Category Archives: Make ahead

Good Looking: Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Curried Quinoa

When you write a food blog, it is very important to be strategic about your posts. You want to be consistent for your readers…but not post too often, lest they get sick of you. There are certain times of day that you want to publish, thereby generating higher traffic, and you always want to make sure you cover a variety of recipes and topics so you can rest assured you’ve got the proverbial “something for everyone”.

Heirloom Tomatoes

The latest bounty from our CSA.

Tonight, I’m going to break all those rules. Why? Because on Day 11 of “No Buying Groceries-gate 2012” I had a deliciously, fun dinner, and thanks to my new camera, a finally legitimate picture (or three) to back it up!

Salted Tomato

Who needs diamonds when a girl can have this?

Before I share the recipe for these perfect bites of summer, can I just say how stinking fun it was to read all your comments?? I must admit I was a little nervous letting you all in to the neurosis that is my psyche, but to hear that there are other folks out there that have similar feelings about foods, and budgets, and some weird Boxcar Children like enjoyment from using up the dredges of their refrigerator, honestly makes me feel better.  We are a funny bunch, we foodies and writers, but at least we’re in good company. And with that, I proudly present to you…

Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Curried Quinoa

These are a spectacular vegan side or main, yet are hearty and flavorful enough to satisfy the most voracious of carnivores. They can be easily made ahead, and are a lovely addition to a dinner of grilled fish and salad.

Serves 2 + leftover quinoa

Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Curried Quinoa. [Insert Happy Sigh Here]

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + drizzle
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (less if you don’t want it to have any kick)
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • Kosher Salt
  1. Heat 2 TB oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add quinoa and cook and stir until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Then, pour broth into the pan, return to heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add curry,  and stir well to combine; cover and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375.
  4. Cut the tops off of four medium tomatoes. Using a grapefruit spoon, scoop out all the flesh and seeds.
  5. Sprinkle salt in cavity of tomato, and put upside down on paper towel to absorb moisture.
  6. Once the quinoa is done, stuff tomatoes with quinoa, drizzle with olive oil, and put in a bread pan.
  7. Bake until tomatoes are softened and top of quinoa is slightly toasted, about 15 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately.

33 Comments

Filed under Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

True Confessions: Kale Salad with Caesar Dressing and New Potatoes

The conversation went something like this. In fact, it went exactly like this.

“BTW, apropos of nothing, deep down I find it hard to believe anyone actually likes kale. Kale sucks. At best it is edible. At worst it taste like kale. F*ck kale.”

So went the text message tirade from a friend of mine, furious at having received yet another bundle of kale in his CSA box. Up until last week I would have felt exactly the same way. Actually, I did feel the same way. Every time my CSA box would arrive there the kale would sit…staring at me in its infinite leafiness, daring me to try to think of something to do with it before, upon being neglected, it would wilt pitifully away until in a fit of rage and guilt I would toss it in the compost and vow…next time…next time…I’m going to use up everything in my CSA box…everything!

Look who came to visit this weekend! Deacon Dog, formerly known as Scuba Steve…an 11th hour rescue by Georgia Peaches who saved him from being put to sleep.

Not anymore though…for thanks to reading two of my favorite blogs, Katherine Martinelli and Natalie’s Daily Crave I came up with the ultimate hybrid…a delicious potato salad tossed with a Caesar inspired dressing, and bulked out with beautiful, dark leafy kale. Even the most avid of kale haters will like this salad, finding themselves deeply conflicted as they cherry pick out the kale, not to avoid it, but to get more than their fair share.

Admittedly, the kale is somewhat buoyed by serving as a Caesar dressing delivery system, but does provide an undeniably lovely contrast to the new potatoes, and thanks to its robust stature holds up beautifully until the next day, making it a perfect make-ahead salad for a dog days of summer picnic, or BBQ side.

What’s your least favorite vegetable you get in your CSA box?

Kale Salad with Caesar Dressing and New Potatoes
Inspired by Katherine Martinelli and Natalie’s Daily Crave

Kale Salad with Caesar Dressing and New Potatoes

I guarantee, even the most vehement kale haters will enjoy this.

