Lemon Shrimp Pasta

I came home from a board meeting and was starving. I’m due for a grocery store visit but I had to make dinner from what I already had on hand. It isn’t so bad when your pantry and freezer is well stocked.

This is a prime example of a pantry sauce as everything in it either came from the fridge, freezer or cabinets: I used bottled lemon juice and I made milk from some powdered no-fat milk. I have some dehydrated lemon I’m using in place of zest. I keep a bag of diced Vidalia onion in the freezer and I used about a third cup of it.

For the protein, the last time I boiled shrimp, I peeled some extra and placed them in snack bags and froze them for later use. It takes very little time to thaw them in a hot sauce as they are already cooked.

Acid tends to break dairy sauces, especially ones with lower fat. To avoid this, I tossed the pasta with the lemon juice instead of adding it to the sauce. There may still be some curdling but it won’t affect the taste at all.

To add a healthy twist, you can also add a cup of frozen broccoli. As you can see from my plate, I didn’t bother.

Lemon Pasta with Shrimp

Linguine pasta
1 tablespoon butter
½ onion or 1/3 cup frozen and diced
salt and pepper
lemon zest (about 1 teaspoon dehydrated lemon peel)
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Bring water for the pasta to a boil and cook the linguine as the package directions.

In a small pan, melt the butter and sauté the onions for 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper and stir. Pour in the milk and lemon zest. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring regularly and let it cook down while the pasta boils, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and broccoli, if using. Continue to stir regularly while pasta finishes cooking.

Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Toss with the lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir to combine.

Serve immediately.

Westside 66 Grocery and Deli

Over the weekend, I took some friends over the Mississippi river to visit the Whitney Plantation. That is the only plantation that focuses on the stories of the enslaved and it is a moving and powerful experience that I highly recommend.

A black angel carrying a baby to Heaven is built in the Field of Angels, a section of the slave memorial dedicated to the 2,200 Louisiana slave children who died before their third birth date as documented in the Sacramental Records of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

We were overwhelmed and hungry when we finished and knew we couldn’t make it all the back to New Orleans without refueling. One of the workers in the gift shop told us about the Westside 66 Grocery about 5 miles away.

This is a very unassuming place – just a few tables but it smelled really good and had options for po-boys, catfish and fried chicken. I’m always willing to try fried chicken. I’m so glad we did.

Two pieces and fries and a drink for $5. The skin was crispy and the meat was super juicy. They put a seasoned salt on the fries and they were so creamy inside. Super yum!

Picture by Roxie

When you are visiting the Westbank plantations, consider stopping in here for a meal that is delicious, filling and very reasonably priced.

 
Westside 66 Grocery and Deli
4229 Highway 18
Edgard, LA 70049
985) 497-8060

 

Olive Cheese Bites

It is always a treat to find vintage party-food recipes in my mom’s recipe box. This particular one takes cheese straws up a notch by using a similar dough to encase pimento stuffed green olives for a briny, cheesy appetizer.

I decided these would be my game day treat for when the New Orleans Saints play the Los Angeles Rams today in the NFL Conference Championship.

I only baked half and froze the rest for the next event. Who knows – it could be for Super Bowl LIII!

Geaux, Saints!

**Author’s note**

If you use something other than extra sharp cheddar, you will need to add a bit more flour as the dough will not firm up enough.

48 to 50 small manzanilla olives (pimento stuffed green olives)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 stick unsalted butter, softened and cut into 8 tablespoons
8 oz (about 2 cups) extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg

Drain the olives and pat them with paper towels to dry them.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour and spices until well-mixed. In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, grated cheese and softened butter. Pulse until combined. Crack the egg into the food processor and pulse until a dough forms. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour.

Remove the dough and work with half at a time. Break off 24 teaspoon to marble-sized pieces of the dough and flatten them into the palm of your hand, making a small disk just large enough to encase an olive. Place an olive in the center of the dough, then wrap the dough around the olive until it’s sealed. Roll it in your palms until it is smooth and ball-shaped. Place the ball on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. Repeat until all of the dough is used, spacing the balls about an inch apart.

At this point you can bake them right away, refrigerate them for baking later or, even freeze the dough on cookie sheets, and then store them in zip top bag for baking at a later date.

