Squid Salad

Let us begin by saying that WE love, love, love, squid and octopus, oysters, mussels and clams alike. That’s right folks, Kaia loves her seafood too…

We knew we were in for a treat when we added some squid and romanesco broccoli to a salad. From the lack of response on our last shopping list post I’m guessing that SQUID is not a fav amongst many of you. We are sorry you feel that way.

Each week you should expect something different from Daddy Daughter Cooking. We are going to continue challenging ourselves, while purchasing on a budget. We will continue to put our own twist on already existing recipes. Fact is, we are going to get to the same place; it’s now about how we get there.

This week, this is how we got there:

We started by slicing our squid into halves. I handled the slicing, and then Kaia rinsed and dried the squid. In our video (watch it here) you may notice I get a little upset with the way Kaia was initially drying the squid.

I wanted to blame my irritability on my ankle/foot injury. And I could blame it on my injury, but making excuses for losing my cool with Kaia does not make it any less confusing for my lil munchkin. I am not a perfect dad or person for that matter, but I do my best to teach her, coach her and will ALWAYS let her know that I love her unconditionally.

In reality, what I should have done was explain what I expected of her. Then had her express what and how she intended on handling her tasks. I am constantly learning to be a better dad and person, because of my child.

Showing the importance of communication between parent(s) and child(ren) is one of the reasons we started Daddy Daughter Cooking and we want to continue to encourage learning from one another through communication. In this situation, I should have taken a moment, and maybe rested a bit before getting into our cooking.  

On a happy note we did accomplish making quite a delicious salad.

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Tools/Utensils:

  • 1 large pot – the pot is going to be filled with about a half inch of water
  • 1 large strainer – the strainer has double-duty; first to be used to rinse and dry the squid, secondly to be placed in the pot with the squid still in it.  This will be what we steam the squid in
  • Whisk – to whisk the salad dressing
  • 1 large plastic or metal bowl – to chill all the ingredients for about an hour before serving
  • Kitchen knife
  • Cutting Board

We tend to get creative with both our food and what tools we need to make what we want to eat. More often than not, we don’t have all the necessary tools in our kitchen. So we put on our MacGyver hats and figure out a way to make things happen.

In this instance, we had to create a steamer for the squid. We used a pot large enough to accommodate our strainer.  

Kaia filled the pot with about a ½ inch of water and cranked the heat up so we can get to a boil as quickly as possible. I placed the strainer into the pot. When I refer to a strainer, I’m talking the biggest one you can find.

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The pot should create enough steam to soften the squid. Steam for 2 to 4 minutes, but no longer. Squid can quickly overcook. They can turn into something similar to those bouncy balls you buy from 25 cent machines (like old-school gumball machines at the grocery store). Side note: I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those machines out here in LA LA Land.

Back to the squid… Once steamed, run cold water over the squid to stop the cooking and set aside.

Next I cut the smallest dice of tomato possible. I am usually the one that handles it because tomatoes are slippery and it’s still a little dangerous for Kaia to cut them. I would prefer to be the one that ends up with an unintentional slice into my index finger; it’s also great practice for the parents if you don’t often make small knife cuts.

You will want to do the same with red onion (Fun Fact: red onion helps with circulation). Small little squares. The idea is to keep the size of veggies as close to one another as possible.

Capers are these delightful little salty, tasty green morsels. They can be found at almost any grocer. You can purchase them in the canned goods section of the grocery or in the preserved pickle aisle in the store (pickles are generally in 2 places: 1) near the hot dogs or 2) near the mustard and ketchup). They are awesome with fish, fried or raw. For this dish we drained the water from the jar, and added them to the mix dried and raw. You want to avoid adding any of the juice, so that you do not over salt the entire dish. The capers were not on our shopping list, but we had some at home and thought they would be a nice touch.

You will need about 1/3 cups of olive oil to be whisked with 2 tbsp’s of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Break down the Romanesco Broccoli into smaller pieces. Just like you would a cauliflower or broccoli head. They are pretty tough so Kaia and I went to town on tearing the head apart.

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Once you have everything whisked and mixed together, chill it in for about an hour. You should cover it, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Especially if you are like us and can’t find all the lids to all of our bowls. Our lids seem to run to same place as that one sock per laundry load goes… who the heck knows where, but I hope they’re having a nice time together!

