San Francisco Shrimp

San Francisco Shrimp

We’ve been on a shrimp kick again. Only this time, we’re eating more than just the sriracha shrimp. J bookmarked this recipe on a wonderful recipe finding site, Big Oven. So far almost every thing we’ve made from the site has been delicious. While at first glance this dish may seem time and labor intensive, it isn’t. The key to making it a weeknight meal is to have the ingredients ready to go.

Ingredients:
2 pounds jumbo shrimp shelled
5 stalks scallions finely chopped (more works too!)
8 cloves garlic, minced
5 slices ginger root finely chopped (we grated it, it was easier)
2-3 pods dried red chile peppers crushed (in a pinch you can use red pepper flakes)
Sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup
1 Tbsp cooking sherry (this is a bit salty in my opinion, we usually use regular sherry)
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt (if using cooking sherry, omit this!)
4 tablespoons cooking oil (you might need more or less depending on the oil you use. We found with sesame oil, it absorbs fast, but tastes the best!)
cornstarch about 2/3 of a cup should be enough

Directions:
Put the cornstarch in a zip top gallon sized bag. Dry the shrimp with paper towels and put into the cornstarch bag. Shake. Pour about an inch of cooking oil in the bottom of a wok. Deep fry shrimp in batches until pink and slightly golden. Remove shrimp to a separate plate covered in paper towels. Ladle a bit of oil from the wok to a non-stick skillet. Heat and add scallions, garlic, ginger, and chile pepper mix in the oil until fragrant, about one minute. Pour sauce ingredients into the skillet, stir until bubbly. Return shrimp into the skillet, mix well. Serve over a bed of rice.

My Opinion:
This dish is perfect for a hot summer night. It’s delicious and sweet and spicy and a touch sour. We’ve added a diced onion into the scallion mixture and it was wonderful. We’ve added broccoli into the sauce and it was fantastic. This might just be in my top five favorite meals. So good!

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Carbonara


We’ve put off trying this recipe for a while because it seemed complicated. That couldn’t be further from the truth! It was really very easy, though a bit temperamental. The original post cites Rachel Ray as the original creator as published in Woman’s Day magazine.

Ingredients:
1 box spaghetti (about a pound)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb pancetta, roughly chopped (we ended up using about 3 ounces because that’s what came in the package)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (we used a pinot grigio)
3 large egg yolks
freshly grated Romano cheese (optional, but J swears it’s better with the cheese. Parmesan works too in a pinch)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (you’ll want to use more pepper than salt!)

Directions:
Boil the pasta according to the package directions in salted water. (You will need to reserve at least a cup of the pasta water for use later in the recipe!) While the pasta is boiling, heat a large skillet over medium heat (you;ll be adding the pasta to the skillet). Add the olive oil and pancetta to the warmed skillet. Brown  the pancetta for about two minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for up to three more minutes (remove or turn down the heat if the pancetta starts to burn). Add the wine and deglaze the pan. In a separate  bowl, beat the egg yolks and add 1/2 cup of the pasta water. According to the original recipe, adding the pasta water to the yolks tempers them so they don’t scramble. If you haven’t already drained the pasta, do so now. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Toss to coat the pasta. Don’t cook the egg! Remove from heat. Add cheese, pepper and salt. Continue tossing the pasta until the egg mixture thickens and the pasta absorbs most of it. Serve immediately with extra cheese.

My opinion:
Salty and creamy, this is the perfect dinner for a fall evening. If you find the dish too salty, cut back on the added salt at the end. When reheating, make sure to use a little olive oil or reheat by covering the bottom of a pan with chicken stock or broth and adding the pasta. Otherwise, it dries out.

Mongolian Beef

The secret behind good Mongolian Beef is apparently a super heated wok to caramelize the beef. While we can’t recreate a super heated wok, J came very close to mimicking the flavors modifying this recipe from Big Oven using brown sugar.

Ingredients:
lbs Flank Steak cut into strips
1/3 cup Cornstarch
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
1 bunch Green onion, sliced

Sauce
1 tbs Vegetable oil
1 tbs Ginger, minced
3 tbs Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Brown sugar

Directions:
Put cut up steak into a plastic bag along with corn starch. Shake well to coat and let sit for 10 minutes. In small sauce pan, heat 1 Tbs of oil until hot. Add red pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic. Saute briefly making sure not to burn. Pour in soy sauce and water, then add brown sugar. Boil sauce for 2-3 minutes to thicken slightly. Remove from heat. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in wok or large skillet. When oil is hot, add beef and stir fry until brown and cooked through. Add sauce and green onions. Cook for 1 minute. Do not leave in pan too long or the sauce will thicken from the corn starch.

My opinion:
This rivals the best  restaurant prepared Mongolian Beef. Fair warning, though, if you do have left overs, the cornstarch will make the gravy congeal in the container. It’s still tasty the next day, just with thicker sauce.

Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry


I didn’t expect this to be so good. In fact, I tried to find a stir fried cabbage dish and was wary from the start.  There’s hardly anything I would change from the original recipe, except using beef strips instead of ground.

Ingredients:
1 pound of ground beef (will use beef strips next time)
2 tablespoons of sesame oil, divided
3 green onions, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of cabbage, sliced thin
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (we used about a tablespoon)
2 cups cooked white rice

Directions:
Brown ground beef, remove and drain; set aside. To the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and heat over medium high. Add green onion and garlic and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and stir fry another 2 minutes. Add the cooked rice and soy sauce and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add the cooked ground beef back to the skillet and sprinkle with the red pepper flakes; toss until heated through.

My opinion:
Surprisingly good. And a great way to use up a head of cabbage.

Sticky Coconut Chicken

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have recently noticed, I’ve given in to Pinterest. I’ve loved finding new recipes and recently tried the Sticky Coconut Chicken (originally from this blog). The rave reviews were an understatement! This dish was amazingly flavorful, the chicken super tender and just a hint of sweet enhanced the entire dish. I’ll only make two small changes when we have this dish again.

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (the original recipe suggest thighs, but we didn’t have any).
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper (we used white)
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (we’ll use more next time)

Marinade chicken in coconut milk, ginger, pepper and red pepper flakes at least one hour (the longer the better! We let it marinade for about two hours, but it only gets better the longer you let it marinate). Grill (since it’s winter here, we used the George Foreman).

Glaze:
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (we actually used a bit less)
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (will need to add more next time!)

Directions:
While the chicken is grilling, bring above ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is reduced and thickened, about 8-10 minutes (actually took us about 20, but I kept it on medium heat so the mixture didn’t burn). Once the mixture starts getting really thick, immediately take it off the heat! Glaze both sides of chicken the last few minutes of grilling and serve chicken over rice. We used the remaining glaze to dip the chicken and added it over the rice.

My Opinion:
Amazing! With a little extra spice (red pepper flakes and maybe some more garlic) and a longer marinating time, this will become a regular dish in our house!