Thursday, February 3, 2011

Shrimp: A winter staple

As winter rolls on and our stored garden surplus - as well as our fall cow share - begins to dwindle, eating locally becomes tougher. In addition, the holidays (and their seemingly endless leftovers) have passed and left a need for frugality in their place.
We found a farm that direct-sells mushrooms in quantity, and there are still root vegatables to be had. When in need of good comfort food, to these staples I add shrimp. As much effort as I expend to get the best possible meats, vegetables and dairy products, shrimp is one place I slack. It comes in bulk, is frequently on sale at the grocery store and makes a great source of protein to go with whatever canned goods the pantry might hold.

Braised shrimp, leek and mushrooms with butternut squash puree. Served with sauteed spinach and bacon.
Shrimp and braised winter vegetables with pureed butternut squash
1 butternut squash
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 tb olive oil
1 lb shrimp, peeled
2 leeks, washed and trimmed
1 c white wine, divided
1/2 pound mushrooms (I used crimini)
1 can artichoke hearts (in water)
1/2 c milk
Peel and cube butternut squash and set in a steamer basket over boiling water for 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm garlic and pepper flakes in oil on stove. When oil is hot, add leeks and shrimp and sautee until cooked. Deglaze pan with half of wine and add mushrooms and drained artichoke hearts. Add remaining wine, cover and remove from heat.
Drain squash and place in pan over burner on low heat. Add milk and puree with an immersion blender until smooth.
Serves 2, with squash puree left over.

Thai coconut shrimp stew over spaghetti squash
2 spaghetti squash
1 tb olive oil
1 tb minced garlic
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and sliced thinly
2 tb ginger, grated
1/4 c vegetable or chicken broth
1 ts red curry paste
1 lb shrimp, peeled
1 can coconut milk
8 oz shiitake mushrooms
4 oz carrots, julienned
fresh cilantro
Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and bake cut side down at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
In a heavy saucepan, heat olive oil and sautee garlic, lemongrass and ginger. When browned and fragrant, deglaze pan with broth. Whisk in curry and add shrimp, stirring to coat with sauce. When shrimp is cooked, stir in coconut milk and add mushrooms and carrots. Simmer on low 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile chop cilantro and scoop spaghetti squash out of shell and into shallow bowls. Stir in cilantro before ladling shrimp and sauce over squash.
I like to garnish this with diced avocado and serve with a spinach salad on the side. Serves 4.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Perfect Jerky

Purchasing half a cow gave us good reason to plan for ways to use and store it. One of the best methods we use is making jerky. The hands-on time is low, the recipe is simple, and voila - snack food for a week.

Spicy Asian Jerky
2 lbs roast
6 tb sesame oil
4 tb hot sauce
2 tb honey
5 tb tamari
3 tb ginger
3 tb garlic powder
2 ts pepper
1 tb dry mustard
Combine ingredients for marinade. Slice meat thinly (it helps if it is still slightly frozen) and place in plastic bag with marinade for an hour or longer. (In our case, we have to preheat our dehydrator for an hour, so this works perfectly.) Dehydrate meat using any convenient method. Our dehydrator usually takes around 6 hours at 150 degrees.