Cranberry Steak and Seafood Sauce

First off, Happy New Year!

I know… it feels like an eternity since I last posted a delicious recipe. I am not tired by any means, but we have been enjoying family time, prepared for the holidays, and my wife’s birthday. It has been busy to say the least, and I will admit that taking a break from making 20+ cookies beat me down a bit. Did I also mention that I am somewhat (somewhat) sick of eating cookies? I did not think I would ever say that lately, but I am. I’m on break from the cookie intake. But during all of the baking, we hosted Christmas dinner and as always I had something in store for the family. This year was Filipino pancit (I ruined it for the first time), roasted garlic potatoes, herb crusted beef tenderloin stuffed with duxelles, garlic and butter shrimp, and a garlic and herb crusted strip roast. All of this was great, but the sauce I whipped up to accompany the beef was the star, at least in my opinion.

See, I bought a big bag of cranberries around Thanksgiving time this year, and I had plenty of them left in the freezer. Of course I whipped up a nice chutney but then I decided to make a cranberry steak sauce that sparked a recipe from the past that my Dad loved which was a cherry steak/bbq sauce.

Cranberry Steak Sauce Recipe
Cranberry Steak Sauce Recipe

(Don’t mind the sad picture of my beef. This was an end cut that I used for leftovers. My other cuts were spot on and cut like butter. I miss it.)

This sauce is sweet, tangy, and a bit smokey. It is almost like an A1, but way better. My wife and I loved it and it will be a condiment to add to any fridge. The bit shocker was how awesome this was with the shrimp!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cups frozen cranberries, defrosted overnight
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 12 oz light beer
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup of pomegranate flavored red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • small pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper

I know, when you think about it, there are a few flavor bombs in here but the balance with the brown sugar and cranberries make this stuff shine. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Oh, by the way it is all gone.

Start by heating a sauce pan on medium heat.

Add in the oil, bring it to temperature then add in the onion. Sweat the onions for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times, then add in the garlic. Stir again, then toss in the cranberries. Give another good stir, then add in the brown sugar, beer, worchestershire sauce, dijon, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and cracked black pepper. Stir well.

Cranberry Steak and Seafood Sauce
Cranberry Steak and Seafood Sauce

Once this comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. The sauce will begin to reduce and thicken. This is what you are looking for.

You have two options now. You can pour this into a blender, or keep it in the pot and use an immersion blender. I chose the latter (an immersion blender is an awesome). If you are using a blender just be careful and not only make sure the lid is on right, but that you cover it with a towel for extra protection.

Blend until you have a smooth mixture, then you will strain this through a fine mesh strainer to remove any thick clumps. Use the back of a spoon to push this through the strainer. I do this over a bowl to reserve the sauce.

Pour the sauce into storage container in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. In my case I used a plastic condiment squeeze bottle and let everyone squirt away.  Sweet, salty, and a smidgen spicy it is everything you want in a great sauce, plus cranberries to boot!

This sauce, hands down is one of the better ones I have made in some time and gives my regular steak sauce a run for its money! Happy New Year everyone!

 

Chinese Walnut Shrimp

We recently got back from a trip from the gulf. It was a trip that was long overdue. We had lots of rest and relaxation, as well as lots of great seafood. The food down there was something I could never get sick of, especially the shrimp. Since we have been back home for a couple of weeks, that shrimp was still on my mind. So as I normally do, I began purging items from our freezer and noticed a big bag of whole shrimp. I was stoked to say the least and knew exactly what I was going to make with them. Chinese walnut shrimp!

I can’t say this would be a dish that I would order at a Chinese restaurant but one I know that my wife loves and has talked about in the past. It was time for me to step up and impress my wife with this simple, and really tasting Chinese walnut shrimp. The kicker is the sauce, and trust me you will love it.

Chinese Walnut Shrimp Recipe
Chinese Walnut Shrimp Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the walnuts:

  • 2 cups roughly chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups canola oil
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for the shrimp:

  • 3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • splash of rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup Japanese mayonnaise or your favorite
  • 1 cup of fine corn meal or cornstarch
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • cooked jasmine rice

The oil that will be used to crisp up the walnuts will be reused for the shrimp, so don’t discard it.

