Spicy Shrimp Risotto

grillrenderWhat’s the best part about the day after a barbecue?  Leftovers of course!

Chicken went home with my girlfriend, the spicy Italian sausage and bacon wrapped jalapenos were devoured by everyone, but there were still some grilled vegetables and a dozen of the large freshwater shrimp left for me to toss into tonight’s dinner!

Spicy Shrimp Risotto

  • 8 – 12 Grilled Large Freshwater Shrimp (Tails and Shells removed)
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper Chopped
  • 1 Large Portobello Mushroom Chopped
  • 1 -2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Cup (dry) White Arborio Rice
  • 1 TBLS Butter
  • 2 1/2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth

In a 2 qt saucepan combine the rice with the butter and 2 1/2 cups of the chicken broth. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steam another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another 2 qt saucepan, over medium heat saute the olive oil, mushrooms and bell pepper for about 8 minutes.  Chop the shrimp into chunks then add it and the red pepper flakes to the vegetables.  Simmer on low for about 5 to 7 minutes then cover and remove from the heat.

When the rice has finished steaming add it to the pan with the shrimp and vegetables. Season with salt, pepper and more crushed red pepper flakes if desired.  Serve with chopped avocado and your favorite hot sauce.

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Poolside Valentine’s Day BBQ

elm-131167-Valentines-Day-1
Happy Valentine’s Day From Sunny Southern California

The threats and warnings of the “Fury” and strength of the approaching El Nino has, so far, failed to materialize in Southern California.  A week and a half ago we were seeing colder than normal temperatures in the mid-50’s followed by last weekend’s mid to high 70’s and then this week’s high 80’s to mid 90’s.  I had barely gotten the dust off of my boots & sweaters and had to dig my spring clothes back out to keep from sweating my ass off while visiting customers this week!

I am neither gloating or complaining, I would just really like the weather to make a decision.  I have a great fireplace in the living room (and another one out by the BBQ island), but it just hasn’t been cold enough to justify lighting them.  In fact, it’s been so warm and sunny that I turned the heater back on in the pool and invited a single girlfriend & her kids over to catch some rays and barbeque by the pool for Valentine’s Day.

Instead of making reservations for brunch we put together a menu that would need minimal prep, have no gluten and be able to be cooked & served in the backyard.

Backyard Bloody Marys:

  • Pour 1 1/2 to 2 ounces Tito’s or Smirnoff 21 Vodka (both are Gluten Free) into a glass (or in this case, red Solo cup) filled with ice
  • Fill the rest of the cup up with a homemade mix comprised of: Low Sodium V-8, a splash or two of juice from a jar of martini olives, a dash of your favorite hot sauce (we used Frank’s Red Hot), a dash or two of Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire Sauce, a bit of fresh-full strength horseradish, an a dash of A-1 Steak Sauce.
  • Garnished with a slice of crisp bacon, a stalk of celery, a peeled mini carrot, a thick ring of red bell pepper, and a skewer with sweet peppers, onions, and pepperocini

The BBQ was kept busy with:

Two simple side dishes allowed us to spend a couple of hours absorbing some natural Vitamin D, courtesy of our friend The Sun!

  • A salad of sliced English cucumber, halved plum tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, 2 TBLS light sour cream, a dash or two red wine vinegar, freshly ground pepper and some garlic salt
  • Chunks of cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, and pineapple, thinly sliced Kiwi, fresh blueberries and a few whole strawberries

All in all a great day!

Weather forecasters promise that we will still be seeing the long promised “Godzilla” rain storms of El Nino, the storms are just taking their sweet time.  Weather experts are “expecting a conveyor belt of squalls to enter stage left in late February and continue through March, possibly into April. This is a month or so later than original predictions for heavy rains.”  In the meantime I will enjoy a few more days with the top down on my car and the ability to tan myself back from the brink of pale-dom before I have to hunker down in sweaters and rain boots.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

My Top 5 Bloody Marys

bloodymarybasicsThere are few things that are more satisfying on a lazy Sunday morning than a great Bloody Mary.  But, as we who enjoy them can agree, not all Bloody Marys are created equal.

Personally I like mine to not be so spicy as to rip my throat off as I swallow, or sting it so bad that I can’t enjoy more than the first sip or two.  I like a lot of flavor and really enjoy the presentation of a pretty AND tasty drink.

I also enjoy a little variety.  My favorites have featured chunks of crab amongst crisp, tall vegetables; entire lobster claws; thick strips of crispy bacon; antipasto on a skewer (tomato/mozzarella/basil/salami);  and crispy, fresh vegetables to munch while sipping a perfectly spiced drink.

