Monday, March 17, 2008

March 17: The Pioneer Woman Cooks! Spicy Shrimp

Have you all discovered the food-geek wonder that is The Pioneer Woman Cooks! yet? Get thee over there, right now, and then use your back button to return to me. She won a Bloggie at SXSW for her food blogging, and man is it well-deserved. I...I am so very embarassed to admit this to you all, but I think I may have actually licked my computer monitor while reading her entry on pasta primavera. Yes Indeedy.

In short, The Pioneer Woman is a totally hilarious housewife on a cattle ranch somewhere in the middle of the country. She used to be an urban hipster in L.A.; now she drives forty minutes round trip to buy her very basic grocery staples, so she is a little defensive of her use of parmesan cheese from that green can. You know--that green can. She has two blogs: The Pioneer Woman Cooks and Confessions of A Pioneer Woman. That one features a lot of pictures of rather fit young men in tight jeans. Thanks for that, by the way.

Anyway, about her food blog: she takes pictures, something I am mostly too lazy or harried to do (also, I can't find the USB cable for my camera), and the pictures are some of what's so appealing about her cooking. Also, it's unpretentious, real-world easy, and uses a lot of butter. By which I mean, a lot. I can't believe she doesn't weigh 345 pounds. I would.

She doesn't really measure things so much, so it's hard to use her recipes as, you know, recipes, rather than just something to think dirty thoughts about, but her spicy shrimp look so good that I am sort of a little bit in love right now. One great thing about living on the Eastern seaboard is the seafood. We still get the shrimp frozen, but they're usually in better shrimp than the ones that have been sleeping with the fishes, so to speak, for months and months. And I don't think I need to explain what a decent crabcake can mean for a woman who's lived to be 27 years old and never tasted Maryland blue crab.

So, I will now attempt to translate Ree at The Pioneer Woman Cooks! from shameless hard-core food porn to a recipe with measurements and everything. It will be my usual wild-ass-guess estimation method that I use every time I attempt to post a recipe that isn't really my recipe but just an idea out of my head. By all means, assume that I'm playing it fast and loose with the numbers and hope for the best. If I'm off by a mile on anything, I encourage you to let me know.

Spicy Shrimp

2 lbs. large shell-on shrimp
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Tabasco to taste
1/3-1/2 cup Worcestershire
Generous amounts of Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
8 tablespoons (1 stick) Butter, cut into 16 pieces
3-4 Lemons
1 large loaf crusty French bread

Thoroughly rinse shrimp under cold running water. Spread shrimp in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Drizzle oil, Worcestershire, lemon juice, and Tabasco (you are seasoning these shrimp through the shells, so be aggressive.) Generously salt. Very generously pepper.

Drop pats of butter over the shrimp. Then pepper them again. Generously.

Slide the shrimp under the broiler for 10 minutes or so, until they are cooked all the way through. Don't overcook.

Warm the loaf of bread in the oven. Use it to sop up the sauce from the shrimp.

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