Honey Garlic Butter Shrimp with Coconut Rice, Fried Plantains and Avocado

There are no words for how delicious this dinner was on Sunday evening.  It’s insane how much flavor is packed in one bowl of food.

At the beach I picked up a pound of our favorite shrimp that we then marinated in a mixture of olive oil, honey, garlic, ginger, jalapeño (I used one), cumin and cilantro.  We let our marinate for a few hours but you can let it rest from 30 minutes to 24 hours.  The coconut rice is a must!  Jasmine rice is cooked in coconut milk instead of water for the creamiest and richest rice that has the slightest hint of coconut flavor.  Don’t skip this step!  I added a pinch of salt once the rice was cooked.  The plantains are also something you cannot skip.  I repeat, do NOT skip the plantains.  Plantains can be found in most grocery stores – in fact, I picked mine up at Walmart.  Yellow plantains are best for frying – a little sweeter than the green/less rice plantains.  The plantains are fried for 1 to 2 minutes on each side and then sprinkle with flaky salt as soon as they come out of the hot oil.

The shrimp take such a short amount of time to cook – so do this last!  Melt a small amount of butter in a pan and then sauté the shrimp until almost cooked through.  Add in the butter and allow it to melt and simmer with the shrimp until browned – but NOT burnt.  Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut milk.

Serve the shrimp by spooning the rice into the bowl and then top with the tantalizing shrimp, crispy plantains and creamy avocado.  Give the whole bowl a pop of freshness with a sprinkle of fresh basil.

ricebowl

I promise you’ll love this dish.  So many flavors.  So many textures.

And despite saying I have no words for this dish, I just wrote 315.

Cheesy Fontina, Caramelized Onion, Chorizo and Artichoke Pizza + Peach and Prosciutto Pizza

Whenever my brother, Taylor, and I get together we seem to find a way to make pizza.  And this past weekend was no different.  On Friday evening, after arriving at the beach, we got to work on two totally different pizzas.

Taylor was in charge of prepping the dough in advance and I made sure we had all the necessary ingredients.

On the first pizza:

Layer of the best marinara sauce you can get your hands on
Caramelized onions
Cooked chorizo, garlic and chilies in adobo
Marinated artichokes
Fontina
Manchego
Basil

And on the second pizza:

EVOO
Fresh mozzarella
Juicy, sliced peaches
Prosciutto
Basil
Balsamic reduction

twopizzas

And while both pizzas were incredibly delicious, my favorite was the sweet peach and salty prosciutto combination.  SO YUM.

But seriously, Taylor and I joke about opening up a pizza joint one day…

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled Artichokes with Bagna Cauda + Roasted Rack of Lamb with Basil Goat Cheese Sauce

This past Saturday was quite delicious!  We were graced with not having ANYTHING on our calendar so we spent most of the afternoon at the pool before heading home to feast on an amazing dinner.

artichokes

I’ve never tackled grilled artichokes at home and while they take a little bit of time, they really are quite easy to make.  I had watched Giada make them on a recent episode of “Giada in Italy” (I wanna go!) and that is the recipe I used.  Big Guy and I also watched a YouTube video on cleaning artichokes that was very helpful – I had no idea how hairy and spiky they are inside.  And I also have a whole new appreciation for jarred artichoke hearts and completely understand the cost now.

To make the artichokes, you combine white wine, water, lemon juice + the lemon halves, thyme, rosemary, a bay leaf, and salt in a large pot.  Add the artichokes (after cleaning!) cut-side down and bring the water to a simmer with a top on the pot.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until tender.

Remove the artichokes and drain.  Drizzle with EVOO and a sprinkle of salt and grill about 4 minutes on side.  The artichokes are then dipped into a luscious mixture of olive oil, garlic, salt and butter.

grilledartichokes

I simply love cooking new things in the kitchen with Big Guy.

For dinner, we made a roasted rack of lamb with an incredible goat cheese sauce.  I prepped the lamb and the carrots before we even left for the pool.  Simply process EVOO, garlic, oregano, basil, ground cumin, lemon zest and crushed red peppers in a food processor.  Season the lamb liberally with salt and pepper then rub the marinade over the top.  Arrange the carrots around the lamb on the baking sheet.  Cover and let chill in the refrigerator.

The lamb is roasted at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and then flipped and roasted for 5-10 more minutes.  Allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting.

And with the lamb the most delicious goat cheese sauce.  Simply combine room temperature goat cheese, 2% Greek Yogurt, honey, basil, lemon zest plus salt and pepper.

lamb

Those carrots were better than I ever expected and the lamb was cooked to perfection.  Please don’t leave off the goat cheese sauce – it’s TOTALLY necessary.

I am forever grateful for our little date nights at home.  A time to just relax and enjoy one another.

Mushroom Cheese Ravioli with Rosemary Butter Sauce

Say “hello” to your next date night in dinner.  While I love going out to dinner and traveling to fun new cities, there’s something about a cozy evening in with a delicious home cooked dinner and a bottle of wine.  And while we haven’t had one in a couple weeks and I’m not really sure when our next one will be, I couldn’t resist sharing with you the dinner we made during our last date night in.

And don’t be scared of this recipe.  We made homemade pasta but it is NOT necessary.  In fact, the recipe called for wonton wrappers that you find at your grocery store and we made the decision to make the recipe more difficult.  So there is no excuse not to make these raviolis.

The ravioli filling is a mixture of sautéed mushrooms, thyme, ricotta cheese, fontina cheese and parmesan cheese.  The filling is so simple but it really makes the earthiness of the mushrooms shine through.

