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My Recipes-of-the-Week are featured here on my Home page. You can find 2000 of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch over 125 Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. "We are all in this food world together." ~Melanie

01/22/2020

~Pretty-in-Pink Tiny-Shrimp Dip, Salad & Sandwiches~

IMG_8508Americans love shrimp.  Shrimp, the fruit of the sea, is America's favorite seafood.  When it comes to shrimp, while big is always better served in a shrimp cocktail, when making deep-fried shrimp, and, in specialty dishes like firecracker shrimp, that's just not so when it comes to making many appetizers and hors d'oeuvres (shrimp dip,  shrimp salad, tea sandwiches, various canapés, etc.).  Extra-small shrimp, also known as "salad shrimp", are sweet, tender and adorable, so, when serving fingerfood, think small, because the extra flavor is important.

IMG_8252Once upon a time, people bought salad shrimp packed in cans (similar to tuna).  That's ok.  That's how things were done before flash freezing came along, and freezer- trucks and train-cars criss-crossed our country.  It was also before in-home refrigerators had an ample freezer section and households invested in chest- or stand-type freezers.  When my mom got a freezer IT was a big deal. When frozen salad shrimp became available to her, she never bought the canned again.  Why?  Next to fresh, flash-frozen is superior.

If given the choice between between flash-frozen or canned shrimp, always choose flash frozen. Flash-frozen shrimp have better texture than canned shrimp (which are soft from immersion in water).  Flash-frozen shrimp taste better than canned shrimp (which are salty, even after rinsing).

IMG_8260Flash-frozen extra-small shrimp (a 90/200 count), are fully-cooked and ready to use upon thawing, which is a relatively quick and easy process. According to all package directions, there are two options for thawing:

#1)  Place frozen shrimp in a bowl of room temperature water for 10 minutes.  #2)  Place frozen shrimp in a colander under cold running water until thawed, about 15 minutes.

The first option renders cold-to-room temperature shrimp, which is great for making a shrimp dip or a spread. The second option renders ice-cold shrimp, which is great when tossing shrimp directly into a salad.  

Thawed and thoroughly-drained salad shrimp store nicely in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Puttin' on the Ritz, Retro Salad-Shrimp Dip Revisited:

IMG_8315Time out for Tiny Salad-Shrimp-Salad Sandwiches:

IMG_8404Time out for Tiny Shrimp & Tiny Shells Pasta Salad:

IMG_8451Spicy Tiny Salad-Shrimp Mini Shrimp-Cocktail Cups:

IMG_8542"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)

01/20/2020

~ Spicy Tiny Salad-Shrimp Mini Shrimp-Cocktail Cups ~

IMG_8542Shrimp cocktail.  Two ingredients.  Shrimp and cocktail sauce.  To be more specific, succulent, perfectly-cooked and chilled tails-on shrimp served with a spicy ketchup and horseradish concoction for dipping.  When it comes to shrimp for classically prepared shrimp cocktail, big is always better. That said, if you're looking for an impressive addition to your next appetizer buffet, put out a tray of mini shrimp-cocktail cups.  Count the seconds until they disappear. 

IMG_8252Extra-small shrimp, also known as "salad shrimp", are sweet, tender and adorable, so, when serving fingerfood, think small, because the extra flavor is important. Flash-frozen extra-small shrimp (a 90/200 count), are fully-cooked and ready to eat or use in recipes upon thawing, which is a relatively quick and easy ten-minute process.  

One ounce of thawed salad shrimp contains approximately 8-10 salad shrimp, so, one 12-ounce bag is enough to make and serve one dozen two-three bite appetizers. 

IMG_852312  ounces salad shrimp, thawed as directed below

1/2  cup Heinz chili sauce 

1/4  cup Heinz ketchup

2  tablespoons horseradish

1  teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or high-quality bottled lemon juice not from concentrate

1  teaspoon Worcestershire 

1/4  teaspoon Tabasco sauce, more or less, to taste

mini-flatbread or crackers, for accompaniment & garnish

IMG_8260 IMG_8260~ Step 1. To thaw the shrimp, place the frozen shrimp in a colander in the sink.  Run cold water through them for 3-5 minutes.  Set aside for 3-5 minutes, or, a minute or two longer if necessary. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and pat dry.

IMG_8526 IMG_8526 IMG_8526 IMG_8526 IMG_8526~Step 2.  In a 1-cup measuring container, stir together the ingredients for the cocktail sauce: the chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and tobasco.  Transfer the shrimp to a medium bowl.  Using a rubber spatula, add and fold the cocktail sauce into the shrimp.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Serve chilled garnished w/mini-flatbread or crackers:

IMG_8546Spicy Tiny Salad-Shrimp Mini Shrimp-Cocktail Cups:  Recipe yields 1 dozen mini shrimp cocktails.

