Whole fish and nothing but the fish

Hanoi-Style Fried Fish With Turmeric and Dill (Cha Ca Thang Long)

4 servings
Author Paul Greenberg says this light, summery meal is perfect for sharing.
Serve the fried fish atop the dilled vermicelli or wrapped in lettuce leaves, along with pickled carrots and a dipping sauce called nuoc cham (find the recipes at washingtonpost.com/recipes).
Make ahead: Once salted, the fish needs to sit for 15 minutes. The marinated fish needs to be refrigerated for 20 minutes.

Ingredients

For the fish

• 1 1/2 pounds firm, skinned white-fleshed fish fillets, such as monkfish, red snapper or striped bass
• 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
• 3 tablespoons fish sauce
• 1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger root
• 2 scallions, thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
• 1 1/2 cups rice flour
• Peanut oil, for frying
• 3 to 4 ounces dried rice vermicelli noodles
• 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped

For serving

• 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (optional)
• 1/3 cup nuoc cham (see headnote)
• 1 lime, cut into quarters
• Pickled carrots (see headnote)
• 12 large lettuce leaves
• 1 small bunch mint leaves
• 1 small bunch cilantro
• 1/2 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

Instructions

For the fish: Cut the fish fillets into 2-inch chunks. Sprinkle the pieces all over with the salt; let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the fish sauce, ginger, scallions, sugar and pepper in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Rub the mixture over the fish pieces so they are thoroughly coated, then place them on a plate. Sprinkle them with the turmeric, cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with several layers of paper towels, then seat an oven-safe wire rack on top; place on the middle oven rack and preheat to 200 degrees.
Place the rice flour in a shallow bowl. Lightly coat each piece of marinated fish in the flour, shaking off any excess.
Pour enough oil into a wok to create a depth of at least an inch (1 to 2 cups; the oil will be shallower if you use a large skillet instead). Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is almost smoking.
Working in batches as needed (do not overcrowd the pan), add the fish and cook for 4 to 8 minutes (depending on the thickness of the pieces), using tongs to move and turn the fish as needed so that it becomes evenly cooked and golden brown. Use tongs to transfer the cooked fish to the wire rack in the oven.
Boil a kettle of water. Place the vermicelli in a heatproof bowl. Pour the just-boiled water over the noodles; let them sit according to the package directions. Drain, then toss with the chopped dill.
When ready to serve, arrange the dilled vermicelli on a platter along with the pieces of warm fried fish; soy sauce, if using, and/or nuoc cham for dipping; lime wedges; pickled carrots; lettuce; mint; and cilantro. Garnish with the peanuts.
— Adapted from “The Little Saigon Cookbook: Vietnamese Cuisine and Culture in Southern California’s Little Saigon,” by Ann Le (Globe Pequot, 2011).

Korean Spicy Fish Stew (Mae Un Tang)

4 servings
This is Korean comfort food: a hearty yet delicate fish soup. If you are buying a fish head rather than using one from a whole fish, ask your fishmonger for the “rack” or fish skeleton as well.
Ingredient-wise, the daikon radish, zucchini and chili peppers are a must. But you can add whatever other vegetables you like, including soybean sprouts, pumpkin, mushrooms and watercress, as well as other shellfish, such as oysters and clams.
Make ahead: The soup is best served the same day it’s made.

Ingredients

• 1 large fish head (about 1 1/2 pounds)
• 1 fish rack (optional; see headnote)
• 8 cups water
• 1/2 block (7 ounces) firm tofu
• 8 ounces daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces that are 1/8-inch thick
• 1/2 zucchini, halved lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 1 small red chili pepper, seeded if desired, then cut thinly on the bias
• 1 small green chili pepper, seeded if desired, then cut thinly on the bias
• 1 sweet onion, cut into strips
• 2 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
• 1 tablespoon regular or low-sodium soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean crushed red chili pepper powder)
• 3 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste)
• 4 ounces edible chrysanthemum leaves (optional)
• Kosher or sea salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

Rinse the fish head and pat it dry.
Use your fingers and/or a small paring knife to extract any flesh from fish head and the collar. If you are also using a fish rack, you can extract a significant amount of flesh from it by holding one end and strumming your fingers along the bones. Reserve all of the flesh in a bowl.
Place the picked-over fish head and rack in a stockpot, then add the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook for 10 minutes, turning the head over once during that time. (If you like, you can use a spoon to remove the fish cheeks about halfway through cooking. Add them to the flesh reserved from the head and collar.)
Meanwhile, wrap the tofu in paper towels and use a heavy plate to weight it (to help extract any liquid).
Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a separate pot; discard the bones. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the radish, zucchini, chili peppers, sweet onion, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, gochukaru and gojuchang; reduce the heat to medium and cook for 6 or 7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the reserved fish flesh; cook for about 2 minutes or until it is tender and opaque.
Unweight/unwrap the tofu and cut it into large cubes. Add them and the edible chrysanthemum, if using, to the pot; cook for 2 to 3 minutes without stirring.
Season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide among individual bowls. Garnish each portion with the cilantro. Serve hot.
— Adapted by author Paul Greenberg from a recipe by About.com Korean food expert Naomi Imatome-Yun.