The sauce is light (aka not full of cream) but still FULL of flavor.  The butter is browned before adding in some garlic and rosemary (is there any better smell?).  Then add in some chicken broth and/or some white wine plus salt and pepper and let it reduce.

The combination of the mushroom and cheese ravioli plus the rosemary butter sauce is magic.  We did not even miss the meat in this dinner.

mushroom ravioli

Oh, date night, you’re my favorite.

Spicy Sesame Basil Noodles

Hiiiii!!!!  It’s Friday.  And I love Friday.  And while I’d like to think that I’m super productive at work on Friday, I’m often day dreaming of the weekend to come.  Tell me I’m not the only one.

Tonight we’re going ton a date – outside of the house! – and I couldn’t be more excited.  And Saturday is National Mojito Day, so clearly you can guess what I’m doing.

If you said drinking mojitos and cooking up a Cuban spread of food, you’d be correct.  And on Sunday I think a little lounging by the pool would be glorious.

What are you doing?  If you don’t have plans, have a date night without leaving your house!  Make some noodles, curl up on the couch and watch a movie.

That’s what we did last Friday night and it was perfect.

I used to have a vision of myself in my 20s and 30s and it involved living in a big city, ordering takeout and pouring a glass of wine.

I almost felt like I was living that day dream – minus the big city and I totally had to make this myself.  Buuuut I think it’s better than takeout.

These noodles are ALL about the sauce.  Tahini and tamari (or soy sauce) are whisked together with hot chili oil (which, by the way, I could not find at Whole Foods – I know.  I couldn’t believe it either.  I ended up finding a hot pepper oil and it wasn’t spicy at all – so I added Sriracha on top of my noodles), tangy balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.

In addition to the noodles (I used a brown rice noodle), carrots, green onions and basil and finished off with some crunchy peanuts.

As for the movie, we watched Yours, Mine and Ours.  Yes, the one with Lucille Ball.  Love that movie.

And since it was a date night, a bottle of German Reisling to balance the heat.

Cheers!

 

The Montanara Pizza

Have you ever had fried pizza?

And I’m not talking battered and fried – something you would see at a state fair.

I’m talking classic fried Italian pizza.  I’m talking about The Montanara Pizza.  

It’s life changing.

This pizza is actually quite simple.  There’s not a lot of pizza toppings.  But there is homemade crust and homemade sauce.

The sauce is so incredibly good I wanted to eat it with a spoon straight out of the pot.

It also smells amazing.  I felt like an Italian grandmother as the sauce simmered and my crust was rising.

The dough is portioned into four portions and then rolled – make sure you don’t make the crust bigger than your Dutch oven (or whatever skillet you’re using).  The key to frying anything is the accuracy of the temperature of the oil.

Too cold and the dough will soak up all the oil – too hot and the dough will burn.

But when it’s just right, the crusts will cook for a minute on each side and you will have a crispy yet tender crust that you will not soon forget.

The crust is then topped with sauce and mozzarella.  That’s it.

Broiled until the cheese is melted.  And then topped with one last ingredient:  fresh basil.

 

 

Best served with a glass of red – because that’s what your Italian grandmother would do.

 

Coffee-Rubbed Prime Rib Roast with Roasted Garlic Gorgonzola Butter

One of the greatest sources of happiness for me is cooking for others.  Whether it’s a cake for a coworker or dinner for a friend that just had a baby.

My love of food (and wine) is a gift that I want to share with as many folks as possible.

Cooking for others is also a great way for me to tell a friend “Thank You.”

As I’ve hinted on the blog, we’re redecorating our living room (and the entryway!) in our house.  After five years, I’m ready for a change.  A couple of weeks ago, I talked Big Guy into this idea and now we’re full-speed ahead.  I’m not near as talented with fabrics and design as I am with recipes and ingredients so I turned to one of my dearest friends for help.  Marlo has an eye for style and I find that we have really similar tastes (her living room is one of my favorite places ever) when it comes to decorating.  She’s been my go-to the past couple of weeks.  In fact, she started a secret Pinterest board for her and me titled “Emily and Big Guy’s House.”  And things are finally starting to come together.

On Sunday, after Big Guy and I spent hours looking at furniture and debating paint colors and flipping through wallpaper books, Marlo and her husband came over to help me finalize a few decisions.  More than anything, I needed affirmation.

Instead of simply having her come over to look at samples, I planned to cook Sunday Supper for us all.  A while back Marlo commented on a blog post that featured Coffee-Rubbed Prime Rib Roast with Roasted Garlic Gorgonzola Butter and what better time to cook prime rib roast than on a Sunday in February.

A recipe like this is less about the recipe and more about the ingredients.  Quality ingredients.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with the veggies that are the base of this dinner – brussels, carrots (purple, red and orange) and onions.

The meat is rubbed with a mixture that included coffee grounds (don’t worry – you can’t taste the coffee at all), brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, ginger, vanilla beans, salt and pepper.

I actually doubled the rub amount to make sure there was plenty.

The meat cooked on top of the veggies in a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes and then reduced to 350 degrees where it cooked for an hour longer. Make sure to check the internal temperature of the meat – the only way you can ruin prime rib is by overcooking.

And if this dinner couldn’t be more decadent, a Gorgonzola and roasted garlic butter was made to serve with the prime rib.

The end result is swoon worthy.  Tender brussels with just the right amount of caramalization; onions that literally melt in your mouth; carrots with so much sweetness it’s insane; and a prime rib so juicy and flavorful that you won’t understand how anyone could be a vegetarian (not hating – promise!).

And the butter?  Pure decadence.  Not too blue – and a little sweetness from the roasted garlic.

I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Let’s be honest, I’ll cook for Marlo any day if she keeps being my interior decorator.