Baby Rue died. Her absence fills up every silent thought, every space between heartbeats. I hope her vibrant energy brought you happiness during her too-few appearances here.
I’ll be back with a new recipe tomorrow to replace this sad news.
In the past few years, lobster rolls have exploded all over DC (not literally). There are lobster roll trucks and multiple stand-alone stores, and all of them are delicious. The same seems to be true for Philadelphia. But because lobster rolls are expensive, they remain a rare indulgence. Not so with shrimp rolls! I first made them as part of a Blue Apron delivery- a service I love, but that’s a discussion for another day- and they have quickly become a go-to meal I can make with ingredients from my freezer. This version using berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend, is a twist on the original made using Old Bay.
Start by making the flavorful mayo. These quantities make enough dressing for 2-3 shrimp rolls. If you’re making more, feel free to scale it up! To a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon of berbere spice (or Old Bay), 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and a small pinch of black pepper.
Stir the ingredients together until they are completely combined, and give the mixture a taste. Honestly, the mixture alone does not taste very good to me (I think it’s the mayo), but it’s delicious when the shrimp are added later. You’re just tasting for seasoning this time- the sauce should be balanced with spice from the berbere blend and tang from the lemon. Adjust the proportions of either. You may note that we didn’t season the mixture with salt yet. I find shrimp to be salty enough on their own sometimes, so we’ll add salt later, if needed.
For two shrimp rolls, cook 8 ounces of shrimp in a pan with a small amount of oil, flipping once until they are pink and just opaque. I normally like cooking with jumbo shrimp, but the effect gets a little lost in this recipe, because they need to be cut up. If you’d rather serve whole shrimp, use smaller ones.
Cut the shrimp into bite-size pieces if necessary, and if you like some added crunch, finely dice about 2 tablespoons of celery. Add a small scoop of the mayo mixture to the shrimp and optional celery at a time, and stir it together to coat. I like my shrimp rolls to be relatively light on the mayo, but continue adding more in small increments until yours get to how you like it. Then, taste one piece of shrimp, and add salt to the mixture if necessary.
In the same pan that you used to cook the shrimp, melt 1 tablespoon of butter for every 2 shrimp rolls you’ll make. Get some split-top hot dog buns, and roll them in the melted butter so that it is mostly absorbed. Over medium-high heat, toast the buns on all four sides until they are golden brown. The toasting process goes very quickly, so keep an eye on the buns and don’t let them burn.
When the buns are cool enough to handle, split them open and stuff them with the shrimp mixture. Top them with minced chives, and eat them up while they’re warm. This recipe works equally well with lobster meat, if you’re lucky enough to have any. Enjoy your few last bites of summer!
Shopping list (for 2 rolls):
I had a sleepover with an esteemed member of the Global Supper Club, and she served me the most crave-worthy breakfast-on-the-go. This chocolate bar is a satisfying, salty-sweet snack that starts off cold and then literally melts in your mouth. It’s so tasty, you’d never know that it is jam packed with nutrients. I begged for the recipe, and now I happily keep a stash of these bars in my refrigerator for whenever a hunger pang, or chocolate craving, strikes.
Surprise number 1- these chocolate bars are made with dates! Pit 1.5 cups of dates, and add them to a food processor.
Follow up the dates with 2 cups of almonds, or another nut of your choice, 1/2 cup of ground flax seeds (the second surprise), 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut, 1/2 cup of sunflower seed butter (the third surprise), or another nut butter of your choice, and 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. I LOVE the sunflower seed butter in this recipe, so use it if you can. It adds a really interesting flavor, and it keeps me coming back for more. Also, did you notice Baby Rue’s first photobomb?! Run the food processor until all of these ingredients are ground up into small pieces.
Melt 1/2 cup of coconut oil, and then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to it. Pour the liquid into the food processor, and run it until the mixture looks kind of smooth and comes together into a ball. Much like a homemade nut butter would.
Dump the mixture into an 8×8 inch baking dish, and use the back of a spoon to press it into an even layer. Put the pan into the refrigerator to chill. Once the coconut oil solidifies, the mixture will firm up, and you can cut it into bars. Store them in the refrigerator– they’re delicious eaten cold.
As you take a bite of a chilled bar, your mouth will melt the coconut oil, and the bar will take on an almost fudgy consistency. But the almonds and coconut will give you something to chew on, and the salt will keep everything bright and flavorful. All of the nutrient-rich ingredients in these bars should give you a jolt of energy, and even though no sugar is added, they will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth!
This recipe is adapted from Dr. Frank Lipman.