Lunch at Casa Don

January 22, 2014

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It lives!

It’s been a while. Just for grins I thought I’d update this blog. Today’s lunch was pretty easy to assemble. I had a stack of corn tortillas that I decided to fresh fry crisp in moderately heated canola oil. I tend to overheat oil for frying, but I think I got it right this time. I had on hand some homemade chili (grass fed ground beef, red onion, crushed and minced garlic, chili powder, cumin seeds, tomato paste, catsup, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, filtered water) and some homemade Pinto beans that were brined overnight in salted, filtered water (pintos, red onion, chili powder, cumin seeds, catsup {see a pattern?}. Topped it with mixed baby greens and some fresh cilantro and freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin Spanish olive oil.

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I need me some skrimps!

March 1, 2010

I purchased some Gulf White shrimp (21/25 count per pound) from Central Market the other day. They were on sale for $5.99 /lb. That was quite a discount from their normal price so I bit. These are Texas Gulf shrimp, not imported from Asia. The Texas shrimp are naturally sweet and really don’t need a lot of fussing to get something good to eat. I like shopping at Central Market as I think they do a pretty good job of supplying the freshest produce and meats. Your dishes will be only as good as your worst ingredient, so buy the best and freshest you can afford.

I threw the shrimp in a very moderately oiled non stick skillet. Now when I say moderately oiled, I mean that it was what was left over from the tablespoon of oil that some broccolini with garlic had just been cooked in.

Tonight before I started cooking dinner, I spoke with the trainer who is going to give me my complimentary session at my new gym. What spurred me into being moderate with the oil and butter is that he wanted me to bring him info on what I had eaten for the last two days to judge my nutritional choices. I didn’t want to look bad or have to lie to him so I moderated my olive oil intake.

Anyway, I wasn’t paying attention, my mind was elsewhere, and I almost burned the garlic because I threw it into the skillet at the same time the brocollini was tossed in. I should have waited to throw the garlic in after the brocollini had a chance to cook a bit, but I didn’t. Well I covered the non stick skillet with my trusty iron one to get a little steam going along with pressing the non stick skillet down onto the God awful electric burner. I don’t like electric stoves for many reasons, and I won’t bore you here (lack of incremental control of the heat, slow to heat, slow to cool) with why.I got the vegetable and garlic just off the heat in the nick of time. The garlic was a touch overdone, so it gave the garlic a mild nutty flavor. It was rather pleasant, but I like dark toast so I guess I’m not too picky.

After the near miss with the brocollini and garlic in went the shrimp. I took off the shells before putting them to the heat. Some people do, some don’t. I think if you are cooking with any seasonings, they have a better chance of getting to the shrimp meat and not just seasoning the shell.

Here they are just in the pan with a little lemon pepper sprinkled on them for a touch of seasoning. As I stated before these shrimp don’t need much fussing over, best to leave them alone and let the natural flavor of the shrimp shine through. I cooked these shrimp in two batches. I admit I had these shrimp in the fridge for a few days before cooking, so I cooked a batch for dinner and undercooked the second batch for later use. I undercooked it just slightly so the next time I want a serving of shrimp, the warm up will finish cooking the shrimp and not overcook and dry out the shrimp.

Here they are just about ready to plate. I gave them a sprinkle of sea salt so they would feel at home.


Broccoli’s fancy cousin

February 17, 2010

One of my favorite vegetables is Broccolini also known by the moniker no doubt thought up by marketers, as Asparation.

My first experience with it was at a Vegas buffet, I believe at the Mirage. It was prepared as I have done here, sauteed in olive oil and garlic.

I steamed it a bit first in a little water to soften the stems just a touch. You can skip this step if you like a lot of crunch. The stems are entirely edible and not woody as broccoli stems can sometimes be. The steaming also brings out the very intense green color in this vegetable. While I was steaming the broccolini, I chopped up some garlic. I chose to slice the garlic as opposed to mincing as I didn’t want the garlic to overwhelm the delicate flavor of the broccolini. As you may know the finer you chop garlic, the more intense the flavor. The reason for this is the finer you chop garlic the more surface area and thus the essential oils of the garlic you expose to the air. The exposure to air is what “activates” the garlic. You may not know that it has been discovered recently that the healthy benefits of garlic are intensified if you let the garlic rest for about thirty minutes after you chop or mince before use.

On the menu tonight was the sauteed brocollini and some wild salmon. No, it wasn’t canned, but individually frozen 4 ounce fillets from (gasp!) Walmart. My local Walmart Market usually carries two types of wild salmon, the kind I used and a whole side pre-sliced and frozen. They aren’t line caught Coho, or King, but they’ll do in a pinch.I usually like a bit of dill with my salmon and so I’ve added a little dill infused mayonnaise on the side as an accompanying sauce. It’s a quick and easy dinner and makes me feel better about the brisket sandwich I had for lunch.