Saturday, May 26, 2012

Shrimp Burgers

Don't let this picture fool you, it looks like a hamburger, but it's not.  It's a SHRIMP BURGER!  It is so flavorful.  I got this recipe from a Emeril's show, but it's really Marcelle Bienvieu's recipe.
She left out the breadcrumbs and they ARE necessary.  I used Panko.

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ lbs. shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
  • ½ C. onions, finely chopped
  • ¼ C. red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ C. celery, finely chopped
  • ¼ C. green onions, finely chopped
  • ¼ C. parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
  • ½ t. kosher salt
  • ½ T. Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning, plus 1 t.
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 C. Panko bread crumbs
  • ½ C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 C. vegetable oil, for frying
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Shredded lettuce
  • 1 Roma tomato, cut into slices
  • Homemade Tartar Sauce
Directions:
  1. In a bowl with a cover, combine the shrimp, onions, bell peppers, and celery with the beaten egg
  2. Add the Tony’s, salt, cayenne, green onions, parsley, and baking powder and mix well
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours
  4. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and add the Panko
  5. Form into 4 patties
  6. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour and the 1 t. of Tony’s
  7. Add the vegetable oil to a large skillet and place the skillet over medium heat
  8. Dredge each patty on both sides through the flour mixture, then add to the skillet
  9. Cook for 4 minutes on each side
  10. Drain each on paper towels
  11. Serve each burger on a bun with Homemade Tartar Sauce, lettuce, and tomato
Tips and Tricks:
  • Make the Homemade Tartar Sauce first, the night before is best.  Don’t skip this!  The Shrimp Burgers are so good with this Tartar Sauce.
  • Sometimes, I use a 1 lb. container of Creole seasoning from the produce section to speed up this recipe.  Creole seasoning generally has onions, green peppers, celery, garlic, green onions, and parsley.  The 1 lb. container is about 2 C.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Capers

This is quick and easy dinner.  Fresh gulf shrimp are the star of the show.  The lemon juice gives this a bright fresh flavor.  It's perfect with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Ingredients:
  • ½ lb. of angel hair pasta
  • 2 lbs. of medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 C. (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 T. capers
  • 2 T. olive oil 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ C. freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1 t. lemon zest
  • ¼ t. red pepper flakes
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 t. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • ½ C. grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Boil pasta as directed on package and strain
  2. In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat a ½ T. of butter over medium heat, allow to cook until the foam is gone
  3. Add the capers and crush ½ of them with a spoon, cook for 2 minutes or until they start to burst and smell nutty
  4. Add the olive oil and allow to heat, and then add the garlic and cook for one minute
  5. Add the lemon juice and cook until it reduces a bit 1 – 2 minutes
  6. Add the shrimp with the salt, red pepper flakes, and Creole seasoning
  7. Cook for 3 minutes
  8. Remove from the heat, then add the remaining butter and stir, until all the butter is melted
  9. Add the pasta and toss
  10. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese then serve
Tips and Tricks:
  • Adding the butter to the lemon juice without the heat helps the butter to emulsify.
  • This recipe makes 4 servings.  It is really easy to double.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Salted Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

These are homemade "Twix".  I LOVE "Twix".  It is one of my favorite candy bars.  These are better.  YES, they are that good.  I got the recipe from Tracey's Culinary Adventures and she got it from someone named Annie.  THANKS, Annie.  This one is a keeper.
Ingredients:
Shortbread:
  • 2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 1 C. butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • ½  C. sugar
Caramel:
  • ½ C. butter (1 stick), cut into 8 pieces
  • ½ C. sugar
  • 2 T.  light corn syrup
  • 1 (14 oz.) can of condensed milk
Chocolate:
  • 1 1/3 C. (8 oz.) Nestle Toll House Semi-sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • ½ C. butter (1 stick), cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 t. light corn syrup 
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and the sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes on medium speed with a mixer
  4. Reduce the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients (Don’t over mix, only until ingredients are combined.)
  5. Line a 13” x 9” x 2” baking pan with parchment paper
  6. Press the shortbread into the pan, then bake for 15 – 18 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown
  7. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack
  8. While the shortbread cools, combine the caramel ingredients in a medium sauce pan on medium heat
  9. Stir until all the butter is melted, then increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil
  10. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and start whisking constantly until the mixture gets thicker and starts turning to a caramel color (this takes 10 minutes or longer)
  11. Pour the caramel mixture over the shortbread and use a spatula to evenly distribute the caramel
  12. Place the baking pan into the refrigerator and allow the caramel to completely cool (at least 1 hour)
  13. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate, butter, and cornstarch until smooth
  14. Pour the chocolate layer over the caramel layer and use a spatula to evenly distribute the chocolate
  15. Allow the chocolate to sit for 3 minutes, then sprinkle the chocolate with fleur de sel or sea salt
  16. Place the baking pan into the refrigerator and allow the chocolate to set before cutting into squares
Tips and Tricks:
  • These are SOOOO good.  Don’t try to eat one when you first remove it from the refrigerator.  It is too hard and doesn’t taste as AWESOME as it can, if you wait for it to come to room temperature.
  • I don’t have a double boiler.  I use a pot and put a stainless steel bowl over the pot.  This works fine.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mini Crab Cakes

