Turks & Caicos Ceviche! (using fresh conch, scallops or shrimp)

IMG_5646

Harvesting conch from the sea.

Lake Michigan, my heart belongs to you. But a trial separation is essential to my well being. You’ve been naughty of late, frozen over in fact, so I’m seeing the Caribbean. When your temperature rises, and not in keeping with that of the North Pole, we can mend our ways.

Yes. It’s cold outside. Yes. I’m fortunate to have escaped; luckier still to have enjoyed a boating trip that explored the islands of Turks and Caicos while we savored the fruits from her seas. Here’s the resulting sea-to-table recipe for conch salad, simply prepared on the boat within minutes of them harvesting the grass beds in shallow waters of the turquoise sea.

IMG_5638

Conch shells freshly pulled from the grasses.

You may not have ever tasted conch, but I’m sure you’ve seen the shell; the size of a grapefruit with horned spikes and a pearlescent pink interior. The animal that resides within the confines of this palace is actually a snail, with a meat that is eaten raw in salads, also enjoyed cooked in fritters, chowders and burgers. All parts of the conch meat are edible, but most prefer the white meat that resembles a chicken breast fillet. The dark meat is edible, but often reserved to use as bait or fillers.

IMG_5653

Extracting the conch from the shell.

Unless you’re living in southern Florida, South America or the Caribbean, fresh conch is hard to find. But if you’re living in Ann Arbor, you may sometimes purchase fresh conch meat from Monahans Seafood in Kerrytown. I also located a source in Chaleston where you may have it shipped to your home.

Bay scallops, sliced sea scallops or shrimp are excellent substitutes for the conch in the following recipe.

There are as many variations on ceviche as the countries who enjoy it. Fresh ginger is often added to the marinade,  varieties of corn are added in Peruvian recipes–sweet potatoes in Equadorian.

IMG_5684Inject some warmth into a chilly wintry evening. A mojito or margarita would double the fun. Crank up some calypso and  inject a bit of sunshine into your life.

Better yet; table some vacation time for late next November; the 13th annual conch festival will again be held in Turks and Caicos.

       Recipe: Ceviche (using fresh conch, scallops or shrimp)

Ingredients:

  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • Juice from 2 oranges
  • 1 pound fresh, uncooked cracked conch, scallops or shrimp*
  • 3 scallions, light green and white parts only, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, diced
  • 1 large ripe red tomato, diced
  • 1 habernero or Scotch bonner pepper (optional)**
  • 1/3 cup washed, shopped cilantro or parsley
  • Your favorite hot sauce
  • Plaintain or corn chips, as needed

*Dice conch; use bay scallops whole or cut in half; slice sea scallops; cut shrimp into 1/3 -inch pieces. Purchase seafood from a trusted sea monger; it must be absolutely fresh or use frozen and thawed.

**These peppers are delicious, traditionally used in ceviche, but may be too hot for a Western palate. Use at your discretion. To handle, wear plastic gloves, cut in half lengthwise, then remove seeds and membranes. The seeds and membranes could burn your skin if you’re not careful.

Directions

  • Combine juices and divide in half.
  • Add conch, shrimp or scallops to juices and let sit at room temperature 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in scallions, peppers, remaining juices, cilantro or parsley. Refrigerate and marinate 4 hours or up to 24 hours, refrigerated.
  • Stir in tomato just before serving. Season to taste with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and hot sauce, if desired. Serve with plantain chips, or best-quality tortilla chips.

Yield: 4 servings

Active Time: 20 minutes

Marinate Time: 4-24 hours

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

Tagged: , , , , ,
separator image

New Orleans: Hey Y’all, it’s Carnival–Laissez Le Bons Temps Roulé!

IMG_5402Whether you’re buried in 10 feet of snow, or basking in more winter favorable climes, February is a great time to inject a bit of heat–New Orleans style– into your kitchen. Here for my niece’s wedding, we’re  spending a week in the Garden District, VRBOing a home built in the 1850’s with a front porch large enough to accommodate a family reunion.

New Orleans is a country unto itself; a city of jubilant excess where less is never more; a city that suffers fools gladly, especially when they’re three sheets to the wind with a wad of ready green. And Mardi Gras is in the air.

It’s in the purples and greens decorating the Creole cottages, shotgun houses and palatial mansions in the Garden District; in the waft of spilled rum on Bourbon Street; in the outstretched arms, begging for beads flung down from floats parading down Charles, and strewn from iron lattice balconies. Certainly it’s in the salty chew of mortadella in a muffaletta sandwich as big as the Mississippi. Mardi Gras, 2015, is in the slideshow below…

I’ve visited this city many times through the years. Every time the plane glides down the Louis Armstrong airport runway, I check my common sense—indeed, my brain—at the gate, allowing myself to be swept into the Bacchanalian vibe with abandon. A culture unto itself, New Orleans has its own brand of music, speech, worship, and certainly its own  brand  of cooking.

