Monday, August 12, 2013

Asian-Style Shrimp

One of my favorite quick-and-easy dinner recipes I like to put together is Asian-Style Shrimp. The best way I can describe this dish is: sweet and tangy with a little bit of a kick! When you read the ingredients, you'll see why!

NOTE: when I make this, I use my ingredients list as a template for what-not-to-forget but the quantity of each just depends - I will add what I think is necessary until I'm satisfied with the taste ... some days, it ends up a little bit sweeter due to the honey, other times, a little bit spicier due to the red pepper flakes, etc.

What you'll need for the marinade:

Olive Oil
Garlic (fresh works best but if you only have garlic powder, you can use that too)
Thyme (powder)
Ground Cumin
Red Pepper Flakes
Equal parts tamarind paste, white wine vinegar, & soy sauce (this is the only part that I'm picky about - make sure it's equal parts or it'll either get too tangy or too salty)
Fresh Cilantro

Another NOTE: equal parts tamarind paste, white wine vinegar, & soy sauce can be replaced with Worcestershire sauce, if you have that instead.

I try to pick up fresh shrimp when I make this but a lot of the times, I just use the frozen kind. I just de-tail and de-vein them and this is what it'll look like when they're added to the marinade:


Let marinate for about an hour or so. Add to skillet-type pan and cook.

Every time I make this, I'll make a side of vegetables as well - zucchini, green pepper, and yellow squash (tossed in some olive oil, salt, and pepper) along with rice. I had made this for Thomas & I when he moved into his new place. Here's how he assembled his dish (I forgot to take a photo of my plate) - a bed of rice topped with the vegetables and the shrimp!


I'm always looking for shrimp recipes and this is the only one that I consistently keep going back to. Do you have any favorite shrimp recipes?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Jello Cake

Now that I've committed to starting up my blog again, I thought I'd start off with a fun post with a recipe of something sweet. I had tried Jello Cake for the first time a few months ago at a friend's going-away party and my boyfriend liked it so much that he suggested I make it in the future. I figured I'd look up the recipe and give it a try. I'm not one who likes to put in a lot of effort when making cake (normally, I just make the cake and eat it plain - no frosting even!) so I was happy to see that this was pretty easy to put together!

What you'll need for the cake:

1 box of white cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup water
1/2 stick butter

What you'll need for the jello:

2 small packages Jello mix (or 1 large package)
2 cups hot water


Prepare and bake cake mix as directed on package. Let cool, completely.

Use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes into the cake. The best technique is to drill the spoon into the cake and spin 360 degrees. Gently pull spoon out of cake and repeat until the cake is full of holes. NOTE: if you find that when you're doing this step, the cake is falling apart or if the cake is sticking to the wooden spoon, it means it's not cool enough yet. Wait a little longer so the cake doesn't turn into mush. Also make sure that the holes you're drilling aren't too close together - it'll cause the cake to fall apart when you're cutting it.

Prepare Jello mix using only half of the water needed as described on the box (Example: large boxes of Jello call for 2 cups of hot water and 2 cups of cold - I just used 2 cups of hot water as it makes dissolving the Jello powder a lot quicker than adding to cold water). Let the jello-mix cool to room temperature and pour over the cake. NOTE: if the Jello is too warm, it will turn your cake into mush. Do not refrigerate the Jello mix to cool, but rather, let it sit for a little bit until it's cooled to room temperature. As long as you're not refrigerating it, you don't have to worry about it setting.

Once the cake it covered with Jello, place it in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours to chill. NOTE: if the cake hasn't been in the fridge for long enough, it'll be mushy and hard to cut. More importantly, it's an indication that the cake hasn't had a chance to absorb the Jello so refrigerate for a while longer for best results!

Frost cake with cool whip or freshly whipped cream.

And here's what a completed piece looks like:

I imagine that due to the simplicity of this cake and how delicious it was, I'll be making it frequently, especially for summer potlucks. The cool whip adds just a light and fluffy touch (which in my opinion makes it a lot more appealing that traditional frosting cakes) and the fruit jello makes it rather refreshing. I figure next time, I may try another flavor of Jello, and depending on what kind of Jello I use, it would be great to top it off with some fresh fruit!

What do you think about this cake? Have you tried any particular flavor that has been a big hit?