Monday, March 23, 2009

Shrimp Linguini? Nope! Colcannon!

On the way home from work tonight, I was mulling over the possibilities for dinner. My original thought was shrimp linguini, which is one of my go-to dinners. I always have raw shell-on shrimp in the freezer (when they go on sale I buy a LOT), and the rest of the ingredients are kitchen staples. I'll just post the recipe now so I don't forget later on. This is more a technique than a recipe; the ingredients are very much to taste and quantities are approximate, so feel free to add more or less of anything. I tend to make enough for dinner and leftovers.

Shrimp Linguini (for two people, with leftovers)
12-20 shrimp, raw, shell-on, thawed (quantity depends more on shrimp size and personal preference than anything else)
Olive oil or butter
5-9 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, roughly chopped
red pepper flakes
white wine (NOT "cooking wine" - that stuff is naaaasty)
juice of one lemon (and zest if you feel like it and your lemon's not old and wrinkled like mine usually are)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb - 3/4 linguini

Start water for the linguini (heavily salt when it comes to a boil). Shell the shrimp completely, including the tails, and put the peels into a small saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil, then simmer while you start the garlic and shrimp. Melt butter or heat olive oil in a skillet, add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and shrimp. Add the linguini to the boiling water. Saute until the shrimp get a bit of color on the outside, but don't cook them all the way through. Take out the shrimp and set aside. Deglaze the pan with some white wine (1/4 - 1/2 cup is good), scraping the bits off the bottom, then strain the shrimp stock into the wine. Let this simmer until the linguini is just short of done (it will finish cooking in the sauce), then put the linguini into the sauce, using tongs to get the pasta all covered. Add the shrimp and lemon juice as well, and cook until the pasta is done. Add salt and pepper to taste, and a bit of chopped fresh parsley is great as well.

Now, this is what I was going to do until I realized that 1) no lemons and 2) I still had leftover potatoes and carrots from the corned beef. The corned beef was finished off as hash this last weekend, but I'm not about to let the potatoes go to waste. So, I made . . .

Colcannon! It's normally a side dish, but I'm eating it alone, with a salad and an egg on the side for protein, and, of course, a pint of Murphy's stout (I prefer it to Guinness).
Probably about 1-2 lbs leftover cooked potatoes, taken out of the corned beef broth
There were about 10 baby carrots in there, too.
I mashed up the potatoes and chopped up the carrots, then chopped 1/2 small head of cabbage, put the cabbage into the broth, and microwaved it for 5 minutes to get it partially cooked. Strained the cabbage, then added it and a heaping spoonful of leftover horseradish sauce to the mix, tasted for salting and peppering, then put it in an 8" square glass casserole dish, grated a healthy amount of sharp cheddar onto the top, then into a 350 oven for about 30 minutes.

I really like the horseradish in this - it adds an extra dimension of flavor while also helping me use up the leftover sauce. I may have a little more on the side as well!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Corned Beef

I'm still alive, if anyone was worried. Just, well, busy and therefore not cooking, knitting, or doing anything else worth posting about and thus, no posts. However, since St Patrick's day was this week, I threw a party last Saturday. Lots of beer, car bombs, and food. Corned beef and cabbage, to be specific, and here's the recipe I made up that day.

Now, this recipe uses the prepackaged, already-brined corned beef brisket. I still haven't tried corning my own, and since I was going to be making at least 10 lbs of the stuff, I went with what I've done before. I did the corned beef, potatoes and cabbage, and served it with roasted carrots and parsnips with onion, and soda bread. The soda bread recipe I got off of Food Network's website, from an episode of Sara's Secrets. I didn't use loaf pans, just formed the dough into two rough balls and put them on a half-sheet pan. I'll warn you - the recipe is really sticky and moist, so your two balls will run together if you do it this way, and if you don't use a pan with edges, might slide right off. However, this bread has great flavor and moisture. Instead of raisins, I used one cup of dried currants (which are really just tiny raisins, they're not actual currants, in case anyone wanted to know).

This is what I did for the party; you can scale it down as needed, it won't change the recipe.

Corned Beef, Potatoes, and Cabbage
Serves 15-20

12 lbs corned beef point cut (packaged in juices)
Spice packet from corned beef (mustard seeds, allspice, peppercorns, bay leaf, and coriander)
7 lb red potatoes, small ones halved, larger ones quartered
2 heads cabbage, quartered, cored, then each quarter sliced into thirds

For roasted parsnips and carrots:
2 lbs baby carrots
2 lbs parsnips, peeled and cut into pieces
1 onion, peeled, quartered, then each quarter cut into thirds
Olive oil, salt, and pepper

Preheat oven to 300. In a large roasting pan, put beef and spices. Add water to about halfway up the beef, bring to a boil on the stovetop, then cover with foil and transfer to the oven. Cook for about 3 hours. When there's about one hour left, mix the carrots, parsnips, and onion with olive oil, salt, and pepper in an ovenproof dish, and put into the same oven.

When the beef is done, pull it out of the juices and let it rest on a cutting board. Put the potatoes into the juices and put back into the oven for about 30 minutes, then add the cabbage, cover, and cook another 10-15 minutes. I like my cabbage relatively crisp, so if you like yours completely cooked, put the cabbage in earlier.

Slice the corned beef across the grain and serve with the veggies and soda bread. Mmmmm . . .

I love how easy this recipe is; it's technically time-consuming, but it's nearly all just down time. You can probably also do this in a crockpot, but the potatoes and cabbage will probably have to be added with the beef at some point, and I've always just done it in the oven.