Monday, January 28, 2013

The Shrimp Tacos To End All Shrimp Tacos


All I can say is sometimes...you make something special. Something beyond, "Hey, that was good." Something that screams, delicious, the moment it touches your lips. Something that warrants a happy-dance and congratulatory back patting.

Sometimes, you hit it out of the park and you think to yourself ~Magic.
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This is one of those times.


Simple. Flavorful. Delicious.
These, my friends, are the shrimp tacos to end all shrimp tacos.
And after years of trying to nail down the perfect shrimp taco recipe, tonight I go to bed with a great big smile on my face.

Yeah.
They're that good. Grin.

My Shrimp Taco Tutorial

Make slaw






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After marinating 30 min.


Cut each shrimp into two or three bite size pieces. Squeeze wedge of fresh lime juice over shrimp. Toss and refrigerate.
 







Make batter.
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Prepare tortillas by heating up a large skillet. Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and spread around skillet. Place 3 tortillas in hot skillet and fry 20 or 30 seconds on each side. Stack on a plate. Repeat this process adding a teaspoon of vegetable oil with each batch until all of your tortillas are warmed up and soft.




Slice one whole ripe avocado into wedges.

Pour vegetable oil into a deep pan until about 2 inches deep. Heat over med-high heat. Oil should be around 365 degrees but I can tell the oil is ready when a drop of water pops when added to the hot oil ;-)
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Remove your shrimp from frig and toss in beer batter. Drop each piece of battered shrimp into the hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Discard extra batter. You will probably need to cook the shrimp in two batches. Fry until gold brown and then drain the shrimp on paper towels.









Place hot fried shrimp in a large bowl. Drizzle Thai Sweet Chili sauce over your shrimp and gently toss.
You want enough sauce to coat but you don't want to drown the shrimp.



Time to assemble the tacos.  Add 3 or 4 shrimp pieces on a prepared tortilla. Add desired amount of slaw and one slice of fresh avocado.







Repeat until your heart's content.
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The Lemonista's Shrimp Tacos
Yields 12 tacos
*if you decide to double the recipe, you do not need to double the batter. It is enough to make 2lbs of shrimp

1 lbs raw jumbo shrimp, thawed (if using frozen) peeled and deveined 
wedge of fresh lime
12 Mission brand white corn tortillas, taco size. 
Vegetable oil
1 bottle Thai Sweet Chili sauce (found in Asian section at grocery store or here is a link to a good one)
1 recipe Jalapeno Cilantro Slaw (below)
1 recipe Mexican Beer Batter (below) 
  1. Make slaw.
  2. Cut each shrimp into two or three bite size pieces. Squeeze wedge of fresh lime juice over shrimp. Toss and refrigerate. 
  3. Make batter.
  4. Prepare tortillas by heating up a large skillet. Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and spread around skillet. Place 3 tortillas in hot skillet and fry 20 or 30 seconds on each side. Stack on a plate. Repeat this process adding a teaspoon of vegetable oil with each batch until all of your tortillas are warmed up and soft. 
  5. Slice one whole ripe avocado into wedges. 
  6. Pour vegetable oil into a deep pan until about 2 inches deep. Heat over med-high heat. Oil should be around 365 degrees but I can tell the oil is ready when a drop of water pops when added to the hot oil ;-)
  7. Remove your shrimp from frig and toss in beer batter. Drop each piece of battered shrimp into the hot oil being careful not to crowd the pan. You will probably need to cook the shrimp in two batches. Fry until gold brown and then drain the shrimp on paper towels. 
  8. Place hot fried shrimp in a large bowl. Drizzle Thai Sweet Chili sauce over your shrimp and gently toss. You want enough sauce to coat but you don't want to drown the shrimp. 
  9. Time to assemble the tacos.  Add 3 or 4 shrimp pieces on a prepared tortilla. Add desired amount of slaw and one slice of fresh avocado. Repeat until your heart's content. 
Jalapeño Cilantro Slaw
1/3 cup good quality Mayo (such as Best Foods)
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
10oz bag angel hair shredded cabbage
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, sliced very thin
1/2 bunch french cilantro, chopped. (no stems)
3 green onions, chopped

Mix first 5 ingredients and then pour over cabbage mixture. Marinate slaw in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes.

