Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Top Home Chef" Contest Appetizer Recipe

Tomorrow the Top Home Chef contest closes to entries. I will announce the outcome here--win or lose. Today, however, I want to share two appetizer recipes.

The first recipe is a video of "Hermosillo Salsa" as if done by two characters in my culinary mystery series. Alli and Gina cook up this appetizer at their cooking channel on YouTube. If you like a different kind of salsa, try this one.

The second recipe is Fish Mini-Tostadas. We love them! I serve them sometimes for dinner on larger tostada shells. Other times they make a terrific appetizer on the mini-shells. Of course, you could put the fish into taco shells, too. This is a very flavorful and healthful way to have your fish--no frying.


Recipe for Fish Mini-Tostados (serves 6 as an appetizer)
This recipe looks more complicated than it is. It is a fairly quick dish.

Mini-Taco Shells:
6 corn tortillas                  1 T extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cut 3 circles from each tortilla using a 2” cookie cutter. Chop the remaining pieces of each tortilla into chip size and set aside under a damp paper towel.

Place the 18 tortilla circles on a cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes until crisp. Cool. Set aside in sealed container until ready to use.

Put the leftover tortilla bits on the baking sheet and let them crisp in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Reserve these chips to serve with the Hermosillo Salsa later.

Taco Filling:
1 T extra virgin olive oil                  1# halibut
2 T canned chilies, chopped            1 t lime zest
2 green onion, chopped                    juice of one lime
1 clove garlic, minced                      large handful cilantro, chopped; divided
½ c vegetable broth                          1/8 small head red cabbage, finely shredded
1 Roma tomato, diced fine               Mexican cheese blend, shredded
                                                         Chunky salsa
                                                        18 corn mini-tostados
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Sauté onion until tender and just starting to brown. Add garlic and chilies.

Add broth, tomatoes, and lime zest. Stir to combine. Bring to simmer.

Reduce heat to low and add halibut sprinkled with lime juice.

Simmer halibut flakes with a fork, about 15-20 minutes. Shred into small pieces. Drain and reserve liquid for use in soup later. Put fish mixture in a bowl with a slotted spoon for serving. Mix in ¼ cup cilantro, reserving the rest for garnish.

Let guests make their mini-tacos with fish mixture, cabbage, cheese, cilantro,
and salsa. [I use the leftover fish mixture in a fish soup another day.]

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Top Home Chef

The Arizona Republic, my hometown newspaper (circulation ~350K; 12th largest paper in the nation) is sponsoring its first-ever contest to find "unknown culinary talent" in the Valley of the Sun. I'm there! Sign me up!

Entries close for "Top Home Chef" in two days. I sent my entry in Sunday night. I hope I avoided getting caught up in the last minute filing rush that always happens with contests.

I'm pretty proud of my entry: an essay telling about my philosophy of cooking, entertaining style, and why I'm like a chef; a three-course menu; and, recipe for an appetizer and picture of said appetizer.

The contest closes April 18th and three finalists are announced on April 22nd! Yikes! How can they do that so quickly???

The three finalists prepare their menus and serve them to The Arizona Republic staff between May 1-15th. the winner of the contest is announced June 1st. That timeline surely beats the wait for manuscript feedback! I'm just sayin' . . .

I wanted to share my menu and appetizer recipe here. Let me know if you like what I sent. DH gives this 10 Tongues Up! (I know, I know. And so does he--only five tongues allowed. You try to keep his tongue under control!)

Here is my menu for six:

         My Hermosillo Salsa/Chips
         Fruit ke-babs with Greek Yogurt Dip
         Fish Mini-Tostadas (recipe provided)
         Cocoa Chile Chicken
         Cranberry Quinoa
         Tossed Salad with Lime-Ginger Vinaigrette Dressing
         7-Up Biscuits

Panoply of Palate Pleasers (mini-desserts)
         Lemon curd tartlets with whipped cream and fruit
         Mini Nutella brownies
         Black forest parfait (shot glasses)
         Apple crisp (mini ramekin)
         Caramel Ice Cream with toffee bits (shot glasses)

Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir will be offered, along with coffee and tea

What say you? Would this menu entice you? 

Tomorrow I'll post the recipe and photo for Fish Mini-Tostadas. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dinner is Served Series to be Published!


I signed a contract for Mission Impastable, the first culinary mystery in my "Dinner is Served" series.  Oak Tree Press will bring the first book out in late August. It's been a long time and a lot of work, but I am living my dream! Two books out this year!

I'll be back soon with recipes, tips, cooking gadgets, and of course an update on the "Top Home Chef" contest I'm entering from the Arizona Republic.

For now, take your time to look through some of my recipes here. Happy cooking!