Today we’re making those warm little cheese puffs that taunted you from the basket on the center of your table the last time you dined in a Brazilian steakhouse. You know, those cheese puffs you said you weren’t going to eat because you were hungry for steak… and then you ate the entire basket of cheese puffs anyway because they were absurdly addictive and outrageously delicious? You’ve never done this? Oh. That must have been, er, another friend of mine. 😉
Credit for inspiring today’s dish goes to Olivia’s Cuisine. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!
Step 1) Add tapioca flour to a large bowl and set aside.
Step 2) Bring milk, olive oil, and salt just barely to a boil in a small pot. Remove from heat and pour over tapioca flour.
Step 3) Use an electric mixer to blend tapioca flour and milk mixture together into a smooth dough.
Step 4) Add egg and continue blending until dough is uniform.
Step 5) Add cheeses, one at a time, and blend until dough is uniform.
Step 6) Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until the Pão de Queijo are a speckled, golden brown color.
When visiting my Aunt in California, I enjoyed awesome – and I mean awesome – cioppino. In an ironic twist, I was inspired to make a pot of California Cioppino 2,500 miles away on the Gulf Coast. The seafood varies, of course, between the Pacific Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, but the main ingredients here – mussels, tilapia, bay scallops, and shrimp – can be found in any supermarket. Don’t worry if you’re nowhere near a coastline; frozen seafood is just fine for this dish. Just pick up the seafood that is available to you in your area, put on some flip flops, and pretend the snowbank you see from your kitchen window is a white sand beach. 😉
Note: The cioppino recipe below is a stew, intended to be served in a bowl, like soup, perhaps with a side of good bread. Some folks prefer cioppino as a pasta topping. If that’s more your style, then reduce the fish broth from 4 cups all the way down to 1 1/2 cups. Other than that single change, the rest of the recipe remains the same. Your resulting cioppino will be less brothy and will hold up when served over a plate of pasta.
1/4 cup fresh diced parsley (or 2 tablespoons dried parsley)
Step 1) In a large stockpot saute onion in olive oil, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent. Add celery and saute for one minute longer.
Step 2) Add fish broth, crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, and Old Bay Seasoning to the pot. (Don’t add the wine yet.) Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Step 3) Add frozen mussels and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Step 4) Add tilapia (NOT frozen) and bay scallops (frozen). Simmer, uncovered, for an additional 3 minutes.
Step 5) Finally, add raw shrimp and wine. Simmer for a final 3 minutes. At this point the shrimp should be pink (not opaque), the scallops should be bright white (not opaque), the tilapia should be flaky, and the mussels are definitely ready! Remove from heat and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.
After spending a lovely but blustery morning fishing from Okaloosa Pier, we came upon Nellie’s Lumpia in Fort Walton Beach. Self-described as an “unfussy strip-mall joint offering a buffet of Filipino staples, including lumpia & chicken adobo,” Nellie’s is reasonably priced and absolutely delicious. What’s not to love about piping hot, savory deep fried spring rolls filled with pork and cheese (below left) or beef and veggies (below right), served with a sweet and tangy chili dipping sauce? Yum!
The Global Recipe Project cookbook contains a fantastic recipe for authentic lumpia. Bee at Rasa Malaysia also offers an approachable recipe to try. Whether you make them in your own kitchen or pick up a batch from a Filipino diner, I hope you try these amazing snacks. Life is short. Eat happy food!
Key Lime Cups offer all of the flavor of a freshly baked key lime pie, without all the fuss. Also, by eliminating the pie crust and serving this frozen dessert in small juice glasses, we lower the carb count. Enjoy!
Delicious, easy, and feeds a crowd – a Gulf Islands shrimp boil might just be the perfect, no fuss special occasion meal. You won’t need fancy dishes or silver utensils for this dish – this, friends, is a paper plates and paper napkins meal! Stuck in a polar vortex and need a mood boost? Put your heavy coat away and fish out your flip flops. Turn on some island music, slather on some coconut lotion, close your drapes and pretend it’s summertime while you enjoy this dish. Winter really will end, eventually.
3 pounds fresh Gulf shrimp (unpeeled or peeled, it’s up to you – also, frozen and thawed raw shrimp will work fine)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
Step 1) Bring water, bouillon cubes, and steak seasoning (or Old Bay) to a boil in a large pot.
