The Dream House

“A house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every home has a story to tell. We live in an orange brick 1960’s colonial revival. Our Relator affectionately called it the “Leave It to Beaver House.” Our house was well loved, but it took time it to really feel like it was ours. A few months after we moved in, I realized that I had severely underestimated how long my painting projects would take with two preschoolers in tow. My house dreams were beginning feel a bit deflated. I was worried that my daughters might never nap enough to allow me to fully unpack and finish.

Then one day, I was pulling out of the carpool line when I heard a small voice from the back seat. “Mom are we going somewhere?” It was my youngest daughter Alyssa who is perpetually hoping that we will go somewhere new. However, before I could answer her question my oldest daughter Gabby chimed in, “We are going somewhere. We are going to the dream house, right mom?”

Her response surprised me. Perhaps my girls have seen a few too many Barbie episodes on Netflix. However, the idea that they consider our house the “dream house” gave me pause for thought. Before that moment, although I liked our house, I had never pulled in my driveway and thought “dream house.” As I reflected on our conversation, I realized that my daughter was right. Great houses come in all shapes and sizes.

I still fondly remember the 1930s home where I grew up and the converted attic bedroom that my sister and I shared. Childhood homes have a way of shaping us like few other places do. Maybe that’s why they are often remembered with such love and nostalgia.

A picture of my childhood home. When I was writing this column I looked our old house up online. It was interesting to see that although much has been remodeled small things like the old 1930’s black and white tile bathroom are still there.

Now in the craziness of 2020, our house has become more than just a home. I find myself cherishing our house more as I watch it take on so many new and unexpected roles. The kitchen doubles as a school room and the basement has become the office, a greenhouse and a gymnasium. The back yard has been transformed into a camping site, a fashion show runway, a waterpark and a sports field.

On any given day there are papers, markers, art projects, pillow forts and Lego creations happening everywhere. One week this summer I even let my daughters turn the dining room into Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The costumes and paper decorations made quite a creative mess, but our dining room looked more magical than ever.

Sometimes I wonder what stories my daughters will tell about this time. Spending so much time at home certainly has its challenging moments. Then in the middle of this stuck-at-home craziness, I remember that moment of carpool line wisdom. What I learned from my little back seat drivers is: sometimes a “dream house” is more of a perspective. Now, more than ever I am grateful for our home and the all dreams it inspires.

In addition to writing this blog I also write as a contributing columnist for The Hinsdalean, who this week was named the number one midsized newspaper in the state of  Illinois. The editor, Pamela Lannom and the staff writers are certainly deserving of this wonderful award. My piece “Dream house” is in the eye of the beholder was for my column this week.

Mini Apple Cinnamon Donuts

Apple Cider Donut Recipe

There is nothing like a warm apple cinnamon donut and the heavenly smell that fills my kitchen. I have been getting ready for fall. Half day school started back for my girls, so I wanted to make something fun for a back to school Saturday family breakfast. These sweet mini apple cake donuts are tender and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. The mini size makes them easy to make and quick to bake. They are perfect for a weekend breakfast treat. Serve them with a big cup of coffee, if you are a coffee lover like me or a cup of hot chocolate or warm apple cider. These cake donuts are so tender and delicious that I think they would also make a delicious dessert too.

Mini Apple Cinnamon Donuts- makes 18 small donuts

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1¼ cup apple cider (Martinelli’s or another good all juice based cider)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice and salt. Then add in your apple cider, melted butter and egg. Stir until the batter is well combined.

Next prepare the donut pans by spraying them with a flour based baking spray like Baker’s Joy.

Then once your pans are ready pour or spoon the donut batter into a 1 gallon zip top bag. Then snip a small hole in the bottom corner of the bag. The plastic bag will work like a large pastry bag which makes filling the donut pans much easier. Fill the donut tins about three quarters of the way full, which is about two quick turns or circles of batter for each donut.

The key thing with mini donuts is to not overfill the tins. This is why I love using a plastic bag or pastry bag to pipe in my batter. It helps you make the cute little donut shapes every time.