My Top 5 Bloody Marys:

  1. The Crab House on Pier 39 – San Francisco, CA
  2. Lobster Me at The Palazzo in The Venetian – Las Vegas, NV
  3. Paul Martin’s – Irvine, CA
  4. Olive Garden – Santa Ana, CA (Mainplace Mall)
  5. The Signal Lounge – Orange, CA

After stumbling across a picture of a giant fried WHOLE CHICKEN hanging out of a giant Bloody Mary I decided that I need a list of places to visit just for my favorite Sunday morning cocktail!

Although I’ve been to Milwaukee before, somehow I managed to miss Sobelman’s Pub & Grill and their menu of “Beast” Bloody Marys.

My mouth waters thinking about their 80+ oz concoctions that are meant to be shared by at least 4 people.

chickenfried

The Chicken Fried:  $50 and topped with a whole fried 4 pound chicken from Ray’s Butcher Shop in Greenfield.  That is one intimidating presentation!  It’s a drink for a cause though!  During the last 4 months of 2014, for every Chicken Fried sold, the owners of Sobelman’s donated $5 to Milwaukee’s Hunger Task Force.

abc_heeseburger_bloodymary_jp_121212_msCheeseburger Bloody Mary:  Features a scallion, a stalk of celery, a colby cheese wedge, a Polish sausage, a pickled mushroom, onion & brussel sprout, a pickle & olive, a shrimp, cherry tomato & lemon wedge, a spear of asparagus and a bacon cheeseburger slider.

2012-08-30-bacon-thumbAnother Bloody Mary that is definitely on the “Must Try List” is this 32 ounce monster from The Nook in AtlantaThe Bloody Best:  8 oz. of Absolut Peppar vodka mixed with a special Bloody Mary mix, garnished with pepperoncinis, jalapenos, Tater Tots, steak, a slice of toast, a hard-boiled egg and you drink it through a straw made of meat!

The list is in its infancy and recommendations from enthusiastic Bloody Mary adventurers are welcomed.

On the flip side, I know that there are those who only partake to quiet the ache in their head and swirling of their bellies after a night of over indulgence, to that end, Smirnoff shares their basic recipe for a pitcher of basic Bloody Marys:

  • 9 oz Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
  • Tomato juice
  • 1 Lime juiced
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 4 tsp Hot sauce
  • 2 tbs Horseradish
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Celery salt
  • 1 tsp Black pepper
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 Lime wedge

Blend all ingredients except vodka. Pour into pitcher. Rub lemon or lime wedge around the rim of highball glasses and then roll glass in celery salt and add ice cubes. Fill glass 1/3 with vodka & top off with Bloody Mary mix. Serves 10.

Time for this girl to head to bed so I can wake up and create something somewhere in the middle of these to sip tomorrow!

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Fit Fat Tuesday Feast

IMG_5098I love the comfort foods of winter but, because California gets a very short spell of cool weather, that means that I can’t just eat what I want and hide under sweatshirts and big sweaters…UG!  Case in point:  last week we had some of our lowest temperatures for late January/early February and this week it’s been in the high 80’s and low 90’s.  I am going to be back in spring clothes before too long, so I have to stick to my diet plan.

Just because I’m watching what I eat doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy Fat Tuesday, right?  By re-working one of my favorite Mardi Gras delights, I can (and did!) Laissez les bon temps roulez.

Let the Good Times Roll “California Style” Jambalaya

  • 1 – 12 oz Chub Jimmy Dean Reduced Fat Premium Pork Sausage
  • 2/3 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Diced
  • 12 oz – Raw (Peeled, Deveined & Tails Removed) Shrimp
  • 6 oz – Aidell’s Cajun Style Andouille Sausage
  • 1 – 14.5 oz Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 2 Pkgs – Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Natural Whole Grain Brown Rice (90 Second Microwave Packages)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper – Chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper – Chopped
  • 1 Bunch Green Onions
  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (Peeled & Minced)
  • 2 TBLS Zatarain’s Cajun Spice Blend
  • Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper To Taste

In a heavy duty skillet, preheated over medium-high heat, add 1 TBLS olive oil, the garlic, chopped onions, and chopped bell peppers.  Cook while stirring about 5 minutes.

Preheat a large heavy duty stock pot or stew pan over medium high heat.  Add 1 TBLS olive oil and the pork sausage to the pan.  Break up with a wooden spoon and cook until nearly done,  Add the diced chicken, sprinkle with the Cajun Spice, and continue cooking until chicken is nearly cooked through (4-5 minutes).  Slice the sausage into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and add to the pan.  Cut each peeled, deveined, tailed shrimp in half and add to the other meats in the pan.  Cook about 2 minutes.

Tear the packages to vent and microwave the Uncle Ben’s rice packets for 90 seconds each on high.

Add the sautéed vegetables to the cooked meat.  Stir in the canned tomatoes and bring all to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add the two packages of rice to the pan.

Stir to combine.  Add 1 TBLS ground black pepper and about 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.

Serve with hot sauce of your choice, and, if you’re like me and love it California Style, add 1/4 of an avocado to the top of your bowl of steaming jambalaya.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood