Shrimp and Chorizo Pizza

A few weeks ago, my husband and I had a conversation wherein I stated that I could eat pizza every day… and he told me that that was GROSS. After checking to see if he had fallen gravely ill (what ELSE would explain such a blasphemous statement??), I considered divorcing him on the spot. Then, I came to my senses and realized that I’d rather spend all that lawyer money on PIZZA, GLORIOUS PIZZA, so he gets to stay. For now.

Shrimp and Chorizo Pizza

I love pizza of all shapes and kinds. Thin crust, deep dish, Detroit-style (yeah, it’s a thing), round, square. I am a little discerning as it relates to toppings (if you put green peppers on my pizza, you can go straight to hell!), but in general, I am an equal opportunity pizza lover. GIVE ME ALL THE PIZZA! And every now and again, it’s fun to whip up a pizza at home and really go nuts with the flavor combinations. I recommend you try the combination outlined below at your earliest convenience. Like, tomorrow.

Shrimp and Chorizo Pizza
makes one medium, thin-crust pizza

For the pizza dough:
follow the instructions here, but use the ingredient amounts below
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 T olive oil
3/4 cup very warm water

For the pizza:
olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 lb raw shrimp
6 oz chorizo, cooked
thinly sliced fresh jalapeños
6 oz monterey jack cheese, freshly grated
pickled red onions (recipe here)
fresh cilantro

Shrimp and Chorizo Pizza

1.) Preheat your oven to 475°F. Once your dough is ready to go, stretch it out nice and thin, and place it on a baking sheet coated with a bit of olive oil. Brush the top with some more oil, and then verrrrry thinly slice your garlic cloves, and scatter them over the pizza.

2.) Chop your raw shrimp into bite size pieces, season with salt and pepper, and scatter over the pizza, along with the chorizo. Next, add the jalapeños, then the cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

3.) Let the pizza cool for a few minutes, and then scatter the pickled onions and cilantro over the top. Serve immediately.

Shrimp and Chorizo Pizza

I am pretty sure that the only thing better than pizza, is pizza topped with CHORIZO. That is some ridiculous goodness, right there! The richness of the chorizo is cut perfectly by the pickled red onion, and the shrimp and cilantro kind of lighten everything up. This would be pretty awesome cut into thin slices and served as an appetizer… but equally awesome consumed in its entirety while you’re parked on the couch in your finest sweatpants. There is no judgment here.

Pizza: all day, er’yday,
Tina

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Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

I’ve been on an enchilada kick lately. I was trying to think of something relatively healthful for dinner, something that would taste kind of indulgent without actually BEING indulgent… and I realized that as long as I kept the cheese minimal, enchiladas could be a fairly health-conscious option. It had been several years since I had made them – and I decided that instead of my usual standby of chicken, I wanted to use shrimp. And now, several weeks and half a dozen enchilada dinners later, I think I’ve got a hell of a recipe to share! Of course, if you don’t feel like making them yourself, you can always just swing by my house, because we basically have enchiladas once a week these days. Just make sure you call first, because my husband generally commandeers no fewer than eight enchiladas for himself, and I’d hate to run short of food when I have guests. How embarrassing!

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

(Please note: my methodology skips the step that quickly and lightly fries the tortillas to keep them from breaking. It honestly makes no difference if the tortillas crack or break – they still taste damn good, even if they look less than perfect. These days, I am focused on getting in and out of the kitchen as fast as I can on weeknights, which means I can’t be bothered to fuss with another pan and another step. I will still gladly shovel ugly enchiladas into my food-hole!)

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde
serves 2-4

12 corn tortillas (6″)
1lb shrimp
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 jalapeño peppers
24oz jar of salsa verde (I prefer Herdez brand)*
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2oz cream cheese**
3oz monterey jack cheese, grated***
kosher salt
vegetable oil

*It’s not totally necessary, but I like to drain my salsa a bit to draw out the excess liquid before I start cooking with it. I set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, and pour the salsa into it; after 3 or 4 minutes, it will have drained a few tablespoons worth of liquid, and be nice and thick.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

**Full-fat or low-fat is fine – but don’t you dare let me catch you using fat free. That stuff is an abomination.

***You remember the First Rule of Melty Cheese, right? Thou shalt grate thy own cheese, and leave that awful pre-shredded stuff for some other sucker. Don’t ever forget that rule, it’s super important for maximum melty cheese enjoyment.

1.) Preheat your oven to 350°. Heat a large pan over medium heat, and add one tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onion.

