Chicken Satay

Ingredients:
  • Wooden Skewers soaked in water
  • 2lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • ½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons lemongrass paste
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup tamari (or soy sauce)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon  turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

Slice the chicken lengthwise into strips.

In a blender, combine 1 tablespoon of sesame oil (save the rest), and the remainder of the ingredients. Blend until combined (shallot and garlic broken down).

Place the chicken strips in a large zip-lock bag, and pour the marinate on top. Refrigerate overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat your grill. You can alternatively use a cast-iron skillet. If using a skillet, head the pan to medium-high heat with the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil.

Put the chicken on the skewers like a fan going through small sections of each side. If the pieces of chicken are thick enough, you can stick them straight through.

Place on the hot grill or pan. They are ready to flip when the edges start to turn white. Cook until both sides are slightly caramelized and charred.

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Ground Beef Korean Lettuce Wraps

Warning: You won’t be able to stop eating these.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head Iceberg lettuce washed
  • 1 lb Grass-fed Ground Beef
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 Cup Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tsp sriracha
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch of green onion
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1″ cube ginger
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 can water-chess nuts

Instructions:

Heat a large frying pan to medium high heat with 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil.

Mince garlic. Peel and slice ginger, then cut it into thin strips. Chop green onions. Peel and chop shallot. Drain and chop the water-chess nuts.

Combine garlic, ginger, Tamari, 1/2 tbsp sesame oil, red pepper flakes, sriracha, rice wine vinegar, and honey in a small bowl.

Carefully separate lettuce leaves, wash and dry. Chop cilantro.

Add ground beef to hot pan with chopped shallot. As the meat cooks, break up the large pieces. Stir until beef is just about cooked through. Add the white section of green onions, the water-chess nuts and the sauce. Stir and cook for 3 minutes to 5 minutes.

Put the meat on top of each piece of lettuce, top with the green section of the onion, and chopped cilantro.

 

Black-Grilled Mutton Snapper with Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower & Broccoli with Lentils

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Fish:

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless snapper fillets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy, less if you don’t)
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning

I like to soak my fillets in a mixture of kosher salt, water, and ice for 10 minutes before cooking. I don’t wash my fish off after catching and cleaning it. They say fresh water makes fish mushy, along with some other negative stuff that I am not sure whether it is true or not, but regardless…I don’t wash fish with fresh water. The saltwater bath firms the fillets up a bit, making it easier to work with, and removes scales as well as blood.

Next, dry the fish well with paper towels.

I apply some olive oil to my grates before I heat the grill, so that the fish doesn’t stick.

Drizzle olive oil over the fish. Apply an even coating of your spices. Pat them on so they stick. Flip and repeat.

When the grill is hot, lay the fish down. It is important not to try to flip until the fish is ready. Doing so will result in half the fish sticking to the grates.

When your edges turn white, gently try to flip one fillet. The spices should have created a brown crust. The fillets should not stick much if they are properly cooked. You can see that the middle piece on the right side gave me some trouble. I was only going to show the left side of the grill, but decided to show the full image to show that we all can’t be perfect 100% of the time. The piece was eaten. Bobby Flay would throw that piece of fish out, but then again, he doesn’t travel 150 miles by boat to catch his own fish.

After about 4 minutes, the bottom of the fish should look like the top, beautiful seared perfection. Remove from the grill. Fully cooked fish will completely flake through at the thickest point. If there is resistance, and you cannot get a knife or fork through the fish, it is not fully cooked.

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Turmeric Vegetables:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 cubic inch piece of ginger minced
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp curry powder

Heat your oven to 425 degrees. In a medium frying pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add your spices, stirring often. Add the garlic, ginger, and shallot. Cook for two to three minutes. Take off the heat.

Break your vegetables up into florets. Roll the cauliflower and broccoli in the spiced oil. Spread the oiled vegetables on a parchment paper lined baking sheet . Make sure you put the remaining pieces of shallot, garlic, and ginger that stuck to the pan on top before putting the vegetables in the oven.

Let them roast for 30 minutes give or take 10 minutes. Your nose will tell you when it is ready. The cauliflower should be browned and look like the picture below.

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Lentils:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp tandoori paste
  • chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Heat a nonstick pan to medium heat with olive oil. Add your lentils and coat them with the oil. Cook for one minute to slightly brown them. Add the chicken stock, salt, pepper and cloves. Cover the pan and let simmer until the liquid is almost fully absorbed. Check after 12 minutes. If all of the liquid is absorbed, but the lentils aren’t soft enough, add a 1/2 cup more of chicken stock, and keep cooking until they are to your liking. If the lentils are good to go, stir in the tandoori paste, and add the chopped cilantro.

