Shrimp in Alfredo Sauce over Crispy Polenta with Greens

DSC_0030(Becky, the Mama.)

I love it when a plan comes together, when a dish in your imagination turns out as delicious as the actual experiment.  This is one such meal.

Last night I  put a little gourmet Italian twist on southern-style Shrimp n’ Grits, then added a serving of smoky-garlicky greens as a side. The results?  Not only was the presentation gorgeous, it tasted heavenly.  As in I would absolutely put a this recipe in the category of “the perfect bite” and serve it up in a spoon to Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain on the show “The Taste”.  Then step back and wait for them to swoon and hand me the prize without further debate.

In place of  the traditional grits, I pan-fried thin slices of ready-made polenta, often used in Italian recipes.  I used Trader Joe’s brand, which comes in package shelf (not refrigerated), usually near the Italian section of the store.  It looks like moist, cooked cornmeal made into a log and wrapped in plastic.  That is because, well, it is.   It is not the most appetizing looking food when you open it up for slicing. (Think yellow corn grits that may have been left too long in a pan.) However, once you’ve pan-fried them in olive oil and butter, with a little salt and pepper…. Look out, Louise.   They turn into crispy-edged, buttery disks of corny decadence.

tj polenta

 

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polenta skilletI made a quick n’ easy, creamy Alfredo sauce for the shrimp and paired it side dish of greens–  a mixture of kale and some wonderful fresh greens, a gift from our neighbor’s garden.

I can’t wait for you to try this recipe, a Taste of Tuscany meets South in Your Mouth.

Bon appetito, Ya’ll!

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Shrimp Alfredo with Crispy Polenta and Greens

Serve’s 2

Ingredients

For Polenta:

½ log of pre-made polenta

1 T. butter

1T. olive oil

Dash salt and pepper

 

For Shrimp and Alfredo:

20 pieces of raw medium shrimp, cleaned, peeled, tails removed

1 T. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup cream

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Dash salt

 

For Greens:

1 T. Olive oil

2 cloves garlic minced,

½ red onion, diced fine

2 slices pork or turkey bacon diced fine

4 cups loosely packed, rough chopped  kale and/or other greens,  thick stems mostly removed

½ cup water

1 t. smoked paprika

1 T. vinegar, your favorite

1 T. brown sugar

Salt and Pepper (or Grill Seasoning or Cajun Seasoning) to taste

Tabasco or Frank’s Red Sauce or Red Chili Pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Start the greens first, so they can simmer on the back burner.  In your largest deepest skillet, saute olive oil, garlic, red onion and bacon, until bacon crisps. Pile the greens on top of this mixture in the skillet, cover with ½ cup of water, cover, and let the greens cook down about 5 minutes over medium heat. Take lid off and stir in paprika, vinegar and brown sugar, add salt and pepper and hot sauce to taste.  Cover again and simmer while you make the shrimp and sauce.  (Adding water if needed to keep from scorching, but no more than necessary.)

In another skillet (I like my iron skillet) let oil and butter melt and get hot while you slice the polenta into ¼ inch or so rounds.  Place the rounds in the skillet and turn heat up to medium high so that the polenta starts to pan fry.  When it is golden brown in places, turn it over and brown the other side.  Sprinkle the tops very lightly with salt and pepper.  Remove to a paper towel to drain any excess grease, then cover with another paper town to keep warm.

Wipe out the iron skillet with a paper towel, and then put in oil and garlic and shrimp.  Cook for just a minute or two until shrimp just turns pink on both sides.  (You can add a little water to the pan if the shrimp starts to stick.)  Add cream and parmesan cheese.  Stir and heat until cheese is melted and the shrimp and sauce is heated through.  Season lightly with salt to taste, if needed.

Put about 5 or 6  rounds of polenta on each plate.  Pile with shrimp and sauce.  Sprinkle with smoked paprika.  Serve with a side of the greens.

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Easy Moo Shu Veggie or Chicken Wraps

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“Come, let’s be a comfortable couple and take care of each other! How glad we shall be, that we have somebody we are fond of always, to talk to and sit with.”  Charles Dickens

Greg's Birthday 009

My husband Greg and I love our little pleasurable routines.  It really doesn’t take much to make us happy.  We don’t need high adventure, fast cars, tall mountains, or Broadway plays.  We get a kick out of watching Jay Leno’s “headlines” segment on Monday nights and reruns of “30 Rock”. We can’t wait to snuggle up on Sundays to watch Downton Abbey when it reappears on PBS this winter.  He often watches sports, while I contentedly piddle on Facebook from a comfy loveseat nearby.

