Lobster Claw Salad

Happy almost Memorial Day Weekend…Meet me at the pool and then go enjoy this “lobsta” salad…We’re going bold here, no more just blending in! Left image above was shot in our kitchen at the villa at Ocean Edge Resort, Cape Cod Massachusetts back in 2014, where I made my first ever Lobster Roll. I still can’t figure out why I waited so long to create that; but I’ve been enjoying that dance ever since. Life Changer! Above right image is a tray of fresh claw meat from Maine Lobster Now, where I order all of my lobster tails and fresh claw meat. It is literally shipped the same day that it is cooked and picked. Sweetest lobster that you’ll ever taste, and their bisque is amazing as well. Give it a try. As always, I receive nothing, nada, zippo for mentioning my favorite companies and products; just sharing the love and hoping to give you a fresh idea to elevate the every day.

2 lbs lobster claw meat*
3 to 4 oz organic, prewashed whole red butter leaves
1 avocado, cut in chunks
2 large fresh tomatoes, cut in chunks
1 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmans’s Light)
8 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 Tbs celery leaves, chopped 
4 Tbs chopped fresh basil
3 Tbs chopped fresh chives
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 lemons

Combine mayo, celery, celery leaves, basil, chives, lemon zest, and lemon juice in large bowl.
Add in lobster, avocado, and tomatoes.
Toss gently.
Arrange lettuce on plate.
Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Top with lobster mixture.

*You may use meat from the entire lobster if desired, but I totally prefer the most delicate, tender claw meat. I order from Maine Lobster Now.  They package the claw meat the day that the lobsters are cooked and ship only next day air, never frozen. So I freeze immediately upon receiving.

Note: Serves 6 to 8 if you have a side such as asparagus, and a small homemade roll or cornbread slice.

Shrimp Waldorf Salad

One of my MOST favorite paintings ever! There was this horrible oval floral painting, that the don and I were gifted from my paternal grandmother when we married in 1975. Soon thereafter, we found it hanging in the dining room on Forest Hills, where it remained for fifteen years to our dismay. But you know, family…So years later when Torrey and I opened our gallery, the don enlisted her help for a surprise commission from Wayne Trapp for my Christmas gift. Sweet way to rid us of that awful painting. It’s me in a “Walk in the Garden”! Do you dream in color or black and white?

And speaking of walking in gardens…here are lettuce, celery, apple, grapes, cranberries, and a few more added ingredients to make the perfect lunch, brunch, or dinner salad. Artful edges!

Dressing:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt 
1 1/2 t Dijon mustard
2 Tbs honey
1 t cider vinegar 
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together in small bowl. 

Salad:
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted 
1 small head Romaine lettuce, shredded
1 lb cleaned, cooked medium shrimp 
4 small celery ribs, chopped 
1 honey crisp or Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into small pieces 
16 red grapes, halved
1/4 cup dried sweet cranberries
Put lettuce in large mixing bowl. 
Add shrimp, celery, apple, grapes, and cranberries.
Spoon in dressing. 
Toss to coat. 
Divide between 4 plates. 

Mahi: Part Two

As evidenced above, a few years back I had the joy of a fly fishing experience with Carl in the Dan River Gorge on the Primland property. That had been on my Whistle List for years, and I checked it right off that weekend! Now that’s not fishing for Mahi, duh; but it earned a gold medal for fun times with fab friends.

Flashing back even further in time to a second take on Mahi prep…in the manner of NOLA chef Paul Prudhomme (God Rest His Soul), I present a blackened version of Mahi. A quick story; in the late 1990’s while dining at K Paul’s for the first time, I spent most of the evening away from the dinner table, outside peering into the tiny screened-in kitchen where the fish were being prepared. The kindest chefs ever (heavily sweating and constantly wiping their brows in the heat of that tiny, tiny, tiny room) told me everything that they were doing. Bronzed fish, blackened fish, sautéed fish, panned in butter fish, poached fish, grilled fish, and on and on and on again. I was forever grateful to those lovely gentlemen and forever enthralled with the cuisine and techniques of Chef Paul and his style of cooking there on the great waters of N’awlins. This is total happiness, so pay attention…I’ll take Mahi Recipes for Five Hundred Please!
Thank you Hank Williams for these beautiful words:
“The fairest young maiden that I ever saw
Passed by as it started to rain
We both found a shelter beneath the same tree
On the banks of the old Pontchartrain.”

Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Fish
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbs good olive oil
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t fresh black pepper
3 t Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic
2  6 oz filets of mahi (or other thick white fish of choice)
Filets should be 1 to 1 1/2″ thick

Place filets on a plate.
Pour 1/2 of the melted butter on top side of the filets.
Sprinkle filets with salt, pepper, and 1/2 of the Blackened Redfish Magic.
Turn filets over in plate and repeat with butter, salt, pepper, and Blackened Magic.
Heat skillet on high.
Pour the 3 Tbs olive oil into skillet.
Place filets in skillet and turn heat to medium high.
Cook 3 minutes uncovered. 
Turn to other side and cook 3 more minutes.

I hope you didn’t give up seafood for Lent! Come on in with an empty tummy. Experience just the right amount of heat and your heart will say “don’t take me back to the real world!”

Mahi, Two Ways: Part One

Well hellodie from the fishing scene in Istanbul! Follow the journey from the Turkish shore all the way back to Morehead City’s Captain Jim’s Seafood, and then straight in to Peg’s Kitchen for a lively adventure in fish prep! First, Istanbul, 2013… Lone fishermen in small boats catch Bluefish on the Bosphorus Strait and deliver them straight to the docks where they are cooked on sight for locals and tourists alike. Fanciful, docked, decorative boats serve as open air kitchens. Can NOT get any fresher than that! The cooks are constantly singing melodic tunes of “Balik Ekmek”, meaning “Fish Sandwich.” We indulged happily!

Fast forward to 2021 , where we are state side, and here in Greenville, NC cooking some great fresh mahi filets, two ways! No need to escape to the shore, I’m gonna school ya from right here. So, Be Inspired and Come in Hungry! Perhaps one of these recipes will become your signature fish dish…One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish! (Thank you Dr. Seuss.)

First Way: Sautéed Mahi with Clarified Butter

6 oz mahi filet, 11/2″ thick
1/4 t Kosher salt
1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t olive oil
2 Tbs clarified butter
1/4 cup dry white wine, more if needed
1 Tbs capers
1/4 cup baby tomatoes
1 Tbs chopped chives, for serving
Cilantro, for serving

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper.
Heat skillet over medium-high heat.
Drizzle oil on bottom of skillet.
Add butter to skillet and swirl to evenly coat pan.
Add fish to skillet.
Cook 4 minutes.
Flip fish to other side.
Add wine, capers, and tomatoes to skillet.
Reduce heat to medium low.
Cook 6 minutes, until cooked through.

To plate:
Place filet on plate.
Spoon cooking juices with capers and tomatoes over filet.
Garnish with chives and cilantro.
Serve with a side of roasted red potatoes.

Thai Green Curry Shrimp and Beans

A little history regarding this specifically meaningful recipe…My dear friend (and best international travel companion) and I cooked prawns (along with other wonderful Thai delicacies while sipping champagne!) all afternoon one day at the Spice Spoons Culinary Institute, Anantara Resort, Bangkok, in 2017. A few fun bits emphasized regarding prawns vs shrimp…Prawns have three pairs of claw like legs, shrimp have one. Prawns have longer legs than shrimp, and may taste a bit sweeter and meatier than shrimp, that are more delicate. Prawns are most often served with their heads on, which can be disconcerting to the novice; I know this first hand! My initial experience with these freaky little heads was in the early nineteen eighties (YES I am a fossil) in New Orleans at Pascal’s Manale and I may have gasped out loud just a little, but it was delicious. Chef Ohm was amazing during our afternoon cooking session and later that evening prepared a sumptuous private dinner for the four of us outside on the lush lawn. We all agree that this was the best “friends trip” ever!!! So…here you are with a tasty Thai Shrimp recipe that Chef shared with us! This is wicked good…enjoy in excellent health my friends!

Sometimes you just have to sip fresh coconut milk from a freshly cooled and cut coconut when it’s offered. And this is what we are using in the following recipe!

Here’s what you need:
12 oz linguine
12 oz fresh green beans, trimmed, and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/3 cup green curry paste
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus additional leaves for garnish)
3 Tbs olive oil (add more if needed)
3/4 to 1 cup coconut milk (see pic above!)
1 lb large, cleaned shrimp*
1 cup pasta water (more if needed)
1/2 cup cilantro
2 Tbs fresh lime juice

*We love the shrimp, and everything, from Captain Jim’s Seafood, Atlantic Beach, NC
(if you’re in the area).
Typically, they deliver to Greenville every other Saturday.
Best seafood, and best personal service ever!

