Great fried shrimp is like sea candy…you just can’t get enough. This recipe is easy and really delicious. Never use anything but wild-caught American shrimp!

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1 lb. wild-caught USA shrimp
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
2 tablespoons Paul Prudhomme Seafood Magic seasoning
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 raw egg, scrambled
avocado oil or pork fat, for frying

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Combine the flour, corn meal, Prudhomme seasoning (see below) and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Scramble the egg in another bowl and set aside.

Peel and de-vein the shrimp. Remove the entire shell, or leave the tip of the tail, depending on your preference.

Heat a pan with an inch of the oil. When it reaches 325 degrees, it’s ready for frying.

Dip the shrimp in the egg, and shake off any excess. Then toss the shrimp in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Carefully place the shrimp in the pan of oil.

Cook the shrimp for about 45 seconds, flip them over, and cook for another 45 seconds, until they’re golden brown. Don’t crowd the pan and never overcook shrimp!

Drain on paper towels and serve immediately!

It takes less than a minute to fry the shrimp. Don't overcook!

It takes less than a minute to fry the shrimp. Don’t overcook!

 

The shrimp are delicious by themselves, but here’s an easy remoulade to make along with them…

1 cup mayo
1/4 cup Gulden’s mustard
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Combine the ingredients and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

 

It’s a bit of a cheat, but I find the Paul Prudhomme Seafood Magic seasoning has great flavor and works really well for this. I also use it on fish: simply pan saute a filet in butter, and sprinkle on the seasoning. I originally started with the small jar found in most supermarkets, but then quickly graduated to the jumbo size can found online!

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GARDEN HARVEST!

Posted: July 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

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This is what all the hard work in the spring is all about: walking into my garden and picking 4 varieties of tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, Chiogga beets, and fennel.

Now, I’ve got some cookin’ to do!

It’s interesting that an Eastern European country that is as far north as Newfoundland has one of the most refreshing cold summer soups of any country in Europe. It’s a cold beet soup called Šaltibarščiai (pronounced shul-tih barsh-chay) and it’s classic Lithuanian cooking at its best.

No summer was complete without my Mom’s Šaltibarščiai on the table, and my Dad always insisted on eating it with boiled potatoes on the side. Now residing in an assisted living facility, my Mom has not had this soup in many years, so I made her a batch when she came to visit recently.

There are many different variations of this soup. For example, many Lithuanians today use keffir instead of buttermilk. My Mom insists this is a “Russian influence” and not a good thing. I just think buttermilk tastes better.

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1 quart buttermilk
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
8 beets, cooked, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 scallion, finely chopped, greens only
salt
a pile of boiled potatoes (optional)

 

Pour the buttermilk into a large bowl. If it’s very thick, you can dilute it a bit with fresh water.

Peel and chop the eggs and toss them in the bowl. Peel, seed and chop the cukes…then into the bowl.

I love Love Beets, hermetically sealed cooked and peeled beets, ready to use, available in most supermarkets. (In the old days, my Mom would simply use canned beets.) I open a couple of packs of Love Beets, pouring the beet juice into the bowl. I chop the beets and add them as well.

Grab some fresh dill and chop it finely. Add it to the bowl. Finely chop the greens of one or two scallions and sprinkle some salt on them. Rub the salt into the scallions, mashing them a bit, softening them. Then add the to the bowl.

Stir everything together, put a lid on the bowl, and let it chill in the fridge for a few hours.

Remove from fridge, stir, and season with more salt if needed.

 

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I came up with this crunchy appetizer a few years ago, when I needed a tasty bite for one of our summer parties. I wanted something fresh that highlighted the veggies of the season, so a quick trip to the farm stand helped me decide on the ingredients.

 

Baby bell peppers
1 dozen ears fresh corn, removed from the cob
1 Vidalia onion, peeled, quartered, grilled, chopped
Juice of 1 large lime
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Frank’s Red Hot
1 lb. Queso Fresco, crumbled
Salt and pepper
Fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped

 

Cut corn from ears, and saute very briefly in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a bowl and let it cool.

Peel and quarter the Vidalia onion, and throw it on a hot grill with a little olive oil to get some nice grill marks on it, leaving the onion still crispy, not soft. Remove, let cool, then place in a food processor and pulse until the onion is chopped into small bits, just smaller than the corn kernels. Add onions to the corn.

In a separate small bowl, combine the mayo and Frank’s Red Hot. Pour in the crumbled Queso Fresco and mix well. Pour this into the corn and onion bowl and mix well.

Add lime juice to the bowl and mix well again. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the baby bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds and membrane. Stuff the peppers with the corn mixture and garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley.

If preparing ahead of time, refrigerate until ready to eat, but serve them cool but not cold.

Options: You can substitute small seeded tomatoes for the peppers. Frozen organic corn works well when fresh isn’t available. And you can caramelize the onion in a saute pan rather than grill it.

 

 

 

The corn is out on farm stands in my neighborhood, and it’s really hard to resist, despite the fact that corn is at the top of the loaded-with-pesticides list of veggies. Organic farmers struggle with corn because it demands a lot and produces little in return, so I’m growing my own patch this year, a small 5-by-5 foot square that will yield a couple dozen organic ears, if I do it right.