We enjoy quiet road trips with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra playing in the background more than attending rousing stage concerts.  Greg stands and greets me with a kiss every morning as I stumble into the kitchen; me waking up to my first cup of coffee two hours after he’s greeted the morning. We watch Brian Williams tell the news every evening (in his friendly voice,  even the worst disasters sound less terrible).  Then I serve our suppers,  all prettily plated,  as we eat in living room, our feet up, hearts at ease. We usually clean up the unbelievably messy kitchen, afterwards, together.

 During the summer we meet outside on the porch swing for Happy Hour and conversation at 5:00 p.m.  We go to bed, each reading our e-books, a glass of ice water on my bedside table.  I slather on Lemon Cream Lotion and Greg always says I smell like lemon pie before he kisses me goodnight, wishing me sweet dreams. Then he hands me the treasures that have somehow gathered on our bed during the day: hair clips, reading glasses, books, jewelry, pens and notebooks, stray socks, apple cores — clearing room for us to ease under the quilt and fall asleep.

We’re mostly One-Note Nellys without much need for variety or grand adventures.  We find, in the comfort of each other’s company, all the thrill we generally need.  A free evening with nothing planned  is typically our idea of perfection.

Our date night’s are inevitably to our favorite Asian restaurant, John Holly’s, followed by a movie. At John Holly’s I always order the same thing:  Moo-Shu Veggies. I pile them up on thin rice pancakes with a drizzle of thick salty-sweet Hoison Sauce and dash of sriracha, then rolled the delicious stuff up like a burrito.

This quick and savory-sweet recipe for Moo-Shu uses thin uncooked flour tortillas (easier to find than rice pancakes) and has become one of my favorite veggie based cook-at-home meals now.  Greg likes it with chicken but you can substitute edamame, tofu or scrambled egg (or combo thereof) to avoid meat and make this easily vegetarian or vegan.

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Easy Moo Shu Veggie or Chicken Wraps  

1 16 ounce package of pre-shredded  Asian or colorful Cole Slaw mix

1 cup fresh snow peas, chopped into ½ inch pieces

1 cup fresh chopped mushrooms, any kind

1 cup chopped or shredded cooked chicken (or sub 1/2 cup diced tofu, edamame or raw egg, whisked)

1 large clove garlic

1 T. olive oil

1 T. sesame oil

3 T. soy sauce

1 T. maple syrup, honey, molasses or brown sugar

salt & pepper to taste

4- 5 uncooked Tortillas (or the thinnest pre-cooked tortillas you can find)

½ cup Hoison Sauce (in Asian sections)

moo shoo pork 013

¼ cup hot chili sauce or sriracha (optional, if you like heat)

1/2 cup cashew pieces or sliced almonds

Directions:

In a large skillet or walk, heat oils and 1 minced fresh garlic clove.  Toss in slaw, chopped snow peas and mushrooms.  Add chicken and/or tofu/egg. Cook until tender-crisp. Add soy and your choice of sweetener. Heat through.  Add salt or pepper if needed to season.

Lightly cook/brown the tortillas on a flat skillet.  Put about ½ cup of the hot veggie mix down the middle of each tortilla. Sprinkle with 2 T. sliced almonds or cashew pieces.  Drizzle on Hoison and dot with a little hot chili sauce or shriracha if you enjoy some heat with your Asian food.

 

moo shoo pork 007

Roll up like a burrito and slice on the diagonal, in half to serve.

moo shoo pork 012Variations: Use any veggies you like: peppers, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, celery, some fresh grated ginger – use your taste and imagination.  Try using leftover beef, pork or shrimp instead. Experiment with different nuts or sesame seeds, sliced green onions, crispy Chinese noodles or fried won ton strips, perhaps a squeeze of fresh lime.


“Healing” Panang Curry 2 Ways — Traditional and Soup

Panang Curry Soup

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Traditional Panang Curry with Shrimp

(Becky, the Mama.)

A sure-fire way to humble yourself is to announce: “I never (fill-in-the-blank)” publically.  (Or worse, “My child will never…..”)   And so when I declared, on Facebook that I almost never get sick, I should have known I was in for it.

For some unknown reason, for nearly a week, day after day, I  forgot to take my daily regime of immune-boosting supplements (fish oil, odorless garlic, probiotics, super green food powder) and woke up one morning feeling as though I was swallowing razor blades.

