Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tropical Shrimp Salad on Spinach

Lately, all I've been craving (and mostly making) are light dishes that feel perfect for warm spring weather. This tropical shrimp salad really hit the spot. I used baby-sized rock shrimp, but if you want something bigger, I'm sure that would work just as well. My husband ate his salad sans the spinach, which is really just as good. However, I preferred having mine on greens because I was able to use more of the delightful citrus dressing that went with the salad. Also, I'd like to note that my dressing ingredients are approximations. Play with it a little to get the desired taste.

For the salad:
1 lb shrimp
1 orange
salt and pepper
olive oil

1 mango, pealed and chopped
1 avocado, pealed and chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 can pineapple chunks
2 to 3 tablespoons cilantro
1 bag spinach

For the dressing:
juice of 3 limes
juice of 2 oranges
juice of from canned pineapple
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons salad oil

In a large sauce pan coated with olive oil, cook shrimp that has been salted, peppered, and tossed in the juice of one orange. Cook on medium high heat for about 4 or 5 minutes, just until cooked. Remove from pan and cool in the refrigerator. In a large bowl, combine cooled shrimp and the rest of the salad ingredients.

In a small bowl whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour some of the dressing over the salad and toss. Reserve the rest of the dressing for individual salads served on spinach.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Baby Banana Buttermilk Pancakes

Nothing special here, just delightful simplicity. I have so many recipes that I need to share with you, but I've been somewhat preoccupied as of late. For now, I'll share this altogether wonderful breakfast delight. The one slight twist on these pancakes is that they are were cooked in a little more vegetable oil than usual, which gave then a really nice fried exterior. I think I'll make my pancakes like this from now on. Here in the South, we really love our fried food.

2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup oil
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 baby bananas, sliced; or 1 large banana, sliced

Heat griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat until hot.
In a large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in buttermilk and oil, add remaining dry ingredient and stir.
Pour a couple tablespoons of oil onto griddle or skillet. Pour a 1/4 cup of batter per pancake onto griddle or skillet once the oil is hot. Place banana slices on the pancake before the edges begin to brown. After about two minutes, once edges look cooked and bubble break the surface, turn pancakes and cook until golden brown.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


A quick google search will lead you to discover that horchata has Moorish origins. The Moors gave it to the Spaniards, who gave it to the Aztecs; and now, you can enjoy this agua fresca at authentic Mexican restaurants.

But I'll be honest, it was not a genuine quest for food knowledge that allowed me to stumble upon this refreshing treat. I was inspired to look up the recipe because of a song -- a song entitled "Horchata," which was written by a band that I had the very great pleasure of seeing last night at the House of Blues here in New Orleans. The band is called Vampire Weekend, but don't be misled by the name. There is nothing gothic, heavy metal, or the like about this band. I can definitely hear some Paul Simon influence in their music, and they are more likely to sport a bow tie and sweater vest than a grungy t-shirt and black nail polish.

Now for the recipe, I looked up several with slight variations in them. Some recipes called for the use of milk; but, as the beverage is traditionally lactose-free, I skipped the milk. I like the consistency of the beverage as it is, and it has a rather milky appearance and texture without the addition of milk. Here's what I put together:

1/3 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup white long-grain rice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups hot water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold water

In your blender, grind rice and almonds to as fine a texture as possible. Add cinnamon, and pulse to mix. Add 3 cups hot water and let stand at room temperature for at least 3 to 4 hours. (Some recipes suggest letting it soak overnight.) During this time, I occasionally gave the blender a little pulse to keep everything mixed up. After sitting for the appointed time, pour the mixture through a strainer, catching all the liquid in a large bowl or pitcher. Then, stir in sugar and cold water. Chill in the refrigerator. Then, serve in glasses over ice.