Monday, April 22, 2013

The Hawthornes Have A Visitor And Rosie Makes A Shrimp Appetizer - Shrimp Caprese.

The Hawthornes have company!
I'm so excited.
My cyber-friend Lori VanderKamp
of The VanderKamps of Michigan stopped by.

My girl Lori drove all the way from Michigan
just to visit with the Hawthornes,
 have dinner with us, stay the night,
and have breakfast at our little B&B
before leaving back for Michigan the next day.

What a trooper!
Thanks, Lori!

When Lori got here after driving forever,
I gave her a choice for dinner,
along with a beer, since it was cocktail time.
I was going to let her pick and choose.
I offered her either a meatloaf sandwich on white bread
from frozen meatloaf I keep on hand
or a pizza delivered from Dominos.
Mr. Hawthorne tried to keep a straight face.
I like to mess with people.
I just wanted to see her expression.
I gotta tell you, Lori,
you didn't bat an eye.

Actually, I had a menu planned.
I told Lori we'd probably be eating at 2AM
since I would be shooting pictures
so I could blog about this.
I wonder if this woman plays poker.

Here's the menu I planned:
Chips and Cheese Dip
Shrimp Caprese
Caesar Salad
Rockfish with Rum Butter Sauce 
and a Kiwi Strawberry Salsa
Scallops in a White Wine and Cream Sauce

First, I'm making a quick and zesty cheese sauce.
Combine equal amounts Velveeta and cream cheese.
 Rosie uses Velveeta.

I was out of cream cheese,
but I did have Brie, so I subbed.

Wouldn't you know Rosie would have Brie
 but not cream cheese?

But you can't call me a food snob -
I have VELVEETA for God's sake!

That reminds me of the time waaaaay back in the 80s
when Mr. Hawthorne and a bunch of us
went camping at Buggs Island.
We'd given directions to our friends to the campsite
and I asked them if they had any problems with getting there.

This was before MapQuest and Garmins - back in the Dark Ages.
One of my friends dryly responded with,
"When we saw the Bon Appétit and Gourmet magazines
on the picnic table, we knew we'd found you, Rosie."

 Nuke the cheese until melted.
If you want to thin it out a bit,
stir in a little milk.

I added in a minced jalapeno and ...
... some of Mr. Hawthorne's Salsa Ranchera.
You could substitute a small can
 of Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
or your own salsa.
 Serve with chips on a festive towel.

I forgot the cilantro.

Now, the Shrimp Caprese.
The recipe is from Chef Jason Smith of the Black Pelican.
He shared it at one of our cooking classes

 Caprese means in the style of Capri,
as in Italy,
and combines basil, Mozzarella, and tomatoes.

First, I'm making a balsamic vinegar reduction.
Pour about 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
into a pan and heat it over very low heat.

This can go south in a heartbeat,
so what I've learned to do is keep my pan of vinegar
in an iron skillet to diffuse the heat.
Don't reduce directly over the flame.
You can burn it too easily.
Use an iron pan.

And I mark the level of the balsamic vinegar.
You want to reduce it by at least half.
You want it to reduce until it's thick and syrupy.
This takes a while, so be patient.

Next, I sliced grape tomatoes
and sprinkled pink Himalayan sea salt
and freshly cracked pepper over top.

On to the shrimp.
Heat equal amounts butter and oil in a hot pan.
Add in shrimp.

Sauté until NOT done.
Less than a minute.
Give it some white wine-lovin'.

Add a big scoop of pesto.
This is from last year's Hurricane Harvest.

Mix to coat the shrimp.

These are two-bite serving spoons
XKT gave me.

I placed a pesto shrimp in each little spoon.

Top with fresh Mozzarella.

Add the salted and peppered tomato.

Dribble the Balsamic vinegar reduction over the top.
This little appetizer packs a punch.
Sweet shrimp.
Savory basil pesto.
Tart tomato.
Umami of balsamic reduction.
Creamy Mozzarella.

I feel a Hawthorne Haiku coming on ...

Wee appetizer.
My mouth opens wide for you.
Delicious morsel.

Tomatoes. Basil.
Fresh mozzarella.  So good.
Don't forget the shrimp!

 I like the colors.
And the textures.

My mouth is happy.

Stay tuned for the salad course -
 Caesar salad with homemade croutons.


Lori K said...

I had so much fun!!!
Loved the food and your nice neighbors and Beau!!
Thanks again..can't wait til November.
Please let Mr. H know that I am loving the peach preserves!!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Loved having you! More food to come.

Rocquie said...

I coined a phrase a few years ago about some of my cooking. I call it "part trash and part gourmet". That's what I'd call your velveeta/brie combo.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Sage, that pretty much sums it up!