New Castle News

November 10, 2012

Culinary Conversation: Beat the clock, not the cook

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — How many times a day have you wished you had more — well — time?

Even with super turbo-charged electronic gadgets that are supposed to make a life a little easier, somehow, there’s still not enough hours in the day. Some of that could be due to the fact that we’re so obsessed with the new and improved technology that we spend more time with these helpers than we actually realize.

The gadgets apply to the kitchen, too. We have convection ovens, microwaves, panini makers, grillers, roasters, blenders, juicers, food processors and so many conveniences that many of our grandmothers would have envied.

Thankfully, the second group can really cut down the amount of time spent in the kitchen. There are even apps for your phone that allow accessing a recipe in record time. It just doesn’t have the same effect as those worn, stained recipe cards of the past.

All the recipes included today can be made in 10 minutes or less. Really. And no, these aren’t the kind of choices that require defrosting and nuking. They even have a “gourmet” touch, if you will. All of these are generally for two people, so just adjust the recipes accordingly for the number you are serving.

There’s even a dessert — one of my favorites, which is chocolate mousse.

Speaking of time, remember Culinary Conversation is your column, too, so please tell us about your time-saving recipes. And with the holidays approaching, we’re looking for your favorite Christmas cookies. It’s not too early to submit those, too, and we’ll share them with your friends and neighbors.

Meanwhile, these contributions are just a few of many examples of the newest version of playing beat the clock.

Shrimp Scampi

Remove shell from shrimp and clean by making a 1/4-inch cut with scissors down the middle of the round back. Remove the vein down center of back. Wash in cold water and place each shrimp, as it is cleaned, on paper towels to drain. Place skillet over high flame. Add olive oil and butter. Add shrimp and cook about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic pulp to contents of skillet along with parsley and salt. Cook for one more minute. Stir several times. Divide sauce evenly. Serve very hot.

*Buying deveined shrimp saves time and steps.

Cauliflower Salad

Cook cauliflower according to package directions. Meanwhile, discard seeds and pith from green pepper. Cut pepper pieces into slices and sauté in butter for one minute. Drain sliced beets and arrange in salad bowl. Drain cauliflower and arrange on beet slices. Arrange pepper slices over all. Dribble dressing over salad, sprinkle with tarragon and serve at room temperature.

Different Green Bean Casserole

Set oven at 450. Cook green beans in the saucepan according to package directions. Meanwhile, place skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter. When melted, add bread crumbs. Stir until lightly browned. Remove from flame. Drain green beans in colander. Put beans, parsley, bread crumb mixture , garlic and pepper in baking dish. Stir. Spread sour cream over bean mixture. Bake for two minutes. Serve immediately.

Mousse Au Chocolat

Measure light and heavy cream into mixing bowl. Add instant pudding mix. Beat with hand mixer on slow or stir rapidly with spoon until mix thickens. Spoon 1/2 cup of whipped cream on top of instant pudding. With slotted spoon, fold in whipped cream by cutting through cream, down into the pudding, then up and over, repeating the process until the cream and the pudding are almost but not completely mixed. Never stir. Spoon mousse into custard-type cups and shave semisweet chocolate onto mousse. Refrigerate until serving time.