Mom de Cuisine

Curried Fish in Banana Leaves
January 7, 2012, 8:39 am
Filed under: Fish, Main Course | Tags: , , ,


I actually made this curried fish a while ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting it, because I was thinking I may make it again tonight for dinner.  When Lulu’s Hypermarket first opened almost two months ago, I was immediately enamored with their produce section.  There is so much exotic produce, sometimes I just walk around in circles trying to decide what I would like to try next.  One of my first “exotic” purchases was these banana leaves.   

I thought they were a great and healthy way to steam fish.  Their flavor is subtle, and to be honest, the curry covered most of it, but it kept the hamour moist and tender. 

Curried Hamour in Banana Leaves


1 kg Fresh firm white fish, such as hamour (that’s about 2lbs)

1 banana leaf for each piece of fish

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoons lemongrass, chopped

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoons red curry paste*

1 cups unsweetened coconut milk

2 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoons fish sauce

1/2 teaspoons sugar

Cilantro for garnish


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sautee garlic, lemon grass and ginger in a pot.  Add curry paste and sauté one more minute.  Whisk in coconut milk, chicken stock and fish sauce.  Add sugar and cook 5 minutes.  Divide the sauce.

Place a piece of fish on each banana leaf; pour half of the sauce over the filets.  Wrap up the banana leaf around the fish and place in a baking dish, seam side down. 

Bake 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.  Serve the fish with the remaining sauce, sprinkle with cilantro and white rice.

Catfish Po’ Boys with Chipotle Aioli
October 27, 2011, 5:16 am
Filed under: Fish, Main Course | Tags: , , , , ,


I have to make a confession:  I was not a very good wife in my last post.  I said after a weekend of indulgence that we needed a healthy meal to kick off the week.  Well, when I said we, I really meant my husband and my children would be eating a healthy meal.  You see, I was leaving my family for the evening to attend a Pampered Chef party.  If you haven’t heard of the Pampered Chef catalogue and line, it’s cookware, bake ware, and kitchen utensils that are totally unnecessary and any foodie would happily spend too much money on.  It was nice to get out of the house, socialize with some  lovely ladies, and buy kitchen stuff. 

So after a night out, I was feeling a bit guilty that I made my family stay home and eat soup (to be fair, it was good!) and I was out tasting recipes from Pampered Chef.  The next night, I would make it up to my dear hubby. 

One of our favorite places in the world isNew Orleans.  My husband and I took a trip there before having kids and it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on.  We spent the whole time listening to Jazz, walking the French Quarter, eating around the clock, and of course, drinking (also around the clock.)  I was determined to try every restaurant’s version of gumbo, jambalaya, fried catfish, red  beans and rice.  And we loved every bite and every minute. 

I’d wanted to make something reminiscent of our time in NOLA lately, but some of the ingredients used in Cajun cooking can be hard to come by here.  A short time ago, I was shopping and saw a bag of frozen catfish fillets and Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning (all in the same store, in the same trip, I might add) so I grabbed them and waited until the right time to bust this meal out.  As I fried off the catfish, my guilt about the previous night disappeared with each batch of crunchy and golden fish nuggets, as I knew “E” was going to love it; and he did!



CatfishPo’ Boys with Chipotle Aioli



2 lbs catfish fillets cut into 1 inch chunks

2 cups flour

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups cornmeal

1/4 cup Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning, divided

Vegetable oil, for frying

1 cup mayonnaise (or miracle whip for those of use that hate mayo)

1/4 cup chipotle hot sauce (or more or less to taste)

1 loaf crusty French bread

1 head lettuce leaves removed

Lemon wedges, optional



To make the catfish:  set up a battering station by lining up a shallow bowl with the flour, one for the eggs, and one for the cornmeal.  Add the Cajun seasoning to the flour and cornmeal and mix to combine.  Heat the oil to 350 degrees, and while the oil warms, batter the fish.  First into the flour, shaking off the excess; then into the egg, again shaking off the excess; then into the cornmeal, coating evenly.  Once all of the fish has been breaded, fry in batches. and Drain on paper towels.  The catfish can be kept warm by placing it in the oven at 200 degrees on a wire rack after draining on paper towels.

