Easy Shrimp and Grits

Easy Shrimp and Grits

I returned from being on the road for work for nearly a week and the first thing I did when I got home was to get in the kitchen to fix myself some lunch! I miss my kitchen when I’m away (yeah, I know, rough life eating at top restaurants and getting room service) – eating out gets old fast!

Today when I got back from Boston (such a great food town by the way), I made myself a comforting bowl of grits topped with spicy sautéed shrimps. Such yumminess and comfort in a bowl.

I used my Easy Cheesy White Grits recipe and topped that deliciousness with buttery, spicy sauteed shrimps – fabulous!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 bacon strips, finely chopped OR ¼ cup finely diced pancetta
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp. hot sauce, I used Frank’s Red Hot
  • 12 large shrimps, peeled and deveined, tails removed
  • Easy Cheesy White Grits recipe

Directions:

  1. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
  2. Add the bacon or pancetta to the butter and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until just browned.
  3. Add the garlic to the bacon and cook for a minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the hot sauce to the buttery mixture and stir to combine all the ingredients.
  5. Add the shrimps and sauté until cooked, about 2 minutes per side.
  6. Divide the grits between two bowls and top with the shrimps and the sauce.

Makes two servings.

Short Cut Creamy Lobster Bisque

Short Cut Creamy Lobster Bisque

Giant Lobster Claw

Last weekend, I hosted my annual Lobsterfest where I boiled ten 2 – 2 ½ pound lobsters for my party of nine. Not being one to run out of food at parties (the Canadian in me), I bought and extra lobster….just in case. Needless to say, with all the sides and appetizers, the extra lobster went uneaten. There were even two leftover claws!

I try to keep things somewhat low-carbs during the week, so I opted to make lobster bisque with some of the leftovers. I call this recipe “short cut” as someone who shall remain nameless threw out all the shells before I could make a stock, so clam juice was used instead of the long-to-make stock I typically use. If, unlike me, you don’t have 3 pounds of leftover cooked lobster to use up, just buy cooked lobster tails from the store.  

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cups lobster stock or clam juice
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. corn starch combined with ¼ cup cold water (this is called a slurry)
  • 1 ½ pounds cooked lobster meat, chopped in bite-size pieces

My Lobster Boil

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 4 minutes, until softened and pale golden, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Add the wine, Worcestershire, thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato paste and lobster stock (or clam juice) and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Using an immersion blender (could use a regular blender also), purée the soup until smooth.
  7. Add the cream and butter, stir then bring the soup to a low simmer over medium-high heat (don’t allow to boil).
  8. Add the slurry and stir until the soup has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
  9. Add the lobster meat and simmer for another 5 minutes over medium-low heat.

Serves four generously.

Cheers,

Veronique

 

Inspired by this recipe.

National Lobster Day Recipe

National Lobster Day Recipe

Today’s National Lobster Day and in its honor, I’m sharing a delectable lobster pasta recipe from a local New Jersey restaurant serving that appetizing dish.

Saffron Rigatoni with Lobster Coral Butter

Courtesy of Chef Seadon Shouse of Halifax, Hoboken

Main ingredients:

  • 3, 1 1/4 pounds lobsters
  • ½ pound royal trumpet mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup onions, small diced
  • 1 ½ cups lobster stock
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Saffron pasta dough ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 4 Tbsp. boiling water
  • Pinch saffron

Lobster coral butter ingredients:

  • 1 pound Lobster Bodies, cleaned
  • 2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ounce Fresh Lobster Coral (roe, not cooked), pureed

Directions:

For the Lobster

  1. Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Salt the water as if it was ocean water.
  2. Place the live lobsters in the water and boil for 7 minutes.
  3. Remove the lobster and shock in ice water.
  4. Once cool, clean the meat out of the shells and cut into a large dice.

For the Lobster Coral Butter

  1. Melt 1lb of the butter in a medium sized pan and cook the lobster bodies in it on medium to low heat. You don’t want to brown or clarify the butter. You want it to still have the milk solids in it and be creamy. Cook for 30 minutes stirring often. Remove from heat and strain through a small holed china cap, making sure to extract all of the butter and lobster flavor out of the bodies. Cool the lobster flavored butter until solid.
  2. Combine the lobster butter with the remaining 1lb of butter and the lobster coral in the bowl of a mixer.
  3. Using the whisk attachment, whip the butter together until fluffy and smooth.

You will have more Lobster Coral Butter than you need for this recipe, but it freezes well.

For the Saffron Pasta

  1. Combine the boiling water with the saffron and let sit until it reached room temperature.
  2. Combine the egg with the saffron water.
  3. Place flour in a food processor and slowly add in the egg and water mixture until it is all combined.
  4. Remove and knead by hand until smooth and let rest, refrigerated and at least an hour before making pasta.

When making the pasta you can make any shaped pasta you like. I like rigatoni for this recipe so I make rigatoni with a pasta extruder.