Bake the donuts for 15 minutes. Then while they are baking make your cinnamon sugar topping.

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 5 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a shallow bowl or plate mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Then melt the butter in a bowl or small skillet. Once the donuts have cooled for about five minutes quickly dip one side of the donut in the butter and then the cinnamon sugar.

These mini apple cinnamon donuts were a hit in our house. I got these mini donut pans for my birthday this year and I have had so much fun baking with them. The batter for this recipe doesn’t require a mixer so it’s perfect for little ones who love to help. I think my six year old said it best as she was dancing around the kitchen, “These donuts are so yummy!”  So if you are looking to do a little fall baking then try these mini apple cinnamon donuts.

Grilled Pound Cake with Grand Marnier Strawberries

Berries and Grilled Pound Cake Recipe

Grilling is great for more than just savory meats and vegetables. It also happens to be a fun way to cook dessert. So after sharing a dinner that was all on the grill I though I would add a dessert to the menu: grilled poundcake with Grand Marnier strawberries.

A few years ago my husband and I went to one of Steven Raichlen’s grilling courses where he created a grilled pound cake with a strawberry, lime and jalapeño salsa.  After experimenting with pound cakes, including a homemade version or two, he found that the texture of Sara Lee cake (from the frozen dessert section) stood up best when grilled.

Wanting a slightly sweeter dessert I decided to create my own strawberry shortcake like topping. The warm cake with the creamy ice cream and the orange strawberries is magic. I made this one up on the fly a couple of weeks ago and my husband was wishing I had made more. So here is a simply delicious summer dessert perfect for any dinner on the grill.

Grilled Pound Cake with Grand Marnier Strawberries – Serves 4

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries stemmed and halved
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grand marnier
  • 8 approximately ½ inch slices Sara Lee pound cake (thawed)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream (My midwest favorite is Hudsonville creamy vanilla)

First prepare the macerated strawberries. In a small bowl mix together the strawberries, orange zest, sugar and grand marnier. Let them sit in the fridge. They will create their own delicious sauce.

Next prepare you grill and pound cake. Set your grill up for direct grilling at a medium heat. Brush each side of the pound cake slices with the melted butter. Then grill the cake slices for 1 to 2 minutes a side.


Finally, assemble the strawberries and cake. Place one to two cake slices on a small plate or in a bowl. Then spoon ½ cup of the strawberries on each dish. Top it with a scoop of vanilla cream and spoon a little of the strawberry sauce on top.

This dessert may be simple but the flavors are extraordinarily good. So this holiday weekend leave the grill going for a memorably delicious finish to your meal.

Steak Tacos with Roasted Corn Salsa

Grilled Steak Tacos

Grilling is one of my favorite ways to cook because it brings everyone together. Head outside to grill and company follows. My husband, my girls and even the dog love to be apart of making dinner when grilling is involved.  The sizzle, the smoke and the smells are exciting. It makes dinner an event that everyone gets to experience and be a part of. So I thought I would share a late summer meal where everything is cooked on the grill. These steak tacos with roasted corn salsa are a quick and flavorful dinner that our family loves.

Steak Tacos with Roasted Corn Salsa -Serves 4

  • 1½ to 2 lbs thinly sliced strip steaks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Spice rub (recipe follows)
  • 3 ears of corns
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato or 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 flour or corn tortillas, warmed

Preheat the grill for direct medium high heat.

Steak Spice Rub

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Create the spice rub and season the steaks. Mix ingredients in a small cup or bowl. Rub the steaks with the olive oil. Then generously season the steaks with the spice rub on each side.

Prepare the corn for the grill.  Rub the corn ears with butter and then sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.

Next get the corn and steaks grilling. Place the corn ears on the grill first because they need to cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate the ears of corn so they cook evenly and turn a bright yellow. Then add the steaks to the grill. Cook the steak for 3 to 4 minutes a side for medium doneness. Finally, open the grill and cook the green onions with the top open until just charred about 2 minutes. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes.

