Archive | seafood

Once Upon a Crabby Feast

The Alaskan King Crab season is over and done with and here I am reminiscing this delicious crustacean. Pardon me while I post this so I’ll remember what to order next time, and be able to compare as well. Due to busy schedules and spring break with the fam, I only attended/organized one king crab feast this year, compared to a whopping three (!!!) in 2013. I saved two crabs this year.

Last month, thirteen friends gathered around the biggest table at Red Star Seafood Restaurant in Vancouver on a Monday, after work. We ordered the heaviest crab available, a modest ten-pounder. [You can call ahead to reserve not only the table, but the crab with specified weight and other dishes, like the  baked tapioca dessert.]


They even put a pen beside it to give food pornographers some scale. They are used to everyone taking photos.

We met, inspected and took photos of our ocean friend before giving the thumbs up to the server to prepare it four-ways:

  • steamed legs,
  • deep fried knuckles,
  • noodles with juices from the steam legs, and
  • Portuguese curry rice.

It’s common to order the size of the king crab according to how many people would be served, which would be at least a pound per person.  Because we ordered a lot of other dishes, our ten-pounder was more than enough for all of us. Another good reason to bring a troop of eaters, aside from getting a chance to see many friends together for a meal (and meet new ones they bring along to the feast),  it presents a fantastic opportunity to order more dishes than what you would usually order if you’re just a group of four. Everyone just needs uphold their duty to be hungry enough for the meal. I, for one, ate a light lunch. This is serious eating.

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Posted in dining, seafood0 Comments

Quick Lunch: Tuna Pineapple Macaroni Salad

Chicken macaroni salad was one of my favorite party side dishes as a child. Back in Manila, it was dotted with raisins, which I’ve grown to dislike through the years. I’ve come to embrace it’s blushing cousin, the dried cranberries, which I simply adore in salads and use as often as I can. I love it with the tuna mac because it adds a touch of sweetness and tartness that complements the tuna and pineapple well.

Tuna Pineapple Macaroni Salad

Tuna is my preferred alternative to chicken in salads for convenience–just drain and voila, you’ll have flavorful protein to add. And thanks to that, you can make this salad in 15 minutes or less, not including the time to wait for the water to boil. To save time, I put the pot of water on maximum heat while I start chopping vegetables to make good on time.

This is a substantial lunch or a good snack to pack for work, but watch out for the tuna smell. The chicken would be less offensive to the olfactory senses for some, for sure. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days if you keep it in the coolest corner, so it’s a good make-ahead dish as well.

I’m making slow and steady progress on the eating-healthier-lunch front, and even smaller steps on blog posting, but I’m getting there. I’m almost ready to make this again for lunch, actually.

I’ve included meat and vegan alternatives in the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Tuna Pineapple Macaroni Salad



4.0 from 1 reviews
Tuna Pineapple Macaroni Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Active prep time: 
Cooking/Baking time: 
Total hands-on & cooking/baking time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • salt for boiling pasta and to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 120-gram can tuna, drained of water or oil
  • ¼ cup and 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1½ tablespoon sugar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries (optional)
  1. Cook elbow macaroni in salty water according to the package directions for al dente pasta and drain. Transfer pasta into a large bowl and add all the ingredients except for the cranberries. Add salt and pepper as desired. Add cranberries last.
Meat Alternative: Chopped cooked chicken, especially if you have leftover rotisserie chicken. Vegan Alternative: You use "simulated" chicken meat sauteed with a little bit of chicken bouillon powder or cube to add some flavor. For the mayo, Earth Balance has a "Mindful Mayo" that is dairy free.

Posted in appetizer, make-ahead, nut-free, original Gourmeted recipe, pasta, quick & easy, salads, seafood, snacks4 Comments

Quick & Easy: Endives with Lox & Cream Cheese Spread

Here in Vancouver, we are quickly shifting into summer and it is getting HOT. I don’t know if it’s because of this that I am suddenly lethargic, but this has to stop soon because I have a lot of things to do! That includes our newsletter (which is looking more like June would be the next) and the roundup of the virtual Tea Exchange party I hosted. My apologies, dear participants!

