Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sueño (Rosemary-Cucumber Tequila Cocktail)

I don't want to give the impression that all we do is drink. But people, it's hot outside. Record-breaking hot. Yesterday my entire food consumption for the day consisted of yogurt and jam, a few scoops of gelato, some guacamole and chips, and a few crackers with cheese. It's not a good time for solids.

But drinks, yes. I've been downing them by the icy glass. I finally ran out of iced tea, and the thought of heating the kettle to make more is too much to bear. Luckily, in these cases, there's tequila.

I came upon this cocktail
called the Sueño last summer, and it is dreamy indeed. Rosemary often gets ignored in the heat of summer, unless it's being adapted as a grill skewer. Which is a shame, because it has a wonderful cooling effect, much like mint. In this cocktail, it's muddled together with the equally brisk cucumber and lime, and then shaken with tequila. Its sharp and light, but with an underlying depth from the tequila. (Am I the only one who think tequila has a sort of sesame-like nuttiness? Anyone? Okay, just me.) The resulting cocktail is like the margarita's sophisticated continental cousin. It's great with Mexican food, but the Mediterranean rosemary also makes it suited for European fare. Or, if I'm to be any example, just for sipping by itself, as you try not to sweat.

adapted from Food and Wine Cocktails 2008
makes 2 drinks

1 large sprig rosemary, plus more for garnish

6 thin slices cucumber
3/4 shot lime juice
1/2 shot simple syrup
2 shots tequila
tonic water

In a shaker or lidded jar, muddle together the rosemary, cucumber, lime juice and syrup, until the herb is well-bruised and the cucumber is a bit pulpy. Add the tequila and some ice, and shake well. Strain the drink into two glasses with plenty of ice, and top with a bit of tonic (about half a shot per glass, depending on your taste). Garnish with rosemary.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pizza Cavolfiore

I'm usually a big fan of the home-packed sack lunch. The combination of short work breaks and abundant fast food means buying lunch usually isn't worth the bother. I'd choose a home-made soup and salad, or even a humble sandwich, over most take-out options any day. But. But. Not in New York.

This past winter I worked in SoHo, the home of lunch options both overpriced and fabulous. As I responsibly toted my lunch, in keeping with my intern non-salary, I looked longingly at the daily take-out deliveries. The Asian noodle soups, the Indian thalis, the too-pretty-to-eat sushi. But best of all were the simple pizzas from Grandaisy Bakery.

When you hear the word pizza, it immediately conjures up images of cheesy slices. And in New York, cheesy slices are not bad at all. But Grandaisy makes pizza bianca. This Roman specialty is more of a flatbread than an airy-crusted pizza. The toppings are pretty simple; either a single highlighted vegetable, or just a sprinkling of salt and herbs. The bakery featured a few variations, but the most popular was cauliflower.

I know this seems strange. Cauliflower pizza? But trust me, it's delicious. Roasted cauliflower harnesses all of the sweet beauty of caramelization. Reminiscent of french fries, if you can believe it, but lighter and more delicious. Although Grandaisy topped theirs with a bit of cheese, I omitted that, and added the traditional pizza bianca topping of olive oil, coarse salt and fresh rosemary. Cut into strips, it makes a wonderful appetizer, or accompaniment to a salad. You can also make it ahead of time, and then just refresh it in a hot oven when your guests arrive. We brought it to a salad-based vegan dinner party, and blew their vegan socks off.

Pizza Cavolfiore
roasted cauliflower inspired by Jim Dixon, dough adapted from Jim Lahey via Smitten Kitchen, and the whole combination inspired by Grandaisy Bakery. Phew!

makes 2 pizzas

This dough is a lot drier than most pizza doughs, more like a traditional loaf bread dough than a soupy pizza dough. Don't worry, it turns out perfectly.

1 cup cool water
1 tsp instant yeast (or 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
3 cups all purpose flour (you can substitute whole wheat flour -- add an additional 2 Tbsp water for each cup you swap)

1 large head cauliflower
~2 Tbsp olive oil

leaves from 2 large or 4 small branches rosemary, coarsely chopped
olive oil
coarse salt

Pour water into the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle in yeast and let it soften for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients, and mix on low with a dough hook to combine, and then increase the speed to medium-high. Continue to knead at that speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, and flip over to oil the top. Cover with a dish towel or plastic bag, and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled, about 2-4 hours. Split the dough in half, and form each piece into a log. Let rest on a floured surface, covered, until doubled again, another hour.