The other thing I loved about dinner on the grill is no pots and pans are needed so clean up is quick.

Prepare the corn salsa. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and slice the green onions thinly. Next in a medium sized bowl mix together the corn, green onions, avocados, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, kosher salt and garlic powder.

Finally, assemble the tacos. Slice the steak across the grain into thin strips. Place the steak in the warm tortillas and top them with the roasted corn salsa. Add a side of black beans and dinner is served.

On a side note: if you happen to have any leftover steak it makes wonderful steak and egg breakfast tacos the next morning.

So fire up the grill and make cooking dinner fun! These steak tacos with roasted corn salsa are filled with the fresh delicious flavors of summer.

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Sometimes running out of an ingredient like cocoa powder makes room for the serendipity of something even better like chocolate fudge frosting. This week I was well into baking chocolate cupcakes with my daughters when I discovered that there wasn’t enough cocoa powder left for my traditional chocolate buttercream. The thought of a last minute store run these days comes with so many other worries that I decided to check my baking stash. As luck would have it I found two chocolate bars. I improvised and added the melted the chocolate to my frosting, which created a delicious fudge like flavor. The results of my substitution were so good that it just might be my new go to chocolate frosting.

So I smiled when I read The Wall Street Journal’s Saturday food column by Bee Wilson. She too had been improvising from her pantry trying to avoid an unexpected trip to the store. As she was reflecting on her own off the cuff cooking, she made an interesting observation about how these pandemic inspired substitutions just might change how people cook. Maybe she muses it will cause us to experiment more. Maybe we will all become slightly more adventurous cooks who add more of our own personality to the recipes we make. As I found this week, sometimes an unscripted substitution can inspire some surprisingly delicious results like outrageously good chocolate fudge cupcakes.

 Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes – Makes 16 standard sized cupcakes

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (Since I am talking about substitutions, if you don’t have buttermilk then don’t worry add 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar to the milk and let it sit for a minute or two.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 TSP salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat to oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your cupcake pans by lining the cups with cupcake papers and lightly spraying the cups with cooking spray.

Then in a saucepan combine the butter, water and canola oil and set over medium heat until the butter is just melted.

Meanwhile in a large bowl of your mixer add together the sugar, cocoa and flour. Then pour the butter mixture into the sugar and flour mixture and beat until smooth. Whisk in the eggs one at a time then whisk in the buttermilk. Next add the baking soda, salt and vanilla all at once and mix until fully incorporated.

Finally fill the cupcake liners about three quarters of the way full. Use a large cookie  dough scoop to make filling the cups easier.

Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes and let them cool before frosting them.

Fudge Frosting

  • 3 oz semisweet dark chocolate (My favorite is Scharffen Berger chocolate)
  • 3oz bittersweet dark chocolate
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, well softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

First break your chocolate in small pieces and place them in medium sized microwave safe bowl. Heat your chocolate for one minute then stir. Then continue heating it at 30 second intervals stirring well in-between until the chocolate is fully melted and shiny. It takes 2 minutes total in my microwave, but microwave strength can vary so keep a close eye on it.

Then in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer beat your butter and salt until creamy about one minute. Add in the vanilla, milk and powdered sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Finally drizzle in the melted chocolate and beat on med high speed taking care to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure that the chocolate is fully incorporated.

The melted chocolate makes this fudge frosting irresistibly good.

Finally using a pastry bag with a large star tip pipe a circle around the outside edge then create a second swirl in the center.

Now the fun part decorating them. Top them off with some chocolate sprinkles or for a festive touch add a mint sprig and a raspberry.

Over the years, I have found that the best kind of kitchen creativity is often inspired by necessity. These chocolate fudge cupcakes are so irresistibly good that they just might eclipse my old standby recipe. The cake is light and moist and the chocolate frosting melts in your mouth.

So have you found yourself cooking a little more off the cuff? I would love to hear how in these uncertain times perhaps cooking has changed for you? Cooking has always been a source of great comfort to me, especially in times of change. Because there is a certain soulfulness in creating and sharing something that is deeply delicious.

