Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Cooking for Cher" - Shrimp Borracho (Drunken Shrimp) and Vibrant Verde Rice - for Cher's Birthday!

Date I made these recipes:  May 22, 2015 to celebrate  Cher's Birthday on May 20.

Cooking for Cher by Andy Ennis with a foreword by Cher
Published by:  A Fireside Book Published by Simon and Schuster
ISBN:  0-684-81493-5
Purchased at Arc's Value Village Thrift Stores
Recipes:  Shrimp Borracho (Drunken Shrimp) – p. 91 and Vibrant Verde Rice – p. 171

So May 20th was singer and actress Cher's 69th birthday, and once again kids, I had a Cher cookbook in my collection.  Had not my favorite radio station, 89.3 The Current, played some of her songs in her honor, I might have missed the opportunity to use the book, but details, details.  As it was, I could not make a dish on her actual birthday but caught up two days later.  So – Happy Belated Birthday, Cher.

For reasons that I cannot explain, I've had one of Cher's later releases – Believe – "Do you believe in life after love" – rolling around my head ever since I heard it was her birthday.  This surprises me because she and former husband, Sonny Bono, started cranking out the hits long before that song came along in 1998.

First up, Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), released in 1966.  I was pretty young in 1966 so I'm guessing that the radio stations started playing it when some of her other songs were released:  You'd Better Sit Down Kids (wow—talk about an oldie but goodie) (1967); Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves (1971) and Half-Breed (1973) just to name a few. 

As to the last two songs, it occurred to me that Cher might have been having an identity crisis at the time she wrote them because one minute, she's complaining that "gypsies, tramps and thieves, we'd hear it from the people of the town, they'd call us..." but then the next minute, she's all "Half breed, that's all I ever heard."  Cher, honey, you can't have it both ways.  As one of my favorite community band directors once told our tentative trumpets when they balked at a few measures of difficult music -  "Just kiss and commit!".  So there you go.

In addition to Cher's solo releases, hopefully you'll also remember that she was "Cher" of The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, a variety show that ran from April 1971 to August 1974.  At the end of each show, Cher flipped her very long hair (a signature move of hers) and she and Sonny sang their most famous song, I've Got You, Babe.  Little Chastity, now Chaz, Bono used to make an appearance prompting my mother to start wailing "Why are they bringing that little girl out on this show? She looks scared!" every single time.  Every time.  My mother did not think much of introducing a child that age to the American public. 

By the time the show limped to its final show in 1974, Sonny and Cher's marriage was over and Cher ramped up her solo career both with solo song releases and appearances in movies like Mask, Silkwood and, my favorite, Moonstruck.  As an aside, a couple days ago, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary and we so loved how Moonstruck, released a few years before our wedding, ended with the song "That's Amore," that we decided to use it as our wedding recessional song.  Besides, I'm half Sicilian and the portrait of Cher's family hit so close to home that we just had to go there.  Cher may have won an Oscar for Best Actress (and she was good) but the supporting cast stole the show. 

So anyway, there you have it, a summary of Cher in song and in the movies.  So let's talk about this cookbook and the dishes:  loved the cookbook, loved the dishes.  Cher's chef (and book author), Andy Ennis, created a lot of healthy yet delicious dishes for Cher and it was really hard to select just one.  So in our case, we selected two because he said the rice was a perfect accompaniment to the shrimp and it was!    For those concerned about alcohol, the amount of tequila used here is small and my guess is you could leave it out and still retain the flavor.  Although a Nutritional Analysis is provided at the end of each recipe, it doesn't read like a diet book at all, something I appreciated. 

As to serving size, I halved each recipe because there are only two of us and it was the perfect amount.  Plan to spend some time in the kitchen chopping the vegetables.

My only complaint, and it's small and not even related to this cookbook at all is that I cannot get "Do you believe in life after love" out of my head. It's been days now.  This must stop!  Really.  Maybe if I watch Moonstruck again, I'll start singing "That's Amore" instead in order to – and I'm quoting Cher – "Snap out of it!" ;)

Shrimp Borracho – serves 4 as an entree, 8 as an appetizer with Vibrant Verde Rice – serves 8
For the shrimp dish
2 teaspoons butter
4 green onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup minced garlic
1 ¼ pounds plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 ¼ pounds (about 14 to 16 medium) tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed and diced, or 1 can (28 ounces) tomatillos, drained and diced
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 ½ teaspoons crushed dried Mexican oregano
Pinch of cayenne
1 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning, such as Spike or Veg-it
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro (or parsley) plus extra for garnish
1 ½ pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined (16 to 18 shrimp)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
Garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper
For the rice
3 fresh poblano or other mild green chiles (about ½ pound), roasted, peeled, and seeded
¾ cup chopped parsley
¾ cup chopped cilantro
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 ½ cups raw white rice
½ teaspoon ground cumin or cumin seed
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
½ teaspoon salt

To make the shrimp
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sauté the green onions and garlic about 1 minute without browning.  Add the tomatoes, tomatillos, thyme, oregano, cayenne, all-purpose seasoning, and cilantro.  Cook about 5 minutes, or until the tomato mixture is softened and juicy.

Add the shrimp, cover the skillet, and cook about 3 minutes until the shrimp begin to turn pink.  Stir in the lime juice and tequila and continue to cook, covered, another 4 to 5 minutes.  Remove lid and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, with garlic salt and black pepper.

Neatly arrange the shrimp on plates with the accumulated sauce spooned over them.

Nutritional Analysis per serving (based on 4 shrimp per serving):  Calories: 303; Protein: 39.1 grams; Carbohydrates: 21 grams; Fiber: 4.7 grams; Fat: Total 5.8 grams, Saturated 1.77 grams, Cholesterol 336 milligrams; Sodium: 579 milligrams

To make the rice
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, puree the chiles, parsley, cilantro and garlic cloves.  Reserve.

In a wide pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onions over medium heat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the rice, cumin, and green chile puree.  Stir to coat the rice.  Add the chicken broth and the salt.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.  Cover the pot and simmer slowly until all the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, 5 to 10 minutes more.  Fluff the rice with a fork.  Serve hot.

Nutritional Analysis per serving (8 servings total): Calories: 236; Protein: 6.96 grams; Carbohydrates:  52.5 grams; Fiber: 2.87 grams; Fat: Total 3.06 grams, Saturated 0.925 grams, Choesterol 3.12 milligrams; Sodium: 625 milligrams

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