Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Crabmeat cocktail

I made this for our Christmas dinner first course. It was simple and delicious.

Serves 9

2 lbs lump crab meat, picked over to remove any bits of shell
1/2 red onion or 4 green onions, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2-3/4 cup mayo (Duke's or Hellmans)
1 heaping tbl dijon mustard
Juice of 1-2 limes, depending on how juicy they are
1 - 2 tsp Luzianne Cajun seasoning

baby lettuce
Sliced grape tomatoes for garnish.

Fold all together gently, using the lower amts of mayo, lime juice, and Luzianne. Add more mayo if it's too dry. Taste and adjust seasonings and  lime juice.

Place some lettuce in martini glasses. Add the crab mixture and garnish with sliced grape tomatoes and chives.

Easy Beef Tenderloin

This is from Ina Garten with a few changes.  She says to roast 20 minutes for rare, but I thought it was too rare. So, i've added 5 minutes. For a party, leave the roast wrapped up and refrigerate before slicing thinly.

1 4-5 lb beef tenderloin, tied up, and brought to room temp.
Olive oil 
Salt, pepper, garlic powder

Remove meat from fridge at least 2 hours before roasting.
Tie up the tenderloin folding the thin end under itself. Try to make the entire piece of meat about the same thickness, rub all over with oil and season heavily with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. 

Preheat oven to 500
Roast 25 minutes for very rare (the thickest part will be very rare, the thinner parts rare); roast 30 minutes for rare.  

Remove from oven, wrap in aluminum foil and let stand 20 minutes. Unwrap, slice, and serve with sour-cream-horseradish-sauce or Mustard sauce 

Salmon in Red Curry

I cooked this last week for Jim, and, miracle of miracles, he actually liked it.  He doesn't like salmon or Thai curry, but he liked this. Go figure! This was very quick and easy, but you could even make the base in advance and just cook the salmon and vegetables the next day.
To serve 4

1 tbl coconut oil or any neutral oil
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch knob of fresh ginger, grated
1 - 2 tbl lemongrass, chopped fine (substitute lime rind if you don't have lemongrass)
1/2 jar of red curry paste, (about 2oz)
1 can coconut milk (i used light)
1-2 tbl fish sauce

1 potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 carrot, peeled and sliced diagonally,
3 baby bok choy, sliced into 1/2" chunks
1 lb skinless salmon, cut into big chunks
(1 fresh chili pepper - sliced)
Juice of 1 lime
Fresh coriander, chopped

Saute the onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass in the oil for a minute.  Add the curry and saute a minute.  Add the coconut milk, lime rind, and fish sauce.  Add the potatoes and cook til almost tender (10-15). Add the carrot and cook another few minutes until almost tender.  Add salmon and bok choy and cook til salmon is done (3-4 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish). Add chili pepper, lime juice, and coriander, and serve with rice.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The best green bean casserole

I saw this on a Thanksgiving cooking show. I'm not sure which one. Everybody, including my anti-vegetable son, adored it. 

If you want to double this recipe, just make another layer of green beans, sauce, and onion rings. 

Preheat oven to 350.
4-6 servings

1 lb fresh green beans
2 cups white sauce (2 tb butter, 1/2 onion, 2 garlic cloves, 2 tbl flour, 1 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup cream)
1 cup or more shredded gruyere
1 cup or more french fried onion rings

Blanch the green beans in boiling, salted water. Drain and refresh in iced water. Drain.

White sauce - melt butter in saucepan. Add onion and garlic and sautee.  Add flour and cook 2 minutes, without browning. Add milk and cream. Bring to a boil, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Place green beans in an ovenproof dish. Add white saice. Add cheese. Top with onions.

Can be made a day or 2 ahead to this point and refrigerated. Pull it out of the fridge an hour before baking or run it in the microwave for a couple of minutes to knock the chill off.

Bake covered 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20-30 minutes, until browned and bubbly.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Autumn arugala salad with pears and figs

I made this last night, and we all loved it! This salad was so amazing and beautiful that I may make it for Thanksgiving. If your pear is not ripe, poach it in white wine and sugar.  All of the prep can be done ahead.