Going along this lack of energy theme, I could (figuratively) barely lift a finger to prepare anything that requires cooking these days. I feel like my body’s battery is mimicking the iPhone’s. Ha ha. I haven’t baked or cooked in a while. Perhaps all the eating out has contributed to my body blues? In any case, quick and easy isn’t so bad…

I got the idea to make this from Danielle’s Home-cured Salmon Spread & Endives. She made home-cured salmon, while I used up some leftover lox. And I didn’t follow the quantities of the recipe, I just glanced at the ingredients and made a quick mix of chopped lox, walnuts, cream cheese, a drizzle of lemon juice, a few wisps of lemon zest and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Serve that in crisp endive leaves and enjoy it with a glass of wine or fresh ice tea…mmm. They make a good summer combo.

It’s the easiest thing to make and it was surprisingly filling. Again, there’s no (strict) recipe required, only your imagination and an openness to taste.

I love being inspired by other people’s recipes, especially from food blogging friends. Although we don’t see each other that often (or most of the time, have never met in person), we could share the same feast.

Do you have any other no-cook recipes (or recipes that require little cooking)? Please share!

Posted in appetizer, healthier choices, quick & easy, seafood, snacks, vegetables13 Comments

Basa Fillets Baked in Garlic and Butter

Blogathon 2009Hello Friends! I’m doing this year’s Blogathon on July 25 and blog every 30 minutes for 24 hours to raise money for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. If you are able, please sponsor me and make a donation pledge.

Butter. I love it and there’s no denying it. When I was really, really young, vegetables (snow peas, carrots, green beans and corn) cooked in butter and served with a sprinkle of salt blew my mind. These days I enjoy adding butter to meat and fish. It makes everything much better, just like bacon. I think they’re siblings.

Here, instead of frying basa fish, I baked it in butter:

Baked Basa Fish Fillet

Oh, and it was so good with the coconut rice!

Baked Basa Fillets in Garlic and ButterDownload the PDF recipe


  • 2 fillet slabs of basa fish (mine was 1.4 lb in total), or any white fish of your preference
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 a lemon, cut in 1/2
  • a handful of cilantro, roughly chopped, for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. In a baking dish, mix the butter, garlic, salt and pepper. Place the fish fillets into the mixture, and then turn them so both sides are coated. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.

3. Bake for 10 minutes, then take out of the oven and turn off the heat. Squeeze the lemon, a quarter lemon for each fillet. Sprinkle with cilantro and cover again with aluminum foil. Place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, until the meat becomes flaky and the thinner edges begin to have some color. You will notice that you might end up with a lot of juice in the pan. That’s fine. You can either toss it, or spoon a little over the fillets to be served.

4. Slice and serve with rice.

To make coconut rice, use this proportion: For every cup of uncooked white rice, use 1/4 cup coconut milk (canned is perfectly fine) and 3/4 cups water.

Posted in baking, main dishes, original Gourmeted recipe, quick & easy, seafood42 Comments

Fry-Baked Tilapia

I forgot to mention that this is part of my efforts to “Eat Down The Fridge“, which simply means that I try to finish the food that I already have in the fridge and pantry before moving on to buying more. You know how we sometimes just accumulate food? Well, that’s the point of this experiment with Kim O’Donnel of The Washington Post’s A Mighty Appetite.

As a child, my absolute favorite food aside from fried chicken, was fried tilapia. I sure loved my fried stuff. When I didn’t know what to eat or our maids didn’t know what to feed me, they’d cook this because it’s sure to make me eat a lot. See, when I was younger than ten years old, I was so skinny and underweight. It wasn’t that I didn’t eat. I just need to eat more.

Everyone had their own theory as to why I was not gaining weight. My favorite and most remembered was my grandmother’s (mom’s mom) hypothesis that all the nutrients were going to my then very long hair. Ha ha.

Honestly, if I was served fried chicken and fried tilapia, I would just continue to eat until I was fat. Unfortunately (well fortunately!) I didn’t really gain weight until I was in college and that’s the time you don’t really want to gain any weight. Hahaha. I still continue to eat and enjoy tilapia, though.

Similar to the fry-baked chicken, I cooked this with the same methods but with different flavors. I went for something very (cliche?) Asian: ginger and green onions.

Fry-Bake Tilapia

Somebody told me that people don’t like looking at fish heads at the market and/or when cooking or eating. Uhm, do some people really think that the fish they eat are headless?

