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Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open-Faced Hawaiian Roll Sandwich

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open Face Sandwiches www.luc.edu

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 www.morewinelesswhines.com

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)
Skewers

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     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Marinade the Shrimp

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Achieving Balance in the New Year: Mushroom Soup with Greens

Mushroom Soup        www.morewinelesswhines.com

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      www.morewinelesswhines.com

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)       www.morewinelesswhines.com

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.

Enjoy!

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Scallops with Herbed Brown Butter, Sautéed Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Scallops with Herbed Brown Butter, Sautéed Spinach & Roasted Red Pepper Sauce     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Scallops with Herbed Brown Butter, Sautéed Spinach & Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Simple and delicious.  If you like scallops, try this recipe.  If you’ve never eaten scallops before, start with this recipe.  The trick is to use high quality scallops that are free from additives.  One of the local grocery stores had a special on Peruvian Bay Scallops, so I used them instead of the traditional kind.  (These are smaller than regular scallops -think the size of a nickel-quarter instead of a half dollar) and cook very quickly.  I found several recipe variations using a simple combination of butter, olive oil, lemon juice & thyme, but the best one was from Bon Appetit.

Try to space the scallops out in the pan so they are not overly crowded or touching when you first sauté them.  I should have cooked up the scallops below in two batches to obtain a better crust, but I was impatient.  (Note:  they still turned out fine and tasted incredible).

Dinner - not too fancy, but really good     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Dinner – not too fancy, but really good

If you like pairing your food with wine, there are two New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc labels that I really like right now.  One is “90+”, which is like the Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s private label brand for the wine world.  The other wine is called “Wild South.”  I tried both of them at wine tastings first and then with these scallops.  Delicious!

Sautéing the Scallops with Herbed Brown Butter      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Sautéing the Scallops with Herbed Brown Butter

I made these scallops for dinner on a Sunday night and they took me less than 10 minutes to prepare.  I served these with sautéed spinach, lemon orzo & a roasted red pepper sauce.  Everything was excellent (except the orzo)!   The recipe for the roasted red pepper sauce is coming soon!

Sautéing the Scallops with Herbed Brown Butter www.morewinelesswhines.com

Sautéing the Scallops with Herbed Brown Butter

 

Scallops with Herbed Brown Butter

Many variations on this recipe exist, but I will give credit for this one to Bon Appetit

1 lb. sea scallops, side muscle removed
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 T olive oil
2 T. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 sprigs fresh thyme
juice from 1/2 a lemon

Place sea scallops on a paper towel lined dish. Top with a second paper towel to draw out any excess moisture. Let sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle tops of scallops with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add oil. Once hot, add scallops, salt & pepper side down. Cook, undisturbed, 3 minutes. Sprinkle tops of scallops with sea salt & pepper. Turn scallops using tongs. Add butter and thyme to pan. Continue cooking, spooning pan sauce over scallops, until scallops are cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. Stir in lemon juice. Serve scallops with the pan sauce.

Easy Prep for Brown Butter Scallops      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Easy Prep for Scallops with Herbed Brown Butter

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Orzo with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives & Feta

Orzo with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives and Feta   www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives and Feta

Confession time:  I am on a serious asparagus bender.  I cannot walk through a grocery store or peruse a restaurant menu and resist asparagus.  As a result, I have gotten creative with how I use my green friend to prevent my other half from getting sick of it.  Asparagus Risotto?  Check.  Asparagus with Champagne Vinaigrette and Feta?  Check.   Grilled asparagus with Balsamic Glaze and Locatelli Pecorino Romano?  yep.

Here is another great way to incorporate asparagus into your culinary repertoire while it is still at its peak.

Enjoy!

Note:  Last night I made the mistake of serving grilled asparagus with Israeli Couscous and New York Strip Steaks.  My other half just picked at the asparagus with his fork, ate 3 spears then let it be.  He looked up at me, a pleading look in his eyes, and said, “You know….”  I finished his sentence for him by replying, “You are really over asparagus?”   He could not believe that I read his mind.  Oh well, asparagus and I had a good run.  Until next spring!

Orzo with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives & Feta    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives & Feta

Orzo with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives & Feta

1.5 T olive oil + 2 T.
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 c. shallot, diced (~ 1 large)
1/2 c. red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces

1 c orzo
4 c hot broth or water
2 T olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice

leaves from 5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/3 c. kalamata olives
1 c. Greek feta packed in brine, cut into 1/2″ pieces

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1.5 T olive oil and swirl in pan until glistening hot.  Add garlic.  Sauté 30 seconds.  Add shallot and red pepper.  Sauté 5 minutes.  Stir in asparagus and sauté 5 minutes more until it becomes bright green.  Transfer to a bowl.  Stir in kalamata olives, a pinch of sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Return skillet to stovetop over medium heat.  Add orzo to pan and stir 1-2 minutes.  Pour hot broth or water (be careful) into the pan. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer 7-9 minutes, or until al dente.  Drain, reserving 1/2 c. broth or salted water.

Toss vegetables with orzo.   Stir in 2 T olive oil, lemon juice, feta & thyme. Season to taste with more sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  If orzo mix seems too dry, try stirring in some pasta water/broth.

Optional: Serve with Lemon Garlic Chicken Kebab.  I stirred my chicken into the orzo for an “all in one dinner bowl.”  It was delicious!

