Shrimp in Pastry Shells

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On our first wedding anniversary (over 52 years ago) we lived in Corvallis, Oregon. Our budget did not allow restaurant meals and I was still a beginner cook. But I served Joe Shrimp in Pastry Shells on our wedding china and we still consider it one of our fanciest dishes. Somewhere I still have the index card on which I taped the simple recipe clipped from a magazine, using Campbell’s Cream of Shrimp soup and canned shrimp.  These days, I do not buy the little shrimp in a can, but I do keep a bag of frozen peeled and deveined shrimp as a freezer staple. This version is how that first anniversary shrimp n shells dish has changed, definitely for the better.  However, Pepperidge Farm still makes their wonderful Puff Pastry Shells that make it so easy to pull puff pastry out of my oven for the base of a wonderful entree.

Shrimp in Pastry Shells

Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry shells (6 shells)

1/2 to 1 pound medium size shrimp, shelled and deveined (fresh or thawed from frozen) We like plenty of shrimp.

2 Tablespoons butter,

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 can Campbell’s Cream of Shrimp soup

1/2 cup milk or half and half

1 Tablespoon minced fresh dill,

1/4 cup Sherry

Bake Puff Pastry according to instructions on package..  Be sure to save the discs of pastry that you remove from the top after baking to top each serving. Place each pastry on serving plate, with tops on the side.

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in saute pan, add mushrooms and simmer until mushrooms have cooked down and liquid begins to reduce. Add soup  plus only 1/2 cup milk and simmer until well blended and beginning to thicken.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring, 4-5 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through. Blend in dill and sherry and ladle into pastry shells.  Top each with a puff pastry topper.

 

 

 

Orange Glazed Salmon with Rosemary

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We tried yet another excellent recipe recently. This pan roasted salmon glazed with fresh orange sauce and layered with the flavor and fragrance of rosemary from our garden is one we will repeat soon.

Orange Glazed Salmon with Rosemary

2 Tablespoons olive oil

4 (6-8 oz) skinless salmon fillets, (leave out at room temperature 10 minute)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary plus a few sprigs for garnish

1/2  cup chicken broth, plus 1 Tablespoon( to be mixed with cornstarch)

2 teaspoons orange zest

1 cup fresh orange juice

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 Tablespoons honey

3 teaspoons cornstarcheat

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Season both sides of salmon with salt and pepper. Place in hot olive oil and sear until browned on both sides and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness of salmon.Transfer to a plate, leaving oil in pan.

Add garlic and rosemary to pan and saute 20 seconds, then add 1/2 cup chicken broth and simmer to reduce. Stir in orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice and honey. In a small bowl whisk together remaining 1 Tablespoon chicken broth with cornstarch.

Pour into pan, season sauce with salt and pepper to taste, then bring to a boil and allow to thicken 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return salmon to pan, spoon sauce over salmon. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary and orange slices.

Roasted Salmon with Mustard Crust

IMG_3678This is one of the easiest ways to prepare fresh salmon.  Simply coat the top of fillets with whole grain mustard and olive oil and bake until a nice brown crust covers the top.  Sprinkle with chopped chives before serving.  Looks great and tastes even better! When I chose to make this last week, I did not have whole grain mustard in the pantry but I added a Tablespoon of whole brown mustard seeds to Dijon mustard for a substitute.  The result was so tasty I may just do it that way every time!  The mustard seeds toast and pop with flavor.

Roasted Salmon with Mustard Crust

4 wild caught salmon fillets

salt and pepper

1/4 cup whole grain mustard (or substitute with Dijon mustard and add whole mustard seeds)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Chopped chives

Preheat oven to 400° and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, olive oil and chives.

Sprinkle salmon fillets with salt and pepper and place them skin side down on the baking sheet. Spread the mustard mixture over the tops of the fillets, place in oven to roast for 6 minutes. Reset oven to Broil.   Broil the salmon 6 inches from the heat for 4-5minutes, until the mustard crust is browned and the salmon is almost cooked through. Using a spatula, carefully slide the salmon fillets off their skins to place on seving platter. Top with chopped chives.

Mary Ann’s Tuna Salad

IMG_2517 Sometimes I forget that something I have made and eaten for as long as I can remember is considered a “family favorite” recipe. I think that is why no one ever wrote down Grandma Terrell’s tea cake or cornbread recipe, or Daddy’s recipe for homemade rolls.They were made so often that they were learned by heart and hands but now, generations later, the recipes would be treasured, knowing that we were doing it just like they did..

Tuna salad is like that for me. When I was a little girl, I loved our famiy’s tuna sandwiches. They were a staple when teenage friends gathered at our house.  I still make it just like Mother did with 2 slight alterations:  I use white albacore tuna packed in water, not the Chicken of the Sea packed in oil that Mother always used, and I use a lighter version of mayonnaise. Neither of these products was available all those years ago!  I have eaten many variations of tuna salad in different places. I know I can add onions if I want, or chopped pecans. Or celery and fresh dill. I know it does not have to have boiled eggs and apples. But as a family favorite, here is the way I make it.

