Category: shrimp

Summertime… and the livin’s easy.

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”
-Sylvia Plath



Summer has pretty much all but flown by, hasn’t it? Seems like yesterday I posted a little group of pictures of the start of summer… & now all the Back-to-School stuff has infiltrated the stores & it seems as though summer is breathing its last breaths. Not only that, but we’ve been really getting pounded with rain, and when it’s a cool day combined with rain it seems far more like fall than summer. As far as I’m concerned, there’s plenty of summer left. But I don’t think many other people agree with me. Which sucks, actually, because I feel like I’m being forced to buy sweaters and trench coats and rain boots and I AM NOT READY FOR THAT. I’m still playing in the garden, enjoying the sunshine, wearing tank tops, cutoffs & flip flops. I won’t automatically shift into “fall mode” in late August and you can’t make me. It’s been raining a lot here lately, actually, and quite heavily. But despite the rain, it’s still warm, and I’m getting a little tired of emptying the water out of my fire pit and trying to keep my plants alive and standing. Oh, August rain. You can tell, though, that there’s a change in the air. The breeze is different, the sun patterns are different. Fall is coming.

However… those days when it’s still over 85° degrees with insane humidity and the sun is beating down on me brutally, I’m reminded that yes, it is indeed still summer. So I’m relishing it. Still having picnics & cook-outs on my insect plates!


But at this time of year I feel like a kid- you know how it is when you’re young, and when it’s still summer, and you’re inhaling the scent of chlorine off your skin, catching bugs in jars, staying up late & peeling the sunburned skin off your back… but everyone else (read: adults) seems to be talking about what textbooks you need, who ended up in Mrs. So-and-So’s class, why you need five 3-subject notebooks for Science and whether or not you read your summer reading books (I always did). There’s something to be said for the excitement of shopping for school supplies. The way you feel when you open that notebook and the first page is clean, unruffled and stark white, and it’s similar to the school year itself; right now, it’s a clean slate, anything can happen. It’s filled with promise and the first few weeks (and pages) are nice and smooth. Then it all goes to shit. By the end of the year, the notebook is dog-eared, frayed and probably has no cover left on it, not to mention is stained with almost every lunch you’ve eaten since at least November. Wait, I’m getting off track here. Anyway while there is something to be said for all that newness & excitement… let’s not forget though that the end of summer is officially September 21st, which means fall is technically a little less than one full month away.

There’s still a ton of summer left, true. Lots of beach days (although with no lifeguards), barbecues, warm nights sitting outside until it’s way late, enjoying the nice weather. But the date on the calendar means school starts very soon if it hasn’t already, & those last minute vacations are coming to an end. And most people mark the end of summer as Labor Day, so as summer itself “winds to a close,” it’s time to squeeze in all those summery recipes I didn’t make yet. I said this summer would be the summer of me making stuff I never made before… and that really didn’t go as planned. The summer switched rapidly between being swelteringly hot and torrentially rainy; like some kind of bizarre New York rainforest. So most of the time it was just too hot to cook, even when it rained. I wanted to make Miemo’s mama’s egg rolls, but it was too hot to fry anything! But this is definitely something I never made before that it wasn’t too hot to make: pickled shrimp.

Briny, faintly spicy pickled shrimp are a staple of Southern cuisine. In this Georgia-inspired version from from Hugh Acheson’s A New Turn in the South (Clarkson Potter, 2011), frozen raw shrimp are a fine substitute for fresh. As Hugh notes in his comment below, if the shrimp remain covered with oil, they’ll last for “a good week in the fridge. The longer they sit in their pickle liquid, the picklier they get.”

This recipe first appeared in our October 2011 issue along with Wendell Brock’s book review “Sweet and Tart: A Southerly Course and A New Turn in the South.”


