So, between finalizing edits on my novel, my husband’s work Christmas parties, and all the decorating and gift giving, I feel like I am in college finals or maybe a Zen Buddhist video game: be serene. be patient. know the reason for the season. Also, your kids need Seasonal hats for hat day today, your husband is wondering why you bought all the candle lights for the windows if you aren’t going to put them up, and (cackling laughter) NONE of the gifts you picked out on Amazon for the cousins will be here in time for Christmas, even though they said Prime next to it, and you need to head to the mall STAT. Plus you are hosting Christmas for like 30 people.
It is easing all of my angst to find recipes that are quick and yummy, and I am sharing them with you on the off chance that you are in a similar state? No?
Let’s start with this Garlicky Roasted Shrimp recipe, shall we?
It is from Cook’s Illustrated, and honestly, it looked so good from the (black and white) photo it was all I could dream about after I saw it. I was thrilled to find out that it only takes 10 MINUTES to make. And it is so so good. There’s a whole sidebar in the magazine about how the brining keeps it moist and the shells on make all the proteins and sugars contribute to savory depth of flavor…blah blah blah JUST KNOW THEY ARE SO GOOD, OK?
About the only thing you may have to contribute as far as prep/effort is if your shrimp don’t come already de-veined. If that is the case you will have to put little elbow grease in but mine came deveined and ready to brine. I didn’t have any anise seeds and omitted them, though I did add some salt. And the other variations – Peruvian and Asian-inspired – look dreamy too.
There are SO many other amazing food ideas that I have seen recently, I thought I would do a round up of recipes I either know are easy and delicious or I want to believe they are because they look that good.
- Bacon Goat Cheese Pops: SWOONING over these. I was going to do a whole blog about them, BUT I just did the cheese ball, so, here it shall lie. My husband loves everything that is going on here – the bacon, the goat cheese, the nuts, and they only take minutes to make.
- Baked Ricotta with Balsamic Brown Butter – I LOVE this blog and their original recipes, and this one is a shining example. They are mostly gluten free, and my husband loves sweet potatoes, so using them as a dipping device is genius. This seems great for a party or just a quiet night by the fire.
- I am hosting Christmas this year and I am making these Filet of Beef Sandwiches with Horseradish Sauce from Ina Garten. I am actually thinking of serving the filet sliced with the (you can hear the angels sing amazing) sauce and garlic bread. At one of the work Christmas parties with my husband we had no where to sit, I just put my filet of beef on a piece of garlic bread and it was almost the only thing I could focus on while I was eating it, it was so good. Just kidding. Not really.
- When it comes to sweets, my crew really just wants a brownie. So I am making these Brownie Cookies for cookie exchanges. I plan to coat some in chocolate ganache frosting & peppermint candy cane crumbs and the others in carmel with sea salt. Check my Instagram feed for the final product.
- These Pretzel + Reese’s Peanut Butter bites look easy and delicious – my favorite combo. And while you are on this site (I Heart Naptime), check out the microwave caramels – they are genius.
- For Christmas morning, I am going to make the Candied Bacon (bacon cooked with brown sugar on top) for my husband. I had it at a wedding this fall and it reinforced my belief that we can’t live without having this on our next holiday. So have it we shall.
Hope you are staying warm (and sane). Happy Eating/Cooking/Wrapping/Making Merry!
Garlicky Roasted Shrimp (From Cook’s Illustrated, printer version here):
1/4 cup salt
2 pounds shell-on jumbo shrimp (16-to-20 per pound)
4 T. butter, melted
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves
1 t. anise seeds (optional)
½ t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. Salt
¼ t. pepper
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1 lemon, sliced into wedges for serving
- Defrost shrimp overnight in refrigerator or in a bowl of cold water for 30-45 minutes.
- If you are able to find non-deveined shrimp, then use kitchen shears or a paring knife to cut through the shell and use a paring knife to cut to 1/2″ deep and remove the vein. (Mine were already deveined). Leave the shell on for protection against the hot broiler. Add 1 quart of water to a large bowl and dissolve 1/4-cup of table salt, and place the deveined shrimp to brine, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Set an oven rack so that it is 4″ from the broiler heating element, and begin to pre-heat the broiler. In a second large bowl, add butter, vegetable oil, pressed garlic, anise seeds, pepper flakes, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Drain shrimp and pat them dry using paper towels. Add shrimp and parsley to bowl containing the oil mixture, and toss to combine, ensuring that oil gets worked into the inside of the shrimp.
- Place shrimp in single layer on wire rack set over a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. The wire rack will allow air-flow around the entire shrimp. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, rotating half-way through broiling.
- Flip the shrimp and broil the second side for 2 to 3 minutes more, again rotating the pan halfway through broiling.
- Put cooked shrimp on a clean serving platter and and serve immediately, with lemon wedges.
Garlicky Roasted Shrimp with Cilantro and Lime
Omit butter and increase vegetable oil to ½ cup. Omit anise seeds and pepper. Add 2 t. Lightly crushed coriander seeds, 2 t grated lime zest, 1 t. Annatto powder to oil mixture in step 2. Substitute ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro for parsley and lime for lemon wedges.
Garlicky Roasted Shrimp with Cumin, Ginger, and Sesame
Omit butter and increase vegetable oil to ½ cup. Decrease garlic to 2 cloves and omit anise seeds and pepper. Add 2 t. Toasted sesame oil, 1 ½ t. Grated fresh ginger, and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds to oil mixture in step 2. Substitute 2 thinly sliced scallion greens for parsley and omit lemon wedges.
From Cook’s Illustrated Special Collector’s Edition of Winter Recipes 2017 edition