M. Andrew Gordon

Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category

Building a better beet salad…with bacon

In Appetizers, Side Dishes on March 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

This salad combines so many things I love: beets, bacon, smoked cheese, maple syrup, peppery greens.  Salads don’t have to be complicated at all and often I like things simple, say, watercress with some thinly sliced red onion and a simple vinaigrette.  But this salad is, comparatively, a bear to make, if only because it requires roasting of the beets and the baby artichokes.  But the results are worth it.

Baby artichokes have one real advantage over their larger brethren – they can be eaten whole.  Of course, you can’t eat them whole as you buy them.  To prepare baby artichokes to cook, peel off the outer leaves until you have revealed the light green and soft leaves inside.  Trim the stem end and slice the tips off the leaves. At this point, the artichokes either need to be cooked or rubbed with lemon juice as they will brown very quickly.  If you thought apples browned quickly, you haven’t seen anything yet.

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Random Pictures from Polynesian Dinner

In Appetizers, Baked Goods, Desserts, Dinner Party on December 20, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Molasses-ginger marinated wing with pineapple glaze

The makings for a Suffering Bastard

A Baked A(laska) Bomb: ginger-lemongrass ice cream, angel food cake, and meringue

Lobster Dumplings

In Appetizers, Dinner Party on December 7, 2010 at 10:19 pm

The specifics of the recipe escape me, of course, but the memories will linger on forever.  Tender dumpling wrappers, painstakingly rolled out by the ever-patient and generous Lena, fried on one side and steamed to cook through, filled with the juxtaposition of sweet lobster, sharp ginger and scallion flavors, tart apple, and a slight hint of a smoky curry.

Curried Lobster Dumplings

Making high-quality dumplings is surprisingly easy, though a little time consuming.  The wrappers are a simple mixture of flour and water that is made into a dough, kneaded for a several minutes, and then allowed to rest for about 15 minutes.  The dough is then rolled into a rope, cut into individual servings, and rolled out to a small circle.  Filling is added and the dough pinched off to seal in the filling.  Cooking is simple and quick, all the better to satisfy the hunger built up during all of that tedious rolling.

Beet Soup

In Appetizers, Soups and Stews on November 16, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Loyal readers of this blog know my fondness for beets.  I think they are a remarkable vegetable that is highly underappreciated and underutilized.  Over the weekend I made a soup that was something like a borscht but that’s probably not quite fair to say.  Besides being loaded with beets, it was also stocked full of butternut squash, carrots, apples, and cranberries.

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Just Add…Chouriço

In Appetizers, Seafood on September 21, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Stuffed Quahogs

Stuffed quahogs – “stuffies” in some circles – are a Southeastern Massachusetts delicacy.  Well, delicacy might not be strictly accurate, as most examples of stuffed quahogs leave a lot to be desired.  They are far too often like bad Thanksgiving stuffing, a disappointing and listless mass of soaked bread with far too little clam actually present masquerading for the real thing.  The childhood memory I have of stuffed quahogs made by my grandmother has surely been altered over time as I’ve likely transposed my conviction on what a stuffed quahog should be like to that memory.  But I do recall vividly going quahogging, or clamming if you will, with my brother, father, and grandfather, back when it was okay to ride in the back of a pickup truck.

Over the Labor Day Weekend, Lena and I were staying at her parent’s house on Cape Cod.  Besides gorgeous views and fantastic weather, we ate ridiculously well.  We walked down the water and harvested a bucket of quahogs for clam chowder and the stuffed quahogs, having a decadent feast.  Freshly dug clams aren’t necessary, but it surely doesn’t hurt!

The ideal stuffed quahog should have lots of chopped clam, some large bread crumbs to build the base, sautéed onion and garlic, and chouriço.  Not chorizo or spicy Italian sausage, but chouriço, the Portuguese smoked pork sausage that is redolent with garlic, black pepper, and wine.   The other sausages will do in a pinch, and bacon isn’t a half-bad substitute at all, but if you can find chouriço it is well worth it.

