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October 17, 2011

Shrimp "Garden Variety"

1 lb. med. Shrimp, deveined and peeled*
Celery, 1 rib, minced
Scallions, 1 bunch: whites minced, greens cut diagonally in 1 in. pieces
2 large garlic cloves, minced fine
2 Tbsp. butter or ordinary olive or other cooking oil if you prefer
Grape Tomatoes, 15 or so, halved lengthwise
2 oz. milk or water
½ cup (or more) of Sour Cream
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch

Mix the cornstarch and water/milk thoroughly.

In a heavy saucepan large enough to eventually accommodate all; over a low fire, sweat the celery and minced onion in butter until soft. Do not brown. Add the garlic for another minute or two until it begins to perfume the kitchen.

Turn up the heat to medium and add the shrimp. After 2 minutes, remix the cornstarch, and add it, along with the tomatoes and green onions. Cook for another minute or two, till shrimp are pink. Add half of the sour cream. Mix well, then add the rest. Cook for another few minutes to fully thicken, and to soften the onions and tomatoes. Add more sour cream if the mixture is too thick. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Mix with cooked pasta or serve over white rice.

(This is a recipe fashioned from refrigerator left overs before leaving the lake at season's end; turns out to be our new-found favorite recipe for shrimp.)

*If using precooked shrimp, remove the tails if still attached, and add them along with the onions and tomatoes to avoid overcooking. Be sure in any case that everything is heated through completely.

Posted by Curmudgeon at 2:17 PM

April 25, 2011

Snapper Scampi

(Sauce also works well with other solid white fish, and with chicken breasts and pork chops. Best if the meat is skinless and boneless)
This recipe needs no further addition of salt, even without the bullion.

Two 4-6 oz. snapper fillets*
Black pepper to taste

2 shallots, chopped relatively fine
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. oil

1 generous tbsp. pimentos, chopped
1 generous tbsp. capers, drained
1 cup beer (not heavy, yeasty varieties)
Fish bullion, small cube (optional)**
1-2 tsp. Sambuca, Pernod, or other licorice liqueur (optional)***

Fresh chopped parsley if desired

Moisten the fish with lemon or lime juice for 15 min. Pat try and season with fresh ground black pepper.

In a skillet sufficient in size to handle the fillets, melt the butter, add the oil and sauté the shallots for 1-2 minutes; add the garlic for another 1 minute. Add the pimentos and the capers, and half of the beer. If using bullion and/or Sambuca, mix well with the first beer. Simmer for another few minutes, stirring to mix well.

Push the skillet ingredients aside and add the seasoned fish; surround it with the sauce and continue to simmer. As sauce is reduced, add beer a little at a time. After 2-3 minutes--depending on the thickness of the fillet--turn over and continue to cook another few minutes until it is flaky.

Add parsley, if using it, and stir in quickly. Cover the fish with the sauce and serve immediately. If more sauce is required, obviously, add a little more beer.

*If using fresh snapper fillets, which are commonly sold with skin, be sure to put the flesh side down first.

**I personally use a generous tsp. of clam base (see Soup Base link), but fish base from the grocery, or fish bullion works well. If using pork or chicken, use a little chicken bullion or base. The recipe also works without any enhancement.

***The Sambuca adds a great deal. Be careful not to use very much, at least until you've tried it out. It is a powerful flavor and is obnoxious if overused.

Posted by Curmudgeon at 4:24 PM

October 26, 2010

Bower's Harbor Carrot Cake

This recipe comes from Bower's Harbor Inn on the Mission Peninsula in northern Michigan. It is the best carrot cake you will ever eat. Trust me!

(Today I tried to access this recipe and found that somehow it had disappeared from my website, so . . . here it is again . . . sorry 'bout that.)

3 c. unbleached, all purpose flour
3 c. granulated sugar
1 t. salt
1 T baking soda
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 ½ c. corn oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1T vanilla extract
1 ½ c. walnut meats, chopped
1 ½ c. shredded coconut
1 1/3 c. pureed, cooked carrots
¾ c. crushed pineapple, drained

(altogether makes 8 c. total volume)

8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
6 T sweet butter, room temp
3 c. confectioner's sugar (plus a little)
1 t. vanilla extract
Juice of ½ lemon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 inch layer cake pans, 2 inches deep, lined on the bottom with waxed paper. (Can substitute a 9x13 inch cake pan)

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl; add oil, eggs and vanilla and beat well. Fold in carrots, pineapple, walnuts and coconut. Pour batter into pans. Set on middle rack and bake for about an hour, until the edges have pulled away from the sides and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. (About 1 hr & 25 min. if using 9x13 inch pan)

Cool on a rack for 3 hours. Fill, and then frost the cake with cream cheese frosting (or just frost it, if using the 9x13.) Dust the top with confectioner's sugar.

For frosting, cream together the cheese and butter. Slowly sift in the sugar, continuously beating to combine. When completely incorporated, mixture must be free of lumps. Stir in the vanilla . . . and the lemon juice if desired, and fill/frost the cake.

Note: this also makes fantastic breakfast or dessert bread, with or without the frosting; used to serve it at my inn, baked in the typical loaf pans, and served w/o the frosting. As cake, or bread, this freezes beautifully, and actually cuts better when frozen.

Posted by Curmudgeon at 12:27 PM