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We had our first serious day of winter yesterday, April 4, 2017. It was beautiful, not too cold, quickly melting, and intensely hydrating for our gardens. We are grateful for water and for a day to make a big pot of vegetable-beef soup. Trees, small- huge limbs, and power were (are) down all over town due to the heavy-weighted snow’s impact.

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Our daughter Emily’s birthday party was canceled last weekend for a similar snow event, though it was not nearly as entrancing or deep as yesterday’s. We rescheduled the party for this weekend, but ran up to Denver on Monday to take her out for a swank lunch at North Italia–a favorite in the Cherry Creek neighborhood.  Did I say they have affogato?

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In the meantime, the week has held myriad cooking, baking, and writing moments readying for a brunch class I teach downtown tomorrow. While most of the elements are familiar, some are new and still require a last minute trial or tweak or re-write to teach to a class of 25 or so. Typically I teach smaller groups (or do when possible) and the prep for a full room of students seated in rows with paper and pen is quite different than teaching 4 – 8 in my home kitchen where we can just cook and kibbutz to our hearts’ delights.

Last year’s Grill the Whole Meal class— (above)

In the interest of saving some time this week, I thought I’d put up a few favorites you might not have tried. All feature easy to cook, inexpensive shrimp that you can keep in your freezer to make any time at all.

No time for a real shrimp meal? Make a Shrimp Caesar Salad like this:

Roast the shrimp a la Ina Garten (first tossed in oil and salt and pepper) on a rimmed sheet pan in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 8 minutes or until opaque and pink. Make a Caesar salad –chopped romaine with salt and pepper, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh croutons, and anchovies — and pour an icy white wine while it cooks. Top green salad with roasted shrimp and be happy.   Scroll down for Dressing recipe.

Please make your own croutons! Heat oil and fry bread briefly. Season with salt and pepper.

Below photo, left:  An Ina Fridays post where I tested her easy shrimp cocktail recipe.

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Here’s Your Dressing for Caesar Salad

Directions are for food processor, but this dressing can be made in a small, deep bowl using a whisk or a fork.  Or make it in the bottom of a large bowl and place the salad on top and toss just before serving.

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 3 anchovy fillets, optional, but critical to my taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce  (use less if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt, optional

Place first 8 ingredients, garlic – white wine vinegar, in a food processor and pulse until well-blended. Drizzle in olive oil and Greek yogurt–if using– while running and process until emulsified.   Taste and adjust seasonings.  This should be quite piquant and somewhat spicy-hot; it will be toned down when added to the salad.

Now for three shrimp recipes.

Choose and enjoy. One Friday Fish left after this one!

SESAME-SHRIMP NOODLES WITH FRESH VEGETABLE TOPPINGS 

4 servings 
8 Weight Watcher’s Plus Points per serving 

Place 2 tablespoons sesame seeds in a small skillet over low heat and toast, stirring occasionally, for several minutes until light brown.  Remove from heat; pour into a small bowl and place on table.  Chop 1/4 cup plain peanuts, scoop into another small bowl, and place on table.

Pour 2 tablespoons canola oil into the skillet over low heat and add 1 tablespoon each minced ginger and garlic.  Cook a minute or two or just until garlic begins to color.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring 5-6 quarts of salted and peppered water to boil for the pasta.  While it heats, chop 1/2 cup each bok choy, fresh cilantro, scallions (green onions), and cucumber.  Chop all of one red bell pepper.  Cut a lime into wedges.   Place the vegetables and the lime wedges side by side in a large bowl or in separate small bowls and put them on the table by the sesame seeds and peanuts.

To the by now boiling water, add one pound whole wheat linguine (I like Whole Foods 365 brand best) and cook for about 7 minutes.   Stir in 3/4 pound (12 ounces) fresh peeled and deveined shrimp, a cup each of stringed+ fresh snow peas and chopped fresh asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes until shrimp is firm and pink and noodles are nearly tender.

Drain pasta, shrimp, asparagus and peas.  Pour back into the pot and, while hot, stir in garlic-ginger oil,  a generous pinch of crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, 1/4 cup  soy sauce and 1  tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of Sriracha,  and the juice of one lime.   Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more Sriracha, soy sauce, sesame oil, or lime, if needed. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold in shallow pasta bowls; pass fresh vegetables, extra lime slices, soy sauce, and chopped peanuts so that guests can add what they’d like at the table.
Cook’s Notes: 

+Destringing snow peas  If you don’t destring your snow peas, you’ll be flossing (without meaning to) during dinner.  

