Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Cuban Styled Pork Chops with Black Beans over Yellow Rice

Sometimes I begin my meal planning with the protein or main entree and then work out what the sides are going to be. This time, I knew I wanted to cook some of the black beans from Sweet Harold's garden. I started with a recipe search and found one that sounded what my taste buds were searching for and then filled out the remainder of the meal. 

We'll start with the pork chops. A quick google search turned up many Cuban pork chop recipes, but after reading through a few, this one from Emeril seemed to be exactly what I needed.

Splash of white vinegar
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
zest 1 orange
zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
4 bone-in pork chops

In a shallow baking dish, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, orange juice, orange zest, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, onion, red pepper, herbs and cumin. Drizzle in about 1/4 cup of oil. Then in the same dish, lay the pork chops so that they are completely flat, turning to coat in the marinade. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Heat remaining oil on medium high in a large sauté pan until almost smoking. Place the pork chops in the pan, one at a time, cooking until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook on other side for an additional 3-4 minutes.  emove the pork chops to a plate and cover with foil. Then, in the same pan over medium heat, pour in the reserved marinade and let simmer 2-3 minutes. Slide the pork back into the pan and continue to cook another minute or so. After plating, spoon some of the onions and gravy over the top. 

Now on to those yummy black beans. A few years ago, I talked Sweet Harold into planting a row of black beans in our garden. They were super easy to grow, loved the heat of Alabama and in particular the soil of my grandmother's garden spot and we were good to go. We enjoyed those so much it wasn't that difficult to convince him to plant a few more rows this year. 

Here's the Cooks.com version of Frijoles Negros or Cuban Black Beans
1 lb. dried black beans
2 qts. water
2/3 c. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
6 sweet chili or ancho peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
2 tsp. powdered chicken or ham bouillon
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. whole dried oregano, crushed
2 tbsp. sugar
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. dry wine
1 1/2 tbsp. vinegar

Pick over beans, discarding any shriveled, broken beans and foreign particles. Wash well and soak overnight in sufficient water to cover plus an additional 2 inches. The next day, drain beans; rinse in fresh running water and drain again. Discard any beans that float to top or are split.

Place in large pot of water. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 2/3 cups olive oil and gently sauté garlic, onions, and chili peppers for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you have pork, bacon, salt pork or ham (even leftovers or a ham bone), you can chop it up and sauté it in the oil for added flavor, (or in the case of a bone, add it to the soup) but this is optional.

Add 1 cup of drained cooked black beans and mash together with the rest of the ingredients in skillet.

Add this mixture to the pot with 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, sugar, bouillon, and bay leaves.

Cover and simmer 1 hour on medium heat. Add wine and vinegar, cover, and cook over low heat for another 30 minutes. Uncover and cook until sauce thickens as desired; add more water if required.

Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cheesy Ham Biscuit Pull Aparts

DISCLAIMER:  Before I began watermarking my photos, this recipe went around the world it seems.
If you come across the recipe on Facebook or any other recipe sharing site and it doesn't have my watermark on it, please don't share it.  Some of the recipes have added up to FIVE eggs.  Then I  receive a lot of responses from people who were not happy with the result.  I WILL NEVER POST A RECIPE ON MY BLOG THAT I HAVE NOT COOKED, HELPED TO COOK OR TASTED MYSELF.   Please help me stop the "bootlegged" versions of my picture and recipe.

Now, on to the fun!

A few weeks ago I made the Bacon version of this dish.  Today I had some cubed ham and Mexican cheese and decided we'd try that instead of bacon/cheddar.  It worked out very nicely.

Here's the edited version:
1 egg
2 T. milk
1 (16.3 oz) Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers Biscuits (I used the buttery flavor)
3/4 cup diced ham pieces
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
3 oz. (3/4 cup) finely shredded Mexican-styled cheese
1/2 t. granulated garlic

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 11 x 7 or 12 x 8 glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat egg and milk with a wire whisk until smooth.

Separate dough into individual biscuits and cut each biscuit into quarters. Gently stir biscuit pieces into egg mixture to coat evenly. Fold in ham, cheese, onions and granulated garlic. Spoon mixture into prepared dish, arrange biscuit pieces in a single layer.

Baked at 350 for 23 - 25 minutes or until golden brown. You can either cut into squares or just pull apart and serve.

adapted from www.pillsbury.com

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Eggs Benedict with packaged Hollandaise Sauce

I love to have the lazy Saturday mornings when I don't have a million things to do.  This morning I decided I'd attempt Eggs Benedict.  This recipe came from http://www.finedinings.com/ .  She gave a short cut to this dish by using a packaged hollandaise sauce which was fine with me.  When you want to add a little something extra to your weekend or special occasion breakfast, I think you'd be very happy with serving this version.

