The Fish We Cook, Wahoo and Cobia cuisines

The wahoo and the cobia are both great eating fish from the warm waters of the ocean. The wahoo from Hawaiian waters and the cobia from the Atlantic.

WAHOO

Because of its long sleek body with a shape similar to a torpedo, the Wahoo is one of the fastest fish in the ocean reaching speeds of up to 75 miles per hour. It is related to the tuna and the mackerel and can be found in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world. It is also found under the names of kink fish, peto and the most common one being, ono, which is the Hawaiian word which means good to eat. It is believed that the name Wahoo came from the island name Oahu, where the fish is plentiful. The Wahoo has very small scales with a large mouth and very sharp teeth. It is iridescent blue with silver sides and has blue vertical bars that extend the length of the fish. It is a colorful fish, but like the mahi mahi, it fades in color very fast after death. It looks very similar to the barracuda although the barracuda has larger teeth and larger scales. The Wahoo is important as a sport fish because of its speed and great taste but is not as important commercially. The majority of the marketed fish comes from the Hawaii area. It is a fast growing fish and average catches range from 8 to 30 pounds but it has been known to reach 180 pounds and over 8 feet in length. The Wahoo has a white to light-grey colored meat that is lean, delicate in texture and mild in flavor. The best way to cook Wahoo is to bake, broil, grill, sauté, pan fry, oven fry or poach.

COBIA

A fairly new entry into the U.S fish market, the cobia is found in warm waters throughout the world and in U.S. waters on the Atlantic coast. It has a slim body with a flat head and a protruding lower jaw. It is a dark brown with a white belly and a dark stripe from the eye to the tail. It has a smooth skin with small scales and has been known to reach 150 pounds and 78 inches in length. Cobia can be found under many regional names with some of the more common ones being black king fish, ling and lemon fish. Because of their size and great tasting meat they are prized by sports fisherman. They do not travel in large schools so their commercial importance isn’t as great. Because of this, the majority of cobia on the market is farmed in Asia, Panama, Mexico and recently the United States. It can grow to over 10 pounds in the first year which makes its future in fish farms very promising. Cobia meat is light tan and turns snow-white with cooking. It has a rich sweet flavor with a taste compared to mahi mahi and an oil content compared to salmon. The best way to prepare cobia is to bake, broil, grill, sauté or poach.

How to Make Pumpkin Puree cuisines

Each year, eighty percent of the pumpkins grown in the USA are harvested in October. Commercially canned puree is probably the most familiar edible form of this popular autumn produce, however the mild, slightly sweet flesh of fresh pumpkin makes an excellent dish when baked, boiled, sauteed, steamed or microwaved. The pumpkin seeds, as well, may be toasted to create a marvelously tasty and healthy snack.

This article will discuss the process of selecting the proper cooking pumpkin and the technique for preparing homemade pumpkin puree.

Selecting and Storing Fresh Pumpkins…

  • For cooking, select the small ‘pie’ types, often called sugar, cheese or milk pumpkins – the ‘jack-‘o-lantern’ pumpkins are not as sweet and the flesh is tough and stringy. (If uncertain, ask your grocer to help select the proper variety.)
  • Always select firm, sound pumpkins that feel heavy for their size. The rind should not have any blemishes or soft spots and a 2- to 3-inch stem should be intact.
  • Fresh pumpkins may be stored in a cool, dry dark place for up to 2 months. Ideal temperature range for storage is 55 to 59F (12.5 to 15C). Do not store below 50F (10C) and do not store fresh pumpkin in a refrigerator or wrap in plastic.

    How to Prepare Homemade Pumpkin Puree…

    The following recipe will yield a minimum of 1-3/4 cups of puree — equal to 1 (15-oz.) can of solid pack pumpkin puree. (Three pounds of fresh pumpkin will yield about 3 cups mashed cooked pumpkin.) Any leftover puree may be frozen – see freezing instructions below. Use this puree in recipes or substitute it in the same amount in any recipe calling for solid pack canned pumpkin.

    1. Choose a 3 to 4 pound sugar (‘pie’) pumpkin for preparing puree. (Under no circumstances cook or eat a carved Halloween pumpkin as the cut surfaces breed bacteria.)

    2. Preheat oven to 350F (175C).

    3. Just prior to baking, rinse the pumpkin under cold water to remove any dirt or debris from the outside of the pumpkin; wipe dry with a cloth or paper towel.

    4. Split the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and stringy fibers by scraping the insides with a metal spoon. Discard fibers and save seeds for toasting, if desired.

    5. Rub the cut surfaces of the pumpkin with canola oil and place the 2 halves (cut-side-down) in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup of water.

