Almond Shrimp Skillet Bread Pudding

Almond Shrimp Skillet Bread Pudding

Almond Shrimp Skillet Bread Pudding

I found a week or two old dried chunk of a country wheat boule in the refrigerator that I was hesitant to simply discard… it was a tasty, hearty bread.  I decided to essentially make a frittata but add bread cubes to it, making it a sort of savory bread pudding. This was the successful result. :)

Most of the ingredients.

Most of the ingredients.

Ingredients: olive oil, chopped sweet onion, mushroom, spinach, a couple cloves of garlic (sliced), oregano, black pepper, raw shrimp (thawed from frozen and most cut into bite sized pieces), a large handful of bread cubes or torn pieces , 4-6 eggs beaten with perhaps 1/4 cup of half and half.

Sautéing ingredients.

Sautéing ingredients.

In a non-stick skillet on the stove top, I first lightly sautéed the vegetables, partially cooked the shrimp, and seasoned. Meanwhile, the bread is soaking in the egg/milk mixture.

Starting the pudding in a skillet on the stove top.

Starting the pudding in a skillet on the stove top.

Then I added the bread/eggs, that had been soaking for perhaps 1/2 hour in the beaten eggs, and cooked until it began to solidify, just as one would prepare a frittata or omelette.

Finishing the pudding under the broiler.

Finishing the pudding under the broiler.

Lastly I topped the pudding with raw, blanched slivered almonds and finished it under a low broiler until nicely solidified and browned on top.

Almond  Shrimp Skillet Bread Pudding

Almond Shrimp Skillet Bread Pudding

To serve, I cut the pudding into 3 generous servings (each with one whole shrimp on top) and drizzled it with a simple sauce of mayonnaise and sriracha pepper sauce, and accompanied it with a salad of fresh spinach tossed with Goddess Dressing and sprinkled with toasted almond slivers.

A bite of Almond Shrimp Skillet Bread Pudding

A bite of Almond Shrimp Skillet Bread Pudding

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Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine

Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine

I’ve not posted much lately because of work…umm, and play, but I’m committed to at least keeping up with one post a month, so here’s the latest: Shrimp Fra Diavolo – a devilishly simple American Italian pasta dish. (“Fra diavola” apparently means “brother devil.”)

I don’t cook Italian very often and it’s the food that I least often go out for; perhaps unjustifiably, I just sometimes find it a bit boring.  It’s just so common in the U.S. However, I definitely enjoy spicy food and have been meaning to make a “fra diavolo” dish for some time. Just the other day, I was watching the television program “Lidia’s Italy,” and she made Calamari Fra Diavolo over Linguine that inspired me to do something other than my baked pasta dish that I often make when I don’t have the energy to do something ambitious.

Ingredients

Ingredients

For this recipe, I used the following ingredients:

  • linguine (dry)
  • olive oil
  • diced fire-roasted tomato, 2 cans (undrained)
  • red onion, 1/2 large, finely diced
  • cayenne powder (I used ~1 teaspoon)
  • red pepper flakes
  • garlic powder
  • oregano (dried)
  • fennel seed (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sugar (sparingly, to taste)
  • large shrimp, 6-8 cut to bite-sized pieces
    (I was short on shrimp, so I also cut a swai filet)
shrimp and swai, from frozen, prepped into small pieces.

Shrimp and Swai (fish), from frozen, prepped into small pieces

To prepare, begin by sautéing the diced onion in olive oil in a large pan.

Sautéing the onion in olive oil.

Sautéing the onion in olive oil.

Simultaneously begin boiling the pasta separately until al dente. Once the onion is tender, add the tomatoes; mashing them either in advance or in the pan. (I actually used a potato masher.) Next, add all the dry spices and sugar and stir regularly, while cooking and slightly reducing the sauce. I also added a generous portion of dry fennel seed because fennel is one of my favorites.

Preparing the sauce with spices.

Preparing the sauce with spices.

Add the shrimp pieces to the sauce and cook a few minutes; when the pasta is mostly cooked (al dente), add it to the pan as well.

Add the al dente pasta.

Add the al dente pasta.

Stir the pasta and sauce, and finish cooking when the pasta and shrimp are the desired doneness/texture.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine.

I made about 4 servings. It’s a simple, yet delicious dish!

Here’s the television program I watched that inspired this recipe, and her quite different Shrimp Fra Diavolo recipe that I just found after making mine:

I hope you enjoy this dish; as with others spiced with cayenne powder, it’s easy to make it as hot (or not) as you like.

I’m cautiously optimistic that I find time to get back to blogging (and blog reading) before July.
Either way – have a great summer! :)

Cashew Shrimp

Spicy Cashew Shrimp

I just returned from traveling today and decided to make a dinner from the few ingredients I had left in the house.