Special Equipment List:  colander; 1-cup measuring container; spoon; rubber spatula

6a0120a8551282970b0240a5027bfb200bCook's Note: How does shrimp sizing work?  In a shrimp shell -- it doesn't.  There is no industry standard for it. One vendor's medium, may be another vendor's extra-large and vice versa.  This explains why many new-to-shrimp buying cooks are confused by these seven words:  extra-small, small, medium, large, extra-large, jumbo, colossal.  When purchasing shrimp, the most important words to know aren't words at all, they are numbers: ~ Purchase Shrimp by their Count, not by their Size ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)

01/18/2020

~ Time out for Tiny Shrimp & Tiny Shells Pasta Salad ~

IMG_8451Got a mid-day snack attack?  Think small. Pretty in pink, tiny salad shrimp are sweet, tender and adorable.  I only use them occasionally in very specific recipes, like shrimp dip to serve as an appetizer, and shrimp salad for making sandwiches, but, sometimes I like to turn my shrimp salad into a pasta salad, and tiny shell-shaped pasta are the perfect foil to make it happen. Served in a small bowl, this little nosh staves off hunger pangs without almost any guilt. 

Once upon a time, people bought salad shrimp packed in cans (similar to tuna).  That's ok.  That's how things were done before flash freezing came along, and freezer- trucks and train-cars criss-crossed our country.  It was also before in-home refrigerators had an ample freezer section and households invested in chest- or stand-type freezers.  When my mom got a freezer IT was a big deal. When frozen salad shrimp became available to her, she never bought the canned again.

Americans love shrimp.

IMG_8446Shrimp, "the fruit of the sea", is America's favorite seafood.

IMG_8252When it comes to shrimp, while big is always better served in a shrimp cocktail, when making deep-fried shrimp, and, in specialty dishes like firecracker shrimp, that's just not so when it comes to making shrimp dip or shrimp salad.  Interestingly, small shrimp are sweeter, and, when mixed into a shrimp dip or a salad, the extra flavor is important. There's more.  Extra-small shrimp, also known as "salad shrimp", are seriously easy to work with. They're fully-cooked and flash-frozen, and, they thaw under cold running water (in a colander) in 8-10 minutes.

To make my tiny shrimp & tiny shells pasta salad:

IMG_835012  ounces salad shrimp, thawed as directed below

8  ounces small-shell pasta, cooked, drained, rinsed and "dried" as directed below (2 cups)

3/4  cup small-diced celery (12 tablespoons)

1/3  cup small-diced onion (about 6 tablespoons)

1/3  cup red bell pepper (about 6 tablespoons)

1/2  cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Heinz chili sauce

1  teaspoon Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire sauce

1/2  teaspoon high-quality, not from concentrate, lemon juice

1/4  teaspoon each:  celery seed, sea salt and ground cayenne pepper

IMG_8260 IMG_8260~ Step 1. To thaw the shrimp, place the frozen shrimp in a colander in the sink.  Run cold water through them for 3-5 minutes.  Set aside for 3-5 minutes, or, a minute or two longer if necessary. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and pat dry.

IMG_8384 IMG_8384 IMG_8384 IMG_8384~Step 2.  To cook, drain and dry the pasta, in a 4-quart saucepan, bring 2 1/2-3 quarts of water to a boil.  Add 1 tablespoon sea salt.  Add pasta shells.  Adjust heat to simmer until shells are al dente, 8-9 minutes.  Do not overcook pasta.  Drain into a colander and immediately rinse pasta under cold water, combing through it with your fingers to be sure all the starch rinsed out of it. Place the colander over a plate and set aside to drain and "dry" the pasta of all moisture, about 10-15 minutes, giving the colander a thorough shake every 2-3 minutes throughout the process.

IMG_8357 IMG_8357 IMG_8357 IMG_8357 IMG_8357 IMG_8357 IMG_8423 IMG_8423~Step 3. Place shrimp in a medium-large bowl. Small dice the celery, onion and bell pepper as directed, adding them to the bowl as you work.  To make the dressing, in a small bowl, place and stir together the mayo, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and seasonings.  Add dressing to bowl of shrimp and veggies.  Using a rubber spatula, thoroughly fold the dressing into the shrimp while tossing the vegetables throughout the salad.  Add and fold the pasta shells into the mixture.  Cover and refrigerate two hours or overnight, to allow flavors time to marry.

Store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days...

IMG_8433... & stave off snack attacks in small portions for 4-5 days.

IMG_8499Time out for Tiny Shrimp & Tiny Shells Pasta Salad:  Recipe yields 5-5 1/2 cups pasta salad.