Ginger Tilapia

The tilapia was so darn good! Trust me, I’m a tilapia connoisseur from many years of first hand taste tests. ;-)

Fry-Bake TilapiaDownload the print-ready PDF file

•    1 med-large tilapia
•    1 onion (halved, sliced)
•    3 stalks of green onion
•    3 thin slices of ginger
•    1/2 cup chicken broth
•    1/2 cup dry white wine
•    1/2 tsp salt
•    3 cloves of garlic, mashed
•    olive oil

1.    In med-high heat, heat olive oil and wait for it to ‘ripple’ in a frying pan. Fry the  fish about 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown. Here’s the cooking test I use as a guide: It’s good to flip once the skin doesn’t stick to the frying pan anymore.
2.    Transfer the fish into a rectangular glass baking dish. Preheat oven to 375°F.
3.    In the same pan, saute the sliced onions until they become dark brown on the edges, then add on top of the fish.
4.    Still using the same pan, pour the wine and allow to boil until it’s reduced to half. Add ginger slices and chicken broth cook for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer everything in the pan to the tilapia in the baking dish. Put fresh ground pepper on top of fish. Cover the glass dish with aluminum foil with 2 edges opposite each other is open (i.e. there is a vent).
5.    Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil, put green oonion, and cover again for 5 minutes before transfering on serving plate.

Posted in Asian dish, baking, dessert, experiments, fried, healthier choices, original Gourmeted recipe, reviews, seafood8 Comments

The BRT Salad

By BRT Salad I mean: Beet-Rhubarb-Tuna Salad. Yes, you read that right.

[Note: Much thanks to Emily, who not only believed this seemingly-ghastly combo, but also reminded me to post about it! :)]

Before you think I’m completely off my rocker (well, I am but that’s beside the point) and unsubscribe or close your browser window or listen to your brain’s warning: Abort! Abort! Hear me out. It might sound completely ridiculous but not only is it completely doable–it’s surprisingly good.

It might not look much, either (unless you’re like me who likes this kind of pink not only on her hair but with her food as well):

Beet Rhubarb Tuna Salad

Reserve your judgments for now as this could be your unexpected love affair this summer. Truly. What an amazing burst of flavors and textures. So fresh and juicy! I finished two…TWO big bowls of this right after I took this photo.

How in the world did I come about this unlikely flavor combination? Well, back in the Philippines, we eat a chicken macaroni salad that has chicken shreds and pineapple tidbits in a mayo base. It’s the usual fare in our family events. In Hawaii, you’ll find something similar as a side dish in their plate lunch. You might be thinking: ‘Well, that still doesn’t mention any of the BRT ingredients, Joy…” Yes, but the taste combination was what I was after. This recipe was my very first rhubarb cooking experience and from which I realized that when cooked in sweet syrup, it tastes like canned pineapple. So there’s my first substitution: rhubarb for pineapple. Second, the tuna instead of chicken.

The beets?


Well, they’re the real variables here. I happen to have a bunch of beets that needed to be eaten. I also added celery, which I’ve always found to be very good with tuna, and carrots for crunch and a variation in sweetness on top of the rhubarb and beets.

Celery and Carrots

It really almost tastes like the chicken macaroni salad with strawberry jell-O, except that instead of jell-O, you have beets that taste like corn.

I’m sure I’ve confused you by now! However, if I still have your attention and you’re willing to indulge me by being adventurous and trying this recipe, please do. I’ll be a very happy experimenter, and hopefully, you’ll be a happy and fulfilled tester. I made the ‘mistake’ of mixing the beets with the mayo-ed mixture. For your and your family/friends’ sakes, just top your salad with the beet cubes if you prefer not to have an electrifying pink salad. I like it personally, but it’s all up to you.

Do you dare take the BRT challenge? ;-) Don’t worry, I’ve eaten this many times and it’s been served to very satisfied ‘customers’ (a.k.a. family and friends) the past two weeks! C’mon, it’s not like I’m telling you to try offal

Here’s the recipe:

The BRT (Beet-Rhubarb-Tuna) SaladDownload the print-ready PDF recipe


  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup white or brown sugar (I’ve tried both)
  • 1 stalk rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 170-gram can of tuna chunks or flakes
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used homemade)
  • 3 medium sized beets, boiled, peeled, cut in  1/2″-3/4″ cubes
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • lettuce, washed and cut or ripped by hand
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


1. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan on medium heat. Wait for the sugar to completely dissolve before adding the chopped rhubarb. Once it starts boiling again, time for 1.5 minutes and take off the heat to cool.