Washed arugala
1 ripe pear, sliced thinly (If not ripe, poach it first)
A big handful of pecan halves toasted in a little butter
Dried figs, rehydrated in port (substitute raisins if you don't have figs)
1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin
4 oz or so of gorgonzola dolce or roquefort
Balsamic vinegrette
Salt and pepper

For ripe pears - if your pear is ripe just core and slice. Then, toss with lemon juice. You can leave the peel on or not. Don't slice the pear too early or it will discolor. Wait til an hour or so before serving.

For unripe pears, peel and simmer in 1 cup white wine, 1 cup water, and 1 cup sugar, a couple of pieces of lemon rind, and juice of half a lemon. Cook until knife goes through the pear with just a little resistence, about 20 minutes, depending on the size and ripeness of the pear. Core and slice and toss with a little lemon juice. If you are doing this more than a few hours ahead, store the pears covered in the poaching liquid. So, they won't discolor. If you're not poaching the pear, don't slice it until 

For pecans - melt a tbl of butter in a skillet with the pecans. Add salt, pepper, a little cayenne, and a couple of pinches of sugar. Be generous with the salt. Cook on medium heat until brown and delicious. 

For figs - slice figs in halves or quarters, depending on the size. Be sure to remove any hard stem. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and pour in enough port to cover. If you don't have port you could use sherry or wine or just water. Cover with plastic wrap or a plate and microwave for 60 seconds. Let stand til cool. Unwrap and stir. Repeat, adding more port if necessary, until figs are soft.

Balsamic vinegrette
1 tbl dijon
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh ground Black pepper 
1/4 cup balsamic vinegrette
1-3 tbl of port from figs, optional
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbl lemon juice if needed

Mix all together. Taste. If you like a more piquant dressing, add some lemon juice 

To assemble the salad - toss the arugala with some of the dressing and salt and pepper. Place some on each plate. Toss the pears in a little dressing and place on top of arugala. Add the onion, drained figs, pecans, and cheese to each salad. Serve immediately.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Chicken Paprika

This was my Southern girl attempt to make something approximating chicken paprika for a dear friend from Ohio. He and is wife loved it. So, I am declaring it a success. I thought that it was delicious myself.

1 cut-up chicken
2 tbl butter
1 tbl olive oil
3 tbl flour
1 onion , sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 
1 tbl sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
1 can low sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine or dry vermouth
1 pkg Goya chicken stock (caldo de pollo en polvo)
1 tbl tomato paste
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp dry thyme
1-2 bay leaves
Salt & pepper
1-2 tbl balsamic vinegar

Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika, and saute them in 1 tbl butter and 1 tbl olive oil until brown on both sides. Remove and add onion, garlic, the rest of the butter, and the paprikas. Sautee until onion is translucent. Add flour and saute 2 minutes more.  Add chicken stock and wine, stirring. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until thick.  Add tomato paste, Goya chicken stock, chicken pieces, bay leaves, and thyme. Cover and let simmer til done-30 minutes or so.  Taste and correct seasoning, adding more paprika if needed. Add balsamic vinegar. Turn heat down to low and add sour cream. Serve with thick German noodles. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Raspberry buttermilk cake


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 ounces)


Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well. 

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. 

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Roasted Broccoli

Sounds delish!
  1. 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  2. 3 tbsp olive oil
  3. 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 tsp pepper
  6. 1 tsp lemon juice
  7. Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with olive oil, salt, black pepper and garlic. Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Bake until florets are tender enough to pierce with a fork and the edges are browning, about 15 minutes. Turn once halfway through the baking process and add red pepper flakes, if using. After baking, squeeze lemon juice liberally over the broccoli before serving.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fig Ice Cream

This recipe from David Leibovitz makes the most delicious ice cream! I had 2 pounds of fresh figs and made this for dessert last night. It was amazing.

