Sunday, May 24, 2020

Rosie Makes Shrimp Soup.

I recently made a dish with a bit of Louisiana flair - Shrimp Etouffée, or smothered shrimp -
and I had some shrimp stock leftover.
 What better way to use it up than with shrimp soup?

 As I've said before, Rosie doesn't do "Leftovers."  She does "Moreovers."  She takes what's left and makes something more out of it. I like to think of it as culinary synergy - where the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

 Now, the measurements for soup ingredients are not exact.  You can add more or less of one ingredient or another, so chillax and have fun cooking.  Making soup is not like baking a cake, where it's chemistry and accurate amounts are necessary.  It's just soup.


Rosie's Free-Style Shrimp Soup
2 pieces bacon, chopped up (or more)
1 TB butter
1 potato, small dice
1/2 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 TB butter
3 - 4 TB flour
1 cup shrimp stock (Or it might have been a little more.)
1 TB tomato paste
1/4 - 1/3 cup dry sherry
8-12 oz. shrimp, peeled and de-tracted
1/3 - 1/2 cup cream
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Chop up the bacon and place in a medium stock pot along with a tablespoon of butter and the diced potatoes.  Cook over medium heat until bacon and potatoes are slightly browned.  Pull out some of the bacon and save for toppings.  Drain all but a tablespoon of the grease.

Add in the other tablespoon of butter along with the celery and onions.  Cook, stirring, for a couple minutes, then add in the flour and cook, stirring, for at least a minute.  You want to cook the raw taste out of the flour. 

Slowly pour in the shrimp stock, stirring, allowing it to thicken. Then add in the tomato paste, sherry, and cream and stir until combined.  Lower heat to medium low and add shrimp.  Soup is ready when shrimp is just cooked through - about 3 minutes.  (I used medium sized shrimp for this.)

Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  You can add more sherry and/or cream if you like.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with reserved bacon, some minced red bell pepper, chopped celery leaves, and chopped parsley.  Serve with toast.


Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Rosie Makes Camo Brownies.


It's time for sumpin sweet.
I have a friend who has a birthday coming up
and I always send her something chocolate.
This year, I'm going with these camo brownies.
I've made a LOT of brownies, and these rank right up there with the best.
They're made with cream cheese and cocoa
and you swirl it around and plop in some fudgy batter
and it's decadent and delicious and divine.
 I will be making these again.
And again.

 Camo Brownies
1 pkg. cream cheese (Not the low fat stuff.  I mean, why would you?)
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt 
2 tsp cocoa powder

10 TB unsalted butter
1 tsp espresso powder
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour 

Heat oven to 325°.
Lightly coat a 9 x 9-inch metal pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on all sides.

Put cream cheese in medium heatproof bowl set over medium saucepan of barely simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese is soft.  Remove bowl from heat and stir cream cheese until smooth.  Whisk in 1 egg, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Transfer half of mixture to a small bowl and stir in 2 tsp cocoa powder.

Place butter in another medium bowl and set over simmering water.  Add in espresso powder, 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Let butter melt, stirring occasionally, until well combined.  Let cool a bit.  Add in 2 remaining eggs and 1 tsp vanilla, whisking until smooth and glossy.  Stir in flour until well-mixed.  Scoop out 1/2 cup of this batter and set aside.
Pour remaining batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Alternate plops of cream cheese mixture and cream cheese/cocoa mixture on top of batter, then make plops of reserved 1/2 cup of batter.  Intersperse with crack cocaine.  (Just kidding.  Wanted to see if you were paying attention.) Random camouflage is your goal.

Bake until just set - about 23 minutes.  Let pan cool on wire rack, then lift brownies out of pan and transfer to cutting board.  Let cool completely.   Remove paper and cut in 16 squares.  Or more.  They're rich!

Now for the step-by-steps:
Heat the cream cheese over simmering water.

Stir in egg

and sugar and vanilla.

Mix until smooth.

Halve the cream cheese mixture and stir cocoa powder into one half.

Stir until well combined.

Cream cheese mixture on top.
Cream cheese with cocoa on bottom

Now, start on the butter mixture:
Butter, cocoa, espresso powder, sugar, and salt in medium bowl.

Place over simmering water and stir to combine.

Let cool a bit then add in eggs.

Whup it good!

Add in flour.                            Stir until smooth.

Cream cheese batters on the right.
Butter and cocoa batter on the left, with reserved 1/4 cup.

Pour butter/cocoa batter into prepared pan.
Smooth it out.

Plop with cream cheese batters.

Then reserved butter/cocoa mixture.

And bake.
Let cool, then slice into 16 squares.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Rosie Makes Shrimp Etouffée.

Shrimp is quite the versatile little crustacean.  One can boil it, steam it, bake it, grill it, fry it, sauté it.  Or one can smother it, which is what etouffée means and what I'm doing to it today.  Shrimp etouffée is gastronomy rooted in the history of New Orleans.  It’s a seafood dish smothered in vegetables, in this case, the “Holy Trinity” of onion, celery, and bell pepper, along with a tomato-based sauce, resulting in a spicy and rich, aromatic, stew-like preparation served atop a bed of rice.

