Shrimp Cakes

After a very long hiatus, I’m back! The past year has been a whirlwind of major life events – I got engaged and am currently planning the wedding, my fiancé got sworn in as a police officer, I got a major breast reduction and bought a house – PHEW! While my fiancé was training (for about three and a half months), I discovered meal subscription boxes, which are now one of my favorite things. Blue Apron, Plated, PeachDish, HelloFresh, HomeChef – they’re all the great in their own way and I should probably do a comprehensive review of them all. Even though they’re awesome, they have definitely cut down on my creativity in the kitchen since I’m not developing my own recipes nearly as often as I did previously. However, I by no means rely on these for every meal and am still regularly coming up with yummy things to eat.

These delicious little cakes came to be because my fiancé used the ground turkey I needed for one of my Blue Apron meals to make chili and I didn’t feel like making any of the meals I had. While wondering what to make and craving crab cakes, I remembered the shrimp waiting to be used and decided to try making shrimp cakes. With a rough recollection of a past-used crab cake recipe, this is what I came up with. Most crab cake and probably shrimp cake recipes use mayonnaise; I chose to try using Greek yogurt here and had great results with texture and flavor. I served with a whole grain mustard and Greek yogurt sauce over a bed of spinach and alongside lightly roasted red potatoes. Mm mmm.

Shrimp Cakes 1Shrimp Cakes 2

Shrimp Cakes

12 oz shrimp (feel free to use any leftover precooked shrimp as well)
1/3 c Italian breadcrumbs, plus extra for coating
1/4 c all purpose flour, plus extra for coating
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 1/2 T plain Greek yogurt
1 t chopped jalepeno, seeds removed, optional
1 1/2 t garlic powder

Begin heating a small saucepan of water to medium-high heat. Before water has heated, add shrimp and cook until just pink. Drain, peel, dry with a paper towel and chop.

While shrimp is cooking, add all other ingredients to a medium bowl. Stir in cooked, chopped shrimp until evenly distributed. Form mixture into four evenly divided cakes.

Combine equal quantities of additional breacrumbs and flour and lightly bread cakes.

In a nonstick pan, heat 3 T of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Serve with sauce of your choosing.

Shrimp Cakes 3

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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)

Ingredients

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. 

Served

Poached Shrimp with Warm Fennel & Beet Salad

Served - Adjusted

After a few days of slackened attention to healthful eating, last night’s dinner was refreshingly light and flavorful. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m a huge fan of beets. I’m such a huge fan, I’ve been purchasing two bunches each week, slicing, roasting and using to snack on at work. With fresh shrimp sitting in my refrigerator for two days, I had no choice but to make something shrimp-y and I had just so happened to have a hankering beets, fennel and shrimp – all together.

Shrimp is one of those things a person has to like for me to be friends with them and even for non-shrimp lovers, it’s hard to resist fresh Lowcountry shrimp. We’re kind of known for it, i.e. shrimp and grits. All too many people prefer their shrimp fried which often ruins the delicate, sweet simplicity of this fruits de mer. I, on the other hand, adore poached shrimp. As opposed to boiling, which is an all too violent approach to shrimp, poaching gently simmers your desired food item in just about any liquid found to be palatable. Typically, I poach shrimp in butter and sauvignon blanc, but wanted something a little different this time. I chose to poach in a coconut milk combination which yielded such subtly vibrant flavor. 

I have to admit that I’m terrible at measuring ingredients. Mostly, I eyeball anything I can and operate in the kitchen with a monitor-and-adjust attitude. Take this ‘recipe’ with that in mind. Taste it as you make it so you’re finished product is to your liking. 

PS – the leftover poaching liquid made a great base for a Tom Kha-ish soup! 

Poached Shrimp

1 lb. fresh shrimp, deveined 
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup sodium-free stock
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T fresh basil, chopped
1/2 T lemongrass paste

  • Combine all ingredients except shrimp in a pot. Stir and thoroughly combine. Slowly bring to a simmer.
    photo 3 photo 4
  • Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, turn off heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Bring poaching liquid back to a simmer and add shrimp, leaving peel (you can remove after poaching). Keep a watchful eye over the shrimp and remove from liquid as soon as it is just barely cooked. 
  • I warmed a large kale leaf in a pan with a tiny bit of olive oil, served the shrimp atop the leaf and poured a little poaching liquid on top.

Warm Fennel and Beet Salad

1 large beet, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 bulb fennel, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
splash lemon juice

                             photo 2photo 1

  • In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. 
  • Add sliced beet and cook for a about 3-5 minutes or until just softened. 
  • Add minced garlic and sliced fennel and cook until the fennel gains translucence. The beet will make the fennel a lovely shade of magenta. 
  • Add a splash of lemon juice, stir to combine and serve alongside the coconut milk poached shrimp. 

    Wanna know a secret? When I made this last night, I accidentally added a much too large splash of lemon juice and it ended a little too tart for my liking. Don’t do what I did. Be conservative with your splash and only add more if you think it needs it.

Served - Adjusted

The little bit of a tan in the top corner, that’s a PBR. Yep, Pabst Blue Ribbon. I’m not ashamed to admit that it’s still my everyday beer of choice, Caleb’s too.

 

 

 

 

Zucchini-Shrimp Lasagna

Oh the possibilities when cooking with zucchini… The almost continual supply of zucchini in my refrigerator has meant it is served multiple times a week. I can throw it in anything to add substance and it has such a wonderful meatiness that makes it superbly versatile. Last week’s zucchini star in my kitchen was zucchini lasagna. It seems that everyone and their mother has a zucchini lasagna recipe so here is my version.

Zucchini-Shrimp Lasagna

6-9 lasagna pasta, cooked until almost al dente
3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 cups spinach leaves
2-3 cups pink sauce (I made my own using fresh diced tomatoes, onions, white wine, fresh basil, cream, etc.)
16 oz. ricotta
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 oz. fresh mozzarella
½ lb shrimp, cooked until almost done, I prefer to boil or poach
1/3 c shaved Parmesan

Pink Sauce Ingredients

Heat oven to 375°F.
1. Prep all above-listed ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, combine ricotta with egg. Set aside.
2. Spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish.
3. On top of the sauce, arrange 3-4 lasagna. The number used will depend on the size of the pasta you are using.
4. Next, add an even layer of spinach. Then, arrange the sliced zucchini on top of the spinach. Follow with a layer of shrimp.
photo 3
5. Spread ricotta mixture on top of shrimp and then top with tomato sauce.
6. Repeat layering process.
7. The final layer should be topped with sliced fresh mozzarella and Parmesan.
8. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.
9. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

And of course, I forgot to take a picture of the final product. Shame on me. It did look quite pretty though. The bonus to this dish is that it fed Caleb and I for about 3 days and it tastes even better the next day.