Sunday Night Cooking Roundup: 11 July, 2011

(Gosh, I haven’t done this in a while.)

Today’s Sunday Cooking Roundup is a litlte disappointing. There’s nothing vegetarian here, but I do have pescaterian and poultry friendly dishes.  What we do have, however, reflects what was on sale at the grocery store. In addition to the standard salad vegetables and herbs that I normally buy, this weekend they had chicken breasts, shrimp and mixed shellfish on sale.  There was no way I was going to miss out on buying these, so this week’s menu is heavy on all of them. Apologies to my veggie friends, and I’ll try again for next week.

Here’s what we have on the menu:

  1. Dheeraj’s Modified Shrimp Scampi,
  2. Garlic Chicken and
  3. Mixed Shellfish Soup.

Recipes and pictures after the jump.

Dheeraj’s Modified Shrimp Scampi

First of all, I hate the name “Shrimp Scampi”. It’s redundant. “Scampi” is Italian for “shrimp”. Really. Look it up.  But it generically means shrimp cooked up with oil and citrus.  I think that that’s okay, but a little boring. So here’s what I did, instead.

Ingredients

1 lbs peeled shrimp (I buy it and peel it, but do what you want)

1 yellow onion

1 green pepper

0.5 lbs sliced white mushrooms

2 Tbs. finely chopped garlic

1 Tbs. Black Pepper

1.5 finely diced habanero pepper

3 Tbs. Lemon juice

1 tsp. combined diced fresh rosemary, oregano and basil (Do not use dried Italian Herbs mix. It sucks.)

Steps

Well, so as part of my diet and training, I’ve given up rich cooking oils. I KNOW, RIGHT? WHAT A FUCKING DISASTER!  Anyway, I’m using a flavoured cooking spray now, and you can certainly use a cooking oil for this. In this case, I’d recommend using olive oil.  You’re going to add a lot to it, so just about any grade will do.   

So oil up a frying pan and let the oil start to warm up.  While that’s happening, dice up your onion, habaneros and green capsicum, and then stick in the oil on low heat to start to cook.  You want it to get soft, but you don’t want the onions to brown or the pepper to get too soft, so use low heat.  When the capsicum is about half-way to where you want it to be, add in the mushrooms and black pepper.  Mushroom consistency is critical, here. You don’t want them to be too floppy, but you want them to get the flavours and oils of the onion, habaneros and the capsicum. 

Keep this in mind: the shrimp will be cooking for about seven minutes. That will help you judge when the mushrooms are at the right stage of cooking to add in the shrimp.  When you’re ready, add the shrimp, garlic and lemon juice.  Mix it up and make sure that everything cooks together.

The end result should look like this:

Enjoy! 

Garlic Chicken

This is not really a recipe as much as it is me trying to recreate something that my mother used to make and trying to mod it up a little bit to accomodate what was on sale and what I needed to use up in the fridge.

Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 finely diced onion

1 diced green capsicum

6 Tbsp chopped garlic

4 Tbsp garam masala

2 chopped serrano chillies

1/2 cup nonfat, plain yogurt

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped coriander

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 tsp shredded ginger

Steps

Again, I’m not using oil, but if I were, I’d use vegetable oil.  Toss in the onions, capsicum, green chillies and ginger to get them cooking up.  When the onions start to turn translucent, add in the diced chicken, half the garam masala, half the garlic and half the cumin.   Actively stir and let the chicken get brown, while the chicken oils merge and mix in with the garam masala, cumin seeds, garlic and vegetables.  When the chicken is well browned, through everything else in.

Now, you stir it up to make sure everything is mixed up well, cover it up and step away for a while. You can tell that it’s finished when the chicken is soft enough that you can easily slice it in half with a fork. Yes, it’s that tender.

Results look like this

Mixed Shellfish Soup

This is the recipe I am seriously excited about!  The grocery store were having a sale on mixed shellfish, which included calamari, shrimp, scallops and small shellfish.  I was so pleased to discover this that I invented a soup on the spot.

Ingredients

1 diced yellow onion

1 bunch of green onions, diced

1 green capsicum

2 diced habanero peppers

8 diced tomatoes

1.5 cups diced coriander

1 lbs mixed shellfish

1 cup lemon juice

2 Tbs cumin seed

4 Tbs chopped garlic

Cinnamon to taste

Bay leaves to taste

6 Tbs garam masala

Liquid of your choice (I used water because of the diet, but I’d imagine that you could add in a lager and have amazing results.)

Steps

This can be done even if you don’t have a pressure cooker. I do, which made this a lot easier, but you can do it without one if you’re patient.  My advice is to start this before you start anything else and let it go in the background while you are cooking other things.

Take the green onion, white onion, garlic, habanero and tomato and put them into the pot you’re going to use.  Add just a little bit of your liquid, cover it up and let it sit there for a quite a bit.  You want this to start breaking down.  When your soup base is about 1/4 of the way to where you want it to be, add in everything else except the seafood. 

Now, you are cooking the base down till it gets to your desired thickness. Check on it every ten minutes or so. To make it thicker, I recommend using a habanero salsa of some kind, and to dilute, add more of your liquid.  When the base has reached the desired consistency, add in the shellfish and cook for no more than six minutes.

Results should look like this.

Garlic Chicken