Hi, I'm Torrey. Welcome to Left Field, where creativity runs amok and imagination is ALWAYS more important than knowledge. Shoes are not allowed but ties are optional. This is a repository of snippets from my life out here in Left Field. One never knows what shiny bits of creativity will be found here... cards, scrapbook layouts, photography, poetry, recipes, ponderings, rantings and musings. It could be anything! Life in Left Field is always changing, always real, always ...interesting.

May 10, 2015

TDF Shrimp Scampi and Chocolate Cake

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

As promised, I'm here to share with you the FaBuLoUs meal my husband and I cooked for my mom on Mother's Day.


Alton Brown would have been proud.

I decided to make something with seafood or fish since my mom decided she is now a Pescetarian. Yes, that's a real word. And, it has NOTHING to do with religion...even though it sounds like a drunken offshoot of Presbyterian.

It means she has added fish and seafood to her diet. So, lately, we've been eating a LOT of salmon.

I'm kinda sick of salmon right now (though I never thought I'd hear myself say that).

I told her I would fix her a lovely meal with some iteration of salmon. But when my husband sort of wrinkled his nose at the idea...I came up with Shrimp Scampi instead.

Now, I've never made Shrimp Scampi before.

Sure, I've eaten it tons of time in restaurants. I figured how hard can it be? It's basically just butter, garlic, shrimp, and some sort of pasta.

So, Jonathan and I went to the store and bought all the ingredients. Fresh gulf-caught shrimp, fresh garlic, fresh angel hair pasta, and butter.

What do you know...it really is easy to make. Like STUPID easy. Not only that, it is totally TDF (to die for).

Torrey's Stupid Easy Shrimp Scampi
Prep time: 20-30 minutes to de-vein/peel shrimp and chop garlic. 
Cook time: 3 minutes (I'm not kidding)

  • 1-1/2 pounds raw shrimp (de-veined and peeled)- I used 21-25/lb size shrimp. Do NOT use precooked shrimp. Yuck. Just...don't.
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 5-7 cloves fresh garlic (minced through a press or chopped finely)
  • 1-2 tsp lime juice (or lemon...a little acid helps to balance out the buttery richness)
  • 1 tsp dry basil (or fresh if you have it, I didn't)
  • 2 lbs fresh angel hair or linguine pasta
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Optional: Smoked Paprika to garnish (looks pretty without adding heat like cayenne would)

1. With a paper towel,  pat dry peeled/de-veined shrimp. Place on plate. Season with salt and pepper.

2. In large skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium high heat. When butter stops foaming, it's ready for the shrimp.

3. Add chopped garlic and lime juice and stir.

4. Toss in shrimp, ALL AT ONCE, and quickly spread out in pan.

5. Let shrimp cook for 1-2 minutes on one side then flip them and cook for 1 minute more. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Cook until just pink but still slightly translucent.

6. REMOVE SKILLET FROM HEAT. Don't worry if shrimp are still a bit undercooked, the residual heat will finish them off.

7. Sprinkle with basil.

8. Cook pasta in boiling water for 1 minute. YES, it cooks that fast. Drain.

9. Toss shrimp/butter mixture with drained pasta. Sprinkle with Smoked Paprika for garnish and serve immediately.

It was unbelievably good. The shrimp was so tender and the pasta was perfectly Al dente. There was just the right amount of garlic butter "sauce"....drool.

But that wasn't the best part of the meal. No. 

The best part was dessert (duh...isn't dessert ALWAYS the best part?)

Jonathan and I made dessert together. He's learning!

We made (and I kid you not) the BEST chocolate cake IN THE UNIVERSE.

I made this cake for Jonathan's birthday and everyone loved it. Mom requested it for Mother's Day...and Richard has requested it for his upcoming birthday in a couple of weeks.

This recipe is from Robyn from addapinch.com. Here is a link to the original recipe: Best Chocolate Cake EVER  It doesn't need tweaking. It's perfect the way it is. Fear not...I'm posting it, in its entirety, here. Robyn frosts her cake with what she calls "Perfect Chocolate Buttercream". I agree. It, too, is perfect. The recipe for it follows the cake recipe below...because I'm good like that.

Here is Robyn's cake:

Here's how mine turned out: They really are virtually identical. I didn't have time to get mine professionally photographed. I just snapped a photo in my kitchen.
Yeah, it's as rich as it looks...and look...it's so moist there aren't crumbs. I think my cake was still a little warm, that's why the frosting looks kinda melty. Either that or it's because the humidity today is at 98%.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used plain old Hershey's cocoa) 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp espresso powder (I used instant coffee) 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used canola) 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 cup BOILING water (trust me...I know it sounds weird)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. And prepare 2, 9-inch round cake pans (buttering/ lightly flour)
2. In large bowl, mix all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, instant coffee) and whisk to combine.
3. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla to dry mixture and mix well.
4. SLOWLY add 1 cup BOILING water and beat on high for 1 minute to incorporate air.
5. Divide batter between prepared cake pans.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).
7. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove cakes from pans and transfer to cooling rack. COOL COMPLETELY before frosting with ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING.


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used plain old Hershey's cocoa)
5 cups powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
~1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
OPTIONAL: 1/2 tsp espresso powder (or instant coffee)--I didn't use any

Directions: Use a Mixer.
1. In large bowl, cream together butter and cocoa powder. (Note: after this stage it looks really tasty, but it's pretty yucko at this point so don't bother tasting yet. Trust me)

2. Add powdered sugar and milk to cocoa/butter mixture as follows: 1 cup powdered sugar, then 1 TBS milk (you may not need all the milk). After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added. Now you can taste it.

3. If mixture seems too stiff...add additional milk, 1 TBS at a time, until desired consistency reached. If mixture seems too runny, add powdered sugar, 1 TBS at a time, until desired consistency.

4. Add vanilla and espresso powder (if using). Mix well.

5. Slather on cooled cake...or on whatever you like. Just sayin'.

Mom seal of approval!

1 comment:

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