Garlic Shrimp with Avocado Basil Salad

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It’s difficult to tell from the title, but basil is the inspiration for this dish.  If you live in an area with four distinct seasons, cooler weather means the end of outside basil plants.  It’s time to make a lot of recipes with this summer herb before the first frost kills it off.  It’s also time to start rooting new plants indoors, so you can enjoy it’s fresh, flowery aroma in the cold winter months.

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Rooting a basil plant is easy.  Cut a stem beneath a node (a node is a small bump that will grow leaves), and remove the leaves growing from the bottom of the stem.  Do you see the little bumps with leaves growing from it?  Those are the nodes.

Dip the stem in honey, and then place the little plant in a glass of water.

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Keep this cutting indoors, and out of direct sunlight.  Change the water every other day or so, and soon you’ll have long white roots growing along the stem.  At that point, go ahead and plant it in soil.

This entire meal was created for the basil.  I wanted to make something with it, but I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to make.  Tomatoes taste great with basil, and I had some tomatoes.  Corn tastes good with basil, and roasted hot peppers like jalapeño also taste good with corn.  I don’t know the name of this pepper, but it’s popular in Italy and is a fine substitute for a  jalapeño.

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Shrimp tastes good with corn, and it also tastes good with basil and garlic, rucola adds a great peppery taste to tomatoes, and since I had an avocado I figured that its rich and creamy texture would cool down the hot pepper.

I used a bit of Churrasco BBQ seasoning I had purchased on a whim.  The label listed ancho peppers and smoked salt amongst a lot of other tasty herbs and spices and those all sounded good to me.  Glad I picked it up!  It’s a great blend I can use for a lot of different things.

Just a little bit on the shrimp to bring out the flavors in the rest of the dish.

This really turned out nice, and tastes as great as it looks.  Two days later we had a guest over for supper, and we shared a lovely meal with a lovely wine. Twice in one week was just fine for this dish, and we’ll certainly be eating it again.

Garlic Shrimp with Avocado Basil Salad

Serves 3-4

1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 t Churrasco BBQ seasoning

1/4 t salt

1 C sweet corn

2 C chopped tomatoes

2 T roasted (or grilled) hot pepper, peeled, ribs and seeds taken out, minced

4 Cups Rucola (also known as Rocket or Arugula)

1/4 C basil, chiffonade

1/2 avocado per person, sliced

*tips* – If you char your your pepper on the grill, you may want to cut a small slit in it.  I had a pepper bomb go off and the sound was impressive.  Thankfully no one was hurt, but next time they’re all getting a ventilation hole cut in them.

If your tomatoes have a lot of liquid in them, simply let them drain in a colander for a little bit before mixing with the rest of the salad.

Combine all salad ingredients except the avocado. Slice the avocado at the end so it doesn’t oxidize.

Combine the shrimp, a drizzle of olive oil, garlic and spices in a glass dish, and stir well.  Heat about a quarter cup of olive oil in a saute pan set over low heat, and transfer the shrimp to the pan.  Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes per side.  Add more olive oil if you need it. Timing depends on the shrimp, but once it changes color and starts to curl you are ready to go.  It will continue to cook once you take the pan off the heat and serve it.

Slice the avocado, plate each dish, and serve with a nice wine!

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Dang Good Oatmeal Choco Chip Corn Nut Cookies

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“Hmmm…” Thought I.  “I bet these corn nuts (maize tostada) would taste good in a dessert.”

“And…”  Thought I, “those chocolate chip cookies with the pumpkin seeds (semi di zucca)  were really good.  I wonder how they made them?”

“Oh look!”  Thought I with an exclamation point! “Oat flour!”

And that is how these dang good cookies came to be.

My husband likes them with a caffè (coffee) for dessert or a snack, and with tea (tè) for breakfast.  I like them Americana style with a glass of cold, raw milk on the side.

This recipe makes 18 cookies as measured out with an ice cream scoop.  Make sure to leave some space between them so each cookie has some room to spread.

*note* I used 1 tsp Lievito Pane Degli Angeli as a substitute for 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 t vanilla extract because I couldn’t find any regular baking powder.  I like the rising power of the Paneangeli, but I don’t really care for the artificial vanilla taste it has.

