Posts from September 2014

Shrimp Paella



So, if you’re sick of my shrimp recipes, sorry about that. If you’re like, yay, let’s have another, here’s one more to add to the repertoire!

Obviously, as shown below, from our shrimping extravaganza last weekend, we had PLENTY of shrimp. There’s bags of frozen ones in our freezer, too, for meals down the road. (Kaia, the four-legged one here, got in on some action, too.)


With our shrimp, we made paella. Paella is a Spanish dish that combines rice and seafood and is cooked often in a cast-iron skillet (the word paella is derived from the Latin word for “pan”.) My best memory of having paella was actually last summer when we were in France for my brother Thomas’s wedding to his French bride. There was a little grocery mart next door to our Paris flat that Gary, Thomas, and I got our ingredients from and made paella for the wedding crew who had come over from the states. Though the dish is Spanish, I remember it being divine. (We made it with chicken, which is pictured below in the white oval dish. Though looking at this picture, it seems as if everyone passed on the paella and instead took the spaghetti and red-sauce instead. ???? Well, from the looks on the faces, no one seems to mind.)


I got this recipe from


6 chicken thighs 
1 t chopped fresh rosemary
2 t vegetable oil
1 link hot Italian sausage
1 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped red bell pepper
1 1/2 c uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 c diced plum tomato
1 t Hungarian hot paprika
1/4 t saffron threads, crushed
1 garlic clove, minced
3 c chicken broth
1 lb. large shrimp
1/2 c frozen green peas, thawed


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken with the rosemary, and S&P. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet (or one that can go in the oven) over medium-high heat. Add the chicken. Cook for 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove the chicken from pan. Next, chop the sausage and sauté them in the pan. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Add rice, tomato, paprika, saffron, and garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return the chicken to pan. Add the broth and bring to a boil (it will look really soupy, but the liquid will absorb in the oven when cooking). Cover the pan and bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven, and stir in the peas. Lay the shrimp on the top of the rice. Cover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the shrimp are done.

Spiced Shrimp



My mom and brother Thomas were in town, so of course lots of fun/cooking/boating happened (but blogging, on the other hand, didn’t). As luck would have it, they were in town for one of the last shrimping weeks of the year, so we headed over to the river to get in on the action.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 4.29.02 PM

Shrimping with a cast net takes a little finesse. To catch them, you need one with weights on the bottom. (I was going to go into the details about how to do this, but realized it’s WAY too complicated for me to explain. I was the photographer for this project, not the net thrower. For full instructions, refer to the Catfish Edge’s. He’s way more detailed than I could ever hope to be.)

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 4.29.10 PM

Nevertheless, if you’re successful with the net throw, it should sink to the bottom and catch shrimp along the way down. Once the net is pulled back up, they’re dumped in a bucket. You can see that they have beady red eyes and transparent bodies. The limit is a five-gallon bucket full for one boat.

Thomas made a great spiced shrimp recipe that was easy and added great flavor to the fresh shrimp.


1 1/2 lbs shrimp, unpeeled
3 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 t coriander
1 t cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t turmeric
3 T vegetable oil
1 t salt
2 t fresh lemon juice


In a bowl, mix together the scallions, garlic, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and turmeric. Add the shrimp and stir to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for half an hour.

Next, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, for two minutes. Season with the salt, add the lemon juice, and cook until opaque, or about one minute more. Top with chopped parsley for garnish.

We ate it outside, with polenta and salad, and toasted to family and reunions and good things.


Salt-Roasted Shrimp with Parsley Butter




Our boat adventure last weekend ended with a bucket full of shrimp! We went with our friends and their kids to the river to catch as many as we could.

Near the inlet of the St. John’s River in Florida is a place where the fresh water meets the sea. This time of year, the shrimp run is underway. From the end of July to the end of September, brown and white shrimp migrate from their inland nursery to their offshore spawning grounds. Boats gather to cast nets in the water to catch them.


{Our friend Pat, with a white shrimp.}


A big cast net with weights on the bottom is thrown off the side of the boat. Once it sinks to the bottom, it’s hoisted back up. Hopefully there will be shrimp caught in the net. Sometimes you get 15-30, other times there’s nothing there. The shrimp that are caught undulate and flip all over the boat. We keep the big ones, and throw them in a bucket full of water.


(I would have taken more pictures of the cast-net process, but some SUPER CUTE kids were distracting this photographer, so I came back with way more pictures of kids than shrimp. Next time.)

Our friend Sally told us about this recipe. It’s really simple, and if you don’t have to catch them yourself, it takes all of 15 minutes to prepare. I got the recipe off of Epicurious.


1/2 box rock salt
1 lb unpeeled large shrimp
1/3 c dry white wine
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c butter, chilled
1 T parsley


Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Spread half the salt on a baking dish until the bottom of the dish is covered. (You can use a glass 13 x 9″ pan.) Arrange the shrimp in a single layer on the top of the salt. Next, boil the wine, lemon juice, and garlic in a saucepan over medium-high heat until liquid is reduced to 1 tablespoon, or about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add a few pieces of butter; whisk until creamy. Return pan to low heat. Add a few more pieces of butter; whisk until smooth (do not let mixture boil). Continue whisking in butter, a few pieces at a time. Stir in parsley; season with salt and pepper. Let stand while shrimp cook.

Roast shrimp on salt until just opaque in center and shells are pink, about 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer sauce to bowl. Serve the shrimp in another plate nestled in the rest of the rock salt. Dip the shrimp in the sauce once it’s peeled.

We brought them to a potluck where they were appreciated and devoured by all.


