Monday, February 27, 2017

Easy Linguine with Shrimp

Since it has been snowing pretty consistently lately, welcome to February in Utah, I was kind of craving something summery and light.  We had some shrimp left over from some shrimp cocktail I had done for Valentines Day, so I used it for this...

Yield:  3 servings

Vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. kosher salt plus 1 tsp.
¾ lb. linguine, cooked per package instructions
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp. fresh minced garlic (4-5 cloves)
1 lb. large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, or ½ tsp. dried
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves, or 1 tsp. dried
½ lemon, zest grated
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/8 tsp. hot red pepper flakes

-In a large pot of boiling water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.
-Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Seems like a lot, but this is the sauce for the dish.
-Add the garlic. Sauté for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily!
-Add the shrimp, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper and sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. If you’d like, you can grill the shrimp until underdone then finish in the sauce.  You can also use grilled shrimp if you have them, just heat in the sauce.
-Remove from the heat; add the parsley, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.
-When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot.
-Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.

Damn...quick and easy!  Will definitely do this one again!

Roast Turkey - Not Just For Thanksgiving

About five years ago I began brining my birds at home.  I don't think I'll ever prepare a turkey in another way...fresh, moist, and delicious! What leftovers there are reheat perfectly and what is used cold is super moist and tender...YUM!  Brining can also be done with other whole birds like Chicken, Cornish Game Hens, and even pieces on the bone.
Here's what I do when using a regular oven (If using a Convection Oven there's no need to hit the bird with high heat at the beginning, just set the oven to 350° F on Convection Roast and let the thermometer tell you when the bird is done - the skin will be crispy and delicious):

Brined Roast Turkey
1  14-16 lb. Frozen young turkey
1 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
2 Bay leaves
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 gallon heavily iced water
Season salt and pepper
1/2 onion - large chunks
4 Rosemary sprigs 
4 Sage leaves 
4 Whole garlic cloves
1/2 lemon
1/2 stalk celery or celery tops
How to:
2 days or so before cooking:
Begin thawing bird in a refrigerator/cooler not to exceed 38°F.  If necessary, put bird in a large (5 gal) bucket/plastic (food grade) bin and run cool water over submerged bird until thawed (usually about 3 hours or so).
Combine the salt, sugar, stock, bay leaves, peppercorns and allspice in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Stir to dissolve solids and bring to a boil.  Remove brine from heat, cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
The day before cooking:
Combine the brine and iced water in the large bucket.  Place the thawed turkey, breast side down, in brine.  If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully covered in the liquid. Cover, and refrigerate for 8 to 20 hours, turning the bird once halfway through brining.
The day of cooking:
If using a convection oven, preheat to 350°F.  If using a regular oven, preheat to 450°F.
Remove bird from the brine and rinse both inside and out with cold water.  Discard the brine.
Place the bird on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan or sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Lightly use Season salt and pepper inside the cavity of the bird, then stuff with onion, rosemary, sage, garlic, lemon and celery.
Lightly use season salt and pepper on the outside of the bird, then tuck wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
Reg. oven: Roast the turkey on the lowest rack in the oven at 450°F for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and follow directions below...
Convection oven: Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and set the oven temperature to 350°F Convection Roast.
...Set thermometer alarm to 155°F.
In a Convection oven a 14-16 lb. bird should require a total of about 1:45 to 2 hours of roasting.  In a Reg. oven a 14-16 lb. bird should require a total of 2 - 2 1/2 hours of roasting.  
Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil for 30 minutes before carving.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

One Pan Dinner - Pork Chops or Chicken Thighs

I had been looking for a quick, one pan, weeknight meal that's versatile enough to use many different types of meat and found the following:

Serves: 4
You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this.

•4 pork loin chops, 1 inch thick
•salt & fresh ground pepper
•1 Tbsp. olive oil
•2 Tbsp. butter
•1 large sweet onion, sliced
•3 cloves of garlic, minced
•2 cups sliced mushrooms
•2 Tbsp. flour
•1 tsp. dried thyme
•1 cup chicken broth
•¼ cup water
•¼ cup white wine (or a little more chicken broth)
•¼ cup heavy cream
•¼ cup sour cream
•2 green onions, chopped

1. In a heavy ceramic skillet, heat up 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Season the pork chops generously with salt and fresh ground pepper on both sides.
3. Add the pork chops to the skillet and sear on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
4. Remove the chops and transfer them to a plate.
5. To the same skillet melt 2 Tbsp. butter.
6. Add the sliced onion, minced garlic and sliced mushrooms and cook until soft and the moisture from the mushrooms has cooked off, about 5 min.
7. Add the dried thyme and flour to the onion mixture and cook for 1 minute.
8. Stir in the chicken broth, water and wine and simmer until the sauce thickens. Make sure to scrape up and stir in all the good brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.
9. Stir in the heavy cream and sour cream.
10. Add the pork chops and simmer for about 10 - 15 more minutes, or until the chops are cooked thoroughly.
11. Sprinkle with the chopped green onions and serve over rice or pasta (egg noodles or fettuccine noodles).