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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me - Perogi is gone, so Hello Coconut Shrimp and Crab Cucumber Salad

Sorry - My bad.

I promised a post on the legendary perogi that my Mom makes for me every year just for my birthday. She made hundreds of them over the Labor Day weekend.

And I failed you with no perogi post. Why?

1.  She starts making them at 5-6AM. This is not something I can do... Maybe at, say....noon? But not before the sun comes up. So there are no photos or commentary on the actual "process".
2.  Because I was too busy eating the buttery heaven on my plate to even think to snap a photo. If you ate them, you would understand...and you would understand why they were all gone as of yesterday.

So, what I will do is...later (like six months from now?) make a very small batch and document from start to finish. Or wait until next year. I haven't decided...

Since my perogi are all digested, I was wondering what to make for dinner.  Mom did the menu for this week (Hello Meat!) and she is going out to dinner tonight so I can make whatever I want (Hello Seafood!).

I have $25 to my name and I want seafood....

I had a Plan A and Plan B when I walked into the grocery store this morning. Plan A won because Jumbo raw shrimp already deveined was on sale. One point for me.  Surimi was also on sale. Two points for me.

Everything for dinner was in the cart in less than five minutes.  Three points for me. I was on a roll.

When walking down one particular isle that I didn't even need to be walking down, I discovered point number four:

I love pumpkin beer(s), food(s) and anything else one could think to do with a pumpkin. Hey, orange is my favorite color, so this obsessive fascination with pumpkin makes sense to me. Don't think I didn't crack one of these babies open at the stroke of noon either...but only one, because I have to drive to school to pick up Little Lawyer later today.

And then it all screeched to a grinding halt.


I wanted to make a pumpkin cake.  Someone taught me a neat little trick once.  You take a 16 ounce can of pumpkin and mix it with water and either a boxed angel food or spice cake mix and you get the most delectible snacky cake anywhere.

I don't do birthday cake.  Not my thing. Not even ice cream cake. But pumpkin snack cake with whipped cream? Bring it on...

No canned pumpkin. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Denied...

Apparently there was not the best pumpkin crop last year and there is just no pumpkin until this year's harvest. Ugh. No one has it, either. I called around. Nope, no pumpkin here. I swear, I'm gonna buy 30 cans when they are put on the shelf this year....

So - back to dinner...we had Coconut Shrimp with an Orange dipping sauce, Crab (surimi) Cucumber Salad and steamed Sugar Snap Peas. And then I made Papa Bear drive to McDonalds for an Oreo McFlurry.

Coconut Shrimp with Orange Sauce

2 lbs jumbo shrimp (raw, peeled & deveined, tail on), butterflied
Oil for frying

1-1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 to 1/2 cups beer (I used my birthday present beer above)
3 tsp baking powder
2 cups shredded coconut

Orange Sauce:
1 cup orange marmalade
2 tsp stone ground mustard
2 tsp prepared horseradish
Pinch of salt

Combine Orange Sauce ingredients and set aside.

In medium bowl, combine eggs, 1 cup flour, beer and baking powder. Place 1/2 cup flour and coconut in two separate bowls. Holding the shrimp by tail, and dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg/beer batter; allow excess to drip off. Roll shrimp in coconut, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 degrees in a large skillet.

Fry shrimp in batches: cook, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Using tongs, remove shrimp to paper towels to drain. Serve warm with dipping sauce. 

Crab Cucumber Salad

Crab meat or surimi 
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced very thin
1 can bamboo shoots

2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp ponzu sauce
1 tbsp chili sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp minced ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp siracha
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil

Combine all dressing ingredients in blender except olive oil.  With the blender going, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Flake crab or surimi and season with salt. 

Spoon some dressing on bottom of serving plate. Add bamboo shoots and cucumber. Top with crab/surimi. Drizzle a little more dressing on top.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cake Cookies

I love cake cookies more than I love cake. I actually prefer a white cake to a chocolate cake, but these sounded better to me as chocolate in cookie form, so that's what I went with. Especially since Betty Crocker makes a chocolate fudge cake mix (which, until yesterday, I had no idea even existed...)

You'll need: a box of Betty Crocker Supermoist Chcocloate Fudge cake mix, creamy peanut butter, water, vanilla, eggs, butterscotch chips, frosting of your choice and a teeny bit of milk.

Combine the cake mix, peanut butter, water, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with medium speed for 3 minutes, or until combined. The peanut butter mucks up the mixer quite a bit, so be sure there is no more dry cake mix on the bottom or sides of the bowl.

Fold in the butterscotch chips.