2.) Sauté the onion until it starts to soften and become translucent. Meanwhile, cut one of the jalapeños in half, and scrape out the seeds and ribs. Slice it into very thin strips, and add it to the pan. Continue the cook the vegetables until their edges are slightly browned, and they’ve softened.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

3.) Cut your shrimp into bite-size pieces. Push the sautéed onions and peppers to the sides of your pan, and add the shrimp. (Be sure to add a splash more oil to the pan, if it’s looking a little dry.) Season everything with a big pinch of kosher salt, and the garlic powder.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

4.) Add half the salsa verde to the pan, along with the cream cheese. Lower the heat, and stir to combine everything. Cook just until the cream cheese has melted and incorporated into the salsa (so the shrimp don’t overcook and become rubbery), and you’re ready to build your enchiladas.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

5.) Add half the remaining salsa to the bottom of the large baking dish, and spread it into a thin layer. Spoon a bit of the shrimp filling on to the center of each tortilla, being careful not to overfill them. Roll each enchilada, and place it seam-side down into the baking dish. Repeat until all the tortillas and all the filling have been used.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

6.) Once all the enchiladas are rolled and in the baking dish, spread the remaining salsa verde over the top of them. Sprinkle the grated monterey jack cheese over the enchiladas. Take the second jalapeño, and slice it very, very thinly. Lay the jalapeño slices across the top of the cheese, and then sprinkle the entire dish with a bit of kosher salt.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

7.) Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the enchiladas are warmed through. Finish with a minute or two under the broiler, so the cheese gets nicely browned.

8.) Let the enchiladas rest for a couple minutes, so the cheese has a chance to set up. Serve and enjoy!

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

As I write this, I actively annoyed that I do not have any leftovers to enjoy at this moment in time. These enchiladas are sooooo good! I want to eat them every day! I realize that’s not terribly practical, but the heart wants what it wants, man.

Shrimp and Jalapeño Enchiladas Verde

To recap, here’s what we’ve got going on: sweet, caramelized onions. Melty, perfectly browned cheese. Fresh, crunchy, SPICY jalapeños. Hearty, perfectly cooked shrimp. Bright, tart salsa verde. These enchiladas are proof that I was a very, very good person in a former life, and that all that excellent karma is coming back my direction. All that excellent, cheesy karma (insert heart-eyes emoji here).

This is one of the few exceptions to the “no cheese with seafood” rule,
Tina

Smoky Brown Sugar-Crusted Salmon with Avocado Cream

A small miracle occurred in my kitchen last week: I cooked salmon. Salmon that was totally raw – not smoked, or preserved in any way. No one was holding a gun to my head, and I had purchased the fillet of my own free will. Even better, I actually thought the final product was GOOD, and not just in an “I will tolerate this food for the sake of my health” kind of way… but in an “I would willingly eat that again, even without the presence of a threat of bodily harm if I don’t” sort of way. This can mean only one thing: I am growing as a person. Next thing you know, I’ll be ordering raw oysters at restaurants! (No. No, I will not. I am growing as a person, not growing CRAZY.)

Smoky Brown Sugar-Crusted Salmon with Avocado Cream

In all seriousness, I’m not gonna pretend that I just lightly seasoned the salmon with some salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and then delighted in the wonderful taste of the sea as I ate my dinner. On the contrary, I crusted that fillet up with all kinds of seasonings, topped it with a delicious, creamy sauce, and then rejoiced in the fact that I could only detect a hint of salmon flavor. Enough to know it was salmon, but not enough for it to taste too fishy. Success!

Smoky Brown Sugar-Crusted Salmon with Avocado Cream
adapted from here
serves 2

For the salmon:
2 salmon fillets, 5-6oz each
2 T brown sugar
2 t chili powder
1 t smoked paprika
1 t smoked salt (kosher salt is fine, if you don’t have smoked)
1/4 tsp cayenne papper
olive oil
one lime, cut into 4 wedges

For the sauce:
1/2 a medium avocado
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (I use 2%)
juice of half a lime
1 clove of garlic
small handful of fresh parsley
large pinch of kosher salt

1.) Mix the brown sugar, chili powder, smoked paprika, smoked salt, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Meanwhile, heat a skillet (non-stick is helpful) over medium heat.

Smoky Brown Sugar-Crusted Salmon with Avocado Cream

2.) Gently rub the spice mixture into all sides of the salmon fillets. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and add the fillets, skin side up, to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes on the first side, depending on the thickness of the fish, until each fillet has a nice, dark sear, and then flip.

