I don’t have any fancy introduction or theorizing on food for this one. We had some frozen baby shrimp and a can of San Marzano pureed tomatoes, and wanted to make shrimp creole, star entree of the four-hour dinner I once made for my parents on their anniversary. Ooookay so the dinner was only supposed to take one hour to make and as I recall, my parents weren’t totally thrilled that it took four times as long. I don’t remember how the food was, either, but I remember it was the first and only time I’d made shrimp creole, until tonight.
I’m not sure how authentic this is. My guess is, mostly, but maybe there are a few things that aren’t quite right. I don’t care because it’s yummy.
Shrimp Creole (3-4 servings)
This stuff is spicy! Not the immediate, sharp, burn your tongue kind of spicy. In fact, I may have over-spiced it because when I tasted it, it was pretty mild. However, the heat builds very quickly and we ended up needed to take a break in the middle of our bowls and make a piece of buttered toast for each of us to eat with the rest of our dish. So, even though the recipe specifies 2 tbsp. creole seasoning (and I added about another teaspoon or so at the end of the recipe), you may want to tread lightly, or just add less cayenne pepper to your spice mix, if you make your own.
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. creole seasoning, divided (I got my recipe from Nola Cuisine)
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 – 1 c. white wine (I didn’t actually measure this out)
- 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree
- 8-10 medium fresh okra (or about 3/4 c. chopped)
- 1/2 lb. baby shrimp (I’d maybe double this if you love your seafood; I just used what we had)
- 2 c. cooked white rice
- Heat oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook five minutes, or until vegetables are beginning to soften.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon of the creole seasoning, and cook for several minutes, or until fragrant. Add tomato paste and cook several minutes, until beginning to brown.
- Turn heat up to medium-high, and add wine. Cook until wine has evaporated, and then add crushed tomatoes and one cup of water, along with the remaining tablespoon of creole seasoning and okra.
- Cover, and simmer about 15 minutes, or until sauce has thickened somewhat and okra is tender. Add shrimp and rice to the sauce, and simmer for about five minutes, or until heated through.
Ruby red, meltingly tender, and just a little earthy. That would be this beet risotto that I made for dinner on Tuesday night for J, my mom, and my kid brother. J and I both agreed it could have used a little something extra – J suggested chicken, but personally, I think goat cheese would have been fantastic. Tangy, and complementarily earthy. Boy, I am just all about the adverbs today…
If you are lucky enough to have access to beets by the bunch with their greens attached, you won’t have to buy any separate leafy greens to put into your dish. Otherwise, the ingredient list is relatively short, mostly ingredients common to every risotto: broth, Arborio rice, wine, and Parmesan cheese.
Beet Risotto (serves 4-5)
Recipe adapted from “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison – I highly recommend this cookbook for anyone who wants to eat vegetarian, but especially for those who want to learn all about vegetables. A huge section of this cookbook deals with all kinds of vegetables – how to buy them, how to prepare them, and several recipes for each type.
- 5-6 c. vegetable stock
- 3 tbsp. butter or olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 1/2 c. Arborio rice
- 1/2 c. dry white wine
- 2-3 medium beets, peeled and grated (I used 6 baby red beets and 2 baby golden beets)
- 2-3 c. greens, finely chopped (beet, chard, kale, spinach, etc. – I used 2 bunches baby beet greens and 1 bunch rainbow chard, stems removed)
- grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan (or more to taste)
- 2 oz. soft goat cheese (or more to taste; trust me!)
- Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan and keep covered, and simmering.
- Heat the butter or olive oil in a wide saute pan. Add the onion, and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add rice, and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Add wine, and simmer until it’s absorbed. Stir in grated beets and chard or kale. Add 2 c. stock, cover, and simmer until stock is absorbed.
- Add the stock in 1/2-cup increments, stirring constantly until each addition has been absorbed, before adding the next. Check regularly for texture of the rice. When you have one or two additions of stock remaining (rice should be just slightly chewy), add beet greens or spinach along with the next addition of stock.
- When rice is cooked to desired consistency, soft (or slightly chewy) and creamy, taste for seasoning (salt and pepper), then add lemon zest and juice, as well as Parmesan cheese. Check seasoning again, and serve with additional Parmesan.
- For an extra kick, top each serving with some crumbled goat cheese.