Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Salmon Patties

 
These aren't your typical run of the mill salmon patties.  I zipped them up a little bit.

1 can salmon, drained and flaked
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/8 cup finely diced bell pepper
1/8 cup finely diced red onion
1 t. Old Bay seasoning
2 T. all purpose flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. lemon zest
1 T. lemon juice

Mix all ingredients lightly with a fork.  Shape into patties and fry in a small amount of canola oil over medium high heat until browned on both sides.  Top with chopped parsley and serve.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread



The addition of mini-chocolate chips and chopped pecans makes this one a winner.

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 t. vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
3 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour two (8 x 4 inch) loaf pans.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy.  Mix in oil and sugar.  Stir in zucchini and vanilla.  Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nuts.  Stir into the egg mixture.  Gently stir in chocolate chips.  Divide batter into prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes and turn out onto a wire rack.

From Allrecipes Cookbook

Monday, June 20, 2011

Italian Sausage & Cranberry Bean Risotto


I've had some cranberry beans in the pantry for awhile and some Italian Sausage in the freezer. Even though it's 100+ degrees in Alabama in the middle of June, I wanted risotto. I'm a big fan of the cooking magazine La Cucina Italian. Found this recipe on their website and instead of using canned cranberry beans, I cooked the dry beans that I had on hand. Rinse and pick through the beans and cook about 2 cups of beans to 6 cups water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. 

Keep adding water as needed. About 2 hours into the cooking time, I added 4 slices chopped bacon. Cook the beans until tender and season to taste.

Now on to the risotto recipe:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
8 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed, cut into ½-inch pieces
1¼ cups arborio rice
¼ cup dry white wine
6 ounces canned cranberry beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable stock, boiling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup freshly grated paramigiano-reggiano
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sausage, and sauté until the onion is translucent and the sausage is cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the rice, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Deglaze with the wine, and stir well, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.   Add the cranberry beans and ½ cup stock, stirring until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Continue adding stock in ½-cup increments, stirring frequently, until the rice is fully cooked but still al dente, about 15 minutes. (You may not have to use all of the stock.)

Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter and grated Parmigiano. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and let rest for 2 minutes before serving.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Corn and Poblano Lasagna




A few weeks ago, I stumbled across Marcela Valladoilid preparing this recipe on the Food Network.  It was one of those times where I print out the recipe while the show is still airing.  Finally had time to make this tonight.  This will definitely be on the rotation.

First of all you need to char 4 Poblano chilies.  So on to the grill they went.


When they are all charred, remove from the grill and place in a plastic bag for about 10 minutes.  Then peel off the charred bits, stem, seed and slice lengthwise into 1 inch strips.

Now on to the rest of the recipe:

4 T. unsalted butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears), or frozen and thawed
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
4 poblano chiles, charred, peeled, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips
12 (7 by 3-inch) no-boil lasagna sheets
2 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese, or mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add 2/3 of the garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Mix in the corn and saute for 5 minutes.  Stir in the cream and thyme.  Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes for the flavors to incorporate.  Turn off the heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Mix in the zucchini and poblano strips and cook for 5 minutes for the flavors to incorporate.  Season with salt and pepper.  Turn off the heat.

Spread about 1/4 of the corn mixture over the bottom of an 11 by 8-inch baking dish.  Cover with a layer of 3 lasagna sheets.  Spread 1/4 of the poblano mixture and 1/4 of the cheese over the pasta. Repeat the layering 3 more times.  Cover with foil.

Bake until the pasta is cooked and tender, about 50 minutes.  Remove the foil and turn up the oven temperature to broil.  Broil until golden brown and bubbly, 8 to 10 minutes.  Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.


Tequila Citrus Salad Dressing



I served a nice green leaf lettuce salad with red onions, radishes and grape tomatoes to go along with the Corn Poblano Lasagna. 

I adapted this recipe from one in Salad Dressings by Jessica Strand.  I served it on the plate in a shot glass to be poured directly on the individual salad serving.  Kinda fun don't you think?


5 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. orange juice
3/4 cup virgin olive oil
4 T. finely chopped cilantro
1 medium garlic glove, minced
3 t. tequila
1/2 t. sugar
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. chili powder
1 small jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients except the jalapeno.  Add a little bit of the jalapeno at a time until it reaches the spice level you want.  This dressing will keep refrigerated for 5 to 7 days.


