Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: Shrimp Cocktail, Zucchini Onion Goat Cheese Tart, Figs with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze over Vanilla Ice Cream
Summer days have almost gone and yet the best of it is yet to come. The indian summer in California is just starting with scorching heats and yet the abundance of fruits and vegetables in the market which gives us multiple choices to nourish ourselves and stock up on vitamins and minerals to build our reserves for fall and winter.
I was going through multiple choices of foods available but none seemed to satisfy the first cravings for something cool, fresh, spicy, nutritious and filling. Burgers, too dense… salads, nope… chicken, too long to cook… I ended up going back to one of my classics for a quick refreshing dish that met all my comfort criteria: a big bowl of chunky and spicy Shrimp cocktail. All the ingredients can be bought already refrigerated so they can be simply assembled in a minute and devoured or savored, depending on your appetite, in less than ten minutes. This is also one of my go-to dishes when I have unexpected company. Please note that if you wish to buy frozen cooked giant shrimp this is also a great alternative as they thaw in less than 10 minutes under cold water and will provide a lot of cooling factor to your overall dish.
To buff up my dinner, I put together a tart with ingredients that I had at home and that I most likely already have in my refrigerator at all times, the perfect combination of mushrooms, zucchini and onions, topped with goat cheese and popped in the oven while the rest of the meal got prepared.
Another instant dessert came together in less than 5 minutes and especially with no supervision: Figs with balsamic glaze over vanilla ice cream. This dessert is particularly sophisticated as the vinegar will take undertones of caramel and chocolate which marry perfectly with the poached figs. This is a great way to salute the end of the fig season and will blow your guests away.
It is so rewarding to put together a meal for friends and mix together friendly faces, good conversation and leisurely food. Serve with ginger tea or peach Agua Fresca and head for a highly delectable afternoon.
It doesn’t get any better than this!
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1 pound medium shrimp, raw or cooked
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup peeled, diced cucumber
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 jalapeno, minced
1 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped (or1 1/2 cups of freshly chopped tomatoes with their juices)
1/2 cup Organicville Ketchup no sugar added
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of a lime, about 2 Tbsp
1 avocado, cut into chunks
If you have pre-cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp you can skip to the next step. If you are working with raw shrimp, peel and devein them. If you have a little extra time and want your shrimp to be extra good, put the shells in 1 1/2 quarts of cool salted water, bring to a boil, then strain the shell stock into a separate pot and cook the shrimp in that liquid. If you want to skip that step, just bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil (a Tbsp salt for 2 quarts of water), add the shrimp, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until just cooked through (shrimp will curl up and turn pink). Reserve a cup of the cooking water and chill it.
Cut half of the shrimp into large chunks, leaving the other half whole (for a more attractive presentation). Put the chopped shrimp in a bowl with the chopped onions, cucumber, celery, jalapeno, tomatoes, ketchup, cilantro, lime juice and hot sauce. Gently stir to combine, and chill. Once the cooking water has cooled at least to room temperature, add a little at a time to the shrimp cocktail, until the shrimp cocktail is the consistency you want (we like ours a little on the soupy side).
To serve, add salt and more hot sauce to taste and gently mix in the chopped avocados. Dip the whole shrimp in the cocktail and arrange them on top. Serve in parfait glasses or in small bowls with toasted whole-wheat pita cut into triangles.
Serves 8 to 10
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 stick cold butter
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 zucchini cut in 1/8-inch slices
1 red onion
1 Tbsp garlic chopped fine (3 cloves)
1 container (8-oz) cremini button mushrooms
1 Tbsp fresh thyme stems discarded
6 oz goat cheese, cut into slices
In a food processor, put together the flour and butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse oats. Add the egg yolk and milk and pulse just until the dough assembles into a ball.
Take out of the bowl and roll into a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
While the dough cools, place 1 tablespoon oil into a hot wok over high heat. Add the onions and stir continuously until translucent and starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes until fragrant. Add the zucchini and cook until softened and starting to brown. In a separate pan, add a teaspoon of olive oil and cook the mushrooms until they have rendered all their moisture. Add the mushrooms to the zucchini mixture.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll out the dough until you arrive to a 12-in circle. Remove the top piece of paper and slide the lower piece of parchment paper onto a cookie sheet. Place the zucchini mixture over the center of the tart. Helping yourself with the parchment paper, fold gently about 2 inches of pastry over the filling to partially encase the filling.
Sprinkle the thyme over the filling and place slices of goat cheese over the opening.
Place in the center of the oven and cook for 40 to 45 minutes until the dough is golden and the cheese is browned and melted.
Slide off the parchment paper onto a serving dish. Wait ten minutes before cutting and serving.
1 basket ripe black mission figs, approximately 1/2 lb
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp agave syrup
1 gallon Dreyers Slow-Churned Vanilla no-sugar added ice cream
Put the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan with the agave syrup. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low and simmer slowly for about 30 minutes. Keep a watch over the syrup so that it doesn’t burn. When reduced by half, place the figs upright in the pan and turn off the heat.
Let cool slightly.
Place on scoop of vanilla ice cream in each individual bowl. Cut each fig in half or quarter (depending on size) and place on top of the ice cream. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the syrup.
Serve and enjoy.