Chile-Crisp Shrimp and Green Beans

The following recipe from Ali Slagle, a frequent contributor to The New York Times, is superb.

But first I ask are Crispy Shallots the new food trend? Lately, I can’t pick up a magazine or newspaper without reading about crispy shallots. I remember years ago Bran was the new food trend. And if my memory serves me well I was enjoying a blueberry muffin at my desk at Hearst Magazines and someone walked past my office, peaked in, and said “A blueberry muffin! How come you’re not having a bran muffin?” Egads. And not too long ago kale was king. I don’t really like kale except in this amazing soup. Do you remember the Roz Chast Kale Cartoon?

Ali Slagle writes:

This stir-fry is inspired by the taste and textures of chile crisp, that fiery condiment made by infusing oil with dried chiles, garlic and shallots. For this 20-minute recipe, make a quick version of the oil while the shrimp marinates in a combination of soy sauce, sugar, red-pepper flakes and cumin. Use the infused oil to cook the green beans (or asparagus), shrimp and peanuts, then serve topped with the fried shallots and garlic. It’s a deeply savory, spicy and satisfying dinner.

Ingredients

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large shallot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced through the root
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 ounces green beans or asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional) (I used mixed nuts.)

Preparation

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the soy sauce, sugar, red-pepper flakes and cumin. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Set aside while you fry the shallots and garlic.
  2. 2Place a fine-mesh sieve over a heat-proof bowl next to the stove. In a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet, heat the canola oil, shallot, garlic and cinnamon stick over medium-high. When the mixture starts to bubble, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the shallots, until golden brown, 5 to 9 minutes. (Lower the heat if the shallots are browning too quickly.) Drain through the sieve, catching the oil in the bowl below. Discard the cinnamon, season the fried shallots and garlic with salt, and set aside. (I didn’t do this. I spooned out the garlic and shallots and set aside on a paper towel–so I didn’t need to return the oil to the skillet.)
  3. Return the oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high. Add the green beans, season with salt and cook until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Push the green beans to one side, then add the shrimp and the marinade, along with the peanuts (if using), and cook until the shrimp is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Stir the green beans and shrimp to combine, then sprinkle with the fried shallots and garlic. Serve immediately, over rice or noodles, or in lettuce cups, if desired.

I served this with Tabouli made with orzo and not rice.

Cheers!

Who Are You?

"John The Baptist is one of my favorite people in scripture. He knew who he wasn't (I am not the Messiah) and he knew he was (I am a voice in the wilderness).

Every day I need to get clear in my soul who I am and who I am not.

Otherwise, I find myself living a life God never called me to.

~Rich Villodas
Rich is a Brooklyn-born Pastor and author of The Deeply Formed Life & Good.

Reading from my website:

Photography is my passion. Child of an Iowa farm girl and a Vaudeville tap-dancer, I believe I have been a gift from God. A gift for seeing beauty–-creating artful, remarkable, memorable photographs.

I specialize in portrait, nature, food, and documentary photography. I am also a published writer, art consultant, and gourmet cook. I love family get-togethers, and cats and dogs. And red wine. I live in Western Massachusetts with my wife, Susan, our dog, Freddy, a Mini Labradoodle.

Drawing on a degree in Art and English, inspired by Nature, a passion for telling stories and years working as a writer and photojournalist helps me to follow my heart–bringing a heightened sensitivity to all my photography: portraits, nature, documentary, food, interiors, furniture. I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography.

Chicken and Shrimp Salad with Mandarin Oranges, Strawberries, and Wonton Strips

I made this salad years ago but without the shrimp. We are experiencing a heat wave here and a special salad, and this salad is very special, seemed like a great dinner choice on a hot day–and the serve to our special guests; Julia and Daryl before they return to Colorado.

FYI: Daryl is my son and Julia is his girlfriend and they just hot engaged–in Capri, Italy where they were vacationing.

This salad is a favorite for lunch at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa.

