Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Two Great Appetizers

I've been meaning to post these recipes for about two weeks but, as I mentioned in my last post, I've been so busy with my summertime roll as the DamFam Taxi Driver and other summer stuff that my poor blog is suffering from lack of attention.

We're settling in to a summer routine; I have all the kid's daily schedules just about memorized, so I'm not as afraid of leaving someone somewhere or forgetting my carpool duties like I was last week! My oldest is away at tennis camp so that's one less kid in the whole driving equation, but the others have swim team, synchro practice, tutoring, and tennis, so we're still hoppin' around here.

One of the most frustrating aspects of the summer hubbub is the lack of cooking that's going on in a corner of my kitchen! Just for an example, yesterday I got so involved in a gardening project that I didn't even realize it had gotten to be 5:00, and had no idea what we were going to have for dinner, so we ended up going out (for about the fifth time in a week, which I'm embarrassed to report!). I have to get better at my mealtime organization, but squeezing trips to the grocery store in between all this taxi driving is proving difficult this summer.

Anyway, here are two great summertime appetizer recipes for you. I took these to a cookout a couple of weeks ago and they were both a huge hit! Serve 'em up with some cold beers or a light summer wine ...... yum!

Confetti Shrimp
Serves: 6-8
Source: I honestly cannot remember. I have this recipe scribbled on a piece of notebook paper so I must have gotten it from a friend at some point!

1 1/2 lbs. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (I try to use the biggest ones I can find)
olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. minced ginger
1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. fresh lime juice
1/4 c. chopped chives or scallions, plus additional for garnish
1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped

Lemon and lime wedges for garnish

Place a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan (maybe a tablespoon or so?). Saute the shrimp for two minutes, or until cooked through. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and set aside in a glass bowl.

Add a little bit more oil to the pan and saute the garlic and ginger until golden. Remove from heat. Add in the citrus juices; stir to combine. Pour this mixture over the shrimp, season with salt, and toss to coat. Chill for two to three hours, stirring occasionally. Add bell pepper and chives, toss to combine. Pour onto a pretty platter, garnish with additional chives and citrus wedges.

Serve with cocktail picks, and don't forget to put out a little bowl for the tails
Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto
Serves: 6?
Source: Food Network & Giada De Laurentis

1 lb. asparagus (about 19 stalks), trimmed
1 T. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6-8 paper thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise
Grated Parmesan to garnish (if desired)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Snap the dry stem ends off of each asparagus and place on a heavy baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss. Roast until the asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Wrap each asparagus with one piece of prosciutto, exposing the tips. Arrange on a platter and garnish with grated Parmesan (if desired); and serve at room temperature.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Summer Bummer

".....And the rain rain rain came down down down
In rushing, rising riv'lets
And the river crept out of it's bed
And rushed right in to Piglet's....."

This is the little tune I'm singing to myself this morning as I depart from the usual food discussion in order to report on what's been happening here in good old Mil-wau-kay. As they say in the Hundred Acre Wood, things are getting floodier and floodier!

Just wanted to show everyone HOW MUCH WATER there is! It's crazy! These are pictures of our summer cottage on Lac La Belle, a (normally!) very pretty lake about 45 minutes from our house in Milwaukee. The picture below shows the view from our street side. Wish I had a shot of the fish swimming in the yard and the minnows around the car!

All winter long we look forward to hot summer weekends spent swimming, boating and hanging out with friends here at the lake. I'm not blogging about this to complain or whine; I know that for our family, this flood is mostly just a very big inconvenience and disappointment. There are many people throughout the midwest (and here in Milwaukee) for whom things are absolutely devastating. We don't have raw sewage in our basement like some folks, and we don't live near a farm like some of those poor people in Iowa who have piggy poop and other nastiness floating about. Yuck.

This is a shot from the edge of our deck. You can tell that tree isn't really supposed to be growing in the middle of the lake! Over yonder is the bench where I like to sit while I have my coffee in the morning (and my margaritas at night!). It's going to be hard to get out there, since the dock is under water!

The sheriff came by yesterday afternoon and said the lake will probably rise an inch or two more before the water starts to recede, which means we will definitely end up having some water in the cottage. After that I have absolutely no idea how long it will take before the yard dries up...we're really going to need about 10 days of 90 degree heat for that to happen. That could be the middle of July for all I know!

Back to food posts shortly. I've been 'swamped' (literally and figuratively) with school getting out last week and all the kid's summer activities that began this past Monday. I've spent a very good deal of time in my car this week, shuttling kids from one place to another, and I'm looking forward to this weekend!