Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

A very light supper

After working late tonight, this was a perfect light meal.  Smoked gouda, some olives and wonderful cubes of olive/rosemary bread.

The little dipping dish at the top left?  Simply mix some high grade olive oil, a little sea salt, a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper and some finely chopped rosemary. 

I needed some grapes, but Sweet Harold had eaten them all!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cucumber and Vidalia Onion in Vinegar Salad

Ah, sweet Summer time is almost upon us.  One of my favorite guilty pleasures to have in the fridge is this marinated onion and cucumber mixture.  Y'all know of my LOVE for all things vinegary and this fits the bill perfectly.  I use apple cider vinegar and mix it 1:1 with water.  Of course, you can go more or less or try different vinegars.  Tarragon vinegar is an excellent choice.

Mix vinegar/water together in a medium bowl.  Slice peeled cucumbers and onions and put into vinegar.  Add sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes if you want a little zip.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Keep in refrigerator. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grilled Zucchini and Yellow Squash with Lemon Pepper

Sweet Harold's garden is beginning to provide beautiful vegetables for our table.  Tonight we enjoyed some wonderful zucchini and yellow squash cooked on the grill.

Once again, not really a recipe, more a technique here.

2 medium sized zucchini
2 medium sized yellow squash
olive oil
lemon pepper

Trim the ends from the squash.  Slice lengthwise into "planks" 1/4 inch thick.  Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

On a medium hot grill, place squash on grates.  Let cook 5 - 6 minutes per side or until tender.  Remove from grill and place on serving plate.  Sprinkle with lemon pepper.  Serve hot.

Shrimp over Angel Hair Pasta

Some recipes are so good, I want you to make them tonight.  This is one of them.  Minimum ingredients, maximum taste.

1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
3/4 lb. angel hair pasta cooked according to package directions
2 T. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion chopped
1 15 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little Parmesan for the topping

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.  Add onions and let them cook until translucent.  Add garlic and as soon as it begins to brown, add the tomatoes and let them heat through.  Salt and pepper the shrimp and add them to the skillet.  Let them cook until bright pink and opaque, 3 - 4 minutes. 

Add pasta and stir thoroughly to combine.  The picture above is definitely a minimalist version.  Feel free to add chopped parsley, basil or oregano after plating.  And don't forget the Parmesan!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Grilled Romaine with Caesar Dressing

Grilled lettuce? Seriously? You betcha. Bobby Flay introduced me to the wonderful flavors and texture of grilled romaine. Simple and an excellent side dish for grilled meats or fish.  As a side note, even if you THINK you don't like anchovies, please don't omit them from the dressing. They add such a great depth of flavor. Your family or guests will say what IS that flavor in the dressing that's so good? You can sit there and smile knowingly. I'll let you decide whether or not to tell them. 

1 tablespoon prepared mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon pureed canned chipotles
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Few drops of hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon capers
5 anchovy fillets 
8 cloves garlic
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper
24 romaine leaves
3 T. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 ounce piece of parmesan cheese, shaved

Put all ingredients, except the oil and vinegar, in a food processor and process until blended. Slowly mix in the oil, then mix in the vinegar. If too thick, add a little water.

Brush the leaves of romaine on both sides with the olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill on each side for 30 seconds. Place grilled romaine on a cutting board, chop and plate, drizzle with the dressing and garnish with shaved cheese and croutons.

Blueberry Cobbler (Sugar Free!)

If you're looking for a delicious sugar free dessert, try this one.

4 cups blueberries
1 cup Nonfat Skim Milk
1 cup Self-Rising Flour
1 cup Splenda
8 t. butter, diced

Mix Splenda, milk, flour in 2 quart baking dish.  Drop fruit into mixture.  Do not stir.

Sprinkle diced butter onto top of fruit.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until cobbler doesn't move and is golden and bubbly.

Happy Memorial Day!

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Gouda

Y'all know how I love lazy weekend morning breakfasts.  And how much I love cheese.  My favorite at the moment is smoked gouda.  The "not so secret" secret to wonderful scrambled eggs is to cook them over very low heat and gently let the curds cook with slow easy stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

Here's my recipe:

4 eggs, whisked with about 1 T. of water
A few shakes of salt and a couple of grinds of black pepper
1/4 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese

Over very low heat, melt 1 T. butter.  Let it heat until it foams and then pour in the eggs.  Very slowly stir the eggs in a figure 8 pattern.  If you stir them quickly over higher heat, you'll end up with rubbery, tough eggs.

