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Soup Week: TCP’s Shrimp Bisque

Shrimp Bisque - Title Photo

It’s Soup Week – I feel warmer already. Nothing says winter & comfort better than soup, and this week 14 food bloggers joined mittens to warm up your week. Actually, I should say 15 cooks because this recipe is my husband’s. Seriously… it’s all him. We don’t call him The Complete Package for nothing, folks. He not only cooks, he is the Boss of Bisque. And this bisque is boss – it’s rich, it’s plush (if you can call a soup such a thing) and it’s heavenly. I swear it.

PS – Want to impress friends & family or blow their minds with a gourmet-quality shee-shee-foo-foo seafood soup? Well, this is the one. Not only is it ‘scrape the bowl’ fabulous, it’s fabulously easy to make. {our little secret}

The Complete Package’s Shrimp Bisque
3 tablespoons of good quality olive oil
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, shelled & deveined (save the shells)
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup dry white wine (TCP uses pinot grigio)
2 cups cooked white rice (great way to use leftover rice!)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 cubes of chicken bullion (or 1 1/2 tablespoons of granules)
1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups heavy cream

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp shells and cook until pink, stirring often to keep them from burning. Remove the shells with a slotted spoon and discard them, leaving all the shrimp-flavored oil in the pot (this creates a more flavorful base for your soup, so please don’t skip this step).

Add the peeled, deveined shrimp to the hot oil and cook, stirring often, until they turn pink and curl up (about 3 minutes). Remove them from the oil with your slotted spoon and place them in a bowl; cover and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium; add the butter, onion, carrot and celery to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the veggies are tender. Add the water, white wine, cooked rice, bay leaf, salt, cayenne pepper and chicken bullion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.

Turn off the stove and then remove the bay leaf from the soup. Add the can of diced tomatoes, juice included, and the cooked shrimp, stirring to combine. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until mostly smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can do this in your blender. Just work carefully and in small batches; be sure to cover the lid of your blender with a kitchen towel to prevent spatters. Be careful; the mixture will be hot!

Once blended, return the soup to the pot; stir in the cream and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Once it’s thoroughly heated, it’s ready to serve.

Shrimp Bisque

The Complete Package insists on serving this with hot buttered sourdough bread. And, as usual, he’s right. But please don’t tell him I said so.

Don’t forget to visit the other ‘souper’ Soup Week bloggers:

MONDAY:
Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Bread Bowls @ Comfortably Domestic
Hearty Vegetable Mexican Soup & Jalapeno Cornbread @ The Girly Girl Cooks
3 Bean & Spinach Soup @ The Hill Country Cook

TUESDAY:
Garbage Soup @ Munching in the Mitten
Gnocchi Pesto Soup @ La Petite Pancake

WEDNESDAY:
40 Clove Garlic Chicken Soup with Parmesan Croutons @ Country Cleaver
Sunchoke Soup with Gorgonzola & Honey Crostini @ Climbing Grier Mountain

THURSDAY:
Coconut Curry with a lot of Aloha @ The Grommom
Beef Bourguignon @ Bakeaholic Mama

FRIDAY:
Eat Live Run’s White Chicken Chili @ Tenaciously Yours
Arizona Mountain Soup with Cornbread @ Decadent Philistines

SATURDAY:
‘Fungus Among Us’ Mushroom Soup @ Kvetchin’ Kitchen
Pink Prosecco Soup – a dessert soup From My Sweet Heart

Nothing like a little dessert soup to wrap up Soup Week.
Great job, ladies! As always, it’s an honor to cook with you. And TCP.

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Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Food & Recipes

Dark Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies

Dark Chocolate, Dried Cherries & Toasted Pecans – all in one cookie!

Years ago, during a visit to Seattle, I fell in love with Chukar Cherries. More specifically, I fell in love with their dried cherries. So much so, I may have been gently escorted away from the free sample basket at the Pike Place Market.

Since then, I have tried to incorporate more dried cherries into my life, especially (it seems) when paired with dark chocolate. I made these cherry chocolate chip scones back in 2010. They were really tasty.

But the tide took a turn last year when my friend Kirsten sent me a box of Michigan cherries. Dried cherries. That’s when I took a step back and said, “Hold on. Michigan grows cherries, too?” That’s when Kirsten confirmed that yes, Michigan does indeed grow cherries. Really spectacular, gorgeous tart red cherries. And I fell in love all over again.

My first box of Michigan cherries – from The Cherry Republic

Last month, as part of our One Kitchen Many Hearts box exchange, Kirsten struck again by including another bag of dried cherries from Shoreline Fruits. They’re from her neck of the woods. Have mercy! They are world class – with a perfect balance of tart and sweet, dried yet plump. Now I’m not trying to start a war between the states, but I think Michigan cherries may just edge out Washington state cherries. Granted, it has been a few years since I’ve had a Washington dried cherry, and if the fine folks at Chukar want to send me a box just to settle this once and for all, I’m open to a side-by-side tasting. Until then, here’s my latest ode to the dried cherry. Paired with chocolate; as it should be.

NanaBread’s Dark Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies:
(makes approximately 36 cookies)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup good quality cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup extra-dark chocolate chips (I prefer Guittard)
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 cup dried cherries, chopped

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Using a mixer, beat the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts until fluffy. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating until well combined. Reducing the mixer to low speed, blend in the chocolate chips, toasted pecans and dried cherries. If you’re using a hand mixer, you may want to stir them in by hand, as the dough will be thick.

Oh, that dough… this would be great as brownies, too.

I like to bake cookies on those silicone baking mats, but if you don’t have them, line your baking sheet with parchment paper. I also like to use a medium-size ice cream scoop to shape my cookies. I absolutely love how perfectly uniform they turn out with a scoop. Don’t worry; you can also use a spoon. Drop golfball-size dough balls onto prepared sheets, approximately 3″ apart.

The key to perfectly uniform cookies – an ice cream scoop.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending how ‘done’ you like them. For soft chewy cookies, bake closer to 10 minutes. For cookies that are soft in the center and crispy around the edges, bake closer to the 12 minute mark. Remove from the oven, allow to cool on the pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove to parchment or waxed paper to finish cooling.

From there, you’re just a cold glass of milk away from a perfect cherry-laden fudge bliss cookie coma.

Do you have a favorite dried fruit you cook with? Coconut, blueberries, pineapple, figs, prunes or something tropical? I’d love to hear what inspires you. Feel free to include links to recipes in your comments. I’m always looking for something new to try or Pin. Please do share!

Recipe adapted from: http://zestycook.com/a-taste-of-heaven-double-dark-chocolate-cookies/

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