lunchbox life: rice noodle salad with tahini dressing, miso chicken, and veggies

image1(14)Sugar snap peas, bok choy, radishes, pickled cucumbers, a refrigerator door full of sauces, and no desire to go to the grocery store?

This is where I was yesterday afternoon, but what happy laziness it turned out to be.

I love a cold noodle salad, particularly when the weather heats up. When you’re watching your nutrition, though, it’s important to bulk up your noodle salads with lots of veggies for volume, fiber, and energy. In this recipe, I stretched 2 full servings of rice noodles over 5 lunches, making up for my noodle deficit with jewels from my farm share. The noodles are still there, but they’re not the majority of the dish. I’ve bulked up this noodles salad with veggies and chicken with a quick miso paste marinade.

This noodle salad is all about the umami–that mysterious 5th taste that combines the other four: sweet, salty, bitter, and sour–mainly from the base sauce of tahini, sriracha, soy sauce, and canola oil. The crunch from the raw bok choy, sugar snaps, and radishes welcome springtime with crispness and the rice noodles are a soft addition that bind the rest of the ingredients together. Yum.

The veggies I’ve used are just a suggestion based on my availability. I suggest at least one leafy green and one crunchy vegetable for texture.

Rice Noodle Salad with Tahini Dressing, Miso Chicken, and Veggies

2 oz. rice noodles

2 Tbsp. tahini paste

1 Tbsp. sriracha

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 Tbsp. water

2 large chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks

1/3 cup miso paste

2 stems of green garlic, chopped (you may substitute green onions here)

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 bunch of baby bok choy, cut into 1/2 inch ribbons

2 cups sugar snap peas

6 radishes, sliced into thin 1/4-inch coins

1/4 cup pickled cucumbers (or fresh), sliced

Combine the chicken and miso paste in a plastic freezer bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes for a quick marinade. Bring about 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot, then add the noodles and cook according the package directions (approximately 5 minutes). Next, remove the noodles from the hot water and rinse in cold water; set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. canola oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan and add the green garlic or green onions. Next, add the miso and chicken to the pan and spread the chicken pieces out in one layer. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, then turn off the heat.

In a small jar, add 1 Tbsp. canola oil, tahini paste, sriracha, soy sauce, and water, twist the lid on tight, and shake vigorously to combine. Evenly divide the sauce between 5 tall mason jars (about 3 Tbsp. each). Next, evenly divide the rice noodles, then the sugar snap peas, radishes, bok choy, pickled cucumber, and chicken. Screw on each lid and enjoy when you’re ready by dumping the contents out in a bowl and stirring to combine.

meatless monday: broccoli fritters with spinach and fried egg

image2(6)Some of you know that one of my favorite bloggers is Deb Perelman of smitten kitchen. Alex and I got the chance to meet her a little over two years ago at a book signing at Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta, and I was taken aback at how down to earth and cool she was. I was almost a little worried to meet her since I’d been reading her blog religiously; some people say to never meet your heroes so you won’t be disappointed. I can certainly say that I wasn’t disappointed and that I was so glad that I got to chat with her for just a few minutes as she signed my cookbook.

Deb recently re-posted a recipe for broccoli parmesan fritters on her Facebook page, and I felt like she must have read my mind (or refrigerator). I almost always order the broccoli from our CSA, and I almost always roast it up as a side dish. Why not make it the main event on Meatless Monday?

Deb’s description of her broccoli-dense fritters with a little dose of flour and parmesan was so appealing to me that I knew I had to make the little discs of goodness. I added a little more garlic and parmesan, but mostly because I always add more garlic to recipes because we like it so much. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly, and I was so happy to do so. I set three fritters on a bed of lightly dressed greens (olive oil & balsamic) for each plate, then topped both plates with a fried egg for protein and deliciousness.

Deb’s recipe is here for your viewing pleasure. Check out her other great stuff, too!

lunchbox life: chicken, black bean, and brussels sprouts nachos

image1(13)Healthy nachos…oxymoron?