8 cups new potatoes, washed, bad spots removed, and halved
2 egg yolks
1-2 anchovies
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced fine
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup Parmesan grated + more for topping
Salt and Pepper
1 large bunch dinosaur kale, washed, and coarsely chopped

  1. In a large pot, cover the potatoes completely with water and add lid. Bring the potatoes to a boil, then reduce heat to a medium-low and cook until fork tender, about 5-7 minutes, pending on size. Do not overcook. As soon as they are done strain and rinse with cool water to prevent cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender combine the egg yolks, anchovies, lemon, garlic, and Dijon. Pulse until well-combined. Adding in a slow stream with blender running combine the oils until dressing is emulsified. Add in the Parmesan and pulse just until combined.
  3. Toss potatoes with the dressing, add in the kale, and season with salt and pepper. Delicious warm, chilled, or even the next day.

36 Comments

Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Cheap Eats, Entertaining, Make ahead, Salads, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Camping Cucina: Grilled Shrimp with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic

{Reminder: 24 hours and counting to enter the giveaway for some of the best olive oil you’ve ever had. Simply share this post via your favorite social media channel, drop the link into the comments section, and cross your fingers. Best of luck!}

What I’m about to say might shock you. Are you ready? Are you sure? Perhaps you might like to sit down. Here goes:

I am not much of a wilderness woman.

Shocking, right? And yet the truth remains,  I like nothing better than eight (okay 10) hours of sleep per night, my hot running shower, and my gourmet cuisine. I sometimes wish I was one of those women who genuinely loved to climb a mountain. Who was thrilled to ride the bull down white water rapids. Who thought bug spray was simply for the weak and the meager. But alas…I am not.

Not a soul in sight…but many a shooting star to keep us company.

And so rather than spend time beating myself up about it (so last year), I’ve decided to embrace my version of camping. Thinking PBR meets Prosecco. Bratwursts meets Bellinis. Hot Dogs meet Holy Hell Delicious.

A few weekends ago we went camping with our friends CJ and Nadia, their three dogs, and our crew. And it was fun. So much fun. And I’m not even pretending lying. We hung from hammocks over the river, we lounged and we lazed, and we ate. Oh did we eat.

Georgia Mae…one of the funniest dogs I know. She was perfectly content to be floating around in the river..on her raft!

The trick is to be smart about delicious, simple foods that require minimal on site preparation. Couple that with some prep work ahead of time and you can eat like a king in the middle of no where.

To give you some ideas, here’s the menu I put together…

Friday Dinner: Grilled Shrimp Packets with Rosemary and Garlic, served with Grilled Baguettes and Rhubarb Cocktails.

Saturday Morning: Bagels with Lox, Cream Cheese, Heirloom Tomatoes, Red Onions, Capers, and Lemon Wedges

Saturday Lunch: Mozzarella, Basil, Tomato Paninis

Saturday Dinner: Chicken Fajitas with Pinto Beans, Fresh Sliced Avocado, Pico de Gallo, and Peach Gin Fizz Cocktails.

Sunday Morning; Breakfast sausage, bacon, fireside biscuits, and hard-boiled eggs.

The shrimp was honestly one of the easiest items on the menu, and one of the most popular.

What’s your favorite food to make when camping?

Grilled Shrimp Packets with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic

Grilled Shrimp Packets with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic…magnifique!

1/2 lb jumbo, raw shrimp, de-shelled and tail on (Costco sells them very reasonably)

1 lemon, sliced in advance

1 large stalk of rosemary, chopped into 3″ sections in advance

4 cloves garlic, smashed on site

Olive Oil

In tin foil lay the shrimp, lemon, rosemary, and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and tightly seal up. If cooking on a cook stove or hibachi, grill directly, until shrimp is just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Thanks to the foil these can also be cooked directly in the fire.

Serve with Rhubarb Cocktails, grilled baguettes, and one giant open sky.

17 Comments

Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Seafood, Uncategorized

Mystery Girl’s Weekend: Baked French Toast with Blueberries

I don’t know where I’ll be come Thursday night. Not in an esoteric, “What Am I Doing With My Life” kind of way, but as in I literally don’t know what state I’ll be spending the weekend in, thanks to our upcoming Mystery Girl’s weekend.

