Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

This is our traditional menu for Thanksgiving. I don't experiment much at Thanksgiving--the family wants their old favorites--but I do change the sweet potato recipe. No one likes them very much except for my mom and me, so I keep trying to find something that will win over Jim and Phillip. Nothing has tempted Phillip, but I think that Jim likes the roasted sweet potatoes the most. I tend to do the smallest turkey possible and add side dishes and courses if we have more people. My grandmother would certainly have added heavenly hash to the table, as well as some kind of greens and probably some black eyed peas, and a corn casserole.
Ama B would have some hot,curried fruit (Use the sweet potato and apricot recipe. Omit the sweet potatoes, and add fresh or canned fruits and a little curry powder to taste.)

Pancetta and winter squash soup or shrimp remoulade

Roast turkey
Cornbread dressing
Green bean casserole
Homemade cranberry sauce
mashed potatoes
Roasted sweet potatoes, or sweet potato casserole
Ama B's creamed onions

Mimoi's pecan pie
pumpkin pie

Fresh salsas - red & green

Red salsa

2-4 tomatoes
1/2-1 onion
1 jalapeno or habanero chile
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
fresh lime juice
salt & pepper

On a grill or a gas cooktop, roast the tomatoes, onions, and chili,turning occasionally, until they are blackened and soft. Chop tomatoes and onions into large dice, and place in a bowl with the cilantro. Chop the chili finely and some of it. Season with salt, lime juice, and taste. Add more chili, salt, lime if needed.

Green salsa

1/2 dozen tomatillos or 1 can
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 jalapeno or habanero chili
1-3 tbl olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
lime juice
salt & pepper

If using fresh tomatillos, boil them until soft. If using canned, drain the can.
Saute onion & garlic in olive oil. Add half of the chili and the tomatillos. Saute, smashing the tomatillos with a potato masher or fork. Place in blender & puree. Add chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt & pepper. Taste and add remaining chili if needed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vargas Special

Daniel Vargas fixed this for a big party in Sisal years ago. It's delicious and, once you've chopped everything, really easy.

1 lb onions, chopped
1 lb green or red peppers, chopped
1 1b bacon, chopped
2 lb pork tenderloin, chopped
1 lb manchego cheese, shredded
salt & pepper to taste

In a large skillet saute the bacon until it's mostly cooked. Add onions and peppers and cook until onions are translucent. Add the pork tenderloin, salt & pepper, and cook until pork is no longer pink. Add the manchego cheese to the top and let melt without stirring.

Serve in flour tortillas with fresh salsa.

Mexican Dinner Menu

I first had this at a big party at the Vargas' in Sisal. It's a delicious and relatively easy menu for a crowd. Do a lot of the prep the day before.

Miss Sally's Bean dip & chips

Vargas Special
flour tortillas
fresh red salsa
fresh green salsa

Key lime pie

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Blackeyed Susans

I haven't made this yet, but I ate them last weekend in Charleston. My friend, Kathleen Erickson, made these, and they are fantastic. They are unusual and delicious--salty,sweet,spicy, and addictive. I think that it would be nice to cut the dates in half in order to make these bite-sized.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 lb. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

2 cups all-purpose flour

Salt to taste

Cayenne pepper to taste (I used 2 t.)

1 lb. pitted dates, halved lengthwise (I used large Medjool dates from Fresh Market)

Sugar (I use a shaker)

Blend butter and cheese together in food processor. Mix with flour, salt and cayenne pepper to form dough. Chill. Roll out thinly and cut into small rounds with a biscuit cutter (I used a shot glass!). Place date half on one side of dough round; fold remaining dough over. Pinch edges together like a turnover. Bake on non-stick cookie sheet at 250-300 degrees for 30 minutes. Roll in sugar while hot (I just sprinkled on top.). Serve warm or room temperature. I had refrigerated some of the batch and warmed them tonight in the microwave for 20 seconds on a paper plate and they were perfect.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Italian Sausage and Sauce-Not quick, but very easy

I made this Sunday night for dinner, and it was a hit. I served it with rotini, but I think that it would make delicious Italian sausage sandwiches also. I really wanted to add a fresh red bell pepper to this, but, as you know, Jim doesn't like them.

1 package sweet or mild Italian sausage
1 large onion, sliced
(1 large red bell pepper, sliced)
4 garlic gloves, chopped
1/3 (or so) bottle red wine
1 large can whole Italian tomatoes (I like the Cento brand)
1/2 - 1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste

Brown the sausages. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent. Add red wine. Chop or crush tomatoes and add. Add rosemary and oregano. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook,stirring occasionally with lid slightly ajar until the sauce has thickened and reduced--1-1 1/2 hours.
For Crockpot:
Brown the sausages. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent. Add red wine. Chop or crush tomatoes and add. Add rosemary and oregano. Bring to a boil and pour all in crock pot.  Cook on high 3-3 1/2 hours or on low 6-8 hours.  Check the sauce halfway through. If it has not thickened much, leave it partially covered for a while.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Seven (or so) layer dip

I made this the other day for a tailgate party, and it was such a hit that I thought that I'd better write it down. This is a lighter and fresher version of the old 7 layer dip which is delicious itself. You should definitely improvise with this recipe, adding or subtracting layers according to your taste. I'm not a big fan of lots of sour cream, so I only add a little. Also, take advantage of what your grocery store has prepared. If their guacamole is pretty good, buy it and add some lime juice to brighten and freshen its flavor. Then use it instead of homemade. You can make this ahead, but I don't add the tomatoes until the end, otherwise it can get watery. This makes enough for about 6 people, but it's easy to double it for a party. I use a 6x6 pyrex dish for this.

Layer 1: Bean dip

1 tbl olive oil
1/3 cup rotel, salsa, or sofrito
1 can refried beans, preferably low or no fat
1/4 tsp cumin

Heat oil in pan, add rotel or salsa and fry lightly for a couple of minutes. Add the beans and the cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Pour into serving dish and let cool.

Layer 2: A sprinkling of chopped red onion

Layer 3: A sprinkling of finely chopped pickled jalapeno

Layer 4: Guacamole:

1 ripe avocado, chopped
2 tbl chopped red onion
1 tsp chopped, pickled jalapeno
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbl juice from pickled jalapeno
salt, pepper to taste

Mix all together and plop on.

Layer 5: Sour Cream drizzle

1/2 cup low fat sour cream
juice of 1/2 lime
salt & pepper to taste

Mix and drizzle

Layer 6: Fresh chopped tomato
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
I do this ahead and leave it in a strainer to strain off excess liquid

Layer 7: fresh chopped cilantro

Side Salsa:

Pace picante sauce (medium hot)
fresh lime juice and cilantro, to taste

Mix together and serve on the side. (You could also use this as a substitute for layers 6 and 7.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


A friend at work asked for a recipe for tiramisu, so I went home and started looking for my favorite. Well, after searching for some time, I decided to look on Since I take both Gourmet and Bon Appetit, I was hoping that I got it from one of them. I think this is the recipe, but I have modified it somewhat. It originally called for cream cheese, and I use mascarpone. I also add some kind of liquer to the coffee mixture. I like Kahlua, but you can use whatever you like. I also use a Pepperidge Farm pound cake because a loaf pan shape is easiest to cut into fingers.

* 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
* 1 cup sugar
* 4 egg yolks
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
* 8 ounces mascarpone, cut into pieces, room temperature

* 1 3/4 cups chilled whipping cream

* 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder diluted in 1 cups hot water, cooled
* 1/4 cup of Kahlua, Marsala, or dark rum

* 1 12-ounce prepared pound cake, cut into 3 1/2x1x1/2-inch strips

Finely chop chocolate in processor. Set aside.

Mix sugar and egg yolks in processor 30 seconds. Add vanilla and process until pale yellow, about 1 minute. Add cheese in batches and blend until smooth. Transfer to medium bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Beat whipping cream until stiff. Fold into cream cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead.)

Pour espresso into large shallow dish. Dip cake strips in espresso, turning to coat all sides lightly. Arrange strips on bottom of 10-cup shallow dish, smoothing with fingers to mold together. Sprinkle with half of chocolate. top with chilled cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining chocolate over. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Calabrian Lamb Chops

I saw this on Nigella Express today. It sounds fantastic, and I'm going to try it soon. Of course, I'll have to substitute something for the black olives, perhaps capers, since Jim won't eat them.

