Showing posts with label shrimp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shrimp. Show all posts

Friday, July 19, 2013

Classic Shrimp Roll

The folks over at The Daily Meal are featuring my recipe today.

Classic Shrimp Roll (Prep 10 mins, Cook 5 mins, Serves 4) - an accessible 'play' on the classic lobster roll, shrimp rolls are a delicious summer time treat perfect for long weekends at the lake or beach.  This no-fuss recipe allows the flavors of the  tender and sweet shrimp to shine through - without breaking the pocketbook. 

1 lb Cooked Large Gulf Shrimp, peeled and deveined and sliced in half lengthwise (see instructions below)1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped2 Stalks Celery, finely chopped 2 Tablespoons Capers, drained1/2 Lemon, juiced
2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 Dash Tabasco
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper
4 Fresh Sweet Rolls, cut in half and toasted
Combine all ingredients, except for the rolls, into a mixing bowl and carefully mix until thoroughly combined.  Add a generous serving of the shrimp mixture to the bottom side of each toasted roll, top with remaining slice.  Serve.
*To cook the shrimp, bring 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to a slow boil over high heat.  When water reaches a boil, add shrimp, remove from heat, cover, and allow shrimp to poach in the liquid for 5 minutes - or until bright pink and firm.  Strain shrimp and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  After 1 minute, remove shrimp from ice bath and carefully peel and devein shrimp.  Finish by slicing the shrimp in half lengthwise for use in the mixture above.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Yahoo - Tacos!

I was happy to contribute my Grilled Shrimp Taco recipe to a great site, The Daily Meal.  Better yet, the writer, Anne, just informed me that it was syndicated to Yahoo - and that my recipe was the featured one amongst the bunch.  Which has got me thinking - I'm definitely making Grilled Shrimp Tacos tonight and throwing back a few cold Cervezas!

Cheers -


Grilled Shrimp Tacos - Matt Moore, Have Her Over For Dinner

Inspired by a dish served at Tower 7 in North Carolina, this shrimp recipe conjures up the fresh and exotic flavors of the beachside town and is simple and easy to make.

Tip: Substituting Jack cheese for Pepper Jack cheese adds an extra kick of spice to this dish.

• 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• Zest and juice from 1 lime
• 1 jalapeño, sliced
• 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• Soft flour tortillas, warmed
• Jack cheese, grated, for garnish
• Red cabbage, shredded, for garnish
• Cilantro, minced, for garnish
• Hot sauce, for garnish

Combine and mix the first 7 ingredients into a large bowl and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

Add the entire contents of the bowl onto the grill pan and cook until shrimp are bright pink and firm, about 2-3 minutes.

Begin assembling tacos by adding a layer of cheese, followed by the shrimp, and the remaining ingredients on top of the tortillas. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cast Iron (Grilling)

Spent another long weekend soaking up the sun and fun with family and friends at my lake house on Lake Oconee.  Of course, we were also surrounded by great food and cold drinks throughout the weekend.

Keeping things positive, I'm also excited to share that I've partnered up with a few production companies out of NYC to begin shooting scenes for a new pilot we are working on based here in Nashville.  It's been a long time coming, but as they say - it's all about the journey.

Mark Kelly and the great folks over at Lodge Cast Iron provided me with their Sportsman's Grill to utilize in the shoot, so I got to test it out over the weekend.  The results are in . . . BEST STEAK EVER.

Most grills can't get hot enough to really sear a steak properly, and although searing that steak in my cast iron pan inside can often do the trick, it results in quite a bit of smoke indoors.  I found this handy, sturdy grill to be the perfect solution.  From delicately grilling shrimp, to putting a steakhouse quality sear on a NYC strip - I am absolutely in love with this portable grill.  Can we say tailgating?  Yes please.

So that's that - working on some recipes for the shoot over the next week or so.  Hope you and yours are doing well.  Oh, check out the pics below, and go buy one of these - now!


