Best Shrimp Creole

Recently, I watched on TV a food truck chef make Bread Pudding in her truck. It looked delicious and I remembered I often made Bread Pudding based upon a recipe from the following book:

I lost the book and mentioned this to Susan. And guess what? She bought me a copy.

It’s a great cookbook, a history book filled with vintage photos and “…great Creole and Cajun recipes from the city’s grand restaurants and modest cafes, from mansions and country kitchens, superbly clear directions, local cooking secrets.”

Here’s the recipe (Note: I added asparagus and I used cocktail shrimp which I added to the wok for the last few minutes:

Enjoy!

Sunset and Pizza

On Friday Susan and I watched a beautiful sunset in our backyard and while we watched a beautiful and delicious pizza cooked in the oven.

I make a pizza almost once every week. The dough recipe is from Mark Bittman. I have made hundreds, all a little different: eggplant, calamari, meatballs, asparagus, corn, jalapeno peppers, etc.

This one above had chicken, mushrooms, spinach and red onion on it. And cheese and sauce! YUM!

Date Meatballs with Orange Mint Yogurt Sauce

I have made these a few times and they deserve to be made more often. The first time I followed the recipe below and they were delicious. I made them again with ground beef instead of turkey and used sour cream as I didn’t have any yogurt; not as perfect but still delicious, particularly with roasted cauliflower (picture at below).

Ingredients

  1. 1 pound ground turkey
  2. 2 cups fresh bread crumbs (I used 1 cup dry)
  3. 6 dates, pitted and finely chopped
  4. 2 large eggs, beaten
  5. 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  6. 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  7. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. 1 cup French green lentils
  9. 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  10. 2 thyme sprigs
  11. 1 cinnamon stick
  12. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  13. 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  14. 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  15. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I used fresh orange juice)
  16. 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  17. 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (I used orange zest)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey with the bread crumbs, dates, eggs, sesame seeds, sesame oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover the lentils, garlic, thyme and cinnamon stick with 2 inches of water; bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and transfer to a bowl; pick out and discard the seasonings. Stir the olive oil and vinegar into the lentils and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Form the turkey mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Spread the meatballs on a lightly oiled large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned on the bottom and cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, blend the yogurt with the lemon juice, mint and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Serve the meatballs with the lentils and yogurt.
    ~Food & Wine, 2004

Thai Sweet, salty and spicy shrimp

I made this for Valentine’s Day. So delicious. Based on a recipe from The New York Times.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons roasted, salted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes

PREPARATION

  1. Pat the shrimp very dry and lightly season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium (10-inch) nonstick skillet, stir together the sugar, fish sauce and vinegar. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. When the mixture comes to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook until pink on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  3. Add the peanuts, scallions, lime juice and red-pepper flakes and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Note: I used cooked shrimp so I only had to heat for a few minutes.
I used Rice Wine Vinegar.
I used a bit more nuts than what it calls for.
I used chopped red onion instead of scallions.
I used juice of one whole lime.

I served it with Curry Rice:

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp curry powder / Garam Masala
  • 2 cups Jasmine / Basmati rice
  • 4 cups stock / water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium-sized pot. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent.
  • Add the garlic, ginger and spices and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the rice then pour in the water/stock and season with salt.
  • Allow to simmer until most of the water has been absorbed then stir in the peas.
  • Cover with a lid then turn the heat down to its lowest setting.
  • Allow to cook gently for 5 minutes then turn the heat off and allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes.
  • Once cooked, fluff with a fork, season to taste and serve.
  • NOTE: I added some nuts and chopped red onion along with the peas.

Here Susan and I am about to enjoy the special dinner.

Roasted Cauliflower with Pancetta, Olives and Crisp Parmesan over Fettucine

This might be the best pasta recipe I have ever made. It’s based on one from Melissa Clark. I made a few changes which I note below.

Melissa writes: “Studded with salty olives, pancetta and Parmesan that gets golden and crisp at the edges, this is roasted cauliflower at its brightest and most full-flavored. You can serve the caramelized florets either as a vegetable-based main dish or a hearty side to roasted meats or fish, or big bowls of pasta. The recipe calls for using a package of finely diced pancetta that practically melts into the sauce. But if you prefer a chunkier texture, you can dice it yourself into 1/2-inch cubes, and add them with the cauliflower. Or, to make this vegetarian, just leave the pancetta out.”

