It’s December! How did this happen? I didn’t even notice November passing by, and now all of sudden I’m in the middle of the holiday rush. I told myself that this year I’d be prepared, get things done in advance. I even set up a series of reminders in my calendar, but I ignored them because I thought I had lots of time. Sigh.
This recipe is great for those of us who are pressed for time. It comes together in less than 30 minutes, and a lot of the ingredients are pantry staples. If you’ve got shrimp in the freezer you could probably make it right now. The recipe is based one from Ina Garten’s How Easy Is That?
Roasted Shrimp with Goat Cheese
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 cups puréed tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 pinch fennel seeds
- 1 1/4 pound shrimp
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 5 ounces goat cheese
- 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Heat half of the oil in a large oven proof pan over medium heat. Sautée the onion till softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine and cook till reduced by half, scraping off any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the tomato puree, oregano, and fennel seeds, as well as salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes.
- While the tomato is simmering, mix the bread crumbs, parsley and remaining 2 tbsp of oil together. Season with salt and pepper.
- After 10 minutes, place the shrimp in a single layer over the sauce, then sprinkle with bread crumbs and goat cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through.
Last November I participated in a 30 day sugar free/gluten free challenge. The challenge was difficult at first, because every single meal has to be planned, but once I got the hang of it things went very well. By the end of it I felt great. When it came time to implement what I had learned in every day life things kind of fell apart. I quickly went back to eating exactly the way I was eating before the challenge. A year later I feel like my diet needs a complete overhaul again, so I will be doing the challenge again starting tomorrow.
I was flipping through some magazines to plan next weeks menu when I came across this recipe for Summer Rolls with Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce from Gourmet Quick Kitchen. I swapped out the tofu for shrimp, and used green pepper instead of cucumber because I had those on hand. The dipping sauce does not meet the sugar free rules, as it calls for some sugar, and hoisin sauce also has sugar in it. But since I’m starting the challenge tomorrow I decided to go ahead and make the sauce for today.
The quick pickled vegetables add a great flavour to the rolls. They are very tasty, and quick and easy to make. I probably should have rolled them a little tighter, but I was still able to pick them up and dip them in the sauce.
I’ll be submitting this post to Magazine Mondays. Head on over to Cream Puffs in Venice Mondays to see what people have been cooking up!
Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Makes 8 rolls
- 2 oz dried bean thread noodles
- 3 small carrots, cut into match sticks
- 1 smell bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp & 3/4 tsp lime juice, divided
- 8 rice paper rounds
- 24 medium-large shrimp, cooked
- 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp water
- Soak noodles in hot water for 10 minutes.
- While noodles are soaking, blanch carrots in boiling water for 45 seconds. Rinse under cold water then transfer to small bowl with peppers. Toss vegetables with rice vinegar, 3 tbsp lime juice, salt. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Reserve 2 tbsp of the vinegar mixture, and drain the vegetables.
- Drain the noodles, rinse them in cold water twice. Using kitchen shears, cut the noodles into smaller pieces. Toss with 3/4 tsp lime juice.
- Fill a shallow pan with warm water. Soak a rice paper round in the warm water for 30 seconds. Shake off excess water and place on a work surface. Place 3 shrimp, some vegetables, and some noodles on the bottome third of the round. Roll tightly around the filling, folding the sides in. Repeat with remaining rice paper rounds.
- Make the sauce; Mix reserved pickling liquid with hoisin sauce, peanut butter and water. Serve with rolls.
Part of our Thanksgiving tradition is the morning after brunch. My aunt and uncle make us a wonderful dinner, and the following morning the guests contribute to breakfast. The last two years I’ve brought a Sweet Potato Hash.
The first time I tried this dish was at an office breakfast. My friend JB brought it, and I loved it. I asked him for the recipe numerous times, and he eventually shared it with me. Turns out I could have just Googled it. What makes this hash great is the bacon, and the fact that everything else is cooked in bacon fat. Hey, it’s Thanksgiving.
The hash is really easy to make. The longest part is the prep work, having a good knife to cut the sweet potato is key. Once the chopping is done, the dish comes together very quickly. It’s a great make ahead dish as the flavours meld together well overnight. I’ve always had this dish as part of a brunch, but it would make a great side dish for a dinner.
Sweet Potato Hash
From the Oct 2007 issue of Gourmet
- 1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- Cook the bacon in a large non stick skillet. Once cooked, remove the bacon pieces from the pan and drain on paper towels.
- Drain off some of the fat, leaving at least 2 tbsp behind. Add the onions, bell peppers, salt and pepper to the skillet. Cook until the vegetables have softened. Add the sweet potato to the skillet, then cover. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes, until sweet potato is softened. Stir in reserved bacon and thyme.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
My family and I spent the long weekend in Vermont. Every year my aunt and uncle invite us to their cottage for Thanksgiving dinner. They provide us with an incredible meal, and we bring the pie.
For years my parents rented a cottage that was just a few minutes away. The area is surrounded by water and woods. My mom would often come back with chanterelle mushrooms. This year I decided to go with her, and before we new it we had a whole foraging party.
Foraging for mushrooms is sort of like looking at those pictures that look like nothing, but if you cross your eyes a certain way an image pops out at you. (Does anyone remember what those are called?) At first it seems like there is nothing there, but the next thing you know there are mushrooms everywhere.
Unfortunately the chanterelles were not in abundance. We weren’t able to identify any of the mushrooms we did find, so nothing was kept. Mushrooms are not something to take chances with. Despite not finding anything useful, I still had a great time walking in the woods. I haven’t spent that much time in there since I was a kid.
I had hoped to find enough mushrooms to make a soup. Obviously that didn’t happen, so when I got back to Montreal I made my way to Atwater Market and picked up some chanterelles and criminis. It wasn’t quite the same as picking them myself but it was still delicious.
I used a recipe from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything. One of the good things about not having a computer for a couple of days was that it reminded me I actually own cookbooks.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 2 ounces dried chanterelle mushrooms (optional)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms ( I used crimini and chanterelle), cleaned, trimmed and sliced (reserve a few slices for garnishing)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp minced shallots
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 cups stock
- 1 cup cream (you can use heave cream or half and half)
- Chives for garnish
- If using dried mushrooms, rehydrate them by covering them with hot water and soaking them for 15 minutes.
- Place the butter in a large deep saucepan on medium heat. Once the butter has melted add the mushrooms and increase the heat the medium high. Cook for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms start to brown. Drain the now soaked mushrooms (keep the liquid) and add them to the cooked mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the shallots and garlic and cook for one minute. Add the stock and reserved soaking liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat.
- Stir in cream. Garnish with chives and mushroom slices.