Thursday, May 22, 2008

Shrimp Enchiladas and Sweet Corn Cakes

Franny's consultant came over for lunch yesterday. We do this every couple of months and it's a great opportunity for me to ask questions about Franny and get lots of helpful advice. Plus, she's fun to hang out with.

I've been craving shrimp like crazy lately, and I always love opportunities like this when I'm cooking for someone else besides Bobby to cook with seafood. I found this recipe on My Kitchen Cafe months ago, and I've been dying to try it. It looked so tasty and indulgent with all the whipping cream and sour cream... I couldn't resist.

So, I'm guessing some of you reading this are a little intimidated by cooking with shrimp, especially fresh shrimp, so I thought I'd say a little something on the subject.

First, why buy fresh shrimp with the shells still on when you can buy it cooked and ready to go? Let me tell you why. First, fresh will always taste better. Second, you can buy exactly as much as you need if you buy it from the case. Third, chances are, your recipe calls for some step where you have to saute your shrimp (or cook it in some other way) with an opportunity to flavor that shrimp with butter, lemon, spices, and salt so it will be delicious. If you've purchased pre-cooked shrimp, then you'll have one of two problems: either you go ahead and follow the instructions in the recipe to flavor the shrimp, resulting in a tough and rubbery texture, OR you skip that step and miss out on all those delicious flavors. Neither option is acceptable.

So here's what I always do. I really HATE shelling and deveining shrimp. It's gross and I always gag a little in my mouth when I have to do it. They don't smell very good and they're not very pretty. I'll usually do it the night before and keep them in the fridge so that the next day all I have to do is pull them out and they're ready to go.

So here's how ugly they look when you start.

But look how pretty they are only minutes later:

They cook faster than you'd think, so watch them. You don't want to overcook them.

Shrimp Enchiladas
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

1/2 cup sweet red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 cups Monterey Jack cheese, divided (you can use half pepper-jack cheese for great results)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cups ripe tomatoes, chopped
7 or 8 (9-inch) flour tortillas

Saute red pepper and onion in 1/4 cup butter until crisp-tender. Add oregano, salt, garlic powder, pepper, cayenne pepper, and flour. (I poured them into a small bowl and mixed them so they were ready to add all at once.) Stir for about thirty seconds and then pour the cream in. Continue cooking for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese; stir until melted. Add sour cream, stir to blend. Set aside.

In another skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Saute shrimp and 1/2 cup onion until shrimp are pink. Remove shrimp and chop; return to butter and onion. Add chopped tomatoes and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Spoon 1/3 cup shrimp mixture into each tortilla. Sprinkle cheese on top of shrimp mixture. Roll up tightly. Arrange seam side down in a 9X13-inch glass baking dish. Spoon remaining cheese sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

(I used Monterey pepper-jack cheese and I wish I had followed the suggestions in the recipe and used half Monterey jack and half pepper jack. It was pretty spicy. So I just added more sour cream and spread it on top. Worked like a charm, but I could have saved those calories if I had cut down on some of the heat in the pepper-jack. I'll leave it up to you. :)

I also served some sweet corn cakes, a lot like the ones you may have tried at Chevy's or my family's favorite restaurant while I was growing up: El Torito.

I didn't want to go out again to get some masa harina so I substituted 1/3 cup flour + 1 Tbs corn meal for the masa harina and was pleased with the results. So yummy!

Sweet Corn Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup masa harina
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  1. In a medium bowl beat butter until it is creamy. Add the Mexican corn flour and water and beat until well mixed.
  2. Using a food processor, process thawed corn, but leave chunky. Stir into the butter mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, sugar, cream, salt, and baking powder. Add to corn flour mixture and stir to combine. Pour batter into an ungreased 8x8 inch baking pan. Smooth batter and cover with aluminum foil. Place pan into a 9x13 inch baking dish that is filled a third of the way with water.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven F (175 degrees C) oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Use an ice cream scoop for easy removal from pan.
And here's how the story ends:


Kayla said...

Oh my gosh, those look delicious! I am going to have to try this recipe!
So I ALWAYS have trouble making shrimp! It is tough & rubbery each time I try. I love shrimp just not when I cook it myself. I keep trying hoping that one day I will finally nail it and from there on out I will be good at making shrimp.

Carole said...

I have to say you are quite the cook! I am proud of you. Bobby is a lucky guy! Is he easy to please? How do you keep so skinny? :-) Grandma

The Zickgraf Family Circus said...

You give me courage... perhaps I will try this sometime in the near future. I'm so scared of shrimp prep!

Erin said...

I've made this recipe a few times, and I love it. So ironic that you posted it on your blog because I was about to post it on my cooking blog today. Haha! Great minds think a like. :)

cindy said...

You are fabuloso!! I had the Ginger Peanut Chicken at your dad's last night and I am going to try these shrimp enchilada's this week. Thanks for making cooking exciting again. I surely need news recipes after 28 years of marriage. Your blog is so fun to read and it is great to keep up with you and your darling family this way. I also checked out the sassy molassey sight. You are very creative. Your mom would be so proud of you. And she is. We love and miss you guys.
Aunt Cindy

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