Mexican Beer Batter
*You can use this same batter for fish tacos. 
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup white rice flour (found this in Gluten free section at grocery store)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup cold Mexican beer, such as Corona or Tecate

Combine all ingredients and stir until batter is smooth.

Peace out :-)

~The Lemonista

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Shades of Love (knock-off) Valentine's Day Cake Tutorial

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I love William Sonoma catalog. So many neat products and inspirations. A highlight for me this winter--a beautiful Shades of Love Valentine's Day cake!

After bending the catalog corner and going back to stare at this six inch $100 cake, nine or ten times, I knew there was really only one thing left to do... Make the darn thing myself.
So that's what I set out to do, as simply and cheaply as possible.
Here's my version of the Shades of Love cake. Hope you enjoy.
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To make this cake you will need:

  • 1 box of white cake mix
  • Ingredients to make one batch of butter cream icing or 1 can of store bought white icing.
  • Pink food coloring: I used AmeriColor 114 Deep Pink
  • Red food coloring: I used AmeriColor 119 Red Red 
  • 1 quart container of my FAVORITE vanilla Whip'n Ice (found in refrigerated section at any bakery supply) or Wilton's butter cream incing or store bought icing.
  • Ateco #864 decorating tip.
  • 6" cake pan
I only own one 6" cake pan (A vintage pan of my grandmother's from the 1930s!). So I just used it four times to make my four layers. I greased and floured my cake pan for each layer and added a circle of parchment paper to the bottom of the cake pan each time to prevent the cake from sticking.

Make the cake mix according to the directions on the box. I made the version with egg yolks since white cake mix does give you a "no-yolk" option.


Add small amount of pink food coloring.




Measure a generous cup of batter and pour into your prepared cake pan..


 My 6" cakes took 21-23min at 350 degrees.These cakes are small, so keep a close eye on them


Add more pink food coloring to your batter.




Wash and prepare your pan again. Pour in a generous cup of your next layer of batter to be baked. Repeat baking instructions.


Add more pink food coloring to the batter.


Wash and prepare your pan again. Pour in a generous cup of the next layer of batter to be baked. Repeat baking instructions.



Now it's time to add the red food coloring.




Pour the rest of your batter into the prepared pan and follow baking instructions above.


Allow all layers to cool. Remove parchment paper. I placed mine in an airtight container and refrigerated them. **tip** Cold cake is easier to decorate.  Prepare butter cream icing, if making your own.

Butter cream Icing
1/3 cup soft butter
3 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tbsp. cream
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Blend together butter and confectioners' sugar. Mix in cream and vanilla until smooth. I left the butter cream icing white. Or Wilton's recipe is fine to use here too.

Time to start putting our pretty cake together. Starting with the red on the bottom, stack the layers, spreading butter cream in between each layers. After stacking all four layers, run a wooden kabob skewer down the center of the cake and trim the top of the skewer so you do not see it. This anchors your cake and keeps it from sliding. You can spread any extra butter cream in a thin coat around the outside of your cake.  Refrigerate your cake for 1 hour to allow the butter cream to firm up.


Next, make the Whipn' Ice and tint it light pink. If using store bought icing, remember you will need quite a bit. The rosettes take a lot of icing.



Skim coat the entire cake with the light pink Whip'n Ice whipped icing. Remember, you're going to cover the entire cake with rosettes so this doesn't have to be pretty.
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Put 1/4 of your icing in a pastry bag with a #864 tip and pipe rosettes on the top and sides like so. Literally just squeeze the bag while making a circle and then stop squeezing. Wink. You can do a few practice runs on a plate to get the feel for this.




Just like we did with the cake batter, your going to add more pink food coloring to your icing and repeat this process for the next ring of rosettes. (Making sure you wash out and dry your pastry bag between colors).


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Add more pink food coloring to your icing and add yet another ring of rosettes to your cake.


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Add the red food coloring to your remaining icing and pipe your final ring of rosettes.




Stand back and admire your amazing creation.
Okay, enough admiring. Time to slice this baby and eat it!






Mmmmm, mmmm! Here comes the fork! Grin.


This cake is so most and smells so good, I can hardly stand it!




Any Valentine would be delighted to partake in a bite of this cake.
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Enjoy!

~The Lemonista

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