You will want to start by heating your oil on medium heat.  As the oil heats, go ahead and make a simple syrup. Heat another small pot on medium heat and add the water and sugar.  Bring that to a simmer, then remove it from the heat. The oil should be heated now.

Add the walnuts to the oil and cook them for a few minutes. Just be careful as you do not want to burn them. After a few minutes, remove the walnuts with a slotted spoon and place on a paper lined plate to remove any excess oil and season with salt.

Once the walnuts are strained, add them to the simple syrup and and give that a good stir, coating all of the walnuts. Add them to a parchment paper lined tray, and try to keep them from sticking together. Set aside.

Chinese Walnut Shrimp Ingredients
Chinese Walnut Shrimp Ingredients

Next, make your sauce. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, condensed milk, honey, and salt to a mixing bowl, and stir well. Set aside on the counter.

Now to the shrimp. Reheat the oil to about 350 degrees. During this time, add the shrimp to the cornmeal (or cornstarch), and toss them around to make sure they are full coated. Once the oil is heated, take a few shrimp, enough to not crowd the pan of oil, and shake off any excess cornmeal, and gently drop them into the oil. Cook the shrimp for only a few minutes as you want crispy, succulent shrimp.

Place the cooked shrimp in a mixing bowl, season with a bit of salt, and repeat this process until all shrimp are cooked.

Cook your broccoli in boiling water for about two minutes, then blanch them in cold water.  Strain and set aside.

Add the sauce to the bowl of shrimp and gently stir, coating all of the shrimp in that delicious sauce.

Now time to plate.

I like to add cooked rice to a bowl, pack it in, then flip the bowl over onto a large serving plate. Pour the shrimp over the rice, then garnish around the rice and shrimp the broccoli. Pour over the candied walnuts, and now you are in business!

My wife, who did not know I was making this dish was floored and fell in love with it. Real deal is what I think I heard her say, but regardless this had me sold. And that shrimp… oh yeah that shrimp was something to write about. I hope you enjoy!

New Orleans Style Shrimp

Years ago my wife and I took a trip to New Orleans. We fell in love with it. Granted we stayed on Bourbon street, but never really spent much time on it to be quite honest. We steered away from that main street and entered other areas in town to try an array of food. I could eat that city all day long, and if my wife was not with me, I probably would have practiced gluttony. There’s one dish known as New Orleans shrimp that I think everyone must try. It is not spicy, but it is balanced by a bunch of butter, lemon, and other spices that makes you digging for bread to dunk into these delicious juices.  I tossed mine with pasta to make it more of a meal, but you can simply pour the cooked shrimp into a bowl, get some rustic bread, and get to town.

New Orleans Style Shrimp Recipe
New Orleans Style Shrimp Recipe

Let’s get started.

  • 2 lbs peeled shrimp, tracts removed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup of Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Creole seasoning
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • salt to taste
  • pasta, cooked (optional)
  • chopped parsley, optional
  • Rustic French bread, optional

This dish goes pretty quick, so if you are cooking pasta, you can do it in parallel.

To a large bowl, add the lemon juice, worchestershire, black pepper, Creole seasoning, and garlic. Give a good mix, then gently fold in the shrimp. Marinade the shrimp for about 10 minutes. If you are going to be folding the shrimp into the cooked pasta, this is the time to get the pasta water boiling before dropping the pasta.

Next, get a large skillet on medium heat. Add in the the entire mixture from the bowl, and cook just until the shrimp become slightly pink. This is when you are going to want to lower the heat, and begin adding the butter, a couple tablespoons at a time.

New Orleans Style Shrimp Ingredients
New Orleans Style Shrimp Ingredients

Once the butter begins to melt, add in a few more tablespoons at a time until the butter is completely gone. Yes, I know it is a lot of butter, but so is bagna caulda, and that is what makes the final sauces so flipping delicious.

Once the butter is fully melted and the shrimp cooked, season with a pinch or two of salts, and pour into a serving bowl, or fold into pasta (your call). If serving from the bowl, place the bowl on a large plate surrounded by chunks of French bread, and dig in. Get some shrimp, dunk into that delicious sauce, and repeat.

If you are looking for a great game day food, and one that will serve plenty, give this one a try, it’s super delicious. Hope you enjoy!