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Ready for some rabbit?

Were you intrigued by today’s story about the resurgence of rabbit at the dinner table? Here’s a recipe provided by the LENS department:

Rabbit Stew with Preserved Pears with Ginger

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 3/4 cup dry white wine

• 1 cup unsalted chicken broth

• 3 large Bosc pears (about 11/2 pounds)

• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

Directions

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the ginger, sugar and wine. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer until the syrup is reduced to 3 tablespoons. Add the broth and bring to a boil, stirring.

Meanwhile, peel, halve and core the pears. Arrange, cut sides down, in a single layer in a large buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the lemon juice. Pour the syrup over the pears.

Bake, uncovered, until golden brown and glazed, about 45 minutes. Baste often with the syrupy juices. Sprinkle with the remaining lemon juice. If not used at once, set aside at room temperature for up to 8 hours and reheat gently before serving; do not refrigerate.

4 hours, plus marinating time for the rabbit. Serves 4 to 8.

Rabbit Stew

Ingredients

• 3 large shallots, halved

• 2 cloves garlic, halved

• 1/4 cup olive oil

• 3 cups dry white wine, divided

• 2 rabbits, cut into serving pieces (about 4 pounds dressed weight)

• 1/3 cup rendered duck or goose fat

• 5 ounces lean salt pork, blanched in water for 5 minutes and cut into 1-inch cubes

• 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence

• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

• 3 onions (about 3/4 pound), thinly sliced

• Scant 1/2 cup Dijon mustard, divided

• 2 egg yolks

• Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

• 1 cup heavy cream

• Juice of 1/2 lemon

• 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

• Preserved pears with ginger

Directions

In a large glass or non-reactive bowl, combine the shallots, garlic, olive oil and half of the wine. Add the rabbit pieces and turn them over until well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, turning the rabbit pieces once or twice a day. If the rabbit is frozen, defrost it directly in the marinade.

About 3 hours before serving, remove the rabbit pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade, reserving the garlic and shallots separately from the liquid.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the fat. Saute the salt pork, transferring the pieces to a 4-quart casserole as they are browned. In the same skillet, brown the rabbit pieces a few at a time, on both sides, transferring them to the casserole as they are browned. Sprinkle the rabbit and the pork cubes with the herbs, salt and pepper to taste.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Add the onions to the skillet along with the reserved garlic and shallots. Saute over moderately high heat, stirring to avoid burning, until soft and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in one-third cup of the mustard with the juices in the bottom of the casserole until well blended.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions, shallots and garlic to the casserole. Deglaze the skillet with the strained marinade liquid and bring to a boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. Add the remaining 11/2 cups wine and return to a boil. Skim again and pour the boiling liquid over the rabbit and onions. Cover with crumpled wet parchment or waxed paper and a tight-fighting lid.

Set the casserole in the oven and cook until the rabbit is meltingly tender, about 2 hours. (To avoid stringy rabbit, do not rush the cooking; if the rabbit is not tender, let it slowly finish cooking in the oven.) Remove the rabbit pieces to a warm bowl; cover and keep moist. (The recipe can be done up to this point in advance. Leave the rabbit pieces in the sauce. Gently reheat, then remove the pieces to a warm bowl and continue with the recipe.)

Strain the cooking liquid, pushing down on the vegetables to extract all their juices. Quickly cool the liquid and remove any fat that surfaces. Place the juices in a heavy saucepan over moderately high heat and bring to a boil. Shift the pan so that only half of it is over the heat. Slowly boil down to 1 cup, skimming often.

About 5 minutes before serving, whisk together the egg yolks, nutmeg, remaining mustard and cream in a small bowl until well-blended. Whisk a few tablespoons of the hot reduced cooking juices into the egg yolk mixture, then whisk the mixture back into the saucepan. Heat gently, whisking until the sauce thickens. Do not allow the sauce to boil. Add the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chives. Spoon the sauce over the rabbit and serve hot with the preserved pears with ginger.

NOTE: Adapted from “The Cooking of Southwest France” by Paula Wolfert, who writes, “This combination of mustard-flavored rabbit stew and gingered pears is most unusual and exciting to the palate. Though wild rabbits are particularly flavorful, this recipe will work very well with the farm-bred variety.”

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Make your own baklava at home

The LENS department passed along a baklava recipe just in case today’s story inspires you.

