Crispy Calamari with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Starters | March 21, 2016 | By

In my family, we are serious calamari lovers — prepared any which way! Of course, you can’t go wrong with crispy, fried calamari. A lot of folks won’t even touch the tentacles, which is why you won’t see them in this recipe. The cornstarch makes these sea creatures light and crispy, and the aioli dipping sauce gives it a really nice kick. Make these as a starter or on top of your favorite salad!

Crispy Calamari with Spicy Dipping Sauce
 
Author:
Serving Size: 6
Ingredients
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • Cornstarch for dredging
  • 1 pound bag squid rings, defrosted
  • Chopped, fresh cilantro
  • Lemon wedges
Dipping Sauce
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
Instructions
  1. In a large, heavy wok or saucepan, heat the oil until very hot. Put cornstarch in a shallow bowl. Mix in Chinese 5-spice, cayenne pepper, and salt. Put the eggs in another shallow bowl. Dip the calamari into the eggs, but don't oversaturate. Then dredge calamari in the cornstarch mixture and shake off excess. Working in batches, add to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and squeeze of lemons.
  2. To make the Dipping Sauce: Combine together the mayonnaise, sambal oelek, and chili sauce. Serve along side the calamari.
  3. Notes: Sambal oelek can be found at specialty markets and some local grocery stores. You can substitute this with sriracha sauce.
  4. Adapted from: Wendy Leon/Recipe.com

 

Rice Cooker Coconut Rice

Sides | March 14, 2016 | By

I swear, I could eat this coconut rice as an entire meal! It’s that freakin’ good! The flavors are outstanding, especially with the addition of the coconut flakes. And the lemongrass is just subtle enough. Serve it on the side with your favorite protein dish, like ANYTHING! It’s so easy to make with a rice cooker, but you can also prepare this as you would any rice on the stovetop. Yum, yum, and YUM!

Rice Cooker Coconut Rice
 
Author:
Serving Size: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups jasmine white rice
  • 2½ cups good-quality coconut milk
  • 1½ cups coconut water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into two-inch pieces
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Top with toasted coconut flakes for garnish if desired.
Instructions
  1. Place rice, coconut milk, coconut water, salt, and pieces of lemongrass in a rice cooker. Cover tightly with lid and let cook until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice and cooker turns off. Add in coconut flakes and stir. Cover and let sit on warm setting for 10-15 minutes. When ready to serve, discard lemongrass sticks and fluff rice with a fork. Garnish with more toasted coconut.
  2. To Toast Coconut: Place 3 tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut in a frying pan over medium-high heat and "dry fry" until light golden brown.
Notes
Brown rice will not work for this recipe. Plain water can be substituted for coconut water.

Thai Steamed Mussels

Thai Steamed Mussels

I recently went to this incredible seafood restaurant in New York City called “Flex Mussels.” On their menu they feature 23 different mussels preparations. The Thai Steamed Mussels were my favorite and I had to recreate it when I returned home! I also had a little help from my Staten Island friend, Carolyn, who shared her version of Thai mussels with me. I know most people are accustomed to the Italian preparation (which I also love), but this Asian-inspired mussels recipe is absolutely worth trying. I promise! Make sure to have a side of crusty bread for dipping in the yummy sauce!

Thai Steamed Mussels
 
Author:
Serving Size: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 3 large shallots, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 cups chopped leeks (whites only)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped (soft white bulb only)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Zest from one lime
  • 1 13-oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 3 cups dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 6 pounds fresh mussels
  • Chopped fresh cilantro to garnish
Instructions
  1. Clean, scrub, and de-beard mussels. Discard any open mussels. Heat coconut oil in a heavy sauce pan, Dutch oven, or wok. Add shallots, garlic, leeks, and lemongrass and sauté 3 minutes, until fragrant. Stir in red pepper flakes and lime zest. Add in coconut milk, fish sauce, white wine, and curry paste. Stir well and bring to a boil. Add mussels, reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 8 to 10 minutes until mussels are open. Sprinkle with cilantro to garnish. Serve with crusty bread for dipping.
  2. Adapted from: Carolyn Decorato

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