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This is my version of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Lemon Pepper Shrimp. Basically, the dish is a wok-crisped shrimp stir-fried with celery, bean sprouts, scallions and fresh lemon slices in an aromatic black pepper sauce.
Chefs at P. F. Chang’s cook most dishes in heavy woks over extremely high heat with sparks flying and flames nipping at their noses. The special stove is designed so that the tall fires work at the back end of the wok, away from the chef. The well-ventilated stove is built with a steady stream of running water nearby to thin sauces and rinse the woks after each dish is prepared. Like most home cooks, I don’t have one of those super efficient professional stoves at home. So the challenge for me was to tweak this recipe for standard kitchen equipment. Using a regular electric range and a large cast iron skillet, I was able to recreate the dish in my kitchen.
Another thing to consider is that the sauce is key to this dish. The kitchen staff and line cooks move extremely fast back in those P.F. Chang’s kitchens. The chefs are well-trained, but they eyeball measurements for sauces with a ladle, so each wok-prepared dish is going to come out a little different each and every time it is made. Just like home cooking, the and measurements at the restaurant aren’t exactly scientific.
With all that being said,the shrimp is lightly breaded in cornsatarch and flash fried in oil. For best results, strain the shrimp out of the oil, add it back to the pan with the sauce, and you’ve got yourself pretty good dish just as tasty as the original!
Ingredients: For the Sauce:
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
For the Shrimp:
1 pound medium raw shrimp (31/40 count), shelled and deveined
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup vegetable oil
4-6 thin lemon slices, each cut into quarters
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 large green onions, sliced diagonally
2 celery stalks, sliced diagonally
1 cup bean sprouts
Make sauce by heating 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic and ginger in the hot oil for about 15 seconds being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the soy sauce, then dissolve cornstarch in the water and add the mixture to the pan. Add brown sugar, lemon juice and black pepper and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer for two minutes then remove it from the heat.
Coat all the shrimp generously with cornstarch. Let the shrimp sit for about five minutes so that the cornstarch will adhere better.
Heat a cup of oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp to the pan and saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until the shrimp starts to turn light brown. Strain the shrimp out of the oil with a slotted spoon or spider and discard the oil. Replace shrimp back in the wok along with the lemon slices, saute for a minute, then add the sauce to the pan. Toss everything around to coat the shrimp thoroughly. Cook for another minute or so until the sauce thickens on the shrimp.
As the shrimp cooks, heat up 1 teaspoon of oil in a separate medium saucepan. Cut the green part of the scallions into 3-inch lengths. Add the scallions, celery and bean sprouts to hot oil along with a dash of salt and pepper. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes until the scallions begin to soften.
Remove from the heat and build the dish by adding the stir fried vegetables to a serving plate. Add the shrimp over the vegetables, garnish with scallions and serve.
According to my Grand, “The secret to a great gumbo is that it takes as long as it takes—It’s time that makes it good.”
And just in time, here is a chicken gumbo recipe you can prepare for Mardi Gras!
The real star of this dish is the Sauternes wine used to braise the chicken in this classic gumbo dish. I used a 2011 Le Tertre du Bosquest Sauternes for this recipe. This barrel-aged Sauternes features a beautiful, brilliant, golden-yellow color and an attractively fresh bouquet with delightful hints of vanilla, peach, citrus fruit, and honey. Smooth and powerful on the palate, this delicious Sauternes has mandarin orange and quince flavors, and a slightly botrytised aftertaste. When using a good quality Sauternes, what you will get is a get a rich, balanced liquid for the gumbo, and plenty of tender poached chicken meat.
If you cannot find a good quality Sauternes in your neck of woods, your favorite white zinfandel or a riesling are excellent substitutes.
One 3 pound chicken, cut up into 8 pieces.