Monday, April 9, 2012

a retrouvé sa santé

I've been shaking off my winter haze over the past few weeks.  I suppose it's the time change, warmer weather, and the prospect of sitting pool side here in the next few months which have re-inspired me to get focused on eating, and living healthy again.  In other words, shedding off those extra 5 - 10 winter pounds is now a priority.

But damn - those comfort foods and winter ales of a few month's past sure were a good time.

With that said, I always like a change in season.  I eat better.  My workouts are stronger.  I feel better.  I look better.  Quite frankly, I believe it's okay to live in seasons.  I enjoyed heartier foods and took a break from the 15 mi runs over the winter to enjoy myself.  Nothing out of hand, but also not as strict as usual.

Now, my time has come to enjoy lighter foods, and take advantage of the better weather by extending long runs, and entering the summer marathon season in the best shape possible.  I enjoy life's ebbs and flows.

Over the weekend, I took advantage of an early morning half marathon out at Percy Warner park here in Nashville.  It's a 13.1 mi run that features undulating hills, breathtaking scenery, and wildlife just around every corner - it's quite peaceful and beautiful.

Inspired to eat a light, healthy meal, I put together this post-run dish to fuel back up on lean protein, and healthy vegetables.  It was fantastic.

So that begs the question . . . what are you doing to look and feel your best?



Sauteed Shrimp

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 lb Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 Lemon
1/2 Teaspoon Creole Seasoning

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, add oil.  Next, add garlic and saute for 30 seconds, careful not to burn.  Add shrimp, cook for 1 - 2 minutes.  Finally, add lemon juice and seasoning - cook until shrimp are bright pink and firm.  Serve.

Squash + Haricots Verts

1 Handful Haricots Verts
Kosher Salt
1 Yellow Summer Squash, sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Bring a shallow pot of water to a slow boil, add salt.  Add haricots verts and blanch for 30 seconds.  Remove to an ice bath until chilled and crisp.  In a separate skillet over medium high heat, add squash and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper, and cook until just tender.  Add haricots verts with the squash to heat through - taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  Serve.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pesto + Sun-dried Tomato + Shrimp Pasta

In the past, I've never been afraid to admit that I take shortcuts in the kitchen from time to time.  In fact, for the everyday guy or gal that finds cooking to be troublesome, I actually encourage the semi-homemade approach.

Of course, I say that full and well knowing that the Sandra Lee jokes will soon start to follow.  More or less, what I'm trying to say is that you don't always have to make everything from scratch to pull off an outstanding, healthy meal at home.

Take this recipe as an example.  I often find inspiration while walking the aisles of the grocery store - surveying what's on sale, what looks good, etc. as a guide to my nightly meal.  Whole Foods had some fresh GA shrimp on sale, so that was my starting point.  The unseasonably warm weather also had my mind focused on bright, fresh flavors.  But alas, my basil plant has yet to sprout, and purchasing enough of those $2.99 packets of fresh basil to make my own pesto would have been, well - unreasonable.

So I took a shortcut by picking up a freshly prepared jar of basil in the refrigerated section at the store.  Don't get me wrong - I'd always prefer to make my own pesto, assuming I have the ingredients on hand - fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and EVOO.  It's quite simple actually.  But without these ingredients on hand, it can be pretty expensive.

Better yet - the store-bought pesto turned out to be pretty darn good.

So, the next time you are thinking about hitting up the drive through or giving in to an expensive restaurant meal, think about taking a shortcut AT HOME.

It's cheaper, healthier, and more satisfying than letting someone else do all the work.  Even if you did 'cheat' - just a little.



