My family visited Barcelona in March 2019, which was the 2nd time I went to this beautiful city. Besides enjoying their delicious tapas, I also love their seafood paella. If you have a chance to visit Barcelona, make sure you stop by La Mar Salada. They had the best seafood paella I ever ate! Although other restaurants have good reviews on their paella, it was too salty for us. The reason I decided to make this seafood paella at home is because I cannot find one restaurant in California that serves the paella similar to La Mar Salada’s. I have made this several times already and it reminded my family of Barcelona. The most important thing in making this dish is to use fresh clams, large shrimp and fresh mussels.
||Shrimp with head
||Spanish Paella rice
||Medium size tomatoes
||Large white onion
||Dry white wine
||Calm juice from steaming
- In a small bowl, soak saffron threads in hot water for 20 minutes. (Picture 1)
- Use a toothpick to remove the digestive vein along the back of the shrimp without peeling off the shell. (Picture 2)
- Scrub the calms with a kitchen toothbrush and set aside. (Picture 3)
- Scrub and debeard mussels, set aside. (Picture 4)
- Slice squid just below the eyes, separating the tentacles from the head and reserve tentacles. Gently pull out the head, intestines, ink sac, and clear skeleton; discard innards. Slice body crosswise into rings. (Picture 5)
- Finely chop the white onion. (Picture 6)
- Finely chop garlic. (Picture 7)
- Chop tomatoes. (Picture 8)
- In a small pot, bring the chicken broth and white wine to a boil.
- Fry the onion in a cast iron paella pan until soft. (Picture 9)
- Add in minced garlic and fry for 1 minute. (Picture 10)
- Add in tomatoes. (Picture 11)
- Add sugar, 1 tsp of salt and paprika (Pictures 12-14)
- Add saffron threads and its water, stir well and cook until tomatoes are a little pasty. (Picture 15)
- Add the squid and stir for about a minute. (Picture 16)
- Add rice and stir well until all the grains are coated. (Picture 17)
- Pour hot stock over the rice, bring to a boil, add the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt to taste. Move the pan around and rotate it so that rice cooks evenly. (Picture 18)
- Lay shrimp on top after 10 minutes of cooking the rice, and turn them when they become pink on one side. Continue to cook the rice for another 15 minutes. (Picture 19)
- 5 minutes before the rice is ready, steam the mussels and calms. Reserve the shell fish juice and pour the juice to the rice and cook the rice for 2 additional minutes.
I surely took a long break from blogging. During the past year, I have tried many new recipes, and many of them should be added to my collection. This Mahi Mahi recipe is so fantastic that it motivates me to come back to post. Besides getting comments of having a restaurant-quality dish, I like the fact that it is effortless. I slightly modified the original recipe (which you can find here) to suit my taste.
||Mahi Mahi fillet with or without skin
||Large white onion
||Capers (in brine)
||Fresh lemon juice
||Fresh ground black pepper
||Chopped fresh parsley or green onions as a garnish
- Thinly slice onion, set aside. (picture 1)
- Rinse and drain capers, coarsely chop and set aside. (picture 2)
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over high heat, then add onion and cook until brown (stir frequently). (picture 3)
- Add in water and pepper, cook for 1 minute. (pictures 4 and 5)
- Add in butter, lemon juice and capers. Stir and cook until butter is melted. Remove from heat and cover the pan to keep warm. (pictures 6 – 9)
- Preheat broiler.
- Wash and pat fish dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a cast iron pan over high heat, then add fish fillets to the skillet and fry for about 2 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. (picture A)
- Flip the fillets and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes. (picture B)
- Put the cast iron pan under the oven broil, about 5 inches from heat until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. (pictures C)
- Serve fish topped with onion mixture and sprinkled with parsley or green onions.
- If fillets have skin, put skin sides down when you put them under the broiler.
- Don’t over cover the fish, the fillets should be very moist and soft.
- I had no onions one time, so I used red and yellow bell peppers. It also tastes very good.
