Grilled Shrimp in Galena’s Tomato Vodka Sauce

Grilled Shrimp

Grilled Shrimp

Love this warmer spring weather we are having here in Memphis.  Last night was a perfect night to do a little outdoor grilling.  However I was really in the mood for some Italian food.  What goes great with any pasta dish????  SHRIMP

How to Grill Shrimp

1 pound large shrimp
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
30 6-inch skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes prior to use)*

Peel and devein the shrimp.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine shrimp, oil, salt and pepper.  Insert skewer through entire body of shrimp (this prevents  shrimp from curling up when cooked – see picture above).  Preheat grill to high heat, spray grill with cooking spray.  Place prepared shrimp on grill and cook 2 minutes on each side, or until shrimp is pink and opaque.  Remove from grill, when cooled, remove skewer from shrimp.  Place in bowl until needed.

Prepare Tomato Vodka Sauce according to directions.  Add shrimp to sauce with the heavy cream.  Toss with your favorite cooked pasta.  

Grilled Shrimp in Tomato Vodka Sauce

Grilled Shrimp in Tomato Vodka Sauce

*Soak package of skewers in a large bowl of water with a small plate on top to hold down the skewers.  Remove skewers and place in a zip lock bag in the freezer.  Your skewers will be ready for use whenever you need them.

Boun Appetito!


Butter Poached Lobster

This week is a special one….hubby Bob has a birthday.  Being born in Connecticut and living on the ocean almost all his life has made Bob a lover of seafood.  Especially shellfish!  We use to live on the coast of Long Island Sound and Bob’s favorite hobby was tending to his “40” lobster pots.

Lobsters

Lobsters

I can remember the times when Rob and Jenny would ask me what’s for dinner, when I replied lobsters they would say “lobsters again”….those were the days!

I thought I was the queen of lobster cooking, always trying new methods and recipes.  It wasn’t until we watched an episode of Master Chef that I discovered “poaching lobster”.  WOW…..what a great way of cooking lobster…why didn’t I think of that?????

On Father’s Day  I tried poaching lobster in a  beurre monte sauce.   Probably the best lobster I have ever eaten.  Guess what I am making for Bob’s birthday?????  Here’s how you do it.

Purchase lobsters from local grocery store.  Place them in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Lobsters

Lobsters

In a LARGE stock pot bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil.  Once the water is rapidly boiling, put lobsters to sleep ( you will feel better before you kill the little guys).  Just massage their head over his eyes for a few seconds, like this…

“go to sleep lobster”

Place lobsters (head first) into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes.  In a large bowl add water and ice cubes (ice-water bath) and place the lobsters into the pan.

DSC_0047Using a good pair of kitchen scissors cut the lobster shell and remove the meat, trying to keep the lobster in tact as much as possible.

In a medium size pan bring 1 tablespoon of water to boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time.  This method will help it emulsify, which means mixing two liquids together that normally don’t mix well (water and oil).

Butter Poached Lobster

Butter Poached Lobster

Add the lobster and cook over medium low heat (do not let butter boil) for 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the lobster meat reaches 140-145°F using a Thermapen thermometer.

Serve with your favorite side dish and enjoy!

Happy Birthday Bob!

Happy Birthday Bob!

Ingredients:

2 one and a half pound live lobsters (or one lobster per person)
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick), cut into 1 tablespoon chunks

Directions:

1.  Bring a large pot of water to boil. Turn off heat and add the lobster. Cover with lid and let cook for 3 minutes. Place lobster into a large pan of ice water (this cools down the lobster to the touch and stops the cooking process).  Remove all lobster meat from shell trying to keep lobster in tact.

2. In a sauce pan, bring 1 tablespoon of water to simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in 1 piece of butter. When butter had melted, add another piece. Continue with remaining butter pieces, one at a time. Make sure the mixture does NOT come to a boil, otherwise the butter will separate.

3. Keeping the heat on medium-low, add the lobster pieces and cook for 5 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 140-145° is reached.  Serve immediately!


Classic Bolognese Sauce

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Years ago we had the opportunity to visit several cities in Italy.  I’m sad to say, however, that we didn’t make it to Bologna, which is the city Bolognese Sauce originated in.  Here is an explanation of the sauce (just incase you aren’t familiar with it) as written by Wikipedia:

Bolognese sauce, known in Italian as ragù alla bolognese, is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. InItalian cuisine, it is customarily used to dress “tagliatelle al ragù” and to prepare “lasagne alla bolognese”. In the absence of tagliatelle, it can also be used with other broad, flat pasta shapes, such as pappardelle or fettuccine, or with short tube shapes, such as rigatoni or penne. Genuine ragù alla bolognese is a complex sauce which involves slow cooking using a variety of techniques, including sweatingsautéing and braising. Ingredients include a characteristic soffritto of onion, celery and carrot, different types of minced or finely chopped meat (generally bovine, including beef, and possibly pork, such as pancetta), wine, and a small amount of tomato concentrate.

The earliest documented recipe of an Italian meat-based sauce (ragù) served with pasta comes from late 18th centuryImola, near Bologna. In 1891 Pellegrino Artusi first published a recipe for a meat sauce characterized as being “bolognese”. While many traditional variations do exist, in 1982 the Italian Academy of Cuisine registered a recipe for authentic ragù alla bolognese with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce. In Italy, ragù alla bolognese is often referred to simply as ragù.

Outside Italy, Bolognese sauce often refers to a tomato-based sauce to which mince (beef or pork) has been added; such sauces typically bear little resemblance to ragù alla bolognese. Whereas in Italy ragù is not used with spaghetti,[1] so-called spaghetti bolognese has become a popular dish in many other parts of the world.

I have to say, this is one of the easiest sauces I’ve ever made, just takes a little patience to complete the simmering process, but all good things take time.

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to do a little business traveling in New York City and made several shops in grocery stores, my favorite was one in Little Italy.  What always amazes me about shopping in these stores is the variety of fresh meats, salami, hanging from the ceiling, as well as many types of sausage.  I always feel like a kid in a candy store when I’m there.  The other food items that I am always intrigued with are all the different types of pastas, the good stuff, not store name brands, but the really good Italian pastas.  I purchased several varieties to bring back home, one of which was the Pappardelle.PapparelleThere is only one sauce to serve with this pasta, and of course, that would be the Bolognese.  Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
2/3 cup white wine (dry)
1 cup milk
16 ounces good quality (Pomi brand) chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup beef stock
2 bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt

Process:

In a large stock pot over medium heat, add butter and oil.  Cook until frothy, add chopped vegetables and garlic.  Cook over medium low heat until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.  Add meat and in batches, stirring after each addition and breaking up the meat clumps.

Deglaze pan with wine, simmer until reduced by half.  Add milk and once again simmer until reduced by half.  Add remaining ingredients, cook over medium low heat for 2-3 hours or until sauce becomes thick.  Serve with good quality pasta.  Top with Parmigiano Reggiano or, my personal favorite, Pecorino Romano.

Nothing like a little Italian Bread to go along with this meal, I was able to find a good loaf of bread at Fresh Market “Turano Panini Bread”.DSC_0019

Brush both sides of the bread with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Place on hot grill, cook until slightly golden, turn over and continuing cooking until brown.

Place shredded mozzarella over bread slices, top with sliced plum tomatoes, salt & pepper.  Place under broiler until cheese is golden brown.  Top with freshly diced basil.

Buon Appetito!