Shrimp with Lobster Sauce

Let’s face it, we have pretty bad Chinese food in the greater Milwaukee area. Granted, if I had to chose a restaurant for takeout or dine in, it would be Fortune Chinese Restaurant in West Allis. I say that because the first time my wife and I entered, we were completely out numbered by Chinese patrons. As a matter of fact, I think we were the only caucasians in the place, and the place was packed. After dining in a few times, I came to realize they had the American-Chinese menu, and the bad ass Chinese only menu. With that said, there are American-Chinese dishes that we have known to love, and this is one of them, the shrimp with lobster sauce.

Shrimp with Lobster Sauce

The name itself is a bit misleading, especially if it is your first time ordering it. The dish itself has no lobster whatsoever, but it is is typically a chicken stock with simple ingredients, that have eggs mixed in to make it a creamy whiteish/yellowish based sauce. A sauce so comforting, and creamy, that goes perfect with shrimp. As my wife really loves shrimp hong sue, I figured I would knock out this recipe and she how she liked it. Let’s say she just fell in love with this one.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb shrimp, (16-20’s), peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing wine
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • Jasmine rice, cooked

Start by adding a few cups of water to a sauce pan, and bring to a simmer. Add in the ground pork, and cook for about 5 minutes. This gets out any of the meat scum (if you will), and creates a cleaner sauce in my opinion. After 5 minutes, strain and rinse. Add the pork to a small bowl and reserve for cooking in a few minutes.

Next, get a large skillet out and bring to a medium-high heat. Add in the canola oil, and toss in the garlic, ginger, ground pork, and shrimp. Stir for a few minutes until the garlic is nice and fragrant but not browned.

Next, toss in the chicken stock, salt, pepper, sesame oil, and Chinese wine. Stir, and let this come to a simmer.

How to make Shrimp with Lobster Sauce

During this time, add the corn starch with the water, and stir until the corn starch is completely incorporated. This is called a slurry, and helps thicken sauces. It’s a hidden weapon in American-Chinese cooking, trust me.

Once you have a nice simmer, add in the slurry and continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Toss in the peas. You should have this awesome looking sauce that will remind you of all American-Chinese cooking. Next, add in beaten egg and continue to stir. The sauce should darken a bit when the egg is incorporated.

Shrimp with Lobster Sauce Recipe

Now you are ready to serve.

To a serving bowl, add some rice, and ladle in some of the shrimp with lobster sauce. Garnish with sliced green onions and dig in.

The end result is nothing short of comfort food. You get this awesome smooth sauce, succulent shrimp, that is balanced by subtle hints of garlic and ginger. It’s a quintessential dish that should be served more times than none. I hope you enjoy!

Shrimp with Lobster Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb shrimp, (16-20’s), peeled and deveined
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing wine
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • Jasmine rice, cooked
Instructions
  1. Start by adding a few cups of water to a sauce pan, and bring to a simmer. Add in the ground pork, and cook for about 5 minutes. This gets out any of the meat scum (if you will), and creates a cleaner sauce in my opinion. After 5 minutes, strain and rinse. Add the pork to a small bowl and reserve for cooking in a few minutes.
  2. Next, get a large skillet out and bring to a medium-high heat. Add in the canola oil, and toss in the garlic, ginger, ground pork, and shrimp. Stir for a few minutes until the garlic is nice and fragrant but not browned.
  3. Next, toss in the chicken stock, salt, pepper, sesame oil, and Chinese wine. Stir, and let this come to a simmer.
  4. During this time, add the corn starch with the water, and stir until the corn starch is completely incorporated. This is called a slurry, and helps thicken sauces. It’s a hidden weapon in American-Chinese cooking, trust me.
  5. Once you have a nice simmer, add in the slurry and continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Toss in the peas. You should have this awesome looking sauce that will remind you of all American-Chinese cooking. Next, add in beaten egg and continue to stir. The sauce should darken a bit when the egg is incorporated.
  6. Now you are ready to serve.
  7. To a serving bowl, add some rice, and ladle in some of the shrimp with lobster sauce. Garnish with sliced green onions and dig in.

