Sweet Corn and Shrimp Chowder

Sometimes I wish I was from Boston so I could get away with saying Chowda. But, alas, I’m Cali, born and raised. Saying Chowder, thankfully, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it just as much! And we’re finally (FINALLY) getting into Fall. Which to me means hearty stews and soups, corn bread. Anything that makes you feel warm and cozy. Ok, basically, comfort food. Fall = Comfort Food. This one definitely fits that category.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs olive oil (keep more on hand for drizzling)
1 16 oz pkg frozen sweet corn
3 small to medium Russet potatoes
4-6 slices of bacon, chopped (depends on your love of bacon, I used 8. Tells you a little something about me)
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbs butter (I use unsalted)
1 whole onion, diced (to save time, I buy the already diced onion in the produce section. Use about 1 cup)
1 tsp smoked paprika (add more for your desired flavor)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground curry
3 cloves garlic, minced (to save time, I use the preminced garlic. 1 tsp = about 1 clove garlic)
1 cup white wine (always be sure to use a wine you personally enjoy as that is the flavor your dish will have. You can always sub chicken broth)
2 cups chicken stock (I used low sodium)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I didn’t have heavy cream, so I subbed 1/2 cup whole milk. To get the thickness, though, I added 1/2 cup of sour cream. It worked perfectly!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro (ick) or parsley for garnish, if desired

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper (makes for easier clean-up) add the corn and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, turn corn with wooden spoon, and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes. The corn should be getting golden brown and starting to char a little. Remove and set aside until ready to add to the soup.

While corn roasts, peel and dice potatoes. Add to a medium pot of lightly salted water, bringing to a boil and then let simmer until fork tender. Drain in colander.

Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven to medium. Add diced bacon and cook, rendering the fat. Once bacon is crisp, remove with slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate. With the exception of about 2 tablespoons of fat, remove the rest. Add shrimp, stir to cook slightly. You want them a bit under cooked because you will be adding them to the hot chowder were they will continue to cook. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and add to the plate with bacon.

Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. When the butter begins to bubble, add the onions and slightly increase heat to medium-high. Cook onions until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add roasted corn. Stir in garlic, smoke paprika, and curry. When onions and corn are fully coated, add white wine to deglaze dutch oven. Scrape up any browned bits and simmer until liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes. Taste, adjust seasoning as needed.

Slowly add chicken stock while stirring. Make sure the stock is completely incorporated with other ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add cream last. Adjust seasoning.

Finally, add shrimp, bacon, and cilantro or parsley. Serve with a warm crusty bread.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Chardonnay
Fume Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
Viognier

Serves: 4-6

Total time: 1 hour – 1:10 minutes

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Glazed Salmon

It’s been so long since my last post, and it’s not as if I stopped cooking. No, I’ve still been plugging away, cooking the majority of our dinners. And, I’ve been trying some wonderful recipes! My heart, however, just hasn’t been into blogging. Sometimes updating my blog, after everyone is quietly snuffling in their beds, can be difficult. Sometimes I just want to read. Sometimes I want to get lost in Pinterest. Sometimes I want to check in with my FB friends. Or play Hay Day. Sometimes that is the hard part of being a full-time wife and mom, as well as working outside the home full time. But, as winter sheds it’s coat (yes, we have a Cali version of winter) and spring dawns anew, we can all feel somewhat reborn. Throw aside what has been holding you down, sit outside and soak up the sun. Take a walk and marvel at what beauty springtime brings. Ride a bike and feel the warm breeze  on your face. Ahhh, to start anew. It’s a wonderful thing!

What better way to pay homage to spring than wild caught salmon? Don’t get me wrong, I can eat salmon year-round. But there is something about salmon that speaks to warmer weather.

Ingredients:

1 tsp packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 – 2 lbs skin-on salmon filet
Pepper to taste
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 recipe glaze (below)

Glaze:

3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preparation:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300°. Combine brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a 12″ oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place salmon, flesh side down, in skillet and cook until well browned, about 1 minute. Using tongs, carefully flip salmon and cook on skin side for 1 minute.