To Finish the Dish

  1. Place a pot of salted water on the stove to come to a boil.
  2. While the water is heating up start to sweat the onions in a large skillet with a little olive oil.
  3. Once half way cooked add in the trumpet mushrooms and cook until golden brown.
  4. Add in the lobster stock and let reduce slightly.
  5. While stock is boiling, add in 4Tb of the Lobster Coral Butter, juice of half the lemon and some chopped parsley.
  6. Once the water is boiling start cooking the pasta. Cook until desired doneness, remove promptly and add to the skillet.
  7. Cook in the skillet for a minute so the pasta absorbs the sauce and then add in the diced lobster meat at the very end so you do not overcook the lobster.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 4.

Cheers,

Veronique

Zoodles Shrimp Scampi

Zoodles Shrimp Scampi

Yes, I’m officially on the zoodles bandwagon. Not familiar with zoodles? They’re made by spiralizing vegetables and using as you would pasta. Many grocery stores even have already-prepared zoodle packages in the produce department – mine does. Zoodles are a good way to reduce carbohydrates intake, thus reducing high blood sugar – it’s why they grace my fridge every week instead of perfectly-cooked pasta.

In this dish, I’ve made a ‘standard’ scampi recipe and topped sautéed zucchini zoodles with it. It’s very tasty and I almost forgot I wasn’t eating delicious, starchy, al dente pasta (yeah, right LOL).

I know many don’t believe in cheese over fish/seafood but, what the heck, if it tastes good, use it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 cups zucchini zoodles
  • Pinch of salt and pepper for the zoodles
  • 1 stick of butter (8 Tbsp. or ½ cup)
  • 2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound of medium shrimp, shelled, deveined and tails removed
  • ½ tsp. each salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (optional, purist, just omit)

Directions:

  1. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the zoodles and the pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the pan. Set aside with a lid on the pan.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring to prevent scorching. Add the shrimp, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes, turning the shrimps periodically. Add the lemon and toss one last time.
  3. Divide the zoodles between two serving bowls, top with the buttery, garlic shrimp and sprinkle each bowl with parsley and cheese (if using).

Serves two.

Cheers,

Veronique

Linguine with Clams and Confit Garlic Sauce

Linguine with Clams and Confit Garlic Sauce

I was watching an old episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate – SAUCED last weekend where Chef Michael Psilakis talked about the linguine and clam sauce at Don Peppe in Queens, NY (watch the mouth-watering episode here). That’s basically all I could think of this whole past week so I decided to try to recreate the simple yet delish dish.

First, please use good quality pasta – my favorite is Delverde. Next, buy your clams from a reputable source. Last, take the time to really confit (slow cook for a long time) the garlic – it’s key in this recipe.

If you want a slightly thicker sauce, you could create a slurry of ¼ cup water and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and add right before step 4. I don’t think it’s necessary and some, I’m sure, would find this sacrilegious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of linguine or fettucine, cooked 1 minute less than package direction, with ½ cup pasta cooking water reserved
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 2 dozens little neck clams
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • Chopped Italian parsley, optional

Directions:

  1. In a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic cloves and allow to cook for 20 minutes. If the cloves are smaller and they begin to brown early in the cooking process, lower the heat to low – make sure the cloves don’t burn!
  2. Add the garlic cloves and the cooking oil to a large sauté pan that has a lid. Turn the heat to medium and add the ½ cup pasta cooking water, wine, lemon juice, red pepper, salt and pepper to the oil. Bring to a simmer and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the clams to the sauté pan, cover with the lid and cook for 3-4 minutes until the clams have opened. Discard any clams that didn’t open (unopened clams = bad clams). Remove the clams to a large serving bowl, leaving the sauce in the sauté pan.
  4. Lower the heat to low and add the butter, swirling until fully melted.
  5. Add the pasta and gently stir to coat in the sauce. Add the parsley, if using, then add the sauce and pasta to the serving bowl with the clams, tossing gently to combine.
  6. Serve with crusty bread.

Makes two VERY generous portions.

 

Buffalo Shrimp – Hooters Copycat

Buffalo Shrimp – Hooters Copycat

Buffalo ShrimpThe “big game” is next weekend and I’ve been trying to come up with a couple appetizers to make while we watch the game. Chicken wings are always a winner, but my all-time favorite Buffalo anything is by far Buffalo shrimp. I know I’m not supposed to like chain restaurants as a discerning foodie, but the Buffalo shrimp at Hooters at the greatest. I’ve used the breading and Buffalo sauce that my sister’s come up with in terms of Hooters wings copycat but simply used large shrimp in place of the chicken.

These are absolutely fabulous with the right amount of heat – tangy but not scorching. Pair these with the typical carrot and celery sticks and a pool of chunky blue cheese dressing.

Don’t like seafood? Use chicken tenders! Don’t like a heavy saucing like I do (see image below)? Add half the sauce!

