Archive for March, 2013

Martha’s Weeknight Shrimp Jambalaya

My husband loves spicy food, anything with a good kick he automatically moves to his favorite food list. I’m not as into the spicy overtones in food and tend to get overwhelmed by spice quickly. We were in the hunt for a recipe that had some spice, but not too much AND was easy for a weeknight when we forgot to defrost meat which is how we stumbled upon Martha’s Shrimp Jambalaya. Since I’m not Martha I, of course, modified her recipe to fit our flavors and worked based off of her reviews online. Below is our version of Martha’s Shrimp Jambalaya. It wasn’t too spicy for me and my husband added some extra spice to his own dish to better suite his palate. It was quick and easy to make, required no defrosting of anything and contained ingredients we generally alwasy have handy in our kitchen. Definitely a great recipe to add to the weeknight rotation!

creative crops recipe, shrimp jambalayaIngredients

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of salt and ground pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
8 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 pound medium shrimp (about 30), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
2 cups water

Directionscreative crops recipe, shrimp jambalaya

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally while it cooks until onion starts softening which will take about 5 minutes. Stir in paprika; cook about 1 minute (Martha suggests until it is fragrant).

Add tomatoes, rice, and water to skillet; cover, and simmer over medium heat until rice is cooked and has absorbed all water, about 15 minutes. Add shrimp and cook, covered about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper, as desired. Garnish the dishes with your scallions before serving!

Shrimp Jambalaya creative crops


Pulled Pork – Just in time for spring BBQs!

Nashville is one of the best cities I’ve ever traveled to for work. Why did I love Nashville so much? Pulled Pork. It was everywhere and it was delicious! Now that I’m getting into this pulled pork I’m finding that

Creative Crops PUlled Pork, recipe, food

MMM – Look at the juicy pork ready to cook!

there are a lot of places that offer scrumptious pulled pork around, and there are a ton of varieties to be had! Based on my love of pulled pork I wanted to try making this at home. One issue I ran into is that my dear Husband is not much of a BBQ sauce person (I know, its shameful!), so I wanted to find one that was light on the BBQ flavor. This was more of a Carolina variety and really delivered. We mashed up this recipe based on checking out a wide variety of other pulled pork recipes and going with our gut on what would combine well but be without BBQ sauce. Making it in the crock-pot was a snap too, just keep in mind that this will take a few hours to be ready to eat – so start early in the day for dinner!


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (4 pound) pork shoulder roast
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dried yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 extra large onion, quartered
  • Salt & pepper
  • 8 hamburger buns


Heat oil and brown the pork on each side. As the pork browns, whisk together ketchup, garlic, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, and all spices in separate bowl. You will likely need to cut the pork so that it fits in the crockpot. Once its cut, put it in the crockpot so it can start cooking! Pour your sauce mixture over the pork and add your quartered onions.

Set your crockpot to low and cook for 8 hours. Every few hours check on it and turn the pork so that it cooks more evenly. After 8 hours feel free to dive in! Before you start devouring the pork (which will be a desire you have) discard the onions and use a fork (or tongs if you’re feeling fancy) to shred  the pork. Load up your buns and voila – pulled pork sandwich ready for you to eat!Creative Crops PUlled Pork

Drinking Locally – Our Favorite Northern Virginia Wineries

Back in 2008 when I moved to the nation’s capital I had no idea that wine country would be just a short car-ride from my door. (Politics and wine? That can’t be a healthy combination….)But it is true – Virginia is home to over 200 wineries (yep, 200!). Since living here and unpacking all of our many boxes we have started to venture out further and further into this wine country to see what it is really all about and do as many tastings as we can. Virginia has been voted as one of the 5 up and coming wine regions by Travel and Leisure magazine, and not surprisingly Virginia wines have been gaining international recognition.

Here is a recount of the wineries we have sampled to date, as our winery visits continue this spring and summer  I may have a Part 2 to this post (here’s to hoping so!)

Best Tasting:
Pearmund Cellars: This was an easy win. We were absolutely wowed by their tasting offerings. Their wines were fantastic (we purchased a case!) and the tasting gave us the chance to sample almost all of their options! Located in Warrenton, Virginia they are not too far from DC and one of the closer wineries. Overall the feel of the tasting room was busy but not too crowded that it was unenjoyable. We were able to have great conversation and learn a lot about the wines were sampling. It was a very pleasant experience and we have gone back since.

Most Unique:
Narmada Winery: Located in Amissville this is still reasonably close to DC. This winery sits a gorgeous property, there is so much to look at on the property, and I can imagine that it would set the scene for a beautiful wedding. Their wines are made to pair well with Indian food, which is unique and not something I had expected to find in VA wines. It was a unique but very tasty spin. You are able to sample about 11 wines for about $7. They do offer tours (for an additional fee). If I didn’t know as much about wine-making in general from other tours it may have been something we would have done but just relaxing and looking at the land was enough for us.