Ingredients:

4 (5-ounce) chicken breasts
About 1/2 pound of shrimp, cleaned and deveined. (I used shrimp from Biloxi Shrimp Co.)
1 tablespoon olive oil (if not using grill method)
2/3 cup wonton strips
4 cups mesclun
1/2 cup julienned carrots (I didn’t use carrots)

1/2 cup julienned carrots (I didn’t add carrots.)
1/2 cup cashews (I was so busy getting everything ready, I forgot to add these!)
2 cups mandarin oranges (I used canned.)
Honey sage vinaigrette (see below)
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat grill or oven to 350.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. If grilling (I didn’t because was nearly 100 degrees!), place on hot grill and cook on both sides for 5-6 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. If baking, heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Carefully add the chicken and sear on both side for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Place in oven and bake until internal temperature is 165. Remove from heat and chill. Stir fry shrimp in hot and oiled Wok and cooked till done–about 6 to 8 minutes.

Place wonton strips on a baking sheet and place in oven for 8 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally. Remove from oven and reserve at room temperature.

Place all other ingredients, except vinaigrette and wontons, in a small bowl. Add 4 to 6 tablespoons of dressing and coat thoroughly.

Place on a plate or in a bowl. Slice chicken breasts and fan over the salad. Garnish with baked wontons.

Honey Sage Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1/6 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Keep refrigerated until needed.

Serves 4.

From ”Pathways To Plate, Destinations And Dishes From Delaware North.” This cookbook is filled with so many great recipes—and photographs!

More about Delaware North
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We began our celebration with White Wine Spritzers with Mint from our garden.

We enjoyed bowls of Oven-roasted Gazpacho.

And Susan made a Strawberry Coconut Ice-Box Cake for dessert. YUM!

Abuelas Albondigas

Last weekend, Susan and I watched a few episodes of The Great American Recipe on PBS.

One of the contestants, Silvia Martinez, made Abuelas Albondigas, also known as Mexican Meatballs. It looked so delicious. I turned to Susan and said, “I have to make this for our Sunday dinner.” And I did. And it was delicious!

Reading from Silvia’s statement on PBS:

“Spanish for meatballs and served in a broth, dry, or (as in this case) with a sauce, albondigas hold a special place in the hearts of many Mexicans. My grandma used to ask each of her grandchildren what their favorite dish was so she could make it for their birthdays. This is one I asked for often. Chipotle chiles are dried jalapeños. The most common way to buy them at the supermarket is canned in an adobo sauce, which gives them that classic smoky flavor. I added golden raisins at my husband’s suggestion, and their sweetness balances beautifully with the acid, spice, and salt in the sauce.”

This recipe is featured in the Love Language episode during Season 1 of The Great American Recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (85% lean) (I used Bison because it is what I had to fridge.)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 2 medium eggs
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • ¾ white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup golden raisins (I did use raisins.)
  • 5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, leaves picked and chopped, divided
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8(5-to 8-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
  •  
  • Rice
  • 1½ cups white rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ white onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn (My addition.)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, 1 teaspoon of the salt, pepper, thyme, marjoram, eggs, bread crumbs, half of the chopped onion, garlic, golden raisins, and half of the chopped parsley. With your hands, form 12 meatballs. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, blend the tomatoes, remaining chopped onion, chipotles, broth, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt until smooth. (I used frozen tomato sauce that I made last summer which had carrots, celery, garlic and japaleno in it.)
  3. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, pour in the sauce, and cook for 1 minute. Carefully submerge the meatballs in the sauce. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan, lower the temperature, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, rinse the rice until the water runs clear, then strain. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over high heat, then add the onion and garlic. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes, then add the rice and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add the water and chicken bouillon and stir until dissolved. Add the frozen peas, carrot, and salt if needed. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Turn the temperature down and simmer until the liquid evaporates and the rice is tender, 17–20 minutes.
  5. Serve the albondigas with the rice and warm tortillas on the side. Garnish with the remaining chopped parsley.

