Saturday, December 31, 2005

Feta-baked Shrimp

As previously noted I love feta cheese! For a special occasion dinner, like tonight's New Year's Eve feast, this seems decadent and novel but is oh-so-simple to prepare that you'll not spend the whole celebration in the kitchen.

1 pound peeled shrimp (raw)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
a sprig of thyme
2 tsp. minced oregano
2 tbsp. minced parsley
white wine
1/4 c. cream or evaporated milk
1/3 c. feta cheese (or to taste)

Oven 400`.

Arrange the shrimp in a casserole dish or oven-proof baking/serving dish. Zest the lemon and set aside. Squeeze half the lemon over top of the shrimp and let it marinate while you mince up the herbs, garlic and shallot.

In a small saucepan, heat some extra virgin olive oil, add the garlic and shallot and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the herbs, then splash on a little wine (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup). Add the cream and the lemon zest. Stir, bring to a boil, then pour over the shrimp.

Use a fork to break thin chunks off the feta block and sprinkle them all over the top of the shrimp. Bake for 10 minute until the cheese is melty and the shrimp is cooked through. Serve with lemon wedges and a dusting of finely minced parsley.

I like to serve this with couscous or orzo, both of which I cook in chicken broth for richer flavor.

Happy New Year!~

copyright 2005 Valerie Schneider

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Antipasti Semplice

With the holiday season upon us, we've been entertaining friends and have been invited to potluck-type parties. With limited time there's always the dilemma of what to take, what to put out for nibbles while I finish cooking. I've concocted a couple simple antipasti that go over extremely well and take only minutes to prepare. Both involve prosciutto, a satisfying "decadence" that gives an upscale feel to your antispasto plate. Ready?

1) Prosciutto wrapped breadsticks
This one's real tough...take a rosemary-sea salt crunchy breadstick (available in your regular grocery store, often at the deli area) and take a strip of prosciutto and - yep, wrap it around the top of the breadstick. Repeat. Lay them on a plate or stick them upright in a water glass. Done.

2) Gamberi con pesto e prosciutto
Buy large precooked, peeled shrimp. Dip them in pesto (either a jar of store-bought or homemade, whichever you prefer), then wrap a strip of prosciutto around it. Arrange them on a plate. Done.

You can also purchase extra shrimp and put them out with a little bowl of pesto for dipping. Makes a nice change from tomatoey cocktail sauce.

Semplice. Soooo simple but they never fail to impress our guests.
Buon natale!

copyright 2005 Valerie Schneider

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Spaghetti alla Giorgio (al' limone)

On my last visit to Italy, friends Giorgio and Francesca took us to their seaside home for lunch. After a mixed grill feast that left me ready for a three-day nap, Giorgio took me by the arm, led back to the table, handed me a pen and paper and said, "Write down this recipe. It's spaghetti al'limone, but you can call it Spaghetti all'Giorgio!". He proceeded to dictate the simple concoction to me in Italian and I've made it several times when I'm in a pinch for time for ingredients. Simplicity! Here's the translation:

grated lemon peel (one lemon for a dish that serves four people)
a couple handfuls of grated pecorino cheese (or you may use parmeggiano)
salt and pepper
an egg
a little bit of milk

Cook the spaghetti. Mix the other ingredients together in a bowl. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and put it while still wet into a large bowl. Pour the other ingredients over the top, toss it well. The hot pasta will cook the egg while creating a silky sauce. Top with a little bit of chopped fresh parsley.

"And now, mangiarla!"

copyright 2005 Valerie Schneider

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Smooth, sweet-tart, and bursting with sunshine, Limoncello is a liqueur from the Amalfi Coast region of Italy. It's a great finale to a meal, delicious year-round, and makes a wonderful gift, too. It's easy to make. You just need lemons, alcohol and sugar.

Carefully peel the yellow skin from about a dozen organic lemons. Because you're infusing the skins, the lemons do need to be organic; you don't want any chemicals leeching out into your drink. You want the yellow part only, not the white pith.