While the dough is rising, prepare the cauliflower: preheat the oven (along with your pizza stone, if you have one) to 400. Wash the cauliflower, and remove the core. Slice the head into 1/4" slices (a large portion will crumble to bits, which is fine). Toss in a bowl with the olive oil, until it's all covered with a thin layer, using more or less oil as needed. Place on a single layer on a baking sheet or two, and bake until it begins to brown a bit, turning once. This should take about 15 minutes.

Assemble the pizza: Increase the oven heat to 500. Stretch one of the dough logs out into a circle the size of your pizza stone (or cookie sheet, if you don't have a stone), about 1/4" thick. Drape the dough onto your preheated stone or sheet. Sprinkle with half of the cauliflower, pressing it down into the dough slightly, and half of the rosemary. Sprinkle with coarse salt, and
drizzle on some olive oil. Bake at 500 until the crust is lightly browned and the cauliflower is deeply browned, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven, cut into rectangular wedges, and serve.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Peach Basil Sangria

I have some friends who recently opened a pizza cart. Which means that they've spent the bulk of the recent 90 degree evenings sharing 84 square feet with a 1,000 degree oven. It's hot, sticky work. The sort of work that requires a cold drink.

Last night my neighbor and I biked over to share a pie, and I also mixed up a batch of Peach Basil Sangria to share as well. I saw the recipe on a blog a few weeks back, and just had to mix some up for myself. And I'm very glad I did -- it is so summer. It's sweet, crisp, light, and perfect for the season. Make some before the too-brief stone fruit season is gone. If you have the patience and forethought, get your peach a few days in advance, and allow it to sit on your windowsill until it becomes obscenely fragrant and juicy.

Peach Basil Sangria
Gourmet Magazine, July 2005, adapted by, further adapted by me

This recipe calls for peach nectar, which is usually a hybrid of a neutral fruit juice like apple, and some peach puree. Many varieties are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, so read labels carefully if you'd like to avoid that sort of thing.

23 ounces peach nectar (2 cans, or 2/3 of a Looza brand bottle)
zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 cup basil leaves, plus a few additional sprigs or leaves for garnish
1 bottle white wine
1 ripe peach, diced or cut in wedges (depending on whether you'd like it easy to mix into your drink, or easy to fish out)

In a saucepan, combine the peach nectar, basil leaves, and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer, and then remove from heat. Allow to come to room temperature, and then cool in the refrigerator until fully chilled. When chilled, pour through a strainer to remove the zest and basil. Combine the strained infused nectar with the white wine, lemon juice, peach, and the basil leaves that you reserved. Serve over ice.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Minted Feta Flatbread

Back in college, some friends and I ended up at a local pizza parlor one evening. The dining halls were long closed, and we needed a snack to keep us going through our late-night studying. Or, more accurately, late-night people-watching at the coffee shop. The pies at this pizzeria weren't really memorable, but they were hot, cheesy, and loaded with toppings. Which is really all we cared about at that hour.

As we dug into our greasy slices, my friend Iskra pointed out the owners sitting at a nearby table. After they'd closed the doors for the night, they'd sat down to their own meal: a loaf of crusty bread that they'd just baked in the pizza oven, a ripe tomato sliced at the table, some olive oil and seasonings. Iskra sighed. "That reminds me of home," she said sadly, telling me about the simple summer meals of Croatia. A laden pizza, catering to American college students, had nothing on that elegant simplicity.

This isn't to romanticize the food of the Eastern Bloc, which by all accounts can often be awash with oil and bereft of seasoning. But there are some things that they can do right. Pastries, for one. And simple meals of good bread, cheese, and produce.

This wrapped sandwich reminds me of that idea; of simple ripe foods, of charred bread with briny cheese and juicy tomatoes. It makes a great breakfast, or afternoon snack. This is a recipe that can be as simple or complex as you want, depending on the contents of your pantry and kitchen garden. Either way, it's delicious.

