Monday, July 21, 2014

Halloumi and Oregano Shrimp Or Pass the Fried Cheese, Please!



It has been a long time since I visited Chicago. I miss it. Not only do I miss the wide open spaces-well, there used to be-on the drive from O'Hare to Kankakee, but I miss Chicago itself. I love the Windy City and finally I will be visiting again, but it won't be until January. Not exactly the best time of year to experience Chicago, but family obligations wait for no one! I believe we'll go back in April for another. As my brother pointed out, this is a big year for our family. 4 B'nai Mitzvahs, 1 new baby and 1 wedding. None of this directly in my nuclear space-thank goodness, as I'm still not ready for the last two!



One of my favorite experiences in Chicago is dining at the Greek Islands. As a teenager,we often stopped there to eat. Because it is on the South Side of Chicago, it was convenient from Kankakee. Not only was the food delicious; eating at a big Greek restaurant is fun. The OPASthe saganki, the family style HUGE meals and the great waiters, make the place very lively. Everything is superb. I also loved their skordalia-the Greek garlic dip. OMG. Just slather that on my body when I die, and I'm sure I'd be preserved forever. 

One of my favorite things to eat at Greek Islands was the saganaki. Fried cheese. Two words that shouldn't be allowed to be close together. Having saganaki is one item on my "Last meal to eat before I die" list. We all have those don't we? Well, it probably should be one requirement on the list, "How to be a Foodie". In any case, I love the stuff. And it is pretty pathetic that I can't remember the last time I had it. I believe someplace in Denver has it, but I'm sure it isn't as good as the Greek Islands. I, however, would be happy to be a guinea pig and give my honest opinion!


Well, onward. Trader Joe's opened close by, so I discovered they sold halloumi cheese at about half the price of my favorite grocer. Same brand and everything. Yes, it totally now makes preparing halloumi, so much more enjoyable. I hated spending $10 just to make fried cheese. Thank you Trader Joe's. But eating fried cheese just seems so decadent... So bad for you, even if it is topped with heart healthy olive oil. So... I decided to make it as a main course in order to count those calories in a better space.  So.. I made it with shrimp, the cholesterol free kind. Don't I wish? And I served it with white rice-the whole grain kind. Don't I wish?

What can I say? Manservant loved this recipe. I did too. Tomorrow we are eating greens and whole grains the entire day. I promise...


Halloumi and Oregano Shrimp

Yield: 1 Manservant, 1 Wife (Preferably 4 servings)
Ingredients:
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
5 minced garlic cloves
1/2 c white wine
1 t oregano
Pinch of Italian chili flakes
16 - #21-25 large  raw shrimp peeled
4 oz halloumi - cut into about 1" cubes
1 lemon, cut into quarters

1 c dry rice - prepared in your favorite way

Directions:
In a large skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until softened, and not golden. Add white wine, oregano, and chili flakes and bring to a simmer. Add shrimp and when they are just starting to turn pink, add halloumi. Let simmer a couple minutes, but don't overcook the shrimp, and serve with a squeeze of lemon. Spoon rice or pasta into pan and mix it all up. Serve and yell OPA!

More Good Things to Try: 
Shakshuka
Hummus
Mussels in White Wine
Chicken Scarpariello
Carne Asada
Blueberry Chicken Pesto Salad
OMG BLT
Blackbottom Chocolate Cake








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26 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I love fried cheese, too! Thanks, Yummy!

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  2. Fun post, fun recipe. Trader Joe's is great, isn't it? They usually have good quality at good prices. Back in the day I used to travel to Chicago at least twice a year, and it seemed I was always there in January or February. Brrrr! That's a cold place, but you'll enjoy getting back there. Anyway, OPA!

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    1. Thanks, John! Chicago is a great city and though it will be cold, i can't wait! Definitely going to hit Greektown!

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  3. Sign of a good recipe...when there are NO leftovers! I really, really want to try halloumi. How could fried cheese be bad? Looking so forward to meeting you in a week!

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    1. Well than you really, really should! And I am so excited to get together! OPA!

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  4. Fried cheese is never anything to pass up! LOL
    Love how easy this dish is, but so full of big, bold flavors.

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn! Fried cheese is the best, isn't it?

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  5. I too love s hopping at Trader Joe's...this is such a nice and easy dish Abbe..next time I will pick a package of halloumi and try your recipe...yum!
    Have a beautiful week :D

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  6. Hi Abbe, next time we go to the big city I will be picking up this cheese, I saw it last time I was at Trader Joes but I was not sure about it, this recipe has changed my mind, love this!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Cheri, it really doesn't have much flavor or texture on its own. Therefore it is begging to be fried! And it doesn't melt so easily, which is why is is perfect fried!

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  7. o I want to dig in! It looks so GOOD.

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    1. Thanks, Angie. If you were closer, I'd say stop over!

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  8. Well Abbe - you do have a busy year ahead! This dish sounds great even if it is a splurge of the best kind! Never tried cheese like this - but am now on a mission. This is the second recipe I've seen today with that very cheese. The other was with a watermelon salad - how interesting. Have a wonderful week!

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    1. I saw that watermelon salad. It looked great! Try this cheese, Tricia. You will love it!

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  9. TJs is opening near me in September, I can hardly wait!
    What a great combo, salty, squeeky cheese with sweet shrimp, yuuum!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kari! It has taken me awhile to get used to TJ's, but now I am hooked on it for many things!

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  10. Hello Abbe! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog recently. I see we share a few readers in common :) We love Colorado (our youngest went to CU in the early 2000's) and are big fans of the Windy City just 90 miles to our south. Usually, we never make it south of downtown but the Greek restaurant sounds wonderful and so much fun. What a great recipe you've put together here! Susan.

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    1. Sounds like we have some things in common, Susan! GreekTown is a fun place in Chicago and really reasonable for a great meal! It probably is about a 15 minute drive from downtown, if I remember correctly. It has been awhile! thanks for reading!

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  11. Oh my - I don't know if I should have known that halloumi is available at TJ's! The price always stopped me in my tracks, and I've had a recipe for GRILLED halloumi on my list of things to make for a long time.

    That looks delicious! It's all about balance right? And it's balanced to have cheese at least one a day for me. :D

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    1. Yes, I do like your sense of balance! Grilled halloumi is great, too!

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  12. I love, love Chicago, too! Had the most wonderfully, epically fantastic meal of my life there (Charlie Trotter's!) ... and plenty of little vacays with just my Romeo, with each of my parents, with a whole herd of extended family ... you get the idea! I loooove it! But somehow I missed the Greek Islands - clearly that's a must-do! Luckily, until then, I have this gorgeous recipe to hold me over. It's got YUM written all over it (in both English AND Greek! :D )! Pinning for sure! Opa, my friend! :D

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    1. Great city, isn't it? Greek Islands is fun to go to with a large group and they know how to do it well! Thanks, Shelley! charlie Trotter's-you lucky girl. My mom once won some auction and she got to work with his pastry chef in the restaurant kitchen. She was so excited!

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  13. This is one cheese I've never had, but have been seeing it pop up in a lot of recipes. I think this dish looks really delicious!

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    1. There is a reason it is popping up! It is fun to cook with. It is great use as a main course and the price made it feel like that was the way to go. But now that I've found it at TJ's, it makes it much more affordable to use however I want!

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