Cinco de Mayo Dinner

Shrimp tacos

Monday was Cinco de Mayo so I decided to get into the spirit of the day and made Shrimp tacos. This dish is light and refreshing and I will be making it quite a few times this summer as the heat sets in. Along with the tacos I also made the refried bean again which are fast becoming a go to side dish because of how easy they are to make and how delicious they are. Give these a shot some time this summer and enjoy them with a nice cold beer or margarita!

Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos

Refried Beans

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Grilled Lobster with Garlic Thyme Butter

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I was in the grocery store the other day and saw they had lobsters on sale so I picked one up. This grilled lobster dish is a very quick and easy lobster recipe. Turn on or light your grill. Take a knife and kill the lobster then cut it in half. Grill lobster over medium heat for 4 minutes. Flip the lobster and baste with the Garlic Thyme butter (recipe below). Then move to indirect heat for three minutes and baste with butter again. It is a very simple dish to make and tastes incredible. The lobster I used weighed 1.5 lbs so if your lobster is larger the cooking time may vary. Enjoy!

Garlic Thyme Butter:

1 Stick Butter, melted
2 Cloves Garlic
Juice of Half a Lemon
2 Tbs Fresh Thyme or 1 Tbs Dried Thyme

Combine ingredients in small bowl.

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

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Yesterday I tweaked the Cajun Shrimp recipe and served it over pasta. Like the original recipe I poached the shrimp in the water, wine, pickling spice mixture. I also sauteed up a bunch of veggies like peppers, tomatoes, garlic, shallots, and spinach. You could add any other vegetables you want. To make the sauce I combined four tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup sherry, 2/3 cup shrimp stock, and 2 tablespoons Cajun spice; stirring until the butter melts and everything is incorporated. When you saute the vegetables use the Cajun sauce instead of butter or oil. Cook the shrimp, vegetables and pasta then mix together and pour sauce over. This was a last minute throw together dish last night that turned out surprisingly well. It’s relatively simple and allows for a lot of creativity, Enjoy!

Steamed Littleneck Clams in a Beer Garlic Broth

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This week has unofficially turned into shellfish week. I was in the grocery store and saw littleneck clams for sale and figured I’d give them a go. This is my first time ever cooking littleneck clams. I was debating on whether to cook them on the grill but in the end I decided to steam them. I used beer, garlic, lemon, Old Bay, and parsley to make a broth then steamed the clams in this mixture. I was surprised at how easy the clams were to prepare. You just throw them into the pot then check to see when the shells have popped open. These clams would go great with a beer on a relaxing weekend. Enjoy!

Steamed Littleneck Clams in a Beer Garlic Broth

Mussels Marinara

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Last night I decided to mess around and attempt to make one of my favorite appetizers, mussels marinara. Now I like my marinara sauce on the spicier side so I added jalapeno peppers to this batch. However if I were to make it again I would use Italian hot peppers instead of jalapenos. All in all the recipe was very simple to follow. Before cooking the mussels be sure to submerge them in ice water for a few minutes to get rid of any dead ones. After cooking them be sure to throw out any mussels that have not opened. You can serve this over pasta or use bread to dip into the sauce. Enjoy!

Mussels Marinara

Butter Roasted Halibut

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It is currently halibut season and I decided to take full advantage. Using the butter roasting technique I learned in the cooking class I made butter roasted halibut. The best part about butter roasting is that it keeps the fish moist. To make this dish the first thing you need to do is season your fish. I used kosher salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, and dill. After seasoning the fist lightly sprinkle with canola or peanut oil, you need to use an oil that has a high smoking point. Next preheat the pan over high heat, then place a small amount of oil in the pan, enough to coat the pan. Place fish in pan and sear over high heat for 1 minute. Then turn down heat to medium high and cook until half way up the fish turns white. Flip the fist then add 3-4 Tbs of unsalted butter to pan. As the butter melts take a spoon and baste fish with butter for 3-4 minutes. With fish the cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the pieces, the ones I used were ~2 inches thick. Once fish is done remove from pan and place on plate, covering with tin foil. use leftover butter in pan to saute vegetables. Be sure to take full advantage of the halibut that is available now, it is a delicious fish. Enjoy!

