Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Post Thanksgiving Turkey & Sausage Gumbo

Okey Dokey...you've spent all afternoon making the turkey stock. Now it's time to get the gumbo going!

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced into 1/4 inch half moons (I used Conecuh)
vegetable oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 quarts of your homemade turkey stock
1 t. salt
1 t. ground black pepper
1/4 t. Tabasco
1/4 t. dried thyme
1 T. Creole seasoning
1/2 - 3/4 pound leftover turkey (either roasted or smoked)
heaping 1/2 cup chopped green onions
heaping 1/2 cup minced parsley
hot cooked rice
file' powder

Place the sausage and 1 T. oil in  large Dutch oven and brown over high heat. 

When browned, remove the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. 

Pour the remaining fat into a measuring cup, then add sufficient vegetable oil to make 1/2 cup. Pour the fat and the oil mixture back into the Dutch oven and reduce the heat to low. Reserve the sausage.

Add the flour and stir constantly over low to medium heat to make a dark roux -- preferably a chocolate colored one, which will take about 40 minutes on low heat or 20 minutes over high heat.

Add the onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic to the roux and continue stirring until the onions are translucent and have begun to brown.

Heat the turkey stock to a boil and slowly add the roux/vegetable mixture, whisking to incorporate. Add the salt, pepper, Tabasco, thyme and Creole seasoning.

Return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for one hour. 

Add the turkey and the sausage.  Simmer for another hour.

Add the green onions and the parsley and heat through about 5 minutes. Serve with hot rice and file' powder.

from Louisiana Cookin' December 2010

Making Turkey Stock

When you have finished the Thanksgiving Turkey, PLEASE don't throw the turkey carcass in the trash can.  You are about to venture on a wonderful adventure if you keep it.  Let's make turkey stock!

You'll need:
8 quarts cold water
1 turkey carcass, meat removed, leaving some crisp skin if possible

Mirepoix is the French name for a combination of onions, carrots, and celery. Mirepoix, either raw, roasted or sautéed with butter, is the flavor base for a wide number of dishes, such as stocks, soups, stews and sauces. The three ingredients are commonly referred to as aromatics.

For the Mirepoix:
8 ounces onions, chopped
4 ounces celery with tops, chopped
4 ounces carrots, chopped
2 small heads garlic, cut in half horizontally

The Sachet d'spices:
1 t. or so black peppercorns, cracked
6 - 8 parsley stems, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. dried thyme leaves
1/4 t. dried tarragon leaves
1/4 t. dried oregano leaves
1/4 t. dried basil leaves
These ingredients are placed into a 4" square of cheesecloth and tied or use a metal tea ball.

Break up the turkey carcass, and chop some of the larger bones in half.  Put the carcass in the stockpot with the water and bring slowly to simmer.  Periodically skim off any scum that forms, and if you wish use a skimmer to skim off the fat.  Let this simmer for two hours.  You will be delighted at how wonderful your house smells!

Add the mirepox and sachet.  Simmer for one more hour.

Remember that during the simmering process, it's best not to stir the stock.  The end result will be much clearer if it is not agitated while simmering.

Strain thoroughly.  The best way is to ladle the stock out and pour it through a strainer which has been lined with a couple of layers of damp cheesecloth.  If you're using the stock immediately, skim off as much fat as you can with a fat skimmer or a piece of paper towel.  Otherwise, cool the stock right away by placing the container into an ice-water filled sink, stirring to bring the hot liquid from the center to the sides of the container.  Don't just put the hot stock into the refrigerator; it won't cool enough to prevent possible multiplication of harmful bacteria.  To defat the stock easily, refrigerate overnight, until the fat solidifies on the surface, then skim off.

Thanks to http://www.gumbopages.com/

Friday, November 26, 2010

Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad with Dried Cranberries and Pistachios

This was a new item on our traditional Thanksgiving Menu list and I have a feeling that it will be requested in the future. I used pumpkin seeds instead of pistachios, but feel free to choose whichever you want to use. I would think pecans or walnuts would be great as well.

