Taco night: Shrimp with pineapple salsa

26 Jun

In anticipation of moving to Kansas (Kansas!) in a few weeks, Zach and I hosted one last charity dinner at his place here in Steamboat. On the menu: tacos, other stuff, tacos, beer, and brownie sundaes. Read on for the recipe, as well as an extremely flattering action shot of Zach marinating shrimp.

We’ll be splitting the proceeds from the past few months among a few nonprofits in Steamboat Springs: Lift-Up of Routt County, Advocates Building Peaceful Communities, and Horizons Specialized Services. Great organizations with great causes. Thanks to everyone who cooked food, ate food, hung out, donated, and generally participated in the charity dinner group during the past few years. It’s been a lot of fun. Hopefully it will keep on going (which is, of course, not intended to put pressure on anyone –> which is, of course, a lie.).

First up from last night’s recipes, chili lime shrimp with pineapple salsa (good on toasted corn tortillas with lime-zested sour cream, but pictured here on a plate, with no garnish — might have forgotten to take pictures every time I was actually planning to eat it).

Shrimp with pineapple salsa

Chili lime shrimp

1 bag small shrimp (50-60 per bag)

Juice of two limes

Chili powder

Garlic, roughly chopped

Cayenne pepper

Salt and black pepper

2 jalapenos, diced (seeded for less heat)

1) Defrost and peel shrimp, put in a large plastic zip bag.

2) Add lime juice, chili powder, chopped garlic, cayenne, salt and black pepper.

3) Shake the bag (see picture below for most effective procedure, demonstrated by Zach, expert shaker of shrimp). Marinate in the fridge for a few hours.

4) Cook shrimp over medium-high heat until pink and cooked through.

Pineapple salsa

1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and diced

1 orange, peeled, segmented and diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded, sliced and sauteed

Salt, to taste

1) Cook the jalapeno over medium heat with a little oil and salt. Remove from heat when soft.

2) In a large bowl, combine the diced pineapple, peppers and orange. Add the cooked jalapeno. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving, to blend the flavors. Serve with anything; in this case, shrimp tacos.

BBQ chicken pizza

21 Apr

The charity dinner theme a few weeks back was pizza.

A predictable thing happened: I did not allow time for making, or even buying, pizza crust. Thankfully, “How to Cook Everything” provided a perfect excuse to take the east way out: Mark Bittman told me I could. His permission to use flour tortillas as pizza crust worked well with this recipe:

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Espresso cookies with chocolate and cherries

21 Apr

Because I needed an excuse to buy more coffee products.

These cookies are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, with a strong espresso taste up front. I like milk chocolate for the chips — it mellows out some of the bitterness of the coffee, and highlights the tartness of the dried cherries.

Read on for the recipe. Continue reading

Cookie comfort bars

29 Mar

Just to say it up front, I did these 8,000 percent wrong. Luckily, under-baked cookies continue to be cookies, and cookies are delicious:

I thought about fibbing on this one, and posting the recipe I meant to make, instead of the gooey-center crunchy-crust one pictured above. And believe me, the texture seen here is a vast improvement over the first out of the oven — essentially a pool of butter, not enough flour and undercooked eggs. Despite all that, the result here is a chewy, comforting, very buttery take on chocolate chip cookie bars.

Read on for the recipe.

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Carrot-curry soup with leeks

12 Mar

 

This was my second attempt at a carrot-leek soup.

The first involved a considerably smaller, and not nearly large enough, amount of carrots, and a misjudgment of the description on a somewhat-difficult-to-identify can of curry paste (language skills = lacking). This time around, the results were an appropriately hearty, creamy and flavorful vegetable soup. Greek yogurt with sriracha and honey makes it even better.

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Pork noodles with sous-vide egg

11 Mar

So apparently, when you cook an egg at a low temperature in a water bath for about 50 minutes, magic happens.

That was the case with this experiment, which involved a temperature-regulator attached to a rice cooker (Happy Sous-Vide and/or Valentine’s Day present!); udon; pork; and various vegetables, spices and other happy-making ingredients. At a low temperature for a long time, the proteins in the egg transform in a way that makes the finished egg an instant tongue-coating (but not creamy) sauce when cracked over an otherwise basic bowl of noodles.

The most important information to have in this case can be found here, in Douglas Baldwin’s online guide to sous vide.

The rest is this: pork marinated in hoisin, soy, lime juice, honey and sriracha; then sauteed with garlic and chiles; then mixed with vegetables; then tossed with cooked udon noodles; then topped with the cracked egg; then stirred around a bit to make the sauce.

Banh mi = success

7 Mar

After an especially long and hunger-inducing shift at my favorite Steamboat Springs Tex-Mex restaurant, I came home to these, the most satisfying and amazing and salty and greasy Banh Mi sandwiches I have ever tasted. Kudos to Zach for knowing that fried ground pork is always the right choice.

Pork meatballs seasoned with a heavy dose of garlic, what may or may not have been too much salt, and a few bunches of basil; sriracha sauce with yogurt, honey, lime and soy; crusty French rolls; pickled carrots and red onion; diced cucumber. This sandwich made for even score against everything I have ever cooked (probably combined).

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Carrot cake cookies with orange cream cheese icing

1 Mar

As a kid, carrot cake was my least favorite sort of cake.

Actually, I doubt I ever ate it.

Anyhow, it’s a favorite now, and it seemed like a perfect candidate for cookies-out-of-things-that-are-not-traditionally-cookies.

Read on for the recipe. It’s also online here.

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Caramel apple spice cookies

27 Feb

A few days that felt a little like fall (expect, you know, with an extra 20 feet of snow on the ground) brought this one around: caramel apple spice cookies.

A handy packet of pre-made caramel (actually part of a caramel apple decoration kit) and North Fork Ranch‘s sparkling gingersnaps cookie recipe lay the groundwork here. Minus the caramel that was already made to melt, then reform, you could make your own caramel, or use spiced apple chunks along with cut up caramel candies. Your call.

Read on for the recipe.

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Stuffed pasta shells

26 Feb

For last Sunday’s charity dinner, we made stuffed pasta shells two ways: non-meat no-mushrooms, and meat (there also were other ingredients).

With one side of the pan going the spinach-artichoke-broccoli-carrot-feta-ricotta route, and the other leaning toward the chicken-peppers-onions-mushrooms-ricotta-mozzarella side, it was a pasta shell extravaganza. The chunky tomato sauce was lifted/adapted from the most recent issue of Esquire.

Read on for the recipes.

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