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Category Archives: Rice

Shrimp Scampi Flatbread Pizza

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As predicted, every pizza joint in my area is suddenly a fish fry too! After Easter, the Friday fish fry specials will gradually fade away, but for anyone who abstains from meat on Fridays during this time of the year, your local pizza shop is probably your one-stop-shop for Friday takeout!

If you’re feeling like something other than pizza, fried haddock or frozen fish sticks, I’ve got a few ideas for you. For starters, I’ve got a new recipe for a shrimp scampi flatbread pizza. We’ll start with a basic shrimp scampi, which will drizzle over individual flatbread crusts, and bake with a bit of asiago and mozzarella cheese. Garlic-flavored naan (Indian flatbread) makes an especially tasty crust for this pizza. Many supermarkets now carry prepared naan, either fresh in the bread or international section or frozen. If you can’t get your hands on flatbread or naan, a thin prepared pizza crust would do the trick.

For the purpose of this pizza, small salad shrimp (the kind you can typically find cooked and frozen) work perfectly. If you’d like to use this scampi recipe for serving over rice or pasta, substitute the salad shrimp for larger, fresh shrimp and allow them to cook in the buttery garlic sauce.

Shrimp Scampi Flatbread Pizza

Ingredients

  • 4 flatbreads, Indian naan, or a thin-crust pizza shell
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups cooked salad-sized shrimp, defrosted
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup asiago cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the garlic just begins to turn a golden brown. Lower the heat, if necessary, to prevent burning. Add the white wine and lemon juice. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and gently simmer until heated through. Season with crushed red pepper and salt, as desired. Stir in the fresh parsley. Allow the scampi mixture to cool slightly.

To assemble the pizzas, place the flatbreads or naan onto baking sheets. Sprinkle approximately 1/4 cup asiago cheese over each flatbread or naan. Spoon some of the shrimp mixture, with a small amount of the buttery sauce, over the cheese. To prevent your pizza from becoming soggy, do not use too much of the sauce. A light drizzle around the pizza will be perfect. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese over the top of each pizza. Bake for about 12 minutes.

Makes 4 Individual Flatbread Pizzas

Looking for a few other meat-free dinner options? Check out these previously posted Gourmand Mom recipes:

Codfish Cakes


Pan-Fried Tilapia with Grapefruit and Shaved Leeks


Broiled Salmon Bruschetta


Coconut Crusted Tilapia with Tropical Fruit Salsa


Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese in a Citrus-Honey Vinaigrette


Cinnamon Apple and Brie Quesadillas


Broiled Halibut with Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Capers


Tropical Fish Tacos with Spicy Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice


Salmon Burgers with Horseradish Sauce


Heirloom Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella


Chilled Avocado Soup and Crab Cakes with Chipotle Remoulade


Buttermilk Battered Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Chipotle Dipping Sauce


Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp


Shrimp and Asparagus in a Lemony Basic Alfredo Sauce


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Easy Pork Fried Rice

Last weekend, my siblings and I planned a sneak attack on our mom, to surprise her for a birthday of some significance. With the greatest of stealth, we traveled to our hometown and gathered at Hotoke, a Japanese steakhouse style restaurant, which specializes in hibachi entrees and sushi. Our coup was a grand success. The birthday girl was beyond surprised, the food was delicious, and the laughs were plentiful. It was a fantastic evening.

We knew we were in for a fun time when the first thing our teppanyaki chef shouted was Sake Time! which was immediately followed by squirting everyone (except this pregnant lady) in the mouth with sake from a squirt bottle. The kids were squirted with water. Befuddled doesn’t even begin to describe their expressions. Moments later, the chef yelled Fire in the Hole! And he wasn’t joking. In an instant, the grill was covered with hot, blinding fire. My littlest guy has never moved so quickly into my arms. And he remained in my arms from that point on. He was clearly skeptical about this entire experience.

Our chef expertly prepared a feast of fried rice, shrimp, chicken, steak, lobster tail, and vegetables. As the food cooked, we were wowed by an onion ring volcano and kept busy by having bits of broccoli thrown at our faces. Though none of our party actually managed to catch a piece in our mouths, we all enjoyed laughing at each other as each person took their turn getting hit in the face with food. I’m not sure I can ever serve broccoli to my children again.

Amongst all of the evening’s exciting events, my three year old discovered that he loved chopsticks, steak, and fried rice. He takes after his mother with that love of fried rice! Most often, I get my fried rice on the side of my Orange Chicken from our local Chinese takeout restaurant. But, it’s incredibly simple to make at home and puts leftover rice, meat and veggies to great use. Our leftovers from last week’s roasted pork loin provided just what we needed for a bit of fried rice. You can customize this recipe using whatever leftover meat and veggies you have. I made use of our leftover pork, but you can easily substitute shrimp, beef, chicken, or create an all veggie version. Throw in whatever you’ve got on hand.