I think that this would be nice served with orzo or roasted potatoes and a salad.


* 12 lamb rib chops
* 4 tablespoons/1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons, for frying
* 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
* 1 teaspoon chili flakes
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 small lemon, zested and juiced
* 1 teaspoon Maldon salt/kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
* 15 black olives, pitted and sliced
* 1 long red chile, deseeded and finely chopped, optional


Layer the rib chops between clingfilm/cling-wrap (plastic wrap) and flatten them gently with a rolling pin or mallet. Place the chops in a large dish so that they all fit in a single layer.

Pour over the 4 tablespoons/1/4 cup of oil and add the garlic, chili, oregano, lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle over the salt and the olives and then turn the rib chops in the marinade so that both sides are coated.

Cover and leave the lamb to marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature before cooking.

Heat a large frying pan with the 2 tablespoons of oil, and add the chops scraping off the marinade before you put them in the pan. Fry them for a couple of minutes a side on quite a high heat so that they take on some color.

Turn the heat back down to medium and pour the marinade into the pan over the colored chops. Add 2 tablespoons or so of water so that they cook in a little liquid.

Cook for about 5 minutes for rare cutlets or a little longer if you like your lamb well cooked, (this will also depend on the thickness of the chops).

Transfer the lamb to a serving plate, pour over the juices from the pan and sprinkle with the chopped red chile should you feel like enhancing the dried chili with the pep of fresh.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Orrechiette with Caramelized Onions, Sugar Snap Peas, and Ricotta Cheese

This is from We made it last night for supper. It was fine, but I think that it would be a lot better with the addition of pancetta and parmesean cheese. I'm cutting the olive oil by half and adding pancetta. If you don't have pancetta, use 2 tbl olive oil and some good flavored ham. I think that you could certainly substitute frozen peas for the fresh (cook them less) and skim milk ricotta for the whole-milk.

4 servings

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-1/2 inch thick slices of pancetta, cubed
2 cups (packed) chopped onions
1 8-ounce package trimmed sugar snap peas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 8-ounce package orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) or pasta shells
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/2 cup parmesean cheese, grated

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until fat is rendered and pancetta is browned. Remove pancetta and reserve. Add onions. Sauté until onions are pale golden, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; sauté onions until tender and deep golden, about 15 minutes longer. Return pancetta to pan. Add peas to onions in skillet. Sauté until peas are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

Add pasta and 1/2 cup cooking liquid to onion mixture; stir over medium-high heat 30 seconds. Mix in ricotta, basil,parmesean, and lemon peel, adding more cooking liquid to moisten as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Marcella Hazan's Blender Pesto

I love, love, love pesto. It is absolutely delicious on almost anything. It makes a super,quick supper with a tossed salad. Make extra and freeze for the winter. If you make this ahead, place plastic wrap right down on the surface. The basil will darken when exposed to air, although it doesn't effect the flavor. Also, if you don't have pecorino, you can make this with just parmesean. Be sure to store your extra pine nuts (as well as any other nuts) in the freezer, they will go rancid otherwise.

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbls pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
2 tbl grated pecorino
3 tbl butter, at room temp

Place basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt in blender and mix at high speed, stopping to scrape down the bowl.

Pour into a bowl and mix in the cheeses and butter.

Before using the pasta, thin it with a tbl or more of the pasta cooking liquid.

Pesto Stuffed Chicken Wrapped in Prosciutto

This is a recipe that I have not tried. The recipe sounds easy, but good. I have changed the pesto recipe because they did not include amounts for the olive oil. We make pesto in the fall before the basil is killed by frost and freeze it. So, I always have pesto on hand. I haven't tried any of the prepared pestos from the store, but they might be good. Look for extra virgin olive oil and real parmesean in the ingredients.

Yield: 4

The Pesto

1 large bunch fresh basil
2 tbls pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Olive oil

The Chicken

* 4 x boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* 8 slices prosciutto

The Pesto

1. Puree all ingredients in a food processor.
2. Season to taste with salt.

The Chicken

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Lay 2 slices of the prosciutto flat onto a work surface, overlapping them slightly along their long edge, to form a large rectangle.
3. Place a chicken breast lengthwise at the short end and slit it open along one side to create a wide pocket. Spoon in some of the pesto and then wrap the prosciutto neatly around it. Repeat for the other 3 breasts.
4. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down and bake until golden and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Quick and Easy Category

Last night we had dinner with our friends Joe and Mary Beth. Their daughter Jacqueline is a newlywed and a busy attorney. Mary Beth mentioned that Jacqueline reads the blog regularly, but doesn't have time to make many of the recipes. Soooo-I have created a new category for Jacqueline (although I suspect that it will also come in handy for Katie)--Quick/Easy. Now, there are some recipes in this category which take a while to cook in the oven, but are a snap to prepare; however, most are quick sautes and grills.

Here are a few ideas for making your hectic life easier, while still feeding your family wholesome, home-cooked meals--

First of all, make easy substitutions. If a recipe calls for you to cut up a chicken, buy one already cut up or buy a package of chicken parts. If you are supposed to cook a chicken and take it off the bone, use a rotisserie chicken from the market. If it calls for corn cut off the cob, use frozen corn. In fact, I think that frozen vegetables are great. I always have them on hand and use them almost everyday.

Secondly, prepare ahead. When I worked full time, I would chop enough onion and garlic for the entire week, bag it, and store it in the fridge. If you don't have a food processor, go now and buy one. My father-in-law gave me a Cuisinart 30 years ago, and it's still going strong. I love it for chopping large amounts of vegetables. Also, on the weekend make a double recipe of things like spaghetti sauce and freeze half for another time. Another great trick is to throw your flank steak into it's marinade before freezing it. That way,when you know that you're going to have a crazy day, you can put it in the fridge to defrost before you leave for work and grill it when you come home.

Finally, stock your pantry with the things that allow you to always make a quick dinner. I always have pancetta in the freezer, onions, canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. With these items I can make my favorite pasta sauce and have a quick dinner in about 15 minutes.

Greek Salad

This is a take off on tabbouleh salad with mint and parsley. This was very easy and you can make it ahead of time since it doesn't have any lettuce. I didn't add salt until I was ready to serve because I didn't want the salad to get watery. I chose these vegetables because I like the color combination, but feel free to substitute what you have--Vidalia onion or green onions for the purple onion, red or orange pepper for the yellow one. If you don't have fresh mint, use all parsley.

To turn this into a quick main course, buy a lemon, garlic rotisserie chicken, slice the breast, and place on top.

For 4

1/2 basket grape tomatoes, cut in half (or 1 large tomato, chopped)
2 small cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 yellow pepper, in large dice
1/2 medium purple onion, in large dice
Big handful of Italian parsley, chopped
Small handful of fresh mint, chopped
Dress with white wine vinegar and/or lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all together. Serve on a platter lined with Romaine.

Greek (style) menu

This is probably Jim's favorite menu. We had this last night with our friends Joe, Marybeth, and Hank (Debbie was out of town). We didn't have baklava. I made a peach cheesecake instead because peaches are so delicious right now. Mary Beth brought an incredible Kentucky Derby pie filled with chocolate and pecans. She also brought a delicious insalata caprese for an appetizer. I know that it's not Greek, but tomatoes and basil are so wonderful right now that this was a perfect starter. For a more Greek appetizer, buy or make some hummus and tzadziki sauce and serve with pita chips. You can also do a nice platter of olives, roasted peppers, and pickles. If you can buy good baklava, I would definitely buy that as well. In Knoxville I can't get decent baklava, so I have to make it.

Appetizers-hummus, tzadziki, or eggplant dip with pita chips

Lemon and garlic grilled pork

Greek salad

Orzo with spicy tomato sauce (the link for this is with the grilled pork recipe)

Green Beans with dill


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Miss Debbie fixed this last night with a grilled flank steak. I thought that they were absolutely delicious--perfectly simple, but the essence of summer.

1 basket cherry or grape tomatoes, washed
extra virgin olive oil to coat
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400.

