Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Spicy Spanish Shrimp with White Beans

This is a good meal for a cold night. I have always been a huge fan of white beans because they are cheap, easy to make, and taste great. Of course they will make you fart like a pack mule but to me it is worth the heavy burden to eat them anyway. This is a Spanish recipe that I made up in my head. The beans are the main part of the meal but the extra treat is the shrimp, which obtain their great flavor in a marinade of garlic, paprika, olive oil, etc.

The next thing is to start the beans and to get them going. The picture below shows most of the ingredients used in the recipe.

The paprika I used in this is super good. Try and buy the can pictured above with the red top. Anyway, you need to start off buy sweating the onions, garlic, and red pepper.

After cooking the onions, garlic, and red pepper down, you need to add the chopped tomatoes and the beans and let that cook until the tomato liquid has cooked down. Once they have cooked down and absorbed the all the tomato juice, you need to add the stock.

Let the mixture cook down some and all of the flavorings come together. Once that part has been done, you add the shrimp to the pan and nestle them down into the beans for even cooking.

Sometimes it helps to have a sous chef to assist you in the kitchen. Unfortunately, mine has found his owl and decided on taking a nap. He will awaken to find his paycheck docked...

One of the most important parts of this recipe is the bread that accompanies the meal. I went ahead and toasted it on the BBQ because it tastes so much better. It is really good to scoop up some of the beans on the bread and away you go.

Once everything is done, this is how it should look. A little spicy and tart but hearty and tasty. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


1) 4 cloves garlic
2) 1 yellow onion
3) 1 red bell pepper
4) 2 tomatoes
5) 1 T. tomato paste
6) Juice of 1 lemon
7) 1 can white beans
8) 1 T. paprika
9) Parsley
10) Red pepper flakes
11) White wine or chicken stock
12) Good bread

Start off by marinating the shrimp in two cloves garlic, salt and pepper, paprika, and olive oil. Set that aside in the refer to get good and marinated. Once that is done sweat down the onion, garlic and red pepper over a nice, medium temp. Do not brown it. Once they have cooked down, add the paprika, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, paste, a little wine or stock and tomatoes. Cook this down and reduce it until the liquid is absorbed. Add a little more stock if needed. Add the beans and stir everything around until well-mixed. Nestle the shrimp down into the beans and put the skillet into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Finish it off by putting it under the broiler for a few moments and there you have it!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A True Classic in the Crawford Family

Over the years cooking I have learned that recipes are kind of like friends...Some come and some go, some are good while others are terrible, some smell great while others just totally reek. Some recipes taste really good for a while but then they fall out of favor and you just don't make them anymore. But there are always a couple of recipes that stay with you throughout the years, in good times and bad, and in good weather or crappy weather. These are the recipes you can count on, like good friends. So I thought I would share this recipe with everyone...It is Roasted Chicken with Smoked Paprika, Tomatoes, and Garbanzo Beans and it is a home run and a recipe to die for. Not only does it taste great right out of the oven, it makes even better leftovers. This is not my recipe. I snared it out of Bon Appetit a few years ago and it is a staple now in our family. We make this during the week because it is fast, fairly cheap, and it makes great leftovers for sandwiches the next day.

The backbone of this recipe is the smoked paprika, which is probably almost as expensive as the chicken. It is worth it. Good paprika is an amazing, powerful, underrated spice that everyone should have in their pantry.

Another reason I like this recipe is that we could use the cherry tomatoes that came from our garden. The tomatoes were coming out of our ass this year so we had to use them up! This is a great way to do that.

This recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts so it is also very healthy.

This recipe also uses a fair amount of garlic so your house will smell super good. This picture below shows the sauce that you make to rub on the chicken. It is the smoked paprika, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

After you have made the sauce, you rub about 1/4 of it on the chicken, coating it well.

Once the chicken has been coated, the sauce is added to the beans, tomatoes, and cilantro. A couple of tablespoons of the sauce also goes into 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

Here is a picture of the yogurt sauce to spread on the chicken once it is out of the oven and the dish itself ready for a hot 450 degree oven.


