Lobster Bruschetta #SundaySupper

Lobster Bruschetta

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Today we bring you a theme of Red Carpet Party, in honor of the Academy Awards airing tonight! This event happens once a year, is undoubtedly a bigger deal to some than others, but it can be seen as a very fun excuse to gather with friends and eat fancy, elegant food. And you know, my friends, they would *never* do this, but I’ve heard that *some* groups of friends might well, be catty and pass harsh judgment upon *critique* some of the fashions strutting up and down the red carpet, and maybe even have a money pool and get really competitive over who picked the most winners. See, it can be extremely fun! (From what I’ve heard, nudge nudge wink wink).

Lobster Bruschetta

But, everyone over at #SundaySupper agrees, you need some fancy-pants food to get the party started right. So I’m doing my part with this amazing Lobster Bruschetta. This is sort of a play on a lobster roll, but more sophisticated and a touch spicier from those serrano chiles. I seeded my chiles, and the heat level was surprisingly mild – so if you want some real heat, I’d highly suggest leaving those seeds in! The flavor is so delicious, with sweet tender chunks of lobster meat nestled in creamy mayonnaise and there’s a pop of fresh herbs in every bite.

lobster bruschetta

Tonight it’s just me and Matt watching the Oscars. We’ll likely have a contest between ourselves on who can pick the most winners. And then we’ll reminisce about taking a little weekend getaway to Los Angeles a few years ago, where we strolled down Hollywood Blvd, mostly to say we’d seen it, but we did stop at Kodak Theater and seriously could not believe how small it was!!! There seem to be some insane camera tricks involved when they air the show, because the red carpet looks so much grander on television than in person. So I’m sure we’ll make jokes about that. :)

Lobster Bruschetta

Everyone enjoy this elegant little appetizer! Your guests will be very impressed; and shrimp could easily be subbed in for the lobster if you want. It will still be quite delicious! Oh, and make sure you check out the Red Carpet Party the rest of my Sunday Supper group is throwing, it’s sure to be incredible and fit for the occasion. Enjoy!

Lobster Bruschetta

Source: Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet by Padma Lakshmi

Ingredients:
8 (1 inch) slices of crusty sourdough bread, grilled or toasted on both sides with a generous amount of olive oil
2 large ribs of celery, finely chopped
½ cup chopped fresh chives
½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded if desired, and minced
½ cup good quality mayonnaise
2 tbs good quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
Kosher salt, to taste
About 1 lb. cooked lobster meat, cut into chunks

Directions:
Place the grilled bread slices on a platter.
In a large bowl, combine the celery, chives, parsley, chiles, mayonnaise, olive oil, black pepper, and salt. Whisk or stir to combine and work out any lumps the mayonnaise may have to offer. Now add the lobster meat and gently fold in until combined.
Top each bread slice with 2-3 heaping tablespoons of the lobster mixture. You can of course garnish with either chives or parsley, but I found it wasn’t necessary, for taste or looks. Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers.

Nominees for Best Supporting Appetizers:

Nominees for Best Course in a Leading Role:

Nominees for Best Supporting Sips:

Nominees for Best Delectable Desserts:

Nominees for Best Dressed Table:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

This cold winter is really making an aggressively menacing effort to sabotage my weight loss efforts. I’ve got nine more pounds to go, and those nine pounds may just have to wait until spring. I’m serious. It’s not that I don’t want to lose them, it’s not that I’m not cognizant of my dietary and exercising efforts; it’s more that the cave man part of my brain is taking over and telling me that I need tons of animal fats and carbs to store up energy for this stupid cold weather we’re having. And it’s pretty difficult to talk back to that very strong voice.

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

I try, of course. I tell it that I’m living in the 21st century, which means that I have access to all kinds of modern conveniences my cave man ancestors did not: winter coats, hats and gloves and scarves, indoor plumbing, indoor heating, any blanket I want, sweatshirts, long underwear…

It doesn’t matter. The inner voice persists, quite loudly sometimes. That’s why I am so thrilled that spaghetti squash is still in season. And that’s why I was even more thrilled to find that Kevin posted this recipe that includes a very hearty, meaty, cheesy lasagna type thing that nestles over spaghetti squash. I feel like Kevin is really looking out for both my inner cave man and my current waistline! Haha!