I went on the attack with liberal doses of all my regular supplements above  plus a couple of more exotic-sounding ones: olive leaf extract and astragalus.  By mid-afternoon my throat had calmed considerably and by nightfall it did not hurt at all.  (I did, however, get the standard stuffy head, runny nose bit – though, thankfully, without fever and it seems to be running its course fairly quickly.)

My husband was also out of town, so I had no choice but to practice good self-care and nourish my body as best I could, all by my lonesome.

In addition to honey-sweetened white tea (more nutrition-packed than green tea) laced with fresh grated ginger, and sips of Feel Good Blueberry Smoothie, I made two pots of healing soup.

First, I made a classic home-style chicken soup, a super quick and easy recipe I’ll share in coming weeks.  The other, is my new favorite “healing soup” – a Thai Panang Curry soup, rich with cancer-fighting and immune boosting antioxidants from the ginger and spices, cruciferous veggies, shitake mushrooms (which contain a compound called lentinan, shown to strengthen the immune system’s ability to fight infection and disease) and vitamin & mineral rich kale. Coconut milk, too, has healing properties.  It  contains lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

Afriend introduced me to my first good Thai Panang curry , when she bought us both take-out containers of it during a working writer’s lunch.  It was love at first bite.  It hit all the strong flavor notes I crave: spice from the curry and ginger, slightly sweet and creamy from the coconut milk, a touch of tang from fresh lime, and salty-savory-earthy from the mushrooms, veggies and broth.

It sounds so exotic, but I do not make complicated recipes, especially when I’m fighting a cold, so trust me – this is quick and easy. Feel free to substitute any veggies you have on hand, or enjoy, in this basic recipe.   I’ve included instructions for both tradition curry with rice and also the soup, in the recipe below.

 

Panang Curry with Shrimp

Panang Curry with Shrimp

“Healing” Panang Curry Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 can coconut milk (I prefer whole fat as it makes a creamier soup).

1 ½ cups veggie broth (or chicken broth)  — use 3/4 c  if you prefer to make the thicker curry version

½ small jar Thai red curry (about 3 T – less if you prefer less spice) (This jar of curry is found in Asian section of most groceries now and is small, about the size of a baby food jar.)

1 t. fresh grated ginger (pinch of dried ginger if you don’t have fresh)

1 t. brown sugar

Soy sauce or sea salt  to taste

1 c. rainbow slaw (or broccoli slaw)

1 large clove garlic

1 T. olive or coconut oil

1 T. butter

2/3 c. sliced mushrooms (I used shitake)

1 c. loosely packed, torn kale

1 fresh chopped tomato

2 sliced green onions

Slice of lime

Cilantro (sprig or chopped) and/or basil for garnish

Protein of your choice:  grilled diced tofu, diced or shredded chicken; or cooked shrimp, 1/2  to 1 cup depending on preference.  I use a small amount of chicken in the soup — as I  like the veggies taking center stage in this soup.  You could also sprinkle in toasted peanuts for added protein.  For the curry and rice version I prefer shrimp, about 5 medium shrimp per person.)

Instructions:

Saute garlic with mushrooms, slaw and kale in oil and butter in a deep large skillet until just tender. Dump all the ingredients except the last three (green onions, lime, cilantro or fresh basil ) into a large skillet and simmer until veggies are tender but not mushy. Add chopped fresh tomato last, and stir to heat through.  Ladle veggies and broth into each bowl, then garnish with a sprig of cilantro or basil (or chop it up and sprinkle), some green onions, and a slice of lime to squeeze over and stir in right before eating.

Variation:  To make a more traditional curry instead of soup, use half the broth and put a scoop of jasmine rice in the middle of the bowl before garnishes.  Sauteed shrimp is beautiful, artfully arranged around the rice and on top of the curry.  You can use any veggies you like in place of slaw, mushrooms or kale.  Add slices of cooked sweet potato and pineapple for a creamy pineapple curry.  To add heat, use a few drop of siracha sauce or thai chili paste.

Panang Curry Soup

 

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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: “healing” Panang Curry Soup
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-Kz
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


“Mess o’ Golden Fish” in Buttery Lemon Sauce

Mess o’ Golden Fish in Buttery Lemon Sauce

(Becky, the Mama.)

