Overnight Marinated Shrimp and Avocados

Have you ever been asked to bring an appetizer to a party?  This is the recipe that you will want to keep handy and prepare over and over again.  As you know from the majority of my posts, I love make ahead easy to prepare dishes.  Overnight Marinated Shrimp and Avocados is just that type of recipe.  Always a hit – serve with water crackers or over a bed of lettuce.  The perfect appetizer or first course.

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Overnight Marinated Shrimp and Avocados

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 avocados, firm and ripe, cubed
  • 1 red onion, sliced extremely thin
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Place the shrimp, avocados, and red onion in a large zip top bag.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over shrimp mixture.  Toss to coat.  Refrigerate overnight, turn bag a few times.  Drain mixture, serve cold.  Serves 12 as an appetizer.

Interesting Find in DC – Radiator Pop-Up Bar and Restaurant at Mason and Rook

Pop-up you say?  One of the newest concepts around the country in all aspects of the food industry, is pop-ups.  Yes, short-term venues that might be here today and gone tomorrow.  From food stands to bars, these are some of the most unique venues you will find.  They are definitely worth searching out since you will find well thought out venues with short life spans, so you must go to them when you hear about them.  I was invited to the Kimpton Hotel in DC, Mason and Rook to check out their pop-up roof-top bar venue and have dinner in Radiator, their restaurant.  It was the most intriguing and delightful evening.   When you enter this boutique hotel, you travel via elevator to their tenth floor, and then walk up a flight of steps to their outdoor bar.  The venue has a killer view and the atmosphere was like we had stepped into a bar on the Hawaiian Islands.  The bar menu was Luau themed, the bartenders had on kukui leis and the view from the top was spectacular. From rum drinks to coconut shrimp with guava sauce, all prepared on the rooftop. I felt like I was back on the islands.  The crowd was thoroughly enjoying the beautiful surroundings and great bar.  We then went down to their restaurant, Radiator.  I will tell you, I have eaten at some the finest restaurants in DC, and the meal we had at Radiator I would list as one of the best meals I have had in DC.  Every small plate was perfectly prepared, from the bacon fat fries to the brussel sprouts with gram marsala yogurt, it was a mouth dancing night.  I must also mention the gnocchi with lolli pop kale, beach mushroom, truffle pecorino, and arugula pesto and the Wagyu bavette steak with salt-roasted potatoes, cipollini onion, and cabernet demi –  just spectacular. Hard for me to dissect every dish since every dish was so unique and delicious.  I can’t wait to return – those Bacon Fat Fries are calling my name!

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

You all know I am a fan of farmers’ markets and I try to go to one every weekend.  It is always my mission to find fresh seasonal produce and to support our local growers.   During one of my recent visits I purchased one of the early crops of zucchini.  I don’t think any of them measured over 5 inches in length.  I brought them home and had the “now what am I going to make with these?” moments.   I also wanted to incorporate one of my favorite olive oils that I have blogged about previously, Spartan Oil.  You can tell in this photo this is a well-loved bottle of Spartan Oil that has seen many refills.  I am a fan of using olive oil in place of many cooking oils.  For this recipe, the combination of the oil, zucchini and chocolate are divine.  I was off to my neighbors delivering muffins that afternoon after my first taste and realized these are truly delicious.  Check out the second photo – my dear neighbor posted about the muffins on Facebook; a truly delightful post.

Stoney Acres Farm/Pizza on the Farm/Oyster Mushrooms with Sherry Cream

It is always fun to step out of your local area and see what is happening across the country. Have you ever been to a pizza farm? This was my first trip to a pizza farm and I will tell you, it will not be my last visit.  During our recent visit to Central Wisconsin, I was determined to visit a local farm, Stoney Acres.  After searching the internet I found this farm as the one that fascinated me the most about this new concept.  If you are wondering “What is a pizza farm”?, it is a concept where you visit the farm and the pizzas are made onsite with fresh organic ingredients from the farm.  The wheat is ground onsite for the flour for the dough.  The toppings are fresh from the farm, the bacon is cured on the farm, the cheeses are from local cheese shops that make the cheese from the local dairies – you get the point – farm to table onsite.  Many restaurants boost that their dishes are farm to table, on the pizza farm they are from the farm to the farm table.  We arrived at Stoney Acres at our reserved time after driving through miles of beautiful country side and picturesque farm lands.  You bring everything you need (plates, napkins, utensils, and beverages)  and the pizza is made in handmade pizza ovens that cook pizzas in two minutes at over 800 degrees.  You sit at communal tables and we just happened to sit with the parents of the pizza maker and owner of Stoney Acres and their close friends.  It was a banner night for me since I found out how this concept transpired and many details regarding their operation.  I could go on and on about how fantastic the night was and how delicious the pizzas are – but if you are ever in WI and looking for a wonderful food adventure, this is one stop you cannot miss!

