Shrimp cocktail is a favorite hors d’oeuvre of mine. I serve it every Christmas Eve and sometimes at dinner parties. I used to boil the shrimp until I read about an easier way to prepare it. I now roast my shrimp, and I’m never going back to boiling. Roasting the shrimp with a little olive oil, salt and pepper is the way to go. You can also spice them up with your favorite flavors – some red pepper flakes, Old Bay seasoning, a sprinkle of cayenne, etc.
One tip – really watch the shrimp as they cook so you don’t overcook them. Overcooked shrimp can get tough and rubbery.
These shrimp can be served either warm or cold. Both are delicious. Serving them warm is a nice change from traditional chilled shrimp cocktail.
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Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
Recipe from Ina Garten via Food Network
2 pounds of shrimp (12 – 15 count)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in a single layer. Do not have the shrimp overlap. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, just until the shrimp are pink and firm and cooked through. You do not want to see any gray on the shrimp. When cooked, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Serve warm or cold with lemon and cocktail sauce (or your favorite dipping sauce.)
Yield: 24 – 30 shrimp
One year ago: Sour Cream Corn Bread
Two years ago: Easy Cold Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken
Three years ago: Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
Four years ago: Easy Black Beans and Rice
Five years ago: Avocado Fries
Six years ago: Chocolate Pancakes
Seven years ago: Baked Shrimp Scampi
Eight years ago: Chicken Piccata
I love a good, hearty plant-based meal. This one fits the bill and it’s full of flavor. It comes together very quickly, especially if you microwave the sweet potatoes, so it’s a great candidate for a healthy weeknight meal.
This recipe makes 4 stuffed sweet potatoes, enough for 2 as an entree, or 4 as a side dish. It’s also great as a leftover. I could eat one of these every night. My husband could too, but he said he’d prefer to have the chick peas served next to the sweet potato. He prefers to eat them individually. The boys would have none of them.
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Baked Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Curry Chickpeas
Recipe from Fine Cooking
4 medium sweet potatoes (about 2-3/4 lb.), scrubbed and pricked all over with a fork
2/3 cup well-shaken coconut milk
1 Tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil, preferably Thai basil
Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.
Microwave the sweet potatoes on a microwave-safe plate until soft enough to pierce easily with a fork, about 12 minutes, depending on your microwave.(Alternatively, bake the sweet potatoes on a foillined rimmed baking sheet in a 400°F oven for about 1 hour.) Set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, whisk the coconut milk with the curry paste in a medium-size bowl until smooth. Add the turmeric and 1 tsp. salt, and whisk to combine. Add the chickpeas and scallion whites and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt.
Using a paring knife, split each sweet potato open lengthwise, taking care not to cut all the way through. Gently and carefully (they will be hot), press the short ends of each potato together to expose the soft flesh. Season to taste with salt and the lime juice, and gently toss and fluff the flesh with a fork to create a nice crater for the filling.
Use a spoon to distribute the chickpea curry mixture among the potatoes. Bake on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet until the chickpeas are warmed through, 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish the potatoes with the scallion greens and basil, and serve with the lime wedges on the side, if using.
Yield: 4 servings as a side dish or 2 as an entree
One year ago: Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
Three years ago: Chicken, Ham and Cheddar Roll-Ups
Four years ago: Orange-Scented Almond and Olive Oil Muffins
Five years ago: Coconut Blondies
Six years ago: Asian Pork Tenderloin
Seven years ago: Black Bean Brownies
Eight years ago: Sugar Spiced Nuts
One of my sons has started to enjoy baking. He has a penchant for edible chocolate chip cookie dough, and by edible, I mean the kind that doesn’t have raw eggs, so we’ve been through a lot of cookie dough recipes recently, like cookie dough dip made with mascarpone cheese (not so good) and cookie dough frosting (just ok). This recipe was one of our favorites. My son has made it several times. I wish I could find pasturized eggs in our local supermarket; I then wouldn’t mind having our boys eat the raw cookie dough that I make when baking cookies.