Yesterday was one of those Sunday afternoons that Greg and I love.  I’d popped a roast in the oven before church and then Greg’s sons, a  daughter-in-law , one nephew and one grandson showed up to enjoy a meal on the back porch.  These are special days as we know summer is waning, the leaves are turning, but for now there are still flowers and green grass and perfect 70 degree weather.

Meals for our big gang of kids (even half our crew) means lots of food, mess, dishes. A virtual kitchen disaster, since I am a fast cook, but not a tidy one.   In addition to lunch, I decided to make a quick casserole for my stepson to take home to his family as well.  (Tortilla Flower Pie.) They adopted little six-year-old Anthony this year, and suddenly became foster parents to a toddler last week.  At minimum, I felt, they deserved a night off from cooking.  So more pots and pans were added to the sink creating a virtual mountain dirty dishes.

I took a deep breath and dove in to Dish Mountain, rinsing and washing with gusto, when I felt… not a few drops, not a trickle,  but a sudden wave of warm water flooding my feet.  A broken pipe. Several trips to the hardware store, lots of under-sink-laboring, not a few choice words, and many hours  later…the pipes still leaked like an artsy under-the-sink fountain.

I loaded the dirty dishes into a big ice chest on wheels and alerted my neighbor that I might be rolling up to her door,  the Bag Lady of Dirty Dishes, to borrow her sink. Thankfully a plumber showed up today and miraculously fixed the issue, to the tune of $200.00.

Welcome to reality. It is messy.  “Mama said there’d be days like this,” and all that.   I’ve found, however, that life’s “little aggravating interruptions” get a lot easier to deal with once you accept this truth: About 20 to 30 percent of life is handling hassles.

I’ve found I don’t lose my cool over life’s inconveniences when I…

1) Take care of it – or delegate….or hire someone to take care of it ASAP without wasting time stewing

2) Find something funny in the situation to write and laugh about

3) Remember that it is not a Greek tragedy, it is not cancer,  it is not permanent. (This post will appear on 9-11, a reminder of how petty almost all our so-called ‘problems’ really are.)

4) I am not being picked on by God, stuff happens to everybody.  Build “yucky interruptions” into weekly expectations

5) Try to think of myself as Molly Brown, and do my best to be that jolly, comforting, brave woman who makes the best of a sinking ship situation.

Or in my case, a sinking sink situation.

I had just a few minutes tonight to prepare dinner after the plumber left and the kitchen was put back in order. (Thank you to my husband and nephew for doing this for me. A gift!)  What I wanted to make for supper was four perfectly formed and nicely browned fish fillets.  What I got, instead, was a mess, as some of the fish stuck to the pan, and the meat was so fresh and flakey that it began falling apart.  Then I remembered something a pro photographer said at the Foodista Blogging convention, “Life is messy. Make some of your photos messy.” Well, then…O-KAY!

Though this “mess o’ fish” dish did not turn out perfectly formed fillets, it tasted amazing.  In fact, the broken pieces allowed the lemon-butter-wine sauce to better saturate the fresh white cod,  resulting in moistness and flavor in every bite.  The family served themselves whatever bits and pieces that looked most tempting to them.

The moral of today’s post is this: When life gives you lemons, slice them and use them to decorate your latest culinary mess.  You might find you’ve fouled up your way into a new recipe masterpiece.

“Mess o’  Golden Fish” in Buttery Lemon Sauce

Serves 4

2 T. olive oil and 1 T. butter for browning fish

2 smashed garlic cloves

1.5 lb. white flakey fish fillets (I used cod, but you could use halibut, tilapia, mahi-mahi, catfish or sea bass)

1 large lemon, cut in half

2/3 cup white wine

1 T. butter (for sauce)

1 T. brown sugar

Sea Salt to taste

Few basil leaves or parsley for garnish

Directions:

Sprinkle fish fillets very lightly with sea salt on both sides.

Put 2 T. olive oil and 1 T. butter and 2 smashed garlic cloves into a large skillet over medium high heat.  As soon as it is nice and bubbly, stir to let garlic permeate the oil and butter, then add fish.  Turn fish when it is golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes or less.  Don’t worry if it comes apart when you turn it: messy is fineMessy is good.