Old Bay Seasoning is something every household should have, at all times. It’s excellent on seafood, yes, but it’s also great for tons of other things: popcorn, french fries, hard-boiled eggs, corn-on-the-cob, etc. If you’ve never had it- get it. I guarantee you you’ll love it. It’s just a simple mix: paprika, mustard, celery seed, ground bay leaf, both black and red pepper, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, salt, mace and ginger. But it’s so good. And the little can is so vintage looking!


PICKLED SHRIMP (directly from Saveur/Hugh Acheson, with my notes in Italics)


  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 lb. (26–30 count) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (I left the tails on)
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds (I didn’t crush them)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice berries (I omitted them)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped (I used a lot less, but mine was dried parsley)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 12 dried bay leaves
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise (I used a white onion)


  1. Bring Old Bay and 8 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan; add shrimp, reduce heat to low, and cook until shrimp are pink, about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to bowl of ice water to chill; drain again.
  2. Finely grind celery seeds and allspice in a spice grinder (I didn’t do this!); transfer to a bowl and stir in oil, juice, parsley, salt, chile flakes, garlic, and bay leaves. In a 1-qt. glass jar, layer shrimp and onions; pour over oil mixture. Cover with lid; chill overnight before serving.


I hope that you don’t get turned off or stick your nose up at the idea of these. If you like shrimp, and you like a mildy tangy, briny flavor that pickled foods have, then you’ll love these. Plus… anything in olive oil is awesome, am I right? It’s actually the same principle as Ceviche de Camarones, the popular Latin version of a shrimp cocktail. They’re excellent as a side dish to grilled steak, grilled chicken, or even grilled fish. A perfect addition to your Labor Day festivities this weekend. And the oil can be used as a vinaigrette, not to mention if you let the jar come to room temperature & put some of the shrimp & oil over hot pasta, it’s kinda like a cheater’s version of shrimp scampi. You could use them in a kind of Southern taco, too. Roll up some flour tortillas and put some of these bad boys in there with some of the onions and a little lettuce. They’re relatively easy to make, and… they last for a week in the fridge! Just make sure they’re totally submerged & covered with oil at all times. And as with everything, when in doubt- throw it out! If it smells funkadelic or looks weird, toss it. But mine was in the fridge for about 9 days, and on the ninth day it was finally finished and nobody died. Yet. (I kid, I kid)

And yes, like it says above, you can use frozen shrimp. I did! I also left the tails on, obviously. Interactive food, guys, interactive food. Make people work for it. Side note: the oil might coagulate in the refrigerator. Mine actually didn’t fully coagulate for a couple of days, I suspect because of the addition of the lemon juice. But anyway, if you manage to keep them for longer than an evening and they coagulate, all you do is take the jar out a little ahead of time. This way it’ll come to room temperature, liquify & be fine to eat within 15-20 minutes.

Shrimp Stir-fry.

One of my favorite foods is Asian. I love Chinese food, be it greasy take-out Chinese or fancy sit down Chinese, and I love Japanese stir-fry & Teriyaki. Not too big on Thai or Korean, but I digress. Stir-fry is also the easiest thing to make at home. As long as you have soy sauce, ginger (either powdered, candied or gingerroot that you grate yourself could be used), garlic and some rice and veggies- you have a meal.

Fresh veggies!

The original recipe that I used for this particular meal is for beef stir-fry, but I wanted to use shrimp (which is again one of my favorites), so I amended it a bit (if you decide to use chicken or beef, cook it in the skillet with some oil before you make the veggies, then put it in a bowl and cover it to keep it warm… shrimp cooks really fast so the directions are different). But like I’ve said before, you can use anything: chicken, beef, shrimp or even tofu I suppose. Its totally open to interpretation. You can use any rice you like also. Brown rice, jasmine rice, white rice… whatever! Any vegetables you have can be used, I used carrots, onion and broccoli but you can throw in peas, snap peas, water chestnuts, anything you like. You see how versatile it is? It’s the perfect meal for nights when you have tons of stuff in the house but no clue what to make.