Place tomatoes on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with salt. Toss. Roast in hot oven until skins pop, about 10 minutes.

Easy Cook out Menu

Appetizers - crab salad (from the Shrimp Dock,of course) and crackers. Serve this with a Sauvignon Blanc.

Rosemary & Garlic Marinated Flank Steak. Serve with a nice cabernet or malbec.

Roasted Asparagus with balsamic vinegar

Roasted tomatoes

Roasted new potatoes

Tossed salad

Dessert-Key Lime Pie

Party/Buffet ideas

Two days ago we received a beautiful "Edible Arrangement" from my sister-in-law. Today I took it apart and made the remaining fruit into a fruit salad, but I kept all the plastic picks that the fruits were on, as well as the basket. The basket has a plastic liner that they had filled with Styrofoam. That was covered with curly kale, and then the fruit picks were inserted. You could use the longer bamboo skewers, too. I think that this will be easy to do for a buffet.

Along the same lines, a while back I was at a party where the caterer had covered a styrofoam ball with picks of cubed cheese. It was an elegant and easy way to serve cubed cheese.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lidia's Chicken with artichokes

Chicken with artichokes is from the cookbook "Lidia's Italy" by Lidia Bastianich.  This is a delicious one dish meal. To make it an easy one dish meal, I use frozen artichoke hearts.  Not only do you save all the work of cleaning artichokes, but you save money too.  In my supermarket artichokes are several dollars EACH. One and 1/2 pounds of artichokes would bankrupt you, and, to me, frozen vegetables are an acceptable substitute.
I've left in the directions for fresh artichokes, so you can try it both ways and decide for yourself. Serve this with a good French or Italian bread and a nice red wine, and you're done.

Serves 6

* 1 1/2 pounds small artichokes, (I use 1 pkg frozen artichoke hearts)
* Juice of 1 lemon
* 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds, rinsed and patted dry, cut into 10 to 12 pieces
* 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
* 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
* 1/4 teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 1 28-ounce can canned Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. (Skip if you're using frozen artichokes.) Trim pointy tips from artichokes and cut in half or in wedges, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Fill a bowl with water, and add lemon juice. Place artichokes in water until ready to use.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 6-to-7-quart heavy-bottomed, Dutch-oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and add to the pot without crowding, working in batches. Cook chicken, turning once, until browned, 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a platter or bowl; set aside. Drain any fat that has accumulated in the pot.
3. Add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch-oven. When oil is hot, add garlic and cook until sizzling, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove artichokes from water and add directly to the pot; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and peperoncino. Cook, stirring often, until dry and beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add wine and cook over high heat, stirring, until wine is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes to the Dutch oven along with 3 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil. Cook sauce for 15 minutes.
5. Return chicken to the Dutch oven and submerge in the sauce. Cover and continue cooking until chicken is just cooked through, artichokes are tender, and sauce has evaporated slightly, about 45 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fried Rice

This is a dinner version of the breakfast fried rice. This can be a side dish, plain or with some vegetables, or a main dish if you have meat to add. Any Asian barbecued pork or chicken would be a great addition. The amount you make depends on the amount of rice that you have. If you have more rice than the recipe calls for, just add another egg. This is a great way to use up any leftover meat or veg (like peas or carrots) you have.

1-2 tbl oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
white part of 1-2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Cup cold, leftover rice
1 egg
1 tbl soy sauce
green part of 1-2 green onions,chopped
salt & pepper

Heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion & garlic and saute until translucent. Add sesame oil. Add any leftover meat or veg. Add rice and cook until hot. Move rice to the sides of the frying pan, leaving an empty space in the middle. Beat egg with a fork and add to the middle of the pan. As the egg solidifies, push the outside edge to the middle. Turn and chop into small pieces and mix into rice. Add green part of green onions. Season with soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Taste & correct seasonings.

Stir fried vegetables

I make this with whatever vegetables I have on hand. Just start with onion & garlic, then add the harder vegetables, like carrots or broccoli stems. Add things like pea pods, green onion tops, or spinach last. You can add cornstarch and some water to your sauce if you want it to have more body, but I don't usually fool with that.

Mix together for sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbl rice wine vinegar
2 tbl hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp chili paste

1-2 tbl oil
1 onion, sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp grated ginger (optional)

Add & saute your choice of:
brocolli stems, sliced
cauliflower stems, sliced
red, green, yellow peppers, sliced

Add & saute your choice of:
zucchini, sliced
brocolli florets
cauliflower florets
cabbage, in large dice

Add, cover & steam for 5 minutes:
1/2 cup chicken stock or water

Add sauce mixture, stir, taste & correct seasonings.

Brocolli with oyster sauce

1 head of brocolli, separated into florets and stems sliced

1 tbl oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1-2 tbls chicken stock
salt, pepper to taste

Steam or stir fry the brocolli until tender. Add oyster sauce, sugar, chicken stock, taste & correct seasonings.

Asian style barbecue chicken

I made this last night and it was delicious. I served it with fried rice & stir fried broccoli.. This is an easy family meal. I'm sure that the leftover chicken would be delicious, but we didn't have one bite left.

1 chicken cut up

2 tbl hoisin sauce
2 tbl catsup
4 tbl soy sauce
4 tbl rice wine vinegar (you can substitute any white vinegar)
1-2 tsp grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 tsp hot chili paste or hot bean paste

Put all ingredients in a ziplock bag and add chicken. Let marinate 2-4 hours.
Preheat oven to 325. Line a roasting pan with release aluminum foil. Put the chicken,skin side up, & marinade into pan & cover with aluminum foil. Bake until chicken is done, about 40 minutes. Remove aluminum foil & broil chicken on both sides until brown and crisp, basting until most of the marinade has evaporated. (I did skin side, then meat side, and then skin side again.)

Serve with rice and stir fried vegetables

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Chicken, Rice, and Artichoke Casserole

I made this casserole and froze it for the family to eat while I was in Huntsville taking care of Aunt Kate. They loved it! This recipe really harks back to those 1950's casseroles made with Campbell's soup. It may sound retro, but it's incredibly delicious. I used leftover roast chicken, and leftover rice, so it's really economical too.

If you want to bake this more quickly, leave off topping and microwave until hot. Top with breadcrumbs, almonds, and butter and run under the broiler to brown.

About 1/2 a leftover, roasted chicken, skinned,boned, and diced
about 1 cup leftover, cooked rice
1 can Campbell's cream of chicken soup
1 lemon, rind & juice
1/2 pkg frozen artichokes
1/2 cup or more dry sherry
salt & pepper to taste

Bread crumbs &/or slivered almonds for topping
Pam or butter for topping

Mix all ingredients together except bread crumbs. Taste & correct seasonings. You may need more sherry. Place into a greased casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs & almonds. Spray with Pam or dot with butter. Bake @ 350 about 40 minutes or until hot & bubbly.

4th of July Menu

Yesterday was the 4th and we wanted to do something really easy since we have had an exhausting June. Here's the menu:

Crab salad (from The Shrimp Dock) & crackers
Shrimp & Andouille Sausage

Grilled cowboy rib eye steaks from Butler & Bailey
Miss Debbie's Corn Salad
Roasted new potatoes with rosemary
Grilled asparagus with Balsamic vinegar

Fresh Cantalope

Shrimp & Andouille Sausage

I served this with toothpicks as an appetizer on the 4th of July, but I think that it would be really good over grits or rice as a main dish. To serve over grits it would need to be a little saucier. I think that a 1/2 cup of white wine or some clam juice would do it.

Serves 6 as an appetizer

2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 medium shrimp, shelled & deveined
1 8" piece of andouille sausage, sliced lengthwise & cut into half-rounds
1 small onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 yellow or red bell pepper, sliced
10 or more grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2-1 tsp thyme
1/2-1 tsp Old Bay
1/4 tsp or to taste cayenne pepper
salt & black pepper to taste
(1/2 Cup dry white wine or clam juice if serving over grits)

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add andouille and cook until brown. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and saute until onion is translucent. Season with thyme, Old Bay, & cayenne. Taste & add salt & pepper. Add tomatoes and cook 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and optional liquid. Cook, stirring frequently until shrimp are just done. Taste & correct seasonings. Serve with French bread to sop up sauce or serve over grits.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


This may not be authentic, but it is delicious. If you make this ahead, cover it with plastic wrap that you put right down on the guacamole so that no air gets to it.

