What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Tripletail Fish Fillet! No, this fish species does not actually have three tails, like its name implies. It does, however, have three rounded fins on the back end of its body that make it appear that way. Pretty cool, huh? It tends to swim in tropical waters, or float on top of the water giving it an appearance of a dry leaf drifting along on a wave. Perhaps the tripletail’s ancestors were the original hippies of the sea, back in the day. You know, hanging out with aquatic mermaids and other interesting water nymphs. But I digress. If you’re wondering how tripletail taste, it’s kinda like grouper or snapper: naturally firm, flaky, and sweet. You should try it.
TRIPLETAIL FISH FILLET
12-ounce triple tail fish fillet
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Green Onions, chopped
Wash the fish fillet; pat dry. Place in a shallow dish. In a separate bowl, combine rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ground ginger, garlic powder, and chopped green onion. Mix well. Pour the marinade over the fish; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Preheat the gas grill to 400°. Transfer triple tail fish directly to the grill grates. Close lid and cook for 4 minutes. Discard marinade. Turn fish and cook 4 minutes longer, with lid closed. Serve over a bed of Chinese fried rice.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Mildly Sweet Red Grouper! Trust your local source for fresh fish. I do. Since the fishermen often eat what they catch, it’s natural to ask them questions about the type of fish they sell. Oftentimes it seems to be different from what is common in the supermarkets. Does that make sense? I can relate to species that “taste like” sea bass, halibut, mahi mahi, swordfish, ahi, or tilapia. Beyond that, I really need some guidance for porgy, grouper, snapper, and hogfish. I tend to lean more toward mildly flavored and subtly sweet flavors. That way I can always default to melted butter and lemon. As they say, “There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”
MILDLY SWEET RED GROUPER
4 red grouper fish fillets
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon brown sugar
In a shallow dish, arrange red grouper in a single layer. Whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, ground ginger, and brown sugar. Pour marinade over red grouper fillets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat the grill to 400°. Remove fish from marinade and place directly on the grill grates. Close lid and cook for 4 minutes until sides are slightly opaque. Discard marinade. Flip the fish and cook 4 minutes longer. Fish will appear charred with grill marks and flake easily. Transfer to a platter. Squeeze fresh lime juice over top. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Island Pineapple Salsa! For healthy taste with a breath of an island paradise mixed in, treat yourself to this virtuous condiment that goes well with practically anything. Grilled meats, charred veggies, fresh fish, and exotic seafood are great dinner companions as well. For an excellent appetizer, serve the pineapple salsa with lightly seasoned tortilla chips. Goes well with tiki-themed cocktails showcasing dark rum floaters. Can you hear me now?
ISLAND PINEAPPLE SALSA
2 cups pineapple, tidbits
1/4 cup red pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Combine pineapple tidbits, red pepper, red onion, green onions, chopped ginger, and soy sauce in a bowl. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Egg Noodle Bowl! Cooking eggs in the microwave has spoiled me. No fuss, no mess, and practically perfect every time. Do-ahead noodles can be a time saver, as well. But back to the eggs. When using a custard dish, two eggs can easily be prepared in the same dish by increasing the time to 2 minutes. Always cover the dish with a silicone lid or paper towel in case the egg “pops”. Otherwise, it can be an annoying mess to clean up later. Trust me. Once the egg is finished, live boldly and add a dollop of sea salt butter to melt into it. That adds glorious flavor, without regrets
EGG NOODLE BOWL
1 cup fine egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup grilled chicken strips, precooked and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon seasoned soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 green onion, chopped
Pinch herb garlic seasoning
Sriracha sauce, to taste
Once the fine egg noodles are cooked, drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Microwave the chicken chunks on 40% for 2 minutes in the seasoned soy sauce sprinkled with red pepper flakes. Add to the noodle bowl; gently toss. Add the green onions. Set aside. Spray a custard dish with nonstick oil. Crack the egg into it. Pierce the yolk with a toothpick. Sprinkle herb garlic seasoning on top. Cover. Microwave egg on 40% power for 1 1/2 minutes, for runny results. Increase time at 12-second intervals for a hard cooked yolk. Transfer the egg to the top of the noodles. Top with sriracha sauce, to taste. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Swordfish on the Grill! Swordfish is called “Steak” for a reason. Forget fishy-tasting fish. (Say that 3 times really fast!) Swordfish, when grilled, looks more like a ribeye steak. It’s a dense, thick piece of fish. Now that doesn’t mean it is dry and tough. Actually the opposite is true. When you plan ahead and use a marinade, it becomes meaty and juicy, thereby satisfying both meat lovers and fish lovers. You can tell it is cooked because it actually changes color. One more thing, when setting the table…don’t forget the steak knife.
