Emma Laperruque

Marinated Shrimp Recipe

By Emma Laperruque | August 16, 2012

Photo: Alicia Griffin

Why all the stress over entertaining? Ultimately, we want to impress our guests. What I’ve learned over the years, though, is that food doesn’t have to be jaw-dropping to be spectacular. If you have eight friends coming over, don’t make a backpack-sized baked Alaska and set it on fire for the oohs and ahs. Impress them with the flavor, and give yourself a break with the day-of prep.

This recipe is a staple at  any dinner party that my family hosts. All the work is in the prep, there’s no cooking involved, and the dish requires a full day of marinating, which means you have one less thing to do right before your soirée. Pre-cooked shrimp are mixed with paper-thin lemon slices and shards of onions, roasted peppers and black olives, minced garlic and bright parsley. After a day, the flavors meld together, each heightening the others. The shrimp are juicy and savory, the onions tangy and pickled, and the lemon slices succulent and pliable so you can eat them just as is. Served with a tray of multi-grain bread rolls and a mixed green salad, it’s an entirely impressive and easy meal.

Photo: Emma Laperruque

Follow Emma on Twitter @EmmaLaperruque

Red Berry and Rosé Sangria Recipe

By Emma Laperruque | July 27, 2012

This recipe is a light twist on sangria, perfect for nighttime summer parties—and days on the beach. Instead of heavy red wine, rosé is used, and instead of sugar, honey (raw, if you can find it!). Raspberries and strawberries add natural sweetness, as lemon slices contribute brightness in flavor and color.

If holiday parties are all about indulgent hors d’oeuvres, summer bashes are all about decadent drinks. Whether it’s a margarita, mojito or piña colada, most warm weather cocktails can be as calorie-packed as those dangerously addictive pigs in a blanket.

How do you stay on your bathing suit’s good side for the rest of the summer? Same as the holiday season, just practice smart choices and moderation. Instead of depriving yourself a drink at a BBQ while everyone else is having a great time, pour yourself something that’s as refreshing as it is light. Easy way to tell? If the main ingredient is a store-bought mix, it’s not the right drink.

Below’s recipe is a light twist on sangria, perfect for nighttime summer parties—and days on the beach. Instead of heavy red wine, rosé is used, and instead of sugar, honey (raw, if you can find it!). Raspberries and strawberries add natural sweetness, as lemon slices contribute brightness in flavor and color. To top it off, sparkling water lends a bit of bubbly, and no extra calories and sugar like soda normally would. So drink up! Red Berry and Rosé Sangria is delicious and 100 percent guilt-free.

Follow Emma on Twitter: @EmmaLaperruque

Homemade “Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz!” Recipe

By Emma Laperruque | July 23, 2012

Coffee Ice Cream

I only have access to a Ben & Jerry’s store in the summer, when my family gathers in Long Beach Island, New Jersey for our annual reunion. During the year, I have to get my Ben & Jerry’s fix from the freezer section of the nearest supermarket. Alas, as all true Ben & Jerry’s devotees know, not all flavors are available in pint form. Like the caffeine-addict’s obsession, “Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz!” It’s coffee ice cream with espresso fudge chunks—and oh, it’s so good.

Here’s a “Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz!” inspired version that you can make at home: coffee ice cream with dark chocolate covered espresso beans mixed in (and, if you’re feeling especially chocolatey, a chocolate stracciatella, as well). It might even be better than the original.

Recipe: Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop 

Photos: Emma Laperruque

Click here to read Emma’s ode to homemade ice cream.

Bacon, Dried Cherry & Milk Chocolate Bark

By Emma Laperruque | July 2, 2012

Photo: Emma Laperruque

Photo: Emma Laperruque

Two chocolate bark recipes in less than two weeks? Have I gone chocolate bark crazy? A little, maybe. To be fair, this recipe was  inspired by the first, Blueberry, Almond & Dark Chocolate Bark. After testing it at home, I brought in extras to the Marcus Samuelsson Group office, and the response was somewhere between enthusiastic and overjoyed. To my delight, people went back for seconds and thirds. (Who knew three ingredients could cause such excitement?) Read More

Cilantro, Basil, and Mint Yogurt Dip Recipe

By Emma Laperruque | June 29, 2012

Yogurt Dip with Cucumbers and Carrots

Crudités are one of the simplest, most well-liked party appetizers: a plate of colorful vegetables, served with your favorite dip. Since the dish is so popular—especially during barbeque season—your choice of dip gives you the chance to truly shine as a host. Raw veggies are a given, but what kind of sauce does your family serve with them? Though it’s tempting to buy that ready-made jar of ranch dressing at the super market when you’re picking up your produce, if you just grab a few extra ingredients and spend another five minutes in the kitchen, you can take your crudités from appetizing to downright addictive.

