Showing posts with label scampi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scampi. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My 5 Kitchen Disasters -- and Recoveries (with recipes) by Cleo Coyle



"Only God gets things right 
the first time." 

~ Stephen King*


* Tweeted by "Advice to Writers," 
a fun twitter follow at this address: 




This quote leads my post today for
good reason. I'm talking about
Kitchen Disasters
(More on that below.)

But first...


------------------------



A shout-out to my fellow bloggers Lucy Burdette and Meg London (aka Peg Cochran), both of whom have new releases today: Death in Four Courses, the 2nd entry in Lucy's Key West Food Critic Mysteries; and Murder Unmentionable, the first in a new series, from Meg. To learn more, visit Lucy's home page here or Meg's page here, and be sure to come back for their blog days this week to learn more from the authors themselves. 

Congrats Lucy and Meg/Peg, 
have a great release week!


------------------------------




Cleo Coyle, who hasn't burned
down her kitchen (yet), is
author of
The Coffeehouse
Mysteries
.
My 5 Kitchen Disasters...
and Recoveries


Anyone who's spent serious time in the kitchen has had their share of gloppy rice, sunken cakes, and, (with apologies to Chef Paul Prudhomme) unintentionally blackened fish. On the other hand, if you click this link, you'll see that Chef Paul actually warns you: 

"If you don't have a commercial hood vent over your stove, this dish will set off every smoke alarm in your neighborhood!"

Which brings to mind my post from last Thanksgiving. That's where my Captain Kirk on fire photo came from, a public service message for those attempting to fry a whole turkey without, oh, say defrosting the bird...or putting the fryer a sufficient distance from flammable objects. 


You can view my post here along with "Eat, Fry, Love," the entertaining little video from Mr. Shatner and State Farm Insurance.

What's my point? Good cooking (like good writing) takes a bit of time: Writers write and re-write. Cooks cook and re-cook. 

A common piece of advice given to culinary students is to go home and practice, calling to mind an adorable scene from the equally adorable movie Julie & Julia. Do you remember it? Julia is determined to get her knife skills up to par in her French cooking class, so she goes home and chops a huge pile of onions in one afternoon. The resulting stench in the house (and sting to the eyes!) sends her husband out of the building for lunch. 


Julia's afternoon of "practice" was far from appealing, but in her cooking class the next day, she triumphed. (A classic set-up/pay-off of dramatic structure, too, thanks to the late, great writer/director Nora Ephron.)

Below are a few of my own stories of Fails that led to...well, better results. To children, we say, "try, try again," and that's the take-away today, I guess, in cooking, in writing, and in life.


~ Cleo


MY FAIL #1 
"Leftover Salsa" Pasta Primavera 


Spying a plastic container of leftover salsa one morning, I thought, "Why not give this a go?" Bad idea. Chef Gordon Ramsay would have spat this experiment of mine into his napkin. My lesson: never use leftover chopped tomatoes for anything but sauce!




RECOVERY 
A Healthier Shrimp Scampi Pasta


This is my my version of Shrimp Scampi, which swaps out the typical 1/2 cup of butter for olive oil with a touch of butter and places it over pasta. I'd like to think Gordon would ask for seconds...

To download my recipe PDF, click here.





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MY FAIL #2 
Zero Fat Muffins 



Behold my "zero fat" muffin. No butter, no oil--even the milk was skim. Pretty to look at, but this thing was low fat to the point of inedible. Hey, willpower's one thing, but ten minutes after eating this muffin, you'd be tearing into a pan of brownies, just to get the flavor and texture out of your mouth! Major fail.




RECOVERY 
Oatmeal Cookie Muffins


A tasty little muffin laced with the flavors of an oatmeal cookie. It has the goodness of oats in it and is also low in fat, using canola oil and low fat buttermilk instead of butter. It does have sugar and I wouldn't recommend eating six in one sitting, but it's a useful alternative to a lot of high-fat recipes or fast food muffins.

For my Oatmeal Cookie Muffin recipe, click here.





--------------------------------------




MY FAIL #3 
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars



Oh, geez, don't ask. I have the photo because I was hoping it would work out. But it was such a major fail, I threw it out! (Never firmed up for cutting and the flavor was awful.)