    6. Bake in preheated oven until pumpkin flesh is tender when pierced with a knife (approximately 90 minutes).

    7. Remove the pumpkin halves from the oven and place them on a cutting board or other flat surface to cool.

    8. When cool enough to handle, scoop the baked flesh out of each pumpkin half with a spoon.

    9. Puree pumpkin in a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade or mash by hand.

    10. Place the puree in a sieve lined with a paper-towel or coffee filter and set over a deep bowl. Let drain, stirring occasionally until the puree is as thick as canned solid pack pumpkin, approximately 1 to 2 hours. (Important: Do not allow cooked pumpkin to set at room temperature longer than two hours in the process of making puree.)

    Note: Pumpkin may also be cut into chunks and steamed or cooked in boiling water until soft. Remove pulp from rind then mash or run through a food mill or food processor. Because this technique yields a more ‘watery’ puree, it is important to drain out moisture as mentioned above, or by gently warming in a heavy-bottomed saucepan to remove any excess water before use.

    How To Preserve Pumpkin Puree…

    Homemade pumpkin puree freezes beautifully for later use.

    To freeze:

    1. Allow prepared puree to cool completely.

    2. Measure puree into 1-3/4 cup portions and place in clean ridged freezer containers (leaving 1/2-inch headspace).

    3. Label, date, and freeze for up to one year.

    Cooking With Pumpkin Puree…

    Not only is pumpkin puree an excellent source of vitamin A, low in sodium and fat-free — it is also very versatile. Whether using homemade or commercially canned puree, it is an ingredient that may be used in preparing an endless number of pie, cake, cookie, muffin, sweet bread, pancake, creamy soup and elegant bisque recipes.

    Why not try swirling some into a steaming bowl of cream of wheat cereal along with some maple syrup? Maybe consider perking up ordinary mashed potatoes by mashing in some pumpkin puree and sour cream. Just be creative and use your imagination – also keep in mind that most recipes that call for winter squash or sweet potatoes may be successfully prepare by substituting pumpkin.

    Copyright 2005 Janice Faulk Duplantis

  • Parsnips an Aphrodisiac or Just Plain Good Eats! cuisines

    Parsnips are a creamy white skinned vegetable with a green leafy top that are steeped in a rich history. Parsnips have been cultivated since ancient roman times, it is even documented that Emperor Tiberius brought parsnips to Rome from France and Germany where they grew along the banks of the Rhine River.

    Parsnips are a root vegetable from the Umbelliferae family which includes such favorites as carrots, chervil, parsley, fennel and celery. Parsnips are also an excellent form of nutrition. The average 9″ parsnip has around 130 calories, no saturated fat, no cholesterol and is high in fiber, folic acid, calcium, potassium and vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, iron and zinc.

    Parsnips have a wide range of uses, in Ireland parsnips are used to make beer and wine. During World War II parsnips were used to make mock bananas. The parsnips were mashed and mixed with banana essence to curb the desire for bananas during the war.

    Some people believe parsnips to be an aphrodisiac or even a cure all for relieving a toothache or tired feet. In Italy parsnips are used to feed pigs in Parma, these pigs then become delicious Parma Ham.

    Parsnips grow wild but are more common in commercial farms. Commercial farmers have found that by harvesting the parsnips and storing them for two weeks in temperatures ranging from 32° – 34°F the starches in the parsnips will begin to turn to sugars. Beware of wild parsnips for they may actually by water hemlock. Water hemlock looks like parsnip but is poisonous.

    When buying parsnips look for firm small to medium sized ones, if the parsnip is too large it will have a woody center. Parsnips can be kept raw in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks in the vegetable crisper or in a vented plastic bag. After cooking parsnips can be kept refrigerated for 2-3 days.

    Parsnips can be prepared in a wide variety of ways. Parsnips can be:

    o Steamed

    o Boiled

    o Braised

    o Sautéed

    o Roasted

    o And made into chips

    Jambalaya Pots – A Resume of Important Tips cuisines

    The Jambalaya tradition is alive and well and spreading far and wide, well beyond its Cajun origins in Louisiana. If your thinking about getting into Jambalaya cooking there are a few things its good to know.

    Jambalaya pots are multi-purpose; they are great for stews, soups, gumbos, popcorn and much more. You can cook nearly all types of food using cast iron cookware so these pots are the supreme example of large scale ‘anything goes’ cooking equipment

    Cast iron pots are a great cooking medium with near perfect heat conduction and heat retention they are very efficient, heating evenly & consistently without heat spots.

    There is one piece of advice that is paramount, don’t buy cheap. A Jambalaya pot is an investment that your grand children’s children will be enjoying, so buy well. Remember, by comparative standards they are not expensive and when measured over their extended lifetime they are incredibly cheap.

    As a simple piece of advice, we have found that the Bayou Classic range of jambalaya pots are superb, they represent the very best in Jambalaya cookware.

