Thursday, May 31, 2012

chipotle shrimp kabobs

By throwing a Kabobs from Around the World party on Saturday night as part of June's Foodbuzz 24x24, I found a new go-to summer meal. I love anything I can throw on the grill, it makes life so much easier. These chipotle shrimp kabobs were my favorite from the party, the sweet mango and onion cuts some of the spiciness of the chipotle pepper. I decided to try brining the shrimp before marinating it because I read in Cook's Illustrated (best food magazine ever) that it improves the taste and texture of the shrimp. I used salt and sugar in the brine because the salt helps improve the texture and the sugar adds flavor and as Cook's Illustrated puts it "promotes better browning." I'm not sure the brining made a huge difference but the shrimp did turn out great so I'll give partial credit to the brining and partial credit to the delicious marinade.

Chipotle Shrimp Kabobs
makes 20-30 small kabobs, depending on size of shrimp

for the brine: 
1 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used frozen but fresh works too)
1 cup of water
2 cups of ice
1/4 c. kosher salt
1/4 c. brown sugar

for the marinade:
1/8 cup packed brown sugar 
1 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped plus 1/8 cup adobo sauce 
3 garlic cloves, minced 
1 tablespoons water 
1 tablespoons lime juice 
1/2 tablespoon olive oil 
1/8 teaspoon salt 

1 small sweet onion, cut into chunks
1  mango, cut into cubes 
skewers (soak in water for at least 30 minutes before assembling kabobs) 

 To make the brine:
Place thawed shrimp in water, sugar, salt mixture and refrigerate for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from brine and set aside.

To make the marinade:
In a small saucepan, bring brown sugar, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, garlic, water, lime juice, olive oil and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool completely. 

Transfer cooled marinade mixture to a large resealable plastic bag. Add the shrimp; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

To make the skewers:
Layer mango cube, onion chunk and shrimp on skewers. Repeat until you have about two inches free on each end of the skewer.Grill for 6 minutes, turning them once time or when the shrimp turn light pink. 

Recipe from: Taste of Home

Sunday, May 27, 2012

foodbuzz 24x24: kabobs from around the world (and beer too!)

This month Foodbuzz chose to sponsor my Kabobs from Around the World party idea! I had so much fun hosting a Foodbuzz 24x24 party last August and couldn't wait to do it again. Foodbuzz 24x24 is where 24 food bloggers each host a dinner party or in this case a kabob party on the same day and share their parties on each of their blogs. I've always loved trying foods from around the world and by making bite- sized kabobs to represent flavors from different countries, you get a chance to taste travel to six different countries in one meal! To make the party a little more fun, I stocked up on beers from around the world to pair with each of the kabobs. If you decide to throw a similar party, I'd recommend having small drink glasses and arranging them into a beer flight so you can pair each mini kabob with the beer from that country. All the kabobs turned out great, but I'd say the favorite of the night was the Mexican kabob that layered chipotle shrimp with sweet onion and mango. Below is a list of all the kabobs I made for the party and I'll be sharing the recipes this week. 

Pictured--top left to right:
Mexico: chipotle shrimp with sweet onions and mango -- paired with Dos Equis
Greece: vegetable souvlaki served with homemade hummus -- paired with Aris beer
Thailand: mango chicken -- paired with Chang beer
USA: low country shrimp boil kabobs -- paired with Abita Golden beer
Jamaica: jerk chicken and pineapple -- served with Red Stripe beer
Lebanon: kafta beef kabobs served with tzatziki sauce

Here's a closer look at each kabob:

And can't forget the beer: 

 I'll be posting the recipes for these kabobs throughout the week, so check back!

Friday, May 11, 2012

oatmeal peanut butter cup carmelitas

From the moment I meet someone, I want to know what they do, what their favorite restaurant is, what they ate for lunch and the list goes on. I've realized I mostly post my favorite foods, tell you I love them (which I really do) and leave you with a recipe. So this time I'm leaving you with a recipe and a little extra.

My family moved around a lot when I was little. I was born in Nashville, TN, moved to Singapore for two years, then to Montreal, Canada and by the time I was 8 years old we settled in Raleigh, NC. Now I live and work in Charlotte, NC

I studied abroad in Melbourne, Australia during college and day dream from my desk at least once a week about the Whitsunday Islands

I wear a lot of black and grey, like a lot

I don't drink coffee

My all -time favorite desserts are oatmeal cookies (no raisins) and berry cobbler with ice cream

I talk to my mom every day, most likely multiple times a day

I can never have enough nail polish

I hate mayonnaise, olives and mushrooms

I sadly love Lifetime movies (especially True Movie Thursday's)

My favorite TV show is The Good Wife

My favorite restaurant is Mellow Mushroom

I play in Excel all day, everyday (except the weekends)

And as I'm typing these, all thoughts circle back to food...welcome to my life!

Ok now to these bars. I just bought an individual squares brownie pan and couldn't wait to use it. These peanut butter cup carmelitas are made with an oat crust base, topped with a gooey peanut butter caramel made with sweet condensed milk and crunchy peanut butter and then sprinkled with oat topping, peanut butter cups and chocolate chips. Served warm and slightly melty... it doesn't get much better! Also, this recipe is simple to double if you want to make a 9x13 pan instead of an 8x8.

Peanut Butter Cup Carmelitas
makes 8x8 pan

1/2 butter, melted
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c. old fashioned or quick cooking oats (I used old fashioned)
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c. peanut butter (I used crunchy)
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
4 peanut butter cups, chopped
1/2 c. milk chocolate chips (I used mini's)

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Spray or line with parchment paper an 8x8 baking pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter, brown sugar, baking soda, oatmeal, flour and salt until it's crumbly. Set 1 cup of this mixture aside. Pour remaining mixture in the bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until light golden brown.

In a separate small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk. Once the crust is done baking, evenly pour and spread this peanut butter/condensed milk mixture over the top of the warm crust. Evenly sprinkle the reserved 1 cup of crumbly oat mixture you set aside and sprinkle chopped candy and chocolate chips on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until it doesn't jiggle in the middle.

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