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 1 3/4 pounds), trimmed and cut into bite-size florets (about 8 cups)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • cup olives, crushed, pitted and chopped (I used Castelvetrano olives.)
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely grated or minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more as needed
  • 4 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut into 1/8-inch cubes
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin or caraway seeds (I used cumin seeds.)
  • ½ cup shredded (not ground) Parmesan
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or mint leaves and tender stems, for serving (I didn’t have so I used fresh chives.)

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet (I used a cast iron pan) and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt until well coated. Roast for 15 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olives, garlic, lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes and a large pinch of salt. Drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, whisking well.
  3. After the cauliflower has roasted for 15 minutes, add pancetta and cumin seeds to pan and gently mix to combine. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, until cauliflower is tender, the pancetta rendered, and cheese is golden brown and crunchy. (I added #4 to the cast iron pan for a few minutes.)
  4. Spoon olive dressing all over roasted cauliflower while still hot and toss to combine. Taste, and add more salt, red-pepper flakes or lemon juice, if needed. Scatter parsley over the top before serving. (I used fresh chivies.)

Chicken Thighs with Fennel, Plums and Red Onion

Susan found this recipe for me.

Based on the following recipe from Melissa Clark of The New York Times. According to the newspaper:

“Beautiful to behold and easy to make, this sheet-pan dinner combines sweet plums and soft red onions with crisp-skinned pieces of roasted chicken. Toasted fennel seeds, red-pepper flakes and a touch of allspice add complexity while a mound of fresh torn herbs crowns the top. If good ripe plums aren’t available, you can substitute another stone fruit including peaches, nectarines or pluots, though if your fruit is very sweet, you might want to add a squeeze of lemon at the end. Serve this with rice pilaf, polenta or warm flatbread for a festive meal.”

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Large pinch red-pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), cut into parts (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs.)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups ripe, soft plums, pitted and cut into 3/4-inch thick slices
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced from root to stem in 1/2-inch wedges
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • cup torn mint, basil or cilantro leaves (or a combination)
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving

Preparation

  1. Toast the fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Pour seeds into a mortar and pound with a pestle until coarsely crushed (or lay seeds on a cutting board and pound them with a can or jar).
  2. Put the seeds into a large bowl and stir in lemon juice, zest, garlic, honey, allspice and red-pepper flakes.
  3. Season chicken generously all over with salt and pepper and add to the bowl, turning the pieces to coat them with marinade. Mix in plums and thyme sprigs. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  4. When ready to cook, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the chicken pieces, plums, and thyme sprigs on a rimmed baking pan. Add onions, spreading them out around the chicken and plums. Season plums and onions lightly with salt. Drizzle everything with olive oil.
  5. Roast until chicken is golden and cooked through, 30 to 45 minutes, removing the white meat if it’s done before the dark meat.
  6. Transfer chicken pieces as they are done to a platter. Spoon the plums and onions around the chicken. Drizzle a little of the pan drippings over the chicken and serve, garnished with the herbs and flaky salt.

I served this with Israeli Couscous with parsley and mint.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Honey Mustard Cilantro Baked Chicken Thighs with Veggies

This is based on a recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats. She called for using thyme which I have growing in my garden but it was raining cats and dogs and I had a bunch of cilantro in the fridge so I used that instead. A big plus; this is a one pan dish!

Ingredients

  • 4 bone boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 cups cut green beans
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 red pepper, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper to season

Honey Mustard Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon course stone ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. To a large bowl roasting pan add green beans, sweet potato, red onion, red pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat everything with seasoning.
  3. To a small bowl add course stone ground mustard, Dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic clove, fresh cilantro, salt and pepper. Whisk to mix everything together.
  4. Pat chicken dry. Then season with salt and pepper on both sides. Using a pastry brush, evenly brush the the honey mustard mixture across all 4 chicken thighs.
  5. Place seasoned chicken thighs in roasting pan and spread veggies out around the chicken breasts. Be sure to put them in a single layer and not to crowd the pan.
  6. Place the roasting pan bake for 45 minutes. Stir veggies at 25 minutes.
  7. Serve.

