Sticky Glazed Shrimp and Broccoli with Brown Rice

This recipe is really well balanced, both in flavor and in nutrition.  I chose to buy uncooked shrimp so that they would not be tough in the finished dish.  Feel free to use precooked, just be sure to add them at the last possible minute so that they heat through, but not overcook.   Also note that if you use a commercial kind of dried apricots which are sweetened then you will have a sweet and sticky sauce.  If you purchase just dried apricots (like the kind in the loose bins at Whole Foods) which are unsweetened, you will have a less sweet sauce and may wish to add some simple syrup, or karo syrup, or even a tablespoon of brown sugar.

Ingredients

4 dried apricots

3/4 cup water, divided

2 tablespoons coconut milk

1 tablespoon tamari

1 clove garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly peeled ginger

1 pound small broccoli florets

3/4 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 cups cooked brown rice

1 tablespoon cooking oil (I used hot sesame oil)

Directions

  • Place the apricots in a small bowl with 1/4 cup boiling water and let soak for half an hour
  • Heat ½ of the oil in a frying pan and lightly toast the sesame seeds
  • Remove the seeds from the pan and set them aside, add the remaining oil, and cook the shrimp until they just orange on the outsides (about a minute per side), then remove from pan and set aside
  • Transfer the apricots and their soaking liquid to a food processor and zip until a paste forms, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally
  • Add the garlic and ginger and pulse
  • With the processor running, add the coconut milk and tamari and process until just combined, then set aside
  • Bring the remaining 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the broccoli and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for 5 minutes
  • Uncover, add shrimp and apricot mixture and stir until shrimp and broccoli are coated. Continue to cook about 3 minutes or until heated through
  • Stir in crushed red pepper
  • Plate over rice and garnish with sesame seeds

This recipe found its inspiration from this Whole Foods Market post.

J

Apple-onion pan sauce

Autumn has arrived in New England.  I personally lucked out in that I went away to Maine this past weekend and saw the leaves turn, then fall, and now I’m back home (a wee bit south) and get to see it all over again.  This particular season is so wonderful: clean and crisp, cool and colorful.  It welcomes a harvest of new crops from the farms, and with that tons of apples.  This recipe will only use up one of those little beauties, but it’s tasty.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon salted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, cut in half and sliced into moon slivers

1 apple, peeled and cut into slices

1 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Bring a cast iron skillet to temp over a medium heat and add the olive oil & butter
  • Toss in the onion, lower the heat and caramelize, slowly, for 30-40 minutes
onions set to caramelize

  • Add the apples to the onions in the pan and cook for another 10 minutes
apples & onions

  • Pour the chicken broth and apple cider vinegar into the pan and bring to a boil, then allow it to simmer for 10 minutes
apple-onion pan sauce

  • Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and serve
apple-onion pan sauce over egg noodles

We had this pan sauce over egg noodles, as a side to some pork chops that had been grilled with Montreal steak seasoning (salty & peppery).  It was a lovely combination.

grilled pork chops

As an aside, you could substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth for a vegetarian sauce.  You could also use beer, but if you do that then leave out the ACV and expect that the sauce will be significantly sweeter.  Same goes of you decide to use cider or hard cider.

J

Homemade pizza

Some days just call for a homemade pizza.  For instance, I had thrown a party and had leftovers up the whazoo of things like fresh mozzarella, marinated artichoke hearts, fresh peppers, broccoli, etc.  Best way that I could think of to use them all up was to make a pizza.

the ingredients

When I make a pizza at home I will sometimes use a store-bought dough.  It’s not that making your own is difficult, in fact it’s quite easy and you can make lots of it at once and freeze it.  I just didn’t happen to have any on hand in this instance, and I didn’t feel like making it.

  • I preheat the oven to 500 degrees so that it’s nice and hot when the pie first goes in
  • Next I roll out my dough on a well-floured surface, making sure not to make any spots see-through thin but also working out any air bubbles, and place it on a room-temperature pizza/bread stone
  • I spread my favorite sauce over the dough, thinly (of it’s too thick then the dough will be soggy)

sauced dough

  • Then add the toppings which may include meats, veggies, herbs, cheese- anything you like

the toppings

  • Pop the pizza, on the stone, into the oven and decrease the heat to 425 degrees.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust turns a beautiful golden brown and the cheese is thoroughly melted

the finished pie

  • Let the pie rest for a couple of minutes, slice and serve

J

Creamy Broccoli Soup

A little bit ago we tried out that recipe for Curried Cauliflower Soup and loved it so I figured that since cauliflower and broccoli are so similar that the same recipe could be altered just a bit to make Creamy Broccoli Soup.  It worked!  This soup is big on flavor.  Pure broccoli flavor.

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups milk, divided (soy or unsweetened almond milk can be substituted or you could use chicken broth for a different flavor profile- more savory than sweet)

1 cup chopped yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, chopped

5 cups (about 1 pound) broccoli florets (or 1 head)

Directions

  • Heat 1/2 cup of milk in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add onion and garlic and cook, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Add broccoli and remaining milk, cover and simmer until broccoli is very tender, about 40 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning  with salt and pepper if you like.
  • Working in batches, carefully purée in a blender until smooth.
  • Transfer to bowls, and serve.

We had this as a side to Loaded Baked Potatoes and it was perfect.  When I say loaded, I mean: butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, steamed broccoli, and bacon chunks.  LOADED!

J