1 package Knorr Hollandaise Sauce mix
1 cup milk
1/4 cups butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 English muffin halved horizontally
1 teaspoon butter, softened
2 slices Canadian bacon
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vinegar
snipped fresh chives for garnish

Prepare Knorr hollandaise sauce mix from package according to instructions with 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup butter and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice.

Toast English muffin slices under the broiler 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from broiler, spread with 1 teaspoon butter.  Saute Canadian bacon in skillet over medium high heat until browned.

While the English muffins and Canadian bacon are cooking, fill a medium sized saucepan with approximately 3 inches water, add the vinegar, bring to a gentle simmer.  Crack eggs individually into a cup, carefully slide each one separately into the hot water.  Poach for approximately 3 minutes.  Immediately remove them with a slotted spoon blotting on a towel to remove any excess water.

To serve place a toasted English muffin on each plate, top with a browned Canadian bacon slice then a poached egg.  Spoon Hollandaise sauce over, sprinkle with the chopped chives and serve this elegant Benedict breakfast entree.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce

Today is the first day of Fall. Of course, Mother Nature is laughing at us here in the South with highs still in the 90's. But before long we'll wake up to those crystal clear mornings and realize the humidity has disappeared! Here's a good recipe to get you in the mood for Fall 2010. If you've never prepared a spaghetti squash, it's time to try one. The texture of the squash is somewhat different than pasta of course, but if you're one of the many who are embracing "Meatless Mondays" or are trying to incorporate more veggies into your diet, you'll like this one.

1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Wash the squash and halve. Scoop out the seeds, etc. and place cut side down in a microwave safe dish. Add about 1/2 inch water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 12 minutes. Let sit for about 5 minutes and then gently "fork" the strands out separating them as you go.

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until softened and beginning to brown. Add tomatoes and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon over prepared squash. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ziti with Roasted Zucchini

Nothing fancy with this recipe. Simple rustic pasta with roasted vegetables. And basil. We all know my love affair with basil so I won't bore you with those details again. This recipe from Bon Appetit October 2010 is the perfect marriage of roasted zucchini, shallots and garlic with al dente pasta. Sweet Harold declared this one a "keeper" after one bite.

2 lbs. medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
12 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thinly lengthwise
8 large shallots, halved, thinly sliced
6 T. olive oil, divided
1/2 t. dried crushed red pepper flakes
16 oz. box ziti or penne, cooked drained, 3/4 cup cooking liquid reserved
1 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
3/4 cup grated Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss zucchini, garlic, shallots, 5 T. olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Spread on two large rimmed baking sheets; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until tender turning occasionally about 30 - 35 minutes.

Toss cooked pasta in a large bowl with 1 T. olive oil. Add roasted vegetables, 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid. Add 3/4 cup basil and cheese. Toss, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoons to moisten if dry. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to a large platter. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Southwestern Chicken & Corn Chowder

What exactly makes a chowder a chowder, and not just a soup or a stew?  Chowders originally contained some seafood, but today the definition of chowder has grown to include any number of proteins (such as chicken) and either potatoes or corn. I went with both for this recipe because truthfully I couldn't choose between them. 

2 T. olive oil
2 T. butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 small jalapenos, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt to taste
8 cups chicken broth
3 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
6 ears of corn, cut from cob
1 can Rotel tomatoes (your choice on which flavor)
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. poultry seasoning
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 rotisserie chicken (remove breast meat and shred -- reserve remaining chicken for another recipe or for a great snack)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat olive oil and butter in a 5 quart Dutch oven. Add onions and peppers and let cook until softened, about 5 minutes and then add a little salt. Stir well and then garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. 

Next the potatoes, corn and Rotel tomatoes join the group in the soup pot. Keep the chowder at a low boil. Add the seasonings and taste and adjust accordingly. 

When potatoes are tender, remove 2 cups of the chowder to a blender or a large bowl. Puree the chowder until smooth in either the blender or with an immersion blender. Pour the puree back into the pot.

Add shredded chicken and cream and stir gently. Let the chicken and cream heat through without boiling. Ladle the chowder into serving bowls. Top with shredded Mexican styled cheese or sliced green onions if desired.

