Baked Mac ‘n Cheese with Shrimp and Bacon


  • 1 lb medium raw shrimp (25-30 count), peeled, deveined, tails removed
  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 6 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, divided
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 1/2 cup milk, divided
  • 1 Tbsp Honey Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Cajon seasoning
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 8 oz uncooked pasta (I used fusilli)
  • 2/3 cup Smoked Gouda, shredded, divided
  • 1 cup medium Cheddar, divided
  • 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs


  1. Season shrimp with 1/4 tsp of the salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp of the butter in a large skillet with high edges, over medium heat; until bubbling.
  3. Cook the shrimp 2-3 minutes, until pink and cooked through, turning once.
  4. Stir in 1/4 cup dry white wine; cook 1 minute and remove shrimp with a slotted spoon.
  5. Add onion and garlic to the sauce pan and cook for 2 minutes; until onions become translucent.
  6. Add remaining butter and flour to pan; whisk 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
  7. Slowly pour in 1 cup of the milk, whisking constantly until smooth.
  8. Whisk in remaining milk, 1/4 cup dry white wine, mustard, Cajun seasoning and remaining 1/2 tsp salt.
  9. Cook, covered, 3-5 minutes or until mixture comes to a simmer, whisking often.
  10. Remove pan from heat.
  11. Stir in pasta, 1/2 of the cheddar and  1/2 of the smoked Gouda.
  12. Pour into a 5 qt ceramic casserole dish and bake, covered, 30-35 minutes or until pasta is tender, gently stirring once halfway through baking.
  13. Meanwhile, combine bread crumbs and remaining cheeses in small bowl.
  14. Remove dish from oven and preheat the broiler.
  15. Stir in shrimp and bacon, and top with bread crumb mixture.
  16. Place dish 2-4 inches from heating element and broil 2-3 minutes; until top is golden brown.
  17. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes.




Shrimp and Grits with Spinach


  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking grits or polenta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 32 medium shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 5 scallions, white and light green parts finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 5 ounces baby spinach (about 2 loosely packed quarts)


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.
  2. Add salt, then grits and cook, stirring frequently, until thick, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in cheese and keep warm.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering.
  5. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, add to pan, and sauté until cooked through, about 1 minute per side.
  6. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  7. Whisk flour into pan and cook, stirring constantly, until pale golden, about 1 minute.
  8. Whisk in chicken broth, garlic, scallions, salt, pepper, and hot sauce.
  9. Cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.
  10. Add shrimp and spinach to pan and cook until spinach is wilted.
  11. Place grits on every plate and top with shrimp, spinach, and sauce.


Salmon With Lime Butter


  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried minced parsley or 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced


  1. Tear a large square of heavy-duty aluminum foil and place the salmon in the center.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Brush the fish liberally with this mixture.
  4. Bring up two sides of the foil until they meet in the middle. Fold over the top 1″ of the foil, then keep folding over until the foil is flush against the top of the fish. Roll one open end over the same way.
  5. Pour the remaining butter in the other open end, then roll over to seal. Poke 2-3 holes in the top of the foil with the tip of a knife or a skewer.
  6. Place the packet on a cookie sheet.
  7. Bake in an oven set to 350 for about 30 minutes.


Crab and Corn Chowda-Mac


1 box large shell pasta
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 turn of the pan
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped, with greens
1/2 small red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar
1 (6-ounce) tub lump fresh crabmeat, flaked
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Couple pinches cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons chopped or snipped fresh chives


Bring pasta water to boil and salt it. Cook pasta to al dente.

While pasta cooks, heat a large, deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil to pan with the bacon. Cook bacon 3 minutes. Add onions and celery and cook 3 minutes more. Add bell pepper and cook another minute or two. Add flour and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in stock, then milk. When milk bubbles, add crab and corn to heat through, another minute. Stir in cheese, thyme and cayenne pepper. Melt cheese into sauce. Drain pasta and toss with cheese, crab and corn sauce. Adjust seasoning. Ladle in bowls and garnish with chives.