Once you have the ingredients, the only other thing to worry about is the texture.  By saving some of the clam liquor, or clam juice, you can add just the amount needed to make the mixture damp but not wet.  It should be almost like a dough or a crabcake, just damp enough to hold its shape but not too dry or wet that it crumbles apart.

Stuffed Quahogs

Stuffed quahogs before roasting; the filling should glisten but not be sodden

Serves 4 to 6

  • 12 large quahogs
  • 1/3 lb chouriço
  • 1 ½ cups cornbread, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.  Shuck quahogs, reserving liquor.  Or, alternatively, steam quahogs just until they open, let cool, and remove the meat over a bowl, reserving juice.  Strain clam liquor or juice and reserve.  Tear quahog shells into two separate halves.
  2. Melt butter in medium skillet.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook until soft but not browned.
  3. Chop clams.  Mix in onion, garlic, lemon juice and cornbread.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add ¼ cup of the reserved clam juice and mix.  Add juice if necessary.
  4. Spoon mixture into half the quahog shells.  Roast for 12 minutes and broil for one to two minutes to brown the top.  Serve with lemon wedges and hot sauce.

Beet Greens

In Appetizers, Side Dishes on June 30, 2010 at 8:13 am

Swiss Chard

Beet Greens

Counter to the Mango-Avocado-Jicama Salad is this dish, a simple presentation of baby beet greens and young chard.  I was at my parent’s house and was looking at my mother’s garden when she remarked how the beets needed to be thinned.  I quickly volunteered to take the young beet greens, all sorts of visions of tasty salads percolating in my mind.  The tender greens had just the faintest hint of a beet beginning to grow within the dirt and when washed, I realized that I would be eating the entire plant.  At the same time, my mother had grabbed some young Swiss chard from her neighbor who had been pleading with her to take some.  I was now picturing chard and beet greens in one salad.

My first task was to create a proper dressing.  I had a container of pepitas, or shucked pumpkin seeds, that I had been meaning to do something with.  What would happen, I wondered, if I simmered a bunch of the seeds in oil?  Would the oil take on some of their nutty flavors?  Sure enough it does and by sprinkling just a hint of curry powder in the hot oil, the result is a particularly flavorful oil.  And the best byproduct was puffed, crunchy pepitas, which would be a perfect garnish.  Then again, if you have pumpkin seed oil, you could just use that.

After tasting the seasoned oil, it seemed apparent that I wouldn’t need anything else to dress the salad with.  This would complement the greens and create a very simple, minimalist salad.  As I ate this, it dawned on me that I would have been plenty happy leaving the chard out all together and as such, the recipe reflects that change.  The beet greens, with thoroughly immature beets still attached, have an interesting earthy flavor.  When dressed with the curried-pumpkin seed oil and garnished with the fried pumpkin seeds, the nuttiness of the seeds and the earthiness of the greens provides a very refreshing salad.

The Salad

Beet Green Salad

  • 1 large bunch beet greens
  • 1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil
  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • Pinch chile powder
  • Pinch curry powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Wash beet greens and dry thoroughly.  Over medium heat, warm oil and add pepitas.  Stir regularly, so that pepitas begin to brown and just start to pop.  Stir in chile and curry powders.
  2. Using slotted spoon, transfer pepitas to paper towel to dry.  Let oil cool.  Toss beet greens with oil, add pepitas, and season with salt and pepper.

Dr. No Dinner Party

In Appetizers, Desserts, Main Dish, Sauces, Side Dishes on January 22, 2010 at 7:56 am

"that's a Smith & Wesson and you've had your six."

