Garlic Lime Rice and Old Bay Shrimp

After an incredibly brutal winter filled with sub zero temps and lots of snow, New Yorkers were so ready for the 70 degree day we were graced with over the weekend.

Rooftops were crowded, tables were dragged out onto the small sidewalk spaces in front of restaurants and, yes, ice cream trucks abounded!

The first warm day is my favorite day in New York. Not just because the sun feels glorious after a long winter of my face being buffetted by wind (why is the West Side so much windier than the East, by the way?) but because of the beauty of watching the city emerge from its chrysalis.

Al fresco dining. Rooftop cocktails. Breezy dresses. And finally, lighter cuisine.

I love the comforting pots of soups and chilis in the winter, but I crave the bright, fresh flavors of spring.

This dish begs to be made on a sunny day when margaritas are the only logical choice of drink.

This recipe is great for those warmer days too as there is little time at the stove and few ingredients needed, so if, you know, some friends find out you have a rooftop and happen to be in the neighborhood, you can feed them. If you want to.

I made this for my husband and I but wound up with leftover rice for lunches for the week, which was my intent. So feel free to half the rice recipe if you don’t want leftovers (but I don’t know what kind of person you would be if you didn’t want leftovers. Sorry no judging in this house)

For the rice:

  • 2 cups rice (I used arborio because that’s what I had, but you could use white or brown or whatever)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • juice of 2 ¬†llimes
  • 4 cups water
  • olive oil

Drizzle some olive oil in a high-sided skillet and toss in your onions and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or so on medium heat, stirring so garlic does not burn.

 

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Add your rice and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. It will toast a bit and pick up some of the onion and garlic flavors.

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Season with salt and pepper. Add the water and the lime juice. And bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer, cover and let it cook for about twenty minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.

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You’s have fluffy rice, studded with red onion and garlic, and the scent of limes will be wafting in the air.

This is a great side dish for tons of main courses, but when it’s warm out, all I can think about is some shrimp slathered in old bay.

 

 

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Simply toss frozen (straight from the freezer, no thawing), deveined shrimp (peeled or not, but always tail on) into a big skillet and douse it with old bay seasoning. Cook over medium until shrimp are done (they’ll turn pink).

 

 

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Serve the shrimp alongside the rice. The rice will cool down the heat from the seasoning.

 

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Then again, so will an ice cold beer.

Shrimp, Corn and Tomato Bake

It’s been absolute madness lately so I have been really neglecting the whole cooking, eating, blogging thing.

Okay, not the eating thing. I always eat. No matter how crazy busy it is.

I know the crisp breezes of fall are in the air and thoughts are turning to squash and pumpkins and big steamy bowls of chili.

But, this recipe holds onto summer for just a little bit longer.

This is a great, fast, no-mess dinner, that you can throw together on even the busiest of weeknights.

All you need:

  • frozen shrimp (cleaned and deveined, shells and tails on)
  • corn on the cob
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • old bay seasoning
  • aluminum foil

Preheat the oven to 400.

Start by cutting your corn cobs into thirds and placing the thirds into a large bowl. I did one piece of corn per person.

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Next, add your halved cherry tomatoes

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And your shrimp

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Drizzle with olive oil and season with old bay. you can really do whatever spice blend you like here- from the simple salt and pepper to a complex spice rub. I love old bay because it reminds me of the Delaware beaches where I spent my summers as a kid.

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Give everything a good mix.

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Lay out two sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil.

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And dump the mixture into the center

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Pull the edges to the center and fold the foil into a little packet. Place the packet on a cookie sheet or baking sheet.

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Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes (until the shrimp are pink)

Carefully unwrap the foil packet (steam will escape and it will be really hot!)

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And there you have a shrimp, corn, tomato bake and no clean up!

Lemony Shrimp and Cannelini Beans with Couscous

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It’s Tasty Tuesday over at the Craft Dictator, so if you’re stumped what to make for dinner, I suggest you head on over there for some tasty inspiration.

