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smoky corn chowder with bacon and shrimp

smoky corn chowder with bacon and shrimp

2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. smoked paprika
1 pinch crushed red pepper
3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half (or cream)
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
basil slivers for garnish (optional)

Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon from the pan and set aside on a paper towel to drain. Drain all but 1Tbs. bacon fat, if you have that much in the pot.

Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the shrimp to the pot and sear on one side for 2 minutes. Flip and sear 30 more seconds. Remove shrimp from pot and set aside.

If you need to add a little oil (or bacon fat) to the pot, do so. Add the onions to the pot and sauté 5 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, crushed red pepper and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté another minute.

Add the fresh corn to the pot and toss to combine. Heck, sauté another minute.

Add the stock and half & half to the pot. Stir to combine. Keep on a low simmer for 15 minutes. Taste it. Need a little salt and pepper? Add a pinch or two.

If you have an immersion blender, place it in the pot and pulse it a few times until about half of the soup becomes creamy, still leaving whole kernels as well. If you don’t have an immersion blender, ladle about a cup and a half of the soup into a blender and pulse until creamy. Pour back into the pot and stir to combine.

Serve chowder with the shrimp and reserved bacon crumbles. Garnish with slivered basil if desired.

Recipe found here: http://bevcooks.com/2012/07/smoky-corn-chowder-with-shrimp/

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grilled paella mixta

grilled paella mixta

2 medium, ripe tomatoes
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 red pepper, cut into 2 inch strips
1/2 cup peas, frozen or fresh
large handful fresh green beans
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón dulce)
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large pinch saffron threads
2 cups paella rice (about 1 pound), Arborio works well
4 cups (1 quart) chicken broth
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Lemons, cut into wedges, for serving

Heat grill to medium-high heat (~450 degrees F)
Place 15-inch paella pan on grill and allow to heat for a minute or two. Add a generous amount of olive oil to the pan and begin to saute chopped tomatoes, onion, red peppers and garlic. Saute for approximately 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl mix chicken thighs with paprika, salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring to lightly brown chicken on each side.
Add rice to pan, along with another generous splash of olive oil and stir to coat rice. Allow to cook for a few minutes before adding the chicken broth to the pan. (I make my own broth and add the saffron threads to the boiling broth, but you can add saffron separately at this time)
Close the lid of the grill and allow to cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes.
Open grill and add peas, pepper strips and green beans to rice/broth. (I often like to arrange the veggies in a symmetric, circular pattern to make the final product nice and pretty!) Close the lid and allow to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Finally, when the broth is almost completely absorbed and the rice in almost done, add the shrimp to the paella and allow dish to finish cooking for an additional 5-10 minutes.
My paella took approximately 20-25 minutes to cook perfectly, with a little crusty rice on the bottom of the pan.
Remove paella from the grill, cover with foil for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle parsley over paella and serve with lemon wedges.

My recipe was adapted from: http://www.chow.com/recipes/29656-grilled-paella-mixta-paella-with-seafood-and-meat

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sweet potato/apple cakes with poached egg and mustard vinaigrette

sweet potato/apple cakes with poached egg and mustard vinaigrette

1 small sweet potato, peeled and grated
1/2 sweet onion, peeled and grated
1 large green apple, peeled and cored and grated
1 large egg, beaten
1 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/4 cup of oil
2 tsp. Dijon mustard (dressing)
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar (dressing)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. granulated sugar (dressing)
pinch of salt (dressing)

To make the cakes: grate the onion first (the acidity helps prevent the apple from changing color) and then the apple and sweet potato. Place the three ingredients in a bowl and season with salt. Wait for a minute to allow some of the moisture to be drawn out. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
Once squeezed, pat dry with a tea towel and put in a small mixing bowl. Add the egg, flour, baking powder and cinnamon and stir to combine. Season.
Using a non-stick pan over medium to medium-high heat, add the oil and allow it to heat up. Place a 1/4 cup mixture into the pan and press down and shape into a circle with a spoon. Leave it to cook. It’s fragile. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown, and then flip over and repeat.
Meanwhile, add the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until fully combined.
Make your poached eggs in another pot and drain when finished.
To serve, stack two cakes on top of one another and place the poached egg on top. Finish with a drizzle of your mustard dressing.

*I added chopped green onion to cakes and vinaigrette*

recipe found here: http://www.versesfrommykitchen.com/2011/04/apple-sweet-potato-cakes-with-poached-egg-and-sweet-mustard-sauce.html

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