Now, I’m not getting into the Cajun vs Creole aspects of this dish or its original association with crawfish.  I’m just making something good to eat with Louisiana flare using what I have on hand.  (And I always have shrimp on hand.)  It’s simply my version of a classic dish.  In addition, you’ll learn two valuable culinary techniques along the way – how to make a roux and how to make shrimp stock.

Rosie’s Shrimp Etouffée

10-12 oz. medium-sized shrimp, shelled and de-tracted (Save shells for stock!) You can use more, but when I freeze my shrimp, they’re usually packed in 10 ounce units.  And I say de-tracted, not de-veined, since that black line going down the back of the shrimp is the digestive tract, not a vein.

Spice mixture for shrimp:
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp granulated garlic
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp paprika
Mix all spices and toss with shrimp.  It’s OK if you’re missing a spice or two here.  My recipes aren’t etched in stone.

3 TB unsalted butter
1 TB oil
¼ cup flour

2 stalks celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup + shrimp stock (recipe ahead)
1 10-oz. can diced tomatoes with chiles
1 TB Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce

For the stock:
When you peel your shrimp, place shells in a medium stock pot.  Add in a coarsely chopped carrot, chopped celery with leaves, chopped onion with skins, a few smashed garlic cloves with peel, and a couple bay leaves.  Cover with water.  I used a little over a quart.  Add in about a teaspoon kosher salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let bare-simmer for about 40 minutes.  Strain out liquid and discard solids.  You’ll have a little over 2 cups of stock.

For shrimp etouffée:
In medium pot, heat butter and oil over medium heat until butter is sizzling.  Add in flour and cook, stirring, about 8 minutes, until mixture turns dark blond.  This is officially a roux.

Add in celery, pepper, and onion and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
Slowly pour in shrimp stock, stirring, letting mixture thicken, about 5 minutes.
Add in can of tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce.
Reduce heat to low, add in shrimp, and let cook until shrimp are just done, 3 - 4 minutes.

Serve on a bed of white rice and top with chopped green onions, parsley, and optional shakes of Texas Pete hot sauce.

Now, for the step-by-steps:

Here's my shrimp thawing.

I peeled the shrimp,
saving the shells,
and discarding those black squiggly tracts.

First, make the stock.

Put the shells in a stock pot,
add in some coarsely chopped onion, celery, carrot, and some smashed garlic.
I don't bother to peel anything.

 Cover with water - a big quart.
 Add some kosher salt and let it barely simmer.

 I had some bay leaves, so I threw them in,
along with some peppercorns.
Simmer about 40 minutes.
Let it cool.
Drain and discard solids.

While the stock is simmering,
mix the shrimp spices together.

Here, I have:
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp granulated garlic
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp paprika
Mix all together and ...
toss with shrimp to evenly coat.

Now, it's time to start on the etoufée.
It starts with the holy trinity of Cajun and Creole cooking.
And that would be onion, bell pepper, and celery.
This combination forms the base of most Louisiana savory dishes,
usually added to a roux as the beginning of a soup, stew, gumbo, jambalaya,
or whatever dish you might want.

Chopchopchop and set aside while you make the roux.

A roux is a mixture of equal parts fat (usually butter) and flour.
It's cooked to varying stages or degrees of colors, 
depending on what it's going into,
and it's used as a thickener.

I heated 3 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil
until the butter was bubbly,
then added in 1/4 cup of flour.
(1/4 cup = 4 TB)

Cook the flour, stirring, over medium to medium low heat...
...until it starts to color.
The longer you cook your roux,
the darker it gets and the more flavorful it becomes.
For example, for a soufflé, you want a light-colored roux.
For a gumbo, you want a dark-colored roux.
After you've cooked your roux to the desired color,
then you slowly add you liquid in, a little bit at a time,
whisking after each addition,
until smooth and completely free of lumps.
Making a roux is your basic technique for making
sauces and gravies and for thickening soups.

For your etouffée, you want it a dark blonde color.
This will take about 8 minutes.
Add the holy trinity to the roux.

Cook, stirring, another couple minutes.

Slowly, add in a cup of the strained shrimp stock.

Just a little bit at a time, stirring after each addition.

 Add more stock, if needed.

Stir over low heat and let thicken.
Add in the can of tomatoes and chilies.

Keep stirring.
Add in a splash of Lea & Perrins.

When the sauce is nice and thick,
add in the seasoned shrimp.
Heat until just done.

Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

And serve!
Serve shrimp and sauce over a bed of rice.
I topped with chopped celery leaves, parsley, and green onions.

You know,
if you had some cornbread 
and sliced, buttered, and toasted it,
that would be just great for sopping up all the goodness here.