(This can be served as an appetizer or as the main dish.) (more…)
Growing up, this was my favorite dish. My mother would make it for me every year on my birthday.
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to post the recipe. Here it is:
- Jumbo shrimp. If you’re buying frozen, get the 8-12 pack. Don’t buy the COOKED frozen shrimp as most are tasteless and won’t work with this recipe, anyway. You should plan on at least three shrimp per person. But four is even better.
- Ritz Crackers, about two cups, crushed.
- Butter. Unsalted is best. About one stick. Melted.
- Lemon juice, about 1 tablespoon.
- White vermouth or white wine. About two tablespoons.
- Salt, about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon.
- Pepper, a few shakes or twists of the grinder.
- Garlic powder, just a couple of pinches. Remember, this is very strong and can easily overpower a dish. Use caution.
- Old Bay Seasoning, or paprika. About 1/2 teaspoon.
Thaw shrimp overnight in refrigerator or put in a colander and run cool water over them until they thaw. Peel them, if necessary.
Slice shrimp down the curved back and remove vein if necessary. (Sometimes, the shrimps are already deveined, even in packages that say they are not. If you can’t find a vein, don’t worry about it. If you can’t see it before it’s cooked, you won’t see it after it’s cooked. Removing the vein is aesthetic, not mandatory.) Be sure to make a deep cut so the shrimp are butterflied.
Place on a cookie sheet. Line with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
Brush shrimp with a little of the melted butter and bake at 325 for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven. They should not be cooked through yet.
Combine the Ritz Crackers, the melted butter, lemon juice, white wine or white vermouth, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Old Bay Seasoning to make the stuffing.
Spoon a round blob of stuffing over each shrimp and bake until done, about five to seven minutes. The shrimp will be a firm whitish/pink color with red stripes around the edges.
Serve with rice and your favorite greens. I served mine with a bok choy and raisins side dish.
(This is one of my favorite recipes from the weekly Dorm Room Chef series I produced during 2014. It’s steak pizzaiola made in a slow cooker: easy and delicious. Watch the video above, or read the recipe below.)
Here’s a collection of stews I compiled from good restaurants and cookbooks. I’ve made them all and enjoyed eating them more. Hopefully, you’ll have some of these ingredients on hand so you can make one of these dishes. But if not, watch the video and look at the pretty photos. It will warm you up more than looking at snow photos on Facebook.
The governor of Massachusetts declared a snow emergency and I’m declaring it stew-a-palooza — 2015!
STEWS TO MAKE ON A COLD WINTER DAY
- Geneva’s Quick Chicken And Shrimp Gumbo
- Shrimp Saute
- Easy Beef Bourguignon
- Coq Au Vin Blanc (The same as Easy Beef Bourguignon, only with chicken)
- Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon
- Blanquette De Veau (French Veal Stew)
- Lobster Stew
- Steak Pizzaiola
Steak Pizzaiola (in a slow cooker)
This is one of my favorite Dorm Room Chef recipes. It’s easy — you just throw everything into a slow cooker and wait — and it’s delicious. Lots of flavors here — tart from the capers; sweet from the peppers; and hot from the red pepper flakes — with none of them overpowering the other. And it makes enough for four hungry college students.
- 2 lbs sirloin flap beef, (steak tips) sliced thin against the grain (about ¼ inch thick)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, (or more if you like it hot)
- ½ teaspoon dry oregano
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons capers, plus some of it’s juice
- 1 can 12 oz can crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or pecorino cheese
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley leaves
- 1 red or green pepper, sliced up
- 1 medium size zucchini, sliced in half moons
- Step 1 Place all ingredients in a slow cooker, mix it up, put the lid on, turn to high heat, set timer for 3 hours. Serve hot.
(Chef Gina Palmacci from Legal Oysteria demonstrates how to make Antipasti Platter.)
The menu this Christmas Eve for 11 people at our house was as follows:
- Shrimp Saute (From Joshua’s Restaurant, Wells, Maine)
- Chard Stuffed with Risotto and Mozzarella (From La Zucca Magica, Nice, France)
- Fresh Pappardelle With Peas, Butter, and Parmigiano Reggiano (From Moveable Feast)
The menu is set.
Santa Claus may travel around the world in one night but I like to travel more leisurely: eating and drinking and then recreating some of my favorite dishes. Here’s what we’re having tomorrow night, Christmas Eve. The dishes are ones I collected in my travels: from New England to France.
