Weekday Shrimp 3 Ways

When planning our meals for the week, Hillary and I always keep an eye out for the shrimp sale at Whole Foods. Any opportunity at double-digit discounts shouldn’t go to waste, especially on these precious prawns. In order to always take advantage of the sale,  we have an eclectic roster of shrimp dishes to satisfy any particular craving. The first (and easiest) recipe in this trio of dishes provides the dry spice of cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Next is the butter+oil+garlic+wine+lemon formula for classic shrimp scampi. The last dish, a Thai inspired yellow curry,  takes some more time and ingredients, but will probably end up being the star of your weekday menu. Not surprisingly, these three recipes, along with the previously shared Hot n Honey version, come from true masters of the weekday dinner: Mark Bittman and Melissa Clark. We hope you share our excitement next time you see “YOU SAVE: $11.99 /lb” on some fancy shrimp at WF.

The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish – Mark Bittman

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, cut into slivers
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and dried
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne (optional)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric (optional)
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
  1. Prep spices on small plate and make sure shrimp are dry.
  2. Pour oil into a large skillet, swirling the oil so that it covers the bottom of pan. Turn heat to low and add garlic. Cook until the slivers turn golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp. Add your plate of spices to the pan. Stir to evenly distribute the spices and then leave alone. Shake the pan a couple times over 5 minutes. Shrimp will be nicely coated and pink.
  4. Garnish with parsley and serve with white rice.

Shrimp Scampi – Melissa Clark

  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  •  cup dry white wine
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • Pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pasta or bread
  1. Melt butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and stir constantly until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add wine, salt, chili flakes, black pepper and bring mixture to a simmer. Let it reduce by half, while stirring. This should take just 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add shrimp and saute until just pink, about 2-4 minutes. Add parsley and squeeze in lemon juice and stir to incorporate. Enjoy with pasta or bread!

Shrimp in Yellow Curry – Mark Bittman

  • 2 TBS neutral oil, veggie or canola will do.
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 1 TBS minced ginger
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes or fresh chilies
  • 1 TBS curry powder
  • 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 lb medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 TBS fish sauce
  • ¼  cup minced cilantro/mint leaves for garnish
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts for garnish
  1. Prep onion, garlic, ginger, chilies and make sure canned coconut milk is stirred.
  2. Pour oil into large, deep skillet and turn heat to medium. Add onion, garlic, ginger and chilies and stir frequently making sure veggies don’t burn. After 5-8 minutes, the mixture should be soft and pasty. Add curry powder and cook for another minute.
  3. Pour in coconut milk and raise the heat to medium-high. The mixture will get nice and bubbly. Stir occasionally until almost all liquid has evaporated.
  4. Add the shrimpy’s and salt + pepper. Stir frequently, the shrimp will release their liquid, making the mixture more curry-esque again. Cook until shrimp turn pink.
  5. Add 1 TBS of the fish sauce and taste. Add more if you’d like. Serve on top of white rice, garnished with chopped cilantro or mint and peanuts. I like to add some chili garlic sauce for an extra kick.

Details: Each of these feeds 2-4 people!

Buttermilk Roast Chicken

buttermilk roast chicken
Chicken dinner for the WIN

This recipe, which we sourced from Nigella Lawson, has made its way around the web a bit. You can find a version from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. Martha makes a similar recipe with just two additional ingredients – lemon zest and fresh dill. It’s a tried and true recipe that is welcome to a little tinkering. And like Romeo and Juliet or Jay-Z and Beyonce, buttermilk and chicken are an illustrious couple, most famous of course for the wondrous results of frying buttermilk brined chicken. Buttermilk is such an amazing marinade because it not only imbues flavor, but its acidic composition also tenderizes the meat – double win!! As long as you can remember to whip together this super simple marinade the night before, this chicken recipe comes together real quick and yields flavorful, tender meat with salty, crispy skin. Enjoy with a green salad and some bread to sop up the chicken juices. You’ll feel like you’re seriously spoiling yourself for a weekday dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 chicken bone-in thighs (or a mix of thighs, drumsticks, wings – important to have bone-in chicken, whatever you choose!)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS veggie oil (we used canola)
  • 1 TBS freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 TBS sea salt
  • 2 TBS freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 2 cloves peeled and crushed garlic + garlic cloves with skin on for roasting (optional)