Brown the other side of the fish.  With a wide spatula, remove fish from pan to a large serving platter with about 1 inch high sides, and loosely cover with foil to keep warm. (I used a round Corning Ware tart pan.)  In the same skillet, add 2/3 cup white wine, another tablespoon of butter, 1 T. brown sugar and juice from ½ the lemon.  Let this mixture simmer and bubble until the sauce is reduced by about a third.  Season with salt to taste at this point.  Pour the sauce over the “mess o’ golden fish” and garnish with lemon slices (from the other ½ lemon) and a few sprigs of fresh parsley or basil.  Serve family style with a spoon for dipping sauce.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Mess o’ Golden Fish in Buttery Lemon Sauce
The URL:http://wp.me/p1UwM9-Gp
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Chili Lime Southern-Style Catfish

Chili Lime Southern Style Catfish

(Becky, the Mama)

As the story in our family goes, one day my father took my little brother David and my little sister Rachel out to the bank of a lake to cast a line and do a little fishing.  If you’ve ever taken children out fishing, you know you do very little ACTUAL fishing.  It’s mostly about putting on lost bait and untangling lines.   David was probably about eight at the time, and Rachel about age five.  To this day, my sister is an “observer” and “information gatherer.”  If you saw Friday’s post you know my sister also grew up to write humor, but where I tell stories (often about the messes I seem to get in with uncanny regularity),  Rachel is more Seinfield-like, finding humor in everyday quirky observations.

Anyway, she keenly observed my brother cast line after line with a ball of catfish bait attached to the hook.  We called this horrid, sticky black concoction, “stink bait,” and to this day I don’t think I’ve smelled anything worse in my life,  including my teenage sons’ gym socks.   Apparently, however,  catfish adore it.   My father and brother would each cast their  lines, and when they reeled them in, it would come back empty — the bait gone, but no fish — over and over and over again.   Rachel took all this in, and about the fifth time the bait disappeared she shook her head slowly back and forth, and dryly concluded,  “I know a catfish who’s gonna be sick.”   To this day we chuckle knowing she assumed one fish and one fish only consuming all that bait. From then on when anyone in our family declared they were eating too much and feeling “stuffed,”  someone would pipe up with, “I know a catfish who’s gonna be sick.”

If, however, you are lucky enough to be better at catching catfish than feeding them,  then…boy,  do I have a recipe for you!  And if you don’t have access to a pond or lake, no worries.  It is easy to find good fresh farm-fed catfish in larger supermarkets and most of it has never been frozen.  This easy recipe turns out a fish that is crunchy, slightly spicy with a great lime tang on the outside,  moist and flakey on the inside.  This is a slight twist on a southern favorite that is wonderful with a side of coleslaw and some oven-broiled sliced potatoes. (Recipe for these potatoes coming up this week!)

NOTE: Rachel and I are staring at the final months before a book deadline, and in order to have time to write it, we’re going to begin posting this food blog three days a week instead of five.  Typically this will be Monday, Wed, and Saturday.

CONGRATULATIONS to Erin MacPherson AND Megan DiMaria!  Both of you will be receiving a free copy of my sister’s new book, The Well-Lived Laugh.  Thanks so much for participating on Friday.

Chili Lime Southern-Style Catfish (with Oven Baked Potato Rounds)

Chili Lime Southern-Style Catfish

Ingredients:

4 medium sized catfish fillets

1 c. cornmeal

1 t. grill seasoning (or 1/2 t. salt 1/4 t. pepper and 1/4 t. garlic powder)

1 t. Tajins chili-lime spice (If you don’t have this, substitute 1/2 t. ground red pepper and zest of one lime)

Tajin chili lime spice — usually near Mexican food aisle of grocery. You can also order it from Amazon. Delicious, too, on fresh mangos and pineapples.

1 fresh lime, cut in half

sea salt

1/2 cup healthy oil — I like a combination of coconut and olive oil (to equal about 1/4 inch in your pan of choice)

Directions:

Heat oil in iron skillet until it is sizzling hot, on medium high.  Gently rinse fish fillets with fresh water and pat dry.  Squeeze a little fresh lime juice over all the fillets, both sides. Then sprinkle both sides of fillets with some good sea salt.   Pour cornmeal on a plate or shallow wide bowl and mix in the grill seasoning and chili lime spice.  Place fillets, one at a time, in cornmeal mixture pressing the fish into it until it is lightly coated all over.

Using tongs, lay each fillet into the sizzling oil.  Let cook until the bottom is golden brown and crisp,  then turn over and cook the other side.  Don’t crowd the pan too much, cook in batches.

