Archive for ◊ July, 2010 ◊

22 Jul 2010 Grilled Orange Glazed Shrimp

I’m STILL immobile, thanks to this *&#$%! broken ankle (and still MAD about it, can you tell?), and my 19 year olds are cooking for me. Fortunately I have had plenty of time to cruise the food blogs (so there HAS been some good in this predicament). I found this recipe on Culinary Covers (from the cover of Everyday Food, June 2010)… Perfect! Three ingredients, with a bit of salt and pepper, then quickly grilled on a skewer! So it’s a fun-to-make recipe, too! My son used store-bought marmalade, but perhaps next time I’ll have him make my microwave marmalade recipe, too. He served this on a bed of white rice (all he knows how to make right now), but any kind of grain would work. Green beans or any other veg would have been nice on the side–but he was in a hurry to see a movie! The 19 year olds who came over to pick him up were very impressed with his culinary skills. I wish all nineteen year olds knew how easy it is to cook impressive food…

Note to parents of 19 year olds moving into their first apartment: add a Hibachi to that growing list of “nice-to-have” items.

Grilled Orange Glazed Shrimp

32 large-sized shrimp (with tails on)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
8 wooden or metal skewers

If using wooden skewers, soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Drain before using, and freeze leftover drained skewers for next time. Place 4 shrimp onto each of the 8 skewers (or 2 shrimp onto 16 skewers if serving as appetizers). Season shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste (use red pepper if you are into the sweet-spicy thing). In a small bowl, stir together orange marmalade and mustard. Brush glaze on all sides of the shrimp. Grill shrimp on a preheated, oiled grill for 2 minutes, flip, brush on more sauce, grill for 2 more minutes. Brush any remaining sauce on shrimp. Serve immediately.

Serves: 4 (2 skewers per person)

14 Jul 2010 Roasted Crab
 |  Category: Main Dish, Seafood, Seasonal  | Tags: , , , ,  | One Comment

Crabs! After two years of miserable harvests, they are abundant this year. I’ve seen ads for crab for $4.99 lb, $3.99 lb, and Buy One Get One Free (but they hike the price up to $6.99 get a free one). Here’s a fabulous, easy, finger-licking good recipe which takes about 20 minutes to pull together after arriving home with a few cracked and cleaned crabs. You have to eat the crab with your fingers, and you have to lick your fingers. It’s required. Eaten this way, this crab is DELICIOUS. The only side needed is a loaf of fresh sourdough bread to mop up a bit of the sauce in the bottom of the pan. For dessert, my daughter shared her Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Simple, quick and what a memorable meal!

NOTE #1: I made my first three batches of this crab in glass 13 x 9 inch pans. On the fourth batch, I took one pan out of the oven, placed it on a cutting board, stepped away…, and then the glass dish EXPLODED! Glass EVERYWHERE, including all over the 2 crabs in the dish. (Second glass dish, cooked in same oven, was fine.) Because of this potentially dangerous–and obviously very messy– situation I would caution against using a glass (Pyrex, Anchor Hocking) pan to roast the crab.

NOTE #2: Don’t underestimate how HOT a pan gets in a 450 degree oven. Be careful, very, very careful when transferring the HOT pans . Use your thickest oven mitts, on both hands, to move this pan.  I have had painful burns from not protecting my hands enough. A burnt hand can really interfere with your enjoyment of a good meal.

I found this recipe on, LOVE that website!

Roasted Crab

For each pair of cracked and cleaned crabs:

Salt and pepper, to taste
1 T. chopped parsley or cilantro
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 minced shallot
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
grated peel of 1 lemon
grated peel of 1/2 orange

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place pieces of each pair of crabs in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish, sprinkle with salt, pepper, parsley/cilantro, and thyme. Melt butter and olive oil in a skillet. Stir in garlic, shallot and red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour sauce over crabs. Place in hot oven for 6 minutes. Stir, shake, turn crab and then return to oven to roast for another 6 minutes. Remove crab to a serving platter. Pour drippings back into skillet. Add 1/4 c fresh orange juice and 1/4 c fresh lemon juice, grated orange and lemon peel. Boil for 5 minutes and then pour sauce over crabs. Serve. Definitely finger food. Must lick fingers. Have towels on hand for wiping. Mop up sauce with bits of sourdough bread.

This was a really GOOD day to stop by my kitchen!