Wasabi Beef Rice Bowls

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/837951074410355884/

I have been fighting the late summer blahs. We’ve been staying safe and close to home, but as time goes on, I miss the all those small things that added a little spice to the everyday. I know I am not the only one. Maybe you are feeling it too?

I was surprised to read that even people with autobiographic memories, those who can recall what they ate for breakfast on a random Tuesday ten years ago, have found their memories of quarantine life a bit fuzzy. It turns out that our minds thrive with a little variety. So lately our family has been trying to create a little magic of our own.I have been reading the Harry Potter series to my girls. They have been outside on our brooms playing quidditch and turning sticks into magic wands.

I have also been trying to make dinner more of a destination or an adventure. Take out is good, but longing for the days of restaurant dining and travel I have been letting dinner take us places. This week I was inspired by some of my favorite Japanese steak houses. These wasabi beef rice bowls are topped with grilled steak, crisp veggies and a delicious wasabi sauce.

Wasabi Beef Rice Bowls- Serves 4

  • 1 to 1½ pounds of flank steak
  • Flank steak marinade (recipe follows)
  • 3 cups cooked white or brown jasmine rice
  • Sesame dressing (recipe follows below)
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced or julienned into thin matchsticks
  • 3 green onions thinly sliced
  • Wasabi sauce (recipe follows)

1. First prepare the steak and marinade.

Using the tip of a sharp knife, lightly score the top of the steak diagonally in a crisscross diamond like pattern. This will allow the marinade to fully infuse the steak with flavor.

Flank Steak Marinade

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade. Place the flank steak in a large zip top bag and pour the marinade in. Seal the bag pressing any air out and let the steak marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, but it is especially good if you let it marinate all day or overnight.

2. Preheat the grill and cook the jasmine rice.

Heat your grill to a medium high heat. Then cook the jasmine rice following the package instructions. Place your steak on the grill to cook for 7 to 8 minutes a side for medium grilled steak. I like to cook mine to 140 degrees. Take the steak off the grill and allow it to rest on a plate for 5 to 10 minutes. Then once it has rested, slice the steak thinly on the diagonal.

I cooked two flank steaks so I would have extra for sandwiches too. Just thinly slice the beef and place it on some French bread or a sandwich rolls with some sliced cucumbers, radishes and any left over wasabi sauce and you have one incredible sandwich.

3. Prepare the sesame dressing for the rice and the wasabi sauce.

Sesame Rice Dressing

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Whisk together the rice vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add in the soy sauce and oils. Then mix the sesame dressing into the cooked rice.

Wasabi Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonaise
  • 2 teaspoons Wasabi Sauce (my favorite brand is Kikkoman)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons reserved steak juices

In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, wasabi and soy sauce along with approximately a tablespoon or two of the steak juices from your steak plate.

5. Assemble the rice bowls.

Finally, Place a cup of rice in each bowl and top it with the sliced steak, radishes, green onions and cucumbers. Then add generous dollop of the wasabi sauce.

This wasabi beef rice bowl has layers of textures and tastes that make it a one bowl dinner favorite. So if you too have had a case of the 2020 summer blahs then add a little spice or wasabi to your menu.

Want other Maison McCauley destination dinner ideas?

Then let your dinner take you places with New Orleans Shrimp Rolls, Chicago’s Chicken Vesuvio, Greek Lamb Burgers, or Italian Caprese and Prosciutto Sandwiches.

Homegrown Happiness

“Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.”

John Harrigan

I marvel as I hold tiny seeds because they are filled with wonder. Oh, the promise and possibility they hold. This spring, finding myself more home based I was searching for a hopeful project. So, looking forward to my summer garden, I turned my basement office into a mini greenhouse. I tired more varies of plants and I grew more seeds that ever. However, our mini greenhouse winner is the zinnias.

