Monday, August 15, 2011

Shrimp Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I'm not even sure what to say to start this off. :)

Just make these. I promise you will inhale them. They were that good.
More than good...spectacular, phenomenal. Amazingly fresh.

OK, take a couple mushrooms and chop them up.

I used 3 med sized zucchini for this, but I ended up with quite a bit of the filling leftover. So, you could easily use 4 or 5. Slice them lengthwise.

Take a spoon and gently scrape out the seats and meat. If you've never done this before (ahem...Annie) be gentle. Don't try to get it all out in one scoop.

Brush the insides with a bit of olive oil and lay them open side down on a baking sheet or stone. Put them under the broiler for about 8-10 minutes.

While those are in the oven, get some shrimp (I used 1lb of large) and chop them up a bit, into 3 pieces or so. Raw shrimp really grosses me out. It just does...I can't help it.

OK, now throw about 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Toss in 3 pressed cloves of garlic and 1/2 of a yellow onion. Let them saute for a couple minutes.  Then take the shrimp, mushrooms, onion & garlic...toss them together in a bowl with about 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Add 1 can of Italian diced tomatoes (drain them as much as you can). Last, toss in 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese & 1/2 cup of feta cheese.

It's not the prettiest mixture in the world.

Scoop the mixture into the zucchini halves. Sprinkle some more Parmesan cheese on them and pop them in the oven at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.

So, like I mentioned earlier, I had a ton of the filling left over. I threw it into a skillet for a few minutes until the shrimp was nice and pink. 
I was planning on serving these with some Lavash crackers (flat bread). I took a sample.

Boats are done!

I'm making these again very, very soon. Next week possibly.

They were exceptional. Such amazing flavor!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My First Chocolate Souffle

Last night I decided to utilize the souffle dish that has been sitting in my cupboards for the past 7 years. I found a chocolate souffle recipe in my good old Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. It looked easy enough, so I gave it a whirl.

The first thing you do is wrap foil around the dish. Have around 2 inches above the rim.

Next, butter the dish & foil and sprinkle with sugar.

In a sauce pan melt 2 Tbsp of butter. Stir in 3 Tbsp of flour. It'll clump up pretty quickly. Pour in 3/4 cup of milk and stir until it's thick and bubbly.

Add 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Stir until melted, remove from heat.

In a bowl, beat 4 egg yolks. Gradually add the chocolate mixture to the eggs. Do it slowly so that the eggs don't cook from the heat.

Next you want to beat 4 egg whites until soft peaks form. Then add 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Now take about a cup of the egg whites and fold them into the chocolate mix.

Then take that and fold it into the rest of the egg whites.  It'll look something like this:

Pour it into the souffle dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Be still, my heart.

Now eat it!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Barcelona and Butifarra

20 years ago I spent 6 weeks in Spain with my family on a church missions trip.

I remember that pastry. It was like a Boston cream pie croissant. So good!

My dad and I. Check out his shoes and socks. Aren't they rad?

So...we spent our time in Barcelona and the surrounding towns and cities. I would love to go back as an adult. Being only 9 when we traveled there, my memories are few. I do remember the food though. There are a few meals that really stick out to me. One was a paella that was cooked outside by a gypsy over an open flame. I don't know what all was in it, but I remember how GOOD it was. The other dish that we had quite a few times was Butifarra and beans. Butifarra is a sausage that is practically unheard of here in the States. It's a basic white sausage, not much to it...meat, salt & pepper.  What makes it special is the type of pork that it's made from. Since we don't have it readily available here, I went with a beef smoked sausage instead.

Throw the sausage on a grill for a few minutes on each side. It's already cooked so this is just to heat it up and get some smoke flavor in.

In a skillet, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add 3 cloves of garlic (pressed or minced) and saute for about 2 minutes. Add 1 can of Cannellini beans and saute those for about 5 minutes.

Next, add fresh spinach leaves. I used a 10oz bag.  Let them wilt as you stir them in with the beans.