2. Quickly drain the now-mushy rhubarb (keep the syrup to use for sauce or meat marinade) and place in a medium size bowl. Add mayonnaise, tuna, celery and fresh ground pepper (I use a lot). Mix them together first and add salt to sut your taste. You can either add the beets now or just top your salad with it to avoid having a bright pink salad.

3. Serve on a bed of lettuce or on its own. Enjoy the lovely seasonal flavors!

Posted in appetizer, experiments, healthier choices, original Gourmeted recipe, salads, seafood, snacks, vegetables3 Comments

Crispy Basa Fish Fillet Sticks

Don’t forget to join in the fun to win a MixMyGranola gift certificate! There’s still time! Contest ends March 3, 5PM PST. :)

Here’s a quick, easy and tasty recipe for those of you out who like fried fish fillet. As a child, I remember feasting on crispy fish fillets during our summer outings to various tourist locations in the Philippines. My grandfather played host to these trips for the international students (mostly Koreans) in the school he used to head and I, of course, would not miss any of it. And some of these students have children my age. It was so funny in the beginning because us kids could not understand each other — they were still learning English and so we were all just nodding, smiling, laughing, playing and eating! The language barrier did not keep us from enjoying each others company.

So where was I.. yes the fish! One of my favorite packed lunch order at the Korean restaurant that catered for us was the spicy fish fillet with steamed rice. I have distinct memories of tastes of food from childhood and this is one of them. I have been so desperate for decades to find this taste or replicate it until I stumbled upon the basa fish and this simple concoction. It sounds ridiculous that I have been craving this for more than 10 years! I’m so relieved to “find” it once again and be able to satiate this craving. I cooked and ate this two days in a row! It was that bad.

I have to tell you something else: it tastes so close to McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets! I promise I was not hallucinating. So FYI, this could be a good alternative McNuggets fix.

Here’s another accidental discovery that accompanied this dish: I ran out of flour and resorted to using cornstarch for dredging. It gave a really nice, crackly-crispiness that I have been looking for a very long time. Perfect!

As for the fish, you might be wondering how in the world I decided to pick basa fish. I didn’t know this fish until it called out to me at the Chinese supermarket. This was sold frozen and although I don’t usually buy frozen fish, I was curious to try it. The meat is white (compared to the orange-coral-red-ish color of salmon) with thick flakes, compared to the finer tilapia meat. It keeps its shape during pan frying and is not as delicate as some fish fillets. I makes perfect sense for making fish sticks. It won’t fall off your fingers or fork as other fish varieties would.

You can also try the following recipe with the fish of your preference. Don’t forget to let me know if it worked out for you! Continue Reading

Posted in dessert, experiments, fried, original Gourmeted recipe, quick & easy, seafood14 Comments

Seared Sea Scallops with Spinach Linguine

Ever since I’ve finished reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food [I’ll talk more about the book later, it’s a real gem.], I can’t help but think of ways to eat organic and local. I’ve been doing my best to eat organic food for years now, but didn’t pay much attention to where they came from. By eating locally farmed food, not only do we get really fresh food, but it traveled less so the nutrients are more intact compared to (fresh food) that braved thousands of miles to get to our grocery stores. That’s one of the things I remember reading.

I actually picked up Pollan’s book when I got here in Vancouver. Was it such a coincidence that my frequent weekly stops — my friend’s spa and my chiropractor — are within the same vicinity as the Granville Island public market? It’s meant. :-) Last week, after having a facial that made my skin very happy and getting one of my last few therapies for my back, I headed down to the public market to shop for dinner. I picked some beautiful fresh sea scallops, fresh spinach linguine, rye sourdough bread [not in photos], pancetta [what a deal for $2.29 for 100 grams!], and rosemary.

And voila, dinner:

Seared Sea Scallops with Spinach Linguine

The scallops were to die for. They were so unbelievably fresh, sweet, and did I mention they were huge? I seared them on the same pan and oil where the pancetta was fried. I cooked the ‘sauce’ on that pan as well, so it had all the nice flavors to go with the tomatoes, onions, and garlic. The scallops cooked darker than usual because of the whole wheat flour it was rolled in, but you can use white flour if you prefer. I placed the crispy pancetta one on top of another, then a little stem of rosemary (you’ll be using just one rosemary sprig divided into three for this recipe), and the hot scallop going on top. The heat brought out the nice aroma of the rosemary.

