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Hot N.Y. Chef's Shrimp, Ribs and Whoopie Pies!

Chris Santos knows a thing or two about running great restaurants.

His first, The Stanton Social, has been a New York mainstay since it opened in 2005.

And just a few weeks ago, Chris unveiled his latest venture, Beauty & Essex, which has already become one of the city's hottest eateries.

Vote on Next Week's "Shoestring" Main Course
"Early Show" Recipes Galore!

Chris made a name for himself at Stanton Social serving an eclectic mix of small plates to locals and tourists alike. And he says he'll do the same thing at Beauty & Essex, offering diners everything from grilled cheese and tomato soup dumplings to lobster tacos.

As the "Chef on a Shoestring" on As "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," Chris sought to prepare a three-course meal for four on our meager budget of just $40.

And he was automatically entered in our "How Low Can You Go?" competition, in which the "Shoestringer" whose ingredients cost is lowest is asked back to whip up the feast for our year-end holiday extravaganza!

Chris offered a taste of his new menu by starting Saturday's offerings with Salt & Pepper Shrimp, followed by Baby Back Ribs, (which viewers voted for last week), then rounded out the meal with some really fun Whoopie Pies for dessert!

And you read that right - you get to choose the main course "Shoestring" chefs cook each week by voting with your mobile phone. Click here to see next week's choices and to get the numbers!

MENU
• Salt and pepper shrimp
• Tangerine Barbeque Glazed Ribs
• Whoopie Pies

FOOD FACTS

Szechuan pepper: Native to the Szechuan province of China, this mildly hot spice comes from the prickly ash tree. Though not related to the PEPPERCORN family, Szechuan berries resemble black peppercorns but contain a tiny seed. Szechuan pepper has a distinctive flavor and fragrance. It can be found in Asian markets and specialty stores in whole or powdered form. Whole berries are often heated before being ground to bring out their tantalizing flavor and aroma. Szechuan pepper is also known as anise pepper, Chinese pepper, fagara, flower pepper, sansho and Sichuan pepper. (Source: Epicurious.com)

Paprika: Used as a seasoning and garnish for a plethora of savory dishes, paprika is a powder made by grinding aromatic sweet red pepper pods. The pods are quite tough, so several grindings are necessary to produce the proper texture. The flavor of paprika can range from mild to pungent and hot, the color from bright orange-red to deep blood-red. Most commercial paprika comes from Spain, South America, California and Hungary, with the Hungarian variety considered by many to be superior. Indeed, Hungarian cuisine has long used paprika as a mainstay flavoring rather than simply as a garnish. All supermarkets carry mild paprikas, while ethnic markets must be searched out for the more pungent varieties. As with all herbs and spices, paprika should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. (Source: Epicurious.com)

Sriracha: Nicknamed "rooster sauce," this exotic-sounding condiment is made in Southern California. Say it sir-ra-cha, and get a bottle in the Asian foods section of the supermarket, from amazon.com, or even at Walmart to taste what this hot trend is all about. The genesis of the sauce's popularity in the United States is straight out of the immigrant-success-story textbook. David Tran came to the U.S. from Vietnam, eventually landing in Los Angeles in 1980. He couldn't find a chili sauce that he liked, so he decided to make his own, which he sold out of the back of his van. As his following grew, he moved into a processing facility in Rosemead, a Los Angeles suburb, and began adding other sauces-sriracha, named after the traditional Asian chili sauces from the seaside town of Si Racha, Thailand, was by far his most successful. Tran's Huy Fong Foods now sells more than 10 million bottles of it a year. (Source: BonAppetit.com)

RECIPES

Salt & Pepper Shrimp

INGREDIENTS:
20 small shrimp, cleaned
2 scallions
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon minced ginger

Salt Rub (equal parts)
salt
Szechuan pepper
smoked pepper
five spice powder

METHOD:

Heat peanut oil in a pan. Toss shrimp in the salt rub and toss into the hot oil for 60 seconds. Remove the shrimp and using a small bit of the remaining oil, add chopped scallions, shaved garlic and minced ginger (as much as you like of each) until lightly sweated for a couple of minutes. Add shrimp back into the pan and gently toss. Saute until shrimp have cooked through. Serve immediately.

To get Chris' other recipes, go to Page 2.

Tangerine Barbeque Glazed Ribs

INGREDIENTS:
2 half racks of pork
1 1/2 oranges, thinly sliced
1 cup orange juice
2 1/2 cups barbeque sauce (any of your favorites would work)
1/4 cup of mint, coarsely chopped
1/2 red onions, sliced
1/2 cup sprite soda

The rub (equal parts):
black pepper
onion powder
smoked paprika
sriracha
orange zest

METHOD:

Pat the rub on the ribs. Char ribs on the grill or sear in a pan to develop the smoky flavor. In a deep oven-ready pan, layer the ribs and orange slices along with a sprinkling of the mint leaves. Pour the barbeque sauce and orange juice over the ribs and add sliced red onion to the top and enough Sprite just to cover the ribs.

Bring to simmer on stovetop and then cover and place in a 300°F oven to braise for three hours or until the meat is fall-of-the-bone tender.


Whoopie Pies

INGREDIENTS:
8 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk

METHOD:

In stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, slowly adding egg and vanilla. Add half dry ingredients and half buttermilk mixing slowly, add rest of dry ingredients and buttermilk and mix to combine. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix well. Fill a piping bag with batter (or scoop with mini cookie scooper) and pipe 1 1/2 inch circles on parchment (on sheet pan). Bake at 325°F for 5-8 min until top springs back when touched.

Marshmallow Fluff Filling

INGREDIENTS:
2 egg whites
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 sheet gelatin

METHOD:

In stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip whites, corn syrup and vanilla until doubled in volume. Slowly add sugar and salt. Bloom gelatin in water, strain and dissolve, add to whipping whites. Whip until fluffly. Chill for 30 minutes in fridge, pipe onto cooled whoopies, and sandwich.

So, how did Chris fare in our "How Low Can You Go?" competition?

Salt & Pepper Shrimp
Shrimp $4.00
Scallions $.69
Garlic $.39
Ginger $.35
Szechuan pepper $1.59
Five spice powder $.99
Total $8.01

Orange Glazed Ribs
Pork ribs $11.98
Oranges $1.18
Orange juice $1.99
Barbeque sauce $2.09
Mint $1.99
Red onion $1.27
Sprite $.50
Onion powder $.89
Paprika $.89
Sriracha $1.99
Total $24.77

Whoopie Pies
Cocoa powder $2.85
Buttermilk $2.29
Gelatin $1.79
Total $6.93

Grand total: $39.71

Our early Leaders Board:

1. Michael Lomonaco $36.82
Porter House

2. Patti Jackson $38.52
I Trulli

3. Chris Santos $39.71
Beauty & Essex