Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shrimp & Bacon with Cheese Grits

Sometimes meals are so calorie laden I don’t even bother getting out the dinner plates. Instead I grab the salad ones and try not to fill mine up.

This meal was one of those times.

My friend Carla posted a picture of shrimp and grits she’d had at a restaurant in Kentucky and my craving was instant. But living in the northwest you can’t order this meal. The restaurant staff will look at you funny and probably laugh at you behind your back.

So I made it at home. Which is dangerous, because there’s more of it around. But I was good, and didn’t go back for seconds. Although I admit I wanted to!

Shrimp & Bacon with Cheese Grits
So bad for you but so very tasty. It was worth the splurge.

Printer Version

4 cups water
Salt and Pepper
1 cup stone ground grits
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 large clove garlic, minced
Hot sauce, for serving

1. Bring water to a boil. Add some salt and pepper. Add grits and lower the heat to medium. Cook until the water is absorbed. About 15-25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese. Season with more salt & pepper if needed.

2. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned. Turn off heat and with a slotted spoon move bacon pieces to a paper towel lined plate. Pat dry.

3. Turn heat bacon on. Add the shrimp and cook until shrimp is about half pink. Add the rest of the ingredients including the bacon and cook until the shrimp is done.

4. Spoon grits onto plates and with the slotted spoon, spoon shrimp mixture over grits. Serve with hot sauce if desired.

Recipe by Martha Nesbit from Picture by Laura Flowers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fresh Corn Soup with Grilled Poblano Chiles

I know it’s probably 100 degrees where you live, but this soup is worth eating anyway while the season's corn is fresh off the fields.

This chile-corn chowder is always good with frozen corn, but so much more amazing with fresh. And if that doesn’t convince you, now is the perfect time to grill those sweet poblanos.

Fresh Corn Soup with Grilled Poblano Chiles
Printer Version
Fresh corn is best and frozen corn works too, but never used canned for this recipe. You’ll need a blender or food processor for this one.

2 poblano chiles
4 cups fresh corn kernels, cut and scraped from 5 to 6 ears of corn, or about two 10-ounce packages frozen corn
1 quart (4 cups) milk, divided
1/2 cup butter
1 onion, diced small
32 ounces chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Shredded mexican cheese blend
Crushed Tortilla Chips

1. Place poblano chiles on a hot grill. Grill each side until blackened. Place chiles in a small paper bag and roll it closed. Set aside for 15 minutes to steam. Then carefully peel skins as much as possible off chiles, take out the seeds and mince the chile flesh.

2. In a blender or food processor, puree until smooth the corn and 2 cups of the milk. Set aside.

3. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened. Place all the ingredients into the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly until the soup is hot and the corn is cooked. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

4. Garnish individual bowls with cheese and tortillas chips.

By Laura Flowers.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chili Boat Salads

My dietitian tells me salads are healthy. So if I stick a childhood junk food favorite on top of a bunch of greens that definitely qualifies.

Ok, I’m not cool enough to have a dietitian, but if one saw my version of a chili boat I’d like to think they’d approve anyway.

I used a spicy bison and pork chili, but choose your favorite. A can of chili works as well.

Chili Boat Salads
Printer Version
With all these toppings you’ll find there’s no need for salad dressing. For a vegetarian version use a homemade meatless chili or a canned product like Amy’s Organic Spicy Chili.

Lettuce of choice, lots
Warm Chili, preferably the spicy type
Onion, thinly sliced
Sliced black olives
Cheddar cheese, a small handful
Fritos, a small handful

Layer a dinner plate with lettuce, a good sized portion of chili, sliced onion to taste, black olives, cheddar cheese and Fritos.

By Laura Flowers.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

15 minute Turkey Pesto Shells with Grilled Artichoke Hearts (Plus a vegetarian version)

Since I’m tormenting myself with a math class this summer lets work out a little word problem together.

A typical college math professor can do your 40 pages of math instruction and example problems with time consuming videos and sixty extra homework questions in 4.2534 seconds. Then said professor somehow works out an equation that it should take each student four hours a night to complete what they themselves can do in those measly 4.2534 seconds.

So tell me, how much time did it take a certain student to do those 4 hours of math? Don’t forget on top of this, this student had to figure out a new and very convoluted computer program before she could start.

Ready? If you did your math right it would be 14 hours. Yes, that’s right. 14 hair pulling hours.

So dinners are thrown together this week with whatever’s in the cupboard. Last night was tortilla soup from a mix and this pasta was crazy quick with canned turkey, pesto and artichokes.

Please forgive me for not visiting your blog if you leave a comment right now. I also hope you’re having a nice summer for me and I miss seeing what's cooking in food blog land!

