Roasted Lemon Garlic Parsley Shrimp with Bulgur

I LOVE SHRIMP.

And scallops. And fish. And crab.

Surf > turf.

But back to shrimp.

Shrimp cooking experiment #2!

Roasting.

FYI: Roasting > sautéeing in terms of flavor and ease.

We got a 2 lb bag of frozen jumbo tail-on shrimp from Costco, which was DEVOURED by three people. THREE PEOPLE.

So, if you make this…

Don’t count on leftovers.

And don’t count on being saved any should you miss dinner… cough, brother, cough.

Roasted Lemon Garlic Parsley Shrimp with Bulgur

Adapted from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

1/2 cup olive oil (enough to cover 9×13 glass pan)

1 lemon, zested, and then cut in half with 1 half in slices and 1 half in wedges

Parsley leaves – eyeball it… 1/2 cup?

Sprinkle of sea salt and pepper

2 tablespoons butter

2 lbs thawed shrimp, de-veined & de-tailed

5 cloves or more of garlic, minced.

1 cup dry bulgur

Grated Pecorino Romano for serving

Preheat oven to 400. Mix together olive oil, lemon zest and parsley, salt and pepper in 9×13″ pan and bake for 10-12 minutes (if it begins to brown, take it out!)

Cook bulgur according to package instructions. I mixed in a little bit of olive oil and garlic powder, but the dressing from the shrimp should suffice.

In the 9×13″ pan, add butter to melt it and stir everything up a little, and then add the thinly sliced lemon, shrimp, garlic, and toss to coat. Bake 10-12 minutes more, until the shrimp turn pink (stir them a bit occasionally) and begin to curl. Check on them often–they cook fast!

Serve with bulgur and lemon wedges, sprinkle with pecorino romano cheese.

This meal was SO delicious. I don’t know why shrimp scampi isn’t made this way; it’s so much easier and SO much tastier than any other shrimp scampi I’ve ever made or had — just prepare the shrimp and toss with linguine. We scarfed it down. The lemon adds acid and even a slight sweetness; the parsley a nice earthiness you can only get from fresh herbs; the olive oil, butter, zest, and garlic make the most delicious and savory sauce, and then of course the shrimp themselves come out juicy and succulent and not rubbery in the least. The pecorino adds a nice saltiness, and makes the meal even more addicting.

The bulgur came out very creamy and tender, and while an unorthodox choice to serve with shrimp, I think I actually preferred it to serving it on pasta. Which you can totally do, too, of course, and have actual shrimp scampi.

This meal looks as delicious as it tastes–it would be ideal for a dinner party or a special occasion… or as a last hurrah of my last night home on spring break, as it turned out to be.

We ate. This. Entire. Pan. Plus all of the bulgur. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.

Roasted Tricolor Bell Pepper Soup

Usually, soup with a roasted bell pepper base is made with just red peppers, resulting in a lovely, rich red hue.

But when one is met with a multitude of many colored peppers, a palette of a multitude of colors will result.

Count them. 20+ peppers, AFTER I threw away 5 rotten ones.

But they do look so beautiful after burning their skins to a crisp.

(I did two trays.)

Roasted Tricolor Bell Pepper Soup

Adapted from this recipe

20+ bell peppers, cored and halved

2-4 tablespoons olive oil, enough to cook…

4 small onions and

4 cloves (or more) garlic

1 teaspoon + smoked paprika

4 cups vegetable stock

4 cups water

6 small potatoes, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Greek yogurt

Cover a pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place peppers, skin side up, on tray and spray. Broil for 15-20 minutes (I’m serious, unless my broiler was faulty) until the skins blacken.

Empty peppers into some kind of sturdy bag that can be sealed. The first tray: the peppers had so much juice, they broke through the paper bag. The second tray: The peppers melted right through a ziploc freezer bag. I don’t know what to do.

Let them sit for 10 minutes, then carefully remove and discard the skins (they’ll be pretty hot) but do not rinse the peppers. Chop coarsely.

Heat olive oil in a large vat/cauldron/nonstick soup pot, and cook onions and garlic until soft but not brown. Add paprika and cook 1 minute.

Add roasted peppers, broth, water, dried herbs, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Puree the soup using an immersion blender or food processor, and add the balsamic vinegar just before finishing.

Serve with dollops of Greek yogurt. You can also stir some into the soup itself in place of cream… or just stir in some cream.

Makes A LOT.

This soup was delicious. The smoked paprika adds another layer of flavor, and I’m happy I finally got to use some in this recipe. And the color is actually pretty nice, even though it’s not red. Some black beans and corn might go nicely in this too, and add some protein to make a hearty meal!

We are now bell-pepper-less and couldn’t be happier. However, there are some cucumbers that are taking over the vegetable drawer that might need to be stopped.

Restaurant: buco ristorante

Over spring break, we went to buco ristorante, in Clifton, NJ.

Overall?

Quite delish!

We were served some bread and butter — the bread, while not warm, was crusty and had good flavors.

We mainly ordered off of the Specials list for that day/week. We got the crab cake, which was lump crab meat mixed with minced red and green peppers, pan fried and served in a delicious dijon mustard sauce with capers and a crinkly green lettuce garnish that nicely offset the more neutral colors of the main parts of the dish. The crab cake was creamy and deliciously flavorful, and did not have the thick deep-fried breading that is so characteristic of sub-par crab cakes.

Mom got a beet salad with a creamy dressing on arugula, with red onions. She enjoyed it quite a bit but wasn’t a fan of the abundance of red onions… about a 1/2 cup of them were left on the plate. But the beets had a nice flavor to them that complemented the dressing well.

