Updated Less-Spicy Shrimp St. Louis

I have updated my Spicy Shrimp St. Louis to be slightly less spicy for those who don’t enjoy spice as much as I do. I also served the dish with pasta instead of rice.

Less-Spicy Shrimp St. Louis
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Serves 4

2 pounds large Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp Creole seasoning
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp thyme
1/8 tsp dried rosemary
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 green onions, finely sliced
1 orange bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, juliened
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 1/2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cup low-sodium seafood or shrimp stock
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 ½ cups medium picante sauce
12 cherry tomatoes
1 – 2 Tbsp arrowroot
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Al dente whole wheat spaghetti pasta, for serving
Green onion greens, chopped, for garnish

Combine one pound of the shrimp, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and Creole seasoning in a large bowl, toss and chill for at least 30 minutes. Leave the remaining shrimp unseasoned and chill.

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat 3 tablespoons of oil. In batches, saute the unseasoned shrimp until just cooked through. Set aside. Add oil as necessary. In batched, saute the seasoned shrimp until just cooked through. Set aside.

Add the onion to the Dutch oven and soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the pot with wine. Simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the wine to reduce by about half. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven with the onions and add the herbs. Add the onions, green onions, peppers, diced tomatoes, seafood stock, lemon juice and zest and adjust heat to low. Mix well to make sure all ingredients are incorporated into sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

Cover Dutch oven and cook over low heat for 1 hour. Thicken the sauce to desired consistency using a slurry of water and arrowroot. Add picante sauce, whole cherry tomatoes, and reserved shrimp and accumulated juices, mixing thoroughly. Cook for 5 minutes more to warm the shrimp.

Serve pasta topped with shrimp and sauce. Add garnish with green onion tops and grated parmesan cheese.

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Braised Pork Chops with Mushrooms and New Potatoes

Braised Pork Chops with Mushrooms and New Potatoes is a perfect dish for the chilly evenings of Fall in the Midwest. This one-dish meal is very easy to prepare. Add some warm bread to sop up the braising liquid and relax by the fireplace.


Braised Pork Chops with Mushrooms and New Potatoes
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Serves 4

4 3/4-inch-thick bone-in pork chops
4 Tbsp flour
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
4 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium, fat free chicken stock
1 Tbsp tomato paste
12 new potatoes, quartered
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme

Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until it shimmers. Season both sides of each pork chop with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour. In batches, brown the pork chops on both sides. Set aside.

In the same Dutch oven, saute the onions for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, cook until they release their liquid and begin to brown slightly. Add carrots and white wine and deglaze. Add stock and simmer over medium-low heat until reduced by about half. Add tomato paste, potatoes, oregano and thyme. Re-season with salt and pepper. Submerge the pork chops in the braising liquid. Cover and braise over low heat for at least 30 minutes.

Serve in shallow bowls with warm, crusty bread.

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Garlic Grilled Shrimp with Summer Vegetables

Garlic Grilled Shrimp with Summer Vegetables is a refreshing dish that can be served warm immediately with a grain or later as a chilled salad. Leftovers can be used to build beautiful Po-Boy sandwiches.


Garlic Grilled Shrimp with Summer Vegetables
(Mark Kelly)

Serves 4 to 6

2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp dry white wine
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 cup minced onion
10 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
10 mixed small sweet red, yellow and orange peppers, stemmed, seeded, and halved
1 large red onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
3 medium zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick

To prepare the marinade: Combine 2 tablespoons oil with wine, lime juice, minced onion, garlic, parsley, Cajun Seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Marinate the shrimp for no more than 20 minutes before grilling and place the shrimp on skewers for grilling. Shake away any excess marinade before grilling to ensure caramelization.

Preheat grill for indirect cooking over medium heat. In a large zip-top plastic bag, toss the vegetable with oil, salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables in a grill basket, stirring occasionally until the edges are beginning to brown and the vegetables are al dente, about 20 minutes. During the final 10 minutes, grill the shrimp, turning once.

Serve with rice or couscous.

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Roasted Eggplant Caponata

Roasted Eggplant Caponata is a vinegary-salty, versatile dish. It can be used as a cold or warm dip with crackers, pita or fresh vegetables. It can also be used as a side dish along with grilled poultry or pork.


Roasted Eggplant Caponata
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

2 medium eggplant (about 2 pounds total)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup mixture green and Kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
5 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
3 Tbsp minced cilantro
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
Juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp drained capers, whole
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp anchovy paste
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cojita cheese (can substitute finely grated parmesan or romano)

Preheat oven to 400F. Place the eggplants on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, rub them generously with oil, and pierce them with a skewer or meat fork. Roast for 50 minutes, until the eggplant is very soft. Set aside to cool for at least 30 minutes. Peel the eggplant, discarding the skin, and chop into large cubes.

In a medium skillet over medium heat softened the onions along with the red pepper flakes. Add garlic and cook for one minute more. Transfer to a large bowl. Wipe the skillet clean and toast the pine nuts. Add the pine nuts to the bowl.

In a food processor, pulse eggplant with the olives until coarsely chopped. Add to the bowl. Add the cilantro, lemon juice, capers, tomato paste, anchovy paste, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and cheese. Fold the caponata together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

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Pesto, Red Pepper, Onion, Goat Cheese and Mortadella Pizza

Pesto, Red Pepper, Onion, Goat Cheese and Mortadella Pizza is another pizza without a tomato-based sauce. A thin spread of pesto serves as the sauce.


Pesto, Red Pepper, Onion, Goat Cheese and Mortadella Pizza
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

1 cup basil pesto
1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strip
1/2 large yellow onion, halved and then sliced thin
8 oz. fresh goat cheese
6 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella
4 thin slices mortadella
Pizza Dough (See previous post titled “The Best Pizza Dough”)
Extra-virgin olive oil

Saute the pepper and onion in a large skillet over medium heat until the vegetables are just softened.

Place baking stone or baking steel in the oven and preheat the oven to 500F.

On a flour-dusted cutting board, roll out the pizza dough and brush the edges generously with oil. Spread the pesto over the entire dough to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Layer the sauteed vegetables over the pesto. Place the sliced mortadella on the pizza overlapping them slightly, if necessary. Top with crumbled goat cheese and the shredded mozzarella.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

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