Pickled Shrimp Toast

Gotta boast in this post… this toast with the most (inspired by Edmund’s Oast)… is just awesome.

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I ate at Edmund’s Oast the first night that I was in Charleston, and the place was so me! The menu features EO’s own house-brewed beers, artisanal and creative small plates, and beautiful charcuterie boards. I sat at the “chef’s counter” in front of a large, open kitchen, and it was so much fun to watch all the action of these chefs at work. Plus the best part – sitting at the chef’s counter entailed getting little presents from the chefs!

And the beers were great. I’m always a fan of craft home-brews, and was perfectly pleased with my Edmund’s Oast Olde Ale, a malty, caramel-y brown aged in a cognac barrel for 6 months. Also enjoyed their Farrago No 2, a blend of four distinct beers imparting notes of blackberry, orange, cocoa and oak!

But if the beers were good, the food was UNREAL… I treated myself to their cornbread with rich honey butter (yumm), and their “Pickled Shrimp, EVOO rye bread, aioli”. It was ridiculously delicious. Yelpers agree with me. And you definitely will too, after giving this adapted recipe a try!

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Now this recipe has a lot of ingredients… but when I decided that I was going to be making it, I realized that I pretty much already had EVERYTHING I needed at home! (Just needed to buy fennel, lemons, and rye bread.) If you’re like me and live with a fairly standardly well-stocked kitchen, the process is a breeze, and the final product is finger-licking good. If you’re not, you might be able to get away with skipping some of the herbs/spices or using substitutes. It’s worth it. Mmm as I type, already wanting more of that rye, sturdy and crisp, topped with a makeshift garlic aioli… the shrimp, plump and seasoned… the veggies, adding a nice crunch, some beautiful color, and a bright freshness… Enjoy!

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Pickled Shrimp Toast

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 45 min prep, 24 hour inactive, 5 min assembly
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 yellow onion, halved
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used a package of frozen shrimp)
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • lemon peels, grated from 2-3 lemons
  • 1/3 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
  • large pinch allspice
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • rye bread slices
  • optional: fresh dill sprigs, or dried dill for garnish
Directions

  1. STEP ONE: POACHING In a large pot on high heat, combine the water, 1/4 salt, yellow onion, Old Bay seasoning, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium low and add the shrimp. Let shrimp cook about 3-4 minutes, then drain and remove the onion and bay leaves. When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, slice each piece in two, lengthwise.
  2. STEP TWO: VEGGIE PREP In a large bowl, combine red onion, fennel, red bell pepper, celery and sprinkle the teaspoon of salt on top. Let sit in room temperature about 30 minutes, tossing the veggies several times. Rinse the veggies and return to the bowl.
  3. STEP THREE: PICKLING PREP To the veggie bowl, add the shrimp, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon peels, EVOO, parsley leaves, allspice, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly to combine. Tightly pack mixture into airtight jars (I used four mason jars) and top off each container with some of pickling juice. Leave in fridge for around 24 hours.
  4. STEP FOUR: ASSEMBLY AND SERVE Take shrimp mix out and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before you want to serve. Remove the lemon peels. Using olive oil, lightly heat rye bread slices in a pan until hot and crisp on both sides. I also threw in my minced garlic to cook them a bit. Mix garlic and mayonnaise (tada! quick and easy makeshift aioli). Top each slice of bread with mayo mixture and a generous portion of your pickled shrimp and veggies. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs, if you have them. Enjoy!

Holy Kaprao!

kaprao

In August, I visited Thailand for a total of five days, and during that time, I ate kaprao a good three or four times. Fragrant, spicy spoonfuls of juicy ground pork, gooey fried egg and fresh basil. It’s addictive. It inevitably led to kaprao withdrawals back in Ann Arbor. Solution? Homemade kaprao in the lofty!

This dish is so fast and SO easy and SO delicious. Definitely going to be my go-to when I’m in need of a homemade Thai food fix.

Kaprao

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork (chicken would be good too!)
  • large handful basil leaves
  • 5-10 chilli peppers, finely chopped (we used local farmer’s market cayenne peppers)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • large pinch sugar
  • 1 fried egg, cooked rice

*Note – soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar is the base sauce for many, many Thai dishes! Once armed with these ingredients, you’re prepped to be able to keep making yummy Thai food, particularly noodles.

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a pan on high heat, then add garlic and chilli peppers (reserve a small amount for garnish) and stir for about 30 seconds.
    Wear an apron! Things get spattery :).
  2. Add ground pork and use a spatula to really smash the pork down into the oil, garlic, chillies. Break it up into small pieces.
  3. When the meat is almost done cooking, add the sauces and sugar (adjust amount to taste).
  4. Add the basil leaves, turn the heat off, and stir, letting the residual heat wilt the basil.
  5. Serve with warm rice (helps absorb some of the extra sauce and oil nom nom). Top with a fried egg and a sprinkle of fresh chillies. Squeeze of lime juice optional.

Super Superfood Smoothies

superfood smoothies

Living in Ann Arbor has definitely had its (good) influence on Hunter (boyfriend, roommate). These days, he practices yoga, bikes everywhere, brews his own beer… and makes these superfood smoothies! Like, SUPER superfood. Beyond the normal protein powder, flax, chia seeds… Maca powder? Hemp powder? Spirulina…? He spends about half an hour whipping these up for four days’ worth of easy weekday lunches, pairing a green smoothie with one of the protein-rich smoothies each day. Easy to make, easy to pack, easy to drink between his classes. And this week, I decided to give them a try myself!

Verdict – surprisingly tasty, extremely filling (kept me full until dinnertime). The Chocolate Banana Maca might as well be a dessert. Berry Power is more similar to the smoothies I used to make (basically the berry taste and color is most prevalent) and the tiny bite of ginger is refreshing. Lean & Green isn’t so bad either, for a green smoothie! The avocados weren’t quite ripe enough for my batch, but Hunter assures me that the texture is usually quite creamy.

And the mason jars are cute.

(Note – these are not meant to be low calorie foods!)

Chocolate Banana Maca

  • Servings: 2 mason jars
  • Time: 5 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

combine in blender

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup yogurt (plain or greek)
  • 1 scoop whey protein
  • 1 tbsp maca powder
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp flax
  • 2 bananas
  • 1tbsp coconut oil

Berry Power

  • Servings: 2 mason jars
  • Time: 5 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

combine in blender

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup yogurt (plain or greek)
  • 1/4 cup hemp powder
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 piece ginger (sliced)
  • 1 pound berries (I like using frozen blueberries)
  • optional: goji berries, camu camu powder

Lean & Green

  • Servings: 2 mason jars
  • Time: 5 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

combine in blender

  • 2 cups green tea (steeped)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 bunch kale/spinach
  • bit of extra water (as needed)