Pick-Your-Protein Carbonara

You may remember my post from a while back anticipating the arrival of some very fresh eggs.  I’m pleased to say that our hens have been very busy providing us with eggs for the past two months.  There are few things more rewarding than seeing the boys retrieve eggs from the coop every day.

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We have been using them instead of store-bought eggs, but I felt like it was time to use them for something we all REALLY enjoy.  One of my personal favorite egg-containing dinners?  Carbonara.  This simple yet traditional pasta dish can be whipped up in no time at all.  Carbonara is delicious with any sort of protein on it… and it’s delicious all on its own.

While there isn’t any seafood in this dish, the possibilities are endless.  This would be great topped with shrimp, fish, scallops, or even a crab cake.  (Between hurricane season and our upcoming move, we are trying to scale back our freezer stock… so I used chicken breast.)  If you have made Carbonara before, you might notice that I use milk instead of cream and I didn’t include peas.  These modifications were simply based on the ingredients we had on-hand at the moment.  I assure you that, despite making Carbonara countless times, I couldn’t tell the difference between using milk and cream; it will save you a few calories and a trip to the store.



  • 6-8 slices of Bacon (diced)
  • 1 Shallot (diced)
  • 1 clove Garlic (smashed, but not chopped)
  • Scallions
  • 1 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 3/4 pound uncooked Pasta
  • Cooked Protein of your choice (optional)




Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package while you are preparing the sauce.  Combine the milk, egg yolks, and 3/4 cup of the parmesan cheese in a small bowl.  Two of our hens have been laying double-yolk eggs (this is common during their first months of producing eggs), so I ended up with four small yolks instead of two large yolks.

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Start by cooking the bacon until it is crisp.



Add the shallots and continue to cook only until they are soft and clear (don’t burn them).  I did this over medium heat.  Add in the scallions and the garlic and continue to cook over low heat until the pasta has finished cooking and is drained.

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Keep the heat low and add in the hot, drained pasta.  Toss to combine.

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Next, add in your milk/cheese/egg mixture.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Work quickly to keep the pasta moving.  You aren’t scrambling eggs here.  The yolks will cook and create a thick, silky sauce that is so rich and delicious.  Continue tossing the pasta until it is all combined.  The eggs will cook and the cheese will melt into the sauce.



Top with your cooked fish or chicken, parmesan cheese, and more scallions.  Delicious!!

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Don’t forget dessert… if you’re going to have a pasta dinner with eggs and bacon, you might as well include dessert.



We’re back!

After a few weeks of major blog neglect, I’m happy to say that we are back… in some capacity.  The last month and a half has been a whirlwind of vacation preparation, the actual vacation, and busy work schedules.  Add that to preparing to move into a new house and some other pesky life interruptions and you can imagine why we haven’t been around much lately.

Our vacation was wonderful and, of course, filled with fish and saltwater.  Because what is a vacation without fish?  Probably not a vacation you’ll ever find us on.  We spent about two weeks at the beautiful Cat Island in the southern Bahamas… doing what we do best.



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Plantain Chip Grouper with Pineapple Black Bean Salsa



Improvised dinners are often the best.  Everyone has those days when you raid the pantry to see what you can possibly pull together with what you have on hand.  That is usually how my best ideas are born.


I started with a jar of All-Natural Black Bean Salsa.  It is good, but it needed some help.  Fresh diced pineapple, fresh cilantro, lime juice, and fresh garlic helped to brighten it up.  You really can’t go wrong here… mango would be delicious if pineapple isn’t available.  If you want, you can even BUY pineapple salsa or use whatever you have on hand.  After I made the salsa, I set it aside while I prepared the fish.

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You’ll need some delicious fresh Grouper (this would be great with any white fish… especially Mahi or Snapper).  I had some tiny kitchen helpers crush plantain chips for me.

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I coated ONLY the top side of the fish portions in flour, egg wash, and crushed plantain chips.  You can coat the entire portion if you’d like, but it really isn’t necessary.

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Place the fish CRUST SIDE DOWN in a hot pan with a small amount of oil over high heat.  Give it about a minute to get nice and brown.  It will form a nice crust and the fish will barely start to cook.  Flip the fish and transfer to an oven-safe dish.  Finish cooking in a preheated 400-degree oven.  (My fish took about 5 minutes to finish cooking.)

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Top the fish with the salsa and you’re ready to eat!  I served this with coconut Jasmine rice (just replace half of the water with coconut milk).  It’s like being somewhere in the tropics when you’re really at home!

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Roasted Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Tender shrimp roasted over a bed of tomatoes and wine is taken to another level with tangy Feta cheese… you won’t want to miss this one!



Roasted Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

  • 1 Pound of Shrimp (peeled & deveined)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Shallot
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 6 oz Feta Cheese
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/3 cup Breadcrumbs
  • Olive Oil


Over medium heat, cook the shallot in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Once the shallot becomes soft, add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

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Add the wine to the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the wine is reduced by about half.  Add the tomato paste (the variety found in gourmet markets in the little tube is EXCELLENT because you don’t waste any).  Add the tomatoes and lemon juice.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.

