Monthly Archives: March 2012

Jalapeno-Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with squash most of my life.  Mostly hate.  A couple of bad squash experiences in my youth made me sure I would dislike it for eternity.  But then, at a wonderful restaurant in Missouri, I ate butternut squash soup that changed my mind completely.  Velvety, flavorful, with just a touch of sweetness and cream.  I was in love.  With a squash. It was short-lived, since I ate it.  But it lived on in my memory.

Since that fateful day, I’ve eaten butternut squash several times, with varying degrees of success.  Until now, I’ve never actually cooked one.  I hadn’t really thought about it.  But then the other day I found the cutest squash at the store and I just wanted to bring him home.  So I did.  Then I went in search of something to do with him.  As it turned out for the recipe I found I needed a friend for my first little guy.

Butternut squash. Aren't they adorable?

As fate would have it (their fate – not mine so much) I also bought a new kitchen toy for myself this week that I was just itching to break in.

My cool stick blender! Yay!

Oh yes!  Squash meets stick blender.  But that comes later.  First I had to wrestle these two squashes into submission, which was admittedly not as easy as I expected.  Note to self: buy better vegetable peeler.  But I did get them peeled, seeded and chopped eventually.  Afterward, I read the note at the end of the recipe saying you can actually buy it already peeled and cut up.  But where’s the fun in that, huh?

This soup was terrific.  Uniquely spiced with a hint of jalapeno and ginger, it was velvety in texture, with just the right amount of sweetness and spice.  Wondering if your kids will eat it?  Claire (age 11) was a bit trepidatious at first.  But she was a convert after the first bite, ate two big bowls, and requested the leftovers for breakfast.  It probably didn’t hurt that she got to help me blend it up.  She also discovered love for a new ingredient – creme fraiche.  Luke  (16) loved it too, but there’s not much in the food world that doesn’t make him happy.

Jalapeno-Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

Jalapeno-Ginger Butternut Squash Soup
(found on

2 tbsp. olive oil
6 gloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne
4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
3 cups water
1 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
Creme fraîche (optional)

Heat olive oil in large pot over med-high heat.  Add garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and salt.  Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant but not yet browned, 1-2 minutes.  Add cayenne and cook for 30 seconds.  Add squash, broth, brown sugar and 3 cups water.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.  In a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth and return to pot (or use a stick blender in the pot until it’s all smooth).  Stir in cream and adjust seasonings if needed.  Serve hot, with a swirl of creme fraîche if desired.

Makes 6-8 servings (169 calories per serving)

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Lemony Couscous with Chickpeas

It’s very tempting when you’re on a (mostly) vegetarian diet to eat pasta every night when life gets busy.  It’s easy, you don’t need to think about recipes much, and everybody knows it’s delicious – not to mention cheap!  Unfortunately, my backside thinks this is a bad plan, and protests by not fitting into my favorite jeans if I indulge too often.

Couscous may be made out of grain but as far as carbs go it’s a healthier choice than pasta.  It is much lower on the glycemic index than pasta and higher in vitamins.  Still cheap.  Still quick to make.  And still tasty, although I don’t tend to smother it in butter or creamy sauce (which just makes it even more healthy in comparison to pasta).  It’s not as much of a comfort food for me, but that’s okay.  If you ate comfort food every night, it wouldn’t be as comforting.

As far as quickie meals go, couscous is about as fast and easy as it gets.  To prepare, you just put it in a bowl and pour boiling water (or other liquid) over it, cover and let it sit for about 5 minutes or so.  Fluff it up with a fork and use it in whatever you want.  This was a new recipe we tried this week, definitely filling enough to be a main dish, but would work well as a side dish too.  And since there is nothing in it that will go bad at room temperature, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up at a few potlucks this summer.  We ate this with a green salad and fruit for dinner, then used the leftovers in sandwich wraps for lunch the next day.