  • 2 pounds (1 kg) fresh figs (about 20)
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) water
  • 1 lemon, preferably unsprayed
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
  • 1tbl Marsala wine (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
  • Remove the hard stem ends from the figs, then cut each fig into 8 pieces. Put the figs in a medium, nonreactive saucepan with the water, and zest the lemon directly into the saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the figs are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  • Remove the lid, add the sugar, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the figs are a jamlike consistency. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, purée the fig paste in a blender or food processor with the cream, Marsala, and lemon juice. Taste, then add more lemon juice if desired.
  • Chill mixture and process in ice cream maker. If you don't have an ice cream maker, freeze for an hour and then beat with an electric mixer. Repeat twice more.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Porchetta style pork butt

I made this recipe tonight for friends, and it was fantastic! I served it with mashed potatoes and ratatouille, and everybody loved it. I did not start the day ahead, and it was still delicious. This is a keeper!
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 5 1/2- to 6-pound boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), excess fat trimmed with thin layer left intact
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth


Stir fennel seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until slightly darker in color and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer seeds to spice mill and cool. Add kosher salt, peppercorns, and dried crushed red pepper. Grind to medium-fine consistency (not powder).
Place pork in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Rub garlic all over pork, then coat with spice mixture. Loosely cover pork with waxed paper. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush large rimmed baking sheet with oil. Place roast, fat side up and coating intact, in center of sheet. Drizzle evenly with 2 tablespoons oil. Roast pork 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Roast pork until very tender and thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 190°F, about 3 hours 15 minutes longer. Transfer pork to cutting board; reserve baking sheet. Let pork rest 15 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour all pan juices into 2-cup measuring cup. Spoon off fat that rises to top. Place reserved baking sheet across 2 burners. Pour wine and broth onto baking sheet and bring to boil over medium-high heat, scraping up any browned bits. Boil until wine mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 4 minutes. Add degreased pan juices and whisk to blend. Pour pan sauce into small bowl (sauce will be thin).
Thinly slice roast. Serve with sauce.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Flank steak with grilled corn salsa

Another Bon Appetit recipe. Sounds like a winner for summer grilling!SERVINGS: 4 

Dry Rub

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon English mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

Steak And Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grill
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  •  cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  •  pounds flank steak
  • Dry Rub

    • Combine brown sugar, chile powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, granulated garlic, mustard powder, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl.

    Steak And Salsa

    • Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; oil grate. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until lightly browned all over, 8–10 minutes; let cool. Cut kernels from cobs and place in a medium bowl. Add onion, jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice to 
corn and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Set salsa aside.
    • Meanwhile, coat steak with all of dry rub, packing on more than once if needed, and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil to help rub adhere. Grill steak, turning occasionally and moving to a cooler spot on grill as needed to control flare-ups, until nicely browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 130°, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. 

    • Return steak to grill just to recrisp exterior, about 1 minute per side. Transfer back to cutting board and slice against the grain. Serve topped with salsa.

Papardelle with pork sugo and hazelnuts

Saw this on Bon Appetit and thought it sounded delish.

  • 5 large plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 7 garlic cloves, 1 finely grated, 6 left whole
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup blanched hazelnuts
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), fat trimmed, cut into 8 pieces
  • 4 large shallots, quartered
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 sprigs oregano, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
  • 5 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 ounces Grana Padano cheese, finely grated, plus shaved for serving
  • 1 pound fresh or dried pappardelle
  • Preheat oven to 425°. Toss tomatoes, grated garlic, and 1 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange tomatoes, skin side down, in a single layer; season with salt and pepper. Roast until browned around the edges, about 25 minutes. Set aside. 

  • Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Toast hazelnuts on another baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop. 

  • Reduce oven temperature to 275°. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium-high. Cook pork in batches, turning occasionally, until brown, 8–10 minutes; transfer to a platter. 

  • Add shallots and whole garlic cloves to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits; bring to a boil and cook until wine is reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Return pork to pot and add milk, broth, and reserved tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Tie oregano and thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine; add to pot. Cover and transfer to oven. Braise meat until very tender, 2–2½ hours. 

  • Remove from oven; discard herbs and use a potato masher or pair of forks to shred pork and mash vegetables into medium-size pieces. Gradually add butter and grated cheese, stirring as you go to fully incorporate into sugo. 

