Sunday, June 21, 2009

Shrimp Lemon Pepper Linguini

It's a Monday - and only a week and a half until my holidays begin!

I'll be away from my office the entire month of July and I can hardly wait because I'll not only be cooking, I'll be throwing myself into what I like to do best - looking after my home, decorating, and creating everyday magic...



It's been quite a year!

The bread baking, pastry cutting, and freezer cooking I did in the Fall conjure up happy memories of crisp cool air, and vibrant coulors, as I prepared for the cold weather ahead.

December found me cookie making, decorating, soup stirring, and turkey planning - bringing new life, borderline neurotic tendencies (I may be the newly appointed Kitchen Witch - but I am still me) and warm comfort to myself and my family during this year's cold and snowy winter.

And my return to healthier eating and fitness in February and March added up to more energy and feelings of well being as winter turned to spring.

But I'm the most excited about the next couple of months.

Summer for me is all about the herbs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables which grow in abundance in our gardens.

Years ago, I read a book called Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman and I was completely enchanted.

Her story about two sisters living in a rambling old Victorian house with lush gardens full of such magical wonders as lemon verbena, lavender, and chamomile, set my imagination ablaze and I knew that I would one day have a garden like that of my own.

Over time it slowly manifests itself.





This summer I look forward to red ripe juicy tomatoes, fat purple blueberries, sweet raspberries and succulent strawberries, along with an abundance of herbs, vegetables, and other greenery.

The other thing I love about summer is that many of its most wonderful meals are quick and easy to prepare like this WINNER of a recipe for a gorgeous weeknight supper:

Shrimp Lemon Pepper Linguini

For Printable Recipe click HERE



Ingredients
  • 1 (8 ounce) package linguine or spaghetti pasta
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (I use rosemary, and thyme but basil is also very good )
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for 7 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and saute garlic about 1 minute. Mix in chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced by about 1/2.
  3. Mix shrimp, butter, parsley, and herbs into the saucepan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp is opaque. Stir in the cooked linguine, and continue cooking 2 minutes, until well coated.

I hope you'll try this one because it truly is...

Just.

That.

Fabulous.

From my kitchen to yours, here's to the creation of everyday magic...

Bippity.

Boppity.

Boo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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Saturday, June 20, 2009

An Impromptu Dinner Party, Ribs, Potato Salad, and Hot Fudge Dessert

Last weekend my husband, affectionately known as the Poolboy around these parts, and I decided to have friends for dinner on the spur of the moment.



We spent the morning working in the garden - the Poolboy with his saw and other "he man" machinery; my husband is currently building an outdoor bar/storage hut for our barbecue - and me with my gardening gloves and pink hat to shield me from the sun.



Yippee Kay Ay Mother Foodies!!

All in all, it was a perfect morning. We sipped fresh ground coffee with real cream while the sounds and smells of early summer surrounded us.

The cheerful chatter of birds, the comfort of newly toiled earth, fresh cut grass, and something unmistakeably hopeful drifted around on the morning summer breeze.

***

Our garden is coming along nicely and we're almost ready to begin thinning out the beets - which means it's just about time for one of my favourite foods ever - baby beets and beet tops.

As it is, I have to control myself from picking and eating at this point because the tender shoots of the beet tops are so delicious.

The best way I can describe them is that they taste like summer.

One of progresses lost treasures that you will never, ever be able to find in a box.

But don't worry, when the day comes I'll show you exactly what to do with these amazing little morsels.

In the meantime, though, all that weeding, hoeing, and hammering got us hungry and found us by mid afternoon at the grocery store contemplating what kind of feast we should conjure up for dinner.

Blame it on the sun, or maybe even the pink hat - we were in the mood for something rib stickin!

So we picked up a couple racks of pork ribs, and the fixins for my famous potato salad.

I've been making this particular recipe for ribs and potato salad for years now and have become famous among our circle of friends with it.

In honour of that, and because we had so much food, we decided it would be a great to share our abundance - so we phoned some friends and "VOILA!" - instant dinner party.

Now, as in my youth, unplanned, impromtu gatherings and get togethers are always the most fun.

If you like ribs and want to try a recipe that never fails - give this one a go!

Like many of my dishes, it's slow food and in order to get your meat just right, it's gonna take a little extra love and time to create this particular magic...

The Pink Cowgirl's Honkey Tonk Ribs!

For printable recipe click HERE



First...

Cut your ribs into chunks and put into a large saucepan with one quatered onion, two stalks celery, one carrot, three cloves garlic, one tbsp salt, one bay leaf. Cover with water, bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour.

Remove the ribs from the water and then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile... The Secret's in the Sauce!


* 2 cups ketchup
* 2 cups tomato sauce
* 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
* 1 1/4 cups balsamic vinegar
* 4 teaspoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
* 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix together the ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, liquid smoke and butter. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, celery salt, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low, and simmer for up to 20 minutes. For thicker sauce, simmer longer.

Slather ribs in barbecue sauce, cover and refrigerate until ready to grill. You can leave these overnight, they just get better and better sitting in that sauce!

Remove from fridge an hour before grilling and bring to room temperature.

Grill on medium high basting frequently until they look like the picture above or pop into the oven under the broiler - just watch them because they'll brown quickly!

Allow ribs to rest for 5 to 10 minutes and serve. Wonderful when served with a nice cold beer and my all time favourite recipe for potato salad!