Picture this: Six months before you send in your money (which conveniently goes up $50 per year, allowing us to evolve from shared twin beds and PB&Js to something a bit more indulgent). Over the course of the next 6 months you get clues. A week prior you get a packing list with anticipated weather, and then less than 24 hours before your departure time you find out where you’re going. All plane tickets have been bought, all travel coordinated, menus planned, and extracurricular activities lined up. You need do nothing but show up (except of course when it’s your year to plan, but that becomes its own kind of fun).

We call it The Great Escape, and it is a highlight each year, a girl’s weekend spent with my childhood loves, women who know me better than I know myself, and who aren’t afraid to say so.

I leave on Thursday, and here are the clues I’ve received thus far:

  1. Not everyone is flying to our destination
  2. We could see a crocodile
  3. We’ll be staying over 70 feet off the ground
  4. There’s a river view and a mountain view from where we’re staying
  5. We’re going to have to share beds (yay!).

Guesses on where we might be going? States people live in are Washington, New York, and California.

Ms. Lou getting ready for the Toga party via tearing down the leaves in our backyard.

I am so excited I can hardy stand it, giggling over phone calls with Madeline and Meghan, trying to decide what Rachel could possibly have cooked up for us (so far we’ve come up with crocodile wrestling, bee keeping, and staying in a tree house with a moat around it, obviously). In the meantime though, I’m enjoying girl’s slumber parties in Seattle, Toga parties in the ‘hood, and a chance to do some beautiful cooking with whatever is freshest this time of year.

Summer Bounty from Pike Place Market.

This breakfast was the Rise and Shine element of our latest slumber party, hosted  by the lovely Liesel, and complete with Breakfast Bubbles. While I’m not normally much of a sweet breakfast person, the combination of the bread pudding with the blueberries was out of this world, and perfect when paired with some delicious scrambled eggs. Make this on a Summer Saturday morning when you want something indulgent, but not overly laborious, and good to feed a crowd.

Baked French Toast with Blueberries
Adapted from Giada on the Food Network
Serves 6-8

Beautiful Blueberry French Toast

  • Butter, for greasing
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 (1-inch thick) slices (8 ounces) day-old challah or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  1. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest. Add the bread cubes and mix until coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the egg mixture in an even layer. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is set.
  4. Spoon onto serving plates and drizzle with maple syrup.

11 Comments

Filed under Breakfasts, Entertaining, Make ahead, Seasonal Cooking, Uncategorized

Young and Foolish: Grilled Vegetable Paninis with Broccoli, White Bean, and Cheddar Soup

I remember the first time I discovered Three Buck Chuck,Trader Joes’ infamous cheap wine. I was in college in NY and was throwing a party. Of course, being a student I hardly had two pennies to rub together, but my foodie tendencies were already starting to come out and I was determined that there should be more wine than anyone knew what to do with at this grand fête.

“You know about Three Buck, right?” a friend from the riding team whispered conspiratorially to me as we were tacking up our horses, her voice hushed and looking over her shoulder to make sure no one heard us.

“No? Is that a new horse?”, I asked, dread creeping into my voice that I would soon be getting hucked into the rafters by our latest “project” horse.

Back in the day when I thought Three Buck might be a very naughty horse I’d be stuck with.

She burst out laughing, and quickly recovering herself told me it was this “delicious” wine that was also only $3 per bottle. I was so excited to try it out I could hardly stand it. And so, after riding took myself (and yes, my riding breeches clad bottom) right back to the dorm to call my 21+ brother and ask him to bring a case of it when he next came to visit.

The wine (and the party) were, of course, sub par but we thought it was fabulous. Unfortunately for my budget, over the years I would be exposed to nicer and nicer wine, rendering my previously tried and trusted Three Buck, to be barely worthy of sangria, and certainly not good enough to ruin good short ribs with.

If you’ve never done an olive oil tasting, I highly, highly recommend it. You will not believe the differences among different brands, presses, and fruits.

Up until recently I’m embarrassed to admit that I thought about olive oil very much how my underage self had thought about wine. Something to get you from Point A to Point B, but not anything particularly special. This notion was firmly blown out of the water at a recent olive oil tasting event, with some of Seattle’s top bloggers, hosted by California Olive Ranch and Talk of Tomatoes at Farestart in Seattle. Over the three-hour evening I enjoyed Swirling, Sniffing, and Slurping oil from different top producers and learning how to dismantle all the different flavors, varietals, and brands.