To serve, place the spinach & beans on a plate. Slice up the sausage on top and enjoy!

It was really delicious and full of flavor.

 The original recipe that I had in Spain didn't have spinach and it had a lot more beans than my dish.The beans were almost creamy and soupy.  I'm definitely going to try this again with a pork sausage and more beans, but this version definitely got a thumbs up!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mediterranean Sausage Sandwiches

When I told my mom that I was making these she said that they sounded like a contradiction. :) See, I'm trying to incorporate some healthier (Mediterranean) recipes into my menus. I've been doing a lot of reading about cooking this way and I'm actually really excited to explore some new flavors. That being said, I still have some meals to make that don't exactly fall into that I adapted the best I could.

And these turned out awesome. Really awesome.

OK, let me start with the bell peppers. Have you ever seen a bright purple bell pepper? I had not...but I discovered them at a local farmer's market this week. Aren't they pretty??

I diced the peppers up with 1/2 of a yellow onion. I tossed them into a pan with about 2 Tbsps of olive oil and 2 pressed garlic cloves. Then I added 2tsp of Greek Seasoning. I let them go over low heat until soft (about 15min).

Meanwhile, I tossed the sausages in the grill. Turn them every 6 minutes for about 20-25 minutes.

Then I sliced them up and mixed them in with the pepper & onions.

I let it all heat together for a few. Meanwhile, I took some whole wheat rolls, drizzled olive oil on them and threw them on the grill. To assemble them...I spread a bit of hummus on the bottom roll. Next comes the meat and peppers. Top it off with some crumbled feta cheese.

It's really simple and really delicious!

Neopolitan Gooey Cake Bars

Have you ever been to Picky Palate? If not, you should.
That is where the S'more Stuffed Brownies came from...and I am a happier, chubbier girl for finding it.

Anyway, she recently posted her recipe for Neopolitan Gooey Cake Bars the other day. And man, are they ever awesome! As soon as I saw them I thought, I bet they'd be amazing with some coconut in them somewhere. So, the one thing that I did differently was sprinkle shredded coconut in between each layer and then on the top.

When I pulled them out of the oven I was a little surprised. It had overflowed! In an effort to save more cake from breaking and ending up on the floor, I ate the overflow....I had to.

I let it sit overnight to cool completely. sliced it up and...mmmmmm.
So yummy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Biscuit Garden Pizza

I love pizza as much as the next guy. Unless that guy is my husband. The man could eat pizza morning, noon and night for 6 years straight and not tire of it. He's insane. I like variety with pizza. We had a Thai Chicken pizza the other night and it was so light and refreshing. It inspired me to try something a little different.

First off...I roasted my first red bell pepper. I've never done it before and it was MUCH easier than I thought. All you do is coat the pepper in vegetable oil and toss it under the broiler. Turn it as it gets bubbles up and gets crispy.

Then you toss it into a bowl and cover it.  It'll steam itself and after about 15-20 minutes it'll be nice and wrinkly & you can peel the skin right off. Easy peasy.

OK, so here's the pizza.

Take a can of flaky biscuits and peel each one in half. Lay them out on a stone or whatever you make pizza on.  A cookie sheet would work just fine too. I had one biscuit left over so I just cut it up and stuck the pieces in the gaps.

Mix about 3 Tbsp of olive oil and 3 cloves of crushed or pressed garlic. Brush it on top of the biscuits and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Then sprinkle with mozzarella and cheddar cheese. I didn't measure it. I just grabbed a few handfuls.

Now for the toppings. I sliced up 2 small tomatoes, 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash.

Sprinkle the crust with Italian seasoning mix. Then I layered the veggies, Parmesan cheese, mini pepperoni and the roasted pepper.

Sprinkle some more mozzarella cheese on top and bake it for 15-18 minutes at 400 degrees.

It smelled SO dang good!

It was phenomenal. No joke. I love that it didn't have marinara sauce on it. It was very light and the flavor was amazing! Keeper!