Directions:

  1. The night before, marinate yo chicken! Place chicken in a large freezer bag. Add buttermilk, 1/4 cup oil, salt, crushed garlic, rosemary, and honey. Seal bag securely, mix contents around, and store in your fridge. Chicken can be marinated for up to 2 days.
  2. Remove chicken from marinade and place on rack so excess can drip off. Try to let your chicken rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, or an hour ideally. This will allow your chicken to dry off a bit and come to room temperature, which ensures even cooking and crispiness.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. We opted to cook our chicken in our cast iron skillet, but you can also cook on a tinfoil lined roasting pan (tinfoil makes for easy cleanup). Drizzle chicken with 2 TBS of oil. Sprinkle with a bit more sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Throw the couple cloves of garlic in the skillet as well, if you’d like (they turn soft and are great spread over a slice of bread). Place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until when chicken is pierced the juices run clear.
  4. Remove from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes. Then enjoy immediately!

Details: Serves 4-ish. Maybe we’re gluttons, but we have a hard time eating just a single chicken thigh per person.

Sunday Morning Blueberry Muffins

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Blueberries + Carrots + Walnuts = Perfection

Pancakes? Too sweet. Bacon and eggs? Too greasy. Yogurt parfait? Eh, been there, done that. Oatmeal? Don’t even ask. Sunday morning breakfast can be full of options, but with half of the weekend already over you deserve to be picky. You may want to lay in bed all day and treat yourself to an indulgent breakfast; or keep it lean before a 5 mile run. Hillary usually wants to be lay in bed a little bit longer while I’m gearing up to go…we compromise with a long walk. Whatever your appetite, day’s plan or mood, these whole grain blueberry muffins will surely satisfy.

This recipe comes from Julia Moskin via The New York Times. We omitted the orange streusel topping because we wanted these muffins to still have some simplicity. Filled with carrots, blueberries, oats, walnuts – there’s nothing more you really need. Indulgent, but still healty-ish, it’s the perfect way to start your morning. And if you take sometime to make these on Sunday morning, you’ll have muffin breakfasts for the rest of the week!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal (preferably fine-ground)
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (not the instant version)
  • 2/3 packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg (or additional cinnamon)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/3 cups coconut oil or neutral oil like canola
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups grated carrots or tart apple
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Directions:

  1. Assemble all the ingredients on your table / countertop for birds-eye Instagram photo. You are baking on Sunday morning, it deserves documentation.
  2. Heat oven to 425°F. Heavily butter your muffin tin or use paper liners.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flours, cornmeal, oats, sugar, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt
  4. In a smaller mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: buttermilk, oil, maple syrup and eggs.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and carefully mix. Don’t over mix, the batter can be a bit lumpy. Stir in carrots, blueberries, and walnuts.
  6. Let the batter rest for 15-20 minutes. You can use this time to post the earlier “prep” photo to your Instagram story. After resting, give the batter a light stir to make sure it’s thick and fluffy.
  7. Plop enough of the batter to almost fill the muffin indentation. Mound the center so you’ll get nicely rounded tops.
  8. Place tin in oven and reduce temperature to 400°F. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool muffins in the tin on a rack for 5-10 minutes and then remove.

Details: Makes about 24 small/medium sized muffins

Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce

bolognese
Classic goodness

Disappointingly, women today are still not respected, nonetheless celebrated. In this month of March when we celebrate Women’s History, it is important to pay tribute to the incredible women who shape and inspire us. Women who deserve recognition everyday, but some extra pomp and circumstance all March long. Marcella Hazan is one of those women. When reading about Marcella you come across many admiring quotes – famous chefs and food writers who credit Marcella for teaching them how to cook, care for, and love food. Interestingly, many of the chefs Marcella inspired were men. Marcella did begin cooking for traditional reasons – married in 1955 and living in New York she was first compelled to cook in order to”feed a young, hard-working husband.” Although her foray into cooking was more or less due to gender stereotypes, she quickly realized her skillfulness and wasted no time putting it to good work. Hazan went on to publish several cookbooks. Her first, The Classic Italian Cookbook, is legitimately the classic Italian cookbook. It is canonical. This March, Luke and I honored Marcella’s legacy by tackling her bolognese recipe.  We’d argue it’s the only bolognese recipe you’ll ever need. No need to cross reference with other cookbooks or websites, substitute one ingredient for another, or make many additions. Follow this recipe as is and you’ll have the perfect bolognese sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 3 TBS butter + 1 TBS for tossing pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 2/3 cup chopped carrot
  • 3/4 pound ground beef chuck (80% lean, 20% fat is best)
  • salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • a tiny grating (approx. 1/8 tsp) fresh nutmeg
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cup canned whole tomatoes, cut up, with their juices (get good quality!)
  • 1 lb pasta (spaghetti or fettuccine)
  • freshly grated parm, for serving