Not necessarily. I had two agendas with this week’s lunches: consume more protein and not in a boring way (chicken breast and broccoli). This is what I came up with, and after having it today, I’m digging it.

So, here’s the deal: everyone knows that when you go on vacation, you eat rich food, and not in small quantities. Then you return to the real world and feel like you need to detox. For me, this usually means bumping up lean protein and leafy greens, so I went looking in my refrigerator for inspiration. I had six boneless skinless chicken thighs and half of a package of brussels sprouts. I also had some enchilada sauce in my pantry. Enchiladas? Tacos? I’ve had several variations of those before. What about nachos? No, nachos are too unhealthy, I thought.

And then I decided to make it work. I went to the store, picked out some cilantro, black beans, and organic tortilla chips, and made a game plan. While the chicken thighs and enchilada sauce simmered away in the slow cooker, I devised a plan to count out an actual serving size of chips (for this package, it was 14 chips) for each day, then place the other ingredients in a separate container to mix together just before eating. The stewed chicken has tons of flavor from the enchilada sauce, and this and the cilantro flavor the other ingredients. You can use the chip to dip the chicken mixture, break up the chips and toss them in with the other ingredients, or heat the ingredients over the chips on a plate.

I know what you’re thinking–where’s the cheese?

You could certainly add some cheese here, but you really don’t need it. Again, my goal for the week was to reset my system from overindulging last week, so I thought I’d leave the cheese out…this one time.

Chicken, Black Bean, and Brussels Sprouts Nachos

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 19 oz. can enchilada sauce

1/2 lb. brussels sprouts

1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

56 corn tortilla chips, separated out into groups of 14

Cook the chicken thighs and enchilada sauce in a slow cooker for 4 hours on high (or you could bake them and shred the chicken). Thinly slice the brussels sprouts, disposing of the woodsy stems. In five bowls, set up your four quadrants: chicken, brussels, black beans, and cilantro. Pair each bowl with one set of chips.

tasty tuesday: braised quick-corned beef hash and cabbage tacos

 

IMG_3004Tacos

Irish tacos, y’all.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It was just a scant 3 years ago that on this day I was down in Savannah with some of my best buds for my Bachelor party. It was fun, but I don’t think it is something I need to do again. I survived St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah and no epic tales were spun.

I admit from the outset that I do not make a habit of celebrating this holiday in any big way, as Scotland is the motherland, but I do not begrudge it its culinary traditions. Corned beef (simply salt cured beef) is a wonderful concoction that has filled many a sandwich for me over the years. Its pairing with cabbage is classic. And corned beef hash may truly be the perfect breakfast fuel (if you haven’t had the H&H version you are missing out on a legend in the making).

My love of this food is honored hear with a twist on the classic by turning the dish into tacos, an easy delivery system for the foods. I decided the shells needed to be crunchy for some reason, but in a pinch I think soft shell would be fine. Also, to keep the flavors balanced, I used chuck roast instead of brisket and used a salt and spice crust instead of a cure. You get the flavor without the overwhelming salt throughout. The chuck braises wonderfully and makes for an almost barbacoa like mouthfeel. Incorporating blanched potatoes on the griddle makes a nice hash and steaming with the braising liquid give the potatoes a wonderful flavor without losing texture. The lightly cooked cabbage with vinegar and ginger provides a good contrast and a lemon garlic aioli brings it all together.

This is a fun twist on the tradition St Paddy’s meal that anyone can get behind, even a Scot.

Quick-Corned Beef Braised Tacos

2 lb chuck roast cut into 6 pieces
1 cup salt
1/4 cup garlic
1/8 cup paprika
1 tbsp ground mustard
1/8 cup black pepper
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 bottle Guinness
1 bottle lager
6 whole cloves
4 garlic cloves, quartered
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp whole grain mustard

1 russet potato, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
4 tbsp butter, melted

6 corn tortillas
oil

1/2 head cabbage, cut angel hair
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ginger
salt and pepper

1 egg
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp Dijon
1 tbsp lemon juice
Olive oil to thicken
Combine the spices. Roll the meat in the spices coating all sides evenly. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350. Heat a large dutch oven to medium. Melt the butter and saute the onions until the sweet. Remove from pan. Sear the meat cuts on all sides and remove from pan. Deglaze the pan with the Guinness and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the bits add the clove, garlic, and peppercorns. Boil 5 minutes. Add the meat and onions back to the pan and pour the lager over, leaving the tops of the meat exposed. Cover and place pan in oven for an hour and 45 minutes, flipping halfway.

