Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp Kebabs

I have to admit that it’s very rare that I make two new dishes at the same time. If it’s a new main dish, I make a ‘typical’ side dish. If it’s a new side dish, I make a ‘typical’ main course. While perusing my usual motherload of blogs  I came across this recipe on Skinnytaste. Through reading through the comments section, I saw that others had recommended making the fiesta bean salad to go with this.

It was band camp week, we had limes & CSA cilantro to use up, we had shrimp in the freezer,  and I wanted to use my new grilling skewers. All signs were pointing to “make this recipe!” (as cheesy as that sounds, but then again we all know I like cheese so it’s quite apropos). It was a no-brainer, easy, and delicious!

Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp Kebabs

adapted from Skinnytaste

  • cooking spray
  • 1 bag large raw shrimp (15-20 per lb), peeled & deveined
  • 3 gloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 limes, sliced thinly
  • a dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • skewers (I’ll explain my new ones after the recipe)
  1. Heat up the grill on medium and spray the grates with the oil.
  2. In a bowl, season the shrimp with the garlic, cumin, salt, and half of the cilantro. Toss so that the shrimp gets coated with everything.
  3. On your skewers, thread the shrimp & lime slices, alternating so that you start with shrimp & end with shrimp.
  4. Grill the shrimp, turning occasionally, until they are cooked (they’ll be pink!) – usually this is takes anywhere from 1-3 minutes a side.
  5. Remove from heat & serve hot!
Yum!

Yum!

I have never grilled limes before, let alone any type of fruit (though I think Mike has grilled peaches or pineapple once; two fruits I don’t like). I was amazed by how the lime flavor was infused into the shrimp, simply by grilling it on the skewers.

Speaking of skewers, thanks to a great review over at the Ranting Chef, I decided to purchase these skewers. I never had liked using the bamboo, and both my husband and I have burned ourselves before on the long metal ones. These were easy to turn both because of their shape (they form a loop), and because there was also a small loop to grab onto with your tongs, if you wanted. They also cooled relatively quickly. I agree that I don’t think I can ever go back to regular skewers again; since they only came in a package of two, I need to order another set in case we decide to do kabobs for company.

These kebabs, served with the Fiesta Bean Salad, are a great meal for the dog days of summer where you really don’t want to use your oven. It tastes great, it’s fast, and hey, it’s even healthy, too 🙂

 

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Foods & Brews from the East

Recently Mike & I went on a vacation out east. We flew down to Raleigh/Durham, NC, to visit friends & family, then rented a car and drove up the coast to Delaware, to spend some time with even more family. It was a whirlwind vacation, but needless to say, we wanted to make the most of our trip out there and sample the foods, flavors, and beverages of the areas we visited. Here are a few highlights from our trip:

Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC

Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC

Being homebrewers, we can never pass up an opportunity to support local breweries when we travel. We hit up Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, taking the bus from our hotel to get there (which apparently you never do in Durham, but we did, and survived). They had a nice selection of beers, and I know that Mike was very pleased with the quality. The highlight of the visit was splitting a bottle of their First Frost persimmon beer, aged. It was absolutely divine and probably a brew that will be very hard to find in the future, unless we head back down south.

Dane's Chicken & Waffles

Dame’s Chicken & Waffles

In planning for our trip, Mike mentioned to his stepbrother (he & his fiance live in Chapel Hill) that he really wanted to try chicken & waffles. So, he took us to this great place in Durham (Dame’s). It, in short, was awesome. You choose your dish based upon what kind of cut of chicken you want, then choose your waffle and ‘schmear’ (flavored butter. Genius). I chose the classic waffle, with a chicken cutlet and maple-pecan schmear. The flavor combination was so unique – sweet meets savory, but done right. When we head back to RDU next May for their wedding, we may have to drag some of the family back here. Yes, it’s that good.

