Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp Skewers

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp Skewers with Rosemary

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp Skewers

Inspiration: As a lot of people will agree, I think, there’s something about a 90 degree weekend that just calls for grilling out. I threw these on the menu for a hot Sunday night just before Brandon and I were heading out of town for a week in Washington, D.C. Because let’s face it – something about an awesome week of eating out also calls for some light and proper eating in beforehand.

What We Loved: I just love the slightly smoky flavor that grilling lends to shrimp. It’s just another layer of awesome on top of the already sweet, succulent flavor that is characteristic of great shrimp. These shrimp were also defined by the earthy, piney flavor of rosemary, and I loved the salty richness that the prosciutto added to the shrimp. Wrapping each shrimp in the prosciutto makes for a nice little parcel of delicious flavor. What’s also great about these skewers is that they’re easy, light, and perfect for a hot summer day.

Tips: It only takes a few short minutes to grill shrimp – probably about two minutes per side – so keep a close eye on these. Overcooked, rubbery shrimp sure are a tragedy. I also wouldn’t worry too much about carefully wrapping the prosciutto around the shrimp. Any old way will work.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp Skewers
Source: Original Recipe

1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp, tails left on
Olive oil
Juice from 1/2 small lemon
Handful rosemary, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 slices prosciutto, cut into small strips

1. Place the shrimp in a bowl and drizzle generously with olive oil. Add the lemon juice, rosemary, and garlic. Let marinate for about half an hour. Meanwhile, if you are using wooden skewers, prepare them by soaking them in water for at least half an hour.

2. Wrap each shrimp in a strip of prosciutto, and thread the shrimp onto the skewers.

3. Pour any marinade that accumulated in your bowl back over the shrimp skewers. Drizzle with some more olive oil.

4. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side, until the shrimp are just barely cooked through.

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Shrimp and Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

Shrimp and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Shrimp and Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

Inspiration: This is one of those recipes that I’ve been making for years (I think we’ve made it as part of Brandon’s family’s Christmas Eve supper for the past three years now), yet it’s somehow never made it onto the blog. I’ve made a lot of stuffed mushrooms ever since I fell in love with mushrooms several years back, and in our opinion, nothing can hold a candle to these. They’re by far our favorite stuffed mushrooms (and I think that my brother-in-law, Brian, just might agree). With football playoffs in full swing, I thought that now would be a great time to finally post this recipe. We always love to do a fun appetizer spread for Superbowl Sunday in particular, and after looking at these pictures, I have a feeling that these will be making an appearance on our table that day for sure.

What We Loved: These mushrooms are rich, cheesy, and decadent. They’re defined by a wonderful bacon flavor that melds with the light, succulent flavor of fresh shrimp; the  rich, browned flavor of sauteed onions; and a combination of velvety cream cheese and nutty, crispy Parmesan. The result is really just a perfect, intensely rich and flavorful combination. I feel like stuffed mushrooms are one of those dishes that just call for decadence, and these mushrooms definitely deliver.

Tips: I’ve made these using several different kinds of mushrooms (white stuffing mushrooms, baby cremini mushrooms, and large portabella mushrooms), and every kind that we’ve tried so far works wonderfully. I’ve found that smaller, appetizer-sized mushrooms are our favorite, but large, dinner-sized portabellas work just fine, too. Basically, this recipe will work as whatever you’re looking for, depending on which mushrooms you use – an appetizer, a side dish, or even a main course.

Shrimp and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms
Source: Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

About 24 ounces mushrooms (whichever kind you prefer – we like to use smaller white stuffing mushrooms or baby bellas – about 18 mushrooms total)
4 slices bacon, diced
½ Vidalia onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
About 10 large shrimp, finely diced
6 ounces cream cheese
¾ cups fresh Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1. Rinse and clean the mushrooms, and cut out all of the stems. Finely chop the stems and set aside.

2. Cook the bacon in a saute pan until it renders some fat and is about halfway crisped.

3. Add the onion and the mushroom stem pieces to the pan. Season well with salt and pepper, and continue to cook until the water released from the mushrooms evaporates and the vegetables are softened and beginning to get nice and browned.

4. Add the garlic to the pan, and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the shrimp.

5. Mix in the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese.

6. Spoon the mixture into the mushrooms, and place them into a baking dish.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the filling cooks through and the mushrooms have released their moisture. If desired, turn the broiler on for a minute or two before the end of cooking to brown the top of the mushrooms.

8. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Chipotle Shrimp

Inspiration: My parents have this favorite cozy little Mexican restaurant called El Salto that they often take us to that has the most amazing Mexican food. We’ve been there countless times, and we all always say that there’s nothing on the menu that’s not good. Isn’t that just the best kind of restaurant? (especially considering that it’s Mexican food…..our favorite). Anyway, one of us will sometimes get their spicy shrimp dish (I think that they call it camarones al diablo), and it’s a fabulously spicy, spicy dish. It’s the kind of dish where you have to make sure that you have a full glass of water (or margarita) in front of you while you’re eating. I was browsing through one of Rick Bayless’ books recently when I saw something that looked pretty similar – his chipotle shrimp dish – and I knew that I had to give it a try. There’s just something so fun about trying to recreate restaurant meals at home, isn’t there? Plus, we always say the same thing about Rick Bayless as we do about the restaurant – there’s nothing in his cookbooks that’s not gold.

What We Loved: This dish ended up tasting quite a bit different than our restaurant favorite, but it sure was tasty just the same. The sauce has just the perfect amount of spice and heat (with a nice, smoky kick from the adobo sauce), and the shrimp are so tender and succulent, as shrimp should always be. We loved the fresh cilantro garnish and the lovely tart zip that came from squeezing fresh lime juice atop the meal as we ate. If you like spicy food, then this recipe is definitely a winner. We served it alongside some fresh homemade guacamole for a great Saturday night Mexican supper.

Tips: For the amount of shrimp that we cooked (one pound between two people), there was a lot of extra sauce in the pan. I’d recommend cooking anywhere between 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of shrimp to serve three or four with the amount of sauce called for in the recipe below. Or, I’d use less chicken stock so that the sauce is thicker and you have less leftover in the pan.

Chipotle Shrimp
Source: Slightly adapted from Rick Bayless, from Mexican Everyday

1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
2 canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 lb fresh, large shrimp
Cilantro, chopped
Lime wedges

1. Pour the drained tomatoes into a food processor. Add the chipotles and the adobo sauce, and process until smooth.

2. Heat a couple pats of butter in a saute pan. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

3. Pour in the tomato sauce, stir to combine, and cook for about five minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

4. Add the chicken stock and about a teaspoon of salt (more or less to taste). Allow to simmer and reduce until the sauce is thickened.

5. Add the shrimp, and continue to cook until the shrimp are cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.

6. Serve the shrimp garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.

Poblanos Peppers Stuffed with Curried Shrimp, Scallops, and Andouille and topped with Carrot Puree and Creme Fraiche

Poblano Peppers stuffed with Curried Shrimp, Scallops, and Andouille and topped with Carrot Puree and Creme Fraiche

Inspiration: Growing up, my parents always let us kids choose whatever dinner that we wanted my Mom to cook for our birthdays. I always got so excited about that and loved the tradition, so I plan to do the same for my kids one day. For now, I keep the tradition alive by letting Brandon pick a special dinner, and for his birthday a few days ago, he chose quite the meal – this fabulous recipe from a local chef, Eve Aronoff. We just bought her cookbook from her old restaurant, Eve (so sad that it closed down!), and the recipes in that book all sound so good that I’m tempted to cook from no other source for a couple of months. I’m sure that the husband would not object. Happy 28th, Brandon!

What We Loved: Everything. There was not a single aspect of this dish that was anything less than perfect, so I don’t really even know where to start. The concept of the meal is awesome in its own right – a sort of Indian/Mexican fusion – and the end result has great components of each of those cuisines that work perfectly together. The poblano peppers have that spicy, earthy flavor that I’ve come to associate with Mexican food, and the filling is flavored with both Mexican and Indian spices. To top everything off, melted smoked mozzarella and creme fraiche bring back that Mexican feel, while the carrot puree is again something that I would more closely associate with an Indian dish. Fantastic! As for the flavors of the meal, we were completely blown away by all of the layers and how well everything worked together. The seafood was perfectly succulent and tender (which really surprised me – I was worried about the seafood overcooking since it is sauteed and then baked), the andouille provided just a little heat, and the rest of the seasonings and spices added this rich, intense flavor that I can only describe as a Mexican curry. The carrot puree on top was another surprising aspect of the dish, because it didn’t have a strong carrot flavor in the slightest (and for two people like us who don’t love carrots, that’s a great thing). Instead, it had a very mellow vegetable flavor that was very crisp and refreshing atop the stronger, bolder flavors of the stuffed peppers. The dollop of cool creme fraiche (I just love how it melted down into the hot peppers like it did!) was the perfect finishing touch. This meal as a whole is quite truthfully one of the best things that I have ever made.

