Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Steamed Shrimp

Steamed Shrimp are my favorite and I always like to serve them over the Holidays. I really can not tell you why my family has always called them Steamed Shrimp because they are really boiled shrimp, cooked in beer and Old Bay. The simplicity of only 3 ingredients will makes you realize that less is more. I always remember that they were only served on special occasions and they were always a special treat. Of course when you make these you need to take 5 minutes to make my homemade cocktail sauce as well. Only the best for my guests. Every time I make these I get rave reviews. So if you want an easy to fix meal that will be sure to say I love you, then you must try these treasures. Merry Christmas!

Steamed Shrimp

  • 2 - 2 ½ lb. shrimp, either 26-30 count (large) or 16-20 count (extra large)
  • 2 12 oz. bottles of beer
  • ¼ cup Old Bay Seasoning, with a little extra for sprinkling
In a large dutch oven pot bring to a boil Old Bay and beer. When it has reached a full boil add shrimp. Once the shrimp come to a full boil again stir well, then cover lowering heat so that it will boil while covered and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally. *** Time saving version if you do not have time to thaw out your shrimp in advance. Bring beer and Old Bay to a boil, add frozen shrimp (maximum amount to cook at one time is 2 1/2 lbs), bring back to a boil. Then lower heat to a simmer and cover with lid. Start timing cook time from when frozen shrimp first came to a boil , for 5 -7 minutes.

Drain shrimp in colander or if you want to cook more shrimp remove them with a slotted spoon, reusing beer and repeating cooking directions. Only cook 2 ½ lbs at a time. With a slotted spoon transfer shrimp to a large bowl, sprinkle Old Bay on top of shrimp as you layer in bowl. You may serve these immediately or chill overnight and serve cold the next day. Serve with Cocktail sauce.

I prefer to buy wild caught shrimp over farm raised. I believe the taste is better. If fresh is not available frozen is fine. Just thaw out the night before in your refrigerator. Take advantage of sales on frozen or previously frozen shrimp (just ask for shrimp that have not been thawed out yet). I scan the newspaper and stock my freezer up when I see a bargain. Enjoy!

Cocktail Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ tsp. mustard powder
  • ¼ cup grated horseradish in jar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Mix together above ingredients well. You may make this a few hours in advance. Always use fresh lemon juice. this blows away expensive store bought cocktail sauce. I like my cocktail sauce spicy, if you do not, use less horseradish.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Praline Pull-Apart Bread

When I was a little girl, my Mom always made us sweet buns. The aroma of them baking in the oven was pure torture. She always added raisins and pecans to hers and we called them Sticky Buns, and sticky they were. Another friend said that his Mom always made this and they called it Rock Pile Cake. It does not matter what you name it, because your sweet buns by any other name will always taste as sweet. This is a make-ahead bread, and I just love that. Anytime I can prepare something this great in advance it makes my day. I see Praline Pull-Apart bread in your future.

Praline Pull-Apart Bread

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp. cinnamon divided
  • 1 (2 lb.) pkg. Rhodes white frozen dinner roll dough or 2 (24 oz.) pkgs frozen parkerhouse style rolls only using 1 ½ of the pkgs.
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
Stir together sugar and 3 tsp of cinnamon. Coat each roll in butter; dredge rolls in sugar and cinnamon mixture. Arrange in a lightly greased 10 inch tube pan; sprinkle top with pecans. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 8-18 hours.

The next morning preheat oven to 325 degrees. The next step of whipping the cream is very important, it's the secret to the smooth texture of the caramel flavored sauce. Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form; stir in brown sugar and remaining 1 tsp of cinnamon. Pour mixture over dough. Place pan on top of aluminum foil lined baking sheet.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes; invert onto a serving plate, and drizzle with any remaining glaze in pan.

This recipe was published in Southern Living magazine a few years ago.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Easy Chocolate Truffles

Decadent Chocolate Truffles will spoil your family and friends over the holidays. This is a much simpler and easier version than most truffle recipes. It is a little time consuming rolling the little balls, but oh so worth it. Divide these up and pass around for a nice homemade gift. You will need to keep them refrigerated and they are best consumed within 3-4 days. What is really nice is that you can make these in advance and freeze for up to one month. I found this recipe years ago in The Taste As Home magazine.

Easy Chocolate Truffles

  • 3 cups (18 oz.) Ghiraradelli bittersweet chocolate chips 60% cocoa
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • toppings; chopped flaked coconut, finely chopped nuts, cocoa or sprinkles

In a double boiler over low heat melt chocolate. Stir in vanilla and milk, whisk together with a wire whisk until smooth. Chill for about 2 hours or until mixture is easy to handle. Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in coconut, sprinkles, cocoa or ground nuts.

I like to whirl the coconut in my food processor so the flakes are not too large.