Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

I was very tempted to buy a store-bought shrimp ring as an appetizer while Easter dinner was readying in the oven this year. After seeing the price this year, I opted to buy a package of shrimp and make my own sauce. Fortunately, I already had a shrimp ring type of platter with a dish for the sauce. Actual savings was about TEN DOLLARS!

Knowing that most of you are aware of what a shrimp ring looks like I have not included any photos. Below is the great sauce recipe I incorporated!

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce with Sriracha

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup Sriracha (Chili Garlic Sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon horseradish
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Feel free to double the sauce depending on how many shrimp you are using.

Watermelon, Cherry Tomato and Feta Cheese Salad

This time of year we see many snowbirds returning north and a flurry of activities involving them – thus this post is a little late! At one such dinner, we were served a salad very similar to this one at our friends’ home here. Searching Pinterest, I happened on this one which I think is very comparable to that one with friends. I would add the dressing an hour or so before serving and possibly hold back on some of the feta cheese until plating…NOTE that I always chill my salad plates in the freezer an hour or so before plating.

Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad

Ingredients

  • 5 cups watermelon, cubed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta
  • fresh mint + basil leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tbsp honey

1. Cut up watermelon and tomatoes and add to a large bowl

2. Add fresh mint and basil leaves.

3. Top with crumbled feta cheese.

4. In a small bowl whisk lemon juice and honey. Pour over the salad and serve.

Baked Pork Tenderloin

Normally when I prepare pork tenderloin, I make a marinade, meaning it needs to sit in the marinade for several hours or overnight. NOT this one, which makes it very simple. The end result was juicy and very flavourful. We like to remove ours from the oven while it is still slightly pink in the middle, so you need to adjust the timing. This one reached 140 F between 15 and 20 minutes and I removed it from the oven and let it sit about 10 minutes. It was perfectly a little pink inside.

Baked Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 ½ pound pork tenderloins
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon, lime, or orange juice (or 1 tablespoon of each)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional but highly recommended)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a large baking/casserole dish. Pierce tenderloins all over with a fork. Rub oil onto all sides of the meat.

2. Whisk together Italian seasoning, garlic powder, cumin, salt, chili powder, smoked paprika (if using) and black pepper. Sprinkle mixture over tenderloin(s), patting it onto the surface of the meat on all sides. Place in prepared baking dish and drizzle lemon/lime juice over the top.

3. Bake for 25-35 minutes until outside is browned and crispy and centers are cooked through to desired doneness (you can take them out on the early side if you like the centers a little pink).

4. Spoon juices from the dish over the meat. Allow to rest on a cutting board or in the baking dish for 5-10 minutes. Slice into 1-inch pieces. Spoon any remaining juices from the pan over the slices, garnish with fresh chopped cilantro if desired, and serve.

Pork Chop Marinade

There are tons of recipes out there for pork chops! Even though this one seems to have a lot of ingredients, it makes enough for TWO chops, but can easily be doubled. Once they have marinated, it only takes about four minutes a side to fry them. They came out moist and tender.

Pork Chop Marinade

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard (can substitute with Dijon or yellow mustard)
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt (can substitute with kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (if using fresh thyme, increase amount to 1 T)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes (can substitute with Herbs de Provence)

1. Whisk together marinade ingredients to fully combine.

2. Add marinade to resealable plastic bag and marinade pork for a minimum of 1 hour up to overnight.

3. Discard any excess marinade prior to cooking meat

Roast Christmas or New Year’s Duck

Traditionally, we always have duck for Christmas Eve due to the reality that most people will have turkey for Christmas Day! This is a new recipe I found in place of the Duck L’orange that I have roasted in the past. The combination of balsamic vinegar, honey and lemon was incredible. It would be great for New Year’s Eve or Day!

Roast Christmas Duck

Ingredients

  • 6 lb whole duck
  • salt
  • 5 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 lemon small or medium, chopped

GLAZE

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed juice
  • 1/4 cup honey

A. If you purchased frozen duck, make sure to defrost the frozen duck in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Once the duck is completely defrosted (in the refrigerator), take the duck out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking to bring it more or less to room temperature.

B. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. You will be roasting the duck for a total of 3 hours (3 hours will be divided into 4-time chunks where you will be flipping the duck, brushing it with glaze, etc. – see the instructions below).

1. Remove the giblets from inside the duck. Rinse the duck, inside and outside, with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

2. Set the duck on the working surface. Score the duck’s skin on the breast in a diamond pattern, making sure you only cut the skin, without reaching the meat. Poke the other fatty parts of the duck with the tip of the knife all over, to ensure fat release, especially in very fatty parts. You don’t need to poke the duck legs as the skin is pretty thin there (except for where the duck legs connect to the duck body). Season the duck very generously with salt both inside the cavity of the duck and outside on the skin, legs, all over. Place the duck breast side up.

