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Shrimp pad thai

I can’t seem to satisfy my cravings for Asian food!! One of my favorites is Pad Thai with just about anything in it and on the spicy side. This recipe is fabulous and not nearly as oily as most restaurant versions.

Preparing this dish moves pretty quickly. Get everything prepped while your noodles are soaking.

A few tips on ingredients:

  • If you don’t have Thai chilies – use a jalapeno or crushed red pepper flakes
  • Use good fish sauce – it makes a big difference. My favorite brands are Tiparos (Kroger, $2) & Red Boat 40°N (Asian store, $5)
  • Palm sugar can be found at most Asian grocery stores. Light brown sugar is a great substitute.
  • Try chicken or tofu if you don’t have shrimp!
  • Don’t oversoak the noodles – you want them to have bite so they can absorb the sauce when cooked.

Recipe adapted from


  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
  • 8 ounces dried wide rice noodles
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 thai chilies whole
  • 6 green onions, sliced 1 inch long
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • small handful peanuts, chopped
  • small handful cilantro, chopped
  • lime wedges


  1. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, 2 tablespoons oil, and tamarind concentrate. Stir until sugar is dissolved and set aside.
  2. Soak the rice noodles in hot tap water for about 20 minutes, or until they start to soften but not fully tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil under high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the shrimp start to turn pink with browned edges. Remove shrimp and set aside.
  5. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet. Add garlic, shallot and thai chilies. Cook over medium heat and stir continuously for about 1 minute. Add eggs to skillet and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until scrambled, about 30 seconds. Add the rice noodles and green onions and toss with tongs to combine. Pour the tamarind/fish sauce mixture over the noodles and increase the heat to high, continuing to toss the ingredients with the sauce.
  6. Add 1/2 of the chopped peanuts and cooked shrimp. Toss noodles for about 2 more minutes. Add bean sprouts and cook for 30 seconds. Dish out onto hot plates and top with remaining peanuts and garnish with cilantro.


Cioppino is a fish stew originating from Portuguese and Italian fishermen who settled in the North Beach section of San Francisco in the late 1800’s. It’s a collective pot of leftover catch of the day from the local fisherman. The story is that wharf cooks would call for the fishermen to “chip in” some of their catch to the collective soup pot. Typically a combination of dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish were thrown into the tomato and wine broth.

Use whatever fish and seafood combination you like. Shrimp, scallops, halibut and mussels are my favorites and what I chose.

A few tips.

  • Infusing the stock with the shrimp shells imparts a lot of flavor – so do the extra work and peel & devein your own shrimp just for the shells.
  • Pernod (anise flavored liquor) is a classic flavor in Cioppino. If you don’t have any (or don’t want to spend the money on a bottle) – chop a bulb of fennel and add to the onions when cooking.
  • Fish Stock – so maybe you can’t find fish stock in your store. If not, use equal parts of bottled clam juice & water.


  • 32 ounces (2 quarts) fish stock, Kitchen Basics is my favorite
  • Pinch saffron
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand (or pureed in food processor)
  • 2 cups white wine (Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/4 cup pernod
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 pounds mussels
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve shells)
  • 3/4 pound sea scallops, foot removed
  • 2 pounds halibut fillet, skinned, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • ½ cup basil, chopped
  • 1 loaf crusty bread


Heat fish stock in a small saucepan. Add reserved shrimp shells to fish stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain stock of shrimp shells into large bowl. Add saffron to warm stock and set aside.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in an 8-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, allowing it to brown for about 20 seconds, then add onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Add bay leaf and oregano. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato paste. Cook, stirring, until paste darkens a bit, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes white wine, pernod and the saffron flavored fish stock and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until liquid has reduced by half. Cover pan and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in the pesto and parsley. Add mussels and simmer until mussels open, about 3 minutes (discard any unopened clams). Add shrimp and scallops and cook for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, season halibut salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil. Cook the halibut until seared and the fish is cooked through – about 2-3 minutes per side.

Remove bay leaf from pot. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowl and top with chopped basil. Serve with crusty bread.

Shrimp, Sweet Potato and Corn Enchiladas with Verde Crema

Enchiladas are one of those things I never order at a Mexican restaurant. I always want fish tacos or some special of the day – but I do love to make them at home and these are pretty simple to throw together.

Overall these enchiladas are a pretty healthy meal if you use light sour cream and are light handed on the cheese. I opted to use real Mexican sour cream (crema) and I was a little generous with the cheese… but how often do you make homemade enchiladas? Go all out.

If you are looking for a spicier dish try the homemade Verde Salsa from a Mexican grocery store. My verde salsa was HOT. To counteract the heat I served a salad dressed with Hot Pepper Jelly vinaigrette (jelly, lime juice, coriander, olive oil) and it was the perfect sweetness with the hot enchiladas.


  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3-4 small or 2 large), peeled, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups white onion, diced (1 medium onion)
  • 1 1/2cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 pound raw peeled deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups purchased salsa verde or mild tomatillo salsa
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • 8 ounces Monterrey jack cheese(about 2 cups)


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine the spices (first 5 ingredients) in small bowl and set aside.

Toss sweet potatoes with 1/2 of the spice mixture & 2 tablespoons vegetable oil; toss to coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Roast sweet potatoes until soft and browned in spots, turning occasionally, 20 minutes. Cool. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

In a skillet over medium heat add 2 tablespoons oil. Add onion, corn and the remaining 1/2 of the spice mixture. Cook until onions and corn are caramelized about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and shrimp and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until shrimp are beginning to turn pink. Remove from heat. NOTE: Do not cook the shrimp completely as they will be overcooked once in the oven.

In a large bowl combine shrimp & corn mixture with the sweet potatoes. Add in ½ cup chopped cilantro and toss to combine all ingredients. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper.

Lower the oven to 375°F.

Spray a 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spay or vegetable oil. Wrap four tortillas in damp paper towels. Microwave 30 seconds. Spoon 1/4 cup shrimp mixture on each. Roll up and place seam-side down in prepared dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Top with any extra filling.

Mix salsa and crema and 1/2 cup cilantro. Spoon over enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees F, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Yield: 4 -6 servings.

Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp and Vegetables (Bun Tom Xao)

This meal is one I crave often – especially in summer months. My favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Dallas, Vietnam, serves my favorite bun with pork, shrimp and an egg roll chopped up in the bowl of noodles. I like some extra heat so I add 2 Thai bird chilies to the Nuoc Cham (the sauce you pour over the salad).

This is such an easy summer meal that is light and full of great veggies. Give it a try – it’s much easier to prepare than you may think.


  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons Asian BBQ sauce (or hoison)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 8 oz. dried rice vermicelli
  • 2 cups washed and shredded romaine, red, or green leaf lettuce
  • 2 cups fresh, crisp bean sprouts
  • 1-1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and julienned cucumber
  • 1-1/2 cups carrots, julienned
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup roughly chopped or small whole mint leaves
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup roughly chopped or small basil or Thai basil leaves
  • 2 Tbs. chopped roasted peanuts
  • 12 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • Nuoc cham (recipe below)

Nuoc Cham

  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Thai bird chile, seeded and minced


For the Nuoc Cham: Stir all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside until ready to use. The sauce keeps for two weeks in the refrigerator.

For the noodles: Cook the rice noodles for 4 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. Drain in colander and rinse with cold water until noodles are cool. Let drain for 30 minutes. Can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours.

For the shrimp: Toss shrimp is bbq sauce and garlic. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in nonstick skillet. Saute over medium high heat for 2 minutes per side.

For the vegetables: Divide the lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber,carrots, mint, and basil among four large soup or pasta bowls. If working ahead of time, cover each bowl with damp paper towels and refrigerate.

Fluff the noodles with your fingers and divide them among the prepared salad bowls. Put the cooked shrimp on the noodles and garnish each bowl with the peanuts and cilantro. Serve with a side of nuoc cham (about 1/4 cup per serving). For an little extra kick – add a small squeeze of sriracha to the top.

Shrimp Biryani: Indian Shrimp and Rice

The aromas alone are worth giving this dish a try. When you take your first bite you will be sold.

The flavors are not overpowering. They are subtle with a perfect balance of spice and sweetness from the shrimp and onions.

My friend Catherine of Fish and Veggies recommended this dish and passed on some great advice: put the whole spices in a cheesecloth sachet to avoid biting down on a whole peppercorn or clove.


  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 pound Shelled and de-veined Shrimp or crab (see Harbour House Crabs)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 2 serrano chilis (seeds removed)
  • 1 – 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 10 – 12 whole green cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • salt to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash the shrimp and drain it well. Add the salt and turmeric and mix. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Peel the ginger and garlic and use a food processor to blend it to a paste with the cilantro and chilis. You can use a little water if it is too dry.
  4. Chop the onion and mint and leave to the side until needed.
  5. Heat the oil on medium in an oven safe dish. Add the peppercorns, cloves, cardamom and 1 bay leaf to a sachet of cheesecloth and tie securely. Add the sachet to the oil with the cinnamon stick and saute until fragrant, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the chopped onion and saute until light brown, stirring constantly.
  7. Add 1/2 of the paste and saute for another minute or two.
  8. Add water and salt (1-2 teaspoons depending on taste) and bring to this to a boil.
  9. Add the rice to the boiling water and add the butter and mint. Bring this to a boil, cover and place it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. When the rice has been in the oven for about 10 minutes heat some oil in a saute pan and add the remainder of the paste along with the other bay leaf. Saute this for a minute or two and add the shrimp. Saute the shrimp until done (they should be light pink) about 5 minutes.
  11. Remove the rice from the oven and remove the spice sachet and cinnamon stick. Top it with the shrimp and serve.

Baked Shrimp Scampi

I’ve never been a huge fan of Shrimp Scampi. I love the garlic but the butter seems overwhelming and traditional scampi can be a little flat in flavor. This recipe from the Barefoot Contessa makes up for all of the lackluster. You can prepare the butter & herbs early: just don’t add the panko until you are ready top bake. The original recipe calls for 12 tablespoons of butter. I cut it down to 8 but by all means knock yourself out and butter up.

The lemon is the star of the show. The aromas will keep you parked in front of the oven door… watching… waiting.

Serve with a side of whole wheat linguine or eat it out of the pan. This makes a great appetizer or entree.


  • 2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.