Directions:

  1. Be prepared to spend the next 4 hours tending to your bolognese. Once it starts simmering it doesn’t take much work, but this sauce likes to be checked up on regularly.
  2. Put the oil, butter, and chopped onion in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven and turn heat on medium. Cook until the onion has become translucent, about 5 minutes, and then add the carrots and celery.* Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Add ground beef, a large pinch of salt, and a few grindings of pepper. Stir meat well, so that it crumbles, breaking up with a fork if necessary. Cook until the beef has lost its red color.
  4. Add milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until milk has bubbled away completely. Add the freshly grated nutmeg and stir.
  5. Add the wine, and as with the milk, let it simmer until it has evaporated completely. Add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all the ingredients well. When the tomatoes begin to bubble turn the heat all the way down. You want the sauce to cook at a very gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 3 hours, stirring from time to time. During this cooking process, you will likely find that the sauce loses quite a bit of liquid.  Be wary of this! You don’t want the meat to stick to the bottom of your pot so add 1/2 cup water at a time when the liquid supply is looking low.* At the end of the 3 hours though no water should be left. Also check taste as you go, adding more salt as necessary.
  6. Add a tablespoon of butter to the cooked pasta, and toss with the sauce. Serve with plenty of freshly grated parm.

The recipe above is verbatim Marcella Hazan bolognese. We did not want to disrespect the queen of Italian cooking in this post. We did make the following 2 minor adjustments that you can consider making as well –

  1. With the celery and carrots, we also added a couple cloves of garlic, minced.
  2. We created a mixture of tomato paste and warm water (1 TBS tomato paste to 2 cups warm water), stirring the tomato paste into the water so that it would dissolve. We added this mixture to the sauce when it was drying out. We ended up using all 2 cups of this mixture during the 3 hour simmer.

Details: Serves 4-6.

Spicy Pan-Roasted Cauliflower

cauliflower
Cauliflower with a kick

Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable. Cauliflower can be steak. It can be mashed potatoes. It can even be pizzaCauliflower rice is sneaking into recipes everywhere, turning carbohydrate laden meals into gluten-free miracles. But cauliflower is also delicious just as cauliflower. It needs no Hollywood movie before and after transformation. This recipe, courtesy of The New York Times, highlights cauliflower’s inherent sweetness and adds some kick. When cooked perfectly (which is easy to accomplish), you’ll have beautifully browned florets, tender but with a little bit of crunch. Quick and simple to make, we’ve been enjoying this recipe as a healthy weekday veggie meal. It’s also great as a sneakily addicting and seriously impressive side. Take a night to celebrate cauliflower for being cauliflower! It’s a star vegetable, all on its own.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 red fresno chile, thinly sliced (optional, for a spicy garnish)
  • extra lemon, for serving

Directions:

  1. Quarter the cauliflower and cut out the core. Cut the quarters into 1/2-inch thick slices. Chop down the larger slices so that they are all about floret size.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add cauliflower, tossing to coat in the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Continue to stir and flip the cauliflower, letting the slices brown as they cook. Watch the heat – you want to keep the cauliflower pieces sizzling but not scorching. Cook until tender and can easily be pierced with a fork, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Add crushed red pepper, garlic, rosemary, parsley, and lemon zest. Stir well to coat and cook 1 minute more. Garnish with sliced chile, if you like spice, and serve with lemon wedges.

Details: Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main. Can easily be doubled to serve more!

