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Shrimp Ceviche & Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sandwiches

May 17, 2009


Last night was a classic evening in my kitchen. Around 4 p.m. on Saturday I decided to enter a cooking challenge by Le Bernadin’s Eric Ripert, which spells out five simple-sounding recipes and asks you to photograph your creations.

By 9 p.m., a gaggle of friends and a case of wine had spontaneously materialized in my back garden. In synchronized kitchen chaos, my impromptu soux chefs fired up the grill, toasted tortilla chips and chopped with wild abandon, turning out pretty plates of photo-ready food.

In short order, we whipped out:

  • Avocado Salsa Verde with Fresh Tortilla Chips
  • Sangrita Shrimp Ceviche
  • Shrimp Tacos with Grilled Scallions
  • Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sandwiches

Now, I say simple-sounding recipes because the fine print contains a few superfluous steps. If I were to rank these dishes on a Scale of Superfluity (what a great word), here’s how they’d shake out.

Tortilla Chips – Slightly Superfluous. Sure, it seems a little silly to toast your own, but we’re the same people who made fresh tortillas for 16 dinner guests. What can we say, if Brooklyn ever suffers a severe tortilla shortage, we’ll be setting pretty.

Shortbread Cookies – Semi-Superfluous. This rating reflects my incredible ineptitude with all baked sweets. I managed to mangle this dough three separate times – once for every ingredient involved – before rolling out some passable stars. (Shravan, who has never seen me bake, expressed repeated concern at the exclamations emanating from the kitchen, then wisely retired to the office until the shortbread storm had passed.)

Dulce de Leche – Seriously Superfluous. I mean, maybe Eric’s right that “cooking cans of sweetened condensed milk in boiling water is kind of like playing in a science lab – so fun!” In other words, totally the ticket for caramel-obsessed chemists. But after three hours of simmering, the sticky molten goodness tastes… exactly like the stuff from the store.

Now, this is not to belittle the final dishes – yet again, I was wowed by the simple, but striking, flavor combinations. The ceviche, in particular, was a standout, with fresh citrus, subtle spice and an unexpected pop of oregano. And the ice cream sandwiches, despite my baking bitterness, earned rave reviews (and made decadent breakfast bites the next morning).

Are they the world’s best photographs? Let’s just say it shouldn’t be hard to guess which one we shot, er, after a glass or two of wine. But what we lacked in execution, we made up for in enjoyment. Thanks to everyone for an awesome evening of improvised photography and inspired kitchen collaboration.


Sangrita Shrimp Ceviche
Both recipes are adapted from

3 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, plus 8 with tails
1 cup lime juice
1 cup orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
4 vine-ripe tomatoes
2 shallots, peeled and finely minced
1 serrano pepper, with seeds, finely minced
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Season the shrimp with salt and pour the lime, orange and lemon juices over the shrimp. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to “cook” the shrimp.

Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise and lightly squeeze out the seeds. Finely chop. Stir in the shallots, serrano pepper, chives, oregano and olive oil with the tomatoes; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove peeled shrimp from the citrus, and chop to match the size of the tomatoes. Add the shrimp along with 1 cup of the citrus juice to the tomato mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Garnish with whole shrimp, sprigs of oregano and lime wedges to serve.

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sandwiches
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 quart vanilla ice cream

Remove the label from the sweetened condensed milk cans. Place the cans in a pot and cover completely with water. Bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and let simmer for about 2 – 3 hours, making sure to add more water as necessary to keep the cans fully submerged in water. Remove the cans of dulce de leche from water and let cool to room temperature. (Or, honestly, just buy the stuff).

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cream together butter, sugar and salt and add the flour and combine. Roll out the dough to 1/2 -inch on a lightly floured surface. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out shortbread cookies and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Scoop ice cream onto cookies, and drizzle dulce de leche over the top (I squeezed mine through a ziplock bag with the tip of one corner cut off.) Place in the freezer until ready to serve.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2009 12:08 am

    Sounds like so much fun!!! I just made some dulce de leche and I can’t keep my spoon out of the jar sitting in my fridge. The shrimp creviche looks fab!

  2. May 18, 2009 4:52 am

    That shot of the dulce de leche sandwich is stunning. Found you on Tastespotting! What is the texture of the cookies like?

  3. May 18, 2009 7:17 am

    Sounds like you had a lot of fun and the food looks delicious! I think your photographs turned out stunning as well, so I would say; mission accomplished!

  4. Susan permalink
    May 18, 2009 12:00 pm

    Vero would be very pleased. Great ice cream sandwich shot, too.

  5. May 18, 2009 12:09 pm

    Hi Lauren – thanks for stopping by. The cookies are a little on the flaky side, which is why they worked better as mini-ice cream sandwiches. Plus, they’re fairly rich, so you really don’t need more than a bite or two. The ones I made were about an inch and a half across… despite how enormous they look in the photo!

  6. May 18, 2009 2:12 pm

    The pictures tell us nothing of your trials. The ice cream sandwiches look fabulous.

  7. May 18, 2009 4:01 pm

    Wow. looks fabulous! *drool*

  8. May 18, 2009 10:43 pm

    The photos and food are both fabulous!!!

  9. Kevin permalink
    May 21, 2009 4:53 am

    Gorgeous looking food!

  10. June 3, 2009 12:34 am

    It is safer and easier to pour the condensed milk in a pan submerged in a water bath. Then put it all in the oven for about 2 hours.

    Nevertheless, your cookie looks scrumptious! I bet it would taste even better with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. YUM!

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