  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled & deveined and preferably tail-off
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium heads broccoli, or one frozen 16 oz. bag broccoli cuts or florets
  • 2 tbsp. grated gingerroot, or 2 tsp. ground ginger


  1. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, lemon juice, cornstarch, dark brown sugar, garlic and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add onion and stir fry for 5 minutes then add carrots and broccoli (cut into florets, or just cuts if using fresh) along with ½ cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Add shrimp to skillet along with ginger and soy sauce mixture. Bring to a boil,  and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Make sure shrimp is opaque and pink, if so, then its  done. Serve hot over rice or noodles.

And there ya go. A quick, filling and delicious meal you can make with everything and the kitchen sink! Those shrimp look amazing, don’t they? Don’t you want to reach into your monitor and grab one? Yeah. I know. If only Willy Wonka’s attempt at sending food through the TV was feasible. Then you could indeed grab some of this yummy stir-fry. But thats okay, I’m sure the Big Mac you’re eating is really good, too.

Yeah, messy plating job in exhibit A, but dude, seriously- this ain’t Bon Appetit.


And uh, don’t forget to become a fan of Cupcake Rehab on Facebook! What are you waiting for? I said go become a fan!

“Leftover” fried rice.

I love Chinese food, and I’m one of those people who eats a lot of white rice with her main dish, so therefore I order a lot. But you always end up with a buttload of extra white rice that sits in the fridge, and no one eats it, and it gets thrown away. Not anymore!

Sara Moulton had this recipe on her show Sara’s Weeknight Meals last year and I made a mental note to make it. Tonight was one of those nights when it was hot, and I didn’t want to cook anything incredibly involved or complex, and so I made this. I used chicken because I didn’t have shrimp, but according to Sara, “any protein can be used.” I used peas, carrots,  corn, egg, chicken, minced garlic and since I didn’t have sesame oil, I threw some sesame seeds in with regular vegetable oil for the first step. You can throw in broccoli as well if you have it (which I wish I did), and use shrimp or any kind of “meat”, I guess- even strips of steak. I had some soy sauce left over from Chinese takeout as well so I used that, but if you have a bottle of it around then thats fine. Basically you could use anything in this, and it works.

This can be a side dish, without a protein in it, or a meal. Its great to use up any leftovers at the end of the month- leftover chicken, rice, veggies, etc.



  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 cups frozen shelled and deveined shrimp, halved (or chicken, or whatever you wish)
  • One 10-ounce package frozen peas
  • 3 cups leftover cooked long-grain white rice or Simple Boiled Rice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium. Combine the eggs with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and pour into the skillet. Cook, stirring, until scrambled, about 1 minute. Break into small pieces and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add another tablespoon of oil, the onion, and garlic to the pan; cook, stirring 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and peas; cook until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the eggs.
  3. Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly crispy.
  4. Stir together the soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, and sesame oil; add to the rice in the skillet along with the shrimp, peas, and egg. Cook just until the egg is heated through and serve.

Its a really quick easy meal to serve up that makes use of all that stuff in your fridge/freezer and is delicious too.

Angel hair pasta & spicy shrimp.

I’ve definitely mentioned before how much I adore shrimp. As for pasta? Love it. And spicy stuff? Again, love it. So when I stumbled across this recipe in Real Simple I knew I had to try it. Its so quick and easy, as corny as it sounds.. it really is “real simple.” And on a night like tonight, when its friggin’ pouring rain out AGAIN, and I was eager to get home, and get dinner made and eaten quickly so I could watch ‘Pushing Daisies‘… it was perfect. Obviously, I’m feeling better today- so back to cooking!

In the skillet...



  • ¾ pound angel hair pasta or spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound frozen peeled and deveined medium shrimp, thawed
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute (do not let it brown). Add the shrimp, wine, red pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt. Simmer until the shrimp are opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted.
  3. Toss the pasta with the shrimp mixture.

Result? One de-friggin’-licious meal. I would add more red pepper, however. Maybe ½ teaspoon instead of ¼ teaspoon. But its all up to individual taste.