Combining two of my favorite things, dinner parties and James Bond movies, was a stroke of genius on the part of my brother.  Matching the movie’s locales with the menu might have been mine.  It’s unclear at this point.  But what was tremendously clear was how much I am looking forward to additional movie-dinners.  Starting from the beginning with Dr. No the other night, the following recipes stem from the inaugural Bond dinner party.  **Not all of the recipes are here just yet and I’ll be updating over a couple of days.  I also neglected to take any good photographs, but I backfilled with pics from the movie.  Thankfully my blog is too small for the Broccoli family to notice.

In honor of the role that alcohol always plays in the books and movies of Ian Fleming, we decided that we would need to serve vodka martinis, shaken and not stirred (although I also understand that many a mixologist also chafe at the faux pas of a cocktail without citrus being shaken).  Of interest is the first martini in the James Bond film canon, which is served sans olive and, in fact, with a slice of lime.  Wanting to be accurate, we followed suit, though we meant no disrespect to the olive.  Using Triple Eight Vodka, after some deliberation we decided on an older style proportions, using a 2:1 ratio for our martinis.

Dr. No Vodka Martini

  • 3 ounces vodka, preferably Triple Eight
  • 1 ½ ounces dry vermouth
  • 1 or 2 lime wedges
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Pour in vodka and vermouth.  Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass.  Add lime wedges to taste.

The Jamaican setting led me to the obvious jerk-seasoned dish.  Of course, I knew I wouldn’t be able to go whole hog and actually smoke anything over pimento wood but otherwise I’d puree the hell out of a bunch of scotch bonnet chiles and a pile of ginger and marinade some chicken in it.  But jerk seasoning might be nice if it was offset by something a little cool, maybe something with a little substance.  The starchy plantain might be just the ticket, I thought.  I cooked a couple of ripe plantains up and when they were getting nice and soft and golden, I poured a sweet molasses and lime mixture over them and let the sauce cook into a glaze.

Molasses-glazed Plantains

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 plantains, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In large skillet over medium heat, combine olive oil and butter.  Add plantains and toss to coat, letting cook until plantains start to turn golden.
  2. Meanwhile, in saucepan over low heat, combine molasses, lime juice, honey, brown sugar, and chile powder.  Stir to incorporate.
  3. Add molasses mixture to plantains and stir to coat plantains.  Cook for additional several minutes.

I decided I also wanted to revisit something I had tried once long ago: a pickled mango tartar sauce.  And because the the titular villain of the movie resides on the island of Crab Key, it seemed only fitting to make crab cakes.  My usual crab cakes have a solid dose of both scallions and red onion and the bread crumb filling of cornbread.  And not that sickly sweet cornbread cake nonsense, but a decently non-sweet and non-sticky cornbread (and as I’ve said in the past, there is nothing wrong with and nothing shameful about using Jiffy cornbread).  When making crabcakes, you want to take care to not shred any big chunks of crab but when you actually construct the crab cakes, I find that applying some firm pressure to the sides of the cake while patting the down builds a nice cake that won’t fall apart in the pan.  The tartar sauce was a fantastic accompaniment, although it does require that you plan a day or two in advance to pickle the mango.  But the pickled mango itself makes for a nice little side dish as well.

I wish these sunglasses had a reoccuring role in the Bond movies.

Pickled Mango

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 serrano chile, sliced into thick rounds
  • 1 mango, peeled and sliced thin
  1. Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt in small saucepan set over medium heat.  Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved.  Let cool.
  2. Stir in peppercorns, juniper berries, fennel seeds, serrano chile.  Pour over mangos and cover for one to two days.

Crab Cakes with Mango Tartar Sauce

  • 1 lb crab
  • 4 scallions, white parts finely diced, green parts thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup corn bread, crumbled finely and toasted
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  1. Combine scallions, red onion, mayonnaise, mustard, chile powder, black pepper, and salt in a large bowl.  Mix together well.
  2. Add crab meat and toss gently to coat, trying not to break up any large chunks of crab.
  3. Add bread crumbs and stir lightly to mix together.  Pack crabcakes together tightly.
  4. In large skillet, heat several tablespoons of olive oil.  Cook crabcakes in batches for several minutes per side, until golden brown.