Enjoying our communal table at the pizza farm.

Tony Schultz (owner of Stoney Acres) with the pizza peel in hand.

Fried Green Tomatoes Caprese Style

Caprese salad is typically layers of fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil.  When I was at the farmer’s market this past Saturday, I saw the abundance of green tomatoes.  I immediately thought of fried green tomatoes, this time with a caprese twist, Fried Green Tomatoes Caprese Style. Instead of frying the tomatoes with the traditional southern cornmeal crust,  I used ciabatta bread crumbs, italian seasonings and parmesan cheese.   Topped with fresh mozzarella, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. Perfect to serve with any grilled meat or fish.   A wonderful combination.

 

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Fried Green Tomato Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 large green tomatoes
  • 2 cups bread crumbs (I used ciabatta bread and made crumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, minced in olive oil
  • 6 slices fresh mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Slice the two tomatoes in 6 - 1/4-3/8 inch slices.  Combine bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese in a shallow bowl.  Mix together the egg and 2 tablespoons of water in another shallow bowl.  Dip each tomato slice in the egg mixture and then in the crumb mixture, pat each side of tomato so the crumbs adhere.  Remove to a wire rack and let sit for 15 minutes.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until bubbly around the edges.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Fry the tomatoes in the olive oil and butter until golden brown, 7 - 10 minutes per side, turn carefully.  Remove and place fried tomato slices on baking sheet.  (At this point, you can make ahead and keep the tomatoes on the baking sheet for up to one hour before baking) Top each tomato slice with a dollop of pesto, one slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, and one tablespoon of sun-dried tomatoes.  Ten minutes before serving, place baking dish in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are hot and the cheese has melted.   Serves 6.

It’s National Doughnut Day! Orange Glazed Doughnut Holes

I posted this recipe two year’s ago and it has been one of my most viewed recipes.  I thought it would be worth a repost today.  Just as good today as it was two years ago.

 

Did you know that tomorrow, June 5th is National Doughnut Day?  National Doughnut Day is traditionally celebrated the first Friday of June, which this year falls on June 5. The celebration was first established by the Chicago Salvation Army  to honor women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I and II. The organization’s “doughgirls” once delivered doughnuts to the “doughboys,” and in 1938 it was made an official thing.   What a great tradition to continue.  I know that all of the large doughnut chains are hyping the day and having doughnut specials.  Why not make doughnut holes at home?  This recipe will have you celebrating National Doughnut Day each year!

Here is one more piece of information worth noting.

The dictionary-approved spelling for the ring-shaped cake made of dough and fried in fat is doughnut. The shortened donut has been around since the late 1800s, but it wasn’t popularized until the late 20th century, when the successful American doughnut chain Dunkin’ Donuts made it ubiquitous. Today, writers outside the U.S. still favor doughnut by a wide margin. Donut appears about a third of the time in published American writing.

 

 orange glazed doughnut holes

 

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Interesting Find – Scrambled, Greensboro, NC

Every once in awhile you run across someplace that you will always remember.  Scrambled is just one of those types of restaurants that I will remember and hope to return to one day.  As we were traveling through the south on our return trip home from the Masters this spring,  we stopped into Scrambled for breakfast.  After numerous searches on the internet, I decided that Scrambled looked like just the type of place to try and boy we were not disappointed.  You know the minute you arrive on a weekday morning and you have to wait 30 – 35 minutes, you have found a great place that the locals frequent.  We were greeted with the news of a wait, but also a waiting area and a delicious cup of coffee.  Time flew during our wait since I always seem to strike up a conversation and learn more about the restaurant and the local area.  I must admit, I told the hostess that I was a food blogger.  Once my husband and I were seated, we checked out their delicious menu and ordered a few of our favorites.  It was shortly after this that we meet Sarah Keith who owns Scrambled with her husband and chef, Chris Blackburn; she graciously offered to have us try a few of the menu highlights.  We had such fun, talking with our neighboring table mates and discussing the wonderful menu at Scrambled.  I tasted my way through the menu; just sitting here writing this post, I wish I had their fried green tomato eggs benedict sitting here next to me, or their meatloaf benedict, or their breakfast flatbread, or their pancake, or their…….. I think you get the picture.   Everything we tried was sensational.  Oh, did I mention their biscuits and homemade jams?  