Tips: The original recipe calls for two separate seasoning mixes. Instead of making the mixes in big batches as they’re written in the cookbook and having a lot of leftovers, I basically just sprinkled the spices into the pan in what I thought were the appropriate proportions (to total about 2-3 teaspoons of spice). I’ll list the spices below that I included, but as a general guideline I went heavy on the curry powder, chili powder, and paprika, with smaller sprinklings of the rest of the seasonings. I used the same method with the carrot puree, scaling everything down to make about 1/2 cup. I’ll list the approximate amounts that I used, but the amounts are very rough estimates. It would be best to taste test as you go along, and adjust the levels as you see fit.

Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Curried Shrimp, Scallops, and Andouille and Topped with Carrot Puree and Creme Fraiche 
Source: Eve The Cookbook

3 poblano peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, ribs and seeds removed
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small jalapeno, minced
Curry powder
Chili powder
Garlic powder
4 fresh jumbo gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined, finely chopped
4 large fresh sea scallops, finely chopped
1 andouille sausage link, finely chopped
1 cup smoked mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon sriracha
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Carrot lime puree, recipe follows
Creme fraiche

1. Drizzle the halved poblanos with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree oven until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

2. Heat a pat of butter in a saute pan. Add the onions, garlic, and jalapenos, and cook for about 3-4 minutes on low until softened. Season with Kosher salt, black pepper, curry powder, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and oregano (to total about 2-3 teaspoons of spice).

3. Add the seafood and andouille, and saute until the seafood just barely loses translucency.

4. Remove the pan from the heat, and transfer the contents to a mixing bowl. Add the green onions and sriracha, and stir to combine. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

5. Divide the stuffing between the six poblano halves. Sprinkle each with shredded smoked mozzarella. Bake in a 425 oven for 15 minutes.

6. Serve topped with a dollop of carrot lime puree and creme fraiche.

Carrot Lime Puree
1/3 small green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/8 – 1/4 cup onions, roughly chopped
Juice from 1 small lime
1 larger carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

1. Place the bell peppers, onions, lime juice, carrot, and garlic in a food processor.

2. Slowly add the olive oil while the food processor is running to emulsify.

3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Brazilian Shrimp Soup

Inspiration: A few years back, Brandon was lucky enough to go to Brazil with work, and he brought back some wonderful food experiences. He showed me how to make what is now my favorite summer time mixed drink, the caipirinha (Cachaca, limes, cane sugar, delicious), and he told me a story about getting to drink right out of a coconut at a bar. How fun is that? I don’t know how truly Brazilian this soup is (and I always hesitate to label things as a certain cuisine on my blog for that reason), but with the limes and the coconut and the overall tropical feel, this soup had me dreaming of the paradise that I imagine the beaches of Brazil to be. So I’ll leave the name as it is, and I’ll dream of summer time and sun and caipirinhas.

What we Loved: What a light and refreshing soup. Brandon simply adored it and labeled it as one of his favorite soups in a long time, and I have to agree. The broth is light and creamy with just an ever-so-sweet coconut flavor, which is complemented with bright and fresh flavors of cilantro, lime, and shrimp. It’s a very tropical combination of flavors, and it fits perfectly when you’re looking for a light supper or lunch. This will be going into our regular soup rotation for sure!

Helpful Hints: Our only qualm with this recipe is that since shrimp overcooks so easily, it’s very hard to keep the small shrimp pieces from overcooking while they are sitting in a pot of very hot soup. For the leftovers, the shrimp ended up being overcooked. Brandon suggested sauteeing the shrimp separately, then added them into each person’s soup bowls right at serving time, and that seemed like a great solution to me. That way, the shrimp never overcook. Or, another suggestion would be to replace the shrimp with chicken or even white beans – both seem like great options for this soup. And I don’t think that avocado slices on top would hurt, either!

Brazilian Shrimp Soup
Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally from Food and Wine

Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
5 cups chicken stock
1 14.5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut in half horizontally
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
The juice from 1/2 freshly squeezed lime
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1. Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers, and cook until the vegetables are softened. Add the garlic, and cook for a minute more.

