Tag Archives: One Pot Meal

Steamed Mussels with Lemon and Bay

Steamed Mussels with lemon and bay 042

Longtime readers here know that seafood wasn’t a big thing in my house growing up (save for catfish), and that I didn’t become a seafood fiend until after I married one in my mid-twenties. Upon thinking about what to write for this post, it occurred to me that I really and truly do not remember how Matt got me to try mollusks. I wish I did, but after thinking about it for several days, I’ll have to conclude that that memory has just flown the coop.

steamed mussels with lemon and bay 016

All I do know is that he did convince me to try mussels and clams in the shell, and I fell head over heels in love. A big bowl of steamed mussels, a hunk of bread, (not forgetting to put out the kill bowl,) and some chilled white wine makes for one fine romantic evening. We try to have such an evening at least once a month or so. It’s good stuff. Enjoy!

Steamed Mussels with Lemon and Bay 034

{One Year Ago: Cherry Streusel Muffins}

Source: slightly adapted from Food and Wine

Ingredients:
2 lbs mussels, scrubbed and debearded
4 tbs unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 shallots, minced
2 fresh bay leaves
Crusty bread, for serving

Directions:
Heat a large pot. Add all of the ingredients except the salt, pepper and bread and cook over high heat, shaking the pan and stirring occasionally, until the mussels open, about 7 minutes. Some mussels will open sooner than this, so keep an eye on them. When the early mussels open, quickly grab them with tongs and remove them to a large serving bowl. Once all the mussels have opened, immediately shut off the heat and pour the remaining contents of the pot into the bowl. Discard the bay leaves and serve right away with crusty bread.
Serves 2. Double the recipe exactly for 4 servings.

Fish, Fennel and Saffron Stew

fish, fennel and saffron stew

Happy No-It’s-Not-Quite-Friday-Yet, where we continue our theme of Winter Stew! Today is a seafood stew, a somewhat new concoction according to Julie’s unadventurous childhood palate. We just didn’t eat much seafood, and I always, repeat always, associated stew with beef. But, I think I’m at least a little bit validated, because in researching seafood stews, they seem to mostly hail from Mediterranean Europe. I, on the other hand, did not.

fish, fennel and saffron stew

In fact, the stew I made for today has some Spanish inspiration, for sure. Saffron. Smoked paprika. Which of course made for an extremely flavorful pot of stew. After making this and eating off it for several days, I’m quite convinced that if you relegate stew to beef, as I did growing up, then you’re really missing out. Seafood stew is healthy, light, and the best part? It cooks quickly while tasting like it slow cooked all day.

Fish, Fennel and Saffron Stew

And, as with most soups and stews, leftovers only get better. And since my dear husband is of the firm belief that there’s a special place in hell for people who reheat fish in corporate break room microwaves, I’ve gotten to enjoy most of the leftovers! Yea for me! I hope y’all enjoy this one, we sure did. It’s especially wonderful with a cold glass of chardonnay to accompany it. Check back tomorrow – we’ll be concluding Winter Stew Week by eating our vegetables, like mom said we should!

Fish Fennel Saffron Stew

{One year ago: Homemade Old Bay Seasoning}

Source: adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, February/March 2010

Ingredients:
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, tops removed, cored, and chopped (reserve a few fennel fronds for garnish, if desired)
1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbs tomato paste
½ cup dry white wine
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large sprig of fresh thyme
¼ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
2 pinches saffron
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 lb. skinless thick white fish, such as cod or halibut, cut into 1-inch chunks

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, carrot, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add 3 ½ cups water, the beans, thyme, paprika, saffron, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender and the stew has thickened slightly, about 25 minutes.
Add the fish and stir to combine. Let the fish cook through; this only takes 2-4 minutes, so don’t walk away.
When the fish has cooked through, which you’ll know because it will start flaking apart, shut off the heat and season to taste with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve in bowls immediately.

Brunswick Stew

brunswick stew

Welcome to Day 2 of Winter Stew Week! On Monday we had beef, today we’re having chicken, brought to you in the form of that American Deep South classic, Brunswick Stew. I had never heard of this stew until a few years ago. And when I did hear of it, I assumed it was from New Jersey. Oops. While some Deep South culinary traditions have migrated over to Texas, this is one that most definitely did not.

Brunswick stew

Apparently both Virginia and Georgia lay claims to its origins, and there’s a big rivalry between the two states about who makes the best version of the same stew. There are cook-offs and contests and trash talk and the whole bit. Based on my research, the only difference I could find is that the Virginia version uses chicken and rabbit, while the Georgia version favors pork and beef.