6 bacon slices
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
2 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
3 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets
2 cups coarsely chopped cauliflower
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
1/2 cup chopped pistachos (I used 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds)

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium high heat 6 - 7 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon.

Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise and next four ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until well blended. Add bacon, broccoli, and remaining ingredients. Toss until vegetables are coated.

from 2010 Christmas with Southern Living

Spinach Madeline

This traditional Louisiana recipe was first presented in River Road's cookbook from the Junior League of Baton Rouge.  

This version is from http://www.jfolse.com/

2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach
4 T. butter
2 T. flour
2 T. chopped onion
½ cup evaporated milk
½ cup vegetable liquor
6 ounces Velveeta Mexican Hot Cheese, cubed into small pieces
3/4 t. celery salt
3/4 t. garlic salt
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
¼ t. fresh ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
coarse salt to taste

Cook spinach according to package directions.  Drain and reserve liquor.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, stirring until blended and smooth, but not browned.  Add onions and saute' 3-5 minutes or until wilted.  Add evaporated milk, spinach liquor and Worcestershire sauce slowly, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.  Cook mixture until smooth and thick, stirring constantly.  Add seasoning and cubed cheese.  Stir until melted and combine with cooked spinach. 

This may be served immediately or put into a casserole and topped with buttered bread crumbs.  The flavor is improved if the latter is done and kept in refrigerator overnight. 

Thanksgiving Tables

Here's a peek at our Thanksgiving tables.

Butternut Squash Gratin with Onion and Sage

I only recently became a fan of butternut squash. My mother never liked pumpkin, autumn squashes, etc. so therefore, she never cooked them. I love the beautiful orange color and because I'm trying to include more dark green and orange veggies in our meals, this made the short list on the Thanksgiving menu this year.  Compliments of http://www.cooking.com/

1 T butter, more for the gratin dish
1 T olive oil
2 large onions, chopped into 1 inch dice (about 4 cups)
3 T. chopped fresh sage or 1 T. dried
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 8 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 T. heavy cream, heated until warm
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 1/2 T melted butter

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a gratin dish with butter. In a large skillet over low heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the onions and the sage. Cover and cook over low heat while you prepare the squash.

Put the squash in a steaming basket and set over simmering water. Cover and let steam until the squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Put the squash in the prepared dish with the garlic and 3/4 t. salt. Toss gently to combine.

Continue to cook the onions, stirring frequently until they caramelize, about 25 minutes total. Season with salt and pepper and add them to the gratin dish, mixing them with the squash. Pour the warm cream over the vegetables. Toss the breadcrumbs with the melted butter and sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the gratin. Bake until the top is browned and bubbling; about 40 minutes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ham & Mozzarella Frittata

I've never had the patience to learn how to make a proper omelet.  Maybe one day.  But I love a frittata.  They are so much fun to make.  You can add whatever you want to the eggs:  mushrooms, onions, peppers, ham, bacon, any variety of cheese.  No stirring once it hits the pan.  You just let the heat do the work.  Top of the stove for half the cooking, then under the broiler to finish the other half.  One of the best things to whip up on a hurried, harried night after work when everybody's hungry.

6 eggs
4 ounces of chopped ham
4 ounces mozzarella cheese
1 T. chopped parsley or basil
1 T. Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. butter

Turn on the broiler to heat.  Beat the eggs in a bowl, then add the chopped or diced ham and mozzarella.  Whisk in the parsley or basil.   Then add the Parmesan and salt and pepper.

Heat the butter in a large skillet (make sure it has an oven safe handle!) or a cast iron skillet.  Once the butter foams, add the omelet mixture.

Cook for about 5 minutes over a low to medium heat.  DON'T STIR!  Let the frittata begin to set and start to turn golden around the edges.

Now under the broiler until the top is all browned and bubbly and set on top.  Don't take your eyes off it at this point.  It can go from golden brown and yummy to inedible in a second!  Remove the skillet from the oven.