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

Spaghetti squash is low-carb, of course, but it’s also filling and nutritious. And while not a pasta replacement, it is quite tasty on its own. In this dish we’ll be tossing that cooked spaghetti squash with lots of cheesy goodness: ricotta, Fontina, and some basil for extra flavor. It’s then topped with a hearty, warm, stick-to-your-ribs Italian sausage and tomato sauce ragu, which is then topped with more Fontina and melted under the broiler.

Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

It’s PERFECT for cold winter nights, and it’s also pretty figure-friendly. You could sub in ground turkey for even fewer calories if you wanted, not to mention you could use low-fat ricotta and part-skim low moisture mozzarella for the Fontina.

And most importantly, this is really delicious. How could it not be? There’s just so much flavor here, and it’s so filling and satisfying without much guilt. And not nearly as time-consuming as actual lasagna, so score!! Enjoy this one guys! And try to stay warm!

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

{One Year Ago: Margarita Fish Tacos}
{Two Years Ago: Giant Cinnamon Rolls with Buttermilk Glaze}

Source: slightly adapted from Closet Cooking

Ingredients:
2 small spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
2 tbs olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from its casings
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs basil, chopped, divided
1 cup ricotta
6-8 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded, divided

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a silpat. Brush the inner flesh of the spaghetti squash with 1 tbs olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast, skin side up, in the oven until tender, about 30 minutes. You know when it’s done when a sharp paring knife can be inserted into the flesh and removed with no resistance.
Meanwhile, make the ragu. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle in the remaining tbs olive oil. Add the sausage and crumble with a sturdy spoon. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook until tender, another 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and fennel and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, paprika, balsamic vinegar, plus salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 10-15 minutes, to let the flavors marry and the tomato sauce thicken. Stir in the basil and turn the heat to very low.
Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and let cool just slightly. Using a fork, scrape the flesh of the spaghetti squash into a large bowl, taking care not to break or crack the spaghetti squash shells. Add the ricotta, remaining tbs basil, and a medium-sized handful of the shredded Fontina. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well, evenly coating the strands of squash with the cheese.
Nestle the cheesy spaghetti squash strands back in the spaghetti squash shells, using a spoon to make an indentation, or a “bowl” in the center of each. Spoon the sausage ragu evenly into the 4 boats, then top each with the remaining shredded Fontina.
Broil in the oven until the cheese has melted and turned a light golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Blood Orange Mezcal Margaritas

Blood Orange Mezcal Margaritas

Winter citrus is still going strong in all my local grocery stores, so I’m taking as much advantage as possible, while I still can. I’ve given you a Blood Orange Margarita before, and it was so delicious and became pretty popular on Pinterest – with good reason! But I wanted to revisit the beloved drink, this time with a smoky twist.

blood orange mezcal margaritas

Mezcal is a type of tequila made in Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s smoky and a little more pungent than regular tequilas, and far less popular. Most Mezcal consumption is in the form of exports to Japan and the United States.

Blood Orange Mezcal Margaritas

I must say, this American was quite excited to pick up a bottle of Mezcal! We got it home and started brainstorming what drink to make with it, and then before you know it, winter citrus season is upon us, blood oranges are plentiful, remember that blood orange juice makes fabulous margaritas, what about a smoky Mezcal margarita, and you can see how the whole thing just flowed from there. And here we are!

Blood Orange Mezcal Margaritas

This is strong, smoky, sweet, tart, and really in your face. But it’s so smooth! I do implore you to find some Mezcal and give this one a try while we can still get our hands on blood oranges, it’s really impressive and delicious! Enjoy!

Blood Orange Mezcal Margaritas

{One Year Ago: Frozen Cactus Pear Margaritas}
{Two Years Ago: Mexican Green Rice}

Source: heavily adapted from Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith, and Evangelina Soza

Ingredients:
Juice of 2 blood oranges
Juice of 1 Cara Cara orange, or 1 navel orange
Juice of 1 lime
4 shots Mezcal
2 tbs simple syrup
2 wedges of blood oranges, for garnish
Kosher salt, for rimming the glasses

Directions:
Add ice to a cocktail shaker. Add all the citrus juice, Mezcal, and simple syrup to the shaker. Shake vigorously for a few seconds.
Prepare your glasses. Run a blood orange wedge around the rim of each of 2 martini or margarita glasses. Spread the salt in an even layer on a small plate, then gently dip the rim of the glass in the salt.
Strain the cocktail into each prepared glass and place the blood orange wedges on each glass. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 drinks.

