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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Shrimp and Crab Enchiladas for my favorite hot tamale!

I like a low key Valentine's Day.  Going out and dealing with the hustle and bustle of rest of the world is not my idea of a romantic evening.  Staying at home in my pajamas with my honey having a nice meal and watching romantic movie are more my speed.   This year, I made Shrimp and Crab Enchiladas with Key Lime pie for dessert (Victor loves Key Lime Pie).    These enchiladas are super easy to make and so far, I have not met anyone that doesn't like them. 

In regards to the shrimp, pre-cooked, frozen could certainly be used, but I generally like to get fresh raw shrimp and peel, devein and cook myself.   Although more work, I think they have a better flavor.  I like to cut the shrimp into smaller pieces as well.   I tend to use the canned crab meat.  The big crab legs a bit intimidating and expensive to me.   Finally,  I always skip the sour cream:  it seems to add unnecessary calories without adding much to overall flavor of the dish (I am not a big sour cream person)

Shrimp and Crab Enchiladas
1 pound of shrimp
1 - 6 oz can of crab meat (sometimes I use 2 cans)
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese
1 - 20 oz can of enchilada sauce, red or green  (I prefer the green but did use red this time since it was Valentine's Day)
1 - 8 oz container sour cream (optional)
1 bunch of green onions chopped (optional)
12 - 12 inch flour tortillas

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix crab, shrimp and cheese in a big bowl.  Set some cheese aside to sprinkle over the top of the enchiladas.
Lay tortillas on flat surface.  In the middle of each tortilla, place some of the crab/shrimp/cheese mixture.  Roll the tortillas to form enchiladas.  Arrange side by side in 9x13 baking dish. 
Pour enchilada sauce over all the enchiladas.  The sauce should cover the enchiladas completely. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the enchiladas.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake for 15 more.  
Top enchiladas with sour cream (if you are going that route) and green onions to serve. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Breakfast musings, part 1

Me and breakfast go way back...One of my first jobs was at Lou's Deli in Andorra Shopping Center. I was the breakfast cook. Eggs sunnyside, over easy, over hard, poached, scrambled, omelettes, bacon, scrapple, pancakes, waffles, bagels and lox...I made 'em all and not necessarily with a smile 100% of the time (just ask my sister...). Breakfast cooking at a restaurant is not an easy task since most breakfast entrees cool off very quickly once removed from their heat source. So, if you have gone out to breakfast in a group of 3 or more and everyone had a good experience, leave a generous tip since it means the cook probably made all the food simultaneously and your server was really on top of picking the order getting it out to you.

There is a good article in the new issue (March 2009) of Esquire magazine called Esquire's All You Can Eat Breakfast. The article is broken up into two parts, the first being recipes you can make at home and the second being great places across America to get breakfast. Some interesting recipes included are eggs in tomato sauce as well as bacon and egg fried rice. In terms of the places recommended, I haven't eaten yet at any of them...although I am excited to check out many of them.

In addition to those listed in the article, for Philly, I would also recommend Christine's Family Restaurant (it's actually in Norristown) for their French Toast stuffed with ham and melted cheese. For LA, I would recommend the Lazy Daisy on Wilshire and Aroma on Sunset. The Lazy Daisy has some great egg plates, good potatos and always seems to have some fruit on the plate. Aroma has a crazy huge menu but my personal favorite is the Challah French Toast.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Finally, the letter H!

Drumroll please...I have finally, after about four months, gotten to the letter H in my Cookies A to Z quest.    For the letter H, we have Hazelnut Clove Biscotti.   In addition to never having made any hazelnut cookies, I have also never made biscotti, I must admit this was a bit exciting for me.  I am not sure if this is the case with most biscotti, but I found it interesting that the recipe contained no butter, so they are a good low fat option.    

Hazelnut Clove Biscotti (from Cookies: Over 600 Great Recipe from McRae Books)
1 1/4 cups whole hazelnuts
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees (170 C).   Spread hazelnuts on large baking sheet.  Toast for 7 minutes or until lightly golden.  Transfer to large cotton kitchen towel and rub them in the towel to remove the thin inner skins.  Discard the skins and coarsely chop.  

Butter/grease a cookie sheet (I used olive spray). 

Mix the flour, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in medium bowl.   Beat eggs and egg yolk and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until very pale and thick.  Mix in the dry ingredients, hazelnuts, lemon zest and vanilla to form a smooth dough.   Divide dough in half. Form the dough into two 12 inches long logs (1 1/2 inches in diameter) and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared sheet.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until firm to the touch.  Cool on the cookie sheet for 15 minutes.  Cut diagonal into 1/2 inch slices and transfer to racks to cool completely. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Eat oats if you want to live

Oats are good for the heart, so why not some oatmeal cookies to celebrate Valentine's Day?  I can't remember where I got this Trailside Oatmeal Cookie recipe from.   I think someone gave it to my mom. However, my mom is not big on peanut butter, so she rarely made these. I on the other hand, love peanut butter, so these are perfect for me.    As noted below, the recipe actually calls for 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup chocolate chips, but I think that just results in too many disparate flavors.   It's a hearty, not overly sweet cookie...enjoy.

Trailside Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used natural, chunky)
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk (I used fat free organic)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/3 cups of quick oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (the recipe actually states 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup chocolate chips, but I like to go all chocolate)

Cream butter and peanut butter.  Add granulated sugar and brown sugar.  Beat until creamy.In separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt.  Add milk, eggs and vanilla to butter/sugar mixture.   Mix in flour mixture.  Stir in oats, stir in chocolate chips.    Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Little corny pleasures in life

The newscasters were predicting rain for Friday, so we planned another brunch potluck at the office.  One of my co-workers was making chili, so I volunteered to make some cornbread.   Of course, we made this plan on Thursday afternoon to do for Friday, so I had to hit the market to get some ingredients AND it was already raining.  For those of you that do not live in Southern California, the rain is big deal here.  The streets flood to the point that entire lanes are gone, cars stall everywhere from trying to drive through the flooded streets snarling traffic for hours and people get swallowed by huge sink holes (no lie).     So, although this cornbread recipe may seem simple, heroic efforts went into its creation! 

I have always used the Jiffy Cornbread Mix in the past, but after checking out some recipes online, I realized making cornbread from scratch wasn't that difficult.    I picked up some Alber's Yellow Corn Meal and made the recipe on the back of the box.   It was time I would like to experiment by adding some turkey sausage or jalapenos.   Also, I wonder how applesauce would have worked out instead of the oil.....

Alber's Corn Bread
1 cup Yellow Corn Meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk (I used organic fat free since that is all I ever have at home)
1/3 cup oil (although it called for vegetable oil, I used olive oil because I think it lends a lighter taste to recipes)
1 large egg, beaten

Pre-heat over to 400 degrees.  Grease 8 inch square baking pan (note: I doubled the recipe and used a 9x13 pan). 
Combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder  and salt in medium bowl.  Combine milk, oil and egg in separate bowl and mix well.  Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir until just blended.  Pour into prepared pan.  
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Serve warm.