Oven Roasted Shrimp

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Cold weather makes us miss the summer season as well as seafood. Here is a recipe for a quick and easy oven-made shrimp that tastes great in any weather.

This recipe works well with seafood blackening seasoning or Old Bay. Or even just salt and pepper and maybe some paprika if you have none of these handy. Blackening seasoning tends to have more sugar and less salt than Old Bay and therefore can be used generously, whereas if you are using Old Bay use it more sparingly. If your seasoning mix doesn't already have garlic added, you can add 1 clove crushed garlic into the mix for improved flavor.

Oven Roasted Shrimp
Serves 3-4

You will need:
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 1/2 lb uncooked unpeeled shrimp (25/36 per pound, can be frozen)
1 lemon (half for juicing, half for wedges)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
Blackening seasoning or Old Bay, to taste
Optional: 1 clove garlic


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a foil-lined baking sheet with oil. If using frozen shrimp, thaw the shrimp fully. Peel and devein the shrimp. Drain of any excess water, pat dry with paper towels and place in a bowl. Pour juice 1/2 of the lemon over the shrimp and mix, then sprinkle the shrimp with the blackening or Old Bay seasoning. Add garlic if using. Add the parsley. Mix well.

2. Place the shrimp in a single layer onto the baking sheet and bake until pink and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges from the remaining half lemon, as well as cocktail sauce and horseradish. Or to make it a meal and serve over rice.


Dutch Baby

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Dutch baby is basically a combination of a pancake and a popover. I decided to make it one morning because I wanted pancakes but I was too lazy to make them. With the Dutch baby you use pancake-like batter and stick it in the oven with a bunch of butter and let everything do its magic.

It is important to melt the butter in the pan in the oven as it will also preheat the pan. I used an All-Clad pan as they are oven proof. I tried to use a thick ceramic pie pan previously but the middle didn't cook through fully.

Once done, you can slice it up into pie-like slices and serve with jam, powdered sugar, syrup or anything you like on pancakes.

Dutch Baby
(Serves 3-4)

You Will Need:
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
A pinch of each of the following: cardamom, coriander, and nutmeg
3 eggs
1/2 cup soy milk, or your milk of choice
1/2 stick of butter
Confectioner's sugar (optional)
An oven-proof pan

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and spices. In a separate bowl whisk eggs until well-blended, add milk and stir until combined. Carefully pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk rapidly until smooth and there are no lumps.
3. Melt butter in the oven-proof pan in the oven (this step accomplishes two things: it preheats the pan and melts the butter). Once the butter is melted and before it starts to sizzle, pour the batter into the pan, give it one whirl with a whisk and put the pan back in the oven. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Then lower the heat to 325 and cook 3-5 minutes more, until the sides rise and turn golden brown and the middle is golden.
4. Remove from oven and if desired, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Serve and enjoy.


Persian Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Monday, December 18, 2017

This is a recipe for a Persian-style cucumber and tomato salad that goes well with the recently posted shawarma recipe. You can substitute the lime zest and juice with lemon if you prefer. I like the mint in this recipe; along with the other herbs you can also add fresh cilantro.

Persian Cucumber and Tomato Salad
(Serves 4)

You will need:
2 small cucumbers (such as kirby), diced into 1/4 inch cubes
1 large tomato or 2 roma tomatoes, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
1 Italian pepper or cubanelle pepper, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
1 small shallot, minced
1 tbsp fresh dill, minced
1 tbsp fresh mint, minced
1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
Juice of one lime, or to taste
1/4 tsp lime zest
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1. Combine cucumber, tomato, pepper, shallot and herbs. Pour lime juice over the vegetables and add lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add olive oil. Serve and enjoy or refrigerate until needed.


Chicken Shawarma and Rice with Tzatziki Sauce

Sunday, December 17, 2017

This is a recipe that was part of a mission to recreate some street food explorations involving shawarmas and food trucks. Shawarma is typically made on a rotisserie-type grill and the meat is grilled for many hours. I don't even have a regular grill, so tried making it in a pan and also tried making it in the oven. Oven-roasted shawarma is probably the closest approximation to the real thing.

The key is to marinate the chicken for a while. I've tried different marinades and a yogurt-based one with just a tad of lemon juice works best, as the fats in the yogurt allow for an emulsion of the rest of the ingredients (if you don't use the yogurt, the oil in the marinade will end up sitting on top of the chicken).

Let the chicken marinate for at least one to two hours, or longer if time permits. Once marinated, roast the chicken in the oven on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Do not crowd the chicken pieces to allow them to crispen a bit. Once done, slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and serve over rice (recipe below), with hummus, pickles, pickled jalapenos, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and onions, or, in a pita.

Chicken Shawarma
(Serves 4-6)

You will need:
2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 hot Hungarian paprika
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice

1. Wash the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a bowl.
2. Combine yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil and crushed garlic. In a separate bowl add salt and pepper and remaining spices, stir until combined. Mix in the spices into the yogurt mixture and pour over the chicken. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.
3. At this stage you can do one of two things. you can either cook the chicken thighs on a grill until done or roast them. For roasting, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the chicken thighs on a greased foil-lined cookie sheet (don't spread each thigh flat, rather bunch each thigh piece to avoid over-drying) and make sure each thigh piece is about 1-2 inches apart from the other. Roast the chicken until done, about 25-30 minutes until browned and fully cooked but still tender. Let rest for a few minutes before cutting into bite-size pieces.
4. Serve over rice (recipe below) or in a pita with: Tzatziki sauce (recipe below); sliced cucumber, tomato and onion; pickles, green olives and pickled jalapeno slices; hummus; crumbled feta cheese; Sriracha sauce.

Yellow Rice

You will need:
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 small Italian or cubanelle pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch cardamom
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 cloves
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup basmati rice

1. Preheat oil in a sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until fragrant and translucent about 2-3 minutes. Add the pepper and the garlic, and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the pepper is softened, about 3 minutes more. Add the spices. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Add the chicken broth and let it come to a simmer. Then add the rice. Let the rice come back to a simmer and lower the heat to low. Cook on very low heat, covered, until the  water has evaporated and the rice is cooked through. Fluff with a fork until ready to serve.

Tzatziki Sauce

You will need:
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 small seedless Persian cucumber (about 1/4 cup), minced
1 tbsp fresh dill, minced
1 tbsp fresh mint, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
A dash of coriander
A dash of cumin
A pinch of onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until well-mixed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


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