Madeleines

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Powdered perfection for any occasion

If you haven’t noticed yet, Hillary and I love a good *dusting* of powered sugar. Our breakfast palačinkes, afternoon canelés, and xmas linzer cookies always come with a light coating of sugar. The act of “dusting” has recently reached the big stage thanks to a certain Turkish chef aka #Saltbae. We’re glad to see he salts his steak with the same care as we do with our delicately powdered desserts. In our attempt to share some of Saltbae’s spotlight, we recently whipped up some dusting-friendly madeleines. These desserts are great with a lemon or chocolate glaze, but a subtle coat of sugar is really all you need.

The recipe is adopted from one of our favorite chefs / Instagrammers David Lebovitz. His recipe makes 24 medium sized madeleines – the perfect amount for any party or dessert/breakfast combo.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 9 TBS of unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature + a bit of butter for the baking sheet molds

Directions:

  1. Begin by brushing melted butter into each madeleine baking sheet mold. Dust with flour and put in the fridge or freezer until ready to use.
  2. With a standing mixer or hand mixer/bowl, whip the eggs, sugar and salt until thick and frothy (about 5 mins)
  3. Pass the flour through a mesh sifter into a small bowl. Gradually fold the flour into the egg mixture until incorporated. Let the batter rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  4. As the batter sits in the fridge, prepare the melted butter and lemon zest mixture. Start by melting the 9 tablespoons butter and let it cool to room temperature (15-20 mins). Add lemon zest to cooled butter and let sit.
  5. Remove batter from the fridge. Gradually spoon butter into the batter and simultaneously fold until incorporated. Add honey and vanilla as you fold in butter mixture. Return to fridge and let sit for another 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 425°F. Plop enough of the batter to fill 3/4th’s of the baking sheet indentation. Do not spread, but give the baking sheets a few knocks on the counter-top before placing in the oven.
  7. Turn oven to 400°F and bake for 8-9 minutes, keep a close eye on the edges to make sure the bottoms don’t burn. Remove from the oven and dust with powdered sugar.

Details: Makes 24 medium sized madeleines. Store uncovered or loosely covered so they don’t loss their crisp.

Sweet Potato Tacos

sweet-potato-taco
Weekday deliciousness

I’ve been making this meal since college. It’s inexpensive, healthy, easy, and quite tasty. And with the sweet potato’s recent growth in popularity (in 2015, farmers produced more sweet potatoes than in any year since World War II) this recipe turns out to be in vogue as well! For Luke and I, sweet potato tacos are a reliable weekday meal. We often neglect this recipe, as it’s almost too basic. But, when we made it recently and spruced up our tacos with a couple extra fixings we looked at our plates and both said, “Damn! These tacos are kinda good looking!” Like, cover of a magazine good looking. We decided they’re worth sharing. This recipe is somewhat of an original, though the black beans are a riff on a Goya recipe, courtesy of the back of the can. Shout out to Goya Foods!

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 sweet potatoes (depending on size), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • 8-10 soft tortillas
  • cilantro, finely chopped (for topping)
  • feta cheese, crumbled (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Begin by roasting the sweet potatoes. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a bowl, mix the sweet potatoes with 1-2 TBS olive oil, cumin, chili powder, and 1 tsp salt and pepper. Move sweet potatoes to a large baking sheet and spread evenly. It’s best if each sweet potato has some breathing room. You don’t want them overlapping! Roast for 30-35 minutes, making sure to check halfway through. Give em a shake so they get a little brown on all sides.
  2. While sweet potatoes are roasting, make the beans. Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add onions, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Cook for about 6 minutes, or until onions are translucent and peppers are soft. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Pour in the beans, with their juices. Fill the can with water a little less than halfway. Stir water around to make sure all the contents of the can are loose and pour into saucepan.  Add red wine vinegar, oregano, and 1 tsp salt. Bring beans to a boil and then simmer uncovered. Simmer for 15-2o minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
  3. When sweet potatoes are finished, mash slightly on the sheet. You want them to be a little chunky.
  4. While everything is finishing up, we advising warming up your tortillas. Either for 1 minute in the microwave, or a little nicer, individually in a skillet (this will give them a bit of charring).
  5. Assemble your tacos to your liking! We start with a base of sweet potatoes, a scoop of beans, a few drops of Valentina Salsa Picante, some freshly chopped cilantro, and a scattering of feta cheese.

Details: Serves 2-4. You’ll have plenty of beans, so roast more sweet potatoes if you’re trying to feed a few more mouths!