Monday, June 27, 2016


Striped Bass

There is nothing better than properly cooked, fresh seafood, in season! From the fun energetic fish markets, to the time everyone gathers around to marvel and the beautiful feast in front of them… I love seafood in the summer! 

Grills and BBQ's are working overtime right now, for a beautiful fish to accompany them at your gathering, or elegant enough for a sit down dinner, this is a perfect Summer fish course. Present the whole fish as above to really impress, and with a fish spatula if it’s a communal dish, letting your guest serve themselves, in awe.

Although buying fish is a bit overwhelming if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, how to buy,  how to properly filet, how to prepare it, cook it, and serve it, and a million other concerns, like, what exactly is a fishmonger?

A simplified outline for those of you who need it:
  • Buy local and a place you trust that knows where their fish comes from.
  • Have any questions - ask your fishmonger - the one who sells, debones (not today), and cuts your fish.
  • Buy the fish where you can physically get close enough to touch it, more importantly smell it!

What you’re looking for:
  • Shiny and bright. Firm scales and skin that bounces back after you touch it - does not sink or take to long to plump back up.
  • Bright and shiny eyes - not sunken in or decay.
  • Brightly colorful gills, full of blood - you want to see them because they’ll cut them off before you take it home.
  • Same for the stomach; you want to see that it is full and intact before they remove it - not punctured in any way.
  • Of course the most obvious - odor free! It should smell like the ocean and of fresh fish - Not funky fishy nastiness.

Striped Bass with Sperma!
-Yes Sperma! Follow the link for the recipe… and the story behind the name. Simple, Fast, Divine!

Difficulty: Moderate Time: 10-14 min per fish, 10 min prep Clean Up: easy!

  • Striped Bass - scaled, fins & stomach removed only; leaving tale, head, skeleton in tact.
  • Salt & Pepper - plenty
  • Olive Oil & tsp butter per pan - for searing
  • Shallot - sliced 2-3 pieces per fish
  • Lemon - sliced 2-3 pieces per fish & more for garnish
Thyme, Oregano, Parsley- couple sprigs each (same you use for Sperma)

You’ll have had your fishmonger scale and take off all the fins but the tale, and empty the stomach. (Unless you feel comfortable doing this yourself.) They aren’t going to debone this fish, you’ll be cooking with the skeleton in tack, as well as the head!  So just the guts, fins, and scales. Always double check with your hand when your home to make sure the scale are all removed, or take the back of a knife and wipe the rest off. Clean the inside and out of the fish - they did not do this before handing it to you and it most likely was the same knife to do both, amongst many others.
The sizzle platter is one of my most important essentials in the kitchen. A knife, tongs, and sizzle platter is really all you need. When you’re broiling fish, you want something that is individual so that you can control everything, especially if you’re making a few, or serving a lot! Not everyone has these readily at home, so use an aluminum pan - oiled up- and don’t over crowd.
(Side Note: sizzle platters are what we use in the professional kitchen & and I at home, for EVERYTHING! They’re around $6 each- rediculously easy to clean! So considering grabbing a few.)

  • Use the Sperma to coat the pan and both sides of the fish. 
  • Open cavity and season both sides with salt & pepper.
  • Stuff the herbs, lemon, and shallots. (Refrigerate until ready to cook!)

  • Turn Broiler on High. Place rack 6” from top.

  • Make sure pan is well coated with Sperma or Olive Oil so skin will not stick to pan. Coat top of fish as well.

  • Salt skin sides of the fish well.
  • Place fish in oven for 6 minutes. Check to make sure it’s golden brown, may need a minute or two longer pending on oven.

  • Take the entire pan out of the oven.
  • More Sperma! You want to make sure it’s coated so the skin will stay on when finished!
  • Gently and carefully use fish spatula to edge under fish until it’s sliding easily, and a clean flip is available. Use fingers if have to but make sure you gently flip, not like pancakes.

  • Add more Sperma on the top of the fish showing.
  • Put back in the broiler for another 6 or so minutes.
  • Have plates ready because you’ll be serving immediately.
  • Take a spoon and use the juice from the pan to base fish before plating.

You may leave the filling or remove. I leave it in for that extra beautiful aroma that escapes when it’s opened on the table. I also serve it all by itself with only lemons because it looks beautiful and this way you won’t need a separate plate for the herbs and bones once you remove.
Careful of the bones when eating. Flip open the fish, after breaking neck off with spoon, the spine/skeleton of fish should easily lift right out, though there will be bones throughout so eat carefully.

