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I stress ate my way through April and May, so not a lot of great cooking was going on.

Moving on…

June!

This weekend was good for trying new things without a recipe.

Saturday night I defrosted some shrimp from Whole Foods I had gotten weeks ago and never used, and was determined to cook them.  I’m a little scared of cooking seafood, and shrimp too- I need shrimp to be just right for me to enjoy them.  Just right.

I tossed these little suckers in some Drew’s Italian Dressing and threw ’em on the Gridle that Matt was searing a nice peice of meat on.  They cooked up quickly, and I “patting self on back” took them off in perfect time.  I ate them up greedily with some steamed snap peas and fresh bread with olive tapenade.  YUM.  I will definitely be making shrimp again, and have a recipe I’d like to try out for them!

Tonight, we wanted something light and I needed to pick some basil (so the plants keep prospering!) and had bought a pack of mixed heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joe’s so a quick trip to the store yielded a ball of mozzerella and away we went!  I chopped up the tomatoes, mozzerella and basil, tossed it all with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar added S&P and it was done.  So easy, and so delightful.  A delicious summer treat, that could only have been made better if they were homegrown tomatoes, someday!

So we’re off and running here again with my resolution- I’ve got a week in NH coming up and some cooking should get done!

Heirloom Tomato SaladOh yeah, I made some cookies too- I’ve made this recipe before- second one on the page- so yummy and chocolatey!

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I knew I’d make up for my failing in January by cooking extra in February, and I did!  This is my 7th new recipe of the month, and it feels great!

We had some friends over for a post Bar Exam celebration on Wednesday night so I decided it would be a great time to open up the cookbook and choose a new recipe.  I pulled out my Whole Foods Cookbook since I knew I could shop there Wednesday afternoon.  First I wanted to try a Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken, but there were two goat cheese lovers and two goat cheese haters (I’m a lover, I can’t get enough of the stuff) so that was nixed.  I turned the page and found this recipe and knew it would be easy and yummy.  Luckily Matt is a recent cilantro convert so we had all Lovers in the bunch.

Whole Foods had great looking shrimp so I picked it up fresh, otherwise I probably would have used frozen.  I’ll be honest, I could tell the difference from when I’ve had both.  This shrimp was very pure and fresh tasting.

Basically for this recipe you do minimal chopping, the green onions and halving the cilantro and let the blender do the work.  The paste came out perfectly.  I layered it over the shrimp and stuck it in the fridge.  While I marinated I threw some Trader Joe’s fingerling potatoes in the oven with EVOO, S&P.  It was great to have the time to let them just roast.

After an hour the shrimp went in the pan, I ended up turning up the heat to high because it wasn’t cooking fast enough on Med-High- I think all the paste slowed down the heating process.

I plattered it all with the avocado, tomatoes and cilantro on top.  They were a great compliment to the shrimp and tasted great all paired together.  The one thing lacking was heat.  Next time I would leave the jalapeno seeds in, and might even throw another one in to the blender.  I also left out the cumin since I’m not a fan and swapped in cayenne – I couldn’t even taste the cayenne.

This recipe was so easy, it will definitely be a staple going forward- especially when I can get to Whole Foods at lunch for their great fresh ingredients!

Serves 6 (I served 4 with 1.5 pounds of larger shrimp)

Ingredients

1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1/3 cup sliced or whole almonds
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
6 green onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and halved
2 pounds medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 small avocado, thinly sliced
6 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Method

Set aside 6 sprigs of cilantro for garnish. Put remaining cilantro, almonds, 2 tablespoons of the oil, cumin, green onions, garlic, jalapeños, and 1/4 cup water in the bowl of a food processor or blender and puree until a smooth paste forms, about 1 minute.

Arrange shrimp in a wide, shallow dish and spread cilantro paste over them. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until pink and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and salt, and stir a few more times to scrape up any browned bits.

Transfer shrimp to a platter and garnish with reserved cilantro, avocados, and tomatoes.  (You really shouldn’t leave those out, they all pair really nicely together)

YUM

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