Baklava with Greek Pastry Syrup

BAKLAVA

  • 2 lbs. walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 ½ lbs. phyllo dough
  • 1 lb. butter, melted
  • 1 recipe Greek pastry syrup, cooled (recipe follows)

In a bowl, add sugar, walnuts and spices. Butter an 11-by-17-inch pan and layer six sheets of phyllo dough in the pan, brushing the top of each with melted butter as you lay them in the pan. Sprinkle 1/3 of the walnut mixture over the dough. Add 6 more sheets of phyllo, again buttering between the layers. Sprinkle with another 1/3 of the nut mixture, followed by a layer of 6 more sheets of buttered phyllo. Spread the final 1/3 of the nut mixture over, and top with the remaining phyllo sheets, buttering between the layers and buttering the top of the final sheet.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then use a sharp knife tip to score the score the top of the pastry into diamond shapes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Cut baklava along score marks. Pour cooled syrup onto hot baklava. Let set for several hours or overnight to allow pastry to absorb the syrup.

Makes about 4 dozen pieces, depending on size.

GREEK PASTRY SYRUP

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp. whole cloves

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil for 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes more. Set aside to cool. Strain to remove cinnamon stick and cloves before using.

Makes enough for 1 tray of pastry.

— Adapted from Treasures from Our Hope Chest, Elpis/Hope Society, Akron, Ohio

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Get physical

The African-American Chamber of Commerce is hosting an April “Physical Fitness”
mixer at In-Shape Health City Health Club on Fri. April 25th from
5 to 7 p.m. at 4555 N. Pershing Ave.

Contact the AAC at (209) 320-5564

http://aachambersj.org/

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MMM … beer

A Beer Festival is coming to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds

Mark your calendars for an experience in taste, art, and award-winning beers. The Central Valley Brewfest is celebrating the finest local breweries in California. Guests will be able to enjoy unlimited sampling, a souvenir tasting mug, admission to a charity art gallery, free parking, and great music.

“Our community is so rich with talent and I wanted to create a venue that recognized it. Focusing on the finest hops and artists in the area is a natural fit the community can enjoy supporting.” said Veronica Camp, founder of Central Valley Brewfest.

Central Valley Brewfest will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. May 10 at Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, 900 N. Broadway in Turlock. Tickets in advance are $30 and $35 at the door. They can be purchased online at cvbrewfest.com or at the fairgrounds the day of the event. To encourage safe driving, there is a discounted ticket for designated drivers to purchase for $20. All guests must be 21 years old to attend.

New to the 2014 event is Dust Bowl Brewing Co. specialty brew with Rock 96.7. Attendees of the Central Valley Brewfest will be the first to sample the collaborative Rock 96.7 Shame and Desperation Brew. Dust Bowl Brewing will focus on using local handcrafted flavors for the beer such as custom coffee blend from Turlock Coffee (owned by Yates McCallum).

“The Central Valley Brewfest is a one of a kind event in our region. Keeping our locals on the cutting edge of a growing trend” says Camp.

According to a recent report by the Brewers Association, a not-for-profit organization representing much of the U.S. beer industry, beer sales are up 15 percent from 2009. Nearly 1 million more barrels than last year were sold by small and independent craft brewers, from 6.4 million to 7.3 million barrels.

This year’s participating breweries are Dust Bowl Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing, Drakes Brewing Co, 21st Amendment Brewery, Tioga Sequoia Brewing and many more. Visit cvbrewfest.com for a complete list.

The Modesto charity, Peer Recovery Art Project will feature innovative, creative, and fresh art pieces for purchase. Proceeds will help fund the promotion of community-based awareness, mutual aid, and support to the Central Valley.

For more information on Central Valley Brewfest or to purchase your tickets, visit cvbrewfest.com

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Summer lovin’

The “summer of love” returns in 2014 during the annual series of concerts at Lodi’s Jessie’s Grove Winery.
Summer of Love, a six-member band from the Bay Area, covers tunes from 1967, when attention was focused on the world-changing rock music emanating from San Francisco.
The group performs July 26 as part of the five-concert series under the Jessie’s Grove oak trees.
Shane Dwight, the San Jose-born blues, rock and country singer-songwriter based part-time in Nashville, Tenn., returns to conclude the 12th Groovin’ in the Grove season on Aug. 9.
Sacramento’s Whiskey Dawn, which also temporarily re-located to Nashville, plays its country-rock music on July 12.
Department of Rock performs versions of classic-rock tunes on June 28 after Stockton’s Ms. Lizzie & Her Cadillac Kings open the series June 7 with their Latin-tinged blues-rock.
Individual-show tickets are priced at $22 (wine-club members) and $27. Season tickets are available. Information: (209) 368-0880.

