February 26, 2010

Shrimp & Crab Ceviche

I love seafood. You're not part of the Tso or Hung family if you don't - especially since our folks ingrained in us at every meal that fish would make us smarter and our vision better. Which, btw, don't trust because even with of all the fish I ate growing up, it didn't do a darn thing for me. 28 years later and I have almost legally blind vision. Awesome.

Anyways, while at a party hosted by my Twinkie, I met one of her friends who brought some ceviche and boy, oh boy, was it good. Prior to this, the thought of serving family and friends "raw" fish (yes, I know it's 'technically' cooked with the lemon/citrus juice but still....) and potentially giving them food poisoning gives me a little heartburn. So this ceviche with only shrimp and real lump crab was good enough for me to try! I made it for our christmas dinner one year and it was a hit. Very simple and with a few odd ingredients, like V8. I think I will try plain tomato sauce/puree the next time I make this. Regardless, the taste is pretty delicious that I think this gives my guacamole a good running. Hrm, maybe I should have a guacamole and ceviche showdown?

Really important for this is to use good quality lump crab. Don't you dare use the crab in the can where you find the tunafish. Go to the fresh seafood section and ask for their lump crab - or you can look at the refrigerated section next to them where they should have fresh lump crab in the sealed plastic containers. I don't personally like the claw meat and end up paying the 15 bucks for the good lump meat.

As for the shrimp - again, don't you dare use the frozen cooked shrimp or shrimp in the can. Buy fresh shrimp (headless) and right now, they seems to be a great deal. I saw at Kroger the other day, large shrimp for 3.99 a lb! What a steal!

Shrimp & Crab Ceviche
Serving: This make a TON. When I say ton, I mean I can fill 4 quart containers of this stuff. If you're not serving this for a party, cut the recipe in half.

7-8 jalapenos (seeded and diced)

7-8 plum tomatos (diced)
1 bunch of cilantro (chopped)
1 medium yellow onion (chopped) --> You know me. I don't like raw onions so I omitted this.
2-3 limes (juiced)
2 lemons (juiced)
Zest from one lemon and one lime (make sure to zest before juicing)
7-8 cloves of garlic (minced)
6 avocadoo (large diced)
1 lbs. lump crabmeat
1-2 lbs. boiled shrimp (large diced)
24 oz. V-8 vegetable juice --> I use about half, taste and then add more.
1 jar of cocktail sauce with horseradish

1. Wash the raw shrimp. Boil water and add a good spoonful of salt - v. similar to cooking pasta. Add the shrimp and let it cook for only a few minutes. These things cook fast! They should have an opaque pink color when they are done. Take it out and put under colder water or in an ice bath - to stop it from cooking anymore. Who wants overcooked shrimp, right? When it's cool enough to touch, peel and chop into big chunks.
2. Start cutting and dicing all the ingredients. This is the longest part.

3. Then mix everything together in a large bowl (EXCEPT for the crabmeat and avocado). Add some S&P to taste - make sure to taste before you add more. If you want to add some dashes of hot sauce here, you can. Then, lightly fold in the crabmeat and the avocado. I like to let this sit in the fridge, covered for at least an hour to let the flavors mesh. Then serve with chips!

February 23, 2010

Brussel Sprouts w/Proscuitto

What is the perfect side dish to so many chicken dishes, spaghetti or steak? Or even a great complement to mashed potatoes? Brussel sprouts spruced up with some yummy crunchy bits of proscuitto.

Side note. Since I mentioned mashed potatoes, I have to talk about a recent experience of some of the best I've had in quite a long time. Last Sunday was my cousin's wedding and for the dress rehearsal dinner, we had these amazing potatoes that I can hardly explain. It was creamy but thick at the same time. Had a significant substance to them but no lumps. No apparent herbs but incorporated a type of cheese that I can't exactly pinpoint.  This was one of those moments where you immediately start comparing any future mash potatoes tastings to that one little pile of yummy goodiness on your plate. Agh.

I digress. Back to brussel sprouts. I didn't always like to eat these little suckers. It hasn't been until the past few years where I realized that simply cooking brussel sprouts with a little salt, pepper and olive oil in the oven was so delicious. And healthy! This is a quick side dish to complement rice or meat. Its a little salty and lightly crunchy due to the proscuitto. Yum!

Brussel Sprouts with Proscuitto
Serves 4-6
1-1.5 lbs brussel sprouts
4 slices proscuitto
pinch of garlic salt

1. Thoroughly clean the brussel sprouts and slice them into strips. Slice the proscuitto into small strips (I like to roll a slice of proscuitto into a log and then slice)
2. Heat pan with a little bit of olive oil and quickly cook the proscuitto. Add in the brussel sprouts and let it cook for a little while longer. Add a pinch of garlic salt and pepper. Take a quick taste check and if needed, add some salt. Serve while still hot!