Gazpacho With Grilled Shrimp and Crostini

Gazpacho With Grilled Shrimp and Crostini

Gazpacho is a classic summer refresher. This cold soup is delicious as an appetizer, or an entree. And when you dress it up a little bit with grilled shrimp, you’ve turned this into an event to be remembered! Some folks like a little “heat” with their cold soup, so feel free to experiment with adding some extra black pepper, or some hot sauce – or whatever strikes your fancy – it’s your gazpacho, after all!

GAZPACHO WITH GRILLED SHRIMP & CROSTINI

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb 16/20 or 21/25 peeled and deveined but tail on shrimp*
  • 4-5 large tomatoes chunked but ½ cup in small dice and reserved
  • 1 small English cucumber, peeled, seeded & chunked with ¼ cup in small dice and reserved
  • 1 red pepper, stem and seeds cut out and cut into chunks
  • 1 shallot quartered
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsps red wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for the shrimp and for drizzling
  • 1 small baguette cut into ½-1 inch slices
  • Tsp kosher salt plus more for shrimp
  • Pepper

* Shrimp is often noted with numbers like 16/20 or 41/50.  This tells you the range of number of that size shrimp you will find in a pound.  Smaller numbers mean bigger sized shrimp.

METHOD:

Toss the shrimp with a few tsps of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Brush both sides of the bread slices with oil. Turn the grill on to medium high/high.  When it is heated up, place the shrimp on the grill and let cook for about 2 minutes.  Turn over and cook one minute more.  Remove from the grill and reserve.  Grill the bread for about 3 minutes per side on an indirect heat portion of the grill.  Place all the other ingredients except for the bread and reserved tomatoes and cucumber in a blender and blend on high until smooth.  Pour into bowls, top with some of the diced tomatoes and cucumbers, place a few shrimp and a slice of grilled bread on top and drizzle with oil.

Citrus Tilapia Over Couscous

Citrus Tilapia Over Couscous

Citrus TilapiaThis is so simple, but packs and incredible, “Wow!” The colors are amazing (and you won’t believe how good this smells while it is cooking!) But best of all this recipe is so EASY.

Be sure to watch the videos below to lean how to chiffonade and supreme citrus -these are skills that will come in handy in the kitchen.

This is a favorite at JuliaCooks – everybody in the family (even the picky ones) find something to enjoy in this dish.

 

CITRUS-BAKED TILAPIA OVER COUSCOUS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup couscous, whole wheat preferred (but not critical)
  • 1 1/2 lb tilapia filets
  • 1 grapefruit, cut into supremes with juice
  • 1 orange, cut into supremes with juice
  • 6 mixed mini peppers, if you can find, or 2 sweet peppers (red, orange, yellow), cleaned and sliced
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
  • Olive oil

 

METHOD:

Cook the couscous according to package directions and turn the oven on to 375.  Salt and pepper both sides of the tilapia filets and place them into a lightly oiled baking dish. Sprinkle with the dried basil and oregano.  Place the peppers over the fish and then pour the citrus supremes and juice over.  Give it all a good drizzle of olive oil and cover with foil.  Bake this in the oven until the fish is cooked through and flakey, about 15 – 20 minutes, depending on the size of your filets. Remove to a serving platter or plates with the couscous and top with the fresh basil.

The Girl Needs Her Nut Milk But Waste Makes Me Nuts

The Girl Needs Her Nut Milk But Waste Makes Me Nuts

I have a kid who has developed a smallish obsession with iced coffee and alterna-milk.  If she goes to the fridge on any particular morning and finds that there is only milk from a cow, she questions me, in a way that only a 14 year old can, “why do you hate me?”  And, honestly, I am mostly happy to make it for her, because I am a mom, and caring for my people with food is what I do.  The thing that gets me, though, is I really hate waste.  I am a big fan of nose to tail, leaf to root, bark to pulp, and whatever other neat phrase you can think of to convey “use it all”.  As such, I am sometimes reluctant to make the nut milk, because I know I will need a second plan to utilize the left over meat.  Sometimes this is easy to do but sometimes, well, I just don’t feel like it.