    Jambalaya pots are ideal for outdoor cooking but they can be a little heavy, especially the larger models. This said the common advice from users is, if you think you’ve chosen the right size then go for the next size up as there surely will come a time when you’ll have need of it. This said do also bear in mind that when going from say, a 7 gallon up to a 10 gallon pot you’re going from being able to serve 60 people, to being able to serve 100.

    It’s really healthy to cook with cast iron jambalaya pots because you can cook fat free as a properly seasoned Jambalaya pot will be non-stick so it requires no oil for cooking.

    Jambalaya pots are easy to clean:

    1. once the pot is cooled, wash it using normal washing up liquid, then rinse and dry with a paper towel; don’t listen to those that say just wipe it out; this is not hygienic.
    2. after washing put the pot onto the stove/burner to completely dry it out; then before its cooled very lightly oil with a vegetable oil; then leave it on the stove for a few minutes; then take it off the stove and wipe away any excess oil with a paper towel;
    3. after drying your cookware you should never store it with its lid on as this can allow moisture to build up inside, resulting in rust! To help avoid this it can help to put a paper towel inside the pot to absorb any moisture; and
    4. if you do experience rust, scour with steel wool, until the rust is gone, wash and re-season.

    Finally here are just a few dos and don’t when cooking with your Jambalaya pots:

    1. Don’t use your pot for boiling water.
    2. Always preheat your pot before starting cooking. The temperature is right when drips of water sizzle then jump around. Its too hot if the water turns to steam straight away and too cold if the water just bubbles.
    3. Never pour cold water into a really hot pot as it may shatter. And
    4. Never touch the jambalaya pot when cooking as it gets really hot. Keep a good pair of very heavy duty oven gloves handy if you must touch it or move it.

    My 3 Favourite Recipes From Kenya cuisines

    With 52 tribes in Kenya, extending from the coast to the Rift Valley lakes to the central highlands to the northern desert, the cuisines found in this country are many and varied. There is also a strong Indian influence as the spice traders started coming to Africa centuries ago and have remained to trade in various other goods since. Here I present three dishes commonly found around Nairobi. Two – the matoke and mukimo – are traditional Kikuyu dishes from the central highlands, and the chapatti is from the coast.

    Chapatti

    Ingredients (makes 15-20 chapattis):

    ½ litre cold water

    1 kg flour

    Salt

    Sugar

    Oil

    Method:

    Mix water with flour, add a handful of salt, a bit of sugar and a bit of oil (the oil makes the chapatti turn golden when it cooks). Divide the mixture into balls the size of a child’s fist. Roll out each ball to a flat circle about the size of a dinner plate. Fry on a very hot, oiled chapatti pan (flat fry pan) for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

    Matoke

    Ingredients:

    Plantains (these are green bananas that are starchy and not sweet)

    Tomatoes

    Cooking oil

    Potatoes

    Water

    Onions

    Parsley

    Capsicum

    Salt

    Method:

    Peel the plantains and potatoes and soak for about half an hour. Meanwhile fry onions, tomatoes, parsley, capsicum and salt. Add potatoes and plantains to the fried tomato mix. Cover with water and add salt to taste (the salt also helps soften the plantains quickly). Stew over medium heat until the plantains and potatoes are cooked through.

    To cook minji (peas), maharagwe (beans, usually red kidney) and njahi (black beans) follow a similar recipe. Boil the peas or beans for several hours until soft. Fry up the tomato mix described above, add potatoes and water. Finally add the peas or beans and mix together over low heat.

    Mukimo

    Ingredients:

    Beans (red kidney beans usually)

    Maize kernels

    Onions

    Tomatoes

    Potatoes

    Method:

    Boil beans and maize (generally equal amounts of beans and maize) until soft, this usually takes a couple of hours. In another pot, cook onions, tomatoes and potatoes until soft. Then add the beans and maize. Now you have githeri another popular Kikuyu dish (my favourite!). However, to get to mukimo, cook the stew for another 30 minutes before mashing it all together. The maize is tough to mash so don’t worry about the kernels staying whole. The beans and potatoes will mash easily though.

    Some versions of mukimo do not use beans; instead use a leafy green vegetable such as kale or spinach which mashes with the potato to make the mukimo green.

    The quantities depend on your taste and how many you are cooking for. Generally for mukimo you want equal quantities of beans, maize and potatoes with the onion and tomato simply adding some taste. For matoke the plantains should be more than the potatoes, about a 2:3 ratio. Again the tomato fry mix is simply to add taste so you don’t need too much. For the chapattis the flour should be twice the amount of water with sugar and salt to taste.

    I would love to hear about your experiences with Kenyan food – whether you have cooked it yourself or been cooked for. Please leave your comments below.