Pesto Pizza



We planted an heirloom variety sweet basil this year, and it’s been surprisingly slow to bolt in this heat. Our Thai basil plant flowered long ago. When leafy plants such as herbs and lettuce flower and make seeds, the leaves turn bitter and are no longer good to eat. Therefore, I thought it would be best to harvest this guy before he went to seed, too.

I made pesto, and the recipe for that can be found here. Pesto is great on pasta, a bread dipping sauce, and on pizza.


1/2 c warm water
1 1/4 t dry yeast
1 1/2 c bread flour
1 t salt
olive oil for coating bowl

1/2 c pesto
1/4 c roasted red peppers
1 small can pickled artichoke hearts
1 chicken breast, cooked
Handfull Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 c feta cheese


Mix all the dough ingredients either by hand or with a dough hook on a mixer for 1 minute. Let stand for 5 minutes. Kneed with your hands on a floured surface for 5 minutes or so. Form into a ball, put in a bowl coated with olive oil. Cover with saran wrap and let sit in a warm-ish place for at least 1 hour.

Once the dough is looking ready, heat your oven to 500 degrees. Next, roll out your dough. Put a layer of pesto on the dough and top with all the chopped toppings. (I grill the chicken breast first, but you can also use leftover chicken from the fridge, too.) Put it in the oven on a peal for 7-10 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown. Serve with a chopped green salad.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce





Our lemongrass is tall and our ginger is lush, so chicken satay skewers were made. These can be made ahead of time and left to marinate, then served on skewers as appetizers or as a meal.

This recipe came from the Food Network Kitchen. I grilled vegetables as a side instead of using the Napa cabbage.


2 T fish sauce
1/4 c lime juice
2 stalks fresh lemongrass (course outer layers removed), chopped
2 T honey
1 T soy sauce
1 T ginger, minced
1/2 dried pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb chicken breasts, sliced
2 T vegetable oil
Wooden skewers

Peanut Sauce:
3 T peanut butter
1/4 c coconut milk
2 T fish sauce
2 T chili-garlic sauce
1 T lime juice
1 T honey


Combine all ingredients for the marinade (expect the 2 T oil) and whisk together well. Add your chicken to the marinade, and let sit in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Next make the peanut sauce. Combine all ingredients and set aside.

When ready to serve, skewer the chicken length-wise. (If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for a couple of hours so they won’t burn.) Brush on the 2 T of oil to the outside of the chicken so they won’t burn. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked all the way through.

Serve them with the peanut sauce and enjoy!

Pork Chops with Fig Jam



I read this NYTimes article yesterday, “September Rewards the Fig Lover,” and was inspired to make something figgy for dinner. Although our fresh figs are long gone, we still have jars of our fig jam to use. So that’s what I did. (Next year, I’m definitely going to try that fig + ricotta tart recipe from the Times; it looks way tastier than my chops here.)

I got this recipe from My Pantry Shelf.


4 pork chops
1 t fresh rosemary, minced
2 T olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1/2 c water
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 c drunken fig jam (or another kind of jam; apricot, plum, + 3 T brandy)


Sprinkle the rosemary and S&P on the chops. In a heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat until hot. Sauté the pork chops until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a plate. Next, sauté the onions in the same pan with the drippings for about 5 minutes. Add the jam, water, and vinegar, and bring to a boil. Once it’s at a boil, bring it down to a simmer and add the chops. Cook the meat covered until it registers 145 F, or for about 20 minutes. Uncover and cook some of the water off for about 5 minutes.

Serve with polenta or mashed potatoes.

Scallops with White Wine Sauce



Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

For Labor Day, Gary and I did something wonderfully laborious: we went scalloping. Scalloping, actually, is a lot of work, and it’s an all day affair. It involves heading to the Northern Gulf waters, which is a little more than an hour away from here. Once on the water, we have to “find” the scallops. A group of boats with their dive flags waving is often a good sign, but you never know. One spot may be full, another devoid. We wear snorkels, masks, and fins, and swim around with our face in the water looking on the bottom for scallops. The scallops tend to hide in the eel grass (the long flowing grass that grows on the sandy bottom). They’re hard to find–the color and shape really camouflages the shell against the grass–which makes it all the more fun when one is spotted. Once one is found, we swim down, pick it up, and put it in a mesh bag. It’s like an Easter Egg hunt for adults.

Once we’ve (hopefully) caught our limit–it’s 2 gallons (shell on) per person, or 10 gallons per boat–we’re not quite finished for the day. Once home, we still have to clean the little guys. However, all of this “work” in the sun and the sea is well worth the scallops.


1 lb scallops
4 T butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T minced shallots
1 t Herbs of Provence
1/4 c white wine
1/4 c lemon juice
1 t chopped fresh parsley
1 lb linguini


First, get your pot of water boiling for your linguini. Next, make your butter sauce. Melt 3 T butter on medium-low heat. Add the garlic and shallots. Cook and stir until transparent (or about 3 minutes). Season with the Herbs of Provence, and S&P. Increase heat to medium. Stir in wine and lemon juice, bring to a simmer, and then whisk for one minute. Remove from heat and add parsley. Add linguini to the boiling water.

Now the scallops. Get a large skillet to medium high heat. Add 1 T butter and wait until it is hot. Add half the scallops to the pan. Cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the other side, about 1 minute. Remove. Repeat with the other half of the scallops. (Note: if you dump all your scallops in the pan at the same time, your pan will loose its heat and won’t give your meat a good sear.)

Once the linguini is finished, pour the butter sauce over the noodles and top with the scallops. Garnish with more parsley.


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