Mary Ann’s Tuna Salad

2/ 7 oz. can’s white albacore tuna packed in water.  (Costco’s version is very good.)

2 boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1 large apple, peeled and chopped

1/3 cup dill relish, or 1/3 cup whole pickles, chopped fine

1/2 cup Mayonnaise  (I prefer Hellman’s Mayo with Olive oil)

Drain tuna and add to bowl along with eggs, apple, relish and mayonnaise.

Season with salt and pepper if desired.  Mix and spread on bread slices or served on a lettuce cup.

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Lobster Bisque on a Budget

IMG_2345One of my favorite treats when we go out for a special meal is Lobster Bisque. We rarely cook fresh lobsters at home and when we do there is seldom enough leftover to add to a bisque, but now I have found a way to use other white fish in a way that will put this particular bisque on our table more often!  Joe and all three of our sons spent last week fishing near Homer, Alaska.  Happily, they brought back plenty of salmon and halibut to add to our freezer.  They also brought back a method for cooking what they call Poor Man’s Lobster!  The first fish Joe cooked was halibut cooked like this. I found there are recipes everywhere with many variations.  Almost any type firm fleshed white fish can be used – cod, haddock, monkfish.

Poor Man’s Lobster

  1. Fill a pot with water, at least 2 quarts of water..
  2. Add 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Do not ever stir the mixture.
  4. Add chunks of halibut, do not over crowd.
  5. They will sink to the bottom, and then rise to the top when they are done.
  6. It should take just a few minutes.
  7. Remove with slotted spoon.
  8. Remember do not stir the mixture.
  9. Continue until all the halibut is cooked.
  10. Dip in melted butter and eat!

We had plenty of this, drizzled with lemon butter, and heaped on some crusty French bread. It really does taste like lobster!

We had a sandwich bag of leftover fish, so I made this wonderful Lobster Bisque the next day for our lunch. Feel free to use the real thing, but the Poor Man’s Lobster worked for us. Don’t let the long list of ingredients and directions fool you.  It is easy, and the results are worth any effort!

Lobster Bisque on a Budget

  • 6 to 8 ounces lobster broken into small chunks
  • 2 shallots,  minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup  white wine
  • 1 T Worcestershire  Tabasco
  • 2 Tablespoons  dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cup half and half
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  1. Saute shallots, onions, and garlic about a minute in a sauce pan00000
  2. Add white wine and stir to combine..
  3. Add Worcestershire, Tabasco, and thyme and saute for another minute.
  4. Add sherry and stir
  5. Add the paprika, hot water, bay leaves, and tomato paste, combine well.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Whisk in whipping cream,half and half  and the butter and bring to a simmer
  8. Add the lobster and heat through.
  9. Serve with crusty garlic bread.

Mahi Mahi Poached in Olive Oil with Tomato, Olive, and Rosemary Salsa

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Before I was married (over 50 years ago!), I rarely ate fish cooked any way but fried.  My personal favorite was fried shrimp. Mother avoided most fish, but loved fried catfish. My parents owned a small cafe where my father cooked delicious foods, but I don’t remember his ever serving seafood other than fried fish and shrimp. Daddy loved fried oysters, and liked to make oyster stew with fresh oysters when he cooked at home, especially at Christmas. I still enjoy fried oysters, shrimp and catfish with hush puppies. But now, we enjoy a variety of fresh fish cooked in many ways.  For quick family suppers, my go-to methods of preparation are grilling and baking.  We grow fresh herbs in our garden, so often have fish paired with fresh dill, rosemary, or thyme. When This recipe was originally published Coastal Living. I did a search and found several versions online. I had never poached fish in olive oil before and wanted to try it  The results were delicious so it won’t be the last time I use this combination of flavors or this method of cooking.  The following is the way I adapted the Coastal Living recipe.  And yes, we do live on the South Texas Gulf Coast.

Mahi Mahi Poached in Olive Oil with Rosemary and Tomato Salsa

2 (4-6 ounce) Mahi Mahi filets

2 cups olive oil

sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

4 Roma or Compari tomatoes (small, but not cherry tomatoes), halved

2 Tablespoons capers

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

1 Tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Heat olive oil in flat sided deep skillet.Place tomatoes in oil, cut side down, along with 1 sprig of rosemary.  Cover and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender  Remove tomatoes to plate to cool.  Rinse fish and pat dry before sprinkling with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Lower fish carefully into flavor infused hot olive oil and poach  8 to 10 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flakes easily with fork. Remove from oil and place on serving dish.

While fish is cooking, put tomatoes in bowl and mash with fork or a few swirls of an immersion blender.  Add capers, chopped Kalamata olives, chopped rosemary, and vinegar.  Spoon this mixture over fish in serving dish and garnish with a whole sprig of rosemary.