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground Black Pepper, to taste
3 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 Tablespoons Lea & Perrin Worcestershire sauce
1 1⁄2 pounds andouille sausage (or smoked sausage or kielbasa)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
4 cups water
4 cups Sauternes wine (or a white zinfandel or a riesling)
1 1⁄2 teaspoon filé powder
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Cooked white rice, for serving
Season chicken lightly with salt and black pepper, cover and set aside in the refrigerator. For best results, let the chicken stand over night to get seasoned. Slice the sausage into 1/4 to 1/2-inch rounds; cover and set aside.
To make the roux, heat oil in a Dutch oven that is very clean over high heat until the the oil should begins to shimmer – and gradually begin to stir in flour, using a long-handled wooden spoon. The roux will take about 3 to 4 minutes to cook and must be stirred constantly so that it does not burn. If you see black specks in the roux, it has burned and you must start over again.
As you make the roux, it will change in color from cream to blonde, from tan to brown and then to dark chocolate red-brown. Remove from heat. Stir in the garlic, onions, green peppers, celery and Worcestershire sauce, stirring constantly until roux stops getting darker. Bring to stove once more, and cook over low heat about five to seven minutes, stirring constantly until the onions are transparent.
In a another large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil remove from the heat and add to the roux in the Dutch oven, stirring to dissolve the roux thoroughly. Add the Sauterne wine. Add the cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Carefully add chicken and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook about 35 to 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken, and set aside to cool.
De-bone the chicken, and cut into bite-size pieces. Add sausage, to the Dutch oven, and simmer for another 35 to 45 minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently. Taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt, as needed.
Stir in the chicken, and remove the gumbo from the heat. Skim the surface to remove the fat that the sausage renders during cooking.
For best results, cover and store the gumbo in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, remove the gumbo from the refrigerator and stir in the filé powder. Bring the gumbo to a boil and then reduce and simmer the stew for 25 to 30 minutes.
Garnish with parsley and serve over rice with French bread.
Laissez le bon temps rouler , ché!
Considered to be one of the finest white wines in the world, Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the Sauternes is region of the Graves section in Bordeaux.
As in most of France, viticulture is believed to have been introduced into Aquitania by the Romans. The earliest evidence of sweet wine production, however, dates only to the 17th century. While the English were Bordeaux’s main consumer since the Middle Ages, their primary tastes were for red claret. It was the Dutch traders of the 17th century who first developed an interest in white wine. For years they were active in the trade of German wines but production in Germany began to wane in the 17th century as the popularity of beer increased. The Dutch saw an opportunity for a new production source in Bordeaux and began investing in the planting of white grape varieties.
Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. Due to its climate, Sauternes is one of the few wine regions where infection with noble rot is a frequent occurrence. Even so, production is a hit-or-miss proposition, with widely varying harvests from vintage to vintage.
Wines from Sauternes, especially the Premier Cru Supérieur estate Château d’Yquem, can be very expensive, due largely to the very high cost of production. Barsac lies within Sauternes, and is entitled to use either name. Somewhat similar but less expensive and typically less-distinguished wines are produced in the neighboring regions of Monbazillac, Cérons, Loupiac and Cadillac.
In the United States, there is a semi-generic label for sweet white dessert wines known as sauterne without the “s” at the end and uncapitalized.
On the other hand, cooking wines like sauternes date to the days when wine wasn’t something the average home cook kept on hand in the pantry. Wines that we find on the supermarket shelves labeled “cooking wine” usually contained preservatives, particularly salt, to make them shelf-stable after opening.
Basically, the standard advice for cooking with wine is “never to cook with something you wouldn’t drink”. Think about it, since most of us would not want to drink salty wine, the old cooking wines are slowly disappearing.
But for people who do not commonly drink wine with meals, that leaves the problem of what to use in recipes that call for a small amount of wine. One handy solution is the miniature four-pack. Since a bottle is only 187ml, or about 3/4 cup, you will not waste much, and the packs usually cost $7 or less.
Since Sauternes is a sweeter wine, something like a white zinfandel or a riesling should be a good replacement, if you cannot find it at your local wine and liquor stores.