Usually I can think of a way to tweak a recipe a little...especially one I came up with on my own. This one (for me anyway) was perfect.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Muffuletta Sliders with Balsamic Basil Tomato Salad

Before we get to the recipe and picture, here's a quick muffuletta lesson from a nice Google search:

The muffuletta sandwich had its origins at Central Grocery, in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  A traditional muffuletta consists of one muffuletta loaf, split horizontally.  The loaf is then covered with a marinated olive salad, then layers of capicola, salami, mortadella, emmentaler, and provolone. The sandwich is sometimes heated through to soften the provolone.  The size of the muffuletta is enough to feed more than one person, and many stores sell quarter or half-muffulettas.

The olive salad consists primarily of olives, along with celery, cauliflower and carrot. The ingredients are combined, seasonings are added, covered in olive oil and allowed to combine for at least 24 hours.  Prepared olive salad for muffulettas can also be bought by the jar.

These recipes come from the October 2010 Issue of Louisiana Cookin'.  Perfect Alabama football halftime meal on this beautiful afternoon!

3 pounds ground chuck
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 store bought slider mini-buns
12 slices provolone cheese, cut in quarters
1 bottle or jar of your favorite olive salad mix

Prepare a grill for indirect grilling.
In a medium bowl, season ground chuck with salt and pepper and form into 12 small patties.  Grill to desired doneness, turning once on each side, 4 minutes per side for medium.

Grill buns.  On bottom half of each bun, place a little olive salad, top with burger, followed by provolone cheese, more olive salad and then top half of bun.  Serve immediately.

Balsamic Basil Tomato Salad
6 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 large red onion, julinned
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 T. salt
1/2 T. freshly ground black pepper

Slice tomatoes and onion; add to zip lock bag.  Pour in vinegar, basil, salt and pepper.  Let marinate in bag while burgers are grilling.  Serve with the sliders.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Crabmeat Burgers with Purple Cabbage Slaw

Burgers aren't just made from Ground Chuck! Consider experimenting with all sorts of new burger ingredients. You'll be surprised how many you can come up with once you start thinking. Try this one if you're ready to think "outside the ground chuck bun."

1 pound crabmeat, pick through carefully for shell pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced chives
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco, or to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Lightly mix crab, egg, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, chives, mustard, lemon juice, celery seed, Old Bay, pepper and hot sauce in a large bowl. Form into 6 patties. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Heat oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the butter stops foaming. Cook the patties until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.

Serve with tartar sauce and sliced red onion.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Provencale de Crevette - Shrimp Provencale

This is just one of those recipes that is just a joy to make. You've had a stressful day, everybody in the house is ill, tired and cranky. You begin to saute the shrimp and then add the pepper, onions and garlic. The aroma of those aromatics begin to drift through the house. You feel the stress beginning to slip away and the tension is leaving your shoulders......by the time you get the shrimp cooked through and the basil (one of heaven's true gifts to us mere mortals) added, you will have forgotten all about that lousy day.  Enjoy!

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined
2 cups red peppers, diced
1 cup chopped onion
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (14.5 ounce) can canned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly saute shrimp until they turn pink, but are not cooked through; remove from skillet and set aside. Add the bell peppers, onion, garlic, fennel seeds, and thyme; cook until the onion softens, about 8 minutes.

Stir in white wine, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the flavors blend, about 10 minutes. Add the shrimp, and simmer until they are cooked and turn opaque, about 3 minutes. Stir in the basil, and season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ooey Gooey Butter Pumpkin Cake

Now before the National Cardiologist Association boycotts the Fleur de Lolly blog, I'll post a disclaimer:

This is not a cake to be eaten every day or even every week. This is "a special occasion, I'll treat myself to just a little piece" cake!

1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Velvet Chicken and Corn Soup

This soup has my favorite three components:  it comes together quickly, it's easy and has lots of flavor. Although the recipe instructs to mince the chicken in a food processor, you could easily use purchased ground chicken.

3 oz. boneless/skinless chicken breast (minced in a food processor)
1/3 cup water chestnuts
4 cups chicken stock
2 14-oz. cans cream styled corn
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/4 cup thawed baby green peas
2 large egg whites
1 scallion, green and white parts, trimmed & minced

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan, over high heat. Add the chicken and water chestnuts and stir until the chicken turns white, about 10 seconds. Drain the chicken and water chestnuts in a large, fine-mesh strainer.

In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the creamed corn, salt and sugar, and stir until well blended. Return to a boil.

Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water in a small bowl. Beat the egg whites in a small bowl until foamy. Add the chicken and water chestnuts to the stock. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook until the soup thickens slightly, about 10 seconds. Stirring constantly, drizzle the egg white into the soup, so that the egg white turns into strands. Add the peas. Season with more salt, if desired. Garnish with the scallion and serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shrimp Étouffée

This is one of my all time favorite recipes from my New Orleans recipe collection.  It's a good one to try on a lazy Saturday afternoon before watching hours of SEC football.  Let me know if you give it a try!

