Sunday, January 26, 2014

Iron Chef at the Charest House

The boys challenged me to make a 3 course meal with four ingredients that they would bring home from the grocery store. They came home yesterday with swordfish, goat brie, red lentils, okra and a fresh coconut. Yes, you are correct, that is five ingredients not four but they couldn't decide which one to put back.
1. The rules of the game is 3 courses using all 5 ingredients.
2. Recipe collection consultation is permitted.
3. No time limit.
4. I can use anything else I already have in the house. No additional shopping.
5. The end product must be something I think they would like.
6. They have to at least try each course.

Scoring of each dish will be conducted based on presentation, creativity and taste on a scale of 1-10 by both judges..... Nick & Warren.

I can up with a soup and 2 different appetizers and entrees that use all of the ingredients. I was excited to try them so I set out to make all 5 dishes. But you will notice there are only four below. There was one for swordfish recipe with a coconut lime sauce. When I made the sauce it was beyond awful so we were back down to three dishes. But I do have an additional okra and coconut rice recipe I will be trying later this week.

Shrimp and Coconut Spring Rolls 
adapted from Bon Appétit | May 2008 

5 ounces peeled cooked shrimp, cut into 1/4inch pieces*
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced Napa Cabbage
1/2 cup finely grated peeled fresh coconut
1/4 unpeeled English cucumber, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch cubes 

1 1/2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons fish sauce, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons sugar substitute, divided

1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
1/3 teaspoon dried mint leaves
5 8-inch-diameter spring roll wrappers

Combine shrimp, lettuce, coconut, cucumber, 1 1/2 tsp lime juice, 2 teaspoons fish sauce, 1/4 teaspoon sugar substitute, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, green onion, and mint in large bowl.

Moisten kitchen towel.

Squeeze out excess moisture and lay towel flat on work surface. Fill large bowl with warm water. Submerge 1 wrapper in water until beginning to soften, about 20 seconds. Place on damp towel. Place 1/4 cup shrimp mixture in 3-inch long strip down center of wrapper. Fold insides of wrapper over filling, then roll up tightly, enclosing filling. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. 

Mix 1/4 cup lime juice, 1 teaspoons fish sauce, 1 teaspoons sugar substitute, and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes in a  small bowl. Serve rolls with dipping sauce.

* I did not have pre-cooked shrimp so I sauteed the shrimp in a pan coated with cooking spray and dusted lightly with Oriental Five Spice Seasoning.

Well this one was NOT a hit with the boys. Warren could not get past the texture of the rice paper. So ...... we tried frying them. He liked them better but they still were not an egg roll.


Red Lentil Soup with and without Andouille Sausage
adapted from Gourmet October 2007

Who knew red lentils would turn yellow when cooked. I have never worked with them before so it was quite a surprise

1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1  bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup red lentils 

3 1/2 cups everything but the kitchen sink stock or canned chicken broth
1 Tablespoon Penzey's turkey base (do not include if using canned broth)
3 cups water

6 oz. fully cooked andouille sausage, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Cook onion garlic and cumin in oil until softened.Add the bay leaf and thyme spring and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add lentils, broth, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are very soft and falling apart, about 30 minutes.

Discard bay leaf and thyme sprig, then purée 2 cups of mixture in blender and return to pan. 

Serve topped with fresh parsley.

In a small pan, saute the andouille sausage until beginning to brown and heated through.  Add to the servings for people who believe that sausage should be included in every meal. I know two such people. 

Baked Crab Brie and Artichoke Dip 
adapted from Gourmet | February 1998

1 medium leek (white part only), trimmed, washed & chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup drained canned artichoke hearts, rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup thawed frozen chopped creamed spinach
1 pound Goat Brie, rind removed and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
2/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons dried dill leaves
1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1 pound crab meat
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
Accompaniment: toasted thin baguette slices, crackers or tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 425°F and lightly coat an 11-inch gratin or other shallow baking dish (about 6-cup) with cooking spray.

Cook the leek, onion, and garlic in oil stirring, until pale golden then add artichoke hearts and creamed spinach.

Add wine and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add milk and simmer, stirring, 1 minute. 
Add Brie, stirring until it just begins to melt. Remove skillet from heat and stir herbs into mixture.

Pick over crab meat.

In a large bowl stir together crab meat, mustard, and Tabasco. Add to the cheese mixture. Spread mixture evenly in baking dish and bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.

Serve dip hot with toasts, crackers or tortillas.

Cajun Swordfish with Corn & Okra Rice
adapted from Australian Good Taste - March 2002

1 cup corn kernels
1 cup cooked white rice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
8 small okra, ends trimmed, thinly sliced crossways
Pinch of salt
1 lb swordfish
1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
1 lime, quartered

Preheat the oven to 500F.

Cook the onion and okra in the oil stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes or until crisp and brown. Add rice and corn to pan. Gently toss for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. If dry add a little stock to the pan to moisten the rice.Remove from heat. Taste and season with salt. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Coat both sides of swordfish steak with Cajun spice. Place in the oven for about 7 minutes or until cooked through.

To serve, spoon rice mixture onto serving plates. Top with swordfish and then tomato. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

And the scores are in:Based on 30 points

Spring rolls
                                       Nick                           Warren
Dip                                   14                                26* 
Spring Rolls                       13                                25               
Soup                                 26                                29
Entree                               23                                26

*We preferred the dip with the addition of salsa

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