Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spicy Sea Bass Packets

Don't Fear the Fish!

If you enjoy seafood but are hesitant to prepare it at home, allow The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's to ease your fears. Leigh Ochs, the director of The Cooking School, created this simple, delicious recipe that is perfect for an introduction to cooking fish at home. The Seafood Department at Jungle Jim's International Market makes it even easier by customizing your order. They will cut a fillet to the size you want and will skin it for you at no extra charge. Stop in and ask them for four 5-6 ounce pieces of skinned sea bass to make Spicy Sea Bass Packets.

Fish cooked in a foil packet ensures a moist fillet and easy clean up is a bonus. You can serve the fish in the packet or you can remove it to a plate. Fluffy white rice makes the perfect accompaniment to this fish dish. You can see in the photo that a flavorful sauce is created which you can serve over rice. To complete a colorful plate, add some steamed broccoli or stir-fried snow peas. You'll want to get the rice started first while you prepare and bake the fish.

You will need some soy sauce, sesame oil, chili paste (sambal oelek), fresh ginger or ginger paste, green onions, salt and pepper. The Cooking School staff really likes the Gourmet Garden Ginger Paste. You can find it in the refrigerated produce section. It has a bright, fresh ginger taste and is easy to use. Store it in your refrigerator for when you need fresh ginger and don't have a knob of it on hand.

Each ingredient is layered on top the fish. It couldn't be simpler! Once you have added all the ingredients, bring up 2 sides of the foil and crimp. Gather up the other 2 ends to seal the packet. We highly recommend placing your packets on a baking sheet - just in case there is a spill in your oven.

In a preheated 450 degree oven, bake the fish for 15 - 18 minutes. If the fish is thicker than 1", you may need to add another 2-3 minutes to the bake time. To check for doneness, remove the pan from the oven and carefully open the packet. With a knife or a fork, make a cut into the fish. If it is flaky and pulls apart easily, it's done.

We have tried sea bass, halibut and salmon in this recipe. All are delicious. You can also try large scallops.

Spicy Sea Bass Packets

4 (5-6 ounce) sea bass, halibut or salmon fillets
2 teaspoons chili paste
Freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons sesame oil
8 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
4 teaspoons soy sauce

Preheat oven to 450°. Cut four 12-inch square pieces of aluminum foil.

Place a sea bass fillet in the center of each piece of foil. Rub ½ teaspoon chili paste into each fillet. Sprinkle with black pepper. Drizzle 1 teaspoon sesame oil over each piece of fish, sprinkle with scallions and ginger, then drizzle each with 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Close foil tightly, crimping edges closed. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes (bake a few minutes longer if fish is more than 1-inch thick). Place packets on individual plates and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before opening and serving.

Serves 4

from Leigh Ochs' cookbook Be Your Guest

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lemon Raspberry Cake

Versatile One-Layer Cake 

Today the staff at The Cooking School indulged our sweet tooth with a moist, citrus-kissed cake. The raspberries looked so good, that we decided to fold in some ripe berries. The selection of fresh berries at Jungle Jim's International Market is very good, so if you stop in, you can choose from blueberries, raspberries or blackberries to make this simple-but-good cake for dinner tonight. One layer cakes are a favorite here because they are easy to make, taste great and make a good introduction to baking for new home bakers. For those of you looking for a fuss-free dessert, this is it!

This cake recipe uses whole milk yogurt instead of butter. Please don't be tempted to use non-fat or low-fat yogurt because the recipe won't have the same delicious results. We were recently introduced to a whole milk, premium yogurt called Noosa. Jungle Jim's International Market carries many flavors and so we chose the lemon because it pairs so well with berries. You can use any whole milk brand or flavor of yogurt.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch round baking pan with a parchment circle and then grease the pan and parchment with cooking spray. This will make it very easy to remove the cake once it has cooled.

You will need 2 mixing bowls - one for the wet ingredients and one for the dry ingredients. Mix the oil, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg and vanilla. Stir or whisk well to combine.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix. Stir well until combined.

Gently fold in the fresh raspberries, breaking most of them apart as you stir.

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan. You can see that the berries are evenly distributed and are broken apart. 

Sprinkle with coarse sugar. You may be tempted to skip this step, but the coarse sugar makes a sweet, crackly crust that is very nice.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before removing.

Lemon Raspberry Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
½ cup lemon or plain whole-milk yogurt
¼ cup canola or safflower oil
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ pint (6 ounces) fresh raspberries
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan, line bottom with parchment paper and grease paper.

Into a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, lemon zest and juice, egg and vanilla. Stir yogurt mixture into flour mixture until just combined. Stir in raspberries, breaking most of them apart as you stir. Transfer batter to prepared pan and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serves 8

Monday, May 12, 2014

Chicken Wrapped in Iberico Ham

What's For Dinner?

