Tag Archives: shrimp

Go Team Steph! Daring Pâté and Bread

Trout and Shrimp Pâté round

I have a bit of a history with pâté. Growing up German, I ate loads of Braunschweiger, which may be a liverwurst and not technically “pâté” per se… but kinda is pâté in its spreadable variations. I used to gross out my friends, who were normal and didn’t eat weird things like Braunschweiger.

One time in grade school, in particular, I had spooned some into a little lunch container and packed it with some crackers. Knowing what it was, and that people thought it was gross, I showed my friend Heather. She just smiled and made yummy actions. Confused, I asked her if she ate Braunchweiger… also confused, she told me she had thought it was chocolate ice cream. I totally grossed her out by telling her what it actually was. I never did figure out how she thought I kept the ice cream frozen in my bag.

Braunschweiger is one of the weirdest meat things that I missed when I stopped eating meat.

Raw Trout and Shrimp

Raw Trout and Shrimp

I can’t say I’ve tried to replace Braunschweiger with something veg. I sampled a couple of vegetarian pâtés at the Veggie Food Fair, but I never really felt the need to buy them. Now that I am an occasional meat eater, I haven’t jumped at the chance to have meat pâté again.

Not sure why, but it just hasn’t been on my radar.

Then I got the Daring Cooks‘ challenge for June. Make a pâté –  and like it! I chose to make the trout and shrimp pâté partly because it’s made up of seafood, and partly because the description claimed it was passed down through a variety of nameless people, and possibly their grandmas and their grandma’s neighbours or something. I like recipes that just randomly work their way through people.

Sourdough Ciabatta, with Vinifera

Sourdough Ciabatta, made with Vinifera flour

The second part of this challenge is to make a bread, which is where the “Team Stephfood” silliness comes in. J is the bread maker in the house, and I’m very happy to leave that to him. We opted to complete this challenge together. For his part, he made a ciabatta bread with his sourdough starter and Vinifera flour. Vinifera is neat, because it’s made from the skins of grapes. It imparts a purplish hue (depending on how much you use, and what you mix with it), and adds a tart flavour.

Trout and Shrimp Pâté on Sourdough Ciabatta, with Vinifera

Trout and Shrimp Pâté on Vinifera Sourdough Ciabatta

The bread was amazing, and added some complexity to the pairing. The pâté was very mild, and I thought it needed some extra zazz. The bread definitely helped with that.

I enjoyed this challenge. It wasn’t something I would have looked for on my own, which makes it a good challenge for me. I don’t know for sure that I will make this regularly, but we thought it was tasty and different. It definitely goes well with our ‘spread’ dinners.

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Cilantro

Rice Noodles with Shrimp & Cilantro

This recipe, pulled from the April/May 2010 issue of Fine Cooking magazine,was fast, simple and delicious!

I’ve always been a fan of the broader rice noodles found in dishes like Pad Thai, but I’ve always been terrible at preparing them. Just ask my husband – I always make him cook the rice noodles, to avoid ending up with mush. It isn’t normal to be afraid of a rice noodle, so I decided to overcome my fear with this recipe.

Like some of the other recipes I’ve tried recently, this dish is not stuffed to the brim with veggies, and isn’t overwhelmed by a mix of spices. It’s simple, with seasonings that nicely accentuate the natural flavours in the main ingredients; shrimp, rice noodles, red pepper and cilantro. I think the dish could stand a little more heat – some Sriracha chili sauce would have been amazing on it.

The one weird ingredient that you might not have in your pantry is fish sauce… Fish sauce is a very stinky condiment used in various Asian cuisines, including Thai and Vietnamese. I was told a long time ago to get the Three Crabs brand fish sauce, so I did. Some of the articles online argue about the quality of this brand, because of the additives in it and the way it’s made. Honestly, I don’t really know the difference, and I’m not about to buy another bottle of fish sauce – a bottle lasts a LONG time, as a little goes a long way. Anyone that lives near Chinatown should go there to find some at a good price.

This makes a great light summer meal – not too heavy and saucey, and makes use of some fresh flavours. Would go really well with a side avocado salad, or mango salad.

The full recipe can be found here, on the Fine Cooking Magazine website!

Daring (New) Brunswick Stew

(New) Brunswick Stew

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

I opted to make a variation on the first recipe given. I usually don’t eat meat, so this dish posed quite a challenge for me. I think there were three or four different kinds of meat in the recipe… I replaced all of the meat with shrimps and seitan, the broth with a vegetable/shrimp broth. Since this likely changed the flavour quite a bit, I’ve jokingly labelled my variation of the recipe (New) Brunswick Stew. Any Canadians reading this will get the New Brunswick/seafood reference… right? (I’m sure there is nothing specifically New Brunswick about it. I just wanted a cute title).

I started by making a broth, which I based on one I got from a Seafood Gumbo recipe I plan to try eventually. I also had to make some seitan, a vegetarian meat substitute made with wheat gluten (sorry, GF folks!). Both of these things added to the cooking time, since I had to make them from scratch.

Next, I fried up some chile peppers. I got some fun dried chiles called Chilhuacle Negro that have a medium heat (5/10). I’m pretty new to chiles, so I didn’t want to get any that were too hot. That said, I should have kept some of the seeds in for a little more heat. This was where the excitement starts – the smell of the peppers and the oil in the pan are heavenly!

Chilhuacle Negro

Chilhuacle Negro

Here is what the stew looked like in the early stages – the seitan is still in large chunks (to be sliced into thin strips in a later stage). While the broth started off looking quite red (from the chile peppers and the smoked paprika), it mellowed into a nice warm golden colour by the end.

(New) Brunswick Stew - in progress

(New) Brunswick Stew – in progress

Here is the final product, and the shot that everyone on Daring Cooks seems to be doing – the standing spoon shot. This came from the original recipe. To describe the texture of the finished stew, they said that Brunswick stew is not done properly “until the paddle stands up in the middle.”. Everyone has been doing their version of this shot, so I felt obliged to do the same. It was a hearty hearty stew, but the broth was not too thick and gloopy.

(New) Brunswick Stew - Standing Spoon

(New) Brunswick Stew – Standing Spoon

In the end, the stew turned out great! It was a bit of a challenge deciding what to use instead of meat, but I think the seitan worked wonderfully! This is definitely something I wouldn’t have known to seek out, and there’s no doubt I’ll be making this again.

Recipe after the jump.

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