Let me just tell you, when Game 3 of the American League Championship Series is about to start and your beloved Sox are on, you really can’t shovel food on your plate fast enough so that you can get out of the kitchen and back in front of the game. Later you will regret this, when Dice-K has given up a two-run home run to Kenny Lofton, but it will be too late.
I had been thinking out a nice blog entry for you, explaining all about my personal feelings on Emeril raking in the big bucks for marketing what is a combination of pretty basic household spices as “Essence” and how to make Ina Garten’s heavenly polenta recipe into something that will not cause Great-Aunt Myrtle to have a heart-attack on the spot and that despite the high fat content of the recipes, I really do find Ina's Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook indispensable, but after putting together tonight’s dinner, all I really want is a kitchen with decent ventilation and a way to see the TV from the stove.
So here’s dinner in a hurry, courtesy of two of the Food Network’s shining stars. You go make something nice to eat. I’m going to go hide under the bed until the Sox are in the lead again.
SHRIMP WITH ESSENCE
1 lb Shrimp - Peeled and Deveined
~ 1 T "Essence"
INGREDIENTS FOR ESSENCE:
2 1/2 T paprika
2 T salt
2 T garlic powder
1 T black pepper
1 T onion powder
1 T cayenne pepper
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried thyme
DIRECTIONS: Coat bottom of non-stick pan with olive oil. Turn on heat to medium-high.
Toss the shrimp with "Essence" until evenly covered. Add shrimp to pan. Cook shrimp 3-5 minutes per side until cooked through.
POLENTA (adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style)
1 T butter
1 T olive oil( + enough to coat pan for frying)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 C milk
1 C chicken broth
1/2 C water
1/2 t salt
1 C cornmeal
1/2 C grated cheddar
flour or cornstarch for dusting (use cornstarch if you'd like it to be gluten free!)
Heat oil and butter in a saucepan until melted. Add the garlic and cook on low until golden. Add salt. Add milk, chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and sprinkle in the cornmeal, whisking all the while. I cannot emphasize the "sprinkle" part enough. Anything more will result in big clumps and your arms will get tired trying to whisk them out. So just do it right the first time. After the cornmeal is incorporated, cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat again, stir in cheddar. Pour into a pie plate and smooth the top. Refridgerate until firm and cold. This can take a few hours. So it's not the best weeknight dinner unless you get home early, like I do. But it is great for company, because you can do most of the work ahead. Okay, so once it's cold, slice in wedges, like a pie. Dust each triangle with flour. In a cast-iron pan heat oil. Cook triangles on medium-high to high heat for about 5 minutes per side. Don't overcrowd the pan until you are an expert flipper, or you'll end up with some pretty squished triangles and they will not be pretty. Still tasty, but not pretty. But maybe that's better for you, because you can eat your mistakes and not have to share them with the company. So go ahead. Overcrowd the pan.
Oh and sorry there's no picture, but it didn't show up on my camera. I took one. You can ask Ryan. He sat there patiently not eating waiting for me to shoot the food. But I got nothing. Some days are like that. Even in Australia.