DIY Velveeta Cheese

DIY Velveeta Cheese

Welcome to the most fun day ever – yep, it’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! This month I was assigned The Painted Apron, a fun and creative blog written by the beautiful Jenna Meon. Jenna is not only a great cook and baker, she’s an artist too, and owns her own business designing hand-painted glassware! After moving around a bit, Jenna and her husband settled in Birmingham, AL where they live when they’re not relaxing at their beach house in Orange Beach, AL. It’s 3 degree Fahrenheit where I’m sitting. I’m not jealous of you Jenna, not at all, lol!

homemade Velveeta cheese

Family is very important to her, having two grown children, three grandchildren and one grand-dog. Jenna embodies everything we all love about Southern hospitality; her warm, sweet spirit shines through in every recipe.

DIY Velveeta Cheese

I had a tough time deciding, but she features a recipe I’ve been dying to try anyways, so that made my decision for me: homemade Velveeta cheese that you make from scratch!! Yes, this is the coolest thing ever! You get all the meltiness of that processed cheese product we all secretly love without any nasty chemicals, and there’s a ton of real cheese in there! The texture is exactly like the store-bought version, but made from scratch! Win-win!

DIY Velveeta Cheese

Oh, and it’s really easy to throw together too. Thank you so much for featuring this great recipe on your site, Jenna! I so enjoyed reading through your recipes this month!

DIY Velveeta Cheese

UPDATE: This homemade cheese product only works on sandwiches, as far as I can tell. It does NOT work in a queso or cheese dip. For some reason, prolonged exposure to heat causes the elements to separate. Sorry. :/

Source: The Painted Apron

Ingredients:
1 tbs water
1 1/2 tsp gelatin powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs whole milk
12 oz Colby Jack Cheese, grated
1 tbs milk powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Directions:
Line a 9×13″ loaf pan with enough plastic wrap to over hang down the sides 3 inches. You will use this overhang to cover the finished cheese.
Combine the water and gelatin in a small dish and set aside. Heat the milk in a small sauce pan over medium heat and bring it to a simmer. Meanwhile place the grated cheese in the food processor bowl and add milk powder, salt and cream of tartar. Pulse a few times to distribute. Remove milk from heat and put it in a pourable measuring cup. With the machine running, pour the milk into the feed tube. Once the milk is incorporated add the gelatin mixture. Process for 1-2 minutes more until cheese is smooth. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides as needed.
Transfer the cheese into the prepared pan and pack down tightly, forming an even block. Bring excess saran up and over cheese and seal. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before using. Use within 2 weeks.


Parmesan Pistachio Kale Chips #SundaySupper

parmesan pistachio kale chips

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Our theme this week is Heart Healthy – in the middle of February, which is Heart Healthy Month. (Very apropos!) We’re doing our part to spread awareness and reminders of the benefits of incorporating heart healthy practices into our lifestyles.

But what exactly does heart healthy even mean? These days, it’s hard to know for sure. The prevailing wisdom dictates eating a low-saturated-fat diet and getting enough exercise, and lowering cholesterol. But the data coming in is indicating that maybe this is not the key to decreasing and preventing the American epidemic of heart disease. Many scientists are now reporting that sugar and refined carbohydrates may be the real culprit, and that saturated fat is just fine in moderation.

Parmesan Pistachio Kale Chips

The results seem to be inconclusive at this point. But it’s interesting to note that Dr. Ancel Keys, the scientist who got this whole low-fat-equals-heart-healthy trend started with his Seven Countries Study is widely believed to have cherry-picked his data. Oops. BIG no-no there. And did you also know that, according to renowned Harvard researcher Steven Pinker, this “prevailing wisdom” from a purportedly flawed study has been used by some animal rights activists to help further their cause of advocating widespread vegetarianism as a way to end factory farming and animal cruelty? While I’m as against factory farming and animal cruelty as anyone, and I absolutely laud the intentions of the animal rights revolution, I say this to demonstrate the ubiquity of this so-called common wisdom, that it’s coming at us from more than one source, and not all those sources are concerned with our heart health. The more a line is repeated, the more it seems obvious and self-evidently true, even if maybe it’s not.

Parmesan Pistachio Kale Chips

I think the jury may be still out, but the old verdict is seriously in question. So that left me pondering what to make for today’s theme. I decided to go for something settled and non-controversial. Even if we someday find out conclusively that saturated fats are just fine, that certainly won’t invalidate the health benefits of fresh vegetables, particularly dark greens. I think everyone can agree that vegetables are an important part of a healthy lifestyle, including for the health of our hearts.