In the meantime, cube the potato and soak in salt water for 30 minutes. Drain. Heat 4 cups of water in a suacepan to boiling. Add potatoes and boil 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat 1 inch of oil in a saute pan. Heat over medium high heat. Fry the tortillas for 1 minute then flip. When flipped, fold the tortilla into a v shape and continue to fry about 30 seconds, flip to fry the side that was out of the oil. Place on a cookie sheet and repeat. When the meat is ready, reduce temp in oven to warm and place tortillas in the oven.

Heat a large pan and heat the olive oil for the cabbage over medium heat. Add the cabbage, vinegar, ginger, salt a pepper and stir to coat. Cover and reduce heat to low.

In food processor, add garlic, egg, dijon and lemon juice. Blend, slowly adding the olive oil until the mixture thickens. Cool in refrigerator until ready to serve.

When the meat is ready, heat a griddle or saute pan over medium high heat. Spoon 1 tbsp melted butter on griddle and some potatoes. Add a pinch of the spice mix of for the meat.  Heat 4 minutes. Chop the meat and add the meat to the griddle and toss with the potatoes. Ladle a spoonful of the cooking liquid over the hash and cook 2 minutes. Place the mixture into the taco shells. Top with the cabbage and aioli.

Crunch into the tacos!

 

 

 

meatless monday: rice and beans and greens

image1(12)“To hand crafted beers made in local breweries, to yoga, to yogurt, to rice and beans and cheese…”–Rent

Don’t lie–you sang this song in your head when you read this title.

Oh, you didn’t? You mean you didn’t spend your teenage years singing show tunes in your room while other people went to parties? Yeah, me either…carry on, then.

Rice and beans, while a staple of many Latin American and Caribbean diets, is also a go-to for people living la vie boheme, aka ballin’ on a budget. Rice and beans together create a complete protein, meaning that it’s a filling and excellent combination of protein and carbohydrates. Instead of white rice and black beans, I used brown rice and cranberry beans, then added some swiss chard for added vitamins and folic acid. Not pictured: the heavy sprinkle of sharp cheddar on top. Since cheese is optional, that makes this dish vegan, if you’re so inclined. I’m typically not, so I thoroughly enjoyed my creamy, melty cheese mixed in with my rice and beans and greens.

The cranberry beans and swiss chard came from this week’s CSA box. Cranberry beans are also called Berlotti beans or Roman beans, showing their Italian origin. Before they cook, they look like this:

cranberryWhen they cook, however, the speckled, Easter egg quality fades away, leaving an ever so slight pink color. These beans are about the size of pinto beans and have a great nutty flavor. You can use whichever bean you like or have in your pantry, but since I had these fresh beans from a local farm, you know I had to use them–never canned, plus I didn’t have to soak them overnight.

Rice and Beans and Greens

Serves 4-6

2 cups brown rice, dry

1.5 cups fresh, uncooked cranberry beans (or beans of your choice)

4.5 oz. can diced green chiles

4 cups chicken broth (or water or vegetable broth if vegetarian/vegan)

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. coriander

1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed, cut into 1/2-inch ribbons

1 tsp. olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

shredded cheddar cheese for topping (optional)

Combine rice, beans, chiles, stock, and spices in a rice cooker and cook until done. If you don’t have a rice cooker (and you should–go buy one, they’re cheap), bring ingredients to a boil in a pot, then place the lid on the pot, turn the heat to low, and cook for about 40 minutes.

