Dinner Your Way

We asked Fort Lauderdale Magazine readers for favorite recipes and kitchen tips – and as ever, you didn’t disappoint. It was tough deciding what to run, but we think we’ve come up with five excellent choices for creating the perfect Floridian feast.


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Published date: 

May. 1, 2017

Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon with Blood Orange Soy Ginger Marinade

From Erin Mia Milchman | Photos by Joey Waves

• 2 fillets of salmon, preferably wild, skin-on
• Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
• 1/8 cup soy sauce (we use Bragg's Amino Acids instead)
• 2 tbsp brown sugar
• 2 cloves chopped garlic
• 1 thumb grated fresh ginger
• 1 blood orange - zest and juice
• Squeeze of lemon
• 1/2 tsp chili paste (optional)
• 1 small bunch, chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F. Set salmon fillets aside. Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, chili paste, ginger, garlic, juice and zest plus parsley and whisk until well in- corporated. Place salmon flesh side down in the marinade, cover and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Place fillets skin side down on cedar plank and place on a hot grill. Cook to an internal temperature of 140F. Remember to always use organic wherever you can. Local and sustainable are two words that should describe everything we eat.

ERIN SAYS: While shopping at Lucky's Market Naples this morning I was excited to see fresh, blood oranges in the produce department. Blood oranges were one of my favorite memories of our trip to Italy many years ago and I haven't seen them outside of a restaurant for a long time. Blood oranges have a very distinct flavor and their rich, intense color tints everything near them. One must be mindful of where they're sliced and where their juice squirts so as not to end up with a stained shirt. Inspired by these gems, I thought they might be an exceptional citrus substitution for a lemon/soy/ginger marinade that I love.

I often substitute Bragg's Liquid Aminos for soy sauce in my recipes. I fell in love with it while staying at Hippocrates Health Institute a decade ago. Using it as a base for the marinade, I added fresh ginger, garlic, parsley and the juice and zest of one absolutely gorgeous blood orange. A generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightened it up and it made one very spectacular marinade for our salmon.

If you've never cooked on cedar planks, it's time to try.

Cedar planks are such a simple and elegant technique for cooking salmon. The fish steams gently in the heat of the grill, staying incredibly tender and moist. It also picks up smoky flavors from the grill and woodsy flavors from the cedar, along with whatever was used to soak the planks. So good. We used water to soak our planks, but white wine is great too.

Waylon’s Smoked Chicken Salad

From Brad McCoy

• 3 lbs of chicken breast; shredded
• 1 celery stalk; diced
• 3 cups of mayo
• Red grapes, cut in half
• 4-5 stalks of tarragon, chopped
• 1 lime; cut in half
• 1 tablespoon of avocado oil (or any olive oil)
• Paprika, smoked Spanish-style
• Smoked steak seasoning
• Ground pepper
• Himalayan pink salt
• Mini rolls or mini croissants; cut in half
• Sliced almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and cut any fat off chicken breast. Dry chicken. Place in large mixing bowl with avocado oil. Then mix. Place chicken in glass cooking dish (Pyrex). Sprinkle salt and smoked paprika on top of chicken breasts only. Place in middle of oven for 60 minutes. In a small mixing bowl combine the grapes, celery and tarragon. In medium mixing bowl combine the mayo and lime; sprinkle in pepper and paprika to taste. Combine the grapes, celery and tarragon with the mayo and lime in a medium mixing bowl. Cover and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes (or remainder of time the chicken is cooking). Chicken is done! Let the breasts cool for 10 minutes. Then place in large mixing bowl and shred with two forks. Once shredded, take out the other ingredients and combine with the shredded chicken. Let it sit refrigerated for several hours. Serve with mini rolls or mini croissants while Waylon watches you ... or your pet of choice.

Perfect Sweet Plantains (Platanos Maduros)

From Dan Eidsmoe

DAN SAYS: As a Midwesterner I didn’t have an opportunity to eat Cuban food until I started traveling to South Florida as a teenager. I quickly learned that fried sweet plantains (platanos manduros) are an integral part of the perfect Cuban meal. In my frequent meals at Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine in Fort Lauderdale, I learned from the waiters that cooking sweet plantains is as much about the ripening process as it is about the cooking.

Plantains look a lot like bananas, but they are usually much larger. If you try eating one at this stage it would taste awful. Sweet plantains have a very slow ripening process.

After one week the plantains are still not ready to cook. After two weeks the plantain is ready to peel and cook. It appears so black that it looks like it should be thrown out.