Lemony Couscous with Chickpeas

Lemony Couscous With Chickpeas
(from Moosewood Restaurant, Simple Suppers)

1 1/2 cups couscous
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups boiling water
2 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
1 14 oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped black olives
2 tbsp. fresh dill, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cup roasted cashews, chopped (the recipe called for toasted almonds, but cashews is what I had and they were delicious in this)

Put the couscous and salt in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it.  Cover and set aside for 5-10 minutes, until the water is absorbed.  Meanwhile, zest and juice both lemons and put it all in a large bowl, along with the olive oil.  Add couscous, chickpeas, olives and herbs and toss well.  Add more salt if needed.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.  Top with chopped nuts right before serving.

Lemony Couscous Wraps

Lemony Couscous Wraps

Lemony couscous
Roasted garlic hummus (or any flavor)
Cucumbers, sliced
Spinach wraps or tortillas

Spread hummus on the wrap, top with about a 1/2 cup of couscous and sliced cucumbers.  Wrap up and eat!



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Garden Pitas with Hummus

Pita bread is just about the coolest thing ever.  Who came up with the idea to make bread shaped like a pocket?  Probably somebody long ago in Greece, or the Middle East somewhere.  I’m guessing it was a happy accident, since the pocket is created by steam, but at least they knew how to replicate it so they could share their brilliance with the world.  I love these little things, you can stuff just about anything in a pita pocket.

This time of year I think the best pita stuffings are garden veggies.  They aren’t growing in my backyard yet (with my track record, they might not ever be) but you can get many things at farmer’s markets even this early in the year.

Yummy springtime veggies

At the market near me, in addition to the veggie vendors, there is also the “hummus guy.”  Since I’ve seen this stand at multiple markets I assume there is more than one guy, but I’ll admit I was distracted so much by the hummus that I didn’t really get a good look at the dude, despite his regular generosity with samples of what must be at least a dozen flavors of hummus.  Hummus is a paste made mainly from garbanzo beans (chickpeas), with a couple other ingredients tossed in.  I think it’s delicious, great for dipping chips or veggies, or spreading on whatever you have handy.  It’s also pretty darn healthy, which is a nice plus.  And it’s easy to make yourself…but that’s a blog for another day.

These made a wonderfully quick springtime meal, along with a quick coleslaw.  Since I had extra veggies, I threw a bunch in the coleslaw too.  Good stuff!

Garden Pitas with Coleslaw and Olives

Garden Pitas with Hummus

Pita or Pocket bread
Hummus (I used roasted garlic hummus, but any kind will work fine)
A variety of garden veggies sliced up (I used radishes, cucumbers and snap peas)
Feta cheese

Spread hummus in the pockets and fill with veggies and cheese.  Eat!

More Than Cabbage Coleslaw

More Than Cabbage Coleslaw

1/2 head of green cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. celery seed
2 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. raw sugar
Salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  You can eat it right away, but it’s even better if it sits a while first.

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Linguine with Clams

As a little girl, Claire did not care much for seafood, but in spite of that, the one thing she always loved was clams.  She would eat them cooked any way, any place.  Her favorite way to eat them was steamed fresh in the shell.  Of course, this is the best way to eat a clam, preferably at the beach!  Her second favorite way to eat them is in pasta.  She told me yesterday that out of all the pasta dishes I make this one is her favorite.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s made mostly with pantry items.  I like to make sure I have a few cans of clams and anchovies on hand for emergency clam pasta situations.  You never know when one will occur!  And for those of you who are cringing at the anchovy reference here, I will say that I used to be scared of them too.  They sound nasty.  They smell fishy.  They could very possibly be disgusting.  And maybe if you ate them straight from the can they would be.  But when you cook with them, they sort of dissolve into the sauce, adding a subtle, salty, nutty flavor that is not fishy at all.  It’s a miracle!  And they add a wonderful depth of flavor that you do not get without them.  So trust me, and put them in there!

