Saturday, May 8, 2010

Drowned Shrimp

Mmmm...butter. Not for those of us who diet regularly or watch our cholesterol, but every once in a while its nice to fall off the wagon. Leaving the tails on leaves you with a nifty handle and it becomes finger food in the process! How fun is that...playing with your food at the dinner table and not getting in trouble.

If you are using frozen shrimp instead of fresh here's a tip for easy thawing and keeping them from smelling fishy in the process. Pour your shrimp into a bowl with cold water and one sliced lemon. The shrimp will defrost in no time and the acid from the lemon will keep them smelling fresh like the sea instead of getting a chance to oxidize and smell "fishy".

Drowned Shrimp

  • 3 lbs peeled and de-veined raw shrimp
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 t chopped garlic
  • 1 lb unsalted butter
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 C white wine (optional)
  • Salt to taste.

Melt butter and add garlic, peppers, wine and lemon juice. Place shrimp in a 9X13 inch baking dish. Pour butter mixture over the shrimp. Bake in 400F oven 15-20 minutes until bubbly and shrimp are no longer pink. Serve with a loaf of sourdough or french bread for dunking in the broth!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Beef Tamale Casserole

It was Iron Chef night in my neighborhood this past weekend. Rather than pick a secret ingredient we opted for a theme. We chose "Mexican" in honor of the coming cinqo de mayo celebrations. I came up with this casserole and took 3rd place out of 20 entries. Not bad, eh!?

Beef Tamale Casserole

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 c onion chopped
  • 1 4 0z can diced green chiles-drained
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 2.25 oz can sliced olives
  • 2 cups frozen corn - thawed
  • 3 T taco seasoning
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 2 eggs - beaten
  • 2 c shredded cheese (I use a cheddar/jack blend)

Heat oven to 350F. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with nonstick cooking oil spray.

In large skillet brown ground beef and onion. Cook until beef is well browned and onion is translucent. Off the heat add chiles, tomatoes, olives, corn and taco seasoning. Stir well to blend.

In bowl add milk, corn meal and eggs stirring well to combine. Pour over meat mixture and fold in.

Pour into prepared baking dish and even out. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle on the cheese. Return to oven and bake another 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Let set on wire rack 10 minutes to set when done baking.
Cut and serve with a dollop of salsa fresca on top and some refried beans on the side.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Limoncello Marinated Fruit....pic in action to follow

My twist on the California dream includes citrus trees in the back yard. Had to do it and now I have a bounty of fruit.

Lemons, Meyer Lemons to be exact is among my many plantings. What to do with the bounty? Aside from the obvious "make lemonade" I make limoncello. Hands down the best Limoncello recipe belongs to Mario Batali of "Molto Mario" fame from FoodTV. The link to the recipe is HERE. The lemons left after the zesting of the lemons is ample for making Plus Perfect Lemonade...nothing wasted here!

The stuff is amazing. Straight up it will knock your socks off and get you twisted toot suite as it involves nearly 50% vodka. Good stuff. Cut it 50/50 with Ginger Ale or Sparkling Water and you have quite the refreshing cocktail for the patio on a warm summers day. After that you still will have plenty left over for other uses.

My favorite other use is to take seasonal fresh fruit and cover it with the limoncello and let it marinate for a few hours before serving. The fruit juices macerate (how's that for a $5 buck word) in with the limoncello and you have a dessert topping perfect for ice cream or pound cake. The former is my entry in the dessert category for tonight's Iron Chef night in my 'hood.