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Baked Stuffed Shrimp
Mar 12th, 2015 by

A meal fit for a king (or a birthday boy).

A meal fit for a king (or a birthday boy).

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:

Ingredients:

  • 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.

I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper to make cleanup easier.

I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper to make cleanup easier.

Procedure:

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.

Forget the Snow, It’s Stew-A-Palooza - 2015
Jan 27th, 2015 by

(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 here.)

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

  1. Geneva’s Quick Chicken And Shrimp Gumbo
  2. Shrimp Saute
  3. Easy Beef Bourguignon
  4. Coq Au Vin Blanc (The same as Easy Beef Bourguignon, only with chicken)
  5. Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon
  6. Blanquette De Veau (French Veal Stew)
  7. Lobster Stew
  8. Steak Pizzaiola

Christmas Eve Dinner
Dec 30th, 2014 by


(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:

Appetizers included the prosciutto wrapped bread sticks and parmesan stuffed peppadew peppers demonstrated here by the head chef at Legal Oysteria in Charlestown. And of course dessert included espresso with your choice of poisons: dark rum, sambuca, or grappa.
A Christmas Eve Dinner Fit For A Pitstop By Santa Claus
Dec 23rd, 2013 by

Santa is coming. Time to light the stove.

Santa is coming. Time to light the stove.

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.

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First Course:
Shrimp Saute, from Joshua’s Restaurant, Wells, Maine.

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Second Course:
Patata Ball in Tomato Sauce, from La Zucca Magica, Nice, France.

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Third Course:
Lasagna, from Figs Restaurant, Boston.

The 12 Treats of Christmas
Dec 17th, 2012 by

A few of these recipes are misfits, but still very good.

A few of these recipes are misfits, but still very good.

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:

DESSERTS:

This is more of a snack than a dessert but anytime you eat it, it's delicious.

Chocolate Bread is more of a snack than a dessert but anytime you eat it, it's delicious.

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.

APPETIZERS:

Ribollita is a hearty soup for a cold December day.

Ribollita is a hearty soup for a cold December day.

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.

SIDE DISH:

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.

ENTREES:

Shrimp Saute can be served as an appetizer or as the main dish.

Shrimp Saute can be served as an appetizer or as the main dish.

9.) Shrimp Saute (For the New Year): I made this for the first time last year, but it’s a keeper. From Joshua’s Restaurant in Wells, Maine.

10.) Best Lobster Stew Recipe, Ever!: The recipe is from Morrison’s of Portland, Maine. It’s even easier to make if you have your lobsters steamed when you buy them.

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.

Shrimp Saute For The New Year
Dec 29th, 2011 by

Here is the Roasted Pepper Shrimp Saute I made with a recipe from Joshua's Restaurant.

Roasted Pepper Shrimp Saute, made with a recipe from Joshua's Restaurant.

Here’s a simple and delicious way to cook shrimp. I got the recipe from a book called “Fresh From Maine, Recipes and Stories from the State’s Best Chefs.”

The book features more than 50 recipes and interviews with chefs from 20 restaurants in Maine, all of which get their ingredients from local farmers and fishermen to create all-natural and organic dishes.

My friend, Russell French took the photographs for the book and his friend, Michael S. Sanders, wrote the text. You may remember Russ as a guest photographer on Rootsliving when he took photos for my grandmother’s chicken and polenta recipe. I also wrote about Russ’s avocation as a food photographer for the Book of Odds website.

I made this for Christmas Eve dinner but I think it would fit well with any New Year’s Eve dinner plan.

From Joshua’s Restaurant in Wells, Maine:

Ingredients (for four people as an appetizer):

  • Olive oil (3 tablespoons)
  • Shrimp, peeled and deveined (1 pound, 21-25 count)
  • Tomato, chopped in 1-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
  • Red pepper, roasted, thinly sliced. (1 large)
  • Jalepeno pepper, roasted, thinly sliced (1/2 pepper)
  • Garlic, chopped. (2 tablespoons)
  • Dry white wine (1 cup)
  • Butter, unsalted (4 tablespoons)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (2 tablespoons)
  • Salt, to taste

What I did:

Preheat saute pan. Put oil in pan and when almost smoking, add shrimp, tomato, peppers, and garlic.

Let cook for about 1 minute, then toss thoroughly just once to create a caramelized flavor.

After another minute when shrimp is about half-way cooked, add the wine and salt to taste.

Reduce wine by half, cooking off the alcohol. Then add butter and parsley to finish.

Serve immediately with a few pieces of grilled baguette, which is perfect for soaking up the sauce.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

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