In the past I have tried smaller varieties I found from  the nursery, but the blooms from these larger varieties are spectacular. I can see them out my living room windows. Their tall wavy stems and bright, pink, purple and red blooms give my garden a the happiest pop of color.

Their blooms start small and then explode with color like little fireworks.

I planted two seed mixes from Park Seeds. Parks Picks which had these gorgeous purple and red flowers and a pink mix called Siesta. Both of these varieties are double bloom zinnias so over time the blooms become these beautiful full petaled flowers.

The bold blossoms are fun to watch because they invite the happiest garden visitors: humming birds, bees and butterflies. They all come to delight and share in their dazzling beauty.

I planted three large grouping. However, heavy spring rain washed away a group of seeds that I sewed directly in the ground. So I started most of my seeds in egg cartons filled with potting soil. This made it easier to plant them at a shallow depth and the cartons sides could be cut to allow me to get all the roots when I transferred them to the flower beds. They didn’t look like much at first. The wavy seedlings looked so small, I wondered what would become of them. Then slowly with lots of watering and sun, their steams grew stronger and taller. Buds began to appear and those tiny seeds blossomed into beautiful flowers.

Sometimes the best kind of happiness is homegrown. Often the moments and things that bring me the most joy are like small seeds that have been thoughtfully tended. All this quarantine gardening is good for the soul, because it’s in the tough times that we need to believe in the wonder and possibility of new seeds.

Cooking Up Some Pineapple Party Fun

Pineapple Birthday Cake

She leaves a little bit of sparkle wherever she goes.

Kate Spade

It was six thirty in the morning and my husband woke up singing my now six year old daughter’s song, “Alyssa Sparkles.” It’s a little song that she sings to herself when she is happy. The birthday girl was still in bed, but thoughts about her sweet laughter and joy had us all singing her song.

Having a summer birthday during the middle of a pandemic could put a snag in the birthday party plans, but we aren’t ones to let that stop us from cooking up a little birthday fun. This year the birthday girl dreamed up her own party ideas and what she came up with is better that what I could have planned. She wanted a pineapple party, straight from the pages of one of her favorite book series about Princess Penelope Pineapple.

We ordered some pineapple balloons and party supplies from Party City and Paper Source. Then we decided to make a pineapple cake that the birthday girl could help decorate herself.  We baked a small three layer cake which we decorated with lots of yellow fondant circles. This made it easy for my helpers to decorate the cake.

Then as a topper I made some chocolate pineapple leaves using some candy melts which are easy to find at the craft store. White chocolate can be temperamental and it requires special oil based food coloring so pre-colored candy melts are the way to go. I melted the candy melts in the microwave for about a minute and then I piped some leaves of various sizes on some parchment paper. When the chocolate set I placed them around the center of the cake to create a pineapple top.

One of my all time favorite books on chocolate work for cakes is The Whimsical Bakehouse it’s an older book but it is still available online it has all sorts of ideas for creating colorful cakes that are filled with personality.

 

We decorated the table with pink paper lanterns that we tied to a set of faux pink cherry branches. Then for dinner we had virgin pina coladas and homemade pineapple and prosciutto pizza.

Here is the birthday girl with the gold glitter pineapple sunglasses that she adored. These sunglasses were so sparkly and fun that the birthday girl wore them for most of the day.

We took time to Zoom with family and have a Pictionary game night.

It’s good to have an older sister who loves celebrate and help with all those candles.

So sparkle on my six year old because your sunshine, kindness and laughter are what the world needs more of. Your joy and inner light shine so brightly that those around you can’t help but sparkle too.

Chicken Tacos al Carbon

Chicken Fajitas

“Tacos-can we ever have enough tacos in our lives? I didn’t think so. Because when the taco is right, the birds start to sing and the stars shine more brightly and you have the impression that everything is right with the world…A perfect taco is a gift to the universe.”

Jonathan Gold

As a Texas girl I dream of tacos. They are the food I crave and sometimes long for. So, in our house tacos are on the menu at least once or twice I week. Breakfast egg and cheese tacos, fish tacos with a crispy cabbage slaw, brisket tacos and this Tex-Mex classic chicken tacos al carbon.