 

Cajun Style Split Pea Soup

Nearly once a year I always make split pea soup. I’m probably the biggest fan of it in my household, and I’m fine with that. There is something special about this soup, and it may come from the smokiness of the ham, but ultimately it is not only satisfying as it is truly comforting. So this past Christmas, my mother-in-law offered me the ham bone as she typically always does, and I never decline. I’m a fan of the ham bone as well, and I know exactly what I am going to do with that ham bone every year, and that is to make a split pea soup! This time around however, I decided to change things up a bit, and add a few additional items to the soup and turn it into a Cajun style split pea soup. I’m glad I did, because this just elevated the wonderful flavors.

Cajun Style Split Pea Soup

Lets get started.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups of chicken stock
  • 4 whole carrots, roughly chopped
  • 4 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
  • 3 whole onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 ham bone, with ham to spare
  • 1/2 pound of split peas, washed and reviewed
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 whole links of Andouille sausage, sliced into chunks
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 6 whole shrimp, deveined, peeled

Start by adding your stock and hambone to a soup pot. Make sure you are able to have enough stock to submerge the ham bone, if not, add some water. Toss in 2 carrots, 2 ribs of celery, and two onions. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 4 hours. I actually started mine in the evening and just let it cook down overnight.

After the four hours, or overnight cook, remove the ham bone and any of the large pieces of ham that might have fallen off, and set to the side. Strain the rest, reserving all of the stock. I mash every little bit ensuring that I get all of those flavors into the stock. I love this part because it allows me to use my chinois strainer!

How to make Cajun style split pea soup

Next, lets get the soup started.

Clean your soup pot, then return it back to the stove. On medium heat, add the stock back to the pot, and add in your split peas, the remaining carrots, celery, and onion. Season with a bit of salt, and cracked black pepper. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook.

To a skillet, add the oil, and bring to a medium heat. Toss in the garlic and Andouille sausage. Cook the sausage until it gets some nice color on it.

Shred any remaining ham, and add that to the stock mixture. Add in the bell peppers to the stock as well.

Once the sausage is cooked, add the garlic and sausage mixture to the stock. Give a good stir, and continue to cook.

Cook for about 1 hour, then taste your peas. You want them tender, but not mushy.

Cajun Style Split Pea Soup

Once the peas are tender, add in the cleaned shrimp and cook until they are just opaque.

Now you are ready to serve!

Get out your bowls and ladle in the Cajun style split pea soup, making sure you get a bit of everything.

The end result is awesome. It’s everything you love about a split pea and ham soup, but you get the great additions of sausage, shrimp, and a bit of heat. I’m hoping my mother-in-law keeps on the tradition of providing me that ham bone because I know this is going to be my go to split pea soup from here on out! I hope you enjoy!

Creamy Shrimp Scampi Dip

It seems as though we have been consuming more shrimp lately. Everything from shrimp boils to sautéed shrimp served alongside rice or pasta. Shrimp is something that my entire family enjoys, and it took a few years for my oldest to take a chance on them. Now he loves them, especially the peel and eat kind. My wife has always been a lover of shrimp scampi as well. As the New Year came to an end, I wanted to make another shrimp appetizer that I knew my wife would love. I was a bit skeptical at first but decided to go ahead with this idea of making a creamy shrimp scampi dip. Let’s just say my wife loved it, as did my kids, and it did not last very long.

Creamy Shrimp Scampi Dip

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 generous pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 whole lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 loaf french bread, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • olive oil

Start by melting your butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add in the garlic, and chili flakes. Give that a good stir, and cook for about a minute. Next, add in the shrimp. Once the shrimp begin to turn opaque, add in the wine. Cook for about 2 minutes to let some of that wine cook off, then season with salt and pepper. Give a stir, then remove everything from the skillet and place into a bowl.

To a mixing bowl, add in the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, Sriracha, and mozzarella cheese. Stir to incorporate all of those ingredients.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Once the shrimp have slightly cooled, give them a rough chop, and add everything into the cream cheese mixture. Give another good stir.

How to make a cheese shrimp scampi dip

Fold this mixture into a baking dish, then cover the top with the panko breadcrumbs.

To a baking sheet, add the sliced French bread, and drizzle each slice with olive oil.