Linguine with Clams

Linguine with Clams

Olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
1 can anchovies, oil drained
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (or 1 tbsp. fresh basil)
2-3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 can chopped clams, with juice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan
Lemon wedges
1 small pkg. linguine

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, anchovies, crushed red pepper & shallots.  Saute until shallots are soft and anchovies have pretty much dissolved.  Add tomatoes, wine, clams, Italian seasoning.  Let this simmer a bit while pasta cooks.  Just before pasta is done, add lemon juice, salt & pepper and fresh parsley.  Drain noodles and add to pan.  Add parmesan and toss together to combine.  Serve hot with parsley sprigs and lemon wedges.

Makes 4 servings (363 calories per serving).

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Creamy White Chicken Chili

Lots of people have cookie exchanges.  But not me.  Could this be because I’m too selfish to share all of my cookies?  Maybe.  Or could it be that the last time I went to a cookie exchange I lost all control and ate so much sugar I made myself sick and had a migraine for 2 days?  That could be it.  Cookies are dangerous, folks!

This fall I decided to have a soup exchange instead.  A small group of people came to my house, loaded down with containers of the homemade soup of their choice to trade with friends.  We ate soup.  We oohed and aahed over each other’s offerings and we all ended the day with a freezer full of soup.  It was a happy day.  A few weeks later a post appeared on my Facebook wall, saying, “I need that recipe for White Chicken Chili.  NEED!”

Now you might be tempted to play around with this recipe to make it healthier, substituting low-fat milk for whipping cream, or light sour cream for the real stuff.  Don’t do it!  In my experience, using the lighter substitutes in this recipe affects the texture and taste, and the light sour cream has a tendency to curdle, which grosses me out.  Make this soup when you feel like indulging and appreciate it for the full fat, creamy wonderfulness that it is.

This recipe is easy to double, which I almost always do, since I like to have leftovers for the next day.  I always make this recipe with chicken, but I think it would lend itself well to a vegetarian version.  I would recommend adding some extra veggies and/or beans if you decide to go that way.

Creamy White Chicken Chili

Creamy White Chicken Chili

1 pound chicken breast or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
1 8 oz. can chopped green chiles
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dry oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
Avocado (for garnish, if desired)

Saute chicken, onion & garlic in oil until chicken is no longer pink and onion is soft.  Add beans, broth, chiles and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.  In a separate bowl mix sour cream and whipping cream.  Remove soup from heat and stir in sour cream mixture.  Serve immediately.  I like to top this off with some diced avocado & tortilla chips.

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Southwestern Shrimp Salad & Creamy Cilantro-Tomatillo Dressing

We all should eat more salad.  Tons of veggies, nutrients, the freshness, the crunch…yadda, yadda, yadda.  Boo.  Hiss.  Salad is diet food.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like salad.  It’s fine.  It’s even really good sometimes.  But when you get right down to what I like MOST about salad, it’s that it is a conveyance for wonderful salad dressing.  Which is not diet food. Which makes me like it more.

This salad dressing is one of the best I’ve ever had; certainly one of the best I’ve ever made.  I would swim in it, wash my hair in it, eat it with a spoon.  If I had any left, I would put it on just about anything.  I loved it so much I ate three bowls of salad just so I could have more dressing.  Now that’s love.

To give credit where credit is due, the original recipe for this salad and dressing came from another web site I came across on Pinterest,  I did take some liberties with the salad recipe, changing it up a bit for our tastes, adding and subtracting items and adding some cooked elements to make it more dinner-like.  The shrimp is warm, flavorful, but not spicy.  The dressing I left alone for the most part, since it’s already perfect!