Pork Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 2-3 Tbsp Oil (Vegetable, Peanut, Sesame)
  • 2 cups leftover White Rice
  • Carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • Green Onions, chopped
  • Leftover Roast Pork, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp Soy Sauce

Directions

Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pour in the lightly beaten egg and cook until scrambled. Removed the scrambled egg and set aside. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in the same pan. Add the rice, veggies, and meat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until all ingredients are well heated. Add the scrambled eggs to the mixture. Pour soy sauce over the top and toss to combine.

Pan-seared Scallops with Pina Colada Salsa and Coconut Rice

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Many moons ago, my husband and I found ourselves in Italy, in the middle of a heat wave. The beautiful city of Rome is overflowing with fountains; cool, refreshing, swim-worthy fountains. Unfortunately, it’s also full of fountain police, whistles constantly in mouth, ready to blow at the first hint of a toe touching the water. When in Rome…don’t go in the fountains! Torture on such a hot day. But, sweet relief came in the form of little kiosks, selling big icy chunks of fresh, chilled coconut and iced bottles of water. I can still envision the towers of fresh coconut pieces, cool water running down over the artfully arranged displays. No coconut fountain police in sight. Sweet, sweet coconut relief.

So, whenever the weather gets hot, I think about coconut. It’s definitely hot out there today! I think a little coconut is in order.

Never hand your baby a coconut. He will assume that it's a hairy ball and will throw it at your knee. Trust me.

Recently, my sister and brother-in-law posted pictures of a dinner they enjoyed at a fine restaurant on Skaneateles Lake. My sister had a juicy grilled pork chop with mashed potatoes, beets, carrots, and asparagus. The picture made me hungry. My brother-in-law’s selection didn’t have quite the same effect. The dish he ordered featured seared scallops alongside a bed of sautéed spinach and a strawberry pastry. Everything on the plate was drizzled in a bright pink sauce which looked like it was made of strawberry yogurt. I stared at the picture trying to make the dish work in my head. My brother-in-law said it was delicious and that the tart strawberries in the salty pastry complemented the sweetness of the scallops. Sounds sensible enough, but I’m still having a hard time with the dish. I love the combination of fruit and seafood, especially during the hot summer months. Strawberries with scallops makes sense to me. And, I like strawberries in spinach salad, so I guess that pairing makes sense too. I think my issue with the dish lies more with the creamy, sweet-looking sauce and the dessert-like appearance of the pastry sitting next to the scallops. But, what do I know??

In any case, I must still have scallops and fruit on my mind, because as I was trying to come up with an interesting way to use the coconut I was craving, scallops dominated my thoughts. I tossed around the idea of somehow cooking scallops in the fresh coconut water, but I didn’t imagine a very nice texture resulting from that preparation. So I decided to pan-sear the scallops and combine the coconut with a bit of pineapple, orange, and lime for a pina colada inspired salsa. Not wanting to let any of the yummy coconut go to waste, I reserved the sweet coconut water to use in cooking the rice. The result was a light, fresh dinner on a hot summer day.

Tending to the fresh pineapple and coconut take a little time, but it’s worth it. Though my vote definitely goes towards using the fresh fruits, you could easily substitute canned pineapple, mandarin oranges, and unsweetened shredded coconut for the salsa and canned coconut milk for the rice for a really quick, delicious summer meal.

Pan-seared Scallops with Pina Colada Salsa over Coconut Rice

Ingredients

For the Scallops:

  • 1 pound Scallops
  • 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Salsa:

*To supreme an orange, cut off the top and the bottom. Place it on a hard surface and cut off the skin and pith. Then, use a paring knife or other sharp knife to cut out each orange segment between the membranes.

Orange Supremes

Directions

To prepare the salsa, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix to combine. Taste. Add salt and pepper, if  desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To cook the scallops, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium to medium-high heat. Pat the scallops dry and season with a little salt. Place the scallops in the pan. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes, without disturbing. Once they’ve formed a golden-brown crust, turn the scallops over. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, until fully cooked and translucent.

Prepare the rice according the package directions, substituting fresh coconut water for part of the water. Throw in a couple small chunks of coconut for added flavor.

Serve the scallops on a bed of the coconut rice and pina colada salsa.

