Summer Cooking Class Series!!

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Yes I know I have been a little “MIA” lately!!!

But this summer has been busy and I can’t believe its JULY!!!! 
I have my hand in so many different little things that I am just so busy and it’s been hard to find the time to blog.  Plus I have not been cooking anything really good for myself, so hence no blogs.

But I did finish a couple weeks ago a cooking class series that I did in 3 of our stores 🙂

They all turned out great, a lot of grilling and a few out of the box recipes, beer sampling with one too!!

Here are a few pictures of the dishes and the crowds, it was a great time and I had a LOT of help from some of GREAT co-workers.

I hope you enjoy!!!

Grilled Fruit Pizza – naan bread, Camembert cheese, blackberries, strawberries, basil and balsamic glaze

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Grilled Asian Corn with peanuts

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Grilled Watermelon with arugula, feta and balsamic glaze

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Crowd pic

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Veggie Pizza – Garlic naan bread, red pepper hummus, grilled veggies topped with goat cheese

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Grilled pound cake and pineapple

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Grilled German Potato Salad

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Grilled veggies with garlic couscous topped with basil

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crowd pics

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Zucchini & tomato salad with ricotta, Parmesan and pesto

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Hawaiian Rice – cooked in coconut milk, golden raisin, macadamia nuts and green onions

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Mango & pineapple salsa

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Crowd Pics

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Grilled romaine with mango vinaigrette, shredded jicama, pineapple, red pepper and black sesame seeds

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Me – having fun with the microphone….I love being on the Microphone 😛 

Chef Amy

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Mango Avocado Salad with Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing

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This is “Part Two” of my previous blog
“Mango Wrapped Coconut Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia”

I served this salad with it and I must say it just went perfectly together.

Now like I have said in a past blog I work for a local grocery chain (Remke bigg’s), and I will get products from time to time from our merchandisers.  I recently got this product, that is not out yet, but it’s

Hellmann’s  – Creamy Balsamic Mayonnaise
mayo jar

So I’ve been trying to think of something to do with it, I do like it a lot, I’ve already made tuna salad with it and it gave it great flavor.  So I was thinking about this salad that I have had before but used a creamy store bought poppy seed dressing.  And thought well why not make a “Balsamic” Poppy Seed Dressing instead…

And you know, it was really, really good I must say, along with this salad my family got to partake in the eating of the fish recipe as well, when I was putting these couple of blogs together.

Ingredients for Dressing – along with a little sugar

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add mayo, balsamic, sugar and half n half in a bowl and whisk it together

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then add the poppy seeds and mix

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Prep Mango and Avocado

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Leftover Coconut Macadamia nut crusted topping
(from fish recipe, one right before this one) I toasted it until brown

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Put a little dressing in a large bowl
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Then add your lettuce and toss with tongs to coat leaves

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I place the tossed greens on a platter,
then topped it with the mango & avocado pieces

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You can certainly serve it just like that or use the topping
if you just make the salad you can add some toasted almond slivers,
pecans or whatever  you like

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Mango Avocado Salad with Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing

Recipe

Dressing
1/4 cup Hellmann’s Balsamic Mayo
2 tbsp. half n half
1 1/2 tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Poppy seeds

In a small bowl add mayo, half n half, sugar & vinegar, whisk to combine then add poppy seeds.  This can be kept for up to a week in a container in the refrigerator.

1 mango
1 Avocado
1 Mixed greens
1/3 cup of crispy topping

Peel and chop mango, open avocado, take seed out and scoop out fruit, chop. You may not use all the mango or avocado, its up to you and how much you want to use.  This is what I use with a whole bag of mixed greens.

In a large bowl pour in about half of dressing, then add greens, toss to coat, if you need more dressing, pour it down the side of the bowl, and toss again, this just allows the greens coat evenly.

Place greens on a platter or individual plates, then top with mango, avocado and topping then serve!!  Enjoy!!!

Mango Wrapped Coconut Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia

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fish 1I love me some fresh seafood, I wish I lived on the coast just for this reason.  When I worked on a cruise ship having fresh seafood in every port was not an issue, it was amazing!!!

Myself and my friends would have our favorite spots to go to in each port, and although they all had great fresh seafood, there was one place was my favorite…Cozumel Mexico!

