With A Little Help From My Friends

20 07 2011

Sometimes bad things happen to you and it really is not your fault. You just happen to be the monkey at the end of the string. But the wheel of karma, like the wheel on the bus tends to go round and round. So sometimes great things happen to you and you really did not do anything in particular to deserve it; you were simply the monkey with the lucky lotto ticket. A recent set of circumstances from several friends put an amazing dish into my kitchen. First was my friend Nancy at the seafood store. She was cleaning and filleting some incredibly fresh Florida flounder and hooked me up with some as well as some succulent fresh blue crab. Hhhhmmm, what to do with this…. Then my good friend Joumana, from Taste of Beirut (www.tasteofbeirut.com)  gave me inspiration (and not a little bit of technical info) with her amazing cauliflower dish. Finally, in moving a box to look for something else, I came across the box of Kaniwa (pronounced can-yi-wah) my good friend Lisa had given me. Thus we consumed Kaniwa Crusted Flounder Stuffed with Tropical Crab served with a Batata and Cauliflower Coconut Puree and topped with a Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Coulis. It was yummy.

Kaniwa Crusted Florida Flounder stuffed with Tropical Crab over Coconut Batata and Cauliflower Puree topped with Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Coulis

The fresh flounder was stuffed with a crab mixture. The crab consisted of fresh lump blue crab, red pepper, red onion, cilantro, a dash of cinnamon, a dash of allspice, salt, pepper, lemon juice, pepino melon and piquanté peppers for a tropical treat with a tad of sweet and a little heat. The cauliflower and batata were boiled in a mixture of coconut water and coconut milk. The batata is also known as a Cuban sweet potato; they are white fleshed and as sweet as yams, although a little starchier. Spiced with a little garlic, salt, pepper and a dab of butter the mashed batata was mixed with the cauliflower purée to provide a most receptive coconut scented bed for our pan fried treasure box.

Amazing Kaniwa Crust and Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Coulis

The most interesting component of this repast was the kaniwa. I used an absolutely spectacular version from Roland Foods (available at most markets). Kaniwa hails from South America and was a staple food of the Incas. Able to grow where wheat, barley, corn, rye and quinoa cannot, it provided a dependable source of food. Although it looks like a cereal grain, it is actually the seed of a broad leaved goosefoot plant related to quinoa. It is a great source of protein, fiber, calcium, zinc and iron. In fact it is about 16% protein. It is also rich in antioxidants and certain types of amino acids. For those to whom it matters, the approximately 1mm dark seeds are gluten free. We took the seeds from the box and ground in a spice grinder. The stuffed filets were dipped in seasoned rice flour, egg and then the ground kaniwa was used to coat the flounder. It provided a dark brown, earthy and slightly nutty crispy crust. Stay tuned for further adventures sure to sprout from this delectable South American seed-and remember where you heard it first!

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