Emily’s Food and Recipe Blog

Recipes, menus, cooking, restaurant reviews – All about food!

Archive for January, 2008

Shrimp and grits

Posted by moderndaygourmet on January 31, 2008

This is from Williams-Sonoma’s site. I had shrimp and grits awhile back in Charleston and would love to make the same dish at home. I question whether my grits could be as good as those in the deep South, but we’ll see….

For the grits:
1 cup white grits
4 1/2 cups water, plus more as needed
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup shredded medium-sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp. Tabasco (optional)

For the shrimp:
1 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
6 oz. bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch dice, fried until crispy and fat reserved
1/3 lb. white button mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup sliced green onions, white and light green portions
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup chicken stock
4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce

To prepare the grits, in a saucier or Dutch oven over medium heat, combine the grits, the 4 1/2 cups water, salt and 2 Tbs. of the butter and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. If the grits become too thick, add more water. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 Tbs. butter, the cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, pepper and Tabasco.

Meanwhile, prepare the shrimp: Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Put the shrimp in a shallow bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss with the flour to coat evenly.

In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the bacon fat. Working in batches, brown the shrimp until almost cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and warm 2 Tbs. of the bacon fat. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the shrimp and accumulated juices, the bacon, green onions, tomatoes, stock, lemon juice and Tabasco. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are opaque throughout and the vegetables are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Divide the grits among 6 bowls and top with the shrimp mixture. Serve immediately. Serves 6.


Posted in Entrees - fish | Leave a Comment »

Cranberry-white chocolate biscotti

Posted by moderndaygourmet on January 25, 2008

I found this in Bon Appetit years ago. Haven’t made them in a while, but recently someone mentioned biscotti and for some reason I thought of these. I will probably make them this weekend.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
1 egg white
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker’s), chopped, or white chocolate chips

PreparationPreheat oven to 350°F. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, 2 eggs and almond extract in large bowl until well blended. Mix in flour mixture, then dried cranberries. Divide dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each piece into 2 1/2-inch-wide, 9 1/2-inch-long, 1-inch-high log. Transfer both logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly. Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; brush egg white glaze on top and sides of each log.
Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 35 minutes. Cool completely on sheet on rack. Maintain oven temperature. Transfer logs to work surface. Discard parchment. Using serrated knife, cut logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on same sheet. Bake 10 minutes; turn biscotti over. Bake until just beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Transfer biscotti to rack.

Stir chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water until smooth. Remove from over water. Using fork, drizzle chocolate over biscotti. Let stand until chocolate sets, about 30 minutes. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Freeze in airtight container. Thaw at room temperature.)

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Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Posted by moderndaygourmet on January 24, 2008

This is another one from Confessions of a Kitchen Diva. Great hearty winter comfort food!

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
1 can chopped green chiles
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon coriander (personally, I would substitute cumin)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 8 ounce carton sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
12 (6 inch) flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Saute the onion and bell pepper until soft. Remove from skillet and combine with chicken. Add green chiles and set aside.

In the same skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter; blend in flour, coriander and salt. Cook over medium-high heat 1 minute, stirring constantly. Slowly stir in chicken broth; bring to a boil and cook until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and 3/4 cup cheese.

Stir 1 cup of sauce into the chicken mixture.

Dip a tortilla into the remaining sauce. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture on the top one-third of the tortilla. Fold top of tortilla over filling; fold in sides and continue rolling tortilla to totally encase filling.

Place seam side down in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Pour any remaining sauce over tortillas. Cover pan with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining cheese and return to oven an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Posted in Entrees - poultry | Leave a Comment »

La Bella Italian restaurant (Bedford)

Posted by moderndaygourmet on January 21, 2008

Last weekend, we ate at La Bella in Bedford for our anniversary. I had been trying to decide between La Bella or Ferrari’s. I ended up deciding that we wanted to try the small local place. From what I have read, they have been in business for 20 years or so, and I read some reviews online that seemed promising.