This is the second dish I learned from the cooking class at The Gourmandise School. You can use chicken, pork, beef, tofu or a combination. People may get confused with Pad Thai and Pad See Ew – Pad Thai is thin rice noodles cooked with tamarind paste and has a little sweet and sour taste. Pad See Ew is thick rice noodle cooked with soy sauce which is similar to Chinese Chow Fun (fried rice noodles). Both Pad Thai and Pad See Ew are very popular dishes in Thai restaurants. Making this dish is as easy as making the Panang Curry with Chicken.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
||Thai rice stick
||Medium shrimp cut in half
||Extra firm tofu, sliced (optional)
||Thin soy sauce
||Ground chili flakes
||Scallions cut into 1 inch pieces
||Roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- Soak the noodles in warm water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. (picture 1)
- Peel the shrimp , using a small knife to cut the back of the shrimp until you see the vein. Remove the vein carefully and cut shrimp in half. (picture 2)
- Using a wok or large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add shallot and garlic until slightly brown. (picture 3)
- Add shrimp and stir fry for a few seconds until fragrant. (picture 4)
- Stir in the tamarind paste, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and ground chili flakes. (picture 5)
- With your hands, pull the noodles out of the water and add to the pan. Toss noodles thoroughly with sauce mixture until tender. Taste a noodle, if it’s not tender, splash in a bit of the soaking water and cook until noodles soften. (picture 6)
- Make a space in the middle of the pan or on the side of the pan, add the eggs and more oil if needed. Scramble until barely set and mix in with noodles. (picture 7)
- Add lime juice. Taste noodles, if you feel that it needs more seasoning such as fish sauce, sugar, etc. add to taste. (picture 8)
- Toss with tofu (optional), bean sprouts and scallions. (picture 9)
- Serve on a platter and sprinkle chopped peanuts.
- I found it easier to cook this with a wok.
- Tamarind paste is not easy to find but can be purchased at Thai supermarkets.
- I soaked noodles in water for at least 2 hours.
What are fish collars? The collar is a cut from the shoulder area of the fish where the fin is attached. Collar meat is tender, moist and full of delicious flavor. I would say it is the best part of the fish! Salmon and yellowtail collars are very popular and can be found easily in Japanese supermarkets. They are also served as appetizers in some Japanese restaurants. I personally like yellowtail collars best. If you want to make it yourself, it is the simplest thing to cook — it doesn’t need anything but salt.
- Use your fingers to sprinkle collars with salt, turn the collars over and sprinkle some on the other side to make sure each piece is evenly coated (picture 1).
- Add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil into a frying pan and heat for a minute or so.
- Add collars (skin side up) and pan fry with medium heat until golden brown (picture 2).
- Use the tongs to turn the collars over and fry the other side until skin is golden brown (picture 3).
- Serve immediately.
When reheating cooked salmon the next day, its texture and flavor change. What can you do with leftover cooked salmon? There are plenty of options, but I like to toss in bow tie pasta and cook it with creamy white sauce – it’s as good as the first day. You can use dried pasta but I made it from scratch, please go to my “Homemade Fresh Pasta” page for the recipe.
|Dried Bow Tie pasta
Or fresh pasta (pls see “Homemade Fresh Pasta” for recipe)
Cooked salmon filets, broken into pieces
Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
Heavy whipping cream
Rice cooking wine
Grated parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves (Optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions. For fresh pasta, cook for 3-4 minutes only. Drain and set aside.
- Peel and devein shrimp, rub shrimp with ½ teaspoon of salt, set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium heat and add minced garlic. When garlic is slightly brown, add salmon and shrimp, stir occasionally and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add cooking wine, followed by whipping cream, milk and 1 teaspoon of salt (add more salt if needed).
- When sauce is bubbling, add bow tie pasta and basil and mix well. Stir in parmesan cheese and gently toss to mix. Sauce will be thickened now, if sauce is still too runny, combine one teaspoon of cornstarch with two teaspoons of water in a small bowl, stir to dissolve the cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
- Sprinkle black pepper and cheese over the top.
HOW TO MAKE BOW TIE PASTA:
After rolling your pasta dough to the thinness you desire, cut into 1″x2″ retangles with a pastry wheel and cutter.
Take one retangle and pinch in the middle.
Place your index finger in the middle of the retangle and then bring the top and bottom to meet your finger, and press to seal the middle.
Father’s day celebration, we had shrimp and vegetable tempura, Japanese salad and chicken teriyaki on the menu. These are my husband’s favorite Japanese dishes. Our favorite Japanese retaurant is Sushi Komasa in Little Tokyo, but we sometimes go to a place called Gin Sushi in Pasadena. Tonight my kids told me we didn’t need to go to Gin Sushi anymore as we had Gin’s Kitchen! 🙂
I learnt how to make a good tempura batter – You must add very cold water to the batter. Placing cold batter into hot oil is the trick that makes for fluffy and tasty tempura. The salad dressing is amazing too, please refer to my “Japanese Salad Dressing” for the recipe. It’s a keeper!
Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin)
Ingredients for Batter:
|All purpose flour
very cold water
- Thinly cut the vegetables. Set aside.
- Take off the head and shell of the shrimp but keep the tail and devein. Set aside.
- Mix and sift all purpose flour, baking soda and cornstarch.
- In a mixing bowl, beat an egg and then add the cold water and mix.
- Pour ½ of the mixed flour into egg mixture and gently mix. Then add the remaining flour and mix. A few lumps in the batter are fine, do not overmix.
- Put oil into a frying pan. When oil has preheated, dip a wooden chopstick into the oil. If the oil starts steadily bubbling, then the oil is hot enough for frying.
- Dip vegetable into the tempura batter bowl to coat them with tempura batter then carefully put them to the oil. Fry one side and then turn over and fry the other side. Make sure you won’t overcrowd the frying pan as the temperature may drop.
- It should take about 2-3 minutes to cook the vegetables, shrimp will take about 30 seconds.
I cooked this dish with a Chinese wok and the wok flavor was so strong and made this dish so delicious. It’s a very easy and quick dish, it can be done in 30 minutes.
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
1 box (16 oz)
|Medium Tiger Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
Small bunch Fresh basil
Fresh red chili (optional)
Ripe cherry tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper (freshly ground)
- Cook linguini in boiling salted water according to packet instructions. Reserve some of the pasta cooking water before draining the cooked pasta.
- Peel and minced the garlic. Deseed and finely slice the chili (if you don’t like your pasta spicy, omit the chili).
- Remove the basil leaves from the stalks and finely chop the basil stalks. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Set aside.
- Marinate scallops with a pinch of salt, place 1 tablespoon of butter to a small frying pan and pan fry the scallops until both sides are slightly brown.
- In a large frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then add garlic, chili, basil stalks and shrimp, cook over high heat. Fry and stir everything together for about two minutes.
- Add cherry tomatoes to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper. Keep stirring.
- After about 3 minutes when the shrimp are pink and cooked through, return scallops and pasta to the frying pan. Toss everything together, and if the sauce is a bit thick, add a little of your reserved cooking water to thin it out slightly.
- Have a taste then season with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle basil leaves on the top.
Note: Do not overcook the shrimp. The Linguini should be cooked to the al dente stage, do not cook it too soft.
People said fish tacos are not authentic Mexican food but that is not true as fish tacos originated in Baja California, Mexico. I remember I told one of my Hispanic friends that the only Mexican food I like are fish tacos, but he said “oh, we don’t eat that!”. That made me think fish tacos are American food. Whether it’s Mexican food or American food, I love them – either grilled or battered. Below is a recipe for the white sauce that goes with the fish tacos.
4 pieces white fish (such as mahi mahi)
2 tomatoes (diced)
1/4 head Cabbage (Shredded)
Ingredients for white sauce:
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
1 tsp capers (chopped)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried dill
pinch black pepper
1 jalapeno pepper (minced) – optional
- Mix yogurt and mayonnaise in a medium bowl, add in fresh lime juice until the mixture is slightly runny.
- Gradually stir in capers, oregano, cumin, dill and black pepper. If you like the sauce to be a little spicy, add minced jalapeno.
- Marinate fish with salt and garlic powder.
- Grill each side for 2-3 mins (depends on the thickness of the fish fillets).
- Lightly heat tortillas on a frying pan, place grilled fish in a tortilla and top with shredded cabbage, tomatoes and white sauce.
Both cooked and raw oysters are commonly consumed by people. It’s just your preference whether you can tolerate raw shellfish. It was very tempting everytime I saw my friends enjoying raw oysters. Their faces tell you all – raw oysters are heavenly! However, up to this moment, I still haven’t tried any yet. I believe cooking kills bateria. Here is one good recipe I found online and made some changes to it. Opening an oyster is called shucking, and it takes some skill to do it. You can easily find a tutorial on YouTube.
|4 ounces (1 stick)
1/8 cup2 teaspoons
Finely chopped garlic
Freshly shucked oysters on the half shell
Grated Parmesan & Romano cheeses (mixed) or 4 Cheese Mexican
Chopped flat-leaf parsley (Optional)
- In a medium bowl, mix butter with garlic, pepper, and oregano.
- Spoon enough of the seasoned butter over the oysters. Put oysters under a broiler, broil for 3 minutes and then sprinkle cheese on top, broil for another 1 or 2 minutes.
- The oysters are ready when they puff up and get curly on the sides. Serve on the shells immediately.