Brunswick Stew

What everyone can agree on is that Brunswick stew is a tomato based meaty stew with various veggies floating around in there, notably corn and lima beans. Sometimes potatoes are used for thickeners, other times okra. And apparently, back in the day, everyone used squirrel meat, almost exclusively. Fortunately, squirrel meat has gone quite out of fashion, so no need to shudder when you run across a Brunswick stew recipe these days.

Brunswick Stew

I found an easy version on Tasting Table and we both quite enjoyed it. It’s thick, warm, meaty and satisfying, with tons of bold flavor. I think this version may have sort of combined the Virginian and Georgian traditions, because it includes chicken, but no rabbit, and lots of bacon – perhaps as a nod to Georgia’s pork? I’m not sure, I just know it was delicious. I also read in my research that it’s customary to serve this stew with buttermilk biscuits on the side. Yes please! Definitely keeping that custom. Try it! Warm up in this winter cold! And check back tomorrow for some seafood in stew form.

Brunswick Stew with Chicken

Source: slightly adapted from Tasting Table

Ingredients:
1 (12 oz.) package of thick-cut bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
8 tbs unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¾ cup barbecue sauce
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed from the bones and shredded, skin and bones discarded
½ cup crushed canned tomatoes
1 (10 oz.) package frozen corn kernels
1 (10 oz.) package frozen lima beans
3 cups chicken stock

Directions:
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Pour most of the bacon fat out of the pot (save it if you want) and set the pot back over medium heat. Melt the butter into the pot. Once it’s melted, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. In the last minute of cooking add the garlic.
Stir in the Worcestershire, salt, pepper and cayenne. Simmer 5 minutes until the onions are glossy. Add the barbecue sauce, the shredded chicken and the crisped bacon. Stir to combine. Stir in the tomatoes, corn, and lima beans. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the stew for 20 minutes. Ladle in to bowls and serve with buttermilk biscuits on the side.

Red Wine Beef and Swiss Chard Stew

Red Wine Beef and Chard Stew

Welcome to the second-ever Week Of… blog series here at The Texan New Yorker! This week we are feasting on WINTER STEW! Although it’s been freakishly, unseasonably warm the past few days up here in NYC, the past few weeks pretty much everyone in the continental US has been hearing about cold fronts, blizzards, snowstorms, and polar vortexes, pretty much ad nauseum. We get it. It’s cold.

red wine beef and swiss chard stew

So maybe some warmth from the kitchen is in order. I’m not sure anything can warm you up like a hearty stew. And when I think of stew, I think of a nice, chunky beef stew. While I’ll demonstrate this week that it may be a culinary crime to limit stew to just beef, I think it might also be a culinary crime to discount it.

Swiss chard in the salad spinner

Swiss chard, cleaned

And that’s why we’re starting our Winter Stew week with beef. This was everything you demand want from a beef stew: warms your bones, warms your soul, flavorful, tender beef chunks and lots of veggies. The original recipe called for green beans, but seeing as they’re currently out of season, and we’re all supposed to be eating more dark greens, I threw in some Swiss chard instead. It was quite welcome and fit with the stew’s flavor profile very nicely. Enjoy! And stay tuned for more winter stew ideas this week!

Red Wine Beef and Swiss Chard Stew

Source: adapted from Food Network Favorites: Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs

Ingredients:
2 lbs. beef chuck stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbs unsalted butter, divided
4 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups beef stock
2 cups dry red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 6-inch sprig of rosemary
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium bunch of Swiss chard, leaves stripped and torn
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 300 F. Place your large Dutch oven, or other large oven-safe stock pot over medium-high heat. Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tbs butter in the Dutch oven, then add the beef cubes and brown on all sides. Do this in batches if necessary; do not crowd the pan as that will cause the beef to steam and not brown properly. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon to a plate or bowl.
When all the beef has been browned, lower the heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the carrots and onions and sauté until softened. Add the flour and stir until all traces of it disappear into the veggies. Now add the beef stock, wine, and tomatoes. Toss in the rosemary.
Slide the browned beef cubes back into the pot along with any juices collected on the plate. Bring the liquid to a boil. Once boiling, shut off the heat. Cover the top of the pot with aluminum foil, then cover with the pot’s lid. Place the pot of stew into the oven and cook for 50 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the potatoes and chard. Replace the foil and the pot’s lid, and slide the stew back into the oven. Cook for another 50 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and discard the foil. Place the pot on a burner and simmer on medium-low for 15-20 minutes with the lid ajar. Season to taste again with salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley. Fish out the rosemary stem and serve.

