Friday, April 24, 2009

Shrimp Bisque

Our friend, Stephanie, had crab night at her house a while ago and it was a huge hit. She boiled half of the crabs in an broth seasoned with old bay and the other half in cajun seasonings. Then she let the liquid boil down and sent a batch of delicious crab broth home with me! Yay!

Sticking with the seafood theme, I decided to make a shrimp bisque out of it. I can't give you an exact recipe since I have no idea how much of what spices she put into the broth. But then again, I rarely give measurements on this blog anyway since I tend not to measure things, so I guess it's not that different from usual. My typical method of cooking is to spin my spice rack around, grabbing whatever catches my eye, and tossing it in. I give it a taste and adjust accordingly. This usually results in something decent :)

- Leftover crab broth
- Onions
- Carrots
- Celery
- Garlic
- Tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Rice
- Butter
- Flour
- Shrimp
- Soy milk (or cream)
- Water
- Paprika
- Salt
- Pepper
- Parsley

- Melt some butter in a heavy pot and add the onions. Sweat them until they're soft.
- Melt more butter if necessary. Add flour and mix, cooking it down to get rid of the raw flour taste and make a roux.
- Toss in the chopped carrots, celery, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, rice, crab stock, water if necessary.
- Bring everything to a boil and let it simmer until the vegetables are soft.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper and paprika.
- Using a stick blender, blend the soup until everything is smooth and creamy.
- Mix in the cream (I used soy milk) and add the shrimp. Stir until the shrimp is cooked.
- Garnish with parsley and serve.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Crustless Quiche

There was a period of time when my hubz was on Atkins. The first week or two was really fun for him, eating endless steak, bacon, cheese and other goodies without guilt while losing weight! After a while though, that got tiring so I was constantly on the lookout for Atkins friendly recipes that would add a bit of variety to his diet.

One of his favorites was crustless quiche. Even though he's not on atkins anymore, he was in the mood for it, so he whipped up a batch himself, put them into muffin tins so that they'd make convenient little bite-sized snacks.
I'm submitting this to the Tasty Tools Event hosted by Joelen's Culinary Adventures which is featuring muffin pans this month.

- Eggs
- Milk or Cream (we use soy milk)
- Cheese
- Filling (you can use whatever you like. My hubz used broccoli and ham this time)
- Salt
- Pepper
- Oil

- Whisk the eggs and milk together until nice and fluffy.
- Mix in the cheese and fillings. It's a good idea to pre-cook most ingredients to get all the water out first.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Coat the muffin tins in oil to prevent sticking. I find a quick spray with Pam to be the easiest.
- Fill each muffin tin with the egg mixure.
- Bake at 350 degrees until cooked through and a toothpick comes out clean (about 20-30 minutes).
- Pop them in your mouth and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Duk Bokki (Rice Pinkies)

As you may already know, I love the chewy texture of rice cakes. Some time during high school, I was introduced to korean rice pinkies and I fell in love all over again. It's like rice cakes, but on steroids! I do have to admit that my jaw gets kinda tired after a few of these guys, but it's totally worth it.

I've only had it a few times, but I usually see this served with some ramen (mixed in the same sauce) and fish cake. But since I didn't have any fish cake in the house and figured I'd rather use my carb allotment on more rice pinkies instead of ramen, so I left those two ingredients out. I also usually see it served with sliced hard boiled eggs, but I thought I'd do a fried egg with a runny center instead.

I'm also submitting these rice pinkies to Joelen's Wine & Dine event featuring Korean food. Posts are accepted until April 18th, so get your entries in and check out the roundup!

- Rice pinkies
- Kimchi or napa cabbage (I used kimchi)
- Egg

- Korean chili paste

- Soy bean paste (optional)
- Water or chicken stock

- Soy sauce

- Sesame seeds and/or green onions for garnish (I skipped this)

* You can also easily add meat, more veggies, etc depending on your preferences

- Heat some water or chicken stock in a wok/pan.
- Stir in a few tablespoons of the korean chili paste (to taste). If it's too spicy for you, replace some of it with the soy bean paste instead.
- If you're adding meat to the dish, do it now.

- Add the cabbage or kimchi and any other veggies you would like to use.

- Add the rice pinkies.
- Mix everything and let it simmer until the rice pinkies are soft, adding more liquid if necessary.

- Add soy or more chili paste/soy bean paste to taste.

- Top everything with a fried egg.

- Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Honey Walnut Shrimp

When you first think about this combination, it sounds kinda gross. Shrimp in a sweet mayonnaise sauce? If I saw that on a menu, I'd probably pass on it. Luckily, they've come up with a much more appealing name for it - Honey Walnut Shrimp. That sounds much tastier, doesn't it? And it really is tasty, no matter what you call it.

A few things I'd like to point out when making this dish. Use decent sized shrimp if possible. A big part of the beauty of this dish is biting into a juicy, succulent shrimp with crispy breading. If the shrimp is too small, you won't get that same satisfaction from the "popping" of the shrimp when biting into it. Plus, you run the risk of the breading being so thick and heavy that the shrimp just disappears.

Another thing that I recommend you do is to add the nuts in AFTER you've mixed the shrimp with the mayo sauce. I tossed them in first without thinking, and the nuts got all covered in goop and didn't make for a very pretty presentation. Sprinkle the nuts on afterwards as an edible garnish. It'll look much more appetizing.

- Shrimp

- Cornstarch
- Oil
- Honey

- Mayo

- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Walnuts (sugar or honey glazed is best, but plain is fine too)

- Peel and devein the shrimp.
- Coat the shrimp lightly in the cornstarch. You can definitely use your favorite breading technique instead, but I use cornstarch because I just like a little bit of crispness without it being too heavy.

- Heat some oil in a pan or wok. Throw in the shrimp and toss it around for a few minutes until it's cooked through and crispy.
If you're using a heavier batter, deep frying is probably a better way to go.
- Mix equal portions of mayo and condensed milk and a squeeze of honey until smooth and combined.
- Fold the shrimp into the sauce and sprinkle the walnuts on top as a garnish.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Artisan Pizza

So we've been continuing to keep the dough for artisan bread in our fridge at all times and are really enjoying a constant supply of fresh crusty bread whenever we want. I also have to report on another great cheese find at Costco. The Fancy Yancy's Smoked Gouda is less than $6 per pound, is super tasty, and goes great with the baguettes. Yum!

Besides baguettes, we also tried making pizza out of it and it turned out great. I am in love with this super versatile dough and am excited to experiment with the possibilities even more.

- See dough recipe here

- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Oregano
- Mozerella cheese
- Toppings of your choice (we used grilled chicken breast and tomatoes for the pizza pictured above).
- Cornmeal or parchment paper.

- Take about a pound of the dough, dust it in flour and roll it into a ball.
- Set the dough aside and let it rest for at least half an hour. An hour or even two would be fine also.
- Heat your oven and baking stone to 475 degrees.
- Stretch and toss the dough until it makes a nice circle about 12 inches in diameter. Place it on top of a generous amount of cornmeal or parchment paper.
- Mix some tomato paste and tomato sauce together until it reaches the consistency you like and spread it all over the pizza, minus the crust.
- Sprinkle oregano on the pizza.
- Place whatever toppings you like on top.
- Sprinkle on the cheese.
- Slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Cut into slices and enjoy!