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Pulley Ridge July 9th, 2016, and First Dinner Recipe

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Tackle Used:

  • Jigging Depot Shark rod
  • Maxel Transformer 50ch
  • 30lb fireline crystal
  • 40lb and 50lb yo-zuri fluorocarbon leader
  • Jigs that produced before getting lost to the sea demons: damiki suplex, deepliner vb, seafloor control: rector, arc, cranky, spunky, abyss & beats greatray

1600 Hours: 18 men arrive to the fishing boat which would serve as base of operations for the next three days. 18 men… ready to leave their hearts and souls at sea, with no concern for sleep, and a willingness to endure whatever conditions mother nature might present.

After an action filled trip last year, everyone had high expectations for this years sequel. We had nearly the same turnout as last year. (Minus one double certified paranoid schizophrenic). I had been accumulating expensive slow pitch jigs from Japan since last year to use on this trip, put new braid on all my reels, made a few dozen assist hooks, had reels serviced, organized and reorganized gear, tied cut and retied knots. Everything was ready to go.

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I have been on a health binge for the past 6 weeks, so took a day in advance to prep hard boiled eggs for breakfast, grilled chicken salads for lunch, and full dinners complete with sweet potatoes and green beans. It was extremely difficult to watch everyone eating cookies and maintain a strict diet, especially when the lack on sleep created carb cravings kicked in. With willpower I didn’t stray off the plan at all, even managed to absorb the daily protein shakes, and did a few push-ups between stops.

Anyway, we loaded the boat, sweating buckets in blistering heat, picked up some hog fish dinner at the grill next door to the Yankee Capts, and set sail for Pulley Ridge, roughly 10 hours and 150 miles west of Key West.

0600: Fishermen Reached Target Destination

“Lets try this spot here.” Captain Greg (He says this at every spot)

Fishing was slooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. There was virtually no action.

Fishing was slower than a kid on the short bus reading Shakespeare in hieroglyphics, with an eye patch, after a bottle of whiskey.

The tide made it almost impossible to fish. I caught two mutton snapper, two red grouper, two blackfin tuna, and two scamp grouper, and the nothing for virtually all of Saturday. All fish were caught on slow pitch jigs, the Jigging Depot Shark rod, Maxel Transformer 50ch with 30lb fireline crystal, 40lb and 50lb yo-zuri fluorocarbon leader. I stayed awake until 4 or 5 am Saturday night to try to pull in some tunas, and catch flying fish,  but ultimately went to sleep it was so slow. I ended up losing 12 jigs, and all the hooks I had made (due to cutoffs and a few that got stuck on the bottom).

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A few people who fished nonstop got their share of fish. What can you do? This was the culmination of a bad year of fishing for me.

Anyway, here is what the chef made for dinner the first night:

Pan Seared Scamp Grouper in Lemon Garlic Chardonnay Reduction with Brown Rice and Molasses Kale:

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Ingredients for Fish:

  • 1 scamp grouper filleted and skinned, bloodline removed
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Good Olive Oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Capers
  • 2 Lemons
  • Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Cup Chardonnay
  • 4 Big Cloves of Garlic Diced
  • 1 Shallot Diced

Kale Ingredients:

  • 1 Bunch Rinsed Kale and chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Diced
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Molasses
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock

Put 1 cup of brown rice in a medium saucepan with 1 3/4 cups of water. (I like to replace half the water with chicken stock to give the rice more flavor.) Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer (2 out of 9 on my stove). Let the rice cook for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice all of the shallot, garlic, onion, and parsley and set it aside. Zest and juice the lemons.

Apply seasoning to cover both sides of the fish fillets. Don’t be shy, the seasoning is what gives the fish its crust.

Heat a big pot with olive oil to medium/medium high heat. When the pot is hot, add your onions, stirring often so they don’t burn. Give it 5 minutes and add the garlic. After a minute, add the chopped kale. Stir it around so the onions and garlic don’t stay on the bottom and burn. After 2 minutes, add the molasses, salt, pepper, vinegar, chicken stock, and stir. Cover the put and turn the heat down a little. Let the kale wilt and absorb the liquid.

When you heat the pot, you can simultaneously heat a frying pan with one tbsp. of olive oil as well to medium high heat. When it is hot, and only when it is hot, add your fish. If the pan is not hot enough, the fish will absorb the oil and get greasy. With the hot pain, the fish will crust, creating the ideal texture for your dining pleasure. Do not turn the fish until it is ready, no peaking!

When the fish starts to turn white on the edges and on the verge or golden, flip it over, and cook for a few minutes on the other side. The the bottom looks as cooked at the top, transfer it to a plate. If you did this correctly, there should be a lot of spices stuck to the bottom of the pan, almost impossible to scrape off.