The difference is staggering, a quality olive oil full of complex flavors and depth, and a bad one tasting like little more than watery oil. If you’ve never done an olive oil tasting, I highly encourage you to try. Get a collection of different oils, both domestic and international, pour small tastes in different wine glasses and then see what you think. Allowing the oil to first warm up via cupping the glass in your hand is recommended, following by Swirling it to release the flavors, Sniffing it to see what you pick up, and then Slurping it, allowing air to come in through your teeth and generally looking and feeling ridiculous as you make embarrassing sounds with strangers.

This simple, vegetarian dinner is all about delicious, farm fresh veggies brought to life with Arbequina olive oil. Frankly either the soup or sandwich would be plenty since they are both quite hearty, but together they make an especially lovely combination. Make it on a Meat Free Monday when you’re looking for something a little unexpected.

Grilled Vegetable Paninis with Broccoli, White Bean, and Cheddar Soup
Serves 2 + Leftover Soup

A lovely summer dish, celebrating what’s fresh and using quality olive oil to bring it all to life.

Broccoli, White Bean, and Cheddar Soup
Adapted from Eating Well

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 pound broccoli crowns, trimmed and chopped (about 6 cups)
1 14-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt + more for topping
Drizzle Arbequina Olive oil, I used California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin

  1. Bring broth and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add broccoli, cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in beans, salt and pepper and cook until the beans are heated through, about 1 minute.
  2. Using an immersion blender, blend until completely smooth. Add in the cheddar and greek yogurt and pulse until smooth.
  3. When ready to serve add a small spoonful yogurt and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.

Grilled Vegetable Paninis
Use whatever veggies are in your fridge, the below is merely meant for inspiration

1 zucchini, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1 squash, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1 onion, thinly sliced
Coarse Salt and Pepper
Artichoke Hearts, marinated in olive oil
1/4 cup basil, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup arugula
2 thick slices, smoked mozzarella
2 pieces foccacia bread, cut in half
Drizzle Arbequina Olive oil, I used California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin

  1. Preheat grill to high, reduce heat to medium.
  2. Brush both sides of the veggie with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  3. Add to grill and cook until marks showing and vegetables are tender. Remove
  4. Assemble the focaccia first with the cheese, then the thinly sliced vegetables, and artichoke hearts.
  5. Grill until cheese is melted and sandwich is warmed through.
  6. Add the arugula and basil, and enjoy!

24 Comments

Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Health Conscious, Make ahead, Seasonal Cooking, Soups, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Let’s Go Steady: Grilled Summer Vegetable Strata

You might have noticed some minor changes around here lately. Nothing too big of course, but hopefully some small upgrades that will make Shut Up & Cook tick up one more notch on your “Favorite Food Blogs” list. (Incidentally, thank you to all who participated in the giveaway for free tickets to the Best of Seattle Party. All of your blog suggestions and recipe wish lists were such fun to receive).

The biggest change is the addition of a Recipe Index. That’s right folks, a one-stop-shop, all-you-can-eat, everything goes list of each and every recipe I’ve done over the last few years.

Looking through it I feel a mixture of many emotions: Pride (Hot damn, I’ve done some cooking!), embarrassment (Where do I get some of my blog post title ideas?), sadness (Still miss dogs Lucky and Onca every day), and peace (The past years haven’t all been easy, but I truly believe I’m better for them).

If you make nothing else from this blog…make these cookies. I guarantee they will be the best you’ve ever had.

For those of you that are new readers, I invite you to take a scroll through the list. Hopefully you’ll find new recipes to fall in love with, or discover old favorites. I felt like I was meeting a dear friend looking through the list, remembering moments and events, and who I was in each. With that, a few of what I think are the best (thank GOODNESS my photos have gotten better…eeesh!):

What I was surprised to find wasn’t on there however, was Strata. This was most odd because I make it at least once a month, and it’s a go-to for a delicious make-ahead brunch food that always feeds and satisfies a crowd. For those of you not familiar with the magic that is a strata, it is essentially a savory bread pudding meets egg custard. Stale bread is diced over which an egg/milk/cream mixture is poured. Any other assortment of ingredients are then added, it sits over night, and you bake it in the morning, resulting in a delicious smelling, beautiful looking, amazing tasting, puffed delight.

Grilled Summer Vegetable Strata
Serves 8 – 10

A perfect way to begin a Sunday morning.