Southwestern Shrimp Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Tomatillo Dressing

Southwestern Shrimp Salad

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup frozen corn (or fresh corn kernels)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
Juice of 1/2 lime
6 cups romaine lettuce
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 english cucumber, diced
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, diced

Start building the salad in a large serving bowl, layering romaine lettuce, beans, cucumber, and tomatoes.  Combine raw shrimp with chili powder & salt in a small bowl.  Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a skillet over med-high heat.  Add chopped onion and corn to skillet.  Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until onion is soft.  Add shrimp.  Saute until shrimp is done.  Squeeze lime over the top of the shrimp.  Pour over the top of the salad.  Top with avocado and chopped cilantro.  Serve with Creamy Cilantro-Tomatillo Dressing (recipe follows).  I drizzed a little over the top of the serving bowl and then let everyone apply more as they saw fit.

Southwestern Shrimp Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Tomatillo Dressing on the Side

Creamy Cilantro-Tomatill0 Dressing

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tomatillo
1 clove garlic
1 scallion
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp. dry parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Apply generously to Southwestern Shrimp Salad or anything else that strikes your fancy.

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Pesto Spaghetti

If you’ve eaten dinner at my house a few times, chances are good you’ve been fed Pesto Spaghetti.  It’s one of my favorite recipes and I’ve been making it for years and years.  A friend taught me her version of this during my college days, back before I knew what pesto was, and it’s evolved ever since.  I love making it for company because it’s quick to throw together and requires very little time in the kitchen so I actually get to visit with my guests instead of cooking the whole time.  It’s also mindless enough that I can visit while I’m cooking and not risk screwing it up.

This is one of the most versatile pasta dishes I make.  You can use any kind of pesto, fresh or packaged, you can use any fresh veggies, or substitute frozen veggies if that’s more convenient.  You can make it with meat or no meat.  You can use any kind of noodle.  And it is wonderful left over the next day.  I’ve even used the leftovers as a base for a frittata the next morning.

A big bunch of fresh asparagus and some baby sweet peppers worked beautifully in this.  I still had Hazelnut Pesto left from a recipe I made last week so I used that as well and it was absolutely lovely.

Pesto Spaghetti

Pesto Spaghetti

Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or sliced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional – leave out if you don’t like the extra heat)
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped red or orange bell peppers
1/2 cup or more of basil pesto
1 can (15 oz.) of diced tomatoes with juice
1 package of thin spaghetti (or any other pasta)
Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup to mix in and more for sprinkling on top)
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for about a minute.  Add chopped veggies.  Stir and cook for about a minute.  Add pesto and tomatoes and stir to combine.  Turn down heat a bit and cook until pasta is done, stirring occasionally.  Drain pasta and add to pan.  Add 1/2 cup parmesan and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Toss to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve with additional parmesan to sprinkle on top.

Close up of Noodle-icious Pesto Spaghetti


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Black Bean & Spinach Quesadillas

You know you’re getting old when one day you sneeze and somehow pull a muscle in your lower back.  Yesterday evening I was tired, hurting, and a tiny bit grouchy. It’s true!  It happens! Now of course you’re thinking, why not just order out?  Well…the Chinese place I like doesn’t deliver and I didn’t feel like going to get it.  Besides, we ate out for lunch.

I love to cook.  That doesn’t mean I love to spend hours in my kitchen cooking.  Looking over most of the recipes I make on a regular basis, it seems like 30 minutes is my cooking limit in most cases.  But when I don’t feel well, or am wiped out, or have a gimpy lower back… I have a collection of 5-10 minute recipes I pull from.  And if I was really sick, this one is easy enough that Claire could make them by herself.  As always, she was very helpful.

Quesadillas are super quick to make, and you can put just about anything in them.  My kids love them.  Sometimes I make them with just cheese, but my favorite ones have beans and veggies of some sort included.  I had two kinds of salsa in my fridge left over from other recipes.  Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa that was just begging to be eaten, plus some of my awesome tomato salsa that I make in big batches just for occasions like this.  All I needed was something to dip in it.