Prettiest Tasting Room: 
Sunset Hills Winery: A beautiful tasting room with lots of rustic wood. There were many windows from which to view the sunsets but the combination of well-kept antiques and well-cared for wood rafters really made this tasting room stand out as soon as you entered. Simply beautiful! The tasting was lovely as well with friendly staff and tasty wines.

Favorite White Wine (to date):
Fox Meadow Winery: Similar to the way we have stumbled upon many other wineries that is what happened with this one. We were going from place to place and passed this and figured we would stop in – good choice! They had our favorite white wine, to date: Freezeland White. It is described on their website as being a unique blend of Chardonnay, Vidal, and Rkatsiteli, a Georgian varietal. It was sweet but not too sweet, overall just a nice, different, white wine.

Best Celebration: Casanel Vineyards: Casanel Vineyards This is a younger winery in Loudon County but they sure know how to party! We visited this winery on Canaby Rd, by chance, on their first birthday celebration! They had food offerings on a great patio, lots of people there to celebrate, wine-infused cupcakes (which were delicious!), and a great staff on hand! The staff was fabulous in relaying to us their history and plans for the future, and their wine was really tasty!! ** Bonus: Designated Drivers get a free soda at this winery!!

Favorite Variety: 
Willowcroft Winery:  Willowcroft Farm Vineyards This is the original Loudon County winery. They were such a great place to visit and man do they have a wonderful tasting. What I really enjoyed about this winery is that they have a lot of ‘mixed’ wines. I’m sure this would irritate a lot of sommoliers but I really enjoyed getting to taste a variety of wines created from blending varied grapes together.

Cheers to your wine adventures!

Happy (Crop-Share) Spring!!

Just received our first reminder email for our spring crop-share, which starts today!! I had to share this with everyone here  because I couldn’t contain the excitment….Woo-hoo for spring crop-share!

Creative Crops Spring Cropshare Nalls Produce

We absolutely LOVE receiving our spring crop-share and can’t wait to dig into our box this evening and play with, I mean cook, all of our goodies! Looks like we should have some fabulous new recipes to try out and feature right here on CreativeCrops in the coming weeks – Hooray!

Happy (Crop-Share) Spring everyone!

Tangy Ginger Dressing

Keeping up with my recent *easy* recipes here is a quick and easy recipe for ginger dressing. I have one of those nifty dressing shakers by OXO – it was perfect for this and many of the other dressings I have made so I highly suggest something similar if you find yourself making salad dressings every so often. We found this recipe at, and the recipe listed below just halves it, which is what we did.


Creativecrops Ginger Dressing

1.5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
1/4 cup water



Creativecrops Ginger Dressing

In your salad shaker, or a pint glass or bowl, combine all of the above ingredients. If using your salad shaker, then shake it up. If you’re using a bowl or cup, cover it tightly and then shake it up! Heat the shaken ingredients  in the microwave for 1 minute to dissolve the honey. Let cool, and shake well before serving. Store covered in the refrigerator.

We paired this over a spinach salad and it was delicious – the perfect compliment to the salad! We also put it into a wrap with grilled chicken, lettuce and shredded carrots which, again, was very complimentary to the wrap. Overall, this is a great dressing and as you can see from the instructions above, its very easy to make. Enjoy!

Burnt Broccoli (&Cauliflower too!)

It was a chilly Saturday night and our table was animatedly chatting in the cozy and warm Italian restaurant in DC when suddenly our waiter appeared with our appetizer – steamed broccoli! We love gathering at this restaurant whenever we are all in town and always order the steamed broccoli as an appetizer. But this time, a strange thing happened – we started discussing burned broccoli. I had never heard of such a thing but I was certainly interested! Our dear friend, Anthony, had my complete attention as he explained that his wife makes this delicious treat very easily all the time and that cooking the broccoli this way creates a more unique, sweeter flavor from the broccoli. My mom added that she does this same thing with cauliflower too. How did I never hear about this?! We couldn’t wait to try it out! On Monday evening I pulled out all the ingredients and we are hooked! The broccoli and cauliflower crisped up so nicely and the flavor was a bit sweeter. This is such a great side-dish when I don’t feel like steaming the veggies, and it was so easy! I hope you try these out and like them – if not send them my way!!

creative crops burnt broccoliIngredients

1 bunch broccoli & cauliflower
4 tbsp olive oil
large pinch of panko breadcrumbs
salt & pepper


Preheat your oven to 350 F (if its grilling season word on the street is that you can grill it too!). Toss your broccoli and cauliflower with the olive oil, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs. Lay out the broccoli and cauliflower on a parchment lined baking sheet (or unlined for messier cleanup). Place it in the over for about 20 – 30 minutes until the broccoli looks well-cooked and crispy.

The hardest part about this dish? Not eating it all before you serve the rest of the meal! I hope you enjoy this as much as we do! Enjoy!!

burnt Broccoli creative crops

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