Parmesan Pistachio Kale Chips

So I made you kale chips! Kale chips that are baked, not fried, and that are flavored with pistachios – again, not at all disputed that nuts are good for you – and a touch of parmesan cheese. Parmesan is a lower-fat cheese and is usually a garnish, not a main ingredient, as it is here.

I’m sort of in love with these things! They are super crunchy, flavorful, nutty, and completely guilt-free! This is probably the most perfect afternoon snack I’ve made yet!

parmesan pistachio kale chips

I hope y’all enjoy them, and definitely check out the Heart Healthy recipes my Sunday Supper peeps are sharing today!

{One Year Ago: Soy-Ginger Salmon over Asian Veggie Noodles; Anchovy Pasta Carbonara; Freeform Crawfish Ravioli}
{Two Years Ago: Malted Chocolate Ice CreamPimento Cheese SpreadCuban Black Bean Soup}

Source: slightly adapted from Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

Ingredients:
1/3 cup roasted salted pistachios
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
2 small heads of lacinato, or dinosaur kale, each leaf chopped into thirds, bottom third with the thickest part of the stem discarded or saved for another use
2 tbs olive oil

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Set aside.
Add the pistachios to a food processor and pulse until the nuts are in fine crumbs. It’s fine if there are a few slightly larger pieces. Keep this on the pulse setting as you do NOT want to make nut butter.
Pour the pistachios into a small bowl and use your fingers to thoroughly combine them with the cheese.
Add the kale pieces to a very large bowl. Pour the olive oil over the top and use your hands to toss the kale and massage the oil into the leaves. Once the kale is evenly coated with the oil, lay the pieces on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the pistachio mixture evenly over the top of the kale, pressing it to adhere if necessary. Bake the kale 15 minutes, until crispy but not browned.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely, and then leftovers can be stored in an airtight food storage container.
Note: I’m sure you could also make this recipe with curly kale, but I haven’t tried it.

Better for you breakfasts:

Jump start your health with these appetizers and snacks:

Soups that’ll win your heart:

Veggies, Sides, & Salads your heart will thank you for:

Healthy is the center of attention in these main courses:

Staying healthy doesn’t mean giving up desserts!

We heart wine.

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Blood Orange Tabbouleh

Blood Orange Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh – it’s new to me. While I’d like to think I wasn’t totally sheltered from international cuisines growing up, Middle Eastern food just wasn’t a thing for me in my formative years. There weren’t restaurants in my area (that I knew of, anyways), my friends didn’t eat it, and my parents didn’t seek it out.

I’m not sure if it’s just that the tide has changed over the past couple of decades, or it was me moving to New York, but now I’m surrounded by this fascinating (to me) and novel (again, to me) cuisine. Geopolitical quagmires aside, they’ve got some good food over there!

Blood Orange Tabbouleh

Take tabbouleh. Oh sure, I’d heard of it in recent years, but hadn’t tried it until somewhat recently. One of Matt’s foodier relatives made a batch at a family reunion, with tomato, lots of fresh herbs, and couscous as the base. Upon a little (admittedly cursory) research, I learned that tabbouleh originated in Syria and Lebanon, and it’s a grain-based salad with tons of fresh herbs. Some version (like my first one) use couscous while others (the one I’m sharing today) use bulgur wheat as a base. I find both please my palate, but as I’ve gotten more into whole grains lately, I chose a bulgur wheat based tabbouleh to feature on the blog.

And also, it’s February. I mean, you were probably aware of that, but the fact remains, it is February in the northeast United States where I’m shopping and cooking, so as you can imagine – no tomatoes. Instead, we’ll feature what we do have in abundance right now: winter citrus!!!

blood orange tabbouleh

The original recipe I’m adapting here called for grapefruit, a citrus I’ve never been too crazy about, so I decided to sub in blood oranges (while I still can!).

This was crazy delicious and so healthy and clean. And it’s very adaptable – you could definitely use grapefruit if that’s your thing, or feel free to sub in regular navel oranges once the blood oranges disappear for another season (sniff). If you’re a regular tabbouleh consumer, I feel certain you’ll enjoy this version; and if you’re new to this dish, I’d highly encourage giving it a shot!

