Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sea Bass with Mediterranean Salsa

By: The Food Hunter

Fresh, good quality seafood is hard to come by in Phoenix; I mean let's face it we live in a desert. But in all honesty there are a few stores out there that are doing it well. Most recently I checked-out Chula Seafood in south Scottsdale and was quite impressed with the selection, quality and prices.

I purchased a few pieces of black sea bass from Chula and made a delicious Mediterranean inspired meal for my husband and I. The sea bass is roasted in the oven with red onions and fresh sprigs of oregano. During the last 6 minutes of cooking the fish is topped with a healthy mix of tomatoes & olives. It's an elegant easy-to-make dish that is loaded with flavor.

Sea Bass with Mediterranean Salsa

For the salsa:
1 garlic clove, minced
1 anchovy
1 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound grape/cherry tomatoes, halved
6 olives (a mix of green & black), pitted and chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, re-hydrated
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
crushed red pepper to taste

For the fish:
2 (6 ounce) black sea bass fillets with skin and bones removed
extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
4 fresh oregano sprigs

To make the salsa:

Mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a bowl and whisk with oil, chopped anchovy, vinegar, and some crushed red pepper flakes. Toss with remaining salsa ingredients. Let stand, stirring occasionally, while cooking fish.

To make the fish:
Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Oil a small baking pan.

Rub all sides of fish with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place onion slices and oregano sprigs down first. Place fish on top.

Roast fish about 10 minutes. At this point remove fish from oven and top with salsa. Place back in oven and continue cooking another 5-6 minutes until fish has reached an internal temperature of 135-140.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Pistachio Semifreddo

By: The Food Hunter

Semifreddo, which means half cold, is an Italian dessert that combines meringue & whipped cream to form a texture similar to a frozen mouse. It can be made in a variety of flavors but I love the mixture of crunchy pistachios and the hint of almond in the recipe below.

Semifreddo is a wonderful dessert to make in the summer when you don't feel like turning on the oven or dragging out the ice cream machine. In just minutes of mixing and a few hours of freezer time you get a silky, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth dessert that you'll want to eat every day.

Although delicious on its own, I highly suggest topping the semifreddo with a drizzle of dark chocolate and serving it with some cognac cherry compote.

Pistachio Semifreddo
adapted from Pastry Studio

3/4 Cup shelled pistachios & extra for garnish
1/2 Cup sugar, divided
3 large egg whites at room temperature
1 Cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
cognac cherry compote (recipe below)
melted dark chocolate

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang on each side.  (I also placed a strip of parchment paper on top of the plastic for smoother sides).

In a small food processor, grind 1/2 cup pistachios with 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar until very finely ground. Pour into a bowl. Coarsely chop the remaining 1/4 cup pistachios and combine with the finely ground mix.

Beat egg whites until they are opaque and hold soft peaks. Add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar a little at a time, increasing speed to high. Beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks. (stiff is key)

Mix cream with almond extract until it holds soft peaks. (soft is key)

Gently fold meringue and nut mixture into whipped cream. Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with offset spatula. Place in freezer until firm, about 8 hours.

Run a thin knife or small metal spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen. Invert onto serving plate  and carefully pull off the plastic wrap and parchment. Garnish with chopped pistachios. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate and serve immediately with cognac cherries.

Cognac Cherry Compote
1 pound fresh cherries
1/8 cup sugar
1-2 teaspoons cognac
1-2 drops almond extract

Stem, pit and chop the cherries. Place them in a saucepan with sugar over medium heat. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring them frequently.

Remove from heat and stir in the cognac and almond extract. Let cool before serving. Compote will thicken as it sits.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Tropical Sunrise Smoothie Featuring Premier Protein Shakes #AD

By: The Food Hunter

Over the years I've found that the more active you are the more protein you need in your diet both to help you build muscle and to provide you with the energy to perform at your best. According to research, eating a diet high in protein can also help manage obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Protein rich foods like eggs, almonds, chicken, and fish are all great options for those living an active lifestyle like myself. Another way to meet your daily protein goals is the use of a protein powder/shakes. Protein in the form of shakes, like Premier Protein banana and cream or their more traditional vanilla & chocolate, can be eaten alone or combined with your favorite fruits to make delicious smoothies like the one below. Premier protein shakes have 30 grams of protein and are only 160 calories.

For those of you that shop at Costco they are currently offering (8/3-8/17) $5 off an 18-pack of Premier Protein Shakes. Grab some and give the recipe below a try before your next workout.

  • 1/2 cup Premier Protein Bananas & Cream shake
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 sliced orange
  • 1/2 cup Premier Protein Bananas & Cream shake
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries)
  • 1 frozen banana
  1. Place all mango smoothie ingredients into blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and pour into glass.
  3. Rinse blender container.
  4. Place berry ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour berry layer on top of mango smoothie. Enjoy!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Premier Protein . The opinions and text are all mine.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Grilled Fennel & Cannellini Bean Salad

By: The Food Hunter

Growing up fennel, or finocchio as we called it, was served after dinner to aid digestion before dessert. It was served raw and tasted strongly of licorice. Though I love eating it raw, I also enjoy it grilled and sauteed. Honestly, in my opinion, you can't go wrong with fennel. The sweet unique taste of the fennel bulb adds so much flavor no matter how you use it.

Grilled Fennel & Cannellini Bean Salad

1 large fennel bulb
1 can cannellini beans
1/4 lb pancetta, diced
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook fennel for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Slice the bulb into quarters and season with salt and pepper. Grill fennel for 10 minutes each side, or until the pieces begin to soften, but still has a slight crunch. 
In the meantime fry pancetta on the stove until crispy, set aside to cool. 

Add olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic powder and chopped sage to a small bowl and whisk to emulsify the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Combine fennel with the drained beans and fried pancetta.  Toss with dressing, top with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Coffee Pecan Pound Cake

By: The Food Hunter

There's something about a classic pecan pound cake that is comforting to me. The combination of pecans and buttery goodness evokes such vivid memories of my grandmother and her love for dessert. So when I came across the recipe below for Coffee Pecan Pound Cake on Love Foodies I knew I had to make it.

Pecans and coffee are combined in this moist loaf that is delicious served for breakfast, a mid-day snack, or dessert.

Coffee Pecan Pound Cake

3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs lightly beaten
4 Teaspoons of coffee granules dissolved in 2 Tablespoons hot water.
1 3/4 cups All purpose flour, sieved
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pecans

Heat oven to 160 C, Gas 3, 300 Grease and line your baking tin. See here for how to line.

Get all your ingredients ready, i.e dissolve the coffee, sieve the flour, and add the salt and baking powder to the flour etc. Crush the pecans a little with your hand so they are not such big pieces.

Start with making the cake batter by creaming the butter and sugar until a pale light colour.

Slowly add the beaten eggs to the mixer, on a low speed setting, a bit at a time. If the mixture starts to curdle or split, add a spoonful of your sieved flour, keep on adding the eggs, and a bit of flour if necessary, until all the eggs are added.

Add half the milk with half of the flour, keeping the mixer on a slow speed. Once combined, add the coffee mixture, the rest of the milk and flour. Fold in the pecans.

Transfer the cake mixture to the greased and lined loaf tin. Drop it from a 3 cm height onto the work surface to level it out, then place in the oven for 1hr and 20 minutes, check after 1 hour and 5 minutes to see if it is cooked, using a skewer. Every oven varies, so keep an eye on your cake!

Have a cup of tea!

Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container. You can also freeze half or all of it, wrap in parchment paper, then place in a zippy bag. Defrost as normal and enjoy! It will still be moist.