Moroccan Shrimp and Red Onion Sauté

Lately, I’ve had trouble finding recipes to get really pumped about. With that being said, I’m the proud owner of a pretty extensive collection of cookbooks (for a 23 year-old at least), with cookbooks ranging from the South Carolina Wildlife Cookbook, which includes great tips and recipes for cooking anything from deer to snapping turtle to beaver, to one on Lebanese classics and comfort food. My favorite cookbooks tend to be Australian; the Aussies have a penchant for great Asian fusion as well as English classics. Despite my plethora of options for finding ideas, I rarely actually use recipes. Instead, I pour through about 5 cookbooks at a time and get ideas for flavor combinations that will work. 

Last night, while trying to decide what to do with the pound of shrimp I had just purchased, I stumbled upon a great recipe in one of my go-to cookbooks. If you do not own The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh, you must find it ASAP. This gem includes 1100 recipes that are quick, easy to follow and cover a spread of ethnic and American flavor palettes. 

The recipe for Moroccan Shrimp and Red Onion Sauté is so vibrant and full of spice – not the hot kind of spice but the delicious, fragrant kind. I served it atop roasted chick peas and brown rice but lentils and greens would be just lovely as well. Whatever you choose to serve with it, be sure it simply seasoned – this dish calls for subtle sides the balance it’s dynamism.

Fast Easy Fresh

Moroccan Shrimp and Red Onion Sauté

1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger (I subbed Gourmet Garden ginger in equal quantity and I honestly don’t think it made any difference)
2 teaspoons hot chili sauce (ex. Sriracha)
12 uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left intact
1 red onion, halved, peeled, each half cut into 4 wedges through root end
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (for serving)


Toast coriander seeds, cardamom seeds and cumin in small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, shaking skillet, about 1 minute.

Toasting Spices

Coarsely grind spices in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (or just crush spices with the end of a wooden spoon). Transfer to large bowl; mix in oil, ginger, chili sauce, cinnamon and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp and onion; toss to coat.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook until blackened in spots, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes.

       Red Onion in PanRaw Shrimp Added to PanAll Cooked in Pan

Add shrimp and marinade; sauté until just cooked through; about 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp and onion to plate. Top with cilantro. 



Roasted Beet Sauce with Penne

Beets really get a bad wrap. I was introduced to them as a child in canned form. The kind you find at buffet salad bars. Not at all a good representation of this vibrant root vegetable. Until a few years ago, I thought beets were gross. Like all foods I dislike, I make it my mission to find a way in which I might enjoy or at least appreciate that which I found distasteful. My beet journey began with beet and lemon filled ravioli and from there to beet and chèvre crostini with honey-orange glaze and beet gnocchi. Beets are truly a lovely vegetable. They can be manipulated in so many ways and offer such beautiful jewel-toned hues to any dish. This roasted beet sauce could be altered in many ways to suite individual taste and could be served with any pasta. I think it would go especially well served chunky atop pork tenderloin.

Give this sauce a try. It makes for a lovely plate.

Beets and Garlic

Roasted Beet Sauce with Penne
8 oz whole pasta, such as penne
5-6 medium beets, washed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 T orange-infused olive oil
¼ c light red wine, such as Beaujolais
1 T herbes de provençe blend (including lavender)
salt, to taste
splash lemon juice
splash cream, optional
freshly shaved Parmesan
Freshly chopped basil, optional

Heat oven to 400°F.

  • Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and set aside.
  • Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and chopped beets and garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 40 minutes or until fork-tender.
    Beets, Garlic with Olive Oil
  • In a blender or food processor, add cooked beets, garlic and Beaujolais. Combine until smooth.
  • In a medium saucepan, add herbes de provence and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add a splash of lemon juice, stir. If desired also a splash of cream for richness. Salt to taste.
    Sauce in Pot
  • Use reserved pasta water to stretch, if needed.
  • Pour sauce over pasta and stir until thoroughly dispersed.
  • Serve hot, topped with shaved parm and chopped basil.

Flatbread and Muhammara

My most recent food obsession is muhammara. I was first introduced to it a couple weeks ago while at lunch after church. In the words of my pastor, “This is what they serve in heaven.” This stuff is outstanding. It’s kind of like hummus but it’s not. It originated in Syria and is popular in Lebanon, Turkey and the surrounding areas. The key ingredients are roasted red peppers, walnuts and pomegranate molasses. You may also see it referred to as pomegranate hummus or pomegranate muhammara.



I regret to say that I have not been attempted to make this myself, preferring for the time being, to buy it by the pound from the Middle Eastern restaurant/deli near my church. What makes this so wonderful is it’s subtle sweetness and mellow character. With the large quantity I’ve been purchasing, I’ve quickly run out of pita and while this is great with fresh vegetables, it’s best with a simple flatbread. So while I cannot provide you with a self-tested muhammara recipe (although there are many out there), I will give you a quick, healthy flatbread recipe that could be used for a number of dishes whether you’re preparing a Greek, Middle Eastern or Indian meal, enjoy snacking on flatbread or use it to sop up soup or sauce.


Easy Whole Wheat Flatbread

1 1/2 c unbleached whole wheat flour (I prefer King Arthur here)
1 t baking powder
1 t sea salt
1 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt (I prefer Fage)
olive oil

  • In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  • Stir in yogurt with spoon until well combined. Using hands, form into a near-ball shape.
  • Lightly knead dough on floured surface for about one minute. Then divide into six balls. Let sit for about ten minutes.
  • Flatten and create rounds about the size of a small pita.
  • Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Cook rounds one by one, for about 1-2 minutes on each side or until browned and slightly puffed.
photo (5)

My iPhone takes is old and takes crappy pictures. But you get the idea.

 This one puffed up nicely so it’s too bad I left it on the heat too long. It’s okay, my grandma would just tell me it’s high brown.