This night, Saturday night, I made a pizza! I made the meatballs on Sunday

The pizza, too, was delicious! Whole Wheat Crust, BBQ Sauce, Grated Pepper Olive Cheese, Andouille Sausage from D’Artagnan, Mushrooms, Cherry Tomatoes (from our garden), Spinach, Corn Salsa. YUM!

Nice To See You

Walking my dog
Freddy
A mini-labradoodle
Early morning
Past a bevy of doves
One dove calls out
Says, I think
"Nice to see you.
"Nice to see you.
"Nice to see you."
A man opens his front door
Calls out
"Hello, Boss."
Boss. I think
I have never been a boss.
I have been a newspaper boy.
A gardener.
A lifeguard.
A Sunday School teacher.
A girl's softball coach.
A copywriter.
A marketing executive.
A writer.
A photographer.
A speech-writer.
A salesperson.
An art gallery owner.
I call out to the man
Who called me boss
"Nice to see you."

Sesame-Ginger Potato Salad

This is so delicious!

From Lizzy Briskin, Food Editor at Real Simple magazine.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds red baby new potatoes
  • ¼ cup lower-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (from 3 or 4 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (from a 2-in. piece)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce, such as sambal oelek (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for cooking potatoes
  • 4 cups shredded red cabbage (from 1 head)
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons toasted white and/or black sesame seeds

Directions

  • Step 1 Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold, salted water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce heat to low; simmer until fork-tender, 10 to 12 minutes (avoid overcooking). Drain and rinse under cold water. Let cool in colander for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half, or quarter if large.
  • Step 2 Meanwhile, whisk soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, honey, fish sauce, chili-garlic sauce (if using), and salt in a large bowl.
  • Step 3 Toss potatoes, cabbage, cilantro, and scallions with dressing in bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and top with more cilantro and scallions.

I served this with a grilled Strip Steak. I can’t wait to make it again!

Skillet Chicken with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions

This is one of the most delicious chicken dinners I have ever made. The recipe is by Yasmin Fahr , food writer and contributor to The New York Times Cooking. Did I say DELICIOUS!!!

Yasmin writes: “This comforting one-pot dinner is reminiscent of a rich French onion soup, but made in less time and with lighter ingredients. Cooking the onions in a hot, dry pan forces them to release their moisture, so that they shrink and become silky and sweet in 30 minutes. Serve everything directly from the pan, with some crusty bread to soak up all the juices, or shred the chicken and pile it on top of buttered noodles. For something green, stir in some spinach to wilt at the end or serve alongside a simple green salad or roasted broccoli.”

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3-inch pieces (I used breasts.)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • ¾ pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or dill leaves and fine stems, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan or pecorino (optional)
  • Bread or cooked pasta, for serving

Preparation

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, the honey, mustard, red-pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt; whisk until smooth. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper, then add to the mixture, coating it well. Set aside at room temperature, stirring it once while you make the onions.
  2. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron or heavy skillet over medium-high until very hot, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, then add the onions in an even layer. Season with salt, then cook, mostly undisturbed, for 4 minutes more, stirring every minute or so. Add the mushrooms, season with salt, and stir to combine. (It will look crowded, and that’s OK.) Allow to cook mostly undisturbed until the mushrooms shrink and start to brown, about 4 minutes, stirring every minute or so.
  3. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and allow the onions to cook until they start to color, stirring and lowering the heat as necessary to avoid burning, about 2 minutes. Push the onions and mushrooms to the edges of the skillet, then add the chicken pieces to the center. Pour any remaining marinade (there will be very little) over the onions and mushrooms. Cook undisturbed for 4 to 5 minutes, then combine the chicken and vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes more. (Reduce the heat to medium if the onions look like they are burning at any point.)
  4. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, stirring and scraping up anything on the bottom of the skillet. Season to taste with salt.
  5. Remove from the heat and top with the parsley and cheese, if using. Serve with bread or pasta.

NOTE: I served with cooked Carolina Rice and Asparagus, which I add to wok during last few minutes of cooking.