Friday, December 28, 2012

Dill-icious Shrimp from Weeknight Dinners & Giveaway

Last week, I vowed to try another recipe form Weeknight Dinners  and here it is.   I had a fair amount of paleo mayonnaise that I needed to use, so I decided upon Dill-icious Shrimp.  As promised, I am going to apply my lessons learned from making the Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts and Balsamic-Glazed Brussels Sprouts.

I forgot to mention this in my last post, but if you are interested in seeing what the book looks like, Amber offers a free 39-page sample of the book Paleo Savvy.  This was not one of the recipes in the sample and I've not seen it anywhere, so if you want it, you'll have to buy the book if you want the exact recipe or perhaps you could win a copy here on the blog?!?  Keep reading for details on that. 

First, I re-typed the recipe.  This gave me an opportunity to also reorder the list of ingredients so that all items that needed to be chopped, peeled or grated were at the top of the list.  I also reformatted the recipe instructions in to a bulleted list and simplified the wording a bit in places.  No pretty pictures, but its easy to read, to me. 

Here is my reformatted recipe.  I've blanked out the recipe amounts.
I also checked the beginning of the week for the "Make Ahead Schedule" for any extra preparation time.  Sure enough, the make ahead schedule includes preparing the zucchini, so I knew that the 35 minute stated preparation time was likely not accurate.  

After gathering my ingredients, I started by prepping and cooking my shrimp.  The recipe simply calls for cooked shrimp.  You could use a bag of frozen cooked shrimp.  I stood at the freezer cabinet at the grocery store for quite a while looking at the different varieties of frozen shrimp.  I decided on buying some beautiful frozen wild caught brown shrimp that happened to be on sale.  I could have gotten cooked shrimp, but decided against it due to price and my skepticism as to the process used to cook them.  

I decided to steam my shrimp.  I set up a steamer insert in a small stock pot with water on a burner on high.  While the water was heating, I peeled and de-veined my shrimp.  

Once the water was boiling, I make an even layer of shrimp across the steamer insert, put the lid on and started working on preparing the zucchini.  You'll see that my steamer insert isn't a perfect fit for my pot, but it worked just fine. 

I knew that each batch of shrimp wouldn't take that long to steam, so I didn't leave the pot for too long. Luckily, shrimp let you know they are done by changing color.

I steamed my shrimp in 3 batches.  Each batch took 5 minutes.  

While the shrimp was steaming, I worked on preparing the zucchini.  I washed and peeled the zucchini.  The recipe says to grate the zucchini using the medium holes.  I started using the medium holes on my box grater and the product seemed very mushy.  I decided to trust my intuition and switched to the large holes and thought the consistency was much better.  

Large holes are better.
Medium grate on left and large on the right. 
I put the grated zucchini in a colander and tossed it with salt.  The recipe doesn't say how much salt.  I used about 1.5 tablespoons.  

After letting it stand, a little water had drained off the zucchini.  I poured it into a little 8 oz juice glass with about a 2 inch diameter to give you an idea of how much water there was.  I've seen this method of getting moisture out of zucchini before and it usually involves rinsing the salt away.  The recipe made no mention of rinsing, but I decided to do it anyway.  I rinsed the zucchini in the colander with cold water and then pressed as much water as I could out of the vegetable matter with my hands.   

I spread the zucchini out on a clean kitchen towel.  I put an additional towel on top of the zucchini and pressed more.  I even rolled it up and squeezed the roll a bit to extract more water.  I set it aside as instructed and continued to prepare the rest of the salad.  

I chopped up my dill.  The recipe calls for a full cup of dill.  I had a 2/3 ounce package of fresh dill.  Once chopped, I'd say it amounted to maybe 1/2 to 3/4 a cup of dill.  This would have to do.  I did have some dried dill, so I figured if the salad needed more dill flavor, I could add some dried.  

I measured out my paleo mayonnaise and mixed in the dill, and other seasonings into a bowl and mixed everything together.  I'm not certain why she has this step in separate bowl.  The next time I do this, I'll mix this up in the big bowl that I'll put my chopped veggies into to mix the final salad together.  

I chopped up my scallions, English cucumber, and red onion.

I put my chopped ingredients and the shrimp into a large bowl.  The next step was to essentially make a vinaigrette to add to the remaining ingredients.  

I added the vinaigrette to the large bowl and mixed everything together.  I then added the mayo with the dill to the large bowl and mixed everything up again.  

At this point, I thought I was done and look how pretty it looks.  

But then I realized that I had forgotten to add the zucchini to the bowl.  It was a bit of a mess to get the grated zucchini off of the towel.  I got as much off of the towel as I could.   

I then remixed the salad and here is the complete salad.  I waited to try the salad until it had chilled in the refrigerator for an hour.  When I took it out of the refrigerator, I tasted for seasoning and added a little salt and pepper.  The recipe suggests seasoning with salt and pepper 3 times through the recipe.  Given the natural salt in the shrimp, I decided to be cautious.  

Accessibility and Cost of Ingredients:  I purchased everything, except for the paleo mayo, at my big box grocery store.  The shrimp I bought was on sale for just under $6/pound.  On the day I went shopping, I decided that I was only going to shop at one grocery store that day and if it didn't have something, I'd have to make due.  The only ingredient I was concerned about was the English cucumber.  I think you could use a "regular" cucumber if you peel it, and perhaps cut out the seeds

Preparation/Cooking Time: Shrimp:  It took me 10 minutes to peel and de-vein the shrimp.  It then took me a total of 15 minutes took steam the shrimp in three batches.   Salad: My preparation time for the salad, subtracting the 10 minute shrimp prep time was 1 hour.  Even subtracting another generous 10 minutes for the distraction of steaming the shrimp while preparing the zucchini  that still leaves my preparation time at 15 minutes over the stated 35 minute preparation time.  You then have to chill the salad for an hour giving me a total preparation time (including shrimp) of 2 hours and 10 minutes. 

Clean Up:  I was able to put everything into the dishwasher.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs up!  This salad was light and tasty.  It wasn't quite as creamy as I thought that it would be but that's fine.  The dill flavor was prominent and I didn't feel the need to add any additional dill.  I wouldn't have minded a little more kick flavor wise, but I wasn't sure what ingredient would do the trick.  Maybe add some diced jalapeƱo?   My main questions about this recipe is the use of the zucchini necessary and what to serve it with?  

She notes that the zucchini is there to give the salad body.  I'm all for getting more vegetables in, but I think the next time I make this, I'll leave the zucchini out or maybe just chop it up like the cucumber.  My second question is what to serve this with?  Salad or maybe in a pure wrap?  When you make this dish, you'll want to eat it as quickly as you can.  Though the flavor improves in the short term, an hour or two, it doesn't taste as good over night.  

Weeknight Paleo Giveaway: When Amber approached me about reviewing recipes from Weeknight Paleo, she asked if I'd be interested in hosting a giveaway of an electronic copy of the book here on the blog.  Well, yes, of course!  I'm going to make this as easy as possible, while still giving Paleo Savvy some much deserved publicity for allowing us to host a giveaway.  

I considered doing this giveaway through leaving comments, but after doing some internet searching about the legalities of internet/blog giveaways, I decided I just couldn't do it that way.  I know from the coconut oil giveaway, that many would look at the post, but not many entered and I figured using rafflecopter discouraged many.  Sorry folks, but a giveaway is better than no giveaway and what a great cookbook to add to your collection.  

I've made it super easy.  None of the entry options are mandatory, so choose one or many of the entry options, its up to you, but you have to do at least one.  I hope you all enter!  Good Luck!  

To enter, please use the widget below: a Rafflecopter giveaway