Baked Shrimp Scampi

This is absolutely one of my favorite recipes of all time.  I love all of the garlic, lemons, and herbs.  The flavors are just perfect.  The recipe is a little different from traditional scampi.  The scampi is topped with a panko crust which gives it a completely different texture.  I found this recipe in Barefoot Contessa's "Back To Basics"cookbook.  If you haven't read this cookbook, you should.  All of her recipes are tested and re-tested so that they are perfect.  Thank  you, Ina!!

Baked Shrimp Scampi

2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in shell
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
salt and pepper
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup Panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Peel, de-vein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on.  Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine,  2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and toward the center of the dish.  Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp.  Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until hot and bubbly**.  If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute.  Serve with lemon wedges.

The beauty of this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and baked just before dinner.  I usually serve this with some crusty french bread, angel hair pasta, and roasted asparagus and tomatoes.

**Bake a little longer if the shrimp are crowded in the pan to ensure that shrimp are cooked thoroughly.


Office Re-Do

I have been working on redecorating my office for about a month.  The job is almost complete, just waiting on a few fabrics to arrive.  I thought that I would share the room so far.

I started the re-do with a stenciling project.  I chose a stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils,  Zagora Allover.

My walls were already painted Bengal Grass from Sherwin Williams.

I chose to paint the stencil with Modern Masters Metallic Paint in Champagne.

This is the final product.  I love the metallic paint and how it looks faint and shimmery.

I then added bookcases, a desk, and a chair and ottoman that I had.  The bookcases and desk are from local furniture store and are dark brown.  I tried to add colorful accessories and bring in bright colors like orange and aqua to balance all of the dark brown in the furniture.

My chair is Fairfield and is upholstered in a light cream.  I added a red and orange ikat fabric for the pillow.  

The end table  was added as a punch of color and a great place to set my wine glass when I want to relax.  

The inside of the closet was probably the biggest job.  I painted the walls Squash by Behr and used dark silver metallic paint from Modern Masters on the ends of the shelves.  I placed everything in a bin and labeled each with chalkboard card stock to keep everything organized and neat.

I'm very happy with my office so far and I only have a few projects left--fabric covered pin boards, another pillow for the chair, and a a throw made from the same ikat fabric. I'm also thinking that I would love to add some beautiful floor to ceiling curtains, maybe in a cream and black geometric pattern.   

Strawberry Salad

My friend, Lannie, made this salad for a luncheon at work.  It is absolutely delicious.  I thought that I would share it with you.

Strawberry Salad

For the salad:
1 bag of Spring Salad Mix
Sliced almonds, roasted
Shredded mozzarella cheese, approximately 1 cup
1 pint strawberries, sliced into fourths

For the dressing:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup canola or olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Mix salad dressing and chill before serving.


Dreaming of Spring

Every year when the weather starts to warm (Early February in Louisiana) I start to rush spring.  I simply LOVE SPRING!!  I love the warm weather.  I love the green peeking through the ground to ultimately become beautiful flowers.  Well, since I can't plant all the beautiful annuals or start on my vegetable/herb garden, I decided to plant a few more of the plants that are suitable for February weather--Roses!!  I currently have roses stretching across our back fence.

Climbing Pinkie

Don Juan

Climbing Circus

 Peggy Martin "Katrina" 
(Follow this link for some history on the "Katrina" rose)

My husband and I took a little road trip to a rose nursery that offers approximately 300 varieties of roses. We were completely overwhelmed at all the beautiful roses.  I had done my homework, though.  I knew that I wanted more climbing roses to cover our side fence and I had checked on disease resistance and  growing conditions.  The staff at the nursery was very helpful and steered me down the path to the longest blooming, most heat resistant varieties. 

 Dublin Bay

Gertrude Jekyll


All the roses are planted and now I'm just waiting on the warm weather (I know I'll regret this statement in August)!!

Teriyaki Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

I love to make shrimp dishes.  They are so easy and always fabulous.  This marinated shrimp dish is a simple as can be and never disappoints.