Step 2) Add potatoes, whole, to boiling water and boil for 10 minutes.
Step 3) After 10 minutes, add frozen corn cobs to boiling water. Boil for an additional 5 minutes (if corn is thawed, boil for only 2 minutes).
Step 4) After 5 minutes (or 2 minutes if corn was thawed), add shrimp and zucchini. Boil for an additional 3 minutes, or until shrimp have lost their opaque color and have turned completely pink.
Step 5) Remove pot from heat and carefully drain off liquid. Tip pot over a LARGE serving platter (a large turkey platter or jelly roll pan works well for this) and spread out potatoes, corn, shrimp, and zucchini.
Step 6) Stir together melted butter and sriracha. Drizzle butter mixture over the platter.
Step 7) Squeeze lemon wedges over platter and then leave the lemon wedges on the platter.
Today’s bargain find at the local Gulf Coast seafood market was unassuming, small Gulf shrimp. These little guys might not be the most exotic item at the market, but wow are they delicious! This simple preparation will have you dining on tasty shrimp in minutes. Enjoy!
Looking for a new appetizer idea? Pick up a squid steak or two from your local seafood market (or check any market for frozen squid steaks; frozen is fine for this recipe). Squid steak sounds exotic, and is indeed delicious, but this squid steak recipe is really quite simple to prepare.
Creamy, spicy satay sauce is the perfect dressing for fresh Gulf shrimp. Tossed with fresh, spiralized zucchini and wrapped in crispy cabbage leaves, this dish packs a low-carb, high flavor punch. Enjoy!
Step 1) Whisk together satay sauce ingredients until sauce is smooth and uniform. Chill.
Step 2) Toss together chilled satay sauce, cold shrimp, and spiralized zucchini.
Step 3) Scoop about 1/4 cup of shrimp mixture onto each deveined cabbage leaf (see below). It’s easier to fold or roll the cabbage leaves as you eat them. I recommend serving these open-faced, as shown at the top. Enjoy!
Little neck clams are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, economical along the Gulf Coast, and delicious. We’re using a simple preparation today, because these delicate clams don’t require a lot of fuss. Also, the beach is calling!
Ingredients (Serves 2 as an appetizer, 1 as a dinner – recipe doubles easily)
Step 1) Melt butter in skillet over low-medium heat. Add garlic, orange, and spinach. Layer clams on top of spinach.
Step 2) Turn heat to medium-high and cover skillet. Cook, covered, which steams the clams, for 6 minutes or until all (or almost all) of the clam shells have popped wide open. Remove from heat.
Step 3) Discard any unopened clams. Serve immediately in shallow bowls, alone or with French bread for dipping. Note: the broth which forms when the clams open and release their juices is absolutely delicious!
*Yes, we’re really using frozen spinach! Why? First, because it contains a lot of liquid and we actually want that liquid in this dish. Second, because the leaves are already packed down, which is convenient for this recipe.
Both whole red snapper and red snapper filets are pretty common in Gulf Coast seafood markets. They are also pretty darn expensive. Today, however, I stumbled across a curious find tucked in the ice right between those plump whole fish and jumbo filets… an unassuming Post-It note declared “Red Snapper Wings, $3/lb.” Now, I’ve never heard of a fish wing, but for $3 a pound I’m not above asking for details! The fishmonger explained that “wings” are the cut above the filet and below the head on any large fish. This cut, she explained, contains bone and fins, but also a surprising amount of tender meat. Alrightie, let’s try fish wings!
As it happens, fish wings are just about the easiest thing you can make for a quick snack or simple dinner on the Gulf Coast. Simply arrange your wings skin side up on a greased baking pan, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. That’s it. The end. Just pick them up, or use a fork if you are feeling fancy, and eat them as you would a chicken wing. A simple spicy mayo sauce may be served alongside: mix together 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sour cream, 1 minced garlic clove, and 2 teaspoon sriracha sauce. Enjoy!
We shared this recipe on Crowded Earth Kitchen several years ago, and since that time quite a few health conscious readers have joined the Crowded Earth Kitchen circle of friends. Everything about this light and crunchy salad is aimed at wellness, from the cancer fighting phytochemicals in carrots to the anti-angiogenic compounds in the simple dressing ingredients. If your local market sells carrots in a variety of colors, great! Different colors (orange, yellow, purple, red) indicate different phytochemicals, and we want to invite lots of those disease fighters to this dinner party! Don’t worry if you can’t find other colors, though – commonly available orange carrots are super healthy on their own. Read more about the awesome properties of carrots here!