Faced with a morning where we had run out of the last batch and neither of us thought ahead to soak some almonds the night before, I turned to our good friend, Cashew.  Cashews don’t need the big soak that almonds do so they are great for the last minute whirr through the Ninja.  She went running, I got to milking.  A couple of cups of nuts (or, I guess, technically, seeds) went into the blender along with two dates, a splash of vanilla and then water about double the amount of cashews.  Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  At this point, you seasoned nut milk makers and drinkers might be thinking, “but you can totally drink un-strained cashew milk.”  Sure, you can.  We don’t.  Too, um, cashew-y?  So I got this kind of thing going on.

Milk went into the fridge next to the cold brew and I was left staring at this.

That spoon, by the way is the one that comes with our Ice Cream Sundae Delivery service.  You heard that right: ice cream sundae.  Delivered to your door.  With cute reusable spoon.  We live in a magical place.

But, back to the task at hand, staring at this soggy cashew meat, I decided  to turn it into some little chocolate snacks, so I squeezed it through some cheese cloth, mixed in cocoa powder, honey, a bit of nut butter and oats that I toasted (just takes a few minutes).

 

On the first go it didn’t quite have the right consistency so I added a bit more nut butter to go from this

 

to this

And yes, that is a lego man in the background, because small people.

Roll’em up. pop ’em in the fridge for a few minutes and then this one, in from her run

could sit down to this

Want to try these for yourself?  As you could see, I didn’t have a recipe and you can do the same.  I believe in you!  My rough amounts were 2 cups of cashew paste, 2 tbsp honey, 2-3 tbsp nut butter, 1/4 cup cocoa powder and half-ish cup oats.  But just mix and try, taste and squeeze.  When it tastes and feels right, it’s right.   I wish you a very good day of running and rolling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I First Met: Cold Sesame Noodles (hint: it was the ’80’s)

When I First Met: Cold Sesame Noodles (hint: it was the ’80’s)

For a year after high school and before I trucked off to college, I had a glorious break hanging with family and their new little dude.  It was the late eighties and the food trends were things like California rolls, blooming onions, 7 layer dip, dips in bread bowls (haha this is still a staple of our Thanksgiving weekend), and blackened anything.  And there were also yuppies.  And yuppies who ate things like cold sesame noodles.  And so this is where I first knew of this dish’s existence – in a yuppie house (said with love) in NJ with a baby after high school.  Sounds vaguely like a twisted children’s book – but I digress.

Cold sesame noodles, sometimes called cold peanut noodles, sometimes with sesame paste (aka tahini), sometimes peanut butter, sometimes both.  Often with cucumber, sometimes carrots, sometimes spicy, sometimes not, now just as likely with zoodles or squoodles or sprouted things.  Sometimes udon, sometimes, soba, sometimes regular old linguini.  No matter, though, because it is all about the sauce.  Unctious, umami-rich, a little salt, a little tang, a lotta yum, the sauce is the dish.  That makes it expansively adaptable, as long as you’ve got that tasty sauce.  I actually hadn’t had or thought of these cold noodles in quite a while and I am not sure what brought them back to me these last weeks – perhaps the recent visit from that baby who is now (yikes, what?!) 30, a stellar chef and star creator of all things smoked, or perhaps the constant search for non-hot things to serve in these dog days – but I am sure glad to have gotten reacquainted.  What follows is my current version.  Enjoy with or without neon jellies and a Tab.

Ingredients:

8 oz package of udon noodles (can sub any other long pasta)

8 oz vegetable noodles – zucchini, carrot, squash, etc

½ cup peanut butter

2 tbsps tahini (ok to omit)

4 tbsps soy sauce

2 tbsps rice vinegar

2 tbsps sesame oil

2 tbsps brown sugar

5-6 tbsps hot water

1 tsp sriracha or hot sauce of choice

1 tbsp sesame seeds

Method:

Boil water for the noodles.  While the pasta noodles cook (don’t put the veg noodles in the water yet), prepare the sauce by placing the peanut butter, tahini, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, water, and hot sauce in a blender.  Blend on high until well incorporated. If it seems too thick add more water. When the noodles are close to done, after 8-10 minutes, depending on your noodles, add the vegetable noodles to the same boiling water.  Cook these for 1-2 minutes, until they just soften a bit but don’t get mushy. Drain all into a colander. In a large bowl, toss the noodles and sauce together until all the noodles are well covered with sauce. Top with sesame seeds before serving.

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