When the eggs are still very soft, sprinkle in the shredded gouda and let it melt into the eggs.  Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Celebrating My Dad's Birthday

My dad loves spaghetti. However, it's not a favorite of my mom's. I offered to cook some for his 83rd birthday meal. He very quickly agreed. No recipes on this post because I've already posted the spaghetti sauce recipe before. Thought y'all might like to see some pictures of the menu and the table.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cannellini Bean & Tuna over Mixed Greens with Basil Vinaigrette

A good friend provided the beautiful mixed greens fresh from his garden. The basil on my deck wanted to be included in the dressing. A can of cannellini beans and a few cans of olive oil packed tuna in the pantry.....yes this salad started to come together beautifully.

Let's make the dressing:
2 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
3 T fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 T. white wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pulse all ingredients in food processor until well blended. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

4 cups of mixed salad greens
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cucumber peeled and quartered, then sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium tomato, chopped into small pieces
2 cups drained olived oil packed tuna, broken into large pieces

Place salad greens onto a large platter in an even layer. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Combine 1/2 of the vinaigrette, beans, cucumber and tomatoes in a medium bowl and gently mix together. Arrange bean mixture on top of the salad greens and then add the tuna. Drizzle additional vinaigrette over salad.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I need a favor....

I want to thank all of the followers of my blog.  I appreciate that you take the time to drop in and read and look through the posts and try some new recipes.  But the favor is...would you please take a few minutes and put the link to the blog on your Facebook page or send the link to your friends.  I want to reach 100 followers soon! 

If you try one of the recipes that you enjoy, drop me a note and let me know.  If you try one that needs a little tweaking, let us know and we'll all discuss/debate and try it your way and compare results.

And if any of you are Pinterest groupies....I always appreciate Pins!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Strawberry Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream is one of the great joys of life.  Especially when the fresh fruits of Spring and Summer are here.  With a nice basket of freshly picked strawberries and a beautiful Sunday afternoon in May, what else is there to do but get the ice cream freezer off the shelf?

No worries about raw eggs here nor any time spent making a custard on the stove top before freezing the mixture.  It literally took longer to dice up the strawberries than it did for the freezer to do its' job.

4 cups whole milk
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 T. pure vanilla extract
4 cups diced/mashed strawberries
3 - 4 drops red food coloring (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, strawberries, and food coloring.  Pour the mixture into the freezer bowl of an ice cream maker.  You may need to add a little extra milk to reach the "fill" line.  Freeze according to manufacturer's directions and then pack in ice for about 30 minutes before dipping.

Chicken and Dumplings

Do you consider Chicken and Dumplings a soup?  A main course?  An oddity that you've never tried?  I consider a bowl of chicken and dumplings to be one of the main foods of the gods.

 Dumplings can either be "dropped" or "rolled."  I've always been a dropped dumpling kind of girl, but decided at this stage of my life it was time to overcome my fear of rolling out dough, cutting nice little squares and dropping them into simmering chicken stock.  Sounds easy right?  Then why haven't I made myself attempt this project before now? 
Dumplings can be made from a flour/shortening/milk dough, cut up refrigerated biscuits or even tortillas.  But as a good Southern girl, it was (way past) time for me to Just Do It.

First you cook 2 or 3 bone in chicken breasts in enough water to cover them with a little salt and pepper and about 2 T. of butter.  I added a little dried thyme to the broth, because in Lolly World, chicken and thyme are wonderful partners.

When the chicken is fully cooked, remove from the broth and set aside on a plate to cool enough that you can shred the meat. 
Carefully strain the chicken broth into a wide pot and bring up to a slow simmer over medium low heat.  You'll need about 8 - 10 cups of broth.  Add a little water if needed.

Now to make the dumplings!

2 cups self-rising flour
1 t. poultry seasoning
1/4 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk

In a large bowl, combine the flour and poultry seasoning.

Add the shortening and with a pastry blender mix in with the flour until you have little pea sized crumbles.

Make a well and slowly add most of the milk and gently stir with a fork until blended into a wet dough.  Add the remaining ounce or so of milk and stir.  It's going to be a wet dough, so don't panic. 

