Monthly Archives: January 2011

>Zesty Shrimp Tacos

No one to cook for but myself.
And 3 days from my monthly paycheck. In other words…broke.

So this is when the scavenging starts. Still had some shrimp leftover in the freezer. Had sour cream, too. One might not normally think of those two things together, but when you’re on a budget, you work with what you got.

One quick $7 trip to the grocery store scored me shredded cabbage, 2 limes, and corn tacos.

My low budge invention is as follows:

Zesty Shrimp Tacos
(serves one)

For tacos:
8-10 medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 corn tacos
shredded cabbage
juice of one lime
salt and pepper
1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tbsp cumin
canola oil
For zesty sour cream:
1/4 cup sour cream
juice of one lime
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
Marinate shrimp in lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator. 
While marinating, combine sour cream, lime juice, cumin and paprika. Mix well. Set aside.
Cook shrimp in frying pan until pink. Reduce heat to low simmer, cover with foil.
Coat the bottom of another frying pain with canola oil. Fry tortillas about 30 seconds on each side, until they puff up.
Arrange tortillas on a plate, top each with a handful of shredded cabbage, top with shrimp, and drizzle with sour cream.
End result: Delish.

>My First Ever Cheesecake


Jon dared me. So I did it. And who thinks of making a cheesecake at 10 o’ clock at night? But he dared me.

I’d never made a cheesecake before, but with being dared and all, and a three day weekend, and that 650 page behemoth of a desserts cookbook, why not?

First comes the graham cracker crust, which I mixed in my food processor with 5 tbsp cold butter, a tablespoon of sugar, and the crumbs of 9 graham crackers. 25 minutes at 325…voila…beautiful.

There were 5 packets of cream cheese and lots o’ eggs involved in the filling. 4 eggs + 1 yolk to be exact. Cup and a half of sugar. Tablespoon of lemon juice. 1 1/2 tsp vanilla. All of that beat well in the KitchenAid.

To make my raspberry puree, I added the juice of one lemon, a pint of raspberries, and sugar to a sauce pan. The thing about raspberries is that once you heat them, the fall apart on their own. So no mashing or food processing was necessary.

I spooned my filling into my spring form pan, and swirled in my puree. An hour and fifteen minutes at 325 and my beautiful cheesecake was done!

It needed to chill overnight of course, but it felt oh-so-good to spend a lazy day in bed, and then to take a bite of something special that I made all by myself. 🙂

ps. Barbara Fairchild gets no credit for the raspberry puree. That’s all me.

>Gourmet BBQ

>I swear – we’ve had this slab of ribs in our freezer for an eternity. Every time I go digging into the freezer, I am salivating over those ribs. Finally, there was a day when the boy had enough time to throw them on the smoker. YUMMY.

He used a Kansas City BBQ rub and some applewood chips that I had gotten him for his birthday. I believe that he cooked them for about 3 hours…but I can’t take any credit for the ribs, because I was off snuggling baby Sawyer. 😉

Earlier in the day, I had boiled some fingerling potatoes and doused them with white wine vinegar. To make my dressing for my potato salad I used: 3/4 cup mayo, 3/4 cup sour cream, and a tablespoon of dijon mustard. I also added chopped celery, onions, and parsley and let that chill in the fridge all day.

If that’s not enough fat for you…I had to fry some asparagus. Yes, you heard me correctly. Blanched asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and then dredged in an egg wash and flour…fried in canola oil. No fat at all, right?

I’m calling this gourmet BBQ because…come on, that potato salad is pretty yuppie. No? And most BBQ joints aren’t equipped with prosciutto ham. Or asparagus. So this is a “dressed up” country dinner.

The potato salad was tangy due to the sour cream and the vinegar…and I really liked that difference in taste. The asparagus had a great crisp to them, although they made this meal very filling. The ribs were perfectly meaty and fell right off the bone (once again, I take no credit).

But we couldn’t finish this massive meal.

Jon said he was so full afterward that he could have just fallen asleep. And then he proceeded to go straight to the cupboard and pull out of chocolate peanut butter brownie.

“What? Dessert goes to a different compartment in your stomach.”

Touche, babe.

>Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

>”So…I noticed that there’s no baked goods in the house”

This is how my boyfriend chooses to hint at the fact that its time for me to bake, seeing as it’d be a whole 4 days since I made those pecan chocolate chip cookies.