When the rice and beans are done, heat the tsp. of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, then add the garlic. Next, add the swiss chard and cook for about 1 minute. Next, add the rice and beans and toss with the swiss chard, then smooth over the top of the mixture with a spoon and let cook for about one minute. Stir, then repeat this. Next, plate the rice and beans in a bowl and top with cheese, if desired. Devour.

lunchbox life: triple green salad

image1(11)Spring has sprung! I have been so energized by the past several days of sunshine, and today was particularly spectacular. I decided that since the weather is warmer, I should try something cool and no-heat this week. We received our CSA box yesterday, and it was full of green goodness. I couldn’t decide which greens to use, so I started thinking about a flavor profile for a triple green salad: kale, green beans, and broccoli. All three of these veggies are raw in the salad, but since they’re so hearty, I dressed them this evening for the rest of the week. This is pretty necessary for the kale, but it will also slightly soften the broccoli and green beans, plus the acidity from the lemon and lime in the dressing will create a slight breakdown of of the veggies.

This salad is beautiful, and I could definitely see this becoming a go-to for spring and summer potlucks, minus the chicken. I love knowing that there are so many Georgia grown pieces to this salad puzzle, too.

I did a shortcut for the chicken in this recipe by buying a whole cooked rotisserie chicken at the Kroger deli counter, removing the skin, and shredding both the white and dark meat. I sometimes do this when I make chicken salad, too.

I don’t have the luxury of leisurely weekday lunches–mine are about 25 minutes long and eaten a student desk–but if I worked somewhere near a park or green space, I’d love to take this salad outside to soak up some Vitamin D.

Triple Green Salad

1 bunch kale, ribs removed and cut into ribbons

1 tsp. olive oil

three heads broccoli, stalks removed and sliced lengthwise

1 cup raw green beans, ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 rotisserie chicken, cooked

1 sweet potato

1 tsp. olive oil

4 radishes

4 oz. crumbled feta cheese

salt and pepper

for the dressing:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lime

1 Tbsp. tahini

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Peel the sweet potato, then dice it. Toss the small pieces in 1 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 20 minutes.

While the sweet potato pieces are roasting, prep the veggies according to the ingredient directions. Place the kale ribbons in a large mixing bowl with 1 tsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt. For about 30 seconds, massage the oil and salt into the kale, watching it shrink down. Next, add the sliced broccoli and chopped green beans and add to the mixing bowl. Prepare the chicken by removing the skin and shredding the white and dark meat with your hands, adding the chicken to your mixing bowl. When the sweet potato pieces have cooked, remove from the oven and remove the parchment paper and potatoes from the cookie sheet; this will allow for faster cooling. Thinly slice the radishes, discarding the ends, and add these slices to the mixing bowl. When the sweet potato pieces have cooled, add them to the mixing bowl as well as the feta cheese. Toss all ingredients. Next, add the dressing ingredients to a small jar, fasten the lid, then shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Add dressing to the salad, toss to combine, then divide into five containers.

meatless monday: spaghetti with garlic and oil with asparagus and tomatoes

spag

Comfort food. A big warm bowl of pasta, delicious garlicky oil,a few veggies. It’s a wonderful complement to the mild weather we’ve had the last few days and it is very easy to make. Perfect for a Monday of work, especially the first workday after Springing forward…

This dish is a classic dish with a little fresh twist. Spaghetti olio e aglio is a fairly basic dish that is so easy to make and uses such standard ingredients that it has been dubbed midnight pasta. Typically, you won’t have to make a run to the store to make this supper. I had been wanting to make it ever since we re-watched the movie Chef (something that also led me to make Cubano sandwiches a couple of weeks ago) where Jon Favreau makes this pasta (it seems) for Scarlett Johansson.If you haven’t seen that movie, you should. It is very sweet and the food shots are amazing. It is fascinating to see what directors like Favreau and Joss Weedon do when “taking a break” from their blockbuster films. I guess in this case it has been literally inspiring.

It is amazing what just a few basic ingredients can do to brighten your day.