A Paula Wolfert recipe inspired this combination, and tipped me off to the salty-punchy combination of feta and mint. I'm sure it's not news to some (especially those who grew up in the land of brined cheeses), but it blew me away when I first tasted them together. The addition of smoky paprika makes it even better. I made this flatbread several days in a row. And when I ran out of flatbreads, tomatoes, and everything else, I smeared feta and mint on a rice cake and was still happy. Although I probably shouldn't admit that. The salty, tangy feta, the sharp dried mint, and the smoky pimenton (if you've got it) are the backbone on which this rests. Everything else can come and go with the seasons.

Minted Feta Flatbread
loosely based on Paula Wolfert's Biblical Breakfast Burrito

This has countless variations, so it feels a bit silly to write it out. Consider this a basic template. Feel free to change it up as you like, omitting onion, substituting scallions, adding bell pepper, etc.

1 pita, tortilla, lavash, or other sort of flatbread
scant 1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 tsp dried mint
dusting of smoked Spanish paprika (Pimenton de la Vera)
1 small tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp minced onion
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
olive oil
salt & pepper

Warm up your flatbread, either in a skillet or, if you like to play with danger, over an open flame. Remove from heat, crumble in some feta cheese, and sprinkle with the mint and a dusting of pimenton. Add tomato, onion, and parsley. Moisten with olive oil if your feta and tomato aren't juicy enough, and season with pepper (salt if you like, although the feta might take care of that). Roll up, and enjoy in the summer sun.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tempeh Piccata

When I first joined Team Vegetarian, the summer between middle school and high school, I loved mock meats. Loved them. Couldn't get enough. I should remind you of the time: 1990. There weren't a lot of options. Saying "veggie burger" didn't conjure up frozen packages of Boca or Gardenburger, or debates between soy- or gluten-based. Veggie burger meant a package of Fantastic Foods' veggie burger spice mix combined with a squealchy package of trembling, aseptically-packed tofu. You'd mix them, squeezing it between your fingers, and then pan-fry it into some semblance of solidity. These burgers weren't winning any converts.

But at the summertime folk festivals, with their seitan fajita stands and gluten burger booths, you could find something that reminded you of meat. Something that had a savory toothsomeness, and the protein you craved. I ate them every chance I got. And when these products started making their way into grocery stores, I bought them up. I experimented with veggie meatballs, home-made gluten loaf, "notso" bucco, and the like. But the years passed, and I started care more and more about qualities of food beyond how closely it resembled bacon. The mock meats faded away.

Tempeh piccata is something of a holdover from those days. And yet it's so much more. Yes, the tempeh is used as a meat substitute, taking the place of the traditional chicken or veal in this Italian dish. But it's not really pretending to be meat, no ill-advised soy sauce or nutritional yeast trying to add some umami. The tempeh tastes like tempeh, but fried to a savory crust, and in a deliciously piquant sauce, sharp with capers and wine, deep with mushrooms. I daresay even meat-eaters might enjoy.

Tempeh Piccata
serves 3-4

This makes a fairly saucy version, perfect served over noodles in a bowl. Any leftovers will thicken somewhat overnight. If you prefer a drier version, use only 1/2 cup broth.

8 oz tempeh, sliced into 1/2 inch fingers
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil (or half olive oil and half butter)
1/2 lb mushrooms, thinly-sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup vegetable broth
3 Tbsp capers
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 bunch spinach, washed and roughly chopped

Heat the oil to a medium heat in a deep skillet. Season the flour with salt and pepper, and dredge the tempeh fingers until they're well-coated, shaking off excess. Fry in batches until golden-brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet (adding more oil if needed), add the mushrooms, and leave them there until the liquid is released and evaporates (at which point a nice browning should have occurred). stir, and continue to cook until well-browned. Add the garlic, and cook for a few minutes until the garlic is lightly browned. Add the white wine, allow to simmer for a minute, and then add the vegetable broth, and simmer for several more minutes, until reduced and slightly thickened. Return the fried tempeh to the pan, and season with the capers and lemon juice. Add the spinach, and cook a few more minutes, until the greens are wilted and the flavors have blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chive Biscuits