  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, transfer to a platter, and toss with half of sugo. Serve topped with hazelnuts, chopped oregano and thyme, and more Grana Padano.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


2 cups flour
1 tbl baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 tbl Crisco
3/4 cup buttermilk

Mis dry ingredients together with fork or whisk. Cut in Crisco with fingertips. If you don't know how, use 2 knives or a pastry blender. Add the buttermilk and mix together with your fingers. (I spread my fingers apart. So it's sort of like using a large fork.) Knead the dough for about 1 minute. Cover a refrigerate for 20 minutes. Turn out onto a well floured cloth (I use an old, but clean pillow case). Flour the top of the dough, and with your fingertips, pat the dough into the desired thickness (about an inch).
Cut the biscuits and place on the baking sheet. You may reform the scraps and cut more biscuits. 

Bake at 450 for 10-12. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fried chicken

I don't make fried chicken a lot cause it's such a mess frying inside. Last night, Jim had the brilliant idea of frying it on the side burner of our outdoor grill. Brilliant! All the smell and grease were left outside, and my kitchen remained perfectly clean. I'm never frying inside again.

Serves 4-5

Large skillet with lid (i used my biggest iron skillet and a lid from anoth skillet), 10"-11"
Deep fat frying thermometer
1 fryer chicken, cut up (preferably kosher)
Salt, pepper

About an hour before you're ready to fry, remove chicken from fridge. If the breasts are big cut them in half. Cut off the wing tips. (You can use these and the back to make a nice stock.) Pat dry and salt and pepper. Let stand to come to room temp. Add salt and pepper to your flour and flour the chicken. (I do all this is a big stainless steel bowl) 

Add enough crisco so it's about 3/4" deep. I used about 3/4 of a 1 lb can of crisco. Bring the crisco to 360 over high heat. Add the chicken, dark meat first. Reduce heat to medium high and let fry 5 minutes. Cover and cook 5 more minutes. Uncover, turn chicken. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover  and cook 5 minutes, raising heat to high if you want the chicken browner. Remove chicken, white meat first, and drain on paper towels. Do not cover! The chicken will stay hot while you make gravy. 


Pour off all but 2 tbl grease from the pan, but leave all the crispy bits. Add 3 tbl flour and brown.  Add 1 cup flavorful chicken stock, preferably what you made from the backs and wing tips of your chicken,
1/2 cup milk. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Carrot cake from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

I made this for my friend, Kathleen's, birthday. It makes a delicious, 2 layer cake. There's a good bit of prep involved in this cake, but if you plan for it, you can do it ahead. I made the cake a day early and kept it refrigerated. It kept beautifully, but let it come back to room temp before serving.

Preheat oven to 325

2 cups AP flour (I use White Lily)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dry ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup vegetable oil (i like canola)
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs at room temp
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups lightly packed grated carrots
1-8 oz can crushed pineapple in its own juice, with juice 
1 cup chopped toasted pecans + 1 cup more for garnish (garnish is optional)
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

-Toast and chop pecans-place on a baking sheet in a 350 oven for 15 minutes. Then chop. I use my food processor and chop them fairly fine. That way your cake will slice nicely. If you want more texture, chop more coursely.

-Grate carrots

-Sift dry ingredients

Grease and flour or spray with Baker's Secret 2-9 x2 round cake pans and line bottoms with wax or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, on medium speed beat together the oil and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until thick and light, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating until well incorporated. Stir in carrots, pineapple with its juice, pecans, and coconut. Divide the batter between the pans and bake 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on rack for 1 hour. Remove from pans and let cool on rack.

When cool, ice with cream cheese frosting and garnish with pecans. Refrigerate, but allow to come up to room temp before serving.

Cream cheese icing
Have all ingredients at room temp
6 tbl butter
2-8 oz packages cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
5 cups confectioners sugar

Beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla, beating well. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time beating continuously until smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately. If you leave it in the fridge more than an hour or 2 you may need to beat it again.

if desired, with 1 cup chopped toasted pecans. Hold the iced cake in 1 hand over a large shallow pan and press handfuls of the nuts onto the side of the cake, rotating the cake and letting excess pecans fall onto the pan. You can then scoop up and reuse the excess pecans.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Oven Baked "barbequed" Spareribs

This is a super easy and delicious family meal. The ribs aren't really barbequed or even grilled outside, but if you want a dish that takes less than 5 minutes to prep, this is it! I always have the John Wills dry rub mixed up, but a commercial blend would be just fine.