If you have a vegan or vegetarian in your group, cook the shrimp separately and place it in a separate bowl on the table.  You could add sauteed tofu, if desired, or 2 -3 tablespoons peanut butter to the soy sauce mixture.

If you have leftover cooked chicken, you can add sliced chicken with the garlic-ginger oil instead of cooking shrimp with the noodles.

Vegetables are very interchangeable; please add what you have or you like.  For instance, julienned carrots could be used instead of asparagus or sliced celery in place of the snow peas.

{printable recipe}

SHRIMP-QUINOA SALAD WITH FETA AND TOMATOES

         2 generous servings

4 cups salad greens torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup cooked quinoa
kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
pinch crushed red pepper
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 # cooked shrimp
2 tablespoons each minced red and green bell peppers, opt.
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus a tiny drizzle for the quinoa)
One lemon:  juice half and use rest for garnish on platter
1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives, optional 

To assemble salad:  

1.  Line edge of medium platter or bowl with salad greens and place quinoa at center.  Sprinkle quinoa with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and drizzle with just a tiny bit of olive oil.
2.  Top quinoa with chopped tomatoes and layer the feta and shrimp on top.
3.  Add minced bell peppers to shrimp for garnish.  Sprinkle all with oregano.
4.  Drizzle first olive oil and then lemon juice over entire salad.  Sprinkle all with salt and pepper and top with olives, if using.

COOK’S NOTE:  This recipe doubles easily.

{printable recipe}

SPICY SHRIMP ON LEMON-CHIVE RISOTTO WITH TOMATO SALAD  serves 4

GAME PLAN:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F for shrimp. Begin risotto.
  2. Roast shrimp; remove from oven and reserve. (You could grill it, too; scroll down for link.)
  3. Slice tomatoes and toss with other ingredients. Reserve.
  4. To plate:  Divide risotto between 4 plates, nestle shrimp and tomato salad alongside. Garnish with more chopped chives and a few grinds of black pepper. Serve while risotto is hot.

 1. LEMON-CHIVE RISOTTO

Contrary to popular opinion, risotto does not have to be constantly stirred. Nor is it difficult to make.  Just keep a close eye on it and be patient. It’s a perfect and inexpensive vessel for using up the odd leftover (bits of cheese, vegetables, or meat) or for filling out a meal if you’re cutting back on meat.

Here’s a simple tutorial by Mark Bittman.  (Easier: Make plain white or brown rice and stir in chopped fresh herbs and grated lemon with a little butter, salt and pepper.)

  • 4 cups (32 oz) low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground white pepper
  • Generous pinch crushed red pepper, optional
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • You’ll use the 4 cups previously heated broth (see above) here.
  • 1/2 cup water, for high altitude only
  • Finely grated rind from two lemons
  • Large handful fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives (You’ll need some extra chives for garnish when plating.)

Heat the broth to boiling; reduce heat to a low simmer and place on a back burner.

Warm the butter and oil in a second (heavy) 4-quart pot over medium heat; add shallot and garlic; sauté until tender, but not browned.  Add rice; stir and let cook a minute or two. Season with salt and peppers.  Pour in white wine. Stirring, let cook down briefly until wine is absorbed.

Pour in two ladles or so of the hot broth. Cook, stirring regularly, until broth is absorbed.  Repeat, also adding water if at altitude, until all of the broth is used, and rice is nearly tender and creamy.

Stir in lemon rind, spinach, cheese, and chives. Let cook another minute or so, stirring, to wilt the spinach just a bit.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Cover and keep warm until needed.

2. SPICY SHRIMP

I buy frozen shrimp in a big bag from Costco as I live in a land-locked area where even the shrimp in the fish shop are previously frozen. If you live where shrimp are fresh, adjust recipe accordingly or use this recipe, excluding sauce, etc., of course!

  • 1 pound large frozen shrimp with tails, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper

Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.  Place frozen shrimp on the sheet in single layer.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and peppers. Toss well.   Roast in a 400 degree F oven for 13 minutes or until shrimp is pink and just barely firm. Do not overcook. Remove from oven and set aside until needed.

Want to grill the shrimp instead? Follow this recipe, adding a another minute or so for frozen shrimp.

3. TOMATO SALAD

  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into eighths
  • 4 tablespoons fresh basil julienne (fresh basil cut into very thin ribbons)
  • Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons each: Extra Virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar

Toss tomatoes gently with remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside until needed.

WINE:  Icy Rosê.

{printable recipe}

Sing a new song; make a new shrimp recipe,

Alyce