Archive for May, 2011

May 28, 2011

Baked shrimp scampi

Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)

Serves: 6

  • 2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

*Chef’s note: Another hit. It’s hard to beat the combination of lemon, white wine and garlic, but this recipe takes it over the top–in a great way. I served this for my parents, brothers and brother’s girlfriend, and everyone loved it. SO much flavor! It’s important to use uncooked shrimp so they don’t get tough when baking, and you’ll know they’re done when they’re pink. Definitely not a great meal to make if you want fresh breath for the night, but that’s my only complaint. It’s a little messy to spread the topping, but who cares?

May 23, 2011

Garlic-roasted chicken

Food Network

Serves: 4

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 skin-on, boneless chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 slices sourdough bread, grilled or toasted
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook, skin-side down, until browned, about 5 minutes.

Separate the heads of garlic into cloves but do not peel. Flip the chicken; add the garlic and rosemary to the skillet and transfer to the oven. Roast until the chicken is cooked through but still moist, 15 to 20 more minutes.

Place the bread on a platter and top each slice with a chicken breast. Add the vinegar to the skillet and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add 3 tablespoons water and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce and garlic over the chicken and bread.

*Chef’s note: I’ve made this recipe several times, and it’s always well-received. Super simple, super yummy. Everyone in my family loves it. If you can’t find boneless, skin-on breasts, simply cut the meat off the bone of bone-in, skin-on breasts. No biggie! But it’s important to have no bones for easier cutting; the best bites have both the chicken and the bread in them. Also, I’m a fan of a little more thickly sliced sourdough in this recipe. And don’t skimp on the garlic! It says heads, not cloves….

May 15, 2011

Crispy chicken with rosemary-lemon salt

Giada De Laurentiis

Serves: 4

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 (6-inch) sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • Zest of 1/2 large lemon
  • 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • Zest of 1/2 large lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal or instant polenta

For the salt: Heat 1/4-inch oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat (the oil is hot enough when a pinch of cornmeal sizzles when added to the pan). Add the rosemary sprig and fry for 30 seconds until crisp. Using tongs, remove the rosemary sprig and drain on paper towels. Remove the leaves and finely chop to yield 1 tablespoon. Place the rosemary, salt, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Mix with a fork until combined. Set aside.

For the chicken: In a medium bowl, mix together the chicken, garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add the cornmeal and toss until the chicken is coated. Add 1/2 the chicken to the same skillet used to cook the rosemary and fry until golden and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Sprinkle with the rosemary-lemon salt and serve.

*Chef’s note: Mmm. As I heard Giada say making these on the Food Network: chicken nuggets for grownups. Their sophistication made me feel comfortable enough serving them to my grandparents when they came over for dinner, paired with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. I didn’t need nearly all the rosemary-lemon salt it made, and I think next time I would squeeze some more lemon juice over the chicken while it’s warm for more flavor and to help the salt adhere to the breading better. But, as you may find in later posts, I am a huge fan of both lemon and rosemary, so this one was a hit for me (and with my family!).

May 13, 2011

Shepherd’s pie stuffed potatoes

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 4 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided, plus additional for drizzling
  • Salt
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 pound ground sirloin or ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound button or crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons spicy brown or Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese, for sprinkling on top

Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.

On a baking sheet, toss the potatoes with a hearty drizzle of EVOO and some salt. Bake in the oven until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool.

Turn the off oven and pre-heat the broiler.

While the potatoes are cooling, place a medium skillet over medium-high heat with one turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Add the bell pepper and half of the onion to the pan, season with salt and pepper, then cook until the veggies are tender, 5-6 minutes. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut a thin slice lengthwise off of the top to expose the inside. Scoop out the potato flesh, taking care not to pierce the wall of the potato, and transfer to the bowl with the veggies (reserve the potato shells). Add the sour cream and paprika to the bowl and mash. Reserve warm.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the ground sirloin or ground turkey to the pan and cook until golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to turn golden brown, 4-5 minutes.

Add the remaining onion and garlic to the pan and cook until all the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes more. Push all of the ingredients to the edge of the pan and add the butter to the skillet. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and cook for about 1 minute. Add the stock, mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and some salt and pepper to the skillet and stir to combine. Bring up to a bubble and simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes.

Fill the potato shells with the beef and mushroom mixture, then top each of them with the reserved mashed potatoes. Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with the cheese. Pop the potatoes under the broiler until the cheese is melted and tops are golden brown.

*Chef’s note: This recipe is DELICIOUS! I followed it exactly and wouldn’t change a thing. My mom even said she would substitute the meat portion into her classic shepherd’s pie recipe it was so flavorful.  Totally worth the time. My only suggestion is to be sure to hollow out the potato enough to allow the skin to crisp; about a 1/4 inch is thick enough to keep the skin staying together without leaving too much soft texture behind.

May 8, 2011

Cathy’s apple dumplings

Lana Gomez, West Hollywood, CA (All the Wright Stuff cookbook)


Serves: 8

  • 4 medium Granny Smith apples
  • 2 cans Pillsbury crescent rolls (16)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 can Mountain Dew
  • cinnamon to top
  • vanilla ice cream

Lightly coat an 8″ x 11″ baking dish with butter. Peel, quarter and core the apples. Wrap each quarter in one triangle of dough. Place into dish (OK if touching).

In small saucepan, melt butter and sugar until combined. Pour over top so well covered. Pour soda over each dumpling. Sprinkle cinnamon over top.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until tops golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

*Chef’s note: OHMYGOSH was this good. Probably the easiest delicious dessert you ever could make. DO IT. I’d serve it to company it’s so great and easy. I’m not even ashamed to admit I ate one cold left over the next day–doesn’t even have to be hot to be delicious. But you still have to eat one warm out of the oven with plain vanilla bean ice cream. MMM! I don’t know who Cathy was/is, but she sure knew/knows what tastes good.