Preheat oven to 280
Serves 3-4

1 rack of ribs, I like St Louis cut
John Will's dry rub or a commercial blend like Jack Daniel's or Corky's
Sticky Fingers Memphis Style Barbeque sauce or any kind you like

Cut ribs into serving (3-5 rib) portions. Place in a baking pan and season generously (a really good coating) with dry rub. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 3 hours. Remove aluminum foil and pour barbeque sauce over ribs. Raise oven heat to 375 and bake 15-20 minutes until ribs are glazed.
Serve with baked beans and cole slaw.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Snapper Treasure Cay with Creole rice and sauteed peppers

I made this while we were in the Bahamas with some dear friends. I used fresh red snapper that we bought from a local fisherman. This may be one of the best things I've ever made! I loved the combination of the fish in escabeche with the zucchini and peppers.

Serves 4

2-3 garlic cloves, minced fine
Juice of 2 limes
Extra virgin olive oil, 3-4 times the juice
3-4 tbl capers
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Pinch of Red pepper flakes
Big handful chopped parsley and/or cilantro

Fish filets
Salt and pepper
Olive oil 

A few hours ahead, mix all ingredients for escabeche.

Salt and pepper the fish filets
Heat a large, preferably nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add 3-4 tbl olive oil and saute the fish filets. Brown them on one side until almost cooked through. Turn on the other side and cook for a minute more.  Pour the escabeche over and place in a 180 oven for 5 minutes.

Creole Rice
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup ham, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced fine
1 Tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1 bay leaf
Salt, pepper
1/4 cup salsa or Rotel
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
1 cup rice

In a sauce pan saute ham, onion, garlic in olive oil. Add paprika and cumin and rice, sauteing. You can make ahead up to this point. Add salsa, stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

Zucchini and peppers
Olive oil
1 onion, sliced into half moons
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 red pepper, sliced into sticks
1 orange or yellow pepper, sliced into sticks
1 large zucchinni, sliced into sticks approximately the same size as the peppers.
1 tomato, sliced
1 tbl red wine vinegar
Handful of kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
Salt, pepper
Fresh thyme

Saute onion, with a little salt til translucent. Add zucchini and saute, adding salt and pepper. When you have a little color on the zucchini, add peppers and saute until almost done. Add tomatoes and fresh thyme. Correct seasonings, add vinegar, cooking another minute. Stir in olives.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Kathy's Shrimp and Grits

I made this Friday night for dinner. I wanted a fresher, lighter take on traditional shrimp and grits. The versions that I have eaten in restaurants always seem to go overboard with cream and butter. Not that there's anything wrong with cream and butter, I just wanted a less heavy dish.

Serves 4 

1-2 tbl olive oil
6 tbl country ham, chopped (I used Benton's, but you could sub prosciutto or bacon)
1 red onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2-1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped (I didn't use this cause Jim doesn't like it.)
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp thyme

2 lbs cleaned, deveined shrimp seasoned with Emerils Essense or Cajun spice and salt
1 tbl flour
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 large tomato, chopped

2 green onions, chopped
Corn cut off 1 cob
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbl hot sauce

In a large skillet saute the country ham, onion, celery, pepper and garlic with thyme and some black pepper.  Meanwhile, dry the shrimp and season liberally with emeril's essence, salt, and flour.  Add shrimp to the pan, sauteing until almost done.  Add wine and tomato and cook until sauce is thickened. Add a little water if too thick and season with black pepper.  Add green onions, corn, hot sauce, and lemon and cook another minute until everything is hot. Taste and correct salt and pepper.
Serve over grits.


Follow the package directions for 1 cup of grits, substituting chicken stock for water. Add a tbl of butter too. For creamier grits add an additional 1-2 tbl of cream cheese to the cooked grits. Season well with salt and black pepper.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Guacamole salsa

This is a delicious green salsa that you can use for tacos, tostadas, or a dip. It's quick and easy if you use a good bottled salsa verde.