Now that was Simple, Quick, and Divine! Go enjoy!
#StripedBass #Organic #LocalFarming #GourmetCooking #DIYGourmet #IndependenceDayMeal #Hosting #Entertaining #GlutenFree #DiabeticDiet #Paleo #FoodandWine #Seafood #Broiling #4thOfJuly #PicNic #HealthyDelicious #SeasonalFish #AllAmerican #ChefCaylena


#TimeCrunch #Dessert # ChocolateFudge!


Quick Easy Delicious!
An easy approach to a beautiful fudge! This is slightly moister than most, but it’s far from cakey… and it needs to be served chilled to give you the best results only a beautiful fudge can! Add nuts if you’d like, or a variety of different chocolate choices for the top to make it even more chocolatey heaven.
Easy as 1, 2, 3 … you can bang it out yourself or get the kids in the kitchen!

Time: 30 min & chill time.   Difficulty: EASY
Grease baking dish:
use one with depth for fudge (I use 9x7 with 2 ½ depth)

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • ⅔ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ¾ Cup Butter - Room Temp
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 ⅓ cups AP Flour
  • 1 Cup 100% Baking Cocoa (yep the powder stuff)
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
*- Pick your topping - I chose Hershey's Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate. (Nuts or even plain is fine)
1  large Bowl - mix sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs.
2nd Bowl - mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.  

3- Mix all together, spread in baking dish
4 - If you’re adding a topping place on top. (Anything but powdered sugar)
5- Bake for 20 minutes. 2-5 minutes either way pending on your oven - so check with a toothpick - insert in center, when it comes out clear- it’s finished.
6- Let cool off as much as can before refrigerating. Cool in fridge until it is cold and rather solid through.
(If you're adding powdered sugar you can add before or after cooling.)

Cut into small squares… it’s fudge so it’s rich!!!
Note: This is not your usual fudge... KEEP REFRIGERATED AT ALL TIMES!

#Fudge #Chocolate #QuickDesserts #TimeCrunch #KidsCook #KidFriendly #FamilyDessert #ChefCaylena #PicNic #4thOfJuly #IndependanceDayFood

PEACHES & BACON!!! A beautiful Summer Salad

Peaches & Bacon Salad
& 16 Health Benefits of Peaches!

Great summer salad with a ridiculous amount of nutrition (read article below!) and perfect for the summer! Not to mention it’s tastes Gorgeous!
Mixed greens with Arugula
Peaches -sliced
Bacon -cut (not crunchy)
Chopped Shallots
Chopped Oregano
Balsamic Glaze ( reduce for 15 minutes, add a teaspoon of honey and pinch of salt)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper.

16 Health Benefits of Peaches

By: Diana Herrington

Peaches have been grown for centuries. They were first cultivated in China where they are considered a symbol of immortality and friendship.
I consider them a key powerfood along with staples like apples and pears. I just wish they were available longer!
16 Ways Peaches Fortify Your Health
1. Peaches are the perfect snack food for losing weight. A peach makes you feel full and keeps you from overeating. The bonus: one peach only contains about 35-50 calories and no fat!
2. Fight obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Peaches are rich in phytochemicals called phenols that act as antioxidants.
3. Keep the skin healthy. Vitamin A and C make peaches a great natural moisturizer; they’re often used in cosmetics. These vitamins can help regenerate skin tissue.
4. Reduce hair loss with its positive effect on the scalp.
5. A healthy stress-reliever that helps reduce anxiety. Peaches are often referred to as the ‘Fruit of Calmness’ in Hungary.
6.  Helps prevent cancer with selenium — a mineral with antioxidant properties that may help protect cells from damage.
7. Peaches can help remove worms from the intestines.
8. Have a diuretic effect which helps cleanse your kidneys and bladder.
9. Peaches can calm an upset stomach.
10.  Compounds in stone fruits could help with “metabolic syndrome,” according to Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, AgriLife Research food scientist involved in a study at the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia.  Cisneros-Zevallos says, “Our work indicates that phenolic compounds present in these fruits have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties in different cell lines and may also reduce the oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol which is associated with cardiovascular disease.”
11. Those suffering from gout and rheumatism are recommended by dieticians to eat peaches because peaches tend to have a diuretic and a light laxative effect.
12. Peaches are thought to be an aphrodisiac.
13.  Peach flowers have sedative properties .  A remedy for restlessness includes boiling peach flowers in water along with some honey.
14.  Inhibit tumour growth activity. Peaches have excellent antimicrobial and antioxidant activity according to research.
15.  Chronic bronchitis, coughs and gastritis are relieved with the medicinal tea of the leaves and bark of peach trees.
16. Peach tea is used as a kidney cleanser in China.
Paired perfectly with a Cheese Souffle

#TimeCrunch #DIY #SummerSalad #Salad #Peach #Bacon #Balsamic #ChefCaylena #PowerFood