If you’re baking these immediately, place the cookie sheet with the dough into a preheated 400 degree F oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, watching carefully, or until the dough is lightly browned and firm to the touch. Transfer the bites to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If frozen, allow the dough to thaw while the oven preheats. Bake them about 5 minutes longer when they’ve been frozen.

Cochon Butcher’s Muffaletta

I’ve written before about my trips to Cochon Butcher (here in 2012 and again in 2014). On Friday, I had friends in town who had never had a muffaletta. For those who aren’t familiar, visualize a cousin of the Italian sub. Layers of various meats and cheese—ham, capicola, salami, mortadella, provolone are typical–plus some sort of pickled veggies. In the case of muffaletta, it is typically an olive salad.

The Cochon Butcher version has smoked meats on a sesame seed Sicilian bun. They were a really nice flavor addition. The olive salad wasn’t overpowering, it gave just the right amount of tang to the sandwich.

We also had the Brussel sprouts, mac and cheese and pretzels but we inhaled all of those too fast for me to get picture. Trust me, they were all delicious.

I’ve yet to have anything that wasn’t good at this place.

Cochon Butcher
930 Tchoupitoulas
New Orleans, LA
504-588-7675

Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes

I was heading to a board meeting yesterday and I wanted to take some cupcakes to help us act in accordance with the fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience. Because of where I am on my cycle, they had to be not just chocolate but chocolate on chocolate cupcakes.

The result was rich, dark and delicious. Because of the melted butter, water and buttermilk, these are super moist, too. Chop the pecans very finely, so they becomes little nutty bits within the frosting.

Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks unsalted butter
5 tablespoons good quality cocoa
1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs,
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place cupcake liners in 2 pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, place the flour, sugar, salt and soda and stir to combine.

In saucepan, melt the butter. Once melted, stir in the cocoa and then add the boiling water. Pour the butter/cocoa over the flour mixture. Stir gently to combine.

In a separate bowl, beat together the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the batter. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3rds of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating pans midway through baking. A toothpick pressed in the center should come out clean.

Cool on wire racks before frosting.

The frosting is sweet without being cloying and is also deeply chocolate.

Chocolate Pecan Frosting

1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
5 tablespoons good quality cocoa
6 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped

Melt butter in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Add cocoa and stir to combine. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and powdered sugar. Stir together until well combined. Add the pecans and stir together. Once cooled, spread over the cupcakes.

Lemon Sage Roast Chicken

I was able to get a lot of sage for a little money and have been going wild with recipes. This is one of the few chicken recipes that I didn’t brine but I did marinade it overnight, so there is plenty of flavor and it didn’t dry out.

I served this with roasted Brussel sprouts and baked sweet potatoes.

Lemon Sage Roast Chicken

3-5 lb whole chicken
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced (about 1/4 cup juice)
1/2 cup sage leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cloves garlic

Spatchcock the chicken by cutting out the backbone. Finely chop lemon zest, sage leaves and garlic. Smush together with the salt. You can use a food processor to get everything good and chopped. Mix with the olive oil and lemon juice. Place in a zip top bag with chicken and place in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours.

Pull chicken from refrigerator about an hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with a cast iron skillet in the oven. Remove chicken from marinade and set in the hot skillet, breast side up. Press down on the breastbone to get it to lay flat. Roast for 20 minutes. Baste with pan juices. Continue to roast and baste after another twenty minutes. Drop heat to 325 degrees F and continue to cook until done (internal temperature should be 165 degrees F in the thighs) about 30 minutes more.

Let rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Rosemary Sage Salt

I like herb salt and always keep a jar of rosemary salt around for all sorts of things but especially roast potatoes. I was lucky to get several blister packs of sage on sale, so I decided to make a combination salt for cooking and grilling.

Herb salts keep the flavor of fresh herbs so give it a try on chicken, pork, veggies, or even popcorn.

Rosemary Sage Salt

1 cup kosher or coarse sea salt, divided
3/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
3/4 cup fresh sage leaves

Place 2 tablespoons of the salt in the bowl of a food processor with the herbs. Pulse several times until everything is grainy like sand. Pour into a medium sized bowl and mix with the remaining salt.

Spread on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 250 degrees for 10 minutes. Stir the salt, spread again, and bake another 10 minutes. Repeat once more, stirring to remove any clumps and to ensure it dries evenly.

Let cool and store in a clean, dry jar.