14 Jul 2010 Grilled Ahi Tuna

Ahi Tuna…, grilled…, rare…, it’s not just restaurant fare, you know! Costco sells great Ahi Tuna, and it’s not too expensive! There’s nothing fishy about this! Ahi Tuna is absolutely wonderful, it’s good for you, it can be bought for a reasonable price, and it can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. If you haven’t already tasted Ahi Tuna and fallen in love with it, I am not even going to try and convince you to try it. STAY AWAY! Leave it alone! We love it and we want it on the shelves when we go shopping.

Grilled Ahi Tuna Steaks

One or two 3/4 inch to 1 inch thick tuna steaks (about 4-5 oz. per person)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar (have also made with white balsamic vinegar)
2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients into a shaker or blender. Mix well. Marinate fish in 1/2 vinaigrette for 20 minutes or so. (Set the remaining 1/2 of vinaigrette aside for later use, you will use 1/4 to baste the tuna, and the last 1/4 to pour over the grilled tuna).
Heat the grill (or the grill pan), rub grill with oil (or place small amount of oil in the pan).
Place marinated Ahi Tuna on the heated surface. Quickly baste fish with 1/2 of reserved vinaigrette (save the last 1/4 for pouring over finished fish).
Grill for 90 seconds to 120 seconds on first side. There should be a VERY light golden brown color on the surface of the steak. Flip. Grill for another 90 to 120 seconds.  DO NOT OVER COOK. You should be lightly searing the outside of the tuna, leaving the inside raw, not rare, raw.
Remove fish from grill and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Pour remaining 1/4 of vinaigrette over the sliced Ahi Tuna and serve.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today,

14 Jul 2010 Polly’s New “Signature” Chocolate Cake!
 |  Category: Cakes & Cupcakes  | Tags: , , ,  | 2 Comments

You know how I have been wanting to find a “signature cake”? I imagined it would be a bit intricate, a few layers, a filling, a frosting, and a fabulous taste. Well, I have found my signature cake and it’s nothing like that. It’s one layer. Rustic looking. Uneven. No frosting. No filling. One flavor. Fabulous. FAB-YOOO-LICIOUS. The outside is lightly crispy, lightly crunchy. The inside is soft, creamy, and rich. One tablespoon of flour holds the chocolate, sugar, eggs and butter together. It’s a slice of candy more than a slice of cake. And it makes everything right with the world.

The notes say this cake IMPROVES by freezing. So it’s a make-ahead cake to boot! I think I’ve found the world’s best “signature cake”!

The recipe for this cake can be found on page 312 and 313 of Molly Wizenberg‘s novel, “A Homemade Life” (her recipe was adapted from Je veux du chocolat!, by Trish Deseine). The book is good, a sweet read, with lots of recipes. It might be a good gift for the food loving, book reading cooks in your life. Think birthdays, think stocking stuffers! The given name of this cake is “The Winning Hearts and Minds Cake”. I find that a bit cumbersome. I much prefer the name I have chosen for it, “Polly’s New One Tablespoon of Flour “Signature” Chocolate Cake”!

Molly Wizenberg’s The Winning-Hearts-and-Minds Cake

7 oz of good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped (like Scharffen Berger, or Ghirardelli 60% chips also work well, VERY well)
7 oz unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
lightly sweetened whipped cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put the chocolate and the butter in a microwaveable bowl and zap for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until mixture is smooth. Add sugar, and stir well. Set batter aside to cool for 5 minutes. While the chocolate is cooling, prepare a high sided 8-inch round cake pan (not a layer cake pan, you’ll need a pan with at least a 2.5 inch depth-cake rises and falls) for baking. Butter the pan. Line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper cut to fit, then butter the paper, too. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the chocolate mixture, stirring well after each addition. Add the one tablespoon of flour and mix well. The batter should be dark and silky. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes. This is important: CHECK THE CAKE CAREFULLY! The top should be lightly crackled, the edges puffed, and the center JUST set. Remove the properly baked cake from oven and cool on rack, in pan, for 15 minutes. Carefully tip cake out of pan, and then tip again, so the top side faces up, onto a serving plate. Cool completely. Serve small slices with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Sigh and moan. Repeat.

NOTE: Cake can be kept at room temperature, sealed in plastic for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days. (Bring to room temperature before serving.)

TO FREEZE: The taste and texture of this cake are actually improved by freezing. Try to make the cake far enough in advance that you can freeze it for a day or more, and then allow another day for the cake to defrost and to be brought back to room temperature before serving. To freeze, wrap cake in plastic wrap and then in foil. Cake will keep, frozen, for a month. Allow to defrost, fully wrapped, for 24 hours before serving.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today (it was worth it, wasn’t it?!)