Black Bean & Spinach Quesadillas with Red & Green Salsa

Black Bean & Spinach Quesadillas

Flour tortillas (I prefer the smaller taco sized tortillas, they are easier to flip!)
Shredded cheese (I like the pre-shredded Mexican blend)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
A big handful of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

Heat a dry skillet (or grill) over medium heat.  Place a flour tortilla in the skillet and build your quesadilla right in the pan.  I start with a little cheese, then put beans and spinach and then top with more cheese (you need glue on both sides!). End with another tortilla.

Building the Quesadilla

Keep an eye on the bottom tortilla, peeking under it once in awhile.  When it’s brown on the bottom and kind of stiffened up, flip the entire thing (put your hand on the top of the stack to hold it steady if needed).  Cook until the bottom tortilla is browned and the cheese is melted.  Slide onto a cutting board and slice into wedges with a pizza cutter.  Serve with salsa and chips.

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A Month Of Veggies

I’m happy to say we made it through Project Veggie with flying colors.  During this month we followed a predominately vegetarian diet that included eggs and dairy, and seafood once a week.  Technically, I suppose this would make us temporary lacto-ovo-pescetarians.  Some would probably say pseudo-vegetarians.  The labels aren’t so important to me.

When my daughter, Claire, suggested this experiment, I think her main motivation was curiosity.  She knows several people who are vegetarians and wanted to see what it was like.  My main motivation was health.  Many studies have shown that if you eat a mostly veggie-based diet you have lower risk factors for heart disease, cancer, and many other nasty ailments.  I’ve had a plethora of family members in poor health lately so that sort of thing weighs on my mind these days.  The possibility of shedding a few pounds was a nice thought as well.

A few things that surprised me this month…

• I didn’t miss the meat.  I like meat and I really expected to have unbearable cravings.  I thought I would miss it.  I didn’t.  We were having too much fun eating delicious food and finding new recipes.  The food we made was tasty and satisfying.

• It wasn’t boring. Veggie-ism encompassed far more variety than I had expected.  In a month we made a wide selection of soups, pasta, casseroles, curries and other dishes.  We explored the cuisine of 8 different countries.  Our diet went far beyond tofu, mac & cheese and salad. We didn’t repeat a recipe once.

• I had more energy throughout the whole day.  It was a welcome change.

• I didn’t need any special cookbooks, though there are many good ones available.  Every cookbook I already own and every cooking magazine I read has vegetarian recipes in it.  I had hundreds of recipes to choose from already on my shelves.

• This was a far easier diet to stick to than the gluten free thing we had to do a few months back.  The few times we ate away from home we had plenty of options to choose from.  Our greatest temptation was actually the food court at the mall!

• I really like writing a blog!  It’s something I’ve found fun and relaxing, and not bad for my ego.  Thanks to all of you who have been reading and commenting.  I appreciate the feedback and support.  After a month I have 24 followers and I don’t think most of them are even related to me!

A few other thoughts…

• It is entirely possible to be a vegetarian and still be overweight.  I lost a few pounds during this month but overall I think vegetarian eating (particularly if you still eat dairy) can still be quite fattening.  Chocolate is vegetarian.  As are brownies and birthday cake and cookies.  And there is definitely a temptation to gravitate toward lots of carbs for easy meals.  But if you stay focused on healthy grains for your carbs, and eat reasonable portions, overall I do believe it’s a healthier diet.  You still have to watch the amount of calories you’re shoveling into your body, and you still have to stay active.