Add the shallots and garlic to the pan, stir for 1 minute. Add your wine, wait 30 seconds, it should be bubbling. Use your fish flipper to scrape the spices left over from the fish off the bottom of your pan. The wine will have loosened it up enough to come free.

Add the lemon juice and the zest, the remaining tbsp. of olive oil, as many capers (without the juice as your heart desires), the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce reduce for a few minutes before adding the fish back into the pan and spooning the sauce on top.

Plate and dig in!

 

P.S. Restaurant trick: Making the Rice Look Nice 

Put your rice in a small bowl or custard cup and pack tightly, turn it upside down on the plate. Give it a tap, and walaa

Holy Smokes. I Got a Real Smoker

Smoking is pretty simple.  Brine your meat in water, salt, sugar, and spices overnight.  Dry rub well.  Heat charcoal to the right temperature, add a good wood, and get your meat to the desired temperature.

Here is the first thing I smoked.  The chicken breast came out moist and incredibly flavorful.

Smoking temp: 250 Degrees for about 3 hours

Chicken needs to get to 165 degrees before it is safe to eat.

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Chicken Brest Round 2

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Why not make it an all out southern feast?

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Smoked Pompano: The best smoked fish anyone has ever had.

Smoking Temp: 150 Degrees, done when dark and dried

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Look at that Color!

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The Day Before St. Patrick’s Day Smoked Cornedbeef

Smoking Temp: 250 to 275 degrees for 3 hours until 165 degrees internally, then wrap in tin foil and cook until the internal temp gets to 195

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The Pompano Run Is in Full Swing

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I have been up to Sebastian surf fishing for pompano twice in the last month, and there was a ton of action.  Lots of small pompano and whiting were hungry for sand fleas.  I managed to pull in some big ones for dinner.  The fish on top was almost 20″.  I read that an artificial bait called fish bites was working well for some anglers.  I decided to test it out. (Picture Below)

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I was doubtful at first, but a little piece of this stuff caught several fish.  The main advantage was that it never came off the hook, when natural baits were picked off.  When the strip touches water, it releases a strong odor that must attract the fish as well.  I would highly advise giving it a try if you haven’t already.

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For a quick grilled pompano, gut your fresh catch.  Cut diagonal scored on both sides of the fish.  Rub the fish with good olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and stuff the fish with fresh dill and a few slices of lemon.  Grill right over the grates for 15 minutes per side. Serve with lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.

For my whole grilled fish like this, I make a seasoned olive oil that I use both before cooking the fish and then to dip or drizzle over the top after it is cooked.

For the seasoned oil, add 1/2 cup of good olive oil to a small bowl.  (There is a huge difference in taste with fruity, high quality olive oil vs cheap extra light extra virgin)  Add a quarter teaspoon of salt and pepper, two finely chopped cloves of garlic, any fresh herbs you desire, and the juice of a lemon or lime.  (Dill, Time, Parsley, and Rosemary pair well with fish)  Let the mix marinate for at least an hour so the spices are incorporated into the oil.

 

 

The Pompano Run is Almost Here!

Every year, there is a winter and a spring pompano run.  This is a fun time of year, because you can catch these tasty fish right from the beach, sometimes two or three at a time!  As you can see, we use ridiculously long fishing rods that are awkward to handle.  The longer the rod, the further you can cast.  Sometimes the fish are in close, and other times they are as far as you can cast, or a little further.

There are several theories to how the run works.  From my basic understanding after three years, the pompano like the water temperature to be around 75 degrees or so.  When the water temperatures drop in the winter, the pompano travel from northern Florida or even Georgia, down to the keys.  They can be caught on days with a strong NE wind.  You ideally want pretty rough waters to stir up the pompanos’ favorite food, sand fleas.  Sand fleas are also called mole crabs, they are not sea lice.  Catching these little crabs is a real challenge in itself at times.  Anyway, during the winter, the fish tend to be smaller and the bite is less predictable.  I caught a few good fish this winter on small jigs.

During the spring, as the water starts to warm up, and the fish migrate back up north.  The weather pasterns switch to more wind out of the south, and a strong SE wind is best for the bite.  The spring run usually starts around the beginning of March, and can last into late April.  The fish tend to be bigger at this time of year.  I caught a few fish in mid February.  I am not sure if this was the start of the spring run, the end of the winter run, or just some confused fish that weren’t keeping track of the date.

I had heard there was a good bite up north, so last weekend Yongsoo and I traveled up to Sebastian.  The bite was 10 minutes long at sunrise, and rather disappointing, but we got a few.  I had a mystery fish run me down the beach and break me off.  Up there I would say it was either a redfish, a snook, or a permit.

Checkout the video above to get a feel for how it is done.