Something to Pick On:
Pub Kettle Chips, from Union Station Brewery, Portland, Rhode Island.
Shrimp Saute, from Joshua’s Restaurant, Wells, Maine.
Patata Ball in Tomato Sauce, from La Zucca Magica, Nice, France.
Lasagna, from Figs Restaurant, Boston.
There are some foods I make every year around Christmastime. They are tried and true classics that continue to make taste buds happy year after year. And each year, I also try some new recipes. Some stick and become a classic, others fade away either because they didn’t deliver on their promise or simply because of neglect: like a broken doll on the Island of Misfit Toys in the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” TV special.
Here are a list of winning recipes. Most I make every year. But there are a few neglected misfits too that are worthy of a new chance in a New Year. We’ll start with the desserts because this time of year is so sweet:
1.) Pane alla Cioccolata (Chocolate Bread): This lightly sweetened bread is great with a cup of coffee or a glass of red wine. You can spread cream cheese over it, but Mascarpone cheese is better.
2.) Chocolate Bark (Christmas Gift): The only thing that would be easier than making this sweet treat would be going out and buying it.
3.) Cenci (Florentine Rags): Cenci are a deep-fried Florentine winter treat, made from Epiphany to Mardi Gras.
4.) Christmas Befana Cookies: My grandmother, Bruna, made these Befana cookies every Christmas.
5.) Chocolate Kahlua Rum Balls: Another quick and easy treat to make. Makes a good gift too.
6.) Ribollita Soup: One of the most loved recipes in the RootsLiving collection. Who knew, Tuscan Bean Soup, would be such a crowd pleaser?
7.) Asian Shrimp Salad: Trish found this recipe in an old cookbook a previous tenant left in her apartment about 30 years ago. It has become a traditional Christmas Day appetizer.
8.) Nan’s Mashed Potatoes (with Cream Cheese and Sour Cream): No Christmas Roast Beast would be complete without a side dish of this. It puts the “comfort” in comfort food.
11.) Pizza: Cheese and Fig & Proscuitto (from Figs Restaurant): My grandmother made pizza every Christmas Eve. This recipe is a combination of her pizza, Julia Child’s pizza, and Todd English’s pizza.
12.) Breakfast for Dinner: Gingerbread Pancakes: In these last, short, dark days of December sometimes it’s nice to stay in your pajamas all day and have breakfast for dinner. Here’s a suggestion in keeping with the holiday spirit.
I got this recipe from Malden Patch food writer Kate Sedan. Kate has a wonderful way of finding recipes from different cultures and making them simple to prepare.
This one is called donburi and it’s simply a bowl of rice with tasty treats on top. I used shrimp as the main protein, but you could use tofu, chicken, beef, or whatever you have on hand.
Here’s the recipe. But basically all you do is put the following ingredients in a sauce pan on top of the stove with a lid (because you want to use steam):
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Bonito flakes (dried and smoked skipjack tuna; available at most Asian stores. I used a rice seasoning which had the main ingredient of bonito and it worked well.)
- Fresh or pickled ginger (I used about 1/8 cup of fresh ginger, chopped)
- 1 Tbsp. of sugar
- 1 Tbsp. of toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup of your protein of choice (I used 1/2 pound of raw, uncooked, large shrimp.)
- About 2 cups chopped vegetables (I used a bag of prechopped cole slaw; sliced carrots; sliced scallions; shitake mushrooms; sliced spinach leaves and some bean sprouts)
With temperatures in the Boston area only in the 20s, gumbo weather has arrived.
You need this rich, hearty stew to rejuvenate after walking across the desolate tundra: your ears bleeding cold, your toes freezing numb, and your neck whiplashed by the icy fingers of old man winter.
Come in from the cold, take off your hat, gloves, coat, scarf and boots and let the savory aromas from this pot on the stove warm you.
This recipe, from the “The Black Family Reunion Cookbook,” is quick to make and great for leftovers. So thaw, baby, thaw, with a hot bowl of this southern comfort.
1 can (14 1/2 oz) chicken broth
1 can (14 1/2 oz) tomatoes
3 cups water
1 small bay leaf
1 tbsp. dried thyme leaves
2 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 tbsp. minced parsley
3 tbsp. file powder (if you don’t have this, don’t sweat it. I’ve made this gumbo before without it and it was still very good.)
