Category Archives: Recipes

Roasted Shrimp with Tomatoes, Capers and Feta


I have a small collection of cookbooks, and truth be told, they serve more as kitchen decoration than anything else. I decided it’s because cooking from a cookbook is a gamble: you really have to trust the cookbook editor and publisher in order to guarantee a great recipe. I made some mediocre apple muffins a couple weeks ago from a cookbook, and I guarantee that if I had searched for the exact recipe online I would’ve found one with tons of notes in the comments and helpful tips on how to make those muffins stellar.

I do, however, have a cookbook that I know is incredible (I used to work for the publisher heeeeeey) and all about roasting: literally called All About Roasting. My hesitation in using it is that roasting, to me, seems super involved and time consuming. But I read through it slowly one blissful warm Saturday morning with a hot cup of coffee and found this incredible shrimp recipe. Turns out roasting doesn’t always mean 4 hours in the oven.

On the menu:
Roasted shrimp with tomatoes, capers and feta
Serves 2

1/2 pound jumbo shrimp
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp vodka
Salt
One 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, or 1 3/4 cups of peeled, seeded, and diced fresh tomatoes
2 Tbsp capers, drained
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, vodka, and a pinch of salt. Toss and coat and let marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Spread the tomatoes in a shallow baking dish (I used a 8″ x 10″ Pyrex dish), drizzle with remaining Tbsp of olive oil, and sprinkle with capers. Arrange the shrimp on top of the tomatoes and pour extra marinade over the top.

Bake for 8 minutes, or until the shrimp are mostly pink. Using tongs, flip shrimp and cover with feta cheese. Bake for another 8 – 10 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through completely. Feta will be slightly melted.

Note: I served this over buttered orzo and it made a lovely weeknight meal with minimal effort. #Win.

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Lemony Goodness


One time I had a friend over for dinner and she offered to bring dessert. “What’s your favorite?” she asked. “Cake,” I answered. “In all its forms.”

To me, and George Costanza*, a muffin is just a piece of cake that’s acceptable to eat for breakfast. So I bake a lot of muffins. A. Lot. These are moist, delicious, and they have so much lemon in them that they’re actually a bit tart. Sunday was so sunny and spring-like that lemon muffins seemed like a no brainer.

On the menu:
Lemon Yogurt Muffins
Makes 12 muffins 

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup plain yogurt
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Glaze:
1/3 cup lemon juice (the juice from 2 lemons)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, combine first 6 ingredients. In a separate bowl, blend egg, yogurt, melted butter, and lemon juice together with an electric mixer. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, just until moistened. Fill lined or greased baking cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes, or until tops of muffins are lightly browned.

Let muffins cool for 5 minutes. In the meantime, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine lemon juice, sugar, and lemon zest until combined. Poke 6 – 8 holes into each muffin (still in the pan) and spoon 1/2 Tbsp of glaze over each muffin. Let cool for 30 minutes and then remove from the pan.

*”Anyway, so I was coming along here, and I felt like a piece of cake, you know? But then I thought, it’s morning, I should really have a muffin. I like those chocolate chip ones. Then I figured, well, they’re really both cake. So I, uh, I sat on that bench for a little while, twenty minutes or an hour, and then I figured, check and see what you were up to.” – Seinfeld

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Chicken Ragu with Tortellini


This is probably not news to anyone who knows me or reads this blog on the reg, but I love comfort food. I’m sure comfort food is different for everyone, but for me it’s cake, scrambled eggs, tomato sauce and pasta, macaroni and cheese… you get the idea. If it adds to your cholesterol, it makes me feel good.

In that same vein, ragu is probably one of my favorite pasta sauces. Ragu is defined as a vegetable-based sauce with meat in it, but in my mind I define a ragu as a tomato based sauce with shredded meat in it. Okay, so maybe culinary experts might disagree. Look at me give a care.

On the menu:
Chicken ragu with tortellini
Serves 4

1 28-0z. can crushed tomatoes
2 chicken breasts
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 black pepper
1 lb. pasta (I used tortellini but you can use any pasta you like)
1 honking loaf of garlic bread (optional… but really… is it?)

Pour tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper into a slow cooker and mix well until combined. Nestle chicken into the tomato sauce and turn on slow cooker to 275 degrees or low heat. Cook for 6 – 8 hours.

Cook pasta according to directions.

Remove chicken and place on cutting board, and then use 2 forks to pull apart chicken. Return chicken to slow cooker, add pasta, and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garlic bread. Impress your friends. Be full and happy.

Chicken ragu in the slow cooker

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Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Muffins: A Love Story


If I could, I would make everything into a pancake. The lemon/blueberry combo idea has been on my mind for weeks and weeks, so naturally I decided I would make them into pancakes along with the tub of ricotta I had in the fridge. But The BF not-so-subtly reminded me that I had made pancakes every weekend for 2 weeks and maybe not everyone is cool with a steady diet of pancakes… I don’t claim to understand those types of people, and maybe I never will.

