Tag Archives: seafood recipes

Kids In The Kitchen: Grilled Shark Steak and Dairy-Free “Creamed” Corn

Brandan’s turn in the kitchen always brings an adventure. This one not nearly as “out there” as some of the others (sea cucumber, anyone?), but still new and different. Brandan wanted to cook shark steak. When I asked what he wanted to serve with it, creamed corn was at the top of the list. Creamed corn is something I remember fondly from childhood – silky, creamy and sweet. And that was the stuff that came from a can! Making a dairy-free, non-canned version didn’t seem all that difficult. I’ll be happy to report – it wasn’t.

The shark was also very straightforward. A quick marinade, and a short time on the grill, this could easily become an adventurous meal for a weeknight. (Provided your grill isn’t covered in snow, that is. We’re in Texas, and tomorrow is our first hint at real winter weather so far this season. We grill year-round.) No grill? This could just as easily be prepared by searing in a cast-iron skillet and finished in a hot oven, much like my favorite way to prepare lamb chops.

As for the creamed corn, a simple swap of non-dairy butter and non-dairy milk for the butter and cream, and we were ready to go! I dialed back the sweetness quite a bit, relying on the natural sweetness of the corn. It was well-appreciated. I don’t often eat corn, (I don’t tolerate it well) so this was a treat for me.

A side note: One of the fun (and sometimes trying!) parts about cooking with Brandan is that he wants to taste everything. What does the Worcestershire taste like? How about the butter? Tapioca flour? How about the marinade? Can he lick the spoon? The bowl? “No, wait – don’t throw that in the sink yet – I was going to lick it!” I love that he wants to explore everything. Especially when it comes to food. This is how I was when I was a child, so it reminds me a bit of myself. But the growing mountain of “tasting spoons” in the sink, the fact that we have to sometimes prepare extra ingredients just to account for the “eaten during preparation” factor, and the way progress is slowed to a crawl, can be trying to one’s patience. (This is why I tend to lean towards simple recipes with Brandan – intricately timed recipes are difficult with any kid, and he’s no exception!) Overall, the experiences we share – not just with Brandan, but with all the kids – are immeasurable. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

And now, back to the food. The verdict on the steak? The family was split. My husband and Brandan both loved it. My husband described it as “meaty like a steak, with a nice grill, smoke flavor, but then light with the flavor of the sea at the end.” (Had to document that, because it’s not often you get such a description of flavors from him!) Matt said it was “kinda good, kinda bad.” Brittany ate it with ketchup, something I wouldn’t recommend. (She eats every protein on her plate with ketchup lately. I just wrinkle my nose at her. Yuck.) I wasn’t fond of it, truthfully. I found the marinade a bit salty, and the texture less than super-tender. I think if shark steak appears in our kitchen again, I’ll consider preparing it like we did swordfish – that recipe was very tender and flavorful. Or create a simple oil-and-citrus marinade with herbs, and cook it more gently, and top it with either a mediterreanean-style salsa (something involving tomatoes and capers), or in the summer, a fresh fruit salsa. (Okay, this is making my mouth water. Maybe this shark thing wouldn’t be so bad after all!)

If you venture to try shark steak, or if you’ve prepared it in the past, tell me: How did you prepare it? What did you think?

Grilled Shark Steak

1/2 c gluten-free soy sauce or tamari (I use San-J)

1/2 c gluten-free Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins is gluten-free)

4 T onion powder

4 T garlic powder

1/2 t ground sage

1/4 t dry mustard

1 t ground black pepper

6 6-oz shark steaks

Whisk soy sauce, Worcestershire, and spices together in a small bowl. Place shark steaks in a large glass baking dish, and pour marinade over. Turn steaks to coat. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Heat grill to medium heat. Grill steaks about 5 minutes each side or until the center is just cooked through.

Serves 6.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free “Creamed” Corn

2 T non-dairy butter (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks)

2 T tapioca flour

1 1/2 c non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut beverage)

1 T evaporated cane sugar

3 c frozen corn kernels

Pinch or two of salt, or as needed

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add non-dairy butter. Swirl and melt the butter, then add the tapioca flour, whisking constantly until blended well. Add the non-dairy milk and sugar and continue to whisk until the mixture is steaming and becomes thick, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the corn and whisk in. Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the corn kernels are hot. Season to taste with salt.

Serves 6.

6 Comments

Filed under Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Seafood, Side Dishes, Vegetables

Kids in the Kitchen: Braised Sea Cucumber

Yep, you read that right. Braised sea cucumber. As in, the big worm-looking echinoderm. We have a house full of picky eaters, for sure, except Brandan. Brandan is always ready to try a strange food. Specifically, a strange protein. (While he will try new vegetables, his focus is generally on meat, seafood, and the like.) He’s talked about sea cucumber multiple times in the past, and my response has always been “Honey, I have no idea where to buy such a thing.” So each time it was Brandan’s turn to cook, we turned to other options.

Until now.

A few weeks ago, the new 99 Ranch Market opened near our home. I visited during the grand opening. We already have many other Asian markets in the area that are exceptional, and I love that each is unique. 99 Ranch Market was no exception. They sold things I’d only read about – durians, jackfruit…and sea cucumber.

I was giddy when I found it. They sold it several ways – frozen, frozen and pre-sliced, and fresh. When I next saw Brandan, I told him about it. Needless to say, he was excited. I cautioned him that I’d never eaten it, and while I researched a bit on how to cook it (I explained the recipe, and what I read about the general flavor and texture), there was no guarantee we’d get it right, because I was unfamiliar. He was up for the challenge, and so we made plans to make it this weekend.

Once we got down to it, it wasn’t hard to make. The big “hassle” was that it needed to be cleaned and blanched prior to cooking. No biggie. It only took us about 45 minutes from start to finish. (That’s probably about 30 minutes in regular cooking time)

The verdict? Not bad. Sea cucumber really has no flavor on its own, so it adopts the flavor of the sauce. The texture is what is most interesting. It’s gelatinous. Which in my mind isn’t a bad thing – I love texture. Slippery, slimy, crunchy, chewy – all good for me. Brandan ate it and thought it was interesting. As for everyone else? Well, as I said before, we have a house of picky eaters. And Brandan and I had as much sea cucumber as we liked.

Braised Sea Cucumber, adapted from healthy-chinese-recipes.com

1 lb fresh or reconstituted sea cucumbers

5 T grapeseed oil

2 carrots, sliced thin

1 medium onion, sliced thin

5 T grapeseed oil

1/2 t ginger, grated

1/2 t garlic, grated

1 t rice wine

1 T gluten-free soy sauce

4 fl oz chicken stock

1 t agave nectar

1 T arrowroot powder

1/4 t sesame oil

Slice the sea cucumbers at the stomach and rinse clean. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch sea cucumbers for 1 minute. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and drain. Set aside.

Heat grapeseed oil in a large wok or skillet to medium-high heat. Add the carrots and onion and stir-fry until tender, 2 minutes or so. Add the sea cucumber and stir-fry for another minute.

In a medium bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, rice wine, gluten-free soy sauce, chicken stock, agave nectar, and arrowroot and whisk together. Pour sauce into wok and stir. When sauce comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and allow to cook until thickened. Drizzle sesame oil over and serve over steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

9 Comments

Filed under Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Seafood