Just a quick note…

December 19th, 2009

… well, exams are finally over… I’m half-way through law school!!! yea!!! I have been hanging out with Juan all week… sleeping, relaxing and cooking… We are going to watch the “new” Harry Potter in a minute… but I wanted to give you something to drool over…Pumpkin and Shrimp Bisque… absolutely delicious!

And then I found five Euro…

March 8th, 2008

Happy International Women’s Day!

Have you ever been half way through retelling a story and realized that your audience is bored? What do you do to redeem yourself? Well, my friends and I went through a phase where we would add “and then I found five dollars” to the end of every dull story we would tell. Whether it was true or not, finding five dollars is quite exciting. Finding five Euro is even better, given it is worth more than five dollars.

I first learned about International Women’s Day, when I was living in Rome. Beautiful yellow mimosas were sold on the street to be given to one’s wives, daughters, sisters and friends. My friends and I went out to dinner in celebration and then had a few drinks at our local bar. And then I found five Euro…

Wasn’t that a dull story? The cool part is I really did find five Euro and I still have it as a little momento in my wallet.

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the political, economic and social achievements of women throughout the world. Regardless of your political leanings, Zorra and Fiordisale made this day fun for all cooks by sponsoring an event to celebrate.
My first dish, the Saffron Buns,
as I have already lamented, did not turn out as well as I would have liked. Thankfully, my cousin and I made Fried Cornmeal Shrimp with Butternut Squash Risotto, which helped me satisfy the requirement of this event. This dish is very yellow and very delicious. The slight garlicky crunchy shrimp complement the creamy butternut squash risotto very well. My cousin and I think that next time we will add ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper when sautéing the shallots to add a little kick. We did not change much of the recipe just a little bit here and there to fit what I already had in the pantry and make it easier to understand. Enjoy!

Fried Cornmeal Shrimp with Butternut Squash Ravioli
(from Bon Appetit through epicurious.com)

1 1 3/4- to 2-pound butternut squash (or one 20 ounce pre-cut butternut squash package)

3/4 cup uncooked large shrimp , peeled, deveined
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, smashed

1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups chicken broth
2 chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine

Vegetable oil (for frying)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Pierce squash several times. Place on baking sheet; roast until tender, about 1 hour (if using the precut, roast for about 30 minutes until tender). Cool. Cut squash in half; discard seeds. Scoop flesh into processor. Puree until smooth. I prefer it a mix of smooth and still kind of chunky.

Place shrimp, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 smashed garlic cloves in large resealable plastic bag; turn to coat. Chill 2 to 3 hours.

Stir cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl. Add shrimp; toss. Arrange in single layer on large plate.

Bring broth to simmer in heavy small saucepan; reduce heat to low and keep hot. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook until beginning to brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and 2 teaspoons thyme; stir 1 minute. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add wine; stir until almost absorbed, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 cup hot broth and cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding hot broth 1 cup at a time and stirring frequently until rice is almost tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, add enough vegetable oil to heavy large skillet to reach depth of 1/4 inch. Heat oil over high heat. Working in 2 batches, fry shrimp until golden brown and cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.

Add butternut squash puree to risotto and stir until rice is tender but still firm, about 2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and remaining 2 teaspoons thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

P.S. Check out the other great yellow dishes here in honor of International Women’s Day!

International Women's Day