Here’s how you prepare it:
Bring large pot of water boil.
Add linguine and cook 5 to 7 minutes. (Check package directions.)
Add fresh green beans.
Cook until crisp tender, probably 3 minutes.
Reserve 1 cup or more of pasta water.
Drain pasta and green beans.
In large skillet, cook curry paste and cilantro in oil, over medium heat, stirring 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant.
Add coconut milk, season with salt, and bring to simmer.
Cook 2 minutes until slightly thickened.
Stir in shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Stir in pasta, green beans, and lime juice.
Add reserved pasta water to create a silky sauce.
Toss to coat.
Serve with lime wedges and cilantro.

Lemon and Pepper Jelly Shrimp

The great Rocco DiSpirito was on The Drew Barrymore Show a couple of weeks back and I was blown away! Rather than totally freak out when I researched his life as a chef, I decided to Keep Calm, Munch On, Try his Recipe, and Order a Couple of his Books. No recipe hunting for you this weekend good folks; I’m just handing it out to you. Just enough spice to make you happy but not ring the fire alarm! This is so full of ease and joy to prep, that you will be cooking it quite often. Add a simple salad or asparagus (to my version) and you have a totally balanced meal, nutritious, and calorie conscious. This food is pure art; and…we’re off!

This is what you need:
1 lb large, cleaned shrimp
2 Tbs olive oil
1 t coarsely ground black pepper
1 t coarse ground salt
2 Tbs butter
Juice of a lemon
3 to 4 Tbs Pepper Jelly, to taste*
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

*I used Jammit Jams Garlic Pepper Jelly, so I omitted the 2 garlic cloves.

And this is how you do it:
Blot shrimp dry with a paper towel.**
Season with salt and pepper.
Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
Add 2 Tbs olive oil to skillet.
Add shrimp, seasoned side down, and sauté for 2 minutes.
While this is sautéing, season the “upside” of the shrimp.
Flip shrimp over with tongs and cook second side 2 minutes.
Immediately remove shrimp to separate bowl.
In hot skillet, add lemon juice, butter, and pepper jelly.
Stir until jelly is meted and all is combined, about 2 minutes.
Toss shrimp back in skillet and stir to cover with sauce.
Serve over cooked rice.***

**I blot most things dry before placing in a skillet…shrimp, scallops, chicken, beef, and pork fillets. It improves the texture during cooking if the protein is dry when added to the pan. Trust me!
***Rocco’s recipe calls for sautéed broccoli rabe to be served with this shrimp, which really cuts down on the calories. Unfortunately, that’s not one of my favorites, and honestly, I really like a little starch. OOPSIE !! I think we have a winner here; and speaking of winners, Super Bowl LV is in 8 days…who’s going to win?
P to the S. I have a favorite! TB for history, just saying.

Triple Citrus Shrimp Taco

Hola mi Amigos! Cinco de Mayo is quickly approaching and we’re orchestrating like a symphony here. This is the best little taco north of Mexico. Hell, it’s the tastiest little jewel you’ll serve Saturday the 5th. Let the Mexicans celebrate their army’s unlikely victory in the Battle of Pueblo in 1862 (not to be confused with their Independence Day celebrated in September); and we shall celebrate our love of margaritas and all things delicious that go down oh so smoothly!

Southwestern Shrimp Tacos
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs minced fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbs Asian seasoning
2 t firmly packed light brown sugar
2 t lime zest
2 t lemon zest
2 t orange zest
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lbs large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
6 crunchy taco shells
Head of leaf lettuce
Guacamole
Sour cream
Cilantro, chopped

In medium bowl, combine oil, thyme, Asian seasoning, brown sugar, zests, salt, pepper, and garlic.
Add shrimp and toss to coat.
Preheat skillet to medium high.
Toss in shrimp and cook 1 1/2 minutes on both sides, tossing until fully cooked, 3 to 4 minutes.

To serve:
Place leaf lettuce inside taco.
Layer with shrimp and guacamole.
Place sour cream on side of plate.
Sprinkle all with cilantro.

PtotheS…this shrimp recipe is excellent served over a bed of rice or orzo, with a side of sauteed asparagus.

Independence Day Weekend Frolic!

Adult Beverages Moscow Mule IBe Calm. Eat. Drink. Carry On.

Dancing Off the Wall People! Bidding you a Happy Celebratory Weekend. Last evening, The Don and I began our weekend in the Finest of Style! We delightedly were guests at a swelegant dinner party…think: Bogue Sound, grandest host(s), finest home and art ever, totally glam dinner tables, perfect roses, beautiful guests…

and thank you for allowing me to elaborate…

The five course dinner progressed over three hours of convivial, diverse, and “self evident” conversation. Consider this; a minimum of 6 china patterns, 4 crystal patterns swooped up from travels around the globe, impeccable linens and white glove service. Don’t sweat it for me; I was in love with the entire envelope of activity. There was magic dancing around in every detail. The second course was lobster, paired with hand cut chips…impeccable. I’m going to BEG for the recipe, but in the interim, if you have lobster on hand for the Fourth…her ’tis my take on lobster salad –  A couple of years back we were with our family at the Cape for a few marvelous days with incredible seafood markets… so, td and I mixed this up for dinner while the youngsters and grands were driving in from Boston. In case you don’t have last night’s recipe, I’m hooking you up here with this:Lobster Salad

(a pic of salad, sans roll, extra avocado and an extra claw to boot!)

