Thursday, 16 February 2017

Voodoo Shrimp

I gotta tell you - there have been very few recipes that I have done over and over.  But this is one of them. 
Originally, one of the things that attracted me to the recipe itself was the name - Voodoo Shrimp...  If that doesn't make your tastebuds anticipate something exciting - I don't know what would!
But then.  Then it became about the overall flavor of the dish.  It's dark, and smoky, and complex.  It's quite beautiful actually.
Buuuuuut - there were a few things that needed changing.  For myself.  The original recipe is blazing, stupid hot.  Like - you won't be able to taste anything or feel your tongue for a couple days hot.
And the consistency of the broth..  I wanted it to be more like a gravy instead of a broth.  It might be fine with mashed potatoes, but I really wanted a thick sauce that would coat the shrimp and the rice.
So I experimented a couple of times and here's how it's going to look in my recipe book...
The line-up for this is loooooooong.  Missing from this lineup is butter and flour.

Measure out all the spices and combine them in a bowl.  Then stir them together.

Make sure you get raw shrimp with the shells on.  Then you have to pull off the shells.

Pour half the spice mix into the bowl with the shrimp and put in the fridge until ready to cook 'em.

Then - in a medium saucepan, start heating the oil.

Then throw in the onion and the garlic.  Don't worry about cutting that onion too fine.

Stir the onions and garlic around for a few minutes and then throw in the shrimp shells.

And the remaining half of the spice mixture.

Then the bay leaves.

And the peeled and quartered lemon.

Stir it all together. And add the water.

Pour in the beer.  And the Worcestershire.

And simmer.

Simmer until the juices have been reduced, and strain out the liquid from the shells and other solids.

Then the broth is going to be reduced even more.  Straight up - I use a measuring cup to make sure I can tell how much further I have to reduce.
Once the broth has been reduced according to the recipe, leave it in the measuring cup and add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour into the pot and cook until golden brown.

Then, gradually add in the broth and whisk to combine.  Then add in the half and half.

And the brown sugar.  Cook until thickened.

and the drained tomatoes.  Can you see how the liquid has thickened and is coating the sides of the pot?  That's what you want to see!

Stir in the shrimp and cook a few minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.

Add in 1 tablespoon butter.

And fresh basil.

Then serve on rice.

For me, this was perfect.  The spices warmed up your mouth, the shrimp was perfectly cooked, the sauce was the perfect gravy-like texture, but retained all the complexity of the flavors of the original dish.
I loved this dish!  I served it with homemade hush puppies (and rice of course).  I absolutely recommend finishing this off with some type of cool dessert.  Ice cream, a lemon meringue or key lime pie would be totally perfect.
Serve it for your Mardi Gras or Halloween party and wow your guests with (what I think) is a little treat from the South.
Enjoy! - Heather

Saturday, 4 February 2017

White Chocolate Cream Pie

 I think it's time we made a dessert.  It's been, like, forever since we made dessert.  Holy crap you guys.  Since OCTOBER. 

Now normally, I'm not the hugest fan of white chocolate - but I am a fan of cream pies.  And whipped cream.  And shortbread pie crust.  Long story short - I'm a fan of THIS pie.

Start with the base.  Pretty simple shortbread cookie and butter combo.  Just between you and me, this box of cookies is ALMOST the perfect amount.  I'm usually a couple of tablespoons short, but it feels silly to buy two boxes.  I suppose I could freeze them, but I tend to be forgetful and will probably find them in two years looking for a bag of soup.

That happens because I'm busy and tired. 

Crush up the cookies in a food processor until they are fine crumbs.

And then add the melted butter.

Stir together to coat the crumbs with the butter and then bake and cool.

Then, you'll make the filling.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and cream,

And the cornstarch.

Stir that all together until combined and then add the white chocolate chips.

Meanwhile, separate the yolks from the whites.

And lightly beat together.

Then, you're going to SLOWLY add a little of the hot milk mixture while beating the egg yolks.  Don't be afraid of this going too slowly.  Take your time.  If you rush, you'll cook the eggs and then it'll be gross and you'll have to start over.

This is called tempering the eggs.  It basically just means warming up the eggs so the same temperature as the mixture you're adding it to.  So the eggs don't cook on their own and everything tastes like scrambled eggs.  (YUCK)

Once the eggs are tempered, slowly add them to the milk mixture while whisking briskly. 

Then cook until the mixture is thickened.  Now you've made pudding! 

Well - then you're going to add some butter and THEN you've made pudding!

Now just let this cool to room temperature. 

Once the pudding has cooled, and the crust is cool, pour the pudding into the crust.  Cover with saran wrap, allowing the wrap to lightly touch the surface of the pudding - this helps prevent a skin.  Also yuck.

Put the pie into the fridge to set overnight.  I just think this is the best length of time for a cream pie to set properly so it will cut nicely.

When you're ready to serve, top with this beautiful almond-flavored whipped cream.

And serve.

And serve.

Isn't that so pretty!?  This makes me so happy!

I'm pretty sure that chocolate and almond is one of the most ubiquitous pairings in the world, but the almost whipped cream it makes the chocolate in this pie zing to another level of delicious.

Smooth, creamy, perfectly paired.  Whether you like white chocolate or not, this is still a delicious dessert for any occasion!

Xoxo - Heather