Black Eyed Pea and Chorizo Soup

Black eyed pea and chorizo soup

Happy New Year!!! Here’s hoping your celebrations were fun, happy, and safe. We played things low-key this year, just stayed home, did some cooking, and watched my Baylor Bears lose the Fiesta Bowl, a bowl game they were favored to win. Oh boy….

Despite that, I’m feeling incredibly happy and thankful today, because on this exact date last year, I awoke with a very bad case of the flu. Today I awoke feeling perfectly fine. I’ll take it!

I have discovered only in recent years that this is a Texas and some-of-the-Deep-South thing, but growing up we always ate black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Apparently they are supposed to bring good fortune in the coming year. I have no idea the origin of this tradition, but I figure it can’t hurt, so I made this utterly delicious soup on New Year’s Eve. A soup that makes your house smell sooooo amazing and warms your belly and soul on a cold, icy, blustery, winter day (the likes of which we are apparently supposed to have until Sunday).

black eyed pea and chorizo soup

A few recipe notes: the original recipe calls for pureeing much of the soup ingredients, namely the veggies and spices. I knew that, but then I didn’t pay attention to what I was doing and tossed the onion into the crumbled chorizo. Oops. As you can imagine, we had a chunkier soup. Which worked just fine and was delicious. Of course I’m linking to the original recipe to give source credit, so if you’d rather have a smoother soup, definitely check that out. Second recipe note – you are looking for Mexican chorizo for this soup, not Spanish or Portuguese chorizo. Mexican chorizo is raw, usually in casings, and is sold in the refrigerated meat section of the grocery store, or behind the butcher counter. Spanish and Portuguese chorizo is cured, ready-to-eat, and is not refrigerated when sold. Make sure you get the correct kind. And I think that’s it! Enjoy, and Happy New Year!!

Black Eyed Pea and Chorizo Soup

Source: adapted from The Homesick Texan

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon lard or vegetable oil
1 lb. Mexican chorizo, removed from casing
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
6 cups chicken stock
15 oz. canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
3 (15-oz.) cans of black-eyed peas, drained
8 oz. pepper Jack, shredded
1/2 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnishing
2 tablespoon lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnishing
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Sour cream, for garnishing

Directions:
In a large soup pot, heat the lard or oil over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, breaking it up with a potato masher or sturdy spoon, until it is crumbled and no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes more, or until the onion is translucent.
Add the chipotle powder, cumin, oregano, and allspice; stir to combine.
Next add the chicken stock, tomatoes, and black eyed peas. Bring the soup up to a low boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the soup from scorching on the bottom of the pot. You can skim off the fat if you please, too.
Add the cheese and tortilla chips. Let the soup continue to softly simmer about 3-5 minutes more, to melt the cheese and incorporate the tortilla chips. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and black pepper. Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed. Remember the chorizo is plenty salty, so you may not need much.
Serve in soup bowls, garnished with cilantro, lime wedges and sour cream as you please.

Nacho-Topped Chili

Nacho Topped Chili

Happy November 1st y’all! Since I figure lots of you are up to your ears in Halloween candy, we’ll take a break from sweets and go savory today. And since we’re in the thick of football season, and my Baylor Bears are doing *extremely* well, game day food will be what’s on the menu!

beef chili, no beans

As an aside, if any of you are remotely familiar with Big 12 football, then you know how utterly amazing it is that Baylor is ranked in the top ten. Top ten, people!! Back when I was a student there, that was unfathomable. The football team was so terrible then. So I hope those young whipper-snapper freshman you see on every televised game yelling “HEIS-MAN! HEIS-MAN!” for the cameras are grateful for the opportunity. Back in my day, “Heisman” was a word not even the slightest bit in our vocabulary.

nacho-topped chili, before broiling

But anyways, let’s talk chili. Everyone loves a good chili, and this one was killer. But how about we take it even further over the top, and top it with nachos??!! Nachos! I figured that if you can put a chili sauce on top of loaded nachos, then why can’t you put nachos on top of chili?

nacho topped chili

Turns out, yes we can! Say it with me, Obama ’08 style – YES. WE. CAN!! Okay, maybe not, but trust me, this chili is so delectable, it deserves a few cheers.

nacho-topped chili

But you’re probably sitting there thinking, “That’s all well and good Julie, but the leftovers won’t work! The chips will go completely soggy.” Now, I don’t blame you one bit for thinking such a thing, because I thought such a thing after we finished eating. But we’re all wrong. The leftovers actually work beautifully. I know, it doesn’t make a lick of sense! But I’m telling you, you’ll love them. And you’ll feel very indignant to realize that your husband took most of them to work and only let you get in one little serving for yourself. Oh wait, that’s just me?