Pesto + Sun-dried Tomato + Shrimp Pasta 
(Prep 5 mins, Cook 15 mins, Serves 2)

10 oz Dry Barilla Plus Rotini Pasta
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 lb Fresh Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
1/2 Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes
1 Cup Prepared Pesto

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add pasta and cook for 10 - 11 minutes, or al dente.  Drain pasta and set aside to keep warm.  Meanwhile, add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat; add shrimp.  Saute shrimp for 3 - 4 minutes, or until just pink and firm.  Add pasta, tomatoes, and pesto to the pan and toss until thoroughly combined and shrimp are cooked through.  Transfer to a plate and serve.  (Can also be served at room temp/cold)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Seafood Gumbo

There's just something about the Fall season that puts me in a New Orleans state of mind.  I suppose it has something to do with the Cajun style of cooking that seems to satisfy my cravings for comfort food.  Regardless of the reason, I can attest that a day of cooking Seafood Gumbo is a day well spent.

For me, it typically tends to happen on a Saturday or Sunday.  Once I get the urge, I head down to Little's Fish Company and pick up a mess of the best seafood I can find - shrimp, crawfish, crab, fish, etc.  That's what I like about Seafood Gumbo - the thick roux and base is simply just a carrier for whatever seafood you can find.  It's rustic, real, and delicious.

Keep in mind that a big pot of gumbo is meant to be shared.  I enjoy inviting 10 - 15 of my closest friends over for a day of watching football, drinking beer, and eating this delicious creole creation. 

Of course, I should come clean that everyone has their own 'style' when it comes to making this dish.  Mine is a melange of many different versions and experiences, ranging from my New Orleans friend's 95 year old grandma, to a simple quick shrimp gumbo that's been in my family for years.  Regardless of your method, one thing is certain - it's ALL about the roux.

Creating a dark, thick roux takes time and patience.  In fact, as the roux begins to darken and caramelize, the chances of burning the roux (and ruining the dish) increase each minute.  For that reason, I like to have all of my ingredients prepped and ready to go.  After that, I stand by my pot for 45 minutes, cold beer(s) in hand, and make sure that I get this most crucial element just right.  After that - it's simply just a matter of 'stirring and dumping' to complete the rest of the meal. 

Seafood Gumbo  

1 lb Andouille Sausage, cut crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices
3 Cups Okra, cut into ½ inch slices
1 Cup Vegetable Oil/Butter/Shortening
1  Cup Flour
1 Large Onion, finely diced
1 Large Bell Pepper, finely diced
2 Celery Stalks, finely diced
1 Tablespoon Creole Seasoning
1 14.5 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
10 Cups Seafood Stock

1 lb Lump Crab Meat
1 lb Medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb Crawfish Tail Meat
Hot Cooked Rice
Scallions, sliced

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned; remove and set aside on a plate. Next, add okra and sauté until just tender, about 3 - 4 minutes; remove and set aside on a plate. Combine oil and flour, stirring constantly, to make a dark brown roux, about the color of chocolate; 30 - 35 minutes. Add the onions, peppers, celery, and seasoning; sauté until tender, about 8 - 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, followed by the seafood stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add sausage and okra back into the pot, cover and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, or until okra is just cooked through. Add the crab meat, shrimp, and crawfish; stir to make sure the seafood is immersed in the liquid. Turn off heat, cover, and allow the seafood to gently cook for 10 - 15 minutes. Shrimp and crawfish tail meat should be firm and bright in color. Serve in bowls topped with white rice and garnished with sliced scallions.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Today UGA plays Vandy in Nashville.

I woke up at 9 a.m., knocked out a 10 mi run on the river, and now I'm sitting here writing to you before I take off for a day of tailgating and drinking beer.  It's sunny, cool, the leaves are changing . . . and I'm in a great mood - life is good.

Of course, life is even better when you start your day off with a breakfast like this.

Not too much writing today for me - but I will say that I've got some new projects in the works that I'm super excited about.  I've been keeping my nose to the grindstone as of late, well - sorta . . . but today I'm gonna go cheer on my Dawgs, drink beer, and dance with women.