Sunday Night Supper on the Deck

Had a fantastic time this afternoon cooking some new recipes.  Here's the table on the deck all "decked out" (ha) for Mexican Lasagna.


Shrimp & Cheese Grits




Another craving for breakfast this morning.  I absolutely had to have shrimp and grits.  In the Low Country of South Carolina and particularly Charleston, shrimp and grits has been considered a basic breakfast for coastal fishermen and families for decades during the shrimp season (May through December). They call it simply "breakfast shrimp." The dish consisted of a pot of grits with shrimp cooked in a little bacon grease or butter.

I've added a few ingredients and if you'd rather use "quick grits" due to time go right ahead. But either form of grits you use, this will become a favorite.

1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, halved lengthwise and deveined
Juice of one lemon
Hot Sauce of your choice
1 1/2 t. salt or more to taste (but be careful!  Bacon will add salt)
1 1/2 cup stone ground grits
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 T. all purpose flour
12 oz. chicken stock
2 T. unsalted butter
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Combine the shrimp with the lemon juice and a couple of dashes of hot sauce. Set aside.

For the grits:  Cook according to package directions. If you want to use quick cooking, who am I to judge you!  ; ) Purists would say you have to use stone ground grits and that's fine if you want to and have the time. Either way...substitute a little chicken broth for some of the water. It will add another dimension to the grits. When the grits are thick and creamy, you can add a few tablespoons of heavy cream and the 2 T. of unsalted butter. When those are incorporated, gently fold in the sharp cheddar cheese. 

While the grits are cooking, let's make the gravy. 

Fry the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until brown but still limp. Stir in the onion, green pepper, and garlic and continue cooking until the onion and pepper are limp, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions, sprinkle the flour over the  mixture and continue sauteing for 5 minutes longer. Stir in the chicken stock and cook until thickened. If gravy becomes too thick, thin it to desired consistency with a little more chicken stock or water. Remove from heat while you add the cream and cheese to the grits.

Return the gravy to medium heat and stir in the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout. This won't take but 4 - 5 minutes at the most. Serve immediately. Plate the grits and cover them with shrimp and gravy. Top with a little chopped parsley and another splash or two of hot sauce or lemon juice if desired.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Crab Cakes with Lemon Dill Sauce



I've been craving crab cakes. Living 6+ hours from the coast and no trip to the beach in sight will do that to you. So a trip to the local Fish Market today and a pound of lump crab meat later, here we go. I purchased a cookbook from Capt. Anderson's Restaurant last August and finally had the pleasure of using a recipe today. I tweaked it a little because I can't help myself. I found a recipe for the sauce on the Food Network website and messed around with a little, too. Feel free to do the same to these versions. 

Crab Cakes
1 pound crab meat
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg lightly beaten
1 green onion, minced (white and light green part only)
4 T. mayonnaise
1 T. parsley, chopped
1 T. dill, chopped
2 t. Worcestershire
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. Louisiana hot sauce

Remove cartilage from crab meat. Mix breadcrumbs with remaining ingredients. Add crab meat to mixture and fold thoroughly (be gentle!) Form into 6 or 8 cakes depending on the size you want.

Heat a small amount of shortening in a skillet. Gently fry crab cakes 4 - 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain. 

Place on shredded cabbage and top with Lemon Dill Sauce.....

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Juice of one half lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt to taste

To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Refrigerate until chilled. The sauce will thicken as it chills.




Monday, June 6, 2011

Table Settings

I'll start posting some pictures of the table settings of family and friend gatherings at our home.  Last night we hosted family members visiting from Kansas.



Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake



Saturday night was the first time I've ever attempted a ricotta cheesecake.  The texture was different than a cheesecake made with only cream cheese.  Upon further reflection, I should have let this one cook about 10 more minutes.  Your mileage (and oven) may vary.  This is a decadent dessert for special occasions.  It's also worth the time and the many steps.

One of the most crucial things to remember about cheesecakes is that they're temperamental, but if they crack on the top it's simple to top with fruit, whipped topping or confectioner's sugar.  The most important thing is as SOON as you remove it from the oven to run a knife between the pan and the cake.  This will help keep it from cracking as it cools because it won't have to pull away from the sides of the springform pan.  Compliments of Good Housekeeping.com

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
3 to 4 lemons
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 packages (8-ounce) reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
1 container (15-ounce) part-skim ricotta cheese
4 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half or light cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Wrap outside of 9-inch springform pan with heavy-duty foil to prevent batter from leaking out during baking.

