It’s no secret that I have a thing for food magazines. I’m figuring that you do too because you’re here.
Even though cookbooks are beginning to take a more magazine article approach to recipes, sharing stories and anecdotes along with the food, they still can’t compete with the wide range of topics, contributors or recipe styles that magazines have.
Take, for instance, the July/August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine. Even though I don’t much care about what kind of make-up female chefs wear and so skipped those couple of pages, I loved the four American flag-oriented trays on pages 73 and 74.
If we go to a Fourth of July party this year, the Star-Spangled Spread, in which prosciutto and sopressata are laid out in rows between Boursin slathered crackers, with one corner holding star cut-out sandwiches, will be my contribution. It looks so cool.
This week, however, I’ve spent time getting to know Chef Curtis Stone. Since I don’t watch Food Network anymore, I haven’t seen him on Top Chef Masters, but it enjoyed making his acquaintance in the pages of the magazine.
In addition to introducing me to the Chef, pages 127- 135 walked me through how he prepares for a party while still being able to enjoy it himself. For instance, did you know that it takes three hours to chill bottles in the fridge but only 30 minutes in a tub filled with water and ice? I didn’t either, but now I do.
In addition to tidbits like that, Chef Stone shares six recipes that make up an outstanding-looking outdoor picnic. Everything from drinks to dessert is included.
The recipe for the Grilled Shrimp with Vietnamese Vinaigrette caught my eye because there’s a whole-page photo of the shrimp on page 132 and it makes you want to lick the paper.
Seriously, it does.
Since the most time-consuming part of this dish is the knife-work (grilling only takes 5 minutes), and that can be done a day in advance, this is a perfect party dish if you can find shrimp at a great price.
It may only take Chef Stone fifteen minutes to squeeze a half cup of lime juice, slice scallions, finely chop shallots, and mince jalapeño chiles and garlic cloves, but it took me a bit longer. Unless you use a chopper, be ready for from some knife-bonding time.
Once that part’s done, however, all the minced, chopped and sliced bits are whisked together with the lime juice, brown sugar (I don’t have palm sugar), fish sauce and sesame oil. That’s it. The vinaigrette can be refrigerated at this point, ready for use for up to a day later.
When I was ready to grill, I simply measured out a half cup of the vinaigrette, added grapeseed oil, then threw in the shrimp, making sure they were well coated. I skewered them and laid them on a hot grill for three minutes per side.
After removing them from the skewers on to the platter, I drizzled them with more vinaigrette, added sliced lime and served the shrimp with rice.
Hubby and I both decided that this dish has set the bar really high for the week. It’ll take a lot for something else to top it. The shrimp is delicious; amazingly delicious. My friends, this one dish is worth buying the magazine for. We loved it.
Dudette thought it tasted like shrimp and said she couldn’t taste the ‘sauce,’ but that could be because I peeled it for her.
What surprised me a bit was that neither she or I had a problem with there being two jalapeños in the vinaigrette. Heat wasn’t an issue at all. For those who do hope for some, I’d suggest adding one or two more chiles.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
Not a thing.
- ½ cup lime juice, plus wedges for serving
- ¼ cup palm sugar or light brown sugar
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 2 seeded jalapeno chiles, minced
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 4 teaspoons grapeseed oil
- 32 extra-large shrimp (2 lbs.), peeled and deveined
- Freshly ground pepper
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, palm sugar (or brown sugar), scallions, shallots, jalapenos, fish sauce, garlic and sesame oil.
- Preheat a grill to high. Transfer ½ cup of the vinaigrette to a large bowl; whisk in the grapeseed oil. Add the shrimp, season with pepper and toss to coat. Grill the shrimp, flipping halfway through, until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Transfer the shrimp to a platter; drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette. Serve with the lime wedges.
Want another creative idea from Rachael? If you own a pool, buy a few hula hoops and several bunches of flowers, like Gerber daisies. Lay the hoops in the water, pull the flower heads off the stems and fill the hoops with flowers. Cool, huh?