I’m using my Veggetti vegetable spiralizer for this carrot salad. For just a few dollars, it offers a great way to enjoy a variety of crunchy vegetables.
At a local Gulf Coast seafood market, I was able to procure the head of a red snapper for $1. It was big – around 1 1/2 pounds, and sizeable enough to almost fill the bottom of a stockpot – quite a deal for $1! To put that in perspective, if you would like a fresh red snapper head with the rest of the red snapper attached, well, that will set you back upward of $30. Red snapper is not an economical fish, so we’re getting creative to capture red snapper flavor without the red snapper cost!
To make fish head broth, just get yourself a fish head and drop it in the bottom of a stockpot. Ask your butcher or fishmonger for a fish head if you don’t see them… if a market sells fresh fish fillets, they must have had heads at some point, yes? Cover the fish head with 10 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Strain the liquid into a separate pot, and Voila! Now you have mild and delicious red snapper broth as a base for your fish head stew.
If you’d like to pick the meat off of the cooked fish head, go for it. I pulled a bit of meat off of each of the sides or “cheeks,” but that’s about it. Fully dissecting a large fish head is not for the faint of heart; if you’re a little squeamish, just strain your broth and discard the head entirely. No worries.
NOTE: This version of simple fish head stew is low-carb and keto friendly. If carbs are not an issue, consider adding 1 or 2 peeled, cubed raw potatoes and 1 cup of corn kernels along with your seafood in step 1. Either or both would make delicious additions to your stew!
Moving on, here’s what you’ll need to turn your fish head broth into a delicious fish head stew:
Ingredients (Makes a big pot)
10 cups fish head broth (see above)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 pound of seafood (I used tilapia fillets because they’re inexpensive; other ideas include raw peeled shrimp, canned minced clams, or small bay scallops – use about 1 pound total, in any combination.)
Step 1) Bring strained fish head broth (see above) to a boil. Add seafood and bouillon cubes. Immediately reduce heat to low. Simmer over low heat, uncovered.
Step 2) While seafood is simmering in broth, fry diced bacon in a small skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside; do not drain or clean the skillet!
Step 3) Add zucchini and garlic to the skillet with the bacon fat. Sautee for about 3 minutes, until you can smell the garlic and the zucchini peel turns bright green. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 4) Check your seafood. If you are using tilapia fillets or bay scallops, they should be turning from an opaque color to white. If you are using shrimp, they should be turning pink. When the seafood appears almost cooked through (i.e., mostly white or mostly pink), add all of the vegetables to the pot. Continue simmering over low heat until the seafood is completely cooked, and any fish in your stew flakes easily.
Step 5) When the seafood is completely cooked, remove stew from heat and allow to cool for one minute. Then, add half and half cream.
Step 6) Ladle your fish head stew into bowls. If desired, ladle into bowls over a scoop of cooked white rice (optional). Garnish with crispy fried bacon and serve immediately!
Rendang, a traditional Indonesian dish, involves simmering meat in a rich, fragrant sauce of coconut milk, chilies, and myriad spices. Beef rendang is most common, but rendang can also be made from other meats (such as pork, chicken, or goat) and hearty fish. Here on the Gulf Coast, we’re taking advantage of the availability of right-off-the-boat seafood and are making rendang using a fresh tuna steak.
Full disclosure: While the freezer in our Midwest home is stocked with small quantities of goodies such as lime leaves, lemongrass stalks, Thai chilies, and galangal, our traveling kitchen here on the Gulf Coast is not. Consequently, we’ve taken liberties – a lot of liberties – with the traditional rendang base. That’s why we’re calling it “Easy.” The results were quite tasty (or we wouldn’t share them with you!). So, if you’re looking for an EASY way to capture the general flavor of rendang without investing in a list of niche ingredients, give this a whirl!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 pound Yellowfin tuna steak, cut into 2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 can coconut milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, minced
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce (more or less to taste)
Step 1) Melt coconut oil in large skillet over high heat. Sear tuna over high heat for about 30 seconds. Flip tuna over and sear an additional 30 seconds.
Step 2) Reduce heat to low and add remaining ingredients to skillet. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, or until sauce is thickened. Serve over rice.