Food Bloggers Recipe Swap: Honey Walnut Shrimp

This post is my second with the Food Bloggers Recipe Swap group and the first of the new year! So, Happy New Year everyone! Can I still say that? Has the shiny new promise of 2017 already lost its luster?

Anywho… By opting in for January, I committed myself to being assigned a blog, finding and recreating a recipe from that blog, and then sharing it with all of you, my dear readers.

I love the posting leniency afforded in this challenge. As long as I get my post completed by the end of the month, life is peachy! I don’t think the assignments are a secret either, and should I choose, I could search through the assignment list and figure out who is digging through my recipe index, but I won’t spoil the surprise. 🙂

This month I was assigned the blog Simply Delish Eats written my Luca. Luca’s story has some similarities as mine in that she lives in California, is from the south, and is proud of her alma mater. She works in the fashion industry – a land I hardly ever delve into. Seriously, I don’t even brush my hair! Not that that means I don’t appreciate good fashion, I simply admire it from afar and from the dreamland of Pinterest.

Luca has some great recipes on her blog and I actually stopped looking when coming face to face (face to bowl?) with her slow cooker queso dip. I immediately added the ingredients to my grocery list and made it for Auburn’s final game of the season. (We won’t talk about the actual game though…) I thought it’d be fun to photograph the dip in the slow cooker so when I reheated the leftovers the next day I did so in the slow cooker. And then I forgot about it. And it burned. And the already unphotogenic melted cheesy goodness was far from being camera ready.

That execution fail (to be clear, the queso was tasty!) was a blessing in disguise because I got the opportunity to make this Honey Walnut Shrimp. I’ve never had the dish at a Chinese restaurant before so I can’t speak to it’s “copy cat” qualities. But I can speak to its deliciousness!

img_5606With some immense luck, Firecracker tried one bite of shrimp! He never gave a clear indication as to if he liked it or not. We gave him a pair of chopsticks to make it more fun, and it kinda sorta worked. Like I said, he tried one bite. And then had a kid’s protein bar for lunch instead. Ah well. Win some, lose some, right?

I made a full pound of shrimp, doubled the walnuts, and kept the sauce amount the same. To be fair, I would have doubled the sauce had I enough mayo/sour cream in my fridge, it’s not like I was trying to cut calories or anything. I only had about a 1/4 C of mayo left in my container so I had to add some sour cream. A perfectly acceptable substitution, I think! One could probably use plain Greek yogurt, too, in a pinch. Good news: I wouldn’t have needed a double recipe of sauce, it was enough to perfectly coat the 1 lb of shrimp.

Luca used a boxed tempura batter. I couldn’t find any at the store, so I simply made my own.

Honey Walnut Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1 C chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/3 C brown sugar + 1 tbsp brown sugar, divided use
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided use
  • 1 1/2 C seltzer
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise (or combination with sour cream)
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Steps:

  1. Place walnuts, 1 1/3 C brown sugar, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook 3 minutes. Drain and place walnuts on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  2. Pour oil into a wok or high sided skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers and a wooden spoon placed in the oil bubbles.
  3. Make tempura batter: Whisk together flour, cornstarch, 1/2 tsp salt. Stir in seltzer.
  4. Coat shrimp in the tempura batter and then place in the hot oil. Cook 2 minutes on each side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. (I did this in 3 batches.)
  5. Make the sauce: Whisk together the mayo, honey, milk, remaining brown sugar and remaining salt until smooth.
  6. Place fried shrimp in a large bowl, gently toss with the walnuts and the sauce. Serve warm over rice. (Shrimp is best served same day.)

*This recipe is modified from Luca at http://www.simplydelisheats.com/recipes/honey-walnut-tempura-shrimp and Food Network Kitchen at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tempura-batter-recipe.html*

Honey Walnut Shrimp for Food Bloggers Recipe Swap from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Seared Cod with Tangerines and Kale

The kids have been a little difficult lately.