All the best,


Parmesan Basil Scramble + Cajun Shrimp

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 lb Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
4 Eggs, beaten
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, chopped
1 Tablespoon Parmigiano Reggianno Cheese, grated

Add oil to a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add shrimp, season with Cajun seasoning, and saute until pink and firm, 2 - 3 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside on a plate; keep warm.  Add eggs, waiting for one minute to allow them to set in the pan.  Using a wooden spoon, carefully lift the cooked portions off the pan, tilting the pan to allow the runny portion to reach the heat.  Scramble for another 1 - 2 minutes, or until eggs are still moist and firm.  As you finish, add chopped basil and remove from heat.  Plate eggs, top with cheese, and top with a generous serving of shrimp.  Serve.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


 Just yesterday, I bantered about the onslaught of Fall, hinting that some of my favorite foods and opportunities for entertaining come during this season.  I thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes that makes use of plenty of fresh seafood.  Enjoy!


Cioppino - A San Francisco staple, done southern style with plenty of fresh seafood from the gulf.  This hearty and satisfying stew is a nice dish to fight back the chill of autumn.  Substitute any of your favorite seafood below to create your own spin on this classic.

4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Vidalia Onion
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
¼ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
¼ Cup Tomato Paste
1 Bottle Amber Ale or 1 ½ Cups Dry White Wine
1 Large 28 oz Can San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes, broken apart by hand with juices reserved
4 Cups Seafood Stock
2 Bay Leaves
1 lb Littleneck Clams, scrubbed
1 lb Mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 lb Large Fresh Gulf Shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on
1 lb Halibut or Salmon Filets, cut into thick chunks
Parsley, chopped for garnish

Add olive oil to a Dutch oven over medium heat.  When oil begins to shimmer, add onions, salt, and pepper; sauté, stirring on occasion for 10 - 12 minutes, or until onions are translucent and tender.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for another 2 minutes.  Next, add tomato paste, mixing well to combine with the onions.  Deglaze the pan by adding either the beer or wine, scraping up any of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, seafood stock, and the bay leaves; cover and reduce heat to medium low, simmer for 30 minutes.  Next, add clams and mussels to the pot and cook covered for 5 minutes.  When clams and mussels have just opened (discard any that do not open), add the fish and shrimp, cover and cook until both are just firm, about 5 more minutes.  Remove from heat and serve in large bowls, ensuring an even distribution of seafood and broth.  Garnish with parsley and serve.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Quick Cajun Stir Fry

Time ain't on my side.

It just feels like I can never catch up these days.  Between working, writing, traveling, exercising, etc . . . I just don't have as much time as I would like.

I understand why so many families decide to 'outsource' their meals - after all, having to put dinner on the table is just one extra duty that many of us just don't feel is worth the time.

It's worth it.  When you 'outsource' your meals, you put your health - and also your family time at risk.  For those in the dating world - eat in!  (Not on the first date, that's creepy).

Meals at home don't always have to be 5 star or glamorous.

Take my dinner tonight, for example.  I arrived home to find a bag of frozen vegetables, some frozen shrimp, and a leftover link of andouille sausage from a weekend cookout.  Some might think, "okay, so where's he going with this?"

I'll tell you where.  Just follow.  Oh, and for those of you keeping track, here's another 5 ingredient meal - with virtually no carbs to boot!

Quick Cajun Stir Fry

1/2 lb Large Frozen Shrimp
4 oz Andouille Sausage, sliced thin
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 16 oz Bag Frozen Stir Fry Blend Vegetables
Tony's Cajun Seasoning

Quickly thaw shrimp by rinsing them in a colander under cool running water.  Peel and devein shrimp; set aside.  Add the sausage to a saute pan (or wok) over high heat and cook until just browned.  Add oil, followed by the shrimp and cook over high heat until the shrimp are just turning pink.  Remove sausage and shrimp to a plate.  Next add vegetables (and more oil if necessary) and saute until tender and slightly charred, shaking the pan on occasion, about 3 minutes.  Return the sausage and shrimp to the pan until the shrimp are firm and bright pink.  Season entire dish lightly with Cajun seasoning, toss, and serve.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I'm back!