1 pound sliced chicken breast
1/2 Kielbasa sausage (or 3 hot links or Polish sausage)
Salt, pepper and garlic powder (to taste)
2 cups frozen sliced okra
4 cups of cooked rice
2 cups of frozen baby shrimp, cooked. (I didn’t have any, so I used 3 cups of frozen large shrimp, cooked. Hey, I like shrimp.
Hot pepper sauce (optional) (Or put it on the table and let each diner decide if they want to use it)
What I did:
Combine chicken broth, tomatoes, water, bay leaf, thyme, butter, onion, green pepper, parsley, file powder, chicken, sausage, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a stockpot or large Dutch oven. Cook 30 minutes.
Add okra. Cook until done (8 to 10 minutes). Add rice and shrimp. Let stand 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Find more recipes in the Food section.
Here’s something to kick off a weeknight in the late summer: two quick and easy recipes, perfect to make and eat after a long day of work or to enjoy while you’re working through dinner.
An Octupus’s Garden Gazpacho with Leftover Chicken Hummus Sandwiches
(Tip: Gazpacho should sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before eating, so you could make this the night before. This soup is also very low in calories. For you Weight Watchers, it’s about 4 points per serving with the shrimp — or only 3 points without.)
An Octopus’s Garden Gazpacho
This recipe came from Parade Magaziine via Epicurious. The original name was Farmstand Gazpacho, but my brother Peter (who first made this for me) had the brilliant idea of adding shrimp to it, so I changed the name.
Eating this is like eating a bowl of nature and combined with the shrimp, you may feel like a playful sea otter surfacing from the deep with a fresh morsel in his mouth.
Octopus's Garden Gazpacho
- 2 cups, about 1 large, peeled and diced (1/4 inch) cucumber
- 2 cups, about 2, diced (1/4 inch) red bell pepper
- 2 cups, about 2, diced (1/4 inch) ripe tomato
- 1/2 cup, about one small, diced (1/4 inch) red onion
- 2 cups of tomato juice
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 dashes Tabasco sauce (You can add more if you like it more spicy. I added four dashes and found that suited my taste)
- Salt and pepper
- Shrimp (about 16 whole, medium-sized cooked shrimp. More or less to suit your taste.)
- Step 1 Place all of the diced vegetables in a large bowl. Add tomato juice, vinegar, oil and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper.
- Step 2 Transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse the machine on and off to coarsely puree the ingredients. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Step 3 Add eight of the shrimp to the soup. Save and refrigerate the other shrimp to use as garnish around the cup or bowl. Refrigerate gazpacho for 4-6 hours. I put it in the refrigerator for only three hours before eating it and it was fine.
- Step 4 Put soup in bowls or cups and hook a few shrimp around the rim. Serve with your favorite sandwich.
I made the following sandwiches with some leftover fried chicken and what I had hanging around my icebox. (The tomato and cucumber in the sandwich echoed some of the main ingredients of the soup making this a perfect combination.)
Leftover Chicken Hummus Sandwiches
- Good, real, Italian bread (I used a loaf of pane francese)
- Leftover chicken, sliced thin
- Tomato slices
- Cucumber slices
What I did:
Cover one bread slice with chicken. Put slices of tomato on top and add salt and pepper. Put slices of cucumber on top. Spread hummus on the other slice of bread and make a sandwich.
Good recipes endure. And Trish has been making this recipe for more than 20 years. It’s a favorite appetizer at Christmas time in the RootsLiving house, but she also made it this week when we had our next-door neighbors over for a cookout.
She found the recipe in an old cookbook that a previous tenant left in her apartment before we were married.
Asian Shrimp Salad
- 1/2 lb cooked shrimp
- 1/4 lb sliced ham
- 1 small green pepper
- 4-6 spring onions (scallions)
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- For the Dressing:
- 4 tablespoons of peanut or light sesame oil
- 4 teaspoons of vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of grated, fresh ginger
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon chili oil (optional)
- Step 1 Cut the ham into ribbons.
- Step 2 Halve the pepper, remove the seeds, and slice finely.
- Step 3 Cut the spring onions (scallions) diagonally.
- Step 4 Rinse the bean sprouts and nip the ends.
- Step 5 Combine the shrimp and ham with the vegetables in a bowl and chill until ready to serve.
- Step 6 For the Dressing: Place all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and beat with a fork or whisk until it thickens a little.
- Step 7 Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat evenly.