Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open-Faced Hawaiian Roll Sandwich

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open Face Sandwiches

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open Face Sandwiches

It has been an intense few months.  How do I explain such a long absence?  I have one class left to finish my MBA!  I am working full-time and have spent nights and weekends in class or doing homework and projects.

As a quick break, I decided to experiment with shrimp skewers.  Then, I decided to use up a bunch of odds and ends in my kitchen.  I did open-faced sandwiches because I only had 2 “Jumbo” Hawaiian rolls left from a previous meal.  The shrimp were full of lemon-garlic flavor and the bright acidity of the lemon was balanced by the sweetness of the Hawaiian roll.  Lemon aioli is optional.  (I did not use it for my first batch and they were still delicious).

You can serve these shrimp skewers on their own, as a main course or remove the shrimp from the skewers and serve them atop a hawaiian roll & lettuce for an easy, delicious dinner!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open Face Sandwiches

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open Face Sandwiches

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open-Faced Hawaiian Roll Sandwich

1 lb shrimp (any size), peeled & deveined
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1-2 lemons
1/4 c white wine (i.e. Pinot Grigio)
3 cloves garlic, minced
dash of sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 T parsley, minced

1 T unsalted butter
2 T extra virgin olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp fresh thyme
sea salt & pepper

Butter or Bibb Lettuce
2-4 large Hawaiian Rolls, Split
Lemon aioli (optional)

Make marinade.

Whisk together olive oil through parsley and pour into a large bowl or Ziplock bag. Add shrimp and turn to coat in marinade. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes- 1 hour.

Place skewers in a shallow dish of water while the shrimp marinade.

Make the mushrooms.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil. Once butter is melted, add mushrooms (working in 2 batches if necessary). Stir mushrooms occasionally, seasoning with salt and pepper as you stir. After 5 minutes, stir in thyme. Continue sautéing until mushrooms are light brown. Remove from heat.

Skewer the shrimp & grill.
Grill over medium heat, a few minutes per side, until no longer opaque. Do not overcook!
Remove shrimp from skewers.

Optional:  Grill or toast split Hawaiian rolls, about 1-2 minutes.

To Serve:
– Place half of a Hawaiian roll on a plate. Top with lemon aioli (if using), lettuce, sautéed mushrooms and shrimp.
– Serve alongside a salad. Enjoy!

Marinade the Shrimp

Marinade the Shrimp


Achieving Balance in the New Year: Mushroom Soup with Greens

Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup with Greens

I will be honest with you.  I struggle to find balance  – among work, graduate school and home life – between travel and rest – between my dietetics undergraduate training and my ill-acquired grownup habits.   It is a continual process, one which forces me to look forward and strive to improve each day.  I’ll take the struggle over complacency.

While trying to improve the foods my family cooks and eats together, I found this unusual Mushroom Soup in Jean-Georges:  Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef.    I am constantly on the prowl for a creative spark to jump-start a cooking session – and this cookbook has done wonders for my culinary prowess.  See the Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro + Chive Oil recipes on this blog as evidence.

The soup, along with other recipes in the cookbook, achieves a harmonious balance of colors, textures and flavors.  What better way to usher in the new year?

Mushroom Soup before adding broth

Mushroom Soup with Greens before adding broth

I started the soup by making a rich mushroom ‘broth’ on a Sunday.  Then, I assembled the actual soup for dinner on a Monday night.  The final brief cooking &  ‘assembly’ went quickly.  It is not until all the ingredients come together at the last minute that you will agree with me and go “ahhhh, this WILL be delicious!”

Ingredients for Mushroom Soup (note, the broth is in the bowl and was made ahead of time)

Ingredients for Mushroom Soup (note, the broth is in the bowl and was made ahead of time)

Mushroom Soup with Greens
Recipe from cookbook Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef

For the broth:
2 lbs button mushrooms, rinsed & coarsely chopped
4 oz shiitake mushrooms
4 T. unsalted butter
sea salt
4-6 shallots, roughly chopped (~1 c.)
6 garlic cloves, smashed (ok to leave skins on)
4 thyme sprigs

For the final soup:
2 T. minced shallots
1/2 c. fresh or frozen and thawed peas (Optional – I did not use)
2 tsp. walnut or hazelnut oil
2 T. soy sauce
freshly cracked black pepper
1 T. port
2 c. mixed salad greens
2 T. toasted breadcrumbs (I used Panko)

1.  Heat a deep skillet over high heat and add butter, chopped button mushrooms and a tiny bit of sea salt.  When mushrooms release their juices, add shallots (chopped), garlic & thyme.  Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, 5-10 minutes, or until mushrooms are brown.  Add 6 c. water.  Keep heat at medium-high to high and cook at a steady boil for 30 minutes, until reduced by half.