Let stand for a couple of minutes and then a thin spatula around the edges of the frittata.  Now, slide the frittata out of the skillet, keeping it top side up onto a cutting board or plate.

Slice and serve!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Egg and Bacon Salad

Nigella delivers again big time with this recipe.  It's always amazing to me when you can combine such simple ingredients to have a super fast supper which tastes so good.  If you don't boil eggs the way she suggests, please give her method a try.  No rubbery, green-tinged yolks here, just silky smoothness. 

4 eggs
1 head escarole or frisee or other bitter leaves of choice
1 teaspoon garlic oil
14 slices smoked bacon, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons cider vinegar
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped

Put the eggs into a saucepan of water, over medium heat. Bring to boil, and cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the pan for 10 minutes.

Transfer the eggs to a bowl of cold water and let cool. Peel the eggs once they feel cool to the touch.

Cook's Note: I cook my eggs this way, as I love the yolks to be only just or rather almost hard-boiled, with the memory of oozy goldenness still evident at the centre; it also keeps the white amazingly silky. If, however you prefer a proper, good and bouncy reassuringly hard-boiled egg, cooked until the yolks are powdery and compact, keep the heat on under the pan for 10 minutes. The same applies, if you're making this for anyone with a compromised immune system, such as the old and frail, very young or pregnant women.

Meanwhile, tear the salad leaves into bite-sized pieces and drop them into a serving bowl.

Heat the garlic oil in a small frying pan, over medium heat and fry the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes or so. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spatula to some paper towels to drain, while you make the dressing.

Add the Dijon mustard to the bacon juices in the pan and whisk to combine, then add the vinegar and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Whisk again, then pour it over the salad leaves, tossing to mix.

Add the bacon and toss again, then quarter the eggs and add them along with the chopped parsley. Gently mix to combine, trying not to break up the eggs.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunshine Soup

With the darkness enveloping us by 4:45 every afternoon, I'm looking for any opportunity to bring sunshine in our lives.  Plus, we've had two straight days of heavy rain.  Nigella's Sunshine Soup seemed just the thing to brighten our moods!

Serves 4
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
2 t. garlic flavored oil
1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
1 pound (3 1/2 cups) frozen corn
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 F. 

Remove the core, seeds and white membrane from the bell peppers, then cut the peppers into strips and place on a baking sheet shiny down.  Sprinkle with the oil and smoosh them about so that all sides are a little covered by oil, then leave them shiny-skin side up this time.  Roast them in the oven for 25 minutes.

Pour the vegetable or chicken broth into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the frozen corn and bring back to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover and let bubble away for about 20 minutes.

Using a perforated spoon, remove about 1 cup of corn, and set to one side while you blend the rest of the corn along with all its cooking liquid and the blistered bell peppers, then toss the set-aside corn nibblets back into the blended, but not too smooth, soup and season to taste. 

I sprinkled a little smoked paprika on top.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sweet Potato Supper

I purchased Nigella's latest cookbook a few days ago.  I honestly can't think of any money I've spent lately that was as well spent.

The earthiness of the sweet potatoes with the salty goodness of the bacon paired with the succulent asparagus is a match made in heaven.  I love each of these ingredients independently, but together?  I was skeptical.  But then we couldn't stop eating.  Seriously......if I had been myself, this could have been embarrassing.  I doubled the recipe but I'll post it here as Nigella wrote it.  A million thank yous to Nigella!

2 sweet potatoes, washed and dried, but not peeled, cut into quarters
16 slices smoked bacon, snipped
8 ounces asparagus tips
6 cloves of garlic
a few sprigs of thyme or 1 t. dried  thyme
3 T. canola oil
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Arrange the sweet potatoes chunks in a large roasting pan and then drop in most of the bacon followed by the asparagus tips and garlic cloves, and finally, the remaining bacon.

Sprinkle with thyme and pour the oil over.