Teriyaki Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

1 pound of large shrimp, about 16
8 pieces of bacon, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon pineapple juice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Peel and devein shrimp.  In a medium sized bowl, mix soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, juice, red pepper, and vinegar.  Add shrimp and let marinate for 2 hours in refrigerator.  Remove from refrigerator and wrap each shrimp with half slice of bacon.  Secure with a toothpick.

Place shrimp on a 400 degree grill and cook until bacon is slightly done, about 10 minutes.  You may want to adjust cooking time depending on size of shrimp.


A Valentine's Treat

I work with a lot of great people.  We all have a profession that is at times stressful and at other times so much fun.  I have the great fortune to be the director of these caring and compassionate medical professionals.   All of them are truly wonderful, and I thought that it would be a great idea to make my friends from work a very special, homemade treat in honor of Valentine's Day.  I decided to make everyone a little goodie box with cupcakes--Red Velvet and Wedding Cake.  These are definitely our favorites around the work place.  We sometimes get delicious, "super expensive" cupcakes from a few of the specialty cupcake stores around town.  

I found these cute little boxes and cups at a local craft store.  I think that they are precious.

I actually went a little overboard with the cupcakes and made a few extra, a few dozen extra to be exact. The recipe that I used for the Wedding Cake cupcakes was for three times as many as I needed.  I really wasn't paying close attention to the ingredient lists and just kept adding.  Oh well, at least I got to freeze two dozen cupcakes, which I never get to do (my husband has a sweet tooth and even he thought I made too many!).  Also, thanks Paige (my daughter) for helping me decorate 4 dozen cupcakes!!! ( I am so lucky that she takes culinary classes!!!)

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/3 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

For the icing:
1/2 cup of butter or 1 stick, room temperature
8 ounces of cream cheese or 1 package, room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.
Add a fourth of the dry ingredients and mix, then add a third of the wet.  Continue adding in a dry, wet, dry pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.
Scoop into cupcake papers, about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full.  I used one scoop (3 tablespoons approximately).  

Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool for one minute in the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes approximately 2 dozen cupcakes. 

To make the icing--Cream the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.  Add the vanilla extract and mix.  Add the powdered sugar, continually taste to get desired sweetness.  Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  

Wedding Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Icing

For the cupcakes:
1 18.25-ounce box of white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites

For the icing:
1 cup shortening
1 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place all the dry ingredients in a very large mixing bowl and stir together with a wire whisk.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat on medium speech for two minutes. (You may have to stir ingredients a little with the whisk prior to mixing due to amount.)  Fill cups 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full.  Batter will be very runny.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool for one minute in the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  *This recipe makes about 3 dozen cupcakes. 

To make the icing--Whip the shortening and softened butter in a mixing bowl until completely blended.  Slowly add powdered sugar until all is blended in for a smooth frosting.  Add in the almond extract.  Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  Add sprinkles if desired.  

* You can easily double this recipe.  Just make sure to only add 3/4 cup vegetable oil to doubled recipe instead of 1 cup.  

Enjoy and have a wonderful Valentine's Day!!

Jewelry Giveaway

Make sure to check out this fabulous blog--Strawberry Swing and Other Things for a precious jewelry giveaway. 

 ERM Originals is giving away a beautiful sterling silver heart necklace.  


Grilled Teriyaki Flank Steak

Whenever the weather is good, my husband and I use our grill almost everyday.  This recipe for flank steak is one of our favorites.  We first had a flank steak marinated in a teriyaki-garlic sauce on a trip to Las Vegas.  We had made flank steak before, but with a fajita marinade.  We started making the teriyaki marinade and never looked back.   I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Grilled Teriyaki Flank Steak

2 2-pound flank steaks
1 bottle of teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons of  finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Place steaks in a deep baking dish.  Mix together teriyaki sauce, garlic, onion powder, and red pepper.  Pour marinade over steaks.  Let marinade at least 1 hour, but not more than 2 hours.  Be careful.  If you let the steaks marinate too long, they will be very salty.

Grill steaks at 450 degrees for approximately 7 minutes on each side and then another 3 minutes on each side.  They will be medium.  If you would like them medium rare, reduce cooking time to 15 minutes total.

Let the steaks rest for at least 10 minutes to retain their juices.  Slice along the grain to serve.