Ingredients:

  • raw shrimp, thawed from frozen
  • cashews, raw and pan roasted
  • carrot, sliced
  • red jalapeno, seeded and finely-sliced
  • canola oil

Sauce ingredients:

  • oyster sauce
  • water
  • honey
  • rice vinegar
  • chili garlic sauce
  • minced garlic
  • corn starch slurry

Preparation:

In a large pan with canola oil, sauté sliced carrot and jalapeno until carrot is mostly the desired tenderness. Add shrimp and cook just a couple minutes until almost finished. Add cashews, turn off heat and pour on sauce, mixing promptly and thouroughly as it thickens. (Add water as necessary to get desired sauce consistency.)

Spicy Cashew Shrimp with carrot and ripe jalapeno

This is a simple dinner that I was quite happy to enjoy back at home after a week away – and there was no skimping on the shrimp and cashews in my “restaurant.” :)

This combination of ingredients was really good… I bet it would be nice with celery or onion too.

Shrimp Calzone with Hoisin Sauce

Shrimp Calzone with Hoisin Sauce

Having bought pizza dough for two pizzas, my housemate and I decided to make one pizza and two calzones.

We divided one Trader Joe’s pizza dough into two equally-sized balls and stretched them out into somewhat round pieces on a lightly floured surface.

For this asian-fusion calzone, I used the following ingredients:

  • onion, small strips, lightly sautéed in olive oil
  • carrot, julienne or matchstick, lightly sautéed
  • Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • cooked shrimp, e.g., lightly sautéed, from raw, frozen
  • edamame beans, cooked, shelled (e.g., ready-to-eat from TJ’s)
  • garlic, finely sliced
  • hoisin sauce (optional inside)
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, finely shredded
  • olive oil

Place the filling ingredients atop the flattened dough, e.g., in the order above, then fold the crust over and pinch the edges to close.  (Use the hoisin sauce sparingly inside; it’s quite strongly flavored and typically you do not put sauce inside a calzone anyway.)

Brush the top lightly with olive oil, and top with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

For an accompanying dipping sauce, simply mix the following to desired consistency and taste:

Bake calzones on parchment paper on a baking sheet, ~25 minutes at 425° F, until crust is golden brown, like the edges of a nice pizza crust.

Calzones made with Trader Joe’s pizza dough.

Making calzones was a nice alternative to pizza, and pretty convenient for lunch the next day.

Enjoy!

A Shrimpy Lobster Roll

The Grilled Shrimp Roll

Shrimp Week’s dramatic conclusion!

If you’ve ever had a Lobster Roll, then you know it’s approximately the best sandwich in the universe…
Certainly, you’ll agree it’s at least the best sandwich in Maine.
Here’s my twist on that classic, prepared with some left-over grilled shrimp.

Shrimp Roll ingredients

Ingredients (per sandwich):

  • cooked shrimp, I used 5 large grilled shrimp cut to bite-sized pieces
  • 2 napa cabbage leaves
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • chives, minced
  • ciabatta or other long sandwich roll
  • Thai Peanut-Lime Dipping Sauce

Preparation:
In a bowl, simply mix shrimp, celery, chives, and (sparingly) the coconut milk-based peanut-lime sauce to prepare a sort of shrimp salad.  Since the sauce is quite thin, be sure not to add too much.
Assemble the sandwich by filling the roll with that mix, atop the napa cabbage leaf; this helps prevent the thin sauce from saturating the roll.

Grilled Shrimp Salad / sandwich filling

I served the Shrimp Roll with a bit more sauce for dipping.

Grilled Shrimp Roll with Thai Peanut-Lime Dipping Sauce

As you can see, this sandwich is so tasty that I didn’t manage to get another photo before taking a few bites. :-)

You can find the recipe for the sauce here:

Avocado & Shrimp Quesadilla

Avocado & Shrimp Quesadilla with Coconut Lime-Peanut Sauce

The Shrimp Week posts continue!

With some left-over grilled shrimp and dipping sauce, I made this delicious quesadilla for a quick breakfast.

It is simply hummus, cooked shrimp cut to bite-sized pieces, ripe avocado, and a coconut milk-based Peanut-Lime Dipping Sauce warmed open-faced in a pan over medium heat until the tortilla reaches the desired crispness.
I wait to add the avocado at the end, since I prefer it unwarmed.

As it happens, hummus is commonly eaten for breakfast in its countries of origin.

Avocado & Shrimp Quesadilla with Coconut Peanut-Lime Sauce

Hmm, now that I think of it, since I substituted hummus for cheese, I guess it’s not a proper quesadilla.  How do I get away with this stuff?  Yay for fusion cooking!