Spaghetti with garlic and oil with asparagus and tomatoes

1 pound spaghetti
Water and 2 tablespoons salt
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bundle asparagus, chopped
6 Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Pinch red pepper
1/4 cup parmesan
Salt and pepper to finish

Bring water and salt to a boil. Add pasta and cook 9 minutes. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of pasta water before straining.

Heat oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir frequently for 4 minutes, until browned around the edges, but not burned. Add the asparagus and toss in the oil. Pour in the pasta water and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer for about 5 minutes as the sauce reduces. Add red pepper flake and a pinch of salt. Add pasta and remove from heat. Toss in the oil until covered. Toss in cheese and tomatoes and let it sit for 5 minutes. Serve in bowls and finish with salt and pepper.

It will be gone soon after.

lunchbox life: late winter three bean turkey chili

image4I think I speak for many of us when I say that I’m ready for spring to begin. The official beginning of spring is March 20, so regardless of the shadow your favorite groundhog saw or didn’t see, I’m counting down the days until this date. I thought, however, that this week might be a good time to throw together one more warm and hearty bowl of soup or stew for lunches. As produce is concerned, late February-early March is a lean time for fresh and new fruits and veggies, so I thought I’d focus on protein and legumes for this lunch.

Talk about a one-pot easy meal. There are a million ways to make chili, but this recipe is lean, mean, and spicy. It’s the last hurrah of warm winter goodness with a bevy of nutrition packed inside. This was the perfect throw-it-together week of lunches that took about 20 minutes to prep and about an hour to simmer on the stove. This was just fine with me–this chili simmered away as Alex and I watched the the latest episode of The Walking Dead, so I wasn’t worried about watching the pot.

Aside from spices, here are the ingredients for this chili:

image3Quality ingredients are key here. Even when using organic and all natural ingredients, this 8-serving pot of chili totaled less than $20–that’s five lunches, plus leftovers. Using ground turkey keeps the protein high and the saturated fat low, and the use of three different beans is great for variety and texture. I chopped up the green chiles for extra heat because I like my chili to be spicy.

Late Winter Three Bean Turkey Chili

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, peeled, halved, and sliced

1 lb. ground turkey

4 oz. green chiles, chopped

1 Tbsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

salt and pepper, to taste

2 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained

1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and stir. Cook the onions until translucent, about 4 minutes. Next, add the ground turkey and spices. Use a spatula to break up the ground turkey into crumbles. When the turkey is cooked, Add the whole tomatoes and liquid and use the spatula to break up the tomatoes. Add the drained beans, stir to combine, then bring to a boil. When the liquid boils, place the lid on the pot and reduce the heat to low, cooking for 1 hour.

lunchbox life: chinese quinoa skillet with veggies and black bean garlic sauce

image1(10)Have you ever looked inside your refrigerator and thought, “man, I really meant to use (ingredient) this week”? Sometimes life gets in the way, you have a busy week or weekend, or you simply over order for your weekly CSA box. I’m especially sensitive to making sure I use all of my produce. I absolutely hate to throw away fruit and vegetables, so when I was brainstorming for this week’s lunchbox life, I peeked into our refrigerator and saw some good looking veggies from our CSA: a bag of spinach, three broccoli crowns, and two ears of corn. I also spotted 1/2 an onion in a plastic container on the top shelf, a package of quinoa in the pantry, and some chicken breast in the freezer. Now I just needed figure out a flavor profile…Mexican? Cheesy and hearty? Asian? I saw a half full jar of Chinese black bean and garlic sauce in the refrigerator door and knew I had found my idea.

Chinese black bean sauce is this salty, earthy, garlicky, dark, thick, and gooey delight. It’s like a savory molasses, really. It’s a great mix-in for lean protein and vegetables, especially if you crisp them up in a wok or deep pan first. You could serve this with white or brown rice, but I opted to make it with quinoa for added protein and went ahead and mixed it in in the style of fried rice.

You could use many different combinations of veggies with this dish, but you should definitely use an onion to start with to give a base flavor and to soak of the seasoning from the chicken.

