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

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!

Recipe Revisit: Cajun Shrimp

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Over the weekend I went back and made some improvements to the poached shrimp in Old Bay butter. In the end I completely changed the recipe and the results were even better than I expected. I used the same poaching method to cook the shrimp. However for the sauce I changed nearly everything. Instead of using Old Bay I switched to a Cajun seasoning, which kicks up the spice level. I also switched to a oil and butter base, which does a better job at coating the shrimp and is great for dipping bread. I also added in some chopped up hot banana peppers, an idea I came across when I ordered the Cajun shrimp appetizer at The Irish Rover Station House. Give this recipe a try, it’s quick and easy to make and is a real crowd pleaser, Enjoy!

Cajun Shrimp

Review: A Dinner With Robert Irvine

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I just finished up the Dinner with Robert Irvine event and I must say it went pretty well. While there were a few technical difficulties in the show overall it was a great experience. During the program we cooked two dishes with Chef Irvine, sauteed shrimp with strawberry salsa and spinach polenta and pork tenderloin with a mustard pan sauce and a potato peach hash. Both dishes were delicious but the shrimp and polenta was the stand out dish of the evening. I had never thought to use strawberries over shrimp, the flavor combination worked so well.

 

 

 

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The pork tenderloin and hash was also delicious. The use of peaches in the hash was a surprise but again, much like the strawberries, just worked. This whole experience has changed the way I think of fruit. Now I do not view fruit as dessert or something that stands on its own and I will be experimenting with new uses of fruit in main dishes and appetizers.

The only critiques of the event I had were he could have slowed down a bit, at times Irvine went into full chef mode and was pushing out parts of the dish quite quickly. Also it would have been helpful if we received a full ingredient list with some directions for prep, ie chopped, diced, etc. Also a heads up about preheating the oven would have been a big help too However overall for the first time doing a show like this I thought it went very well and I learned a few new techniques and will definitely be making the shrimp dish again in the near future.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

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This is a classic Italian seafood recipe. I modeled this sauce after the base of the vodka cream sauce. The first few steps are just the same. You add the onion to pan; saute 4 minutes or until tender. Add Garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds.

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Then you add 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, and wine and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until the wine is reduced by about half.

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Then stir in 1 teaspoon salt, shellfish stock, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 8 minutes.

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Finally add Shrimp and cover sauce. Cook shrimp for 5-6 minutes or until done. By cooking the shrimp in the sauce you infuse more shrimp flavor into it.

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Pour sauce and shrimp over cooked paste and garnish with basil. This is an easy simple recipe so give it a try. 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 Class Week 5: Shell Fish

oysters

Tonight’s class focused on shellfish. I finally learned how to properly shuck an oyster. It took a few attempts but by the end I was able to pick up the technique. To shuck an oyster you hold it in a towel in your hand, cup of the oyster facing down. You then take the oyster knife and push it through the heel of the oyster. Once the knife gets through the heel you twist the knife to pop the shell. You then move the knife across the top shell to separate it from the oyster. Then after taking the top shell off you cut the oyster free from the bottom shell. I chose to cook Oysters Florentine tonight in order to practice the shucking technique.

The chef also taught us a few simple recipes for shrimp, clams, and crab that I will highlight in future posts

Guinness Reduction Part 2

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Inspired by St. Patrick’s Day I worked on perfecting the Guinness pan sauce that I made a few weeks ago. Before cooking the steaks I took 4 cups of beef stock, carrots, celery, garlic, and onions and placed them in a saucepan; I then reduced the broth by half to build more flavor in the stock. After fortifying the stock I cooked the steaks in the pan. I sauteed half a shallot then deglazed the pan with 1/2 cup of Guinness. I reduced the Guinness by 2/3 then added the fortified beef broth. I simmered the sauce for ~2 min then added 1tsp dijon mustard, 1 tbs soy sauce, salt, and chopped fresh parsley. I let the sauce simmer for another 2 min then added 1 tbs unsalted butter and 1/2 tsp truffle butter. I then did a final taste to get the salt level right. I then served the sauce over the steak.

To cook the shrimp I took a cast iron skillet and cooked 4 pieces of bacon. I then added the shrimp, which I seasoned with Old Bay and cooked them in the bacon grease.

Guinness

Shrimp Scampi

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Today I made my take on shrimp scampi. While most scampi’s use a lot of butter, I tried my best to make this dish as healthy as I could. I only used 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.  The crushed red pepper gave the dish a it of heat but was not overwhelming. This is a very simple, quick, and easy to prepare dinner that is perfect if you are short on time.

Shrimp Scampi

Siracha Shrimp Scampi

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This Siracha shrimp scampi is a very simple yet very delicious dish. With just a handful of ingredients you get big flavor and while it does have some heat to it the lemon zest gives this dish a very refreshing finish. The sauce tastes very similar to a fra diavlo sauce and goes well served over pasta. This dish also makes a great appetizer if served on skewers. If you are short on time and are looking for a dish that brings the heat and big flavor I recommend trying this dish.

Siracha Shrimp Scampi