}]; Noreen's Kitchen: 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's for Dinner? Easy Oven Shrimp Scampi

A Shrimp By Any Other Name Would Still Be As Delicious

I have vivid memories of being a child and going out for fancy dinners with my family.  Not all the time, but for special occasions.  It was on this special trips that my parents introduced my brother and I to a world of culinary delights.  It would be these dinners that would develop our likes and dislikes and help us to be adventurous eaters later in life.

You most likely have similar memories, perhaps not like the one I have described, but one of your own.  One that you refer to when you are seated in a special restaurant and are reading the menu, maybe you look for your favorite, whether it be Beef Wellington, Veal Oscar or Chicken Kiev.  It will bring you back to that place when you were a child, when the table was much larger and the napkins seemed more like a bed sheet.  When your mother would let you take a sip of her wine.  You were allowed to order Chocolate Mousse, Baked Alaska or Cherries Jubilee, for dessert.  The latter set aflame table side for maximum impact.  Truly a spectacle to behold!

For me, there are a couple dishes that take me back to that place, when the napkins were big and I had to make an effort to be on my best behavior.  Veal Oscar and Shrimp Scampi are my two favorites that I always search for on a high end menu.  The first is one that I reserve for an evening out, and it is getting more and more difficult to come by, but the scampi, is easy to make yourself and even though you cook at home, you can still achieve the same flavors and memories that you love. 

There is also no reason to kill your self while making this dish.  I mean this is simple and making it anything else would be criminal.  Simple ingredients yield maximum flavor and that is what you want.  This dish is even easy enough to prepare on a busy weeknight.  It literally takes minutes to cook and aside from the cleaning and shelling of the fresh shrimp, really takes little time.

So, relive a happy memory, go back to a simpler time and do it the easy way.  I invite you along for the trip, here is how you make shrimp scampi the oven style, no brainer, maximum flavor way!


Here is what you will need to make this dish:

2 pounds shrimp peeled and deveined
1 stick butter
4 cloves minced garlic
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. sea salt

Prepared Angel Hair Pasta

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a baking pan place the stick of butter and place in oven until melted.  When butter is sizzly and melted remove from oven and add minced garlic and shrimp and toss to coat.  Return pan to oven and allow to cook for 5 to7 minutes or until the shrimp are opaque and no longer translucent.  Don’t let them cook for too long otherwise they will be chewy and tough and you don’t want that. 

When shrimp are cooked through remove from oven and add Salt, Old Bay, Paprika and Mrs. Dash along with the juice of 2 lemons, toss to combine and you are ready to serve of some angel hair pasta or rice, your choice.

I hope you try this and I hope you enjoy it!  As Always, Happy Eating!

What's for Dinner? Ground Beef Wellington

Filet Mignon Taste and a Ground Beef Budget

Since I have been doing my videos for Youtube, I have had more than one adventurous viewer request that I demonstrate how to cook Beef Wellington.  Now you can imagine the first ever request for this fancy schamncy dish put me over the top, but then I got another and then another.  What to do?

I can assure you that I, although well versed in the kitchen have never attempted to make such a culinary wonder, but I was up for the challenge.  The only thing holding me back?  The economy!  Taking a look around at the current state of the economy had me worried that making such a dish would be like rubbing salt into the wound of a broken and flat broke foodie.  Beef Wellington is amazing with its layers of flakey pastry wrapped lovingly around a beef tenderloin that has been buddied up with duxcel of mushrooms and goose liver pate and tenderly brushed with nothing but the best Dijon mustard.  But lets be real, this is not a dish for the faint of heart nor the weak of wallet!

So what was I to do?  I did what any self respecting video blogger would do.  I politely ignored the request and went along my happy way doing other things to please and tantalize the pallets of my viewers.  Then one day, not so long ago, I was visiting the store and I saw it, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Cookbook.  Now I am a huge fan of Jamie, having followed him all along from his days being dubbed the Naked Chef and boy was I happy to leaf through this book in the store, but as I leafed I realized that I needed to take this book home.  Much like a visit to the pound will result in you acquiring another pet, a visit to the bookstore will most assuredly guarantee the procurement of one if not several new tomes.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I read cookbooks from cover to cover along with a stack of sticky notes to mark the recipes that I will be trying.  You should also probably know that I am a self professed cookbook junkie, having spent years building a library that would rival the most intense cook among us.  But like cats, there is always room for one more.   One afternoon while reading this book, page after page, sitting the waiting room of the doctors office, I discovered this lovely recipe for Ground Beef Wellington.  This was the answer!  I was so excited, I believe I embarrassed my daughter but at 13 that is not hard to do. 

So, now I had everything I needed, a great recipe, an answer to the expensive problem and you.  Everyone can afford a pound of ground beef, along with the other ingredients, this dish did not cost a lot to make.  In all, this dish can cost anywhere from $10.00 to $15.00 depending on if you purchase organic meat or regular.  The puff pastry is around $4.00 and the other ingredients are all easy to come by.  Don’t want to use Portabellos?  Use Criminis they are smaller and they are actually baby portobellos, or you can just use regular white button mushrooms.  But don’t leave out the mushrooms and don’t forget that potato is important too, because the starch from it will help to absorb any of the liquid from the veggies and meat as it cooks in it’s little pastry cocoon.  I made the mistake of leaving out the potato, and while the dish was still amazing, I saw why the spud was necessary.

So without further Adieu, I give you the fanciest meatloaf you will ever make:  Ground Beef Wellington.


Here is what you will need to make this dish:

1 medium onion chopped
1 carrot chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 Portobello Mushrooms roughly chopped
1 potato finely diced
Olive oil (around a tablespoon)
1 Teaspoon of Marjoram, Thyme or Rosemary
1 Large egg beaten
Sea salt
Cracked Black Pepper
2 Sheets Puff Pastry (I used 1 box of Pepperidge Farm Brand it’s in the freezer)

In a large skillet heat olive oil.  Sautee’ all veggies until soft and the potato is fully cooked, around 15 minutes.  Place the hot veggies on a small baking sheet and spread out into a thin layer.  Place the sheet in the fridge for around 15 minutes and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the veggies, ground beef, salt, pepper, herb of your choice and half of the beaten egg.  Blend with your hands until the mixture is well combined.  Set aside while we work with the pastry.

Lightly flour a board or your counter and take the puff pastry and unfold both sheets and slightly overlap them and roll together.  Do not make the mistake of leaving them out for too long, because they will stick to themselves as mine did, but I just rolled them together with a rolling pin and everything was fine.

Your puff pastry should be around 12 inches by 16 inches with the long side in front of you.  Take the meat mixture and form a long log or sausage shape toward the long front side of the pastry.  Brush the remaining egg mixture along all edges, this will act as a glue to keep the pastry together while cooking.  Roll the pastry around the beef mixture and roll, leaving the seam side down under the log and pinching the ends together so the whole thing looks like a loaf of French bread. 

Transfer to a baking sheet line with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. 

I served this with steamed cauliflower with browned butter bread crumbs.  There is no need to make a starch because the puff pastry is rich enough.  A green salad on the side would be a lovely addition as well. 

I hope you try this and I hope you enjoy it.  Look for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Cookbook, along with this recipe there are lots more that are wonderful and I look forward to making some of them for you.  I also understand that he is coming out with a new book very soon dealing with 30 minute meals.  Check it out, you will not be disappointed! 

I hope you try this and I hope you enjoy it.  As always Happy Eating!