Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Warm, Curry, Goat Cheese Spread

Jeff and I like to eat out.  We try to visit local restaurants whenever we can.  We used to go to this little restaurant here in town that had a fantastic wrap around porch.  It was behind a local plant nursery so it was surrounded by fruit trees.  We liked to go there when the weather was cool, sit on the porch, have a few drinks, and talk.  We always ordered Warm, Curry, Goat Cheese Spread.  I’m not sure that this is the exact recipe, but it is delicious none the less.  That little restaurant closed, but we remember it whenever I make this.

We also like to invite friends over and relax at home.  We have served Warm, Curry, Goat Cheese Spread at an end of the week happy hour.  We found that curry and goat cheese go best with a nice cold beer. I am not much of a beer drinker, so I opened a bottle Zinfandel (red not pink) which paired nicely with the dish.  We set out slices of cucumbers, carrots, and an olive try, too.  This took little effort as I had sliced the veggies and stirred the cheeses together the night before.  Instant party.

Servings:  Makes 2 cups
Time:  prep: 5 minutes; Bake: 12-15 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring cups and spoons, a 14 ounce baking dish, a spoon

  • 10 ounces chèvre (soft goat cheese)
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste
  • Crackers or toasted pita bread
  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚.
  2. Mix the cheeses and curry paste together.  Bake for about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and stir. Return to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes more or until the top is set and begins to crack a little.
  4. Serve warm with crackers or toasted slices of pita bread.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cheesy Broccoli Rice

I make Cheesy Broccoli Rice every time we have pork chops.  Jeff loves it because it is full of cheese and I like it because it is so easy to make.  And while it isn’t health food it is healthier than most cheese and broccoli dishes because it isn’t made from cream of anything soup.  I use frozen broccoli because most of the time frozen vegetables are more nutritious and once again-easier.

This tastes great as a leftover, just add a little water or milk and microwave.  Cheesy Broccoli Rice is also hearty enough to make a great vegetarian meal.  I always prepare extra to take to work the next day as lunch.

Servings: 4-6
Hardware:  A measuring spoons and cups, a pot with a lid, a wooden spoon, and a mixing bowl
Time:  prep:  5 minutes, cook: 30 minutes

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1-13 ounce package steam in bag frozen broccoli
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • S&P

Cheesy Broccoli Rice
  1. Heat the water and salt until boiling.  Add the rice, cover with the lid and turn it down to low.  Simmer, without opening the lid, for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  2. While the rice is cooking prepare the broccoli according to package directions.
  3. When the rice is ready stir the rice and the remaining ingredients together in the mixing bowl.  Adjust the S&P.
  4. Serve warm.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Shrimp Stuffed Shells in a Creamy Alfredo Sauce

Stuffed shells are not low fat.  They are not health food.  Stuffed shells are classic comfort food.  Gooey and warm and delicious. I make the recipe even better by adding shrimp and making the Alfredo sauce myself.

If the recipe makes too much filling you can freeze it.  If any shells are left over they, too, can be frozen.  The best way to do that is to freeze the shells flat on a plate or cookie sheet.  When they are frozen you can place the shells and the sauce in a food saver system.  If you don’t freeze them flat first, the food saver system will squash them.  If you don’t place them in a food saver system, they will quickly freezer burn.

Shrimp Stuffed Shells in an Creamy Alfredo Sauce

Servings: 6-8
Time:  Prep: 40 minutes; Cooking:  60 minutes
Hardware:  A cutting board and knives, measuring cups & spoons, a whisk, a wooden spoon, a colander, a mixing bowl, a skillet, large pot, sauce pot, parchment paper, a gallon Ziploc bag, 9 x 13 glass baking dish

  • 1-12 ounce package jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 pound large shrimp (31-35 count) cleaned
  • 2 ½ cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves + 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup + ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt & pepper
 Yummy Cheesy Comfort

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
  2. Spray the baking dish with cooking spray.  Roll out about a foot of parchment paper.
  3. Crush the garlic and mince the basil.  Clean the shrimp and sprinkle them with salt.  Set aside.
  4. Over medium heat melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add 3 cloves of garlic and the shrimp.  Cook until just pink, 2-3 minutes.  Remove them from the heat and roughly chop them up.
  5. Beat the eggs in the mixing bowl.  Add the ricotta cheese, basil, pepper, salt, shrimp, and the butter the shrimp was cooked in.  Mix everything together. Place everything into the Ziploc bag and place it in the fridge until needed.
  6. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente (firm).  Drain and place open side down on the parchment paper.
  7. Heat the remaining butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Add the rest of the garlic and cook for about 1 minute (don’t brown.) Whisk in the flour and stir until the mixture is smooth. Gradually add the cream and milk, whisking continuously.  Cook until the cream mixture begins to bubble. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Adjust the salt and pepper.
  8. Snip off the edge of the Ziploc bag, making sure the hole is large enough to allow the shrimp to pass through.  Gently squeeze the cheese mixture into each shell and place the shells into the prepared dish. Pour the sauce over the shells and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden brown.

Serve warm with a side salad.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pineapple Jalapeño Dipping Sauce

I made this dipping sauce to use with Coconut Shrimp but it would really be good any time you might use tartar sauce. It is sweet, salty, spicy, and delicious.

Servings:  Makes 1 ½ cups
Time:  prep: 5-10 minutes; Rest: 2 hours-overnight
Hardware:  Measuring cups and spoons, a cutting board and knives, a can opener, a zester, a whisk or fork, a mixing bowl, a rubber spatula, an airtight container

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple
  • The zest and juice from 1 lime
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 tablespoons diced pickled jalapeños
  • 2 teaspoons diced cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Juice and zest the lime. Slice the green onion as thinly as possible.  Dice the jalapeños and cilantro, the smaller the better. Set aside.
  2. Remove all the liquid from the pineapple.
  3. Whisk the ingredients together until everything is thoroughly combined.  Place the sauce into the airtight container and put it in the fridge.  Allow the sauce to rest for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
  4. Use the dip with Coconut Shrimp or in place of tartar sauce.

Coconut Shrimp

You can divide the world into those that like coconut and those that do not. I think that for some people it is really more the consistency than the taste that they find unpleasant.  For others it is the cloying sweetness that turns them off.  By frying the shrimp and using unsweetened coconut, plus adding in a little heat, these obstacles are removed.  If people still don’t like it, more for us.

Servings: 4-6
Time:  Prep: 10 minutes   Cooking:  10 minutes
Hardware:  A cutting board and knife, measuring spoons and cups, 3 shallow bowls, a fork, a whisk, a paper towel covered plate, a deep skillet, and a skimmer (or a slotted spoon)

  • 1 pound cleaned 21-30 shrimp
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • oil for frying
  • pineapple jalapeño dipping sauce
  1. Clean the shrimp leaving the tails intact. Sprinkle the shrimp with the salt and peppers.
  2. Put the flour in the first bowl. In the second bowl whisk the eggs.  In the last bowl, toss together the panko and coconut.
  3. Fill the pan up half way with oil. Heat the oil on medium high.
  4. Dip the shrimp into the flour and shake to remove the excess.  Dip the floured shrimp into the egg and then press it into the coconut to make sure it is covered. 
  5. Fry the shrimp for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.  Don’t crowd the shrimp.  You may need to cook it in batches.
  6. Remove the shrimp to the plate.  You can keep it warm in the oven on the lowest setting, while finishing up.
  7. Serve with pineapple jalapeño dipping sauce.