Posts tagged “farm to table

Shrimp Caesar Salad

Posted on October 24, 2012

Yesterday, I showed you the Romaine lettuce that was growing in my garden.

Today, I’m going to show you what I did with that lettuce.

I made a Caesar salad with homemade dressing and grilled shrimp. Caesar salads were created by the Italian restaurateur Caesar Cardini who, during a July 4, 1924 rush, wanted to create something great with the dwindling supplies at his San Diego, Calif. eatery. Using whole Romaine leaves, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, pepper and croutons, Cardini tossed the ingredients together tableside to create what has become a staple on many restaurant menus today. Ever since Cardini famously made do with his ingredients-starved kitchen, cooks have put their own twist on his simple masterpiece, adding chicken, seafood and sometimes even steak to the mix.

Because I live in Louisiana, I decided to use grilled shrimp.

So here’s what I did:

1. With my youngster’s help, I picked a bunch of Romaine leaves from my garden. Pretty, no?IMAG07802. Then, I peeled and deveined about a pound of 20-25 count shrimp.IMAG07773. Once that messy work was done, I cracked open this lemon pepper marinade (which officially makes this the “Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee” part of this post).


4. Then I poured the marinade on the shrimp and put it in the refrigerator for about a half-hour or so.IMAG07795. At that point, I informed my husband that the shrimp were officially his problem and that he should grill them so I could concentrate on how not to kill us with the semi-raw egg part of this exercise. He followed my directions while I ripped the Romaine into bite size pieces and then boiled an egg for precisely one minute. After that minute, I set aside the egg and got to work building the base of the dressing.

6. The New York Times Cookbook says you should use a wooden salad bowl for this next step, but I did not follow directions. I went rogue and used a ceramic bowl. And into that bowl, I sprinkled salt (to taste), crushed one garlic clove, and then blended it all together with 1 teaspoon of dry mustard, 1 tablespoon of Meyer lemon juice and Tabasco sauce (to taste).


7. After that, I added 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the above mixture, stirring it rapidly until it was well-incorporated. Then I added the Romaine leaves to the mixture, as well as 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. I cracked the semi-cooked egg on top of that, tossed the ingredients together, and got this:


8. I topped the above with grilled shrimp and here’s how it looked:

IMAG0783The salad was crisp and fresh, the dressing was bright and tangy, the shrimp were subtly sweet with a hint of mesquite smoke. Cardini’s recipe may have been driven by a crush of hungry diners, but the result remains one of the delicious little accidents of culinary history.


Posted on April 16, 2012

meyerlemonIt has been said that when life hands you lemons, you should turn them into lemonade. But what if life — or at least your husband — hands you Meyer lemons, which are sweeter and less acidic? This tree was planted in my backyard yesterday and I’ve already made a long list of things I want to make once these fruits turn yellow. Granted, the list is not this long, but it does include things like lemonade, lemon curd, lemon ice cream, preserved lemons and the like. Hopefully I can start featuring some of those experiments here before too long.

Happy Monday!

Basil Pesto

Posted on August 11, 2011


Up until a week or so ago, I was growing more basil than I could manage on my own. Lucky for me (I guess) some vile swarm of locusts took out an entire quadrant of my backyard vegetable garden. A shame, really. Because basil lemonade is seriously good.

But basil pesto is also good. So consider the above picture my little look on the bright side. I made it a week or so ago, using the remnants of my basil stash and this recipe from the June 2011 issue of Southern Living. It was a tasty end to my 2011 basil campaign.

Cucumber soup

Posted on August 3, 2011


If I can get some more cucumbers out of my remaining cucumber plant, I will be making cucumber soup again. It is cold and refreshing, which is a good thing because it is hot as blazes in South Louisiana right now. As you can see, I dressed mine up with a pretty parsley leaf because I was in the mood to be frilly. Even without the parsley leaf, the soup is a pretty shade of pale green.

Here is the recipe I used from Try it and let me know what you think.


Posted on July 21, 2011


This time last week I was excited about a barely visible honeydew melon in my backyard garden. Now I’m a lot more excited, a. because this melon is much easier to see and b. because it fits neatly in the palm of my hand. Another honeydew is forming just inches from where this one sits.

I’m licking my chops.

When I moved here a year ago,

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