Friday, September 30, 2011

Bang Bang Shrimp

Google Bang Bang Shrimp and you are likely to find a zillion different recipes for this appetizer. Created originally by Bonefish Grill and without a doubt one of it's best-sellers, the dish has Thai roots and gets it's name from the Sriracha sauce used in the dressing that gives it the bang! Crunchy, with a touch of sweetness from the mayo and the heat from the hot sauce, it creates a perfect combination for any palate, esppecially since the heat can be adjusted to your taste. Some recipes call for the use of breadcrumbs and go with the flour, eggs and breadcrumb routine - I prefer the cornstarch which creates a thin and crunchy shell and absorbs less oil. ( I tell myself this!) Either way this is one foolproof recipe and I guarantee, quite addictive!

My Recipe for Bang Bang Shrimp:
20 large Shrimp
2 T cornstarch
salt to taste
1/4 tsp chili powder
oil for deep frying

2 cups coleslaw mix
2 T Mayo
1 T Sriracha sauce ( Thai Chili Sauce)

1. Heat oil in a deep pan. Clean and rinse the shrimp and place in a ziploc bag with the cornstarch, salt and chili powder. Shake the bag to coat the shrimp, tap off excess and deep fry.
2. Pile the coleslaw mix on a plate. Combine the mayo and Sriracha well in a bowl and toss the fried shrimp in it. Place over the slaw and garnish with splashes of Sriracha. ( I used a hot habanero sauce for this, to kick it up a few...)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Risotto al Scampi

Here's another Italian dish that reeks of authenticity from my friend Romina in Italy. It may look like something from an uber fancy restaurant but nothing is farther from the truth. This is down home cooking at it's best. She is no chef but a seasoned cook working with the ingredients she is accustomed to and sometimes that is what makes it so fantastic. Romina struggles with the recipes because English is not her first language, so I do a lot of editing, but at the end of the day her English is way better than my Italian! Artfully plated, this dish is beautiful to look at and tastes wonderful.

Romina's Risotto with shrimp and zucchini
serves 4

400 g rice
800 g shrimp
1 zucchini diced
60 g. of butter
1 glass of white wine
1 lt. of fish broth
2-3 cherry tomatoes sliced into halves
1 clove garlic, crushed
Olive oil
salt & pepper
chili oil or crushed red chili pepper
1 T cream
1 potato
1 carrot
1 zucchini chopped roughly

1. Clean the shrimp, de-vein, rinse and pat dry. Keep 1-2 whole shrimps per person, keeping heads and shells intact for the garnish.
2. To make the fish broth: Use a large pan to cook the heads and shells in the butter. Add some of the chives, pepper, salt, parsley and saute until caramelized. Add 1/2 glass of white wine, and 1 and half liter of water, potato, carrot and zucchini, cut into chunks. Bring the consommé/ fish broth to a boil and allow it to simmer. Strain and set aside.
Now add the rice, and saute it briefly, adding 1/2 glass of white wine Over medium heat, add 1-2 big spoons of hot broth and leave it to cook, stirring once in a while, adding a few spoons of soup whenever it starts drying out. Continue for about 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Add the shrimp in at the end. Add in the butter last which makes it rich and creamy.
3. Use a large pan to heat the olive oil, add chives, chopped parsley, pepper, a few drops of spicy oil or chilly pepper and the garlic. Add the cherry tomatoes and top with the diced zucchini. Cook the whole shrimp briefly on each side remove from the pan and set aside.
4. Serve immediately on a plate garnished with the shrimp, parsley and what looks like fish roe.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Piggy in the Middle...

Most people in America think sandwiches and picture either a burger or a PB and J or depending on where you are geographically there's bound to be a local specialty sandwich. In the UK, they're big on finger sandwiches; of the tiny finger shaped, melt in your mouth variety. In reality there is no end to the variety of sandwiches one can concoct. Basically anything that tastes good can be sandwiched. A well made meatloaf, left over roasts, grilled veggies or meat. Just juice it up with some greens, fried onions, cheese or a dressing and it can be a very satisfying experience. A lot of my experimentation stems from a dilemma with packed lunch for the kids. Grilled cheese turns to mush and BLT's tend to fall apart. All in all it is a messy affair but who cares as long as it tastes good. I add in jalapeno slices, pickled hot peppers or a habanero relish ( my own ) to add a zing, but you can leave it out.

