Week One: BBQ Shrimp and Grits

A few years back I started making food challenges for myself at the beginning of each year.  Two years ago I made the resolve to start eating locally. Last year I decided to record what I ate for dinner every night of the year. As lame and crazy as it sounds, I kept it up all year long and it eventually I started recording important events from each day along with my meals. 365 days later and I now have a fun journal of the past year. I can look back to almost any day and remember what was going on.  2012 was one heck of a year, I graduated from graduate school, Bill was gone for five months while he hiked the Appalachian Trail , I got my first salaried job (with health insurance!), I saw Radiohead in concert, made it through a hurricane, and ate many great meals with friends and family.


For my first dish of the year, the one that inspired the whole challenge, I made BBQ Shrimp with Corn Grits. BBQ Shrimp is one of those New Orleans dishes that I love but have never made at home because of the insane fat content. I think most traditional recipes call for a whole pound of butter per four servings.

Saturday morning I ran to the CBD Crescent City Farmers market with the intention of buying some goat meat and then running home. Along with the goat, I ended up buying 3 lbs of jumbo head on shrimp and my bag became too heavy to run home with… the shrimps were totally worth the lost exercise. I used a little over a pound to make this dish which made about three healthy portions.

To start I sautéed half of a small yellow onion, 3 cloves of garlic, in olive oil


Hanukkah Latkes and Chicken and Couscous Stew


As a child, I always loved Hanukkah because it meant it was time for chicken soup and latkes!


This past Saturday I made smitten kitchen latkes at a friends house for the first night of Hanukkah. This recipe produces the perfectly crisp, light potato pancakes.  My only additions were mixing local green onions into the batter, and serving them with honeyed greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Yum! Last year I made them with local sweet potatoes and they were just as delicious.

The stew I made for dinner for the second night of Hanukkah consisted of carrots, chicken, celery, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, and leftover thanksgiving gracy cooked down in homemade chicken stock. This was my first time using a slow cooker and I’m not so sure I am a fan. The chicken came out over cooked, and the broth was not at all rich. I tried to strain off some of the liquid and reduce it, but it ended up a bust. Perhaps I used the wrong setting on the machine. Either way, next time I will stick to my mothers chicken noodle soup recipe!

Cauliflower, Chard, and Chickpea Curry

ImageWhen I saw this golden cauliflower from Louisiana at the market I was very excited (yes I know that makes me a total weirdo). My boyfriend and I have decided to go vegetarian for the week and this cauliflower was a great addition to a meal that was both satisfying and yummy.

Cauliflower, Chard, and Chickpea Curry

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 golden head of cauliflower, cut into florettes

1 can of chickpeas

1 tomato

1 tbsp Vindaloo Curry Powder

1/2 can coconut Milk

2 cups swiss chard, cut into ribbons

Juice of 1 lime or lemon

cilantro to garnish

Saute the onion, ginger, and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the Cauliflower florettes, chickpeas, and the curry powder and let cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomato, 1 cup of water, and coconut milk and let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the chard and let cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the lime juice and salt to taste. Serve with brown jasmine rice, cilantro, and sriracha sauce.


Chicken and Pink Eyed Peas

2 cups pink eyed peas

1 cup chopped mushrooms (I used Portobello and they were fantastic)

1 bunch small turnips, cleaned and quartered

1 roasted red pepper, peeled and diced

1 green onion

1 cup chicken stock

½ tbsp butter

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp celery salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp cumin

dash cayenne

Boil the pink eyed peas for 30 minutes until they are soft enough to be squished under the backside of a spoon. Drain the peas and set aside. In a soup pot sauté the mushrooms, onion, and turnips in the butter until they are soft. Add the peas, red pepper, spices, and chicken stock to the pot. Simmer until the stock has reduced in a thick sauce. Serve with sliced  roasted chicken and red pepper and tahini sauce.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tahini Sauce

2 roasted red peppers, peeled and deseeded

1 tbsp tahini

½ tsp garlic salt

1 tsp chili garlic paste

juice from ½ a lime

1/3 cup good olive oil

With a hand blender, combine the peppers, tahini, salt, chili garlic paste, and lime juice. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the blender is going until fully incorporated.

Peach and Cane Syrup Greek Yogurt

As much as I love cooking with it, I am not a fan of plain, non fat greek yogurt for breakfast. I do however love the taste of fruit on the bottom individual yogurt cups despite the fact that they create a lot of trash and cost way more. This was my attempt to liven up a plain boring tub of fat free greek yogurt.

35.3 oz container of 0% fage greek yogurt

2 cups chopped peaches

2 tbsp peach preserves

4 tsp steens cane syrup

Combine yogurt, peaches, and preserves in a mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Divide evenly among four-five containers and drizzle with cane syrup.

Voila! I have breakfast for the week that is super easy to grab, and is even tastier with a sprinkle of granola on top. I can’t wait to try this with pumpkin puree and pecans for next week.

Baked Salmon and Veggies with a Tarragon Vinagrette

Yesterday afternoon I received my weekly produce box from Hollygrove Market and Farm. It included an herb that I hear a lot about but have never used- Tarragon. After a little bit of searching around on punchfork.com I decided to make a tarragon vinaigrette to go on top of our dinner of salmon and veggies from the box.


I ended up thinly slicing all of the vegetables and layering them on top of one another like in a lasagna or casserole


Then I topped the veggies with the salmon, rubbed it with some spices, and in the oven it went!


Baked Salmon and Vegetable Casserole

1 yellow squash

1 small tomato

1 zucchini

1 Portobello mushroom

2 Green onions

Tarragon Sprigs

16 oz coho salmon

1 cup whole wheat israeli cous cous

Tarragon Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice the vegetables (reserve some of the green onion tops) and layer them on top of one another in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with garlic salt and a few torn tarragon leaves. Place the salmon, skin side down, on top of the veggies. Coat the salmon with Dijon, cayenne, and paprika then sprinkle with green onion tops and tarragon. Bake the salmon for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. Serve on top of Israeli cous cous with tarragon vinaigrette.


Tarragon vinaigrette

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Juice of ½ of a lemon

Juice of ½ a Satsuma, plus leftover pulp

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

1/3 cup good olive oil

Combine mustard, juices, tarragon, and the chili garlic sauce in a jar. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking to incorporate.