3. Put 5 chopped garlic cloves and lemon slices inside the duck cavity (these are just for flavor, not for eating – you will discard them after cooking). The duck will have flapping skin on both ends – fold that skin inwards, to hold the garlic and lemon inside. Tie up the duck legs with butcher’s twine.

4. Place the bird breast side up on a large roasting pan with a rack (roasting pan should have a roasting rack to lift the duck from the bottom of the pan and allow the fat to drip below the duck). Roast the duck, breast side up, for 1 hour at 350 F.

5. After 1 hour of roasting, flip the duck on its breast and roast it breast side down (roast the other side) for 40 minutes, at 350 F.

6. Remove the roasting pan with the duck from the oven (you now have roasted the duck for 1 hour + 40 minutes), carefully remove the duck to a platter (making sure the lemons and garlic from the cavity do not fall out – keep the skin on both ends of the duck folded), and carefully pour off all the duck fat juices from the roasting pan into a large heat-proof bowl or container.

7. Flip the duck breast side up again on a rack in a roasting pan (the pan will have no fat juices now). In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of balsamic vinegar with the freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon. Brush all of the duck with the balsamic mixture (especially the scored duck breast) and cook the duck breast side up for another 40 minutes at 350 F, brushing every 10 minutes with the mixture.

8. Now, in a separate small bowl, combine ¼ cup honey and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar lemon mixture that you will have left over from the previous step. Brush the breast side of the duck with this honey-balsamic mixture, and roast for another 40 minutes, brushing the duck breast side every 10 minutes with honey balsamic mixture. You can even carefully broil the duck for the last 10-15 minutes if you like (do it carefully, checking the duck regularly to make sure it doesn’t char too much). Final temperature should be 180 F or 82 Celsius!!!

9. After the duck is cooked, remove it from the oven, let duck stand for 15 minutes. Then, carefully remove and discard the lemon from the cavity (being careful not to get burned).

Carve the duck and serve!

TOTAL COOKING TIME: The duck should be roasted for a total of 3 hours at 350 F. These 3 hours of roasting are divided into 4 distinctive time chunks (1 hour breast side up + 40 minutes breast side down + 40 minutes breast side up brushed with balsamic-lemon mixture + 40 minutes breast side up brushed with honey-balsamic mixture).Calories: 2862kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 79g | Fat: 267g | Saturated Fat: 89g | Cholesterol: 517mg | Sodium: 438mg | Potassium: 1558mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 1145IU | Vitamin C: 48.8mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron

Garlic Butter Zoodles and Meatballs

If it seems like I am on a zoodles kick these days, it is because I really do love pasta BUT those carbs are my downfall. Okay, we have been doing the KETO diet again since October with great success! That means very limited carbohydrates. Hence, this KETO recipe. OK, you could make this with real pasta!

The recipe calls for making your own meatballs, but it is so much easier to buy them when you come across a brand you like in the grocery store!!! So skip making them and buy a package ready to bake or fry. Don’t be afraid, those are cherry tomatoes in with the zoodles, NOT egg yolks…LOL

Garlic Butter Zoodles and Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. ground chicken, turkey beef or JUST BUY THEM!!
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 lb. zoodles

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl mix together ground chicken, 2 garlic cloves, egg, Parmesan, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper then form into tablespoon sized meatballs.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil and cook meatballs until golden on all sides and cooked through, 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and wipe out skillet with a paper towel.
  • Melt butter in skillet then add remaining 3 garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add zoodles to skillet and toss in garlic butter then squeeze in lemon juice. Add meatballs back and heat just until warmed through.
  • Garnish with more Parmesan to serve.

Pork Liver and Green Onion Stir Fry

In case you were wondering, we have been away for the last month, visiting family and friends whom we have not seen for over 26 months due to the Pandemic. Back home here now and continuing with new recipes.

If you are NOT a liver fan, you can ignore this one, BUT it turned out very well with being marinated. This is a great option to the standard liver, bacon and caramelized onion recipe which was posted here awhile back.

Pork Liver and Green Onion Stir Fry

INGREDIENTS  

  • 300 grams pork liver
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon grated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 10 stalks spring onions (scallions may be substituted), cut into two-inch lengths

1. Rinse the liver and wipe dry with paper towels. Optionally, for easier slicing, freeze the pork liver for an hour or so or until partially firm.

2. Slice the liver into 1/4-inch slices.

3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, lime or lemon juice, oyster sauce, pepper and sugar.

