Becoming a Foodie. Slowly but Surely

I used to post more about food but haven't in a loooong time. Maybe it is because I'm about to move into my own place, but I've been looking at more food blogs recently (you all already know about my obsession with design blogs, and I already have some wish lists for my first grocery store trips... see posts here and here and here).

Anyway, here are two recipes that sound just delightful and I can't wait to try them out in my new kitchen...

Shrimp, Feta, and Fresh Herb Mac and Cheese (note: let's be honest, I wil probably replace the shrimp with chicken or bacon...)

1 lb. pasta shapes {I used whole wheat fusilli}
1 lb. frozen cooked shrimp (31-40 ct.), thawed and cut in half (if desired)
10 oz. feta cheese, crumbled and divided
Zest of 1 lemon, divided (or lemon juice...)
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped, divided
5 tbsp. butter, divided
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
8 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente according to the package directions. Drain well; set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚ F. In a small bowl, combine a handful of the feta, a pinch of the lemon zest, the panko, 2 teaspoons of the parsley and 1 tablespoon of the butter, melted. Toss with a fork to combine; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour to form a paste. Cook 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly, until light golden brown. Whisk in the milk. Continue to heat the mixture, stirring frequently, until it bubbles and thickens, about 5 minutes. As soon as the sauce has thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining feta, Gruyere, remaining parsley, remaining lemon zest, dill, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the pasta, add the shrimp; toss well to coat.

Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased 2½ or 3-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumb-feta mixture evenly over the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

From Mrs Harding Cooks

Roasted Asparagus with Toasted Breadcrumbs

2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cleaned
Olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Lemon wedges, to serve

Preheat a broiler to high.

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the butter, lemon zest, garlic and chili. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir to combined well so that all the breadcrumbs get slicked and spiced.

Toss the asparagus with enough olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Spread onto a roasting pan and grill (broil), turning once, until bright green and tender, and beginning to brown here and there, around 4-5 minutes depending on the size of the spears. Remove from the oven and set aside on a serving dish, drizzle with a little extra olive oil, if you'd like.

If you can, turn the broiler down to low.

In the same pan, spread the breadcrumbs and toast under the broiler, turning often, until golden. Around 2-3 minutes. Stir the Parmesan and parsley into the crumbs and serve over the asparagus. Pass lemon wedges alongside, for extra zip.

Serves 4.

From Seven Spoons

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