The next portion of this post may make some people uncomfortable because it involves whole crab. If this is you, scroll down. You’ve been warned! No hate, please! 😉

Mike & I lived in southeastern Pennsylvania for the first 8 months that we were married; the 2008 crash moved us back to Ohio. We lived about an hour north of Baltimore, MD – a great place for fresh seafood. This is where my husband introduced me to the world of blue crab. He would have it when he’d go on vacation growing up – I on the other hand was a bit creeped out by the fact that it was a whole crab in front of you. I took him out to Baltimore for his birthday that year and he taught me how to eat blue crab. We both enjoyed ourselves immensely and remember that evening fondly; thus when we came back to the East Coast this past week, we had to find ourselves some crab. My father-in-law recommended Claws, a seafood place out in Rehoboth Beach.

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Please, disregard the carnage.

With blue crab, you eat all the meat in the claws & body; rarely do you get anything out of the rest of the legs because they’re so small. In short, the blue crab are steamed, covered with Old Bay, and dumped onto your table where you get crackin’ with some small wooden mallets & your fingers. The crab is delectable, and for many it takes a while to get all the meat out of the crab. As a person who got ‘turned on’ to seafood after graduating high school, I can say that it’s definitely well-worth the effort. Even if you cut both of your thumbs on the claws and they sting from Old Bay (sorry, Hubs ;-)) We had a great ‘date night’ on our vacation at Claws and walked off our crab coma on the beach.

End Whole Crab portion.

The last portion of our trip took us to Baltimore for the Indians vs. Orioles game. We went with Mike’s sister & brother-in-law, and had a fantastic time. Of course, we arrived in Baltimore that evening during a huge thunderstorm, and rush hour. We drove around and ended up at the Rusty Scupper, which happened to be one of the nicer places in town, but had wickedly awesome seafood. I believe really hit the spot for my sister-in-law, who was 8 months pregnant. 🙂 I had the shrimp scampi – a dish I probably could make at home, but really had a taste for since I was still a bit ‘hungover’ from crab.

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Shrimp Scampi

We had a wonderful vacation, and I had fun documenting some of the culinary adventures that I had. Maybe I’ll have to document more as we travel in the future!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Every now and then my husband reminds me that I do, in fact, like shellfish, and should cook some for dinner. I’m not a culinary expert when it comes to making anything seafood-related, but I can hold my own. Needless to say, when he suggested that I make a shrimp pasta for dinner, I immediately knew what dish I wanted to make.

With the help of the awesome Giada de Laurentis, I cooked up a delicious, spicy, garlicky shrimp pasta dish that hit the spot. I received her cookbook Everyday Italian for Christmas a few years ago – and being Italian, this is a great resource for making dishes that I should be stereotypically good at (which, not to brag or anything – I am 🙂 ) When I have a taste for Italian food, this the book that I go to for any inspiration. I highly recommend it.*

Shrimp Fra Diavolo, with Linguine – adapted from Giada de Laurentis

  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1.5 tbsp dried basil
  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high. Add the shrimp & saute until cooked through & pink. Remove & set aside. (NOTE: If you are using precooked shrimp, don’t add it now. Add it at Step 3.)
  2. Add onion and saute until they start to become translucent. Add tomatoes, wine, garlic, and oregano, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken.
  3. Add the shrimp to the sauce & toss around to coat/reheat the shrimp. Remove from heat & add parsley and basil. Season with more salt and red pepper.
  4. Serve either atop fresh cooked linguine, or all by itself in a shallow bowl, with some fresh bread.
Shrimp fra Dialvolo, with linguine & the best bread in the world

Shrimp fra Diavolo, with linguine & the best bread in the world

The bread, above, is Pepper Parmesan bread, from my favorite bakery, Crooked Tree Breadworks. I worked there last summer & will probably be doing a few shifts there this coming summer to make some extra cash & work with the awesome people there. (FYI – You can buy their products online, and I swear to you, they are worth every frickin’ penny*).

This dish, I said before, can be served either with the pasta, as I did, or alone by itself in a bowl – maybe even atop spinach instead; I may need to try that next time!

In other news – it’s raining, and not snowing. I’m very thankful for this brief respite from snow.

Happy Sunday, everyone 🙂

*No, I am not getting paid to talk up these things. I just like them, and use them, and thus highly recommend them!