Serves 4

Tropical Fish Tacos with Spicy Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice

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A few weeks ago, I was flipping through the channels and happened to come across a wonderful show I hadn’t heard of before. Food Tech, which airs on the History Channel, is hosted by chef Bobby Bognar. The show follows its host as he travels the country deconstructing some of America’s favorite meals. My attention was immediately rapt by the Pancakes & Bacon (Yummy, BACON!) episode and I stayed tuned for the Mexican episode that followed, in which Bobby fishes for Mahi Mahi in Hawaii, harvests agave for tequila in Mexico, and ripens the perfect avocado. Well, this got my belly rumbling and the gears in my brain turning. The next day, I picked up a package of frozen Mahi Mahi fillets. Initially I’d been planning to prepare fish tacos with tomato salsa and probably a little guacamole.  But, then I remembered the Spicy Mango Salsa I used to make and a new idea took shape. So, tonight I offer you Tropical Fish Tacos with a Spicy Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice.

Tropical Fish Tacos with Spicy Mango Salsa in Homemade Flour Tortillas

The Flour Tortilla Experience

For me, one of the exciting things about this blog is that it motivates me to broaden my culinary horizons; to try things I haven’t tried before and to “perfect” the things I’m experienced with.  When I initially thought through this meal, I planned on using store-bought tortillas.  In fact, I didn’t give it much of a thought.  Just bought the tortillas and considered that part taken care of.  Then, this morning, on a whim, I decided to run an online search for flour tortilla recipes.  The recipes looked basic enough and I had all the necessary ingredients.  So, I decided to go for it. I would try my hand at flour tortillas with the help of my two little assistants. I figured I had nothing to lose.  If they worked out, I’d have homemade tortillas and a recipe to share with you.  If they were a total flop, I’d laugh with you about the experience and use the store-bought tortillas from my fridge.

Well…they worked! And, aside from my kitchen and two little boys being covered in flour, they were a piece of cake to make. Now, I’m not saying that I have any intention of  making homemade tortillas every time I need them or suggesting that there’s anything wrong with using store-bought tortillas. But, if you have the desire and a little extra time to make your own, it’s a totally reasonable task and the result is delicious!

Now, you may remember me saying how I rarely follow a recipe exactly as it’s written.  But, this is an exception.  There’s a chemistry to baking that makes precise measurements important. Some may argue that tortillas aren’t exactly “baked” per se, but considering you’re working with a dough, it counts as baking in my book.  Since I followed the recipe exactly as it was written, I am not going to republish it in this blog, but you can find it here.

The dough came together easily and was very manageable to work with.  Keeping your hands, rolling pin, table, and the dough dusted with flour helps prevent it from sticking. My 3 year old had the best description of the rolling process.  To paraphrase him, “You start with a golf ball, make it a cookie, roll it into a pancake, and then you have a tortilla!” It’s a pretty accurate description. My little assistants loved measuring the ingredients and keeping the table well dusted with flour. Hands down, the best way to cook with little kids running around is to engage them in the process!

And for your viewing pleasure, a few pics…

One of my eager assistants

Master Chef

Who wants to play ball?

Ready to cook tortilla

Homemade Flour Tortillas

And, now for the recipe you came here looking for:

Tropical Fish Tacos with Spicy Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice

Ingredients

Flour tortillas (homemade or store-bought)

For the Fish:

  • 2 Mahi Mahi fillets, about 6 ounces each (or other white flaky fish)
  • Juice of 1 Lime (Approx. 2 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 tsp Chile Power
  • 1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Salsa

  • 1 large, ripe Mango, diced (See my guide for dicing mangoes, here.)
  • 1-2 Jalapenos, seeds removed, finely diced
  • 3-4 Green onions, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 Lime (Approx. 2 Tbsp)
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Rice

  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1.5 cups (12 ounces) coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) water

Directions

For the Salsa: Combine all ingredients.  Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  (Like your salsa extra spicy?  Add a second jalapeno!) Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Letting it sit in the fridge for a while gives the flavors a chance to mix and mingle and get to know each other better. **If sharing this meal with kids, you may want to put aside some diced mango before adding the jalapeno or onions, depending on their tastes.

Spicy Mango Salsa

For the Rice: Combine rice, coconut milk, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir once to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Turn heat down to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

For the Fish: Combine oil, lime juice, chile powder and garlic.  Pour over the  fish and allow to marinate in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Fire up your grill or heat up a grill pan.  Remove fish from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on one side.  Then flip and grill on the other side for another 5 minutes or so, until cooked through and flaky. **As an alternative to grilling, cook the fish on a baking sheet in a 450 degrees oven until cooked through.  It should be opaque and flaky; 15 minutes ought to do it.

To assemble the meal: Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in a 325 degrees oven until warm. Fold the warm tortillas in half and fill with grilled Mahi-Mahi and mango salsa.  Enjoy with a scoop of coconut rice on the side! (Serves about 4)

Tropical Fish Taco

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