Blood Orange Tabbouleh

{Two Years Ago: Coffee Rubbed Bacon}

Source: adapted from Carnivore by Michael Symon

Ingredients:
½ cup bulgur wheat
Kosher salt
Grated zest and juice of 3 small regular or Meyer lemons
1 garlic clove, minced
Up to ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 generous cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ cup chopped scallions
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 blood oranges, peeled and segmented

Directions:
In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil over medium heat. Add the bulgur and cook until the bulgur has absorbed all the water and is slightly tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Start stirring when the water is almost gone, otherwise the bulgur touching the bottom of the pot will stick.
When done, season with ½ tsp kosher salt and set aside.
Meanwhile, add the zest and juice of the lemons to a small bowl. Add the garlic and the olive oil. Whisk to combine and season very lightly with salt. Set aside.
In a large salad bowl, combine the parsley, scallions, cilantro, and blood orange segments. Add the cooked bulgur wheat, then pour just enough dressing to lightly coat everything. Toss gently, coating the entire salad with the dressing, adding more as needed. You may have some dressing leftover though. Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed. Serve and enjoy!

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

In what was perhaps (okay fine, most assuredly) a coincidence, I ran across a recipe in my blog reader for putting gruyere cheese in a biscuit, just when I happened to have the exact amount of gruyere cheese called for in said recipe sitting in my refrigerator, about to expire! I took it as a divine sign from the Cheesy Biscuit Gods (of course they exist! Why on earth would you doubt that?) that I was simply meant to bake up these biscuit beauties.

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

So this is sort of like taking the main elements of French Onion soup – the caramelized onions, the gruyere cheese – and mixing them up into biscuit dough. They bake up incredibly fluffy and beautiful, with the sweet bite of onion and sharp nuttiness of cheese in every bite.

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

They are milder in flavor than I was expecting, but certainly not in a bad way, and Matt’s coworkers have already demolished them, even though they were apparently competing with amazing New York bagels in the break room.

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

So I hope y’all will enjoy these! A perfect savory treat!

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

{One Year Ago: Crab Macaroni and Cheese}

Source: slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:
9 tbs cold unsalted butter, divided
1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch plus 1 tbs granulated sugar, divided
1 tbs baking powder
3/4 tsp coarse or kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
4 oz. (about 1 cup) gruyère or another Swiss-style cheese, shredded
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and add olive oil. Add the onions, plus a pinch of sugar, and reduce the heat to low. Place a lid on top, letting them steam for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they’re nicely golden and caramelized, which will take anywhere from another 10 to 35 minutes. Don’t rush this – you want them caramelized but not browned or charred. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Dice 8 tbs remaining cold butter into 1/2-inch bits. Use your fingertips or a pastry blender to work the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is crumbly with butter in pieces no larger than a small pea.
Pour the buttermilk onto the flour mixture, then add the cooled onions and shredded cheese. Stir all to combine. Add a few drops more buttermilk if needed. Once the dough has mostly come together, use your clean hands to knead the last little scraggly bits into the entire mixture. Do not knead for more than 1 minute though, as you don’t want to overwork the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll out to a 1-inch thickness. Use a floured 3-inch cutter to stamp out circles and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the scrap and re-roll them as needed. Space the biscuits fairly close together – not touching, but fairly close. These are not cookies, so don’t worry about them running together. Biscuits (and scones for that matter) have a lot of leavening agent; if you space them widely, they spread out, but if you space them close, they spread up. And spread up biscuits are much fluffier and lighter.
Sprinkle biscuits with sea salt and black pepper and bake 20 to 23 minutes. Serve warm.

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

What is it about shellfish that is just so freakin’ sexy? Is it that all shellfish get lumped in with oysters – actual aphrodisiacs – or is it something else? Is it the whole slightly messy eating-with-your-hands thing, which makes consuming the food more primal and sensuous?

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Whatever the reason, I find a huge bowl of flavorful shrimp accompanied by hunks of bread and glasses of wine to be extremely sexy, date night food; and since Valentine’s Day is this weekend, I thought I’d give you an idea of what to make for your date!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

This took two tries to get just right, but here it is in all its light, sumptuous, delicious glory. This dish is Creole, not Cajun, so it’s really not spicy. But it is garlicky and lemony and hugely flavorful. Don’t worry about the garlic on a romantic evening – you’re both eating it, so you cancel each other out!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Instead of worrying about the garlic, just think about perfectly cooked plump shrimp that give that lush snap when you bite into them, accented with Creole flavors and bright lemony goodness. A sip of wine, a bite of bread mopping up that luscious sauce… Sounds like a great Valentine’s Day to me! Oh, and as an added benefit – this couldn’t be easier and comes together in mere minutes! I hope y’all enjoy it!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