Put the peels into a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Pour on a bottle of alcohol (you can use grain alcohol or a good-quality vodka.) Seal and put in a cool, dark place for 40 days and 40 nights. Give it a shake every now and again.

Strain out the peels.

Make a sugar syrup of 1 1/2 Cups sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then turn off. When it's cool, add it to the lemon alcohol.

Decant into bottles. Enjoy! It's best when served very well-chilled.

2005 Valerie Schneider

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chicken Pot Roast

With cooler weather, a pot roast has been sounding good. Something that slow-cooks and gives up a hearty, warming aroma and taste is perfect in cooler weather. This is sort of like a classic pot roast but with chicken for a lighter touch.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half across
4 carrots
4 celery stalks
1 onion
5 potatoes
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 or 2 bay leaves
1/3 c. dry red wine
1/2 c. chicken broth
half a can of chopped tomatoes

Roughly chop all the veggies into large-chop pieces.

Brown the chicken in a roasting pan in a little olive oil. Add the veggies and stir, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Add bay leaf, then red wine. Let evaporate a minute then add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, cover and put in oven at 400. Bake until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Add more broth if necessary to keep from drying out.

I usually make a pan gravy after. Transfer all the meat and veggies to a platter, pour the pan juices into a bowl, then heat a tablespoon of butter in the bottom of the pan. Add a tablespoon of flour and stir well, cooking about a minute. Add the juices (and a little more broth if necessary) back to the pan, stir well to avoid lumps, heat until slightly thickened and pour into a gravy boat.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Two Feta Dips

I adore feta cheese! Salty and crumbly, it adds taste and texture to many dishes. As a dip for crisped pitas and veggies, it can't be beat. These two spreads are simple to prepare, too. I buy "bricks" of feta, either in a package or in whey, then break off a good-sized chunk.

1) Feta and Walnut Dip/Spread
In a blender or food processor combine:
1/2 brick feta
1 clove garlic
a handful of toasted walnuts (but it works nicely with toasted pistachios, too)
a handful of fresh parsley
a sprig of thyme, strip off the leaves
2 TBSP water
Pulse to chop. Then add 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and blend well.

2) Pesto-Feta Dip
1/2 Cup pesto (homemade or from a jar, whatever you prefer)
a chunk of feta
Blend or pulse. Voila...done!

Could it be any simpler than that? And the great thing is, your guests will be duly impressed!

2005 Valerie Schneider

Friday, October 07, 2005

Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

This recipe is for you, Cara, my blue cheese-lovin' sister!

1/2 a shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 sprig fresh thyme, strip the leaves off the stem
aobut 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. red wine vinegar

In a small bowl combine all the above.

Whisk in:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. mayonnaise

Then add:
a good handful of crumbled gorgonzola

Great on salad, obviously, but also good on steamed green beans or broccoli or mixed into pasta salad, too.

2005 Valerie Schneider

Monday, October 03, 2005

Penne con Zucca Gialla

It's that time of year again...autumn means squash are in the stores again. I like the little delicata squash, mainly because one is the perfect size for a meal for two, and because they are the easiest squash to peel. I just use a regular veggie peeler on them then cut off the ends, scoop out the seeds and you're ready to go!

This is a fantastic autumn and winter dish, and of course, super easy. I first tasted this dish in a Roman osteria and, when I came home I set to work to replicate it. I think it tastes pretty close.

1 delicata or small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
white wine
chicken or vegetable broth
pinch thyme, salt, pepper
3 tbsp. cream (optional)

In a large skillet, heat some olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the squash and stir-fry a couple minutes. Add a splash of wine (about 1/4 cup) and when it's stopped sizzling and steaming, add about 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup broth. Cover and cook until the squash are tender, adding more broth if needed to keep from drying out. Add the thyme, salt and pepper, along with the cream if desired. Toss with freshly cooked penne pasta and top with a grating of parmigiano reggiano cheese.

copyright 2005 Valerie Schneider

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I love the flavors and textures of Middle Eastern foods. The aromas of the exotic spices are intoxicating. Probably the easiest of dishes to prepare is hummus. I just throw all the ingredients in the food processor or blender and call it done!