When done,  remove to a paper towel and let any of the extra oil drain off.   Test a bite to see if it needs more seasoning and if so sprinkle with additional Tejon or sea salt while it is still hot.   Serve with tarter sauce or fresh lemon or lime, or cocktail sauce.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Chili Lime Southern-Style Catfish
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-Ck
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Caramelized Garlic Butter Scallops

Caramelized Garlic Butter Scallops

On Monday,  I got to go up to the mountains to babysit two of my grandsons, Nate (age 6) and Titus (almost 4).  Upon arrival, Nate informed they had a Secret Hide-Out, Only Club Members Allowed.

Nate was not inclined to share the whereabouts of the Hide Out with me,  though Titus,  Mr. Tender-Hearted, was in agony trying to hold back the secret., wanting to blurt it out and take me to it right away.

I knew what had to be done.  I commenced with Nonny Charm: reading books, showing off a bag full of garage-sale-finds toys and crafty items, sharing funny stories about their Daddy and his siblings,  playing with toys in a bucket of water on the porch,  listening to their tales with animated interest, giving them each “critter punch balls” to bounce,  and finally, digging for marbles in The Marble Hole.

Nate getting a little discouraged about the lack of marbles mined from the Marble Hole.

Nate assured me he’d found three marbles in a dirt hole in the yard,  which was about 1 foot deep and 2 feet wide,  and that if I would only do the digging, he’d do the sifting and he was sure we’d find more.  So I picked up the shovel and went to work.  (The things grandmothers do for love.)  Alas, we found a rock, a worm, and one beetle but no marbles.  Later that day,  I placed a text to my son saying, “Well played, Zeke. Well played.  Great way to keep the boys busy, but a heads up: it is time to add a few more marbles to hole.”

At some point, Nate weakened and gave in.  “Okay, Nonny.  Because you are SOOO nice to us, you can be a Club Member and I will now show you our  Secret Hide-Out.”  Whew! I was IN!

The Club House was impressive. You had to climb up a ladder and hold on to a rope to get up inside the second story.  The views of the mountains and deer in the distance were none too shabby.  Super Power Rocks lined the inner sanctum’s walls. Nate offered me a seat a crate beside him, put his hands on knees and began to chat, Club Member to Club Member.  “Nonny, I had a bunch of plastic swords, but Titus chewed on all of them. So my mom is going to get me a new one.

I looked at Titus and said, “Wow, Titus! I didn’t know you were a sword eater!”  Titus responded with a shy head duck. His big blue eyes sparkled as he grinned and gave a little huff of a giggle, then turned his palms up confessing, “Yeah.  I was really hungry.” Like, Whaddaya gonna do? I was hungry. There was a plastic sword. I ate it. End of story. 

I don’t know what it is about babysitting my grandsons but at the end of the day, I always seem to take a long deep nap, and I am so hungry I could eat a bear. Or possibly, a plastic sword.

After I said my goodbyes to the boys, I arrived home and slept for two hours, then woke at 6:00, starving.  Thankfully I had thought to stop by Whole Foods on the way home. Big juicy sea scallops were on sale.   I pulled a dinner together in minutes that looked fit for a King and Queen, or a Club Member belonging to a very special Secret Hide Out.

A friend from the shores of Virginia taught me the easy trick to making incredible scallops, perfectly caramelized, buttery on the outside, and tender on the inside.  This night I served them on some leftover Jasmine rice, with some freshly steamed broccoli and a side of watermelon-feta-mint salad.  The perfect supper to revive a tired Nonny, with minimal effort on my part.  Thankfully,  Greg volunteered to wash the dishes and didn’t even make me dig for marbles to get him to do it.

Caramelized Garlic Butter Sea Scallops

Serves 2 Hungry People …  3 Not Too Hungry, Skinny People:)

These simple ingredients make the most amazing scallops

Ingredients:

8 to 10 Large Sea Scallops about 2 inches in diameter, and an inch thick

1 T. butter

1 T. olive oil

3 cloves garlic, smashed

½ fresh lemon

Sea Salt to Taste (If you have any fancy  gourmet sea salts on hand, this is the time to use them!)

Few pinches raw sugar

Directions:

Rinse the scallops then pat dry.  Sprinkle both sides of the scallops, very lightly,  with a bit of your best sea salt.  Sprinkle lightly again with little pinches of sugar – just a few grains on each scallop will do.

