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Monday, July 9, 2012

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Maybe not the healthiest shrimp recipe, but seriously delicious!  This is better than any shrimp scampi you can get at a restaurant!  This recipe is slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Baked Shrimp Scampi Recipe.

Recipe For Baked Shrimp Scampi

2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick butter, at room temperature
4 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried breadcrumbs)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish.

Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter-crumb mixture evenly over the shrimp.
 Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Cucumber, Tomato, and Feta Salad with Vinaigrette

This recipe has it all.  It's crisp, cool, and refreshing.  It's ridiculously easy.  And it's really nutritious.  Enjoy!

Recipe for Cucumber, Tomato, and Feta Salad with Vinaigrette

2 cucumbers
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 package of feta cheese, 6 to 8 ounces
1/4 red onion

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (I like Penzey's pasta sprinkle)
salt and pepper to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, remove 4 strips of peel from the length of each cucumber (giving a striped appearance).  Trim away the ends, cut each cucumber in half diagonally, and scoop out all the seeds.  Thinly slice the cleaned cucumbers.

Put the sliced cucumbers in a colander set over a bowl.  Sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt and shake the collander.  This will help to draw extra moisture out of the cucumber.  Give the collander a shake now and again to disperse the salt evenly over the cucumber.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

Cut the feta into small dice.

Very finely dice the red onion.  Rinse the onion in a collander to remove some of its pungency.

To make the vinaigrette, mix the red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, freshly ground pepper, and salt (go easy on the salt until you taste the finished salad, since you've already sprinkled salt over the cucumber).  Drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil while wisking to make a nice emulsified vinaigrette.

Combine the sliced cucumbers, cherry tomato halves, diced feta, and diced onion in a salad bowl.  Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the salad (you may have extra vinaigrette left over that you can dress another salad with).  Taste the salad and add extra salt if necessary.

Green-Lentil Curry

This is a Madhur Jaffrey recipe that I found online at Food & Wine.  I love vegetarian eating and this is a main dish for me.  For my devoutly carnivore husband, this is a great side dish.  There are many beautiful spices in this dish and they're all used in moderation so the flavor is beautifully subtle and balanced.

Green-Lentil Curry Recipe

1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 garlic clove, mashed to a paste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
1 1/4 cups dried green lentils (I only had regular brown lentils, so I used them for this recipe)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 ounces green beans, cut into 3/4-inch lengths
4 ounces kale, stemmed and leaves finely chopped
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste

1.  In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, coriander, and ground cumin.  Sitr in 1/4 cup of water to make a paste.  In a small skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.  Add the cumin seeds and cook over moderately high heat for 5 seconds, just until sizzling.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute.  Add the spice paste and let cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, abour 2 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook until thick, about 1 minute longer.

2.  In a saucepan, combine the lentils with the turmeric and 5 cups of water; bring to a boil.  Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are barely tender.  Add the green beans, kale, carrot, three-fourths of the cilantro, and the cayenne and season with salt.  Cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 15 minutes.  Scrape in the spice paste and the remaining cilantro.  Simmer for 5 minutes, then serve.

Serve with steamed basmati rice, warm naan, and plain yogurt.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chicken/Pork Breakfast Sausage

Using brined chicken breast in this recipe along with lean ground pork results in a very low-fat sausage that’s flavorful and has a nicer texture than chicken breakfast sausages I’ve had before. The fat content is so low that you’ll need to lightly coat your skillet with olive oil.

A great time-saving idea is to brine large amounts of chicken breasts, then freeze individually in ziplock bags for later use. I’ve found that prebrined and frozen chicken tastes the same in recipes as freshly brined. It’s also easiest to grind the chicken in the food processor when it’s still half-frozen.

We’ve eaten this sausage as standalone breakfast patties and cooked it in a breakfast hash with eggs, potatoes, and cheese. It was great both ways.

Recipe For Chicken/Pork Breakfast Sausage

1 pound brined chicken breast (partially frozen)
1 pound lean ground pork
¼ cup real maple syrup
2 teaspoons dry sage
1 teaspoon granulated toasted onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Cut the chicken into chunks. Working in batches, pulse the chicken in a food processor until coarsely ground.

Combine the ground chicken, ground pork, maple syrup, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with your hands.

You can form patties or bulk cook it. If it’s warmed up a bit from mixing and gotten a little too soft and sticky, refrigerate for a while before forming patties.