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Actors of nearly all ages needed

Auditions for summer productions of “Twelfth Night” begin today at 6 p.m. while tryouts for “The Wizard of Oz” start at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The Changing Faces Theatre Co. auditions are being held at St. Paul’s Church, 701 S. Pleasant St., in Lodi.
Today’s tryouts for William Shakespeare’s comedy are for those 16 and older.
Those ages 7 to 12 can audition for “The Wizard of Oz” at 10 a.m. Saturday. Tryouts for those 13 and older are at 2 p.m.
The productions are being staged at Jessie’s Grove Winery in Lodi: “Twelfth Night” on June 18-21 and “The Wizard of Oz” from July 16-19.
Information: (209) 747-8043; changingfacestheater.org.

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Wrestling legend to stage Stockton show

Mick Foley, a former professional wrestler who also writes books for children, stages “Tales From Wrestling Past,” his one-man show, Aug. 10 at Stockton’s Bob Hope Theatre.
Tickets — priced at $22.50 — went on sale today.
Foley. also a comedian, actor and sports commentator, will spend time that day at StocktonCon, a comic-book convention at Stockton Arena, where he’ll pose for photographs and sign autographs.
Also known as “Dude Love,” “Jack Foley,” “Cactus Jack” and “Mankind” during his 20-year pro wrestling career, he’s published four memoirs, four volumes of children’s fiction and two books of contemporary fiction.
He’s also appeared in 30 films and TV programs and was a member of World Wrestling Entertainment — he won three heavyweight championships and is a member of its hall of fame — World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
A native of Bloomington, Ind., Foley’s “billed” career height and weight were 6-foot-2 and 287 pounds. He wrestled and played lacrosse during high school in East Setauket, N.Y.
As a pro wrestler, he was identified as being from Truth Or Consequences, N.M., and now lives in Head of the Harbor, Long Island, N.Y.
He has referred to his theatrical production as “like being in the ring without getting hurt.”
Information: stocktonlive.com.

Mick Foley

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Nut-milk recipe leftovers

Here’s another recipe from today’s story on making your own milk from nuts.
Enjoy!

ALMOND SHORTBREAD

Almond shortbread with cacao nibs. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

COOKIES WITH CACAO NIBS
45 minutes, plus cooling time. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies.
Ingredients:
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, at room temperature
1/3 cup vegan sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup almond meal
1 cup (41/4 ounces) flour
1/2 cup cacao nibs
Directions:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the coconut oil, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes.
2. By hand, stir in the almond meal and flour until thoroughly incorporated. Use your hands if needed to knead the ingredients, still in the bowl, together to form a uniform dough. Stir or knead in the cacao nibs.
3. Form the dough into a log approximately 2 inches in diameter, and roll in a sheet of plastic wrap (the dough will be crumbly, and the plastic wrap will keep each cookie in place as it is sliced). If the dough is too soft to slice, refrigerate the log to firm it up, 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the log, still in the plastic wrap to support the dough, crosswise into slices one-fourth-inch thick. Remove any pieces of plastic wrap and space the slices 11/2 to 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Tip: Rotate the log one quarter-turn in between slices to keep the round shape of the cookies as they are sliced.
5. Bake the cookies until set and very lightly colored, 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the cookies halfway through for even baking.
6. Place the baking sheets on a rack and cool the cookies completely before removing.
EACH OF 18 SERVINGS
Calories 177
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrates 11 grams
Fiber 2 grams
Fat 14 grams
Saturated fat 10 grams
Cholesterol 0
Sugar 4 grams
Sodium 33 mg
NOTE: Sugar is often processed using animal bone char, which is unacceptable to many vegans. This recipe calls for vegan sugar (animal-free processing), which is generally available at health food markets, as well as online.

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Systematic, hydromatic, ultramatic

Hot Copper Car Show in Copperopolis is set for May 3

The 14th Annual Hot Copper Car Show is set from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 3rd in Copper Town Square on Highway 4 in Copperopolis, and is sure to get enthusiasts engines roaring.
This event is now one of the largest hot rod and custom car shows in the Mother Lode. The public can attend free of charge.
The car show brings thousands of car enthusiasts to the beautiful hills of the Mother Lode the first Saturday of May each year.
The Lake Tulloch Lions Club sponsors the show with all proceeds going to benefit the community through scholarships and other services through sponsors from Calaveras and Tuolumne counties.
The show features hot rod and custom cars from throughout Northern California.
Each car owner gets a special dash plaque and will take part in the judging for the best cars at the show in a variety of categories.
There will be food, raffles, and fun for the public too with two bars and a light breakfast available early in the morning and an afternoon lunch. Dozens of vendors will also be present. There will even face painting for the kids. OK, adults probably can get in on that, too.
For information on the show, call Ron Massei at (209) 785-4288 or Ken Osteen (209) 785-8933; laketullochlions.org; hotcoppercarshow.com.

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