Firecracker just turned 2.5 and I don’t know if there’s some cognitive leaping happening, physical growing, or it’s those 2 year old molars working their way in but his ability to listen and obey has taken a turn in the wrong direction. It’s been highly frustrating and our patience levels keep getting lower by the hour. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t nap and when he’s tired he becomes destructive and a bit of a Tasmanian devil. His ability to sleep through the night, a skill he’s never conquered, has reverted back to coming to our bed 2-4 times meaning none of us are getting the sleep we need!

Treat meanwhile is definitely working on teeth, he’s constantly hungry, and the cough he had at the end of the year has crept its way back into our lives. He’s following his brother around like a hawk and has developed quite the skills for climbing and “jumping.” There’s no room for a lapse in childcare with that one!

With two tired and hungry boys on my hands, my husband deserves a lot of credit on the execution of this recipe. I quickly made them a blue box of macaroni and cheese in the middle of trying to make our dinner. I pull out the freshly purchased cod from Whole Foods while my husband feeds the boys and I discover that one of the fillets was not deboned. And we don’t have proper fish cleaning tools. The adults switched places.

In a mode of determination, my husband grabbed a clean pair of pliers, washed them, and got to pulling. We’d definitely be “chopped” for execution skills as that fillet looked a bit mangled. He then proceeded to season the fish with S+P and sear it in olive oil while I get the kids cleaned up, put in pajamas, and started the bed time routine. I even stuck him on photography duty while I sat with Firecracker until he fell asleep.

He was able to eat his fish and accompanying salad warm while watching Treat and then getting him to fall asleep.

By the time I made my way back upstairs I had a cold plate waiting for me. And you know what, the fish was delicious cold! It was such a light, refreshing, and healthy meal.

The dish was inspired from a recipe in Giada de Laurentiis’ cookbook Happy Cooking. We followed her method for cooking the fish, but the salad co-star was changed. I omitted the olives, used dried oregano instead of fresh, and the main difference, used kale from the farmer’s market instead of arugula.

I prepared the salad first, allowing the kale to marinate in the dressing while the rest of the meal was prepared. It’d been a long while since I’d last had kale and it was a nice surprise to realize how much I like the dark green!

Seared Cod with Tangerines and Kale

Ingredients:

  • 2 tangerines
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp + 4 tsp olive oil, divided use
  • 4 C chopped kale, stems removed
  • 4 6-oz filets cod

Steps:R

  1. Using a paring knife, cut of the top and bottom of each tangerine. Follow the curve of the fruit to cut off the entire peel. Place a strainer over a small bowl. Segment the tangerines over the bowl then squeeze the juice out of the remaining flesh.
  2. To the tangerine juice, whisk the mustard, oregano, and 4 tsp olive oil. Reserve 1/4 C of the dressing. Toss the kale and tangerine segments in the dressing. Set aside.
  3. Season cod with S+P. Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear cod, flesh side down, for three minutes. Flip, an cook another three minutes. Serve alongside kale salad and drizzle with reserved dressing.

Seared Cod with Tangerines and Kale | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

#CranberryWeek: Tuna Salad with Cranberries

cranberry-week-logo

It’s the final day of #CranberryWeek. #CranberryWeek was hosted by Caroline’s Cooking and A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. All week we shared cranberry-inspired creations all in celebration of national cranberry day. You can search #CranberryWeek to keep up to date and follow the #CranberryWeek Pinterest board for more cranberry inspiration.

My final cranberry dish of the week is the most unique. It’s a dish that can be made and enjoyed year round, and is a perfect light lunch after some heavy holiday eating.

Never in my life would I have thought to put dried cranberries in tuna salad. But, there I was, staring at the deli offerings at Whole Foods gathering items for a picnic lunch with my mother-in-law. I tried their tuna salad and immediately ordered a small carton.

Less than two weeks later, there I was ordering some more.

I knew I couldn’t let this love affair continue and found a Copy Cat recipe to make my own for much, much less a hit to my bank account.