Shrimp and Oyster Po' Boy

Shrimp and Oyster Po' Boy

Gumbo Ya Ya

Gumbo Ya Ya

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits

Chicken and Tasso Jambalaya

Chicken and Tasso Jambalaya

Red Beans and Rice with Andouille

Red Beans and Rice with Andouille

Grilled (or baked) Creole Oysters

Grilled (or baked) Creole Oysters

Cajun Bronzed Scallops

Cajun Bronzed Scallops

Cajun-Spiced Pork with Greens

Cajun-Spiced Pork with Greens

Muffaletta (New Orleans Olive and Meat Sandwich)

Muffaletta (New Orleans Olive and Meat Sandwich)

Chicken Tchoupitoulas

Chicken Tchoupitoulas

Poor Girl's Seafood Etoufée

Poor Girl's Seafood Etoufée

Shrimp and Oyster Po' Boy thumbnailGumbo Ya Ya thumbnailShrimp and Grits thumbnailChicken and Tasso Jambalaya thumbnailRed Beans and Rice with Andouille thumbnailGrilled (or baked) Creole Oysters thumbnail
Cajun Bronzed Scallops thumbnailCajun-Spiced Pork with Greens thumbnailMuffaletta (New Orleans Olive and Meat Sandwich) thumbnailChicken Tchoupitoulas thumbnailPoor Girl's Seafood Etoufée thumbnail

It’s said that New Orleans is a city with thousands of restaurants and only one menu. That’s far from the reality, but if the statement holds a kernel of truth, oh what a menu the landscape has created.

I made the following  recipe before I left Ann Arbor, the ingredients a gift from Stephanie and Tom Teague, former Ann Arborites who now call Nola their home (lucky ducks).

Recipe: Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried red beans or kidney beans
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 1/2- 2 pounds smoked ham hock(s) or shank(s)
  • 1 pound andouille sausage links
  • 6 cups water
  • 6-8 cups cooked extra long grain white rice
  • Your favorite hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Crystal

Instructions

  1. Rinse beans, sorting out small rocks if necessary. Soak 12-24 hour in a large pot of water, or use the quick soak method.*
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion two minutes then add garlic. Stir until just fragrant, about 45 seconds; don’t let garlic brown.
  3. Stir green pepper and celery and continue cooking until beginning to wilt, about 3-5 minutes, then stir in bay leaves, cayenne, thyme, basil and Cajun seasoning.
  4. Add ham hocks and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and shimmer for 2 1/2 hours. (As beans soften, use a spoon to crush some of them against the side of the pot to thicken the broth.)
  5. Remove ham hock(s). When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bone, chop and return to pot.
  6. Slice andouille into 1/4-inch thick pieces and stir into the pot. Simmer until cooked through, 20-30 minutes. (Now is a good time to make the rice.) Serve over white rice. Pass the hot sauce.

*To quick cook beans, place in a pot and pour water over beans to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil for 1 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit 1 hours. Rinse beans then use in recipe as directed.

Preparation time: 40 minute(s)

Cooking time: 3 hours

Number of servings (yield): 6-8 servings

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

Tagged: , , , , , ,
separator image

My world for a lentil.

Hello, Lentils? Hi. It’s me. Peggy.

…Say what? I’ve fallen from your favor? Sorry I’ve been snubbing you for the past couple of months. But I’m needing—nay, craving—to have you back into my life. I’m done with wretched excess; the frothy creams, sumptuous sauces and trumped-up cocktails that caught my eye in December. I miss your tasteful earthiness, your smart frugality, your downright wholesomeness. Give me one more chance–I’m begging!–to make things right.

Always wash lentils and remove small stones before cooking.

Always wash lentils and remove small stones before cooking.

Mid-January finds me as another bloated statistic entrenched in detox, mainlining soups loaded with beans and veggies, forcing myself to pound out another mile (er…block) on the treadmill while my headphones knock out a lobotomizing Latin Dance Club collection, which insists my legs move forward.

And lentils are back into my life. What’s not to love about these petite colorful beans? User friendly, they cook fast and don’t need soaking; they’re a powerhouse of nutrition and easy on the purse strings. Below, I’ve assembled a slide show of lentil inspiration. One recipe not featured is a no-recipe-recipe I recently made: Quinoa-Lentil Salad: In separate pots, cook equal parts of black beluga lentils and quinoa until tender, then drain and toss in a vinaigrette made with a smidgen of garlic, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Toss with feta cheese and you’ll be doin’ right by lentils.

Turkish Lentil Soup with Roasted Eggplant and Yogurt

Turkish Lentil Soup with Roasted Eggplant and Yogurt

Warm Lentil and Spinach Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette

Warm Lentil and Spinach Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette

Dal

Dal

Cheesy Lentil-Spinach Casserole

Cheesy Lentil-Spinach Casserole

Lamb and Lentil Soup with Tuscan Kale

Lamb and Lentil Soup with Tuscan Kale

Couscous Lentil Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Couscous Lentil Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Curried Lentil Soup

Curried Lentil Soup

Kale and Lentil Soup with Indian Flavors

Kale and Lentil Soup with Indian Flavors

Turkish Lentil Soup with Roasted Eggplant and Yogurt thumbnailWarm Lentil and Spinach Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette thumbnailDal thumbnailCheesy Lentil-Spinach Casserole thumbnailLamb and Lentil Soup with Tuscan Kale thumbnailCouscous Lentil Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes thumbnail
Curried Lentil Soup thumbnailKale and Lentil Soup with Indian Flavors thumbnail

Turkish Lentil Soup with Roasted Eggplant  • Warm Lentil Salad & Spinach Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette • Northern Indian Dal (Black Lentil Spread) • Cheesy Lentil-Spinach Casserole • Lamb & Lentil Soup with Tuscan Kale • Couscous Lentil Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes • Curried Lentil Soup • Kale and Lentil Soup with Indian Flavors

Tagged: , , , ,
separator image