Special Equipment List: colander; paper towels; cutting board; chef's knife; rubber spatula; 4-quart saucepan

6a0120a8551282970b0240a4ddaa51200dCook's Note: How does shrimp sizing work?  In a shrimp shell -- it doesn't.  There is no industry standard for it. One vendor's medium, may be another vendor's extra-large and vice versa.  This explains why many new-to-shrimp buying cooks are confused by these seven words:  extra-small, small, medium, large, extra-large, jumbo, colossal.  When purchasing shrimp, the most important words to know aren't words at all, they are numbers: ~ Purchase Shrimp by their Count, not by their Size ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)

01/15/2020

~ Time out for Tiny Salad-Shrimp-Salad Sandwiches ~

IMG_8404I grew up in an era when tea sandwiches were in vogue.  At every festive gathering, one could count on at least one three-tier tray of tea sandwiches.  Some might argue they're still in vogue, but, I can't remember the last time I was offered a tea sandwich.  These tiny shrimp salad sandwiches aren't exactly tea sandwiches (which are made using crustless white bread), but, I'm willing to classify them as such, as, they're too classy to classify in the slider-sandwich category.

Once upon a time, people bought salad shrimp packed in cans (similar to tuna).  That's ok.  That's how things were done before flash freezing came along, and freezer- trucks and train-cars criss-crossed our country.  It was also before in-home refrigerators had an ample freezer section and households invested in chest- or stand-type freezers.  When my mom got a freezer IT was a big deal. When frozen salad shrimp became available to her, she never bought the canned again.

America loves shrimp.

IMG_8397Shrimp, "the fruit of the sea", is America's favorite seafood.

IMG_8252When it comes to shrimp, while big is always better served in a shrimp cocktail, when making deep-fried shrimp, and, in specialty dishes like firecracker shrimp, that's just not so when it comes to making shrimp dip or shrimp salad.  Interestingly, small shrimp are sweeter, and, when mixed into a shrimp dip or shrimp salad, that extra flavor is important. There's more.  Extra-small shrimp, also known as "salad shrimp", are seriously easy to work with. They're fully-cooked and flash-frozen, and, they thaw under cold running water (in a colander) in 8-10 minutes.

To make my tiny, dainty, salad-shrimp tea sandwiches:

IMG_835512  ounces salad shrimp, thawed as directed below

3/4  cup small-diced celery

1/3  cup small-diced onion (about 6 tablespoons)

1/3  cup red bell pepper (about 6  tablespoons each)

1/2  cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Heinz chili sauce

1  teaspoon Lee & Perrin's Worcestershire sauce

1/2  teaspoon high-quality, not from concentrate, lemon juice

1/4  teaspoon each:  celery seed, sea salt and ground cayenne pepper

2  16-ounce containers Pillsbury Grand's Southern-homestyle biscuits, baked as directed below (Note:  Biscuits are best served within a few hours or the same day they are baked, meaning, if refrigerating the salad overnight, do not bake the biscuits a day ahead too.)

IMG_8325 IMG_8325 IMG_8325 IMG_8325 IMG_8325 IMG_8325 IMG_8325 IMG_8325~Step 1.  To bake the biscuits, line 2 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans with parchment paper.  Open one packages of the biscuits.  Working one a time, place each biscuit on a cutting board.  Using a small rolling pin and and a VERY light touch, flatten the stop "just a bit".  Using a 1 1/2" biscuit cutter, cut each biscuit into three discs, placing the discs on the prepared pan (I place 2 dozen on each pan).  Bake on center rack of preheated 360º oven 11-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Repeat process with second package of biscuits.

IMG_8260 IMG_8260~ Step 2. To thaw the shrimp, place the frozen shrimp in a colander in the sink.  Run cold water through them for 3-5 minutes.  Set aside for 3-5 minutes, or, a minute or two longer if necessary. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and pat dry.

IMG_8357 IMG_8362 IMG_8362 IMG_8362 IMG_8362 IMG_8362~Step 3.  Place shrimp in a medium-large bowl. Small dice the celery, onion and bell pepper as directed, adding them to the bowl as you work.  To make the dressing, in a small bowl, place and stir together the mayo, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and seasonings.  Add dressing to bowl of shrimp and veggies.  Using a rubber spatula, thoroughly fold the dressing into the shrimp while tossing the vegetables throughout the salad.  Cover and refrigerate two hours or overnight, to allow flavors time to marry.  

Place a 3-4 shrimp-sized dollop onto each biscuit sandwich. 

IMG_8411Time out for Tiny Salad-Shrimp-Salad Sandwiches:  Recipe yields 2 1/2-3 cups shrimp salad/4 dozen appetizer-sized sandwiches; toothpicks

Special Equipment List:  2, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans; parchment; small rolling pin; 1 1/2" biscuit cutter; wire cooling rack; colander; paper towels; cutting board; chef's knife; rubber spatula

6a0120a8551282970b0240a4ddaa51200dCook's Note: How does shrimp sizing work?  In a shrimp shell -- it doesn't.  There is no industry standard for it. One vendor's medium, may be another vendor's extra-large and vice versa.  This explains why many new-to-shrimp buying cooks are confused by these seven words:  extra-small, small, medium, large, extra-large, jumbo, colossal.  When purchasing shrimp, the most important words to know aren't words at all, they are numbers: ~ Purchase Shrimp by their Count, not by their Size ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)