Bake for 30 minutes then turn the sweet potatoes over and bake for another 30 minutes.  Let everything cool  little, you'll only burn your tongue otherwise, before dividing between 2 plates, strewn (or not, your choice) with salad leaves, and sprinkling with some salt or chili sauce, or both as your mood dictates.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chicken and (Cornbread) Dressing

Although in many families, the turkey takes center stage on Thanksgiving, at our house the dressing is the star.  I made many attempts to finally get the recipe that makes my family happy.  In the South, we don't stuff the turkey.  We cook our "stuffing" in huge pans so there's a nice brown edge all around and lots of leftovers.  Well, sometimes there are leftovers!

3 large skillets cornbread, crumbled
1 long loaf French bread, crumbled
2 sleeves saltine crackers, crushed
2 hens, cooked, cooled and shredded
Chicken base
2 bay leaves
Salt & Black pepper
3 medium onions, chopped
6 stalks celery, diced
1 stick butter
2 t. ground sage
2 T. poultry seasoning
5 beaten eggs
1 cup evaporated milk or heavy cream

Cook cornbread the day before cooking dressing.  After cooking and cooling, crumble and spread out on a large cookie sheet to dry.  Tear French bread into small chunks and dry in a warm oven.  Crumble.  Crush crackers & mix with French bread and cornbread crumbles in a LARGE bowl.

Cook hens in enough water to cover adding several tablespoons of chicken base, the bay leaves and several grinds of black pepper.  Cool and shred chicken.  Reserve broth.

Melt butter in large skillet and sauté onions and celery until softened and translucent, about 10 – 15 minutes.  Pour over bread mixture.

Add 8 cups of reserved chicken broth and mix well.  Add black pepper and salt to taste. Mix in sage and poultry seasoning.  Add beaten eggs and evaporated milk and mix well. Slowly mix in shredded chicken.  Add additional broth if mixture is too dry.

Reserve 3 heaping Tablespoons for gravy.  Pour into large greased pan and bake in a 350º oven for 1 ½ - 2 hours.  Cover with foil if dressing begins to brown too quickly.

Giblet Gravy
4 Cups broth reserved from cooking hens
Giblets from hens (chopped fine)
2 chicken bouillon cubes or 2 t. chicken base
3 heaping T. of reserved uncooked dressing
3 T. cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring stock to a boil along with chopped giblets.  Add bouillon cubes (or base) and dressing.  Mix cornstarch with water and add to boiling stock, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and continue to cook for 2 – 3 minutes.  Add salt and pepper and gently stir in chopped eggs.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Retro Night - featuring Chicken Divan

Every now and again we enjoy Retro Food Night. Last time, I cooked Chicken a'la King. This time, we chose Chicken Divan. Started the party with the classic retro dip made with Lipton Onion Soup Mix. Rounded out the meal with Marinated Mushrooms, a typical 60's salad of Iceburg Lettuce and 1,000 Island Dressing and crescent rolls. I wore my favorite Donna Reed style dress complete with bright red lipstick and pearls. Sometimes it's just fun to have fun !

Lipton Onion Soup Dip

Mix one envelope Lipton Onion Soup mix with 16 oz. sour cream. Serve with chips.

Marinated Mushrooms

1 pound whole fresh mushrooms
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground mustard
1/8 t. pepper
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 1 - 2 days. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Chicken Divan

1 box frozen broccoli flowerets
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 T. dry bread crumbs
1 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 9 x 13 shallow baking dish or casserole. Cook broccoli according to package directions. Do not overcook. Mix soup and milk together. Mix bread crumbs and butter.

Place cooked broccoli in prepared pan. Add chicken pieces evenly over top.  Pour on soup and milk mixture evenly over chicken. Cover with cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with bread crumb mixture.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Savory Bread Pudding with Bacon and Spinach

Another Saturday morning breakfast experiment. Assembled the night before and refrigerated overnight, this would be excellent choice when you have overnight guests. While the coffee brews and everybody gets awake just pop this into the oven. 