As much as I appreciate the pastries, I tend to crave savory foods in the morning. And these biscuits are savory in all senses of the word. In the biscuit universe, there are two main categories: rolled and dropped. Rolled biscuits are a drier dough, which can be, uh, rolled. They are cut out, like scones, either in wedges from a chubby disc, or from a slab of dough using round biscuit cutters. Of course, you can use a glass for this purpose. The cutters do have an function that they achieve better than glasses (other than cluttering up your kitchen drawers): the sharp edges cut through the dough without fusing together the edges of the layers the way a blunt-lipped drinking glass will, and thus your biscuits will bake up higher, fluffier, and flakier. And, as an added bonus, you can buy the biscuit cutters with adorable scalloped edges, upping your brunch's cuteness factor. That said, this distinction between glass-cut and cutter-cut biscuits isn't huge enough to make a difference to the casual biscuit eater (like myself).

On the other side, there are drop biscuits like these. Drop biscuits involve a much wetter dough, that you couldn't cut if you wanted to. It occupies that gloppy space between dough and batter. To shape these, most recipes have you plop the dough onto a greased cookie sheet using two spoons. In this variation, you scoop the dough into a flour-lined dish to dredge the doughballs with a full floury coating, and then plop them next to each other in a cake pan (or, in my case, cast-iron skillet). The biscuits expand to touch each other, but the floury coating allows you to pull them apart somewhat easily.

One item unites both variations: buttermilk. Well, I suppose butter, flour, salt, and leavening do as well. But the buttermilk seems most important. In middle school home ec, I was taught to use sourmilk (milk that's sat for a few minutes with a squeeze of lemon juice or vinegar) as a buttermilk replacement. For the most part it works, giving the baked goods moistness, and providing the necessary acidity to activate the baking soda. But in biscuits like these, I'd say it's worth going for the real thing. The dough is so simple that the tangy flavor really comes through. Plus leftover buttermilk gives you the excuse to bake all sorts of deliciousness.

If these biscuits were better for you, I'd recommend cooking up a double batch, and throwing extras in the freezer to toast for brunch throughout the week. Then again, these biscuits aren't health nightmares: only half a stick of butter (with a few extra spoonfuls drizzled on top), and they can be made with low-fat buttermilk. Of course, their not-that-bad-for-you cred might have been compromised by the fact that we ate them piled with eggs that had been baked on a bed of spinach, mushrooms, and heavy cream. Which I want all over again right now.

Chive Biscuits
adapted from Cook's Illustrated
makes 12 biscuits (except in my case it made 11)

To make dough:
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp butter, cut in eighths
~3 Tbsp snipped chives
1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk

To finish biscuits:
3/4 cup flour, in a bowl
2 Tbsp butter, melted

preheat oven to 500. Butter a 9" baking dish or cast-iron skillet.

Put the first 5 ingredients (the dries) into a food processor, and pulse for a minute until mixed. Sprinkle the cubes of butter in, and pulse a few times until they're cut into lumps no larger than peas. If you don't have a food processor, whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl, and then cut the butter in using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your hands. Mix in chives. If you're using a food processor, transfer the mixture to a bowl, and pour in the buttermilk, mixing the lumpy mixture until it's just incorporated. You can do this step in the food processor, but it will result in your butter getting cut in too much with the flour, making your biscuits less flaky. Who wants that?

Taking a quarter cup measure, scoop up the biscuit dough, and use your finger or a spoon to plop it out into your bowl of flour. When you've got as many as will fit, pick them up and roll them until they're covered with flour, shake off the excess, and place into your pan. Place about 2/3 of the biscuits in a ring around the outside, with the remaining third in the center. Repeat with all the dough, adding more flour to the bowl as needed. When the biscuits have all been shaped, drizzle the melted butter over the top. Place in oven, bake 5 minutes, and reduce heat to 450. Bake an additional 15 minutes or so, until nicely browned. Remove, cool in pan for 2 minutes, and then tip out into a towel-lined bowl, break apart, and serve.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


In Portland, we don't really have a sizable Middle Eastern, Jewish, or student population, which makes getting quality falafel fairly difficult. But even if you live in a city more worldly/academic than ours, this recipe is still worth trying at home. It's got several things going for it:

1. It's delicious, and the dried favas give it an authentic taste (or so my more worldly friends have told me)
2. Like all meals based on dried beans, it's pretty cheap
3. Leftovers freeze and reheat wonderfully (just crisp the balls in the toaster)
4. If you're not insane like me and committed to making your own pita bread, it's actually a pretty easy meal. The balls involve grinding and frying, and the rest is just chopping.