Finally, because I am still experimenting with my ice cream maker, I wanted to go a little crazy and try my hand at a habanero-ginger ice cream.  The recipe is largely ripped off from a Food & Wine recipe for vanilla ice cream, although the habanero and ginger are solely my additions.  I wasn’t sure how it would work out, but the first bite sold me: the bracing flavors of ginger leaped out but then a slow, hot finish from the habanero set in, completely juxtaposed against the cold and smooth ice cream.  The only thing I have to figure out now is what would be the perfect thing to serve with this ice cream.

"Why is there a zipper in the back of your towel?"

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons pickled mango, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons pickling liquid from pickled mango
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, mango, and pickling juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Habanero-Ginger Ice Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 habaneros, seeded
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup, habanero, and ginger. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and the vanilla flavors the milk, about 4 minutes. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
  3. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract and the salt. Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.
  4. Strain the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pack the ice cream into a plastic container.
  5. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream and close with an airtight lid. Freeze the vanilla ice cream until firm, about 4 hours.

Maple-glazed Buttercup and Beets with Pecans and Goat Cheese

In Appetizers, Main Dish, Side Dishes on October 31, 2009 at 7:21 am

Here are two new recipes, but to be fair, I’m looking at them as more suggestions on what one might do with the raw ingredients.  Yet again, I found myself working with some last remaining ingredients that needed to be used up and two very seasonal vegetables: beets and squash, in this case the beloved buttercup.  I promise that this is only a seasonal aberration and that as the available produce shifts, you’ll see more varied dishes here.  But hell, this is autumn and what is more autumn than root vegetables and squashes (besides apples and cranberries, but you’ll see plenty of them I’m sure)?  And root vegetables and squash may be the perfect vegetables, in my opinion, because of their flavors, that simultaneous juxtaposition of earthiness and sweetness that makes them both prime candidates for savory and sweet dishes.  And the other aspect that I enjoy is the inability to quickly cook these vegetables.  They demand some attention and patience, which makes the cook pause for a moment before committing to following a certain path toward the plate.  I love the fresh summer produce of tomatoes, peas, or green beans, which at the height of their ripeness are almost best eaten out of hand.  But it is the stubbornness of the root vegetables and squashes (gourds, lest there be any confusion about summer/winter squashes) that I find most satisfying.

Squash and Beets

The two sides accompanying a Pecan-Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Breast

Here is a roasted buttercup squash with a maple bourbon glaze and finished with a sprinkle of fresh mint.  In a funny way, it’s like a satisfying and filling mint julep but instead of being delivered in a frosty silver mug, it arrives folded around the caramelized edges of the squash.  Here is my point about this post’s recipes being suggestions:

  • I cooked the squash, tossed it in the dressing, and served it.  Which tasted fine.
  • But I think it would be even better to pour the dressing over the squash during the last few minutes of roasting.
  • And if you’re really lazy, you could roast the squash halves and glaze them the last few minutes of cooking too.
  • But that would only get the sweet glaze over a portion of the squash whereas I like the cut up option that allows for crispy, caramelized edges balanced by the soft, sweet squash inside each chunk.

And the other side dish tonight could easily be expanded and used as the basis of a light meal or a much more elaborate side dish.  Here, we have roasted beets cut into smaller chunks and dressed with a maple vinaigrette.  I can hear the critics now: more maple and no bacon in sight.  But it is October, almost November, and I am an unrepentant New Englander, so I just can’t help myself.  With some diced apple or roasted carrots this could really be impressive.  Play around with it because that is when cooking really gets fun.

Maple-Glazed Squash

  • ½ buttercup squash, chopped ½ inch pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon mint, cut into chiffonade
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Coat squash in oil, season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  Spread in single layer on tray and cook for 45 minutes.  Stir several times, until squash is starting to brown.
  2. In bowl, mix syrup, bourbon, lime, salt, and pepper.  Add squash, toss to coat, and sprinkle mint over squash.  Or glaze pour over squash and roast for a few minutes more.

