Sunday, January 27, 2008

They Come In 3's...

I've been tagged by Lyndee at her blog, Storyweaver's Knapsack, to post three recipes from the most delightful dinners that I've had.

In turn, I am to tag three other unsuspecting bloggers. :) I'll tag Jordan, Sandy and Beth. But if you want to jump in on this one...consider yourself tagged! You must tell the story of why the recipe is so fond to you!

Chocolate Covered Tuxedo Strawberries

These cute little treats were served at my wedding reception. Over 100 of the decorated strawberries adorned a platter beneath the lighted tent that sat under the stars that night. Everyone "oohed" and "aahed" over them and sunk their teeth in with a juicy bite.

12 oz. dark chocolate pieces
12. oz. white chocolate pieces
1 dozen strawberries
Wash and dry strawberries, leaving stems on. Melt white chocolate over low heat. Remove from heat and stir until creamy, about 5 minutes. Melt dark chocolate in same manner as the white chocolate. Dip the cooled strawberries into the white chocolate about half the way up. Place on wax paper until the chocolate has cooled. Next, dip the strawberries on 2 sides, leaving a V-shaped white center. Place on wax paper to cool.
Using a piping bag with a small nozzle, pipe on bow and a few buttons.
Chef's Notes:
There are different chocolates. Chocolate liqueur is produced by grinding the cocoa bean nib (center) to a smooth, liquid state. It can then be cooled and molded into blocks also known as unsweetened baking chocolate. The liqueur and blocks contain roughly 53 percent cocoa butter. The semisweet (bittersweet) chocolate is a chocolate liqueur to which sweeteners and cocoa butter have been added. Also known as dark chocolate. According to government standards, it must contain at least 34 percent chocolate liqueur. Its fat content averages 27 percent. Sweet chocolate contains more sweeteners than semisweet chocolate and at least 15 percent chocolate liqueur. It is used mostly for decorating and garnishing. The fat content is similar to semisweet. Milk chocolate is cocoa butter, milk, sweeteners and flavorings which are added to chocolate liqueur. It lends itself to good use for garnishes and candy coatings. All milk chocolate made in the U.S. contains at least 10 percent chocolate liqueur and 12 percent whole milk. Finally, there is white chocolate and it contains cocoa butter but no nonfat cocoa solids. It is mostly used as a coating and contains sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids and flavorings.
A great way to use leftover chocolate is to melt it and dip pretzels, cookies, dried fruits, etc. into it for a great treat
You can take melted chocolate and cool it slightly and place in a piping bag and make chocolate swirls, etc. to decorate any dessert.


Broccoli Salad

I served this the second Christmas that Mr. B. and I were married. It was my first "real" holiday hosting experience. I made a roast along with roasted vegetables and served this delicious and festive salad on the side. Mr. B.'s family was in attendance (my wonderful in-laws) and I got quite a few appreciative comments.

5 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup hulled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
1/4 cup of red onion, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

Combine broccoli florets, raisins, sunflower seeds, crumbled bacon, chopped onion, and peas in a large serving bowl. In a separate bowl or large cup, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar. Add dressing to the salad and toss to mix well; chill thoroughly before serving.


Coconut Shrimp

Mr. B. - sweet man that he is - knew that coconut shrimp was my favorite meal at Red Lobster and Outback Steakhouse, so he ventured to make me some for our first Valentine's Day together. He did a surprisingly AMAZING job!
I came home from a long day at the Clinique counter to fresh flowers, a multi-course meal (including this recipe) and a husband ready to pamper me silly

Pina Colada Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup pina colada nonalcoholic drink mix
1/4 cup crushed pineapple (canned)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6-8 cups canola oil (as required by fryer)
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1/2 pound)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons captain morgan Parrot Bay coconut rum
1 cup panko Japanese-style bread crumbs
1/2 cup flaked coconut

Prepare pina colada dipping sauce first by combining all the ingredients.
Cover this and let it chill out in the fridge while you make the shrimp.
Heat oil to 350 degrees.
Measure 3/4 cup of flour into a medium bowl.
In another medium bowl mix together the remaining 3/4 cup flour, sugar, and salt.
Stir milk and rum into flour mixture.
Let this batter stand for five minutes.
While the batter rests, combine panko breadcrumbs and shredded coconut into a third medium bowl.
Butterfly cut each shrimp before you start the battering: Use a sharp knife to slice through the top of the shrimp (where the vein was) so that you can spread the shrimp open.
Leave the tail intact.
To batter the shrimp, dip each one in the flour, then the wet batter, then coat each shrimp with the panko/coconut mixture.
Arrange the shrimp on a plate until all of them are battered.
Fry the shrimp by dropping six at a time into the hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the shrimp are golden brown.
Remove shrimp to a rack or paper towels to drain.
Serve shrimp with pina colada dipping sauce on the side, along with a small dish or your favorite salsa.

That's it! Now, do it...and don't forget the stories. They're the best part!


The Arnold Family said...

Fun! It may take me a few days, but i'll get it!

The Arnold Family said...

..up I meant. I'll get it up. :)

Beth said...


I am up for the challenge and will let you know when I've posted. :-)

Lyndee said...

Ashley, please post a way for me to follow this thing I started so I can read or copy the recipes that mean so much to the tagged!

Sandy said...

Ooooh, not sure I'll get around to this, but I LOVE reading thru your recipes. The Tuxedo Strawberry is just adorable. My mouth is drooling over the shrimp and salad. YUM. Thanks for thinking of me, Mrs. B! Always love coming to see what's up in "B-land!" :)

Christina. B said...

That strawberry looks too good to eat.

Beth said...

p.s. I'm quite impressed with Mr. B. for making you coconut shrimp. I'm not sure I'd want to try that one...