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 to 3 tbsp. tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
dash of red chile flakes
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. coriander
dash each of salt and pepper
small handful of fresh parsley leaves
Olive oil

In a blender or food processor grind all ingredients except olive oil. Add that in a thin stream until the mixture reaches a creamy (but not too thin) consistency. Serve with pita chips, fresh pita, and/or crudites.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Limoncello Lamb

I admit that I have a liking for lamb. Bryan, on the other hand, has an obsession for it. I always tell people that "he never met a lamb he didn't like". If lamb is on a menu, he's sure to order it. My step-father, too, loves it, as is evidenced by the fact that we've had to hear about his Croatian "lamb cooked under a bell" at least ten times. I like it, but I haven't made it too often at home...when I can afford the pricey meat, that is. I recently spurged, though, and bought some beautiful lamb chops. These lemony, tender chops will be sure to please.

Limoncello Lamb
8 lamb chops (or more)
In a pan large enough to hold your chops combine:
1/2 C. limoncello liqueur
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
4 juniper berries, crushed
1 clove garlic, crushed
a few good grindings of fresh pepper
1 bay leaf
1 lemon - zest about half of it and then cut it into wedges

Marinade the meat in the mixture for a couple hours.

Grill, laying a lemon wedge atop each chop. This keeps it nice and moist. Depending on thickness it will take about 15 minutes to grill the chops.

Delicious with a side of couscous!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Granola Fudgies

This is an adaptation of one of my grandma's recipes. These no-bake cookies are perfect for the hot weather, when you want to pack some sweets for a picnic but don't want to heat up the kitchen!

1/4. cup cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sucanat*
1/2 stick butter
1 1/2 cups granola
1/4 cup sliced almonds or chopped nuts
1/4 cup peanut butter

Place the cocoa in a saucepan and gradually add the milk, stirring well. Stir in the sweetener and the butter and bring to a boil for one minute, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter, the granola and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm.

*Sucanat is a whole-cane sugar product, not refining out the essential vitamins and minerals like white sugar does. It's easier on blood sugar level and has a richer taste. Rapadura is another similar sugar product. You can use regular sugar if you prefer, but if you can find Sucanat or Rapadura you should give them a try. They are a "whole food" rather than a refined, naked "food".

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

White Sangria

The heat of summer is very conducive to a nice cool, light wine drink. Sangria traditionally is red, sangre being Spanish for "blood", but I like it also with a nice dry fruity white in the warmer weather. I made a pitcher of this for the Fourth of July and it tasted very refreshing.

1 bottle dry white wine, chilled (I used Pinot Grigio)
1 lemon, lime or orange, sliced thin
juice of 1 lemon
1 can Knudsen Orange Passionfruit Spritzer (fruit juice spritzers), chilled

Combine all in a pitcher. Stir well and serve.
The Knudsen spritzers are ideal to use as they provide the fruit juice and the fizz in one, and they're only fruit juice-sweetened (no corn syrup or other yucky stuff). If you can't find Knudsen spritzers, use orange juice and sparkling water or club soda instead.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Penne con Zucchini e Gorgonzola

In the impossibly beautiful hilltown of Trevi, located in Umbria, we enjoyed a quiet day and night strolling the narrow streets, gawking at Roman and medievel architecture, and dining on fabulously fresh foods. Okay, that could describe just about any day in any hilltown in Italy. But this one...we felt such a sense of place and comfort here. Dinner was at Osteria Posta Vecchia, at the top of the town in the piazza, a little place full of ambiance and kindly people. The waiter seemed very pleased by our thoughtful choices of the courses, saying they would compliment each other beautifully. The primo was a dish of penne with tender zucchini and gorgonzola. Fabulous. And -as I discovered when I returned home and recreated the dish - easy, too!

1 shallot, minced
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
white wine
lemon zest

thyme, minced


Cook the penne. You'll need about a pound for 4 to 5 people.