RECOVERY 
Microwave Fudge






Yes, you really can make fudge using just your microwave. It's smooth and tasty and (IMO) nice enough to serve to guests or give as a gift.

For my Microwave Fudge
recipe, click here.












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My FAIL #4 
Key Lime Pie 



Distracted one day, I had miscounted the number of eggs in this pie. Woops. The homemade graham cracker crust was delicious and so was the pie, after I froze it.  But serving it thawed was a total disaster. My lesson: pay attention while cooking!





RECOVERY 
No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake Pie

Another crack at the Key Lime Pie, while actually counting the number of eggs, led to success. But the fail led me to trying the recipe Marc's mom made for him as a kid, most likely from a recipe clipped from a newspaper or cream cheese package. (I tweaked her ratios until I was happy with it, and made it an even easier recipe by using a pre-made crust.)

To download a recipe PDF for the No-Bake Lime Cheesecake Pie, click here.



--------------------------------------





#5 Not Quite a Fail, more like a... 
Not yet good enough!





Behold my latest try for my
Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Yes, I am still experimenting, trying to get that perfect balance with cake layers as chocolaty as they can be while still being strong enough to hold up to the pudding filling and frosting of the classic Blackout structure.


The experiments continue
into this week! 



When I get it just right, I'll start uploading it on my Web site. Check later in the week at www.CoffeehouseMystery.com for updates. And I'll be sure to share it with you right here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, too, so no worries. Until next week...

Try, try again... 
(with joy!)



~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries






Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Healthier Shrimp Scampi and a Fun Florida Film Festival by Cleo Coyle





You will not find "shrimp scampi" in a cookbook of authentic Italian dishes. This dish was born in America, and when you order it, you'll usually be served a gratin of large shrimp that have been split, brushed with an obscene amount of garlic butter and then broiled. 

Cleo Coyle, pasta eater,
is author of
The
Coffeehouse  Mysteries
Some restaurants like to serve it over pasta or rice. A famous chain of American seafood restaurants has long been known for its scampi. You can even get Red Lobster's copycat scampi recipe by clicking here.

My scampi recipe for you this week is not from any particular menu, it's simply my improvised, lighter version. The meal is satisfying yet healthy. Garlic, olive oil, fresh parsley, and seafood--all good stuff. You can make it even healthier by using a spinach, whole wheat, or low glycemic index pasta. When I make it, my husband inhales bowls of it, and I hope you enjoy it, too.


If you live in or near Sarasota, Florida, you may also enjoy this bit of news. The annual Sarasota Film Festival is underway this week and from now through Sunday, April 22nd, you can catch a wonderful presentation of films, many with the filmmakers and actors in attendance and ready to answer questions after the screenings.


A good buddy of mine, Scott Ciencin, is on the Festival staff and answered questions in the video below. Just click on the arrow to learn more, and if you see Scott at the festival, tell him Cleo Coyle says Hey! No kidding, don't be shy. Scott is one of the nicest guys in the whole wide world.

---------------



-------------------


Sarasota Film Festival official website - Click Here for more information, including the film schedule and tips from "The Insider," my friend Scott Ciencin.




 
Cleo Coyle's (Healthier)
Shrimp Scampi
with Angel Hair





To download a PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.


Servings: about 4
Ingredients:

20-24 Large Shrimp (fresh or frozen) 
16 ounces pasta (1 box is usually 16 oz or 1 pound) 
5 tablespoons olive oil 
6-8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 
1 tablespoon butter 
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1/4 cup dried, but fresh tastes better!) 
1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs 
1/2 teaspoon oregano

(Optional finishers) Freshly ground pepper; a quick squeeze of fresh lemon wedge or a bit of lemon zest grated over the top; sea salt; or freshly grated pecorino (read the comments after this post for the cheese on seafood question). 


Directions:

(1) First clean and peel your shrimp. If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost the shrimp first. Then make your pasta according to the package directions. I like angel hair but any pasta will work. To make this dish even more healthy, try spinach, whole wheat, or a specialty pasta with a low glycemic index. Drain well and set aside.

(2) Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Throw in the chopped garlic cloves and saute for a minute or two. Toss in your shrimp. In 3 to 5 minutes, when they turn pink, stop the cooking. Do not overcook or shrimp will be tough and rubbery. Leave the oil in the pan but take out the shrimp and the garlic and set aside.

