Bloody Mary Shrimp Cocktail

This is fun recipe that can be served at brunch, or as a starter for a casual summer supper. It can also be turned into appetizer shooters if desired, a total of 24 shooters can be made from this recipe. But I like more shrimp and less Mary to make it a beautiful appetizer. The vodka can be omitted for the flavor without the kick, or to include the younger generation in this fine feast.

Bloody Good!

Ingredients

Bloody Mary
2 quartz Tomato Juice
1 teaspoon Celery Seed
3 Tablespoons Hot Sauce
2 Tablespoons Worchestershire
3 Tablespoons Prepared or Freshly Grated Horseradish
1 Tablespoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
3 Limes Juiced
1.5 Cups Vodka (optional can omit for a non-alcoholic version)
Garnishes - Lemon or Lime Wedges, Celery Stick, Pickled Asparagus, Dilly Beans, Olives, Bacon Strips, Cubed Cheese on picks - be creative here!

Poached Shrimp
2 Dozen large raw shrimp (12 or under per pound), peeled and deveined.
2 Quartz Water
3 Bay Leaves
2 Lemons, cut in half
4 Tablespoons Old Bay Season
1 Teaspoon Salt

Instructions

  1. Make Bloody Mary: Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir to fully blend. Chill in the refrigerator.
  2. Make cooking stock: Place all ingredients except shrimp in a large stock pot. Sqeeze juice out of the lemons into the liquid and then add the left over rind. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
  3. Cook shrimp: While stock is still simmering, add shrimp and poach for 5 minutes until shrimp are just cooked through. They will turn bright pink and curl.
  4. Pour Bloody Mary into serving glasses and garnish with shrimp and vegetables, or whatever your heart desires.

Asparagus and Pine Nut Risotto

It’s a chilly Friday night, after a long week at work, some of it spent traveling. Spent my lunch hour shopping for a quick produce and dairy refresh before I do my real grocery shopping on the weekend. It’s starting to look like spring, but barely. Spring is for tender greens, sweet young peas, garlic shoots and asparagus. They haven’t poked their heads up in my high desert garden yet, but are making an appearance at seasonal pricing in all the grocery stores. Of course I had to grab two pounds asparagus. However, there is still snow on the ground and the evenings are still dropping below freezing point. How to warm the body, enjoy this seasonal treat, and get dinner quickly on the table after work? Risotto! A hot, steamy bowl of risotto. A simple one dish meal – creamy rice, toasted pinenuts and the delicacy of fresh steamed asparagus.

Ingredients

1 Pound Fresh Asparagus   
1 Shallot, Minced
4 Tablespoons, Butter, Melted
1 1/4 Cups Arborio Rice
1/2 Cup dry white wine
3 - 4 Cups of Chicken Stock
3/4 Cup Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Pinenuts, Toasted

Instructions

  1. Remove tough ends of the asparagus and cut into bite size pieces, and place in a small pan, cover with water.
  2. Mince the shallots and set aside.
  3. Mince the garlic and set aside.
  4. Grate parmesan and set aside.
  5. In a large skillet or deep sauce pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
  6. Add Arborio Rice and stir to coat.
  7. Increase heat slightly and stir in white wine. Cook stirring constantly until liquid is mostly evaporated.
  8. Begin adding chicken stock, 1/2 a cup at a time. Cook stirring occassionally. As liquid from addition evaporates, add another 1/2 cup. Continue doing this until at least 3 cups of the broth has been absorbed by the rice, and rice is cooked to al dente, this takes about 30 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, bring asparagus to a boil for 2-3 minutes until tender but still crisp. Drain immediately and rinse with cool water to stop cooking action.
  10. Stir whipping cream, salt and pepper into the rice. Let whipping cream absorb into the rice. Here is where you can control the consistency of the rice. For looser rice, add additional chicken stock, for firmer rice, use less.
  11. Stir in Parmesan cheese and pinenuts. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Gently fold in steamed asparagus.
  13. Serve in shallow bowls topped with additional Parmesan as desired.

Beignets

I’ve often wanted to try a hand at donuts at home, and when I started reading up on Beignets, they seemed to be the right place to start. Simple shapes, made from rolled sweet dough, fried and dusted with powdered sugar. When I explore new techniques, I try to learn the basics before moving on. The basics are typically the things I return to time and again, after playing with more inventive versions with unique ingredients. The original generally remains the gold-standard and favorite. This is an old, long standing recipe found in many books and internet recipe sites. I’ve scaled it to 1/2 the recipe usually posted as this still makes more beignets than a small family can eat. The recipe can be doubled easily.

Powder sugar coated pillows!
1 hour and 50 minutes – dough is risen
Rolled, cut and resting
Golden brown and ready to remove from fryer.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 (.25-ounce) (or 7 g) packet active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 3/4 – 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • corn oil or any flavorless oil , for frying
  • powdered sugar , for dusting

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl (I do this in my stand mixer bowl) combine lukewarm water (90-100 degrees Farenheit) and yeast. Let it sit until dissolve for about 5 minutes.
  2. Lightly whisk eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla extract , salt and sugar. Add to the yeast mixture.
  3. Mix in about 2 cups flour and continue mixing with hand or dough mixer. Using a stand mixer for about a minute or 2.
  4. Finally add melted butter, mix until dough is sticky but smooth. Add in additional flour to make soft dough. Add a bit at a time until it achieves a soft consistency. If using a dough mixer becareful not to overmix.
  5. Turn dough on lightly floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes. Add flour a tablespoon at a time, and knead in if dough is too sticky.
  6. Place dough in a greased (I use butter) bowl, turning once to coat the dough with butter. Cover loosely with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 2 hours or until doubled.
  7. Begin heating avocado or peanut oil in a dutch oven or deep fryer. These oils have a high-smoke point. Heat oil to 375 degrees.
  8. Punch the dough down and remove the dough from the bowl.
  9. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into ΒΌ – 1/3 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 1 1/2 or 2β€³ squares or diamonds. Let dough rest for about 10 minutes before frying.
  10. While dough rests, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and papertowels for draining the fried beignets.
  11. Check the oil with a candy thermometer to insure it has come to 375 degrees.
  12. Working with 4 – 6 dough pieces, so as to not crowd the oil, fry the dough squares until they are puffy and golden brown. Remove from the oil, drain onto paper towels, and immediately dust with powdered sugar.

Welcome!

Thanks for joining me!

I have always shown my love through the preparation and sharing of food.   There are a number of reasons and choices for this expression of love, and each time I embark on cooking there is a story to tell.

This site will share recipes I’ve created or explored; my trials and triumphs.   This will also curb my tendency to post everything I cook on social media, abusing the patience of friends and family πŸ™‚

The need may arise to use up fresh ingredients, and no specific recipe comes to mind.  Sometimes, I come across an ingredient to try, or a technique not yet explored.   Or…in the middle of cooking I realize I’ve forgotten a key ingredient, and don’t have it on hand.  These are the invitations to create, invent, improvise.

Backyard Bounty