Today was a nice warm Spring day here in the Bay Area, so I thought a watermelon salad would be nice for dinner. I love watermelon and feta, although I did consider using grilled Halloumi cheese instead, but went with feta since it is a lot more economical, but I may try it next time with the Halloumi. Next was some protein to make it a complete meal in my husband’s eyes, started with chicken, but switched to shrimp to make all family members happy as my son currently is not loving chicken. I also think the salad would be good with some cherry tomatoes, but alas, my market only had small tomatoes that were a very under-ripe light red color, so I left them out. But if you have access to good vine-ripened tomatoes, include them. Enjoy with a glass of cold Rosé from Provence!
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus a Tablespoon more for the shrimp)
2 Tablespoons raw pinenuts
1 garlic clove, minced
freshly ground black pepper
About 4 cups cubed watermelon (about 1/2 small seedless watermelon)
1 large head of red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into small pieces
About 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons fresh chiffonade mint (cut in fine shreds)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a medium bowl mix 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Add the raw shrimp and let soak for 15 minutes to 1 hour in the refrigerator.
While the shrimp brines, whisk in a small bowl, the vinegar, miso, and honey. Gradually whisk in the oil. Set aside.
Roast the pine nuts for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and set aside.
Remove Shrimp from brine and drain completely. Coat shrimp with a mixture of olive oil, garlic and pepper. Grill or Broil shrimp for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.
Place about a cup of torn lettuce on each plate. Add cut watermelon, grilled shrimp, a sprinkle of feta, a sprinkle of pine nuts and pour some dressing over the salad. Garnish with chopped mint. Enjoy!
I took a little blogging-break, but hopefully I am back for the next month or so. June blog entries will probably be very light if at all. But hey, who wants to cook in the summer anyway! This a a very simple and easy dish to slowly get myself back in the swing of writing again. This is a Food & Wine recipe that I added asparagus and mushrooms to. A very flavorful and nice quick weeknight dinner.
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms (or white button), cut into thick slices
1 pound asparagus, ends broken off and sliced into one-inch pieces
fresh ground pepper
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (save time and buy it deveined, it is worth it!)
2 tablespoon small capers, drained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a very large skillet heat some olive oil until it shimmers. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes. Add the asparagus and the shrimp and cook over high heat until the shrimp are lightly browned and barely opaque, about 2 minutes.
Add the capers and cook for 30 seconds. Turn the shrimp and add the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the chopped parsley. Cover and cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce is slightly reduced. Transfer the shrimp mixture to a dish and spoon the sauce on top. Add a sprinkle of the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley and serve. Enjoy with some crusty whole wheat bread or rice.
Tonight is a Thursday and I start to get a little lazy by Thursday. I was pretty busy today and wanted to buy some specialty items at Trader Joe’s so I thought I would try to find dinner items there as well. I came across some pasteurized and packaged crab in the refrigerated section and decided I would make crab cakes and arugula (rocket) salad for dinner. Easy enough! Maybe throw in a hunk of garlic bread for my almost-teenage son (he is difficult to fill up lately!). I have been making crab cakes in the oven for years, but I keep trying slightly new recipes. I am not a fan of mayo, so I always use non-fat plain greek yogurt in it’s place, although I have experimented with leaving the yogurt out as well, I think the crab needs that moisture, so today I am leaving it in. One can also pan fry them, they may be better, but you have to be willing to use a little more oil with that method.
2 green or spring onions, green part only finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped
2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt (I used non-fat)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
dash of paprika
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 large egg , lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
1 pound lump crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed (today I used some I bought from Trader Joe’s in a refrigerated package, when it is available I use fresh crab, but today I used what is quick and easy – it is Thursday)
Canola oil or cooking spray
Quick Cocktail Sauce
1/2 cup of organic ketchup
2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon lemon juice
dash of hot sauce
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium sized bowl mix the first 11 ingredients together (red bell pepper through egg yolk). Add 1/3 cup of the Panko to the mix and put the other cup of Panko in a shallow bowl to use later to coat the patties. Add the crab and mix the ingredients thoroughly.
Shape the mixture into 8 patties and set on a plate. If you have time put the patties in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (you can make cocktail sauce and a salad while they sit in the fridge!). This helps them to firm up a bit, but will be ok either way.
If you are making cocktail sauce, just mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Easy! I probably add a lot more horseradish, but I like it spicy!
Remove crab cakes from the fridge. Lightly dredge in the reserved Panko. Place Panko-crusted crab cakes on a pan lightly coated with cooking spray or oil of choice. Bake for 15 minutes on each side or until golden on each side. Serve with cocktail sauce or sauce of choice. I also made a simple salad with arugula, sliced cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and very thin shavings of parmigiano Reggiano cheese with a light lemony vinaigrette. Enjoy!
This is pretty much a straight-up Food and Wine/Andrew Zimmern recipe. Really easy and really flavorful! Original recipe included 2 scallions, thinly sliced and did not include the mushrooms or avocado (or sometimes tomatoes) that I added. I think some grilled shrimp or hardboiled egg would be really good in this as well. I served this with Quick Brined Roasted Salmon with Lemon Garlic Oil and some simple brown Jasmine rice. Very easy and delicious meal. My son could not get enough of the salmon and the salmon’s savory sauce.
I haven’t written for over two weeks and I am feeling bad about that. Sorry! Life has been quite busy, so that is part of the reason but the other reason is that my dear husband gave me a week-long class at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa as a holiday gift and I went to my classes last week. Such an amazing program! I went to the Basic Training Boot Camp and I feel like I learned a lot about the “why” we do certain things when we are cooking. I also learned many traditional French techniques, that I still need a lot of work to master and I am interested in tweaking to make the dishes more healthy.
Unfortunately I didn’t use my new skills/knowledge for today’s dinner. It was a very spontaneous choice as I was at the Grocery store and saw lobster tails on sale and decided that it was hard to pass up lobster, so I bought a few and made up a simple Asian-style sauce to put on them. Very simple and quick. I served it with some kale chips (which I thought I posted here but apparently I have not so you can get the recipe on my Medium site-I will have to post it on Word Press in the future) and a little leftover chicken soup from yesterday. Yum!
Very flavorful and simple lobster recipe that can come together quickly on a weeknight.
Unfortunately I didn’t really measure my sauce ingredients so they are very approximate – use your judgement with the quantities.
1/4 cup Mirin
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated or minced
fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons light sweet miso
4-8 lobster tails (their size can vary so much!)
fresh ground pepper
small drizzle of olive oil (or sesame oil for a stronger flavor)
In a very small sauce pan mix the Mirin, soy sauce, and ginger and then bring to a boil.
Turn down to simmer and reduce the sauce in half so it is thickened.
Take sauce off the heat and stir in the miso. Set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.
With kitchen shears cut the lobster tail shells lengthwise through the top cutting through the shell but not through the lobster meat. Gently pry open the shell exposing the meat and gently loosen the lobster from the shell (but keep the meat in the shell).
Place the tails on the baking sheet meat side up. Sprinkle a little pepper and sauce on the tails and then cook in the oven for 7-8 minutes for very small lobster tails and up to 15 minutes for larger ones, or until the meat turns opaque and feels firm.
Serve the lobster with additional sauce and vegetables. Enjoy!