I had a craving for a Shrimp Primavera today. I went with a simple pepper, mushroom and onion combination. Super tasty; I perhaps could have seasoned it a bit more but the flavors of each ingredient came through nicely as I made it.
1/2 pound angel hair or desired pasta cooked according to package directions (reserving about 1/4 cup of pasta water)
extra virgin olive oil
1 bell pepper
1/2 medium onion
8 o.z. mushrooms
12 o.z. shrimp
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fresh tomato – cut into wedges
3-4 cloves garlic
1 Tbs fresh basil
In skillet heat about 1 Tbs olive oil. Cut pepper, onion, jalapeno and mushrooms into chunks. Saute about 5 minutes until desired tenderness. Remove from skillet and set aside. In same skillet heat a little more olive oil. Add shrimp; season with salt and pepper and cook until shrimp is cooked though about 5 minutes depending on size of shrimp. Return veggies to pan and stir in tomato, garlic, basil and reserved pasta water. Toss with pasta and serve with parmesan cheese.
I am finishing up on some Christmas gifts and made a few seasonings today. One of which is a lemon pepper seasoning. This will be great on fish or chicken; actually I can’t really think of anything it wouldn’t be good on even vegetables would be delicious with this combination.
1 Tbs lemon zest ~ dehydrate if making ahead
1 Tbs black peppercorns
1 Tbs french thyme
2 Tbs kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
In spice grinder combine lemon zest, peppercorns, and thyme until desired size. Combine with remaining ingredients and use as seasoning for your favorite foods.
I left Charles to fend for himself this evening and he created some delicious chicken. A mix of spice and herbs for a tasty blackened style chicken. Traditionally blackened dishes are cooked in a dry skillet; but we like to use some oil to keep the smoke to a minimum and create a better sear to the meat; plus I think the flavor is so much better this way.
boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup oil
1 Tbs paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp dill
salt and pepper
Combine spices and season the chicken breasts well; Charles used 3 pieces of chicken for this amount of seasoning. Heat oil over medium to medium high heat in large skillet. Cook chicken for 5 – 7 minutes each side or until cooked through.
We love fish. Just about every kind fixed just about any way. Today we went with a pan seared ocean perch. Just a simple seasoning and a little olive oil. Good texture, not a very “fishy” fish, and it’s quick and easy to make.
1 pound perch fillets
2 Tbs olive oil
salt, pepper, thyme
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Season fish with salt, pepper, and thyme. Add seasoned fish to skillet and cook for about 3 minutes each side until cooked through.
While cooking sprinkle with the zest of one lemon and finish by squeeze juice of half the lemon on top.
A pork roast is just about one of the easiest dinners to fix. No fussing; just season it, stick it in the oven, and dinner will be served. The one thing I notice though when I check my cookbooks for times on different size roasts is that it always seems to tell me to cook them too long. I bought a 6 pound pork loin at the store yesterday and when I refered to my book it said 20 – 30 minutes per pound for a 4 pound roast; it didn’t really refer to a 6 pound roast in either book I checked. Anyway, I knew 2 hours would be more than enough time and I was correct; it took just at an hour and a half for my roast to turn out perfectly. I was flexible on time so it didn’t matter that it was ready faster; besides I knew a 20 minute rest would be good for a roast this size. My pictures don’t do it justice, it really had a nice crispy skin to it from the honey and was very moist when finished.
1 pork loin roast ~ about 6 pounds
seasonings of choice
foil to line roasting pan
Line roasting pan with foil and season as desired. I sprinkled mine with salt, pepper, garlic, cayenne, and thyme. I then drizzled honey over the top and popped it in the oven at 350 degrees.
Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until desired temperature is reached. You will want to reach about 160 to 170 degrees depending on the doneness desired. I like to shoot for the medium to medium well side so it is still very moist. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
I have made a couple of different shrimp and pasta dishes, but this one was exceptionally delicious. I think the marjoram really brought it to a new level. I seasoned my shrimp with paprika, cayenne, garlic, black pepper and salt. Simply just salt and pepper will do the trick though if you prefer to keep it a little on the milder side.
Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Shrimp
1 pound large shrimp ~ peeled
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium tomato ~ diced
1 Tbs fresh basil
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/4 tsp marjoram
salt and pepper to taste
4 – 6 o.z. dry pasta
Cook pasta according to package directions until desired tenderness. Meanwhile in skillet heat oil over medium high heat. Season shrimp as desired with salt and pepper; add paprika, garlic and cayenne if desired. Saute about 5 minutes or until finished.
Add tomato, basil, pepper, and marjoram. Cook an additional 2 – 3 minutes until heated through.
Serve over cooked pasta. Sprinkle with goat cheese or parmesan if desired.
I opted for a simple roasted pork loin this evening. Sometimes the simple dinners are the most delicious. I purchased a 6 pound pork loin on sale at the grocery today and cut about a third of it off for the roast so I had 2 pounds to work with. I’ll use the rest for some other recipes this week, but I didn’t want to roast it all tonight.
Roasted Pork Loin
2 pound pork loin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
Season pork and bake at 325 degrees for about an hour. Remove from oven and cover with foil. Allow to rest 10 minutes before carving.
Oh how I wish we had great seafood here in the midwest available on any whim. However I do have to rely on my local grocery for frozen fair when the urge hits me on the spur of the moment for something from the sea. They sell some decent frozen scallops, not the whopping fresh ones you see in other recipes but they fit the bill quite nicely. I think these were about an ounce a piece on average. I picked up a 12 o.z. package and let them thaw in the fridge overnight …. quite tasty. Got these seared pretty well this time and I love the lemon zest.
Lemon Pepper Sea Scallops
12 o.z. scallops
1 Tbs olive oil ~ I actually used grape seed oil
1 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper
1 Tbs butter
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic ~ minced
Heat oil over high heat ~ I did use grape seed oil which has very little flavor and tolerates a bit higher temperatures so be careful not to over heat oil, but you do want it as hot as possible. Drain scallops well; I allowed mine to set in strainer for several minutes. Season scallops on one side with salt, pepper and about 1/3 of the lemon zest on one side.
Place scallops seasoned side down in hot skillet. Sear for about 2 minutes; meanwhile season other side of the scallops as before. Flip over and sear for 2 minutes. Add butter, lemon juice, garlic, and remaining zest once each side has been seared. Heat through about 1 minute to deglaze the pan. Serve with rice if desired.
Don’t get frustrated if they don’t brown as much as desired the first try. Most important is to not over cook the scallops; they can get a bit rubbery if you do. I’ve cooked many scallops and this is actually one of my best sears so practice makes perfect. Just try to cook them in as hot a skillet as possible and make sure they are as dry as possible too.
I thought I’d try a different twist on my cream cheese dip tonight. I decided to go with a southwestern flair; cilantro, lime, and jalapeno just sounded tasty. The sweetness of the red pepper and the tartness of the lime worked very well with this spicy combination. I don’t think I would change a thing. I couldn’t decide if bread or tortilla chips would be better; I tried both but enjoyed the crusty toasted baguette the best. This can be made ahead and baked just before serving. It also reheats very well should you be lucky enough to have leftovers!
Southwestern Cream Cheese Dip
1 8 o.z. package cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbs mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet red pepper ~ diced
1/4 cup jalapeno ~ diced ~ I used 1 large jalapeno
2 Tbs green onion ~ thinly sliced
1/2 tsp lime zest
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 cup cheddar cheese ~ shredded
1 tsp cilantro ~ chopped
Allow cream cheese to soften at room temperature for about an hour. Mix in sour cream and mayo until fully incorporated. Add pepper, jalapeno, onion, lime zest and juice, chili powder, 1/2 cup of cheddar, and cilantro. Spread into small buttered baking dish or pie pan. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 – 40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
I decided to make Charles some ribs for dinner today but I knew I wouldn’t be able to smoke them like I wanted since I had to be at work at 1 and Charles wouldn’t be home till 6 so I went with a slow oven roasted technique. I will start by sharing the rub recipe I used; I think could have gone more intense on the rub but the sauce I made (which I will share tomorrow) finished them very nicely.
Spicy Lime Rib Rub
1 teaspoon each
crushed brown mustard seed
2 teaspoons each
Mix together all ingredients and rub generously over raw ribs.