Melts in Your Mouth
I don’t want to play games. I want some one-on-one time with some oeey-gooey-goodness and I want it to be up close and personal. I want to get my Digable Planets on and relish in some creamy lavishness. And what better way to do so than to get my smooch on with some darling whole wheat crepes filled with melty swiss and artichokes. But you know I like my pop of color, so why not some spinach and red peppers to make things majestic. And tender shrimp to round out this party of sheer sexiness. I feel like I’m wasting time talking when I could be noshing. And I imagine that you’re feeling the same way and want to cut to the fucking chase. Let’s get it on… Continue reading Shrimp Crepes with Spinach, Artichokes and Swiss
I Really Meant to Name This “Shrimp in Crack Sauce”
I live for the moments in life where a mere bite of a particular dish makes me giddy. Stupid giddy. Giggling to myself like a goddamn lunatic in between bites and watching my plate like a sentry making sure that no one tries to sneak a bite. The first time that I tasted this deceptively simple dish of shrimp swimming in garlic, cream and herbs, I was actually depressed. Not because it didn’t elicit the effect that I described above. It was because my sister fucking ordered it, not me, and she felt as strongly about the shrimp as I did. With a butter knife poised to stab me in the hand if I tried to steal a bite. Ugh. Dining FAIL. Continue reading Jumbo Shrimp in Cilantro Sauce (Camarones en Salsa Verde)
Not that I haven’t always been an odd duck, but as a child, I didn’t eat any sort of seafood except for oysters. Fish was assumed to taste the way it smelled, crabs looked like spidery ocean monsters, and shrimp had to have been the grossest looking things I’d ever seen. But oysters! How I loved them so! My favorite preparation was fried with lots of lemon and ketchup, and I would adore the nights our family and extended family would pile into the car to go to the Chesapeake Bay Seafood House for their All-You-Can-Eat extravaganza. I’ve grown to become EEO about seafood (I’m sorry for judging you guys!) and adore just about every fresh catch I can get my hands on, but oysters hold a special place in my heart. Continue reading Oyster Rockefeller Dressing
Ketchup Worth Relishing
Anytime anyone says that the secret ingredient in a recipe is ketchup, you have the right to run away screaming. Not this time, though. The shrimp in this recipe are gloriously complex, with the perfect combination of ginger, Chinese Five Spice Powder, scallions and yes, ketchup. Don’t knock it till you try it. They should be called Glorious Ginger Shrimp.
As for the accompanying rice, this recipe is deceptively simple – replace plain water in the rice pot with unsweetened coconut water and cook as usual. Ok, not so deceptive, but the flavor is incredible, making this a nice addition to your next supper. It works particularly well for soaking up all of the lovely sauce from the aforementioned shrimp. Continue reading Ginger Shrimp with Coconut Rice
I’ve always thought of this vintage throwback as a weird amalgamation – crabmeat, cheese, water chestnuts and ginger all wrapped in a wonton and fried. Crazytalk! But altogether, it’s a delight – one that I first tried at the now closed tiki restaurant, Honolulu, that was right off the highway in Alexandria, Virginia.
Now, I find it hard to track down a good version from Chinese takeout places, and instead, make my own. If you love crab rangoon, but hate how many places use artificial crab meat, or worse, only cream cheese, then this is the recipe for you. Tender crab is perked up by sesame oil, ground ginger and the crunch of water chestnuts, with just enough cream cheese to bind it all together. Continue reading Crab Rangoon with Sweet Chili Sauce
Sashimi lovers, this one is for you. The combination of meltingly tender ahi tuna with soy and sesame is a dream. And it couldn’t be simpler to make – the key is tracking down a killer piece of tuna that is so fresh, it still wants to slap you in the face with a fin. Ok, maybe not that fresh, but you don’t want to go cheap on this one. The tuna is the absolute star. Continue reading Ahi Tuna Poke
Nothing says summertime majesty like a tender fish filet in crisp, lacy batter, slathered in luscious tartar sauce. Correction: nothing says the perfect time of year like the aforementioned fish. A good piece of halibut, carefully breaded and fried, is a welcome addition year-round assuming that I can get my hands on some.