Contemplating what to serve your family for dinner? The Cooking School staff would like to introduce you to a chicken dish that you can plate up this evening - Chicken Wrapped in Iberico Ham with Rosemary Pan Sauce. Don't let the lengthy title intimidate you! This dish is special enough to serve for Mother's Day, so you've got no excuse for neglecting to pamper your mother with an impressive home-cooked dinner. You can find the Iberico ham at the Charcuterie Department at Jungle Jim's International Market. Iberico ham is an indulgently delicious treat, but if your wallet steers you in the direction of Italian or domestic prosciutto, this chicken dish will still be a winner. 

Ask to have your Iberico ham or prosciutto thinly sliced. If it is too paper thin, it will fall apart when you wrap the chicken, so tell the butcher you want to wrap chicken thighs with it. Don't be afraid to ask for a sample! 

There are usually 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a package. You may have to trim a little fat off each thigh before wrapping. Open up each thigh, smooth side down, and sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and chopped fresh rosemary. Ham and prosciutto tend to be salty, so be judicious with the salt. 

Fold the seasoned thigh in half and place in the center of a slice of ham. 

Fold the ends of the ham over the thigh. Be gentle. You may have to piece in small pieces of the ham that want to fall apart.

Pour the olive oil the in the skillet and place the wrapped chicken thighs in, seam side down. Add the sprigs of fresh rosemary, the garlic cloves and 3 tablespoons of wine to the skillet.

Place oven-proof nonstick skillet in the preheated 375 degree oven. Roast for 40-45 minutes or until the outside is browned and crispy and the chicken is done. Mother's Day tip:  If your mother likes to cook, you can't go wrong giving her a Swiss Diamond nonstick, ovenproof skillet! Gourmet Galeria has them available in a variety of sizes!

Remove the chicken from the skillet. It's time to make the quick and easy pan sauce. Turn the heat to medium and deglaze the pan with the remaining 1 tablespoon of wine. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula that is safe to use with nonstick skillets.

Scrape up all the browned bits and then add the butter.

The finished pan sauce will come together in a couple minutes. Remove the rosemary springs. If you love garlic, include the cloves when you drizzle the pan sauce over the chicken.

What a beautiful platter of chicken!

This chicken would be delightful with mashed potatoes, rice pilaf or a cooked grain salad. A side of fresh asparagus or green beans would complete a lovely, colorful plate. Enjoy!

Chicken Wrapped in Iberico Ham with Rosemary Pan Sauce

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
6 thin slices Iberico ham or prosciutto
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, cut in half
3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon dry white wine, divided use
1-2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375°. Have ready a 10 to 11-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet.

Trim excess fat from chicken thighs and open flat, with smooth-side down. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Fold each thigh in half and roll in one slice of ham with seam at the bottom.

Pour olive oil in skillet and spread evenly. Place chicken in pan, seam-side down, and add rosemary sprigs, garlic and 3 tablespoons wine to skillet. Place skillet in the oven and roast 40-45 minutes, until browned and crispy on all sides and chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven and remove chicken from pan. Place skillet over medium heat and deglaze with 1 tablespoon wine, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape brown bits from bottom of pan. Add butter to pan and stir to incorporate. Serve chicken drizzled with pan sauce.

Makes 6 chicken thighs

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Simple Spring Side Dish

Asparagus - the King of Spring!

Bunches of beautiful, bright green asparagus standing proudly in beds of ice proclaim that spring is indeed here in Ohio! As a salute to asparagus, The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's International Market chose this simple Roasted Asparagus with Limoncello Vinaigrette recipe because it combines the sunny citrus-ness of Limoncello with the fresh taste of asparagus. It's a perfect complement to seafood and chicken or as a room-temperature starter to your dinner menu. Once you taste it, you'll want to find ways to serve this delightful vegetable dish to family and friends.

The ingredient list is short! To get started, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and cover a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up.

Clean the asparagus and trim the woody ends. Place the spears in a single layer on the foil-covered baking sheet.

We like to mix the vinaigrette ingredients in a glass jar with a lid. Our back shelf has a collection of different sizes of jars for just this purpose. We run the jars through our industrial dishwasher, dry them and store them. Once the lid is tightly on, give it a good shake to combine.

Start by pouring half the vinaigrette over the asparagus and then turn the spears over to get them coated. Use as much vinaigrette as you want. As you can see from the photo below, we opted to use a little over half the dressing. You can save the remainder for salad or drizzle it over chicken or seafood or other vegetables - especially green beans.

Roast the asparagus for 8 - 10 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drizzle a bit more vinaigrette over the spears and serve hot, warm or at room-temperature. 

Roasted Asparagus with Limoncello Vinaigrette

1 pound asparagus, trimmed 
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup limoncello
2 tablespoons shallots, finely minced
Zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400ยบ.

Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed, foil-lined baking sheet.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well. Drizzle half the vinaigrette onto the asparagus and toss to coat. Roast for 8-10 minutes until crisp-tender. Remove from oven and drizzle with additional Limoncello Vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Serves 3-4

Adapted from a Loretta Paganini School of Cooking recipe.