Dang Good Oatmeal Choco Chip Corn Nut Cookies

1/2 C (113 g) butter, room temp

1/2 C brown raw sugar (can substitute regular light brown sugar, packed)

1/2 C raw sugar (can use regular sugar)

1 large pasture egg, room temp

3/4 C white flour

1/2 C oat flour

1 t lievito pane degli angeli

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 C rolled or quick cooking oats

1/4 C pumpkin seeds

1/4 C chopped corn nuts

1/4 C chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla extract (if using) and cream again.

In separate bowl whisk the flours, lievito pane degli angeli, and baking soda.

Add about 1/2 the flour mixture, mix well, and then add the remaining dry flour mixture, mixing well, and scraping the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.

Add the oats, pumpkin seeds, corn nuts and chocolate chips.  Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Put into refrigerator and chill while you preheat the oven to 325 F.  Line a baking sheet with oven paper.  Once the oven has reached temperature, take out the cookie dough and measure out each cookie with an ice cream scoop.  Gently flatten the top of each cookie but don’t worry about a perfect shape.  The nooks and crannies help it to cook into crispy edges.

Cook for 10-12 minutes or until they are lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let cool down on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling grate.

IF, and I’m not saying you will, but IF you decide that you absolutely must have just a little taste after it comes out of the oven, you will notice that the cookie is ALMOST completely cooked in the inside, but not all the way.  That is perfectly okay.  The cookies will continue to finish cooking on the pan and as they cool down.

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Fresh Zucchini and Rucola Salad

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This beautiful, end of summer salad is just what you were looking for.

It’s simple – ingredients can be swapped out.

It’s malleable – side dish or a veggie main course.

It also counts as a pantry raid recipe because it was prepared with several ingredients that would have gone bad if we didn’t eat them NOW.

The potatoes, for example, were carried home from a meal I couldn’t finish at a restaurant.  The rucola, not rotten, was pretty wilted and dry.

The red onion was the last and smallest little guy, and the tomato had just a few slices taken off of it for a sandwich the previous day.

Tonight we are having a grilled sumac chicken, and this fresh salad is going to be superb.  There is a bit of heat on the chicken, and the char from the barbeque will pair for well with this fresh and light side.

Zucchini and Rucola Salad

1 C zucchini, chopped

1 small can sweet corn

1 clove garlic, minced

1 medium red tomato, chopped

handful rucola

1 C roasted potato, chopped

fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, Maldon salt, fresh ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl.  Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top and drizzle olive oil.

Stir.

Add salt and pepper, stir, Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Carrot and Chickpea Soup

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Proud of this one.

Satisfying and easy to digest at the same time?  Check.

Nutritious?  Check.

Tastes really good so you don’t have to tell anyone it’s vegan, dairy free, or gluten free?  Check.

Plus, you can reduce the amount of broth to make it a puree to place underneath a charred cauliflower steak.

This recipe is for 2, when the only thing you are having is soup for supper.

Carrot and Chickpea Soup

6 good sized carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces, drizzled with olive oil and salt, and roasted for about an hour – I think this is about 1/2 kilo, or about an American pound

2 1/2 C vegetable stock

1/2 yellow onion minced

1 clove roasted garlic minced

2 medium tomato chopped

1 1/2 T Curry seasoning

Pinches of salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.

1 1/2 T curry seasoning

Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas.  Put on music, and take the membrane off the chickpea.  Put chickpeas in food processor.

Drizzle carrots with olive oil and salt,roast, and let cool.  I never peel them if I’m roasting.

In a small saucepan, with low heat, toast the curry seasoning. Add chopped onion and garlic clove with olive oil and cook on low heat until the onion is translucent but getting to be a bit brown but juicy.

Let everything cool, and then stick it in the processor with the beans.

Now you have chickpeas, carrots, onions, and garlic in olive oil, and the vegetable broth.

You need to do the chickpeas first, because they can get nice and fluffy, and that makes a difference.  Whir them up with some broth (better if the broth is COLD) and the oil of the carrot and garlic.  Add the carrots and the rest of the cooked items.  Put the oil from the carrot cooking in first, then do the cold broth.

Whip until fluffy and transfer to a pot..  Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for only about 30 minutes.