In any case, I gave in and made the next best thing: muffins. And let me tell you kiddies… these are good. Really, really good. If you’ve never baked with ricotta before, or have been skeptical, these will have you singin’ a different tune.

On the menu:
Blueberry lemon ricotta muffins
Makes 12 muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup milk
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
1 cup blueberries (I used frozen but if you have sweet, fresh blueberries, use ’em!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend together the ricotta, milk, and butter until completely blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add the lemon zest and mix well.

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix together just until incorporated. Add the blueberries and stir together with a rubber spatula*. Your batter should be relatively firm, but if it’s on the dry side you can add just a splash of milk.

Divide batter evenly into 12 pre-greased or lined baking cups. Bake for 26 – 30 minutes, or until the tops are a light golden brown color. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for around 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.

*Note: fresh blueberries are very delicate and you’ll want to be careful mixing them into the batter so they don’t get squashed. And yes… squashed is a technical term.

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Carrot Pineapple Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

When trying to come up with a dessert for last weekend’s dinner, I kept thinking that by the time the meat was gone I hoped everyone would be full. But I also wanted to cap off the evening with something really special… and frankly, kids, I don’t know how to not do comfort food. So while my guests may or may not have dozed off in their chairs after the meal was over (is there a greater compliment?) and their pants may have been a little tight, I think this cake was the right decision.

On the menu:
Pineapple carrot cake with whipped cream cheese frosting

Cake:
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs. room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 salt
1 pound carrots, grated
3/4 cup fresh pineapple, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans.

Beat together sugar, oil, and eggs until the mixture is a light yellow color. Beat in the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated. Fold in the carrots and the pineapple and mix well. Divide the batter up equally into the 2 pans. Bake for 55 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack.

Frosting:
1 8-oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp corn starch
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Place a metal bowl and beaters from an electric mixer into the freezer for 30 minutes. In the pre-frozen bowl with pre-frozen beaters, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form.

In a separate bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar, corn starch, salt, and vanilla extract. Fold in the whipped cream.

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Avocado Shrimp Salad

Did you ever have one of those days where you’re a food blogger and you make something really delicious and then you and your dinner guests devour it and you realize you forgot to take a picture of it? Don’t you just hate when that happens? I made this dish, and was so super proud of it, and as I was cleaning the plates off The BF said, “You forgot to take a picture… huh?” Rest assured, friends, this dish is beautiful and tastes just as good. You won’t regret making it. Pinky promise.

On the menu:
Avocado shrimp salad
Serves 4 

3 Tbsp red onion, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 pound shrimp, cleaned and tails removed, cooked and diced
2 avocados, ripened
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts

Combine red onion, cilantro, shrimp, lime juice, and salt in a plastic bowl.

Cut avocados in half, careful to keep the skin intact. Remove pit. Scrape out the flesh, leaving a thin layer of flesh on the skin. Mix the avocado insides with the rest of the fillings, careful not to mash it too much [the salad is better if you leave the avocado a little chunky].

Divide the sprouts up between the 4 avocado shells and then fill each shell with 1/4 of the salad. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

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Bourbon and Brown Sugar Pork Shoulder

This past weekend I went all out and made a super special dinner as a thank you to two friends. I wanted the dinner to be out-of-this-world memorable, and with dishes we don’t eat everyday. I remembered that I had a recipe for pork shoulder tucked away in my inbox and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out. I called my local pork store, Sorriso’s, ordered a four pound pork shoulder, and annoyed everyone in my presence for two solid days talking about how great this dinner was going to be.

The dinner was comprised of four main dishes, and I’ll be sharing them over the course of the week. Just so y’all know, none of this was very complicated but it came together to be a pretty epic dinner. Four bottles of wine didn’t hurt anybody, either.

On the menu:
Bourbon and brown sugar glazed pork shoulder
Serves 4 – 5 

1 Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
4 1/2 pound bone-in pork shoulder*

Glaze:
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 cup bourbon

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Mix together paprika, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the pork shoulder all over with the spices and let sit 30 minutes.

Set pork in a roasting pan and put in oven for around 5 hours, or until the bone moves around easily with little to no resistance.

When the pork has been in the oven for 4 hours and 45 minutes, start making the glaze. Mix together the brown sugar and bourbon in a small saucepan and turn heat to medium/low. Simmer the sugar and bourbon for around 8 to 10 minutes or until reduced by 1/4.

Brush 1/3 of the glaze over the pork shoulder and return to oven. Glaze twice more, every 10 minutes. After 30 more minutes of roasting, remove the pork from the oven. Let sit for 15 minutes before pulling meat off the bones and serving. Serve over basic polenta or mashed potatoes.

*It’s worth mentioning that pork shoulder is kinda pricey, but well worth the money. A cheap pork shoulder will yield tough meat, and you definitely want this to be as moist and juicy as possible.

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