Friday, November 30, 2018

Shrimp And Oyster Chowder!

It's COLD!
Time for a seafood chowder.

I always have frozen shrimp no matter what time of year.
And this time of year, I always have a bushel
 (or fraction thereof) of oysters.
So today, I'm making a shrimp and oyster chowder.
It'll warm your innards!

Follow my directions
and you can have this all done in under an hour.

Here are the ingredients:
  • About a pound of shrimp, shelled and de-tracted
That black line running down the back of the shrimp is the digestive tract, not a vein.  It needs to go.
And save those shells.  We're going to use them for extra flavor.
  • About 2 dozen oysters
Put the oysters in a big pot with a little water, cover, and let 'em steam a bit until they just start to open up.  You don't want to cook them.  Just let 'em crack open a tad so you can easily shuck them for the soup.
  • 1 big carrot, minced (about a cup's worth)
  • 2 celery stalks, minced (about a cup)
  • 1 onion, minced (again, about a cup)
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
 And then you'll need a little oil, some butter, some flour, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper,
a splash of sherry, some fresh parsley, and some oyster crackers.

 Now, just follow along with the how-to's:

Start out with the carrot, celery, and onion.
Almost a cup of each.  Doesn't  have to be exact here.
Mince 'em.

Dice the potatoes.

I poured a little oil in the pot (medium heat) and sautéed the carrots, celery, and onion for about 2 minutes, then I added in the potatoes and stirred the pot around for another minute.

Pour in the quart of vegetable stock and bring to a bare simmer.

While the stock is heating up, peel and de-tract the shrimp.

This little device thingie is real good at what it does.

It peels and de-tracts in one fell swoop.

Save the shells.  We'll be using those in a minute.
Just place them in some cheesecloth.  

These were fairly large shrimp, so I had Mr. Hawthorne scissor 'em up a bit.

When the stock comes to a simmer, place the cheesecloth bundle of shrimp shells in and let it simmer away until the potatoes are tender.  Maybe twenty minutes. Then remove the bundle and discard.

Pour in the milk and cream, turn heat to low, and heat through.

Now, before adding the shrimp and oysters to my soup,
I wanted to thicken it up just a tad.
Just so we got something bone-stickin'.
So, I'm make a beurre manié.  It's sort of like a roux in that it's butter and flour and it's used to thicken a soup.  Beurre manié is French for "kneaded butter."
I took 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons of Wondra quick-mixing flour.  You could use regular all purpose flour if you don't have the Wondra.  Work the butter and flour together with your fingers until evenly combined.

Keep working the butter and flour.

Knead away.
Until you have a little dough-ball.
I dropped half the ball into my soup and turned the heat to medium-low and stirred.
Stir and let it thicken a bit.

I decided it needed the other half of the beurre manié, so I dropped that in.

And stir.
Let it thicken a bit more as the butter melts into the soup.
Turn heat back to low.

Drop in the shrimp.
Let the shrimp turn color and they're done.  Maybe a minute or two.

While the shrimp is cooking, shuck in the oysters.
You just want to heat them through.

Soup's done!
Taste test and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

 I ladled the soup into my bowl and poured in maybe a capful of sherry.
Top it with chopped parsley and toss in some oyster crackers.

 And there you have it!
 Seafood chowder.

I needed this.

  You get good stuff in every spoonful.
Lots of good stuff!


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Oysters Olé!

Rosie made another batch of broiled oysters the other day
This time it's with salsa and tortilla chips for the toppings.

Rosie's Oysters Olé
Top each oyster with homemade salsa,
then crushed tortilla chips,
and grated Monterey Jack cheese.
Run under a 450° broiler for about 8 minutes,
until top is browned.
About halfway into the broil,
pour some melted unsalted butter over each oyster.

I made half a tray with the salsa oysters
and half with spinach.
In case you're interested, 
here's the recipe for the spinach oysters:


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Mo' Oysters!

 You know the Hawthornes love their oysters.
 Oyster season opened last week
 and we bought our first bushel.
And we're already halfway through.
It's a tough job,
but somebody has to do it.

 Today, I'm topping my oysters
and running them under the broiler,
just until the juices bubble
 and the cracker crumbs lightly brown.