{One Year Ago: All-Purpose Mexican/Tex-Mex Spice Mix; Curry Powder; Pecan-Crusted Coconut Custards with Brandied Banana Sauce}
{Two Years Ago: Gin and Orange Juice Braised Endives; Beans and Greens Soup}

Source: adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, January 2008

Ingredients:
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs Creole seasoning
Kosher salt, to taste
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tbs olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tbs unsalted butter, cold
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the garlic, Creole seasoning, salt, and bell pepper. In a large skillet, add the oil and preheat over medium-high to high heat until very hot. Add the entire contents of the bowl of the shrimp mixture. Saute, stirring frequently, until the shrimp is just cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the lemon juice and the butter. Stir quickly to melt the butter. Once melted shut off the heat, stir in the parsley, and serve immediately.

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream

I noted on Facebook yesterday that this week had become something of a de facto Cocktails and Ice Cream week here on the blog, so why not embrace it and blog one more ice cream recipe to nicely round things out? Who cares if it’s unnecessarily and offensively cold outside – ice cream always sounds good to me!

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream

Here we have a warming, comforting cinnamon ice cream base, and our add-in is this delicious cinnamon-oat crunch thing that you bake up and then break up, then add into the ice cream once it’s churned. It’s so homey and flavorful.

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream

I hope y’all enjoy this one! And please, stay warm!!

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream

{One Year Ago: Make Your Own Ranch Seasoning Packet}
{Two Years Ago: Basil and Blood Orange Salad}

Source: ever so slightly adapted from The Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
¼ cup plus 2 tbs packed brown sugar
2 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces, chilled
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
6 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until just combined. Transfer the mixture to your prepared baking sheet and pat it into a 4-inch square. Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Make sure you center this on your baking sheet. There is no leavening agent, so it spreads out, not up.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Then use your hands or a butter knife to break the cinnamon crunch into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Combine the milk, heavy cream, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bean and seeds in a medium saucepan and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Once it simmers, shut off the heat and let it steep for 30 minutes. Return to the heat and warm it just so that bubbles begin to form at the edges of the pot. Shut off the heat.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the yolks, granulated sugar, and salt until pale yellow. Slowly pour in about ½ cup of the warm milk mixture, whisking constantly. This will temper your eggs so they do not scramble on you. Now slowly pour the entire egg mixture into the warm milk mixture on the stovetop, again whisking continuously. Remove the cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean. Turn the heat on medium-low and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon continuously for 5-8 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and the custard can coat the back of the spoon. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean, medium bowl. Leave it out and let it cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Alternately, you can place this bowl in an ice bath to speed the process.
Once at room temperature, place plastic wrap directly on the custard and chill in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
Once thoroughly chilled, churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions, adding the reserved cinnamon crunch in the last 5 minutes of churning. Transfer to a freezer safe container and chill for about 2 hours before serving.

Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sours

Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sours

I guess it’s obvious what kind of week I’m having, seeing as the whole thing has consisted of cocktails and ice cream thus far, but well, hopefully you’ll enjoy another cocktail!

Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sours

So how to describe this one, besides the usual OMG it’s so good, ahhh!!? You don’t taste any one ingredient at the expense of the others. The maple syrup isn’t obvious, it just lends the appropriate sweet note to balance out the bite of the bourbon. The rosemary doesn’t beat you over the head at all – in fact, you shouldn’t worry about it all! I mean, we all know how strong and occasionally overpowering rosemary can be, but it’s a subtle background note here, just hanging out and lending a complexity to the drink.

Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sours

There’s lemon juice here, giving the drink the “sours” part that was advertised in the title, but again, not being too in your face. I think my favorite part was the rosemary garnish. You don’t gnaw on it or anything, but your nose gets a gentle whiff every time you take a sip, and it really enhances the flavors in the cocktail. All sophisticated-like!

Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sours

All in all, a fantastic drink for these cold, grump-inducing winter nights we’ve been having. It’ll either cheer you right up or numb you out. Either way, you win! Enjoy!

Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sours

Source: Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails by Eric Prum and Josh Williams

Ingredients:
1 large sprig of rosemary, plus 2 small sprigs for garnish
3 shots bourbon
1 ½ shots fresh lemon juice
¾ shot dark amber maple syrup

Directions:
Crush the large sprig of rosemary in your hand, then add it to the bottom of your cocktail shaker. Add the bourbon, lemon juice, maple syrup, and ice to above the level of the liquid. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
Place large ice cubes in 2 rocks glasses. Strain the cocktail into the glasses and garnish with the reserved rosemary sprigs. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 drinks.