Saturday, April 30, 2011

Amazing Shrimp Diablo Recipe

This was an amazing recipe. I put this together from a number of recipes on line, and now my mouth wants it. 

Waaaants it!!

So I want to share it with you, so that you can be similarly afflicted, and addicted to this recipe. 

You'll Need:
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 good solid swirl of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine or sherry
  • 1 large, 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound small large shrimp. Frozen, peeled, but uncooked. 
  • 1 small can clams, with juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (or so), chopped
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Fettuccine or linguini pasta (enough for 6)

Put a large pot of water over a flame to boil, with some salt and olive oil throw in as well. 

Toss the shrimp in bowl with about half the red pepper flakes, 2 Tbsp olive oil and some salt. Make sure the shrimp are good and coated with the pepper/oil/salt mixture. Set aside.

While these flavors are thinking about themselves, heat a heavy, 12-inch skillet until it's very hot. Throw in the shrimp and sere them on each side for less than a minute, each. The idea is not to cook them, per se, but to singe in the flavors. 

Remove the shrimp to a holding bowl and start on the sauce
Turn your flame to low and put in the wine or sherry to deglaze with a spatula (to pull up the tasty bits from the bottom of your skillet). Let this cook down by half. 

Now sautee your minced onion and garlic in that remaining sauce. Add a bit more olive oil if needed. You want your garlic to end up lightly brown, but not burned, so keep it moving with your spatula. 

Then, add the rest of the pepper flakes, tomatoes, oregano, and crush the diced tomatoes with a masher of some type. Simmer this sauce to marry the flavors.

To finish the sauce
Before adding the meats into the batch, you're going to want to finish the sauce. First of all, I add about 1/3 cup of cream. Next I mash up butter and flour (1 Tbsp flour to 1 Tbsp butter) into a paste, and toss it in to thicken it up. You'll need to whisk it around to distribute it into the sauce. 

Taste for deliciousness, and correct the seasonings as necessary. Then add the shrimp and the clams, with juice, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes or so to "hot up" the shrimp again. 

Now to finish the dish
Once the pasta is done, drain it and figure out a way to ladle the sauce over it -- either from separate containers, or melded together in one big dish. 

You are going to love this. 

Shrimp Pasta Diablo Recipe

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chocolate Sauce

This must be what it’s like to be a magician.  You’ve done your silly trick ad nauseum for your kids in your own living room. It’s old hat.

But then you stand in front of people who’ve never seen how the card gets slipped up your sleeve or behind your back, and they marvel at the miracle of the jack of spades showing up behind the audience member’s left ear.
The same thing happens when you make ganache chocolate sauce. My 11 year old makes it now, and it’s on par with putting a chicken in the oven to bake. But somehow it becomes miraculous in front of a crowd of people who have never seen it outside of a Godiva box. Put it together, right in front of them [gasp!], and they absolutely ohh and ahh.
It really is miraculous, this ganache, but it also happens to be the easiest trick in the world.

You’ll Need
1 ½ cup Half-n-Half
8 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan
Warm the Half-n-Half over a medium flame. Add chocolate and stir until completely melted. Fold in the butter until it too has melted in. Off heat, add vanilla.
Chocolate sauce can be stored in the freezer for weeks – as if it’s going to last that long.

Play With Your Food!
Chocolate is like the color black … it goes with almost anything. Add wonderful flavorings to this basic ganache, such as Baileys, Chambourd, strong coffee, dark rum, mint, whiskey, etc. You should try them one at a time, to see which you like best.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Show Notes: Beer Butt Chicken

On every one of my radio programs, at the end of the show, I talk about "Health In The Hearth" and the importance of making real food, real simply, right at home. 

Check out the preparation for this popular chicken preparation, know affectionately (or not) as "Beer Butt Chicken". 

Truly this is so incredibly simple to do -- you take your bird out of the plastic, remove any innards bag, wash it off, then you're ready to go. 

Open a beer, poke it up the SOUTH end of a NORTH bound chicken, and then set your grill to 350. I rubbed olive oil over my bird to crisp-up the skin as well. 

The only real trick to this is that, if you're using a bottled beer with a tapered, long-neck style, drinking end (in other words, NOT a can) it will drift up through the chicken's neck. 

So, as you see in this 2nd picture, you have to get some twine, or string or a hefty rubber band or something and truss-up the lower legs so it will hold around the bottle. 

