Panko Jumbo Shrimp Salad & Ginger Avocado Dressing

Oh the gluttony. The blissful, blissful gluttony. I ask you, verily, why content yourself with one Thanksgiving Dinner? You may have already read of our first in D.C. (see previous post). The next morning, the Missus and I drove up to Akron, Ohio for a nice long weekend with her family. Her parents were gracious enough to delay their Thanksgiving dinner by a day, which meant that we had two full turkey dinners in a row, each of them amazing.

But did we stop there? Oh no, dear readers. The following night we were generously treated by her grandparents to yet another amazing meal at an old school Akron steak house called the Diamond Grille. I'd link you to the restaurant's website, but apparently they're old school enough that they don't have a website. It has been open and in the same family for decades and decades. The steaks were large, and delicious. The martinis were perfect. The home fries were disturbingly good.

The night after that, Kitchen Monkey got to cook for the Missus' whole family (by request, I am very, very honored to say). The main course was a ragu Napoletano. You can see the bubbling goodness in the photo below. The Missus made some home made linguini to go with it. Ragu Napoletano is the southern cousin of Ragu Bolognese, and while I've perfected my Bolognese, I'm still not completely happy with my Napoletano. Ergo, no recipe here. I'll post one once I get it up to snuff.

The salad, on the other hand, was up to snuff. The shrimp were enormous. These were beyond jumbo. They were behemothic shrimp. We're talking maybe a 1/3 pound each. I deep fried them with the usual breading (flour --> egg --> panko crumb) and then arranged them on a salad comprising mixed greens, red peppers, hearts of palm, and cherry tomatoes. Yes, behemothic is a word.

The salad dressing was rather stand-out, if I may say. Sadly I didn't keep track of the proportions, so the below recipe is (I feel like I've been saying this a lot lately) only my best guess. The important thing is the ingredients though. You can play around with the proportions to your own taste.

Ginger Garlic Avocado Dressing

2 cloves garlic
1 piece of peeled ginger about the size of an average male thumb
1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 to 4 Tbsp. seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 to 3 Tbps. soy sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 to 2/3 cup of vegetable oil (or peanut oil)

(1) mince garlic and ginger in food processor, then add the avocado and process that
(2) add the lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce and mayonnaise, process that
(3) while food processor is still going, slowly drizzle the oil in so that it all emulsifies.

This dressing was good enough that I will definitely make it again. When I do, I'll keep track of the measurements and update this post. Until then, try it! Obviously the ginger and soy give it an Asian bent, but it would work just fine on about any salad.

And now, here is the ragu, in its third hour of simmering.


Deviled Eggs - Kitchen Monkey Style

Deviled eggy-weggs: I love deviled eggy weggs. This year my sister hosted Thanksgiving dinner. Her and her husband are about to leave to work in Nigeria for two years, so we were happy to joined them and a group of good friends for a true Thanksgiving Miracle. The missus and I brought a delicious stuffing and I made the deviled eggs.

Apparently, the term "deviled" in reference to food dates back at least 1786, and was often used to refer to stuffed and/or spicy food.1 Also, apparently many church functions in the South and Midwest refer to them as "salad eggs," obviously to avoid honoring Satan through the power of mayonnaise.

Now I like the standard deviled egg just fine, but Kitchen Monkey is no Bittmanesque minimalist, not around the holidays anyway. So, looking around the kitchen and coming with up with various odds and ends, I came up with a pretty interesting sauce to match with some delicious toppings for a unique and addictive deviled egg.

Main ingredients:
12 eggs
2 heaping spoonfuls quality mayonnaise
2 ripe avocados
3 scallions
1/4 cup chopped black olives

Ingredients for the Chili-Cherry Sauce:

2 Tbsp. olive oil (for sauteeing)
1/4 of a habanero pepper (chopped)
1 serrano pepper (chopped)
1 cherry pepper (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 cup dried cherries
2 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. sweet vermouth (I imagine port wine could also be good here)
1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

(1) the quantities above were estimated from memory, and may not be accurate. Deal with it. Adjust however you like.
(2) sautee the peppers in 2 Tbsp olive oil for a couple minutes, then add the garlic and sautee for a couple minutes more, then add the dried cherries and the water. Once the water has cooked off and the cherries are hydrated, remove from heat and add to your food processor.
(3) add the thyme leaves and the vermouth and puree.
(4) once fairly smooth, begin to add the olive oil slowly until it reaches the consistency you like, add salt and pepper to taste.

(5) Boil a dozen eggs, peel them, split them in half, spoon out the yolk, and mix the mayonnaise into the yolk. Go as easy as possible with the mayo, while getting a consistency you can spoon. Spoon the yolk mixture back into the eggs, but only enough to come up to top of the yolk hole, not heaping as one normally would.
(6) Cut the avocado into chunks and mash with a fork--mix with a bit of salt and pepper--until you get a chunky, not-quite-quacamole mix. Spoon a small spoonful of the avocado on top of each egg.
(7) Chop the ol and scallions and sprinkle some of each on top of the eggs.
(8) Spoon a small amount of the chili-cherry sauce on top of each egg.
(9) Eat.

[1] - Wikipedia: "Deviled Eggs"