When you drive up to this place, you wonder what you are in for, since it sits between a Big Lots and a Little Caesars in a strip center. However, once you walk inside, the atmosphere is totally different. It’s dark and cozy, and the whole place is basically a square room and it’s fairly small. There is live piano music which is a great touch and we enjoyed that very much.

When we got inside, it took 3-4 minutes for anyone to notice we were there as there seemed to be no host(ess). Finally someone came over and asked if we had a reservation; when we told him we did and told our name, he led us to a small table. We had no sooner sat down than someone else came up and also asked if we had a reservation, then told us that we were to sit at a different table. Weird, but OK. So we moved. Also slightly weird – several people eating there were wearing either rock concert T-shirts or hockey jerseys. Now, I’m not one to obsess about dress in a restaurant, but this was clearly an elegant place and that did lower the tone of it considerably as far as I was concerned. I had made special efforts to get dolled up for a nice evening out. I mean, jackets and ties I can live without but at least put on a golf shirt?

Anyway, after some more delay we were brought menus and the wine list. We started with a bottle of Chianti Ruffino and each had a salad (greens with creamy Italian dressing – the other dressing choice was a viniagrette). I was disappointed to see no insalata caprese on the menu, since I often get that when I go to nice Italian places, but not a big deal. The bread was clearly not homemade and the butter was the kind in the little plastic containers, like one might see at a coffee shop.

I ordered the chicken carciofo (chicken with artichokes and mushrooms in a white wine garlic sauce) and DH ordered the shrimp and crab La Bella (linguine in a white wine cream sauce with shrimp and crab). Both were delicious. I was really happy with both our entrees and that was doubtless the best part of the meal. Yes, I know red wine doesn’t really go with chicken and seafood, but we always drink reds. It’s just our thing.

For dessert we had cheesecake. We were tempted by the flaming desserts (they have bananas foster and cherries jubilee) but decided that for $25 we could do without. The cheesecake was perfectly fine; I’ve never had a bad cheesecake, but neither was it anything to write home about.

We were not rushed and it was nice to enjoy a leisurely dinner without anyone trying to hurry us along to turn over the table. We rarely take a long time over dinner and this was a nice way to spend an anniversary, just chatting and enjoying the music.

So, my experience was mixed. The atmosphere was nice with the dark cozy room and the piano music, but the dress of some of the other diners (of course, not the restaurant’s fault) and the spotty service in the beginning took away from the experience somewhat. The food, while perfectly fine, was not as fresh and homemade as I would expect from a higher-end restaurant. I was fairly underwhelmed on the whole.

We’ll try Ferrari’s sometime to compare and then I will write about that.

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Weekly menu

Posted by moderndaygourmet on January 10, 2008

I know it’s Thursday, but still, I felt inspired to make a menu for the next few days/next week:

Red beans and rice
Stuffed sole, twice baked potatoes, broccoli
Steak, roasted winter veggies
Butternut squash lasagna
Taco soup, cornbread
Oven fried catfish, roasted potatoes

Posted in Menus - weekly | Leave a Comment »

Grimaldi’s Pizza – Dallas

Posted by moderndaygourmet on January 7, 2008

We had dinner last night at Grimaldi’s, in the West Village area of Dallas. This is a new location of the original Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn, which I mentioned in a previous blog entry here

I think the pizza here is just as good as the original. Nice crispy crust a little charred from the coal oven, very fresh toppings (we had pepperoni, Italian sausage and mushrooms). The atmosphere was better in my opinion, not nearly as densely crowded with tables. We did not order salad as we were in a rush, but reviews on Chowhound indicate that the salads are all very good and also quite large, so presumably a small size salad could easily be shared by two people.

We’ll definitely go back, and I work downtown so I could see picking up a Grimaldi’s pizza on the way home from work as well. Currently they are only open for dinner, but maybe soon they will expand their hours to include lunch as well.

ETA: I returned a few weeks later and ordered a salad this time. It was one of the tastier Caesar salads I have eaten, and three of us shared a small and had plenty.

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