What an incredible week spent in P.E.I. Canada.  Upon arriving through Toronto on Monday, July 4th we were kindly greeted by Charles who handled our transportation throughout the week.  The weather was gloomy and a bit cool, however we were able to immediately see all of the beauty of the island - the rolling hills, ocean, and homes.  After dropping things off at the hotel, we made our way around downtown Charlottetown and stopped in for dinner at the Gahan House.  Highlights of the meal include their signature mussels, brown bag fish and chips, and of course a copious amount of their red ale.  After a great dinner, we made our way to Sim's Corner for a few more cocktails - and about 3 meat head oysters that were the size of my hand - seriously.

Tuesday we headed north through the towns of New Glasgow, Rustico, and Cavendish.  The countryside is spotted with old homes perched amongst gently rolling hills - all with the crystal blue Atlantic on the horizon.  We arrived at the festival site for the Cavendish Beach Music Festival.  It's an outstanding place to showcase music, with a natural slope looking out on the ocean.  After touring the grounds and meeting P.E.I. renowned chef, Ross Munro (an incredible gentleman), we made our way to the beach in North Rustico.  The beaches sported red sand and grassy dunes - and a few spiders I might add!  After a dip in the cold Atlantic, we hit up the Blue Mussel Cafe for more mussels and smoked haddock . . . we also sampled the local moonshine which was quite good - even considering my critical Southern standards.  That night we dined at Water-Prince Corner Shop, where I had a creamy and satisfying seafood chowder to end the long day.

Wednesday was my only day to goof off - and it just so happened to be my lovely lady's birthday.  After meeting with Tracey and Shannon about the upcoming Fall Flavors event in September, I picked up breakfast to-go from Casa Mia.   After that, we rented bikes and toured the waterfront through the beautiful Victoria Park . . . the weather was perfect, and the homes were quite charming all along the route.  A quick stop off at the St. James Gate was the perfect place to grab a nosh for lunch - Greek nachos, wings, a few beers, and a frozen Bellini made with real peaches that was fantastic.  (You can hopefully see by this point my entire diet was put on hold for the week).  After riding around downtown to work off the calories, we finished getting ready and met Kurt and Keith at the Yacht club for a sailing tour of the harbor.  Definitely a highlight of the trip; we enjoyed wine and cheese with stunning views of the ocean, downtown waterfront, and a few lighthouses that surround the area.  And just like that, we were back at Sim's Corner Steakhouse for an incredible birthday dinner - thanks to everyone for the personal attention and great meal.

Thursday - Sunday was quite the blur.  With the help of Ross and Cory, we were able to put out several hundred pounds of food each day - featuring tons of local P.E.I. ingredients including Lobster, Potatoes, and Sausage (Island Taylored Meats).  To say that the ingredients on this island are incredible would be a huge understatement.  We supplemented our low-country boil with corn, shrimp, craw-fish, onions, and several Molson Canadians.  After noticing that the Canadian palate is a bit more mild than say, in Southern Louisiana, I backed off my liberal use of cayenne pepper in the seasoning blend - even though I did add a little more kick with each day!

Overall, I can't say enough good things about all of the kind people we met.  Everyone was polite, courteous, informed, and enthusiastic about our work.  A local was even kind enough to drop off some Acadian meat pies to show his appreciation - they were fantastic!  A few were even so kind to tell me that the lobster was the 'best they had ever eaten' . . . so thanks for stoking my ego!

And of course, there's the music!  Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, Aaron Lewis, Toby Keith, Eric Church, and a slew of others including some great Canadian acts all made up an incredible roster of talent.  Did I mention I played 4 shows as well?  Thanks to all for a great response on all of my songs - it's always a pleasure to perform in front of such a receptive audience.