Nacho-Topped Chili

So yes, the chips do go soft. But it’s not a bad thing. They sort of act like a masa thickener; they meld into the chili and become part of it. It’s a little tough to explain, so you’ll just have to try it and see what I mean!

Nacho-Topped Chili

{One year ago: Apple Cider Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting}

Ingredients:
1 ¾ lbs. ground sirloin
2 tbs cumin
1 tbs ancho chile powder
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp Mexican oregano
½ tsp chipotle chile powder
¼ tsp cayenne
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz. beer (save last few glugs for yourself)
1 (28) oz. can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
Hot sauce to taste (I used Cholula)
8 oz. bag yellow corn chips (make sure they are thick and crunchy, not the really thin kind)
15 oz. can of refried beans, thinned with splash of water and warmed 30 seconds in microwave
8 oz. Monterey jack cheese, shredded
6 oz. pitted black olives, drained and chopped
Pickled jalapeno slices

Directions:
Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil, then add the beef, browning and breaking it up with a spoon. Cook until no traces of pink remain. Add the cumin, ancho chile powder, sweet paprika, coriander, Mexican oregano, chipotle powder, and cayenne. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Add the onion and saute until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the jalapeno and garlic and saute another 2 minutes.
Add the beer and stir to deglaze the pan. Let the beer cook until it has almost evaporated. Lower the heat to medium. Now add the tomatoes, Worcestershire, liquid smoke, and hot sauce. Stir to combine everything. Let the chili come up to a good, bubbling simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low and let it simmer softly for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom of the pot. You may need to adjust the heat level as necessary.
When the chili is to your liking, consistency-wise, turn the heat to low. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Now it’s time for the nacho topping. Preheat your broiler to high and set an oven rack on the second-highest rung, or whichever rung allows you to get the nacho topping closest to the heat source without smushing anything.
Now assemble the nacho topping. Smooth the chili out so the top of it is as even a surface as possible. Working quickly, spread the chips over the chili. Dollop the refried beans over the chips, spreading with a large spoon as needed. Sprinkle the cheese over the chips. Sprinkle the olive and pickled jalapenos over the cheese.
Slide the skillet into the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and the top edges of chips have started to brown.
Remove the skillet and serve immediately.
Note: you can of course garnish with sour cream if you want, I’m just not sour cream’s hugest fan, so I was quite happy to leave it off.

Eggplant Parmesan Soup #SundaySupper

eggplant parmesan soup

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Our theme this week was One Pot Meals. A fantastic theme, of course; who likes doing dishes? We all need some one pot meals in our repertoire, meals we can bust out on those grumpy days where you know that calling for take-out will be guilt-inducing, but you really don’t want to cook an elaborate meal. This recipe is PERFECT for those days.

eggplants

So, no false advertising here – this is eggplant parmesan in a soup bowl. I’m serious, it’s soup, but it tastes exactly like eggplant parmesan! And since I’m a huge eggplant parm fiend, this soup delighted my little soul.

eggplant parmesan soup

Like I mentioned, I love, love, love a well-executed eggplant parmesan. But let’s be honest, eggplant parm is the complete opposite of a one pot meal. More like a use-almost-every-dang-pan-in-your-kitchen meal, right? It’s kind of a production to pull off. But with this soup, you get all those beloved flavors in an easy to make and easy to clean up soup. Perfect!

Eggplant Parmesan Soup

The only recipe note I have is to add the vinegar slowly and titrate up if desired. I added the entire amount called for, and while that tang is a lovely addition to the soup, I found it a tad strong and wished I had backed off a little. And be sure to check out the rest of the Sunday Supper crew! As per usual, I’ve linked to their amazing recipes as well. Enjoy!