In springform pan, with fork, mix graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened.  With hand, press mixture firmly onto bottom of pan.  Bake crust 10 minutes.  Cool on wire rack, about 15 minutes.

Reset oven to 325 degrees F.  Meanwhile, from 2 lemons, grate 2 teaspoons peel and squeeze 1/3 cup juice.  In small bowl, stir together sugar and cornstarch until blended. In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and ricotta until smooth, about 5 minutes.  Slowly beat in sugar mixture.  Reduce speed to low; beat in eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, and lemon peel and juice just until blended, scraping bowl often with rubber spatula.

Pour batter onto crust.  Bake cheesecake 1 hour.  Turn off oven; let cheesecake remain in oven 1 hour.

Remove cheesecake from oven.  To help prevent cracking during cooling, run a thin knife between edge of cheesecake and pan as soon as cheesecake comes out of oven. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 2 hours.  Cover and refrigerate cheesecake at least 6 hours or overnight, until well chilled.

To serve, remove foil and side of pan and place cake on plate.  From remaining lemons, with sharp knife, cut 8 very thin center slices; use to garnish top of cheesecake.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Ah, to have the luxury of time to bake a pound cake.  I love the process of creaming the butter slowly and gradually adding the sugar so it's incorporated just so.  Adding the eggs one at a time and only mixing until the yellow disappears.  Alternating the flour/milk mixture.  It's just a soothing process for me.  If I'm stressed or upset, the familiarity of the steps of baking a pound cake makes things better. 

This is a recipe from Southern Living November 2001. 

1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until combined.

Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt pan.

Bake at 300° for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack.







Minestrone Soup


Minestrone is an Italian soup that includes vegetables, pasta and beans.  It's an extremely versatile soup in that you can add whatever vegetables, beans, and pasta you like.  For this version I included carrots, celery, zucchini, tomatoes, and green beans and because I adore cannellini beans into the pot they went as well.  I've seen recipes with elbow macaroni, but I decided on ditali shaped pasta for no other reason than they just looked cool to me at the store.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans broken into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with basil and oregano
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 (14 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup small shaped pasta
2 T. oregano leaves, chopped
5 - 6 basil leaves chopped
1 t. red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese-optional, for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add in zucchini, green beans, and diced tomatoes. Stir in vegetable broth and water. Add beans and macaroni. Simmer until vegetables and macaroni are tender-about 35 minutes. Add oregano and basil a few minutes before serving.

Season soup with salt and pepper and serve warm. Garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Tuna and Caper Crostini


Nothing like a little bite of savory goodness to whet your appetite for a nice meal. I could also see adding a chopped boiled egg for a tuna salad twist.

1 baguette
2 (6-ounce) cans white meat tuna packed in water, drained
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
1 large shallot, minced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
15 to 20 grinds of black pepper
1 - 2 t. lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice baguette into 1/2-inch thick slices and place on a baking sheet. Bake until toasted and golden, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Top each toasted baguette slice with about 1 tablespoon of the tuna salad.

Marinated Mushrooms

These little beauties were an excellent addition to my antipasto platter this weekend. 


3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound small or medium fresh mushrooms, stems removed

Combine lemon juice, parsley, garlic, salt, tarragon and pepper in medium bowl. Add oil; whisk until well blended. Add mushrooms; stir to coat. Marinate, covered, in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.

Drain mushrooms; reserve marinade for dressing.

Alabama Fire Crackers


These are an addictive little nibble to have at tailgating parties, with a bowl of chili or just to have by themselves. Adjust your spice level according to your taste. Also, for variety substitute a packet of Italian seasoning for the ranch seasoning packet. 

1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 (1 ounce) envelopes ranch dressing mix
3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 (16.5 ounce) package saltine crackers

Place the vegetable oil, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ranch dressing mix, and crushed red pepper flakes in a 2-gallon plastic zipper bag. Seal the bag and smoosh with your hands to thoroughly combine the oil and spices. Place the crackers into the bag, seal, and turn the bag over to cover the crackers with the spice mix. Let the bag sit for about 1 hour, then turn again. Repeat several more times until the crackers are well-coated with spice mix, and allow the bag to sit overnight. Remove crackers and serve.

If you have any left over after your guests leave (you probably won't), crush the crackers in the food processor and use to coat chicken tenders before cooking.

 
adapted from www.allrecipes.com