Remove skillet from heat and evenly spoon glaze over salmon. Transfer skillet to oven and cook until fillets register 125° (for medium-rare) and are still translucent when cut into, about 7 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Grenache
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves: 4

Total time: 30 minutes

*Derived from America’s Test Kitchen

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Glazed Salmon


Easy Fried Rice

There is not a lot that intimidates me, especially with cooking.  I view life as a “roll-up your sleeves and give it a try” ride.  This has translated very well to my cooking.  Sure, I’ve had my major flubs (#thoseareNOTsnickerdoodles, #omgthatshorrible), but it doesn’t stop me from trying new things or rejected things over again.  And then we come to fried rice.  I know, I know.  Fried rice?!?!  Really?  Fried rice??  You don’t say.  But, I come by my intimidation quite easily, I simply adore fried rice.  You know how you set someone up in your mind as just the end-all, be-all of X (insert talent here).  But you don’t want to actually meet Said Talent of X because what if they turn out to be a real jerk and forever change your opinion of them?  Well, that’s kind of how I feel about fried rice.  Now, before you attempt to cart me off in a straight jacket for a padded cell, let me explain.  I so adore fried rice that I was terrified of messing it up SO bad that it would be forever etched on my brain.  And I would never be able to go to OIC Bowl again and stare lovingly at my bowl of fried rice without images of how badly I ruined it.  So there you have it, rational or not.  This attempt, however, has turned it around for me.  I’ve concurred fried rice, and still love it!

Ingredients:

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded (uncooked) carrots
1 cup sliced green onions, divided
3 cups cooked rice
½ cup thawed frozen peas
¼ low sodium soy sauce

Preparation:

Spritz a large nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Add eggs, making sure to cover the bottom of the pan with the eggs.  When eggs start to set, break them into pieces and cook about 1 more minute, until cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Spritz pan 1 more time; when re-warmed, add carrots and all but 2 Tbs of green onions; sauté until carrots are crisp-tender; about 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in cooked rice, peas and soy cause; cook until heated through, stirring once or twice, about 1 minute.  Gently stir in cooked egg and remaining scallions; heat through.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Grüner Veltliner
Gewürztraminer
Riesling

Serves 6

Total time: 30 minutes

East Fried Rice

Easy Fried Rice

*Derived from Weight Watchers

Orzo “Paella”

There is something about orzo.  The texture.  The size. It’s just the most amazing little cross between rice and pasta.  A rice / pasta cross-over!  This recipe calls itself a “paella” and it makes for a wonderful “when I grow up I want to be a paella” dish.  The flavors come together really nicely and are a great compliment to each other.  I was able to use left over chicken, which is always a plus for me, and it had shrimp.  As most people know, we are a big shrimp eating family.  The peas were a “no go” for the kiddos, but that was no surprise.  This got a big thumps-up and was wonderfully quick to make!

Ingredients:

¾ lb large frozen shrimp; cleaned, shelled, thawed with tails on (I used what I had in the freezer, which were medium, and they worked just fine)
Juice of ½ a lemon
¼ tsp each salt and pepper
1 Tbs plus 1 tsp olive oil
3 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
¼ tsp turmeric
1 lb orzo (can sub whole wheat for a healthier meal)
½ cup frozen peas
½ small onion, finely chopped (time-saving tip: buy pre-chopped either in the freezer section or fresh in produce)
2-4 cooked chicken thighs cut into 1″ chunks
¼ cup roasted red pepper, cut into thin strips (I bought the jarred version, though you could roast your own)
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°.  Place first four ingredients and 1 tbs of olive oil in large zip-lock bag.  In medium pot, bring chicken broth and 2 cups water to boil.  Add turmeric and orzo; boil for 6 minutes.  Drain, reserving ¾ cup of cooking liquid.  Place frozen peas in the broth and let sit.

Heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil in a large pan.  Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes; flip halfway through.  Add chicken thighs; cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add drained orzo to pan.  Pour peas and reserved liquid over orzo and stir.  Finally, stir in red pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Top with parsley and serve.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Beaujolais
Chianti
Garmay
Grüner Veltliner
Sangiovese

Serves 6 (and probably some left for lunch)

Prep time: 15 minutes  Cooking time: 22 minutes

Orzo "Paella

Orzo “Paella

*Derived from Fitness Magazine

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

I don’t think I have discovered a way to make shrimp that my kids WON’T eat.  Not that I’m really trying.  But sometimes I think, “There is no way they are going to go for this.”  And they do.  We even went to our favorite Chinese place earlier in the week at the request of D, for the honey walnut prawns.  I was telling the owner that I tried making them at home, and while they were very good, they weren’t OIC Bowl good.  After she walked away, Berto leaned across the table and whispered to me, “Yours were REALLY good Mommy.”  Heart melting.  Right there.  Right then.  Well, these got the same reaction from the kids, and the Hubs, too!

