Mexican Drunken Shrimp with Guacamole

Last week a few of my girlfriends and I went to dinner at Cooper’s Hawk.  If you’ve never been there, it’s a winery that also serves some pretty good food.  I will admit that my favorite part of the night, other than sharing some much needed laughs with my girls, was the wine tasting at the beginning.  It was so crowded that we had an hour and a half wait before we sat at our table!  But the wine tasting made it all worth while.  I opted for the “Sweet Wine” tasting which consisted of one ounce pours (yeah right!) of eight different wines.  I liked some and loved most of what was served, my favorite being the Cranberry and Romance Red wines.

 After all that I thought the night couldn’t get any better.  Luckily my girlfriend, Rekia, is a member of their wine club and received two of their newest cookbooks Celebration Recipes From Cooper’s Hawk Family and Friends, one of which she gave to me. Oh happy day! Cookbooks are like dirty magazines to me…I like to read them in private and they give me an obscene amount of joy, even if I never make a thing from them. However, after seeing the Mexican Drunken Shrimp on the menu and getting a complete thumbs up from my friend Monica, I decided to try this recipe for myself.

First, the shrimp is wrapped in bacon.  I could just stop there because you all know how much I LOVE bacon!  But I digress…ok so the shrimp is wrapped in bacon, but then to make the sauce you use some of the drippings and fond from the bacon, add to that tequila (yum) and some chicken broth and butter and you have a killer sauce.  To top it off add some homemade guacamole spiced up with jalapeno peppers that gives it the Mexican feel.  I would suggest serving each shrimp on a small amount of guacamole as an appetizer with some extra guac and chips on the side.  Or they can be served with rice and beans as a complete entree.   I can’t wait to make these again!

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Ingredients

For shrimp:

14 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
7 slices bacon, halved crosswise
2 tbsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tequila
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp unsalted butter

For guacamole:

2 ripe avocados
3 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice (1-2 limes)
1/2 cup and 2 tbsp diced tomato
2 tbsp minced onion
4 tsp minced, seeded jalapeno
3 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

Rinse shrimp and season with garlic powder and pepper.  Wrap each shrimp in with a half slice of bacon, place a plate, cover and refrigerate.

To make the guacamole, cut the avocados in half, remove pits and scoop out the flesh into a medium bowl.  Using the back of a fork, mash the avocados until there are no large chunks.  Add 2 1/2 teaspoons of lime juice, 1/2 cup of tomato, the onion, 2 teaspoons of the chile, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, the salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly, cover and set aside.  To prevent the avocado from oxidizing, cover with plastic wrap by pressing the wrap down into the bowl until it touches the guacamole and completely covers it.

In a large pan heat the canola oil over medium high heat.  Add bacon wrapped shrimp and cook on both sides about 5 minutes on each side until shrimp is completely cooked through and bacon is done.  You may need to rotate the shrimp and cook on all sides depending on how large the shrimp is.  Remove and set aside on paper towels to drain.

Pour the fat from the pan, reduce heat to medium and add the garlic and saute about 15 seconds.  Add the tequila, stir and make sure to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Simmer and reduce by half.  Add the broth and reduce by half again.  Add the butter, remaining 1 teaspoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons of chile and 2 tablespoons of tomato.  Stir to mix well and simmer about 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

To serve place shrimp on a tablespoon size dollop of guacamole.  Spoon sauce over shrimp and garnish with cilantro and a wedge of lime.

 

Recipe adapted from Celebration Recipes from Cooper’s Hawk and Friends

 

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Grilled Cheese with Sautéed Onions and Bacon

I’ve heard from several people that Americans really love our cheese.  If you think about it we put cheese on almost everything from tacos, pasta, pizza, broccoli…I could go on but you get it, right? My mom even puts cheese on her pound cake but that’s a whole other story!  So I could resist posting one of my favorite but simple recipes, perfect when you’re hungry but don’t want to make a lot of fuss.

 

I love grilled cheese and think it can be made into almost any type of sandwich.  I’ve even talked myself into thinking it’s healthy.  Hey if I use whole wheat bread, low fat cheese and margarine then I feel justified.  Don’t judge me, lol.  I even ordered it when I went on a date recently…a girl’s gotta eat!