1) 1/4 Cup olive oil
2) 4 garlic cloves, minced
3) 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika (very powerful stuff)
4) 1 teaspoon cumin
5) 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6) 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
7) 4 large chicken breasts (you can cut these into smaller pieces)
8) 1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
9) 1 12 oz. container cherry tomatoes
10) 1 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Mix the first five ingredients in a bowl and set it aside. Pour a spoonful of the mixture into the yogurt...If you want more kick to the yogurt sauce, add more. Rub a couple of tablespoons of the mixture all over the chicken breasts to coat them well. Salt and pepper the breasts. Add the beans, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cilantro to the remaining paprika sauce, mix it well and then dump the mixture over the chicken breasts. Add a little more salt and pepper to the dish. Bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes and then let it sit when you take it out for a minute or two. Dish up the chicken and spread the bean mixture all over. Serve with the yogurt sauce.
The leftovers are AWESOME in a pita pocket. Just cut the chicken up, spoon some of the bean mixture in, and then put some yogurt sauce on top. Great and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.   

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cured Salmon

This was a great year out in Puget Sound for fishing. It is an odd year so that means the return of Pink salmon into the into the rivers and sound. The Coho and Chinook are still coming in as we speak but the Pink run has pretty much ended. My good friend and I were able to hook into a bunch of salmon this summer. That allows you to experiment with the fish because you have so much of it. Most of the fish that I caught this year were out of my new fishing kayak.

We would usually fish near the mouth of the Puyallup river because that was where the fish were headed. If we were not out in the kayaks we were casting from the bank.

The Pink salmon is known to have so-so meat compared to the Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye. I think it tastes great but you have to bleed the fish right after you catch it and keep it on ice. This can be a little tricky in a kayak...Luckily mine has room for an ice chest!

Once we caught what we wanted - you are allowed up to four in a day - we headed home to clean them.

I cleaned the fish on my front porch but I could not wait to sample them...With wasabi, soy, and Sriracha!

I BBQ'd, baked, and broiled salmon. So I decided I was going to cure some fillets. Curing is very easy. You basically salt the fish, wrap it up and place a brick on it, and then wait for a couple of days. I added some fresh herbs, zest of lemon, lime, and orange, and some pepper.

After putting the salmon in foil with the salt, sugar, etc., you then need to weight the fish down.

Below is the finished cured salmon. You can see how clear it is...

I slice it super thin when it is still partially frozen so I can get smaller pieces of fish. The piece of fish, cream cheese, pickled onion, capers, and a bagel chip and you are good to go!!!


1) 1/2 Cup salt
2) 1/4 Cup sugar
3) Small hand full of dill, thyme, etc.
4) 1 T each of lemon and lime zest
5) 1 T fennel seed
6) 1 T black pepper
7) Sprinkle of gin

Clean the salmon fillet and dry it off. Place a sheet of foil in a baking dish. Mix all ingredients together except gin...Spread about half the salt mixture on the skin side of the fillet and the other half of the mixture on the fleshy side to coat the fillet. Place the fillet skin side down, sprinkle the gin on it and wrap the foil around it tightly. Place a brick on top to weight it down and place in the refer. After one day turn the salmon over and look at how much juice has come out. Let it sit for another day and then it is done. Put it in the freezer for about 1/2 an hour to firm it up and cut it into thin slices and serve. Excellent!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Camping with Quincy

This past week we took Quincy for his first camping trip in the North Idaho wilderness. Our trip took us up into the Coeur D' Alene National Forest to a campground named Kit Price (still have no idea who Kit Price was) where we stayed for six days and five nights. All five of those nights were spent in a tent, two of which we had NO airbed and one night rained.
We started our trip out by driving to my old stomping grounds of Coeur D' Alene, Idaho for one last night of good sleep in a motel and a good dinner before heading out to the campsite. We reserved a room at the Flamingo Inn, which was two blocks from where I lived when I was going to school at North Idaho College. The picture below is after we checked in, just hanging out in the room checking out the "Magic Fingers" machine that was super loud and barely moved the bed.

During the night it poured rain and we woke up to a weather forecast that included fog and rain for the first two days. After that, we had upper 80's the rest of the time so we new if we could tough it out for a couple of nights, we'd be in the clear. We made the drive up I-90 and headed out for our campsite at Kit Price. Once we arrived, camp was set up and we were good to go within 30 minutes.

Here is a view out from inside our palace...

After setting up camping and when there was a break in the weather, I went on a hike to check out the surrounding area. We camped on the North Fork of the Coeur D' Alene river, where there is world class trout fly fishing. All of the fishery is catch and release so the fish can reach over 20 inches, which is big for mountain trout. This picture is a view from above, which was very steep.