Drop by tablespoon "blobs" onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-13 minutes at 375 degrees.

Let them cool completely.

Combine frosting and peanut butter in medium bowl.  The peanut butter will make the frosting much thicker, so I added a teaspoon or two of milk to thin it back out just a little.

Spread frosting over cooled cookies. You can decorate with sprinkles, leftover butterscotch chips, chocolate chips...whatever you have on hand. I had some leftover mini chocolate chips, so I used those.

Cake-y, chewy, peanut buttery chocolate goodness. As an added bonus (after I ate two, of course!), I am going to deliver a tray full of these cookies to Papa Bear at work and take some (after picking up Little Lawyer and her friend Trey at school) to Trey and his parents (I love his Mom, Debbi - she's so awesome!) just because it's Friday and they deserve a cookie.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cake Cookies

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist Chocolate Fudge cake mix
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup water
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups butterscotch chips
1 container of frosting (your favorite)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1-2 tsp milk or half-n-half

Combine the cake mix, peanut butter, water, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with medium speed for 3 minutes, or until combined. Drop by tablespoon onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-13 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool completely,

Combine frosting and peanut butter in medium bowl.  Add milk to thin out if needed. Spread over cookies.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September is for Zombies

Ah, September...

...30 days hath!
...Best Earth, Wind and Fire song ever!
...Labor Day three day weekend!
...School is in full swing.
...It's almost fall, my second favorite season.
...International Day of Peace on the 21st.
...Who doesn't love International Talk Like A Pirate Day on the 19th?
...My birthday (which means....Pirogi!!! Always legendary...)
...It's just that much closer to winter!
...Little Lawyer's birthday!

And there are quite a few more legendary thing to look forward to this September!

We will be in the Splatter Zone for Evil Dead: The Musical on September 3rd at the Venice Pinkerton Theatre! We are really excited about that...especially the kids! And, yes...we let our nine year old watch Evil Dead, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness. Bash if you must, but she likes....nay, loves...campy horror movies. She doesn't care for the scare-you-so-you-can't-fall-asleep stuff, but loves stuff like Evil Dead, Jaws, Lost Boys, and the like.  She knows it's all fake fun. You should see her do the Necronomicon! (Think along the lines of the Time Warp in Rocky Horror Picture Show...which, by the way, she does fantastically as well!)

As long as we are talking about Little Lawyer, I will bring up her birthday again.  Birthday traditions in our house include picking whatever you want for dinner and what kind of cake you want. She wants a full Fondue dinner, starting with cheese and bread, meat, seafood, and of course chocolate. Then she wants to do karaoke with a few friends.  She drew out the design she wants for her birthday cake:

So we will have our hands full with that.  Papa Bear does a great job with decorating a cake! We are still debating making the eyeball out of cake so we can eat it, or making it non-edible for a cake topper she can keep and scare people with later. Decisions, decisions.... I will, of course, post all about her birthday when it happens.

Full steam ahead planning begins for The Sarasota Zombie Pub Crawl - an event we started last year that went over really well.  It's zombies, beer, friends and fun - what more could one ask for? It's a lot of hard work, but it's so worth it. We made some really great friends last year, and can't wait to do it all again.

Our friends, Renee and Eric, are launching Shriekfreak Online - an interactive online indie horror community with tons of user submitted articles, reviews, interviews, news, art, merchandise and more. Seriously, check 'em out - It's going to be legendary! Eric asked if I would like to submit some articles and recipes for a kind of 'gruesome gastronomy' type feature. Not only am I honored that he would think to ask me, but I love a challenge, so I'm already thinking up some cool ideas! Little Lawyer's birthday cake might be my very first submission...

Speaking of Eric, I made these for his birthday last week:

These are Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Extra Stout Beer Foam and Chocolate Stout Icing. Yum. I found this recipe for the cupcakes and this recipe for the frosting, which I ended up tweaking. I followed the recipe for the glaze, but it made a ton of it, so instead of following the recipe for the icing, I used the remaining glaze as the base to make the frosting by adding the unsweetened chocolate and adding more powdered sugar until I got the consistency of icing I wanted. Eric loves him some Guinness and I figured that his birthday was the perfect excuse to make these! Although, I have been know to just show up at their door with food before for no apparent reason...but I digress. They don't seem to mind too much (they aren't chasing me away with a pitchfork or torch or anything like that...well, yet anyway). Renee, whose birthday is in September also, might end up with Irish Car Bomb cupcakes....

And look forward to my upcoming post on my birthday dinner - heaven floating in a plate of butter - Pirogi. Legendary.