I made a double batch when my in-laws were visiting for Treat’s 1st Birthday. There were 6 of us and not a flake of fish was left in the bowl. I think my mother-in-law ate hers on an everything bagel, my brother-in-law’s fiance on a piece of toast with avocado (the photographed serving), and I like mine best with black pepper and salt potato chips.

This recipe is the doubled version and will serve 6-8.

Copy Cat: Whole Foods Tuna Salad with Cranberries

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 C mayonaisse
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 4 cans (5 oz) yellowfin tuna, drained
  • 1/3 C dried cranberries

Steps:

  1. In a bowl, whisk the mayo, lemon juice, and onion powder. Season to taste with S+P.
  2. Flake the tuna and add it to the mayo mixture. Stir in the cranberries.

*This recipe is modified from https://slowburn.org/2013/11/06/whole-foods-cranberry-tuna-salad-my-version/*

Tuna Salad with Cranberries for #CranberryWeek from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Be sure to check out all the other cranberry recipes being shared today:

Cranberry Apple Sauce from Cooking With Carlee

Cranberry Bliss Bars from Palatable Pastime

Cranberry Cheesecake Brownies by The Bitter Side of Sweet

Cranberry Cheesecake Dream Bars from Life Currents

Cranberry Grains Power Bowl from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Cranberry Streusel Bread from Hostess At Heart

Maple Cranberry Sauce from Cricket’s Confections

Pumpkin Dump Cake with Cranberries from A Day in the Life on the Farm

Roasted Cranberry Bourbon Crush from Take Two Tapas

Savory Cranberry and Cheese Tart from Caroline’s Cooking

SRC: Lime Crusted Salmon with Sweet Potatoes and Peas

newsrcbanner

It’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! In the Secret Recipe Club, each participating blogger is assigned a blog from another participating blogger and secretly searches their site for something to recreate. The accompanying blog post then goes live on reveal day! So while I was immersed in my assigned blog, someone else was picking through mine! I’m so excited to be part of this group, to see what on my blog peaks other’s interests and to stumble upon new blogs and new recipes.

This month I was assigned Where Is My Spoon? written by Adina. Adina has an incredibly magnificent entrance into the culinary world, at least in my opinion! When she moved to Germany with her husband she didn’t cook because she “couldn’t even boil an egg.” In all honesty though, boiling an egg isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do if you’re easily distracted… She learned to cook by reading through a cookbook in a new language! I mean, how impressive is that?!

When I received my assignment in my email I forced myself to decide on a savory dish. I felt like I was drowning in a wonderful world of sugar and needed to grab a life vest. I was beginning to regret my decision when I found Carrot Cupcakes with Blueberry Frosting and White Chocolate Apricot Cheesecake. If I hadn’t done Nectarine Caprese Salad last month for SRC I would have definitely gone with her Strawberry, Nectarine, and Quinoa Salad.

Ultimately, I decided to pick a dish that was fresh and light, Lime Crusted Salmon. Adina served it with sweet potatoes and peas. I decided to go with it! I hadn’t had peas in a long time and it reminded me of how much I enjoy the sweet veggie. Turns out I learned that my husband and 10 month old like them, too! Growing up, my favorite way to eat them were atop mashed potatoes. Turns out they complement sweet potatoes, too. A big thank you for introducing me to a new weeknight favorite!

Lime Crusted Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 lb salmon filet
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp panko
  • 1 lime, zested and sliced into wedges

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking dish.
  2. Combine butter, panko, lime zest, and S+P. Spread over fish.
  3. Place salmon in the baking dish and surround with lime wedges. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until the fish is flaked easily with a fork.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp butter

Steps:

  1. Place potatoes in a medium pot. Cover with water and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain.
  2. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes with the butter. Season to taste with S+P.

Peas with Mint

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 10 oz bag frozen peas
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • chopped mint, to taste

Steps:

  1. Cook peas according to package directions, or as desired.
  2. Toss with butter, mint, and S+P to taste.

*These recipes are modified from Adina at http://www.whereismyspoon.co/salmon-with-lime-crust/*

Easy Weeknight Salmon Dinner for #SecretRecipeClub from Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

To see the other bloggers who participated in The Secret Recipe Club this month click here:

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Shrimp

We’re feeling pretty settled here in California (minus still not having Internet installed – this post comes from my WordPress app on my phone) and we couldn’t be happier with our home’s location. We live across the street from a park that Firecracker loves and the beach! 