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Transfer the tomatoes to a baking dish.  Arrange the shrimp over the top of the tomatoes, making sure that there is only one layer of shrimp.

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Combine the breadcrumbs with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and the crumbled Feta over the shrimp.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  It will be browned and bubbling.  Make sure your shrimp have cooked all the way through (15 minutes is more than adequate unless you use very large shrimp.  I used 21/25 Key West Pink Shrimp.  They are considered an “extra large” shrimp.)




We served this over pearled couscous.  It would be great over any couscous, pasta, quinoa, or even alone.

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This was a nice break from the usual.  It was ready in about 30 minutes and it’s so versatile!  You can add olives, onions… anything!

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Coconut Curry Shrimp



With a little bit of careful planning, weeknight meals can still be delicious and healthy!  I always try to think of things that don’t require a lot of preparation and will cook quickly.  Shrimp are always a GREAT option because they literally cook in seconds flat!

This recipe is great because the heat can easily be adjusted depending on your taste… mild, medium, or spicy!


Coconut Curry Shrimp

  • 1 Pound Peeled & Deveined Shrimp
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Curry Paste
  • 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 2 Teaspoons Fish Sauce
  • 1 Cup Coconut Milk
  • Fresh Cilantro


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Start by melting the butter in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the curry paste and cook for about a minute.  (I used one tablespoon and it was kid-friendly with just a little bit of heat.  If you like it spicier, you could use 2 tablespoons or more!)

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Add the garlic and the shrimp and continue to cook for about a minute.  Keep the shrimp moving in the pan.  (I used Extra Large Key West Pink Shrimp, but you can use any shrimp that is available to you.)  Add the fish sauce and coconut milk.  Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes until the shrimp are cooked all the way through and the all the ingredients in the sauce have had a chance to come together.  This entire process took less than five minutes.

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Serve over rice (we love Jasmine rice) and garnish with fresh cilantro and lime.  This is a meal that is TRULY ready in under 30 minutes.  We enjoyed it with a salad, but you could very easily add some snow peas or bean sprouts at the last minute to round it out.

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Lobster Pappardelle

Valentine’s Day was BUSY here at the store.  I can definitely vouch for the theory that seafood is a popular menu choice for Valentine’s Day meals!  After working a long and busy day, I was looking forward to a peaceful Valentine’s meal at home instead of battling the crowds and attempting to dine out.

I have been wanting to try this recipe for Creamy Lobster Pappardelle for quite some time now.  Pappardelle is one of my favorite pasta shapes and this recipe really could not be any more simple. 

I followed the recipe ALMOST exactly.  I used four 3.5-ounce South African Lobster tails instead of the three 5-ounce American lobster tails it called for.  I prefer their mild, sweet flavor and tender texture over that of the Maine tails.  You really could use any type of lobster that is available to you. 

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The only other change I made was a slight increase in the liquid;  I increased the chicken stock to 1 cup.  Of course, you could use seafood stock or vegetable stock if chicken isn’t your thing!  I used fresh pasta (I never miss a chance to make fresh pasta) and wanted it to finish cooking in the sauce, so I knew I would need a little extra liquid.  My husband was kind enough to remove the lobster meat from the shells and chop it into bite-sized pieces while I tended to the sauce.  A little Valentine’s Day teamwork in the kitchen for the win!

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The verdict?  We loved it!!  A little homemade herb roll on the side and a small salad and it was a complete meal.  This recipe really comes together in under 30 minutes and would make ANY day feel like a special occasion.


Herb-Crusted Golden Tilefish with Lemon-Leek Risotto

We had some GORGEOUS Golden Tilefish come into the store last week.  I could not resist them… their tastiness is topped only by their stunning appearance.  Even though they are a little goofy-looking, it is one of the only fish I can think of that retains its beautiful markings and coloration even after it is harvested.  The taste and texture of Tilefish is fairly similar to Grouper.  If Tilefish isn’t available where you live, you could easily substitute Cod, Grouper, or any other mild flaky fish in this recipe.  Salmon would even work!

We started with a basic risotto recipe and jazzed it up with leeks and lemon.  We were lucky enough to come across some Meyer lemons in the grocery store and they added a really nice touch.  Risotto is a labor of love.  It really isn’t labor-intensive, it just requires a little bit of patience and you definitely have to pay attention to it.  Adding the liquid in stages develops the starches and creates a creamy sauce.

Lemon-Leek Risotto

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup grated or shaved parmesan cheese
  • zest and juice of one half lemon (we used the juice of a whole Meyer lemon since they are slightly milder)

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In a heavy-bottom pan, melt butter over medium heat.  (Meanwhile, keep the chicken or vegetable stock hot in a pan on another burner.)  Add leeks and shallots and sauté until soft, around 3 – 5 minutes.  Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Add the wine and stir until the wine is absorbed by the rice.  Raise the heat to medium-high and add one cup of heated stock to the rice.   Stir frequently until the broth is absorbed.  Repeat this process until you have used all the broth, making sure the broth is absorbed before each addition.  The rice will be al denté and creamy.  Stir in the parmesan, lemon zest, and lemon juice at the end.  This is best when served immediately.  Alternately, you could cover it and set it aside until you are ready to use it.  You may need to stir in a little additional liquid over low heat if you feel it has thickened too much during this time.

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Herb-Crusted Golden Tilefish

  • Tilefish
  • Egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with 1/4 cup milk or water)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Fresh garlic clove, finely minced
  • Finely chopped fresh herbs (we used thyme and sage)

Mix the zest, garlic, and herbs into the breadcrumbs.  Portion the Tilefish and dip the top side in the egg wash, and then into the breadcrumbs.  You don’t need to bread or coat the entire piece of fish… just the top.  Set the fish aside.

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Heat a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan.  Put the fish, coated side down in the pan.  Make sure there is a little room between the pieces so they brown rather than steam.  After the breadcrumbs have browned and it has formed a crust, remove the fish from the pan and place on a baking sheet.  Transfer to a 400-degree oven and bake until the fish is cooked through.  (This took about 5-7 minutes for us and will vary depending on the thickness of the fish you use.)

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All that is left to do it build your plate!  We started with the risotto and nestled the fish on top.  I was recently gifted some amazing products from Zia Pia Imports and one of the things I have really been wanting to try is the Lemon Balsamic Glaze.  If you have ever used a Balsamic glaze, it is the same sort of idea except it comes from a milder white balsamic and has an amazing lemon flavor.  It is sweet and a little bit drizzled over the top of the fish really cut the acidity of the lemon in our risotto and balanced the dish AMAZINGLY well.  I can’t wait to find more uses for it.

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Lobster Ravioli with Lemon-Saffron Cream Sauce

New Year’s Eve is upon us, folks!  It is, without a doubt, one of the busiest nights for restaurants… but there are many of us who prefer to enjoy a nice meal in the comfort and safety of our own home.  For us, it is usually steak and lobster in our pajamas.  Everyone seems to have their own tradition.  Just in case you are on the hunt for something a little more special, this is a great recipe to try out!

You will need 8 ounces of cooked lobster meat.  I used a frozen claw & knuckle meat.  The brand I used comes with three 4-ounce packages inside the bag, so you can just take out what you need.  That is a major plus when dealing with an expensive product.

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Lobster Ravioli

  • 8 ounces cooked and cooled lobster meat
  • 8 ounces Mascarpone cheese
  • Fresh tarragon
  • 2 cloves minced garlic

Go ahead and chop the lobster meat.  Mix in the Mascarpone cheese.  (If Mascarpone is not available, ricotta or cream cheese will do!)  Add in the garlic and tarragon.  If you want to use any other seasonings, now is the time.

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Mix it thoroughly, cover it, and put in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.


For the actual raviolis, you can use wonton wrappers in a pinch.  If you want to make your own dough (easy!), I suggest the following recipe:

Ravioli Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Mix the flour and salt.  Mix in the eggs.  Do this in a large bowl or in your stand mixer with a dough hook attached.  Drizzle in the olive oil.  Knead until it is smooth and almost elastic.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes.  That should be enough to make 6 sheets, which will yield around 36 raviolis with careful planning.  Make sure to roll it out with plenty of flour.

I used a ravioli mold (around $25 and an amazing investment for your kitchen).  If you use a mold, make sure to flour the mold and the underside of the dough you put in it.  I used Semolina for this, but all-purpose will work just fine.

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Fill each well with around a teaspoon of filling.  If you are doing this without a mold, just evenly space 12 teaspoons of filling on the sheet.  Brush the underside of the second sheet with an egg wash and gently press it down on top, being careful to remove as much air as possible.  (Brushing the egg wash on is a GREAT job for little kitchen helpers!)

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If you are using a mold, roll over the top of the entire thing with a rolling pin and it will separate all the individual raviolis.  If you are doing it on the counter, just cut around the fillings, leaving enough of a border to contain the filling.  Carefully separate them.

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Store them on a plate with extra flour to keep them from sticking to each other.  Repeat the process until you have 3 dozen raviolis.  Store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to boil them.


Lemon-Saffron Cream Sauce

  • 1 diced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • A few threads of saffron
  • Zest and juice of one lemon

Over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the shallot until soft.  Add in the wine, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Cook it for a few minutes or until some of the wine evaporates.  Mix in the cream and saffron.  Simmer over low for around ten to twelve minutes or until slightly thickened.  Stir it frequently.

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to prevent sticking.  Add the raviolis to the water and keep it at a LOW boil, so you don’t break them up.  Stir very gently.  When they are all floating and the pasta is cooked, drain them.


Pour the sauce over the raviolis.  Serve with a salad and some bread… and you have a meal!

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Yes, this takes some time.  This is a nice thing to make on a Sunday or a holiday when you have a little extra time.  I will tell you that it was worth EVERY second of it!  Once in a while, it’s nice to splurge.  Be generous with your time in the kitchen.  Everything else will still be there later.