Place the cheesy shrimp scampi dip, and the French bread into the oven, and cook until the breadcrumbs are nice and golden, and the dip is completely cooked through. Ensure that the bread is nice and golden as well.  This should take about 15 minutes.

To serve, scoop out the dip into serving bowl, and dip your crostini into the dip.

Whoa! Talk about flavor and comfort. You get everything you love about shrimp scampi (butter, garlic, wine) in a dip factor, and heck, I think the dip factor won on this one. A bit rich, but completely difficult to walk away from. If you are looking for an awesome dip to serve at your next gathering, give this a shot!

Creamy Shrimp Scampi Dip
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 generous pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ½ whole lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • ¼ cup white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • ¾ cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¾ cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ loaf french bread, sliced into ½ inch slices
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Start by melting your butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add in the garlic, and chili flakes. Give that a good stir, and cook for about a minute. Next, add in the shrimp. Once the shrimp begin to turn opaque, add in the wine. Cook for about 2 minutes to let some of that wine cook off, then season with salt and pepper. Give a stir, then remove everything from the skillet and place into a bowl.
  2. To a mixing bowl, add in the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, Sriracha, and mozzarella cheese. Stir to incorporate all of those ingredients.
  3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Once the shrimp have slightly cooled, give them a rough chop, and add everything into the cream cheese mixture. Give another good stir.
  5. Fold this mixture into a baking dish, then cover the top with the panko breadcrumbs.
  6. To a baking sheet, add the sliced French bread, and drizzle each slice with olive oil.
  7. Place the cheesy shrimp scampi dip, and the French bread into the oven, and cook until the breadcrumbs are nice and golden, and the dip is completely cooked through. Ensure that the bread is nice and golden as well. This should take about 15 minutes.
  8. To serve, scoop out the dip into serving bowl, and dip your crostini into the dip.

 

Shrimp Larb – ‘Larb Goong’

I will tell you that one of my favorite flavor combinations has to be that of the flavors of any Thai larb, or what some refer to as laap. Someone from Thailand, or from the Thai culture please chime in and let me know which it is, larb or laap. Please. I typically make pork or chicken larb as my kids totally love picking up the minced meat mixture with sticky rice, or placing it in lettuce wraps, but you can definitely go way beyond pork or chicken, and recently I decided to go with shrimp.

Shrimp Larb Recipe

I’ve had larb with raw, minced beef (which was a bit of a shock but delicious), as well as cooked beef, and I will admit, however you want your larb, trust me, they are all freaking delicious. I say this because the fresh herbs and dressing that mixes into the larb is really the star of the show. I could just eat that stuff by the spoonful, or simply drizzle onto some rice, and I would be happy.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

 

  • 8-10 medium sized shrimp, peeled, and deveined
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar, or honey
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce, (I like Red Boat, or 3 Crabs brand)
  • 2 tbsp roasted rice powder
  • 1/2 cup of shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 Thai bird chilies, diced, stems removed
  • Small wedge of green cabbage
  • 8-10 fresh green beans, trimmed
  • Roasted Peanuts
  • Sticky rice, optional
  • Water

Start by adding your shrimp to a skillet. Add in water, enough to come half way up to the shrimp. Bring the heat to a medium, and simmer the shrimp, only cooking until slightly firm, and cooked through. This should only take a few minutes. Once cooked, strain and set the shrimp to a mixing bowl.

To another bowl, make the sauce.

How to make shrimp larb

Add the lime juice, shallot, Thai chilies, palm sugar, and fish sauce. Mix well until the sugar gets dissolved. Once dissolved, taste, and adjust any seasoning if you prefer. You might want a bit more fish sauce, sugar, or lime. The goal is a sweet, sour, spicy. Once you have achieved this, add in the mint, cilantro, and toasted rice powder. Give this a good stir.

Toss in the shrimp, and get ready to plate.

To your serving dish, add the peanuts, cabbage, and green beans. Add the shrimp larb to the other side, and eat by adding a bit to your green cabbage leaves, topping with some green beans for a slight bitter flavor, and eat with the peanuts.

The end result is nothing short of amazing in flavor. It packs the perfect punch in texture, spice, and overall balance, plus it is super fresh and healthy to boot. This is a perfect dish for any party or any day of the week. Hope you enjoy!