Friday, June 24, 2016

DIY ASIAN! Sesame Salmon over Noodles & Dashi w/ Edamame



Sesame Salmon over Noodles & Dashi with Edamame

If Asian cuisine intimidates you… Not any more! This has bright and vibrant flavors in every bite! You will make your own Dashi from your pantry items! You will use frozen Edamame, Grill your own Salmon, and use Top Romain - Yes Top Romain (ditch the salt pack) for your noodles! Quick, Simple, Easy… Look Like a Pro and impress! You can make a gorgeous Gourmet meal in 30 minutes or less! #TimeCrunch
This is the perfect dish for the occasional or weekend cooks, those that want to start learning new types of food, it’s really quite a lovely and refreshing dish… Oh best part- it can be served Hot or Cold!
Ramen noodles are excellent! I use them constantly! They’re fantastic in a pinch because they’re amazing at absorbing the flavors around them, making them blend and most universal. I love them when I’m doing my #TimeCrunch Series especially for that reason, as well as how fast and durable they are. For example in my Chicken Piccata or really anything with a noodle that you want distinct texture for.     
Time: 30 min total /max Difficulty:  EASY
  • Salmon Fillet - deboned, with/without Skin. (4-6 oz per serving.)
  • 1 pack Top Ramen noodle= 3-4 servings. (discard salt package)
  • 1 bag Frozen Peeled Edamame / Soy Beans - about ¼ cup per serving or more
  • Toasted Sesame oil - for searing
  • Sesame Seeds - garnish / optional
  • Scallions - garnish / optional
  • Any Sesame vinaigrette or marinade in the Salad dressings isle!
    • Make your own Sure: 1 pot heat: ⅓ cup Toasted Sesame oil, 2 tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp soy sauce,  pinch crushed garlic, pinch red pepper flakes. Simmer set aside to let firm.
Dashi: ¼ Cup per servings -shown above. It’s very rich broth, to compliment, this is not a soup.
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth/ Stock
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin - or Sweet Vermouth, Sweet white cooking wine
  • ¼ Cup Rice Vinegar ( or cider vinegar)
  • ½ clove crushed garlic
  • 1 Sprig Thyme
  • 2 Tbsp sliced Scallions or  chives
  • Pinch Red Chili Flakes
  • 1 tsp Salt - to taste
  • White pepper to taste
      • OPTIONAL: chop up portabello or shitaki mushrooms realy small, add same time. Adds more rich dimension.
DASHI:  put all in a pot - boil, turn to a simmer until reduced by ½.  - Set aside or chill if using as a cold plate. *If the Dashi is a little too strong for your taste, add a few Tbsp of warm water until desired flavor.
Pull off at al dente. Drain and set aside. If you cooked it all the way - run cold water over it until it's cold to stop the noodles from over cooking.
EDAMAME: Save yourself a step! Keep that boiling water from the noodles. Flash those peeled Soybeans in the steaming water about 4 minutes until bite is pleasant to the tooth, drain -set aside.  _OR_ you can pop it in the microwave if you have one of the Steam in Bag kinds, like these from Target.

SALMON: Sesame Oil on pan - Med-High til near smoking. Dab a little marinade on flesh side. Place in pan Skin Side down.
Wait and don’t fuss with it or will loose the skin and make a Damned Mess! 4-5 Minutes, until it easily slides around, and skin is slightly crispy. Pressing in the middle will keep skin on full length as well as cook as the skin starts to seize.  
3-4 more minutes, pending on thickness. You want to still be slightly bouncy, though a paler shade of pink rather than bright orange in the center - You will be cutting these so if you’re not sure, go ahead and slice it open now to check it out.
Take out of pan immediately when finished as to not over cook. Place in marinade with skin side up.  
Now if you’re going to remove skin, you can pull it off now… for those of us who know that’s the best part… leave it be. Cut in half if need be or to appropriate size.
PLATING 123..4
  1. Noodle - Super easy because they stay together so just grab it by hand and drop it in the center.
  2. Edamame - Again arranged by hand.
  3. Spoon Dashi on and around noodles… again it’s light - not a soup, but coat noodles.
  4. Place Salmon on top.
  5. Drizzle glaze on top of salmon.
  6. Any garnish using like the Sesame seeds, chives, parsley…
You’re finished! Asian dish in less that 30 Minutes! An beautiful, healthy, and filling dish!  Enjoy!!!

#TimeCrunch #Asian #Sesame #Salmon # TraderJoes #Noodles #Ramen #KidFriendly #CheapHealthyEats #QuickEats #OnePlateMeal #ChicEats, Edamame #DIYAsianFood #ChefCaylena