Bill: I was inspired by Katie’s recent post to make a quick but tasty meal. Last fall I froze a couple of batches of pesto that I made with almonds. The pesto was frozen in ice cube trays which makes it easy to use later. I pulled out 4 cubes of pesto to use along with 2 servings of pasta. I added some raw shrimp into the boiling water the last two minutes that the pasta was cooking. Jill taught me this trick which is the perfect length of time to cook the shrimp. I also reserved a couple of ladles of pasta water which I added slowly to the pesto cubes to get a nice consistency before adding to the cooked pasta.
To go along with the meal I roasted some asparagus in the oven. Katie, there are some Asparagus Festivals in the Midwest, but I’m not aware of any Asparagus Princesses. You’ll have to take us to a German Asparagus celebration sometime.
Katie: Asparagus is in season here in Germany, and Germans are crazy about asparagus. Just check out pictures of the “Asparagus Princess” and “Asparagus Parade” if you don’t believe me! While white asparagus remains the most popular choice, green asparagus seems to be becoming more readily available.
Rather than preparing asparagus as a side dish, I’ve tried a few recipes this spring that include asparagus in a main dish. So far, I’ve tried Roasted Strawberry and Asparagus Quinoa Salad, which was a great combination and Roasted Asparagus and Red Pepper Farro Salad, in which I substituted buckwheat groats for farro.
This time, I decided to try a Cooking Light recipe, Gnocchi with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Pesto. Since I wanted something a bit lighter than gnocchi, I decided to substitute whole wheat spiral noodles. This was a dish that was pretty simple to make. It turned out well and was a good choice for a simple, but interesting and flavorful meal. The only change I would make if I made this again would be to use less garlic powder, since it was a little strong. This would probably be good with other pesto recipes as well, maybe even Strawberry Basil Pesto, which I’m curious to try!
Katie: These tacos are easy enough to make in the dark! I was just getting out the ingredients to make these tacos, the thunder and lightning growing more intense in the background, when the electricity went out. I wasn’t sure how to use our electricity box to turn the electricity back on, and Flori was gone, so I got out a few candles (it was dark from the storm) and kept going. Fortunately, I had precooked shrimp, so I didn’t have to use the stove at all. These turned out pretty good. I doubled the amount of tomatoes and added one chopped red pepper. This was an easy meal which was great for a hot and stormy summer day!
Katie: After seeing a few recipes for zucchini spaghetti on different food blogs (e.g. here, here, and here), I was interesting in trying it. It’s basically zucchini cut into really thin strips and served like noodles with a sauce. I used a citrus zester which worked really well. I used two small, firm zucchinis and stopped peeling when I reached the seedy part in the middle. Since they were so thin, I didn’t have to cook them at all. I served my zucchini noodles with Fettuccine with Clams, Basil, Tomato, Corn, and Garlic (I substituted shrimp for the clams and used canned tomatoes) and roasted carrots with honey and rosemary. It was a good weeknight meal!
jill pickle: Yesterday I had to make a dish for our quilt picnic get-together. One of my favorite dishes is Ina Garten’s Curried Couscous. You can make it ahead of time- (it’s actually better when it sits in the frig a while!) and you serve it at room temperature so you don’t have to worry about keeping it cold or hot! It’s fast and easy to make and you can add any ingredients you want! When I made it, I added grated carrots, slivered almonds, shrimp, chives, a small amount of carmelized onions, parsley, and peas. I put the finished dish in my ‘meatball bowl’ (made at the Art Village in Stevens Point) for a lovely presentation!!
Jill got inspired when watching Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network. She decided to try two recipes that Giada made. The first was Trenette with Eggplant and Basil Pesto. We used penne rigate pasta and some of Jill’s home made pesto. Jill roasted the eggplant in the oven while I grated up some fresh grated Parmesan. I’m not a huge eggplant fan, but this recipe tasted great with the pesto and parmesan!
The second recipe that Jill made was Ligurian Fish Stew. Who would have ever guessed that fish stew could taste so good. We used cod for the fish and about 2/3 of a pound of medium shrimp. The sauce with carrots, onions, garlic, pureed tomatoes and Pinot Grigio made a great base for the stew and left the house smelling fantastic! We used Roasted Garlic Artisan Bread which was toasted in the oven with olive oil drizzled on top. Jill rubbed fresh garlic on top of the top of the toasted bread. The bread was excellent dipped in the stew. What a great meal.
jillpickle: I wanted to make a tasty but low fat meal so I got out my old Cooking Light cookbook. Both recipes were fast and easy and turned out well. The crispy shrimp taste rich and buttery and the polenta and sauce compliment each other. For the mushroom sauce, I deviated from the recipe and added a whole can of chopped tomatoes. I ended up with too much liquid in the sauce as a result so I just let it simmer and cooked most of the liquid off. I think the sauce is more flavorful as a result. I also added ‘tame’ portobellas instead of the ‘wild’ shiitake mushrooms which we couldn’t find. Asparagus roasted in the oven completed a yummy meal! Here is the Shrimp recipe;
Lemon Garlic Shrimp
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 15 minutes
1 ½ pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup breadcrumbs
3 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Coat 4 individual gratin dishes or 1 large one and place shrimp in.
- Combine breadcrumbs and next 4 ingredients in a bowl; stir in lemon juice and oil. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over the shrimp. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees until shrimp are done or breadcrumbs are lightly browned.