I got the gorgonzola and walnut ravioli. The ravioli was filled with deliciously savory ricotta, and topped with a chopped tomato sauce with garlic slices that were tender, yet not biting; I don’t know how they got rid of the sharp garlic flavor (e.g. by roasting/cooking for a long time) while still maintaining a “bite” in terms of texture. In other words, really delicious. I was going to get some kind of seafood (their salmon with raspberry sauce; a shrimp scampi dish) but this meal caught my eye and having never had gorgonzola cheese (which I can now say is delicious) and walnuts with ravioli (another win) I decided to give it a try. Yum. No regrets here.

And dessert. Of course. A delicious, warm flourless chocolate cake, with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and a delicious raspberry/mango? apricot? passion fruit? coulis/sauce that was beautifully presented and perfect for sharing.

I had thought that desserts in restaurants weren’t really worth it, but then I made a goal that if a restaurant does offer the irresistible molten chocolate / ice cream combination, it MUST be tried for comparative purposes. Because as I say in my Chocolate Pudding Cake post/recipe, this dessert is the mother of all desserts and my absolute favorite.

ANYWAY

So… buco ristorante served up a delicious lunch and I would totally go there again. Prices are not bad, and although on a busy street, inside it is very peaceful and an ideal place for business meetings (as we witnessed). The staff were very welcoming and timely with the food, and clearly have rapport with some clients.

Try it if you are looking for good Italian food and you are in the area!

Ginger Molasses Granola Bars

Or maybe they should be named ginger-molasses-sunflower seed-pecan-craisin-dried-cherry-maple-date-chia-cinnamon-nutmeg-oat granola bars.

Dense. Chewy. Spicy and sweet.

And chock full of good-for-you goodies. These are definitely energy bars and will get you through your day.

Ginger Molasses Granola Bars

Adapted from this recipe, which also has directions on tried-and-true oat/nut/binder/sweetener proportions to make any kind of granola bar you wish!

1/3 cup molasses

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup Medjool dates, pitted

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1-2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup dried cranberries

In a large food processor, pulse three times the molasses, maple syrup, vanilla, and dates.

Add the spices (incl. the salt) and puree until basically smooth. Add the oats and pulse a few times until they are coarsely chopped and incorporated. Remove from food processor and transfer to a bowl, and stir in the dried fruit, pecans, and sunflower seeds.

In an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper, firmly press in the granola mixture until tightly packed and even.

Bake at 325°F for 25 minutes, remove, let cool on the stovetop, and then transfer entire pan to the freezer until the bars firm up (could take a long time, like an hour ish?)

Lift out the parchment paper and cut into 8-12 bars (12 is probably better).

I wrapped each individually in plastic wrap and they are now in the freezer, where they will last for a month and be delicious thawed out whenever I know I won’t have time for lunch… or dinner.

These were sooo yummy. If you’re not fan of ginger, don’t make these. But if you are… you’ll love them.

Slowly trying to phase out processed foods (e.g. Kashi granola bars) from my diet. These bars make it easy to do so… as long as you’re on spring break and have motivation.

Chocolate Pudding Cake


Never mind my little red slipper in the corner. There are much more important things to discuss…

…such as rich, velvety, chocolate pudding cake. Served warm, with a gooey molten chocolate syrup that forms beneath the tender, brownie-like cake layer, that can only be reached once you crack through the crispy, crunchy brown sugar topping. Oh, and to get to the chocolate bit at all, you must of course fight your way through a scoopful of cool, vanilla ice cream that is slowly melting into the chocolate crevices.

This has become my favorite dessert. It has surpassed all others, including red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, chocolate chip cookies, tiramisu, ice cream cake… it’s so simple, so easy, and so. freakin. delicious.

The top bakes to perfect crunchiness, while the bottom remains molten. In the last minute or so of baking, the bottom began to bubble up through the top… which meant that I could commence renewed salivation for this delectable treat.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen (saw the pin on Pinterest!)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoons salt

7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided

1 1/4 cup sugar-in-the-raw, or granulated, divided

1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk

1/3 cup melted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 cup steaming hot tap water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, three tablespoons of cocoa, and 3/4 cup of raw sugar.

Stir in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla, and mix until thoroughly combined. Pour into an ungreased 8-inch baking dish. You could use a clear glass dish or for a nice contrast, a white Corningware dish of similar size (I used a 1.8 L dish).

In another bowl, combine the remaining sugar (1/2 cup), the brown sugar, and remaining cocoa (four tablespoons) and sprinkle evenly over the batter.

Pour the hot water over all, and do not stir it (no matter how much you want to). It will look strange and watery, but sometimes strange circumstances lead to perfection.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until center is set; it was difficult to tell, so I just took it out right at 40. It’ll pretty much be good when it looks like it’s done, and there’s no raw egg to worry about.

Unfortunately, this will be piping hot and will need to cool. I managed to hold back about 10-15 minutes before scooping it out.

Serves 10 normal people or 5 chocoholic, sweet-toothed people. (I am the latter.)

Spoon some banana soft serve (or regular vanilla ice cream) on top and serve. You could drizzle some chocolate pudding on top of the ice cream… but I like to try to prolong the melting as long as possible. The best is getting a little bit of ice cream… and a little hot pudding cake.. on the same spoon… and eating at the same time. Any OCD you have about your food touching, please try to forget and enjoy the deliciousness that is this dessert.