This is a great appetizer for a cocktail or dinner party.  They are bite size with a hint of spice.  I got the recipe from "Tracey's Culinary Adventures", but you know I tweaked it a bit.
Ingredients:
  • 1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ C. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ C. sour cream
  • ½ t. lemon zest
  • ¼ C. chives, finely chopped
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • ½ lb. of fresh lump crabmeat
  • 1 C. panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ stick (4 T.) butter, melted
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray a mini muffin pan (24) with cooking spray
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese until it is smooth
  4. Add ¼ C. of the Parmesan cheese, the egg, sour cream, lemon zest, ½ of the chives, salt, and cayenne pepper
  5. Whisk all the ingredients together until well combined, then fold in the crabmeat
  6. In another bowl, combine the ½ C. of Parmesan cheese, the other ½ of the chives, and the panko
  7. Add the melted butter and toss together with your hands until all the panko is evenly moistened
  8. Spoon one teaspoon of the panko mixture in each well, and press to form a crust
  9. Top each with a generous tablespoon of the crab mixture
  10. Finally sprinkle the top of each with the panko mixture
  11. Bake for 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown
  12. Allow the crab cakes to set for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin pan 
Tips and Tricks:
  • Each muffin well will be full with this mixture!  Some may even overflow a bit, that’s OK.
  • You can make the crab mixture the day before and refrigerate until ready to make.
  • I serve these with my homemade tartar sauce.  Follow my link to find out how I make it.

Tartar Sauce

This is a great accompaniment to a Shrimp Burger or fried seafood.  It is a combination of a few recipes I've found.
Ingredients:
  • 1 C. mayonnaise
  • 2 T. dill relish
  • 2 T. chives, finely chopped
  • 1 T. capers
  • 1 T. parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 t. Crystal hot sauce
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
  • ½ T. lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for several hours before serving
Tips and Tricks:
  • This is great to make when you are frying seafood. 
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice makes a big difference in this. 
  • This can be kept refrigerated for about two weeks.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Shrimp Mold

This is a throwback recipe.  In the 70's, recipes to make Molds or Aspic were all the rage.  I know that it is no longer a must have at every party now, but it is still good.  I love the presentation.  I was given a special Tupperware as a shower gift to make Molds or Aspic.  The recipe is straight out of my cookbook that my sister-in-law Darlene made for me.
Ingredients:
  •  1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
  •  2 packs of gelatin
  •  ½ C. water
  •  1 can tomato soup
  •  1 C. mayonnaise
  •  1 C. shrimp, cooked, chopped
  •  ¼ C. onions, finely chopped
  •  ¼ C. celery, finely chopped
  •  ¼ C. pimento stuffed, green olives, chopped
  •  ¼ C. yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

Directions:
  1. In a small simmering pot, heat the soup to a boil, then add the cream cheese to the hot soup and stir until the cream cheese melts into the soup.
  2. In a small bowl, add the gelatin to the water and whisk until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the soup mixture into a large bowl and add the gelatin to the mixture and stir until incorporated.
  4. Add the mayonnaise, then the shrimp, onions, celery, olives, and peppers
  5. Grease a Bundt pan (or Tupperware makes a Jel-Ring, which is what I use) with mayonnaise, so the finished product will slide out easily.
  6. Pour the mixture into the pan and refrigerate overnight.
  7. When ready to serve, place a platter under the pan and carefully flip the pan to release the Shrimp Mold.
  8. Serve with assorted crackers.

Tips and Tricks:
  • This is great to make when you have some leftover boiled shrimp. 
  • Yellow bell peppers is NOT necessary, but the different colors look nice. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Swedish Meatballs

I LOVE meatballs.  I even like the store bought meatballs in the bag.  These are NOT those kind of meatballs.  This recipe takes some work, but it is SO worth it.  The meatballs are almost fall-apart tender and the gravy is rich and creamy.  I used a Emeril recipe and took a Martha Stewart tip to improve it.  It's a winner!
Ingredients:
Meat mixture:
  • 1 lb. of ground chuck
  • 1 lb. of ground pork
  • 1 C. onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • ½ t. ground allspice
  • 1 ¼ C. Panko bread crumbs
  • ¾ C. whole milk
Sauce:
  • 4 T. butter
  • 1 C. onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ C. all-purpose flour
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans of beef broth
  • ¾ C. sour cream
  • ¼ C. red currant jelly 
Directions:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the Panko and the milk, mix and allow to sit for 5 minutes
  2. Mix all ingredients for the meat mixture in a large bowl, including the bread crumbs
  3. Make meatballs and place on a wax paper lined, cookie sheet
  4. Add ½ T. of butter to a Dutch oven over medium heat and brown off half of the meatball, cook them for about 8 minutes total, turning to brown all sides
  5. Remove the batch and set aside
  6. Add another ½ T. of butter and brown the second batch
  7. Remove, then add 2 T. butter and sauté the onions until limp
  8. Add garlic and cook 1 minute
  9. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes
  10. Whisk in the beef broth a little by little and cook until smooth and thick, about 5 minutes
  11. Whisk in the sour cream and the jelly, and bring to a gentle boil
  12. Add the meatball back to the Dutch oven, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 1 hour
  13. Stir occasionally, very gently, the meatballs are very fragile
  14. Serve over egg noodles as a meal, or in a chaffing dish or crockpot as an appetizer
Tips and Tricks:
  • Meatloaf mix is ground beef, pork, and veal.  It is more expensive then buying the ground chuck and pork, but it makes great meatballs.  It’s your choice.
  • I make these meatballs with a 1 ½ inch scoop.  The meatballs are smaller than a traditional Italian meatball.   This recipe will make about 50 meatballs.
  • Don’t skip the step of browning the meatball in the Dutch oven.  I KNOW you might think, it’s easier to just brown them in the oven.  It IS easier, but the flavor for your gravy is coming from all the bits of browned meat on the bottom of that Dutch oven.  If you can’t fit the meatballs in 2 batches, make 3, just add ½ T. of butter each time.
  • If you don’t have allspice, you can substitute ¼ t. ground cinnamon, 1/8 t. ground cloves, and 1/8 t. ground nutmeg.