Ingredients:

Vegetable Oil
Kosher salt
1 1/2 lbs linguine
6 Tbs unsalted butter
5 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs minced garlic (time saver tip:  Buy jarred minced garlic, such as Spice World)
2 lbs large, peeled and deveined shrimp (I always buy them that way)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 small lemons)
1/2 lemon thinly sliced in half-rounds (left mine whole rounds, but half is better)
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional, I omitted)

Preparation:

Drizzle some vegetable oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, do not skip this step.  It helps keep your linguine from clumping together.  Add 1 tbs salt and the linguine.  Cook for 7-10 minutes, or according to package directions.

While water is boiling and pasta is cooking, in another large, heave-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Keep a close eye, the garlic will burn very quickly.  Add the shrimp, 1 tbs salt, and the pepper.  Sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat, add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slice, and red pepper flakes (if using).  Toss to combine.

Drain the linguine and add it back to the pot in batches.  In-between batches, add some of the shrimp and sauce.  Toss well, and devour!

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Chardonnay
Friulano
Picpoul Blanc
Vinho Verde

Serves 6

Total time: 40 minutes

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

*Courtesy Ina Garten

Honey Walnut Prawns

I love Honey Walnut Prawns. I love them so much I even remember the first time I put one of the tasty morsels in my mouth, “Where have you been my whole life? Why have I not experienced you until now, my sweet little prawn?” Adding to the  mix, we are one prawn loving family. The only caveat is that some restaurants use too much mayonnaise. Maybe it’s because mayonnaise is relatively cheep. Maybe it’s because the chef of that particular establishment really likes mayonnaise. If I can taste the mayonnaise and have a conscience understanding that my prawn is dripping with it, I’m not likely to eat it. I can handle mayonnaise if I don’t put too much thought into it. This recipe does the Honey Walnut Prawn justice and makes me want to eat in more often!

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup walnut halves (I, as always, used what I had on hand which was walnut pieces. Daniela gave them a hearty thumbs up after they had cooled)
1 ½ tsp honey
1 ½ tsp condensed milk (personally, I think this is the secret ingredient. SSSHHHHHhhhhhhh)
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch

Preparation:

Heat 1/2 cup water in small saucepan and bring to boil. Add sugar and stir constantly, until golden and thickened. Add walnuts and gently toss to combine. Transfer to parchment paper lined flat surface to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, honey, and condensed milk. Set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper to taste.  Dip shrimp into egg mixture, being sure each prawn is well-coated. With cornstarch in a ziplock bag, add shrimp and gently shake to coat.

Add 8-10 shrimp to the heated skillet at a time. Fry until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to paper towel lined plate.

When all shrimp are cooked, combine shrimp and honey mixture. Gently stir to coat completely. Serve immediately over steamed rice and topped with walnuts.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Blanc de Blanc
Chardonnay
Fume Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
Viognier

Serves 4 (small portions)

Total time: 30 minutes

Honey Walnut Prawns

Honey Walnut Prawns

*Derived from Damn Delicious

Puff Pastry-Wrapped Shrimp

It seems this Thanksgiving I was all about the puff pastry for the appetizers.  Isn’t it weird how we get stuck on a certain ingredient or type of cooking?  This Thanksgiving my focus seemed to be on puff pastry and bacon.  More to come regarding the bacon 🙂

Ingredients:

All-purpose flour
1 pkg (5.2 oz) garlic & herb spreadable cheese, softened (I used the little wedges by The Laughing Cow
1 Tbs finely chopped parsley
2 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
18 fresh jumbo shrimp (peeled & deveined)
1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry

Preparation:

Heat oven to 400°F.

Stir cheese, parsley, and bacon in a medium bowl and set aside.