Here, a food processor does nearly all the work. You toss in fresh basil, cilantro, mint, and garlic, and blend together until finely chopped. Then you add thick Greek yogurt, the juice and zest of one lemon, a few glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and blend again. Just like that—totally done! The fresh herbs make this dip flavorful—and beautiful—and the yogurt base, instead of mayonnaise or sour cream, makes it good for you, too. It’s the perfect center piece for crudités, but also goes great with other dishes, from crab cakes to fish sticks to pita chips.

Almond and Panko Crusted Fish Sticks Recipe

By Emma Laperruque | June 29, 2012

Fish sticks and herbed yogurt dip

Most people first meet fish sticks in the freezer section of the supermarket. Cardboard box, processed product, high in sodium, low in nutrients…. It’s not the best first impression. Maybe that’s why fish sticks have always been the less popular cousin to chicken fingers. Whatever the reason for their shaky reputation, I’m here to vouch for ‘em.

Making fish sticks from scratch is quick and inexpensive. Just use an easy-to-work-with, low-cost fish like tilapia. In this recipe, strips of tilapia are marinated in buttermilk, which keeps the fish tender and juicy, and adds some tang. Next, they’re coated in a mixture of panko, sliced almonds, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. They bake in hot oven for 20 or so minutes—not a greasy fryer—and that’s all there is to it. Crisp, flavorful, and completely good for you. Above, the fish sticks are served with an herbed yogurt dip: bright green with fresh basil, cilantro, and mint. To me, they downright put chicken nuggets to shame.

Photos: Emma Laperruque

Yellow Tomato and Papaya Gazpacho

By Emma Laperruque | June 21, 2012

Yellow Tomato and Papaya Gazpacho

Photo: mallydally

In the current, stifling summer heat wave, everyone wants to be close to an air conditioning unit and far, far away from the stove. In other words? Restaurants in the city tonight are going to be packed as New Yorkers seek out chilly atmospheres and delicious food they need not sweat (more) to prepare.

But, what if you could avoid the long waits—usually outside the restaurant—and still get that great, refreshing meal you’re looking for? That’s where this gazpacho comes in.

Gazpacho is a chilled, traditional Spanish soup: often spicy, always reviving. Typically, it’s prepared with a tomato base and mixed with diced vegetables, like cucumber, pepper, and onion. This rendition includes a twist ingredient that makes this favorite summer soup even brighter: papaya. The tropical fruit is blended into the base with yellow tomatoes. Its buttery red flesh adds an irresistible creaminess and color, and its smoky flavor plays off the sweet tomatoes and spicy jalapeño chili. It’s loaded with fresh vegetables, topped with avocado and cilantro, and refreshing and easy enough for a 100-plus degree day like this. No stove nor reservation required.

Photo: Emma Laperruque

Photo: mallydally

Blueberry, Almond & Chocolate Bark Recipe

By Emma Laperruque | June 19, 2012

Chocolate bark square

Like “Patagonian toothfish” (Chilean sea bass’s actual name), “chocolate bark” is one of the not-so-appealing food titles. All the same, it’s one of the most delicious—and simple—desserts to make.

Think of chocolate bark as a homemade, gourmet chocolate bar. Usually, it’s prepared with dried fruit, like cherries or chopped apricots, but seasonal fresh fruit works just as well—and in the summertime, even better. Here, juicy blueberries and toasted almonds top dark chocolate to make an antioxidant-packed, refreshing treat. Keep it in the fridge for a light dessert or pick-me-up snack.

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Beer-Spiked Lemonade Recipe

By Emma Laperruque | June 15, 2012

Photo: Emma Laperruque

Photo: Emma Laperruque

For many dads, there’s almost nothing better than an icy bottle of beer (or two) on a sunny weekend afternoon. But with the upcoming Father’s Day, this Sunday calls for something even better.

How to make the best day for dad? While everyone else rushes to the mall trying to find the perfect gift, head to the supermarket and get ingredients for his new favorite meal.

For dinner, fry up a fresh take on fish and chips, Guinness-Battered Cod. It’s pub grub at home—as easy as it is delicious. And, to go with it: refreshing Beer-Spiked Lemonade. Making lemonade from scratch takes even less time than it would to defrost lemonade concentrate. Just some simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and ice. Vodka is then added and, for the ultimate finishing touch, cold and fizzy beer is poured on top.

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