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Cooking Class with Chef Ivan Flowers: Lesson 15 - More 15 Minute Meals

By Chef Ivan Flowers,

We covered a few 15-minute meals in last week’s class and the response was so great that I decided to give you all a few more. I’m even including a 15-minute date night meal! So, let’s start the clock and get cooking.

The first meal is shrimp scampi. Yes, you can make this garlicky, buttery, lemony delight in just 15 minutes! This recipe will feed a family of four. Before I get into the components, let’s talk shrimp. When you buy shrimp they will be marked with a “U” followed by a number. This indicates the number of shrimp you will get to the pound. So, a U-12 will be much larger than a U-17. For this recipe, look for a U-20. You can buy the shrimp frozen if you would like, simply defrost them the night before in your fridge.

For this dish, you will need a large sauté pan, one pound of U-20 shrimp, three tablespoons canola oil, two cloves finely minced garlic, ½ cup white wine, juice of one lemon, one tablespoon unsalted butter and one tablespoon chopped fresh basil. Now, you can serve this over pasta or rice. If pasta, use a pound, I like linguini with this, but use whatever your family likes best. If you go with rice, I recommend using the microwaveable bags. Normally I would not, but we are thinking quick cooking here. For pasta, start it cooking while you are cooking the shrimp and they will be finished at the same time. If using the rice, pop into the microwave after the shrimp is cooked because it only takes a few minutes.

First, put the three tablespoons in the sauté pan over medium-high heat. Next add the garlic and stir. Once the garlic starts to brown, throw in all your shrimp and sauté for three minutes, stirring the entire time. Next we will deglaze the pan. Deglaze simply means to pull off all of that wonderful flavor that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. So, pour in the ½ cup of white wine and let it reduce by half, this will take about two minutes. Now squeeze in your lemon and add the tablespoon of unsalted butter. Stir and add the basil and salt/pepper to taste. Put over the pasta or rice and dinner is ready.

The next meal is one that is close to my heart. I love a good sandwich and one of my all-time favorites is a Reuben. I used to get a turkey Reuben at the deli every Sunday, but we can’t always get to the deli, so I developed this quick way to get my Reuben fix. This recipe will also feed four. For this dish you will need: eight slices of your favorite bread (I like rye), one pound deli sliced turkey, eight slices smoked provolone (or whatever is your favorite cheese), one teaspoon granulated garlic, one pound deli cole slaw, ¼ cup ketchup, ¼ cup mayonnaise and two tablespoons dill pickle relish. First toast the bread and set aside. Next get a large, microwave safe plate and place the turkey on it. You will want to separate the turkey into four, ¼ pound piles.

Now, place two slices of the smoked provolone on top of each pile of turkey and sprinkle each pile with granulated garlic. The granulated garlic will not make the dish garlicky per se, but when you sprinkle cheese with it BEFORE melting, the garlic mixes with the fats in the cheese and adds this fabulous layer of flavor. Microwave about two minutes, until turkey is hot and cheese is melted. In a bowl, mix together the ketchup, mayonnaise and dill pickle relish. This creates a quick Russian dressing. Now, simply assemble each sandwich with the dressing, the hot turkey and cheese and then top with the coleslaw.

The final meal is the date night meal, so this recipe is for two people. The dish is Mussels in an herbed broth. Yes, you can cook mussels in 15 minutes! You can find fresh black mussels at almost every supermarket fish counter. I would buy them the day you want to make this meal. Mussels will be closed when they are alive. If any of the shells are slightly open, give them a tap on the counter, if the shell closes, keep it, if it stays open, and discard it. Also, if they have a “beard,” that fuzzy stuff that is stuck to some of them, simply pull it off before cooking. After they are cooked, they should ALL be open. If one doesn’t open after cooking, throw it out. For this dish you will need a large sauté pan that is at least three inches deep and has a lid.

Additionally, you will need one and ½ pound mussels, one teaspoon finely minced garlic, two tablespoons canola oil, two cups chardonnay, one tablespoon sweet chili sauce (found in Asian section of market), ¼ cup heavy cream, one lemon, one tablespoon butter and one tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (basil and thyme).

First, put the garlic and canola oil in the sauté pan over medium-high heat. Stir until the garlic just begins to brown. Next deglaze with the two cups of chardonnay and let that come to a boil. Once it is boiling, add the sweet chili, the heavy cream, the herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Once this starts to foam, add the mussels. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for three minutes, covered. Now, remove the mussels into two bowls, leaving the sauce in the pan. Add the butter to the pan and put the heat back to medium-high. Cook for one minute. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and then pour equally over the two bowls of mussels. I like to serve this with good crusty bread so you can sop up every drop of that luscious sauce!

There you have it, three more 15 minute meals. Make them your own and have fun with them. As with any technique or recipe, the most important component is the cook’s heart. The heart is what creates delicious.

Chef Ivan Flowers brings 25 years of fine cuisine experience to Top of The Market, San Diego. Prior to becoming Executive Chef at Top of The Market, Chef Flowers owned Fournos restaurant in Sedona, Arizona, named a top 25 restaurant in Arizona. He was also Executive Chef at L’Auberge de Sedona, the AAA Four-Diamond, Four Star award winning restaurant. Flowers has created extraordinary cuisine for some of the finest restaurants in Arizona, including T. Cooks at Scottsdale's Royal Palms Resort and the Phoenician's Mary Elaine's and Different Pointe of View.

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