2. Add the red pepper flakes, salt, crushed tomatoes, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

3. Add the coconut milk, and return to a simmer.

4. Add the shrimp, and cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 minutes.

5. Remove the pot from the heat. Stri in the pepper, lime juice, and cilantro, and serve.

Spicy Shrimp with Guacamole and Lime

Spicy Shrimp with Guacamole and Lime

Inspiration: We’ve been on a total shrimp kick lately for sure. Isn’t it funny how one ingredient randomly starts sounding so good all of the time? And we’re always on a Mexican kick. The last time that we had shrimp with blackening seasoning, Brandon immediately came up with this meal idea, and it immediately went on the menu :)

What we Loved: The two main flavors in this dish – hot, spicy shrimp and cool, refreshing guacamole – really play off of each other very well. The shrimp are coated in plenty of blackening seasoning for a very spicy crust, and the guacamole does a perfect job of providing a cooling contrast. Blackening seasoning is really packed with a ton of flavor, color, and spice, and I love how such a simple spice mix can add so much to a meal. We loved a good squeeze of fresh lime juice atop everything, too. Something about fresh lime juice atop a Mexican-flavored meal just adds a bright and refreshing touch that always works so well and brings out the other flavors in the dish. We’ve added this new recipe to our (ever-growing) list of favorite Mexican-inspired meals.

Helpful Hints: This is one easy-peasy recipe. However, I think it’s always good to keep in mind that shrimp cook very, very quickly. Just a few minutes in a hot pan is all you need. As soon as the shrimp are just opaque, they’re done!

Spicy Shrimp with Guacamole and Lime
Source: Original Recipe to serve 2

1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
Kosher salt
Blackening seasoning
Extra virgin olive oil
1 batch guacamole
Lime and cilantro, to garnish

1. Toss the shrimp in a bowl with a good sprinkle of Kosher salt and plenty of blackening seasoning (enough to generously coat the shrimp and give them a nice orange color).

2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan. Add the shrimp, and saute until cooked through, only about 3-5 minutes.

3. Serve the shrimp with guacamole and topped with a good squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Shrimp in Jameson Cream Sauce

Inspiration: When Brandon and I lived in Cleveland several years back, there was this tiny little restaurant called Nighttown that I wish we had frequented more often. Being in college, we didn’t spend too many fancy nights out, but one night I had an English Department dinner at Nighttown that afforded us the opportunity to go there. Wonderful little images stick out in my head – a dark and cozy room, white table clothes, duck in orange sauce. When hunting around for a St. Patrick’s Day recipe for this year’s meals that was a little different than the standard fare that we always see here in America (though I love all of those dishes, too, as you can see from my previous posts), I was excited to run across a recipe from Nighttown for Dublin Lawyer, which is basically lobster in a butter, cream, and Irish whiskey sauce. Doesn’t that sound great? My wallet disagreed with me when I saw the lobster prices at the grocery store, though, so I decided that shrimp in a butter, cream, and whiskey sauce sounded pretty fabulous, too.

What we Loved: The flavors in this recipe are subtle but distinct. Fresh, succulent shrimp and a cream sauce that is both a touch sweet (from the whiskey) and a touch spicy (from the cayenne pepper). Before this meal, Brandon and I had never bought a bottle of Irish whiskey, and we were somewhat surprised with its sweet, creamy scent and flavor, which is very non-coincidentally reminiscent of the sweet and creamy alcohol flavor that is in a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream. It was a very pleasant surprise and very different than other kinds of whiskey that we have tried. I always love the flavor of sweeter alcohols paired with seafood (such as sherry, marsala, or madeira), and this was another fine example of that pairing. With a good amount of cayenne and paprika in the sauce, too, there was also a great kick of heat that complimented the rest of the dish beautifully.

Helpful Hints: The only adjustment that I would make would be to add more butter (as was actually called for in the original recipe) and more Jameson. I think more butter would make the sauce slightly richer, which I think would be a good thing, and extra Jameson would make that sweet whiskey flavor just a little more pronounced. As it was, the flavors were great but a touch on the subtle side. I would maybe recommend 6-8 tablespoons of butter and 1/3 cup Jameson.

Shrimp in Jameson Cream Sauce
Source: Adapted from Nighttown Restaurant in Cleveland via Rachel Ray

4 tablespoons butter, softened
Scant 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or less, to preference)
1 teaspoon paprika
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup diced onions
1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup Jameson
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1. Combine the butter, cayenne, and paprika. Place into a saute pan, and melt over medium heat.

2. Add the mushrooms and onions, and cook until softened and slightly browned. Season well with salt and pepper.

3. Take the pan off of the heat, and add the Jameson. Return to the heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan for just a few seconds until the whiskey is nearly evaporated.

4. Add the cream, and cook until reduced by half and thickened.

5. Add the shrimp, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through.