Category: Peppers

Recipe: Red Curry Shrimp with Carrots, Red Peppers, and Green Onions

Growing up in Indiana in a family that didn’t fish, my exposure to seafood was mostly limited to a rare night out at Long John Silvers when I was a kid.  It wasn’t until I met Dan and traveled to his hometown of Portland, Maine, that I began to really love seafood.  But, living so far from the coast and having little cooking experience with seafood, I rarely ate it when back home in the Midwest.  

I still don’t have much experience when it comes to cooking with seafood, but this summer I took the plunge (it’s okay, you can laugh at that terrible pun) and purchased my first pound of live saltwater shrimp–right here in DeMotte, Indiana.

Our first introduction to JT Shrimp involved a tour of their facility, where Dan , our brother-in-law Luke, Harper and Asher got to see firsthand how Wheatfield, Indiana residents Scott and Leslie Tysen raise saltwater shrimp.   The Tysens use a zero exchange aerobic heterotrophic system to raise their shrimp; in other words, they use a system that makes the water as close as possible to the shrimp’s natural habitat, without the pollutants you would normally find in the ocean.  The indoor system involves running water through several filters to remove unwanted bacteria, algae, and viruses from the water, allowing for the growth of large, healthy shrimp.

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JT Shrimp’s Scott Tysen showing Harper, Asher, and Uncle Luke a shrimp at their Wheatfield facility Photo: Dan Perkins

When I purchased that pound of shrimp this summer, I was pretty intimidated.  I had a recipe in mind, but how was I going to get the shrimp OUT so that I could cook them?  Thankfully, Leslie explained how to remove the head and peel the shrimp.  Before I get to that though, you should know that when you buy from JT Shrimp, they give you serious freshness.  At the DeMotte Market, where I bought mine this summer, Leslie literally caught the live shrimp right there in front of me.  She placed them in a plastic bag about 1/3 filled with ice, where the shrimp expired quickly (at least I hope so!) without water.

When I got home, I placed the bag of shrimp in the fridge, and about a half hour before I was ready to peel them, I moved them to the freezer.  Leslie assured me this quick freeze would make for easy peeling, and she was right!  (I know she was right because I didn’t completely follow her instructions.  She suggested taking two shrimp out of the freezer at a time, peeling those, then taking two more, and so on.  I did this at first, but about a halfway through I lost my patience and grabbed the rest of the bag, meaning the last five shrimp or so were no longer frozen by the time I got to peeling them.  Obvious Moral of the Story: I would’ve saved more time listening to Leslie’s directions.)  

Here’s a pictorial journey for the removal of the heads and peeling.  Let me just say that Harper is a great helper!

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Cut off the head with a chef’s knife or kitchen shears.

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Remove the upper legs.

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Grasp the tail between your left hand thumb and index finger, grasp the upper section of the shrimp with your right hand thumb and index finger, and PULL!

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Your shrimp are ready!  Quick note: Don’t throw away the heads and shells.  I know they’re not the most pleasant to look at it, but put them in a tupperware and stick them in the fridge.  I’ll revisit them at the end of this post.

Now let’s get to this delicious, comfort-food curry!

First, start your rice. I like to serve this curry with organic white basmati rice, which takes about 20 minutes total, with 15 minutes of cooking time.  If you start your rice RIGHT NOW, it should be good to go right when your curry is ready.

Next, time to prep your produce.  Mince one clove of Perkins’ Good Earth Farm garlic, julienne three carrots, and thinly slice half a red pepper.  Set aside. Grab three green onions.  Chop two and set aside. For the third, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces, slice each piece in half, and, you guessed it, set aside.  

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I like to use a wok for this recipe, but you can just as easily use a skillet.  Heat your wok over medium-high heat, then add two teaspoons of olive oil.  Once the oil’s hot, add the chopped garlic and half the chopped green onion.  Saute for about one minute, or until the garlic and onion start to brown.

Next, shake the can of coconut milk as hard as you can since the coconut milk usually separates in the can.  Add the milk to the garlic/onions, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer over medium-low heat.  

Stir in one tablespoon of coconut sugar (or brown sugar) and two tablespoons red curry paste.  (If you haven’t bought this before, local friends can find it at Tysens Family Market (usually) or Meijer.) (I’m going for a record–how many parentheses can I use in one paragraph?) 🙂

Bring the coconut milk back to a boil.  Add the carrots, then lower to a simmer for five minutes. 

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Another helper!

Add shrimp, peppers, and green onions.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until shrimp have just turned into a C-shape and the peppers and carrots are al dente.  Don’t overcook the shrimp!  (To quote from JT Shrimp’s recipe page on their website: “Shrimp that have twisted into an O-shape are terribly, irreparably overcooked. Overcooked shrimp are rubbery and sad. We hope you never have to eat one for your whole life.” I agree!)

So once those shrimp are just turning into C’s, remove the wok from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of fish sauce.

For a pretty presentation, pour a ladle of curry on a plate, top with a cup of rice, drizzle a little more curry and a few shrimp and veggies on top, then sprinkle on more of those chopped green onions.  For easier eating, I serve this dish to my children in bowls, with rice on the bottom, curry on top.  Either way, yum!

