Dining Outside the Home: Old Town Mexican Café in Key West, Florida! When a restaurant boasts of an abundance of hatch chiles and fresh, local ingredients, you begin to wonder if Santa Fe style Tex-Mex might be a good choice for dinner. Anytime the weather is hot, and the drinks are cold, it draws a crowd on Duval Street for seafood favorites, like skewered shrimp marinated in lime juice and ginger. Take a swig of on-the-rocks margarita. The salted rim offsets the spicy salsa you can’t resist tasting now and then. If you’re in the neighborhood, take advantage of Happy Hour specials. There’s no rush here.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Mexican Shrimp Cocktail! One bite, one little taste, will leave you wondering how you didn’t know about this version of an old classic. So what’s the difference, you ask. Actually, quite a bit. But I’m not gonna lie to you. If you’ve been following my blog, you can often see there’s a method to my madness. One recipe can be a critical ingredient to another dish. Like today. Recently I featured Jalisco Pico de Gallo. I’m gonna tell you it is a key ingredient in my Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, slightly tweaked. On the upside, it makes preparation a snap. Read on and you’ll see what I mean.
MEXICAN SHRIMP COCKTAIL
1 1/2 cups Jalisco Pico de Gallo*
1/2 cup Clamato Tomato Cocktail**
1/2 cup ketchup
1 pound jumbo shrimp, precooked but chilled
1 avocado, cut into medium chunks
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
In a bowl, combine Jalisco Pico de Gallo, Clamato Tomato Cocktail, and ketchup. Mix well. Take at least half the shrimp, discard tails, and cut into chunks. Add the shrimp chunks to the sauce mixture. The remaining whole shrimp will be used for dipping. Gently fold in avocado chunks. To serve, divide shrimp cocktail into parfait glasses. Arrange whole shrimp on the edge of the glass. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
*Follow the link for recipe.
**I receive no recompense for mentioning this product.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Orzo Shrimp Salad! In case you did a double-take, this is not a rice dish. Orzo, for those who are new to its origin, is a rice-shaped pasta popular in Italy. Most often it is used in soups, chilled salads, and pasta recipes. It is not gluten-free, if that is important to you. Because of its unique texture, the flavor of orzo bonds wonderfully with olive oil or butter and fresh herbs. Make it early in the day or right before supper. Either way, the taste is incredible with garden fresh veggies and cocktail shrimp. A little orzo goes a long way.
ORZO SHRIMP SALAD
1/4 cup lemon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup uncooked orzo
1/2 pound precooked jumbo cocktail shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/2 teaspoon tarragon leaves, chopped
4 ounces asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/2 cup frozen English peas, thawed
Lemon slices for garnish
For dressing, whisk together lemon olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, kosher salt, and black pepper. Set aside. Prepare orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Transfer to a platter and cool 10 minutes to room temperature. In a skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Remove shells from shrimp tails. Place shrimp in a single layer in the skillet. Sprinkle with dill and tarragon. Lightly brown, turning once. Reduce heat to keep from burning. Remove from stove. Let shrimp cool. Meanwhile, in a steamer basket, bring water to a boil. Add asparagus, sugar snap peas, and English peas. Cook 2 minutes until bright green and tender crisp. Immediately transfer vegetables to an ice bath. Drain. Toss together shrimp and vegetables with orzo. Drizzle with lemon dressing, to taste. Toss to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Garnish with lemon slices.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Surf ‘n Turf Lettuce Cups! This is one of those freezer meals that you can throw together in a flash. Precooked frozen shrimp and leftover sirloin tip roast are the main attractions. By adding spices, fresh herbs, and a special dipping sauce, this hearty meal knocks it out of the park! The whole idea behind the lettuce cup is keeping it simple. You deserve all the praise!
SURF ‘N TURF LETTUCE CUPS
1 pound frozen jumbo shrimp, precooked and thawed
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Chesapeake Bay Style seafood seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dill
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 pound sirloin tip roast, shredded
1/8 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Blend
1 tablespoon Golden Mountain sauce
1/2 cup French Fried Onions
Boston Lettuce leaves
For Dipping Sauce:
6-8 dried peppers, sliced
1/4 teaspoon fried garlic
1 wedge of lime
1/2 teaspoon honey
2-4 tablespoons Golden Mountain Sauce
2-4 tablespoons fish sauce
Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Thaw shrimp according to package directions. Remove tails and discard. Dab shrimp with paper towels. In a deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add seafood seasoning, dill, and lime juice. Cook 1-2 minutes, turning once. Remove and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add roast beef to same skillet using pan drippings. Season with Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb blend and Golden Mountain sauce. Stir. Reduce to simmer until heated through and liquid is absorbed. Return shrimp to pan and gently combine with beef. Wash Boston Lettuce; separate leaves, being careful not to tear. Arrange lettuce in a bowl. Fill lettuce cups with shrimp and beef mixture. Garnish with French Fried Onions. Serve with Dipping Sauce, which can also be used as a dressing.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Kimchi Shrimp! Brace yourself for a wickedly sour Korean flavor with a crazy spicy kick. Some say it can be a bit salty, especially if you keep an eye on that sort of thing. Others notice the strong leaning toward fish, which is why I dove head first into this dish by adding naturally sweet shrimp, and of course, butter. Did you just do a double take? Stick around. You may end up on the hook.
