Sunday, April 17, 2011

Menu Sunday: Dialing It Down

Interrupting the Italia Recaps for a little recipe goodness!

I'm slowly but surely clawing my way out of the pasta, wine, cheese, and prosciutto haze that settled over us during vacation {not mention working towards my biggest April Goal of taking back control of my weight}... and while it's kind of a huge ass bummer not to have two glasses of white wine with lunch, it feels good to have more greens and lean proteins in my life!  

Arugula Salad with Cara Cara Oranges, Pecorino, & "'da Shrimpies"*
Arugula salad with blood oranges, pecorino and shrimpies
*shameless Birdcage joke that likely only JAJO will appreciate

We're not quite there yet in Recap Land, but dinner on our last night spent in Florence was hands down the best meal we ate in Italy {and it had many, many tough contenders}.  You MUST go eat at La Giostra if you ever find yourself in Firenze!  Anyhoo, one of our antipastis was the most delightful salad made from greens I'd never seen before {we saw them in all the markets we visited but I could never get an answer I understood as to what exactly they were... super sad foodie panda}, grapefruit, and big chunks of pecorino.  Ridiculous. Feeling inspired by a beautiful batch of Cara Cara oranges {akin to blood oranges} at Whole Foods, I decided to put my own little spin on the delicious memory to fashion a dinner salad. {The real deal is worth recreating too... arugula in place of the mystery green + chopped grapefruit + hunks of pecorino, drizzled with basalmic and olive oil, with a good twist on the peppermill.}  

- 3/4 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined
- 2 big handfuls of arugula {scientific, I know}
- 4 Cara Cara oranges {or blood oranges or small grapefruit}
- 1 T. dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 t. sugar
- 1 T. sherry vinegar
- 1 t. champagne or pear vinegar {I actually had champagne-pear vinegar - FANCY! - so I used that}
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 2/3 c. olive oil
- shaved or shredded pecorino cheese

Mix the juice of 3 of the oranges with mustard, shallot, sugar, and the vinegars.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil until incorporated.  Whisk in salt and pepper.  

Place shirmp in a mixing bowl or pyrex dish.  Pour 3/4ths of the dressing over the shrimp so that they are nearly covered in the liquid.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  

After the shrimp are finished marinating, transfer them to a skillet with a slotted spoon so that the vast majority of the marinade is left in the refrigerated bowl/dish.  Add about a T extra of the marinade and then discard.  Sautee shrimp on medium-high heat, adding a few more twists of pepper if your heart so desires {or some red pepper flakes, perhaps?} until cooked through and the liquid is mostly evaporated.  Transfer cooked shrimp to a plate covered with a paper towel and pat away any excess oil.  

Toss cooked shrimp with arugula, the remained {chopped} orange, and leftover dressing {add it slowly as you toss... I only ended up using about half of what I had left} and sprinkle with pecorino.

Repeat! Warm Steak & Asparagus Salad - this time sans goat cheese w/ just a smidge of pecorino
Round Two in my kitchen for this Cheeky Kitchen recipe.  Last time I swapped the gorgonzola for goat cheese.  This time, I axed the majority of the cheese to cut some calories and fat... And - shockingly for this cheese fiend - I actually preferred the salad this way... A small sprinkling of pecorino as a garnish was all the flavors needed!  I also cooked the veggies and the steak {I only used about 10 oz of sirloin this time} in separate crocks.  That way, I was able to discard some of the steak juice so that the "dressing" wasn't nearly so... for lack of a better word, bloody.  Yum, yum, yum. 

Chicken Tamale Casserole with Green Salad
{Apologies for the stock photo... I was on the phone with my mom and totally forgot to snap a picture!} Another repeat for us... and perhaps my new favorite casserole.  This sucker is addictive and oh so simple.  I used some of my precious Hatches instead of the canned green chiles {I'm down to my last freezer container... Def Con Five, people, SOS, Mayday, Mayday!}, spicy monterrey jack, the meat of an entire rotisserie chicken, and Rick Bayless' Frontera Red Chile Enchilada Sauce.  No sour cream topping for us.  I made half / froze half {after the cornbread part baked / before the chicken, sauce, cheese baked} which was a smart idea... I do not want an entire pan of this stuff hanging around, tempting me from the fridge!  One portion with a green salad is wonderfully moderate in the calorie/fat department... but half the crock won't do my ass any favors!

Mini Veggie Pizzas
Veggie Pizza...xoxo
I had grand plans to use my new pizza stone {that I scored for a mere $14 at HomeGoods this week!} to cook a normal ol' pizza... but I had a major Fail Moment after not reading the directions carefully {oops}, resulting in ripped dough that refused to re-roll-out properly.  So mini pizzas it was!  This was the ultimate easy-peasy Friday night supper... Half a recipe of PW's pizza dough {that I already had in the freezer}, some jarred arrabiata sauce, roasted veggies {broccoli, yellow and red cherry tomatoes, and shallots}, and a little smidge of mozzarella and pecorino.  Mmmmmm.  Note: That cutesy heart was unintentional... it just magically took shape as I put rolling-pin to dough glob.  That did not prevent me from promptly presented said accidental heart to Evs upon his homecoming as if I'd slaved over it all day in heels and pearls. Shhhhhhh! I don't want to lose all my Mega Cheese Points! 


  1. Your salad looks so fabulous! I love cara cara oranges and shrimp! I might have to try that one out!

    And your asparagus and steak recipe is already on my list.

    So many meals I want to try :)

  2. I have had that enchilada casserole on my list to make for weeks since you first posted it.

    I actually picked up that enchilada sauce at World Market last weekend.

    We are going on vacation tomorrow, but I will definitely make it when we return!!

  3. Those salads both look summery and delicious. Yes, please!

  4. Just had the steak and asparagus salad tonight. It was delicious! I didn't have any walnuts so I substituted with pecans and it was great!


happy little comments!