(3) Add the butter to the pan. When the butter melts, add your drained pasta, rolling around to coat well with the oil and butter. Toss in the Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, parsley, and oregano, and put your shrimp back into the pan to warm again.

(4) There is no need to add the chunks of garlic back in because by now the garlic has imparted its flavor to the oil. However, if you really like garlic (as we do), then throw it back in there, baby! Toss all ingredients together and serve.

Finish: Although there is much debate about whether to serve seafood pasta dishes with cheese (see the comments :)), I do enjoy grating pecorino over the top. Freshly ground pepper is also nice on this dish and/or a squeeze of lemon.





Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of




To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit my online coffeehouse: CoffeehouseMystery.com



The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 
 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure


Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
Mysteries
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cleo Coyle’s (Healthier) Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair


You will not find a recipe for "shrimp scampi" among the 1200+ pages of The Professional Chef, the cookbook of the CIA. (No, not the guys with black helicopters, the Culinary Institute of America.)

You will not find "shrimp scampi" in a cookbook of authentic Italian dishes, either. For one thing, "scampi" in Italian refers to Dublin Bay Prawns (the singular is scampo. So essentially the loose translation of "shrimp scampi" would be shrimp shrimp, which sounds even sillier than the oxymoron jumbo shrimp).

Like me, shrimp scampi was born in America; and on United States restaurant menus, ordering this dish usually means you'll be getting a gratin of large shrimp that have been split, brushed with plenty of butter & garlic and then broiled. Some restaurants like to serve it over pasta or rice. A famous chain of American seafood restaurants has long been known for its scampi. (You can even get Red Lobster's copycat scampi recipe by clicking here.)


My recipe below is not "authentic" shrimp scampi from any particular menu, it's simply my improvised, lighter version. The meal is satisfying yet healthy. Garlic, olive oil, fresh parsley, and seafood--all good stuff. You can make it even healthier by using a spinach, whole wheat, or low glycemic index pasta. When I make it, my husband inhales bowls of it, and I hope you enjoy it, too...

Cleo Coyle's (Healthier)
Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair

Servings: about 4
Ingredients:

20-24 Large Shrimp (fresh or frozen)
16 ounces pasta (1 box is usually 16 oz or 1 pound)
5 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1/4 cup dried, but fresh tastes better!)
1/4 cup Italian Seasoned breadcrumbs (I use Progresso or 4C brand)
1/2 teaspoon oregano (dried is ok here)

(Optional finishers) Freshly ground pepper; a quick squeeze of fresh lemon wedge (or a bit of lemon zest grated over the top); sea salt; or freshly grated Pecorino Romano. Directions:

(1) First clean and peel your shrimp. (If using frozen, defrost first.) Then make your pasta according to the package directions. I like angel hair but any pasta will work. (To make this dish even more healthy, try spinach, whole wheat, or a specialty pasta with a low glycemic index.) Drain well and set aside.
(2) Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Throw in the chopped garlic cloves and saute for a minute or two. Toss in
your shrimp. When the little fellas begin to turn pink (3 to 5 minutes, do not overcook or shrimp will be tough and rubbery), stop the cooking. Leave the oil in the pan but take out the shrimp and the garlic and set aside.

(3) Add the butter to the pan. When the butter melts, add your drained pasta to the pan, rolling around to coat well with the oil and butter. Toss in the Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, parsley, and oregano, and put your shrimp back into the pan to warm again.

(4) There is no need to add the chunks of garlic back in because the garlic has already imparted its flavor to the oil. However, if you really like garlic (as we do), then throw it back in there, baby! Toss all ingredients together and serve! Finish: Although there is much debate about whether to serve seafood pasta dishes with cheese, I do enjoy grating some nice, salty Pecorino Romano over the top. Freshly ground pepper is also nice on this dish and/or a squeeze of lemon.






Eat with joy!

To get more of my recipes or to learn
about the books in my
Coffeehouse Mystery series,
visit my official Web site:
http://coffeehousemystery.com/



Till next time,
~ Cleo Coyle

author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

www.CoffeehouseMystery.com



Comments welcome!