While the catfish fries, combine the mayo and chipotle sauce and set aside.

To assemble the sandwiches, split the French loaf and add lettuce, and catfish.  Drizzle with aioli and serve with lemon wedges. 



Crab Cakes with Purple Potato and Corn Hash
September 22, 2011, 12:36 pm
Filed under: Fish, Main Course | Tags: , , , ,

My husband’s birthday is coming up and boy, do I have big plans in the kitchen.  He is impossible to shop for and worse, I can’t keep a secret from him to save my life.  He already got his “present.”  I was going to surprise him with a new beta fish but a few weeks ago we were at the mall and I let it slip so we ended up picking out some goldfish that day.  Opps.  But to make sure his birthday, and the days leading up to it are special, I usually try to plan a few nice meals.  He’s already put in his requests for cake and a birthday meal (stay tuned) but tonight it’s my choice what I would like to make for him. 

Last week I saw purple potatoes in the market, so I had to buy them.  I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but they were just too pretty to pass up.  I tried making potato chips earlier in the week, but was unsuccessful.  The ones that were crispy enough to be considered a “chip” were brown and the rest were soggy.  I thought maybe I’d do a mashed potato.  That would be pretty.  My hubby says he hates mashed potatoes (he doesn’t) so since this is his birthday meal, I tossed that idea.  The one thing I make with potatoes that he openly admits to liking is a sort of hash.  I usually make it for breakfast with some bacon or sausage, whatever veggies I feel like chopping and then scramble an egg in.  This time, however, I thought maybe some corn for a bit of sweetness and crunch and spinach for color. 

I also thought about one of the best meals/dates my hubby and I had together.  Back when I lived in DC, we went to a steak house for my birthday (it kills me that I can’t remember the name of it anymore.)  The steaks and the wine were great, but the best part of the meal, hands down was the crab cake appetizer.  It was almost all lump crab meat, tossed lightly in dressing and crisp on the outside, sweet and tender on the inside.  Every time I make crab cakes, I try to recreate this particular cake.  I have not yet made one as good as the one I remember, but I think each time they get a little better.  Maybe, one day, I’ll master the secret of that cake, but for now, it was still a great meal to kick off a birthday weekend!


Crab Cakes with Purple Potato and Corn Hash


1 14 ox can of fresh crab meat

2 tablespoons grainy mustard

2 tablespoons miracle whip (you can use mayo, but if you read my seven facts, you’ll know why I didn’t)

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 egg white

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

2 lbs purple potatoes, cubed

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, slivered

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 8oz can of corn

1 bunch of spinach, julienned

Salt/black pepper to taste


To make the hash:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt, black pepper, and red pepper.  Place in an even layer on a lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are crisp on the outside, but tender on the inside. 

While the potatoes roast, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft and fragrant about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté for 2 additional minutes.  When the potatoes are done roasting, toss with onion mixture.  Stir in the corn over medium heat until warmed through.  Toss in spinach and adjust seasonings.  Set aside.

To make crab cakes:  Combine mustard, miracle whip, lemon juice and zest, chives and egg white.  Gently fold in panko and crab meat.  Form crab mixtures into patties and place on a lined baking sheet.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until cakes are warmed through and slightly brown and crispy on the outside. 

Serve crab cakes over potato hash.

Lemony Bay Scallop Penne
September 17, 2011, 9:49 am
Filed under: Fish, Main Course, Pasta & Rice | Tags: , , , , ,


So remember my husband was recently gone on a trip?  You know, when I made him Oxtail Ragu as a welcome home?  Well I really shouldn’t have because while he was gone, he ate amazing food, probably better than what will ever come out of my kitchen.  The night he came home, my hubby told me all about the multi-course meal he had from this little hole-in-the-wall.  Seafood trays, fresh pastas and sauces, and plenty of wine to wash it all down.  Yeah, that’s right, he was in Italy….without me….but it was for work, so I guess that’s a viable excuse for leaving me out. 

But he knew I would be jealous that I missed out (yes, I was but I’m slowly getting over it) so he brought home some loot-pasta and a variety of cheeses.  He knows me well.  I’ve spent the last week thinking of what I wanted to make with my pasta and cheese.  I decided a light sauce and a little seafood would be great.  We could really taste the flavor of the pasta, and I used the peppery cheese which added a nice kick. 



