Sonoran Shrimp Cocktail

My husband and I recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary!

We had agreed not to do gifts, and to spend money instead on a great night out or a little trip, but the husband happened to see a juicer while he was out shopping and, knowing how much I’ve been wanting one, he couldn’t resist getting it for me. To be fair I also broke my end of the deal, but I got him something much less extravagant.

Having a juicer has made my life so much easier. I can make almond milk without having to strain by hand. I have been making syrups with fresh ginger and citrus that I boil on the stove with honey and then mix in with sparkling water for a healthier alternative to soda–kind of like a homemade ginger ale. And most importantly, having a juicer helps me make sure I’m getting enough veggies because, while I can’t large amounts of most eat raw veggies–especially greens–I can juice a huge amount and drink them just fine! I replace a meal or two each week with veggie juice–like a big salad in a cup–and sometimes make green juice to use in my morning smoothies, which helps to cut down on (naturally-occurring) sugars and boost nutrient content.

Chris loves tomato juice and a couple of weeks ago he asked me to make him something like a homemade V8 for a weekend lunch. I’m usually not a fan, but I tasted it and was surprised by how much I liked it. As we were sipping on it, the same thought occurred to both of us: SHRIMP COCKTAIL. 

This is my second variation on the Sonoran shrimp cocktail. As I explain in the first post, this is one of my husband’s favorite, but most recipes call for lots of processed foods including Clamato juice, ketchup, and even orange soda. This version replaces all that with a homemade, fresh-pressed juice made from tons of veggies. Chris claims that he likes it even more than the traditional stuff, and whether you have special dietary restrictions or not, this version is definitely much healthier!

Sonoran shrimp cocktail is usually more of a summer food since it is served at room temperature or chilled, but maybe you need a break from all the heavy holiday food. Rumor has it shrimp cocktails are also a miracle cure for hangovers–not that anyone would need to worry about that during the holiday season, of course. I think this could even be served up in small glasses as an alternative to the classic shrimp cocktail appetizer. Also, I’ve listed approximate amounts of everything below, but you know, feel free to mix it up if you like your juice more or less spicy, for example.

I mean, this is just what goes into the juice. This dish should be able to revive the dead, not just the hungover.P1000896__1416170084_61672__1416170084_63047

These are the veggies that should get chopped up to be eaten instead of drunk.P1000904__1416170000_56295__1416170000_14550

Chopped veggies waiting for a delicious juice bath.P1000905__1416170243_66839__1416170243_87530

Looking at this picture makes me want to be on the beach. With one of these to munch on.P1000909__1416170275_58108__1416170275_27179

Sonoran Shrimp Cocktail Ingredients

Juice Ingredients

  • 6-8 medium sized tomatoes
  • 3 carrots, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange), stemmed and seeded
  • 2 peeled oranges
  • 4-5 stalks celery, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 2-3 handfuls baby spinach (I know, my measurements are super precise here)
  • 15-20 small chives (about the equivalent to 1/4 cup roughly chopped)
  • the stems from a bunch of cilantro
  • 1-2 jalapenos, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 beet, chopped in half
  • the juice of two limes
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos*
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce of choice (we like Cholula!)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

*I always thought coconut aminos were SCD legal. I’ve recently found out this is controversial in the SCD community, but most people report no ill effects of including them in their diet. If you feel uncomfortable adding coconut aminos, simply omit and add sea salt to taste as a replacement.

Other Ingredients

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced
  • the tops of a bunch of cilantro, finely diced
  • 2 avocados, peeled and diced

Sonoran Shrimp Cocktail Method

  • First prepare your juice. Wash all of your veggies really well. Juice all of the vegetables and fruits, except for the lime, listed in the juice ingredients according to your juicer’s instructions.
    • Pour the juice into a saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and let boil about 5 minutes, until it has reduced slightly. Remove from heat. NOTE: If you are going to eat all of your cocktail immediately, you can probably skip this step. However, for food safety reasons, any fresh pressed juices should be pasteurized or boiled if you do not expect to consume them in less than 24 hours.
    • Stir in the coconut aminos, hot sauce, fish sauce, and sea salt. Taste and adjust seasoning. Then place in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the shrimp. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then grill over medium heat until pink and curled.
    • When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, remove tails and cut into bite-sized pieces. Set in refrigerator to chill.
  • Finally, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Combine the cucumbers, onion, garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro in a large bowl. NOTE: I use the food processor to chop these ingredients quickly, finely, and uniformly. Chill until ready to serve.
  • Add in the juice to the large bowl and stir to combine. Serve in bowls topped with shrimp and avocado, with extra lime and hot sauce on the side.
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Grilled Shrimp Salad with Honey Lime Cumin Vinaigrette

The blog posts have been slowing down. In part that’s because WE FINALLY GOT A GRILL! I know, I know, we’re like the last adult human beings on earth to acquire a grill.