In a large skillet, heat some olive oil, then saute the shallot and garlic until tender and fragrant but not colored. Toss in the zucchini and saute about a minute. Splash in some wine (about 1/3 cup). Toss the skillet to distribute. Add a little bit of minced fresh thyme and lemon zest (about 1/2 tsp. each). They impart subtle background flavors. Add about 1/2 cup gorgonzola (Italian gorgonzola dolce if possible). Stir until it starts to melt and toss in the hot, freshly cooked and still-dripping penne. Toss and serve.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


I have a gigantic rosemary bush in my back courtyard. It has been hacked at several times but always grows out of control again. It provides a nice vibrant green next to the house, and a gives off its fragrant aroma whenever we brush past it.

But what to do with the overgrowing herb other than using bits of it at a time to flavor dishes? I cut branches and put them in a vase as greenery with my cut roses. But for cooking, I like to use it in several ways. I often cut three or four branches and use them together to baste roasting chicken. It imparts a subtle flavor. I also use branches, stripped of all the needles, as skewers. They're perfect for grilling sausages. So if you find yourself with an abundance of rosemary, fire up the grill and give it a try.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Rigatoni di Agropoli

On our last trip to Italy we stayed at a fabulous villa in a small town up the hillside from the city of Agropoli. We loved it! The countryside was beautiful, the little town was cute and friendly, and the house had such a relaxing atmosphere. We cooked there a couple times, but visited and then revisted a great trattoria in Agropoli which offered simple fare at great prices. This dish was so good we ordered it on both visits.

I am a "food tourist" so when I return freom trips I try to recreate the dishes I've enjoyed. This one was pretty easy to figure out. The area just north of Agropoli is where much of the famed mozzerella di bufala is made, so that was an obvious ingredient. Try to find the mozzerella ovolini or balls of mozzerella rather than the more chewy, stringy American version.

1 pound of rigatoni
Extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 hot Italian sausage links - remove casings and crumble
3 cloves garlic
12 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
a sprig of thyme
1 ball of mozzerella
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano

Start the pasta boiling.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and then add the sausages and garlic. Use a fork to break up the sausage into small pieces while sauteeing until it's cooked. Add the tomatoes and thyme; cover and cook about 15 minutes. Add the cheeses, stirring over low heat until melted.

When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and add it to the pan. Stir to combine and serve.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Green Beans

It's that time of year, when green, fresh produce begins to appear in the stores and in my garden. We've been enjoying the peas we planted in early spring, harvested a handful or two at a time, and are awaiting the appearance of the green beans. I found some beautiful, thin beans at the store, though and whipped them up for a delicious side dish to our grilled steak last night.

Fagiolini con Gorgonzola

You will need: green beans, olive oil, a clove of garlic, a handful of crumbled gorgonzola, some toasted walnuts

Steam or boil the beans until tender. Drain, and immerse in cold water to stop the cooking and set the color.

In a skillet, heat a drizzling of olive oil, then add a clove of garlic which has been sliced in half. Saute it until the garlic begins to color, then remove and discard it. (You just want it to flavor the oil.) Add the green beans, a sprinkling of salt and a generous sprinkling of freshly-ground pepper. Toss to coat and reheat the beans. Arrange on a serving plate. Sprinkling with crumbled gorgonzola cheese, then top with chopped, toasted walnuts.

So good!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Picnic Chicken

I love a picnic. I must get that from my grandma, whose greatest joys were spent eating outdoors...either on her back porch or at a nearby wooded park that ran along the town's reservoir. And while I like to grill, for most picnics I prefer a more "grab-and-go" approach, taking things that can be easily transported and easily eaten, rather than having to cook once we arrive at our picnic spot. This chicken dish fits the bill...I really like cold chicken for a picnic and any number of accompaniments can complete and compliment the meal. This is a great make-ahead dish, as I usually make it the night before.

