K-R-A-F-T, Garlic Shrimp Dip, and Other Ways to Spell Excellence

Now, before you judge me based on the title of this post, there’s something you should know.  I am no stranger to the microwave.  I have come home many an afternoon after school and nuked a tortilla with a cold piece of American cheese (read: cheddar melt product) to make my own Trailer Park Quesadilla.   I am one with the frozen pizza, Tombstone being my weapon of choice.  If you show up at my house with a DiGiorno, you may as well have spit on the graves of my ancestors. 
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Point being, I begrudge no one for indulging in white trash specialties that would make ball-cap wearing, granola loving soccer moms cringe.  Few things please me more than a boiled hot dog nestled in a slice of folded white bread.  But it’s not really a sustainable lifestyle, is it?  I mean unless one wants to develop concrete arteries and a physique akin to Mama Grape.  

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Disclaimer: Yes, I’m an asshole.  I know it, and it’s likely that if you’re reading this you know it.  But I’m not attacking fat people.  Hell, I used to be fat.  I still kind of am! I’m in no way body shaming, but it doesn’t take a nutritional biochemist to know that a diet of Mountain Dew and Flaming Hot Cheetos isn’t great for the ol’ pancreas.  Spare me the comments labeling me a fat-shamer, against body-positivity, etc.  I never have, and never will, shame a person for their body.  

Today is Superbowl Sunday and no one wants to pillage a veggie tray as they guzzle cheap beer.  As I prepped for a Patriots win (and holy shit, they BROUGHT it in the 3rd and KILLED IT in the 4th), I decided to make some treats to add to my plastic-laced Unicorn Krispies.  I whipped up a batch of M&M cookies that were a huge hit, but the REAL star of the Superbowl (aside from Brady’s arm, Julian’s hands, and Gronk’s devilish good looks) was a Garlic Shrimp Dip.  

Super Bowl XLVI                    20170205_222645.jpg
(Sorry, the only picture I was able to get was of the leftovers! Next time I’ll remember to take a picture as soon as it comes out of the oven, all golden…bubbly…gooey…it’s really to die for!  Even Gronk’s mouth is watering. Enjoy his pic in it’s place.  You’re welcome.)

Seafood Lovers, unite.  If the smell of shrimp and garlic makes you salivate, look no further.  No more waiting for Steak n Shrimp night at Golden Corral, my culinary comrades, this Garlic Shrimp Dip is here to play and it ain’t takin’ no for an answer. 

No but really, fuck Golden Corral; that place is a hog trough where dreams go to die and human livers turn to foie gras.  If you consider Golden Corral an acceptable place to eat, hit me up.  Let’s talk.  Allow this White Trash Maven to amend your tastebuds and show you how to make better food, CHEAPER.

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Anywho, let’s get started.  I doubled the recipe because I was going to a party, and I think it made a perfect amount to share with friends.  Because really, don’t make a 13″ X 9″ fulla Shrimp Dip and eat it by yourself.  That’s a waste of good party grub, and I’ll totally come help you eat it.   

Garlic Shrimp Dip 

2 lbs Shrimp, tails removed and de-veined
2 – 8oz pkgs Cream Cheese (it’s okay to use the cheap shit)
1/2 c. Mayonaise (don’t use cheap shit, use REAL mayo)
1 Lemon, juiced and zested
1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese (shredded or sprinkle is okay, we ain’t fancy around here)
1 1/2 c. Shredded Mozzarella cheese
(don’t use melt topping, buy real cheese folks.  You owe it to yourself)
4-5 tbsp. Fresh Parsley (don’t use the dried stuff in the can.  Trust me, it needs to be fresh)

1-2tbsp. Tarragon
4 tbsp. Olive Oil

Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste (fresh cracked is best, but if that’s not an option its okay)
Fresh Garlic, diced. ( I LOVE garlic and it brings out the flavor in the shrimp, so I used about 5 cloves and found that it still wasn’t quite garlicky enough.  Gauge it to what you like)