I’ve been making quesadillas since I was a child, having been introduced to them by my California cousin.

Here’s a quesadilla-making tip: while I didn’t do it here, when warming the quesadilla in the pan, spread the ingredients, especially the cheese, over the whole tortilla, not just one half.  The cheese melts faster, and the other ingredients warm faster, so you’re less likely to over-brown your tortilla… and the melted cheese acts as an adhesive so you can still fold it over without having the ingredients falling off the “top” half.

Here’s the recipe for the sauce:

How to Grill Shrimp (in my humble opinion)

Grilling shrimp in their shells

I mentioned that last week was “shrimp week” for me… so, you’re going to get a total of four posts on the subject, and I’m catching up now on this pleasantly rainy sunday. :-)

This weekend past, friends had another great Bring and Braai, i.e., a South African-style “pot luck” grilling party.  My contribution was two pounds of ~20 ct. large, frozen shrimp, for $13/pound.

When grilling shrimp, I’ve learned a great technique: grill the shrimp, whole with tails, legs, and shell intact.  They should be unfrozen and will cook in a few minutes and you just need to flip them once.  Of course individual shrimp could easily fall through grill grates, so skewer them or use a grilling basked, as shown in my photo above.
While I didn’t do it here, it’s best to cut a long slit down the back of each shrimp – this makes them easier to peel after cooking.

The advantages of this method are:

  • First and foremost, the shell keeps the moisture in.
  • The shell keeps the shrimp from sticking to the grill; no oil is necessary.
  • With the shells intact, shrimp achieve beautiful color.
  • There’s much less work when preparing them…

The further advantages (some might say disadvantages) of this method are:

  • You see the shrimp as it really is.
    (Well, sans head, as they’re most often sold in the U.S.)
    I don’t have much patience for people that don’t want to know what they’re eating.
    Animals have legs, tails, bones, and heads, and (sometimes) cute faces.
    If you don’t like being reminded of that, eat tofu and leaves instead.
  • The “work” of peeling the shrimp can be passed on to whomever is lucky enough to eat them.
    And look at the reward you get for merely peeling one large shrimp.
    Sounds like a good deal to me. :-)
    Besides, we are making our food too convenient to eat, e.g. boneless chicken wings. You’ve heard of “slow food?” I propose “slow[er] eating.”

Oh, and maybe you’re thinking, “Dave, umm, those shrimp aren’t deveined; yuck.”
That’s right, they’re not (above); the digestive tract is sometimes intact. As long as shrimp are thoroughly cooked, deveining is really a matter of aesthetics. Of the shrimp I ate, perhaps 8 total leftover, only one definitely needed deveining… which I did before eating it.

When I was buying the shrimp, the employee working the seafood counter inquired, “How are you going to cook those?” When I told him, he whole-heartedly agreed that is the best way to do it and we bonded over our shared “wisdom.” He also asked, “Aren’t you afraid it’ll freak out some of your guests?” To which I replied, “If it does [freak them out], that’s just all the more for the rest of us.”

Anyway, if you prefer to devein shrimp, go for it – the grilling method works the same, and it’s easier to remove the shell that is cut down the back.

Grilling deveined shrimp with shell intact

I more often use deveined shrimp anyway as raw shrimp are often sold deveined (in the U.S.). Deveined shrimp do have their own aeasthetic appeal, for instance, as they sometimes splay open in a soup, such as Tom Yum Goong.

To accompany these large peel-and-eat shrimp, I prepared two dipping sauces, roughly according to these recipes:

The coconut-milk based Peanut-Lime Dipping Sauce was probably the more popular, but both are quite good. You’ll see me reuse the latter sauce in my next two posts!

Roasted Broccoli & Shrimp

Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli

Happy May Day!

This week is a busy one with my research work, so here’s an easy, delicious meal for you (and me). Actually, this is turning out to be “Shrimp Week” for me; this is just one of 4 posts I had in mind on the subject.

This broccoli & shrimp dish is a great find from The New York Times, c. 2009;  I’ve linked the recipe below.

For four servings, I bought 3 stalks of broccoli, 1 pound of 31-40 ct. raw, deveined shrimp, and 4 limes.

To prepare, cut broccoli into bite-sized florets.  You could use the chopped stem portion too, if you like (roasting them a bit longer than the florets), but I saved those for another recipe.  Toss the florets with olive oil (~2 T.), coriander seed (~1 t.), cumin seed (~1 t.), coarse salt, ground black pepper, and mild paprika.

Broccoli florets tossed with olive oil, coriander seed, cumin seed, salt, pepper, and mild paprika

Peel the raw shrimp and toss them separately with olive oil and the zest of 1 lime, salt and pepper.

