The DIVA’S Kitchen is the vehicle which provides the opportunity for me to connect through social media, television, print and interpersonal food experiences to those who love great food, and how to make it. (Courtesy Photo)

By Linnyette Richardson-Hall
AFRO Guest Editor

The DIVA’S Kitchen is the vehicle which gives me the opportunity me to connect through social media, television, print and interpersonal food experiences to those who love great food, and how to make it.   Let us be clear – there is nothing like a GOOD meal, full of taste, texture, flavor with just enough “oomph” to make you sigh in content.  That is what I do – I feed people and I make their tummies happy.

I come from a family with deep Southern roots, so that DNA is a part of my culinary makeup.  Golden fried chicken, simmered greens, crispy fried green tomatoes, melt-in-your-mouth cornbread, tangy mac & cheese, tasty bread pudding – all those dishes make regular appearances on my dining room table!

My repertoire is quite expansive, and I love creating new recipes as well as making time honored dishes.  I am a huge fan of taking creative license with ingredients then turning them into something simply delicious.  Preparing tasty food is about process, but it is also important to let the Ancestors speak to your spirit – and hands as you work in the kitchen.

Experimenting in the kitchen has led me to create my own line of small batch, handcrafted seasonings, condiments, and sweet treats.  My Savory Herb ‘Buttah consistently receives rave reviews on a nationwide basis for its deep flavor and ability to be used on many dishes from breads to seafood, steaks and vegetables.  I make an amazing Curry-Cayenne Sauce that can replace your standard bottle of hot sauce on any given day with its smoky tones and smooth flavor.  My Petite Dessert Jars featuring Peach Cobbler infused with Crown Royal Peach Whiskey, Banana Pudding laced with Malibu rum, Toffee Bar Bread Pudding touched with Godiva Chocolate liquor – I love creating and providing these “goodies” to anyone who wants to give them a good home.

But – there are TWO dishes for which I am known for:  Delmarva Crab Pies and my Shrimp & Spinach recipe (which went VIRAL a couple of years ago – to the tune of over 5 million likes and shares!).  The Crab Pie is a delicious mélange of jumbo lump crab meat, extra sharp Cheddar, sweetly smooth Gruyere along with shallots, garlic, peppers, and a few of my “secret” seasonings.  I started selling it a few years ago and the response was incredible.  But the Shrimp & Spinach recipe?  Whew.

I’m sharing it with all of you – it’s my little recipe that literally “broke the Internet”, give it a whirl and let me know what you think!!

Shrimp and Sauteed Spinach

Shrimp and Sauteed Spinach
(serves 2)

1 pound of deveined, and shelled shrimp 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons of Simply Asia Sweet Ginger Garlic Seasoning (or any Asian inspired seasoning)
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 cups of fresh spinach

In a medium skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat until a slight shimmer occurs on the surface.

In a separate bowl combine the shrimp, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the sweet ginger garlic seasoning, tossing lightly until shrimp are thoroughly coated.

Add the shrimp to the hot skillet, quickly sautéing until they are cooked and turn opaque. Remove shrimp to a small bowl and cover to keep warm. Pour in the wine to quickly bubble and deglaze the skillet, scraping up the delicious brown “bits” on the bottom.

In the same skillet, add in the final 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and toss in the spinach, quickly stirring until the leaves are just wilted. Throw the shrimp back in for a final “toss”, then plate up on a small serving dish.

Diva’s Kitchen TIPS:
1) Aim for jumbo or colossal shrimp with this dish – the pan juices that are created really are the perfect “marriage” with good sized shellfish…

2) Be generous with your spinach. Veggies are good for you and remember, spinach wilts a LOT during cooking. Adding a couple of extra cups to the dish is a GOOD thing.

3) Unless you are going to be drinking white wine with the meal, don’t buy an entire BOTTLE to use in this recipe. Get thee to your liquor “establishment” and purchase a miniature bottle – Sutter Home is a perfect example with enough in that little bottle to make the dish!

4) Simply Asia Sweet Ginger Garlic Seasoning. USE IT.
Honestly – that spice combination REALLY makes this dish go “BOOM”!! If you cannot find it locally, Amazon (like always) has it in stock.

5) Consider serving this dish heaped onto a bed of fragrant jasmine or basmati rice – drizzle those yummy pan juices over everything!

I love making good ole’ fashioned GREENS! And judging from the response I get from my patrons of The DIVA’S Kitchen – they love ’em too! I’m always asked about how I get them so tender, flavorful, and not “mushy” – well, here is my recipe. Whip up a pot and serve with your next Sunday Supper!!

Nee Nee’s Smokin Greens

Nee-Nee’s Smokin’ Greens
(serves 6)

4 pounds of collard greens or kale 2 quarts of cold water
1 ½ pounds of smoked turkey tails or drumsticks 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons ground black pepper 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup of dry white wine

1) Wash and rinse greens thoroughly under cold, running water, taking care to remove all dirt, sand, and grit. “Strip” the greens from the tougher inner stalk and place in a large bowl. When all the greens have been washed, take a few leaves, roll them into a “cigar” shape, then cut into ribbons with a sharp knife until all of them have been treated.

2) In a deep stockpot, add the water, smoked turkey, garlic, onion, and spices. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer, then cook for another 30minutes or until the meat falls from the bone. Remove cooked turkey to a cutting board and allow to cool.

3) Pull the meat off and chop into bite-sized pieces, then return to the stockpot. Add in the cut greens, 1/4 cup of wine, stir to incorporate the meat and spices, bring to a low simmer for another 25 minutes.

4) Cut off the burner and allow the greens to “sit” in the seasoned broth for about 30 minutes. Serve in small bowls and top with some of the cooked turkey.