This elegant soup gets a surprising amount of flavor from sauteed celery. It has great garnishes, too: bacon croutons and a drizzle of lemon oil. Add a dollop of cool, billowy cream, to coax out the vegetables most delightful flavors.Be sure to buy extra-virgin olive oil infused with pure lemon extract.
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium leeks, halved and thinly sliced
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
12 large celery ribs (2 pounds), trimmed and thinly sliced
4 ounces bacon, finely diced
Three 1/2-inch-thick slices of country bread, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream (optional)
Lemon olive oil, for drizzling
In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the leeks, onions, garlic and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 12 minutes. Add the celery and cook, stirring, until just starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to moderate. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to half of a paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the bacon fat. Add the bread and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, 8 minutes. Transfer to the other side of the prepared baking sheet; season with salt and pepper.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan, whisk in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper.
Beat cream in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until it almost forms soft peaks.
Serve the soup hot, topped with the bacon, croutons. whipped cream and a drizzle of lemon olive oil.
The soup can be refrigerated for 3 days. Rewarm before serving. Do not whip cream ahead.
Being on the Gulf Coast, there is a abundance of seafood and there is no place better than the State of Louisiana, and there’s nothing better than this classic Southern Creole dish during crawfish season.
Crawfish season varies from one year to the next, based on how cold (or mild) the weather was during the Gulf Coast winter. It also depends on the amount of rain, and the water levels in the swamps and bayous.
Generally, the crawfish season in Louisiana runs from mid-January through early-July for crawfish caught in the wild, with the peak months being March, April and May. Crawfish from farms are available over a longer period of the year. When out of season, you can switch to cooked crawfish that are available in the seafood section of your local super market. This is a great alternative, and if cooked correctly, tastes exactly like the live crawfish.
There are hundreds if not thousands of recipes for Crawfish Étouffée, just as there are many cooks and chefs in the world. This is the old fashion Creole way to cook Crawfish Etouffee, with a blonde roux. Very simple yet very flavorful.But this recipe is easy and adaptable with ingredients you may have on hand. The important thing is to have celery, green bell pepper and onions to make the ‘trinity”, which is so common in Southern Cuisine. I used red onions, which will give you very different taste if you used white or yellow onions. The crawfish can be substituted with shrimp when crawfish are out of season. Even better when served with hot corn bread or a crusty French bread. Start cooking the rice first since this is a quick and easy dish. To keep the dish a bit more healthy, I used steamed brown rice for this recipe, but you can use whatever you like.
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter
2 cups chopped red onions
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped bell peppers
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound peeled crawfish tails
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 Tablespoons chopped green onions
Cooked rice, for serving
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and sauté until soft and golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the crawfish and bay leaves. Reduce the heat to medium. Stirring occasionally, cook until the crawfish begin throwing off a little liquid, 10 to 12 minutes.
Dissolve the flour in the water. Add to the crawfish mixture and season with salt, cayenne, black pepper and white pepper. Stir until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Add the parsley and green onions and cook for about 2 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves.
To serve, ladle the etouffée into shallow soup bowls and top of with a scoop of cooked rice. Serve immediately.
The delicate acidity and freshness of the salad serve to counter the richness of the duck livers in this recipe adapted from Chef Shaun Hill, with a sesame coating adding a pleasing crunch. Chicken livers can be used as a cheaper and more accessible alternative to duck livers if you cannot find them at gourmet or specialty meat markets.
Ingredients: For the Duck Livers:
1/2 pound duck liver, trimmed and cleaned of all sinew
Light soy sauce, to taste
2 1/2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
For the Tomato Salad:
2 large ripe tomatoes, left at room temperature
1/2 celery, heart and inner leaves only
1 Tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
4 teaspoons mirin, or rice wine vinegar
Place a frying pan over a high heat, add enough oil to the pan to coat the base. Season the liver with salt and pepper. As soon as the pan begins to smoke, sear the duck liver until dark golden brown. Reduce the heat and turn the livers over.
