Monday, December 31, 2012

healthy coconut shrimp

As you know by now, I love shrimp. Coconut shrimp happens to be one of my favorite shrimp recipes of all time, it reminds me of Spring-time in Florida and immediately takes me back when I find some in the Northeast. The only negative in my mind for coconut shrimp in restaurants is the fact that they are fried and can be greasy at times. I was craving coconut shrimp as a snack and stumbled upon this recipe which bakes them, making the coating crispy and tasty. I tweaked the recipe to give it a bit more of a kick, make them healthier, and easier to eat. This is another perfect recipe if you are hosting New Year's Eve!!

Ingredients (for 4 appetizer portions):
24 frozen deveined tail-on shrimp, thawed
1 egg
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup panko
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbs flour
*optional 1/4 tsp zest of a lime or a lemon*
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs rice vinegar
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with foil & spray with cooking spray. Thaw shrimp if frozen. 

2. Prepare stations: in a small bowl whisk 1 egg. In a separate bowl combine the coconut flakes, panko, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (and zest if using). On a small plate flatten the flour for dredging.   


3. Dredge shrimp one-by-one through flour, shaking off any excess. Dip floured shrimp into egg, again shaking off before pressing into coconut-panko mixture on both sides. Transfer all coconut-ed shrimp to the baking sheet.

4. Spray tops of shrimp with cooking spray again to ensure crispiness. Pop in preheated oven for 8 minutes.

5. Meanwhile make the dip: combine the apricot preserves with red pepper flakes & rice vinegar. Mix well (if ingredients are not mixing: place all in a small nonstick pot and heat over medium-low heat for up to 10 minutes to thin out and combine). Place in fridge until ready to eat.

6. After 8 minutes, flip each shrimp and place back in oven for an additional 6 minutes. Remove from oven once crisped & browned. Grab by the tail and dip away!
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

artichoke-stuffed mushrooms

I've always loved mushrooms.  Mushrooms out of the can were the first things I was able to cook on the stove by myself when I was younger. I would coat them in butter and a handful of salt and eat the whole skillets-worth by myself, not sharing one piece. Let's be honest...I still do this on a monthly-basis, it's one of my guilty food-pleasures. Mushrooms are difficult to ruin, and taste even better when chock-full of goodies! From spinach to crab to crispy breadcrumb mixtures, anything can be mixed into this recipe and snuck right into the little mushrooms before toasting up in the warmed oven. This is a perfect recipe for the upcoming holiday of New Year's Eve! Super impressive, hardly time-intensive, but detail-oriented, this dish is party-ready!

Ingredients (appetizer portions for 2 people, multiply as necessary):
1 package of organic button mushrooms
1 can of artichoke hearts
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tbs butter
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1/3 cup panko

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Strain artichoke hearts and chop.


2. Mince 4 cloves of garlic and add to nonstick pan with butter along with artichoke. 

3. Add a pinch of both salt & pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, or until crisped and browned.

4. Combine cream cheese with artichoke mixture and stir to thoroughly mix.

5. Wipe off the mushrooms and scoop out the insides with a spoon. It's normal to ruin a bunch and make them super ugly, once filled no one will notice the difference! Place the mushrooms on a foil-lined baking sheet.

6. Spoon artichoke mixture into a small ziploc bag, snip off a small corner and use this as a pastry bag to fill the mushrooms.

7. Fill each mushroom with mixture and top with panko and a drizzle of olive oil.

8. Pop in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until golden and crisped.

9. Serve and impress guests!

This recipe can be easily adapted to any other filling-- use canned crabmeat and some old bay spices, or even just add the mushroom stems back into a butter-garlic mixture along with the cream cheese for simple stuffed mushrooms, or if you're feeling adventurous, whip up some creamy spinach to fill the mushrooms with a tasty green mixture and top with garlicky-toasted breadcrumbs. The possibilities are endless, always delicious, and super impressive for guests!
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

the beehive

The beehive is a neat little spot in the South End, serving up moderately-priced fare in a sexy dimly-lit area coated in velvet and damask with live jazz pumping away on a daily basis. On weekend nights, be sure to get there early, as there is always a looong line out the door for entrance.

We headed in from the windy & chilly wet night and were greeted with a not-too-crowded festively-lit seating area so we could order nibbles as well as delicious drinks. 

The ladies began with Queen Bees: vodka, super fresh grapefruit juice, St. Germaine, and a splash of champagne...