I asked him if he had any recipe tips, and his only tip is that you have to really pack the dough together to get it to turn into a ball that maintains some structural integrity. He also said that he prefers them cold from the refrigerator, rather than at room temperature. He has always filled his with M&Ms, although the recipe offers lots of other options.
If you’re a raw cookie dough fan like we are, this is the recipe for you.
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Stuffed Cookie Dough Bites
Recipe from Wishes and Dishes
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Mini Oreo Cookies
Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Place butter and sugars into a stand or electric mixer. Beat on medium high for 2-3 minutes, until nice and creamy. Add vanilla, beating until well combined. Add flour, salt then chocolate chips, mixing until just combined. Place 1-inch scoops of dough onto a parchment lined counter top. With tip of finger or thumb press into the center of each dough making room for filling. Fill each cookie dough piece with your favorite filling then top with enough dough to cover the filling then form into a ball shape.
Serve bites at room temperature.
Yield: ~18 cookie dough bites
One year ago: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Maple
Three years ago: Chicken and Rice Soup
Four years ago: Cajun Jambalaya
Five years ago: Red Velvet Cupcakes
Six years ago: Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes
Seven years ago: Shrimp with Spiced Masala and Coconut Milk
Eight years ago: Breakfast Cookies
We ate this last night for dinner. After all these years, do you think the boys shared it with us? Nope. Do you think the boys wanted to try it? Um, nope. Some things never change. I even made it vegetarian, so it would potentially appeal to my vegetarian son. No luck.
This dish was delicious as a vegetarian meal. I followed the recipe as it is written and simply omitted the pancetta and the anchovy. I can imagine that the recipe could be perhaps even better with these additions, but it was really great without them. It has a surprising amount of flavor, and the red pepper flakes add some nice heat. I liked this recipe because it called for canned chickpeas. Many recipes call for dried chickpeas which you have to either precook or soak overnight. I enjoy recipes that don’t involve starting the day before.
There are a million pasta e ceci recipes on the web. Some use short pasta, some long, some use lots of tomatoes, some not so many. Some recipes are vegetarian, others, like this one call for meat (but are excellent without the meat). Some are more like traditional pasta dishes, and others are soups. I am quite happy with this variation and will continue to use it.
When you chop the fresh rosemary for this dish, be sure to mince it well. It’s no fun to get a big piece of rosemary in your mouth.
Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)
Recipe from Cooks Illustrated
2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces – (I skipped this to make the dish vegetarian)
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small celery rib, cut into ½-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 onion, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
1 anchovy fillet, rinsed, patted dry, and minced (I skipped this to make the dish vegetarian)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas (do not drain)
2 cups water
Salt and pepper
8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) ditalini (short, round tubular pasta)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (~1/2 cup)
If using, process pancetta in food processor until ground to paste, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add carrot, celery, and garlic and pulse until finely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses. Add onion and pulse until onion is cut into 1/8- to 1/4-inch pieces, 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer pancetta mixture to large Dutch oven. Pulse tomatoes in now-empty food processor until coarsely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses. Set aside.
Add oil to pancetta mixture in Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fond begins to form on bottom of pot, about 5 minutes. Add anchovy (if using), pepper flakes, and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas and their liquid, water, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing Parmesan and extra oil (if desired) separately.
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
One year ago: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Two years ago: Sugared Pretzel Cookies
Three years ago: Carrot Soup with Ginger and Lemon
Four years ago: Zvi’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Five years ago: Roasted Butternut Squash
Six years ago: Parmesan Cheese Crackers
Seven years ago: Cardamom Spritz Cookies
Eight years ago: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
This is a dessert that one of my sons has made several times recently. It’s certainly not fancy, nor is it particularly gourmet, but what it is, is delicious! It’s hard to go wrong with graham crackers, vanilla pudding and chocolate. I can do without the artificial Cool Whip, but it does make the pudding layer nice and fluffy. Next time I might try to substitute homemade whipped cream.
