper. Pour the Jazzy Jerk Sauce* into a shallow bowl. Dip one fish fillet at a time into the sauce, coating both sides. Once wet, dredge in bread crumb mixture to fully cover both sides. Set aside and repeat for the second fish fillet. Using oven mitts, carefully remove iron skillet from oven. Place fish fillets in pan and return to oven. Bake 8 minutes, gently turn over and bake 4 minutes longer. Do not over cook. Serve with a side of cole slaw.
*Jazzy Jerk Sauce recipe may be found by clicking on the link below.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Yum Yum Sauce! Although I got a little creative with the recipe, I’m seriously not making up the name, Yum Yum Sauce. Many of you already know it as the popular condiment found in Japanese hibachi restaurants. With a little tweaking, you now have permission to bathe dinner in it. By pairing it with tilapia fish and adding creamy spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, it literally had me licking my fork after every bite. I suppose you could add a side dish of rice or noodles, but honestly, I never got that far.
YUM YUM SAUCE
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2-3 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, diced
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 cup heavy cream
10-ounce package frozen creamed spinach
3 tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons Italian-style bread crumbs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
Combine mayonnaise, melted butter, tomato paste, agave nectar, seasoned salt, and rice vinegar in a bowl. Whisk thoroughly to blend. Fold in sun-dried tomatoes. Whisk together corn starch and heavy cream. Add to sauce. Mix well. Set aside. Microwave creamed spinach according to package directions. Set aside. To prepare tilapia fillets, dust both sides with Italian-style bread crumbs. Warm 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon butter in an iron skillet over medium heat. Fry seasoned fillets until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined platter. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring Yum Yum Sauce to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cook 5 minutes until thickened and heated through, stirring occasionally. Add creamed spinach. Stir well. To serve, spoon enhanced Yum Yum Sauce onto a plate. Top with tilapia fillets.
“I was a mermaid in my past life.
I feel it when I go into the sea.
I feel a connection there between me,
and the water, and the fish;
they speak to me…
and the shells, they ring out to me.”
~ Ella Henderson
Dining Outside the Home: Coconut’s Fish Café in Kapaa, Kauai. Even if you never plan to ride a surfboard, you can still enjoy the spirit of Aloha every time you visit Coconut’s Fish Cafe. Surfboard table tops encourage a “Hang Loose” attitude while filling the room with positive energy and healthy food. Top a mixed green salad with the grilled shrimp duo and a seared plank of blackened ahi, smeared with wasabi sauce. Also, might I suggest the papaya dressing? It’s amazing. All sauces and dressings are made from scratch. Order the coconut shrimp to have beforehand or with the meal. It sets the stage for a fabulous meal.
Dining Outside the Home: The Fish Express in Lihue, Kauai! If you’re looking for a quick bite of incredibly fresh fish, spicy ahi, batter-fried butterfly shrimp, or seasoned seafood, make a pit stop at The Fish Express near the Lihue Airport. No matter the time of day, people can be seen standing around outside leaning against the building or sitting in the shade with a styrofoam container propped in one hand and a fork in the other. Once inside the door of this carry-out eatery, you’ll be blown away by the multitude of choices available in the glass showcase. No worries. Try anything that looks yummy. But you better hurry. If you dilly-dally too long, the person beside you might snatch it up. The staff is an old hand at getting people through the line f-a-s-t. Affordable Bento boxes are placed on the edge of the counter near the register as a convenient add-on. Do it. Throw a couple bucks in the Tip Jar. As you’re driving away, don’t be surprised if you find yourself cracking open a container to nibble on its contents. “It’s fresh off da boat.”
Dining Outside the Home: Gordon Ramsay Fish ‘n Chips in Las Vegas, Nevada! It’s no shame to be mesmerized while walking along The LINQ Promenade. With al fresco dining, unique shopping, and vibrant lights, it’s easy to get caught up in the flurry of activity. Gordon Ramsay knows that. Perhaps that is the reason he opened a takeaway-style British restaurant, with a simple menu, called Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips. The name says it all. Order battered fish filets accompanied by homemade dipping sauces along with chips, natural or dirty. Thank goodness the line moves quickly, because the aromas are mouth-watering. Grab a seat at the counter for picnic-style dining and dig in. There’s a lot to be said for keeping things simple.