1/2 cup prepared kimchi, chopped
1 pound frozen cooked jumbo shrimp, thawed
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ginger root, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Romaine lettuce leaves
Green onions, for garnish
Using a mini chopper, pulse the prepared kimchi into a paste. Set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the butter. Layer the shrimp in the pan. Add chopped ginger. Sprinkle with garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Cook shrimp for one minute, then flip over. Add the kimchi paste, stirring to coat shrimp. Cook 2-3 minutes longer. Serve over romaine lettuce leaves. Garnish with green onion snips.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Zillions of Zoodles! Anyone who owns a KitchenAid stand mixer will tell you they know all about the Spiralizer. I know it may sound like a super-hero with super-powers, but in many ways it is….for foodies, in my opinion. A Spiralizer is an attachment that can peel and slice vegetables into a uniform spiral making the vegetables look like noodles. This is a great tool for those going Paleo or living gluten-free. In mere seconds any vegetable, like zucchini, can be transformed into an abundant bowl of Zoodles. Think about the options for yellow squash, cucumbers, carrots, and potatoes! Move over, Pasta, there’s a new sheriff in town!
ZILLIONS OF ZOODLES
1-2 zucchini, spiralized
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces shrimp, precooked
1/8 teaspoon dill weed
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Greek olive mix
3 tablespoons basil pesto
Fresh parsley, for garnish
Spiralize zucchini zoodles into a bowl. Discard spiral stems. In a large skillet, heat olive oil to sauté shrimp sprinkled with dill weed, sea salt, and red pepper flakes. Remove from pan; keep drippings. Reduce heat and toss zoodles in reserve oil to coat. Add sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Stir in basil pesto. Toss gently. Heat zoodles no longer than 3-4 minutes. Remove and serve with sautéed shrimp. Garnish with fresh parsley.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Jambalaya with Garlic Mussels! Traditional Flavor, Deep South flavor, intense flavor. Your mouth will thank me. Everything you need for dinner is in this hearty dish. All you want to add is your favorite jazz music to feel the unique culture and staple food of New Orleans. For the seafood lover as well as those who crave veggies, try something a little different this week when you hanker after a taste of Louisiana. “Laissez les bon temps rouler.” (Let the good times roll.)
JAMBALAYA WITH GARLIC MUSSELS
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup egg noodles
1 cup minute brown rice
1/3 cup onion, chopped
15 ounce can chicken broth
8 ounce can diced tomatoes and green chiles, with sauce
1 cup okra, frozen
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 pound kielbasa sausage, pre-cooked
1/4 pound shrimp, pre-cooked
1 pound mussels in tomato garlic sauce, frozen
Melt butter in large skillet on low-medium heat. Add egg noodles, instant brown rice, and chopped onion. Stir to coat well; brown to a golden color but avoid burning. Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes and green chiles with sauce. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile cook okra in microwave for 2 minutes, together with soy sauce, fish sauce, and red pepper flakes. Set aside. Heat shrimp and sausage. Set aside. In a saucepan, heat mussels on high for 4 minutes; reduce and simmer 3 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. When rice blend is cooked, add okra mixture to large skillet. Add sausage and shrimp to large skillet. Toss gently to blend. Serve jambalaya with mussels and sauce in a bowl.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Asparagus Shrimp Linguine! Whether you scour the ditches and railroad tracks, visit the local Farmers Market, or drop by your favorite grocers, the growing season of asparagus is upon us. Now is the time to take full advantage of its abundance. Look for signs of firm, tight buds for tender morsels. The delicate purplish tips are the best of the stalk. Indulge thy self. Permission granted.
ASPARAGUS SHRIMP LINGUINE
3 ounces lemon pepper linguine
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons lemon olive oil
1/2 pound shrimp, precooked
8-10 asparagus spears, cut-up
8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon herb and garlic seasoning
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon nonpareil capers
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
Cook lemon pepper pasta with sea salt according to package directions. Drain. Set aside. In a large saucepan, heat lemon olive oil on medium. Add shrimp, asparagus, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, red pepper flakes, herb and garlic seasoning, marjoram, and basil. Fry shrimp and vegetables until crisp and tender, 4-5 minutes. Add linguine and cook until heated through. Swirl to toss gently. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese shavings. Garnish with capers.
Dining Outside the Home: Miguel’s Cocina in Old Town San Diego, California. When the menu captures the true spirit of Mexico, north of the border, it boasts of Miguel’s Signature Fajitas. What makes it so special, you wonder. Pay attention: Skirt steak and chicken topped with bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese and sliced poblano. ¡Ay, caramba! Now, you’re talking. Better order a hand-shaken margarita to wash things down. Look around. Handmade tortillas, crispy chips dredged between bowls of jalapeño white sauce and chunky tomato-fresh salsa. Is it any wonder if feels like a party?