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for a minute or two until no longer sticky.

Then roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/8" inch. 

Carefully cut the dough into small squares and gently add them to the simmering broth.

Once you add the dumplings to the broth, DO NOT STIR them.  The fragile dough will disintegrate.  Let the broth cook the dumplings as you add the remaining squares.  Very carefully jiggle the pot occasionally to bring the hot broth over the top of the dumplings. 

Let them cook for 8 - 10 minutes or so and then carefully add the shredded chicken.  NOW you can gently stir the dumplings to incorporate the chicken into the heavenly pot of dumplings.  Taste and add salt and pepper.  If you wish, you can use white pepper.  I always use black pepper because I love to see the little specks of peppery goodness against the white of the dumplings.

I'll never make drop dumplings again.  And, drum roll please.....I have overcome my fear of making rolled dumplings.  I am quite proud of myself!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Easy Smeasy Cheesy Potato Soup

Yes this is considered a cold weather soup. And I'm going to cheat with this recipe because it contains two cans of cream of.....soup. By the time the cubed potatoes are cooked through, this soup is basically ready to be ladled into bowls.  Enjoy.

5 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1" pieces
6 cups of chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
8 oz. sour cream
2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes in the broth until tender, about 10 minutes. Lower heat to simmer. In a mixing bowl combine the soups and the sour cream. Slowly stir in the soup/sour cream mixture and let heat through. A little at a time, add the shredded cheese and stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Add extra cheese on top, or more sour cream or crumbled bacon, or parsley or chives....you get the idea.  : )

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Chess (or Buttermilk) Pie

Ah....Chess Pie.  I love this pie.  Chess Pies are a Southern specialty that has a simple filling of eggs, sugar, butter, buttermilk and a little bit of flour.  Some recipes call for cornmeal or a touch of vinegar to cut the sweetness. 

There's lots of versions of where the name came from, but the filling is close to a curd which is an Americanized version of "cheese".  So I guess a Chess Pie is like a cheese-less cheesecake.

Wherever the name originated, give this pie a try.  You'll be glad you did.  You don't even have to get the mixer out of the cabinet.  You can use a nice wire whisk and it will work just fine.

3 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 T. plain flour
3/4 stick butter, melted
pinch of salt
1 1/2 t. vanilla
9 inch pie crust

Whisk eggs lightly and combine with buttermlk.  Add other ingredients and mix well.  Pour into an unbaked pie crust.  Bake 10 minutes at 250 degrees.  Increase oven temp to 275 degrees and bake 60 minutes more or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spicy Turkey Meatball Minestrone

The original recipe was featured in the April 2012 issue of Bon Appetit.  Instead of ground chicken, I used ground turkey and changed some of the seasonings.  Here's Lolly's version.  I love meatballs, but y'all knew that.

8 oz. ground turkey
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
6 T. finely grated Parmesan, divided, plus more for garnish
4 garlic cloves, 2 minced, 2 thinly sliced
2 T. chopped fresh chives
1 T. chopped oregano
1 T. chopped basil
1 t. dried red pepper flakes
1 large egg, whisked to blend
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup orzo
1 cup 1/2" inch rounds peeled carrots
1 cup (packed) baby spinach
Thinly sliced fresh basil

Let's make our meatballs!

Mix turkey, breadcrumbs, 3 T of the Parmesan, 2 minced garlic cloves, chives, oregano, basil, pepper flakes, egg, 3/4 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper in a medium bowl.  I usually used a fork to very lightly mix the ingredients together.  Form the meatballs into 1/2 inch diameter meatballs.

Heat oil in a small pot over medium heat.  Cook meatballs in batches until medium golden brown about 3 minutes or so.  They'll finish cooking in the soup.  Transfer the batches to a plate and set aside.

Add leek to the pot and cook, stirring often until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add the two thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute.  Add broth and 2 cups of water, bring to a boil.  Stir in pasta and cook until it is almost al dente, about 8 minutes.  Add meatballs, simmer until pasta is al dente, carrots are tender, and meatballs are cooked through.

Add spinach and remaining Parmesan.  Stir until spinach is wilted and Parmesan is melted.  Season with the salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls.  Garnish with basil and Parmesan.  Serve with crusty bread.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

This is such an easy salad that can have endless variations and it's beautiful to boot!