1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup peanut oil
4 celery ribs, finely chopped
4 large onions, finely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
4 T. chopped fresh garlic
2 bay leaves
1/2 t. dried thyme
3 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
3 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 lbs. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
salt and black pepper
Basmati Rice, cooked
6 green onions, chopped

Make a roux by combining the butter, flour and oil in a heavy Dutch oven and cooking over low heat until a dark caramel color, about 15 - 18 minutes.  Add all vegetables except the scallions and cook until soft, about 5 - 7 minutes.  Add the bay leaves, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper.  Slowly pour in the stock, whisking to incorporate it into the roux.

Cook over low heat for about an hour, until no flour taste remains.  Add the shrimp and cream.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook 5 more minutes and serve over steamed rice.  Garnish with chopped green onions.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cheesecake

During June 2009, we took a road trip and without planning it, somehow ended up at the Hershey Factory. Oh boy, was THAT a fun afternoon! Sweet Harold bought me a set of cookbooks which has all sorts of marvelous goodies. I made this one for our son-in-law's birthday because A) he loves cheesecake and B) he adores peanut butter. 

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup plus 1 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 t. vanilla extract
3 cartons (8 oz. each) dairy sour cream
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 3/4 cup (11 oz. package) Reese's Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Chips, divided
1 t. shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa and melted butter in medium bowl. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and about 1 1/2 inches up side of 9 inch spring form pan. Bake 8 minutes, remove from oven. Cool slightly.

Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese, remaining 1 cup sugar and vanilla on medium speed of mixer until well blended. Add sour cream and beat on low speed until blended. Add eggs, beat on low speed just until blended. Do not overbeat.

Pour 2 cups filling into prepared crust. Reserve 1/4 cup chips for drizzle.  Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups chips evenly over filling in pan. Carefully spoon remaining filling over chips.

Bake about 1 hour or until center is almost set. Remove from oven. Using knife or narrow metal spatula, loosen cheesecake from side of pan. Cool on wire rack for an additional 30 minutes. Remove side of pain; cool 1 hour.

Combine shortening and reserved 1/4 cup chips in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (100%) 30 seconds and then stir. If necessary, microwave at high an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Drizzle over cheesecake; cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Cover; refrigerate leftover cheesecake (like there's going to be any leftovers!!!)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Capt. Anderson's

We saved the grand-daddy of them all for our last night.  Capt. Anderson's has been a Panama City institution since 1967.  It's owned by the Greek Patronis Family and it's managed by four of the "younger generation" today.  It's been a rule for the last 40 years that at least one member of the Patronis Family is in the restaurant each night during dinner service.  There are members of the staff who have worked for the restaurant since 1953 when it was originally called the Seven Seas Restaurant and located in downtown Panama City.

We started with a nice bread selection and Seafood Gumbo for me and she-crab soup for Sweet Harold.

The gumbo was slightly spicy and full of fish and shrimp.  She-crab soup, while delicious, didn't quite reach the same high mark as Firefly's version.

Salads were very large portions and served in nicely chilled bowls with ample dressing.  We dove in to those without pictures.

SH finally had his opportunity for stuffed flounder and was extremely glad he did.  A huge, beautiful fish with yummy crab stuffing.  

Here's the menu description:  Dressed flounder (not boneless), generously filled with homemade crab meat stuffing

Let's recap:  I've had oysters (many ways), shrimp, grouper and crab.  I wanted to try something completely different and this menu item caught my attention:  She crab pie.

Here's the menu description:  Catch of the day and Blue Crab Meat baked in a Pastry Puff and served with She Crab Sauce

Okay.....it's so much more than that.  The catch of the day is mixed with the blue crab meat with cream cheese

Now if you're been reading along with me this week you realize that I have completely ignored the entire concept of calories, fat grams and what have you.  I've made cardiologists all over the Southeast shudder and break out into a sweat and they don't know why.  So, considering that the fasting will begin soon, I threw caution to the wind and ordered before I could change my mind.
If you're ever at Capt. Anderson's order this.  You will love me forever.  You will. 

Thanks for going on our beach adventure with us and I hope you've had fun!  I'm not planning on getting on the scales for the next few days until I do some fasting and walking on that walking trail. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Pompanos was the restaurant of choice on Wednesday night.  I was excited to be able to try their whole grilled pompano which Beach TV has been tempting me with all week.  Well, we all know about the Lolly Luck.  Our server explained that they were all out of pompano, but if I could come back Friday night they'd have some then.  Well, that would be a 6 1/2 hour drive for dinner so I don't think that's going to happen.

