Food & Drink

Try slow-cooker shrimp, poke cupcakes

Slow Cooker Garlicky Shrimp
Slow Cooker Garlicky Shrimp Washington Post

Seafood and slow cooker have never been words that went together in my mind. All I can think of is a mushy substance that would be created from hours in a Crock-pot.

Guess I was wrong. Food writer Bonnie S. Beswick of the Washington Post clued me in on using a slow cooker for just a short period of time (relatively speaking) to make a shrimp recipe that could be an appetizer or a meal.

She said Slow-Cooker Garlicky Shrimp takes 50 minutes, and it shows up fairly often on the paper’s Top Recipes This Week lists.

“The gentle heat of the slow cooker is terrific for producing shrimp that are not overcooked,” she said. The poaching oil for the shrimp gets a 30-minute head start to develop flavor and soften the raw garlic. Then the shrimp is added. That’s pretty much all the work you do. You'll need a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker.

Serve with crusty bread for dipping. You may want to slurp up some or all the sauce because it will be full of flavor.

The heat is on, cupcake

Well, it’s not exactly hot hot outside yet, but it’s warm enough so minds can wander to contemplating a tropical dessert.

Knowing how popular poke cakes are around here, I thought a cupcake version would be fun. Tropical Coconut Poke Cupcakes would work for a Memorial Day gathering and beyond this summer. If you’d rather make a 9-by-13 cake, that will work, too.

Contact me at, 618-239-2664 and follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

Tropical Coconut Poke Cupcakes

1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix

1 cup boiling water

1 package (3 ounces) orange flavor gelatin

1 package (3.4 ounces) coconut cream flavor instant pudding

1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, undrained

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 1/2 cups thawed whipped topping

1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted

Prepare cake batter and bake as directed on package for 24 cupcakes. Cool 10 minutes. (Do not remove cupcakes from pans.) Pierce tops with fork or skewer.

Add boiling water to gelatin mix in small bowl; stir 2 minutes, until completely dissolved. Spoon over cupcakes. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine dry pudding mix, oranges, pineapple and marshmallows in large bowl. Gently stir in whipped topping. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Spread pudding mixture onto cupcakes; sprinkle with coconut. Makes 24 mini cupcakes.

Editor’s note on a variation: Use cake box directions to make a 9-by-13 cake and follow rest of directions.

Slow-Cooker Garlicky Shrimp

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton; may substitute sweet paprika)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 pounds extra-large (26-30 count) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Combine the oil, garlic, paprika, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes in the slow cooker, stirring until blended. Cover and cook on high 30 minutes.

Stir in the shrimp to coat evenly; cover and cook on high about 10 minutes, then stir to ensure the shrimp are cooking evenly. Cover and cook 10 minutes, or until all of the shrimp are just opaque. (Don’t cook too long or the shrimp will get rubbery.)

Transfer the shrimp and some of the sauce to a wide, shallow serving dish. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve warm. Servings: 6-8 appetizer portions.

Editor’s note: If you’re making this dish as an appetizer, leave the tails on for easier eating by hand.

Adapted from “The Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2: The Easy Prep Edition,” from America’s Test Kitchen