 

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

One of my wife’s favorite Asian appetizers, besides Filipino lumpia is probably shrimp spring rolls. They are always a big hit at family gatherings, and they are pretty awesome as they are essentially a salad roll. What is also great about these, is that you can pretty much make them however you want, and I love that about them. Vietnamese spring rolls are typically served with a dipping sauce, either a peanut based sauce or nuoc cham which is the sauce that I prefer to eat with the spring rolls.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

The spring rolls do take a bit of preparation as you have to slice carrots, and rinse and dry your fresh herbs and lettuce, but trust me, it’s worth the time.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of spring roll rice paper
  • 4 bundles of Asian vermicelli noodles, cooked in hot water for 3 minutes, placed in cool water, drained
  • 1/2 head of red leaf lettuce
  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh cilantro
  • bean sprouts
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, julienne sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, julienne sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, julienne sliced
  • 1 pound of shrimp, tails removed, deveined
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large bowl warm water
  • Lightly moistened paper towels

Again, the prep takes a bit of time, however if you have any helpers, you can always reward them in a short period of time.

Start by adding the soy sauce and lime juice to a bowl. Stir, then toss in the shrimp. Stir again, and let this marinate for about 20 minutes or so, covered in the refrigerator.

Next arrange all of your vegetables and herbs.

Strain the cooked vermicelli, and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.

Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat. Add in the canola oil, move it around, then add in the shrimp. Cook the shrimp until just orangish in color and opaque on both sides, about 4-6 minutes. Remove the cooked shrimp from the skillet, and set aside on a plate to cool.

Once cooked, slice each shrimp in half, lengthwise.

Now the fun part, wrapping.

How to make Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls

Get a large bowl of warm water ready.

Get a wrapping buddy if you can as it will make this go by a lot quicker. I enlisted by son who had a blast.

Take a spring roll wrapper, and gently submerge it in the warm water for about 30 seconds.

Add the wrapper to a plate and let it sit for about 45 more seconds. The coating on the wrapper that was once hard, will soften and allow you to begin working with it. I like to keep an edge of the wrapper slightly off of the plate so that I can start the folding process a lot easier.

If you let the wrapper sit in the water too long, it will get too soft and not easy to work with.

To the wrapper, add a bit of the cooked noodles, a couple of carrots, a couple of bell peppers, a couple of cucumbers, some fresh herbs, the lettuce, and  bean sprouts. Fold over, then fold over the edges. Take two of the sliced shrimps and place in the center, then continue to fold.  You can also fold them this way should you prefer. After a couple of them, you will get the hang of it.

Place these onto a plate of platter lightly moistened paper towels. This prevents the wrappers from hardening up.

Next, repeat.  Once you have another layer, add the lightly moistened paper towels once again.

Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls

Serve alongside nuoc cham, or if you want, make the peanut sauce. I like mine with a bit of that great garlic spice with fish sauce and vinegar, hence the nuoc cham.

If you want, go ahead and slice them in half, or serve them whole. Either way, spoon a bit of the sauce into the spring roll, and dig in. It truly is a perfect bite with the noodles, fresh herbs, vegetables, and shrimp, heck even my kid who is skeptical of vegetables, especially red bell peppers, was devouring them.

