"True wine enthusiasts don’t collect wines.
They collect memories of wines shared with friends and family."

-Dario Zucconi

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Memories: Roasted Red Snapper; Apple and Cherry Crisp

This weekend went by so fast and, as most weekends are for our family, it was fully loaded with lots of activities. It feels like one minute it was Friday morning and we're confirming play dates and wishing the kids good luck with their tests, and the next minute it's Sunday night and we're getting ready for the week ahead making sure school uniforms are clean, and lunch boxes are ready. Despite the lightening speed of the weekend, I love Sundays! Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved Sundays. My memories of Sundays usually revolve around going to mass in the morning and enjoying delicious Sunday dinners with my family. For some reason, those Sunday dinners usually gave me a boost of energy to tackle the week.  I try to give my children the same experiences and help create the same memories that I had growing up by making (as often as I can) something delicious for dinner on Sundays. With busy weekends, I try to make dishes that are easy to make and that lend themselves to "make-ahead" preparations.

Tonight, I roasted a whole Red Snapper, which I marinated in a fragrant and savory mixture of fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro, lime, soy sauce, dijon mustard, and extra virgin olive oil. I served that with a side of steamed Jasmine rice and roasted carrots and tri-colored beets. 

Roasted Whole Red Snapper, With A Ginger, Garlic, Cilantro, Soy Sauce, and Lime Marinade

Red Snapper from Berkeley Bowl, cleaned by Butcher
This fish dish would work well on the grill as well. Roasting or grilling a whole fish may sound daunting. But, it's fairly easy. I bought the fish at Berkeley Bowl (my favorite local grocery store). I love red snapper because it has this beautiful pink color, it's delicious, and it's very versatile for cooking.  This particular fish that I got today was just gorgeous and fresh. I asked the butcher to clean and scale the fish for me - leaving the head and tail intact.  When I got home, all I did was just rinse the fish under cool water and marinate it. I marinated the fish a few hours ahead of time -- before I went on a hike with my daughter and her Girl Scouts Troop around Lake Temescal near our house. When I returned from the hike, I just put the fish in the oven to cook. 

Here is the rough recipe, if you'd like to try it.

Roasted Red Snapper right out of the oven
1 whole red snapper (about 3 to 4 pounds)
1 Tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
1 Tablespoon of cilantro (finely chopped)
1 scallion or green onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 Tablespoon of soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon of dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 1 whole lime
1 Tablespoon of salt (approximately)
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper (approximately)
A few sprigs of cilantro
Some lemon wedges (about 1 small lemon or 1/2 a large lemon)
3 whole cloves of garlic

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the fish (whole) under cool water. Pat it dry with a paper towel to remove the excess water. Season the fish (generously) with salt and pepper to make sure that it has enough flavor.

In a small bowl, combine the ginger, cilantro, scallion, garlic, soy sauce, dijon mustard, and olive oil.  Add some salt and pepper to taste.  Spread the mixture all over the fish, including inside the fish cavities.  Place the cilantro sprigs, lemon wedges, and garlic cloves inside the fish. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the whole fish on the baking sheet. Roast the fish for about 20-30 minutes (or until the flesh is white).

[Substitution Note: You can use any white fish, if you can't find red snapper.]

Roasted Round Carrots and Tri-Colored Beets
For the roasted vegetables, I just took some round carrots, red, yellow, and orange beets, peeled them, cut them into quarters, sprinkled them with some salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil, and roasted them in the oven with the fish for about 20-30 minutes (or until soft).  They were simple, but so delicious! I love that you can still maintain the beautiful color of the vegetables after roasting.

Yummy Apple and Dried Cherry Crisp
(The beautifully golden crisp after it came out of the oven.)
For dessert, I made this incredibly delicious apple and dried tart cherry crisp -- a recipe that I found on Food and Wine Magazine's website. [http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/warm-apple-and-dried-cherry-crisp/print]  I was so thrilled when my 9-year-old daughter said she wanted to try it after it came out of the oven. I gave her one spoonful.  When she was done with that, she said: "This is yummy Mom . . . can I please have another serving?" Whenever I hear these words from my kids, I get so happy, even if it's dessert.  The good thing about this dessert is that it has fresh apples, dried cherries, and oats.  My husband also loved it. After he had his first serving, he said: "Now I know why our daughter asked for a second serving . . . this is really good." He said he liked it better than the peach and mixed berry crisp that I usually make, courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/printerfriendly/Peach-and-Mixed-Berry-Crisp-103931). 

I decided to make this apple and cherry crisp because one of the moms at my kids' school had all these Granny Smith apples that she had received from her father, who picked them from his apple trees.  She gave me a bag full of them. My husband loves apple pie as well as cherry pies. I am not a big fan of apple pie.  I don't mind cherry pies, but I often find them either too sweet or too tart.  But, I love crisps because you can get the sweetness and tartness.  Plus, the crust often reminds me of granolas - if you bake them right.  So, I thought that it would be nice to make a crisp using the apples and dried cherries.  I came across this recipe from Food & Wine Magazine (see below), and I am so glad that I did. It is very easy to make and super delicious.  I definitely will make another batch this week, with the rest of the apples.

Warm Apple and Dried Cherry Crisp (Courtesy of Food & Wine Magazine)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
4 Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup dried tart cherries (2 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Unsweetened whipped cream
[I didn't use the whipped cream, as I think the crisp is delicious without any whipped or ice cream.]


Preheat the oven to 400°. Set a baking sheet on the bottom of the oven to catch any spills. In a medium bowl, combine the rolled oats with the brown sugar, flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon and the salt. Add the melted butter and toss until evenly moistened, then pinch the topping into large crumbs.

In a bowl, toss the apples with the cherries, granulated sugar, honey, lemon juice, nutmeg and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Spread the apples in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Scatter the crumbs over the apples all the way to the edge. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the apples are tender, the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream. 
Make Ahead The baked crisp can be refrigerated overnight and rewarmed. 
The Vino!

Tonight, I want to highlight a dessert drink that Patrick and I enjoyed with the apple and cherry crisp. It's Franciscan Vineyards' 2007 Port (Napa Valley, CA). [http://www.franciscan.com/]  I picked up a bottle of this port recently when I attended Franciscan's release party for their 2009 Magnificat (red Bordeaux blend wine) with my friends Evelyn and Rene. We tasted the port, and loved it. So, I decided to get a bottle to share with Patrick since he was out of town and was not able to go to the party with me.  This port is delicious and it pairs so perfectly with the crisp, which is sweet and tart at the same time.

I hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable weekend.

Until next time . . . Cheers!


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