We didn’t go to the beach very much when we were living in FL and now that we’ve got the boys we have some serious beach preparations to make before any real trips by the water happen. I want to get a tent so that Treat can stay in the shade and have space to crawl around. 

I can walk most places I need to go and appreciate not getting in the car daily. There are a lot of restaurant options in either direction about a mile away and we’ve enjoyed walking to dinner once a week. 

On one evening outing we found ourselves in a tiny vendors market. We stopped and talked to a man selling specialty balsamic vinegars and olive oils. Stuart took the bait and we tried some flavor combinations. We ended up purchasing a 4 pack including our choices of rosemary olive oil, Meyer lemon olive oil, original balsamic vinegar, and raspberry balsamic vinegar


The Meyer lemon olive oil has gotten a lot of love already. We immediately created a vinaigrette with the Meyer lemon olive oil and raspberry balsamic vinegar to dress a spinach salad with chorizo, glazed walnuts, caramelized onions, and strawberries. 

I also whipped together a chicken cream pasta dish by sautéing sliced chicken in the oil and butter. Then sautéing some mushrooms, onion, and broccoli in the same skillet. A deglaze with chicken stock and a little bit of cream created a very satisfying pasta dinner in next to no time. 

Our desire though was to use it with shrimp and that’s the simple recipe I’m sharing with you today. 

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb shrimp
  • 1/2 lb asparagus, cut in thirds
  • 4 baby Bella mushrooms, cut in quarters 
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced 
  • 1/4 C Meyer lemon olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp butter, cubed

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a casserole dish.
  2. Arrange shrimp and vegetables in the dish, either organize them or mix them up. 
  3. Top with the olive oil and dot with the butter. 
  4. Bake 20 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through. 


#SundaySupper: Regional Specialties

I couldn’t resist this perfectly themed Sunday Supper event! We just moved to California and have a whole new culinary world open to us. I knew I had to participate in today’s event hosted by Sue of A Palatable Pastime.
While we were house hunting, and then waiting for move-in day, we were staying in temporary housing about a half an hour away (without traffic – ha!) from where we want to live. Our little room has been like living in a tiny house, except that the bed isn’t a loft space. The kitchen has all the essentials: stove/oven, microwave, coffee pot, fridge with freezer. There are even some dishes for our use: pots and pans, cutting board, knife set, plates/bowls, etc.

You can’t get in the car without seeing a donut shop or a burger joint, but those options weren’t easily feasible given my current kitchen situation. I wasn’t about to deep fry some donuts or fry up some juicy burgers in a small space where a warning that the fire alarm is very sensitive predominantly posted above the sink.

Southern California is predominantly known for Mexican food and avocados. So, I decided to make tacos for today’s event. My husband requested fish tacos, so that’s what I did. I’m glad too because it felt nice to eat fresh, homemade food after a week long road trip and countless meals eaten out. I was nervous about cooking fish in such a small space, but I was happily surprised that there wasn’t any odor from cooking fresh fish in the microwave. Seriously, who knew!? The fish was flaky, tender, and juicy, too. Dare I say my best fish yet? Although, some salt would’ve been nice. I’ve always taken salt for granted that I didn’t think to purchase any on my grocery trip. Oh well.

I didn’t have a container large enough to make the full pound of fish I purchased so I made half of it one night for dinner as a trial run. I prepared the dish again for lunch the following day to take advantage of the Southern California sunlight!

 I set up my food styling on a pizza pan and used the fresh produce to give some life to my taco display. I had to place the dish on the floor outside our room, but I think it turned out great. I’m looking forward to seeing an improvement in my photography skills while we’re in Cali for the next 2-4 years!