In to a “screaming hot skillet” put olive oil, butter and garlic cloves, then immediately turn down the heat to medium high.  Add the scallops in the skillet and let simmer in the butter and oil until they are a gorgeous shade of golden brown caramel.  Turn them and cook them on the other side until they are the same golden shade.  The middle should be perfectly done at this point.

Squeeze half a fresh lemon over all and put on a big plate.  (As you can see, I like to surround them with broccoli and lemon quarters.) Stir and scrape any pan juices and drizzle over the scallops.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Caramelized Garlic Butter Scallops
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-A7
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Pina Colada Shrimp Kabobs

Pina Colada Shrimp Kabobs

(Becky — The Butter Lovin’ Mama)

Those who know me well know that I have a tough time remembering where I put things.  It isn’t early onset dementia, unless it set upon me at age thirteen. For me, the arrival of puberty came with an extra dose of ditziness that has never gone away.  So if I ever do slip into true senility, I’m not sure  anyone will actually notice. 

Just this past week I was serving lunch to some girlfriends and confessed, “I’ve lost my kiwi.” 

“Is that a euphemism for ‘you lost your marbles’?” one gal asked.

“No,  I wanted to serve you all a special dessert with strawberries and kiwi, but I have no clue where I put the kiwi.  So strawberries it is!”

The mystery kiwi showed up a few days later, nestled near the  small potatoes in the pantry.  As my husband was searching in that very same pantry a few hours later, he hollered, “I found a glass of tea on a shelf in here!”  I lose glasses of tea and cups of coffee so often that I rarely bother looking for them.  I just make another cup or glass, sure that eventually the missing ones will show up.  But who knows where? Or why?  

This week I bought an entire bunch of celery and believe it or not, also lost that.  Three days later I found it: in my computer bag.  The stalks were a little limp, but still salvageable.  (Just don’t tell my daughter I said that.) How it got there?  No clue.  The things I do unaware, astound even me.

Functioning with a brain like this is a bit of a challenge, some days more than others. On days when I’ve “lost my kiwi” (speaking metaphorically now), I sure don’t need a long complicated recipe for dinner.  This recipe for pina colada shrimp is one of my new favorite go-to meals for otherwise complicated days.  It is super fast, just a few ingredients, incredibly easy and so yummy, you’ll want to lick the platter clean.  Sweet/salty, rich and creamy…it will take you to Hawaii in your mind.  It pairs perfectly with a side of rice pilaf and a bright green veggie like broccoli or asparagus. (Just make sure you store your green veggies in the crisper and not in your computer bag.)

Becky’s Pina Colada Shrimp Kabobs

Serves 2-4 depending on appetites, and size of shrimp

Ingredients

24 medium shrimp, raw, peeled. (Thread six shrimp on each of 4 skewers.)

2 slices of fresh pineapple cut in about 1 inch pieces (canned will also work, but not quite as tasty as fresh)

4 t. coconut oil

4 t.  soy sauce

1/2 c. pineapple juice

1/2 c. coconut milk (From a can, usually near Asian aisle at grocery.  Get full fat, not the “lite” kind.)

2 t. brown sugar

Directions:

Mix soy sauce and pineapple juice in a large measuring cup,  to make a marinade.  Pour 1/2 the marinade over the shrimp kabobs (in a large shallow pan) and let sit for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Reserve the rest of the marinade for use later in the recipe.

In a grill pan or large skillet, heat the coconut oil on the stove top to medium high. Lay marinated shrimp on skewers in the pan, alongside the pineapple pieces.  Cook shrimp until pink and turn over.  Turn over the pineapple when it gets golden brown marks on it.  Cook until both sides of the shrimp and pineapple are done.  Remove shrimp and pineapple to a plate and cover to keep warm.

In the same skillet or grill pan, add the remaining marinade along with coconut milk and. brown sugar.  Heat until bubbly and creamy. 

Arrange shrimp kabobs and pineapple on a serving plate (as shown in picture) and pour sauce over all.  You can also put on a bed of rice if you like, and decorate with broccoli flowerets or other bright-colored steamed veggies around the edges.

Variations:

Skip the skewers and saute shrimp and pineapple together in a pan, mix with sauce and serve over rice. Garnish with toasted coconut and chopped macadamias or cashews.

Vegans &  Vegetarians: Alternate pieces of firm tofu or vegan meatballs or sausages with slices of red pepper and sweet onion in place of shrimp.  Marinate and proceed with recipe above. Garnish with chopped macadamia nuts.

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The Title: Pina Colada Shrimp Kabobs

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