So over in the city, we’re in the polar vortex. Sounds all si-fiey, but I promise you this is real.

It is absolutely frigid out in New York, and, actually, across the country.

When it’s this cold, you probably want to go the warming comfort food route – lasagna, chili, and chicken cacciatore come to mind.

But sometimes I just want to take my mind off the cold and make a bright summery dish to ease away those winter blues.

Nothing like some shrimp and a bright citrusy burst of lemon to bring you thoughts of beaches and crashing waves as you cozy up at home while the wind blows outside the windows.

So tonight, I am defying the polar vortex and making a lemony shrimp and cannelini bean dish.

I’m serving over couscous, but this can easily be tossed over pasta. Use what you have on hand and what you like.

For this dish you will need

  • One pound of shrimp peeled and de-veined
  • one can of cannelini beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • juice from one lemon
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • black pepper
  • couscous

Start by heating butter, olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Also, prepare your couscous or pasta according to directions.

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When the garlic starts to brown, toss in the spinach and stir.

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When the spinach wilts, add the scallions and let them warm through.

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The add the shrimp and season with black pepper.

 

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When the shrimp are cooked through on both sides, add the cannelini beans and the lemon juice.

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Stir and cook for an additional three minutes or so. You don’t want to overcook the shrimp but you want the beans to warm up.

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Serve up in bowls over couscous or pasta.

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Can you hear the waves lapping the sand?

Shrimp Feta and Fennel

I’m still all blushy and glowy from all the love yesterday from the SITS community! You ladies all rock and I’m looking forward to taking the time to drop by all of your blogs.

After all the gushing about some of my recipes, I got a little nervous today.

Dinner tonight wasn’t just about me and my fiance. Now, it was about all of you, too.

I didn’t want to disappoint.

I opened up some of my favorite cookbooks and riffled through all the pages torn from magazines.

My palms started to sweat. I started twirling my hair. Bad signs.

And then, I went back and looked over some of the comments you all left me. And one really stood out. Mo at Mocadeaux (check out her blog here) wrote that she loves high impact and low effort recipes.

I started to breathe more evenly. High impact. Low effort. The hallmarks of itty bitty city kitchen cooking.

Then I remembered something the Barefoot Contessa made that we had wanted to try. A super simple, one pot meal that’s packed with high impact ingredients.

I have a tendency to discount any recipe that has more than 10 ingredients. I get overwhelmed. It gets expensive. And, o ¬†yea, I don’t have the space.

So dishes like this that rely on a few key, really good ingredients, are a standby.

You will need:

  • 1 pound of shrimp, peeled, tails on
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • feta

Preheat the oven to 400.

In an oven-safe shallowish pot or skillet, drizzle olive oil and add in the garlic and fennel. Cook over medium until softened.

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Pour in the diced tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and stir. I added a splash of Pastis to bring out the anise flavor. It’s not necessary. You can add a splash of white wine instead if you want. Totally up to you.

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Let the sauce cook and bubble for about 10 minutes so the flavors come together. Next up, the shrimp.

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I used one pound for the two of us. I also went with mediums. I noticed that the large have a tendency to come out tough sometimes.

Nest the shrimp, tails up, in with the tomatoes and fennel.

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Sprinkle the mixture liberally with Feta. Bake for 15 minutes.

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The shrimp will turn pink and be cooked perfectly. The fennel will still be slightly crunchy. The tomatoes will create a broth perfect for dunking the shrimp or the bread. And the feta adds the salty bite the dish needs.

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Spoon out into a bowl. Pick up a piece of shrimp, take a bite and then scoop a spoonful of tomato and fennel into your mouth. Grab a piece of crusty bread and soak up all of those anisey tomatoes juices.

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This is the perfect one pot meal for a Saturday night in.

Your house stinks! Or, Aglio e Olio and Old Bay Shrimp

This is very unlike me, but last night I was too pooped to post dinner!

