Shrimp Stuffed Avocados

Last month when we went down to Prescott for FabGrandpa’s visit to the VA, we ate at a little Mexican restaurant there. We tried their Shrimp Stuffed Avocados and boy were they ever good!  I told FabGrandpa that I would try to re-create them at home.

halve and peel the avocados

Here is the version I came up with, and it is pretty darn close!  This recipe makes enough for 4 servings for appetizers or 2 servings for dinner.

2 ripe avocados

1 lime

1 lb uncooked shrimp

2 tablespoons butter, margarine, or olive oil

chipotle pepper

pico de gallo (store bought or make your own. I used ready made from the produce section of the grocery store)

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit, and peel. For two dinner servings, put 2 avocado halves in each bowl. For appetizer servings, put one avocado half in each bowl. Roll the lime around on the counter to soften it up, slice off one end, and squeeze the juice over the avocado halves.

Shrimp with chipotle pepper

Peel and devein the shrimp, rinse well, and drain. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the shrimp to the pan, and sprinkle generously with chipotle pepper. Stir and sautee the shrimp until done, about 10 minutes.

Place half of the cooked shrimp in each bowl over the avocado halves for dinner servings, or a fourth of the shrimp on each avocado half for appetizer servings. Spoon about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of pico de gallo over the shrimp. Serve with tabasco sauce if desired.

Shrimp Stuffed  Avocado

Gluten Free Fried Shrimp

We had a bag of lucious shrimp in the freezer. I bought it because I wanted to have some black bean and shrimp nachos, but FabGrandpa thought otherwise. He asked if I could make a stir fry with some vegetables instead. A little quick thinking resulted in this:

I decided to fry some of them, too. Fried shrimp is one of those things I used to love to order when we went out to eat, and now is off limits. The whole world uses wheat flour to bread all things fried in restaurants. So, last night I made myself a little treat.

To make the stir fry, I used what I had on hand: a red bell pepper, an onion, some garlic, 1 cup of frozen green beans, and two carrots. I steamed the carrots and green beans in the microwave for a few minutes first, then just sauteed everything in some olive oil until it was done. The only seasoning I used was salt and pepper. Served over rice, it was quite delicious!

For the fried shrimp, I dredged them in corn flour (NOT the same as corn MEAL) and deep fried in some olive oil. A little salt, and yummmmm!

p.s. corn flour is smoother than corn meal. I never knew corn flour existed before I started eating gluten free. I don’t like it in breads, but it is a good alternative for breading things.

Gluten Free Mexican Seafood Soup

When Jim and I were working in south Texas, one of our favorite restaurants, Las Margaritas, served a delish soup made with a white fish and shrimp. I asked Margarita for the recipe several times, but she wouldn’t share it. I want to believe that it was because she was one of those cooks who “just knows how” to cook something, and really didn’t have a recipe for it.

After we left Texas, I experimented for months, trying to reproduce that soup. This is as close as I can get without driving for three days.

Mexican Seafood Soup

Olive Oil
3-4 stalks of celery, coarsley chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (or 3 if you dare) jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
3 carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
3 medium potatos, washed and cut in chunks
3 cubes Shrimp bouillon (Caldo con sabor de camaron) w/ 1 cup water
OR 16 oz seafood stock
6 cups water
2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 shakes of tabasco sauce
1 bunch fresh cilantro if desired
1 lb tilapia or other firm white fish, cut in bite size pieces
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
1 lime

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven. Saute the celery, onion, garlic, and jalapenos until the onions are clear. Add tomatoes, cumin, basil, red pepper, tabasco, carrots, and potatoes. Put the bouillon cubes in 1 cup of water in a microwave safe container. Microwave for 4 minutes, until the water is boiling. Stir well to make sure the cubes are dissolved. Add to the dutch oven. If using the seafood stock instead, add it now. Add the rest of the water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover the pot, and simmer for 40 minutes. Add the fish and shrimp, cover, and simmer another 10 minutes. Slice the avocado and squeeze lime juice over to prevent discoloration.

Ladle the soup into bowls, add a few slices of avocado, and a squeeze lime juice. Serve with corn or flour tortillas.

Or, just drive down to Pharr, Texas, walk into Las Margaritas, and order a bowl.

Gumbo Day

Mardi Gras Seafood Specials

It has been so cold here in Pennsylvania, with lows in the 30’s and highs in the 50’s, and the wind blowing at around 30 mph, so I decided to make it a Gumbo Day. Gumbo Day for me means I get up around 8 a.m., and start chopping the veggies. The chopping is the hardest and most time consuming part of making gumbo. Here is a photo of most of the ingredients laid out on the counter, ready for me to get started. The things missing are the shrimp, smoked sausage, ham, and rice. Oh, you will see a cookbook in the photo with the veggies. Don’t worry, it is used only as a guideline, to remind me what to do and when. If you know anyone who makes gumbo, you will know that each cook puts in her pot whatever she has on hand that day. Some people put chicken in their gumbo, but I personally think that ruins the whole thing. If you are someone who just has to have a recipe, the book is “The Frugal Gourmet” by Jeff Smith. Mine was printed in 1990, but it may still be on the market.

Any good Gumbo starts out with the Cajun “holy trinity” of chopped celery, onions and bell pepper. Those three vegetables are the beginning of most any dish Cajun or Creole. Today I added a poblano pepper, a couple jalapenos, and about half a bulb of garlic. I love garlic, the more, the better. After chopping everything up, sauté in a large pot like a Dutch oven or stockpot in some olive oil for about 20 minutes or so. This is when your kitchen will really start to smell GOOD!

Meanwhile, in another pan, on low heat, brown some gluten free flour in some more olive oil until the flour turns a nice brown color. This is the roux. If it gets too dark, or burns, you will have to start over. Making the roux is a slow process, but it will be well worthwhile to do it right. When the roux is that beautiful brown, add the “meat” from a 16 oz can of tomatoes that has been drained. I usually give them a little squeeze to get out a little more of the juice. Stir well after you add the tomatoes, as the mixture will make a thick paste, sort of like lumpy gravy. When it looks like that, this is the time to add some basil, thyme, parsley, black pepper, (and red pepper if you dare), a bay leave, and a little bit of salt. Stir well and remove from heat, and set aside for a bit.

While the veggies are cooking down, heat up two cups of water in the microwave. Add three or four cubes of Shrimp Bouillon, and stir like crazy to dissolve all of the bouillon grains. Pour this mixture into the Dutch oven with the veggies. Add a total of three quarts of water to the pot. Stir well, then get about two cups of the liquid out of the pot, and add it to the gravy mixture in the other pan. Stir to combine the liquid into the gravy, then add the whole pan of gravy to the Dutch oven. Add a dash of tobasco sauce and a large dash of Worchestershire sauce to the pot.

Usually I add a pound of sliced okra, but I did not have any today. I did have a bunch of fresh mustard greens, so I chopped them up and added them in, along with about a cup of chopped ham and a cup of diced smoked sausage. Put the lid on and cook for several hours.

About twenty minutes before serving time, add a pound of peeled, deveined shrimp, a pound of peeled crawfish, and two cups of diced smoked sausage. Cover and simmer on low for fifteen minutes, then turn off the heat. Serve over rice with tabasco sauce and red pepper for those who just have to have the extra hot. Yummy!

And this, folks, is what it is all about: My sweet husband enjoying a big bowl of Gumbo and Rice, with a big grin on his face. Don’t you just love it?