Add a small knob of butter and a generous dash of soy sauce. Baste the livers in butter and soy from the pan and remove from the heat. Allow the livers to rest for 2 minutes
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices, season with salt and set aside.
For the soy dressing, combine the peanut oil, soy and mirin in a small bowl and stir to combine. Place 5 slices of tomato in a tight circle in the center in the plate. Scatter some of the celery and celery leaves over the top and spoon over the dressing.
Roll the livers in the sesame seeds to coat, then, slice on an angle. They should still be slightly pink in the center.
Add the sliced livers and a small sprinkle of the pine nuts to the plates. Drizzle a little more dressing around the plate and serve immediately.
From Bar Amá Restaurant Los Angeles, California, March 2015
There are almost as many ways to make guacamole as there are cooks who enjoy making it with the freshest ingredients. At the Los Angeles restaurant Bar Amá, celery puree is the secret ingredient. No one will be able to guess what’s in the guacamole, but everyone will agree it’s delicious. Another secret to making great guacamole is the use of more than enough lime juice, to prevent the browning of the condiment while being served.
Makes About 3 1/2 Cups Ingredients:
2 celery stalks, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 Tablespoons water Kosher salt, to taste
4 ripe Hass avocados, pitted
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) fresh lime juice, or more as needed
2 teaspoons minced serrano chile
2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
In a blender, combine the celery, garlic, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Puree until smooth. Measure out 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) of the celery puree; discard the remaining celery puree or reserve for another use. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Add the 1/4 cup celery puree, the lime juice, chile, cilantro and 2 teaspoon salt. Using a large fork or potato masher, mash the ingredients until they are thoroughly combined but the mixture is not completely smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and lime juice. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.
The Bloody Mary Cocktail is a favorite choice of drink for brunch, and this dish was inspired by the popular cocktail that has been around since the 1920s.
As with the cocktail, the highlighted ingredient is the Worcestershire Sauce, which has a pretty unique culinary history unto itself. For the most part, Worcestershire Sauce is condiment used to flavor meats, gravies, soups and of course, Bloody Mary Cocktails. Among the other ingredients, Worcestershire Sauce is also made up of vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, tamarind, onion and molasses.
So here is a recipe that is just right for anytime of the day, because it is always five o’clock in the afternoon somewhere……
Ingredients: For the rice:
3/4 cup Jasmine rice
1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup arugula
salt, to taste
white pepper, to taste
For the Sauce:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small Vidalia onion
3 plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon horseradish sauce
1/4 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
celery salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 lbs. 16-21 count Gulf Shrimp, peeled, veins removed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 lemon, halved
1 stalk celery,diced for garnish
1. Prepare the ingredients. Peel the onion and mince. Rinse tomatoes and dice into 1 inch cubes. Mince the garlic. Rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towels, Rinse arugula. Rinse the celery and cut into 1/8 inch dice.
2. In a small pot, bring the jasmine rice, 1 1/4 cups water, and a pinch of salt to boil over high heat. Stir once,cover and reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 12 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to stand, still covered for 10 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and set aside.
3. To make the Bloody Mary Sauce, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add the onion and saute until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook until softened. Add horseradish sauce, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 cup water and stir to combine.
4. Season the shrimp with celery salt and black pepper to taste, thyme, and the Old Bay Spice. Add seasoned shrimp to the sauce in the pan and cook until shrimp are pink and opaque, 1-2 minutes per side. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper as needed. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
5. To season the rice, add arugula to warm jasmine rice and stir to combine, allowing the arugula to slight wilt.Taste the rice and add salt as needed. In a medium bowl, combine celery, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 1 squeeze of lemon juice. Taste and add salt and white pepper as needed.
6. To serve, divide jasmine rice and arugula evenly between two plates. Top with shrimp and tomato sauce, Squeeze the juice from the other half of the remaining lemon over the shrimp and rice. Garnish with the celery salad and serve hot.