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In case you were wondering…

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… it’s not summer yet. Nope, not even close. Matter of fact, my back yard is covered in white stuff. It’s beautiful–don’t get me wrong–but it’s not summer.

I’m starting to think I may have a touch (okay, fine–a big ‘ole dollop) of seasonal affective disorder. Have you heard of this? If not, just wiki it. (“Wiki it” is my answer for everything.) We’ve had snow every week since Christmas except for last week where we just got a nice slushy drizzle of icy goodness and I’m just about to go crazy.

So, to stave off the padded room for a little longer, I went to Target and bought a new swimsuit. It’s turquoise with white polka dots and I am imagining wearing it with my straw hat on the beaches of Jamaica while waves crash around me. Bliss…

And while we’re speaking of beaches, my *dream vacation* is to go to Greece. I want to see the pearly white domes peeking out like little crescents against an inky blue ocean. I want to be able to take Lydia to see the area that shares her name. And of course, I want to eat… hummus and pita chips, feta cheese and tomatoes blistering in the gorgeous sunlight and olive oil, olive oil, olive oil and more olive oil. One day…

Since I couldn’t go to Greece this weekend, I decided to make Roasted Shrimp with Feta for date night. I have no words (and that’s saying a lot) to describe how absolutely-lick-your-fingers-don’t-want-to-share-with-your-hubby-even-though-it’s-date-night delicious this recipe is. For once, I made no changes (except I left out the Pernod because I didn’t even know what that was. I just wiki’d it and apparently it’s a liquor/herb… yeah, we don’t have that.) It was amazing, and you are definitely going to want some big chunks of crusty bread to eat this with.

Roasted Shrimp with Feta
via House Beautiful
from How Easy is That? by the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten
Serves 4

Good olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced fennel (1 bulb)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Pernod (I left this out!!!)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 pounds (16 to 18) shrimp, peeled and deveined with the tails left on
3 ounces feta cheese, preferably Greek or French, coarsely crumbled
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (see note)
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 lemons

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in 10- or 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat. Add the fennel and garlic and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits clinging to the bottom of the skillet, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, Pernod, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the skillet. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Arrange the shrimp artfully in one layer over the tomato mixture in the skillet. Scatter feta evenly over the shrimp. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle evenly over the shrimp.

5. Bake the shrimp for about 15 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the shrimp. Serve hot with wedges of lemon.

NOTE: To make 1 cup of fresh bread crumbs, remove the crusts from 3 to 4 slices white bread and place in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the bread is in crumbs.

Assemble the shrimp right in a 10- to 12-inch stainless-steel sauté pan, and then put the pan in the oven for 15 minutes before serving.

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