Friday, August 27, 2010

A flower for Friday

A flower for you late on this Friday afternoon… have a wonderful weekend! Maybe I'll see you at the People's Arts Festival in Detroit? If not… let's chat Monday.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Drawing a dream car

1978 lemon yellow Volkswagen beetle convertible1978 lemon yellow Volkswagen beetle convertibleMy friend Rania's husband just bought his all-time dream car: a 1978 Volkswagen beetle convertible. He owned this same car when he was just twenty years old and always knew he wanted another. And what fun for me, Rania asked me to draw this new dream car for him as a gift. Have a look…

1978 lemon yellow Volkswagen beetle convertible

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

4th Annual People's Arts Festival

This weekend! August 28 & 29 • Free!
Russell Industrial Center • Detroit
Art! Music! Film! Performance!
Saturday, 11 a.m. – 12 a.m. • Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Flexitarian Table: Shrimp with Harissa

So sorry I forgot to mention that I would be away for a long weekend -- I had a great time in Chicago visiting with friends. To make up for the quiet on the blog front though, I have recipes for a whole meal to post!

I've been obsessing over a new cookbook I borrowed from the library: The Flexitarian Table by Peter Berley. The book focuses on flexible menus that can easily accommodate both vegetarian and non-vegetarian eaters with just slight changes in the prep. By interchanging vegetable proteins, such as tofu or eggs, for meats and applying the same recipe to both, Berley presents a wonderful array of meals that I am dying to try. The book is divided by season and most menus are geared toward two vegetarian servings and two- non veg servings, so it's easy to adjust for just two people. This is just the first of many meals I plan to make from from the book.

I was curious about the harissa in this recipe because I had made harissa once before with a very different texture. This has similar spices but without the red peppers and is the perfect accompaniment to tender shrimp. Delicious! There's a lot going on here, so read through everything first and if possible, do all your chopping and prep for the whole meal before starting to cook anything. The vegetarian version in the book served an egg on top instead of shrimp.

Shrimp in Harissa with Fresh Corn Polenta, Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes and Grilled Zucchini in Mint Oil
Serves 2.

1 1/2 cups water
1 Tb unsalted butter
1/2 tsp seal or kosher salt
1/2 cup medium corn grits
1/2 cup corn kernels (from 1 large or 2 small ears)
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced, white separated and reserved for tomatoes

Preheat oven to 200ยบ F.

In medium ovenproof saucepan, bring water to a boil over high heat. Add butter and salt, then stir in grits and corn and continue to stir until water returns to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until polenta is thick, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in scallion green, cover and transfer to oven to keep warm.

(Note: If you are broiling your shrimp, as I did, you won't be able to keep the polenta warm in the oven. Try to plan to have the polenta ready right before you broil the shrimp. Then simply keep the polenta covered on the back of the stove top -- burner off -- and it should stay plenty warm.)

2 tsp ground cumin, preferably toasted and freshly ground
1/2 tsp ground fennel, preferably toasted and freshly ground
1/2 tsp ground caraway, preferably toasted and freshly ground
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 tsp sea or kosher salt
5 Tb olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

In a medium bowl, stir together cumin, fennel, caraway, cayenne and salt. Whisk in olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Toss shrimp in mixture and marinate 10 to 15 minutes. Do not marinade for longer as the acid of the lemon will start to cook the shrimp and make it tough.

Preheat broiler or grill.

Thread shrimp onto skewers (if using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak in water for at least 30 minutes before using). Cook under broiler or grill until cooked through, turning once, about 3 minutes per side.

2 Tb olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2-3 Tb mixed fresh herbs, chopped (oregano, basil, parsley, tarragon, etc)
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, combine oil, tomatoes, garlic, reserved scallion white and red pepper flakes and cook over high heat, stirring, until tomatoes soften and begin to release their juices, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in herbs and cook 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.

Divide polenta between two shallow soup plates. Spoon tomatoes and shrimp over top and serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

But wait, there's more...

1-2 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise, 1/2-inch thick
Sea or kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 Tb coarsely chopped fresh mint
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

Sprinkle zucchini slices all over with salt. Lay flat on kitchen or paper towel to drain for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Bring just to a simmer and cook gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until garlic is golden. Add mint and remove from heat.

Light a grill or preheat broiler.

Brush off all the salt and pat zucchini dry. Lightly brush tops with mint oil. Place oiled side down on grill or broiler pan and cook, turning once, until softened and nicely browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. (I put the zucchini under the broiler a couple of minutes before adding shrimp so all would finish at once.)

Transfer zucchini to platter and drizzle with 1-2 Tb of remaining mint oil and the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.