Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cooking with Casey (August)

Let me introduce you to my little sister Casey.   
My Sister and Sous Chef, Casey
She is one of my favorite people to cook with and I’m excited that she will soon be moving back to Minneapolis and we will be cooking together a lot!    She was in town this past weekend to apartment hunt and we had a girl’s night in, which of course means cooking.   We decided to make the rule that we couldn't make anything we've made before.  

On the menu for the evening:  
  • Mango/Avocado Salad
  • Fish in with Coconut Milk Sauce
  • Chocolate Soufflé

First off, we had to start with a Cooking Cocktail.   We mixed Effen cucumber vodka, diet 7-up, lime juice, and a jalapeño slice and served it over ice.   
Cooking Cocktail Fixins
It was very refreshing (even with the little jalapeño kick).    Maybe too refreshing as I felt like I was drinking water from the spa.   
My dress matches the vodka bottle!

For the mango/avocado salad, I just made it up.  I thought something with mango and avocado would go well with the Asian-style fish.
Mango/Avocado Salad

For dressing, combine the following in the bottom of a salad bowl.
  • 3 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. grape seed or canola oil
  • ½ tsp. smooth mustard (I use Champagne mustard)
Whisk the above together with a fork or whisk.   Then add:
  • Minced red onion (just a couple slices, less than 1/3 of the onion)
  • Mince jalapeño (as much as you are comfortable with, less than 1/3 of the onion)
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • 2 slices of avocado (mashed)
  • S+P (salt and pepper)
  • a squeeze or two of fresh lime juice (lime zest would be good too)

Mix the above ingredients together well and you will have your dressing.   To finish it off add diced mango (1 whole mango), diced avocado (1/2 avocado), leaf lettuce and toss together.     

Verdict:  This was very good.   I love mango and avocado together.   Before I added the lettuce we joked that we should grab some chips and eat it as salsa instead.      

For the fish, we got the recipe inspiration from the Cuisine à Latina cookbook by Michelle Bernstein.  She has a Banana-leaf Wrapped Fish that was intriguing.   If you want the original recipe, check out her cookbook.   Otherwise, this was our version……..

Fish in Coconut Milk Sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 half of a jalapeno
1 tablespoon sugar
1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
Parchment paper or foil
4 fish fillets (we used halibut – Michelle Bernstein suggested Yellowtail, Bass, Grouper or Halibut)

  1. Place 1 Tbsp. oil, garlic, shallots, jalapeno, coconut milk, sugar, ginger, and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until a smooth paste is formed.
  2. Preheat oven to 375.   
  3. Briefly sauté the fish in a skillet on the stove top.  Warm up pan over high heat, turn down to medium high.  Add oil (1 Tbsp. Canola) and the seasoned fish (season each side with salt and pepper).  Sauté the fish for about 45 seconds on each side.
  4. Set each fillet in a piece of foil.  Top with the above mixture and seal the foil into individual packets.  
  5. Place the fish in the oven for about 8-10 minutes.    (You can also grill it.  In this case I would double up the foil to ensure that there is no leaking.   Place foil-wrapped fish on grill and grill, turning once, until a metal skewer or sharp, thin-bladed knife inserted into the center of the fish comes out hot, 5 to 6 minutes per side.)
  6. Carefully unwrap fish from foil and place each banana-leaf-wrapped fillet on a plate; serve immediately – garnish with lime wedge and cilantro.   Serve with jasmine rice mixed with fresh cilantro.
Sautéd Fish in the foil waiting for the sauce.

Verdict:  I thought the fish was really tender and the sauce had a great flavor.   The sauce was a little thin but that might be because we used “Light” coconut milk.   I would definitely make it again, I liked the tropical, spicy flavor of the sauce.  Next time, I would like to try grilling it in banana leaves, as the original recipe calls for; we couldn’t find any so we had to go to plan B.  

Pairing:   This meal would pair great with our Cooking Cocktail (above) or a light, fruity & floral, white wine.   

For dessert, we debated this one for a bit and then settled on soufflé, which neither of us had made before.   And I happened to have everything we needed – how often does that happen?   Never.  It was meant to be.   We found a recipe online and the making of our first soufflé commenced.

Individual Chocolate Soufflés Recipe

By Rebecca Franklin, Guide

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes 


  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • Butter
  • Powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter 6 individual soufflé ramekins and sprinkle with sugar; set aside.
  • Melt chocolate pieces in a metal bowl over barely simmering water, constantly stirring. (Even a small amount of overheated chocolate will ruin an entire recipe.) Once the chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from heat and stir in the egg yolks.
  • In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with salt on medium high speed until they hold soft glossy peaks. Continue beating egg whites on high speed, gradually adding the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, until the egg whites hold stiff glossy peaks.
  • Gently stir 1/3 of the eggs whites into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the remaining egg whites. The chocolate mixture should be light and bubbly, and even colored, without egg white streaks.
  • Spoon your soufflé mixture into the prepared ramekins and allow to rest for up to 30 minutes or bake right away for 12 – 15 minutes (slightly longer at high altitudes) until risen with a crusty exterior. Serve with a dusting of cocoa or powdered sugar if desired.
  • Makes 6 servings.

Verdict:  I didn't have 6 clean ramekins so we used 2 small ones and one big one.  I also had a half of a bittersweet candy bar and a half bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips so I melted those two together.   The soufflés were really good.   We ate them warm with vanilla ice cream and a little bit of caramel and fudge on the side.   Frankly, I was surprised that they turned out.  I seem to always hear people’s horror stories about their soufflé deflating.    I guess we were on our game.   

You will definitely be seeing more “Cooking with Casey” posts.   I’m excited and you should be too.  Knowing I have someone to help me (she likes to say she’s my kitchen slave) makes me aim for more difficult and time-consuming dishes.   

Who is your favorite person to cook with?

1 comment:

  1. WOW !!!!! Everything Sounds and Looks Terrific! I want to come cook with you!!!

    (I also love to Cook with My Sister!!)

    Sherry Humes
    Casey's Cargill White Marsh Mom