Sunday, March 26, 2023

Jose Andres' Garlic Shrimp


Today I'm sharing Jose Andres' Gambas al Ajillo, also known as Garlic Shrimp. 

I've made a lot of garlicky shrimp recipes with chiles:

Emeril's Garlicky Sizzling Shrimp

Giada's Calabrian Shrimp

Madhur Jaffrey's Shrimp with Garlic and Chiles

Half Baked Harvest's Jalapeno Garlic Butter Shrimp

Jose Andres' Garlic Shrimp

and...Rick Bayless' Quick Fried Shrimp with Sweet Toast Garlic

I can tell you that all the versions are similar. They all call for shrimp, garlic, chiles of some kind, and some kind of citrus.

Some versions of this dish have way more garlic and some have less. I prefer way more garlic. There's just something about that in your face garlic flavor that really makes the shrimp sing.

If you prefer a more mild garlic flavor, than Jose's recipe would be a good one to try. His version is a good solid recipe, but it definitely has mild flavors. You could always double the garlic for more garlic flavor, but I wanted to try it as written the first time around. 

Lately, I've been thinking about dishes I've made over the years and comparing them when I can. Hence, last week's throwdown. I have to say that if I'm going to make a garlicky shrimp then there's only one recipe out there for me.

It's Rick Bayless' Quick Fried Shrimp with Sweet Toasty Garlic - click here for the link-

Rick's version (pictured above) has two whole heads of garlic cooked down for 30 minutes until it gets all sweet and toasty. There is so much wonderful aromatic garlic flavor in each and every bite! I made it back in 2012 and I still remember eating it straight out of the pan!

Jose Andres' Garlic Shrimp

Adapted from

by Jose Andres

Serves 1-4

1/4 cup Spanish or Italian extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

5 dried chilis de arbol or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp with tails

5 tablespoons brandy

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the chilis or crushed red pepper flakes, and cook stirring occasionally, 1 minute.

Increase heat to high, and add shrimp to skillet. When shrimp start to change color, about 1 minute, stir in brandy and lemon juice. remove from heat, and season shrimp with salt. Stir to combine. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve immediately.

A Taste of Spain @ I Heart Cooking Clubs

Sunday, March 19, 2023

St. Patty's Day Showdown: Corned Beef Hash {Reichl vs. Bittman}


St. Patrick's Day calls for a special Stirring the Pot treat! Of the Corned Beef Hash variety.

In 2019, I made Mark Bittman's Corned Beef Hash (pictured below). Bittman's recipe is very similar to Reichl's. They both call for boiled potato, chopped corned beef, onion, eggs, and some type of liquid. Bittman's version (shown below) calls for slightly more liquid and liquid of various variety: stock, tomato sauce, gravy, corned beef liquid, milk, or cream). Bittman also calls for slightly longer cooking time with no stirring so a crust forms on the bottom of the hash and since there is slightly more liquid in his version the potatoes become more mashed - the whole thing is kinda like one big hash cake, if you will. 

Reichl's Corned Beef Hash (pictured below) differs from Bittman's in that it calls for diced red bell pepper.  Reichl also calls for less liquid and less cooking time so the potatoes remain whole and separate from the corned beef. There is pretty much no time for a crust to develop on the bottom of the pan. Reichl specifically calls for cream and doesn't mention using any other liquid, but let's face it, Bittman is known for being very versatile and flexible in his cooking.

SHOWDOWN RESULTS: Both recipes are great and largely very similar. I think Corned Beef Hash lovers would love both recipes, but I have to say that my husband and I both preferred Bittman's more. Something about the mashed-potato-corned-beef-hash-cake type version has nostalgia associated with it and is closer to what we had growing up. However, if I was making this dish for company and I was going solely on looks, I'd say Reichl's version is definitely the prettier of the two!

Corned Beef Hash

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

by Ruth Reichl

Serves 4

1 pound russet potatoes

1 pound piece cooked corned beef, cut into chunks

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4" pieces

salt and black pepper

1/4 cup heavy cream

4 large eggs

 Peel potatoes and cut into 1/4 inch dice. Cook in a saucepan of boiling well-salted water to cover until just tender, about 3 minutes; drain.

Pulse corned beef in a food processor until coarsely chopped. 

Heat butter in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over moderately high eat until foam subsides. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in corned beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Add cream and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Make 4 depressions in hash and break 1 egg into each. Reduce heat to moderately low and cook, covered, until eggs are cooked to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes. Season eggs with salt and pepper and sprinkle parsley over hash.


Sunday, March 12, 2023

Ruth Reichl's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies {One Of The Best Oatmeal Cookies Out There}

I am a self confessed cookie lover and oatmeal cookies are right at the top of the list. 

I love plain oatmeal cookies, oatmeal raisin, oatmeal chocolate chip, oatmeal trail mix, and ice oatmeal cookies. You get the picture. I haven't met an oatmeal cookie I haven't liked.