While the gents went with the Beehive honey brew served in these cute little honeycomb/root beer barrel mugs!

As we sipped our drinks & nibbled on our calamari, poutine, bluefish dip which was like a pâté , and burger, the band began to play down below.

Downstairs is definitely where to go if you are looking for the live music with a livelier crowd. With more chandeliers and even less windows, the basement is perfect for a night out.

The beehive is one of the few places in the city that always promises a successful night. With tasty, but strong, cocktails in a laid-back mood-lit space, the lines are worth the wait.

1. South-end-boston website
2. The Beehive website 

  The Beehive on Urbanspoon
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Friday, December 28, 2012


Before all of the Christmas celebrations, we made some latkes to celebrate my Jewish half. While you make and eat these please please please listen to and sing along with my favorite Hanukkah song growing up, David Grover's "Latkes" song...there's a sample here. Quick & tasty, latkes can be whipped up and devoured within 15 minutes.

Ingredients (for 4):
4 potatoes, shredded
2 onions, shredded
1 egg
2 tbs salt
3 tbs canola oil
Applesauce and/or sour cream for topping

1. In a large bowl combine the shredded potatoes and onions. Press a paper towel down into the bowl to soak up some of the liquid. 

2. Add egg & salt and whisk with a fork to thoroughly mix.

3. Heat canola oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add scoops of potato mixture to the pan and press down to flatten into pancakes.

4. After 4 minutes or until you can see browned bits on the side-down, flip and continue to cook until crisped through, about 4 more minutes.


5. Continue this pattern with remainder of potato mixture. Transfer crisped latkes to a paper towel-lined plate, cover with additional paper towels and press down to soak any excess oil.

6. Serve warm with applesauce or sour cream...

...or if you're weird, like T, with both applesauce & sour cream.
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

pea soup with ham

After Christmas dinner we were left with far too many leftovers, especially ham. You can reserve the ham hock from dinner for the soup, but if you already threw it away, no will notice it's missing from the flavors. Split pea soup is naturally thick and deep in flavors, and as long as you splash a bunch of ham bits in you'll still get a nice hammy flavor. This soup is made over the course of 2 hours, expanding the flavors as it goes. Although is is thick and filling, the soup is also healthy as it is only thickened with chicken stock and water.

2 tbs canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
2 carrots, chopped
2 tbs onion powder
1 tbs salt
1 tbs pepper
1 lb chopped ham
1 lb dried split green peas
6 cups chicken stock, divided
6 cups water, divided

1. Add the canola oil, minced garlic, and oregano to a large pot (non-stick if available) over medium heat. Stir until fragrant and browned, about 3-4 minutes.   

2. Add chopped carrots, onion powder, salt & pepper. Stir to coat and cook together for another 4 minutes.

3. Add ham and dried split peas, stir.

4. Add 4 cups of water and 4 cups of chicken stock to cover, stir.


5. Bring to a boil then simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. After 45 minutes, add remaining 2 cups each of water and chicken stock. Return to a simmer for another 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to smooth any clumps that may appear.

6. Stir until desired thickness, when all peas are smushed, and serve when warm.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

christmas recap

This Christmas was packed with much food, so little time to fit it all in. All week we have had a crackling fire glowing away in the background of all of our activities.

We opened an early gift of rum my parents picked up from Barbados (as they don't export this type & it was engraved as a gift)...


 ...before making some festive Christmas tree cookies...lots and lots of cookies...


...followed by a taste testing of champagne.

We settled in for a movie before Christmas eve dinner of steak au poivre and lots of Alaskan King crab legs (my favorite food in the wholeeee world).

Christmas morning we skipped down the stairs to our full tree, and opened our presents while the paparazzi followed Erin.

Christmas dinner fell in my hands as everyone watched sports on TV (no thanks). I made a Christmas turkey stuffed with butter and herbs to retain the moisture, ham, green beans with toasted pine nuts and shallots, cornbread stuffing & scalloped potatoes served with the necessary crescent rolls, olives, cranberry sauce & meim's gravy.

After a huge Christmas dinner we took a break, watching a Christmas movie by the fire before....chocolate soufflés for dessert of course! I added a touch of salt and a pinch of cream of tartar to the recipe for some extra depth & topped them with Toscanini's french vanilla ice cream.

The day after I'm still recovering from all of the food...but definitely looking forward to some leftover "Thanksgiving" sandwiches for dinner!!
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