Butterflied Cilantro-Lime Baked Shrimp with Salted Margarita Aioli

 

My favorite cocktail during the summer is a generous pour of silver tequila, fresh lime juice, a pinch of salt and a few ice cubes. It’s a tart drink, but it’s very refreshing. In fact, I just happened to be sipping on one of those delicious drinks while preparing this dish.

I had already planned to use the lime zest and cilantro to mix in with the panko coating but I hadn’t yet decided what to serve with the shrimp. Then I saw the bottle of tequila and the fresh limes and I had an epiphany. I was going to turn my drink into an aioli!

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Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Tartlets

 

I made these delectable little chocolate-peanutty bites as dessert for our July fourth dinner this year. Since I have a more savory palate and my husband and daughter lean toward the sweeter side, the addition of the sea salt made us all happy. And they were just the right size for a perfect, sweet, salty, crispy bite!

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Garlic Risotto with Viognier Steamed Mussels

 

Living near the Augusta Country Wine Trail has many advantages, the biggest one being year-round access to more than a dozen family-owned wineries. So depending on what I feel like cooking for dinner, it’s only a short drive to find the perfect wine, especially for this classic risotto dish.

Most risotto recipes call for a ‘dry white wine’ which leaves a pretty wide-open range of possibilities. Sauvignon Blanc tends to be most chefs first choice; however, for steaming muscles, I prefer an aromatic, dry, Viognier with a balanced level of acidity and one that pulls in flavors like fresh herbs, stone-fruits, and honey.

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Roasted Garlic and Habanero Dusted Pub Sticks

 

These pub sticks are a fun and unique snack to offer your guests at your next party, especially when served with a stout, dark lager. Infusing the dough with the roasted garlic flavors the breadstick with a deep, nutty flavor, and the coarse salt on top gives it a little bit of crunch. Serve the pub sticks with thick stone-ground mustard or rich, cheesy sauce and watch them disappear!

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Pork Posole Rojo

 

Many of my recipes go through a second or third iteration of ingredient tweaks until I feel they’re website worthy. This recipe wasn’t one of them. The first taste was a food revelation making this my new favorite stew.

Envision spicy andouille sausage, tender pork shoulder, flavorful vegetables and bold spices simmering in the slow cooker all day making your home smell warm and inviting. Dinner couldn’t come fast enough the evening I made this!

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Shrimp Cakes with Papaya and Mango Salsa

 

I love seafood cakes but find many restaurants add too much breadcrumbs in the mix and they end up dry and closer to a fishy hush puppy.  So for this recipe, I chose panko breadcrumbs which is a Japanese-style breadcrumb made from bread without crusts.  Using the interior of the dried bread results in airy, large flakes that give fried foods a light, crunchy coating without absorbing as much oil.   So when you take your first bite of these shrimp cakes, you’ll taste the sweet, tender shrimp first, not the breading.

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Herbed Brown Rice Pilaf

 

This recipe is a super quick, packed with flavor side dish that works great for a weekday dinner, and comes together in about 15 minutes. The vegetables add a vibrant pop of color and the aromatics from the fresh herbs and lemon zest jazz up the mild chewy tenderness of the brown rice.

On days when I know my prep time will be short, I’ll chop the vegetables ahead of time the evening before, and store them in a container in the fridge. That way when you’re ready to cook, they’re ready to go!

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Szechuan Beef Noodle Soup

 

Even though it’s spring, there are still some chilly days in Missouri, so this flavor-packed spicy soup is a great warm up. The prep time may look a little longer than your typical soup. However, I guarantee you’ll notice the difference in the deep rich flavor by roasting the meat and the mushrooms in the oven before adding them to the broth. And when I say warm up, I’m talking about both temperature and spice level. This one’s got a little kick to it!

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Coconut Macaroons

 

Every time I make these coconut macaroons, I get rave reviews. There’s something about that cross between a cookie and a candy bar that makes them so addictive; you have to appreciate them for their simple, sweet, chewy goodness.

And speaking of simple, there are only seven ingredients, so your prep time is short and clean up is easy. The most difficult part is waiting for them to be ready to eat!

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Smoked Trout Fettuccini with Gournay Cream Sauce

 

Culinary smoke is one of those umami flavors difficult to explain until you’ve experienced it. I have several childhood food memories having liked various smoked meats, cheeses, and fish so when I got older and began cooking for myself, I inherently started adding those ingredients to my food.

I buy my smoked trout from one of my favorite restaurants called Annie Gunn’s. They have an amazing smokehouse deli attached to the restaurant and sell many of the ingredients they serve on their menu. For this recipe, I paired their trout with a light creamy cheese sauce, so you’ll taste just a kiss of smoke followed by the delicate flavor of the fish. Then when you swirl it onto a fork blended with chewy fettuccini, briny capers, and fresh dill, it’s a food memory you’ll never forget.

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