Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shrimp Bisque

I am always on the lookout for a delicious shrimp bisque. Any time I am at a restaurant where this is on the menu it's a definite must! Follow this recipe and you will have all of the tools to make an amazing shrimp bisque right in the comfort of your own home.

4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 pound shrimp with shells
2 bay leaves
2 peeled and chopped carrots
2 chopped celery stalks
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup long white rice
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 parsley sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped chives

Peel the shrimp and keep the shells. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large stock pot. Add shrimp shells to stock pot and cook for 5 minutes. Stir shells frequently. Add 1 bay leaf and 8 cups of water. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes. Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain stock. Discard solids. Let stock cool slightly then place in refrigerator to chill completely. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to stock pot. After melted, add in carrots, celery, and onion, cook over medium heat, 10 minutes or until ingredients are soft. Remove pot from heat and add in brandy. Return pot to heat and stir until almost evaporated, 2- 3 minutes. Add rice and tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Add shrimp stock, 1 bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and cayenne. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside 6 shrimp and stir remaining shrimp into bisque. Remove the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Puree bisque in a blender until smooth. You will have to do this in batches. Pour bisque through a fine mesh strainer and into a new pot. Discard any solids. Stir in the cream and reheat bisque over medium heat. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add more cayenne if desired. Finely chop shrimp and mix with chives in a small bowl. Divide bisque into bowls and place shrimp mixture on the top of each bowl. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Avocado and Peach Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

This salad, with homemade roasted red pepper dressing, is a great course for your next dinner party. I recently served it alongside crab cakes.

1 red bell pepper
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
2 avocados
2 peeled peaches

Preheat over to 450 degrees. Slice pepper in half and deseed. Roast pepper cut side down for 15 minutes or until pepper starts to brown. Once pepper is cool, peel skin and chop remaining pepper. In a blender mix pepper, red wine vinegar, seeds from vanilla bean, and sugar. While blender is mixing, gradually add in olive oil. Once pureed, set mixture aside. Arrange plates with arugula, chopped peaches, and sliced avocado. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Crab Cakes Drizzled with Spicy Cream

This past Saturday night I had a few girl friends over for a dinner party and this was the main course. These crab cakes are surprisingly easy to make and taste delicious. One of the guests commented that she has never tasted a crab cake that she has liked until now. In my book that is considered a success! :) This recipe serves 6.

1/2 cup mayo
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten 
2 tbsp course ground mustard
4 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp old bay seasoning
1 jalepeno finely chopped, deseeded
2 lb crab meat
2 1/2 cups panko
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
 2 tbsp sour cream
 2 tbsp or preferred amount Siracha hot chili sauce

In a large bowl wisk together mayo, green onions, eggs, mustard, lemon juice, old bay seasoning, and jalapeno. Add in 1 1/2 cups panko, chives, salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients together. Form 12 crab cakes on a platter. Chill for 15 minutes. While cakes are chilling whisk together whipping cream, sour cream and desired level of chili sauce. Set bowl aside. Pour 1 cup panko in a side bowl. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Coat both sides of crab cakes with panko. Fry crab cakes for 3 minutes each side or until golden brown. Drizzle cream over crab cakes. Serve with a salad and lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Mango Salsa

Going to a BBQ and need a quick, tasty dish? Why not bring Mango salsa? Whip up this salsa in no time and you are sure to be the favorite at the party. Serve alongside your favorite pita chips or crackers. 

2 mangos
1/2 chopped red onion
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped basil
1 finely chopped, deseeded jalapeno
Juice of 1 lime
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 chopped, deseeded red pepper

Peel and chop mango. Place in large bowl. Add in red onion, parsley, basil, jalepeno, and red pepper. Slice lime in half and squeeze juice over salsa. Drizzle olive oil over salsa to taste. Stir salsa and enjoy!