Jul 312013
 

A hearty shrimp pasta dish is the perfect summertime meal to share over a glass of white wine! Sauce to me is the most creative aspect of preparing a dish. Infusing the shells of the shrimp into the cream sauce enhances flavor.  To toss the shrimp shells means tossing the flavor!  Simple white cream sauce can turn any pasta into a restaurant quality meal!  It’s all about flavor and technique!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yokes
  • 2 cups Half & Half, light cream or milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lb spinach fettuccini pasta
  • 1 lb large shrimp (shell on)
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • ¾ cup asiago shredded
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh tomato optional

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Method:

Scramble 2 egg yokes in sauce pan with 2 cups of half & half or milk.  Thaw raw frozen shrimp, wash and shuck off the main shell leaving the tails on.  Add main shrimp shell casing to sauce. Begin heating on very low heat stirring frequently.  Never let the liquid reach a boiling point.  Remove from heat and strain out shells and return smooth sauce liquid to pan. 

Add ground nutmeg, sea salt, 1 minced clove of garlic and a couple more tablespoons of cream.  Maintain a very low simmer for 7-8 minutes.  Turn off heat and stir in ¾ cups of shredded asiago cheese, stir well using a whisk and adding 2 tablespoons to finish sauce.

Prepare pasta of choice, drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add pasta to serving platter and generously pour over the asiago cream sauce.  Top with cooked shrimp and garnish with fresh basil.  Serve plated with freshly chopped tomatoes, basil and shredded asiago. 

Enjoy!

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Jul 222013
 

Sirloin burgers taste so flavorful with a hint of hickory smoked sea salt! I’m convinced that a splash of Worcestershire sauce and olive oil make these lean sirloin burgers so juicy and yummy.  Hickory smoked salt adds wonderful flavor depth and a potato dinner roll makes for the perfect mini slider bun!

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Hand knead a teaspoon of Worcestershire and extra virgin olive oil with cracked pepper & hickory smoked salt to one pound of lean sirloin. Form small patties to the size of the bun and grill on medium flame for about 4-5 minutes each side.  Get creative with your favorite gourmet cheese or burger topping!

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May 302013
 

Discovering our world of salts is a great way to play with flavor in food.  I was introduced to a variety of gourmet salts at a chef’s tasting this past year.  Nobody cares about this stuff until they try a juicy hickory smoked sirloin burger, right?! Immediately I was inspired to stock new minerals in my pantry! 

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  • French grey sea salt, or Sel Gris, is harvested using the traditional Celtic methods, entirely by hand, using only wooden tools. This preserves the pure taste of the French salt, and produces a very special moist crystalline texture. Sel Gris is also lower in sodium chloride content than average sea salts.
  • Murray River pink salt is from the basin of Australia’s largest river.  It is a pretty pinkish-peach color and offers a mild flavor that melts quickly. It is the perfect salt to use as a garnish or as a finishing salt at the table.
  • Salish Smoked Salt is an organic Pacific Sea salt that is dried over red alder wood. This smoky, brown salt is great to add to ground sirloin burgers or any BBQ meats. 
  • Alaea is a reddish brown Hawaiian table salt that is unprocessed and rich in over 80 unique natural seawater minerals.  The color due to the addition of a red volcanic clay called Alaea.  It is less salty than iodine salt and intensely crunchy.
  • Black mineral salt from India is actually pinkish gray with sulfurous mineral taste that is much like hardboiled egg yolks.  It is used in Indian cuisine as a condiment and added to chaats and chutneys and many other savory Indian dishes.

Gray salt was my all time favorite to finish and flavor enhance dishes. Now I experiment with a variety of different salts to marinade, enhance flavor or finish off prepared meals.  

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May 162013
 

Spruce up your deck in a useful way!  Hardcore gardening is not my thing, but I do appreciate herbs around my deck in pretty planters for culinary use! 

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Fresh basil is great for a variety of salads, pasta dishes and herb topping or dressings. 

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Kumato brown tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil!  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and creme de balsamic.

 

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May 162013
 

Summer is around the corner and this was my first crack at crab cakes!  Wow, it’s so easy! 

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I broke the cardinal rule of preparing this recipe for the first time an hour before hosting dinner.  My inner voice cried with happiness when the crab cakes didn’t fall apart and my guests devoured them!

There are so many possibilities to serve crab cakes over a fancy green salad or with a trendy salsa. In this case, I wanted to use leftover lump crab and prepare an appetizer from ingredients on hand. 

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Ingredients:

  • 8 oz lump crab meat
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3-4 small slices of crusty bread
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • ¼ cup finely chopped bell pepper
  • ¼ cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • Kosher salt & cracked pepper
  • Fresh basil, optional
  • Panko Japanese Bread crumbs
  • 5-6 Tablespoons Vegetable oil for frying

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Method:

Finely chop and sauté celery, pepper, onion in olive oil for 5-6 minutes and set aside to cool. Toast slices of crusty bread about 3-4 minutes on 350 degree until slightly toasted, but not browned.

Squeeze a ½ lemon over lump crab in a mixing bowl. Cut toast into small cubes and add about ¾ cup of cubed toasted bread to crab. Mix sautéed translucent celery, pepper and onions.

Optional: I included 1 T freshly coarsely chopped basil leaves from my herb garden.  Add a dash of kosher salt & cracked pepper. Add one beaten egg and blend crab mixture altogether.

Form 2” crab cake patties and dredge in plain bread crumbs.  Cover breaded crab cakes with saran wrap on a plate and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or longer before frying. Allow the crab cakes to sit at room temperature for several minutes before placing them in hot oil.  This will help them cook more evenly rather than being too cold in the middle.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and carefully place crab cakes in hot oil. Fry until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip crab cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Serve warm with preferred sauce. 

Dipping Sauce:  Mix olive oil mayonnaise, Dijon mustard & old bay seasoning to taste. Add drops of water to make a looser dressing. Garnish with dollops of dipping sauce, fresh basil or lemon wedges!

 

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