If you are looking for something to bring to your next party, give these a shot. They are a real crowd pleasure, and pretty to boot! Hope you enjoy!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Author: 
Recipe type: appetizers
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 25
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package of spring roll rice paper
  • 4 bundles of Asian vermicelli noodles, cooked in hot water for 3 minutes, placed in cool water, drained
  • ½ head of red leaf lettuce
  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh cilantro
  • bean sprouts
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, julienne sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, julienne sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, julienne sliced
  • 1 pound of shrimp, tails removed, deveined
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large bowl warm water
  • Lightly moistened paper towels
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the soy sauce and lime juice to a bowl. Stir, then toss in the shrimp. Stir again, and let this marinate for about 20 minutes or so, covered in the refrigerator.
  2. Next arrange all of your vegetables and herbs.
  3. Strain the cooked vermicelli, and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.
  4. Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat. Add in the canola oil, move it around, then add in the shrimp. Cook the shrimp until just orangish in color and opaque on both sides, about 4-6 minutes. Remove the cooked shrimp from the skillet, and set aside on a plate to cool.
  5. Once cooked, slice each shrimp in half, lengthwise.
  6. Now the fun part, wrapping.
  7. Get a large bowl of warm water ready.
  8. Get a wrapping buddy if you can as it will make this go by a lot quicker. I enlisted by son who had a blast.
  9. Take a spring roll wrapper, and gently submerge it in the warm water for about 30 seconds.
  10. Add the wrapper to a plate and let it sit for about 45 more seconds. The coating on the wrapper that was once hard, will soften and allow you to begin working with it. I like to keep an edge of the wrapper slightly off of the plate so that I can start the folding process a lot easier.
  11. If you let the wrapper sit in the water too long, it will get too soft and not easy to work with.
  12. To the wrapper, add a bit of the cooked noodles, a couple of carrots, a couple of bell peppers, a couple of cucumbers, some fresh herbs, the lettuce, and bean sprouts. Fold over, then fold over the edges. Take two of the sliced shrimps and place in the center, then continue to fold. You can also fold them this way should you prefer. After a couple of them, you will get the hang of it.
  13. Place these onto a plate of platter lightly moistened paper towels. This prevents the wrappers from hardening up.
  14. Next, repeat. Once you have another layer, add the lightly moistened paper towels once again.
  15. Serve alongside nuoc cham, or if you want, make the peanut sauce. I like mine with a bit of that great garlic spice with fish sauce and vinegar, hence the nuoc cham.
  16. If you want, go ahead and slice them in half, or serve them whole. Either way, spoon a bit of the sauce into the spring roll, and dig in. It truly is a perfect bite with the noodles, fresh herbs, vegetables, and shrimp, heck even my kid who is skeptical of vegetables, especially red bell peppers, was devouring them.

 

Egg Foo Yung

Pretty much everyone in my family, with the exception of my oldest son, loves eggs. Whether they be hard boiled, fried, or scrambled, everyone is sure to indulge. To me, eggs might be the best vehicle for serving up any type of hearty meal, and this past weekend, I decided to turn on my family to a dish known as Egg Foo Yung.  If you have never had egg foo yung, it is a must try. Think of it as a Chinese omelette, stuffed with all sorts of goodness, and served with an awesome beef gravy. My family totally fell in love with this, and were craving it the following day.

Egg Foo Yung

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the Egg Foo Yung:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 shrimp, peeled, deveined, sliced in half
  • 1 sprig of green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp sherry cooking wine
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 tbsp mushroom soy sauce (or regular soy sauce)
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter

Ingredients for the Gravy:

  • 1 1/2 cup of beef stock
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

Start by adding the ground pork and shitake mushrooms to a large, non-stick skillet, and cook over medium-high heat until the pork is cooked through. Once cooked, add the pork mixture to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.

Make the gravy. Add the gravy ingredients to a sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Once it is thickened, turn off the heat and set it to the side.

How to make Egg Foo Yung

To a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, and then add in one cup of the ground pork and mushroom mixture. Toss in the sesame oil, soy sauce, bean sprouts, sherry, and shrimp. Give this a good stir.

To the skillet, add the canola oil and butter, and let that heat through until the butter is nice and melted, over medium-high heat.

Add the entire egg mixture, and spread the mixture out so everything is nice and even. Cook for a few minutes, and once the egg is set, give it a flip and cook another couple of minutes.

Egg Foo Yung

Slide the omelette onto your serving dish and ladle on the beef gravy. Garnish with the sliced green onions and any additional bean sprouts.

Trust me when I tell you this. This Chinese omelette is nothing short of amazing. Texturally it is awesome. You get the bits of pork and shrimp, and then the bean sprouts come through along with the great flavors of mushrooom, soy sauce and sesame oil. Don’t even get me started on the gravy. This could be one of my favorite things about the egg foo yung. The gravy… The gravy was out of this world. Beefy, garlic, and Asian inspired, this has got to be one of my favorite dishes, and I was surprised that my most suspicious of eaters devoured the egg foo yung! Hope you enjoy!