4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

about 2/3 C. dry breadcrumbs
2 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/3 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano or Parmigiano cheese
1/4 cup flour
salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon or so of water
*A nice change of taste can be had by mixing a little bit of freshly grated nutmeg into the egg. It's just enough to add taste and variety without overwhelming the dish

Oven 375
Spray or oil a baking sheet.
Combine all the dry ingredients together. Dip the chicken strips into the egg mixture and then the breadcrumb mixture and place on the baking sheet. Spray or drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake about 20 minutes, turning once, until cooked through.

Refrigerate until ready to go!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Turkey Jack Sandwich

A local restaurant, Flying Star, makes these tasty sandwiches. I love the flavor - the green chile really makes the sandwich! - and they're a super-easy lunch or a quick dinner, especially when paired with a crispy green salad with lots of veggies on it!

Sliced turkey
slices of Monterrey Jack cheese
chopped green chile - don't leave this out!
good Sourdough bread

Butter one side of each bread slice. Make a sandwich of the ingredients - turkey, cheese and lots of green chile. Toast on a hot griddle or skillet until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melting.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Greek Couscous Salad

Summer has suddenly arrived! It's hot - hotter than normal for this time of year - and I don't like heating up the kitchen, so it's time to turn to hot weather items and the grill for sustenance. This salad is simple and fast....couscous cooks up in no time at all.

3/4 cup couscous
Bring 1 1/3 cups of water to a boil, then turn off heat, add the couscous and cover. Let stand five minutes. Fluff with a fork and refigerate to cool.

Chopped veggies (add as many or few of each as you like):
1/2 cucumber
a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
green or red bell pepper
red onion

Toss with the couscous, along with a good handful of feta cheese.

Greek Dressing
juice of 1 lemon
several mint leaves, minced
several oregano leaves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil - about 1/4 cup
Combine the lemon juice and herbs, then whisk in the olive oil.
Add to the couscous. Chill until ready to serve. Then serve on a bed of shredded lettuce leaves.

Cool and refreshing!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Insalata di Risotto

In other words, Rice Salad!
This is a great hot-weather dish, and since the weather has suddenly shot up into the 90s here, it was a very refreshing side dish to our grilled chicken last night. I vary the veggies based on what's freshest or what is left-over in the fridge.

1 cup arborio rice
Bring abundant water to a boil, add the rice and boil, uncovered, until al dente. Drain and rinse. Cool.

Assorted chopped veggies:
green onions
bell pepper
fresh peas
chopped fresh spinach
chopped marinated artichoke hearts

Combine all together in a large bowl. Toss with creamy vinaigrette. Refrigerate to let the flavors mingle until ready to serve.

Creamy Vinaigrette
1/4 cup mayonaise
a clove of garlic, minced
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Wisk together. Toss with the rice salad.

Che buono!

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Lentils are a great legume. They do not require soaking, they cook up fairly quickly, and they're a good source of both protein and fiber. They're also pretty versatile, taking on flavors easily. I throw them into tacos, mix them into risotto, and add them to soup. In Italy, it's traditional to eat lentils with sausages on New Year's, the coin shape of the lentils are thought to usher in a prosperous year. This recipe is a great side for grilled bratwurst or sausages.

About 1 cup lentils
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 cup hot beef broth
salt and pepper
Chopped fresh parsley
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Fill a large pot with water and add the lentils and a bay leaf. Cook until lentils are tender but not falling apart, about a half-hour. Drain.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute and the onion and garlic, about 3 minutes. Add the lentils, and broth. Simmer until it is absorbed, adding more broth if needed to keep from drying out. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the parsley. Grate on some fresh parmigiano. Serve.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Karniyarik) with Yogurt Sauce
I can't take credit for this recipe; it came from my friends, Mary and Ahmet. Ahmet is from Ankara, and this is one of the many Turkish dishes he likes to prepare. It's quite easy and very delicious. I made this several times last summer when my garden was overflowing with eggplant. Once it's in the oven baking, you can attend to side dishes like a big Greek salad or a cucumber salad as an accompaniment.