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pecans

  • 3 beets
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup beet greens, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped finely and toasted
  1. Rinse beets under water and pat dry.  Place each beet on a separate piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and coat, and wrap beet into a packet.  Roast for 45-50 minutes.  Let cool, peel skin off of beet, and chop.
  2. Whisk syrup, oil, vinegar, and greens together.  Stir in chopped beets and season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with goat cheese and pecans.

Tostones with Smoky Cranberry Sauce and Goat Cheese…and much more

In Appetizers, Main Dish, Sauces, Side Dishes on October 25, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Tomatillo Shrimp and Chorizo-Black Bean TacosSaturday afternoon I planned to go to my friends Monica and Ryan’s house to hangout, catch up, and more importantly, cook some delicious foods.  We had decided to coordinate a menu around the ingredients and flavors of southwestern and Latin American cuisines and so I arrived with some of my usual staples (agave nectar, dried chiles, chipotle) and some things that I couldn’t pass up at market such as cilantro, plantains, and chorizo.

Once I arrived, we discussed some possible menu options, kicked around what else we might need, and went to the store to get the last of the supplies.  We knew at least one dish was going to center around the chorizo and we were going to buy shrimp for another dish.  Beyond that, we were flying a little bit blind, which for those who don’t know me, is often how I prefer it when it comes to cooking.  The mangoes we planned to purchase were still hard as rocks – we could have shredded the flesh and made a slaw-style salad with it – but the nearby pineapples were $2.99 and perfectly ripe.  The pineapple won the day.  While hunting around, I noticed the small bin of tomatillos and decided that we needed a handful for some as yet-to-be determined use.  The rest of the purchases were straight forward things: onions, jalapenos, limes, oranges, black beans, and avocados, which thankfully the were far more ripe than the mangoes.  For cheeses we grabbed some goat cheese and queso fresco.

Shrimp Cocktail with Pineapple SalsaBack at the ranch, we stood and looked at the goods for a short time before I decided we had to make a cranberry sauce.  Cranberry sauce with a southwestern menu?  You bet.  Using brown sugar instead of the ol’ granulated stuff, adding a dose of orange zest, and then finishing it off with some chipotle puree, we had a smoky cranberry sauce that had a nice, hot finish.  I began slicing the ripe plantains into ¼ inch thick slices and then pressed them with the side of the knife to thin them even more.  Traditional tostones are made with unripe plantains and they are first fried, then pressed, then fried again.  Since the plantains I had on hand were already ripe, I decided to cut down the steps.  A nice side benefit is that instead of ending up with an almost brittle chip, we ended up with something that had a crispy exterior but a creamy interior, almost like toasted bread.  We decided to bake the goat cheese until golden brown to serve with the smoky cranberry sauce and the tostones.

In the meantime I started chopping up the tomatillos and rehydrated several dried poblano chiles.  These were pureed in the food processor with lime juice, cilantro and agave nectar to make a sauce that would be the base of our shrimp dish.  But as I looked at the shrimp, it seemed we had more than we really needed.  Perhaps two different shrimp dishes would be called for: shrimp tacos in the tomatillo sauce and shrimp cocktail.  For the latter we seasoned the water with salt and pepper, added a couple of bay leaves and a dried cascabel chile.  In hindsight, I might try to impart more flavors in the shrimp in this step.  The water is brought to a boil and turned off, adding the shrimp and letting them soak for 10 to 12 minutes.  As a garnish for the shrimp cocktail, I cut into the pineapple and then cut it into halves.  Working with one half, I cut that into two halves as well, removing the core and skin.  One quarter of the pineapple was roughly chopped and moved to the food processor and pureed.  The other quarter was diced and placed in a bowl with the pureed pineapple, half of a seeded and diced jalapeno, and chopped cilantro.

