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The Last Recipe Post of 2005: Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Orzo

orzo

This was really, really good. I half remembered making something with shrimp and orzo and feta before but I’m pretty sure I baked that in the oven. So, I kind of threw this together based on other recipes I’ve seen before and what I had on hand. The garlicky, lemony wine sauce is amazing tasty! jwa brought the leftovers to work for lunch Thursday and I almost tried to steal them from him, as I really liked this dish. But, I didn’t — I am too nice.

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Orzo:
1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo
1 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, sliced
1 yellow pepper, julienned
3/4 of a pound raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined (the first time I typed this out I wrote “3/4 of a pond” and I almost left it because it was pretty funny)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 cup dry white wine
a pinch of red pepper flakes
3 tbsp unsalted butter
8 basil leaves, cut in long strips
1/3 cup feta
salt
lemon pepper

Cook orzo according to package. Drain, toss with olive oil, and add salt and pepper (lemon pepper works well if you have some) to taste.

orzo

Cover and keep warm with foil. Meanwhile, heat . . . → Read More: The Last Recipe Post of 2005: Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Orzo

Cinnamon Chocolate Espresso Shortbread!

shortbread

This is from what is quickly becoming my favorite baking book, Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. It’s the one batch of cookies I’ll have time to make before leaving for California on Friday. Oh, they are good! I decided to bring them into work today. I followed the recipe exactly, except (and of course there’s an except), I added 1/2 teaspoon of instant espresso to the granulated sugar — making these Cinnamon Chocolate Espresso Shortbread!

Cinnamon Chocolate Espresso Shortbread:
3 sticks butter, room temperature
2 1/3 cups + 2 tbsp AP flour
4 1/2 tbsp Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup superfine (baking) sugar

For sprinkling:
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp instant espresso

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Leave a 1-inch overhang on the long sides — set aside. Ina medium bol, whisk together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer (or hand-held) until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Add flour and beat on low speed until combined. The mixture will be crumbly, . . . → Read More: Cinnamon Chocolate Espresso Shortbread!

Spirited Cooking: Peppery Vodka Chicken

pepper vodka chicken

For Slash Food’s Spirited Cooking Day!

Here’s a recipe that I saw on the Food Network on the show, Calling All Cooks (do they even still make that show?) a few years ago. Since I’ve been making it, I’ve modified the amount and type of pepper used quite a bit and it’s still pretty spicy. Originally, the amount of pepper (cayenne, black pepper, lemon pepper white pepper, & red pepper flakes) was insane. This version is still moderately crazy but in a good, it’s-still-spicy-but-my-face-is-not-on-fire way.

Funny story: I made this on Sunday night and all I had was vanilla vodka. I forgot that liquor stores in Portland (all of Oregon?) are not open on Sunday. In fact, I got into a discussion at the Wild Oats on Division with an employee and a guy who was looking for somewhere to buy vodka for a bloody mary party. She was telling him there was supposedly a liquor store at 52nd and Powell that was open on Sunday. Ha! I had just driven by there before going to Wild Oats. Not open. I shared my news and we all stood around trying to think of a place to buy vodka . . . → Read More: Spirited Cooking: Peppery Vodka Chicken

Eggplant & Lamb Moussaka Madness

Mousakka

Oh, look, it’s more bubbling, baked things! Isn’t that what Winter is for? Why yes, yes it is. I really love moussaka. This, too, I would get at Greek Islands. I don’t know, there’s just something about lamb, red wine and cinnamon…

While I was a vegetarian, the one meat I think I thought back fondly about the most was probably lamb. Not that I ate it that often, because I didn’t, but because it was so interesting tasting. Nowadays, I probably have lamb a few times a year and moussaka is a great way to do that.

For these — instead of making a big lasagne-sized casserole — I made individual moussakas in oven-safe bowls. So cute!

If you had one cup or a bit bigger ramekins, you could easily make four moussakas with this recipe. If you had bigger soup bowls and were starving, you could make two big moussakas (and possibly have leftovers).

Eggplant Component:
2 small eggplants
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Lamb Component:
1 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup red wine
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tomato, chopped
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sprinkle of cinnamon

B├ęchamel Sauce:
2 . . . → Read More: Eggplant & Lamb Moussaka Madness

A Cheap College Favorite: Deep Dish Mexican Pizza

Mexican Pizza

Yeah, I’ve been out of school since 1995 — so? I used to make this both as an undergrad and a grad student. It’s cheap, it’s quick, it’s easy and it’s Mexican food and yet it’s a pizza. It’s awesome. And really, you can fancy-pants it up as much as you want. You could make your own pizza dough, make your own enchilada-type sauce, roast peppers, shred chicken, etc., or you could use the 99 cent Jiffy Pizza dough mix, buy jarred sauce and eat dinner for two+ days for around $10.

For old times sake, I usually go the pizza dough in a box, sauce in a jar, veggies-only route but that’s just me — for I am both sentimental and lazy.

Cheap & Tasty Deep Dish Mexican Pizza:
2 boxes pizza dough mix
water
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 can refried beans
1 jar/can enchilada sauce (you can freeze the remaining sauce in 1/2 cup servings for future use)
1 – 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I’ll say one cup, but we all know it’s more like 2 cups)
1 small can chopped black olives, drained
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
2 bell peppers (any colors . . . → Read More: A Cheap College Favorite: Deep Dish Mexican Pizza