Archive Page 2

Coconut Shrimp with Lime

I’m really into shrimp lately and I’ve been looking for some new ways to cook it.  I found this recipe at Williams-Sonoma.  It looked summery and fresh.  Since the weather was so nice today, I went for it.  I served it with some brown basmati rice.  It was really delish.

Coconut Shrimp with Lime
Williams-Sonoma

Ingredients:
3 limes
1/2 cup dried flaked coconut
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup golden rum
1 Tbs. honey
24 extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red onion, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon

Directions:
Cut 1 lime in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into thin slices. Set aside. Grate enough zest from the remaining 2 limes to measure 1 tsp., then halve the limes and squeeze the juice from them.

In a food processor, combine the coconut, milk, rum and honey. Process until the coconut is finely chopped but not pureed. Transfer to a large nonaluminum bowl and stir in the lime juice, lime zest and shrimp. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before grilling. If using wooden skewers, soak 6 to 8 of them in water to cover for 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the onion, olive oil and tarragon. Mix well, cover and set aside.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Position the grill rack 4 to 6 inches above the fire.

Remove the shrimp from the marinade, taking care not to knock off any of the clinging marinade. Bend each shrimp almost in half and insert a skewer just above the tail so it passes through the body twice. Alternate the shrimp with the lime slices and onion pieces.

Place the skewers on the rack. Cook, turning once, until the shrimp are crisp on the outside and opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

To serve, remove the shrimp, lime slices and onion pieces from the skewers and place on a serving platter. Serve hot.

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Skillet Barbecued Pork Chops

On a rare occaison that my husband watches America’s Test Kitchen with me, he usually requests what they’re making.  This time was no exception.  The skillet barbecued pork chops did look especially tasty and I am not even a pork fan.  They were a a bit labor intensive, but totally worth it.

Skillet Barbecued Pork Chops
America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:

Pork Chops
1/2 cup table salt 
4 bone-in pork rib chops , 3/4 to 1 inch thick (8 to 10 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat, sides slit according to illustration below (see note above)
4 teaspoons vegetable oil 
Spice Rub
1 tablespoon paprika 
1 tablespoon brown sugar 
2 teaspoons ground coriander 
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
1 teaspoon ground black pepper 
Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup 
3 tablespoons light molasses 
2 tablespoons grated onion 
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
1 tablespoon cider vinegar 
1 tablespoon brown sugar 
1 teaspoon liquid smokeDirections:

1. FOR THE PORK CHOPS: Dissolve salt in 2 quarts water in large bowl or container. Submerge chops in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. FOR THE SPICE RUB: Combine ingredients in small bowl. Measure 2 teaspoons mixture into medium bowl and set aside for sauce. Transfer remaining spice rub to pie plate or large plate.

3. FOR THE SAUCE: Whisk ingredients in bowl with reserved spice mixture; set aside.

4. TO COOK CHOPS: Remove chops from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Coat both sides of chops with spice rub, pressing gently so rub adheres. Pat chops to remove excess rub; discard excess rub.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Following illustration below, place chops in skillet in pinwheel formation; cook until charred in spots, 5 to 8 minutes. Flip chops and continue to cook until second side is browned and charred and center of chop registers 130 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 4 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer chops to clean plate or baking sheet. Lightly brush top side of each chop with 2 teaspoons sauce.

6. Wipe out pan with paper towels and return to medium heat. Add remaining teaspoon oil and heat until just smoking. Add chops to pan, sauce-side down, and cook without moving until sauce has caramelized and charred in spots, about 1 minute. While cooking, lightly brush top side of each chop with 2 teaspoons sauce. Turn chops and cook until second side is charred and caramelized and center of chops registers 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

7. Transfer chops back to plate or baking sheet, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Internal temperature should rise to about 145 degrees. Meanwhile, add remaining sauce to pan and cook, scraping pan bottom, until thickened to ketchup-like consistency and reduced to 2/3 cup, about 3 minutes. Brush each chop with 1 tablespoon reduced sauce and serve immediately, passing remaining sauce at table.

Shrimp Scampi

Now that I’m into shrimp, I’ve been looking for some tasty ways to make it.  I came across this recipe on a few blogs from Gourmet and decided to adapt it.  I can’t use a lot of butter in my cooking (due to lactose issues) so I have to substitute.  Plus, I was super excited when I saw that Barilla Plus made angel hair!