Shrimp Marinade Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp. each creole seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper
  • 1 pound large deveined peeled shrimp (I used 21-25 count)

Buffalo Sauce Ingredients:

  • ¼ pound butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup hot sauce (I use Frank’s)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Coating Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Marinade Directions:

  1. Heat the vegetal oil in a large, heavy saucepan (or use an electric fryer) until deep-fry thermometer reaches 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, mustard and spices to create a thick marinade. Toss the shrimp in the marinade to fully coat and set aside for about 15 minutes.

Buffalo Sauce Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the hot sauce, garlic powder and lemon juice – whisk to combine. Pour the hot liquid to a heat-proof bowl.

Coating Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a large ziptop bag, shake well.
  2. Toss the shrimp in the corn flour in the bag to coat well.
  3. Working in batches (I did three batches), shake the excess corn flour coating off the shrimp and carefully place in the hot oil. Cook each batch of shrimp for 4 minutes then drain on paper towels.
  4. Immediately toss shrimp in buffalo sauce.

Serves 4 as appetizer portions.

Lobster Thermidor Dip

Lobster Thermidor Dip

Lobster Thermidor DipWhen I was a small kid growing up in Quebec in the late 70s and early 80s, THE indulgent, luxurious dish one could treat herself to was Lobster Thermidor. I remember my mom raving about it and all I knew is that only the best restaurants served it.

According to Wikipedia, “Lobster Thermidor was created in 1894 by Marie’s, a Parisian restaurant near the theatre Comédie Française, to honor the opening of the play Thermidor by Victorien Sardou”.

In this dip, I used some of the flavors of the original dish to create a casual way to enjoy it. Don’t have any lobster on hand? Don’t fret – just use crab or shrimps.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 Tbs. flour
  • 2 Tbs. dry sherry or brandy
  • 2 Tbs. dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs. minced flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup heavy cream (could use light cream)
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked fresh lobster meat, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots and sauté 1 minute, stirring to ensure even cooking. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Add the sherry (or brandy), the white wine and the chicken broth and simmer 4 minutes, whisking frequently.
  2. Add the Parmesan cheese, the parsley, the cream and the Dijon mustard and simmer over medium-low heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with the salt and pepper.
  3. Add the lobster meat and gently stir to coat with the sauce.
  4. Pour the lobster mixture in a shallow, oven-safe baking dish. Sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese and place under broiler for 1 minute or until cheese is melted and beginning to brown. 
  5. Serve with crackers and crudités.

6 servings.

Souper Easy Clam Chowder

Souper Easy Clam Chowder

Clam ChowderThere’s the constant debate of white or red clam chowder. For me, there’s no contest that white, thick, velvety New England-style chowder is where it’s at.

Ingredients:

  • 6 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 1/2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes(2 large), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 10-ounce cans baby clams, drained, liquid reserved
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup bottled clam juice
  • 2 15-ounce cans cream-style corn
  • 1 Tbs. Thyme

Directions:

Cook chopped bacon in heavy saucepan over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon begins to brown.  Add onions and sauté 10 minutes.  Add potatoes and red pepper and sauté 1 minute.  Add reserved liquid, milk, and bottled clam juice.  Simmer chowder uncovered until vegetables are tender, 15 minutes.

Add corn and clams to chowder; simmer 5 minutes.  Mix in thyme and salt and pepper.

4 Serving

Easy Valentine’s Day Menu and Wine Pairings

Easy Valentine’s Day Menu and Wine Pairings

happy valentines day 2014From experience, we all know Valentine’s Day at a restaurant can be hectic and restricted to fixed menus. For those of you who prefer to stay home and cook up a romantic meal, here is some inspirational recipes with affordable wine recommendations. 

BONUS – breakfast:  Waffles with Raspberries and Nutella

Whichever dish you decide to prepare for your loved one(s) this Valentine’s Day, I hope your meal is paired with love.

Cheers,

Veronique

Easy Shrimp Etouffee

Easy Shrimp Etouffee

Shrimp EtouffeeIt’s fall and that means time for comfort food at our home. One of our favorite comforting meals is etouffée, the rich, spicy dish that originated in Louisiana. While it looks a bit complicated, this dish is quite simple: Start with a deeply-colored roux (butter and flour mixture) then add the ‘holy trinity’ – celery, onion and bell pepper, and you’re almost all the way there! While we’ve enjoyed etouffée with crawfish and Andouille sausage, this version with easy-to-find shrimp is sensational. Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. plus 1 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Pork Mafia Memphis Mud or Cajun seasoning
  • 1 pound medium shrimps, shelled, deveined and cooked
  • 4 Tbsp. chopped scallions

Pork Mafia SpiceDirections:

  1. Over medium heat, melt four tablespoons of butter in a large cast iron pan then add the flour. Whisk the flour mixture, known as a roux, frequently until it is the color of peanut butter, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the celery, bell pepper and onion to the roux and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
  3. Add the clam juice and broth to the vegetable mixture and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen up all the brown bits. Add the tomatoes and seasonings and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir.
  5. Serve the etouffée over white rice and garnish with scallions.

Makes 4 servings.