Since we waited until the kiddos were in bed to eat (I couldn’t stand to let my picky kids push a plate of this away telling me they don’t like it without trying it) I had to quickly snap some pictures in my dark kitchen before we devoured it.  I debated posting this one, as the photos aren’t very clear, but I thought only other foodies would appreciate this almost as much as I did. 


Lemony Bay Scallop Penne



1 Package Penne

2 lbs Bay Scallops, patted dry

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 shallots, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon white wine

1 cup white wine

1 cup milk (I used 2% because that’s what we had, but for a more rich taste, you could use whole milk or even whipping cream)

2 tablespoons cheese (I used the peppered cheese pictured, which tasted like a combination of sharp cheddar and parmesan)

Basil, for garnish

Salt/pepper to taste



Boil the penne in salted water until al-dente.  Drain and rinse

While the penne cooks, salt and pepper the scallops.  Heat olive oil over medium high heat and brown the scallops on both sides.  Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe pan clean. 

Add the butter to the scallops pan.  Melt and add the onions and sauté until tender.  Add garlic and lemon zest and sauté 2 more minutes, or until fragrant.  Add flour and cook 2-3 minutes.  Whisk in the white wine and lemon juice until sauce is smooth.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Add the milk and cheese and stir until cheese melts.  Add the scallops back to the sauce and cook 2-3 minutes or until scallops are cooked through.  Toss sauce with the pasta.  Salt/pepper to taste.  Top with fresh basil and serve.

Gnocchi “Tater Tots” with Crispy Fish Sticks
September 8, 2011, 11:33 am
Filed under: Fish, Main Course, Sides, Vegetable | Tags: , ,


When my husband has to go away for work, I usually take the opportunity to try out a new recipe that I know he probably wouldn’t like and watch a movie that he wouldn’t want to see.  On his last trip, I decided that I wanted to make gnocchi.  Every time I’ve even hinted that I was going to make it, his immediate response would be, “I don’t like potatoes.”  Totally untrue, but has been enough to thwart any attempt in the past.  While I was looking through recipes for gnocchi, I saw on Food and Wine gnocchi tater tots.  Perfect, I’ll divide the recipe, using half for a gnocchi carbonara for me for a late dinner, and half I’ll make into tots for the kids.  I was already planning on baking some fish sticks for them for dinner, and what goes better with fish sticks than tater tots?!?

Well I fried up half of the gnocchi, and I thought they came out pretty tasty.  They were like a hybrid of gnocchi, tater tots, and fried breakfast potatoes.  I would recommend sticking to russet potatoes, though.  I haven’t seen russet potatoes here, and the potatoes I do find (don’t know the variety) are starchy but also kind of waxy.  I think the waxy aspect was present in the gnocchi, and while it didn’t ruin it, I know these would have been even better with russet potatoes. 

After the kids had their dinner, I put them to bed and started to get to work on my carbonara (the intended subject of this post.)  However, I guess my guilty pleasure got the best of me.  I was so into the latest episode of Real House Wives of New Jersey I just downloaded on itunes, I way overcooked the gnocchi.  They were a big globby potato mess, so I had to toss them and finish the kids’ fish sticks for dinner instead.

I guess it was a good thing I snapped a few pictures of my tots 🙂



Gnocchi “Tater Tots” with Crispy Fish Sticks

*Gnocchi recipe from


1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed

1 cup (or more) all purpose flour

1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Vegetable oil, for frying

1 lb Hamour Filet

1 cup honey Dijon mustard

2 cups Panko bead crumbs

salt/pepper to taste


To make the gnocchi: Preheat oven to 400°F. Pierce potatoes in several places and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Cut potatoes in half. Working in batches, scoop hot flesh into potato ricer or food mill. Rice potatoes onto rimmed baking sheet; spread out and cool to room temperature.

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer potatoes to large bowl. Add 1 cup flour; toss to coat. Form well in center of potato mixture. Add egg yolk, coarse salt, and nutmeg; stir with fork until mixture is evenly moistened (mixture will look shaggy). Turn mixture out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until dough comes together, sprinkling dough with flour very lightly only if dough is very sticky. Form dough into ball; divide into 4 pieces. Roll each piece between hands and work surface into 3/4-inch-thick rope. Cut each rope into 3/4-inch pieces. Place gnocchi on prepared baking sheet.