When I put this on my grill (my grill has three burners), I put it in the center, with the side burners on high. That way, the bottle was not directly over the flame. I was concerned that the glass would burst at some point. If you have a can, that wouldn't be a problem. 

Set your bird up on the beer, close the lid, and leave it alone for a good 2 hours. It is amazing; tender; moist; and it doesn't even taste like cooked beer!!

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Menu for Mediterranean Wellness

A Recipe For Mediterranean Wellness
Click on each title for the recipe

Cranberry Spinach Salad w Honey Dijon Bacon Dressing
This simple salad has everything! From the cranberries to the spinach to the lime honey and bacon balance that ties it all together. Your family will love you for it – YOU will love you for it, and you’ll be doing your body good in the process.

What an Italian staple of the kitchen this is! Plus, it’s so simple to make, and every bit as delicious as the title sounds. Another perk of this recipe is that you can really add any delicious veggie to it, and crank up the goodness for you and your family.

Tilapia, Sherry’d and Rosemary’d
Tilapia is a light flaky fish that marries well with the sweetly pungent combination of sherry and rosemary in this recipe. Like all these Mediterranean dishes, they are both excellent for you, and simply prepared so that you will be able to pull this to impress your family any night of the week.

Get ready for audible groaning. And the happy stress reduction that happens when you “love on” these strawberries is only the beginning of the heart healthy benefits they provide. And like the other recipes here, you will be able to customize the infusion (Bailey’s, Chambord, coffee, vanilla, etc) to your own grateful tastes. 

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Strawberries, Chocolate-Kissed, with Infused Ganache

What a great surprise to pull out of the refrigerator for your romantic dinner for two. Even a tender nibble brings the sweet juices of cherry, strawberry, or raspberry, encased in the thin waiting sheath of dark chocolate. 

What is it about chocolate and red fruit that seems so decadent? Maybe it’s the balance between the fruit’s quick sweetness with chocolate’s long lasting, brain-altering addictions that so resemble love itself. 

Like love, at once bitter and sweet, held together in one irresistible package. Like love, taken to satisfy more the soul than the body.  

You’ll Need
3 1-ounce squares semi-sweet chocolate
3 tablespoons cream
3 tablespoons dry sherry
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch of salt

in a saucepan
Over low heat, slowly melt the chocolate with the cream, sherry, vanilla, and salt, stirring gently all the while.

Allow these to warm into each other for a minute after the chocolate has completely melted. Taste to correct the flavors.

Once it becomes irresistible, dunk the fruit into the chocolate to coat. Keep the coating light.   Remove these to a small plate and place in the refrigerator to cool until ready to serve.

Like the eating, take your time in the making over a steady simmering flame to ensure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Careful when turning the fruit over, especially if using delicate berries like raspberries. They are easily crushed. The thickness of the chocolate shell will depend on the thickness of the chocolate sauce and the number of times you dunk the fruit. Spot-check the thickness after the first dunking and make a judgment call.

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Tilapia, Sherry'd and Rosemary'd with COOKING NOTES

My very first job was at one of those fast food chains that sold fried fish and chips. Okay, the vat-o-grease we fried the fish in was horrid, but then I do have to say that we made our own hushpuppies fresh every day as well as the batter for the fish. I loved that fish, and somehow we always had a few left over at the end of my shift that, as a good employee, I volunteered to clean up and take home with me.

In the absence of a bubbling black pit of hydrogenated oil to cook your fish in, this fish recipe has actually become my new favorite.

You’ll need:
3 tilapia fillets
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic, minced
Sprinkle of cayenne
¾ cup dry sherry

Prepare to fry the fillets
Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fish and set aside.  Over a medium flame, sauté the garlic and three-fourths of the rosemary for just a couple of minutes until the garlic just starts to brown.

add the fillets
Set the fillets side by side into the pan and sprinkle with cayenne and the rest of the rosemary to your taste.  After 3 minutes, flip the fish and sprinkle with the cayenne and rosemary again. Continue to cook until done through.

prepare the sauce
Remove the fish to a warm plate and scrape up the bits of fish and garlic from the bottom of the pan with the sherry.  Cook this down over a medium-high flame until reduced by over half. It should be almost syrupy by this time. Serve the sauce hot over the filet.

When judging when to flip your fillet, look at the edges. You’ll see that they start to get opaque. For most thin filets, this means that you’re ready to turn it over. To make sure it’s done all the way through, notice when the center responds to gentle prodding by flaking apart. That’s when you’re ready to pull it out and eat!

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