My Recipe for Pulled Pork Sandwich:

Dry Rub: Dark Brown Sugar, Salt, Paprika, Pepper, Coriander Powder, Dry Mustard, Onion Powder,

Boneless Pork Butt

Apple Juice


BBQ sauce

Roasted pepper

White Rolls

Hot and Sweet Cabbage Slaw: Red and green cabbage (shredded), carrots

Dressing: rice wine vinegar, sugar, poppy seeds, chipotle, lime juice, salt, pepper

1 1. Combine sugar and dry spices. Rub all over pork, cover and keep chilled from an hour to overnight.

2. 2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place pork on a rack over a pan. Fill pan with apple juice and water. Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes. Shred pork and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat, transfer to a baking tray and reheat at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Prepare dressing and toss slaw in it.

2. 3. Toss in BBQ sauce and fill into buns. Top with slaw and roasted pepper.



Saturday, September 10, 2011

Payal had a little lamb.

It's been a while since I blogged about my own down-home cooking so I was more than happy when a foodie pal sent me this recipe complete with picture. It takes a true aficionado to cook, record and photograph a meal without any motivation but for sheer love of cooking and good chow. Payal is not just a good friend but also an amazing cook who, like me, lives to eat.... ! We spend hours on the phone talking about restaurants, and exchange notes and recipes till phone batteries run out and ears throb. It's a shame that we can't taste each others cooking ( she lives in Toronto and I in Jersey) but we make up for it when we meet up.....
This recipe is for a dry roasted lamb, replete with spices, tender and juicy, if cooked right.

Recipe for Mutton Sukka

Ingredients :
1 lb lamb

For the Rub :
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp garlic Paste
1 tsp red chili powder
Salt to taste

Grind together :
1 stick Cinnamon
1 cardamom
2 cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 black pepper corns
1/2 tsp fennel seed

1 small onion diced
2 tomatoes
3 tbsp oil
2 onion diced
1 tsp garlic ( crushed )
A handful of curry leaves
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
Mutton Masala 1 tsp (optional)

1.Cut the lamb into bite sized pieces, wash and drain well. Combine the spices for the rub and marinate the lamb in it for at least an hour. Combine the diced onion and tomatoes Pressure cook the marinated mutton, the powdered spices, the tomatoes and onion for about 20 minutes or until the lamb is tender. ( or cook it at 350 degrees F in the oven)

2.Heat the oil in a pan. Chop the 2 onions and crush the garlic. Sauté the onion well till it turns golden brown. Add the curry leaves, and crushed garlic. Sauté for about 1 minute . Add the spices and continue frying for another minute. Adding a little water if necessary, allow it to cook till the oil separates

3. Add the lamb and s
auté it till all the excess water evaporates and the meat gets a golden color and each piece is coated in a thick sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot with Naan or Tandoori Roti.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

On a Roll..

A great sandwich makes for a quick, easy and quite scrumptious meal when the mood strikes, but kick it up a notch by making it healthy and it could be a win-win situation. South Jersey and Philly are famous for their Hoagie and the Cheesesteak sandwiches respectively, but their Italian Roast Pork Sandwich is definitely a well kept secret. Philadelphia locals swear by this specialty sandwich found at some of the local dives at the Italian Market and at the Reading Terminal Market. I researched it online and came up with my own concoction; I took a little from several different recipes and the results were outstanding. Cooking with broccoli rabe(AKA Rapini, is a green vegetable common in southern Italian cuisine) was a first for me and as unlikely as it sounds, pairs astonishingly well with the roast pork. Besides you'll get your daily dose of greens and love it!

Recipe for an Italian Roast Pork Sandwich:

Pork Rub: pork loin, garlic (chopped), rosemary, fresh parsley, salt, pepper, olive oil

Bread: Italian Rolls

Cheese: ½ lb sharp provolone

Broccoli Rabe: blanched in boiling salt water and sautéed in 2-3 cloves garlic and chili flakes in olive oil

1. Combine all rub ingredients and smear it over roast. Score thick parts.

2. Sear the pork over high heat and roast, covered in the oven for 3 hours or until fork tender and juicy.

3. To assemble, place cheese inside roll, then fill in meat and top with the broccoli rabe.