Working in batches, cook gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until gnocchi rise to surface of water. Continue to simmer gnocchi until cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, carefully transfer gnocchi to bowl of ice water, then to paper towels to drain.   Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 degrees.  Fry gnocchi3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oil to paper towel lined plate and salt immediately.

To make the fish sticks:  Cut the hamour filet into strips.  Coat strips with mustard, then with bread crumbs.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until crisp and cooked through.

Grilled Hamour with Spicy Tomato and Cumin Sauce
September 2, 2011, 1:29 pm
Filed under: Fish, Main Course | Tags: , ,

My husband has had big grilling plans for this Labor Day Weekend.  He was finally going to fire up our new (charcoal) grill.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, sausage, corn, shrimp, were all on his menu.  However, before we indulged in all that grilled and greasy goodness, I thought I’d kick off the weekend with something a little healthier. 

Hamour is acommon  local fish, the Arabian name for grouper.  I read that it’s high in Omega-3’s.  This was my first time cooking it, but it won’t be the last.  It was perfect for grilling, very firm and meaty.  While it was cooking, I thought it had a strong fishy smell, but the taste was very mild.  When I tasted the fish, I was a little worried that my sauce would over power the mild and slightly sweet taste, but I think it complemented it well. 


Grilled Hamour with Spicy Tomato and Cumin Sauce


2 pounds hamour filets

2 small  limes

1 pound yellow and red grape tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons green onion, chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish

1 small green chili, chopped and seeds removed

1 large clove garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons cumin

salt and pepper to taste


To make tomato sauce:  Preheat oven to 400.  Toss tomatoes, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Place on a baking sheet and roast until the tomatoes start to blacken and burst, 10-15 minutes.  Cool tomatoes.  When cooled, puree tomatoes, onion, cilantro, green chili, garlic, cumin.  Add juice and zest of 1 lime.  Store sauce in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To grill hamour:  Prepare grill (in my case, get coals hot.)  Squeeze juice of one lime over both sides of the filet and season with salt and pepper.  Grill hamour 15 minutes, or until cooked through, turning half way through. 

Serve grilled hamour with chilled tomato sauce, cilantro and extra lime wedges.


Salmon with Roasted Asparagus and Parmesan Risotto
August 26, 2011, 8:22 am
Filed under: Fish, Main Course, Pasta & Rice, Sides | Tags: , , ,

I thought about trying to find a recipe for some amazing, crazy, salmon.  But as I looked, I came to the realization that I love the taste of salmon.  I don’t need to cover it up with sauces, rubs, marinades, etc…  For me a piece of salmon with a little salt, pepper and lemon juice is perfection. 

I’ve seen these baby asparagus in the market, and a few weeks ago I picked some up.  I’m not a huge fan of asparagus, but roasting these tiny green veggies makes them crisp, and they have a more mild flavor.  And while risotto can be a little labor intensive, I think the final product is so worth it.  My husband thinks he hates risotto, or as he calls it, “soupy rice” but every time I make it, he inevitably asks for more of, “that cheesy rice stuff.”  I like this risotto because it feels like it’s so indulgent, but it’s fairly healthy.  I don’t add cream, and just a bit of sharp parmesan cheese makes all the difference. 

Salmon with Roasted Asparagus and Parmesan Risotto


2-3 fillets of Salmon

Juice of one lemon, plus more for serving

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 cups rice (I used basmati because that’s what I had in my pantry, but arborio is probably a better choice)

5 cups chicken stalk, preferably homemade (You may or may not use this much, but it’s better to have more than you need then less)

1 small onion

1/4 cup white wine, plus extra for drinking whilst stirring risotto (I used Sauvignon Blanc, again because that’s what I drink, so that’s what I had on hand 🙂 )

1 lb baby asparagus

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish


To roast the asparagus: Preheat the oven to 400.  Rinse and trim asparagus.  Dry and place on a tin foil lined baking sheet.  Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast in oven 10 minutes, or until asparagus is cooked, and slightly crispy.