The oatmeal gives the cookie some heft and chew. It makes the cookie more substantial. It makes it mor healthy, right?

Yes, oatmeal cookies are healthy. And, since oatmeal is breakfast food, we can eat oatmeal cookies for breakfast, right?

Now there are many different types of oatmeal cookies, but Ruth Reichl's recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook is heavy on the oatmeal. In fact it was a little difficult to get the dough to come together and I found that I had to mix the dough more than I usually would. 

Ruth said I could add chocolate chips, but I wanted to add chocolate chunks so I cut up a 4 ounce bar of semisweet chocolate. This was just the right amount of chocolate for a chocolate lover. If you want just a little bit of chocolate, use less.

Believe it or not, I am rather impatient and can't be bothered to stand in front of a stove turning out batches upon batches of cookies until I make 2 dozen. Instead, I got a 1/4 cup measure and made 12 big cookies in two batches. I baked them 6 minutes on the bottom rack and then 6 minutes on the top rack, and let them cool on the pan for 5 minutes.

If you love oatmeal cookies, these are total perfection! And I mean that. We inhaled them. They are literally the best! They are my new go-to oatmeal cookie recipes! In fact, I'm going to try making them again with the gluten free flour for my son! 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

by Ruth Reichl

Makes about 2 dozen

1-3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon*

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) butter, softened

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips and or chocolate cut from a bar

*NOTE: I omitted the cinnamon since I added the chocolate!

Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375F. Butter two large baking sheets. 

Stir together oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add oat mixture and chocolate and beat until just combined.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart onto buttered baking sheets and flatten mounds slightly with moistened fingers. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 12 minutes total. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

 Spring Is In The Air @ IHCC


Sunday, March 5, 2023

Ina Garten's Outrageous Garlic Bread


Right now everyone is sick: stomach viruses, Covid, flu, strep, cold viruses, an outburst of chickenpox and shingles, major cases of pink eye and every other sickness known to man. On top of dealing with all that we also have to deal with hurricanes and crazy weather. In a landlocked state. Hurricanes in Kentucky. 

On Friday we didn't have school due to the weatherman predicting high end tornadoes across the state, along with severe thunderstorms. The weatherman literally encouraged people to get a whistle and take it to their "safe space" so they could blow the whistle if they were buried in rubble. That's always a refreshing thought.

Since we have no basement we sat in fear for 12 hours, whistleless, and full of anxiety. We never got the severe thunderstorms. In fact, it never really rained much at all. We also never got the high end tornadoes. Thank God. What we did get instead was pretty much a hurricane. I'm not kidding. The weatherman actually showed a radar where it appeared that Kentucky was in the eye of a hurricane with hurricane force winds. No rain. No lightening. No thunder. Just straight up wind. Every time I looked out the window something big was flying in the air: fences, siding, roofs, lawn furniture, trampolines, street signs, telephone poles...all causing widespread power outages. All I heard was wind and sirens. We are very lucky to be okay and not have any severe damage, but it was all very unsettling. 

I don't know about you, but I am tired of living in unprecedented times. I'm not interested in making any history books and I'd just like things to return to the regularly scheduled program..

The kind of program where I can return to living my best life, eating spaghetti and this OUTRAGEOUS GARLIC BREAD and just enjoy myself. 

I mean who doesn't love to sink their teeth into some hot crusty bread oozing with garlic buttery Parmesan cheese-laden herby goodness? It's like total comfort food and we all need comfort food right now.

Outrageous Garlic Bread

Adapted from Modern Comfort Food

by Ina Garten

Makes 8 servings

12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) butter

1 head garlic, cloves separate and peeled*

1 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest*

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

salt and black pepper

1 (20 to 24-inch long) crusty French baguette

Fleur de sel or sea salt

Preheat the oven to 450F. 

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic, stir to coat with the butter, and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is very tender. (*Note: I prefer my garlic roasted in lieu of being cooked down on the stovetop so I roasted my head of garlic by removing the loose garlic skin around the head, cutting the top 1/4" off the garlic, coating in a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and wrapping in foil. I placed it in the oven at 400F for about 40 minutes - then I followed the following steps). Transfer to a small bowl and set aside until cool enough to handle. Mash the garlic in the butter with a fork. Stir in the Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, 1-1/2 teaspoons (I would seriously cut back on the salt here) salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Slice the baguette in half lengthwise and place both halves, cut sides up, on a cutting board. Score each half diagonally (don't cut all the way through) in large serving-size pieces. Spoon all of the garlic mixture generously on the cut sides of the bread. Cut each half of the baguette in half crosswise along a score and place the 4 pieces on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the topping is bubbly and starting to brown and the bread is crisp. Transfer to a board, cut in serving pieces along the scores, sprinkle with fleur de sel, and serve warm.