Near the end of the salad’s hour of chilling in the fridge, we pulled out our fresh, spicy arugula. Kaia pulled our plates from the cabinet and we began to do just that, “Plate.” Plating is a term used in kitchens. It’s the act of placing the food, very pretty-like, onto the plate. 😉 Anyhow, once the arugula is on the plate, awaiting all the other delicious salad fixins, give one last whisk to the mix in the bowl. Use a large spoon to add the mix on top of the arugula.

Finally we crushed up some cashews to add more texture to our plate. A little crunch goes a long way. All in all, Squid Salad was a major success. As gross as squid looks when you buy it at the store, it is delicious!

Please continue to follow us on our journey. Thanks and we’ll see you all again next week!

Seafood Salad: A Hobbled Story!

Squid might not be the first item on your shopping list, I can promise that if you give it a shot you won’t be disappointed!

On a weekly basis Kaia and I attempt creating new things based on already existing dishes, while putting our own twist on things.

The idea for our seafood salad came from, get ready for it: a squid salad recipe.

We wanted something light, still carrying some protein. We thought fish or seafood would be a great protein to incorporate. I felt our diet had been lacking greens, so we went in the direction of a seafood salad.

Kaia and I headed out to our relatively local Whole Foods. As you know we’ve shopped on a budget, but if you’re smart in your purchases Whole Foods can be budget friendly. Recently I injured my foot and ankle, and it was throbbing inside my walking cast on the way to the store.

Kaia suggested some oysters to add to our seafood shopping list. She wanted to practice her shucking skills, and boy does she have talent as an oyster shucker! In culinary school my Chef Instructor suggested singing some Barry White while shucking (think South Park, and you’ll get in a good laugh). Trying to explain Barry White to a 10-year-old is just not going to happen for 2 reasons: 1. Barry is bedroom music, and 2. Kaia is fricken’ 10!

My foot was in trouble (because it’s injured, and also) due to my unwillingness to accept that I am aging. Plus, we are livin’ la vida loca! Sometimes you’ve just gotta roll with the punches, or in my case torn ligaments. Either way, I was in pain as we walked (no dancing today) through the Whole Foods. As a parent, it’s not always easy to “keep your cool,” but I try my best when it comes to Kaia.

Whole Foods, as you might have experienced, tends to be a little on the higher cost side of grocery shopping. We have learned that if we price compare, it ends up costing about as much as Ralphs and is usually the best quality.

On this excursion, rather than buying a $35/pound Chilean Sea Bass, we sauntered down the seafood aisle (rather, I hobbled). We happened upon octopus and squid. We had cooked octopus before (more than a couple times), and as far as we were concerned Daddy Daughter Cooking had already been there and done that. We decided to move on further down that aisle.

When we saw it, we knew we had to have it. That is to say, we were grabbed by the tentacles… squid tentacles! Kaia walked up to the counter, and said, “just the tentacles please!” I can only imagine what she must look and sound like to the person behind the counter. She can’t even see over the counter. In fact she needs to take a few steps back just so they can see her. She’s so cute… She loves talking to all the fun people that help us in the store. These shopping adventures are made fun by the kiddo’s interaction with others, especially those folks in the know. 

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One of the greatest things Daddy Daughter Cooking wants to highlight and encourage is learning by tracking down these different ingredients. Kaia and I spend a lot of time talking to people that work and sell specialty (and normal) food products in the grocery store, farmers market, and anywhere else we can find food. This is how we learn about how to buy food items. Truth be told, I have even learned a few new tricks for cooking things differently (that I didn’t learn in culinary school). This practice of asking questions and learning has become an integral part of what we do. We genuinely hope you follow suit. There is empowerment in understanding.

Back to the shopping. Once we had the tentacles and oysters in hand, we stopped by the veggie aisle. We didn’t start in this section today, because we needed to know what our protein would be for the salad before we picked out veggies. We decided romanesco broccoli, tomato, red onion and a lemon would compliment the little danglies.

Here’s the final list:

1 head of Romanesco Broccoli – this product is so cool, its color is that of a sun-faded broccoli combined with some cauliflower. It’s surprisingly versatile. You can sauté, blanch, boil, or bake them – $3.67

romanescobroccoli

6 Roma Tomatoes – we love these and use them all the time – $1.77
1 Red Onion – these gems are great for circulation and amazing on salads and a staple in Greek cooking – $0.92
1 Lemon – another extraordinarily versatile item.  In this case we intend on using it for our vinaigrette – $0.69
1 lb. Squid (Tentacles Only) – boys love gross looking things and girls have stronger stomachs… Adults hide your fears, and try to remain strong! – $8.99

Check back with us later in the week to see what we came up with…  Thanks!