Posted in Food Photography, Inspiration, Recipes

Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry with Veggies

For years I have wondered why do I only find shrimp from Thailand here in New England–both at the supermarket and a favorite fish store. Why? Why aren’t Gulf Shrimp distributed and sold here in New England? I recently discovered a company called Biloxi Shrimp. And I ordered 10 pounds from them. I couldn’t be happier.

Reading from their website:

“Biloxi Shrimp Co. was founded in June 2020 by Mark Mavar and Jonathan McLendon, owners of merged commercial shrimp processing companies Biloxi Freezing & Processing, Inc. and M&M Shrimp Company LLC. 

“These two successful businessmen, whose commercial business tag line is “The Coolest Guys in Town,” were both born and raised in Biloxi, Mississippi “seafood capital of the world,” where they grew up in their respective families’ shrimp and seafood businesses with a natural love for their city, their Gulf Coast and their family heritage. 

“More of the history is detailed below, but in short, they built one of the largest and most modern shrimp processing facilities in the entire Gulf, serving both the restaurant/foodservice industry and retail stores. When the pandemic arrived in spring of 2020, they found their freezers full of product that would have otherwise been shipped to the shuttered restaurant industry. Naturally, with shrimp season set to begin soon, they needed a different sales channel to make room in their freezers for the new crop of shrimp soon to arrive at their docks.” (More on their website.)

Ingredients
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 small bunch asparagus, cut into small pieces
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. grated ginger
1/2 c. soy sauce
1 tbsp. cornstarch
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
A handful of cashews, to taste

Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook until pink, 5 minutes, then remove from skillet.
  2. Return skillet to heat and heat sesame oil. Add asparagus, peas, mushrooms cook until about 5 minutes, but still crisp. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, cornstarch, lemon juice, brown sugar, and the red pepper flakes. Add to skillet and toss to coat. Add cashews and shrimp and cook until heated through, 2 minutes.

The shrimp is delicious. Perfect. Here is the first dish I made earlier in the week; a simple stir fry with quinoa.

Posted in Food Photography, Inspiration, Recipes

Grandma’s Irish Soda Bread

I never made Irish Soda Bread until this recent St. Patrick’s Day. Susan has been asking me to make it for years. “My mother always made it,” she said. “Would you make it for me?”

I did. It was delicious.

Me in the kitchen getting ready to make the bread. Freddy watching me.

I used a recipe from Julee Rosso’s cookbook, Great Good Food. Rosso is the co-author of the Silver Palate cookbooks and The New Basics Cookbook, which I believe total over 5 million copies in print.

She writes: “Grandma Clark taught me how she made this in the Old Country for special occasions. I know she’d like the taste of this one, even without the amount of butter she used.”

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup sugar (Next time I might cut back on the sugar; 1/2 cup perhaps.)
  • Juice of two oranges (I also added the zest of the oranges.)
  • 1-½ cups golden raisins
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped (Rosso called for 1/4 cup applesauce; I didn’t have it.)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-¾ cups buttermilk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg, well beaten

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray or wipe a 12 to 14 inch cast-iron skillet with vegetable oil (I used a bit of butter.) Line the buttered skillet with a circle of waxed paper. Melt 2 more tablespoons of butter and set aside.

In a small saucepan over low heat, place the raisins and orange juice and chopped apple. Macerate until the raisins are plump. About 5 minutes. Drain.

Sift dry ingredients together. Add raisins, apples, zest to dry ingredients and toss well to coat.

Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, oil. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.

Spoon batter into the prepared skillet and smooth top. Drizzle the melted butter over the dough.

Bake until golden brown and puffed, about 1 hour. (Mine was done after 55 minutes.) Either serve warm directly from skillet, or let cool completely on a rack, and then wrap carefully and refrigerate overnight.

I served this with, what else, corned beef and cabbage!

Posted in Food Photography, Inspiration, Recipes

Fat Tuesday Jambalaya

Somebody has said that if ever a good Louisianian died, went to heaven and found no gumbo there, he’d come straight back!

I’m not from Louisiana. I am still standing. And I made gumbo a few months ago. Fat Tuesday called for Jambalaya. Homemade Hot Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya.

I based my recipe on this:

Susan made a Maraschino Walnut Cake. So delicious!

A recipe from the following book. If you can find it, buy it. It’s a classic.

McBride writes: “I would rather show my appreciation of American food by eating it than by writing about it. But because I have a weakness for trying everything once, I finally did begin the well-nigh impossible task of writing the history of America in its food.”
Posted in Butterflies, Flowers, Inspiration, Nature

Imagine

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky
Imagine all the people
Livin' for today
Ah
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Livin' life in peace
You
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

~John Lennon
Posted in Color Photography, Documentary Photography, Food Photography, Inspiration, Recipes

Chicken Sausage Gumbo

Every Christmas our son and his girlfriend return to Western Massachusetts from Denver to visit family and to celebrate the holiday.

Susan and I always prepare a special dinner for the two. One year we made their favorite; Chicken Piccata. Another year Pasta Putanesca. And once, Piccadillo.

Here I am at the stove making the Roux for the Gumbo. The recipe says to Stir, Stir, Stir. Do not stop stirring until the roux is the color of chocolate milk. This might take 45 minutes! And when you have a sore right shoulder it is work. At one point I did stop stirring, walked to the fridge, grabbed the container of chocolate milk so I could compare its color to the color of the roux. Close enough.
Chicken Sausage Gumbo.

Days later Susan and I had the leftovers for lunch.

Here is recipe upon which I based my Gumbo. Note: I baked two chicken breasts and once cooled cut them into bit-size pieces. I cooked bacon first, set it aside, and used the fat instead of oil to make the roux. I also used local Polish Kielbasa. And I added a can of chopped tomatoes to the dish. I didn’t have a green pepper so I used two seeded and chopped jalapeno peppers.