I was able to sample even more food (imagine that) from Fishbones, Castellos, and a final trip to the Gahan House for more fish & chips before making my return to Nashville.  What an incredible week of eating, drinking, cooking, and performing.

A special thanks to Chris and Kevin Meyer, Jeff Squires, Ross Munro, Cory, Charlie, Kurt, Kim, Tracey, Shannon, Kelley, The Murphy's and all of the others who made our trip a lasting and memorable experience.  I can't wait to return in September!

Now, it's time to get back to the No, Low, Go Diet to get back into shape!


The rolling green hills make up the landscape of P.E.I.

The harbor outside of New Glasgow

A beautiful church in New Glasgow

Lobster + Beer = Good Times!

Locals feasting on the Low-Country Boil

After a successful day of sailing the harbor

Friday, July 1, 2011

Low-Country Boil

I suppose I lied - after all, I was supposed to be taking a break, right?  Oh well, I wanted to provide my recipe for a low-country boil, which I'll be serving to hundreds of country music fans next week in PEI Canada.  To make things even better, I'll be adding in some fresh PEI ingredients: lobster, potatoes, corn, onions, sauasage, etc.  It's going to be a blast!  Forget hamburgers and hotdogs over this 4th of July - pick yourself up some shrimp, crabs, crawfish, lobster, etc. and get down Cajun style!

All the best!

Note:  We southerner’s love throwing ourselves a party.  After all, I can think of nothing better than sharing good food and cold beer with ten of my best friends.  I love this recipe because the eating experience is communal, and quite frankly cleanup is quick and easy.
 I will forever be indebted to the kind folks who have shared their opinions, philosophies, and methods with regards to making the perfect low country boil.  I can say that I do rest on the side of Les Cajuns when it comes to spice, crawfish, sausage, etc.  However, there are a few folks over on the Atlantic that do things right in the boil world, especially if you are in Baltimore eating Blue Crabs and drinking Yuengling at LP Steamers.  In other words, this recipe is the sum of my experiences, travels, tastes, and preferences.
My highest recommendation is to always have cold beer, good folks, and good tunes around during boil season [Important: boils are always remembered by number and season, i.e. This is the third boil of the season]
I’ll be honest, the following ingredients are mere approximations, and they tend to get fuzzier with each beer that is consumed throughout the boil process. However, I can guarantee that this recipe will have your friends giving you high fives and thanking you for years to come.   
5lbs Small red potatoes
5lbs Vidalia onions, quartered
3lbs Fresh yellow corn, shucked, and cut in half
2lbs Large button mushrooms
5lbs Andouille sausage
5lbs Large Shrimp, deveined, head and shell on
10lbs Large Live Crawfish (I like to purge my crawfish in saltwater for 30 minutes to ensure that they are clean.  IMPORTANT-Do not add dead crawfish to the pot)
5-6 Bay Leaves
2 heads of Garlic
1 bunch of Celery
3 Lemons (halved)
10-12 Peppercorns
6 12 oz Beers
Pick a bag of Zatarain’s PRO BOIL.  It should last you the season, and it is the best stuff on the market.  Do not use any “boil in a bag” or “concentrated liquid products”.  In a pinch, I suggest adding a liberal amount of Tony Chachere’s seasoning to the water.
Fill a large 60 quart pot 2/3 full of water.  Add all seasonings into the pot; crank up the heat with the lid on to quicken the process.  Once the water comes to a boil, add potatoes and corn.  After 5-10 minutes (1 beer), add onions, mushrooms, and sausage.  Return to a slow boil, after 10 minutes add crawfish.  Allow the water to come back to a strong boil for 1-2 minutes and finally add the shrimp.  Immediately turn off the heat and cover the pot.  Allow the pot to sit undisturbed for at least 10 minutes.  Next, stir the pot to ensure that the crawfish are bright red in color and the shrimp are pink and firm.  Note, at this point you can allow the boil to soak up more flavor/heat, by allowing it to rest.  Drain the basket and pour out on a large table covered with newspapers.  Season the boil with Cajun seasoning.  Have lemon slices and paper towels readily available.   Drink and eat up.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grilled Rosemary Shrimp Kebabs