Here is a very blurry picture of my handsome husband grilling. This is why you should use real cameras, folks, instead of your smudged phone camera.

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So, since we are newbies when it comes to grilling, we have spent the last few weeks grilling a lot, but most of the stuff we have made has either been too simple to warrant a post, or has been pretty much an exact replica of somebody else’s recipe. Also, I’ve been working my usual research job, teaching, and returning to yoga (which is a really big deal since I’ve basically lived on the couch for the last year!) so I’ve been a little busier than usual. I’ll post some recipe reviews of our more successful grilling sessions later (including a post about those kebabs in the picture above), but today I will post my very first grill-involved personal invention.

I’m really excited about this recipe, you guys. For one thing, it doesn’t require me to cook anything at all inside. That’s a big deal in the desert in the summer, when the last thing you want to do is turn on an oven inside the precious cool oasis of your house. Secondly, it involves crunchy, fresh raw veggies that I actually seem to tolerate really well! And, of course, it tastes so good. The salad dressing is really light and just adds a hint of tangy-sweet flavor to the salad without overpowering the taste of the veggies.

The inspiration for this dish was one of my husband’s summer favorites: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mexican-shrimp-cocktail/. It’s really good, but I mean, every variation of the recipe includes stuff like clamato juice (hello, MSG and HFCS), ketchup, and even orange soda, so I wanted to find something that would be just as refreshing and flavorful but a little better for us.

Here are the basics. Not everything would fit on the cutting board, but you get the idea, right?p1000726

The shrimpies get a quick toss in the marinade/salad dressing. p1000728

Then you chop up all the veggies.p1000729

Finish off your salad dressing.p1000730

Toss it with the veggies. p1000731

And serve. Yum. It looks like a tropical vacation on a plate!p1000732

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Honey Lime Cumin Vinaigrette Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 pound large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tail on or off (your preference)
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 12 oz. cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 avocados, diced*
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and very finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (about 3/4 cup)
  • juice of 4 limes
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil (or other light-tasting oil)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming seasoning mix (optional)

*If you are planning on eating the whole salad right away, mix the avocados in with the rest of the veggies. Otherwise, chop up one just before eating and serve separately.

Method

  • First mix up your marinade/salad dressing by combining the lime juice, avocado oil, honey, cumin, sea salt, and black pepper. Reserve half and set aside for later. Pour the other half over your shrimp.
  • If you are using the Arizona Dreaming seasoning, sprinkle generously over the shrimp (as in the picture) and toss the shrimp with the seasoning and marinade to coat. If you are skipping the seasoning, you may want to sprinkle a little paprika and cayenne on the shrimp for a bit of color and heat.
  • Send your sweet husband outside with the shrimp. Grill over medium heat until curled, white, and opaque throughout.
  • Meanwhile, toss all the chopped veggies except for the cilantro together in a bowl. I chop my veggies in the food processor so they are more uniform.
  • Place the reserved dressing in a food processor and add the cilantro. Pulse until the cilantro is finely chopped. Toss salad dressing with veggies. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • That’s it. Serve with grilled shrimp and fresh fruit, if desired.

Salmon Fillets and Hazelnuts in Lemon Dill Mayonnaise

Confession: I got the inspiration for this recipe on the back of a package of frozen wild-caught salmon fillets from Costco. I ended up changing it pretty substantially (the original called for fat-free mayonnaise!?) but I think it turned out pretty delish. It also looks kind of fancy. This was so simple to make–it was only about 10 minutes of active time in the kitchen for both the fish and the veggies–but it was tasty and pretty enough that I would not hesitate to serve it to guests.

Cooking fish in mayo sounds kind of weird, but it yields a really moist and flavorful dish. Seriously. Try it.