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Alright, now to get back to those shrimp peels.  Sticking with our waste-free-kitchen theme, don’t throw those out just yet!  They’re exactly what you need make a shrimp stock.  If you don’t have time for that when you make the curry, no problem.  Simply toss the peels and heads in a freezer bag–you can freeze them for up 3 months.  And hopefully by then I’ll have posted the recipe I used to make my shrimp stock.  I used the stock for cooking rice, and when I tasted the rice I was immediately reminded of paella.  Which, naturally, made me want to buy more shrimp.

If you’d like to buy shrimp from JT Shrimp, you can contact Scott and Leslie through their website by clicking here.   Don’t forget to comment here and tell us how you used your shrimp!

Photos (except for that first one!): Anne Kingma

 

Red Curry Shrimp with Carrots, Red Peppers, and Green Onions
A comfort-food, tasty curry.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tsp olive oil
  2. 1 clove Perkins' Good Earth Farm garlic, minced
  3. 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  4. 2 T red curry paste
  5. 1 T coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  6. 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  7. 3 carrots, julienned
  8. 1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
  9. 3 green onions--2 chopped / 1 cut into 1 1/2" pieces and thinly sliced
  10. 1 T fish sauce
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, saute garlic and half the chopped green onions for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add coconut milk and bring to boil, then lower to a simmer on medium-low heat.
  3. Stir in curry paste and sugar. Bring the coconut milk back to a boil. Add carrots, then lower to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add shrimp, peppers, and sliced green onions. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until shrimp have just turned into a C-shape and the vegetables are al dente.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce.
Notes
  1. Serve with jasmine or white basmati rice. Enjoy!
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/

 

Recipe: Spinach Bites

 

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I encountered spinach bites for the first time a couple weeks ago at my foster’s son birthday party, when guest Sarah Oudman brought them as a side dish to share.  They were so good, I asked Sarah to make them again for my son Asher’s birthday party a week later.

One great thing about this recipe is that you can make these little morsels ahead of time, then bake them right before eating.  If you’re taking this dish to a get-together, Sarah suggests putting them in a pre-heated crock-pot for the trip.  Just make sure you don’t forget the corresponding condiments!  She recommends ranch or Caesar dressing, your favorite mustard, her homemade jalapeno-red pepper relish, and—one of my favorites—Thai style chili sauce, which I found in aisle 5 at Rensselaer’s Strack and Van Til.

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First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Next, break out your food processor—or, for little more fun, grab a meat tenderizer and plastic bag.  It’s cracker-crushing time!

After placing about 2/3 package of Wasa light rye crisps (purchased at Tysens in DeMotte) in a freezer-quality gallon bag, I handed over the tenderizer to my boys and let them take turns pounding the crackers.  They had a lot of fun, but—surprise, surprise—we ended up with a hole in the bag and a mess of crumbs on the table.  Another option is to use the food processor (you’ll need it out for the spinach anyway) and involve any small helpers you have around by letting them push the button on the processor.

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Put the crushed crackers in a large mixing bowl, then starting filling your food processor with fresh spinach.  You’ll need about ½ pound (one gallon bag’s worth from your share), so unless you have a ginormous food processor, you should do this part in batches.  Make sure the spinach is finely chopped, then add it to the mixing bowl with the crackers.

Next up are the onion, pepper, and garlic. I used a chef’s knife to chop these because I wanted a little more control of their shape, but you could use a food processor here as well—just don’t get carried away!  Once these veggies are finely chopped, toss them into the mixing bowl with the spinach and crackers.

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Grate about 1/2 cup of fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese, set aside a few tablespoons, and toss the rest in the bowl.  Throw in some seasoned salt and Worcestershire sauce, then stir everything together until the ingredients are well-blended.  Beat three small eggs together, pour into the mixing bowl and, using your hands, mix together really, really well.

You’re almost finished!  Form into 1-inch balls, bigger or smaller, depending on your preference, and place on a baking sheet or preheated stone.  Then sprinkle the tops with the reserved cheese.

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Pop these guys in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops just begin to brown.  I recommend inviting someone over at this point, since your kitchen’s going to smell delicious.  Serve this snack warm (not hot), with sauces on the side.  Enjoy!

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Photos and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

Spinach Bites
A healthy, delicious appetizer or snack.
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Ingredients
  1. 2/3 package Wasa light rye crisps (7 oz – about 20 cracker)
  2. ½ pound (8 oz) spinach greens
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  4. 1 small bell pepper, chopped (about ½ cup)
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 Tbsp seasoned salt
  7. 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  8. 1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
  9. 3 eggs, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place crackers in gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Crush into fine crumbs.
  3. Place spinach greens in food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Place chopped greens into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add onion, pepper, garlic, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and all but 3 Tbsp of the cheese to the bowl. Mix until well-blended.
  5. Add beaten eggs to the bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Roll into 1-inch balls. Sprinkle with reserved cheese.
  7. Bake on greased baking sheet or stone for 15-20 minutes or until browned.
  8. Serve warm with condiments (ranch dressing, mustard, sweet chili sauce, etc).
  9. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you need these for a party or potluck, you can make the mixture the night before, refrigerate overnight, bake the next morning, and place the bites in a pre-heated crock pot.
  2. These also freeze well. Just pop them into the oven for 10 minutes to warm them up to serve.
Adapted from Taste of Home
Adapted from Taste of Home
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/
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