3 to 6 eggplants, depending on size
Olive oil
1/2 pound ground beef, lamb or turkey
1 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
16 oz. tomatoes, chopped, juice reserved
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP paprika
1/4 C. basmati rice

Oven 400 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil; add the onion and green pepper and saute until softened. Add the ground meat and brown., stirring to break it up. Add the chopped tomatoes and rice along with the spices and simmer 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler to peel strips off the eggplants. Slice in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving shells. Fill with the meat and rice. Pour reserved tomato juice over and into the pan, adding a little water if necessary to keep it from drying out. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, until eggplants are tender when poked with a fork.

Serve with yogurt sauce.

Yogurt Sauce
1 cup fresh plain yogurt
about 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
Combine all. Refrigerate.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Ziti alla Valeria

Ziti alla Valeria - for lack of a better title!
I concocted this recipe one evening a few years ago when time was short, I had a chicken breast in the fridge that needed to be used, and little else in the house after a few weeks' of traveling. I used the Italian ingenuity for coming up with simple dishes based on only a few ingredients on hand. This has been a much-used recipe ever since. I occasionally "rich it up" by stirring in about one-half cup of fresh ricotta just before serving. It's done in the time it takes for the pasta to cook. Teamed with a salad or freshly steamed veggies, dinner is on the table in about 20 minutes.

Ziti, penne, rigatoni, or other "chunky" type of pasta
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 or 2 boneless chicken breasts, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP sundried tomato paste*
2/3 C. chicken broth
about 2 tsp. fresh parsely, chopped
grated Grana or Parmigiana cheese

Boil the pasta to al dente.
Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy skillet. Add olive oil and saute the minced chicken and the garlic together until the chicken is cooked and garlic is softened, about 3 minutes. Add the sundried tomato paste and the chicken broth, stirring together until well combined. Partially cover and let simmer about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and add to the pot. Stir and cook together about a minute to let it absorb the flavors. Serve dusted with freshly grated cheese.

*Do not substitute regular tomato paste. If you can't find the tubes of sundried tomato paste, buy a jar of sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil, and blender it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
copyright 2005 Valerie Schneider

Thursday, May 12, 2005

New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp

Mr. B's Bistro is a lively place in the heart of New Orleans' famed French Quarter. The house specialty is barbecue shrimp, which arrives at the table in a large bowl, the whole shrimp swimming in sauce. "There's only one way," laughed our waiter, "you got to get your hands wet!" With a plastic bib around his neck, Bryan plunged in and used his fingers to behead and peel all the shrimp. The instant the last peel hit the bowl, the waiter reappeared with a steamy, damp towel for Bryan to clean up with. Then he dug back in with his fingers to consume all those tasty shrimpies. Be sure to serve this with plenty of fresh, very crusty French bread to soak up all the wonderful sauce. I usually use peeled shrimp for the sake of time and mess, but the shrimp cook up with more flavor and tenderness if you leave them in the shells.

This delicious dish is done in ten minutes!

Mr. B's New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp. Creole or Cajun seasoning
4 TBSP worcestershire sauce
2 cloves chopped garlic
3 TBSP water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 stick of butter, cut into pieces (don't even think of substituting margarine!)

In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, place all the ingredients except the butter. Cook until the shrimp begin to turn pink, then reduce the heat to medium and add the butter one piece at a time, stirring constantly until it's melted. Serve in a large bowl on the table with crusty French bread.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Beans and Radicchio

Beans with Radicchio
I took a recipe I had for an Italian version of "beans and greens" and substituted chopped radicchio instead. Buono! Radicchio is a red chicory, slightly bitter, which can be used in salads, but is also good grilled or wilted, as in this recipe. When I buy radicchio in the grocery store, I always seem to stump the clerk who thinks it is a head of red cabbage.

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 head of radicchio, chopped
a small handful of fresh parsley chopped (about 1 tablespoon when chopped)
a sprig of fresh thyme, minced
a can of cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil then saute the onion and garlic until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the radicchio and herbs, and cook over medium heat until wilted. Add the beans and stir well. Just before serving, drizzle on the balsamic vinegar, toss it and serve.