After a few weeks of idyllic weather - high's in the mid-80's, and low's in the mid-60's - the Indian Summer gods have decided to bestow upon us Southerners a week that feels more like early August than late September.  Truth be told, the September Grass I wished for earlier this month is brittle and brown - oh well.

Don't get me wrong - I like hot weather.  But, considering I'm less than 8 weeks away from my next marathon, and that I just enjoyed two weeks of 'fall running', the idea of logging countless miles in 90 degree heat just doesn't do it for me anymore.

Speaking of which - anyone running in Richmond, Va on November 13th?  I sort of thought this was an 'under the radar' race, which I prefer, but based on the fact that all of the downtown hotels are already booked - I fear I may be participating in a traffic jam instead of a race.  Better hope they they do corrals.

Anywho - the one good thing about having hot weather is that it extends my desire to eat light, healthy meals. 

I know what you are thinking.  A meal of grilled shrimp, coupled w/ my penchant for throwing out Dumb and Dumber quotes at random?  In the words of Lloyd Christmas . . .

Austria!  Well, then.  G'day mate!  Let's put another shrimp on the barbie! 

Grilled Rosemary Shrimp Kebabs -

6 - 8 Large Rosemary Sprigs, soaked in water for 10 minutes
1 lb Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Lemon, juiced
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat one side of the grill to medium high heat.  Meanwhile, season shrimp in a bowl with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper.  Add lemon juice and olive oil - toss until thoroughly combined.  Begin skewering shrimp, starting at the bottom of the rosemary sprig and working your way to the top (with the leaves), careful not to overcrowd.  Add shrimp to grill over direct heat, 1 -2 minutes.  Move shrimp to indirect heat and cook for another 3 - 4 minutes, or until firm and pink.  Remove from grill and serve immediately with plenty of cold beer.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sautéed Shrimp, Mushrooms, and Peas over Penne w/ Parmesan Cream Sauce

This week's cool weather is a a welcome change from the soaring three-digit temperatures and suffocating humidity we've experienced down south all summer long.

Unfortunately, a turn towards colder weather immediately amps up my craving for comfort food.  Thankfully it's marathon training season again, so I imagine I'll counteract the extra calories with plenty of miles.

That being said, this meal isn't a caloric disaster.  In fact, with the exception of the cream/cheese/butter - the rest of the ingredients, in moderation, are quite healthy.  Besides, I'd rather give in to extra 'homemade' calories than outsource them from a drive-thru or chain restaurant.

Keeping in the theme of cheap, simple meals - this dish is sure to suffice.



Sautéed Shrimp, Mushrooms, and Peas over Penne w/ Parmesan Cream Sauce

 8 oz Barilla Plus Penne Pasta
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 oz Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Cup Frozen Green Peas
1 lb Medium (21 - 30 ct) Shrimp, peeled and deviened
1 Cup Dry White Wine
8 oz Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, plus more for garnish/taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add penne pasta and cook just under al dente, about 10 minutes, drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter into the olive oil.  Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper to taste, and saute until browned and tender, about 3 - 4 minutes.  Next add peas and shrimp and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, or until shrimp just begin to firm and turn pink.  Remove entire contents of the pan to a plate to keep warm;  return the pan to the heat.  Next, add the wine to deglaze the hot pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Allow the wine to reduce by 1/2, or 2 - 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low, add cream, and allow to simmer and reduce for 4 - 5 minutes; taste, adjust seasoning, and keep a close eye on the cream to prevent from boiling.  When the cream has reduced by 1/2, add the mushroom/pea/shrimp mixture into the cream to finish cooking.  Toss in cooked pasta and cheese, and mix thoroughly until well combined.  Remove from heat and serve with grated Parmesan to taste.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grilled Shrimp Nachos + The Beach

A few shots from paradise . . . and an incredible recipe to enjoy either at home or with a few cold beers and friends on the beach.