Today's Oyster Toppings
(Enough for about 18 oysters) 

Note that I use whatever happens
to be in my fridge at the time.
Today, I'm going with spinach.

chunk o' unsalted butter
a heaping yepsen of spinach, chopped
handful of chopped red onion
handful of chopped yellow bell pepper
a little cream
pinch kosher salt
crumbling of bacon
crushed saltines and oyster crackers
grated Parmesan cheese

Take about a tablespoon or so of butter
and let it melt until sizzling in a medium sauce pan
over medium heat.
Throw in the yepsen of spinach.
"What is a yepsen,"  you ask?
A yepsen is a unit of measurement,
equivalent to two open handfuls.
So maybe two cups of spinach for me.
Let the spinach wilt down,
then add in the onion and pepper.
I like using red, orange, and/or yellow peppers for the color.
Pour in a little cream and stir to mix everything together.
Season with a pinch or so of kosher salt.
Remove from heat.

Spoon a little of the spinach mixture onto each oyster.
I had bacon leftover from breakfast,
so I crumbled that over top.
Coarsely crush some crackers
(I used saltines and oyster crackers)
and then grate some Parm over the oysters.
You can use whatever crackers you have -
Ritz or club would be fine.
Or panko breadcrumbs.

Run under a 450° broiler
about 8 minutes.

 Slurp away.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Rosie Makes Orange Cinnamon Pecan Breakfast Rolls.

I'm trying to make your Thanksgiving easier.
By providing breakfast.  And the occasional sweet snack one needs to get through the day.
One must be sufficiently fortified to tackle turkey.

With everything else you have going on for the Thanksgiving holiday,
breakfast should not be an issue.
So, I'm making a big batch of orange and cinnamon and pecan breakfast rolls.
Make a mess o' rolls and you're good to go.
Just peel off a sweet chunk, nuke it, and be happy.

The recipe is a simple one.  It's a yeast dough and you don't have to watch the rise.  In fact, I made the dough the first day, let it go through a rise or two, added the filling and formed the rolls, then just covered the whole and stuck it in the fridge until the next morning when I took it out, let it come to room temp, then baked it, and finally gave it a nice orange icing.
It's easy.
Here's the recipe:

Rosie's Orange Cinnamon Pecan Rolls
For the dough:
1 package yeast
sprinkle of sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup orange juice
2 TB orange zest
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 egg
2 TB unsalted butter, room temperature
about 3 1/2 cups flour

In a large mixing bowl, pour yeast into warm water and sprinkle a little sugar over top so the yeast has something to eat.  When the yeast has "proofed," stir in the orange juice, zest, sugar, salt, egg, and butter.  Beat on low, scraping down sides, until everything is mixed together.  Gradually mix in the flour, enough until the dough is soft and pliable and holds together in a nice ball.  Knead by hand about 5 minutes, then form into a ball, and place in a greased bowl.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

Turn out onto lightly floured surface and roll into a smooth, even rectangle approximately 10 x 15 inches.

For the filling:
3/4 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 TB cinnamon
1 cup crushed pecans
Mix butter, sugar, and cinnamon until evenly combined.

Using an offset spatula, spread butter mixture evenly over the rectangle of dough.
Evenly sprinkle the pecans over top, pressing lightly into the dough.

Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper and lightly butter it.

Starting at the long edge, tightly roll up the dough and place seam-side down on your work surface.  Slice into 15 peices and arrange in baking dish, cut sides up.

Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled, an hour or so.  You can bake now or you can do like I did and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight, and start back up the next morning.  Let come to room temperature before baking.

Heat oven to 375°.  Cover baking dish with foil and bake 25 minutes.  Uncover and bake 5 more minutes, until lightly browned.  Transfer pan to rack and cool about 15 minutes.  Drizzle glaze over top of rolls.

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 TB orange juice
zest from 1 orange
1 tsp vanilla
Mix until smooth.

For the step-by-steps:
Let the yeast "proof."
That means the yeast has to "prove" it's alive,
by eating the sugar (Yeast is hungry!)
and creating carbon dioxide bubbles, among other byproducts.
If the yeast doesn't bubble,
it's no good.
Throw it out and start over with a new packet of yeast.

You could use whatever type of oranges you like.
I happened to have Mandarins on hand.

Fresh zest and juice.

Here's the dough.
Nice, soft, smooth, elastic.
Place in buttered bowl and cover.

Let it rise until doubled or more.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.

Roll dough out into a 10 x 15 inch (or thereabouts) rectangle.
Evenly spread butter over surface.

Evenly sprinkle cinnamon/sugar/orange zest mixture over dough.

Then sprinkle on the nuts.

Roll up.


Place rolls in buttered, parchment-covered pan,
cover, and let rise.

Ready for baking.

After baking and cooling a bit,
drizzle on the glaze.

Serve warm.


And Happy Thanksgiving!