Snuggle your salmon fillets into a parchment-paper lined roasting pan. These look kind of frozen but really they were pretty much thawed.p1000649

Pour over the mayo and then sprinkle the hazelnuts and lemon zest on top.p1000650

The end! Serve on top of veggies of choice.p1000651p1000652

Salmon Fillets and Hazelnuts in Lemon Dill Mayonnaise Ingredients (Serves 2-4, depending on serving of salmon)

  • 2 fresh salmon fillets
  • 1/3 cup raw chopped hazelnuts
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup avocado oil (or other light-tasting oil like grapeseed, coconut, or non-virgin olive oil or some combination of the above)
  • 1 egg*
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place salmon fillets in casserole dish lined with parchment paper.
  • Add egg, dijon mustard, and lemon juice to food processor. Process until combined. Pour in the 1 cup oil, drop by drop, until the mixture emulsifies.
  • Add dill, salt, and pepper to food processor and pulse several times, until combined.
  • Pour half the mayonnaise over the salmon fillets. Top with hazelnuts and lemon zest. Bake about 30 minutes, until thermometer reads at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Save the other half of the mayo for whatever you like later in the week–it would be great mixed with some canned tuna, onions, and hard-boiled eggs for a quick tuna salad.
  • Serve salmon over veggies of choice (pictured here with roasted asparagus tossed with just a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper). If you like, you can spoon a bit of the baked mayo juices over the veggies for even more flavor.

*Again, exercise caution when using raw eggs. I use these and recommend them to anyone serving young kids, pregnant women, the elderly, or people who may have a compromised immune system. Or, look into pasteurizing your own eggs at home. In this dish it’s not a big deal because the eggs in the mayonnaise will get cooked, but if you plan on serving the leftover mayo raw please be careful. There are a lot of sources arguing that raw eggs (especially from pastured chickens) represent only a very tiny risk salmonella risk, but it’s a risk I’d rather not take since I can so easily avoid it.

Smoked Salmon Pizza on Herbed Flatbread Crust

You may have noticed that blanched almond flour has changed my life. You can put that stuff in a food processor with a little butter and a little liquid, maybe an egg, spices or herbs or honey or whatever you like, and you have a pie crust or a pizza crust or a pot pie topping or whatever floats your boat in no time.

How did I not know about almond flour before??

There was a time when Chris and I would order pizza like once a week, and spend all day having a Lost marathon. Those days are over, for a lot of reasons, one of which is that we killed Lost (sigh). But, we still end up having some variation of “pizza” almost every week. Now our pizza is usually grain-free and homemade, but it still seems like a treat every time. Plus, we have complete control over the ingredients and can come up with all kinds of new variations. Usually we use some kind of pesto or traditional red sauce, veggies, and meat, but this week I had some smoked salmon that we needed to use (long story involving a recipe that I thought sounded good but Chris vetoed…) so we got creative with our pizza night. The result was an herby cream cheese and lox inspired dinner!

Start by combining all crust ingredients in a food processor.p1000575

This is what the processed dough will look like.p1000576

Shape into a ball and sandwich between two sheets of parchment paper.p1000577

Shape into a flat roundish disc that will fit on a cookie sheet or pizza stone.p1000578

While that’s baking a bit prepare your toppings.p1000579

This is what the crust will look like coming out of the oven the first time.p1000580

Top with cheese mixture, salmon, capers, and chives, and place parchment paper directly on wire rack in oven.p1000581

It’s done when the edges of the crust are browning.p1000582

Gently slice and serve.p1000586

Crust Ingredients (Serves 4) *

  • 2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Topping Ingredients

  • 6-8 ounces smoked salmon, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (any white cheese that melts well will do; I used a combination of raw white cheddar and swiss)
  • 3 cloves garlic, very finely minced
  • 1/2 cup plain strained yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, choppped

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Combine all crust ingredients win a food processor fitted with the dough blade and process until a dough forms.
  • Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. Top with another piece of parchment paper. Using your hands and a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is very thin–no thicker than 1/4 inch. Gently peel off the top sheet of parchment paper and place on pizza stone or cookie sheet.
  • Bake crust for 12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare your toppings. Mix yogurt, cheese, garlic, and dill together.
  • When crust is done, remove and turn up over to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Drop yogurt mixture on crust in little dollops. Spread very gently. The crust is very fragile and if you try to plop the whole mixture in the middle and spread it over the whole crust you will destroy it. Trust me, it happened to me.
  • Add smoked salmon, capers, and chives.
  • Slide the crust back into the oven on only the sheet of parchment paper. That is, the parchment paper should be sitting directly on the oven rack with the pizza on top.
  • Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until edges of crust are beginning to brown. Slice and serve!

*Note: I think this crust is really nice–it is flaky and flavorful, but it is not really sturdy enough to pick up and eat like traditional pizza. Treat it gently and plan on eating with a fork, and don’t fret if it crumbles a little here and there–it will still taste good!