Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shrimp Scampi

I originally got my shrimp scampi recipe from my parents good friend in Maine, Mansell, who is quite the seafood cook aficionado. I don't remember exactly what the original recipe was, so I'm not sure how true I prepare it now. This is one of those dishes that seems like it would take a lot to put together, but it really couldn't be simpler. This scampi is so flavorful and one of my favorites. I rarely measure any of the ingredients, but I tried to estimate what I used tonight. If you add more or less, you really won't ruin the recipe at all. If you like sauce, or use a lot of shrimp, just increase the amounts. Serve this over your favorite pasta {I use whole wheat angel hair} with your favorite garlic bread {I used homemade French bread buttered & sprinkled with garlic powder & oregano} and you're sure to come back for seconds!

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Shrimp Scampi
Adapted from: Mansell Taylor

1/2 c. butter
2 Tbsp. jar minced garlic
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
juice of 2 lemons
frozen shrimp, thawed & tails removed

Preheat oven broiler on high.

Place butter & garlic in glass 8x8 pan and microwave on high until butter is melted. Remove from microwave, add oregano & lemon juice. Place thawed shrimp in dish with butter mixture and broil in oven for 5-8 minutes, until shrimp curls & is cooked. Serve over your favorite pasta!

**Tip: If you get your water boiling and add the pasta at the same time you put the shrimp under the broiler, everything should be ready at the same time!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Persimmon Pudding

I'm learning a lot of new Southern cooking & baking ingredients and recipes since living in North Carolina! In my CSA box this past week, I got 3 persimmons. For some reason, I thought persimmons were a flower?! Maybe they're both. They're a very pretty little fruit {or vegetable?}, don't you think? Maybe I should research just exactly what they are. Aaron is definitely a big fan of the new dessert. He doesn't usually make a big fuss over things, but the last couple of nights he can't wait to get his hands on it. Last night, out of the blue, he says "So, I think I might have a new favorite dessert!". Meaning the persimmon pudding.

Persimmon pudding is actually more cake-like than pudding-like. The entire consistency is a little more mushy than a true cake would be, but definitely mirrors a cake more than what I think of as pudding. I adapted the original recipe a little bit by adding a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and I would describe the taste as almost a pumpkin gingerbread.

The recipe calls for 1 cup of persimmon pulp. I had 3 persimmons and just used all of them. The persimmons that have an almost transparent skin and mushy insides, are the ripest & best. Just cut it in half and press through a fine-mesh sieve or food mill, discarding the flesh & seeds. I was impatient & wanted to make the pudding, so the more firm persimmons took a bit more elbow grease. I scooped out the insides with a spoon and mashed them through the sieve with a spatula and/or spoon.

This recipe is a definite "must make"...if you can get your hands on some persimmons!

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Persimmon Pudding
Adapted from:

1 cup persimmon pulp
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups sugar {I use raw cane}
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk {I use raw, whole}
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 and butter a pie plate.* In a blender, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth. Pour into buttered pie plate and bake for 40 -45 minutes.

*The original recipe used a 9x13 pan and to bake for 30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center came out with no batter stuck to it. Baking it in a pie plate worked perfectly and created a little thicker portions of pudding. We like things a little more "mushy", so by using a pie plate, the center of the pudding was a little more soft-set.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Aaron is a big dough-eater...meaning: I'm very used to him coming in with a serving spoon and stealing heaping spoonfuls of whatever cookie dough I happen to be preparing. Sometimes he likes it and will come back for more and other times he's not thrilled with the dough, so he'll move along. I wasn't convinced he would like these because of the different ingredients...boy was I ever wrong! He took no less than 5 serving spoonfuls of the dough and kept pretending he couldn't tell if he liked it or not. When some of the dough actually had a chance to bake, he came back for 4 more! I finally had a chance to try one and I knew right away what all the fuss was about. They were yummy...beyond yummy. The white chips get a little toasty while baking and reminded me of a lightly toasted marshmallow. You must make these won't be disappointed. The only thing I did different from the recipe was to add more white chips...probably closer to a cup. Maybe a little more.

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Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
By: Ocean Spray

2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 6 oz. package cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat oven to 375. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light & fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the butter mixture in several batches, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Spicy Sausage Shepherd's Pie

I made this last night for the first time and it was delicious! Aaron is not fond of regular Shepherd's Pie and was pleasantly surprised when he found out that this dish wasn't. I used hot sausage in the recipe and it was pretty spicy, so if you don't care for too much spice, you're better off choosing a mild sausage. I think that any type of sausage would work well in here...a spinach & feta might be nice to try. You can also use regular baking potatoes, I just prefer red. The cabbage was crisp-tender and a yummy way to get in some great nutrition!

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Spicy Sausage Shepherd's Pie

Adapted from: Rachel Ray

2 1/2 pounds red potatoes {about 8}, peeled and cut into cubes
2 cups chicken stock
6 tablespoons cream
Salt & pepper
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 head green cabbage, cored & sliced into thin strips
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. horseradish
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Preheat broiler. In a pot, place potatoes and add enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Salt the water well. Cover and bring to a boil, then uncover and cook until fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash in the broth, cream, salt & pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up, until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked sausage to a bowl. In the same skillet, add the cabbage, onion, & garlic, season with salt & pepper, and saute until golden. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and the horseradish. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until liquid is reduced, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the reserved sausage & chopped parsley.

Transfer the sausage mixture to a baking dish and spoon the mashed potato mixture over the top. Broil until the potatoes are golden brown, about 5-10 minutes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin Pie Spice
Recipe from: All Recipes

4 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
4 tsp. ground nutmet
4 tsp. ginger
3 tsp. all spice

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in airtight container or Ziploc baggie.