3.) Cook the fillets for about 2 minutes on the second side. Meanwhile, place your limes in the pan, cut side down, and allow them to caramelize. Flip once the first side is a nice golden brown.

Smoky Brown Sugar-Crusted Salmon with Avocado Cream

4.) While the salmon fillets cook, place all the ingredients for the sauce into a food processor or blender, and pulse until the sauce is smooth and creamy.

5.) Serve each fillet with the sauce spooned over the top, and a caramelized lime wedge. Squeeze the lime over the fish, and enjoy!

Smoky Brown Sugar-Crusted Salmon with Avocado Cream

Like I said, this salmon recipe is not for you if you like the pure, unadulterated flavor of salmon. However, for those of use that want the health benefits of eating salmon without the fishy taste, this is PERFECT. The sweet, spicy, and smoky seasoning gives the fish a ton of flavor without completely covering it up, and the cool, creamy avocado sauce is fantastic. My husband literally ate the leftover sauce with a spoon, and proceeded to make proclamations about how delicious it was all evening.

Smoky Brown Sugar-Crusted Salmon with Avocado Cream

This recipe also fits nicely into the category of “impressive enough for dinner guests, but easy enough that you’re not stuck in the kitchen all night.” There are never enough of those kind of recipes, are there?

You can also file this one under “easy enough to tackle, even when you’re 3 cocktails deep,”
Tina

Crab and Artichoke Spaghetti with Lemon Cream Sauce

I really, really love crab cakes. My husband likes to laugh at me, because if we go to a restaurant with crab cakes on the menu? There is a 73% chance that that will be what I order. I just can’t help it! Crab is so delicious – and let’s be honest, the good stuff is mighty expensive at the grocery store. So, it’s not often that I buy crab to cook with… but I happened to have a small container of lump crab left over from a brunch gathering, and I knew I had to find a delicious way to use it up. It wasn’t enough for crab cakes, so I played my usual game of “what random items from my fridge can I use to make this into a meal?” I came up with artichoke hearts, heavy cream, and lemon, and this pasta dish was born!

Crab and Artichoke Spaghetti with Lemon Cream Sauce

Crab and Artichoke Spaghetti with Lemon Cream Sauce
serves 4 as a main course (it’s RICH, so we had smaller portions than we might typically eat when we’re having pasta)

1 lb spaghetti
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
8 oz lump crab meat, picked over for shells
1 can artichoke hearts packed in water, rough-chopped
4 oz dry white wine
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
kosher salt and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 – 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
zest of one large lemon
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Crab and Artichoke Spaghetti with Lemon Cream Sauce

1.) Set your pasta water to boil. In the meantime, heat a large pot over medium heat, and add the olive oil and butter. Once the pan is hot, add the artichokes; saute them for a few minutes, without stirring too much. You want the artichokes to caramelize at the edges and get some nice, golden brown color.

2.) Once the artichokes have started to caramelize, add the crab, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and a good pinch each of kosher salt and pepper. Stir everything to combine, and let it all cook together for a minute or so. (When the pasta water is ready, salt it well with a big handful of kosher salt, and then drop your spaghetti in!)

3.) Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and let it cook down until the liquid is reduced by half, a minute or two.

4.) Add the heavy cream and parmesan to the pan, and stir well. Once the sauce comes to a low boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Add another pinch each of kosher salt and pepper. Let the sauce simmer away until the pasta is ready.

5.) When the pasta is just about ready, turn the heat on the sauce down to low, and add the lemon zest. Taste for seasoning; if it tastes a bit bland, add another pinch of salt and taste again. Also, you should notice the slightly nuttiness of the parmesan; if you don’t, throw in a little bit more!

6.) Add the hot pasta directly to the sauce, and toss to coat. Add a small ladle of the pasta water to the sauce, and toss again until everything is well combined.

7.) Portion the pasta in to bowls, top with some chopped parsley, and serve!

Crab and Artichoke Spaghetti with Lemon Cream Sauce

This pasta was a great way to enjoy some crab, without spending a million dollars. It had plenty of crab flavor, and the crab didn’t get overwhelmed by any of the other ingredients. The artichoke hearts added a nice meatiness to the pasta – and really, who can argue with a combination of heavy cream, lemon, and parmesan cheese?? Not me, that’s for sure.

I know you’re not supposed to mix seafood and cheese, but trust me, THIS WORKS,
Tina