Monthly Archives: May 2016

Grilled Cajun Shrimp

Memorial Day is a Federal holiday in the U.S., and it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.  But, more importantly, it honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.  This holiday was originally known as Decoration Day following the Civil War.  It became an official Federal holiday in 1971.  Many  Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.  Like many cities across the USA, Grand Rapids has an annual Memorial Day Parade.

memorial-day

For our summertime grilling, I often make Grilled Cajun Shrimp.  Grilling gives the shrimp a light smoky flavor that I really like.  This is a very fast and easy recipe to prepare.  I like to serve it with cocktail sauce and with a side of yellow rice or cheesy grits.

Grilled Cajun Shrimp

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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16-24 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp Cajun seasoning
skewers

If using wood or bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least an hour before grilling.

Thread the shrimp on the skewers.  Brush both sides of the shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle them with the Cajun seasoning.

Heat the grill to high heat. Place the shrimp on the grill and cook for about 3 minutes per side with the lid closed. Cook until the shrimp are fully pink. Remove from the grill. Serve with Cocktail Sauce, if desired.  

IMG_1180

Cajun Grilled Shrimp

 Notes:
1.  I used thawed frozen shrimp and McCormick Gourmet Cajun Seasoning.
2.  The shrimp are also perfect for appetizers.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

May is a busy month for us, celebration wise.  We have three birthdays and also Mother’s Day to celebrate.  But they are fun gatherings and always involve food.

I have been looking for a special dessert for Mother’s Day and I decided on Strawberry Cupcakes with a Strawberry Buttercream Frosting.  My mom is no longer with us, but I just know she would have loved these cupcakes.

My mom was a true southern lady but she really didn’t care for cooking.  It was my dad who did all of the cooking.  While she may not have been a cook, she was a great gardener.  She always had beautiful flowers and a vegetable garden.  The green beans she grew were amazing.  I believe they were called Kentucky Wonders. I wish I had pictures of the beautiful flowers and vegetables she grew.

In the USA Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of the month, which is May 8th this year.  It is the day of the year that we honor the millions of mothers across the USA.  We often give cards, flowers and gifts to our mothers. For some lucky moms, it may mean breakfast or dinner cooked for them.

The American version of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914.  She did not care for the way the holiday became so commercialized and actually tried to have it removed from the calendar.  Here is an interesting article about how mothers have been honored throughout history.

Now the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of “a light cake to be baked in small cups” was written in American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. The earliest documentation of the term cupcake was in Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats in 1828 by Eliza Leslie.  A free digital version of her cookbook is available from Archieve.Org.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Cupcakes:

½ cup (1 stick) – unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white granulated Sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/4 cup – milk
1/2 cup pureed strawberries

Frosting:

1 lb box powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
3 to 4 tablespoons pureed strawberries
1 teaspoon – vanilla extract

Preheat  oven to 350°F.

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Make the Cupcakes:  Sift the Cake Flour with the baking powder and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Add flour mixture alternately with milk and strawberries, beating well after each addition, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, about 2/3 full.

BAKE about 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan, cool completely on wire racks.  Frost with the buttercream frosting.

Make the Frosting:  In a large bowl with electric mixer at low speed, combine sugar, butter, strawberry puree and vanilla. Beat at medium speed 1 to 2 minutes until creamy and is of desired consistency for piping or spreading.

Notes:
1.  I used thawed frozen unsweetened strawberries for the puree.
2.  Frost or pipe the cupcakes. I used a Wilton 2D tip for piping.  Frosting needs to be fairly stiff but still spreadable.
3.  If you don’t have cake flour on hand, use this easy substitution:  1 cup all purpose flour minus two tablespoons all purpose flour plus two tablespoons cornstarch equals 1 cup cake flour.  Be sure to sift the flour and cornstarch together.