This recipe makes a large amount, but I always make the full portion. The balls can be fried all at once, and then you can freeze the overage (this will take some time, but make subsequent meals super easy). Or, if you don't fancy a long stint in front of hot oil, you can also freeze the raw falafel dough, and thaw and fry up another time.

adapted from ChefCrash on egullet
makes enough for 10 servings

For the Balls:
2 cups dried chickpeas
1 cup dried split fava beans (find at a Middle Eastern/import store - substitute more chickpeas if you can't)
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup parsley
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp salt
dash cayenne
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
oil for frying

For the Meal (pita and tahini sauce required, the rest can vary depending on what you have on hand):
pita bread (I've also used Lavash flatbreads, for a wrapped sandwich)
tahini sauce
hot sauce (like a Tabasco or Tapatio)
chopped cabbage or romaine lettuce
chopped parsley
sliced pickles
sliced cucumbers
pickled turnips (more on these another time)
sliced onion
chopped tomatoes

Soak the dried beans overnight, in the refrigerator if the weather's warm. I've been known to leave them there several days, to no ill effect, but about 8 hours is your minimum. Drain them, and grind with all remaining ingredients (except the oil) in a food processor. This recipe doesn't get too pasty, so you can go for a fairly fine grind (but not a smooth puree -- you still want to see bits).

To fry, bring at least an inch of oil up to a medium high heat. Once a pinch of the falafel mix starts sizzling rapidly when you drop it in, you're ready. shape the falafel into patties -- I think there's actually a tool for this purpose, but I use an oiled 1/4 measuring cup, packed about 4/5 full. If they don't stay together, add a bit more water to the mixture -- I'm usually alright with just the residual water clinging to the beans, but sometimes need more. Better to add too little water than too much. Fry the patties in the oil, turning once the bottom side is lightly browned. The time can vary depending on the heat of the oil -- about 5-7 minutes. Flip, and brown the other side. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon, and repeat until you've fried as many as you like. Add more oil if the level drops to where it no longer covers the falafel at least halfway. If you don't fancy sitting in front of the stove while your friends eat, you can pre-fry all of your patties, and then throw them in an oven or toaster until they sizzle again.

To assemble, grab half a pita bread. break a few falafel balls in half, and stuff them in the bottom. Top with any of the vegetables you desire, douse liberally with tahini sauce, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Enjoy the hot/cool/salty/tangy deliciousness. Repeat as needed.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Rosemary Plum Jam

Home-canned foods, like home-sewn clothes, are not always the cost-saving wonders that their Depression-era backgrounds evoke. As has recently been pointed out, canning can get expensive. But it doesn't have to be. As a canning obsessive, I would like to share my tips for doing it on the cheap:

1. Stock up on Jars

Buying new canning jars can cost about $.75 a jar. Start trolling thrift stores and Craig's List, where they're generally half that. Yard sales are also huge sources, as people clean the dusty jars out of grandma's house, or make the wise decision not to take several pounds of glassware with them when they move. If you need to buy new, call around to a few pl
aces -- prices can vary hugely.

2. Find Free Fruit!

This is the biggest cost saver around. Here in the temperate rainforest of Portland, this can be pretty easy, and new websites are springing up every day to spread the word about urban gleaning. But it can be surprisingly easy to find fruit on your own -- in the past few weeks, I've harvested sour cherries and cherry plums (more on that below), just by knocking on doors and asking. Some folks are just happy for you to keep the fruit from rotting on their sidewalks. Just make sure to drop off a jar of jam afterwards.

3. If You Must Buy Fruit, Buy in Bulk

Getting friends together for a canning party can be a surprising amount of fun (depending on your definition of fun), as well as helping you net good deals. If you're willing to buy a lot of fruit, 10 lbs, or a full box, farmer's markets will often cut you a deal. Hitting the market at the end of the day can also be good, although it's something of a crapshoot -- farmers might be sold out, or they might be willing to give a ridiculously good deal on leftover stock (especially perishable fruit like berries).