4. Add the liver to the marinade and mix well.

5. Cover the bowl and marinate the liver slices in the fridge for at least two hours.

6. Drain the liver slices. Reserve the marinade.

7. Heat the cooking oil and sesame seed oil in a wok or frying pan. Swirl to coat as much of the cooking surface with oil.

8. When the oil starts to smoke, spread the liver slices on the cooking surface. Try to have all pieces in a single layer.

9. Cook without disturbing for about two minutes then flip them over. Cook for another minute.

10. Pour in the marinade and add half of the spring onions to the liver. Stir fry for a minute or just until the liver slices have soaked up the marinade.

11. Turn off the heat. Add the remaining spring onions and toss.

12. Serve immediately over rice of your choice.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Roasted Garlic Butter Baby Potatoes

Just came across this recipe in my DropBox and seemingly it was never shared here. In actuality, it is pretty straight forward, including the potatoes.

Fortunately I was able to buy local lamb, rather than the usual New Zealand. Enjoy!

Grilled Lamb Chops

(Serves 4-6)

  • 8 lamb chops
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. of Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. of chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. of fresh thyme
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsp. of fresh ground pepper
  • sea salt & fresh ground pepper
  • lemon wedges
  • dried Greek oregano

1. In a shallow glass baking dish, add all the marinade ingredients (olive oil, garlic, mustard, parsley, thyme, lemon juice and black pepper) and stir to blend. Pour off and reserve about 1/3 of the marinade (for finishing the lamb chops). Add the lamb chops and ensure all of the meat is coated with the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for 2 – 4 hours.

2. Return your lamb chops back to room temperature before grilling and pre-heat your gas or charcoal grill to a high heat (you want the meat to sizzle when it hits the heat). Ensure your grill surface is clean by brushing it and wipe it with vegetable oil. Season your lamb chops with salt and pepper.

3. Grill your lamb chops for 3 minutes a side (medium/pink inside) and brush on the reserved marinade on by sides when cooked.

4. Squeeze some lemon juice over the chops, sprinkle some fleur de sel and finish with some dried Greek oregano.

Easy Garlic Butter Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder or fresh garlic
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 pinches Maldon Sea salt
  • 2 pinches black pepper
  • 24 oz. baby potatoes
  • fresh parsley optional, to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut creamer potatoes into halves and add them to a bowl.

Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 4 Tbsp. melted butter, 2 pinches Maldon sea salt, and 2 pinches black pepper on the potatoes.

Mix potatoes with seasoning until fully coated.

Add seasoned creamer potatoes to an oven-ready cast iron skillet. Spread out evenly. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired.

Roast for approximately 1 hour for crispy potatoes. Enjoy!

Salmon and Avocado Salad with Japanese Ponzu Dressing

If you have a nearby Costco, they usually carry Norwegian smoked salmon (the one with three rows of different smoked salmon). This comes in handy for pizzas, pastas, quiche, etc. You can buy “ponzu” soy, but I prefer making this dressing as shown. In place of the arugula I used baby romaine as a bed for the salmon.

Smoked salmon and avocado salad with Japanese Ponzu Dressing

Salmon & Avocado Salad with Japanese Ponzu Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. smoked salmon – thinly sliced
  • Large handful of wild arugulas
  • 2 avocados – diced
  • 1 English cucumber – cut in rounds and halved

Homemade Ponzu Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or lime juice (or a combination)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 tsp of chili pepper flakes

Method:

1. In a large salad bowl, combine the ingredients for the ponzu dressing, and whisk well.

2. Add in the arugula, avocado, and cucumbers. Give it a good toss. Add in the smoked salmon and lightly toss again. Taste and adjust any seasonings if needed. Enjoy immediately!

Chilled Asparagus with Citrus Dressing

For a great summer lunch try this chilled asparagus with some salmon poached in wine. I usually do the salmon with cold green beans (blanched), but not having found any at Costco, I went for using asparagus, which I believe you northerners are seeing IN SEASON. We started the meal with a cold strawberry soup ( which is somewhere on this blog if you do a search). The great thing about this meal is that you can easily prepare it all in the morning and just plate it up when company arrives.

Chilled Asparagus with Citrus Dressing

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-pound asparagus, woody ends cut off
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Juice of an orange
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. Add in the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Immediately remove the asparagus from the boiling water and place it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

4. Once the asparagus has cooled remove it from the water, blot it dry with a towel, and place it in a large bowl.

5. In a glass measuring cup combine the remaining ingredients (everything from zest down to pepper) and whisk together to form the citrus vinaigrette.

6. Pour the desired amount of vinaigrette over the asparagus and toss to coat.

7. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, then top with a little more salt and pepper.