The way you prepare the shrimp just depends what kind of shrimp you buy; if you buy frozen it tells you how to prepare it on the package, and if you buy fresh it can usually be prepared to your specifications (i.e. deveined, etc).

Quick and easy meal, quick and easy blog post. 😀

Shrimp creole, ya’ll!

I never got to go to New Orleans, or ‘Nawlins’ as the natives of Louisiana say. My family did before I was born and they’ve always said how beautiful it was, and how much they loved it. And when Hurricane Katrina happened and those levees broke, I saw the devastation, and aside from the helplessness and sorrow I had for those people, I had the same feeling I had on September 11, 2001: anger. Anger because I hate to see a city filled with such life torn apart like that. And I really wished I’d been able to get there before that, because I knew that it might not ever be restored back to its original beauty. Of course, it was different, because 9-11 was a different kind of tragedy, a man-made one, I’m a native New Yorker,  and I was actually present during its happening so I felt the fear and desperation firsthand, but it arouses the same feeling of “Why?” Such beautiful and unique cities with rich histories, to have such bad luck befall them.

The land of Anne Rice (although I believe now she’s quite the Christian and not into writing about vampires anymore, what a shame), Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras, beignets and cafe au lait, jazz and ghosts and voodoo will forever hold a special mystique for me. All that stuff is right up my alley. Me and Jay loved the movie ‘The Skeleton Key’ and I adore that big ol’ plantation house Kate Hudson’s character lived in with the older couple, right on the bayou with that amazing garden. Despite being a bonafide northerner and a big city girl at heart, I could dig living in a house like that. Despite all the hurricane damage, and the issues they’ve had in the past 3 years, I still would love to go to New Orleans, maybe someday I will.

But this blog isn’t about travel or movies or voodoo… its about food. So lets get down to it. I saw Paula Deen, aka one of my favorite people to watch on TV (mainly because she’s downright hilarious, she lights oven mitts on fire and forgets to put the tops on blenders, but also because her recipes are really good), make one-pot shrimp creole last week and I knew I needed to make it. Now, purists will argue that its not “real” shrimp creole, blah blah blah. I’m a New York girl; I like authenticity but you know what?  I’ve got a busy life, I like easy too. And this is easy. I love shrimp, I love hot stuff, and I love easy meals. What is there for me not to like about this?! Besides, Hurricane Hanna was on a path right to us tonight, bringing with her 60mph winds and heavy rain accumulating up to 4″… so whats a better snuggly comfort food than something involving one pot and a lotta food?

Really, how freakin’ good does that look?!



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup diced green bell peppers
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 (14-ounces) can tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 ½ pounds peeled and deveined shrimp
  • Green onions, for garnish


  1. In fry pan, heat olive oil. Add peppers, onions and celery. Cook until softened.
  2. Add chili powder and saute until caramelized. Remove from heat and pour into crock pot, or large pot. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire, white sugar, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 hours in crock pot, or 20-25 minutes in large pot. Mix cornstarch in cold water.
  3. Add shrimp and cornstarch mixture to tomato mixture and cook for about 3 minutes or until bubbly. Then cook for an additional 2 minutes or until shrimp is opaque.
  4. Serve over white rice, with a pat of butter in between the rice and the creole if desired.
  5. Top with chopped green onions.

Okay so, I didn’t make this in a crock pot. I just used a regular big ass pot…. so it did NOT take 3 hours. It was more like 30-45 minutes. If you have a crock pot handy and want to use it, then go you. Also, it doesn’t tell you how much rice to make, so thats on you, depending on how many people you’re feeding, etc. I omitted the celery because nobody here likes it and I doubt you’d miss it anyway, but if you’ve got it and you like it then by all means. I used one pound of shrimp and it fed three people just fine. If you’d like more shrimp or less, then you can adjust accordingly. I could’ve used a bit more shrimp myself, but I like big portions. I didn’t feel like going out and buying green onions just as a garnish so I didn’t use them either. I actually did a combo of two recipes, the Paula Deen one and one from the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. It was mainly the Paula recipe but since I didn’t use a crock pot I lifted some ideas from the other recipe. The recipe I wrote here is the mix of the two recipes I used. If you want the original Paula Deen crock pot recipe, go here.

