Showing posts with label eggs and shrimp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eggs and shrimp. Show all posts

Friday, September 2, 2011

Orzo for a late summer weekend lunch

I am in love with orzo in all its forms. This little gem looks like rice and behaves like pasta, because it is. It’s small enough to let pasta sauce or cheese cling to every little morsel. And for the same reason, it makes a great pasta salad. What’s more, everyone in my family seems to love it no matter what I do to it.

As I am expecting weekend guests in mid-September, I thought I’d test something that would work in for a casual lunch in very hot or very cool weather. We may have both the same weekend! Orzo should do the trick whatever the weather.

One of the guests is a vegetarian who has a hankering for shrimp and one is a carnivore who also likes seafood. I am hoping for warm weather and I think this Orzo Salad will do for everyone. So far it passed the husband test with flying colors when I served it in the screen porch on a perfect August day. Whenever I make this, I will now recall that lovely afternoon. Food and memories, that's what it's all about.


½ lb orzo

¼ cup olive oil

1 pound cooked shrimp (with a good squeeze of lemon)

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard

½ red pepper, finely chopped

½ yellow or orange pepper, finely chopped

2 green onions, finely sliced

½ parsley, finely chopped

¾ cup light mayonnaise or ½ cup mayo and ¼ cup sour cream or plain yogurt

¼ cup chopped fresh dill (optional)

Salt & pepper

Lemon wedges for garnish


Cook orzo in boiling salted water for about 8 minutes. Drain well and drizzle with olive oil and pepper. Set aside.

Toss shrimp with 1 tbsp lemon juice. Set aside.

Make the dressing by combining garlic, mustard, 2 tbsp lemon juice, half the parsley, remaining olive oil and salt and pepper. Whip until creamy.

Coat the shrimp in two tbsp of the dressing. You can also toss in scallops or other seafood. Toss orzo with peppers, green onions, remaining parsley and dressing. Fold in the shrimp and mayo (and sour cream or yogurt). Garnish with dill (optional) and lemon wedges.

Refrigerate for at least an hour for the best flavor. Like all my recipes you can add, subtract, switch it up and substitute. I will never admit that I forgot the parsley.

Serve it with a crisp green salad and vinaigrette. I'm finding wonderful lettuce at farmers' market now. Some of it is like a work of art. Not sure if we should frame it or eat it!

Late summer weekend afternoons are perfect for reading, especially the wonderful cozies that you'll find by our talented cooks here on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. Make more time for cooking and reading by following some practical time management tips. You'll find one in every chapter of my latest book: The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder, the fifth Charlotte Adams mystery. Have fun. Read mysteries. Now that's managing time well. Drop in to for more on me and Charlotte Adams. Sign up for the mailing list and your name goes in the draw!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Is there anything an egg can't do?

As Easter draws near, eggs seem to be everywhere. Symbolic of the earth and new life, they also manage to be tasty, versatile and so often chocolate.

I love eggs. I think they are like magic. There’s nothing they can’t do: become meringues, make cakes rise, turn into omelets or soufflés. Best of all, eggs are easy. And so they are often the answer to a meal when you are standing in front of the fridge with a panicked look on your face.
As this was the week that my new book, The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder, was released, I was short of time. I am sharing two egg recipes that saved the day and were made with ingredients I had in my fridge and freezer. Even in the same week, they were different enough to appeal.

I discovered this recipe for Eggs and Shrimp during our year in England. If I remember correctly it came from a Scottish-Italian cookbook, but that may have been a hallucination. I’ve had the recipe in a file for years and never tried it until last week. I’ve fiddled with it a bit (Don’t we all find that irresistible?) and was really pleased with the result. My husband loved it. He actually said, “I sure am glad you joined Mystery Lovers Kitchen!” I am not making that up. I appreciated this recipe because it didn’t taste like anything else I’d been cooking. Aren’t we always looking for something that tastes different, without being frightening?

I hope you’ll like it too. It sounds more complicated than it is. It’s another one of those recipes that take longer to type up than to make.

Eggs and shrimp


6 hardboiled eggs, shelled and cut in half (I cooked them ahead of time)

½ pound shelled cooked shrimp (Lucky me, I had cooked shrimp)

3 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons of flour

2 cups of milk

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Tablespoon of lemon juice

Pinch of cayenne

Dash of Worchestershire sauce (unless you hate it)


Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Melt butter over medium-high heat until it is foaming. Add flour, lower heat to medium, stir and cook for two minutes without browning. It really does taste better if you don’t cheat on the two minutes. Add milk and Dijon and cook on high until thickened. Use a whisk to blend until smooth. Keep whisking so it doesn’t burn. But do not abandon hope as this hasn’t really taken you very long! Remove from heat and add salt and pepper, lemon juice, Worchestershire sauce and cayenne and let it cool a bitl Of course, you can vary the seasonings to suit your own taste (and I know you’ll do that anyway). The sauce should be thin enough to pour easily, but have a nice creamy texture, so adjust accordingly.

Cut the eggs in half, remove the yolk and mash with a fork (just like deviled eggs, so far). Add the mayo and the chopped shrimp. Add half the cream sauce and mix. Place the eggs in a baking dish and heap the centers with the mixture. Cover with the rest of the cream sauce and bake for about 10 minutes or until brown and bubbly. That’s just enough time to set the table and make a crisp salad.

This is supposed to serve six, but that’s just not true. It also looks better in 'person'.

The second time and energy saver was Cheese Custard Pie. It’s been a family fave for years and really takes almost no time to prepare, especially if you can convince someone else to grate the cheese. It’s a great way to use up leftover cheese from one of Avery’s fabulous recipes.

Cheese custard pie


8 inch baked pie crust shell

1-3/4 cups 5 % cream (or milk)

1 cup shredded cheese (whatever you have in the fridge – I used old cheddar, Havarti and a bit of something quite mysterious).

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp paprika

1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions (the green bits)

A pinch of cayenne

3 eggs, beaten


Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Scald the milk or cream over high heat.

Reduce the heat and add the shredded cheese, stir until melted.

Add salt, paprika, green onion and cayenne.

Remove mixture from heat and add eggs slowly.

Fill pie crust and bake it until the custard is firm, about 45 minutes.

This looks and tastes great! Next time, I may slip in a bit of crisp bacon too. Now I can sit back and relax a bit. The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder is out! And if I take some of Charlotte Adams' time management hints, I'll be even further ahead. After all, I don't have to solve the murder.

The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder was a top pick in April RT Book Reviews with 4 1/2 Stars. In addition to murder and mayhem, Charlotte's spoiled miniature dachshunds are trying to pass their Therapy Dog test. Will it be three strikes you're out? Or third time's a charm?

You could win this cute watch if you guess the right outcome. Just pick the correct answer to this question:

What happens to the darling dachshunds during the Therapy Dog Test?

a)Truffle succeeds. Sweet Marie leaves in disgrace.

b) Sweet Marie shines, but Truffle snarls at an evaluator.

c) Success! Break out the champagne!

d) Both bomb. Charlotte is mortified.

e) None of the above

Send MJ the answer at! Good luck all round. Visit MJ over at or on Facebook.