After our two appetizer courses we set to work on the tacos, figuring we would cook the remaining shrimp in the tomatillo sauce and crumble the chorizo and cook that with onions and black beans.  The chorizo that we used had a very subtle, smoky flavor which was in some ways shown up by the shrimp, something I had hardly considered to be a possibility.  We served both tacos with toasted corn tortillas, crumbled queso fresco, guacamole, chopped green onions, and the remaining tomatillo sauce.

I was pleased with all of the dishes but the tostones with baked goat cheese and the smoky cranberry sauce was the favorite of all involved.

Tostones with Smoky Cranberry Sauce and Baked Goat CheeseTostones with Smpky Cranberry Sauce and Roasted Goat Cheese

  • 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup well-packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp chipotle puree
  • Fresh orange juice, as needed
  • 2 ripe plantains, skins yellow with patches of black
  • Vegetable oil
  • 8 oz goat cheese
  1. Combine cranberries, water, sugar in small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat and simmer.
  2. Add orange zest and cook until cranberries have burst and sauce has thickened.  Stir in chipotle puree and, if desired, a teaspoon or two of fresh orange juice.  Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Cut off both ends of the plantain and remove peel.  Slice ¼ inch thick and press each slice with side of knife or bottom of glass to flatten slightly.  Set aside.
  4. Heat ½ inch of vegetable oil in skillet over medium-high heat.  Fry plantain slices in oil until golden brown on each side, about 2 or 3 minutes per side.  Drain on paper towels.
  5. Butter a ramekin or small ovenproof dish.  Spread goat cheese in dish and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Broil goat cheese until golden brown.  Serve with smoky cranberry sauce and tostones.

Spicy Shrimp CocktailShrimp and Pineapple Salsa

  • ½ lb shrimp, tails on (ours did not have tail on, but flavor will be more intense with on)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dried cascabel pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • Water
  • ½ fresh pineapple, cored and skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, stems removed
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (or ½ teaspoon chile powder)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Salt
  1. Combine bay leaves, dried pepper, salt and peppercorns in large pan and add several cups of water.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add shrimp.  Let shrimp sit for 10-12 minutes.  Drain and refrigerate.
  2. Puree one half of the pineapple with the cilantro and half the lime juice.  Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Dice remaining pineapple and add to pureed mixture.  Add jalapeno as desired.  Stir in chipotle powder and season with salt and pepper as desired.   Stir in remaining lime juice if desired.  Serve chilled shrimp with salsa.

Sautéed Shrimp in Tomatillo SauceTomatillo Shrimp and Chorizo Black Bean Tacos

  • 2 dried poblano chiles, seeds and stems removed
  • 6-7 medium tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and roughly chopped.
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.  Place poblanos in nonreactive dish and pour hot water over them.  Re-hydrate for 15 minutes.
  2. In food processor, puree tomatillos, drained chiles, lime juice, and agave nectar.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In large skillet, pour ¼ cup oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Add remaining oil to shrimp in large bowl and add crushed red pepper.  Spoon 3 or 4 tablespoons of tomatillo sauce over shrimp and toss to coat.
  4. Add shrimp to skillet in one layer, cook for a minute and flip.  Add half remaining tomatillo sauce to skillet and finish cooking shrimp.
  5. Serve with toasted tortillas, remaining sauce, guacamole, and queso fresco.

Chorizo and Black Bean Tacos

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large, white onion
  • 4 links chorizo, cases removed and crumbled
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ c chicken stock or brown ale
  1. Heat oil in large skillet.  Add onion, stir to coat, and cook until translucent.  Add chorizo and cook until nearly cooked through.
  2. Add black beans and cook, stirring frequently, another 5 minutes.  If anything begins to stick to pan, deglaze with stock or beer.
  3. Serve with toasted tortillas, guacamole, and queso fresco.