The beauty of a strata is that you can throw whatever in…here I did grilled summer vegetables as a means to tackle my CSA, but you can do an endless combination of ingredients; think artichoke hearts and goat cheese, mushrooms and chorizo, peppers and sausage…the list could go on, and on, and is limited only by your creativity, and your leftovers.

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, cream, half and half, whatever
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups stale bread, cubed
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 summer squash, thinly sliced
  • Glug olive oil
  • 1 bunch kale, washed, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups semihard cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup semisoft cheese, shredded
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Fold in the bread and semihard cheese and set aside.
  2. Preheat a gas grill on high. Take the zucchini and squash slices and toss with olive oil. Over medium heat, using a grill pan if you have one, cook until softened and grill marks beginning to show and flavor slightly smoky. Remove from grill and coarsely chop.
  3. Grease a 9×13 inch glass baking dish.
  4. Pour in half the egg mixture. Top with half the zucchini and squash, half the kale, and half the semisoft cheese. Repeat with remaining egg mixture, vegetables, and cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and allow to soak in fridge overnight.
  6. Remove from fridge one hour before cooking and preheat oven to 325.
  7. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes without foil, rotating halfway through, and returning foil if top getting too brown. Bake until the top of the dish is very brown and the middle is springy. Let the strata cool for 10 minutes before serving.

13 Comments

Filed under Breakfasts, Cheap Eats, Comfort Foods, Entertaining, Make ahead, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Woo Woo Wonderful: Creamy Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Oddly Delicious: Creamy Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m not much of a “Woo-Woo” person. I don’t listen to Phish, I haven’t owned tye-die since 1991, I don’t believe in Dream Catchers or Fortune Tellers, and I generally find activities where you’re supposed to close your eyes and hold hands with your neighbor somewhat amusing, and very uncomfortable.

This translates itself in perfect form into the kitchen as I suspiciously flip through recipes exclaiming “Delicious Sprout Smoothies” or “Dairy Free Grilled Cheese”. If I can’t see something, and taste it, and touch it, and most importantly, make sense of it, I tend to be a bit of a skeptic. Okay…a really big, annoying skeptic.

So when my CSA box arrived boasting a Cauliflower Mac & Cheese I was immediately wary, quick to dub it as some vegetarian, hippy dish that would never be as good as the real thing. However, as I peered into my refrigerator and realized that I still had anxiety-producing amounts of vegetables left and no plan with how to tackle them I decided to hand myself over to the softer side, and give this a try.

It admittedly is not the same dish as a traditional Mac & Cheese made with a béchamel, lots of cheese, and heavy cream, but it is a lovely lighter version of the old standard, with a nice contrast between the creamy cauliflower puree, dark, leafy kale, and crispy panko bread crumbs. It also is delicious, I think maybe even better, microwaved the next day…go figure!

Enjoy this when you’re willing to put your cynic subconscious on the shelf for an evening, and see what emerges.

The treats, in order of when comments were made.

The judges preparing for their case.

GIVEAWAY WINNER: Thanks to all who entered to win tickets to the Best of Seattle Party! The honorable judges, Duke and Lou chose the winner out of a row of 11 treats. The first snarfed up was #8, Morgen Schuler of Morgen Schuler Photography. Congrats to Morgan…and lucky for us, now we know this year’s event will be shot in style!

Little Lou, a fair and unbiased judge.

Creamy Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Hand Farmed Organics – Week 5 CSA Box

2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

2 bay leaves

1 cauliflower, cored and cut into large pieces

16 ounces penne pasta

1/2 cup sharp cheddar, grated

1/4 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (I like Chobani for cooking b/c it’s less sweet than most)

The secret ingredient…a spoonful of low-fat plain yogurt.

2 cups chopped kale

1/2 cup sliced squash

Erina vs. The Veggies…my ongoing summer battle.