The preparation time is about 10 minutes. First, cut the plantain slices very thick. Place the slices in a frying pan. Many people fry plantains in lard, butter or vegetable oil. I have had great success cooking them in olive oil. In addition, many people roll the raw plantains in sugar or brown sugar before cooking. I don’t do that; I try to keep these as healthy as possible.

Total cooking time is about four minutes with two minutes of cooking time on each side. Fry on medium heat until the plantains turn golden brown and caramelized and then flip over.

Place the fried plantains on a paper towel to soak up excess oil.

Plantains are a perfect sweet side dish to any meal. My meal consisted of grilled salmon, black beans and rice. They are an excellent substitute for potatoes but have more nutrients.

They are a great source of fiber and are rich in vitamins A, C, B-6 and potassium.

Broiled Lobster Scampi Paired with a Mushroom Risotto

From Bethany Johasky

I started by gathering my favorite ingredients at my local shops. From Fernanda's Market I got my Poma Rosa chopped tomatoes, Kitchen Basics seafood stock, parsley, peeled garlic, pinot grigio – a little for the sauce, a little for the cook – arborio rice, good olive oil and bread crumbs. Next stop: Fish Peddler for my lobster tails.

I prepped my sauce and risotto first. That way, when it came time to broil my tails I could give them all my attention. In a sauce pan I added butter, olive oil and 4 cloves of minced garlic, and let it brown. To the garlic I added 1/2 cup pinot grigio. I allowed this to simmer and reduce by half, which takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Next I added 1/2 of a 14 oz can of poma rosa chopped tomatoes, seafood stock and parsley. You want to let that simmer and marry. I added a little cornstarch and water to the mixture to thicken the sauce – I really wanted it to coat my tails when they cooked.

For my tails! I preheat the oven to broil and split the tops of the tails. I stuffed the shells with butter and popped them in the oven for about 7 minutes (I used 9 tails), then I poured my scampi sauce on them, topped them with bread crumbs and returned them to the oven for another 5 minutes before serving immediately.

Sauté 1 pound portabella and 1 pound white mushrooms in some olive oil. Once they are cooked remove from pot and set aside. Toss in the same pot about 2 good size shallots and simmer – be sure to keep an eye on them so they don't burn! Add 2 cups of arborio rice and allow to toast for a minute, coating it in the shallot mixture. I usually toss in some butter to give it extra flavor. Once that is done you want to add 1/2 cup pinot grigio and allow to cook off. Once that cooks off you can start adding your chicken stock a little at a time, stirring constantly, which helps to give this dish that creamy texture. Once rice is nice and soft you can fold in your mushrooms and about a half cup of parmesan cheese. Finish with some good olive oil and set to the side.

Classic Ratatouille

From Jenna Fish and her food blog, labellavitajlf.wordpress.com

JENNA SAYS: A French peasant dish made into an inspiration and widely known from the adorable chef mouse movie. There is something so satisfying about the simplicity of the dish, allowing the fresh ingredients to speak for themselves. You won’t regret trying out this easy and impressive dish.

• 1 zucchini
• 1 yellow squash
• 1 eggplant
• 1 red bell pepper
• 1 tomato, whatever kind you love
• 1 red onion, sliced
• 12 oz. Cento pureed Tomatoes
• 1 tbsp. Cento tomato paste
• 3 cloves of garlic, minced
• Fresh basil
• Salt and pepper
• 2 tbsp. butter
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• Pinch of sugar

Preheat your oven to 400F. In a saute pan over medium/low heat, melt the butter. Saute the sliced onion low and slow until it’s caramelized. Set aside in a bowl. (Should take about 30 minutes at least.) Reuse the same saute pan. Over medium heat, add olive oil and minced garlic. Once the garlic becomes nice and fragrant, add the tomato paste and stir in with a wooden spoon. Add the tomato puree and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a simmer, and then reduce to low. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add torn basil leaves. Meanwhile, slice your washed zucchini, eggplant, squash, bell pepper, and tomato thinly with a sharp knife or a mandoline. (A mandoline is your friend at this stage.) Keep neat piles of each vegetable. Rub a round pie dish with olive oil or oil spray. Place your tomato sauce from the stove in the bottom, covering it completely. Then scatter your caramelized onions over it. Begin layering your vegetables in a color pattern (such as purple, yellow, red, green, etc.) I find the easiest way is to layer them in your hand, and then place in the dish. Start around the outside moving to the inside of the pan until it fills completely. Drizzle with EVOO and a pretty generous dash of salt and pepper. Cut a parchment paper circle and cover the vegetables loosely. Bake in the oven for 45–55 minutes or until tender. If you would like to, top with some freshly grated parmigiano and finish in the oven for another 5 minutes. Buon appetito!