Country Captain Chicken


1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup raisins
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup raw long-grain basmati white rice
1 pound fully cooked shrimp

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Put the chicken into the bottom of your stoneware. Add chopped apple, onion, and bell pepper. Add garlic and all spices. Toss in the raisins and the entire can of diced tomatoes. Stir in the chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until chicken is tender, but still intact. Using tongs, remove chicken carefully from the slow cooker and place in a covered dish to keep warm.

Stir in raw white rice. Cover and cook again for about 30 minutes, or until rice is bite-tender. Stir in frozen shrimp, and recover cook for about 15 minutes, or until shrimp is heated through.

Serve rice and shrimp mixture on a plate with chicken pieces arranged on top.


The Ultimate Lobster, Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato Sandwiches


serves Makes 2 large sandwiches, serving 2 or 4, active time 1 hour, total time 1 hour

  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 small lobsters (about 1 pound each)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons mayonaise
  • 2 teaspoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon
  • 2 small loaves ciabatta, split in half horizontally
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 4 iceberg lettuce leaves, crisp white/pale yellow parts only


  1. For the Tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water that can fit a steamer attachment to a boil. Cut a small X in the bottom of each tomato. Place tomatoes in water and cook for 30 seconds, then immediately transfer to a bowl of cold water. Set aside. Pour off all but 1 inch of water from Dutch oven and add steamer insert. Cover and keep hot.
  2. For the Lobster: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, kill each lobster by pressing the tip of a heavy chef’s knife in the crack just behind the eyes in the center of the carapace. Press down firmly, then split head in half. Using kitchen towels, twist off tail and claws (including knuckles) from carapace. Save carapace for another use.
  3. Place lobster claws and tails in steamer insert. Cover and steam for exactly 2 minutes, then transfer lobster to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet (lobsters may still be twitching slightly—this is a reflex reaction. Don’t worry, they are dead). Repeat with remaining lobster. Transfer to oven and roast until claws reach 135°F in the center as measured on an instant-read thermometer, about 7 minutes. Remove claws and set aside on large plate. Continue roasting until tails reach 135°F in center, 7 to 15 minutes longer (depending on exact shape of tails). Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl of cold water.
  4. When cold, shuck lobster meat. Roughly chop, drain on paper towels, then transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (to taste), lemon juice, and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep lobster salad refrigerated until ready to use.
  5. For the Bacon: Lay bacon slices on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, allowing each slice to overlap slight lengthwise to form a solid sheet of bacon. Transfer to oven and cook until crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Preheat broiler to high.
  6. While bacon cooks, peel tomatoes (the skins should slip off). Split each tomato into quarter, then using a sharp chef’s knife, remove the inner flesh and seeds to form 8 tomato filets. Set aside.
  7. Transfer bacon sheet to a cutting board, reserving fat separate. Cut bacon sheet into large pieces that just fit the bread. Set aside.
  8. Spread cut surface of each piece of bread with 1 teaspoon rendered bacon fat. Broil cut-side-up until well-browned.
  9. To Assemble: Spread mayonnaise to taste on each bottom bread half. Arrange avocado slices on top. Arrange bacon sheet on top of avocado. Add tomato filets. Spread mayonnaise to taste on the top of each bread half. Add lettuce leaves. Press lobster salad into lettuce leaves, compressing bread slightly. Close sandwiches. Cut in half, and serve.


Surf N’ Turf Burger


serves serves 4, active time 1 hour, total time 1 hour

  • 1/2 pound cooked lobster meat, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, plus more for assembling
  • 1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 20 ounces freshly ground beef, divided into four 5-ounce patties
  • 4 toasted hamburger buns
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 leaves green leaf lettuce
  • 8 slices crisply cooked bacon


  1. Combine lobster, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and chives in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. When ready to serve, season burger patties generously with salt and pepper and cook burgers to desired doneness on a hot grill or in a skillet on the stovetop, 125°F for medium rare or 135°F for medium, topping with cheese for last minute of cooking. Let burger patties rest for 5 minutes off heat.
  3. Top bottom buns with mayonnaise, tomato, and lettuce. Top with burger patty, then divide lobster salad mixture evenly between burgers. Top each burger with 2 slices bacon. Close burgers and serve immediately.