2 TB olive oil

1 TB Dijon mustard

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Salt and Pepper

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees and grease a large glass baking dish
  2. Boil a pot of salted water.
  3. In a saucepan, warm stock and bay leaves on medium-low heat for five minutes; turn off heat
  4. Cook cauliflower in boiling water for 25 minutes or until very tender. Drain out all water, and add to cauliflower the stock (discard bay leaves), cheese, yogurt, oil, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender, puree until totally smooth.
  5. Meanwhile, boil a second pot of water and cook the pasta, 3 minutes less than instructions. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  6. Add the pasta to the cauliflower puree and mix well.
  7. Pour half the pasta into the prepared dish. Top with half the kale and squash. Pour the remaining in and add the kale and squash. Top with parmesan and panko bread crumbs.
  8. Bake 20 minutes or until breadcrumbs are turning golden brown.
  9. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

13 Comments

Filed under Cheap Eats, Comfort Foods, Health Conscious, Make ahead, Pasta, Vegetarian

New Potatoes in a Mustard Vinaigrette and Free Tickets to Best Of Seattle Party

Well, it’s back to reality for me. Back to high heels and pencil skirts, meetings, and a never-ending inbox. But it’s also back to very fun things like whipping up meals in my own kitchen, summer in Seattle, afternoons spent on the lake, and my puppies, of course.

Ms. Lou…and yes….we’re keeping her.

Having arrived back in Seattle on Sunday, and preparing for the reality that awaited (flip-flops and bathing suits no longer being acceptable attire, a seemingly absurd requirement by The Man that I brush my hair before leaving the house, and a general disapproval for drinking Gin & Tonics with my lunch), I of course took the obvious path which was to procrastinate about everything I should be doing. Instead, I enjoyed fixing some delicious make-ahead meals to get us set for the week, and in front of our CSA veggie supply.

These tossed new potatoes with a mustard dressing and fresh snap peas were delicious served warm with a few deviled eggs on the side, and provided a lovely Monday lunch as well, tragically enjoyed at my desk, with nary a G&T in sight. There is a fair amount of lemon and mustard in the dressing, but don’t let that scare you. It results in a light, tangy taste, perfect for the summer heat.

Make this when reality is looming, but you aren’t quite yet willing to give up the ghost of summer days of wonder and indulgence.

GIVEAWAY: I’m excited to share that for those local readers, or those willing to get on a plane, train, or automobile Shut Up & Cook has gotten our hot little hands on two tickets to Seattle Weekly’s Best Of Seattle Party on Wednesday, August 1st at Pier 66, Elliot Hall.  This blow-out party showcases Seattle’s best food, drinks and entertainment on the waterfront with unlimited bites, craft cocktails, live music, and installation art.

HOW TO ENTER: Comment below by Friday, July 13th at Midnight PST with either A) the name and link of another favorite food blog or B) a recipe you’d like to see done on Shut Up & Cook. The winner will be randomly chosen on Saturday, and will be the lucky recipient of two tickets!

Summer New Potatoes in a Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves 4 – 6

Summer New Potatoes in a Mustard Vinaigrette

1 lb new potatoes, washed, and trimmed of any bad spots

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon capers, minced, plus 1 teaspoon of brine from the jar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup canola oil

1 cup snap peas, quickly blanched

1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

Salt and Pepper

  1.  In a large pot, cover the potatoes with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook just 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking. Pour into bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the dressing, add remaining ingredients, except for the snap peas and dill, into a jar and shake until well blended.
  3. Pour about a third to half the dressing over the potatoes and toss to coat. You may add more or less pending on your preference. Note: Remaining dressing is delicious as a marinade or salad dressing.
  4. Toss with snap peas and fresh dill and serve warm or chilled.

36 Comments

Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Cheap Eats, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Salads, Seasonal Cooking, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Like It Was Yesterday: Dungeness Crab Dip with Grilled Braided Bread Sticks

I have a terrible memory. Fascinatingly bad really, for someone so organized and obsessively high functioning. And I’m not even saying this so you’ll exclaim, “No you don’t, Erina, you have an amazing memory! It’s like the best memory of anyone I know,” like I used to do when I was a teenager and would feign wishing I had bigger lips so people would exclaim “You wouldn’t want bigger lips! Your lips are perfect…and super big! You practically look like Angelina Jolie!”

No, the truth is my memory is shit. Not for the day-to-day mind you, I am capable of keeping 50 projects running simultaneously at work, remembering the most minute detail about each, but for major life events like my 8th grade graduation. Or some bunny we apparently had growing up. Or my uncle’s wedding.