We would go up into town, now I mean up in town past all the tourist spots where the locals eat and shop, to the “Market”.  Now this was not like our kind of markets here in the US, although the market was in a building, there were no doors.
And everything was out in the open; fruits, vegetables, Meats, breads, oh yes I did say ‘Meats”, out in all it’s glory, hanging and flies everywhere.  Yes this was not appealing, but I really didn’t go there for the meat.  Of course the produce was out of this world fresh, oranges and melons that were so sweet it was like eating candy.  Fresh tortillas being made right in front of you, this was really was one the highlights of visiting Cozumel.
Right outside of this market was a courtyard in a “U” shape, and when it was closed it would look like just a bunch of garage doors.  But when open, the garage doors would lift to reveal all these individual kitchens.
All with there own specially dishes, but we only ate at this one kitchen every Friday like clock work.  We’d go early into the market get some fruit, veggies, really whatever appealed to us and what we wanted to cook for lunch.
Yes I said cook, this one Kitchen would let me use the kitchen to cook whatever we bought in the market, it was awesome.
The only thing we would get from them was some of the Freshest Red Snapper and Grouper I ever had, we’d be there when the doors opened and then here comes the fisherman walking up with a cooler.  He had just got off his boat with this fresh fish and we would pick the ones we want and the kitchen would cook it right up. Head, body, tail and all and serve up with white rice.  

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My boyfriend at the time loved the head, I will not go into detail on what he ate from that, I was happy to let him eat that part. LOL

So I came up with this fish dish for Fish Friday’s in my house!!  Plus it does have that Caribbean flare!

Mango Wrapped Coconut Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia

Ingredients

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Coconut, panko breadcrumbs, macadamia nut

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in a skillet add butter, oil, shallots & red pepper

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Cook for about 2 minutes

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add panko breadcrumbs, nuts & coconut flakes

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once combined (above), remove from heat and add brown sugar, set aside to cool

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peel mango

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with peeler, peel long ribbons of mango for wrapping

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I used a whole fillet and cut it in half

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starting at one end take mango ribbons and start wrapping fillets

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wrapped fillets

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add topping to each fillet, you can use as little or as much
(I used the leftovers for a salad topping – recipe to come)

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then bake

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done

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I served it with a Mango Avocado Salad with Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing
(recipe coming soon)

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Recipe

Mango Wrapped Coconut Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia

1 whole tilapia fillet, cut in half 
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
2 tsp. brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp. butter (you can use all olive oil)
2 tbsp. lime infused olive oil ***see note below
1 large shallot, chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 mango
salt to taste

Add butter, oil, shallots and red pepper flakes to a skillet and cook over med. to med. high heat, once butter has melted cook for 1 – 2 minutes more.
Add breadcrumbs, coconut and nuts, stirring to coat with butter mixture, once all is coated then remove from heat stir in brown sugar and taste for needed salt.  Set aside to cool

Peel mango, then take peeler and run it around the mango, trying to make long ribbons of mango.  If they break that is okay you can piece it together. (the remaining mango, use in salad recipe)
Take ribbons and start at one end of the fish and continue wrapping to other end, place on baking sheet, top with breadcrumb mixture, you can add as much or as little as you want.  Keep leftover crumb mixture for salad topping.

Bake fish at 400 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes, you want topping to be golden brown, my oven I cooked it for 15 minutes and fish was perfect.

You can serve the fish with anything you like, I served mine with a salad, I will post that recipe in the next few days 🙂

***Note – Lime infused olive oil, I got this oil at a specialty store, you do not have to use this oil, you can use plan olive oil, if you want that hint of lime then add the juice of half a lime in the crumb mixture when you add the brown sugar, if you want more lime flavor add the juice of the other half, and you can always add the zest of the lime as well!!
You also do not need to use butter, you can just use 4 tbsp. oil in the recipe.

Hope you enjoy this one and hey tell all your friends about me and my blog…Enjoy!!

Mango & Avocado Salad with Spicy Honey Chicken

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I really do love mangoes and avocadoes together, on salads, as salsa, I think that for most part mangoes are a lost fruit, if people just knew how good they are and can be a great addition to any dish.

I know that it may not be the easiest to obtain that delicious yellow orange-ish fleshy goodness, but the more you know how to cut it open the easier it is.

