Monday, March 28, 2011


As a kid growing up on Captiva Island, FL I was surrounded by fresh and delicious seafood all the time... The only problem back then was that I was super allergic to seafood.  Luckily for me, I've grown out of my fish allergy (still allergic to shellfish, FML) and have come to LOVE what I've been missing for most of my life. So here's a throwback to my Captivian roots - The CROW, from Timmy's Nook.  Although I've never had the original and Timmy's Nook closed down years ago, my family insists that this is the closest thing to the CROW they've ever been able to make.  And believe me, it's absolutely mouthwatering!

As inspired by The CROW, here are the delectable ingredients...


- 2 slices of seeded rye bread
- 2 slices of swiss cheese
- a couple red onion slices
- 2 pats of real salted butter
- 1 wedge of lemon
- 1 tbs of thousand island dressing
- 1 small fried hogfish fillet

So before we begin let me tell you about this delicious fish!  Hogfish snapper is my #1 favorite fish to eat of all time.  I seriously love it (look how pretty it is below!).  I love it even more when my mom pan-fries it and makes it for me (and that's exactly what she did!).  So anyways, we got this fresh fish from my parent's local seafood dude - John, at Flagler Ave Seafood in New Smyrna Beach.  They cleaned it right on the spot and we took it home, dredged it in some flour and seasoned it with some instant gourmet and pan-fried it in butter for a few minutes on each side.  It's simple, quick, and to absolutely delectable!

So after you've got your fish fried up, go ahead and lay one slice of swiss cheese down onto the seeded rye bread.

Now it's time for the fishy! oohhhhh ahhhhhhh...

Then you'll want to lay down some sliced red onions.  Feel free to pile on as many as you like! (warning: the more you add on, the more you need to pay attention to your friends non-verbals. remember no one likes stanky breath)

Now for the last piece of swiss cheese!

Almost done! You'll finish building the sammie by putting on the top piece of bread.

Now that the sandwich is built, go ahead and melt one pat of butter in your pan on medium heat.  Once the butter is melted and the little bubbles have gone away, place your sammie in and rub it all around to soak up all that buttery goodness.

From here, you'll want to butter the other side of the GC and let it cook for about a minute or two.  Since the fish was hot already, the cheese melted pretty quickly, so you'll basically just want to fry the sandwich until it gets all crusty and golden on each side. 

When you see that, flip it and do the same for the other side!  It took me about a 2.5 minutes on each side before I took it out and sliced it. 

When it's all done, garnish with some lemons and some thousand island dressing for dipping.  I added some coleslaw because let's get real - gotta have some coleslaw when you eat fried fish!

 It's also important to note that C.R.O.W. (which is on Sanibel Island right next to my hometown, Captiva) is also one of the nation's top wildlife rehabilitation centers for native and migratory animals. They do some amazing things for our ecosystem and can't do it without your help.  If you can spare it, please take a look at their website and see how you can help!   



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Grilled Chees'a'dilla

Whelp, i'm back in Brooklyn and missing the warm weather and the beach.  I can't even believe how chilly it is right now.  I left 75 degree weather only to be greeted by freezing disgusting rain/slush and cloudy skies...YUCK!  Whatevs though, at least I can still eat like I'm at the beach.  I had this delicious quesadilla when I was home and I had to make it again to help me cope with my seasonal affect longing for the warm weather so I figured I'd do a post on it to help any of you who are having withdraws like me. It's from this delicious restaurant in New Smyrna Beach called Clancy's Cantina.  If you're ever there, def check it out! Disfrutar de mis amigos!

So I didn't totally copy them but it's pretty close.  Here is my inspired version...


- 2 medium sized flour tortillas
- thinly sliced mild cheddar cheese
- 1 tbs of diced pineapple
- 2 tbs of black beans
- 1 tbs of vegetable oil
- a few springs of cilantro
* amounts may vary depending on
   tortilla size*

To begin, you'll want to lay a few pieces of the cheddar on top of one of the tortillas.  Remember to try and center the cheese in the middle to avoid it spilling out while it's melting.  You can also use shredded cheese which would probably work a little better and melt a little smoother.

Next you'll want to gently spoon on all of the black beans.

Now it's time for the pineapple! I love the pineapple in this because it just provides a perfect little pop of sweetness in each bite.  I think it marries perfectly with the saltiness of the cheddar and the heaviness of the black beans. 

After that, it's time to add the cilantro.  I will put cilantro on anything but i know that some people hate the stuff so feel free to avoid it if you're not into it.  Cilantro Hater's it's not your fault!

Now pile on the last of the cheese while trying to keep the most of it in the center. 

Then for the last step,  just add the other tortilla and you're done building!

Before you put the quesadilla in your pan you'll want to add half the oil and turn the heat to medium high.  Once the oil and the pan starts to heat up add the sammie and spin it to evenly distribute the oil.

After about a 2 or 3 minutes on one side, pick the quesadilla up with your spatula and drizzle the remaining olive oil, flip the sandwich, and spin it.  Cook for an additional few minutes until it looks all purrtyyyy and golden and the cheese is melted throughout.

Then take it off the skillet and serve!

Pair with some pico, sour cream, lime wedges, and some sunshine (or really bright lamps if you're stuck in the cold like me) and you'll have a delicious semi-tropical meal!



Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mr. Lucky Duck

The Irish know what's up, for real.  I mean for me St. Patrick's Day has become a holiday that I celebrate by drinking way too much green beer, devouring chocolate coins, and annoying the h*** out of my redhead friends (sorry guys, i love you all).  Oh and how could I forget my incessant need to quote that famous viral leprechaun video from Mobile, AL? It's so ridic, I love it.