One of my favorite kinds of tacos are tacos al carbon. In Spanish “al carbon” means cooking over coals so usually tacos al carbon are meats like beef or chicken that have been grilled with onions and sometimes peppers. I like to make mine on cast iron grill indoors, but you could also use a large cast iron or nonstick skillet. These tacos were the ones I always loved to order as a kid and my girls love eating them too!

Chicken Tacos al Carbon- Serves 6

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, sliced into thin half rounds
  • 12 to 15 flour tortillas

First, slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally so there are six pieces of thinly sliced chicken.

Next, make the marinade whisk together the lime juice, orange juice, garlic, cumin, kosher salt and olive oil. Pour the marinade in a gallon sized plastic zip top bag and add in the chicken breast slices. Let the chicken marinade in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. Before cooking take the chicken out of the marinade and pat it dry with a paper towel so the chicken will brown well and the sweet citrus juices won’t stick to the grill.

Heat a cast-iron grill pan or a large skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes then add 2 tablespoons of canola or olive oil. Add the onions first and cook then until they turn translucent and caramelize a bit. Once the onions have cooked down move them to the side of the grill or pan.

Add the chicken breasts. Cook the chicken for 5 to 6 minutes a side until the chicken has browned and cooked through.


Slice the grilled chicken on the diagonal into thin strips.

Roll the meat and onions in fluffy flour tortillas and serve them with a sides of pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream and cheese.

Then layer on the toppings and create your own perfect taco. Add a side of black beans or some skillet roasted corn and you have a delicious taco night. Want to make it a party? Then make a side of El Tiempo’s Green Sauce and some Key Lime Ice Cream Pie for dessert!

You can get lost for a moment in a bite of these tacos. Because there are never enough tacos for those who dream of them.

New Orleans Shrimp Rolls

Shrimp Rolls with Remoulade Sauce

I am always looking for delicious and simple recipes that make getting dinner on the table a snap. These New Orleans Shrimp Rolls take about 15 minutes to make which makes them perfect for nights were you need something easy. The garlic French bread and remoulade sauce add layers of flavor that make these sandwiches mouthwateringly good.

New Orleans Shrimp Rolls -serves 4

This recipe can easily be doubled to serve more by cooking two batches of shrimp.

  • 4 (6 inch) pieces of good quality French baguette
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 20 medium sized fresh shrimp, shells removed and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (half a lemon)
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

Remoulade Sauce

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped

First prepare the remoulade sauce. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup mix together the mayonnaise, horseradish, mustard, cayenne pepper, paprika, lemon juice, green onion and parsley.

Next, get your garlic bread baguette prepared. Using a serrated knife cut a shallow V-shaped wedge out of the top of each baguette piece to make room for your shrimp. This top cut will make it easier to fill and hold the sandwich. Melt two tablespoons of butter and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Brush the cut insides of your bread with the garlic butter. Toast the bread in a toasted oven or briefly toast them on a sheet pan under a broiler.

Finally prepare and cook the shrimp. Lay your shrimp out on a plate and sprinkle them with with the salt, paprika, pepper, parsley and lemon zest. Then heat a medium sized skillet and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the shrimp. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes a side until they turn a reddish pink on each side. Finish them by squeezing lemon juice on top of the shrimp.

To assemble your shrimp rolls spread about a tablespoon of sauce on the roll. Add the shrimp then drizzle with additional remoulade sauce to taste. Then add shredded lettuce on top.

I like to serve mine with salt and vinegar chips or Terra vegetable chips for a quick side.

The tangy remoulade sauce makes this sandwich so delicious. Traveling great distances is a little harder these days, so for now our kitchen is taking us places. This New Orleans shrimp roll will make you feel like you are out at a cafe or celebrated sandwich shop savoring the flavors of the Big Easy. Where has cooking taken you lately?

Our version of “eating out” this summer.  So grateful for the sunshine and time outdoors with family.