1 avocado, peeled 
1 thick slice of red onion
1 serrano chile
2-4 tbl cilantro, I just pull off a handful
Juice from 1/2 - 1 lime
1 tsp orange juice 
Bottled green salsa.
Salt and pepper to taste

If you are worried about heat, de-seed the serrano chile. Put everything but the salsa in your stick blender container.  I puree everything with my stick blender, but you could use a regular blender or food processor too.  Lacking any of this equipment, mash the avocado with a fork and chop everything by hand. Add enough green salsa to make it a sauce and season to taste.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Spring vegetable and goat cheese dip from Bon Appetit

  • 1 cup 3/4-inch pieces asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped leeks (white and pale-green parts only)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup grated mild white cheddar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 14-ounce can chopped artichoke hearts in water, drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) peas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese, divided
  • Preheat oven to 450°. Cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; let cool.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 10 minutes. Whisk in flour; gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened; remove from heat. Add cheddar; whisk until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fold in asparagus (reserve tips), artichoke hearts, peas, chives, mint, flat-leaf parsley, zest and 2 oz. crumbled fresh goat cheese.
  • Transfer mixture to a 4–5-cup baking dish; arrange asparagus tips on top and dot with another 2 oz. goat cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 15–20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Roasted beets

I fixed these tonight to go with roast chicken and rice pilaf--awesome!

Serves 3-4
6 beets
1 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the tops and the roots of the beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler. Halve or quarter beets, depending on size. (Try to keep them all roughly the same size.

Line a cookie sheet with Release aluminum foil. Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice with a spatula, until the beets are tender. Remove from the oven and immediately toss with the vinegar. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed and serve warm.

Quick "Porchetta" from Bon Appetit

I made this last night, and it was a hit--very good for such a quick and easy recipe. Next time I'll make a little pan sauce by deglazing the pan with some white wine and chicken stock.

  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped; plus 2 heads, halved crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 4 sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, coarsely chopped
  •  teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1½-lb. pork tenderloin
  • 4 slices bacon
  • Preheat oven to 425°. Toss chopped garlic, chopped rosemary, fennel seeds, salt, and 1 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl; season with pepper.
  • Rub garlic mixture all over tenderloin (if you have time to do this in the morning, great; refrigerate pork until dinner). Scatter rosemary sprigs in a large baking dish and set tenderloin on top. Wrap bacon slices around tenderloin, tucking ends underneath so bacon stays put. Nestle halved heads of garlic around tenderloin and drizzle everything with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil.
  • Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of tenderloin registers 145° for medium, 40–45 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hank's Award-winning Chili

Double recipe (Serves 12)

In large stock pot, brown meat, spoon out with slotted spoon, drain grease, and set meat aside(Note: With double recipe, everything won’t all fit in our large crock pot, so had to user large stock pot):


Tbsp olive oil


Lb ground beef (lean) or beef chuck roast cut in ½” cubes


Lb bulk Italian sausage or pork shoulder cut in ½” cubes

In stock pot, sauté until softened, ~8 minutes:


Tbsp olive oil


Large yellow onions, chopped


Medium carrots, sliced into rounds


Stalks of celery, chopped


Red bell pepper, chopped


Green bell pepper, chopped


Medium cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled (no need to chop)


Cup pickled jalapenos, chopped

Add spices to veggies, stir in and sauté until fragrant, then return meat to pot and mix everything:


Tbsp chili powder


Tbsp paprika


Tsp ground chipotle powder or 1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo


Tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)


Tbsp dried oregano


Tbsp ground cumin


Tsp dried basil

Tsp salt (adjust to taste)


Tsp black pepper (adjust to taste)

Add to pot and stir in:


14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes (plain or fire roasted or mixed)


14.5 oz cans tomato sauce


Small can tomato paste (if needed to thicken)


Cups beef broth


Tbsp Worcestershire sauce


Tbsp apple cider vinegar (skip if Kalua and Bourbon added)


Tbsp of Kalua (optional)


Tbsp Bourbon (optional)


Tsp hot pepper sauce (e.g., Tabasco or Frank’s)


Cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed


Can chili beans in sauce or pinto beans drained



Cook 3 hours in large pot, or in crock pot cook 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Serve with Fritos, chopped tomatoes, chopped scallions, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce (e.g., Tabasco), if desired.