Poached Shrimp in Old Bay Butter

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This shrimp recipe is very simple and very quick to prepare and makes for a great appetizer. You can also use the Old Bay Butter to toss steamed crabs in before you serve them.

To Poach the shrimp you combine water, wine, pickling spice, garlic, and parsley in a pot then bring mixture to a boil. The measurements for each ingredient is going to depend on the size of the pot you are using. I just eyeballed everything until it looked right. Let the mixture boil for 4-5 mins to allow the flavors to develop. (see picture below)

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After mixture has boiled remove pot from heat and add shrimp. Poach the shrimp for ~ 5 min until the shrimp are pink and firm. Then remove the shrimp from the poaching liquid and set aside (See pictures below)

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Next melt butter in a small sauce pan. After butter melts add sherry and Old Bay. Simmer for 30 seconds to cook off alcohol in sherry. Add shrimp and coat with butter sauce then serve and enjoy. The shrimp should be lightly coated with the Old Bay Butter, not soaked in it. This dish is very quick and simple and a fun alternative to traditional steamed shrimp. To see a full list of ingredients and approximate measurement follow the link to the recipe page. Enjoy!

Poached Shrimp in Old Bay Butter

Cooking Classes Week 4: Fish

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Week 4 has been my favorite class so far. First we were taught how to scale and skin a fish. Then, instead of following a recipe from the book the chef taught us a few techniques how to cook fish; grilling, sauteing, and butter roasting. After going over these techniques we were able to experiment with seasonings and sauces to pair with the fish.

I chose to butter roast snapper fillets. I seasoned the snapper with white pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, dill, and Spanish paprika. I then preheated the pan. As the pan was heating I lightly coated the fish with canola oil, then when the pan was hot I placed a tablespoon of oil in the pan. I then placed the fish in the pan, turning the heat down after 30 seconds. When the fish turned white halfway through I flipped the fish and added 4-5 tablespoons of butter to the pan and turned down the heat. As the butter melted I basted the fish with the butter for 1-2 min until the fish was done, squeezing lemon juice over the fish at the very end.

After removing the fish from the pan I drained out most of the butter and added a chopped shallot and garlic. I then deglazed the pan with white wine and reduced it by 3/4. After reducing the wine I added spinach and sauteed the spinach. I served the fish over the spinach.

Grilled Garlic Chili Snapper

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I have wanted to try this recipe for a while now but could not find banana leaves to wrap the fish in. I gave up on finding banana leaves last night and improvised by just wrapping the fish in tin foil, in the future I will make this dish with the banana leaves and upload new pictures becasue this picture does not do the dish justice. The ginger soy marinade on the fish gave a subtle flavor that carried throughout the dish and complimented the garlic chili oil that is poured over the fish at the very end. When picking a chili to use in the oil find one that is tolerable to eat. There are big pieces of pepper all over the place and you do not want to make it too spicy to eat. The recipe called to deseed the pepper but I left the seeds in one pepper and removed them from the second one to give it a bit more kick. I would recommend making this in the summer when it is warmer out, it has a great tropical feel to it.

Grilled Garlic Chili Snapper

Salmon with Maple Bourbon Glaze

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This past weekend I went to my good friend Bill’s bachelor party. We went to a cabin in western PA and the weekend was full of good times,drinks, and food. While we were cooking dinner I decided to make a sauce using whatever I could find in the kitchen. I combined 1 cup bourbon, 1 3/4 cups maple syrup, 1/2 cup sugar then salt, pepper, and cinnamon to taste. I simmered the sauce for ~25 min for it to reduce then poured it over the salmon after it was finished cooking. I also have to give credit to John for cooking the salmon perfectly.