2.  Pour mixture through a strainer, pressing on mushroom mixture to release all juices.  Keep broth warm.  (Broth can be made up to 2 days ahead of time in a covered container:  Cool broth by putting strained broth on top of an ice pack or nest in a larger bowl filled with ice cubes, then transfer to the refrigerator).

3.  While broth is cooking, place 2 T. butter in a skillet, turn heat to high and add minced shallot and shiitake caps.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.  (Optional:  If using, add peas and cook for 1 minute at this time).  Turn off the heat and stir in walnut oil and 1 T. soy sauce.

4.  If needed, reheat broth.  Season with remaining 1 T soy sauce, cracked black pepper and port.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

5.  Place greens in individual bowls and spook shiitake mixture over them.  Add bread crumbs.  Pour soup over ingredients in the bowls and serve warm.



Asparagus, Fiddlehead Fern & Morel Mushroom Risotto

Asparagus, Fiddlehead Fern

Asparagus, Fiddlehead Fern & Morel Mushroom Risotto

I received an email from one of the local markets that they had just received some fiddlehead ferns and fresh morel mushrooms.  What would I do with the fronds and morels once I brought them home?  No clue, but I went in search of them regardless, knowing they would be part of the evening meal.

Fresh Fiddlehead Ferns

Fresh Fiddlehead Ferns

I wanted to do something fresh, filling and delicious but without the addition of cream.  Enter my friend risotto.  I have a few favorite ways to make risotto, one of them being with a mix of dried and fresh mushrooms, pancetta and saffron.  Eventually, I will share that recipe.  For this dish, I started with my seasonal ingredients.

Asparagus, Fiddlehead Fern and Morel Mushrooms with White Wine Butter Sauce

Asparagus, Fiddlehead Fern and Morel Mushrooms with White Wine Butter Sauce

You could almost just prepare the asparagus, fiddlehead ferns and morels in the white wine butter sauce and forget about the risotto if you are pressed for time.  I will leave that up to you!  No matter which direction you choose, you will have a great recipe base to sample some of spring’s fleeting delicacies.

This is how you know it is ok to add more broth to your risotto

This is how you know it is ok to add more broth to your risotto

Personally, I’m not a huge fiddlehead fern fan, but they are a fun, seasonal ingredient and “just work” in this dish.  The morels for this recipe cost $7.80.  They are not cheap, but are worth the once a year splurge.  Enjoy!

Asparagus, Fiddlehead Fern & Morel Mushroom Risotto

6 c. low sodium chicken broth

4 T. unsalted butter
1 bunch asparagus
16-18 fiddlehead ferns (optional)
18 small morel mushrooms (can substitute with other mushrooms)
1/2 c. dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)

1 T. Canola Oil
2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. minced shallots
1.5 c. Arborio rice

1 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano + 1/4 c. for serving
2 T. Parsley, chopped (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.) Broth: Pour chicken broth into a large saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer. Reduce heat to low and maintain a gentle simmer.

2.) Asparagus, Fiddlehead Ferns & Morels: Heat a medium frying pan over low-medium heat. Add 4 T. butter. Gently melt and allow to turn a rich golden-tan, stirring occasionally with a spatula. Once the butter is browned (but not burned), add morels and asparagus. Sauté 2-3 minutes. Add fiddlehead ferns. Sauté additional 5 minutes. Turn heat to high. Pour in white wine. Sauté 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed. Remove pan from heat and set aside.*

3.) The Rice:Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Melt 2 T. butter & 1 T canola oil. Stir in minced shallots and sauté until golden. Stir Arborio rice into the shallots and continue stirring, 2 minutes longer until oil coats all of the rice. Begin adding broth, 1/2 c (4 oz) at a time, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Once most of broth is absorbed or you can run your spoon down the center of the pan without liquid immediately covering the space back up, add another ladle full of broth. Continue to do this 18-25 minutes, or until all of broth is gone.** Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper as you go, taking care not to add too much salt..

4.) Bringing it all together: Add the reserved spring asparagus, fiddlehead ferns & morels along with any sauce left in the saucepan to the rice. Stir. Slowly stir in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve garnished with fresh parsley and extra parmesan cheese.

*You can forget about the risotto if you like and just prepare the asparagus, fiddlehead ferns and morels up to this point. Serve them as a side dish, mixed in with an omelet, atop grilled chicken or as part of an antipasto platter!

** I use a 4 oz ladle to scoop the broth out of the pot. A measuring cup will work, too.