Monthly Archives: April 2010

Jalapeno-garlic shrimp with mango salsa

I eat shrimp fairly often, yet I haven’t posted about this seafood in a while. Shrimp are the answer to my favorite spring/summer culinary question: What can I make that is fresh and quick? I recently applied this answer to a Martha Stewart recipe that includes a light marinade for shrimp perfect with rice, tacos or over a simple salad.

I paired this mildly spicy shrimp with soy-sesame seared green onions, rice and mango salsa (easy enough to make, but I let Whole Foods do the work for me). I love the combination of shrimp and tropical fruit.

Jalapeno-garlic shrimp

Serves 4


  • 1 lb. shrimp, 15 count, peeled and deveined
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely shopped
  • 1 T fresh lime juice (1 lime)
  • 3 T EVOO
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • Chopped cilantro

Toss together shrimp, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, 1 T EVOO. Season with salt and pepper. Marinade in fridge for 45 min., or while you are getting the rice started.

(Meanwhile, for the seared onions, heat nonstick skillet over medium-high, add 1 tsp EVOO, then 3-4 green onions, searing until caramelized. Off the heat, add 1 tsp. soy sauce and 1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil…done!)

Heat 2 T oil in large skillet over medium-high (I just wiped out the green-onion pan). Pour shrimp mixture into skillet and cook through, about 4 min. total. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

To serve, spoon rice on plate, then add shrimp, salsa and finish with green onion ribbons. Leftovers are great the next night!

Enjoy, friends! xoxo


Classic strawberry shortcake

One of life’s greatest treasures is the combination of strawberries and cream. There is just something about that slightly fuzzy, beaded berry that goes perfectly with a dollop of whipped cream sweetened with vanilla. The shortcakes are just the method for holding this beauty together.

Every spring, I get a craving for strawberry recipes. This weekend, it was for a classic dish that I’ve actually never made before. The cakes are done simply with flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cream, egg and butter. They bake up nice and firm, much unlike the spongy things you buy at the store. Paired with macerated strawberries and cream, you have a delicious dessert for a warm spring day like we had this weekend.

Strawberry shortcake, adapted from Best Recipes


  • 1 package strawberries, cleaned and sliced
  • 6 T sugar
  • 2 c. flour
  • 5 T sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick cold, unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. plus 1 T half-and-half
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix the strawberries and sugar, set aside to macerate.

Preheat oven to 425.

In food processor, mix flour, 3 T sugar, baking powder and salt. Add butter and pulse until resembles coarse meal, 15 pulses. Transfer to medium bowl.

Mix beaten egg with half-and-half, pour into flour mixture. Combine with rubber spatula until large clumps form. Turn onto floured work surface and knead until it comes together. Pat dough into 3/4-inch thick rectangle. Using biscuit cutter or top of glass, cut six rounds. Place on baking sheet, brush with egg white and sprinkle with remaining 2 T sugar.

Bake until golden brown, 15-20 min. Cool on wire rack.

Meanwhile, whip heavy cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.

To assemble, slice biscuits in half, spoon on strawberries and cream, topping with other half.

These get better as they sit because the juices make the biscuits softer. Enjoy, friends! xoox

Cheese and chorizo scramble

The best way to eat breakfast is with the least amount of effort. I typically hate chopping, slicing and baking in the mornings. What I hate even more is having to go to the grocery store in the morning. Which is why, if you simply have eggs, you can turn any weekly leftovers into something satisfying.

That is where this weekend breakfast dish came from…

Cheesy Chorizo Scramble

Serves 2


  • 4 eggs
  • 4 T milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 oz. Spanish chorizo, chopped
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped into cubes
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 T chopped Italian parsley

In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp EVOO over medium and add the shallots. Stir until starting to become soft, 4-5 min., then add chorizo. Cook the chorizo until the fat starts to render, another 3-4 min., then stir in tomatoes and cook 1 more min.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Pour eggs over chorizo mixture and reduce heat to low, stirring constantly. When eggs are almost set, add mozzarella and stir gently until starting to melt. Sprinkle in chopped parsley and serve!

The chorizo makes this dish a bit spicy and full of exotic flavor. The mozzarella is a nice chewy addition that doesn’t overpower the dish. Perfect for brunch or lunch because the eggs are really an afterthought to all the add-ins. Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Chicken Vesuvio

Chicken Vesuvio is a whole lot like one of my favorite chicken dishes in the world: chicken piccata. A light dusting of flour, salt and pepper sends the chicken cutlets into a hot pan where they brown slightly on each side. Then, you make a lemony sauce rich with wine, smooth with butter and punctuated with caper berries.

For this dish, however, you add potatoes to the mix, along with fresh rosemary and oregano. After browning the potatoes, you nestle your par-cooked chicken back in and let the flavors steam together with wine and chicken broth. The potatoes and chicken come out tender and wonderful.

I found this recipe in my inbox. As you all should, I subscribe to Lynn Rossetto Kasper’s “The Splendid Table” weekly newsletter, which always gives me tasty cooking ideas and helpful tips to being a whiz in the kitchen. And as my new roommate said, “Heck, even I could make this!”

I changed the recipe a bit, adding the capers instead of peas, because I simply adore a good caper berry.

Chicken Vesuvio

Serves 2


  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded between plastic wrap to 1/2 inch thick (mine held 3)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 large red potatoes or one small bag of baby reds cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc)
  • 2 T caper berries, drained
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Juice from half a lemon

1. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Working with 1 breast at a time, dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Carefully lay the chicken in the skillet and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping the breasts halfway through. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

3. Wipe out the skillet with a wad of paper towels. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, rosemary, and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and wine, scraping up any browned bits. Nestle the chicken, along with any accumulated juices, into the potatoes and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the chicken is just done, 7-12 min., flipping halfway through.

4. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil to keep warm. Increase the heat to medium and continue to cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is thickened slightly, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to the platter with the chicken. Off the heat, stir in the capers, butter, and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken and potatoes.

Serve with extra wine “on the side.” Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Apple Muffins

My friends and I love to hate Martha Stewart and her team of annoyingly crafty people. Every month as I wait for my subscription, I think, “What new thing will she print that I MUST make? Homemade Peeps?”

A friend sent me this recipe a while ago and I baked it despite the fact that I try to save apple-cinnamon treats for fall and winter. But why deny bliss?

Chunks of tart apples dot the soft, moist muffins and cinnamon keeps it interesting. Next time, I might try to jazz these up with some nutmeg or chopped candied ginger. They don’t need much, but apples are fun to cook with interesting spices. I omitted the walnuts, but add if you like them.

Martha’s Chunky Apple Muffins


  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cooking spray; set aside. Cut 3 apple quarters into 1/4-inch dice; cut remaining apple quarter into 12 thin slices for garnish.
  2. Whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add diced apple and walnuts, if using; toss to coat.Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and butter in a small bowl. Gently fold buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full.Top each with an apple slice. Bake until muffins are brown around edges and spring back when touched, 16 to 18 minutes. Let muffins cool slightly, about 5 minutes, before turning out of tin onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.

Enjoy these for breakfast or a snack – they go perfectly with a cup of coffee or a spicy tea. xoxo

Blackberry Pound Cake

If I could have a food blogger-turned-writer crush, it would be on Molly Wizenberg, author of “A Homemade Life” and Orangette.

Another blogger friend lent me this book, hoping it would inspire a literary project that I am working on. It’s a fabulous read. Wizenberg has the rare talent of combining tasty food imagery with her own stories, and the result is the perfect balance of memoir and cookbook.

This recipe is one of the first in the book. I’ve wanted to make pound cake ever since my mom sent me a sour-cream pound cake in a care package when I was in college. The cakes are thick and eggy, perfect with a tart berry and citrus essence. Wizenberg’s original recipe calls for blueberries and raspberries, but I opted for blackberries, which actually turned out looking more like raspberries. Eh.

Watch your cooking time – mine was still a bit soft in the center, but the edges were perfect and I just ate around it. I brought a bunch to my friend‘s birthday shindig in D.C. and it was a huge hit with the party crew who crashed on various couches and woke up hungry.

Blackberry Pound Cake


  • 2 c. blackberries, washed and dried
  • 1 T lemon zest
  • 1 T orange zest
  • 2 c. plus 8 T cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 c. sugar
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced, at room temp

Preheat oven to 300 and place rack in middle.

Butter a standard-sized Bundt pan, or bread pan, then dust it with flour, shaking out excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk 2 c. plus 6 T cake flour, baking powder, zests and salt.

In mixing bowl for electric mixer, blend eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow, 1 min. Add butter and mix another 1 min, scraping down sides. Add dry ingredients and process until thick and smooth.

In a large bowl, toss berries with remaining 2 T flour. Fold berries into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly across the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 80-90 min.

Transfer cake to a rack, cool in pan 5 min. Invert cake onto rack and cool at least 20 min. before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Enjoy these decadent slabs of yumminess, friends! xoxo

Chicken and chorizo paella

Making this dish, I had one of those “if only I had known …” moments. Spanish chorizo. It is expensive and difficult to find around here, even though Mexican chorizo is everywhere. But it is sooo delicious, whether you are slicing it for a cheese plate (perhaps with some manchego and marcona almonds?) or chopping it for the quintessential Spanish dish: paella.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Spain, where one of my goals was to have paella. It was yummy, full of fresh seafood and cooked so that the rice was crunchy on the bottom and soft on the top.

Paella Marisco

Paella de pollo

Bon Appetit had a recent article about paella that made me hungry for it. I just love the idea of cooking with saffron, and I happened to have some from when I made chicken scallopine. It turned out really well. Instead of buying bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, I goofed and bought boneless skinless thighs. No matter – I just watched them to make sure they didn’t overcook. I also didn’t add peas, because I don’t like peas. However, if you want a bit of green in the dish, feel free to add peas or a sprinkling of chopped parsley. I also omitted the roasted red peppers, which you can chop and mix into the rice, if desired.

Of course, I don’t have a real paella pan, but I do have a large nonstick skillet that is oven-safe. However, it doesn’t have a lid, so I just covered it with tin foil and placed my biggest lid on top … it worked just fine, I only added a little extra chicken stock to account for the increased evaporation.

Chicken and Chorizo Paella


  • 1/2 c. dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 6 large chicken thighs (2.5 lbs)
  • 8 oz. smoked Spanish chorizo, sliced
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1 large chopped yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 c. long-grain rice
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes in juice

Preheat oven to 400. Mix wine with saffron and set aside.

Combine salt, paprika, black pepper in a small bowl and rub all over chicken.

Heat large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Add chorizo and saute until fat renders and sausage browns, about 3 min. Transfer to a large plate and add EVOO to skillet. Add chicken thighs and cook until browned on all sides, 4 min. per side. Transfer chicken to plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add onion, cooking until translucent, 5 min. Add minced garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add rice and stir to coat. Add wine-saffron mixture and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Add broth and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then stir in chorizo. Place chicken atop mixture in skillet. Cover tightly with foil, then lid, and bake until rice is almost tender, 25 min.

Transfer chicken to plate, stir rice, season to taste with salt and pepper. If chicken is done, leave it out. If not, return it to the skillet and cook until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 10 min. longer.

The chicken thighs are so much more tender than chicken breasts, and the chorizo is a nice, spicy addition. I think there should always be more chorizo!

Spoon big servings on your plate and dig in! Enjoy, friends. xoxo