I’m still trying to learn to sear scallops. It looked so easy during our cooking class but alas, I couldn’t replicate them. Ugh. Here I go again, being the perfectionist. I hope it’s not going to be an obsession like those Cinnamon Rolls.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe [and almost step-by-step photos]:

Continue Reading

Posted in cooking for one, dailies, original Gourmeted recipe, pasta, quick & easy, seafood7 Comments

Super Simple Baked Salmon Pocket

One of the many things I love about Vancouver is the fresh seafood — especially salmon. Salmmmmmon. Give it to me raw, fried, baked, seared, rolled in sushi rice, smoked…I’ll take it!

Aside from baking salmon ‘sandwiches’, I like making salmon in pockets. Why? It’s the simplest thing to prepare and you get a great tasting salmon that’s cooked to perfection. You can eat with grains, veggies, or if you’re like me who likes quick cooking, enjoy it with whole grain spaghetti.

Baked Salmon Pocket

I love that you just put everything in each ‘pocket’, leave it to bake and it’s done. See?

Have a go at it sometime and you’ll love that you don’t have to put too much effort to be rewarded with a great little dish that could (win your heart).

BAKED SALMON POCKETDownload the PDF recipe for Baked Salmon Pocket

Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 1 salmon fillet, about an inch thick
  • 1 roma tomato, cut in chunks
  • 1/4 cup white onion, sliced
  • lemon juice (quarter a lemon and have one for each fillet)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

You’ll need parchment paper or aluminum foil to make your ‘pocket’.


  1. Preheat over to 375ºF with the rack in the middle.
  2. Cut a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil big enough to fold over and tent (i.e. enough space at the top) an individual fillet. Place it on a baking dish or baking sheet.
  3. At the center, put half of the onion, creating a ‘bed’ for the salmon.
  4. Put the salmon on top of it and sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.
  5. Place the rest of the onion and the tomato chunks on top of the salmon, and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Fold the lengthwise ends together, and fold and tuck in at the sides. Make sure to leave a tent/balloon at the top.
  7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven, then keep the salmon in the oven for an extra 10 minutes.
  8. Take out of the oven and serve immediately. You can use a spatula to take it out of the wrapping or place the pocket on individual plates to serve.
  9. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on the salmon before devouring. Delish!

Posted in baking, cooking for one, dailies, original Gourmeted recipe, quick & easy, seafood19 Comments

Rotelli with Shrimp in Creamy Drunken Tomato Sauce

How’s everyone this weekend? We hope you’re all having a good one and eating well. It’s sunny here, but still cool. I apologize for those who might be jealous looking at the picture. For someone who has suffered through years of Vancouver winters, it’s a nice change to see sunshine peering through the blinds in the middle of February. If you’re freezing out in the snow or counting the days until spring or summer, I’m bringing the sunshine to you.

We hit some hundred golf balls yesterday morning [again, don’t hate us…hehe] and don’t you follow my example because I didn’t wear a glove. I was left with blisters on both hands and when we got back home for lunch, I was sore, cranky and the last thing my brain and body wanted to do was exert any more effort than the required minimum. As much as I’d like to stick to our new year’s goal of providing step-by-step visual guides for our recipes, it just didn’t work out yesterday. I initially thought that this What-would-you-like-to-eat-for-lunch-honey? -Oh-okay-I’ll-see-what-I-can-come-up-with-in-20-minutes dish won’t make it to the site so I didn’t bother taking photos while cooking.

Surprises of surprises, we both finished two platefuls of it and I was this-close to licking my plate clean. I mean…Wow. Loved it! How can I not share the recipe (as much as I can remember of it) after that?

Rotelli with Shrimp in Drunken Tomato Sauce

I wanted a creamy sauce but we didn’t have heavy cream like we usually do, and honestly I am not going to make a supermarket run just for that. Instead, we had leftover crème fraîche that we bought for Dan’s Chocolate Pudding Pie [I made him promise to post about that soon!]. I’ve never used creme fraiche for a dish, but it’s still cream so it should work right? I chose my favorite go-to pasta tomato sauce base, Muir Glen Tomato Basil which doesn’t have any overpowering flavor that you can easily transform it into whatever you like, really. I had the last minute idea to add lemon juice along with the parsley at the end, which gave it a light refreshing kick. The overall result was more than I’ve ever hoped for — it was smooth and creamy, but not too much that you can’t eat a lot of it, and all the flavors just blended together so wonderfully. I hope you try it.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe: Continue Reading

Posted in dailies, original Gourmeted recipe, pasta, quick & easy, seafood5 Comments