1 large avocado, mashed with the back of a fork
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime and 1-2 tbl orange juice
1/2 - 1 fresh serrano or jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2-3 tbls fresh cilantro, chopped
salt, pepper, & pinch of sugar

Mash the avocado with the fork. I like it to stay a little chunky. Add the lime juice and all other ingredients. Taste & correct seasonings.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Enchiladas Suizas-quick & easy

Here's a quick and easy version of Enchiladas Suizas. You can assemble it ahead and refrigerate it until you're ready to bake it. A rotisserie chicken makes this even easier.

Serves 4

1 whole chicken breast
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 jars Pace Green Salsa
2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, deseeded, and pureed in blender
big handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 can Nestle media crema
1 package flour or corn tortillas
1/2-1 cup monterrey jack cheese

Fresh salsa

Cook the chicken breast with some of the salsa and the chicken stock until it shreds easily and most of the liquid has evaporated. Let cool and shred chicken.

Spray an ovenproof casserole with Pam & Add poblano chiles, cilantro, and media cream to salsa, and pour some  in. Heat the tortillas a 6 at a time in damp paper towels in the microwave (about 60 sec on high). Put a little chicken in each, roll up, and place seam side down in the casserole dish. When your casserole is full, top with salsa, then add the cheese.

Bake covered at 350 for about 50 minutes, then uncover and cook 5 minutes more. Let cool about 10 minutes. Serve with fresh salsa.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Grilled Flatbreads with Caramelized Onions, Sausage, and Manchego Cheese from Bon Appetit

This sounds wonderful! I think that I'll try it with Boboli crusts since I have no idea where to get fresh pizza dough. Also, it will be much easier.


* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 large red onions (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds), halved, thinly sliced
* 1/2 cup dry red wine (such as Zinfandel)
* 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausages (about 4 links), casings removed
* Pizza Dough Rounds or 1 pound purchased fresh pizza dough
* Nonstick olive oil spray
* 2 cups (packed) coarsely shredded Manchego cheese,* divided


Heat vegetable oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until soft and deep golden brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Stir in wine, vinegar, and sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl. Cool.
Heat medium skillet over medium heat. Add sausage; sauté until cooked through and browned, breaking up with back of fork, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Cool. DO AHEAD Onions and sausage can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Lightly flour 2 rimless baking sheets. Divide purchased pizza dough in half (if using). Working with 1 dough round or dough half at a time, roll out on lightly floured surface to 12x8-inch oval. Transfer to baking sheets. Spray top of flatbreads with nonstick spray.
Invert flatbreads, sprayed side down, onto grill. Cook until grill marks appear and sides of bread are dry, 3 to 5 minutes. Return to same baking sheets, grilled side down. Spray uncooked side with nonstick spray. Turn flatbreads over on baking sheets, grilled side up. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cheese over each flatbread. Sprinkle onions, then sausage, over flatbreads, dividing equally. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over, dividing equally. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Transfer flatbreads, topping side up, to grill. Cover and cook until crusts are crisp and cheese melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to work surface. Cut into rectangles and serve.

Chile-Corn Custard Squares from Bon Appetit

This was in Bon Appetit's June issue, and it sounds very good. I think it might be great for a tailgate as well.

It's 10/01 and Mom tried this recipe yesterday, and here's what I think you should do to make this worth making. First, if you're making this for a party, double the recipe because it doesn't make very much. I've added cumin, cayenne, and green chiles. I've changed the Mexican cheese to extra sharp cheddar, and I've removed the jalapeño.
Serves 6

Preheat oven to 350°F.

* 3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
* 1 large onion, finely chopped
* Nonstick vegetable oil spray
* 1/4 cup all purpose flour
* 1/4 cup cornmeal
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
**1/4 teaspoon cumin
**1/4 teaspoon cayenne
* 1 large egg
* 2/3 cup extra sharp cheddar, 1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese mixed with 1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco, divided
* 1/2 cup sour cream plus additional for garnish
* 1/2 cup canned creamed corn
* 4 tablespoons canned green chiles, drained well and minced finely
* Tomato salsa (for garnish)


Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add finely chopped onion and sauté until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Cool.
Spray 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in small bowl. Whisk egg, 1/3 cup cheese blend, 1/2 cup sour cream, creamed corn, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Add flour mixture; stir to blend. Stir in jalapeño and caramelized onions. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup cheese blend over.
Bake until puffed and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool completely. DO AHEAD Custard squares can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Cut into 1-inch squares. Place on platter. Top each square with dollop of sour cream, then small spoonful of salsa.

Ama B's Creamed Onion Casserole

This is Ama B's recipe that she makes for Thanksgiving. It's delicious and easy. You can do it ahead and freeze it (without breadcrumbs) if you'd like.
Serves 6

Preheat oven to 350

2 lbs frozen pearl onions or fresh
6 tbl butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 1/2 tbl flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs

If using fresh onions, boil for 1 minute, drain and cool. Trim and slip off skins. Cut an X 1/8" deep in root end of onions and simmer in water to cover for 15-20 minutes.

Remove onions from water & reduce liquid to 1 cup. Melt 2/3 of the butter in a saucepan and saute chopped onions over medium high heat for 7 minutes. Add flour and cook 2-3 minutes more, stirring. Add reserved cooking liquid, milk, and cream. Stirring constantly cook for 3-4 minutes until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg. Add onions and simmer 3-4 minutes.

Place all in a buttered 2 quart baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Dot with remaining butter. Bake on top shelf of onion for 15-20 minutes.

Ama B's Chutney

1 pkg dried apricots, chopped fine
3-5 firm pears, cubed
1 cup raisins
1/2 lemon, seeded and chopped fine (including rind)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp garlic, finely minced
1 tbl fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg or mace
fresh ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer gently about 1 hour or until thickened. Cool and refrigerate. Serve with chicken curry.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Chicken Fricassee

This is a fattening, but delicious recipe. It's another great recipe from Cajon Creole Cooking. You can reduce the calories by using only 2-3 tbls fat and 4-6 tbl of flour. You can add some cornstarch dissolved in stock at the end to thicken the sauce more. It's not as good, but, otherwise, it's just too fattening to eat very often. That being said, I would make the full fat version first.

This is good with plain white rice and green beans with tomatoes.

6 servings

1 cup Crisco or vegetable oil

2 1 1/2- 2 lb chickens, cut up
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper

1 cup flour
5 medium onions, halved & sliced
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp group black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 1/2 tsps fresh
3 cups chicken stock
6 green onions, chopped

Heat oil in a heavy 14 inch skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with salt, pepper, & cayenne. When fat is hot, add chicken & brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Add flour to fat & cook, whisking constantly, until peanut butter-colored--about 25 minutes. Stir in onions, celery, garlic, bay leaves, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp black pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring, until onions are transparent, about 10 minutes. Slowly stir in stock. Return chicken to skillet; season with salt. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Before serving, stir in green onions.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Seafood Sticky Rice Risotto

This recipe came from my good friend,Mary Beth Browder. She made this for a dinner party, and it was super good. She substituted orzo for the sticky rice, and bacon for the pancetta. If you use the orzo, just cook it according to package instructions, but leave it a little undercooked; drain, cool and proceed with the recipe.

Serves 4-6

2 cups Japanese sushi rice
4 oz pancetta in 1/4 inch slices
8 oz large shrimp, shelled & deveined (or cooked lobster)
1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 tbl chopped shallots
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken or fish stock
4 tbl grated parmesean or Asiago cheese
2 tsp chopped parsley
salt & black pepper to taste

1. Sock rice 2-3 hours in warm water. Drain & rinse in cold water.
2. Wrap rice in cheeseclot & place in steamer. Cover tightly and cook for 25 minutes; Unwrap & cool. Set aside in bowl.
3. Dice the pancetta into cubes. Cook until crisp. Set aside.
4. Steam shrimp in steamer for 8 minutes. Set aside.
5. Break rice up.
6. Heat a large, deep saute pan over medium high heat. Add the oil and saute the shallots. Add the rice, cream, and half the stock. Reduce the mixture, stirring occasionally. Keep adding stock until all the liquid is absorbed. Add the cheese and cook until creamy.
7. Turn off the heat, add the shrimp, pancetta, & parsley. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Orleans Seafood Gumbo

Another great recipe from Cajun-Creole Cooking. The original recipe calls for frog legs. I have substituted chicken thighs. I don't usually mix up the seasonings for the chicken. I just sprinkle seasoning on the chicken. Also, don't worry if you don't have all this seafood. I've made it just with shrimp and crab meat. Substitute what is fresh and what you like.