Whenever you are cooking outdoors, it's best to prep as much as possible in advance at home.  This keeps your actual time away from friends & fun (cooking) to a minimum, and it also ensures you don't get to your location only to realize you are not prepared.  In this instance, I went ahead and prepped the shrimp, guacamole, and pico before hitting the beach.  Toss everything in a cooler that needs to be chilled and you are all set.  If preparing at home, follow the same process using a grill pan over medium-high heat on the stove, and finish things off in an oven heated to 425 degrees F.

Fair warning - these nachos are killer, but they do take some work.  Plan on 30 minutes of prep at home, and 15 - 20 minutes for assembly/cooking at the beach.

The key to great nachos is to ensure an even distribution of ingredients, so that each bite is consistent.  One of the biggest mistakes people make is creating a huge pile of chips with all of the ingredients loaded on top.  Of course, this creates that awkward group eating situation where one person goes for all of the good ingredients with every bite, only to leave behind a pile of chips for everyone else (you know who you are).  Instead, create layers by starting with chips, followed by a generous portion of beans and cheese.  As you work your way to the top, you can add your final ingredients, but rest assured, the bottom of the pile won't be a bland pile of chips.  Just trying to keep everyone happy out there.

Crack open a cold beer, and let's get to work.

Recipe serves 5 - 7 people

Prep (Shrimp, Guacamole, Pico)

3 lbs Large Shrimp
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lime, juiced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin Powder

Peel and devein shrimp; add to a large Ziplock back.  Add the remaining ingredients, toss to combine, and keep sealed and refrigerated (in cooler) until ready for use.

2 Cloves Garlic, minced 
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
3 Large Ripe Hass Avocados, seeded and diced
1 Tablespoon Cilantro, diced
1/4 Medium Red Onion, finely diced
1 Lime, juiced

On a cutting board, combine kosher salt and minced garlic.  Using the flat side of a chef's knife, press down on the garlic - allowing the salt to work as an abrasive - working the knife back and forth until the garlic is broken down and forms a paste, about 1 - 2 minutes.  Add garlic paste to a bowl.  Combine the remaining ingredients into the bowl along with the garlic paste.  Using a fork, carefully mash together ingredients, leaving some chunks of avocado, until mixture is smooth and well combined.  Add more lime juice and salt to taste.  Place plastic wrap directly over the guacamole to prevent from browning, and store chilled until ready for use.

Pico de Gallo
3 Ripe Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 Medium Red Onion, finely diced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lime, juiced
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl, toss to combine, cover, and store chilled until ready for use.  Add more lime juice or salt to taste, if necessary.

Grilled Shrimp Nachos
1 Large Bag Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips
1 Large Bag Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
2 Cans Black Beans, drained
4 lbs Grated Cheese (Monterey Jack, Colby, Cheddar)
Shrimp, marinated
Sour Cream, Guacamole, Salsa, Pico (on the side)
2 Large Disposable Aluminum Lasagna Baking Pans
Aluminum Foil

On a charcoal/gas grill over direct heat, grill shrimp until just done (firm and pink), about 1 - 2 minutes per side.  Remove shrimp from grill, cover, and set aside.  Begin assembling nachos by placing a layer of chips in the bottom of each tray.  Top with a generous portion of black beans and cheese.  Repeat with another layer of chips, beans, and cheese.  Next, top with grilled shrimp and pico.  Cover trays with aluminum foil and place on the grill over indirect heat, cover, and cook until cheese is melted and ingredients are heated through, about 4 - 6 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve alongside sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and remaining pico.