Delicious!

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Asparagus And Potato Salad

As Susan was heading out the door on her way to buy Shetland Salmon and Shrimp, she called out to me and said  “Bruce, while I am gone why don’t you make a potato salad to have with our salmon?”

I found a recipe online and adapted it to my liking.

Ingredients

  •  7-10 small potatoes (We buy these at our local grocery store; brand name is The Little Potato Company.)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 2 Tbs minced red onion
  • 2 Tbs minced parsley
  • 1 large handful of walnuts, chopped
  • 3-4 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  •  6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  •  1/2 cup roasted sweet red peppers, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut off tough ends of asparagus and then slice asparagus into one inch pieces.
  2. Slice potatoes in quarters and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a slow boil and cook for 12 to 15 minutes – until almost fork tender. Add asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  3. Prepare vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic and black pepper. Add onion, parsley, walnuts, tomatoes, and peppers.
  4. Drain the potatoes and asparagus when ready, add to a bowl, add the vinaigrette to the warm potatoes and asparagus. Toss to coat the potatoes.

We served this with Grilled Shetland Salmon. The Shrimp Cocktail we had while watching The Belmont Stakes.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Spicy Moroccan Chickpea, Sweet Potato Stew

Not too long ago, Susan returned from the grocery store with what seemed like dozens of cans of Chick Peas. What, I thought, am I going to do with all these cans of chick peas? I often make Hummus but what else could I create. Salads? Soups?

I found many soup recipes online and was inspired by this one, “20-Minute Moroccan Chickpea Soup.” I note my changes and additions below.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced (I used a Vidalia Onion.)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped (My addition.)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (I used 2.)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (I used 8 cups Homemade Chicken Stock. 4 didn’t seems like enough.)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained (I used 1 can.)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I don’t like fire-roasted. I used regular diced tomatoes.)
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped into bit-size pieces (My addition.)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (I used paste from a tube.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I used 1 tablespoon. We love cumin!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (I used at least 1/4+ teaspoon!)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups roughly-chopped kale leaves or baby spinach (I used 7+ ounces Collard Greens—we love them!)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (My addition. I had this in fridge as I roasted a chicken the night before–and then made the stock.)
  • chopped fresh cilantro and fresh lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onioncelery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent.  (To save time, mince the garlic while the onion is cooking.)  Then add garlic and saute for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.  Add in the stock, chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato paste, sweet potato, cumin, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes, and bring to a simmer.  (While the soup is coming to a simmer, chop the kale/collard greens and cilantro, and slice the lemon wedges.)
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in the chopped kale/collard greens.  Continue simmering for 3 minutes until the kale has slightly softened. Note: The collard green take 20-30 minutes to cook!
  3. Taste and season with your desired amount of salt and pepper.  (I used a generous pinch of each.)
  4. Serve warm, garnished with fresh cilantro and served with a fresh lemon wedge.

~~~

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Spicy Shrimp Vegetable Tomato Soup

Last January, Susan said, “Bruce, Will you make soup for us every day during this month?” And, I did. I am making soup every day this January, too, more because we’ve been sick since New Year’s Eve. UGH! On Friday night, I made a Shrimp and Vegetable Spicy Tomato Soup. Delicious! And for lunch on Saturday I used the leftover tomato soup to make a Tomato Wild Rice Soup. Also delicious.

See recipe below. Note: the recipe called for fennel, which I love (Remember my Kale, Kielbasa, Fennel, White Bean and Tortellini Soup?), but the store didn’t have any. I consulted my smartphone and learned that celery is a good substitute for fennel. Plus. I added Star Anise.

The Star Anise really helped to spice up the soup as did the Bloody May mix 🙂

Here’s the Tomato and Rice Soup:

On Sunday I made a Mushroom Barley Soup:

OH! And earlier in the week, I made a Fish Chowder. YUM!

All recipes based on ones from The Soup Bowl, a great cookbook!

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.