Unfold puff pastry sheet on lightly floured work surface.  Cut puff pastry sheet crosswise into 18, ½” wide strips.  Spoon at 2 teaspoons cheese mixture onto each strip. Wind 1 pastry shrimp around 1 shrimp, slightly overlapping the pastry.  Repeat with remaining pastry strips and shrimp.

Bake 15 minutes or until pastries are golden brown.

Serves 18 (pieces)
Total time: 50 minutes

Puff Pastry-Wrapped Shrimp

Puff Pastry-Wrapped Shrimp

*Derived from Pepperidge Farm

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Crispy Cod and Roasted Tomatoes

I’m a kitchen gadget girl. “Ooh, does the belong in the kitchen? I MUST have it! What? It was part of some magazine survey of the 10 useless kitchen gadgets? Clearly whoever wrote that article has no idea what they are talking about because THIS I will use!” Says me, all the time. Unfortunately for me, this is the one gadget I could really use, but don’t have. A fish spatula. Even to me that sounds a little crazy. “A fish needs its own spatula? Really, because I’ve got this red one. No? How about the green one? Really? Ok, no one turns down the purple. I mean, come on, it’s purple , no one turns down the purple. You are turning down the purple. Well, I’ve two black and a silver left.” And they won’t work as well on delicate fish like a fish spatula will. I think I need to buy one . . . What are you doing this weekend??

Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

2 Tbs capers
1 Tbs olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil (best way to slice basil: roll each leaf into a thin tube and slice)
1 cup panko
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
4 (6 oz) Alaskan cod
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil, divided (with a small amount extra for brushing on fish)

Preparation:

Roasted Tomatoes: Preheat oven to 400°.  Combine first 3 ingredients in a large ovenproof skillet; toss to coat.  Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Bake at 400º for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven; top with basil.

Cod: Combine panko, parsley, and thyme in a large zip-lock bag.  Lightly brush cod with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Gently toss cod in zip-lock bag to coat.  Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add to fillets to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degrees of doneness.  Repeat procedure with remaining oil and fillets.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Fume Blanc
Pinot Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
Voignier

Serves 4 large portions
Total time: 40 minutes

Cod

*Derived from Cooking Light 

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Maple Salmon

We know I like salmon, that is an undisputed fact. But did we know I like maple, because apparently I do. It seems like I make a lot of salmon and maple recipes. I can’t help it, I love the savory with the sweet. If done right, the salmon almost looks pickled by the syrup, in that you can see that the fish has completely accepted the syrup, invited it into its flesh. THIS is when I know I’ve got a great dish emerging before my eyes. This one, I’ll be honest, I questioned. I made it completely off the cuff. I overslept by, oh, I don’t know, maybe an hour this morning ( 1 FULL HOUR! Hello office, I think I’m going to be late . . .). So, in the mad dash to get the four of us out the door I grabbed what I thought I could work with when I got home from work. Of course I had salmon. 🙂 I didn’t even have to stand, tapping my foot, in front of the pantry wondering, “What am I going to do? What am I going to do?” I spied the brown sugar. I spied the maple syrup. A dish was coming together.

Ingredients:

3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 (6 oz) salmon fillets

Preparation:

Combine sea salt, brown sugar, and maple syrup.  Spread evenly over salmon fillets.  Let stand 30 minutes.  About 5 – 10 minutes before salmon is done, preheat broiler to high.

Spray broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Add salmon, skin side down.  Broil 12-15 minutes, check for doneness after about 10.  Serve with salad, rice or mashed potatoes, and some warm, buttery bread.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Pinot Gris
Riesling
Viognier

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes; Total time: 25 minutes

Salmon

*Original Serves 4 Recipe

Epic Shrimp Fail

It happens to all of us, and this week it happened to me, We had such high hopes.  The food looked stunning.  There is no way this was not going to be amazing.  No way.  It was not.  Epic fail.  Makes me almost wonder if the actual recipe was just for photography.  Once I went back, when everyone, including myself, was refusing to eat this, there was nothing in there to give it flavor!  The only thing that turned out really good was the garlicky rice .  Did anyone else notice what happened there?  The rice, made in the rice cooker, was the best part of this meal.  I will rework this and re-post.  In the meantime, take a look at what could have been and why your mom always told you to not judge a book by its cover.

Shrimp Fail