Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summery Shrimp Rolls

Something about a buttery top-split hot dog bun filled with fresh seafood makes me think of lazy summers on the beach in New England. PS. I've never spent a lazy summer on the beach in New England. I've never even been to New England, for that matter. But, I've got an active imagination, and a girl can dream. She can also bring a little bit of that New Englanduh Summah to the Northwest, with a quick, easy, summery take on the classic lobster roll…minus the lobster and the beach. 

With or without a beach, it' summer! Sort of… I mean, the date and the whole daylight lasting far into the night thing, those are totally summer. This drizzly, dreary weather we've had lately, however, totally Juneuary. But, I'm not too worried about it, as long as it starts getting sunny soon. It's almost July, for cryin' out loud, and I want some summer…regardless of which coast I'm on!

What are your big summer plans? I have my big race at the end of July, followed by a couple of bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and weddings. Just like last year, it's shaping up to be another wedding filled summer. And, if I have anything to say about it, it'll be a tasty one! I see fruit pies, ice cream, BBQs, salads, and popsicles (!) in my future! And shrimp rolls. Lots of lemony, not overwhelmingly-creamy shrimp rolls. 

Shrimp Rolls
Adapted from this recipe 

Makes 2 super stuffed rolls, or 4 lightly stuffed rolls

1 lb. large shrimp (peeled and de-veined) 
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
pinch salt
pinch dill (dried, or a sprig of fresh)
1 lemon, halved
2 thyme sprigs
6 cups water

1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic 
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon oregano
3 tablespoons unsalted butter- melted 
1 tablespoon mayo
1 lemon (juice of 1/2 lemon, slice 2nd half for serving)

2-4 hot-dog buns
lettuce or salad greens
chopped fresh chives 

In a large pot, bring water, lemon, Old Bay seasoning, salt, dill, and thyme to a boil. Add shrimp and simmer 2-3 minutes, until cooked through. Drain and set shrimp aside to cool. Discard lemon and herbs. 

In a medium bowl, mix together celery salt, granulated garlic, thyme, and oregano. Whisk in the lemon juice, mayo, and 2T of the melted butter. Add shrimp and toss until well coated. Salt and pepper to taste.

Brush the insides of the buns with the remaining melted butter, and toast under the broiler or on a grill pan (or grill) until golden brown. Add a handful of salad greens to each bun, and pile in the shrimp. Top with chives, and serve with a lemon slice. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

NYC + Pea Shoot Pesto

Sometimes you visit a place, and you have that "I was meant to live here" feeling. It's happened to me a few times. And when it happens, I know that I really could make it in one of those place, that my life could happen there. It didn't happen in Hawaii, or Honduras, or Mexico, or Tahiti, or Miami. I love those places, a lot. I love the sun and beach and the easy, carefree lifestyle. But I never saw myself living there, it always felt like a glorious get away. And that's good, it's nice to dream of tropical destinations, it gives you something to look forward to, to plan for. 

But, then there are the places where I can picture myself getting a job, and going to work every day, and making a life there. Amsterdam was one of those places. Hot damn I love that city. If the opportunity arose for me and Evan to live there, I would. In a heartbeat. And then there's THE city. New York City. A lot of people say "I love to visit, but could never live there." And then there are the people who move to NYC, pay a ton of rent to live in tiny little apartments, and just make it happen. And love it. I think I could do that. 

Evan and I went for a short visit, to see his sister and meet her new (amazing) baby. We went to almost every neighborhood in Manhattan. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. We ate about 6 meals a day. Seriously. Thankfully leggings seemed to be pretty popular there, because that's all I could fit in by the time we left. We spent a ton of time in Central Park. We met up with an old friend. We mastered the subway (that is, until we took the wrong train to the airport and missed our flight home, which happened to be the last flight of the day). We tried to find where Ted lives in How I Met Your Mother. And...we fell absolutely head over heels in love with New York City. 

There's something about the energy the city has. And the people. I don't care what you've heard, but the people are NICE. So much more helpful and friendly than in the PNW. Seriously. (Look up Seattle Freeze… it's true).  Don't get me wrong, I love Seattle. But, Seattle is conservative (not politically, but you know what i mean…emotionally). In Seattle, people are buttoned up and keep to themselves. I feel like everything is laid back and casual here, but not carefree. In NYC, everyone works hard and plays hard in the city, going out on weeknights…work nights! In Seattle, everyone conserves their energy for the weekend, to get out of the city and go to the mountains. To hike, bike, snowboard, and camp. I love the great outdoors, but I spent the first 18 years of my life out in the country, and it's made me crave the constant hum of a big city.  

Speaking of cravings, the food in NYC was incredible. My favorite meals were from Russ and Daughters, Prune, Momofuku Ssam Bar, and of course, Shake Shack. But, after eating pizza, bagels, and mile-high meat filled deli sandwiches, when I got home I wanted nothing but salads and fruit. I've heard that NYC has a pretty good green market scene, but I will say, we have killer farmer's markets here in Seattle, including an incredible Sunday market in my neighborhood. That's where these pea shoots came from.  And, since that whole wanting-nothing-but-salads thing only lasted a few days, I made garlicky pea shoot pesto and slathered it inside a gooey grilled cheese sandwich. 

Pea Shoot Pesto
Adapted from Coconut & Lime
1 bunch pea shoots/vines, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup grated parmesan 
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup toasted pinenuts
juice and zest from one small lemon
salt & pepper

Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired consistency (start with about 1/3 cup of oil, and more as necessary). Salt & pepper to taste. 

For Sandwiches:
On slices of your favorite grilled cheese sandwich bread (I used a baguette here, because I had it), spread on a thick layer of the pesto, top with grated mozzarella cheese, sliced cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of good flaky sea salt. Top with un-pesto'd bread slice. You can oil, butter, or mayo the outside of the bread if you want, or oil your pan. Grill until melty and gooey and awesome. 

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