I love Italian food and I love spicy and this is a great combination of the two. I looked up Fra Diavolo and the not always wise internet says that it translates to “brother devil”. I knew of the devil part in reference to its spiciness, but am not sure about the brother part, but sure we will go with it. I served this over pasta with shrimp, but like many Italian sauces, once made it is very versatile and could be used in many different ways.
Tag Archives: shrimp
There’s something fun and extra challenging about recreating favorite Chinese food takeout dishes at home. Maybe it’s the extra difficulty of trying to find and choose the ingredients from the shelves of the Asian market or maybe it’s because of the exotic nature of some of the ingredients. Either way the end result is great- Chinese food from your own kitchen. Yum!
We have made fresh Caesar dressing before and it was a huge hit. The one difference this time was using chopped canned anchovies instead of anchovy paste. I lightly floured and baked some shrimp and placed it atop sauteed veggies for a light and summery dinner salad. This would also be great to serve in a large quantity at a party or dinner.
So, we did not end up making it to the next round of project food blog (sad I know) but we were inspired by the next challenge anyway. The challenge was to make an ethnic dish that you never have before. Hence, kung pao shrimp.
Last year on Christmas I gave Greg a sushi making kit- it was something I put together for him with all of the sushi making essentials and we have been making sushi ever since. Well, he has been making sushi and I have been the sous chef. We decided to show off our skills and invited a few folks over to partake in a sushi party. Greg has two friends that live in Japan right now and one happened to be in town with his Japanese girlfriend (as in, lived in Japan her whole life and only in the states visiting right now kind of Japanese!!). The pressure was on! In preperation for this event, I contacted Melanie at the Whole Foods in Silver Spring to let her know we’d be stopping by the store to pick up some ingredients. She graciously met with us and was so generous! Thank you Melanie! We picked up some beautiful looking seafood, produce, and some odds and ends and headed home to begin making the sushi.
One thing I have struggled with as the sous chef is making the rice. Obviously, this is an essential element to the sushi, but man, I just can’t get it right! Our Japanese guests highly suggested using a rice cooker, which I have but did not use. I will definitely try that next time. For this go round, however, I made it on the stove top and used this:
I followed the directions to a tee. First rinsing it and cooking it exactly how the container’s directions suggested.
It looked pretty good and I was encouraged! It was a teeny bit crunchy still though- wtf?!
According to our Japanese guests, any short grain rice will do and you don’t have to purchase “sushi” rice. So American, right? They made a great analogy to their experience eating bread at Italian restaurants in Japan. It’s bread, it tastes like bread, but it’s not as good as “real” Italian bread. That’s pretty much how this rice was for them- standard rice, but not GOOD rice. Next time, I may try to buy Japanese rice… eek!
While the rice was cooking we prepared the fixings, fish, and other fillers.
I purchased this wasabi and pickled ginger at Whole Foods.
It’s powdered wasabi so in order to make it you combine equal parts powder and water to form the paste.
I made a lot!
I pulled out the shiso leaves because I never had them before. Pretty lame, I know.
We purchase three types of fish (tuna, snapper, and salmon) and some shrimp (for shrimp tempura rolls). The quality of the fish was excellent- look how pretty!
The (heart shaped) tuna!
The snapper ( I believe of the red variety).
The salmon (so gorgeous!).
We tempura battered and fried the shrimp.
Everything needed to be cut down to size for the rolls. We sliced up the fish and also the cucumber and avocado that would go in many of the rolls.
So, now on to the fun, yet most difficult part. We used these nori sheets:
We added rice wine vinegar to the rice.
and the sushi rolling began…
This was a spicy salmon roll.
Uh, yeah! That’s a sushi roll on a Steelers plate.
Next, the making of the shrimp tempura roll.
The whole rolling process went on for nearly 2 hours- I kid you not! It takes a lot of time and hard work, but just look at these results! MMMMM….
The “everything roll” (above)- all three types of fish, cucumber and avocado and a crazy assortment below.
I could not get the camera in focus for these close-ups because I am clueless when it comes to cameras, but I wanted you to see the shrimp tempura roll (front) and the salmon roll behind it.
Below, another out of focus shot (grr!) of the tuna rolls.
There were so many combinations of rolls and we also made some nigiri.
All in all, TONS of sushi!
Everyone happily ate and we almost finished it all! We had about 8 pieces leftover, which is not bad at all! We also got the chance to open some Saki that had been given to us for Christmas, by none other than one of our guests tonight! I have never been into Saki, but this one was really good! It was served cold and did not taste like rubbing alcohol, which is always a plus :]
For dessert, we served tiramisu. Wait, what? That’s not Japanese. Yeah, I know, but I had most of the ingredients and everyone loves it. I followed my own recipe and it came out great! I actually made it two days in advance this time, which worked really well. Everyone scarfed it down, so I take that as a success!
Recently, we hosted a dinner party in which we featured one of our best talents: cooking shrimp perfectly- of course! Last summer, or fall actually, when the garden was reaching some of it’s last days, Greg whipped up some pesto and we froze several jars of it for occasions such as this. We did not want to be busy cooking when our guests arrived, so it was the perfect thing to use since it was already made.
First, check out the table scape complete with real dining room chairs! wahoo, we’re adults now!
For an appetizer we used our new cheese board to display four cheeses: parmesano reggiano, pecorino romano, some really sharp cheddar, and parano (my recent fave).
We also served a salad that if anything was Greek-esque: romaine, cucumber, tomato, feta and pine nuts.
Now on to the main event. Like I said we used some pre-made homemade pesto. When making pesto ahead of time, it is suggested that you add the cheese when you are ready to use it, versus adding the cheese before you freeze it.
The pesto as it dethawed:
and with a generous heap of cheese:
This thickens it up quite a bit and adds a ton of flavor.
The raw shrimp were peeled and placed in a casserole baking dish. The pesto went over top of the shrimp…
…and was thoroughly mixed in
Next, a layer of freshly grated cheese atop the scrimps.
Pine nuts! Whenever we make the trip to Pittsburgh, we always stock up on pine nuts. They are worth the price, but especially at the price Penn Mac sells them for! YUM.
This went into the oven and baked while we sampled the cheese and ate salad.
We topped it with fresh tomato once it was done baking and the shrimp were cooked through.
We had the romantic mood lighting going- sorry for the flashy picture!
This was a key point Greg wanted me to stress. The dish is meant to stand alone and is not intended to be a pasta sauce per se, although it went quite well with the pasta.
This is the best picture I have of it– extreme closeup, ahh!
With the scent of basil in the air, this dish made me even more ready for summer! It was a crowd pleaser too, which is always good.