Tag Archives: shrimp

Masa Harina Taco’s with Shrimp Salad

Since we’ve started this blog, I’ve been much more adventurous in buying new foods.  I’ve always tried new things at restaurants, parties or at my parent’s house.  But over a number of years I stuck to my grocery list and never bought anything just because (just because: the label looked pretty, or the photo on the package enticed me).

Let me tell you, the “just because” purchases are the best ones ever!  Obviously, it’s not until I get home that I read about the product I have bought.  Sometimes it turns out to be a dud, it’s not very appetizing or just doesn’t work.  Other times, it’s a winner!

This is one of the winners.  Although I had seen masa harina- it’s the flour that makes tortillas and tamales, the dough is made out of dried masa- I never knew what I could make with it.  Finally, I came across this recipe and I knew we had to try it.  Of course, then when I do walk into a store and I need a specific item- they didn’t have it (why does that happen?)!

I’ve been thinking of putting in an order at Bob’s Red Mill for quite some time now, so there is no time like the present, right?  I’m sure you’ve all seen Bob’s packages of various flours, beans and cereals in your grocery aisle.  (I did order some other products, but that’s for another post!)

We haven’t had many mexican dishes recently, so I couldn’t wait for this one.  The texture of this little taco is definitely not the same as a tortilla.  It’s thicker, grainier, but it’s soft and lightly sweet.  It’s hard to describe, which means you will all have to make this for dinner sometime soon.

Although we did do a shrimp salad, feel free to add anything- stewed meat with salsa, corn and black bean salad, or guacamole with some veggies.  This is just an example of how versatile this dish can be.

Masa Harina Taco’s with Shrimp Salad
Adapted from: Big Girls Small Kitchen

1 1/2 cups masa harina
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)
1/4-1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 lbs peeled, deveined shrimp
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup corn
1/4 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 avocado, sliced or diced

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Combine the masa harina and salt in a bowl.  Mix well, and then add the water.  Stir well until combined.  Let it stand for about 5 minutes, the mixture should thicken.

Heat the oil in cast iron or non-stick pan.  When the oil is heated, shape a patty out of the masa harina and gently add it to the oil.  Cook for about 10 minutes, and then flip it over and cook it for another 5 minutes.  Put the patty on a baking pan.  Continue to do this until all of the masa harina was gone.  (The number of patties will depend on how big or small you make them.  We made ours smaller than hockey pucks, and had about 8 of them.)  Once all of your patties have been made, put the baking pan into the oven for about 10 minutes.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.  Turn down the heat and add the shrimp.  Boil the shrimp, covered, for about 3-4 minutes.  Once the shrimp turns a pink color, drain and rinse with cold water.  (If you use frozen corn, you can always add it to the water with the shrimp.)  *Skip this step if you have cooked shrimp already*

Chop the shrimp into small pieces.  Then add the chopped shrimp into a large mixing bowl.  Add the red onion, mayo, lime juice, mustard, crushed red pepper flakes and jalapeño.  Mix all of the ingredients together to make the shrimp salad.

Make each masa harina taco with some shrimp salad and avocado.  Feel free to add hot sauce, cheese or lettuce (or anything else you’d like).

Shrimp Curry Noodle Soup

I met my friend Lisa during my freshman year in college at Iowa (go Hawkeyes!).  Upon graduation, she was going back home to Japan.  During her last weekend in the U.S. she had a going away party, where she made some delicious Japanese-inspired dishes.

One of the dishes was curry, and yes, that was the first time I have ever tasted it.  After trying it, I wanted to know how she made it.  Her technique was very simple, yet delicious.  It comes in a box, and you just add vegetables (and/or meat).  Since then I’ve always kept a box around in the cupboard, you never know when you can make a quick meal out of it.

Fast forward to 2011, where I’m in love with Indian dishes and I still keep the Golden Curry box around, just in case!  So when I was making a curry soup, I felt that it would give it the perfect flavor.

I wanted to show how the dish looked prior to adding the soup, the variety of colors makes the dish look so pretty.

What is perfect about this soup is that it can be delicious in about a thousand different ways.  No need to use soba noodles if you have others on hand (for example: cellophane, egg noodles, rice noodles, rice sticks, wheat flour noodles, etc).  I love cilantro, so any excuse to add it to a dish- I’m definitely excited.  But if you’re not a fan, you can use parsley.  There are so many variations: sprinkle some peanuts, add tofu, add chicken, or put it rice and not noodles.  Get creative and let me know how it tasted!

Shrimp Curry Noodle Soup
Inspired by: EatMore DrinkMore
Serves: 4-6 portions

2 cans (15 oz) light coconut milk
1 package of Golden Curry paste
2 cups of water
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
soba noodles (amount depends on how noodly you want the soup)
1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
5-10 basil leaves, chopped
12 oz bean sprouts
3-4 green onions, chopped
1-2 Thai chili peppers, chopped (optional)

Combine and heat up the cans of the coconut milk and the curry paste in a larger pot.  Once the curry has dissolved, add the water.  Finally, stir in crushed red pepper (if using) and soy sauce.

At this point cook the noodles per package instructions.  Use as many (or as little) noodles as you like (based on your preference).

Drop the shrimp into the soup for 3-5 minutes.  Cook the soup until the shrimp turn pink.

