Tag Archives: shrimp

smoked sausage and shrimp alfredo recipe

Creamy pasta… let’s just call it “carbo-loading”

Do you feel cheated? You’ve been coming to this blog and reading about exercise, salad dressing, training for races. And now, here you are, gazing at a photo of something so obnoxiously indulgent that just looking at it might make you fat. It doesn’t fit, does it?

Well, I have two words for you. Balance, and indulgence. Vegetables are great, but nobody can eat them all the time. Just make sure that when you slip up, it’s worth it. (Have you ever been suckered into eating something that’s simultaneously terrible for you and awful-tasting? I’m talking grocery-store-bought birthday cake for a coworker’s birthday. Awkwardly standing around the conference room, you have to eat a little slice just to be nice. But every bite is a chore, and you’re mad about it because the cake is dry and crumbly and completely canceling out the run you planned to do that afternoon. It doesn’t even taste like it’s worth those calories). (I think that was more than two words).

Through 37 Cooks and Teet’s Food Store, I got hooked up with some great smoked pork sausage. It’s a natural pairing with shrimp: the flavorful sausage lends smokiness to briny, fresh seafood. This is one of those meals that evolved because I’m carbo-loading for my next race. And because a creamy, cheesy Alfredo sauce needs to be on the menu at least once per year. How’s that for efficiency?

Don’t think of Alfredo sauce as something that you can only have at restaurants. It’s shockingly easy to throw together at home, and you’ll love the results. Seriously, if you can bring cream to a simmer and then stir in a few more ingredients, you can make this dish in ten minutes. Of course, parmesan cheese is the traditional choice, but with that big sausage flavor coupled with a little Cajun seasoning, you’ll have delicious results using milder Asiago, fontina, or any combination of those.

You’ll want to pay careful attention to the timing on this. I’d set out a pot of water to boil before doing anything else. When it’s hot but not quite boiling yet, begin warming the cream. If you time things right, you’ll begin adding butter to the simmering cream when the pasta has just a couple of minutes to go. After a little bit of whisking, you’ll be able to add perfectly al dente pasta to the mixture, stir in the cheese, and dig in. It’s so easy and delicious, I promise you’ll think twice about ordering that $18 alfredo pasta dish next time you’re eating at an Italian restaurant.

If you still feel guilty about eating this, just call it carbo-loading.

Smoked Sausage and Shrimp Alfredo
serves 3-4
Ingredients

1/2 pound fettucine pasta
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound Teet’s smoked pork sausage, sliced into coins
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Slap Ya Mama seasoning
4 tablespoons butter, cut into four pieces
1/2 cup shredded cheese (Parmesan, Fontina, mozzarella), divided
Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it boils, add fettucine and cook until almost done – about eight minutes. Drain but do not rinse.
In a medium saute pan heated over medium-high, saute sausage coins until just crisp and a little bit of fat has rendered. Remove to a spare plate and reserve. To the still-hot pan, add shrimp and saute until just done. Put it with the sausage for just a little while
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, heat the cream with Slap Ya Mama seasoning until it comes to a simmer. This works best at medium heat. After little bubbles appear, lower the heat to just about as low as it gets. Add pieces of butter one at a time, whisking after each addition until fully melted and incorporated into the sauce. Turn the heat off completely. By this time, the pasta should be just about cooked – add it to the pot and mix it all up. Add most of the shredded cheese, leaving some for garnish. Stir it well to melt everything. Then add the reserved sausage and shrimp. Stir until everything is mixed well and heated through.
Serve topped with reserved cheese and, if desired, fresh-ground black pepper.
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shrimp and grits with smoked sausage recipe

This photo makes me hungry…

Now, y’all know that I live in Atlanta. I’m still a Northerner at heart – you’d be hard-pressed to find a Southerner who loves hockey as much as me. But after more than two years here, I’ve adapted quite well to my new home. Let’s just say I recently attended a country concert in cowboy boots, and it felt completely natural.

