I have a really good Shrimp Scampi pizza recipe with pictures to post tomorrow, but, in the meantime, I thought I'd let you know how the appetizers went over on Christmas. Since it was just for family, I tried three new recipes and two of them were huge hits!
The first is Alton Brown's shrimp cocktail. I used this recipe for the brining and cooking method, but resorted to bottled cocktail sauce (I bought the zesty) instead of fussing with homemade. These were the best shrimp cocktail we have ever eaten. Buying raw shrimp and cooking them yourself is always better than buying precooked shrimp. But, I believe this method is really superior to boiling. And it could hardly be easier. I bought precut and deveined shrimp (shells on) and all I did was thaw, rinse, brine, rinse, season and cook. The prep work was just a few minutes worth, and the cooking was just two minutes on each side. Then they chilled for about two hours. A squeeze of lemon juice and a dunk in the sauce, and yum! They were firm (not like mushy precooked frozen shrimp) and tasty (I used some Old Bay seasoning) and so good. We could easily have eaten several pounds!
The other recipe that was a huge hit was Paula Deen's Bacon-Wrapped Breadsticks. I had a little problem finding the breadsticks (as in, I didn't). I looked at three stores and finally settled on Pepperidge Farm Sesame Sticks. I don't know what the difference would be, other than size, but we loved them, so I wouldn't change a thing. Obviously I had to cut the bacon way down ( a quarter slice for each sesame stick), but I didn't change the baking time or anything else. I made a big platter of these that was devoured in minutes (I'm really not kidding). I wouldn't fix these every day since the calories were likely way over the top, but on special occasions, they are a really yummy treat.
The third appetizer I made was Paula Deen's Baked Cheese Spread. In all fairness we ate the other two appetizers first and no one was really hungry for the spread. In fact, they hardly touched it. I'm going to heat it up tomorrow and see what happens when we're hungry. I'll let you know.