Peel 1 pound of 31-40 ct. raw shrimp

Spread the broccoli out on a baking sheet, and roast them, first on their own, in a 425° F oven for 10 minutes.

Broccoli and shrimp arranged for roasting

After the broccoli is partially roasted, similarly arrange the shrimp in one layer on a baking sheet and bake both the broccoli and the shrimp at 425° F for about 10 minutes, just until the shrimp are perfectly done.  You can combine them with the broccoli if the baking sheet is big enough for both in one layer with a bit of space between the shrimp and florets.

Perfectly roasted broccoli and shrimp :-)

When done roasting, drizzle the juice of perhaps 2-3 limes over the broccoli and shrimp (to taste).

I served the broccoli and shrimp atop sticky white rice with a lime wedge on the side.  Give it a try; it’s a perfect combination of flavors!

Roasted Broccoli & Shrimp with Rice

Oh, and don’t skip the coriander seed; it’s important!
I found coriander seed in a bag in the bulk(ier) spice section of my grocery store.  It was less than half the price, and more than twice the quantity, of that sold in a spice rack sort of jar.

Here’s the recipe from The New York Times; I substituted lime for lemon and mild Turkish paprika for chili powder:

Coconut, Peanut, & Pea Shoot Salad

Coconut, Peanut, and Pea Shoot Salad

Here’s a delicious salad that I arrived at by accident… and, despite having two nuts in its name, it contains no nuts, since coconut is not a proper nut and peanut is a legume or bean!

I was planning to make Tom Kha Talay, but when I opened the can of what I thought was coconut milk, I found that I had bought a can of young coconut meat instead. No problem, right?

If you’ve ever bought a young coconut, often served in China-towns as a coconut water beverage, then you’re probably familiar with the tender, sweet meat that lines the young coconut cavity.  The canned version I bought is the same, but in a sweet sugar-based syrup.

So, what to do?  I still had a pile of pea shoots for a salad to accompany the soup… how about adding the sweet coconut meat to a soup and a salad?

Here are the salad ingredients: pea shoots, mung bean sprouts, sliced young coconut meat, chopped roasted, unsalted peanut, tossed with a modest amount of Trader Joes’ Goddess dressing and a dash of fresh lime juice, and topped with more chopped peanut and lime zest.

As a fairly quick lunch, a number of the ingredients are off-the-shelf from the store.
If you haven’t had Trader Joe’s Goddess dressing, it is an oil and vinegar-based dressing with a delicious flavor dominated by soy, tahini (sesame), and garlic.

Prepared ingredients

For my  lunch, the salad was accompanied by Tom Yum Goong, made from store-bought Tom Yum Paste, homemade fish stock, diced potato, sliced carrot, sliced scallion, chopped green cabbage, quartered baby bella mushroom, chopped fresh cilantro, peeled shrimp (from frozen, raw), and chopped young coconut meat.

Tom Yum Goong with Coconut, Peanut, and Pea Shoot Salad

Next time you’re in an asian grocery, pick up some young coconut, and give this great salad and/or soup a try!

Sesame Shrimp with Bean Thread Noodle

Sesame Shrimp with Bean Thread Noodle

Here’s a delicious stir-fried noodle dish with shrimp, inspired by similar dishes at a local Thai restaurant.

Ingredients (for 2):

  • bean thread noodle (2 servings prepared, i.e., soaked in warm water or lightly boiled)
  • raw shrimp, peeled and tails removed (from frozen, perhaps 8 per serving for 18-24 count-sized shrimp)
  • baby bella mushroom, quartered (perhaps 6 mushrooms)
  • bean sprouts  (~1 cup)
  • scallion (one per serving, white portion: finely chopped, greens: large diagonal pieces)
  • minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • canola oil (~1 T.)
  • sesame oil
  • toasted sesame seed (~ 1 T.)

For sauce:

  • fish sauce (~2 T.)
  • oyster sauce (~1 1/2 T.)
  • lemon juice (~1 1/2 T.)
  • honey (~1 t.)
  • chili garlic sauce (~1/2 t.)
  • water (add to prepare ~1/2 cup sauce in total, stir to dissolve honey)

In a pan on medium-high heat, begin stir-frying shrimp in oil, then add white scallion and garlic, and then mushroom.  When shrimp are nearly cooked (perhaps 2-3 minutes), add 1/2 of the sauce (or earlier to prevent garlic from browning), stir, and add bean thread noodles and stir.  Add remaining sauce, bean sprouts and scallion greens.  Stir thoroughly and remove from heat when bean sprouts are only slightly tender but not limp.  Sprinkle sparingly with sesame oil and top with sesame seed.

Plate and garnish with a spoonful of chili garlic sauce and fresh pea shoots!