One thing that the South is known for is a down-home dish called shrimp and grits. You can find it on the brunch menu of many restaurants down here. I’m not the biggest fan of grits, as a rule, but shrimp are one of my favorite things. And for some reason, when I was out to brunch a few weeks ago, shrimp and grits kept calling to me from the menu. Its voice was louder than that of the crabcake benedict, so I acquiesced. Man, was it good. The shrimp were perfectly tender and flavorful, but the grits almost stole the show. Studded with bacon and cheddar cheese, they were so much more than a foundation for seafood.

When I came across some yummy Georgia shrimp at the butcher shop, the idea to make my own shrimp and grits popped into my head. But instead of bacon, I wanted to use sausage. Some of y’all (yeah, I said y’all! This is a Southern post, after all) know about 37 Cooks, a fun group I was lucky enough to join a few months ago. Well, that group was recently sponsored by Teet’s Food Store down in Louisiana. They sent us a whole bunch of delicious sausage. My family has enjoyed it so much that was a no-brainer to incorporate that. And while many recipes call for cheddar cheese in the grits and green onions on the shrimp, I used Emmenthaler and chives. It worked so well that I just have to recommend that combination.

Grits are incredibly fast and easy to prepare, and so are shrimp. Be sure to cook them quickly over high heat; that’ll keep them tender. This brunch comes together so fast that you’ll want to have the mise en place set up before you even turn on the stove.

Shrimp and Grits with Smoked Sausage
serves two
Ingredients
1/2 cup grits
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup Emmenthaler cheese, shredded
4 ounces smoked pork sausage, sliced into coins (Teet’s is very good)
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about eight big ones)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 small clove of garlic, minced fine
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Salt to taste
Method
In a small saucepan, prepare 1/2 cup of grits as directed on package.
Meanwhile, in a small saute pan over medium heat, cook sausage slices until crisp and fat has rendered. Remove and reserve, keeping as much fat as possible in the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp. Be careful to cook until just done – a couple of minutes per side until they curl and are opaque. When the shrimp are finished, add all at once the parsley, chives, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Stir a couple of times to coat the shrimp, then take the pan off the heat.
When the grits are finished, stir in the butter, cheese, and sausage.
Serve by plating the grits and arranging shrimp on top.

slap ya mama duck gumbo recipe

When I had the opportunity to participate in an ingredient challenge, I hesitated for approximately three-tenths of a second before enthusiastically volunteering. No, that’s a lie, I didn’t hesitate at all. I don’t often watch shows like Top Chef, but I’ve always been in awe of the chefs’ abilities to receive a mystery ingredient and then, an hour later, present a mouthwatering meal that rivals anything I could ever have imagined making. This was my chance to try.

What made the challenge so exciting was the secret ingredient: Slap ya Mama Cajun seasoning. I’ve had New Orleans on the brain lately. After a few weeks of researching the best eats that the city has to offer, it was fun to come up with my own Creole creation in here in Atlanta.
My kitchen is constantly stocked with items that caught my eye during random shopping trips. It wasn’t a difficult decision to incorporate a frozen duck that I got a few weeks ago – and not only because my roommate keeps asking pointedly, “So when are we going to eat that duck?” I bought it at the Asian market and was dismayed to see, when I got home, that the package read “For Stewing.” I had been so excited at the low price that I neglected to notice it wasn’t labeled as a duckling. We can only assume that it was a grown-up duck that would require braising to become delicious.
Gumbo would be a perfect way to ensure that my duck cooked till it was fall-off-the-bone tender, but it would also be crazily delicious. With the addition of smoked Andouille sausage and shrimp and served over rice, the Slap Ya Mama gumbo became one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. Smoky, spicy, and delicious, it’s the kind of meal that you will crave. It produces the kind of leftovers that become a 2 am snack, fixed as soon as your stomach finishes processing the first round.
I start with a whole duck. Carving a duck is very similar to carving a chicken, except duck has more fat. Just use a sharp knife, feel for the joints to slice through, and you’ll be fine.
Making duck stock while the roux simmers is a great way to use the extra duck parts – wings and bones – and boost the flavor of your product. I make a light stock here and some would even use water instead. But if you’re a detail-oriented home cook, you’ll enjoy boosting the flavors of your dishes. And besides, any leftover stock can be used to make soup, or simmered down to become the base of an unbeatable sauce for another dish.
The hardest part of making gumbo is achieving the bravado required for the gumbo to darken up to the Cajun standard, which is “the color of dark chocolate” according to Emeril Lagasse. After you’ve spent an hour rendering duck fat and gently stirring it into a roux, the fear of burning is great. It’s very tempting to call the roux a roux when it’s golden brown, or even chestnut brown. All sources advise you to let it go as long as you can. 
Slap ya Mama Duck Gumbo with Andouille Sausage and Shrimp
serves many… at least 6-8