Meat from 2 boiled lobsters, chopped in large pieces
5 slices cooked bacon, chopped
4 leaves Boston Bibb lettuce
1 avocado, cut in chunks
2 tomatoes, cut in chunks
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 Tbs celery leaves, chopped
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs chopped fresh chives
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs butter
4 long split rolls

Combine mayo, celery, celery leaves, basil, chives, and lemon juice in large bowl.
Add in lobster, bacon, avocado, and tomatoes.
Toss gently.
Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat.
Split rolls and toast inside part in butter about 2 minutes.
Place lettuce leaf inside roll.
Top with lobster mixture.

Now for all of you who went out boating today…I hope that your spines realigned!  Nod to the Carteret County Weekend Crew!

PS…this is a HUGE PS BTW! I am officially relaunching this blog next week as PegHardee.com. I hope that you will rejoin me, or join me for the first time around, beginning NOWI promise; it’ll be a visual scrapbook.  Welcome.

 

Orange Basil Halibut

Simmering in Skillet ©PEGhardee

Simmering in Skillet
©PEGhardee

Happy F.R.I.D.A.Y. Really trying extra extra hard to eat slim and healthy meals with the Gobble Gobble Day approaching in a steady stream of speed! So this is what td and I are having tonight. And then tomorrow we are headed to the Pirates game, Military Appreciation Day, where we will be a part of their first ever card stunt.(http://www.cardstunts.com/) AND a flyover…I can barely contain my enthusiasm; and Brenton and Mary Beth will be home to join us in this most excellent celebration. Pics of tomorrow’s game to follow, just for the shear enjoyment of the Pirate Nation Fanfare…It is truly unparalleled. Just wait!! AND G, M, and L will be in NC tomorrow morn as well from Boston…for 8 (count it…eight) whole entire days and nights. Yippee!

2  halibut fillets
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
12 baby carrots
12 spears asparagus, ends trimmed, sliced into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
12 basil leaves, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbs chopped dill
2 t olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste.

©PEGhardee

©PEGhardee

In small bowl, stir together orange juice, orange zest, basil, garlic, and dill.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in skillet.
Salt and pepper one side of halibut.
Place this side down in skillet and sear 1 minute.
Turn fillets over.
Reduce heat to medium-low.
Add vegetables and orange juice mixture.
Simmer 6 minutes covered.
Remove lid and stir vegetables around.
Cook another 3 minutes uncovered until vegetables are tender and fish is cooked through.
Cut fillets in half lengthwise.
Divide fish and vegetables among 4 plates.
Garnish with dill, basil, or orange slices.
Serves 4.

Chipotle Shrimp and Grits

©PEGhardee

©PEGhardee

I began prepping this outrageous dish by christening my new Vermont Farm Table cutting board…compliments of my dear niece and her new husband! Yep, they were married in fine Vermont style this past weekend. Two great families merging with lots of special friends there to share in the excitement and festivities. So very happy for sweet Suz and her Chad! Oh, did I mention Chad owns 2, yes two, restaurants in Waterbury and Stowe. Um hum. That’s what I’m talking ’bout! Cooking is in our blood, making that cutting board oh so special. So, cheers and chow down on some goodness here.

This is what you’ll need:

2 Tbs butter
1 onion, chopped fine
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cracked black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs minced canned chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup old fashioned grits
6 oz gouda cheese, grated
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound large shrimp, cleaned
Cilantro for garnish

Grits steaming in the skillet.

Grits steaming in the skillet.

Shrimp and Grits Baking Sheet

Adjust oven rack to middle position.
Preheat oven to 450°.
Melt butter in deep skillet.
Add onion, salt, and pepper.
Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic and chipotle chiles.
Cook 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Stir in water and cream.
Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Slowly whisk in grits.
Reduce heat to low.
Cook, whisking frequently, until grits are thick and creamy, about 10 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat.
Whisk in cheese, and eggs.
Divide grits mixture evenly between 4 individual casseroles.
Place 6 to 7 raw shrimp on top of grits.
Bake until shrimp are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and place casseroles on dinner plates.
Garnish with cilantro.Shrimp and Grits New