What’s your version of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich?  Please share in the comments below 🙂

Ingredients

4 slices thick cut bacon

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

6 slices Colby Cheese

4 slices bread

2 tbsp butter, room temperature

Directions

Heat a saucepan over medium high heat and cook bacon until crisp but not burnt.  Place bacon on paper towels to drain and set aside.  Pour out the bacon fat from the saucepan but leave a bout a tablespoon.  Add onions to bacon fat and cook over low heat until onions are translucent with a brown color, set aside.

Butter each slice of bread on one side.  Build the sandwich by using one slice of bread, cheese, onions, bacon, cheese and bread on top.  Cook sandwiches until each side is crisp with a golden brown color.

*An NCJ Original*

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Rosemary Scented Pork Loin Stuffed With Roasted Garlic, Dried Apricots and Cranberries and Port Wine Pan Sauce

 

I made this dish for a cooking competition and it got me to the 4th round!  If you opt to roast a smaller portion rather than a whole pork loin, select the more flavorful rib end. A 4-pound roast will serve 8. Also make sure to adjust your cooking time so the meat won’t over cook.

 

Ingredients (16 servings):

 

3 tablespoons olive oil

16 whole peeled garlic cloves

2 tablespoons minced garlic cloves

1 (8 pound) whole boneless pork loin, patted dry, at room temperature

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary (snip with scissors), divided

16 dried apricots (or similar amount of your favorite dried fruit)

1/3 cup dried cranberries

Heavy kitchen string or twine

1/4 cup apple jelly

1/4 cup port

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons apple jelly

2 teaspoons cornstarch

 

Directions

 

‎1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add whole garlic cloves and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon; reserve oil.

2. Turn pork loin fat-side down. Slit lengthwise, almost but not quite all the way through, to form a long pocket, leaving a 1/2-inch border of unslit meat at each end. Brush cavity with some of the reserved garlic cooking oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and 1 Tb. of the rosemary. Line cavity with sauteed garlic and apricots; sprinkle in cranberries. Tie loin together with kitchen twine or heavy-duty string at 1 1/2-inch intervals.

3. Brush with remaining oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Set roast, fat-side up, diagonally or curved (so it fits) on a large, lipped cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. Warm 1/4 cup apple jelly along with the minced garlic and remaining rosemary. Brush mixture onto meat.

4. Roast until a meat thermometer stuck into the center registers 125 to 130 degrees. (Start checking at about 1 1/2 hours.) Remove from oven; raise oven temperature to 400 degrees. Brush loin with pan drippings, return to oven, and continue to roast until the loin is golden brown and a meat thermometer stuck into the center registers 155 to 160 degrees, about 20 minutes longer. For even more attractive coloring, broil until spotty brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

5. Let roast rest 15 to 20 minutes; transfer to a carving board. Stir juices around pan to loosen brown bits. Pour through a strainer into a small pan, and stir in port, chicken broth and remaining 2 Tbs. of jelly; bring to a simmer. Mix cornstarch with a couple of tablespoons of cold water; whisk into sauce. Simmer until lightly thickened. Slice pork and serve with a little sauce.

 

Adapted from: Allrecipes

 

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Cubano Sandwich

This is another recipe that was derived from my trip to the farmers market.  I bought a round loaf of whole wheat bread so a sandwich was definitely in store.  I started out wanting to make a traditional Cubano sandwich but didn’t have shredded pork, nor was I going to make any so I just went with what I had in the fridge and this is the result.  A simple but yummy sandwich.

 

Ingredients

  •  2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2-3 slices of thick cut deli ham off the bone
  • 3 slices Swiss cheese
  • 2 dill pickle slices
  • Dijon mustard

Directions

Cut ham into thick slices. Cut a dill pickle into narrow slices, or use pre-cut slices Cut cheese into thin slices.  Spread a thin layer of mustard on both halves (mayo is optional) and make each sandwich with the ingredients stacked in this order:  ham, cheese, pickle, ham and cheese.

Pre-heat sandwich grill or a griddle pan large enough to hold 1 or 2 sandwiches. Spray cooking oil on grill or pan surfaces.  Place sandwich(es) in grill or pan and flatten sandwich by either closing grill lid, or if using an open pan, place a meat press, such as a bacon press, over top of sandwich. A heavy object such as a brick wrapped in tin foil can be used to compress the bread, meat, and cheese.

Grill sandwiches 2 to 3 minutes per side, removing when cheese melts and outsides of bread are golden brown. Slice sandwiches in half and serve

 

Slightly adapted from: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/cubano-sandwich-recipe/index.html

 

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