Shrimp Scampi
adapted from Gourmet

Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb peeled and deveined large (20-25) shrimp
4 large garlic cloves minced
1 pinch dried hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp SmartBalance butter
3/4 lb angel-hair pasta (Barilla Plus)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:
-Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil.
-Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shrimp, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes, and transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
-Add garlic to oil remaining in skillet along with red pepper flakes, wine, salt, and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, 1 minute.
-Add butter to skillet, one tablespoon at a time, alternating natural with smartbalance, stirring until melted, and stir in shrimp.
-Remove skillet from heat.
-Cook pasta in boiling water until just tender, about 3 minutes.
-Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.
-Toss pasta well with shrimp mixture and parsley in large bowl, adding some of reserved cooking water if necessary to keep moist.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

This was a quick throw-together meal.  It turned out pretty tasty.  I served the cutlets with steamed broccoli. 

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Ingredients
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 egg whites, lightly beaten with a fork
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions
-Set up breading station using wax paper and a shallow dish for egg whites.
-Combine the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
-Butterfly each chicken breast to make 4 cutlets.
-Pat cutlets dry with a paper towel.
-Dredge each cutlet in the flour, tapping off excess.
-Dip each cutlet in the egg whites, coat thoroughly.
-Pat cutlets into the breadcrumb/cheese mixture.  Be sure to coat thoroughly.
-Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
-Cook chicken about 3 minutes per side until golden and crispy.
-Serve immediately.

NFR: Spring Cleaning 1

Well it’s time to start the old spring cleaning.  This is my frist go at this in our home, so I had to make sure I did it right (and documented it so that I don’t get lazy in years to come)! 

I decided to start a little early and do a little each weekend.  This way I wouldn’t get too overwhelmed.  I began by hanging two pieces in our bedroom that had been sitting around for quite some time…

First was this candle-holder wall art I bought (gasp) last summer originally for the living room.  Doesn’t it look nice (and romantic) above our headboard?  Hubs insisted we get the batter operated tealights though (bummer).

Second was this photo frame of some of our wedding pictures that hubs surprised me with on Christmas.  We found a home for it. 

Now onto the serious business.  I started with the bathroom.  Our house is old and the previous owners gutted and redid everything EXCEPT this bathroom (and the basement).  I don’t get it.  Anyway, we can’t afford to totally redo it now, but we replastered the walls before we moved in and painted them.  It’s a big improvement, however I never feel I can get it totally sparkling clean.  Today was the day.  I turned on my iPod, put on my yellow rubber gloves, and got to work.  Well, after 2 hours (which is ghastly considering the size of this tiny bathroom), I’m pretty satisfied. 

Here’s what I did:
-scrubbed the tub, sink, floor
-wiped down the walls, door frames, window frame
-shined all fixtures
-dusted and cleaned the light fixture
-laundered the shower curtain, liner, rug and decorative towels (they’re still drying)
-weeded and cleaned out the medicine cabinet
-cleaned the over the toilet cabinet
-mopped the floor
-dusted and cleaned the mini blinds (even though we’re getting new window treatments)
-cleaned and disinfected the toilet

           

Now onto my regularly scheduled cleaning…oy.

DB Challenge #2 – Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake

I was so excited to see the challenge this month was a recipe from Dorie Greenspan.  Her cookbook, Baking from My Home to Yours has so many great recipes.  This was a double bonus for me because I could jazz it up with my newly honed Wilton decorating skills AND it would fulfill my aunt’s request for me to bring dessert to Easter dinner at her house.  I absolutely LOVED this cake.  The flavors (two favorites of mine, lemon and raspberry) were fresh and clean.  The cake had a great texture.  I loved the meringue butterceam and will definitely use it on more cakes.  I was a little disappointed that my cakes didn’t rise as much as I thought they would and I kind of missed the boat on the torting (my aunt said she liked the difference in the widths of the layers..) *I just realized as I was cutting and pasting the recipe from the DB site that this wasn’t my fault.  The measurements were incorrect on the original post, which is why my cake didnt’ rise and torting the layers was difficult… oh well, I guess I’ll just have to make it again… but all in all I think this was a sucessful cake.  Thanks to Movern for a “Perfect Party” challenge.  Be sure to check out the rest of the perfection on the Daring Baker’s Blogroll.

For the Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (Iused buttermilk)
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extractFor the Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut (I omitted)

Getting Ready
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Buttercream
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.
The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.
Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.
During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.
You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

To Assemble the Cake
Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.
Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
Spread it with one third of the preserves.
Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream.
Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover).
Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top.

Serving
The cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold. Depending on your audience you can serve the cake with just about anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.

(ugly pic from hub’s crackberry)

I am a Wilton Graduate!

Here’s my final cake with the roses and leaves.  I didn’t finish it because hubs could not wait to have a bite.  He was really excited about that lemon curd.  I can’t wait to take course II!