Chinese Quinoa Skillet with Veggies and Black Bean Garlic Sauce

1 cup dry quinoa

2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/2 onion, peeled and sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, stem and ribs removed, diced

1 Tbsp. canola oil

3 broccoli crowns, thick stems removed and torn into single stems

2 ears of corn, kernels sliced off

3 cups fresh spinach

4 Tbsp. black bean garlic sauce

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Heat the oil in a wok or deep skillet over high heat for about 2 minutes, then add the onions and bell pepper. Season the chicken with the garlic, ginger, salt, and white pepper. When the onion and bell pepper have cooked for about 5 minutes, add the chicken and stir to combine with onion and bell pepper. Stir the chicken and veggies after about 3 minutes, then cook for about 1 more minute. Add the broccoli and corn and cook for about 2 minutes. Next, add the spinach in handfuls and stir continually while it shrinks. Add the black bean garlic sauce and stir to combine, then add the quinoa and toss throughout the vegetables and chicken. Divide evenly between five plastic containers and enjoy all week long!

tasty tuesday: shrimp etoufee

Etoufee Fin

Mardis gras… fat tuesday… tasty tuesday. Same thing.

Welcome to another installment of Alex making food New Orleans style, this time with local whole shrimp and a spicy bowl of goodness. Last time around we had some BBQ shrimp, and now its time for gumbo’s sophisticated brother etoufee. Etoufee is a creole dish (no tomatoes) made with a roux and the trinity of vegetables. Crawfish is a slightly more traditional ingredient, but shrimp is no pour substitute, especially when fresh from the GA coast courtesy of The Dirt Farmers. I might have cheated on the trinity of vegetables here, replacing bell peppers with jalapenos, but hey, I like jalapenos and spiciness and I do not like bell peppers. So there you have it.

Since it is Fat Tuesday, and on Fat Tuesday you tell the truth (usually due to insobriety, but hey), I should say that I really wanted to make etoufee because I’ve never had it before and it is embarrassing given that I was born in Jefferson Parish. Seems like I should have the taste of New Orleans seeped into my skin, but I suppose my moving to Georgia left me with more of a longing than a true appreciation. I like the place, haven’t spent a lot of time there, but like it. I like the food, though the over-reliance on bell peppers can be a turn off. Its a complicated tale filled with half-met expectations and continually growing curiosity.

But, as a dish to warm you up on a cold evening, Fat Tuesday or not, this etoufee is an expectation fully met that will leave you craving for so much more that you won’t mind missing whatever you are giving up for lent.

Shrimp Etoufee

1/2 stick butter
4 tbsp flour
Dash salt
1 large onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded, ribbed, and chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp alt, pepper, paprika, white pepper,
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 qt shrimp stock (vegetable stock simmered with shrimp heads)
1 lb whole shrimp, peeled (leave 4 behind with heads and shells on)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup brown rice, prepared in rice cooker

Head on Shrimp
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp red pepper flake
1/2 tsp garlic powder
dash canola oil
1 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp heavy cream.

Begin by making the shrimp stock. Cut the heads off all but 4 shrimp and add to 1 quart of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. If you are not using whole shrimp, follow the same procedure using the peels. Strain the stock into a bowl, making sure no peels/heads remain in the stock.

Shrimp Heads

Begin the rice in the rice cooker.

Begin making the roux by melting the butter in a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk into a thick paste. Lower the heat and cook at least 15 minutes until the roux has browned slightly and has an aroma like browned butter.

Stir in the veggies and cook about five minutes, until the onions begin to wilt. Add the garlic, parsley and spices. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and raise the heat to medium high until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until veggies are soft and the etoufee has a gravy like texture. Stir in the headless shrimp. Keep on heat for 2 minutes while stirring and kill the heat.

Etoufee Veggies

In a separate pan, add the butter, red pepper, garlic, and vinegar. Heat until butter is melted and add the shrimp. Heat 1 minute then flip and add the cream. Heat 1 more minute and remove from heat.

Plate by placing a small amount of rice in a prep bowl and flip into a pasta bowl. Ladle the etoufee around the rice and top with two of head-one shrimp and spoon some of the spicy sauce. Enjoy and worry not about lent!