4. Value Your Product!

Okay, this isn't entirely about thrift, but I feel compelled to share this hard-learned lesson. When you first finish canning, and your pantry shelves are groaning, you may have a false feeling of flushness. You want to share your jewel-like wares, and you seem to have a lot of them. Beware! Jam can go oh-so-quickly, and then it's the dead of winter, and you have nothing sweet to fall back on. I'm all for sharing the sugary love, but don't go nutburgers with it. I brought jams as gifts to parties where I barely knew the host, even as a tip for my
hairdresser, for goodness sake. I think it was only our second cut.

Rosemary Plum Jam
makes about 8 half-pints

Cherry plums are widely grown as ornamentals, with reddish-purple leaves and fruit. Many people don't even know that the fruits are edible, and are happy to let you collect.

6 cups pitted and roughly chopped cherry plums
3 cups sugar
1 large sprig rosemary

- Simmer fruit with rosemary, add sugar and pectin according to directions (I'm especially fond of
Pomona Pectin, which doesn't require a particular sugar ratio in order to set). Because our household is somewhat fussy about texture, I'll fish out a few of the scrolled-up plum skins as it simmers. Taste periodically, and remove the rosemary sprigs as soon as the flavor has permeated to your taste. You're aiming for a light herbal flavor, almost just a scent.

- Pour into sterilized jars, seal and process in a water bath. Although it's tempting to artfully place a rosemary sprig in each jar,
don't do it! Unless you fancy jam that tastes like pine needles.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Possibly Persian Shrimp

We're not really sure where this recipe came from, or whether our vague memories of it being Persian are correct, or how different our current version is from the original. We found it a few years ago, and it's been our favorite use for leftover fresh dill ever since. Heck, we've even been known to go out and buy fresh dill just for this purpose. So when we had dill left over after our Swedish-style Midsommar party, it was my first thought. Well, actually, my first thought was spanikopita, but when you live with a lactard, you make adjustments.

Although this dish has a fairly smallish list of ingredients, they make for an interesting combination. I love that this dish has some ingredients -- paprika, tomato paste, dill -- that seem to place it in the somewhat limited spice pantheon of Eastern Europe. But then you throw in some surprises -- white wine! shrimp! -- that take it in an entirely different direction, lighter and surprisingly complex. We tend to make this with tiny bay shrimp, since they work well in a sauce and they're local to the Oregon coast, but we've also made it with standard-size shrimp for an equally delicious variation.

Possibly Persian Shrimp
adapted, to an extent we can't say, from some cookbook we can no longer remember
serves 2-4, depending on what else you're serving

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced

1 1/2 Tbsp butter or oil
1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp sweet paprika
a few grinds black pepper

2 cloves garlic
scant 1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 - 2/3 cup white wine

3/4 lb bay shrimp
~1/3 cup chopped fresh dill (generally 1/2 a bunch, depending on the size of your bunch)

In a deep pan or heavy-bottomed pot, sautee the onion in the oil over a medium heat until softened, and just barely browned.

Then make a roux -- if you want to make this process easier, you can remove the onions from the pan and set them to the side, or just work around them. Add the butter or additional oil to the pan, and then add the flour, paprika, and black pepper. Whisk until the flour is well-mixed, and allow it to cook a few minutes, stirring regularly. Then press the two garlic cloves into the pan and add the tomato paste, whisking until combined. Pour in the white wine, whisking to incorporate your roux. Start with the smaller amount of wine, and add more if it's too thick -- you're aiming for an alfredo sauce-like consistency. You can bring up the heat to get it to bubble, but then reduce it and simmer, whisking, for a few minutes. If you removed the onions when making your roux, return them to the pan.

After simmering for a few minutes, add the shrimp and almost all of the dill, reserving a few tablespoons for finishing the dish. Stir, and simmer together for another few minutes, until the shrimp are heated through, and their liquid has been incorporated into the sauce. Taste, adding salt and additional pepper as needed.

Traditionally (we think) served with rice, although the heat of our kitchen drove us to use quick-cooking couscous, which worked just as well with the sauce. I imagine it might also be good with a loaf of crusty bread. I also served it with lemony garlicky sauteed greens, which were a nice compliment. But aren't they always?