I love eating, cooking and especially reading about all different types of food. Every month I'll try recipes from some of my favorite culinary magazines and cook books, review restaurants and even share some of my own creations. I'll post pictures and let you know what works, how they taste and tips to make them better. I'll also enlist some friends around the country to tell you about some great food finds where they live.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

A page from my "book" - Pico de Gallo w/Roasted Corn in Tostones Cups, Brown Rice and Red Beans, Lemony Baked Mahi Mahi

This week I decided to take a break from the mags and give you all a taste of what I can do on my own.  I went the tropical route since Mr. Steele was feening for some fish.  The menu included:

Pico de Gallo w/Roasted Corn in Tostones Cups
Brown Rice and Red Beans
Lemony Baked Mahi Mahi

Pico de Gallo w/Roasted Corn in Tostones Cups

Pico de Gallo is really simple to make and a refreshing dip or topping for fish.  I paired it with Tostones Cups.  I found a company online that sells these tostones makers, cubanfoodmarket.com, very cool!  This serves about 3-4 people, depending on how you plan on using this, dip vs. inside the tostones cups.

1 ear of fresh corn
4-5 medium, ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup sweet Maui onion, diced
1/3 cup red pepper, diced
2 tablespoons jalapeno, minced (add more or less depending on how hot you want it)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 of a lime
2 tsp salt to start, add more if needed

4 large green plantains, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
Canola oil, for frying
Iodized or Table Salt

Preheat oven to 375° F.. Place corn husks on the oven rack and roast for 20-30 minutes or until corn is soft. Let cool.  Peel the husks.  Use a sharp knife and cut corn from the cob into a bowl.  Set aside.

Place the rest of the ingredients up to the lime in a medium bowl and stir lightly.  Season with salt, taste to see if you need more.  Add corn, mix together and chill.

Preheat oil in deep pot or fry machine to 375° F.  Carefully place a few pieces into the oil and fry for 5 minutes or until they start turning light brown. Drain them on a paper-towel lined tray. Place a piece in the tostones maker and press.  This may take a few trials to get the right cup shape.  Once youve pressed a few, return them to the oil and fry again for 3-4 minutes or until they get golden brown. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with salt.

Mound the salsa into the hot cups and serve immediatley!

Brown Rice and Red Beans
I gotta give it up to my girl Melissa Ortiz, she's the one who showed me the basics of some good Puerto Rican beans.  Now, my Mom also makes great beans, but for some reason, Mel's always stuck with me.  Over the years, I've added my own touches to the beans, more vegetables, no Goya Sazón or Adobo.  I try to keep the ingredients as natural as I can.  But hey, if you're in a bind, both Goya Sazón and Adobo can make your beans delicious.  I use the brown rice because it's got a hefty texture and it really holds up to the beans.  Of course, you can use white rice as well.

2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup brown rice

2 tsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 brown onion, minced
3 tbsp carrots, minced
3 tbsp green or red pepper, minced
1 tsp fresh oregano
1 can (15.5 oz) red kidney beans, drain only half the can
2 tsp salt
1 medium tomato, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup water
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium sauce pan, stir in rice.  Cover.  Reduce heat and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until broth is absorbed.  If you want drier rice, use 1/4 cup less broth.

In a medium sauce pan, on medium-high heat, heat the olive oil in the pan.  Add garlic, onions, carrots, peppers and saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the oregano, beans, salt, tomato, pepper flakes, bay leaf, water and vinegar.  Turn heat to low and simmer until flavors come together, about 15 minutes.  If you like your beans a bit thinner, add more water, thicker, add less.  Another trick, take a few beans at the end, crush them in a bowl, and return to the pot.  This will thicken the beans up.  Serve with rice.

Lemony Baked Mahi Mahi

The Ferry Building here in San Francisco has a great fish market, and we were able to pick up some fresh, sushi grade Mahi Mahi.  This is a really meaty fish, so normally you can grill and it's at it's best.  We baked it in the oven at 400° F, and it was just as good.

3 half lb filets, mahi mahi
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat oven to 400° F.  In shallow glass bowl or Ziploc bag, place fish, and last 4 ingredients.  Marinate for 15-20 minutes.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, turning over once.  Bake until the fish is cooked through and brown.  You can add some lemon slices and the corn salsa to the fish as topping.

I hope you guys enjoy these dishes.  I'll try to add some more of my favorites really soon.  I'm traveling next week, so I'll try my best to add a posting.  Let's see how things go.  Take care!
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