Divide the noodles into each of your serving bowls.  Top each bowl with: cilantro, basil, bean sprouts, green onions and Thai chili peppers (optional).  Finally, ladle the soup into each bowl.

DC Fish Market

Every time I’ve driven from Virginia into DC on 395, I see the Fish Market on the right hand side of the highway, right on the water.  I’ve been meaning to visit it for almost over a year, and have heard great recommendations.  Feeling ambitious on exploring the city and taking advantage of a warm and sunny day, we decided to venture out of the house.

To enjoy the sunny day, we  decided to walk there.  There and back from the Penn Quarter area is about 3 miles, so it was a great way to walk off our lunch that we got there.

It’s a small area, but there are a lot of fish there!  It’s a little overwhelming at first to see what there is to offer- I had no idea that there were so many different kinds of shrimp (color and size).  First, we decided to walk around and explore what the fish market had to offer:

So many different varieties of shrimp!

We decided that next time, we’ll buy some of these Tiger Shrimp- they were huge!

In the end we decided to try some fried oysters and a crabcake.  The oysters were tastier, but there are many other things to try out there.  The place where we bought it from had a great lemonade-tea mixture that cooled us off for the walk home.

We didn’t end up buying anything to take home with us.  We would like to think of a menu and then buy it fresh and eat it that day.  So we’ll leave that for a future post.  Our first time there turned out great, we’ll definitely be back!

PS- Happy Birthday B* from Boston!!! Lots of love & hugs!!!

A Delicious Birthday Dinner

Over the weekend our friend B* had a birthday, and we decided to treat him to a delicious dinner.  I’ll give Sam all of the credit- this was all done by him! 

Filet Mignon with Bourbon Sauce, Cheesy Shrimp ‘n Grits, and Oven Roasted Broccolini

Oven Roasted Broccolini

This is definitely the easiest part of the meal, but delicious nonetheless.  Roasting (rather than steaming) maintains the crunch, while adding wonderful flavors of caramelization.  Incidentally, substituting with asparagus, brussel sprouts, or baby red potatoes is a scrumptious alternative.

2 bunches of broccolini (regular broccoli works fine too)
Extra virgin olive oil
Bacon Salt®

On a cookie sheet, coat the broccolini (use your hands here) in olive oil and season liberally with the bacon salt.  Add to a preheated, 400° oven for about 15-20 minutes.  Once the broccolini florets begin to brown, remove from the oven and set aside.

Shrimp ‘n Grits

A southern classic!  The deep flavor and richness of this one is certain to impress.

1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb smoked bacon (we bought ours at the Farmer’s Mkt)
½ lb shredded sharp cheddar (we recommend a higher-end cheese, not just the yellow block cheese; ours was from Cowgirl Creamery)
1 cup of dry grits  (instant grits are sacrilege)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, diced (don’t even think about discarding the seeds!)
1 quart whole milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a large pot, bring the milk and butter to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a large pan cook the bacon until crispy, then set aside on a paper towel to dry.  Roughly chop once cool.  Leave the bacon fat in the pan.

Next, add the onion and peppers to the hot bacon fat and cook until the onions are translucent.  Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the milk.  Add the grits and chopped bacon to the simmering milk as well, whisking occasionally.

Coat the shrimp in salt and pepper and add to the bacon grease for about 4 minutes, or until pink.  Remove them from the grease and stir into the grit mixture.

Once the grits are thick, stir in the cheddar cheese, and season with salt and cracked black pepper.  You can also add more butter if you like.

Filet Mignon with Bourbon Sauce

Filet mignon; that heavenly cut of beef you’ve probably only eaten in restaurants.  Believe it or not, it is surprisingly easy to cook and will rival anything you can find at an expensive steakhouse.  One note: now is not the time to go cheap!  Splurge and get the best, grass-fed, organic meat you can find.  It really does matter.

1 filet per person
2 cups Bourbon
1/2 cup of half-and-half

A half-hour before you plan to cook, season the filets liberally with salt and pepper, and allow them to come to room temperature.

In a very hot skillet, cook the filets for 3 minutes on all sides.  Then add the skillet to a preheated 400° oven for about 6-10 minutes, depending on how rare you like it.  I like to put a slice of butter on top just before I add to the oven.  When done, remove the pan from the oven and set the filets aside on a plate and cover with aluminum foil to rest.

Bourbon Sauce

First off, let me state that this step involves igniting alcohol vapor and can thus be very dangerous.  Read and familiarize these steps before you begin.  If you’re uncomfortable with dealing with an open flame, substitute the bourbon with a dry, red wine (Chianti works well), which will not ignite.

After you’ve removed your now perfect filets, put your skillet on the cook top and turn your burner off.  Add 2 cups of good bourbon to the hot skillet.  Cover the skillet about ¾ of the way with a pan lid or cookie sheet.  Using a long match, set the alcohol vapor ablaze.  Adjust the pan lid or cookie sheet such that the flame is allowed to burn but that it is not too high.  Turn your burner back on to low.

After about 10 minutes, the alcohol will burn off and the fire will extinguish itself.  If you’re using wine instead, just allow it to reduce by about half, no ignition necessary.

Next, add half-and-half, 1 tablespoon of butter, and a little salt and pepper (about 1 tsp of each) to the bourbon.  Reduce the sauce by about half, whisking occasionally.  When done, plate your finished meal and coat each filet with the rich sauce.

Bon appétit!