Super Fancy Celebrations

It's very exciting: I've been published. My very first journal article ever, co-author, from all the rat caffeine work senior year, all wrapped up beautifully in twelve pages in Physiology and Behavior. I think I've got about one sentence in there, but even if my writing didn't make it in I know a lot of the grunt work and basis for the experiments did, and that's really really nifty. I've been supremely lucky in my psych background so far, and as I go on with further designs for grad school I'm hoping the publication will kick my applications up a notch in the eyes of admissions.
So this was decidedly a step worth celebrating, and I take any excuse I can to pretend to be impressive in the kitchen.
First up: salad with baked goat cheese rounds. Rob has become a master of salads, taking them to the next level, and it's been difficult for me to keep up as he finds a niche in the kitchen. He was duly amazed by these - my father used to sear breaded goat cheese for New Year's dinner salads, and I was always impressed - but quickly learned that they really are superbly easy. This means now I need to find a new parlor trick, as he's already adopted them into his
repertoire as well.
adapted from the all-new Joy of Cooking

~ 4 oz log herbed goat cheese
two large-ish portions baby salad greens
3 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp orange muscat champagne vinegar
Sunkist Almond Accents roasted Caesar flavored almonds

Preheat an oven to 4oo F. Spray a small oven-proof plate or baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Cut the goat cheese log into rounds about 1/2 inch thick. Pour 1 Tbsp olive oil onto a small plate. On another plate pour out some breadcrumbs. Coat each round of cheese with olive oil and then gently roll to coat in breadcrumbs. Place on the prepared plate. Bake in the oven for about 6 minutes, turning carefully after 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, divide the salad greens between two bowls. In a small bowl place the vinegar. Pour the olive oil into the vineger slowly, mixing well to combine. Taste and adjust for preference, adding salt and pepper if you like. Pour half the vinagrette over each salad and toss some of the sliced almonds over the top. Carefully slide two rounds of baked goat cheese onto each salad and serve quickly before the cheese cools.
Yield: two salads.

Next: there is nothing like saffron for feeling important. Originally I hadn't planned on blogging this, as it seems kind of easy, but Rob pointed out that anything with saffron is bloggable. I think it's a pretty good rule.

2 Tbsp each butter and truffle oil (thank you, Sara!)
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 lb black tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 c white wine
2 Tbsp lemon juice
large pinch saffron threads
2-3 large Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small
1 Tbsp minced fresh basil
1 tsp minced fresh parsley

In a medium to large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about six minutes or so, until they start to soften but are not browned. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink on one side. Turn the shrimp over. Add the white wine, lemon juice, saffron and tomatoes and increase the heat to medium-high. Let the wine mixture come to a simmer and cook until the shrimp are pink on both sides and the wine sauce has thickened a bit. Remove from heat and add the herbs and toss to combine. Serve with hot with freshly cooked angel hair pasta.


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