The knives available to me are horrendous. I can flex the blades with my hands making it near impossible to cut anything, if you look closely you can see the grooves the knife left on the avocado slices! But, I powered through and was impressed with how well I could shave the onion (because the knife couldn’t actually go through the vegetable).

Cali Inspired Fish Tacos for #SundaySupper from Sew You Think You Can Cook (2)

This recipe serves two.

Cali Inspired Fish Tacos

Ingredients:

  • juice 1 lime, plus more for serving
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp corriander
  • 1/2 lb fresh white fish
  • 4 fajita-sized tortillas (I used a corn-wheat blend)
  • cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots – no dressing)
  • thinly slice red onion
  • fresh cilantro
  • avocado, sliced

Steps:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, chili powder, and corriander. Season to taste with S+P.
  2. Place fish in a microwave safe dish. Pour marinade over the fish, flip to coat. Refrigerate for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Microwave, slightly covered, for 3 minutes. Flake into bite sized pieces.
  4. Assemble tacos: place cooked fish, slaw, onion, cilantro, and avocado in tortillas. Squeeze with fresh lime.

*This recipe is adapted from Kate at http://www.food.com/recipe/california-fish-tacos-ww-480056*

Cali Inspired Fish Tacos for #SundaySupper from Sew You Think You Can Cook (1)

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Plus:

8387592742_f6164fd5a8_oJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Blogger CLUE: Citrus Shrimp

blogger CLUE

After a month of endless desserts and party foods the Blogger CLUE crew and I are on the hunt for healthy foods to bring in the new year.

This month I was tasked with searching through Wendy’s blog, A Day in the Life on the Farm. As her blog name suggests, Wendy lives on a farm where she and her husband are fairly self sufficient. They raise chickens, turkeys, and pigs for meat, have hens for egg laying, and have fruit trees and gardens on their 12 acres of land. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Isn’t retirement supposed to be relaxing?!

I am very familiar with Wendy’s blog as I have worked with her in many events and blogging clubs. Surprisingly though I’ve not actually cooked anything from her recipe box. (She’s ambitiously tackled my Busia’s recipe for pierogi for a Secret Recipe Club post.)

I really wanted to return the favor of celebrating Polish cuisine and make her recipe for beet soup. I was pretty excited about it, too, and I don’t tend to get excited about soup. I went to the grocery store on a Sunday (something I tend to avoid). Kroger was packed! Post-holiday fridge-restocking was on everyone’s mind that afternoon many items were out of stock (I snagged the last carton of organic whole milk!). The missing ingredient that threw me into a tizzy was beets! How was I to make beet soup without beets!? Granted, there were some golden beets that looked pretty sad. I pushed my cart to a corner of the produce section, trying to be as out of the way as possible, and frantically searched through some of the other recipes I’d book marked from Wendy’s blog: between grilled mahi mahi, cranberry chicken, and spicy citrus shrimp, I decided on the shrimp.

This shopping curveball was a huge blessing in disguise. This shrimp dish is incredible! I served it over rice as dinner. It’s a perfect weeknight meal that I will be returning to. I had to swap the mango for pineapple due to allergies and the pineapple was my favorite part. I liked that the fruit wasn’t cooked with the shrimp, it was simply warmed through from the sauce, a perfect compliment to the flavors.

Citrus Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 12-14 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp chile paste (I used Gourmet Garden)
  • 1/2 C diced pineapple
  • 1 scallion, sliced

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Pat shrimp dry and toss in the flour. Place in a glass baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, salt, and chili paste. Pour over the shrimp.
  4. Bake shrimp for 7 minutes. Flip the shrimp and bake another 7 minutes.
  5. Add the pineapple and scallions to the shrimp and toss to combine, thickening the sauce.
  6. Serve over rice.

*This recipe is modified from Wendy at http://adayinthelifeonthefarm.blogspot.com/2015/02/triplesbitesspicy-saucy-sexy-bites-for.html*

citrus shrimp for blogger clue from sew you think you can cook

Here’s a list of the other players of Blogger CLUE this month: