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Ginger’s Birthday Dinner – Lime Shrimp, Cilantro Rice & Strawberry Chocolate Angel Food Cake

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Sunday was my sister’s birthday, so in her honor, I made a special dinner. We decided we wanted shrimp to be the main course so I built a Mexican theme around the entree – lime shrimp.

I modified a few recipes to better match our current awareness of eating lower fat. Instead of a cheesy wild mushroom quesadilla, I made a wild mushroom crostini with all the same flavors, but a lot less fat. I was able to buy almost the entire meal from the market. I bought the rice, lemons, limes, asparagus and the chocolate angel food cake at Central Market.

We had a great time celebrating G’s birthday. I hope you enjoy the food as much as we did.

Wild Mushroom Crostini
Tossed green salad
Lime Shrimp
Cilantro Rice
Grilled Asparagus
Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Macerated Strawberry sauce

Wild Mushroom Crostini
One of my favorite recipes is a great Wild Mushroom Quesadilla from Cafe Annie in Houston I found the recipe eons ago in Elle magazine.  I adapted this crostini from the recipe to better fit a lower fat diet – much less cheese and a whole wheat crostini rather than a flour tortilla.

1 lb mushrooms, rinsed, patted and chopped
1 tbsp butter (you could also use olive oil, but butter has a better flavor)
1/2 a baguette (I used a whole wheat baguette from Texas French Bread), sliced for crostini
1/4 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper

In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add mushroom and saute until softened. Add the jalapeno, thyme, pepper and salt to blend flavors.

Preheat boiler. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and top with Monterrey Jack cheese. Place the bread and cheese under the broiler until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Remove the crostini from the oven and top with mushroom mixture. Serve while warm.

Lime Shrimp
Adapted from  Great Good Food by Julee Russo

1 pound large shrimp – I bought the Colossal sized shrimp from the vendor at the farmers market. They were 12 to a pound, tender and delicious.
Juice and zest of 3 limes
4 garlic cloves – finely minced
1 tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Additional limes cut into wedges

In a shallow glass dish, place the shrimp, juice, zest, garlic, olive oil and pepper. Baste the shrimp and marinate for at least 2 hours.

Prepare the grill.

Thread the shrimp on skewers. Place the skewers on the grill and cook for 10 minutes, turning and basting once or until pink.

Cilantro Rice
Adapted from Cooking with Cafe Pasqual’s

2 3/4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 white onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onion, green part only
2 tbsps freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
1 tsp olive oil

Put the water and salt into a heavy-bottomed, lidded 3-qt saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add the rice, cover and lower the heat to very low. The rice should be ready in 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove, keep covered and let it rest for 5 more minutes.

In the container of a blender or food processor, put in the cilantro, white onion, green onion, lime juice, jalapeno and olive oil. Whirl all the ingredients until incorporated, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to get a better consistency, if needed.

Using a fork, stir the cilantro mixture into the rice. Serve immediately.

Grilled Asparagus
I like a really easy grilled asparagus recipe. Clean the asparagus and put it in a shallow glass dish. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and squeeze lemon over it. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then grill to desired doneness. After you pull off the grill, squeeze a little more lemon juice over it. Easy, simple, yummy.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Sauce
I hate to bake so I bought a chocolate angel food cake from Central Market, but I did make the strawberry sauce.

2 pints of strawberries, rinsed, stemmed and cut into halves or quarters depending on how big they are
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
lemon zest

Place the strawberries in a non-reactive (glass or plastic) bowl. Mix the sugar and water together to make a simple syrup. Pour the syrup over the strawberries, add some lemon zest and stir. Let the strawberry mixture sit until the strawberries are macerated – softened and their sugars have combined with the simple syrup to make a sweet sauce. I let mine sit for about an hour.

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