Eggplant Parmesan Soup

Source: Flour, Too by Joanne Chang

Ingredients:
3 tbs olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 large eggplants, chopped (no need to peel)
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cups white sandwich bread, cubed
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 ½ cups grated parmesan cheese
Up to 2 tbs red wine vinegar (I’d start with half of that, taste, and then add more if needed)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
Set a large soup pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the olive oil and when hot, add the onions and garlic. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until the onions just start to soften. If they brown a little, back off the heat a tad. Add the eggplant and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the eggplants break down and start to become mushy.
Add the tomatoes. Fill the now-empty tomato can with water and add that to the soup. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer about 5 minutes. Add the bread cubes and stir for 1 minute, or until the bread breaks down in the soup. Stir in the basil and parmesan, turn off the heat and let cool slightly.
Using your immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth. Alternately, you can do this in batches in your regular blender. Bring the pureed soup back up to a simmer. Season with the vinegar, salt and pepper. If the soup seems too thick, thin with a little water.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately.

Check out the rest of the fabulous #SundaySupper team!

“Take the chill off” Chilis, Soups, and Starters

“Put meat on your bones” Stews

“Make room for seconds” Main Dishes

“Can’t say no” Desserts

No-Cook Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce

No-Cook Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce

Yesterday I featured a recipe using blueberries (candy from the produce aisle, right?) so today let’s talk about cherry tomatoes. I love cherry tomatoes in the summertime; I tend to stay away from them in the wintertime. But during summer, when they’re bursting with sweetness, and so plump and juicy, I adore them!

summer cherry tomatoes and basil

Oh, and let’s also briefly discuss heat and humidity. The formidable duo has been New York’s theme song lately; that humidity is a killer! You can’t stand outside for more than about two minutes before perspiring, and ten minutes of walking transforms you into a sweaty, exhausted bowl of hot mess. So a no-cook pasta sauce is most definitely in order.

No-Cook Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce

This one does take a little planning, as the sauce has to meld together for about four hours. But it’s all hands off time, and it’s worth it. This dish is so fresh, light, filling, and juicy; and if you’ll allow me one horrid cliché, it really is summer in a bowl.

No-Cook Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce

You can use any long cut pasta here that you want; I used angel hair for two reasons. 1) because I love it; and 2) because it cooks fast, and I didn’t want to have heat on any longer than necessary. Enjoy!

Source: Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

Ingredients:
4 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (get whatever looks best that day)
Extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
18 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
1/2 tsp crushed chile flakes
Kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 lb. dried angel hair pasta, or other long-cut pasta of your choosing
1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Directions:
Combine the cherry tomatoes, ½ cup olive oil, garlic, basil, chile flakes, 1 tsp salt, and the black pepper in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 4 hours.
Just before you’re ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is ready, drain well and add it to the bowl of tomatoes. Add the cheese and some extra fresh basil leaves and toss well. Serve with extra cheese.

Pan-Roasted Clams with Bourbon, Bacon and Jalapeno

Pan-roasted clams with bourbon, bacon and jalapeno

Two of my favorite websites for recipe perusal are Food52 and Food & Wine Magazine. I scroll through and save the recipe I want to make to one of my Pinterest pages. And of course, you know that Pinterest saves a picture of that recipe along with its title, origin, and if it’s been liked or repinned.

making pan-roasted clams

And every now and then, thankfully it’s infrequent, but every now and then you’ll pin a recipe and for whatever reason the picture you specified does not appear on your Pinterest page. Instead, it’ll be this little box with the title and origin of the recipe and then a blank box where the pretty, appetizing picture should go.

clams with bourbon, bacon and jalapeno

I suppose it displays my anal-retentiveness for all to see, but I must confess that I really hate it when this happens! It bugs me. I go to look at my Pinterest page and see all these pretty, scrumptious looking food photographs, and then there’s this ugly blank. It just messes up my page.

This was one such recipe. I pinned it from Food & Wine, and no picture appeared. I figured, the best way to fix this problem was to make the recipe, so then I can substitute my own pic. And why yes, I am quite the Type A personality with plenty of neuroses to go around, thank you for asking! 🙂

Pan-Roasted Clams with Bourbon, Bacon and Jalapeno

But, that’s honestly why I made this recipe last week. Well, that and because it looked great. Fortunately, the recipe was fantastic, so maybe there’s a benefit to me being so weirdly obsessive?

clams with bourbon, bacon and jalapeno

I warn you, it’s hot and spicy. The jalapenos are not kidding around! I adapted this recipe a bit; the original said to add the sliced (and thus, still seeded) chiles at the end, but that would essentially mean eating a bunch of raw jalapenos. And those have their place, I’m not saying otherwise. But if you’re not careful, they can really blow out your palate on the first bite and I didn’t want that. So I added them earlier to make sure they were cooked (read: tamer in heat level), and I think it made the dish more cohesive. The heat, though – definitely still there!