• We spent a little more on groceries.  Not a lot more, but some.  I think in our particular case, there were several factors that came into play beyond the diet.  I went from cooking 4 nights a week to cooking 7 nights a week right around the time we started.  We didn’t eat out at all for dinner, but cooked every day.  I splurged on some gourmet ingredients from time to time.  We also went to the store more often, which admittedly led to some impulse buys. But I did find ways to keep the grocery bill reasonable as well.  I bought some things in bulk when it was cost effective to do so.  I buy extra pantry items like pasta and rice and canned goods when I see them on sale.  The more spendy ingredients were used in smaller portions and stretched over several different recipes.  Also, veggies are cheaper when they are in season, and grown locally, so I try to shop according to what’s fresh and plentiful and growing in my part of the world (which means it’s usually less expensive!).  Incidentally, vegetables in season also taste better.  There are several good farmer’s markets around here, even in the winter.  As the season progresses there will be even more variety available.  Also, I didn’t buy any “fake” food, which tends to be more costly (and in my opinion, generally not that great).

Bounty from the fruit stand

About the animals…

It’s silly to talk about vegetarianism without discussing animals so here’s my thoughts on that.  I personally do not have a problem eating animals. However, the farming and processing practices are, in many cases, appalling, particularly in the big industry segment of the market.  News reports of “pink slime” have been running rampant recently.  This nasty additive includes chemicals which were never meant to be eaten.  It was nice not to worry about whether or not it was in anything we were eating this month.  While I don’t plan to stop eating meat completely, I will be eating substantially less than before, and I will buy the bulk of it at farmer’s markets, where I can be assured the animals are treated more humanely, are chemical and hormone-free, and the processing is minimal.  If you haven’t tried local, free range, grass fed meat, there is a definite taste difference (for the better!).  It does cost a little more, but since we are only planning to eat it occasionally, in my opinion it’s worth it.

Moving forward…

• We all agreed that we enjoyed eating a mostly veggie diet, but we all want to eat meat once in a while.  We are planning to limit meat from land animals to once a week, and will continue to eat seafood at least once a week as well.

• I found out I really don’t care for the taste of vegetable broth.  Unless there are a lot of other ingredients to disguise the taste, I will stick with beef or chicken broth even in “vegetarian” dishes.  Or maybe experiment with making my own.

• I’m going to keep blogging and posting recipes.  From now on they will include the occasional dish that includes meat.  Let me know if there is something in particular you think we should make!

• Today is St. Patrick’s Day.  I haven’t eaten meat in 31 days.  I’m going to celebrate my little slice of Irish by making corned beef and cabbage!

Project Veggie: Day 30 – Spicy Shrimp Tacos

Cooking for my mom is always a little funny.  She likes what she likes and she doesn’t like to deviate much from it.  She prefers good home cooking, “comfort food”.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that stuff too. But, as an adult, I’ve developed my own tastes, and have taught myself to cook and eat different things than what I grew up eating.  I am pretty adventurous as far as food goes.  But it gets me in trouble from time to time.  Sometimes, when I try appeal to Mom’s adventurous side by making new foods, things go awry.  And yet…I keep doing it. 🙂  She says she likes my cooking, but secretly (or not so secretly) she thinks I’m a little weird.

When I first moved back to town, I made shrimp tacos for Mom.  I’ve made these before.  The kids and I love them.  Of course, we like spicy food.  My mom…not so much.  As my daughter so colorfully put it, I nearly “decapitated her with my spicy awesomeness.”  This was several years ago and my mom still talks about it.

Aside from the heat, these tacos have a great, zippy sauce that doubles as a terrific green salsa for chips.  If you’re not a fan of spicy, ditch the chile pepper and cayenne in this recipe, or reduce the amount.  They definitely have a kick otherwise!

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

For the shrimp:

1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound medium shrimp

For the salsa:

1/2 pound tomatillos
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 avocado, peeled
1 serrano chile, seeded

Other ingredients:

Corn or flour tortillas (I prefer the corn ones with these)
Shredded lettuce

Combine shrimp with chili powder, cayenne, salt & garlic, and let it marinate while you make the salsa.  To prepare the salsa, combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree.  Heat a large skillet over med-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and then add shrimp.  Cook, stirring until shrimp are cooked through.  Build your tacos with shredded lettuce, 4 or 5 shrimp, and sauce.


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