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen those videos where the person takes corn still in the husk, pops it in the microwave, and then slips out a perfect ear of corn without any silk minutes later. If you haven’t, here’s one of them…

There are 2 problems with this method: 1) It takes forever to do a dozen ears…and 2) It ruins the damn corn!

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Why would anyone who’s passionate about fresh corn, stick it in a microwave and nuke the living hell out of it? Fresh corn needs a minimalist approach. It should be eaten practically raw…not bombarded with gamma rays and dehydrated in to shriveled kernels.

I love my corn right off the cob…and I still stick to the tried-and-true method of putting it in a pot of water and boiling it for a very short time. Do I get a few strands of silk? Sure. That’s part of the deal. Real corn has silk…just like real fish has bones. Get over it.

My wife and daughter like their corn off the cob. In that case, I shuck the corn, stand the ear up in a bowl while it’s still raw, and slice down with a knife to remove the kernels. I then lightly saute the corn in a pan with unsalted organic butter and a pinch of Fleur de Sel. Those pieces that have several rows of kernels stuck together, across and down, are the favorites.

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One other way I’ve cooked corn is the “cooler corn” method, which is great when you have a large crowd to feed. Get your favorite cooler and make sure it’s clean inside. Shuck your corn and place the ears in the cooler. Boil a large pot of water on the stove and then pour the hot water over the corn. Close the cooler lid tightly and let it sit for about 30 minutes. You will have perfect corn every time.

 

 

 

Freshly shucked oysters and clams–or in this case–beautiful boiled wild-caught American shrimp, call for an equally amazing cocktail sauce…and this sauce kicks butt! And it features a key ingredient that you might not expect: vodka. The small amount of vodka in the mix keeps the cocktail sauce from freezing solid when stored in the freezer. Just scoop out what you need, let it thaw, and put the rest back in the freezer.

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2 cups ketchup
4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot, or other hot pepper sauce
5 grinds of fresh black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon good quality vodka, like Tito’s

Combine all the ingredients. Store in a tight plastic container in the freezer.

My raspberry plants are producing a ton of fruit right now, and when that happens every season, I could turn my attention toward tarts, jams or even ice cream. But I prefer to focus on Mojitos!

Very often, I’ll use raspberries alone, but Mojitos are even better when you combine the raspberries with blueberries. Frozen fruit works well, too. Make it by the pitcher and you’ll never make it any other way again!

The ingredients

The ingredients

 

Make ahead of time…
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lime juice
1 1/3 cups turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)

Mix both ingredients together and let stand at room temp. Shake until dissolved. The mixture can be covered and refrigerated for several weeks and ready to use any time. Shake well before using.

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For the Mojitos…
1 cup sugar/lime mixture
1 cup mint leaves, packed
1/2 pint blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 pint raspberries (fresh or frozen)
3 or 4 cups white rum, preferably Don Q Cristal rum
3 or 4 cups club soda

Combine mint leaves and 1/2 cup of sugar/lime mixture in bottom of a pitcher. Muddle mint up very well to release mint oils. Add blueberries and continue to muddle.

Add remaining sugar/lime mixture, rum and raspberries. Mix well. Just before serving, add club soda and ice. Stir. Pour into glasses.

Or…for drinks one at a time, fill a tall glass with ice. Fill one-third to halfway with club soda. Top with Mojito mix. Garnish with mint leaf.

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

Whenever I serve these tuna tacos to friends, I always get requests for the recipe. It requires a bit of setting up, but you can put it together right before serving to your guests…or yourself.

I use sushi grade tuna for this dish, which is easily found in small frozen “bricks” at Whole Foods or similar stores.

For the Marinade…
6 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon pepper oil

The topping…

¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
Chopped fresh scallions

Other Ingredients…

½ lb sushi grade raw tuna, chopped into ¼-inch cubes
Tortilla chips
Finely chopped scallions
Assemble…

Make the topping in a bowl first, and place in the fridge. Mix marinade ingredients in a separate bowl. Chop tuna into ¼-inch cubes, and marinate in soy/oil mix for just 10 minutes, then drain. Keep it cold!

Just before serving, take a tortilla chip, place 1 tablespoon of tuna on top, top this with ½ teaspoon sour cream mixture, and garnish with chopped scallions.

Eat these quickly, before the tuna makes the tortilla soggy!

 

Brining, the process of letting a hunk of protein soak in a salt solution for a few hours, is a great way to add flavor and moisture to any cut of meat. I brine these wings for 3 hours before using a sweet and spicy rub. They can be grilled or roasted in the oven.

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The brine…

1/2 cup Kosher salt
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 whole bay leaf
2 quarts water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat, and let it cool to room temperature.

The rub…

1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated onion
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Place 3 lbs. of chicken wings in a Ziplock bag and pour the cooled brine into the bag. Place the bag in a bowl to prevent leaks and place in the fridge for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, remove the chicken from the brine and dry with paper towels. Discard the brine.
Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the rub, tossing to coat the chicken well. Place the bowl with the chicken in the fridge until ready to cook.
About 30 minutes before cooking, remove the bowl from the fridge and let the chicken come to room temperature.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 or light a grill.
Toss the chicken with some more of the rub, if you like, then place the pieces on a sheet pan lined with non-stick aluminum foil.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until done. Lower oven temperature if it starts to burn.

If grilling, cook over medium heat, turning frequently to prevent burning. Cook until the wings are done.

 

A WORD OF THANKS!

Posted: June 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

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