Kung Pao Shrimp

I know you know I love love love seafood. I also like my food with a lil kick. While Kung Pao Chicken is good, Kung Pao Shrimp is even better. I prefer cashews to peanuts. To cut the carbs, sometimes, I serve the Kung Pao over my Sesame Garlic-Ginger Cabbage. With or without rice, this recipe is a spicy flavorful keeper. Adjust the level of spice for your tastebuds. And, of course feel free to use chicken or even pork. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m thinking, how about Kung Pao Salmon? That’s definitely on my recipe creation list now!. 

Peace & Java
Prep Time: 20 min            Cook Time: 20 min               Total Time: 40 min    
      Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups

Servings: 4                          Difficulty: Intermediate      Yield: about 6 cups           SP: 4


1 pound medium shrimp (41-50), peeled and deveined

1 large green bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 large red bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 large onion, chopped into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup cashews

8-10 dried red chilies

2 green onions, white and green, thinly sliced

1 tablespoons canola or peanut oil


2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon Mirin

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Kung Pao Sauce

1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar  

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon chili garlic paste, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced


1. In a medium bowl, whisk the soy sauce, Mirin and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the shrimp, and toss to coat. Set aside and prepare the rest of the veggies and sauce.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the black vinegar, ginger, soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, chili garlic sauce, cayenne and garlic. Whisk until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved and set aside. 

3. Chilis are potent and can really smoke up the kitchen. Turn on the exhaust fan if needed. Add the canola oil to a large work or skillet on medium high heat. Add the chilies and stir-fry about 30 seconds or until the chilies have begun to blacken. 

4. Add the bell peppers and onion. Stir-fry until a lil browned, but still crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes. 

5. Stir the marinating shrimp, making sure they are coated. Add the shrimp to the pan and stir-fry until just pink. Add the Kung Pao sauce and and coat the shrimp and veggies. Add the cashews and cook 1-2 minutes until the sauce is thickened. 

6. Remove from the heat. Garnish the Kung Pao with the green onions and serve over Sesame Garlic & Ginger Cabbage or brown rice.  

1 cup of Sesame Garlic & Ginger Cabbage is 1 SP and 1/2 cup brown rice is 4 SP.


Mirin is a rice wine. It can be found in most grocery stores or at an Asian market. 

If you can’t find Chinese black vinegar, my fav is Gold Plum Chinkiang, use a good-quality balsamic vinegar. Amazon carries Gold Plum if you can’t find it locally. 

Hoisin is a Chinese barbecue sauce. You can find it at most grocery stores. 

If you can find ground Sichuan pepper, use it in place of the cayenne. 


Olive Salad

I’m a planner. Next week, I’m helping my friend with her NOLA – that’s New Orleans – themed party. As a planner, I made the Olive Salad for the Muffuletta today, so that the flavors get a chance to marry and become absolutely fabulous. The Muffuletta is a famous NOLA Italian sammy packed with all kinds of yumminess! Stay tuned for that recipe coming soon. As you can see from this recipe, I am fond of garlic. As I always say, adjust any of the ingredients to your liking. Make it your own and enjoy!!

Though the olive salad is linked with the Muffuletta, I can testify that this condiment is excellent on almost any sammy, even grilled cheese. It’s great with eggs on in an omelette or frittata. It’s even tasty mixed with cream cheese and served as a dip for veggies, on toast or your fave bagel in the morning. Basically olive salad is the stuff salty dreams are made of. This recipe makes a bunch and keeps for months in the fridge. So, share with your friends and feel the love. 

Peace and Java

1 quart pimento stuffed olives, drained and chopped – see note below

1  1/2 cups Kalamata olives, drained, pitted and chopped 

1 1/2 cups olive oil

1 cup pickled cauliflower, drained and diced

4-6 stalked celery, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

1/2 cup pepperoncini, drained and diced

1/2 cup cocktail onions, diced

1/2 cup roasted yellow pepper, drained and roughly chopped

1/4 cup capers, drained and roughly chopped

12 sweet cherry peppers, seeded and roughly chopped

18 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons italian seasoning

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Place in jars and refrigerate at least 24 hours before using. 

NOTES, TIPS & TRICKS: I like a pretty chunky olive salad, so I roughly chop some of the olives and mince some of them, so the oils are released, making the perfect mixture.

Salmon Salad

This healthy omega 3 packed Round 2 Recipe (R2R) comes together quickly for those days when ya just don’t have much time. Salmon salad is great for lunch, liner, dinner or a protein snack with rosemary crackers. Don’t worry if you don’t have fresh cooked salmon on hand, just use your favorite canned or even smoked salmon. But as we know….fresh is best if you can swing it.

Copper River is my favorite salmon when it’s in season. This recipe works with any salmon, tuna, steelhead trout, crab or chicken! Hooreay for no-cook summer salads. 