Here I am with Sarah and Chris

Everything was just sensational!  I will head back to Greensboro just to go to Scrambled.

Orange Cucumber Mussels on the Half Shell

Mussels are one of our favorite dinners.  I typically cook a large pot of steaming mussels every Friday night.  They are perfect to cook after a busy week and there is nothing better than a pot of angry mussels, crusty bread and a great bottle of wine.  This time, I wanted to serve cold mussels as an appetizer.  Orange Cucumber Mussels on the Half Shell are so easy to make and a show stopper of an appetizer!  Steam the mussels in shallots and wine, remove the mussels from their shells, toss with orange and cucumber relish, load back into the shells and refrigerate until serving.  As a quick side note – when shopping for mussels, I always ask at the fish counter for the freshest bag of mussels they have, ask  ice to go and always keep the plastic bag open so they can breathe.

 

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Orange Cucumber Mussels on the Half Shell

Ingredients

  • 1 -2 pound bag mussels
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 orange, finely diced, save the juice
  • 1 seedless cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 tomato, finely diced, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add shallot and garlic, cook 2 minutes stirring frequently.  Add white wine and bring mixture to a boil.  Add mussels and cook covered for approximately 5 minutes or until the mussels have opened.  Stir once or twice while the mussels are cooking.  Drain mussels in a colander.  Throw away any mussels that did not open. Remove mussels from their shells and place in a medium size mixing bowl.  Reserve shells.  Toss mussels with the orange, cucumber, tomato, and parsley.  Add the white wine vinegar and salt and pepper.  Refrigerate.  Rinse shells and place on a serving platter.  After the mussel mixture is chilled, approximately 2 hours, spoon one mussel into each shell half, top with some of the minced vegetables.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

When a friend gives you the cutest dessert plates that say The Best Things in Life Have Chocolate Chips, what is a food blogger to do but bake some chocolate chip cookies.   I just could not resist since I thought these dessert plates were just too cute.  The other plates in the box she gave me all have wonderful food sayings as well and I can’t wait to use them during my next dinner party.  My mom used to call this cookie recipe, Cowboy Cookies, not sure where the name came from.  I have since added dried cranberries to her original recipe, therefore the name change to Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies.  Any name you give these cookies, it is hard to eat just one.  I have to think the saying on the plate is pretty correct – The Best Things in Life Have Chocolate Chips!

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Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together shortening and sugars.  Add eggs, water and vanilla.  Add flour, baking soda and salt to the creamed mixture, mix well.  Add oats, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and walnuts until well combined.  Drop rounded teaspoons of dough on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 10 - 15 minutes.  Remove and cool on racks.  Yields: 4 dozen cookies

Marion’s Orange Salad Dressing

I am so happy I found this recipe for Marion’s Orange Salad Dressing.  This is a recipe that my mom made for many year’s; she received this recipe from Marion, our next door neighbor.  Marion always recommended serving this over fresh sliced fruit.  I remember my mom always serving this drizzled on a bed of greens with sliced avocado and grapefruit.  My favorite way to serve this dressing is over blood orange slices, blueberries and avocado slices.  Any way you serve this dressing, it is fantastic.  Top your salad with a sprinkle of coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

 

 

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Marion's Orange Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 orange, juiced and zested (1 teaspoon), approx. 2/3 cup juice
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested (1 teaspoon), approx. 1/2 cup juice
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Beat the egg until well beaten, add remaining ingredients including one teaspoon zest from lemon and orange.  Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat; stirring constantly until the mixture is boiling around the edges and thickened.  This will take 8 - 10 minutes.  Immediately remove from the heat.  Cool.  Refrigerate.