8-10 servings

Seasoning for chicken:
1/2 tsp each salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder

1 1/2 recipes Cajun Roux (recipe follows)
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 qts Seafood stock
2 lbs uncooked shrimp, shelled & deveined.
1 tbl minced parsley
1 tsp dried thyme or 1 tbl fresh
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
salt to taste
1 lb lump crabmeat
1 lb skinned redfish fillets, or any mild white fish, cut into chunks
1/2 lb bay scallops

5 cups hot cooked rice
3 1/2 tbl file powder
chopped green onions
chopped parsley

Cajun Roux
1 cup crisco
1 cup flour
Melt crisco in a 12" iron skillet and add flour. Stir well and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until the roux is mahogany colored. If you are doing other things, you can turn this off and let the residual heat from the pan continue to cook it. Then when you return, stir and turn the heat back on. This will take about 30-45 minutes.

Seafood Stock
Shrimp shells, tails & heads
Trimmings from fish
1/2 onion
1/2 celery stalk
1 garlic clove
8 bottles clam juice
2 1/2 qts water
2 bay leaves
1 medium lemon

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, skimming any scum that rises to the top, for about 1 hour and up to 3 hours. Strain.

Prepare the seafood stock and let cook while you prepare the roux. Both these things can be done ahead & refrigerated if you like. Season chicken and add to hot roux. Cook, stirring, until lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic; cook about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the seafood stock, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Add parsley, thyme, black pepper, cayenne, and salt. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. (You can make ahead to this point and refrigerate. Reheat before proceeding.) Add shrimp, crabmeat, fish, and scallops. Cook over medium heat 15 minutes. Taste & adjust seasonings. Spoon gumbo over 1/2 cup rice in a bowl. Sprinkle with file powder, green onion & parsley.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo

Another great recipe from Cajun-Creole Cooking. This is a delicious gumbo. I don't usually mix up the seasonings for the chicken. I just sprinkle seasoning on the chicken breasts.

8-10 servings

Seasoning for chicken:
1/2 tsp each salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder

8 boneless,skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup Crisco
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped celery
3 qts canned chicken broth (I like Progresso the most)
1 lb andouille sausage or kielbasa, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
black pepper
2 cups sliced fresh okra or 1 10 oz pkg frozen
1 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup minced parsley
5 cups hot cooked rice

Place in a plastic bag and sprinkle liberally with seasoning mix. Add flour and shake chicken. Remove chicken, shaking off excess flour. Reserve flour. Heat crisco in a large dutch oven and brown chicken in batches. Remove chicken and add reserved flour to pan and stir over medium low heat until you have a mahogany colored roux. Remove from heat and add onions, peppers, and celery at once, stirring to blend. Return to heat and cook until vegetables are wilted. Slowly stir in stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; add sausage, garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add chicken and simmer 25 minutes, stirring often. Add okra & cook 20 minutes. To serve, stir in green onions & parsley & serve over rice in soup bowls.

Bread Pudding

This recipe was originally from Cajun-Creole Cooking by Terry Thompson. I change it to suit what I have in my pantry. I tend to use the leftover bread that I have. I've used croissants and other breads as long as they aren't strongly flavored. I don't use the coconut. I have also changed the cooking method to a bain marie. For your bain marie, place a roasting pan in the oven and fill it about 1/4 full with hot water.  Let it heat as the oven is preheating.  Then place your baking pan into the roasting pan full of water.  The water should come about halfway up the sides of your baking pan. 

7 tbl butter,melted
1/4 cup butter, melted
16 cups lightly packed, dry French bread cubes
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbls vanilla extract
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups milk
3/4 cup dark or golden raisins
(3/4 cup flaked coconut)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, toasted pecans

Hard Sauce
1 cup butter @ room temp
1 1/2 cups confectioners'sugar
1/2 cup bourbon

Preheat oven to 350 and place a roasting pan (big enough to hold the 13 x 9 baking dish in the oven) 1/2 full of water in the oven.

Pour 7 tbl butter into a 13 x 9 baking pan & swirl it around to coat bottom & sides.
Pour excess butter & additional 1/4 cup butter into a small bowl & set aside. Beat eggs & sugar until light & thick (about 3-4 minutes). Add remaining ingredients including reserved butter. Add bread cubes, mix to coat, and let stand for 30-45 minutes to absorb custard. Turn all into baking pan, stir to evenly distribute raisins & nuts. Bake in a bain marie 45-60 minutes or until golden brown.

Hard Sauce

Beat butter with sugar. Add bourbon and mix well.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Southern New Year's Menu

The two must-have menu items are black-eyed peas and collard greens, peas for luck and greens for riches. After that, you can add or subtract any menu items.

Roast fresh ham

black eyed peas

collard greens

fried okra

fried corn

pickled peaches

Heavenly Hash

Corn bread

Pecan Pie

Lemon icebox pie

Christmas Dinner Menu

Shrimp Bisque

Standing Rib Roast

Horseradish Sauce

Broccoli-Cauliflower Timbales

Twice baked potato casserole



Christmas cookies

Grasshopper or Pink Squirrel Pie

Cayenne Toasts

From Canjun-Creole Cooking by Terry Thompson, serve these with sundried tomato spread over goat cheese or with soups or salads.

12-18 Servings

3 French bread loaves, cut into 1/4" slices

1 cup olive oil
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder

Preheat oven to 200. Mix all ingredients except bread together. Lay slices on baking sheets and brush with topping mixture. Whisk mixture often. Bake in oven about 1 hour. Cool on wire racks and store in airtight containers. Cooled toasts can be packed in freezer containers and frozen up to 2 months. Recrisp frozen toasts in 350 oven for 5-7 minutes.

Sundried Tomato Spread Over Goat Cheese with Cayenne Toasts

This comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Cajun Creole Cooking by Terry Thompson. Every recipe is fantastic! This is easy and do-ahead. I changed this to use oil-packed tomatoes because it saves the step of rehydrating the tomatoes. If you want to use the dried tomatoes, steam them for about 45 minutes and proceed.

8-10 servings

approximately 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
1 Cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves
2 sprigs parsley
5 basil leaves or 1 tsp dried
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of sugar
1 green onion, coursely chopped

2 (4 oz) goat cheese rounds
Cayenne toasts, crackers, or little french bread toasts

Place all ingredients except cheese and toasts in food processor. Process until almost smooth. Place goat cheese on serving dish, pour spread over cheese. Serve with cayenne toasts or crackers

New Orleans Dinner Menu

Sundried tomato spread on goat cheese with cayenne toasts

Shrimp Creole

Red Onion and Mandarin Orange Salad w/ Poppyseed dressing

Bread Pudding with hard sauce

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stuffed Pork Chops

I made these last night for dinner & they were incredible. I thought that they were very easy to make, although they do take a while to bake in the oven. These are not the typical stuffed pork chop, overflowing with stuffing.  The stuffing merely serves to flavor the meat and keep it moist. 

I served this with rice pilaf, but orzo would be nice also.

Serves 4-5

Preheat oven to 325

For stuffing
5 tbl Italian flavored bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup or more extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp rosemary or thyme
salt & pepper

5 boneless, double pork chops

2 tbl olive oil
1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbl tomato paste
salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Add enough oil to make the mixture moist. Taste & season with salt & pepper.

Cut a pocket in each of the pork chops & fill with stuffing. Salt & pepper each side of chops. Heat olive oil in skillet and add chops, browning well on each side. Reduce heat & add wine, stock, and tomato paste. Bake in oven for about 1 hour. Check after 30 minutes & add some water if it's beginning to look a little dry. (You can also add some water at the end of cooking if the juices have become too concentrated.)