Lobster and Potato Salad

  • 1 1/2 pounds unpeeled small Yukon gold (Ina’s suggestion) or fingerling (what I used) potatoes
  • Coarse, kosher or sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced or pressed garlic
  • 1 large or extra-large egg yolk, ideally at room temperature
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (you can skip this, or use less, with little harm; I used 1 tablespoon vermouth instead)
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers (I imagine minced cornichons would be a good alternative)
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced (yielding about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium stalks celery, diced small (about 1/4 inch) (yielding about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat, cooked and cooled, in a 1-inch dice (from about 7 to 8 pounds fresh lobster; see post above for better budgeted suggestions)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon (Ina’s suggestion) or flat-leaf parsley (what we used)

Cook the potatoes: Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with an inch or two over water. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes, until just tender. (A bamboo skewer is ideal to test them.) Drain in a colander, and let potatoes cool for 5 minutes. Cut potatoes into quarters or halves (or fingerlings into 1/2- to 1-inch segments) and place them in a large bowl.

Make the vinaigrette: Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, egg yolk, 1 teaspoon salt, and many grinds of black pepper (Ina recommends you use a full teaspoon of pepper). Whisking constantly and vigorously, pour the oil in in a thin drizzle, ideally making an emulsion. Stir in the wine (if using) and capers.

Assemble the salad: While the potatoes are still very warm, pour half the vinaigrette on the potatoes and toss them gently, allowing them to soak up the vinaigrette. Stir in the scallions, celery, red onion, lobster, and add enough vinaigrette to moisten. Reserve any remaining vinaigrette for later. Add the zest and juice of the lemon, the tarragon or parsley, and more salt and pepper to taste (Ina calls for another 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, but this felt like overkill). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend. Taste for seasonings and add more vinaigrette, if necessary.  This salad is especially good served closer to room temperature.


Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad


  • 1 pound of dry penne rigati, gemelli, fusilli, or other short-cut pasta, or a combination
  • Salt for the pasta water
  • Olive oil
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 ounce smoked salmon, shredded
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped orange or yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (scallions)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of dried dill
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice


1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (use a tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water). Add the pasta. Cook uncovered, at a rolling boil until al dente, or tender, but still a bit firm. Drain and rinse under cold water. (If you are making the pasta ahead of time, stir in a little olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking to each other.) Note that if you are using different kinds of pasta, you may want to cook them separately as different types of pasta cook at different rates.

2 Stir in the rest of the ingredients, adjusting the amounts of mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Pasta with Tuna and Tomato Sauce

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 28-ounce can of tomatoes, whole or crushed
  • Salt
  • 1 pound pasta shells
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 6-ounce can tuna packed in olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or torn
  • A generous 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 Melt the butter in a medium pot on medium heat and add the can of tomatoes, including the juice. If you are using whole canned tomatoes (or fresh ones) crush them with your (clean) fingers as you put them in the pot. Simmer gently, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

2 Once the sauce is cooking, heat a large pot of well salted water to a strong boil. Add the shell pasta to the boiling water and cook at a vigorous boil, uncovered, until al dente, cooked through but still a bit firm to the bite, which is usually whatever the time specified on the pasta package minus about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3 Pour off the excess oil from the tuna can and stir the tuna into the tomato sauce. Add the ricotta cheese, and add salt to taste. Turn off the heat. Mix the sauce with the pasta in a large bowl. Mix in the basil.

4 Pour the pasta into a 2 to 3-quart casserole dish and top with the parmesan cheese. Put under a hot broiler for 4-6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Yield: Serves 6-8.