After the asparagus is roasted, remove from baking sheet and set aside.  Add salmon to the baking sheet and pour on lemon juice and sprinkle liberally with salt and black pepper.  Roast the salmon 10 minutes, or until it’s cooked to preferred doneness.

While salmon is roasting prepare the risotto.  Bring chicken stalk to a simmer.  Saute onions in another pot until translucent and soft.  Add the rice and stir to incorporate the onions. Pour in the wine and stir rice until all the wine is absorbed.  Add chicken stalk, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring continuously until liquid is absorbed before adding more.  When rice is soft and creamy (takes approx. 20-30 minutes, that’s why you need some extra wine handy 🙂 ) stir in asparagus and parmesan cheese.  Add salt/pepper as needed. 

To serve, place risotto on plate and a few curls of parmesan.  Top with salmon.  Serve with lemon wedges. 

Shrimp and Grits with Chorizo Succotash
August 11, 2011, 5:58 am
Filed under: Fish, Main Course | Tags: , , ,

A visit to the “Unhappiest Place on Earth” a.k.a. Disney Land inspired this dish.  After a long day of lines and crowds, we returned to our hotel room and decided to order room service.  The menu overall looked over priced and unappetizing, except one dish: the Shrimp and Grits.  My husband claims to hate grits, but he ended up eating most of it.  Anyway, we decided to recreate it with a few twists for a date night (yes, the Sous Chefs were in bed because they would never eat this anyway.)

Shrimp and Grits with Chorizo Succotash


  • 1 lb large shrimp, pealed and deveined
  • 2 tbs cajun seasoning
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 link Spanish Chorizo, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 small green chili’s, diced, seeds removed (unless you like your food to burn your mouth off)
  • 1 can sweet white corn
  • 3/4 cup instant grits
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese


  • Combine shrimp and Cajun seasoning, refrigerate while you make succotash.
  • Combine chorizo and onion,  in large skillet over medium heat and saute until onion is translucent.  Pour off excess fat.  Add chilis and corn and saute until corn is warmed through, being careful not to burn chorizo.  Remove from heat, set aside
  • Bring chicken stock to a boil.  Meanwhile, heat oil and saute shrimp over medium high heat until opeque and cooked through.
  • Once stock is boiling, add grits and whisk.  Cover and reduce heat to medium for five minutes.  When grits have obsorbed most of the liquid, remove cover and wisk in cheddar cheese until fully incorporated.
  • To plate, pour grits on to plate, add 2-3 tbs succotash and top with shrimp.  Garnish with fresh cracked black pepper.

Serve with Cornmeal Fried Okra as an accompaniment.

Mexi-Monday: Crispy Fish Tacos
August 8, 2011, 9:54 am
Filed under: Fish, Main Course | Tags: ,

If reincarnation exists, I think I was probably Mexican in my  last life.  I say this only to say, that I love Mexican food.  I love Mexican food so much that I’ve been known to cry over a burrito (which actually prompted my marrage, but that’s a story for another time.)  So to satisfy my Mexi-craving this week, I made one of me and my sous chefs’ favorites: Crispy fish tacos.  The Sous Chefs like this one because they can assemble their own, and are thus more likely to eat said tacos.


  • 2 limes, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 garlic clove
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 4 fillets firm white fish, cut into strips
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 2 cups cold seltzer water
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Tortillas
  • Pepper Jack cheese (optional)
  • Thinly sliced Radishes, red onion and lettuce (optional)


  • Prepare marinade for fish:  combine lime juice, zest of one lime, chili powder, cumin, cilantro (leave enough to garnish at the end).  Add fish and marinate for 15 minutes.
  • While fish marinates, heat oil to 350. 
  • Combine 1 cup flour and cold seltzer .  Shake excess marinade off of fish, dredge in flour, shake off excess and dip in seltzer batter. 
  • Fry fish in batches until golden brown on all sides.  Place crispy fish on paper towels to drain off excess grease and salt/pepper immediatly. 
  • To assemble tacos:  Place warm fish on tortilla.  Top with lettuce, cheese, cilantro, radish and red onion.  Serve with Chips and Guacamole.