Parmesean Popovers

Super easy and delicious--popovers are the solution when you want hot, homemade bread for dinner.
Preheat oven to 450

6 servings

1/4 Cup fresh grated parmesean cheese
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tbl butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs

Place oven rack on next to lowest shelf. Grease 6 deep muffin or custard cups and sprinkle with parmesean; set aside.

Combine milk, flour, butter, and salt in bowl. Beat in eggs just until blended. Fill cups 3/4 full. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 (do not open oven door.) and bake 20 minutes more. Carefully remove popovers with spatula and serve immediately.

Toasted Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Sandwiches

This recipe is from Bon Appetit via I thought these were delicious, but very rich--great with red wine. I changed this recipe to an open face sandwich in order to serve it as an appetizer.

Makes 24 wedges
The caramelized onion jam can be prepared three days before you make the sandwiches.

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 large white onions, thinly sliced
* 2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
* 2 tablespoons chopped golden raisins
* 4 5 1/2x3x1/2-inch slices rustic country bread, such as walnut, pecan, or walnut-raisin
* 2 6-ounce wedges soft blue cheese (Bon Appetit calls for Cambazola or Gorgonzola dolcelatte. I like Maytag), sliced

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook until just beginning to color, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Add sugar and cook until onions are deep golden brown and very soft, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in vinegar and raisins. Season caramelized onions to taste with salt and pepper. Cool. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat broiler

Toast both sides of bread slices. Arrange bread slices on jelly roll pan. Top each with 1/4 cup caramelized onions. Top with cheese, dividing equally. Put pan under broiler and broil until cheese is melted. Transfer to cutting board. Cut each sandwich into 6 wedges.

Apricot Nut Bread

This recipe came from Gourmet magazine. I first made it for a buffet that we had after Patrick's baptism in Birmingham. I still make these for Christmas. They are just delicious served with ham.

Preheat oven to 375

6 oz dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup currants
2 tbl softened butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 Cup milk
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tbl grated orange rind
3 cup flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 Cup chopped pecans

Combine fruits with 1 cup boiling water; let stand 20 minutes & drain.

Cream butter & sugar; add eggs, milk, oj, and rind. Sift dry ingredients together and add. Place in well buttered 7 1/4 x 3 11/2" pans. Bake 60-80 minutes. (Reduce heat to 350 if loaves brown too fast.) Cool 10 minutes & turn out onto racks. Makes 2 loaves.

Banana Bread

I can't remember who I got this recipe from, but it is absolutely the best! Sweet and moist, full of banana flavor, you will love this banana bread. If you have ripe bananas, but no time to make this, throw the bananas in the freezer until you do have time. Take them out, defrost, and proceed.

I don't grease & flour my pans. I use Baker's Secret which saves time & mess.

I usually bake these in the miniature loaf pans and decrease the cooking time to 35-40 minutes. This also makes great banana cupcakes too. I'll decrease time 20-25 minutes. I think that these would be fantastic with cream cheese icing. I'll have to try it sometime.

The last time I made these, I prepared them entirely in the food processor. If you have one, it's super easy. Instructions follow.

1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C buttermilk
1 C chopped pecans or walnuts
3 mashed ripe bananas

For a mixer: cream sugar & shortening together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Sift together dry ingredients and add them in thirds, alternating with buttermilk. Stir in vanilla, nuts, and bananas. Bake in a greased, floured loaf pan for 45 minutes to 1 hour @ 350. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes and turn out on racks to cool completely. For cupcakes, line about 15 muffin tins with liners, fill 3/4 full and bake 25 minutes.

For the food processor: Chop nuts and remove to another bowl. Chop bananas and move to bowl with nuts. Cream sugar & shortening together. Add eggs one at a time, processing well after each. Sift together dry ingredients and add them in thirds, alternating with buttermilk. Add the mixture to bowl with nuts, and bananas and add vanilla. Stir all together. Bake in a greased, floured loaf pan for 45 minutes to 1 hour @ 350. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes and turn out on racks to cool completely. For cupcakes, line about 15 muffin tins with liners, fill 3/4 full and bake 25 minutes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lemon cheesecake with strawberry compote

This may be the perfect spring dessert. It's a variation of the amaretto cheesecake recipe. I love this because it's so easy. You can make the entire thing in your food processor. Next time I make this I think I'll make a graham cracker crust instead.  If strawberries aren't in season, you could certainly do this with other berries, or even with frozen berries.

Make this the day ahead.

Put a roasting pan half full of water into oven. Preheat oven to 350


40 vanilla wafers
3/4 C finely slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 C sugar
1/4 C, plus 2 tbl melted butter

3 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 C sugar
4 eggs
1/3 C whipping cream
1/3 C fresh lemon juice
grated rind of 2 lemons

1 C sour cream
1 Tbl lemon juice
1 Tbl sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind

Crust: Spray a 9" springform pan with Pam.
Put pan onto a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil and mold the foil up the sides of the pan. In a food processor-process ingredients & press evenly over bottom and sides of pan.

Filling: Process cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, processing in between. Add cream, process. Add lemon juice and rind and process well. Pour into crust. Place pan (wrapped in foil) into bain marie (roasting pan full of water). Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 225 and bake 1 hour and 45 minutes. Cook on rack 5 minutes. (Can be frozen at the point. Defrost to room temperature before proceeding.)

Topping: Combine all ingredients and spread over cake. Bake 5 more minutes. Cook, cover and refrigerate overnight. Unmold and serve.

Strawberry Compote

1 quart of strawberries, Washed, hulled, and chopped
1 cup sugar
juice of half a lemon

Place strawberries & sugar in small saucepan. Bring slowly up to heat and let cook, stirring occassionally, until thick. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Leg of Lamb studded with rosemary & garlic

* 1 (7-pound) semi-boneless leg of lamb, aitchbone removed, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick, and lamb tied
* 4 garlic cloves
* 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Pat lamb dry and score fat by making shallow cuts all over with tip of a sharp small knife.

Slice garlic into slivers & cut rosemary into small pieces. Stud the lamb all over with garlic & rosemary. Salt & pepper lamb. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roast lamb in middle of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into thickest part of meat (do not touch bone) registers 130°F, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 15 to 25 minutes (internal temperature will rise to about 140°F for medium-rare).

Goat cheese with basil and lemon

I made this yesterday for Easter. I thought it was delicious. If you are not a goat cheese fan, this would be good over cream cheese or ricotta cheese as well.

Serves 8-10

1 6" log goat cheese
1 bunch fresh basil, sliced into chiffonade
1 lemon, grated rind & juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano


Make a vinegrette of the lemon juice & olive. Add rind, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Place goat cheese on serving plate & pour vinegrette over. Grate pecorino romano over all. Let stand and serve at room temperature.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cornish Game Hens with Garlic and Lemon

I made these last night for dinner. They were very easy and delicious. I served them with a simple rice pilaf that baked in the oven with the hens. I also fixed a ragu of mushrooms,red peppers, and zucchini, and plain green beans for your dad.

Serves 3-4

2 cornish game hens, cut in half lengthwise
3 fat cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1/2 onion, cut in quarters
1 lemon, rind & juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Place hens in a plastic ziplock bag and add all remaining ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 and dump hens & all the marinade into a roasting pan. Arrange hens skin side up. Roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Pea Soup from Michael Chiarello (food network)

This may be my Easter soup. It sounds great, but I would use frozen tiny peas.  I have rarely been able to find fresh peas that weren't old and starchy.  Frozen peas are reliably delicious and -- no shelling-- much less work.


* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 clove garlic, lightly crushed
* 1 1/2 cups sliced leek, white and pale green parts only
* 3/4 cup diced celery
* 2 1/4 cups chicken stock mixed with 2 1/4 cups water
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 4 1/2 cups shelled English peas (about 4 1/2 pounds unshelled)
* 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
* 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
* 1/8 teaspoon powdered ascorbic acid (1 tablet vitamin C crushed)
* Sea salt, preferably gray salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* Creme fraiche, basil oil, finely sliced fresh chives, or prosciutto bits, optional


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Add the garlic and let it sizzle for about 1 minute, then add the sliced white and pale green parts of the leek and celery. Stir often while cooking until the vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. Do not let them color. Then pour the diluted stock into the saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Add the cream to the vegetable mixture and bring to a simmer. Add the peas and return to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the peas are just tender, about 8 minutes. Add the parsley and thyme and simmer for 1 minute longer, then remove from the heat. Transfer in batches to a blender with the ascorbic acid and puree, adding more of the stock-water mixture as needed to thin the soup to a pleasing consistency. Pour soup into a bowl set in an ice bath and stir until cooled. (we want to cool it down as quickly as possible) Serve soup with optional garnishes.

Chef's Tip: Ascorbic acid helps keep the green color in pureed herbs and vegetables. If you have vitamin C tablets on hand, just crush one with a rolling pin and add it to the mixture in the blender. Note that you'll need a blender to puree the soup. A food processor doesn't make it smooth enough.

Easter Dinner 2009

We're going to have leg of lamb studded with garlic & rosemary, roasted asparagus, and scalloped potatoes. I decided to make a lemon cheesecake for dessert and served it with fresh strawberries and blueberries, as well as a strawberry compote. Great dinner, great wines.


Goat cheese with Lemon and Basil

Leg of Lamb studded with garlic and rosemary

3 Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

Steamed Asparagus

Sister Schubert's Dinner Rolls

Lemon Cheesecake with strawberry compote and fresh berries

Thursday, April 09, 2009

California Chicken Salad from

I haven't tried this yet, but I already know that I'm going to change a few things.
I may try this with left over chicken. I won't cook the corn. It is sweet, delicious, and slightly crunchy when uncooked. I will also substitute grape tomatoes for plum tomatoes. They are so pretty, cut in half, in a salad. Also, I will probably use real bacon because I don't usually keep turkey bacon in the house. Oh, and I think that 2 tbls of mustard is too much. I'll use 1 tbl and see how that tastes.


* 6 tablespoons honey
* 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon rice wine (or apple cider) vinegar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt


* 3 boneless, skinless whole chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/4 teaspoon sweet chili powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* Vegetable oil cooking spray
* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 3 ears of corn, husked
* 1/2 pound asparagus stalks (about 10), ends trimmed, cut into thirds
* 3 plum tomatoes, diced
* 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
* 2 tablespoons pine nuts
* 3 slices turkey bacon, cooked as directed on package, chopped


Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender. Sprinkle chicken with garlic and chili powders, salt and pepper. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet over high heat and add oil. When oil is hot, add chicken. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 6 minutes per side, turning halfway through. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until chicken is no longer pink inside, 2 to 3 minutes. Cool chicken and slice thinly. Boil corn in a medium saucepan 5 minutes; cool, then cut kernels off cob; place in a bowl. Steam asparagus in 1 inch boiling water 3 minutes; drain and cool 1 minute. Add to bowl along with remaining vegetables. Heat a dry pan over medium heat. Add pine nuts. Cook, stirring often, until toasted, about 6 minutes. Place salad on a platter; top with chicken, bacon, pine nuts and dressing.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Orecchiette with Toasted Breadcrumbs

This recipe is from Giada De Laurentis on the Food Network. She used Italian seasoned dried bread crumbs, but I didn't like them very much. Use good French bread bread crumbs and add fresh herbs to your taste.

* 1 pound dried orecchiette or other small shaped pasta
* 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
* 2/3 cup fresh French bread crumbs
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
* 1 cup finely chopped prosciutto
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano and basil

In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water. Cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized saute pan, heat the oil and garlic clove. Remove the garlic when lightly browned. Since the bread crumbs will cook quickly, you don't want to add them into a hot pan, otherwise they can burn. Add the breadcrumbs and stir constantly until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Drain pasta in a colander. Working quickly, add pasta to the saute pan and stir to combine. Add Parmesan and the chopped prosciutto. Mix thoroughly. Pour into large serving bowl and garnish with chopped parsley and fresh herbs.

Chicken Casserole

This recipe came from Sherri Reed. Her husband, Larry, was my boss in Memphis. He is a great guy and a good cook, too. This recipe is straight from the 50's, comfort food. There is no attempt to make it healthy. It's fattening as all get out! This is perfect funeral food--creamy and rich--just the thing to soothe the pain and lull you to sleep.

You probably won't need any salt since you're using canned soup to make the sauce, but taste to be sure. Campbell's has reduced the salt content in many of their products.

1 large chicken, cooked, skinned, boned
2 cans Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup or Cream of Mushroom
8 oz sour cream
pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and pour into greased casserole dish.

1 pkg ritz crackers, crushed
1 stick butter

Spread crackers on top of chicken mixture. Melt butter and pour over top.

Bake at 350 until hot and bubbly--about 45 minutes

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Quick Chicken and Dressing

4-6 servings

3 chicken breasts
2 cans chicken stock

3 cups Pepperidge Farms cornbread stuffing mix.
1 yellow onion,chopped
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped (optional)
2-3 Italian sausages, removed from casings
1 tbl olive oil
2 tsp thyme
3 tsp sage
salt (don't use a lot if you're using canned chicken stock)
black pepper
2 eggs
2-3 cups chicken stock

Bring stock to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Poach chicken breast in simmering chicken stock until barely done. Remove, cool, and chop meat. Reserve chicken stock.

Brown sausage in olive oil and then add chopped veg and ham and saute. Season with some of the herbs & spices. Add to cornbread mix and season with thyme,sage,& pepper. Add stock and taste. Correct seasoning. Add beaten eggs and mix well. This mixture should be really wet. If it's not, add some more stock. Place in greased casserole, and bake covered 30 minutes, uncovered and bake 20 minutes more, at 350 or until browned and bubbling.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mustard Sauce for beef tenderloin or chicken

I made this mustard sauce last night to go with beef tenderloin. It tasted great with the beef, but I think that it would also be good on roasted or grilled chicken. This is quick, easy, and can be made ahead and reheated. If you don't have shallots, substitute a little chopped onion and garlic. If you use dried herbs rather than fresh, reduce the amount by half.

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped finely
3/4 cup white wine or dry vermouth
3 tbl dijon mustard
2 tbl cream
3/4 tsp cornstarch
salt & pepper to taste
dash cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Saute shallot in olive oil in small saucepan. Add white wine and mustard and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes. Dissove cornstarch in cream and add to sauce off heat, stirring. Return to heat and bring back to the boil. Let simmer 3 minutes. Add seasonings and herbs.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Italian Sausage

This sausage sounds delicious. I bet that it would be great sauteed in olive oil with garlic and brocolli rabe or spinach, and then served on pasta.

4 lb.s coursley ground pork
1 tbl ground fennel
2 big bay leaves, crushed
3-4 tbl parsley
5-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers
2 tbl salt
3 tsp black pepper
1 Cup parmesean cheese
3/4 cup red wine

Mix well. Allow to mellow in fridge 1-2 days

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Rockfish Bienville

I don't know where this recipe came from. I haven't tried it, but how could it be bad?--bacon, crabmeat, parmesean cheese. Sounds like heaven to me. I think that it would be best to serve this with plain rice and a green salad like the one with mandarin oranges and red onions.

This would be a nice dish for a dinner party. You could do the shrimp and sauce the day before. I would reheat the sauce and then add the crabmeat and shrimp to it.

6 servings

For shrimp

2 qts cold water
1 bag crab boil seasoning
2 tbl salt
2 tbl fresh lemon juice
3 drops hot pepper sauce
1 lb. medium raw, unshelled shrimp

For sauce:
1/2 lb bacon, chopped
1 1/4 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 cup minced shallot
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup minced parsley
2 tbl salt
2 tbl chopped fresh thyme or 1 tbl dried
1 tbl minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups reserved shrimp stock
1/2 pound fresh lump crabmeat
freshly ground pepper

6 1 to 1 1/4 lb rockfish or red snapper, skinned and filleted

For topping:
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesean, mixed with 1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs

Combine 1st 5 ingredients and bring to a boil in a large stock pot. Add shrimp and cook until just done, about 5 minutes. Drain shrimp, reserving liquid. Cool shrimp, peel, devein, and chop.