The secret ingredient that makes this recipe sing is the caper aioli – a homemade mayonnaise enlivened with capers, cocktail onions, tarragon and lemon, this condiment tastes of a majesty so great that one would think that you slaved over the stuff. But that’s not the case. Pop the ingredients into the blender and whirr away until the mixture thickens to absolute perfection. Continue reading Crispy Halibut Po’boy with Caper Aioli
My husband likes most all that I cook for him – in fact, the only thing that got a resounding thumbs down were my Cold Peanut Noodles – I still say it’s not the noodles so much as his distaste for cold pasta, but that’s another story for another day. But because of his regular approval, I live for those dishes that mean adoration spelled across his face in a smile – the ones that get a “This is REALLY good, baby!” instead of a mere “It’s good.” The bites that make him look up immediately, eyes creased with a smile, the satisfaction emanating in a grin and nod. They don’t tell you when you get married that you become hypersensitive to context clues, but alas, here I am, reading facial expressions like ancient runes, sussing out the inside scoop. Continue reading Littleneck Clams with Chorizo and Garlic
Today’s guest post is coming at you straight from NYC courtesy of my good friend Arber. We met under non-culinary circumstances during my time as the master of web goodness at The City College of New York. I had the dubious honor of serving as the advisor for his student organization, a cluster of entrepreneurs, programmers and designers who created the brilliant website, In Your Class.com. Funnily, in order to get their student organization up and running as quickly as possible, they found it easier to take over an already established group rather that go through the appeals process to create a new one. Thus, although I am out and out Brazilian/Italian/African-American, I soon discovered that I was the newest advisor to the Albanian Students Organization. The founders (Arber included) were all Albanian, so to prove my mettle, I showed them all I learned from Wikipedia about Albania and had them fill me in on the rest of the important details. I adored the multiculturalism mixed with the laughs, and was totally honored that they asked me to be their advisor in the first place. Continue reading Classic Mussels with White Wine and Herbs
In that I am an avid dumpling maker (so that I can afford to be a voracious dumpling eater), I tend to go through quite a bit of filling for the little buggers. Much like the hot dog/hot dog bun conundrum (12 hot dogs vs. 8 buns), I often find myself with more filling than I have wrappers for. What to do?!?
Given that the filling does not tend to keep very well (overnight at best, and never defrosted from frozen), I have found a quick and easy solution with wontons. The wrappers are easy to come by in the produce section of the market (usually with the tofu) and can be transformed into the loveliest of soups. In Chinese, wonton means “swallowing a cloud” – easily the perfect descriptor for a soup that is both complex and delicate at the same time.
So what’s the game plan, you may ask? Very simple. Bolster your leftover filling with some fresh shrimp, sesame oil and cornstarch. Fill the wonton wrappers and twist into little satchels until you are out of filling. Freeze the wrappers (as these guys do keep well) and make a pot of wonton soup. If you have leftover wontons beyond the soup, either pan fry and serve with soy dipping sauce or deep fry and serve with duck sauce. Last but not least, relish in your delicious frugality and trenchant wit. Probably the most important step of all.
Thrifty Shrimp Wontons
1 lb. of shrimp, peeled and chopped
about 1 c. of leftover dumpling filling
1 tbs. of corn starch
2 tbs. of sesame oil
1 package of wonton skins
1 quart of chicken stock
1 tbs. of soy sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 inch of ginger, peeled
In a standing mixer or with a spoon, mix the leftover dumpling filling with the shrimp, corn starch and sesame oil. Fill the wonton wrappers with a teaspoon each of filling. Wet the edges with a bit of water and twist the corners together to form a little “money bag”. Dip the bottom of the money bag into a small amount of flour and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Repeat until you have used up all of your filling. Set aside
Pour the chicken stock, soy and ginger into a pot and bring to a boil. Add as many wontons as you’d like to eat (no more than 10 per quart of stock) and cook for 4-5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a handful of scallions. Dig in.
Variations on the Soup
As a means of extending the majesty, feel free to use any of these add-ins:
- handful of baby spinach
- handful of bean sprouts
- thinly sliced Chinese BBQ pork
- crispy fried onions or shallots
- thinly sliced chicken breast
- lo mein, mai fun or udon noodles
- peeled shrimp