This dessert is a cinch to make because there’s no baking involved, primarily just assembly. You need to make it several hours before you plan to eat it because the graham crackers need to soften. It’s a real crowd pleaser. It would be great to bring to a pot-luck dinner if you’re in charge of dessert. It doesn’t always look beautiful when it comes out of the pan, but it tastes great. Our family can inhale the whole pan in a couple of sittings.
We have tried several different versions of frosting with this cake. The frosting in the picture is the frosting I use for a Texas Sheet Cake. It was slightly too thick for this recipe. I recommend the frosting recipe below. I have also heard that spreading some fudge sauce on the cake in lieu of frosting is very good. I think I’ll try that next time.
No Bake Eclair Cake
Recipe from Tip Hero
1 box (16 oz) graham crackers
2 packages (3.4 oz each) instant vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups whole milk
8 ounce container of Cool Whip
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
3 Tablespoons whole milk
Whisk together the pudding and milk in a large mixing bowl until thickened, about 2 minutes. Fold in the Cool Whip.
Spray a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a single layer of graham crackers, breaking them in smaller pieces to fit the edges of the pan.
Spread half of the pudding mixture evenly over the bottom layer of graham crackers. Top with a second layer of graham crackers, followed by the second half of the pudding.Top with the third and final layer of graham crackers.
Whisk together the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, melted butter and milk to make the chocolate frosting.
Spread carefully and evenly over the third layer of graham crackers.
Refrigerate overnight so the pudding has time to set up and the graham crackers soften before serving.
Yield: ~12 servings
Two years ago: Eggplant Un-Parmesan
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Three years ago: Peanut Butter Blossoms
Four years ago: Ginger Scones
Five years ago: Cherry Banana Muffins with White Chocolate Chips
Six years ago: Classic Dinner Rolls
Seven years ago: Malted Milk Ball Cookies
I receive a bunch of daily recipe emails from cooking websites and blogs. This recipe caught my eye the other day. The sauce looked so luscious, yet so simple. I’ve said this before, but sometimes the best recipes are the most basic and uncomplicated.
The main ingredient in this sauce is Meyer lemons. If you want to try this sauce and you live in the Northeast, try it now. We’re right in the middle of Meyer lemon season. They are plentiful in stores right now, and I don’t often see them at other times of the year. For those of you that don’t know what a Meyer lemon is, it’s a round lemon that is a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange. They tend to be sweeter than traditional lemons, with a thinner skin, a rounder shape and a deeper yellow/orange color. I love them.
I loved the consistency of this sauce; it was nice and thick, and I also loved that it was so easy to make. It was done in under 5 minutes and was a great and beautiful addition to the salmon I served for dinner. The sauce has the tang of a lemon and a hint of sweetness from the simple syrup. If you try this and you find that your sauce is too thick, add a little water and keep blending until you get the consistency you like.
I have a Vitamix blender, which was perfect for this task. It ground the whole lemons like they were made of butter. In a matter of minutes, you never would have known that lemons, skin and all were the starting point for the sauce.
If you want to make this for a large group, assume a lemon per person. That way you should have plenty of sauce, with maybe even a little left over.
This sauce was delicious on salmon, and I plan to use it with other types of fish as well.
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The Simplest Lemon Sauce
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com
4 Meyer lemons
4 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons water
Salt to taste
Make a simple syrup. To do th is, put the sugar and water into a sauce pan. Stir over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook and stir for an additional 2 – 3 minutes. Make sure all of the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool.
Rinse the lemons, slice them in half and remove all of the seeds that are visible. It’s ok if a few seeds remain in the lemons if you can’t get at them easily. Add the simple syrup and lemons to a blender and blend until you have a smooth sauce. Salt to taste. If you think the sauce is too thick, you can thin it by adding a bit of water.
