Shrimp Stock

Welcome to the world of underground cooking. The behind-the-scenes and sometimes overlooked practices of the kitchen greatly contribute to the flavor of a dish. My favorite flavor-infusor : stock. No, not financial stock, the stock that is also sometimes referred to as broth. Stock is a great way to bump up the flavor profile of a dish and squeeze in a little extra nutrients.

Great ideas for using shrimp stock:

  • Paella
  • Shrimp Étouffée
  • Tom Kha Gai Soup, using shrimp and shrimp broth instead of chicken and chicken broth
  • Shrimp Pad Thai
  • Pad Thai sauce
  • Hot and Sour Soup
  • Quinoa, use shrimp stock instead of water
  • Volcano rice & shrimp (soon will be posted!)

How do I make shrimp stock? Keep reading…..

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Ingredients:

  • Peels and heads of 3 lbs of shrimp
  • Water, about 2 quarts or more (depends on size of shrimp)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • handful of parsley
  • 3 basil leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a couple peppercorns
  • Salt to taste, if desired

How to:

  1. Boil shrimp in a large pot until pink and firm. Using a slotted spoon, take them out of the boiling water. Save boiled shrimp water. It will be used for the stock.
  2. To the boiled shrimp water add carrot, celery onion, garlic, basil, bay leaf and peppercorns.
  3. Peel shrimp saving heads and peels. Add peels and heads to boiled shrimp water. Save shrimp.
  4. Boil on low, covered, for about 45 minutes.
  5. Turn off heat, let sit for 15 minutes
  6. Using a fine strainer lined with a cheesecloth, strain stock into a large measuring cup. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes so the fine pieces that remain, sink to the bottom.
  7. Pour stock into desired amounts in desired containers to freeze. Or use immediately.

Some bonuses of making your own stock:

  • Better taste
  • Gear it toward your likes/dislikes
  • Potentially more nutrients
  • No preservatives
  • Lower in sodium
  • Cheaper
  • Can use up veggies that you otherwise would have discarded in preparation, like leafy parts of the celery or the ends of carrots
The beginnings…..

The beginnings…..

Halfway….

Halfway….

Cooling…..

Cooling…..

Frozen and ready to use!

Frozen and ready to use!

Chocolate peanut butter

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Yes, it’s true. Dreams do come true. Especially when they involve my two favorite things: chocolate and peanut butter. I hope you all have your food processors ready. This beats Nutella. This is like Nutella on steroids!

Yields: 1 medium jam jar

What you’ll need:

  • 2.5 cups of Raw XL Virginia peanuts
  • 1 T honey
  • 2/3 cups of chocolate chips, melted

How to:

You’ll want to roast the raw peanuts in the oven first. Grab a baking sheet and evenly spread out peanuts. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, turning about 3-4 times during roasting. Don’t forget to turn, otherwise peanuts could burn on one side. When peanuts are done, take out and let sit while you are getting everything together, about 5-10 minutes. In the bowl of a food processor, place peanuts first. Process for 30 seconds and add honey. Keep processing for another couple of minutes. (If processor gets hot, let it rest in between.) Once smooth, stream in melted chocolate chips. Process for another minute. Presto! 

Don't get any ideas, now

Don’t get any ideas, now

Granola with orange-infused dried cranberries

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Granola is the perfect ready-for-Fall treat.  It’s uses are endless-on top of yogurt, cereal, smoothies, in a parfait, on top of ice cream even. You’ll find yourself pouring some into the palm of your hand and eating it by itself. You have your warning now, don’t leave the jar on the kitchen counter-it will be gone in a matter of hours! Use orange-infused cranberries for an unexpected twist. And it’s not overpowering either and quite pleasant, coming from me, a person who really isn’t fond of orange-flavored foods.  The dried cranberries were purchased by my sister at the Delkab Farmers Market in Atlanta. Post below if you have found where else to buy them at! Here is it:

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups old fashion Quaker oats
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (medium amber)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup orange-infused dried cranberries

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How to:

Preheat oven (use two if you have) to 350 degree F. In a large bowl mix oats, coconut, almonds, and pecans. Add vegetable oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt. Stir with your hands until its well coated. Evenly distribute onto two cookies sheets. As you are putting them in the oven, reduce heat to 250 F. This will make sure your granola doesn’t burn. On low heat, it should take about 45 minutes. You will need to stir around granola a couple times through out baking, maybe 3-4 times. When golden brown color is achieved, take out of oven and let cool on countertop for about 30 minutes. Now, for the final touches. In a clean bowl, add granola, chocolate chips and cranberries. (That’s why we wanted granola to be cool, so it doesn’t melt the chocolate chips). Mix it and scoop into jars! Enjoy as desired!

Here the chocolate chips and dried cranberries are being added to the granola

Here the chocolate chips and dried cranberries are being added to the granola

Final product! This recipe yields 2 medium jars and 1 large jar.

Final product! This recipe yields 2 medium jars and 1 large jar.

Cashew butter

As requested, cashew butter recipe is going public (again)! This is an Alton Brown recipe and cashews can be substituted for other nut types like almonds or peanuts.

Yields: 1 jam jar +

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups toasted raw organic cashews
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Special equiptment: 

  1. good food processor and sharp blade

How to:

First, preheat oven to 350 degree F. Spread out raw organic cashews onto a cookie sheet. Bake in oven for about 7-10 minutes and turn, then 7-10 minutes more until toasted. The longer they toast, the darker the color of cashew butter and more “toasted” flavor. I tend to like a little less toasted to where the cashew butter turns out a pale beige color. Now when  done toasting, place into a food processor with salt and begin pulsing. Pulse consistently until cashews are totally ground, maybe one minute. Now, stream in honey and then walnut oil. The trick to having  smooth cashew butter is to let it go for a couple minutes. At first, it will look like the cashew butter is stuck but the blade will heat up and sort of release the natural fat in the cashews. Trust me, it will loosen and all of the sudden get really creamy. Let it run, with breaks to let the motor rest, for about 5 minutes total. Happy processing! Enjoy!

What’s your favorite cashew butter snack combo?