I asked for his recommendation from the entire menu.  But more on that later.

Sweet Harold had been hungry for sushi and Pompanos had been voted Best Sushi on the beach.  He ordered the yellow fin tuna nigiri.  He reported that it was good, but not the best he had ever eaten.

Salads were a spring mix blend with mandarin orange slices.  I had the balsamic vinaigrette (which tasted suspiciously like Ken's Brand of dressings) and Sweet Harold had the ranch with feta.  So-so salads.

Choice of the night for Sweet Harold was grilled mahi-mahi served alongside roasted garlic mashed potatoes.  He thoroughly enjoyed both of these.

After the no-pompano-available news, I decided I'd jump on the grouper fish wagon.  Paneed grouper topped with jumbo lump crab meat and Bearnaise sauce.  I chose garlic mashed potatoes as well.

This was an excellent substitute dinner for the pompano.  I had one of those plate scraping ("There's more in the kitchen, Scarlett") moments....but at least I wasn't as obvious as she was.  If you don't know what I'm talking about you need to go watch Gone With the Wind again.

We seldom order dessert, but our server said the Key Lime Pie would change the way we look at Key Lime Pie forever.  Really?  Bring it on then.

Do you see how thick this slice of pie is?  Do you think we ate all of this?  Half is in the refrigerator right now waiting to be an afternoon snack.  It held up to our server's claim.  I definitely won't look at the typical wimpy slices of Key Lime Pie the same.

Fun, relaxed meal....if the salads had been a little more unique and I could have ordered the pompano, we would have had a higher score....meal as it was...4 out of 5 forks.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Smiling Fish Cafe in Santa Rosa Beach

We had a case of the gypsy spirit this morning and headed West on Highway 98.  Stopped at Camp Helen State Park.  Gorgeous, rustic, remote spot and we took a nature trip walk to the Gulf.  After touring the grounds and enjoying the scenic beauty of the area, we detoured from Highway 98 to Highway 30-A.  It's always fun to drive through Seaside and Water Color and see how the "other half" vacations.  By the time we reached Santa Rosa Beach we were starving and who in their right mind could resist the temptation of The Smiling Fish Cafe?

Lots of daily specials and the menu was varied from sandwiches to wraps to burgers to salads. 

Sweet Harold once again cannot resist the lure of the grouper.  I can honestly say it's the one thing he loves move than me. 

Grilled grouper on a freshly baked bun with basil mayo.  Fries were double crunchy.

Oysters on the menu?  Well, you know what I had.  Oysters were dusted in corn meal (yea, super crunchy!!) crispy fried and served on the same freshly baked bun and basil/mayo. 

We ate outside on the patio.  Service was spot on perfect and the only little glitch was a piece of shell which was missed in one of the oysters.  I don't think a visit to the dentist would have been a fun side trip while at the beach.  The soft drink options were canned drinks only, so therefore no free refill options. 

Would definitely be worth another drive to Santa Rosa Beach to explore this menu a little more.  4 out of 5 forks

8/31/10 - Angelo's Steak Pit

As much as I absolutely adore oysters, there's nothing like a gorgeous steak cooked over an open hickory pit at Angelo's.  Stepping into Angelo's is a step back in time to my childhood trips to the beach.  We would only get to eat out once or twice on those trips and the annual meal to Angelo's was an extremely rare treat for our family.  Last night it was a little surreal to sit in the fake leather booth and see those 1960 style light fixtures.  But the steak was as good or better than I remembered.  Of course, way back then I'm sure I ate a hamburger, but you know what I mean.

Salads were just a typical iceburg mix with two little cherry tomatoes and a slice of cucumber.  Never occurred to us to photograph those.

I love the menu item noted "Ladies Top Sirloin (8 oz.)"....

Considering I ordered the 13 oz. rib eye and ate every bite but one (which went to Sweet Harold for his tasting approval), I'm not exactly sure what that makes me, but I do know it made me FULL. 

Sweet Harold went with the 16 oz. N.Y. Strip.  He was happy.  Very, very happy.

Service was all right, but points deducted for almost gagging from the cigarette cloud hovering over our waitress when she came back to the table from her smoke break.  Ugh.  3.5 out of 5 forks.

8/31/10 Steamed Shrimp on the Beach

It's a Sweet Harold and Lolly tradition to enjoy at least one steamed shrimp lunch on the beach.  These were steamed to perfection, although it would have been nice to had a little lemon to squeeze over these babies.

4 out of 5 because they're beautiful Gulf shrimp AND they were eaten very messily and happily while sitting in the sand.