Slap Ya Mama Seasoning – hot
1 duck, whole
1/2 c flour
1 onion, diced
2 green peppers, diced
1 c okra, sliced
1 c celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp salt
A few sprigs fresh thyme, or a tablespoon dried
2 bay leaves
2 large links Andouille sausage, sliced (about 3/4 lb)
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and rinsed
Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, carve the duck into serving pieces: two wings, two leg quarters, two breasts. Trim off as much of the fat as you can. Reserve the spine and rib cage. Then, using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breasts.
Next, make stock. Place the duck wings and body into a stock pot. Just barely cover with water. Allow to come to the barest simmer, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface.
While the stock is cooking, in a Dutch oven on low-medium heat, render the excess fat that you removed from the duck. When the pieces do not give off any more fat, remove them. Turn up the heat to medium. Season the duck pieces with Slap Yo Mama, then brown the legs and breasts until golden. Remove the pieces from the Dutch oven and reserve on a plate.
Now we’re going to make a roux. You should have about a half-cup of golden liquid duck fat remaining in the Dutch oven. Add a half-cup of flour to this and stir constantly until the roux is dark brown. All of the Cajun cookbooks advise letting it go until it’s mahogany-colored, almost black. See how brave you can be. This will take at least thirty minutes.
When the roux is as dark as you can stand for fear it will burn, add the vegetables (green pepper, okra, celery, onion, garlic). Stir occasionally until vegetables have softened a little. In the meantime, remove the duck pieces from the stock and skim or strain until clear.
When the vegetables have softened, add about six cups of stock to the pot. Add the thyme (tied together with twine if using fresh), 6 tsp Slap Yo Mama, bay leaves, and salt. Then add sausage slices. Stir everything really well to make sure that all the roux has been absorbed into the stock. Then raise the heat to medium-high. Let everything come to a boil, then bring back down to a simmer.
Add the remaining duck pieces and allow to simmer uncovered for at least two hours.
Remove the duck pieces from the gumbo and, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, remove the skin and debone. Slice the meat into rough chunks, then add back to the pot along with the shrimp. Let simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Salt to taste.
Serve with white rice.

To see the rest of the Slap Ya Mama challengers, check out the official blog here

shrimp tostadas recipe

Shrimp tostadas are what happens when you’ve got a little bit of extra shrimp in the fridge and you are dying for an afternoon snack. They’re what happens when there are a few amazing handmade corn tortillas left over from the market, and when you’ve got an avocado and a tomato that are just dying to be eaten.

They’re an amazing snack, if a little bit naughty. Hey, my excuse? It was a Sunday. If you’re adverse to pan-frying a tortilla, perhaps bake it instead. Just keep it at 250 or so and let it bake until crunchy. But I would recommend the whole shebang.

Shrimp Tostadas for Two

1/8 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp vegetable oil, separated
Large pinch salt
Large pinch chipotle chile powder
Large pinch cumin
Large pinch paprika
2 corn tortillas
1 avocado, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 shallot, minced
Fresh-squeezed lime juice, to taste
Cilantro to taste
Salt to taste

In a small bowl, mix the shrimp, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, salt, chile powder, cumin, and paprika. Allow to rest.

In another small bowl, toss together the avocado, tomato, shallot, lime juice to taste, and salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro.

In a heavy saute pan over medium high heat, heat the vegetable oil until very hot and shimmering. Fry the corn tortillas, one at a time, until crispy on both sides. Turn as necessary. Drain on paper towels.

In another preheated saute pan – or the same one, wiped clean of excess oil – cook the shrimp on medium-high heat, stirring as needed. They should be done in just a couple of minutes.

Assemble the tostadas: place half of the shrimp on each fried tortilla. Top with a scoop of avocado mixture. (The rest of the avocado salsa, you ask? Eat it with tortilla chips).