Sometimes, in my kitchen, at our friends’ home using their grill, and in the food blogging world, things just don’t go as planned. Recipes go horribly awry; pictures turn out blurry; fluorescent lighting makes food appear greenish, blueish or just plain blah.
Or the incredibly simple but WOW shrimp recipe I’ve loved and made for years – with Beautiful Grill Marks Every Single Time – ends up having Zero Grill Marks, Whatsoever the one time I finally remembered to take photographs.
Thankfully, despite a few snafus during the cooking process, the shrimp still tasted pretty freakin’ great.
Snafus?? Well, let’s just say that, if a man walking around in an Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat offers to grill the shrimp you’ve so carefully and beautifully marinated … (more…)
It’s New Year’s Eve, and let’s be realistic. As much as you may want to celebrate the first day of the 2011 with a decadent meal tomorrow, festivities that end up getting a little too festive tonight are likely to get in the way of prepping a complicated New Year’s Day dinner. Luckily, a little beer, a steamer basket, some fresh or defrosted lobster tails, and some melted butter provide a simple, hangover-friendly solution. And with frozen lobster tails running about $6 each, this makes a perfectly romantic dinner for two without breaking the bank.
Boiling beer rises up to tenderize the lobster as it steams the luscious meat. While your lobsters cook, you can whip up drawn butter, which is basically just butter melted to the point that milk solids clump together and can be spooned out of the silky magnificence left behind. (more…)
I’ve had a lot of bad shrimp cocktails in my life. You know, the ones where the shrimp is rubbery from overcooking, the $19 restaurant appetizer features only four measly little creatures, the shrimp has absolutely zero seasoning whatsoever, or the cocktail sauce tastes like ketchup and ketchup only. But all those shrimp cocktail mishaps (especially the ones at renowned, expensive fish restaurants!) were for the better because they encouraged me to start making shrimp cocktail at home.
In other words, this is not one of those disappointing, lackluster recipes.
This shrimp cocktail may be unlike any one you’ve ever had in that the shrimp, while boiled, is actually seasoned. A little lemon, some very flavorful Creole seasoning from my Jambalaya recipe, and a tiny bit of salt infuse the shrimp with the subtle flavor you may not have realized you were missing. And with just two minutes of cooking time and a quick shock in ice water to prevent shrimp from continuing to cook and becoming rubbery, this dish comes together in mere minutes.
The cocktail sauce also comes together with a quickly whisked combination of sweet ketchup, spicy horseradish, fresh lemon juice, and a little Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and salt to round it out. (more…)
I love spicy foods, and when I have some peppers and onions left over from fajitas, jambalaya is a good way to make use of these veggies and other pantry items I always have on hand. Plus, jambalaya mixes it up a bit so the leftover-friendly dish has some bite without having the same Mexican flavor profile and doesn’t seem quite so left over.
Compared to other spicy, complex, and delicious Southern creole dishes, such as gumbos and étouffées, jambalaya is much simpler and less time consuming to prepare. But it still looks and tastes incredibly flavorful and much more labor intensive than it is, which is never a bad thing.
While there are several types of jambalaya out there, the creole variety is my personal preference. Not that I’d turn down a cajun jambalaya, but there’s something about the tomato-based creole version – probably the acidity of the tomatoes – that just really balances the spice intensiveness of this dish.
Jambalaya is typically made with rice cooked directly in the sauce, but I usually do a pasta version. Pasta not only cooks faster than rice, but penne rigate is particularly fantastic for this dish because the ridges add texture and really catch more of the sauce. (more…)
I don’t know what kind of magic spells Dirty Girl Produce casts on their tomatoes, but their dry farmed, late season tomatoes are still some of the most flavorful tomatoes I’ve ever had. So even in the midst of butternut squash season, I find myself craving their sweet, juicy, deep red tomatoes and buying multiple pounds of them at the farmers market, afraid that next weekend they’ll be gone forever … or at least until next summer.
Some might say I’ve been devouring tomatoes since I was a kid. And they’d be right. As a child, I was very excited to help my mom plant seeds in our vegetable garden and grew impatient as I watched them slowly blossom into cherry tomatoes. Then, of course, I borrowed a tomato or two off the vine for a midday snack and lied about it. Tomatoes missing? Must have been a deer. Or a turkey. Or a rabbit. Or a crow. (Thankfully, I grew up in the boonies of California, where it was not uncommon to find deer snacking on our lawn. So my stories always worked.)
Here, tomatoes provide a juicy sweetness and green beans add a nice, fresh crunch to this salad, while marinated herbed shrimp have hearty meatiness and a bright, tangy flavor that matches well with the veggies and the tangy Dilled Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette. (more…)