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Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp)

April 20, 2015

20150410 Gambas

Gambas al Ajillo is a delicious Spanish dish, especially if you like seafood and garlic. There are a few steps here that can be done in advance, like preparing the seasoned olive oil. This will keep the day-of cooking down to a minimum.

You will need:

  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled with shells reserved
  • 1/2 c olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 t sherry vinegar

Then you will…

  1. Mince 4 cloves of the garlic.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the minced garlic, salt, paprika and lemon zest.
  3. Toss the shrimp with the olive oil seasoning mixture. Set aside.
  4. Crush 4 cloves of the garlic.
  5. In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over low heat.
  6. Add the crushed garlic with the shrimp shells and red pepper flakes.
  7. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes. You want to keep the oil at a gentle simmer.
  8. Strain the hot oil through a fine sieve to remove the shrimp shells and cooked garlic. (You can throw away the used shells and garlic).
  9. Thinly slice the remaining two cloves of garlic.
  10. Return the hot oil to the skillet on medium heat.
  11. Add the sliced garlic to the skillet and sauté until just starting to brown.
  12. Add the shrimp, lemon juice and sherry vinegar.
  13. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  14. Season the shrimp to taste and serve with crusty bread to sop up the sauce.
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Mock Sangria

April 15, 2015

My girlfriends and I recently started hosting “wine down Fridays,” where we go to one of our houses for snacks and drinks one Friday a month. The idea was to make sure we have time to catch up in an environment where we can relax and have fun. I hosted a Spain-inspired evening, and I wanted to have something to drink that was not wine. Check out this mock sangria! It’s quite refreshing and easy to put together.

20150410 Sangria 02

You will need:

  • 2 c boiling water
  • 2 Early Grey tea bags
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 pods of star anise
  • 1/3 c honey (optional)
  • 2 c pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 c orange juice
  • A mix of thinly sliced fruits (I used a blood orange, lemon, lime and green apple)
  • 2 c soda or seltzer water

Then you will…

  1. In a small mix bowl or a large measuring cup, pour the boiling water over the tea bags.
  2. Add the cinnamon and star anise to the tea mixture and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the tea bags.
  4. If using, mix in the honey until it is dissolved in the tea.
  5. Pour the tea into a large pitcher.
  6. Add the juice(s) and your sliced fruit.
  7. Refrigerate overnight (if you prepare the day of an event, allow to sit for as long as possible).
  8. Add the soda water just before serving.

p.s. You can always substitute a dry sparkling wine for the soda water if you decide you do not want a mocktail.

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Roasted Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

April 11, 2015

D and I had this for dinner one night recently. We love when we can pull together dinner in one pan, so this was a big hit. We are also big fans of roasted Brussels sprouts. We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

You will need:

  • 1 lb chicken drumsticks
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 t paprika
  • 1/2 t salt, divided
  • 1/2 t pepper, divided
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/3 c chicken stock
  • 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

Then you will…

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Pat the chicken dry. Season on both sides with the garlic powder, paprika, 1/4 t of the salt and 1/4 t of the pepper.
  3. Place a 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet on a burner over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  4. When hot, place the drumsticks in the skillet.
  5. Allow to brown before flipping over to brown the other side. This should take 5-8 minutes per side.
  6. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and of pepper and with the sliced garlic.
  7. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the lemon zest. Stir to mix.
  8. Add the Brussels sprouts into the pan with the chicken. (If your pan is not big enough, don’t worry! Just put the extra in another ovenproof dish and bake separately). Remove the pan from the heat.
  9. Add the lemon juice to the chicken stock and pour into the skillet.
  10. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. You will want to stir the Brussels sprouts every 15 minutes or so.
  11. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve!

20150330 Chicken and Sprouts 01

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Gorgonzola Blush Pasta

April 4, 2015

D and I like stinky cheeses. This pasta sauce takes advantage of crumbly Gorgonzola, while the tomatoes and other ingredients mellow out the cheese. We used a spinach linguine with it, and we loved it! If you wanted to make this a vegetarian entree, you can omit the pancetta and saute the shallots and mushrooms in a few tablespoons of olive oil.

You will need:

  • 1 lb pasta of your choice, cooked to al dente and reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water
  • 4 oz pancetta, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 oz baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 14.5 oz (1 can) diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1 1/2 c light cream
  • 2/3 c crumbled Gorgonzola
  • 1 c fresh basil, thinly sliced

Then you will…

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, start to brown the pancetta over medium heat.
  2. Add the shallot and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are starting to turn golden.
  3. Add the red pepper flakes and saute 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  4. In a food processor, pulse the tomatoes with their juices and the garlic until broken down.
  5. Add to the skillet along with the salt and pepper.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Stir in the light cream and bring to a simmer.
  8. Allow to simmer 5-10 minutes.
  9. Mix in the half cup of the pasta cooking water.
  10. Mix in the Gorgonzola and stir until melted into the sauce.
  11. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat.
  12. Allow to simmer another 2-3 minutes.
  13. Stir in the basil and serve hot!

20150304 Gorgonzola Blush 02

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Sour Cream Swirl Brownies

March 27, 2015

20150301 Sour Cream SwirlI made these the other weekend during an ice storm. Some of D’s friends were in town, so we decided to make something yummy to warm up our afternoon.

You will need:

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 3 T honey
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking pan with tinfoil and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the better.
  3. Whisk in the cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and baking powder until smooth. Remove from heat.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until light and fluffy.
  5. Whisk the vanilla into the eggs.
  6. Gradually whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Be sure to do this slowly and whisk continuously to avoid scrambling the eggs.
  7. Mix in the flour until well combined.
  8. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  9. Spread in the prepared baking pan.
  10. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream together with the honey and nutmeg.
  11. Drop the sour cream mixture on top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the sour cream into the brownie batter.
  12. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until set in the middle.
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Paprika Spinach Chicken

March 21, 2015

This is a fragrant, juicy chicken dish perfect for an upcoming date night or night in with friends. It is made from a few simple ingredients that turn magical in the pan.

20150223 Paprika Chicken 02

You will need:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper, divided
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1/4 fresh sage, washed and dried and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 4 oz fresh baby spinach

Then you will…

  1. Season the chicken with the paprika, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, spreading it out on all sides.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the chicken and cook 3-5 minutes until the first side is golden.
  4. Flip the chicken over and cook another 3-5 minutes until the second side is golden.
  5. Add the remaining olive oil, the butter, sage, and garlic to the pan.
  6. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the butter is melted and the seasoning fragrant.
  7. Stir in the wine and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered.
  8. Stir in the spinach and allow to just wilt. Remove from heat.
  9. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
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Simple Lime Cake

March 15, 2015

20150127 Lime Cake 01

I noticed a can of sweetened condensed milk hiding in my pantry the other night. Then, I spotted a stray lime in the fridge. This was the result! It would be great with a cup of fresh tea.

You will need:

  • 1 can (14 oz) fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 3 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt or 8-inch cake pan liberally.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients.
  3. Pour into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake 35-50 minutes or until golden and set in the middle. A tester should come out clean.
  5. Allow to cool 10 minutes before inverting to cool the rest of the way.
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