I really thought this was amazing. It could’ve been a tad hotter for me, but like I’ve mentioned before, I have a thing for all foods that burn your taste buds out and make you run for the water glasses. But this was a hit. I’ve made another Paula Deen shrimp-related recipe and it was also a big hit, so she’s off the shitlist for the lousy red velvet cupcakes I made last year which I explained further in my post about Magnolia’s red velvet cupcakes.

So basically it was delicious and filling and the perfect meal for a night like tonight. Jay’s off seeing his friends in Suffocation play at the Nokia Theatre and I think hes insane because its crazy weather out there… but boys will be boys. I’d much rather be here, eating shrimp creole in my pajamas, not getting windblown and soaked. To each his own!

But he really has no idea what he missed out on. 🙂

Shrimp Po’ Bubba’s… or Po’ Arwyns.

I love shrimp. I could eat it all day I think. I’m partial to fried shrimp, though. Fried in any capacity: tempura, beer batter with tartar sauce, shrimp parmigiana, coconut shrimp, etc. Arwyn (my cat) also loves shrimp. She’s not really as picky as me though- she likes any kind of shrimp. She eats around the coatings or sauces she doesn’t like. I’m not as evolved as that so I stick to what I like. And I likes fried shrimp.

The queen of frying, Ms. Paula Deen, made this and therefore I had to. I renamed them Shrimp Po’ Arwyns because of my cat who, just a few minutes ago, ate the remaining shrimp off her own little plate. No tartar sauce 😉


Uncle Bubba’s Fry Mix:
  • 6 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Shrimpy goodness:
  • 2 pounds, uncooked shrimp, peeled (tails left on), deveined and butterflied
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup Louisiana hot sauce (recommended: Texas Pete)
  • 2 cups Uncle Bubba’s Fry Mix
  • Peanut oil, for deep frying
  • Tartar sauce, or Cocktail sauce, for dressing
  • Lettuce and tomato slices, for topping
  1. Lightly sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper. In a small bowl mix the eggs, 1/4 cup water and hot sauce. Place the fry mix in a shallow dish. Dip each shrimp in the egg mixture and then into the fry mix.
  2. Cook’s Note: If the fry gets lumpy you can sift it to make smooth.

  3. Heat 3 to 4-inches of peanut oil (in a Dutch oven or deep-fryer) to 350 degrees F.

  4. Place the shrimp in the pot and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove with a clean strainer or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels for a minute.

  5. Serve on a toasted hoagie roll with tartar sauce, lettuce and tomatoes.

A few edits, if you will:

  • I use tartar sauce on mine, which is what the original recipe called for. But some people prefer cocktail sauce (see above photos) so have that available as well.
  • I didn’t have self-rising flour so I made one using a cheat and it worked just fine. I also omitted the water in the egg/hot sauce mixture- it made the batter too watery and none of it stayed on the shrimp when they were put into the oil. Also, in the aforementioned mixture I used plain old Tabasco sauce, which I love, instead of Louisiana hot sauce but you use whatever you want or whatever you have on hand.
  • My fry mix didn’t get lumpy at all, so I didn’t have to sift, but I made only one pound of  (jumbo) shrimp and halved the fry mix recipe (and the egg mixture, of course) and still have a ton of mix left over.. so keep that in mind. But thats okay because it keeps for 4 months in an airtight container.
  • I myself would add some paprika and maybe cayenne to the fry mix, it was a bit bland for me. But I live on hot sauce and my taste buds are immune to an extent so its really a matter of taste.
  • I did not butterfly the shrimp, either, but thats pretty obvious.
  • You’ll need a candy thermometer to check the temp of the oil, too. But you should have one of those anyway. If not- go get one.

Happy summer!