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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Lunch

The court reporting firms I contract with had their annual holiday lunch on Monday. It was so great to see everyone, our office manager, the other court reporters, our videographer, and the owner of the Spanish translation service we use. Following are the recipes I prepared for the lunch:


Brussels Sprouts

1 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, rinsed and bottoms trimmed off
1/4 lb. thin-sliced pancetta, finely diced (can substitute bacon)
½ cup finely diced shallots

Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes and set aside. Using a steamer basket placed inside a medium saucepan with a lid or an Asian-style bamboo steamer, steam Brussels sprouts for approximately 10 minutes. They should still be a pretty green color and should still have slight resistance to a fork pressed into the base or into the middle of the sprouts. Remove from steamer and drop into the ice water to stop the cooking and maintain the pretty green color. Drain sprouts and place in serving bowl.

In a skillet over low to medium low heat, slowly cook pancetta. Cook until it renders its fat and becomes slightly crispy. Increase heat to medium low to medium and add shallots. Cook slowly until shallots are tender. Pour pancetta-shallot mixture over Brussels sprouts and mix well. Serve with sundried tomato aioli.

Sundried Tomato Aioli

¼ cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Finely chop sundried tomatoes in food processor. Add egg yolk, garlic, mustard, and lemon juice and blend well. With machine running, gradually add oil through feed tube in slow, steady stream. Blend until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper. Blend for a few more seconds.


I also added a little squeeze of anchovy paste to this recipe, about 1 teaspoon. It adds more flavor depth. If you have anchovy paste handy and like it, give it a try. If not, no problem.

Next time I make this aioli I’ll use only half the amount of sundried tomatoes so that the aioli will be a bit more subtle.


1 lb. medium (about 25 per pound) shrimp, rinsed, shells removed except for tail section, and de-veined
1 head of garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
6 tablespoons butter
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Italian seasoning
Salt (if needed)

Separate the head of garlic into individual cloves. Remove root end and skin from garlic cloves. Divide the garlic cloves in half. Slice half of the garlic cloves very thin. Finely dice the remaining half of the garlic cloves.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over low to medium low heat. Add the olive oil. Add the sliced garlic and cook very slowly until browned. You want the garlic to give a nice toasty garlic flavor to the oil without burning. When browned, remove garlic slices. Add lemon zest.

Keep temperature at low to medium low. Add the diced garlic and slowly cook until garlic is soft. You don’t want to brown this garlic. Sprinkle the butter/olive oil/garlic combination liberally with your favorite Italian seasoning, 1-2 teaspoons.

Add the shrimp to the skillet in a single layer and keep the heat low. Shrimp cook very fast and you want to give them a chance to absorb all the great garlic flavor, so cook them very low and slow. After a few minutes, flip the shrimp over and continue to cook them in a single layer. When all shrimp have turned pink and curled up a bit they’re done. Taste a shrimp and the buttery sauce for seasoning. If needed, add a sprinkle of salt.

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