I’m reading Tigers in Red Weather right now, and there’s a scene where the women are sitting on their porch in their silk slips because it’s too hot to wear anything else. They’re fanning themselves and drinking gin out of jelly jars.

It was that kind of hot.

Lazy beach days like that require a super simple, no thinking required dinner.

For that, there is spaghetti with aglio e olio.

In Italian, that translates to garlic and oil, and that’s, quite simply, all the dish is.

Pour some olive oil in a pan, add in the garlic and heat until the garlic just starts to brown.

Meanwhile, boil some water and cook up some spaghetti.

Dish up the spaghetti and pour the aglio e olio over the pasta.

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Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

This is a simple dish made from pantry staples that every cook should have in their back pocket.

I always have those ingredients on hand, so should there be last minute guests, or a heat induced malaise that makes a trip to the store sound like torture, dinner is still makeable.

Mom also whipped up some shrimp to go with the pasta.

For four people, she used two pounds of frozen shrimp, tails and shells on.

Toss the frozen shrimp in a big frying pan, douse with Old Bay seasoning and cook over medium until the shrimp’s cooked through.

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Old Bay is another Delaware and Maryland shore thing. It’s a spice blend with red and black pepper, paprika and some other things, and it makes it’s way into pretty much everything down here – the crabs were cooked in it the other night, you can pick up Old Bay potato chips at the store…

If you’ve never had it, give it a try. You can bring a taste of the Eastern shore to your kitchen.

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So, mom dished up heaping bowls of garlic spaghetti with garlic bread on the side and plopped a big bowl of old bay shrimp in the middle of the table for us to go at.

And go at it we did.

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After dinner, our neighbor’s six-year old son came over with his mom to pick up glow stick bracelets from my mom because, yea, my mom has a bag full of army men, pez, glowsticks- pretty much any toy you could wants as a kid at the beach.

He took one step into our house, looked at his mom and said “Mama, it stinks in here!”

We couldn’t help but laugh.

He was right. It did stink in here.

But it was so good. And worth the stink.

**PS, aglio e olio is a great sauce to whip up in a pinch, but only if everyone is eating it and if you are not, I repeat NOT going to need to talk to anyone for the rest of the night.

Cucumber, Avocado, Shrimp Salad

I had so much fun bumming around at my parents’ house, eating mom’s cooking, watching TV with dad, shopping with mom.

But I was stoked to get back to my own kitchen and whip up a yummy dinner.

Except for the heat.

I love summer, but oh my goodness is it hot in the city! I had zero desire to turn on my oven today.

So a no-cook dinner it had to be.

I remembered something in Alex Guarnaschelli’s cookbook, Old School Comfort Food, that I had been waiting for the right night to try out. Tonight, fellow city dwellers melting in the heat, was the perfect night for Alex’s shrimp, avocado and cucumber salad. I tweaked the recipe a bit to fit the ingredients I had on hand.

I also bought pre-cooked shrimp and just defrosted them, because, like I said, it’s way too hot to cook. Anything.

So here’s a no-cook, one bowl dinner, to help you beat the heat in your itty bitty city kitchen.

You will need

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 cucumber
  • shrimp (I got like 3/4 pound for the two of us)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • black pepper

Chop up the cucumber and the avocado and toss them into the bowl. Remove the tails from the shrimp and either toss in the bowl whole or chop in half. I chopped mine so everything would be relatively the same size.

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Add the olive oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lime juice and black pepper and toss the shrimp and vegetable to coat. You can adjust the amounts depending in which flavors you want to come through more.

Cover with plastic wrap and pop in the fridge for an hour.

A delicious, refreshing, cooling dinner. You can serve over brown rice if you like.

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We grabbed some from the Chinese restaurant again.

I went light on the rice because I had overindulged a little this weekend. This salad is great to help get you back on track. It’s also great for a Sunday night because it’s so easy and takes so little time that you can make the most of the last hours before the work week starts again.

And it means you can watch Michael Symon battle Jose Garces on Iron Chef!