Who's That Girl

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WHO'S THAT GIRL: A higher education obsessed foodie who is documenting her life in the kitchen. I love to cook delicious, gourmet-style foods for those I love and always welcome a challenge in the kitchen. With that challenge comes an impromptu nature. I tend to avoid following recipes to the exact, so you are not likely to find very many posted here. Being that I am a Libra and am learning to be free in the kitchen, the story always goes, "A pinch of this and a smattering of that!" Thank you for visiting -- and happy reading!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

FOOD CHALLENGE: Tomatoes

I struggled with this week's challenge. That's good -- I needed a mental exercise. Right before the start of the new academic year. Need to get the brain cells hyped up for next week and the next few months of their lives. It's going to be an extra busy term. I can already tell.

So, as you may know, I tend to use tomatoes in my dishes quite often but, really, it tends to always be in the form of salads or, on the rare occasion, when I actually prepare a red sauce.

But what about something wildly different?

I still haven't had a chance to address my sushi obsession, so lox sounded attractive. It's been going strong for about a good six weeks or so now. Poor Nancy. That's about all I can think about most of these days: fresh, succulent fish! Unfortunately, we live in the desert, so decent fish is hard to come by. *sigh*

But, yes, the food challenge was heavy on my mind this week. I played with the idea of a new type of sauce. And ice cream. And other desserts with tomatoes.

But, alas, I change my mind often. Eventually, I though: Why not tomatoes and an assortment of other fillings inside a smoked salmon wrapping?

I set out to roast the tomatoes with crushed garlic, a pinch of lemongrass, basil, salt and pepper drizzled with olive oil. I put this in the oven at about 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.

That was perfect timing About half the tomatoes shriveled and slightly popped while the other half were prepped to burst. A few minutes before removing them from the oven, I topped the plum tomatoes with mozzarella or a mozzarella and prosciutto combo.

Then I prepared the shrimp. Nothing fancy -- just Old Bay seasoning and onion salt with a slight drizzle of olive oil before going into the oven for a few minutes.

I happened to have some coconut milk rice from the other night, so I warmed that gently in the microwave.

Next, I sauteed some portobello mushrooms and chives in a little bit of butter, adding some oil at the finish. This turned out to be an amazing addition. In the future -- if ever I make this dish again -- I am pretty sure I would skip the tomatoes and double the mushrooms. They added a much needed texture to this meal. And it helped to add a tad bit of truffle oil to the mushrooms before adding them to the mix.
Then came the assembly, which was quite easy.

I lined ramekins with the smoked salmon then added all of the filings. I then chopped up some fresh basil and sprinkled it atop the "cups."

Next, I adorned each plate with some tomatoes and a few shrimps each.

And there you have it -- this strange-looking meal that turned out to be quite different with nearly every single bite.

I think, also, keeping with the sticky rice was a good choice. I don't think standard white rice would have done this dish any good. Having that slighty sweet flavor helped to pull out the flavors of other dishes. In the end, though, I think I would have let the mushrooms and the tomatoes cool a bit longer before serving so as not to disrupt the tender coolness of the salmon.

2 comments:

  1. If you can get your hands on some frozen salmon at the market it will make very fine gravlax. It's not exactly like "lox" but special and inexpensive and easy to make. If interested, check out my homemade gravlax on my blog. I just love the stuff. What you've done today (yesterday?) looks special too.

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  2. Thanks for checking out some of my postings. Re: pierogis - if you can find an Eastern European market you might find them. Re: fried chicken - if the oil is plenty hot the chicken will absorb very little of it. I've made this recipe twice and there is no sense of oilyness or greasyness to it. It's so good it's worth the indulgence!

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