Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Let me let you in on a little secret. I generally don't like seafood. I realize this makes me an odd duck, so to speak, but really if seafood is on the menu I'll usually only eat enough to be polite. The Brain loves when we go to a wedding or a benefit or some function like that and a surf and turf platter is served. He somehow always ends up with extra surf. Crab legs, lobster, blecch. Sometimes I will actually enjoy a bi-valve. I do find mussels fairly delicious.

Because I am a nice and loving wife though, I will occasionally make shrimp. I can stomach shrimp. I don't need to worry about overeating it at least. And it falls massively in the Acts of Love category (from this fairly silly book). And I can see the nutritional benefits of shrimp. It's very low in calories and fat and yet it's super high in protein, selenium, and zinc.

So imagine my surprise (and the Brain's) when I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day! This Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta is really good! It's the yummy dinner I made before making the Daring Bakers' Bakewell Tart. The recipe comes from a magazine I found while waiting in line at Walmart called EatSmart with Ellie Krieger. (I'm starting to really like her and her book just got added to my Amazon wish list!) The tomatoes, feta and parsley give make it warm and comforting and yet somehow fresh tasting at the same time. It's the kind of meal that I could imagine eating on some Mediterranean island maybe.

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta
From EatSmart with Ellie Krieger

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Two 14.5 ounce cans no salt added diced tomatoes, with their juices
1/4 cup finely minced fresh flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp finely minced fresh dill
1 1/4 pounds peeled deveined medium shrimp
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, dill, and shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the feta over the top. Bake until the shrimp are cooked through and the cheese melts, about 12 minutes.
Serve over rice or orzo.

On a side note, I'm sorry I've been sporadic to say the least in my blogging. Downright negligent really. I was going through a bit of a dark moment. But I've realized that I miss blogging. I miss being involved with the food blogging community. So I plan on doing a bit more blogging in the future. Thank you for continuing to read.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Bakers Blackwell Tart

So, yes, it's posting day for the Daring Bakers and after I spent the whole day with the Brain and made a super yummy dinner which I'll be posting on later, I decided I better get to it and make the Blackwell Tart. The hesitation comes in because the base of the tart is pie crust. They can make it sound all fancy and call it a shortcrust pastry and put egg yolks and sugar in it, but it's still a pie crust. And frankly, pie crust makes me nervous. So does the price of almond meal. But I really don't have a good excuse for missing the challenge and I already had some of this yummy plum-ginger jam in the pantry, so I rolled up my sleeves (or really changed into a tank top- turning on the oven in the summer turns our cozy little house into a sauna) and got down to it.

This was not a difficult challenge. I did have to grind up some almonds, but that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I have been reminded of how yummy my jam is. I also made an emergency substitution of vanilla extract for almond extract. The almond extract seems to be on vacation from my pantry. Grating frozen butter into a flour mixture in a really warm kitchen was a bit trying. Unfortunately, I blindly followed the instructions for the baking portion. The recipe says to pop it in the oven for 30 minutes and to add 5 minutes if you ground your own nuts. So that's what I did. And as you can see, my tart is a little teeny bit on the well done side of life.
So what's the verdict? This tart is delicious! And I'm totally going to make it again!

Here's the fine print! The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart.. er.. pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England. Make sure you check out the rest of the Daring Bakers. If you haven't already.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bacon Waffles

Sometimes I can be not so bright. Yes, I managed to pull off all A's for the whole year in school despite my busy schedule. But that's books. When it comes to life I can be a complete moron. Sorry, I'm not going to go into the details on my silly little blog that I would be surprised if anyone still reads.

One fairly stupid thing I managed to do recently was place a whole stick of butter in the butter dish. This would not be stupid in and of itself, but see, I've been dealing with some personal problems by cleaning. And so I was soft-scrubbing the counters and rearranging everything and I moved the butter dish to the opposite counter. Still not stupid per se. But then I agreed to work the rummage sale at church(so much fun!) and decided to make these pork chops. Which wouldn't have been stupid if I hadn't put the crock pot right in front of the butter dish. D'Oh!

Three days later I noticed that my nice stick of butter had turned into a melty ball of nonuseableness. I don't think that's a word, but you get my drift.

Now because I've been kind of blue lately and dealing with some not so nice people, the first thing I thought to do with my melted stick of butter was to turn it into some comfort food. And comfort food it was. I pulled out my little waffle maker, thawed some slices of bacon, tweaked a recipe from the Joy of Cooking and did my best Paula Deen impression. The furry sous chef was hopping up and down waiting for the drippy edges that I would throw at her. And there are now 6 waffles in the freezer waiting for another day that I might need them.

Bacon Waffles
adapted from the Joy of Cooking

1 3/4 cups all purpose-flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 Tbsp melted bacon fat
3 eggs
1/3 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat waffle iron. Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine bacon fat, eggs, butter, and milk. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir to combine. Stir in crumbled bacon and cook waffles according to your waffle irons specifications. Serve warm with maple syrup.