Yield: Sauce for 4 – 5 servings of fish
Two years ago: Chocolate Covered Digestive Biscuits
Three years ago: Candied Bacon
Four years ago: Barley and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds
Five years ago: Crab Meat Gratin
Six years ago: No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars
Seven years ago: Spritz Cookies
In college there was a small group of us who would bring vodka jello to parties. We did it for years, post-college too. My parents grew to like it, and they would serve red and green vodka jello at their annual Christmas party. I have lots and lots of vodka jello stories from giving it to strangers in airports and on the street, to having a friend’s wedding cake make out of it. Just the thought of vodka jello brings back floods of wonderful memories from college.
I have been making these Knox Blox for the boys for a while now, sans vodka, of course. They really love them. The four of them can devour a 13×9 pan in a single sitting. Recently they started to ask for layers of multiple colors in a single block. I think that’s a great project for them to try.
This recipe calls for four cups of liquid. If you’re making regular Knox Blox, use four cups of boiling water. If you want to make vodka jello cubes instead, and I highly recommend trying this and bringing them to your next party, use two cups of boiling water and two cups of vodka. Don’t boil the vodka.
One little bit of science: these Knox Blox are a colloid. A colloid occurs when you have tiny particles (not visible to the naked eye) that are evenly distributed throughout a liquid. They’re not dissolved in the liquid, but evenly distributed, and they won’t ever sink to the bottom or float to the top. A couple of additional examples of colloids are mayonnaise, shaving cream, whipped cream and hair gel. Milk is surprisingly also a colloid, but a thin one, with tiny particles of fat distributed throughout the liquid. That’s your science tidbit for the day.
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4 boxes of Jello (3 oz. boxes)
3 envelopes of Knox Unflavored Gelatin
4 cups of water
Bring the water to a boil.
In a large bowl, stir together the jello and the unflavored gelatin. Add the boiling water and continue to stir until all of the gelatin powder is completely dissolved.
Pour the jello mixture into a 9 x 13 pan. Let the mixture cool a bit on the counter and then cover it and put it into the refrigerator to firm up. It should be firm enough to cut in about 4 hours.
Cut into cubes and serve.
Yield: 1 tray
Two years ago: Sparkling Cranberries
Three years ago: Pressure Cooker Chicken Piccata
Four years ago: Pomegranate Berry Smoothie
Five years ago: Smoked Tuna Dip
Six years ago: Curried Rice and Quinoa Salad
Seven years ago: Maple-Braised Pork Chops
There’s a wonderful restaurant nestled on the edge of Madison Square Park in Manhattan where I’m told you get to take home some delicious granola at the end of your meal. The restaurant is called Eleven Madison Park. I have eaten there several times for business, but the meals were years ago, when Danny Meyer owned the restaurant, and before Chef Hamm started doling out granola at the end of your meal. How wonderful to be given something to eat for breakfast as you finish your dinner.
Speaking of being given something for breakfast, I just read an article that said one of the best hostess gifts to bring to a dinner party is something for the hosts to eat for breakfast the next morning. If they have slaved over a big, beautiful dinner, the last thing on their minds is cooking something for breakfast the next morning. I think a nice Mason jar full of this granola is make a perfect hostess gift.
I know I have a couple of granola recipes on this site, and I like them all, but this is my current favorite. I think it’s the tart cherries in combination with the toasted coconut chips that do it for me. The salt isn’t a bad addition either. One of my friends thought this granola was a little too salty for his taste, but I love it. I love the salty and sweet combination.
If you happen to live near a Trader Joe’s your in luck because they have everything you need to make this granola, right down to the dried sour cherries and coconut chips, which you might not always find at your local supermarket. Don’t be tempted to substitute the coconut chips with sweetened, flaked coconut, which you can find anywhere. The coconut chips make this granola special. If you’re not familiar with coconut chips, they’re nothing like a coconut version of chocolate chips. Coconut chips are dried coconut shavings that sometimes have a little salt and sugar added when they’re dried.
