Zoodles With Lemon Parsley Pesto, Tomatoes, And Shrimp

* – from Natural Grocers

INGREDIENTS

1⁄4 cup coarsely chopped Natural Grocers Brand Bulk Walnuts
1 bunch organic Italian parsley
2 teaspoons organic lemon zest from one medium organic lemon)
2 tablespoons organic lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons Natural Grocers Brand Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 (16-ounce) package frozen peeled and deveined shrimp, thawed
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 medium organic zucchini, spiralized
1⁄2 pint organic grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise

DIRECTIONS

For the pesto

  1. Toast the walnuts over medium-low heat in a large sauté pan for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate and wipe the pan clean.
  2. Remove parsley leaves from the stems and add them to the bowl of a food processor. Discard stems. Pulse until the parsley is well chopped. Add the toasted walnuts, lemon zest, and salt and process until the mixture is uniform, scraping down the sides as necessary. With the machine running, slowly add the lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Set pesto aside.

For the shrimp and zoodles

  1. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel and remove tails if desired.
  2. Heat the large sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp, salt and pepper to taste, and cook, flipping shrimp about halfway through cooking time, until the shrimp are pink and curled, 4-6 minutes total.
  3. Add the zoodles and cook for one minute, stirring frequently. Add the pesto and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes and give the mixture one more stir to fully coat the veggies and shrimp with the pesto. Serve immediately.

Note: If your pan is not large enough to hold all of the shrimp and zoodles at the same time, remove the cooked shrimp from the pan before adding the zoodles. Cook the zoodles for two minutes, stirring frequently. Combine the cooked zoodles, reserved shrimp, pesto, and tomatoes in a large serving bowl and stir to evenly coat the veggies and shrimp with the pesto.

Old Charleston Style Shrimp and Grits

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Ingredients
1 cup coarsely ground grits
3 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups half-and-half
2 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 lemon, juiced
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
5 slices bacon
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Directions
Bring water, grits, and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan with a lid. Stir in half-and-half and simmer until grits are thickened and tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
Sprinkle shrimp with salt and cayenne pepper; drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside in a bowl.
Place andouille sausage slices in a large skillet over medium heat; fry sausage until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Retain bacon drippings in skillet. Transfer bacon slices to paper towels, let cool, and crumble.
Cook and stir green, red, and yellow bell peppers, onion, and garlic in the bacon drippings until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.
Stir shrimp and cooked vegetables into the andouille sausage and mix to combine.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour to make a smooth paste. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is medium brown in color, 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully, mixture burns easily.
Pour the butter-flour mixture into the skillet with andouille sausage, shrimp, and vegetables. Place the skillet over medium heat and pour in chicken broth, bacon and Worcestershire sauce, cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens and the shrimp become opaque and bright pink, about 8 minutes.
Just before serving, mix sharp Cheddar cheese into grits until melted and grits are creamy and light yellow. Serve shrimp mixture over cheese grits.

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Seafood Okra Gumbo

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My favorite food stop when I visited the French Quarter last summer was the Gumbo Shop. The food there was amazing. I did my best to try and recreate their famous gumbo from a recipe on their website. Here are photos and the recipe below. Note – I used Andouille sausage sliced into 1/2″ rounds instead of crab.

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh or frozen shrimp, head on about 40-50 count per poundound
2 small blue crabs, fresh or frozen
3 quarts water 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 quart fresh or frozen okra, sliced into 1/2″ rounds
2/3 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
1 16oz. can chopped tomatoes
2 bayleaves
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

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Directions:

Peel and de-vein the shrimp, and set aside, covered in the refrigerator. Rinse the shrimp shells and heads, place in a non-reactive stock pot along with 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes to make a stock. Strain, discard the shells and heads and set the stock aside. Meanwhile, wash the crabs well under running water, place in a non-reactive pot with 1 quart of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Strain, reserving stock and crabs. When the crabs are cool enough to handle, snap both claws off then break the body in half. Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil , add the okra and saute over medium high heat for about 10 – 15 minutes or until all the “ropiness” is gone. This step may take a little longer if fresh okra is used. Frozen vegetables are usually plunged into boiling water and blanched before freezing, so they are partially cooked.

Place the 2/3 cup oil in a large (8 quart) heavy bottomed non-reactive Dutch oven type pot. Add the flour and, over a medium high fire, make a dark brown roux as described on page10. As soon as the proper color is achieved, add the onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally until tender. During this process, allow the vegetables to stick to the bottom of the pan a bit, then scrape the bottom with a metal spoon or spatula. This allows some of the natural sugars in the onions to caramelize, rendering great depth of flavor.

When the seasoning vegetables are tender add the tomatoes, bay leaves and the three peppers and a little salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, repeating the stick and scrape process with the tomatoes. Add the sauteed okra and cook for 10 more minutes.

Add the crab stock and half of the shrimp stock to the pot. Stirring constantly, bring the pot to a boil. Lower the heat a bit, partially cover and simmer for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally. If the gumbo appears too thick, add more stock to adjust. Add salt to taste and adjust the pepper if desired. Add the broken crabs and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the peeled shrimp, return to a boil and simmer until the shrimp are firm and pink, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat.

As is the case with most gumbos, this dish is best prepared either early in the day it is to be served, or even the day before, thereby allowing time for the flavors to marry. When reheating, stir often and be careful to avoid overcooking the shrimp.

Serve in large bowls over steamed rice. This recipe will yield about six entrees or ten to twelve appetizers.

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Seafood Okra Gumbo

Waterman’s Surfside Grille

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“Where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean!”

Waterman’s Surfside Grille has captured the flavors of Virginia Beach since 1981. Located right off the Virginia Beach boardwalk, this beautiful restaurant has both indoor and outdoor patio seating and a fun vibrant atmosphere. I got the Waterman’s Original Pasta – shrimp, scallops and andouille sausage sautéed with a Cajun cream sauce served over pasta. The portion size was perfect and the pasta was amazing. I didn’t try it, but I hear the Original Waterman’s Orange Crush (orange vodka, triple sec and sprite) is amazing as well. They even hold a festival called the Crush Fest that celebrates the drink. This place was jam-packed, so I ate at the bar and people watched. I highly recommend stopping in for a visit at this local favorite. Waterman’s partners with the Virginia Aquarium and participates in their Sensible Seafood Program (promoting seafood that is plentiful and harvested in environmentally friendly ways). I included a video about it below.

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Waterman’s from the beach

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Waterman’s Original Pasta

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Waterman's Surfside Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Otaku

Man I got some great brothers in Christ to do life with. We had lunch after church at Otaku and tore up some great sushi. Otaku comes from a Japanese polite second-person pronoun meaning “your home.”  We got the Tootzy roll (Shrimp tempura, crab mix, cream cheese, cucumber topped with crunchies and eel sauce), the Golden California roll with some Stuffed Jalapenos and Shrimp Tempura. It was a great lunch sharing about each others lives, giving each other advice and holding each other accountable.

Otaku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Spread

When I go to house parties, I like to eat. Well… we had quite the spread for Aaron’s birthday party. There was shrimp, mexican food, fried chicken, pulled pork, chips – everything you can think of. I couldn’t stop munching. We also had a lot of dancing. The macarena, the watermelon crawl – it was fun. Some people even took some time to jump off the roof into the pool. I even played jenga for awhile. A lot of fun and a great night of fellowship.