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A Recipe a Week: Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Cilantro

I love to cook and bake and blog about it so that led me to the idea of trying a new recipe a week. Hooray! Follow along, give the recipes a try and let me know what you thought of them. I love to talk about food and I want to talk to you about food. Let's take this as the leap into a fun food conversation!

Week 1: Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Cilantro
From: Fine Cooking April/May 2010

rice noodles with shrimp and cilantro

Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Cilantro
Serves 3 to 4

6 oz 1/4" wide rice noodles (pad thai)
2 limes, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges
1 1/2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
3/4 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp
3 Tbsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 large shallot, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Instructions: Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the noodles, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a colander and run under cold water to cool slightly. Drain well.

In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, sugar, soy sauce, and fish sauce; set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 Tbsp of the oil, the coriander 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the red pepper, jalapeno, and shallot, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring until it turns pink and is almost cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add the lime juice mixture and cook, stirring, until the shrimp is cooked through, about 1 minute more. Add the noodles and half of the cilantro; toss until the noodles heat through and pick up the sauce, 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with the remaining cilantro, with the lime wedges on the side for squeezing.


From my garden: Limes


Delightful Lobster Wraps

lobster wraps.

We bought a 24 oz bag of lobster claw meat just so we could make lobster pot pie again, the best pot pie in the world. The recipe calls for half the bag so we had another 12 ounces of lobster meat sitting in the fridge and there is no way I was going to let that spoil. Together Thomas and I concocted these lobster lunch wraps and they're definitely a keeper. So I'm making them again tomorrow.

Delightful Lobster Wraps
Makes 2 servings

6 oz fresh lobster meat, cut into chuncks
2 good handfuls of fresh baby spinach
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 ripe avocado
2 burrito-size flour tortillas
salt and fresh ground pepper

In a large skillet warm a good glug of olive oil, add the lobster and toss until warm and heated through. Remove lobster from pan and put into a small mixing bowl. Set aside. Next wilt the spinach by adding another tsp of olive oil to your warm skillet. Toss spinach in pan until wilted.

In small mixing bowl with lobster add the spinach, mayonnaise, and parsley. Mix gently to combine. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Spoon half of lobster mixture on to each tortilla. Peel and slice the avocado and add it to the tortilla. Wrap tortilla and serve. Enjoy!


Grilled to greatness

grilled avocados

Being in California, avocados are available nearly all year round. But they can be a real challenge. Sometimes they're too hard to eat and then you put them in a brown bag to ripen and promptly forget about them. At least that's what I do. Often. Then I remember them and they've passed their prime.

But now I have the solution... Grill them! Well, marinate them then grill them to perfection. They turn bright neon green and taste spectacular.

Grilled Avocados
4 firm avocados, halved and pits removed
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c lemon juice
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, crushed

In a large bowl, combine avocado halves with remaining ingredients. Cover bowl with cling wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Heat grill or grill pan on medium heat. Place avocado halves flesh side down onto grill and cook for 6-8 minutes or until avocados feel soft.

Remove avocado halves to a plate and allow to cool for a minute or two. Scoop flesh from skin and serve as a side dish or on a fresh salad.



What the?

That's what I said the first time I had these:

Yorkshire puddings

What are those? They are Yorkshire puddings. Yorkshire what? Yeah, I said that too. Don't the Brits call desserts puddings? Yes. So is that dessert? No, it's not. It's savory as those Brits would say.

roast beef dinner with Yorkshire pudding

Oh, and savory it is. So delicious. And so easy to make! I asked Thomas why we don't make Yorkshire puddings more often, not that his answer matters because I'm going to making these more often now that I have the recipe down pat. It's so simple, just a basic ratio of eggs, flour and milk. In a measuring jug break eggs, measure and tip into a mixing bowl. Measure the same amount of flour and add it to the eggs. Measure half the amount of milk, add water to match and add that mixture to the eggs and flour. Whisk to combine. Heat muffin tins in a 425˚F oven with either pan drippings or oil. Fill tins halfway and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Douse in gravy. Savor, eat and enjoy.

And what happens when you cook a beef roast? Here's a peek behind the scenes:

behind the scenes


How do I describe these?

dark chocolate cupcakes

Delicious, decadent, desirable, definitely not enough to share, breakfast, lunch and dinner, dreamy. Hello, cupcakes. I love you.

I made this batch of cupcakes and I'm going to make them again and again. They are easy and fabulous. The shiny ganache is rich and beautiful, the cake is moist and light.

The cupcake recipe is adapted from the Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor, a fun book my mom gave me a few years ago. I made the Chocolate Midnight Cake. Rather than making a layer cake, I made cupcakes. This recipe made about 18 cupcakes.

1 package plain dark chocolate fudge cake mix
1 cup water
1 cup mayonnaise
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Place the cake mix, water, mayonnaise, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look well combined. Divide batter evenly filling cupcake papers about 3/4 full.

3. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

The ganache recipe is from Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. Ratio gives you the skeleton of multitudes of recipe basics. Ganache is simply 1 part cream to 1 part chocolate. The real secret behind a fabulous ganache is the chocolate you use. It has to be good, good enough to eat alone, good enough to crave.

8 ounces heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped.

1. In a medium sauce pan, bring the cream just to a simmer

2. Place chopped chocolate in a heat safe bowl, pour cream over the chocolate. Wait 5 minutes for the chocolate to soften.

3. Whisk the cream and chocolate until they are completely combined.

4. Allow to cool slightly then pour over cupcakes. Delightful!