Pan-Roasted Clams with Bourbon Bacon and Jalapeno

Source: adapted from Food & Wine

Ingredients:
24 littleneck clams, scrubbed
3 oz. bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup very finely chopped shallots
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons very finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup bottled clam broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Crusty bread, for serving

Directions:
First, prep the clams. Immediately upon coming home from the store, place the clams in a large mixing bowl. Fill with cold water and sprinkle with a spoonful of cornmeal. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour, longer if possible. When ready to cook, pour the contents of the bowl into a large colander or strainer and run under cold water to get rid of any cornmeal or other dirt lingering on the shells. The water-cornmeal treatment is to rid the clams of any grit and sand. They “eat” the cornmeal and this purges the grit within the shells.
Now you are ready to cook. Preheat a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the bacon bits and cook until the fat has rendered and they are crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
To the skillet, add the shallot and jalapeno. Sauté for a few minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Now add the drained clams and bourbon. Simmer over medium-low heat until the bourbon evaporates.
Add the clam juice. Raise the heat to medium and cover the skillet. Cook until the clams have opened, about 5 to 7 minutes. I always keep a close watch on this process. I keep tongs and a clean bowl nearby and retrieve the clams as they open. I’ve found that they don’t all open at the same time, and some can overcook if you leave them in. This isn’t the pain that it sounds like, honest.
When the clams have all opened, transfer them to a clean bowl. If any do not open, then discard them – they’re not safe to eat.
To the skillet add the cream, parsley and crisped bacon. Cook to thicken slightly, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low, then swirl in the butter and let it melt. Add the clams back into the skillet and shut off the heat. Toss to coat, then serve with crusty bread for mopping up sauce.

New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp

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After having had such a fun and delicious time in NOLA with Matt last week, I kind of want to keep the good times rolling at home, at least in the kitchen. So I’ve been doing a bit of Cajun/Creole cookin’ this week!

I began with a classic that I’ve never actually sampled on its home turf, New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp. Actually, I wasn’t even sure what this dish was until I made it last weekend. I saw it on tons of menus in New Orleans, but I assumed, incorrectly, that it was either grilled shrimp, or maybe shrimp tossed or basted with barbecue sauce. Truthfully, it sounded a tad boring.

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Well, I was wrong on all counts. I’m not sure why it’s called barbecued shrimp because the grill is not involved. Instead, it’s shrimp tossed in a buttery, tangy sauce and usually eaten peel-n-eat style with plenty of soft French bread for mopping. It’s hardly dull, and pleasantly messy.

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I should warn you, this sauce calls for an absolutely OBSCENE amount of butter. I swear my cholesterol rose five points just by reading the recipe. And don’t kid yourself into thinking that some sauce will remain in your bowl; you will mop up every, single last little drop with your bread, because it’s so unbelievably yummy.

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Okay, here goes – the recipe calls for … three STICKS of butter. For two servings. Yeah… I actually wish I had stopped with two sticks though, and that’s what I would recommend. My sauce started breaking on me a little after I started in on the third stick, and two sticks is still plenty rich and decadent. Unless you’re Paula Deen, I doubt you would notice the difference. So that’s what I’ll recommend.

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I made one other change – I decided to make this dish with peeled shrimp, so it wasn’t really a peel-n-eat meal. But still quite tasty and I think it worked. I hope all you shrimp-lovers will make this one soon, it’s freakin’ awesome! Crack some cold Louisiana beers, grab a very tall stack of napkins, put on some jazz, and have yourself a wonderful evening – Cajun style!

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Source: adapted from Mr. B’s Bistro Cookbook

Ingredients:
1 ½ lbs. large or extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
3 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 tsp Creole seasoning
1 tsp minced garlic
2-3 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cubed
French bread or a French baguette

Directions:
In a large skillet combine the shrimp, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, black pepper, Creole seasoning, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until shrimp are cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.
Remove the shrimp to a plate with a slotted spoon. Take care to leave all the sauce in the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium and stir in butter, a few cubes at a time, stirring constantly and adding more butter only when the previous batch has completely melted. When the butter is added, remove the skillet from the heat. Place shrimp in bowls and pour the sauce over top. Serve with the bread for dipping and mopping.