8 eggs
3 cups milk
8 cups French bread cubes (3/4 inch)
1 - 10 oz. pkg. chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)

Whisk eggs and milk in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in bread. Add spinach, bacon and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese; mix lightly.

Pour into 13 x 9 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with remaining cheese. Cover; refrigerate overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered 48 - 50 minutes or until top is puffed and golden brown.

Crabmeat and Shrimp Fritters with Creole Tomato Dressing

I am an LSU supporter 365 days of the year except the day they play Bama. The Bama boys lost to a better team today, but we enjoyed some S. Louisiana recipes while watching the game.

My son renamed these little bundles of goodness "Tiger Bait." Be warned:  they are addictive.

Creole Tomato Dressing:
1 small Creole tomato, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic
2 T. Zatarain's Creole Mustard
3/4 T. Creole Seasoning

Crabmeat and Shrimp Fritters:
1 Cup (1/2 package) Zatarain's Crispy Southern Hush Puppy Mix
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 T. chopped chives
1/2 t. Creole seasoning
1/2 cup water
1/4 pound claw crabmeat
1/4 pound cooked, peeled, small shrimp, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup thawed frozen corn
peanut oil for frying

For the dressing:  place all ingredients in food processor; cover. Process until smooth. Spoon into small bowl. Cover.  Refrigerate at least one hour to blend flavors.

For the fritters: Mix hush puppy mix, onion, garlic, chives, and creole seasoning in large bowl. Add water; mix just until moistened. Gently stir in crabmeat, shrimp and corn.

Heat oil in deep fryer at 375 degrees. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls a few at a time. Fry 3 - 4 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve fritters with dressing.

From Louisiana Cooking Magazine

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Potato Soup

We're having our first serious cold snap. This afternoon the wind was howling and I had to turn the heat on for the drive home. Sweet Harold had the potatoes all peeled and simmering away in the chicken broth when I came in the door. I sauteed some onions and garlic, pureed the potatoes a little then added some heavy cream and cheese. Ready to eat in about 40 minutes. It definitely hit the spot on this cold, windy afternoon.

5 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups chicken broth
2 T. butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 gloves of garlic, minced
salt & white pepper
2 cups Velveeta shreds
1 cup heavy cream

Cook potatoes in chicken broth until tender. In a separate small skillet, saute' onions and garlic in butter for about 5 minutes. Add to potatoes & broth. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Remove about 1/2 of the soup mixture to a large bowl and using an immersion blender puree' until smooth and add back into the soup pot. Add Velveeta and heavy cream.

Top with a dusting of smoked paprika, shredded cheese and crumbled bacon if desired.

Creole French Onion Soup

A great friend in New Orleans provided this recipe. He's one of the most creative, fun loving people I've had the pleasure to call a friend. Thanks Bayou!

Thinly slice ten large red onions. Sauté in butter. Add one quart of beef or game stock and simmer 15 minutes. Add one teaspoon of blackstrap molasses, one-fourth teaspoon of salt, and one teaspoon of white pepper. Simmer for ten minutes. Sprinkle pieces of French bread with Parmesan cheese and run them under the broiler to toast a little. Place on top of soup when ready to serve.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous Soup

If you've read many of the blog posts, you know that I love Moroccan recipes.

This soup has so many different textures it's just a joy to eat.  Even if you're a die-hard fan of white meat chicken, this recipe works so much better with the more flavorful dark meat thighs. If you've never tried couscous, please do.  I think you'll like this nourishing, comforting soup.  Actually it's more of a stew!

2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4), cut into approximately 1 1/2-by-1/4-inch strips
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 sweet potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup tomato puree
1 quart water
2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1/2 cup couscous
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Increase the heat to moderately high.  Add the chicken, cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper to the pot.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

Stir in the sweet potato, zucchini, tomato puree, water, and broth.  Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the couscous to the soup.  Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove the pot from the heat.  Let the soup stand, covered, for 2 minutes; add the parsley and serve.