Shrimp Scampi Pizza

This past weekend was one of those special days for many people. Yes, it was Valentine’s day, and it was that time of year when it seemed as though every male was in a panic mode around 5:00 p.m. on that Friday, hustling to purchase a card, and a bunch of red roses. It’s sad to say the least. I say that only for the fact that the thought only occurs once a year for many people. I often joke with my wife that she gets Valentine’s day, every day, as I am the one cooking, and cleaning up the dishes, every. Single. Day. Plus I’m funny, at least in my book.

Kidding aside, I’m game when it comes to that special day, and as we both my wife and I agreed that we were not going to do much, I decided to add a special touch to the evening, not just for my wife, but also for my kids.

Shrimp Scampi Pizza Recipe

I decided to buy some chocolates for my wife, as well as purchase a handful of purple iris’s, and well, make a crab and shrimp boil for the family.  Crab clusters, along with shrimp, corn, and potatoes, were the center piece of the dinner table, and it is always a great time watching the kids dig in. With that said, I had made plenty of clarified garlic butter for dipping, and I had plenty left over. That’s when it sparked an idea, only to reuse the butter and poach some shrimp in it to be used in a shrimp scampi pizza. Yes, a shrimp scampi pizza that was to die for.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 batch of your favorite pizza dough
  • 12-15 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 2 tbsp Italian flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded

Set your oven rack, closet to the top of the oven, and preheat your oven, and pizza stone (if you have one) to 500 degrees. Let the oven preheat until you prepare all of the remaining items.

To a small pot, add the butter, and let this melt. Skim any of the foam off of the top and discard. If you want to strain the butter into a fine mesh sieve, you can go that route, but for this recipe, any of the solid fats that might remain are fine. Reduce the heat to low, and add the garlic, chili flakes, wine, and shrimp.

Poach the shrimp just until the become opaque, about 5 minutes on low heat.

How to make a shrimp scampi pizza

Stretch out your pizza dough for about a 14 inch pizza. Once stretched, remove the stone from the oven and carefully place the dough on top.

Add the cheese, the place the shrimp on top of the pizza. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the garlic butter. Place the stone back into the oven, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the pizza dough is golden, and everything is cooked through.

Remove the pizza from the oven and place onto a wired rack. Let the pizza cool for about 5 minutes, then shower with the parsley. Slice and serve.

Shrimp Scampi Pizza

I ended up making this pizza only because I had that leftover butter, well, not only that, but my wife (and I for that matter) really loves shrimp scampi. As I would normally eat this with some pasta, or just the shrimp by itself, this pizza was incredible to say the least.

I served my wife the first piece, and I heard her from afar talking to herself with food ‘umms and ahhs’, that I knew this was going to be great. The smell of the garlic buttered shrimp, with that white wine was apparent right off of the bat, and believe it or not, the cheese just held things together and did not interfere much with the shrimp. I know I say this from time to time, but this pizza was really, really good.

Shrimp Scampi Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Pizza
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • ½ batch of your favorite pizza dough
  • 12-15 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • ¼ cup of white wine
  • 2 tbsp Italian flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Set your oven rack, closet to the top of the oven, and preheat your oven, and pizza stone (if you have one) to 500 degrees. Let the oven preheat until you prepare all of the remaining items.
  2. To a small pot, add the butter, and let this melt. Skim any of the foam off of the top and discard. If you want to strain the butter into a fine mesh sieve, you can go that route, but for this recipe, any of the solid fats that might remain are fine. Reduce the heat to low, and add the garlic, chili flakes, wine, and shrimp.
  3. Poach the shrimp just until the become opaque, about 5 minutes on low heat.
  4. Stretch out your pizza dough for about a 14 inch pizza. Once stretched, remove the stone from the oven and carefully place the dough on top.
  5. Add the cheese, the place the shrimp on top of the pizza. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the garlic butter. Place the stone back into the oven, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the pizza dough is golden, and everything is cooked through.
  6. Remove the pizza from the oven and place onto a wired rack. Let the pizza cool for about 5 minutes, then shower with the parsley. Slice and serve.
  7. I ended up making this pizza only because I had that leftover butter, well, not only that, but my wife (and I for that matter) really loves shrimp scampi. As I would normally eat this with some pasta, or just the shrimp by itself, this pizza was incredible to say the least.