But beyond that you've gotta eat and why not do that by eating a semi-Irish themed grilled cheese? Here's my take on the classic St. Patty's meal of corned beef and cabbage but in GC form!  This little sandwich will make you feel lucky, even if your double vision is blocking you from finding a four leaf clover.

So here are the golden ingredients!

 - 2 slices of seeded rye bread
- pads of kerrygold butter
- 2 slices of swiss cheese
- 1 tbs of Annie's naturals thousand island dressing
- 1/4 cup of sweet and sour red cabbage
- 3 (or more) pieces of fried tempeh (I used
   tempeh because I'm a freak and won't eat meat
   unless it's organic/local and I couldn't find any
   organic corned beef in FL, but def use it if you like it!)

So to begin, lay one slice of swiss cheese down onto your seeded rye bread.

Then spoon about a fourth'a'cup or so of the sweet and sour cabbage on top of the cheese.  Depending on the size of your bread, add more if necessary.  Pile it on thick because this cabbage stuff is a really good, good thing.

Now it's time for the tempeh.  Totally use corned beef if that's your type of thing, but believe me, tempeh is really great on this type of sandwich.

After you've put the tempeh on(or corned beef, whatevs), go ahead and place the last piece of cheese on top.

 Then it's time to put on the other piece of bread! Almost done!

So at this point your sammie is built so it's time to cook it!  Heat one pad of butter over medium heat and add your GC.  Rub it around so it can evenly soak up that delicious Irish butter.  I can't even keep Kerrygold in my apartment because it's too good. I put it on things that butter isn't even supposed go on, I've got butter issues but don't tell anyone.

Once it's in and cooking, butter the other side of the bread.  The heat will make the butter smear on easier.

Cook until it's golden, brown, and delicious on each side.  It took me (I was using a cast iron skillet) about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Then when the cheese is all gooey and melted take it off, and serve it to all your drunk friends.  COME ON make 'em feel lucky!

So I hope everyone haves a super fun St. Patty's day and gets lucky (in one way or another)!  Slainte! Oh and if ya seen daaa leprechaun say yeahhhhhhh!



Monday, March 7, 2011


Guess what?! I just finished my last midterms of grad school EVER.  Oh yes, i'm super pumped and even more excited that this Friday marks the beginning of my spring break!  So what better way to celebrate this exciting milestone than by making a pizza party grilled cheese!  As the Olsen Twin's say (in the best/creepiest video I've ever seen) - GIMME PIZZA, P I Z Z A!

To make it finger lickin' I used:

-1 rosemary focaccia
-1/3 cup of pizza sauce
-1/2 cup of Trader Joe's lite 3 cheese blend
- 2 tbsp of shaved parmesean
- a few slices of all natural/organic pepperoni
  (I used Applegate, of course)
- a few basil leaves
- 2 tbsp of garlic olive oil & butter blend
  (one tbsp real butter (room temp) mixed with
   1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of garlic salt)
*depending on size of loaf, amount of ingredients may differ*

 So to begin you'll want to slice your focaccia in half.  Mine had a giant hole in one side so I had to cut it into thirds and use the most solid pieces. They happened to be the bottom and the middle.

Because I wanted the grilled cheese to brown evenly on both sides, I flipped the bottom piece so that the cut side would be the one that eventually got buttered.

Then I sprinkled on half of the lite 3 cheese blend.  I think it was something like mozzarella, colby jack, and cheddar cheese. I know these aren't your typical pizza cheese, but hey, it's spring break next week and I have to be seen in a bathing suit...HELP *panic attack ensues*

 Now it's time for those pep pep's.  Pile on however many you like.  To please my friends, I put on a ton, because let's face it, they're absolutely delicious.

 Now gently spoon on the pizza sauce.

Now tear up some of the basil leaves and put em on top. This lil' herb will make it hit the spot!

Shaved parmesean, awwwww PUT IT ON THE PIZZA.

Almost done... HOORAY! Put on the rest of the cheese blend and then the top piece of focaccia and now it's ready to get grilled!

This is where it gets tricky, but don't sweat!  I have some helpful hints to get this gigantic grilled cheese to cook to perfection.  The first thing you'll want to do is to transfer the whole entire sandwich to a plate.  Once it's on, smear on half of that garlic butter/oil mixture on.

From here, you'll want to put a big frying pan on top of the plated sammie.

Then flip the entire thing, making sure to hold the plate snugly to the pan.  Once it's flipped, turn the heat to medium and butter the other side.  EASY RIGHT?! (I wouldn't lie to ya).

From here you'll want to cook it for about 3-5 minutes on one side.  If it starts to get golden and crusty really early, turn the heat lower and continue to cook.  You'll want to avoid browning too much at the beginning because it's such a gigantic sandwich and it takes a while to cook through.

If you think you're screwed because it's too dark, simply place a lid on the pan and turn down the heat super low, this will melt and heat the insides without grilling the crust.

Once you see that the cheese has melted and that your crust is beautiful and golden on one side.  You'll want to use the same pan/plate technique to flip the grilled cheese over.  Make sure to use oven mitts because everything is super HOT HOT HOT at this point.

After a few more minutes on the other side, and you should have a beautifully cooked, melted cheesy pizza concoction.  Slice it in like a pizza for even more fun! hahaha, but seriously, it's way more fun this way - TRUST ME.

If you can make it through the whole video that I linked at the beggining of this post then you will appreciate this ending (and should still be questioning what you have just seen):
"Here it is, ready to serve.
This pizza is made...Yeah!"

If not, I suggest you catch up on the best thing that the Olsen's have ever done (besides designing, that is)!