Cowgirl Potato Salad














For printable recipe click HERE


  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 cup miracle whip
  • 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tsps minced dill pickle
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced celery
  • 1 teaspoon minced pimento
  • 1/2 teaspoon shredded carrot
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and chop.

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, sugar, onion, mustard, vinegar, celery, pimentos, carrot, parsley, pepper and salt. When potatoes are cooked, dump them in with the mayo. Mix well, add chopped eggs. Chill and serve.

While the ribs and potato salad did their thing, I went hunting around my treasure cupboard for just the right table setting.

I'm addicted to thrift stores, garage sales, Value Village, and even the Dollar Store and am constantly on the look out for interesting items with which to create table scapes.

Being that our cowpoke dinner was going to be rustic, I decided to experience "metamorphasis" and set the table in a part of the yard we haven't landscaped yet. Proving yet again, that magic can be found anywhere!



I chose a rustic looking red and green checkered table cloth purchased last summer at Value Village and then mixed it up by using some funky dishware I had kicking around from a shopping spree at Dollarama.



To continue with the rustic charm, I put out canning jars to use as glasses and tied our cutlery together with chive and thyme from my garden.



We ate, and ate until daylight became dusk



In between was a lot of laughter, more than a little red wine, and one of my favourite, easy summer desserts...

Ice Cream Sundaes!

Let me know if you try any of these recipes and feel free to ask questions if you're unsure about something.

***

Friends, family, and food.

Throw in a little laughter and a whole lot of love and what you have is everyday magic...

Bippity

Boppity

Boo!!!!

Love from,

The Kitchen Witch

(Stay tuned next week for a DIVINE recipe for lemon pepper marinated ribs)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Summer Salad Extravaganza - Featuring Macaroni and Asian Noodle Salad

I almost feel guilty writing about this with our late spring weather being so warm.

Here's a shot of our tomatoes and newly planted vegetable and herb beds soaking up the early morning sun.



If you look closely, you can see tender shoots of swiss chard, purple beets, and succulent spinach emerging from the ground to bask in the warmth of the sun.

The things I will be cooking this summer! My mouth waters in anticipation...

Life in all its glory is truly magical.



But even if the weather's been cool in your neck of the woods, as spring turns to summer that chill will eventually leave the air - and when it does, you're gonna want what I have to share:

Two KILLER recipes for salads - one for macaroni and the other for an Asian Inspired Noodle salad. Both are tried and true crowd pleasers, guaranteed to have people ooohing and ahhing over your kitchen witchery and begging for the recipes.

Both get better with time so feel free to make them in the mornig or even the day before, pack them into an air tight container and let the magic begin!

So without further ado...

Onward to the recipes!

The Best Damn Macaroni Salad - EVAH!














For PRINTABLE RECIPE click HERE



People, I swear to you, I've made a lot of macaroni salad over the years and this recipe wins "Best In Class."

Don't believe me?

Well, try it out and prove me wrong.

C'mon!

I double dog dare ya.

To make this wonderful salad you will need...

* 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
* 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
* 3 green onions, chopped
* 3 stalks celery, chopped
* 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
* 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle
* 1/2 tbsp sweet relish
* 2 cups creamy salad dressing (e.g. Miracle Whip)
* 3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
* 1/4 cup white sugar
* 2 1/4 teaspoons white vinegar
* 3/4 teaspoon celery salt

Now make some magic...

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Drain, and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, onion, celery, red pepper, pickles and relish.

In a small bowl, stir together the salad dressing, mustard, white sugar, vinegar, and celery salt. Pour over the vegetables, and stir in macaroni until well blended.

Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. The longer you chill this one, the better it gets!

***

Okay, so promise you'll give it a try and take that salad along to your next barbecue, potluck, or picnic - but just don't hate me now because I'm going to totally confuse you...

How? You ask.

Well, it's like this.

As promised, I have another salad to share that is sooooo good you're gonna want ta lick the bowl after you're finished eating.

Once you have this recipe in your arsenal you won't know what salad to bring!

But at the risk of making enemies, I'm gonna share it anyways...

Open Sesame Pasta Salad

For PRINTABLE RECIPE click HERE

The nutty and fragrance of sesame blends beautifully with soy sauce, sugars, and oil to create a velvety dressing bursting with Asian flavour. Poured over your favourite pasta, chicken and veggies, the combination of flavours and textures will cast a spell on all who try it...



To conjure, you will need:

* 1/4 cup sesame seeds
* 1 (16 ounce) package of your favourite pasta
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil
* 1/3 cup light soy sauce
* 1/3 cup rice vinegar
* 1 teaspoon sesame oil
* 3 tablespoons white sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast meat
* 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
* 1/3 cup chopped celery
* 1/3 cup chopped green onion
*1 cup craisins
*1 cup toasted almonds
*1 can madarin slices

Now say Abracadabra, celebrate the Fabulosity and...

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame seeds, and cook stirring frequently until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain pasta, and rinse under cold water until cool. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds, ginger, and pepper. Shake well.

Pour sesame dressing over pasta, and toss to coat evenly. Gently mix in chicken, cilantro, celery, craisins, mandarin slices, toasdted almonds and green onions.

Let this one sit for a few hours prior to serving, have a glass of wine and toast the God's for creating world so richly filled with texture, smells, and taste.

It's all about everyday magic friends...

Until next time

Boo!

 

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