One of our adventures to us up to two different waterfalls. We ended up driving about 8 miles into a trail head and then hiked about 3/4 of a mile to both of the falls. The road in was really cool. These pieces of concrete rip-rap are to keep the stream in place in the spring.

The road was very narrow, with some cliffs sticking out right above our sun roof.

After we made the trail head, we began the hike and headed up to the first waterfall.

Behind Elaine is a creek that was draining from the first waterfall, Fern Falls.

Here is a picture of Fern Falls, with some good friends taking an even closer look...

The last fall we got to see was Shadow Falls, which is up above Fern Falls by about 1/2 of a mile. This was a gorgeous waterfall...The air temp plummeted by at least 15 degrees around the falls.

After taking in the falls we trekked back down to the car and passed quite a few people on the way up. Four wheelers are very popular up in the area and are allowed on the forest roads. We ran into some very nice people from North Idaho on the trail.

Here is Sydney holding her new dear friend, the butterfly.

Luckily there were a lot of butterflies about because that one did not live very long in those young hands. After we got back to camp, lunch and naps were in order. Quincy did great sleeping in the tent between mom and dad...Tough to get that sleep out of the eyes!

We also managed to just hang out and relax along the river as well. There were a couple of rock pools that were made so you could lay out in the water or small kids could have a place to play. The water was really warm and nice when the sun was out.

The North Fork of the Coeur D' Alene is probably the clearest river I have ever seen. You could literally see down 10 feet without a problem. No pollution and very well maintained. This picture shows how clear the water is. Note the tip of the rock just poking out of the water.

Here is another one.

One really cool thing about this trip was how much wildlife we saw. We were able to spot whitetail deer, blacktail deer, grouse, rabbits, snakes, frogs, and moose...This was a young cow and bull. A guy that was camping with his wife next to us told us he was charged by a female moose while in the river fishing. He was in water up to his chest so he couldn't run and he couldn't pick up any rocks to throw at it. Luckily she turned and went up the river about five feet from him. He was scared shitless. Female moose are known to have very, very short tempers.

After throwing rocks in the river, hiking, and enjoying all of this wildlife, people can get a little sleepy.

Another thing that can be addictive is building cairns. This was a pretty good one!

We were able to have full sun all day at the rock "beach" we had laid claim to. Everyone was reading, splashing, skipping rocks, watching the clouds, and just having a ball with the simplest things in life. It always amazes me how much fun you can have camping if you relax and take in everything and everyone around you.

When I was up here a few years ago I went horseback riding with some friends. We all had a great time except I left my saddle behind. Luckily they left it for me and even made me a sign!!!

One morning Quincy woke up super early...Like 5:15AM early. So Elaine and I got up and hopped in the car with him and some food for a little road trip up into the hills to find a fire lookout. In Idaho the Forest Service rents out a lot of the lookouts for camping in the summer. We ended up going up a super steep hill for over 10 miles to find the lookout. The road started out going over Shoshone Creek, pictured below.

We worked our way up, up out of the fog on the valley floor below.

When in the wilderness, one must truly expose themselves to the wilderness...

We finally arrived at the lookout but it was booked and had someone staying in it. The cool thing is, they gate off the road one mile below the lookout for ultimate privacy. This lookout was at about 6,500 in elevation.

The weather ended up getting quite hot one day so Elaine and I were able to have her mom watch Quincy so we could drive up and then float down the river in inner tubes. Mary drove us up and dropped us off and Elaine and I headed down...

It was a lot of fun as you can see.

On the way home we had to stop in Quincy, where my grandparents lived for many years and where my mom and aunt grew up. There are two signs the City of Quincy has always had up and I am sure this isn't the last time we will stop here...Grandma and grampa would love this picture!

One recipe that I did manage to make was my stir fried broccoli. It is a great side dish for a lot of meals and I have had people who do not eat broccoli not only eat it, but like it and ask for more. This went over great and was super easy to prep air in camp.


1) 3-4 heads broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
2) 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
3) 1 1" piece ginger, chopped
4) 1/4 cup or so of soy sauce
5) 3 T honey
6) Red pepper flakes to taste

Start with a little oil in a saute pan large enough for the broccoli and saute the broccoli over medium high heat for about five minutes, turning from time to time. Once it has cooked some, add the ginger and garlic and continue to saute, moving the pan so you do not burn the garlic. When it starts to brown some, add the soy sauce and honey and continue to cook until the broccoli is cooked to your taste. Unsually takes about ten minutes. Sprinkle with red pepper and enjoy!