July 29, 2011

Scallopalozza! A Steinhatchee Fourth of July

We spent this Fourth of July weekend with great friends on our 3rd annual scalloping trip to the tiny little fishing village of Steinhatchee, Florida.  If you have never been to Steinhatchee, it’s time to go! I hope this post will help you plan your own scallopalooza.
What to do in Steinhatchee?
Hunt for scallops, of course! Scalloping is a really simple activity that can be enjoyed by everyone. All you need is a boat, a mask and snorkel and a 5 gallon bucket to hold your catch (hint, a small bag like the ones used to wash delicates is perfect to hold your scallops while you are swimming around). The Steinhatchee River takes you straight out to the Gulf and from there all you have to do is choose a spot, throw in the anchor and let the hunt begin. It is a lot like an underwater Easter-egg hunt.  Scallops are just sitting on the bottom waiting for you to pick them up.  Once you have reached your limit or are tuckered out, grab a pool noodle or float, a frosty beverage and kick back and relax. This really is one of the best parts of scalloping!
If you aren’t interested in scalloping Steinhatchee also offers great fishing and apparently hunting (but that is not my thing). If you don’t like the outdoors and are expecting shopping malls, Whole Foods or ANYTHING bordering on fancy, this may not be the trip for you. It really is a fishing village in every sense of the term.
Where to stay?
In Steinhatchee, rental houses are key. There is not much in the way of hotels. Two places I would recommend are
 What if I don’t have a boat?
A few marinas in Steinhatchee offer boat rentals. The nicest boat we have rented so far was from SeaHag Marina http://www.seahag.com/boatrentals.htm
What should I eat?
Don’t count on restaurants or grocery stores. For this trip you will need to plan ahead! The rental houses have basic cooking utensils but you may want to pack things like a can opener, veggie peeler and a sharp knife. There are a few places to grab a bite around town, but count on 90% of it being some version of fried food.  Feel free to contact me if you would like to see the menu I planned for our most recent trip. I based it on food I could cook ahead of time and just heat up when we got in from a long day on the water.



So, are you ready to go try your hand at scalloping?


July 28, 2011

Mango Peach Daiquiris. My New Obsession.

Ever since moving to South Florida about 8 months ago I have been surrounded by and obsessed with mangoes. And bonus! They make the perfect daiquiris! Here is our approximate recipe. Feel free to change it around to suit your tastes (more or less rum, different fruit juice, whatever you have on hand!)

The ingredients
  • 1 mango, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peaches
  • 3 oz rum (I use Mount Gay)
  • 3 oz juice (I use a mango, peach orange blend)
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • Dark rum (for a floater, I use Myers)






Blend everything expect the dark rum. Pour in a glass, add your dark rum floater to the top,  strategically place a paper umbrella if you have one, and enjoy!


Teriyaki Chicken Wings on the Big Green Egg

My hubby grilled up these chicken wings for me. Delicious! The glaze reminds me of a sweet teriyaki sauce with hints of garlic. The glaze caramelized while they were on the grill making them look a little burnt but they tasted perfect!

First things first, the marinade/glaze
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce (I skipped this. I didnt want to buy a bottle of oyster sauce for one recipe!)
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato ketchup
  • 1-3 tsp. chili sauce (to taste - I didn't taste the heat at all, so you may want to add more if you like it hot) 


The rest is pretty simple. Mix all the above ingredients and marinate the wings for up to 24 hours. We did it for about an hour and it was fine. Grill the wings until cooked through (about 25 minutes). Periodically baste with the leftover glaze.




 Enjoy!


 For the real recipe without my changes go here:
http://thaifood.about.com/od/quickeasythairecipes/r/easybbqwings.htm

July 27, 2011

Cast Iron Skillet Recipe: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

There may just be a million recipes for a cast iron skillet and I am going to try to find them all. I LOVE cooking in my skillet. It just makes me feel more southern and like a legitimate cook somehow. So here you go, the first recipe post in my cast iron skillet series.

This is probably one of the best pineapple upside down cakes I have ever tried. The ones I grew up with always had canned pineapple and bright red maraschino cherries. Why the idea of using fresh fruit never crossed my mind I dont know. The dark rum was a great added touch. Thanks Emril!

Ingredients
  • 1/2 ripe medium pineapple, peeled, cored, eyes removed and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds (about 4 or 5 slices)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 14 pecan halves
  • 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 4 fresh cherries, halved and pits removed

Directions

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet, over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium high and cook until the sugar mixture is bubbly, about 2 minutes. Arrange pineapple slices in the skillet in a pleasing pattern and continue to cook for 2 minutes, or until the sugar mixture turns an amber color. Turn the pineapple slices over and remove the pan from the heat. (The mixture will continue to cook even though the heat is off.) Arrange the pecan halves in the spaces between the rings. Set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Stir together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the remaining 1/2 cup butter and the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in 3 batches, mixing at low speed after each addition until just combined. Stir in the vanilla and rum.

Spoon the batter evenly over the pineapple slices in the skillet. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool the cake in the skillet on a wire rack for 4 minutes only. Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake and, wearing oven mitts and working quickly, invert the cake onto a cake plate, keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together. Carefully lift the skillet off cake and replace any fruit stuck to the bottom of the skillet, if necessary. Arrange the fresh cherry halves, cut side down, into the top of the cake, in the center of the pineapple rings.

My Notes
I used regular ol' all-purpose flour in this recipe. If you happen to have cake flour, I say go for it, but if you dont want yet another bag in your pantry, use what you have. It will turn out fine!

For the full recipe, go here:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/pineapple-upside-down-cake-recipe/index.html

July 25, 2011

A Pinch of Joy

Welcome to my new blog! I created "Pinch of Joy" in order to share a little bit of joy with all of you. For me, joy comes in all forms, but especially when I am cooking, enjoying a drink or traveling. I guess most of you can relate to one if not all of these!

My name is Joy. I have no formal training as a chef, bartender or travel agent. I am actually a lawyer for a bank. But I needed a way to express my creative side and that option just isn't available in my day to day work. So here we are....

My goal is to share with you different recipes I find and try. I will share whether I love them, hate them, or totally mess them up! We have all been there, right?! I tend to measure in "glugs" and "pinches" (as my grandmother did) and to tweak things depending on ingredients i have on hand or my preferences. I have enough rules to follow during the day, I don't feel like I need to follow a recipe too! This needs to be fun :) I hope everyone can relate and can have fun in the kitchen along with me.

I also can't wait to share some of my travel adventures! Whether the trip is close to home and I plan the whole menu, or across the ocean with foods I cant pronounce I hope to share with you the joy I get from getting away and hopefully inspire you to take a get-away of your own.

I hope you enjoy!