Spicy Shrimp & Bok Choy Noodle Bowl

When I found this recipe in one of my Rachael Ray cookbooks, I felt skeptical that I would like this recipe. Why? Because of one main ingredient. Clam juice!

“Clam Juice” – doesn’t that sound a little gross to you? Well, rest assured that the addition of this ingredient helped make the dish delicious. If you like clams, then the clam juice won’t be a big deal at all. It adds a hint of sea flavoring & saltiness to the dish that really supports the shrimp. It was a little hard to find at the store – I believe I found it around the lemon juices?

I made this dish on a cold, snowy evening and it really hit the spot. It was also quick (it’s one of her famous ’30 minute meals’…I can never get the timing down to exactly 30 minutes but oh well).

Spicy Shrimp & Bok Choy Noodle Bowl – adapted from Rachael Ray 

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes *if you don’t like spicy food, then simply omit this*
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 in ginger root cut into matchsticks, or grated
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 medium head bok choy
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 1 lb medium-sized peeled & deveined shrimp (get the raw kind if you can)
  • 1/2 lb rice noodles
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  1. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add oil, crushed red pepper, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, and bok choy; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add chicken broth and clam juice. Put a lid on the pot and bring soup to a boil.
  4. Add shrimp and noodles and cook until no longer pink.
  5. Add in scallions and cook for a minute.
  6. Turn off the heat & let it sit 2 to 3 minutes more. Adjust your seasonings and serve.
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I added sriracha to this, because it wasn’t spicy enough for me.

I thought it was neat that this dish thickens over time. I expected it to be more like soup; I suppose if you wanted it to remain that way, you could add more chicken broth.

Thanks for being patient with me as my posts have become a little more sporadic. It’s Christmas Concert season and with two jr/sr high schools, I’ve got TWO concerts coming up. Plus, it’s also basketball season, a.k.a. pep band season. Yuck. I’ve been so busy, and I’ve taken pictures to blog, so I’m behind. I assure you – there is more to come!

Rumor has we’ll be blessed with a bunch of snow Sunday night into Monday…which means it’s time to up my arsenal of warm, comfort food meals. Yum. Stay tuned! 🙂

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia

When it comes to seafood, I see it in two different categories: fish, and shellfish. I like love shellfish (most of it, anyways), but really don’t like much fish, at all. I can tell you that I don’t like: salmon, canned tuna, sole, swordfish, and whitefish. Fish I do like (or at least recall liking) include: fresh caught bass, mahi mahi, ahi tuna, tilapia, & perch. As you can see, fish lovers out there, there’s a huge variety of fish that I haven’t tried. Why? Because I’m afraid of tasting that strong, fishy flavor/smell. If that makes any sense at all?

I’ve been told by my husband that I cook fish really, really well, and that it’s a shame that I don’t enjoy it more. Maybe I should just keep trying more recipes? I guess the worst that could happen is that I hate it, and my husband likes it, and he can take all the leftovers for lunches…

…anyway, I made tilapia the other night, as I came across yet another recipe off of Pinterest. It looked good, and would be a nice use of the cilantro that came in this week’s CSA. Tilapia is a fish that I’m not afraid to work with, and have done so very well before with some Weight Watchers recipes.

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia – adapted from The Kitchn

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  • 1 lb tilapia fillets
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed
  • 1/4 cup white wine (I used pinot grigio)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • chives, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Lightly season the tilapia with salt & pepper, and place in dish.
  3. In a food processor, combine the garlic, ginger, and cilantro. Add the wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Process until blended.
  4. Pour the sauce over the fish. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until fish is cooked through (it will flake easily).

I served the fish atop of some white rice, with some sriracha sauce – I can’t eat anything Asian without it! On the side, I tossed some cucumber with some olive oil and rice vinegar.

Overall, this was a very nice, light, easy dish. It came together very quickly and very little prep was involved – then again, the food processor saved a lot of time! The sauce would also be great on any other meats, or shrimp, too. If you’re not the biggest fish eater, but can eat tilapia pretty painlessly, I suggest trying this dish out.

Question of the Day: What is your favorite fish dish? Any fish out there you recommend I try?