So I find it strange, though maybe I shouldn’t,  that I have an impeccable memory when it comes to food. I remember with aching clarity the first time I had Saag Paneer, while visiting my friend Madeline in Toronto. Each little bite of cheese a seemingly glorious, hidden prize, and each piece of spinach scooped and scraped up until there was nothing left. I remember getting lost in Florence and unknowingly stumbling upon a famous pizzeria that slung the most perfect slices for 1 Euro a piece, and were sold out and shut down by noon each day. I remember the first time I tasted Sweet Breads in a little NYC restaurant, the savory, smooth, rich flavor dancing across my tongue as I quickly did the math in my head that if I skipped the taxi back to my hotel I could maybe order another plate. Simply put, I remember food, the way my brother Ben remembers everything else. With excruciating detail, and a general state of shock that others don’t remember it exactly the same way.

This, in case you’ve never seen one, is a Flying Squirrel.

A few months back we had dinner at one of our local pizza joints, Flying Squirrel. The pie’s were yummy, as always, and the Caesar salad an expected ringer. What blew me away though, what I ate much more than my share of, what I thought about for weeks afterward was their Dungeness Crab Dip served with Pizza Dough Bread Sticks.

It was rich. It was sinful. It was sumptuous. And I couldn’t get it out of my head.

A few weeks ago l got the ingredients to try to recreate it. I cheerfully exclaimed to Matt what I was doing…what I was about to undertake…what potential greatness awaited us and he looked at me with a blank stare.

“What crab dip? We got crab dip at Flying Squirrel? Okay…I guess I don’t remember it.”

I was flabbergasted…how could you forget this? But alas…he had. And despite my beseeching requests that he try to remember as I described it in painstaking detail, he did not. Perhaps it is better that way. He can remember major life events, history, politics, and birthdays and I can remember our meals.

My rendition was nearly as good and a perfect appetizer when paired with Grilled Braided Bread Sticks and Champagne. It makes a big batch so I actually split it between two dishes and served it two nights in a row at two different parties, each time greeted with great acclaim. If you don’t have time to do the bread sticks you could skip them and just do toasted french bread instead, but they are a lovely complement.

Dungeness Crab Dip
Adapted from Food & Wine
Makes two large appetizer dishes, enough for 12 easily

Unforgettable Dungeness Crab Dip

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon dry vermouth
3/4 cup cream cheese (6 ounces), softened
1 cup Beechers Flagship Cheddar (or something equally sharp and delicious)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons minced chives
2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon
Salt and pepper
Dash of Tabasco
1 1/2 pounds jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over to remove any bits of shell

  1. In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until just beginning to brown, 4 minutes. Add the vermouth and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, chives and tarragon. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and a dash of Tabasco, and scrape into a large bowl. Fold in the crabmeat, maintaining the large pieces of meat. Spread the crab dip in a shallow baking dish, two dishes, or 12 shallow ramekins pending how you want to serve it.
  2. Preheat the broiler. Position a rack 10 inches from the heat. Broil until the dip is heated through and the topping is golden, about 2 minutes; shift the baking dish for even browning. Serve warm with Grilled Braided Bread Sticks.

Make Ahead The recipe can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated overnight. Return to room temperature before broiling.

Grilled Braided Bread Sticks

1 loaf store-bought pizza dough, I use Trader Joes
Flour
Olive Oil

  1. Remove bread from refrigerator and allow to rest lightly floured surface for 30 minutes.
  2. Slightly press out the dough, until it’s an 8″ circle.
  3. Divide into nine even sections.
  4. Using your hands, and gravity, allow each piece to stretch out until it is about 12″ long and 1.5″ side.

    Pizza dough, ready for braiding.

  5. On a floured surface take three pieces, press the tops together, and then braid until the end. Press ends together.
  6. Transfer to a cookie sheet and brush each side with olive oil.
  7. Get grill as hot as possible and allow to heat for another 10 minutes, scraping off the grates and carefully rubbing with olive oil on a paper towel.
  8. Reducing heat to 3/4, add the bread sticks to the grill, and cook until lightly browned and puffy, about 3-5 minutes per side, pending on the heat of your grill. Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn.
  9. If you like, once done feel free to top with grated parmesan, or red pepper flakes, or roasted garlic, or whatever suits you.