So, I busted out the ginormous bon appetit Desserts cookbook that Jon got me for Christmas. Emphasis on the ginormousness. It’s an encyclopedia of pies, cakes, cookies, brownies, and candies.

The 631 page behemoth didn’t just have one brownie recipe, of course. Chocolate Chip Brownies with Pecans and Raisins. Coconut Checkerboard Brownies. Chocolate-Espresso Brownies with Chocolate Glaze. Fudgy Toffee Brownies. Mint Chocolate Brownies. Old-Fashioned Brownies. Raspberry Brownies….just to name a few. But out of all of these fancy schmancy recipes, the one that stood out the most was the Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting.
Yes – Chocolate and peanut butter. Peas and carrots. Bread and butter. Perfect pairs. You’d think out of such a plethora of choices it’d be a tough decision, but when I stumbled upon this…it wasn’t.
Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting
5 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped.
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tbs unsalted butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 13x9x2 baking dish. 
Combine chocolates with melted butter in saucepan. Stir over low heat until melted. Cool to lukewarm.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar eggs, and vanilla at high speed until mixture is thick and pale yellow (about 5 minutes). Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour and salt, then chocolate. Transfer to prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes. Cool on rack.
For frosting, combine peanut butter and butter in a medium bowl. Beat with electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. 
Spread over brownies and refrigerate 1 hour. Cut into squares. 

>Lighten up! (plus a bonus recipe)

>It was brought to my attention at my annual physical last week that since last year’s physical…I’ve gained 11 pounds. ELEVEN. That probably doesn’t sound like a whole lot, what with the holidays and all this food blogging I do, but for a pint-sized 5 foot 2 inch chica…11 lbs doesn’t have a whole lot of places to go. Not wanting to start 2011 with an extra 11 pounds, I’ve been going to zumba and this crazy class at 24 Hour Fitness called Body Pump. I’m tell you – if you do the combination of those two, you won’t even be able to sit down to pee. And after that hard work, you don’t really want to scarf down the baked mac n cheese that’s leftover in the fridge (fine, you’ll get that recipe too).

Ergot, I came home from zumba tonight and made a salad. But not a boring Romaine lettuce, cucumber, and carrot salad. A walnut, pear, and goat cheese salad. I already had some arugula, which I had eaten for lunch over the weekend with some of the salmon that Marc’s mom had sent him home with. I already had goat cheese and walnuts, and when I had heard that Sunflower Market was having a 10 for $10 sale on various items I decided that I should clear out their produce section. Hence the pears.

Walnut, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad
(serves 1)
enough arugula to cover the bottom of your plate 
1 Bartlett pear, cubed
handful crumbled goat cheese
handful chopped walnuts
for balsamic vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil 
salt & pepper
Toss all salad ingredients together.
Whisk together oil and vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.
Fine. You’ve put up with my salad creation. I’ll give you what you really want.
Jon’s Baked Mac ‘n Cheese
2 lbs elbow macaroni
variety of block cheeses (always use cheddar, but feel free to vary what cheese you add. Last night we used cheddar, havarti, pepperjack, gouda, and mozzarella)
shredded cheddar to top
1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs
1/2 cup milk
2 sticks butter
6 eggs 
1. Boil macaroni in a large stock pot. Meanwhile, chop up your cheeses into cubes.
2. Drain macaroni through a colander and return to pot. 
3. Over low heat: add milk, butter, and beaten eggs.
4. Add cheddar cheese in batches and stir until all the cheese is melted and noodles are coated.
5. Cover the bottom of a greased baking dish with a layer of noodles. Add a mixture of the other cheeses (like you are layering a lasagna). Continue to layer like this until you are out of noodles.
6. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
7. Uncover, add cracker crumbs, and shredded cheddar. Bake until cheese on top melts.
*you can obviously use less noodles. I just have an amazingly large ceramic baking dish and live with two boys with bottomless stomachs*
Thanks to Jon for showing me how to make this his way. The first time I did it on my own, I melted all of the cheese in the pot with the noodles. First of all, you get a sticky gooey mess when you do that. Secondly, when you layer the cheese and the noodles, the cheeses melt in the over and the noodles stick together like a casserole.
enjoy 🙂