When I make this granola, it doesn’t stick around in my kitchen for long.
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Eleven Madison Park Granola
Recipe from NY Times Cooking
2 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup shelled pistachios
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dried sour cherries
Preheat oven to 300. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, pistachios, coconut, pumpkin seeds and salt.
In a small saucepan set over low heat, warm the sugar, syrup and olive oil until the sugar has just dissolved, then remove from heat. Fold liquids into the mixture of oats, making sure to coat the dry ingredients well.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and spread granola over it. Bake until dry and lightly golden, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring granola a few times along the way. Don’t let the granola get too dark, or it will taste burned.
Remove granola from oven, and mix into it the dried sour cherries. Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to a storage container.
Yield: ~6 cups
Two years ago: Lemon Scones
Three years ago: Nutella Chocolate Cookies
Four years ago: Holiday Biscotti
Five years ago: Individual Beef Wellingtons with Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Filling
Six years ago: Quinoa Pilaf with Pine Nuts
Seven years ago: The Ultimate Quiche
My parents host a huge Easter dinner every year. My mother has four brothers and in turn I have lots of cousins, who have lots of children. Easter is so much fun, complete with an Easter egg hunt for the kids, bunny sack races and other fun games, and an incredible meal. For decades my mother would cook the dinner, but once the guest list began to grow – sometimes we’re almost 50 – she began to have the meal catered. Her caterer of choice, who is now unfortunately out of business, always brought big pans of Hasselback potatoes. It was my favorite dish of the meal. The potatoes were thinly sliced and in an incredible sauce, which seemed to me to be made primarily of butter. I have tried numerous times to recreate them with no luck. My potatoes have been good, but not exactly the same. This recipe is the one that has come the closest. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s incredibly delicious and if you like potatoes and cheese, this recipe is for you. The tops of the potatoes get nice and crispy and the centers remain soft.
Be warned that this is a time consuming recipe. I recommend making the recipe when you have an extra set of hands in the kitchen. If one person can peel the potatoes while the other is cutting them, the whole process moves along much faster. Because the potatoes cook for at least an hour and a half, you’ll need to start this recipe at a minimum, 2 hours before you plan to serve it. It’s a great dinner party recipe.
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Cheesy Hasselback Potato Gratin
Recipe by Emily Weinstein from the New York Times
3 ounces finely grated Gruyère or comté cheese
2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 cups heavy cream
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 to 4 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick on a mandoline slicer (~7 to 8 medium, but you might want to have a couple of extra on hand if the ones you slice don’t completely fill your casserole dish)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine cheeses in a large bowl. Transfer 1/3 of cheese mixture to a separate bowl and set aside. Add cream, garlic and thyme to cheese mixture. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add potato slices and toss with your hands until every slice is coated with cream mixture, making sure to separate any slices that are sticking together to get the cream mixture in between them.
Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with butter. Pick up a handful of potatoes, organizing them into a neat stack, and lay them in the casserole dish with their edges aligned vertically. Continue placing potatoes in the dish, working around the perimeter and into the center until all the potatoes have been added. The potatoes should be very tightly packed. If necessary, slice an additional potato, coat with cream mixture, and add to casserole. Pour the excess cream/cheese mixture evenly over the potatoes until the mixture comes halfway up the sides of the casserole. You may not need all the excess liquid.
Cover dish tightly with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the top is pale golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and return to oven. Bake until deep golden brown and crisp on top, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven, let rest for a few minutes, and serve.
Yield: 6 servings
One year ago: Parker’s Split Pea Soup
Two years ago: Eggnog Doughnut Muffins
Three years ago: Chocolate Chocolate-Chunk Muffins
Four years ago: Baked Ziti with Tomato, Mozzarella and Sausage
Five years ago: Rosemary Parmesan Coins
Six years ago: Mashed Yellow Turnips with Crispy Shallots
Seven years ago: Big Dutch Baby