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Gruyere, Ham, Mushroom & Caramelized Shallot Puff Pastry Bites




Gruyere, Ham, Mushroom & Caramelized Shallot Puff Pastry Bites

Gruyere, Ham, Mushroom & Caramelized Shallot Puff Pastry Bites

 

Let’s speak about puff pastry and ham and caramelized shallots and sautéed mushrooms!

I had sampled a ham, Gruyere and shallot ‘tart’ from the frozen food section at Trader Joe’s.  The concept was good, but the delivery and overall flavor profile left more to be desired.  The ‘pastry’ was a flat, thin crust that never quite cooked all the way through.  There was a scant amount of mediocre quality ham, too raw of an onion flavor and not enough cheese!

Enter party time.  My grandfather made a really big ham for a really big day.   I usually don’t eat ham.  In fact, ham is one of my 2 times per year foods.  Regardless, there was some ham leftover, which I diligently picked off of the bone (and gave the ham bone to a family friend for her soup).

In a moment where I overestimated my free time, I decided to create miniature “bite size” puff pastry cups filled with ham, a little grated gruyere cheese, some caramelized shallots and sautéed mushrooms.  I have found that people like food delivered in small, delicious bites and phyllo dough filled with ham and cheese!  For this recipe I incorporated Caramelized Shallots from Smitten Kitchen.  These little shallots are slightly addictive.

Caramelizing Shallots for Gruyere, Ham, Mushroom & Caramelized Shallot Puff Pastry Bites

Caramelizing Shallots for Gruyere, Ham, Mushroom & Caramelized Shallot Puff Pastry Bites

 

Making the phyllo pastry cups for Gruyere, Ham, Mushroom & Caramelized Shallot Puff Pastry Bites

Making the phyllo pastry cups for Gruyere, Ham, Mushroom & Caramelized Shallot Puff Pastry Bites

Gruyere, Ham, Mushroom and Caramelized Shallot Puff Pastry Bites

1 pkg (17.3 oz) Frozen Puff pastry, left to thaw in refrigerator overnight
2 c. Gruyere cheese, grated
2 c. Cooked ham, diced
1/4 recipe Caramelized Shallots  (optional)
1 pkg (10 oz) Baby bella Mushrooms, sliced
2 T. canola oil
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease two 12-ct muffin tins with cooking spray.

Make caramelized shallots and let cool.   You will only need 1/4 of the shallots.  Either quarter the recipe or set aside remaining  shallots for another use.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add 2 T. Canola oil to hot pan.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add sliced mushrooms to the pan, stirring constantly, 5 minutes.  Add fresh thyme, sea salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to sauté until mushrooms are tender and almost starting to crisp.  Scoop out of pan onto paper towel lined plate to drain any excess oil.

Cut each piece of puff pastry into 3″ x 3″ squares.  I made 9 squares with each piece of puff pastry, for a total of 18 pieces.  Gently press each piece of puff pastry into its own muffin tin openings.

Bake puff pastry on middle rack of preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until light golden and starting to “pouf.”

Add ham, mushrooms and caramelized shallots on top of puff pastry in muffin tins.  Then, top each of the filled pastry cups with shredded Gruyere cheese.  Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and edges of pastry turn a deep golden.

Serve warm with a side salad for dinner or as part of an appetizer party.  Enjoy!

Gruyere, Ham, Mushroom & Caramelized Shallot Puff Pastry Bites

Gruyere, Ham, Mushroom & Caramelized Shallot Puff Pastry Bites

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Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Breaded Chicken

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken

It was after 6:00 pm.  The hunger hour had struck! I had planned to make parmesan-panko crusted chicken breasts and salad with a lemon vinaigrette.  No panko.  Salad greens sat in the fridge too long.  Time for plan B.  What’s on hand?  Leftover cornbread (my favorite) from Boston Market, a hunk of Kerrygold Irish Cheddar and fresh thyme.  Inspiration strikes.

I rip the cornbread into small pieces and cut the cheddar cheese into small chunks.  I grate them, separately, in my small food processor.  I mix them together with some fresh thyme leaves.  Now I have a breading for my chicken!

I served this with what I had on hand – Israeli couscous and cauliflower, but I know you can give the meal more color than that!

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Breaded Chicken Tenders

2 chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness, cut into 2-3″ x 2″ pieces
1 c. cornbread, ground into fine crumbs with a food processor
3/4 c. Kerrygold Irish Cheddar Cheese, grated or pulsed into small crumbs in a food processor
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
3/4 c. flour (I used white whole wheat)
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 eggs
1 T. water

Preheat oven to 400F.  Place a wire rack in a baking sheet..  Spray rack with cooking spray.

Combine Cornbread Crumbs, Grated Cheddar and thyme in a low dish or pie plate.  Combine cornstarch and flour in a second low dish or pie plate.  Crack 2 eggs into a bowl, checking for & removing any shell pieces.  Whisk together with water in a low bowl or pie plate.  You now have 3 dishes ready to bread the chicken.

First, dredge chicken in flour.  Then, using tongs, cover chicken pieces in egg wash.  Transfer to cornbread mix and turn to coat, using your hands to push the ‘crumbs’ into a pile and up and over chicken.  Transfer to wire rack on baking sheet.

Bake 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Flip over to other side and bake another 5-8 minutes.

*Note: I did not serve these with any type of dipping sauce – they truly don’t need it.  BUT if you happen to have some honey mustard dip handy, it would go really well with these puppies.

Yum!

Breading the Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken

Breading the Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken before going in the oven

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken before going in the oven

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken right out of the oven

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken right out of the oven

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