SWORDFISH ON THE GRILL
4 6-ounce swordfish steaks
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Rinse swordfish; pat dry. Set aside. To make the marinade, combine olive oil, soy sauce, garlic red-wine vinegar, dried rosemary, minced garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, grated lemon rind, and red pepper flakes. Whisk to blend. Place swordfish steaks in a single layer of a shallow dish. Pour marinade over all. Coat both sides of fish. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours. Remove dish from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature while preheating the gas grill to 400°. Place swordfish steaks on the preheated grill. Close lid and cook for 5 minutes. Turn, close lid, and cook 5 minutes longer. Fish will be charred on the edges. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Crunchy Crab Cakes! Get ready for a celebration meal by simply serving crab cakes. You’re going to want to savor every bite, so try really hard to chew your food 20 times before taking another forkful. The outer layer is crispy crunchy, which works well for serving with a homemade jezebel sauce, creamy horseradish, or Caesar dressing. Personally, I prefer a bed of romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and green onions simply because it intensifies the sweet lump crabmeat filling that much more. Pour yourself a glass of chilled Chardonnay, bubbly Prosecco, or Pinot Blanc. Now let’s get this party started.
CRUNCHY CRAB CAKES
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
16-ounce can lump crabmeat, rinsed and drained
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together beaten egg, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, soy sauce, sriracha, and Cajun seasoning. Add chopped red pepper and green onions. Fold in crabmeat and 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs. Place remaining breadcrumbs on a sheet of waxed paper. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Divide crab mixture into fourths. Shape each portion into a patty. Coats both sides in the panko bread crumbs. Place crab cake on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with the remaining mixture. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until crab cakes are crispy on the bottom. Flip over and bake 10-12 minutes longer or until golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Unagi Sauce! Anyone who likes Japanese cuisine is familiar with the term “unagi”. You may have seen a squeeze bottle, among other sauces, in a condiment caddy placed on each table at a restaurant specializing in sushi. Those who use unagi regularly may choose to call it “Eel Sauce”, but I’ve found that term used for shock-value more than anything else, especially among family members. If you were ordering grilled eel, well sure by all means, call it that. More importantly, let’s talk about taste because unagi sauce is that thick, sweet, salty stuff you could literally slurp with a spoon. I’d recommend adding a mound of steamed rice to your plate so it wouldn’t be so obvious.
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup mirin
3 tablespoons sake
1/2 cup soy sauce
Place a saucepan over Medium heat. Add sugar, mirin, and sake. Mix well. Add the soy sauce; stir to blend. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. It allows the sugar to dissolve equally. Reduce heat to Simmer. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes longer. Bubbles will appear around the surface of the liquid. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool. Once it reaches room temperature, it is ready to serve. Store leftovers in a covered jar in the refrigerator.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Wing Beans Shoyu! Have you ever seen a four-angled bean? It actually has four corners. The rough texture looks a little odd, all jagged and such. Since they grow in tropical climates where there is plenty of humidity, rainfall, and warmth, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t find them at your local grocery store. However, they are readily available at Farmers Markets in the Hawaiian Islands, which is where I got these delectable little jewels. They taste similar to a snow pea with a slightly sweet crunch. Then there’s the sauce. YUM!
WING BEANS SHOYU
1/2 pound wing beans, washed, ends trimmed, and cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup soy sauce, Japanese-style
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 strip bacon, cooked and crumbled
Place prepared wing beans in a covered casserole dish. Add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave on High setting for 3 minutes until crisp-tender. Do not cook until mushy. Drain. Add crumbled bacon. Combine soy sauce, agave nectar, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Whisk to blend flavors. Drizzle over wing bean mixture. Toss to coat. Serve warm.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Hawaiian Spam Breakfast! Not everyone is on the same page when it comes to breakfast. Some prefer a bowl of cereal in front of the tv, others like yogurt and fruit while checking their email, and some are perfectly happy with their morning cuppa joe watching the sunrise. That’s where this recipe comes in handy. It is a Hawaiian meal for one. It takes only a couple minutes to heat and eat. So when everyone comes crowding into the kitchen because it smells so good, just roll your shoulders and say, “You already had breakfast.”
HAWAIIAN SPAM BREAKFAST
10.5 ounce package heat-and-eat microwaveable rice
2 slices Spam* brand canned meat
1 egg, scrambled
1 green onion, snipped
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Microwave rice according to package directions. Spray a small skillet with nonstick oil. Over medium-high heat, quick-fry 2 slices of Spam. Flip to get both sides crispy. Chop into bite-size pieces. Set aside. Crack an egg into a small dish. Whisk to break the yolk. Spray the small skillet again with nonstick oil. Pour the egg mixture into the pan using the same setting, medium high. Cover. Cook one minute. Remove lid, break up the egg with a spatula. Turn off the burner. Replace the lid for one minute longer. Transfer rice to a bowl, add Spam, scrambled egg, green onion snips, red pepper flakes, and soy sauce. Mix well. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve with chopsticks.
*I receive no recompense for mentioning this product.