How do you cut a mango?

Mangoes have long flat seeds in the center and the best way to cut them is by cutting parallel to the seed.  Using a sharp chef’s knife, start just off the centerline and cut parallel to the seed.  If you come into contact with the pit, follow the contours of the pit and continue cutting. You’ll get three pieces: the pit and two so-called cheeks of mango pulp.  You can cut around the pit to get more, or do what I do, I peel that center piece and eat the flesh around the pit, like you do sometimes with a peach pit.

Take the tip of your knife cutting down in lines up and down as well as sideways of each so-called cheek, by pushing on the skin side popping the cubes upward, cut cubes off at base of the skin.

Spicy Honey Chicken

4 boneless chicken breast, trimmed
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
3 tbsp. honey
1 ½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to season

In a small bowl whisk together honey, vinegar and cayenne; set aside

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add oil, season chicken both sides with salt and pepper, cook chicken just until light brown, then flip. Start basting chicken with honey mixture, flipping chicken to baste both sides often until chicken is cook through and juices run clear.

In the meantime make

Mango and Avocado Salad

2 mangoes, cubed
2 avocadoes, cubed
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. mayonnaise (use Greek yogurt to make it healthier)
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. honey Dijon mustard

In a medium bowl whisk together honey, mayo, juice and mustard, fold in mango, avocado and cilantro.

To serve place chicken on plate and top with Mango and Avocado salad, this dish is great with pecan rice, just make rice however you make rice and stir in a ¼ – ½ cup of chopped toasted pecans.

Another way of serving this summer dish would be to plate a bed of lettuce, top with sliced chicken, then Mango & Avocado salad…Which ever way you serve it…have fun with it and enjoy!!!

Mango and Shrimp Salsa

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This recipe is from my Cinco de mayo class, it’s fresh and delicious, great for the summer!!!

1 bag Raw Shrimp 31/40, thawed, peeled, tails off
2 ripe mango, peeled, seeded, cut into ¼-½ inch pieces
2 cups jicama, diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp. lime juice
4 tbsp. orange juice
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. sugar
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
In a bowl add all ingredients except shrimp, and chill for couple hours.  In a medium  sauce pan add water and bring to a boil, once boiling add 2 tbsp. sugar, yes I said sugar, stir to dissolve then add shrimp, cook shrimp just about 30 seconds until shrimp turn opaque, remove shrimp and add to a large bowl with ice and water to stop the cooking.  Drain shrimp, and chop, add to mango mixture, serve or chill until ready to serve.

I made mini tortilla chips for this dish, I took large flour tortillas, a 3.5 – 4 inch round cookie cutter and cut 4 rounds out of each large tortilla.  I then fried them in coconut oil, adding about 1/2 inch of oil to a large skillet, fry flipping them to brown on both sides.  Then place on paper towels and sprinkled them with a little kosher salt.

Everyone loved this recipe, it may take a little time, but its so worth it and everyone will be able to taste the love…

Other suggestions, use boston, bibb lettuce leaves to make a nice wrap, or just serve over a bed of lettuce as a fresh summer salad.
Add diced fresh pineapple as well, leave  out the shrimp, add the pineapple or just with the mango and serve with grill fish or chicken…Enjoy!!!

Shrimp and Avocado with Mango Vinaigrette

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Mango Vinaigrette

3 tbsp. mango nectar
3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
Add above ingredients to a blender or in a bowl and use a stick blender to emulsify. Set to the side.

2 mango’s, seeded and cubed
1 pound cooked med shrimp, peeled and tails off
2 avocados, cubed
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, sliced

In a large bowl add shrimp, mangoes, avocados and cilantro, fold just to combine then add vinaigrette to coat.

Can be served in martini glasses for an appetizer, or over a bed of romaine lettuce.

Mango & Ginger White Stilton Cheese Spread

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1 (8oz.) package White Stilton with Mango & Ginger
1/2 lb. Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Blue Moon – Pale Moon Beer
1 garlic clove, minced
2 green onions, green part only, chopped

Make sure cheese and beer are at room temperature.
In a food processer add cheese, beer and garlic, process until smooth, then add green onions, pulse just to mix in onions but not pureed.  Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with crackers.

This cheese spread is so yummy, great for a party or just hanging out watching the game.