Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Roasted Shrimp

Shrimp is not your college student's typical grocery list item, but we are approaching New Year's Eve and 2014.  So, if you are splurging to ring in the New Year, shrimp cocktail is one of those classic entertaining recipes to put out for your guests.  

Aside from all of that, Jon requested I post my 'Shrimp Quesadillas' creation, a recipe I will be featuring soon--but first the basics.  I typically purchase lower count shrimp from a quality grocery store, approx $12-15 / pound, raw, deveined and with the tails left on.  They are cheaper if you have to peel them yourself.  On occasion, shrimp can be found at a reasonable price to make this worth the extra cash--obviously it is not a college student budget staple!

Nothing is simpler than Ina Garten's Roasted Shrimp Cocktail recipe from her 'Back To Basics' cookbook. A must skill for any young college cook! Eat these with cocktail sauce, add them to a salad or pasta, and/or use any leftovers for Shrimp Quesadillas (recipe soon to follow)!

Baking sheet

2 lbs of shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined (12 to 15 count)
1-2 Tbls olive oil
1/2 tsp of kosher salt
1/2 tsp of freshly ground pepper

Dipping Sauce (optional)
1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
3 Tbls horseradish 
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp Worchestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp Tabasco Sauce

1. Wash your hands.
2. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
3. Leave tails on shrimp and toss in olive oil.
4. Place shrimp in a single layer on the baking sheet.
5. Season with salt & pepper.

6. Roast in the oven x 8 - 10 minutes, just until ink and firm.

7. Let cool if you are eating shrimp cocktail or use immediately for other devouring.

8. If you want to be fancy, combine all of the dipping sauce ingredients together in a bowl, and begin the celebration with Classic Shrimp Cocktail.
9. After making this recipe for the blog I made the cocktail sauce WHICH IS FANTASTIC, and I saved a few for my Cesar Shrimp Salad!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gutted and Stuffed Portabellas

I'm a huge fan of the hit series 'The Walking Dead', and as a result of this addiction I received 'The Snacking Dead' cookbook for Christmas.  It's a parody, no doubt, but this book delivers in the 'Appetizers For An Apocalypse' section.

Since the Superbowl  is approaching rapidly, along with Oscars, I thought it best to look for tailgating ideas easy enough for college students to make.  Hopefully I'll get thru a few of these 'just in time' for the party!

If you have vegetarians in your midst, omit the bacon!

(Adapted from 'The Snacking Dead' cookbook)

Gutted Mushrooms with Bacon and Spinach

Mixing Bowl
Your hands and a death grip
Baking sheet

6 strips of bacon (See 'Makin' Bacon' post)
1/2 red onion, chopped and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
20 portabello or button mushrooms, stems removed
1 (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup cream cheese or use a flavored cheese, like Boursin or Garlic-Herb Spread
1/2 cup fontina, gouda, mild cheddar (whatever is in the fridge)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (optional)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1. Wash your hands, because you need to use them.
2. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
3. Prep mushrooms and clean caps with damp paper-towel.

4. In a skillet, fry the bacon (See 'Makin' Bacon' post) and drain on paper towels.  Remove the oil except for 1 tsp.

5. Sauté the onions until tender, approx 5 minutes on MEDIUM.

6. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

7. Squeeze the spinach as dry as you possibly can. 
8. Crumble the bacon.

9. In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, and all other ingredients. Mix well. Season to taste.

10. Fill each cap with a dome of filling and place on a baking sheet.

11. Spinkle with parmesan cheese.

12. Bake stuffed mushroom caps x 15 minutes until cheese is golden brown.

13. Place on a platter and impress your company. It really is that simple!

Popeye Bites

The BCS National Championship game is coming quickly, and I have found a great recipe just for the occasion! Some of you may squirm at the thought of having anything "green" for a tail-gating party, but 'fear not'!  This appetizer is warm, cheesy, and comfort food at its best--even if your team fails to win.

This is one of those dishes easily made ahead for up to 24-48 hours. Whether you are hosting game day, or whether you have been invited--everyone wins!

(Adapted from America's Test Kitchen's 'Make-Ahead Appetizers' Magazine)

9" x 13" x 2" Pyrex dish
PAM Spray
Mixing Bowl
Collander or sieve

1 cup plus 2 Tbls all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cup chicken broth
3 large eggs
1 1/4 lbs frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
12 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded (I use mix of Fontina/Gruyere)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 oz Parmesan cheese

1. Wash your hands.
2. Preheat oven to 375F degrees and spray your pyrex dish with PAM.
3. Run warm water over the frozen spinach in a collander or sieve. Squeeze as dry as possible.

4. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt,pepper, and cayenne together in a bowl.

5. Add chicken broth and eggs. Whisk until smooth.

6. Add spinach, finely chopped onion, shredded gruyere, and minced garlic.

7. Mix well and transfer to the prepared baking dish.

8. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

9. Bake until browned on top and bubbling around edges, approx 40-45minutes.

10. Cool completely if you are making it ahead. Cover in plastic wrap and store up to 2 days.
11. When ready to serve, remove the plastic and cover with foil.  
12. Heat at 375F degrees for 25 minutes, cut into squares and serve.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Saving Mangoes

I realized the night before leaving on vacation that I had overbought fruits this past week instead of being mindful of the holidays, and the fact, that I was leaving for a week: 2 large ripe beautiful mangoes just couldn't travel with me nor was I willing to let them go to waste.

Maybe you have a similar problem. Maybe you bought pears or have a bunch of bananas or you bought those expensive raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries. Don't worry, but don't waste them! Especially if you have fruits that brown or ripen quickly, slice your it into pieces, toss in lemon or lime juice, and save for future smoothies or juices.  

For berries you don't need to do anything other than seal them in a ziplock bag.
To get the most from your mango, this blog will show you how to save your mango.

Ziplock bags
Small to medium mixing bowl
Peeler (optional)


1. Wash your hands.
2. Prepare a clean cutting surface.
3. Peel mango and slice along pit.

4. Cut each section into vertical slices.

5. Or, simply cut mango unpeeled.

6. Score the flesh of each mango section cross-wise.

7. Invert section and easily remove cubed  mango pieces.

8. Toss in lime juice.
9. If you have other fruits that brown or ripen quickly, cut them up, toss in lemon or lime.

10. Put in ziplock bags and lie flat to freeze.