Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

A simple, healthy Thai shrimp salad with an authentic sour-savory-spicy-sweet combination of fresh lime juice, fish sauce and chili paste, showered with fresh herbs and crunchy roasted peanuts.

Summer is almost done but we are officially in the middle of a heat wave. You know those shots in movies of a long, empty road, heat lines shimmering up from the pavement? Maybe a tumbleweed blows by, lazy and misshapen? That’s our living room right now. In this case the “tumbleweed” is Arya, our rescue dog who, for a pup who lived her first year on the streets of West Virginia, is hilariously particular about the range of temperatures she finds acceptable. 70º – 75ºF is fine, but a few degrees in either direction and get ready for dramatic sighs and woeful glances.

I hear you, puppy. I’m hot too.

Arya, hot and cranky
Arya, hot and cranky

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Crispy Buffalo Shrimp and Creamy Blue Cheese Grits

Crispy Buffalo Shrimp and Blue Cheese Grits

Shrimp and grits is a Southern standard which we in the Northeast are delighted to adopt. We tossed crispy shrimp with spicy, buttery buffalo sauce, and cooked up corn grits with plenty of salty, crumbly blue cheese. A match made in heaven! (Well, South Carolina and New York.)

We’ll admit it: we don’t get out of New York State very often. Our combined day jobs and blogging responsibilities have us tied down to the homestead most of the year, and, let’s face it, NY is so damned big, and we’re barely halfway up the Hudson, so it takes half a day’s drive to get anywhere that’s not here. We do jaunt across to Connecticut every couple of months to do a warehouse shop run and marvel at their exotic blue highway signs before coming straight back, but that’s about it. A couple of winters ago, we made a concerted effort to break free of our routine, and almost at random decided to drive down to Maryland. It was there that we fell in love with (a non-traditional version of) shrimp and grits.

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Smoky and Creamy Corn Chowder with Shrimp

When the cold evenings get you thinking about a warming supper, but there’s still farm fresh corn in the market, corn chowder is our favorite way to ease into autumn. This version combines sweet corn and smoky bacon in a creamy broth, dotted with lightly poached shrimp and  sliced jalapeños to soothe the end-of-summer blues.

What happened to summer? It seems as though the season just started, and its bounty had only yesterday begun to fill the supermarket shelves. Just like that, it’s all done for another year. Fortunately, even the Northeast still has plenty of farm fresh corn to offer – a cornucopia, you might even say – and we’ll take up our supermarket’s “12 corn cobs for $4!” offer as long as we can. This aren’t the tiny, young cobs from July that we could almost eat raw – at the end of the season, while corn is still pretty tasty, but not really at its peak, it’s a fantastic ingredient in a soup or stew. Hence: shrimp and corn chowder.

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Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce Fresh, light and delicious, Vietnamese summer rolls are a great appetizer or light meal any time of the year. Crisp vegetables, bright herbs and shrimp are rolled in a rice paper wrapper, with a side of sweet and salty peanut sauce for dipping. 

If you’ve ever eaten at a Vietnamese restaurant (or had the pleasure of traveling to the country, you adventurer), you’ve probably had summer rolls. They’re sometimes called “fresh spring rolls” or “salad rolls”, but not to be confused with traditional spring rolls, which are often smaller, fried, and filled with cooked vegetables and pork. These are the epitome of fresh and light, filled with finely shredded raw vegetables (we used purple cabbage, carrots, cucumber & scallions, as well as butter lettuce), lots of bright herbs like mint, cilantro and basil, rice vermicelli noodles and poached shrimp, all wrapped up like a translucent burrito in a rice paper wrapper.

We love the flavors of Vietnamese cooking (as you can tell by some of our previous recipes: Vietnamese-style baked chicken and Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops (Thit Heo Nuong Xa). I first made Vietnamese Summer Rolls over a decade ago and I’ve been wanting to make them again ever since. When we found out we were going to have a weekend houseguest, our 12-year-old niece Charlotte, who is an adventurous eater and a great cook in her own right, we thought these would be a fun dish to make together.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Charlotte making a Summer Roll

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Kimchi Pancakes with Shrimp

Kimchi Pancakes with Shrimp

Kimchi Pancakes are the kind of fast food we can really get behind. Packed with spicy kimchi and fresh shrimp, these crispy treats make a fantastic appetizer, snack or light dinner. 

We are almost never without a large jar of kimchi in our refrigerator. Even our resident Brit (who was initially, shall we say… resistant) has become addicted to the stuff. It’s not just a great condiment for traditional Korean dishes like Bulgogi, it also makes a fantastic cooked ingredient in all sorts of dishes. Its distinct tart-spicy flavor is a great addition to fried rice and stir fries, as well as in less traditional dishes, like grilled cheese sandwiches and compound butter.

You may notice that as kimchi ages, it continues to ferment. The cabbage will soften and become spicier and more tart. At some point you’ll find quite a bit of liquid from the vegetables mixed with the brine in the bottom of the jar. Don’t throw it way! In fact, do a little happy dance because you can use it to make kimchi pancakes.

Note: This recipe is part of our collaboration with Serious Eats

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