15 minute Turkey Pesto Shells with Grilled Artichoke Hearts
Printer Version
For a vegetarian version, microwave a half-cup of pine nuts in 30-second increments until toasted in place of turkey.

13.25 ounce whole grain medium shells
7.5 ounce jar halved and grilled in oil artichoke hearts (found at Cost Plus World Market)
12.5 ounce can Turkey Breast in water, drained and rinsed
6.25 ounce jar pesto
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring heavily salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Add a couple minutes if you prefer a less whole wheat texture to your pasta. Set aside about 1 cup of pasta water near the end of cooking time.

2. Drain the oil from the artichoke hearts into a large serving bowl. Cut the artichokes into quarters and add to the bowl. Add the turkey, pesto and cheese. Toss to combine.

3. Drain pasta and add it to the bowl. Toss to combine. Add salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Add some of the pasta water if needed. Sprinkle with more Parmesan if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe and photograph by Laura Flowers.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Candy Airplanes

I’m Baaaaack. Tons of work was accomplished these past two weeks. Most of the unhoarding is done around here too. Except the garage, but that doesn’t count as the house right?

Every cupboard, box, bag, closet, drawer and room are cleaned out. I admit it was all fear driven. Fear of not having enough time with school on top of the rest of my life, plus too many scary episodes of Hoarders.

I painted my daughter’s room blue as well. She loves it and I’m so glad, because I don’t want to do it again for another decade! Or longer.

Finally, today was my first day back at the University of Idaho after twelve long years. There were a sacred few moments for me this morning riding my bike in the rain and walking through my old campus. I’ve often felt if those walls could talk they’d have some pretty neat stories to tell.

As far as recipes go I’m sorry to admit it, but meals these past two weeks haven’t been very interesting. Lots of pb&j sandwiches, hot dogs, salads and ordering in. All I have to offer are these candy airplanes I made for my daughter’s last day of class.

We come from a family of pilots and my mother made a version of candy planes with Lifesavers I adored as a child. Clara loves them now and they’re something she can pass on to her own children. Later on. Much much later on.

Candy Airplanes
Printer Version
These fun treats are as much a part of our family as growing up around the actual planes themselves.

Small roll of candy like Lifesavers, small size Fruit Mentos, or Smarties
More Lifesavers or candy with holes for wheels
Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit Gum
Rubber bands

1. If the gum is too soft the wings will bend. Take all sticks of gum out of their packages (leave them in their foil though) a few days ahead of time and set aside to dry out.

2. Run a rubber band through two individual Lifesavers. Stick a candy roll between the wheels and place a stick of gum on top for wings. Wrap each side of the rubber band up around the wings. This takes a little practice, but you’ll get it quickly.

By Laura Flowers.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Gnocchi Carbonara with Shortcut Gnocchi

Do you need to clean and declutter your house but lack motivation to tackle this terrible task?

Well do I ever have a solution for you!

First, get all the episodes of Hoarders. (Netflix has them all.) Then watch an episode, freak the heck out and go start purging your house. Once your motivation and energy slow down, sit your butt on the couch and watch another episode.

This has gotten me through a whole week of intense declutterling. I have one more week to go, a room to paint and another season to watch and I’m done.

So recipe posting is a little slow now, but I should be back in full swing the week of the 13th when summer school begins.

By the way, if you’re local and need kitchen stuff galore please come to my kitchen prop yard sale Sunday from 10am-1pm. If nothing else so you can shake your head at all the items that were photographed once and set aside into food prop storage loneliness.

Gnocchi Carbonara
Printer Version (with shortcut gnocchi recipe)
The eggs for this carbonara are in the gnocchi instead of the sauce. If you’re looking for a gnocchi recipe, here’s my favorite super shortcut potato flake one.

1 recipe shortcut, homemade or 2 boxes store bought gnocchi
5 strips cold bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
14 ounce can chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated preferred)
More Salt & pepper to taste

1. Prep the gnocchi and set aside. Slice the bacon into thin strips. Freezing the bacon helps if it doesn’t cut well. Slice the onions into thin rings.

2. For the gnocchi, heat water with a good dash of salt in a large pot. Meanwhile, heat a skillet to medium high and add the bacon. Cook until crisp. Turn off heat and move bacon to a paper towel lined plate leaving a little bit of the bacon grease in the skillet. Add the butter and oil and heat over medium high until butter is melted.

3. Add the onion and sauté until softened and starting to turn golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, heavy cream and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce is reduced by about a third. Stir in nutmeg.

4. Cook the gnocchi to package or other directions. With a slotted spoon, move gnocchi to a serving bowl. Top with sauce, frozen peas, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe and photograph by Laura Flowers.

Related Posts with Thumbnails