Peace & Java

Prep Time: 20 min                   Cook Time: 0 min                                       Difficulty: Easy Peasy  Servings: 4 -6                             Serving Size: a heaping 1/2 cup               Yield: about 2 cups


1 lb cooked Simple Roasted Salmon, broken into large chunks

1/2 cup low fat or no fat Greek yogurt

1/2 cup red onion, diced

1/2 cup red, orange, yellow or green bell peppers, diced

1/4 cup carrots, diced

1/4 cup celery, diced

2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon spicy mustard

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

juice of half a lime, freshly squeezed


kosher salt to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste



1. In a medium bowl, combine, onion, peppers, carrots celery, capers, Greek yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, Tabasco and salt and pepper. Taste salad and adjust seasoning as needed.

2. Serve immediately or refrigerate to let flavors marry



NOTES, TIPS & TRICKS: This Salmon Salad makes a tasty lunch or light supper served over lightly dressed arugula and spinach with tomatoes, a salmon sammy or a toasty Salmon Melt.

Fresh herbs are a great way to add extra flavor. Try tossing in thyme, rosemary or dill.

Plan ahead: roast extra salmon to make this round 2 recipe in a flash for a quick  no-fuss meal.


Eggs in Purgatorio

My take on Eggs in Purgatory with a Spanish twist is a Round 2 Recipe (R2R) made with leftover Gazpacho with Roasted Peppers & Shrimp and Grilled Pineapple Mango Salsa Cooking for one requires creativity. I enjoy leftovers for a day or so, but past that, I’m ready to for a bit of a change. The challenge and fun of R2Rs is matching the leftover’s flavor profile with the new dish to make the old new. I think my slow simmered tomato sauce for Eggs in Purgatorio is satisfyingly zesty and great for a hearty brunch. In a crunch for time, make the sauce a day or two before, for a stress-free quick meal. Be sure to serve this dish with tortillas or crusty bread to sop up every bit of this flavor filled sauce. It’s a party in your mouth for brunch, lunch or breakfast for dinner!

Peace & Java


Prep Time: 20 min         Cook Time: 55-60 min                  Difficulty:  Moderate     Servings:  4                               Serving Size: 1/2 cup      Yield: about 2 cups




1-2 cups Gazpacho with Roasted Peppers and Shrimp

1 small onion, chopped, about 1 cup

1/2 cup diced tomatoes with chili

1/2 cup red, yellow or orange sweet peppers chopped

1/2 cup Pineapple Mango Salsa

1 stalk celery, chopped, about 1/4 cup

1/4 cup pickled jalapeno, chopped

1/4 cup Habanero tequila, optional

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablepsoons basil, roughtly chopped

2 tablespoons parsely, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1-2 eggs

2 turkey sausage chopped, about 1/4 cup

1/4 shrimp chopped




1. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Add onions, peppers and celery to the heated pan. Saute over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned.

2. Add garlic and jalapeno to skillet, stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in gazpacho, diced tomatoes, salsa, cumin and chili powder. Cover skillet and bring to a boil. Once the mixture boils, stir in tequila if using return heat to medium, cover and let simmer for 35-40 minutes until mixture is  thickened to a chunky sauce. Remove from heat.

4. Spray a small cast iron skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Add the turkey sausage and shrimp to the pan, cook until warm. Add 1/2 – 1 cup of  the tomato sauce to the pan. Stir to combine with shrimp and turkey. Make a well in the mixture. Crack egg(s) and gently drop into simmer sauce. Season egg with a pinch of salt and pepper. Tent the pan with foil and let cook 6-8 minutes until the whites set.

5. Cut a medium to large tortilla into 8 slices, using a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Season to taste with salt pepper, cumin and chili powder. Crisp the tortillas in a toaster oven or oven at 350  for 4-5 minutes.

6. Serve the Eggs in Purgatory in the skillet with the crisp tortillas chips.


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Notes, Tips & Tricks: Not a fan of egg dishes? Use the sauce for pasta or as a base for a Spanish inspired Sloppy Joe!

To make your own spicy tequila, pour a 750 ml of white or gold tequila into a large mason jar or covered container. Add 4-5 cleaned and quartered habaneros or jalapeno (with seeds and ribs for super spicy) to the jar and cover with lid. Let the mixture steep for 1-2 weeks shaking occasionally. Once ready to use, strain the seeds and peppers. Return your spiced booze to a labeled container and enjoy in your fav cocktails.

Substitute your favorite protein for the turkey sausage or shrimp. Use ground turkey, chicken sausage or even tofu. Whatever floats your boat!

Think Ahead: If you add the shrimp to the gazpacho right before serving, you can use it for other dishes as well. Shrimp tacos anyone?