July 15, 2010

Sizzling Garlic Shrimp

 For a quick and easy to prepare weeknight dinner...this is one of my favorites.  I always have frozen shrimp hiding away in my freezer, ready to jump into a pool of sizzling garlic and olive oil.  Frozen shrimp can be defrosted in about 15 minutes under some cool running water, so your dinner can be on the table in no time. 

Wine Pairing Suggestion:  Try a light refreshing Pinot Grigio or a crisp Chardonnay.  

Sizzling Garlic Shrimp
Serves 4 to 6

4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (or to your taste) 
1/4 cup of light olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp hot chili flakes
1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and rinsed
1/4 cup dry sherry or white wine
fresh lemon juice from half a lemon
Garnish optional:  flaked sea salt and chopped parsley

Heat the olive oil and butter in a 10-12 inch saute pan, over medium-heat.  Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook to soften, about 2-3 minutes.  The garlic will be golden in color.   Add the shrimp and saute until they are all pink, another 2-3 minutes.  Add sherry and let sizzle for about 2 minutes.  Squeeze some lemon juice over and garnish with some fresh parsley.  

Voila!   This is a classic Tapas dish served with some crusty bread to dip in that heavenly sauce, or you can add over your favorite cooked pasta.  


July 10, 2010

Decadant Stuffed Dates

Here's a little something different to serve at your next get together.  A little sweet...a little savory...I made these for several parties over the long weekend, and they were very well received.  

Dates are opulent in vitamins and minerals, as well as low in fat (one date has 23 calories), cholesterol, and sodium, and are packed with potassium...making these a great quick energy snack.  I could easily go on about the health benefits of the date, but for now...on to this quick easy snack.

Decadent Stuffed Dates

Medjool Dates
Ricotta Cheese (drained if runny)
Cocoa Powder

Cut a lengthwise slit down the center, but not through, each date and remove the seeds.
With a teaspoon, stuff each date with ricotta cheese and sprinkle with cocoa powder.  

It's as easy as that!  Enjoy!

July 3, 2010

Vanilla Angel Cake

This is the perfect light and delicious dessert to serve to your guests this holiday weekend!  Top with some fresh berries, homemade whipped cream and enjoy to your hearts content.  Next time, I will try  slicing the finished cake in half, and spreading on a raspberry jam or homemade lemon curd.  YUM!

After testing with two cakes, I suggest using a light colored baking pan as it produced a lighter (in color) cake. 
Also I would suggest using a mixer to beat the egg whites to a stiff peak and adding the yolks in to the mixer to blend, then fold in the remaining ingredients by hand with a spatula.  It really does make a difference in the cakes density.  Don't get me wrong...they were both delish, but the second produced airier results.  Lauren does everything by hand, including the egg whites.  (She Rocks!)
One other thing...Lauren's recipe bakes at 400 degrees for approx. 1 hour.  I found in my oven, it was beautifully done in 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Maybe my oven is just a lot hotter.  

Pairing Suggestion:  My favorite match would be a Canadian Ice Wine.  I think that you would agree!

Vanilla Angel Cake
Slightly adapted from French Food at Home (Lauren Calder) 

6 eggs, separated (yolks will go in later) 
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla powder (original recipes calls for vanilla extract) 
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour 
Fresh berries for serving
top with homemade whipped cream or creme fraiche

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and line with parchment paper a 9-inch light colored round cake pan.  
Beat the whites to stiff peaks in a mixer.  Beat in the yolks,  one at a time.  Fold in by hand the sugar, vanilla and sifted flour.  You should have a very high, moussy batter.  

Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake until golden on top, risen high, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  (My oven runs hot...you may need a little longer to cook your cake.)

Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes and transfer to a serving platter.  
Cover with fruit and serve with garnish of your choice (whipped cream, creme fraiche or ice cream.)