Archive for November, 2008

Grilled Garlic Shrimp


Difficulty: Moderate

This was dinner in 30 minutes (minus heating the grill). Phil fired up the grill while I prepared the shrimp, sauce, rice and sauteed zucchini. Seriously, we sat down 30 minutes later and devoured! Wonderfully succulent grilled shrimp tossed in a garlicky lemon-butter sauce. Add some jasmine rice and a veggie and you are set to feast. And feast we did! No leftovers…:( I only made about a pound for us and they were large shrimp 31-35 size. Buy the frozen raw shrimp already peeled and deveined for you for easiest prep.

1 1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp (21/25), peeled and deveined, tails left on
2 TBS olive oil
S & P

Lemon-Garlic Sauce
4 TBS butter, cut into 4 pieces
4 TBS fresh lemon juice, please use fresh!
Pinch red pepper flakes
Pinch table salt
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

Directions: Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Thread shrimp onto 3 metal skewers, (keep shrimp in their natural curled position and go through the thickest part and just above the tail, like a letter “U”, go straight through the middle). Brush both sides of shrimp with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.

In medium heat-proof metal bowl or disposable aluminum pan add sauce ingredients minus the parsley.

Stack coals on one side of grill and burn until a light ash has formed, about 20 minutes. Cover grill and heat until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grate clean. Place aluminum/metal bowl with sauce over heat and cook stirring occasionally, until butter melts. Transfer to cooler side of grill.

Grill shrimp on hot side of grill for 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes more. Carefully lift each skewer from grill using hot pad and slide shrimp off skewer with tongs into lemon-garlic sauce. Toss shrimp in sauce to combine and transfer back to hot side of grill. Cook, stirring, until shrimp are opaque and fully cooked, about 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. Remove from heat, add parsley and toss. Serve immediately.


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Cheese Straws


Difficulty: Easy

This is an adaptation from Giada and an easy addition to any meal. Whip ’em up in no time thanks to modern food advances, namely the dough. Thank you Pillsbury.

1/3 cup grated Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 (11-ounce) container refrigerated breadstick dough
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with silicone baking sheets or parchment paper. Set the cheese mixture aside. Separate the dough strips. Using a pizza cutter or a large sharp knife, cut each dough strip in half lengthwise to form thin strips. Working with dough strip at a time, coat each strip with the cheese mixture, pressing very gently. Twist each cheese covered dough strip and place onto prepared baking sheets. Season with S &P.

Bake until the breadsticks are golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the warm breadsticks to a basket and serve.

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Minestrone Soup


Difficulty: Moderate

Wonderful, warm and hearty soup stock full of vegetables and goodness. Fresh and relatively quick and easy, the moderate rating is due to prep work. Serve with fresh and warm bread sticks or make it a nice meal with grilled sammies.

6 cups chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained & rinsed
1 TBS olive oil
4 pieces Bacon, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
2 cups cooked ditalini pasta
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for serving

Directions: In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add bacon pieces and cook for 5 minutes. Drain all but 1 TBS fat. Add onion, carrots and celery, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8 minutes and then add garlic. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, and bay leaves. Cook for 20 minutes. Stir in zucchini and cook for 15 minutes. Add cooked pasta and heat through, stir in basil and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh Parmesan cheese.

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Creamy Corn

Difficulty: Easy

This is a favorite side dish full of wonderful flavors and veggies. Bright and colorful this dish is very versatile and easily complements any meal. Serves 6.

1 1-pound bag of frozen corn, thawed
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS fresh parsley, minced OR 2 TBS fresh thyme leaves
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup half-and-half

Directions: Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil, celery, bell pepper and onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add corn and season with salt and pepper and fresh thyme if using. Cook for 5 minutes then add half-and-half. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, add parsley if using, stir and adjust seasonings.

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Bride’s Biscuits


Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

This recipe comes from Cook’s Country and is my answer when I need yummy, light and fluffy biscuits in a relatively short amount of time. They use yeast, baking soda and baking powder to guarantee a fluffy texture every time. “The use of three rising agents also explains why these biscuits are sometimes called “bride’s biscuits”, as even a novice cook (or a new bride) can make light and fluffy biscuits on the first attempt.

Makes 16

1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
8 TBS shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
2 TBS butter, melted

Directions: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 200 degrees. Maintain temperature for 10 minutes, then turn off oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stir buttermilk and yeast together until dissolved. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined. Add shortening and mix until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Slowly mix in buttermilk mixture until dough comes together, about 30 seconds. Fit mixer with dough hook and mix on low speed until dough is shiny and smooth, about 2 minutes.

On lightly floured surface, knead dough briefly to form smooth ball. Roll dough into 10-inch circle, about 1/2-inch thick. Using 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (or drinking glass) dipped in flour, cut out rounds and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Gather remaining dough and pat into 1/2-inch-thick circle. Cut remaining biscuits and transfer to baking sheets. Cover dough with kitchen towels and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Remove baking sheets from oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Once oven is fully heated, remove kitchen towels and bake until biscuits are golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter. Serve.

Food Processor Method: In step 2, process flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt until thoroughly mixed. Add shortening and pulse until only pea-sized pieces of shortening remain, about 6 one-second pulses. Add buttermilk mixture in steady stream and pulse until dough comes together, about 6 more pulses. (Dough will be very sticky.) Turn dough out onto floured work surface and knead until shiny and smooth, about 5 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. Continue recipe with rolling out dough as directed in step 3.

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Oven Roasted Salmon w/Cucumber Relish

Difficulty: Moderate (but really easy)

Serves 4

I love salmon! This method of roasting ensures moist firm flesh with a hint of golden exterior. Easy and simple. The cucumber relish adds a cool, fresh crunch, the perfect contrast for the smooth salmon.

4 skin-on salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each
2 tsp olive oil
S & P

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 small white onion, grated over fine mesh
2 TBS fresh parsley, minced
1-2 TBS juice from one lime with 1/2 tsp zest
S & P

Directions: Adjust oven rack to middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack and preheat oven to 475 degrees. On a piece of foil, place salmon skin side down and rub evenly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees and remove baking sheet. Place foil with salmon on sheet are return to oven. Roast for 9-13 minutes. Transfer to serving plate, top with relish and serve. The skin is easily removed.

Relish: Combine cucumber, grated onion and any accumulated onion juice, parsley, lime zest and juice and season with salt and pepper. Toss, adjust seasonings if needed and serve.

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Mashed Potato Casserole

Difficulty: Moderate

A baked alternative to traditional mashed potatoes that still packs plenty of flavor with a perfectly creamy mouth feel. This dish is rated moderate only due to prep time, once you pop it in the oven it is smooth sailing, either clean up or focus on another part of your meal. Adapted from Cook’s Country.

Serves 8

4 pounds russet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 stick butter, cubed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/4 cup fresh chives, finely chopped

Directions: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bring potatoes and water in large pot over high heat to boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

Heat half-and-half, chicken broth, butter, garlic, salt, and mustard in saucepan over medium heat until smooth, about 5 minutes. Keep warm. Drain potatoes and transfer to large bowl. With electric mixer on medium-low beat potatoes, slowly adding half-and-half mixture, until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl and add eggs 1 at a time until incorporated, about 2 more minutes. Fold in chives.

Pour into greased 13×9 inch baking dish, mixture will be loose but will bake up firm. Use a fork to swirl peaks on top to promote browning and because it’s pretty. Bake forĀ 28-30 minutes until potatoes rise and begin to brown. Let cool 10 minutes and serve.

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