Make the roux: Cook bacon in an iron skillet over medium-high heat just until fat is rendered. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and reserve. Add 1 cup butter to bacon fat and melt. Stir in flour and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in 3 cups reserved shrimp liquid and set aside.

Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in iron skillet over medium heat. Add reserved bacon, shallot, celery, parsley, salt, thyme, garlic and 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper and saute 5 minutes. Blend in chopped shrimp and crabmeat. Stir in sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Preheat oven to 425. Pour remaining shrimp liquid into large baking dish. Add filets and back 10 minutes. Drain off liquid. Cover fillets with sauce and sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges and serve immediately.

10 clove beef loin

This is another recipe from Epicurious. It's a good way to bring a lot of flavor to beef loin. Serve this with twice baked potato casserole or risotto.

6 to 8 servings

* 2 pounds beef loin roast at room temperature
* Freshly ground pepper
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 bay leaf
* 10 garlic cloves, peeled
* Sea salt

1. Rub the beef with freshly ground pepper, and place in a heavy-bottomed pot large enough to hold the meat. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the meat and turn the meat over to coat with the oil. Add the bay leaf and garlic cloves and marinate for 15 minutes.

2. Remove the bay leaf. Brown the meat over medium-high heat, turning to brown evenly. This step will take about 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the roast. When the garlic begins to color remove it with a slotted spoon.

3. When the roast is well browned on all sides and ends return the browned garlic to the pot, remove the pot from the heat, and cover. Let the meat rest for 15-20 minutes. The internal temperature will be 140 degrees. Season the pan juices with salt after meat has rested.

4. Cut the meat into thin slices, sprinkle with salt, and serve with the garlic and pan juices.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Country Ham with Brown Sugar Coating

Country ham is delicious, but making it is a labor of love. It isn't hard, but it's time-consuming and multi-step. This recipe makes a delicious ham for a party or a buffet. Remember that country ham is very rich and always somewhat salty. This recipe came from Southern Living Magazine.

Start at least 2 days ahead.

30 servings

1 10-12 lb uncooked country ham
1 64 ounce bottle apple juice
2 tsps ground cloves
2/3 Cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tbls dry sherry, red wine, or cider vinegar

Place ham in a large container. (I like to use an ice chest)Let soak 12 hours and discard water. Return ham to container and cover with fresh water. Let soak 12 hours more. Pour off water and scrub ham with a stiff brush and rinse well.

Place ham in a large cooking container and add apple juice. Add enough hot water to cover ham. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 2 hours or until meat thermometer registers 142 (Make sure thermometer doesn't touch bone or fat.). Let cool in liquid for 3 hours. Remove, cover, and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Trim skin from ham. Place ham, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle fat with ground cloves. Combine brown sugar and sherry and brush over ham. Bake at 425 for 10 to 15 minutes or until coating is golden and crusty (ham will be cool). Slice thinly to serve.

To serve ham warm, bake ham as directed above to brown coating; then cover with foil, reduce heatto 350 and bake 1 hour or until thoroughly heated.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spicy Shrimp with Andouille Sausage on Grits

This is from The Boathouse, an outstanding restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, via I made it last night, and it is delicious, but too rich for my taste. Here's what I will do next time. First, I will cut the cream from the hot pepper sauce. I think that I will try it with evaporated milk or none at all. The dish really needs the acidity to cut through the richness of the other ingredients. Also, instead of fresh tomatoes, I think that canned, diced tomatoes would be nicer because you'll get a little more sauce for the shrimp. I will also make the grits without so much butter.
 Serves 6

* 1/3 cup green hot pepper sauce
* 1/4 cup dry white wine
* 1 shallot, chopped
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
* 1 cup whipping cream

* 5 cups water
* 3 cups whole milk
* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
* 2 cups corn grits*

* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 8 ounces smoked andouille sausage,** sliced
* 1 red bell pepper, chopped
* 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
* 1/2 cup minced onion
* 4 garlic cloves, chopped
* 30 uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
* 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
* 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
* 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning


Combine hot pepper sauce, wine, shallot, lemon juice and vinegar in heavy medium saucepan. Boil over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cream. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Bring 1/2 cup cream, 5 cups water, milk and butter to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Simmer until grits are very soft and thickened, stirring frequently, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add sausage, both bell peppers, onion and garlic; sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add shrimp, tomatoes, Cajun seasoning and Old Bay seasoning and sauté until shrimp are opaque in center, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring hot pepper-cream sauce to simmer. Spoon grits onto 6 plates, dividing equally. Spoon shrimp mixture over grits. Drizzle hot pepper-cream sauce over and serve.

*Corn grits, also known as polenta, are available at Italian markets, natural foods stores and some supermarkets. If unavailable, substitute 2 cups regular yellow cornmeal, and cook about 30 minutes.

**A smoked pork-and-beef sausage available at specialty foods stores. Smoked bratwurst, kielbasa or smoked Hungarian sausage can be substituted.

Roast chicken with pancetta

I made this for dinner last night with roasted potatoes and a salad. It's supposed to have black olives added halfway through the cooking, but your dad doesn't like them, so I left them out. To replace the acid from the olives I added lemon juice at the end.

I have put this in the Quick/Easy category because, although it's not super quick, it
is very easy. Buy a cut-up chicken or a package of chicken thighs and everything else is very simple to do.

Serves 4

1 chickens, cut into 12 pieces (Leave wings attached & cut breasts in 2) or a cut-up chicken from the supermarket
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons chopped thyme
1/2 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1/4-inch-thick) slices pancetta, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of one lemon
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.

Toss chicken with oil, thyme, rosemary, sea salt, red-pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon pepper, rubbing mixture into chicken.

Scatter garlic in large roasting pan. Arrange chicken, skin side up, in 1 layer on top,add pancetta on top and roast until chicken begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Drizzle 1/2 cup wine over chicken and roast until skin is golden brown and chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove chicken, cover & let stand 10 minutes. Deglaze pan with remaining 1/2 cup of wine and add lemon juice. Pour juices over chicken and serve.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Roast Pork with Port Jus and Chipotle-Glazed Apples

Love, love, love this recipe. The original recipe was from The Table Mountain Inn in Colorado, and was published in Bon Appetit. I have changed it to suit my family, but if you want to see the original recipe, go to
For 4

For dry rub:
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 1 1/2-2 pound pork tenderloin

For Sauce:
3 cups ruby Port
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 3/4 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
1 3/4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 fresh thyme sprig
3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Chipotle-glazed Apples

Mix first 4 ingredients and 1/2 cup brown sugar in small bowl.
Rub spice mixture over pork. Place in ziplock back. Let stand 1 hour or refrigerate up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Transfer pork to roasting pan. Reserve juices in plastic bag. Roast pork until thermometer inserted into center registers 140°F., about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine Port, shallots and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Boil until syrupy, about 25 minutes. Add both stocks and thyme. Boil until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 30 minutes. Mix any pan drippings from pork into sauce (do not scrape roasting pan). Add butter; whisk until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut pork into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Divide among 4 plates. Spoon Chipotle-glazed Apples alongside, dividing equally. Spoon sauce over and around pork.

Chipotle-glazed Apples
Yield: Serves 6 as a side-dish

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cans sliced apples, packed in water
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2-1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chilies

Drain apples. Heat 1 tablespoon oil with chipotle chilies in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple slices,cinnamon, and sugar. Cook until coating caramelizes and apple slices are heated through, turning often, about 4 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. .

Chicken Curry

This is Ama B's Chicken Curry. Everyone, except your dad and Miss Debbie, loves it.
This would be a great way to use up leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken. If green pepper gives you heartburn, substitute red or orange pepper. Serve this with rice (Jasmine rice is nice), and a good chutney. Toasted coconut is a nice condiment also.

2 tbs butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbl flour
1-3 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 14 oz can chicken broth
1 unpared green apple, cored, and sliced thin
1/2 medium green pepper, sliced thin
2 cup cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 cup raisins

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add and saute onion and garlic. Blend in flour, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Cook,stirring constantly until bubbly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add chicken broth in a stream, stirring constantly. Add apple and green pepper, return to heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly until thickened and smooth. Reduce heat. Stir in chicken and raisins, and heat through.