Category Archives: Appetizers

Spicy Baked Mussels

  • 2 lbs. mussels, cleaned
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup finely shredded cheese, or more
  • ½ cup chopped parsley & chives
  • 2 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp (white) sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce (i.e. tabasco)
  • 1 tbsp red crushed pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
Clean mussels, rinse and drain (pat dry with paper towel). In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients well. Using a small spoon, top each and every mussels with the filling. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and golden brown over 350ºF. Serve immediately.



Creamy Mussel-Shrimp Soup

 Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Yield: 6-8 servings

  • 2 lbs. mussels, cleaned
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled & deveined, heads on
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • ½ tablespoon dry thyme leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon red crushed pepper 
  • 1 fresh lemon, thinly sliced & seeded
  • 1 ½ tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup half & half 
  • 2 zucchini, sliced, optional
  • 6 low-sodium (60mg/3 slices) baby Swiss cheese
  • Salt & ground black pepper
Scrub the mussels with a vegetable brush under running water; discard any with broken shells or that remain opened when tapped.
In a large pot over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter. Add the garlic, onion, thyme, and lemon slices and cook until everything has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mussels and shrimps and stir to coat them with all the flavors. Push vegetables to the side, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, then add flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine, chicken broth and half & half; cover the pot and steam for 10 to 12 minutes until the mussels open. Add the zucchini (if using), cheese and salt and black pepper to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot with crusty French bread to dip in the sauce.

Spicy Fried Shrimps

My husband and I got to taste the Hefner Grill’s fried shrimp several times back in the days. We like the stuff, obviously. Since HG is now a couple hundred miles away from us, that means that dining out at HG is thinly impossible which led me to start making our own fried shrimp at home. I’ve googled some recipes around, found one that I liked and then tweaked it to our liking. So now we got one that’s pretty easy to prepare and delish! We enjoy it a lot, so I hope you all enjoy it too.


For the Sauce:
¾ cup mayonnaise
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Asian chili sauce (such as Sambal Oelek)

For the Shrimp:
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 large eggs
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
½ tablespoon ground red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ¼ pounds medium/large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

To make the sauce: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

To prepare the shrimp: Heat about 4 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl. Whisk the flour, cornstarch, cayenne & red peppers, salt and black pepper and in another  bowl.

Working in batches; dredge the shrimp in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, dip in the beaten eggs, then return to the flour mixture, turning to form a thick crust. Fry the shrimp in the hot oil until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the oil temperature. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon. Toss the shrimp with the prepared sauce. Arrange the lettuce in a shallow serving bowl or on individual plates. Top with the shrimp and garnish with scallions.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, chopped
  • 3 ribs leafy tops celery, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Cayenne pepper, for garnish, optional
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves or chives, for garnish


In a large pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Add the cauliflower, celery, onion, garlic and thyme and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and milk and simmer for 2 minutes. Mix in parmesan cheese and simmer for 10 more minutes. Check the seasoning, then transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and process until finely pureed. Pour into a serving soup bowl. Garnish with cayenne pepper and chopped parsley or chives and serve with hot/warm sourdough, or croutons on top.

Jumbo Shrimp Brochette



12 large-jumbo shrimps, cleaned and deveined
6 low-sodium bacon, halved
3 jalapeños, seeded and cut into strips
½ (4 oz) block Monterey Jack cheese, sliced
¾ stick unsalted butter
¼ cup white wine
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper


Peel the shrimps but make sure to leave the heads on and tails intact. Using a paring knife, carefully slice each shrimp from tail  to tip, devein each shrimp and rinse. Sprinkle with ground black pepper and set aside. Wash and seed jalapeños, then cut into 4 long strips, making 12 sliced total. Cut slice of cheese into 12 long pieces. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat butter and white wine in a small sauce pot and whisk until butter is completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside. In a small container with a lid, place paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and black pepper, and shake to blend.

To wrap the shrimp; Stuff one small slice of cheese and one slice piece of jalapeno into each shrimp. Wrap with a half slice of bacon around each shrimp. Secure with a toothpick, or just simply place the bacon-wrapped shrimp on a clean plate, or flat surface with the tip of the bacon down. Repeat the process until finished. Brush shrimps completely with melted butter, and sprinkle with mixed seasonings. Grill on each side until bacon is golden brown and shrimps are done, but not overcooked.

Bon appetit!