  1.  Heat your oven to about 350º.  I’ve found that everyone’s oven seems to cook a little differently, so if your oven tends to cook “hot”, take it a little easy.  In a large sized skillet, heat the oil and toss in the garlic.  Wait until it smells gooder than Hell (or when garlic begins to be fragrant), and add the shrimp.  Cook them until they’re firm, about 6-7 minutes if you’re cooking 2 full lbs at once, stirring intermittently.  When they’re done, transfer to a plate in a single layer to cool for a bit.  After they’ve cooled, you’ll want to chop them up into pieces to be stirred into the dip.  I recommend medium sized pieces, because you don’t want huge hunks or sawdust-sized shrimp.
    8543800_bc-spot-prawn-photo-credit-vancouver-aquarium
     “‘Sup girl?”
  2. Next, mix all other ingredients together.  I used a hand mixer to ‘cream together’ the cream cheese, lemon, and mayo.  It really makes the dip so much smoother.  I added in the cheeses, about 4 tbsp. of parsley, and the tarragon and mixed by hand.  Then, I folded in the shrimp until the mixture was even.  After your ingredients are in, add salt and pepper to taste, and don’t be afraid to season! Salt makes food taste GOOD. If you find the mixture to be too rich, you can add additional lemon juice to cut it.

  3. I spread my dip out in an ungreased 13″ X 9″ pan, and it worked well.  If you want to use a smaller, deeper pan, feel free.  I  sprinkled extra mozzarella cheese on top (because when is there ever really too much cheese?) Bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on how deep your dish is.  I did 15 minutes for a 13″ X 9″, because the layer was fairly thin; if using a deeper dish, go for the extra time.  

    Here’s the key to making this dish look real fuckin’ fancy: broil it.  Now, it doesn’t take too long, and you’ll definitely want to keep a close eye on it while it’s in there to avoid over-browning or burning.  I did mine for about 5 minutes on high, rotating the pan half-way through.  It got perfectly browned, and a bit crispy on the edges.  My kitchen smelled HEAVENLY.  After taking it out, take that leftover fresh parsley that you are no doubt wondering why is still lurking on your cutting board, and sprinkle it over the top evenly.  It really gives the dip a nice flavor, and it looks beautiful.

  4.  Serve with whatever chip-like vessel you like.  I used tortilla chips, but hell, this stuff would be good even on a pork rind. I’ll let you try that though.   

Crafty Modifications

There are countless ways to modify this dish to ‘make it your own’ and suit it to the likes of you and your guests.  A few of my suggestions are as follows:

A) Mushrooms.  Yeah, mushrooms get a bad rep, falling victim to constant shit-talking by less-adventurous tastebuds.  BUT, I beg you to reconsider.  For one, mushrooms have a meaty texture that works well as a meat replacement in many dishes, and they add an earthy quality to whatever you’re cooking while taking on the flavors of what they’re in.  I would saute them in a bit of olive oil and fresh chopped garlic, then add to the dip before baking. 

B) Spinach.  I would use fresh spinach as opposed to frozen, simply to avoid the extra water that comes with frozen produce.  You can saute it, or chop it up and add to the dip before baking.  Garlic, spinach, shrimp, and creamy goodness always go together, so take advantage of it! Besides, its a vegetable so maybe it will make you feel less guilty about the calorie content of this baby. 

C) Onion.  Depending on how much you and your kinfolk savor this tear-inducing bulb, add to taste.  Sauteing would be smart, as would simply using dried onions or onion powder.  Use in moderation; onion can overpower the dish if you go overboard, and you definitely don’t want to put the shrimp or garlic flavors in the corner.  Nobody puts Baby in a corner. 

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You’ll feel like Jennifer Grey (pre-rhinoplasty) when you eat this Garlic Shrimp Dip, and so will your friends.  It will be as if Patrick Swayze’s bulging arms are holding you by the waist, lifting you to the heavens while you wear a surprisingly fashionable dress, considering the time period.

Enjoy, and once more…

THE PATRIOTS MADE HISTORY. 

Craft

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