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Filed under Comfort Foods, Entertaining, Make ahead, Seafood, Uncategorized

Like Father, Like Daughter: Grilled Shrimp with Lemon, Garlic, and Garden Herbs dipped in Sriracha Mayonnaise

Grilled Shrimp, Blasted Asparagus, Grilled Bread with Roasted Garlic, and Quinoa Salad

“Honey! It’s Dad!! You’re on SPEAKER!!!”

My father’s booming voice, a crescendo through the phone, culminated in what could easily be construed as a full shout, as when he is particularly excited he forgets that thanks to the invention of Alexander Bell, one needn’t yell all the way across the country to be heard.

Feverishly trying to find the volume down button and holding the phone out from my ear, I shouted back, “Hi! I’m great!! What’s UP???”, as when I am particularly excited I forget that thanks to the invention of Alexander Bell, one needn’t yell all the way across the country to be heard. Like Father, like Daughter…what can I say.

“Have you taken the shrimp out of the BRINE??”

“Another minute forty-five seconds! WHY?!”

“You’re really going to want to RINSE IT!”

At this point I simply burst out laughing. My dad, who semi-retired this past year and went from working nearly 80 hours a week to consulting part-time, has taken all the energy and enthusiasm and passion he had for his job and turned it into the kitchen. The result is one very lucky wife,  one very well fed teenage son, and one very happy adult, food-blogging daughter, who now gets phone calls from her Dad wanting to talk about shrimp for 30 minutes. Yes, we can talk about shrimp for 30 minutes, and I’m not sure which of us enjoys it more.

I’ve never been much of a Cooks Illustrated fan, finding a large number of the tasks they suggest seemingly annoying and high maintenance. I prefer to flip through pictures of Food & Wine, pick a recipe, then ignore half of it, and feign shock and dismay when it doesn’t turn out exactly as its pictured. Take brining…brining is the kind of thing I would almost always skip. I don’t know why…clearly it’s not that hard…but it just bugs me.

So when my Dad called to tell me he had recently made “the MOST succulent shrimp, I mean really Erina, the absolute best shrimp you’ve ever had” I promised to make the recipe, and follow the “CRITICAL” step of the brining and the “RINSING” (all of which he told me about in detail on our first call, and in the email, and on the recipe, and in our second call…because come on folks, this is SERIOUS stuff we’re talking about.)

Well, turns out, Father does know best. These shrimp are amazing. I might even say they are the most succulent shrimp, I mean really, the absolute best I’ve ever had. The brining is quick (30 minutes), and really does result in tremendously juicy shrimp. Furthermore, they take less than 5 minutes to cook making them  festive and utterly satisfying, yet very manageable, dinner party fare. We served them with Sriracha Mayonnaise, from the New York Time’s recent article, and there was not a shrimp left to be found in the house despite my Dad’s urging that I make “EXTRA” because they are “FANTASTIC leftovers!”

Grilled Shrimp with Lemon, Garlic, and Garden Herbs dipped in Sriracha Mayonnaise – Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Serves 4-6

Platter of awesomeness…these got scarfed up quickly!

Brine:

  • 2 lbs raw shrimp, tail on, shells off, thawed
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt (or 2 TB table salt)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 quarts cold water

Paste:

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp table salt
  • 4 TB olive oil
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tsp garden herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, chives, whatever suits your fancy)
  1. In a large bowl combine the water, salt, and sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the shrimp and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mince garlic with salt to form a smooth paste. Combine garlic paste with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. Set aside.
  3. When thirty minutes is up, drain the shrimp and RINSE them for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Return shrimp to large bowl, add the herb paste, stir to toss, and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours, stirring occasionally if marinating for the longer term.
  5. When ready to cook, light a grill and allow to get very hot, preheating for 15 minutes or so, and ensuring that grates are scraped clear. Meanwhile, skewer the shrimp, catching both the tail and body so they are securely on the skewer.

    Skewer the shrimp through both the tail and body to ensure they stay in place.

  6. Reduce the grill heat to 75%, and avoiding direct flame as much as possible, cook until just cooked through and pink, about 4-6 minutes total time (2-3 minutes per side).

    Sweet Nadia took this picture when I wasn’t looking…be sure not to cook the shrimp too long!

  7. Serve with Sriracha Mayonnaise, blasted asparagus, grilled bread, and quinoa salad.

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Filed under Entertaining, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Seafood, Uncategorized