Thursday, September 29, 2011

Homemade Cracker Jacks (Caramel Corn)

Our recent trip to Fenway Park left us craving Cracker Jacks. I looked around for a homemade recipe online, and combined several to come up with this one.

2 quarts freshly popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups peanuts

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/6 cup light corn syrup

1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix the popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl; set aside.

Mix the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until boiling. Simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour the syrup over the popcorn and peanut mixture and stir to coat well. 

Spread on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees F. for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool, break apart and store in tightly covered container. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Grilled Shrimp and Roasted Pear Salad

I had the best salad EVER at the Metro Deli in Chicago's Union Station while waiting for our train. It was very much like this one, which I found here and in several other places around the Internet. It seems like everyone has posted the same recipe, so I don't really know where it originated online. 
16 jumbo (U/15) shrimp
2 whole fresh pears of your choice, cut in 1/2 (core and stem removed)
2 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 oz dried cranberries
2 oz candied cashews
12 oz mixed baby greens 
5 oz balsamic vinaigrette
1/2 Tbs pure maple syrup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 oz croutons made with cinnamon and raisin bread

1. Mix 1 ounce balsamic vinegar with Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon oil and coat shrimp. Season with salt and pepper, grill 1 1/2 minutes per side until done, then keep warm.
2. Toss pears with remaining oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in 450° F oven for 14 minutes and allow to cool.
3. Mix remaining balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in a medium sized bowl and toss in mixed greens and gently coat, add croutons, cranberries and cashews.
4. To serve: Divide greens onto 4 plates, arrange 4 grilled shrimp per plate and top with a sliced roasted pear half and serve.
My note: Add some gorgonzola, crumbled