In fact, there's not even a recipe...Use your imagination.

Here's what I did:

Half a bag of spinach leaves, washed and dried
Placed them in a serving bowl.

Added half a can of mandarin oranges and 3 large strawberries cut up in bite sized pieces

I used a bottled poppyseed dressing and then topped with about a 1/4 cup of slivered almonds.

You could use blueberries instead of strawberries. Walnuts or pecans instead of almonds. If you try some different variations, let me know!

Fruit with Sweetened Cream Cheese Dip

One of the desserts for the Mother's Day luncheon would also be perfect for a bridal tea, girls' night out or a cookout!

Prepare your favorite fruit by washing and slicing/chopping into bite sized chunks.  Carefully, and I mean CAREFULLY!, slice a medium sized pineapple lengthwise.  Gently remove enough of the pineapple to have room for the dip.  Cube the pineapple pieces up as well.

Now for the dip:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced

Soften cream cheese and with an electric mixture on low speed blend in the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Increase mixer speed to medium and add in whipping cream until it forms soft peaks. Combine beaten cream cheese, whipped cream, granulated sugar, lemon juice and zest until you have your desired consistency.  Add to pineapple half for dipping.

Mother's Day Luncheon

Saturday I had a lovely Mother's Day luncheon with my mother, mother in law, daughter and twin granddaughters.  I used my girly High Heel Shoe plates.  

I marked the place settings with letters from Hobby Lobby and had pots of violets for the guests to take home.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Piñata Pinwheels

Here's another spin on the classic pinwheel recipe. These go to an entirely different level.  Enjoy!

1 8 oz. block of cream cheese softened
3/4 cup sour cream
1 small red bell pepper diced
1 small jalapeno, minced (leave the seeds if you want extra heat!)
1/2 t. granulated garlic
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1 cup finely shredded cooked white meat chicken
2 cups of  your favorite blend of Mexican or Taco seasoned shredded cheese
6 10 inch jalapeno cheddar tortillas

In a large bowl, blend first seven ingredients. Lay one tortilla out at a time. Spread a layer of the cream cheese mixture onto the tortilla all way to the edge. Sprinkle chicken and cheese over cheese mixture.

Tightly roll tortilla and wrap with plastic wrap. Continue with remaining tortillas. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Slice in 1 inch thick pieces and serve.

You could also add chopped cilantro if you like.

Margarita Cheesecake

You all know how I love to bake cheesecakes. Thanks to Martha Stewart for incorporating the perfect blend of salty/sweet/tart. The crust is ground pretzels. Add the tartness of lime juice and zest....then tequila and triple sec. It's definitely a margarita in a cheesecake. This one won raves all around!

For the crust:
4 ounces salted pretzels
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

For the filling:
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
1 tablespoon tequila
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in center. Make the crust: Butter a 9 1/2 inch springform pan; set aside. In a food processor, pulse pretzels to fine crumbs. Add sugar and butter; process until combined.

Press evenly into bottom and slightly up sides (about 1 inch) of a 9-inch nonstick springform pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake until light golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Prepare filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 1 minute. Mix in sour cream, sugar, Grand Marnier, tequila, and lime zest; beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition.

Pour into cooled crust (filling will come up higher than crust). Line outside of pan with aluminum foil (to prevent water from seeping in). Place in a roasting pan. Pour hot water to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake until set and slightly firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Remove from water bath, and let cool on a wire rack; refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours. Run a hot knife around edge of pan to release.

Taco Cupcakes

Okay this picture doesn't do these little jewels justice.  And yes I should have taken the time to "decorate" them with diced tomatoes and sour cream and cilantro.  But to be honest, we just wanted to eat them.  Then. 

Super easy to make.  The kids would have fun assembling these and they're a great twist on traditional tacos but with all your favorite fillings.  And yes, you need to add the extras on top.

1 pound ground beef
1 (1.25 ounce) package of Old El Paso taco seasoning mix
36 wonton wrappers
1 (16 ounce) can Old El Paso refried beans
36 tortilla chips
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
optional toppings: sour cream, diced tomatoes, cilantro, onion

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 18 muffin cups with cooking spray.

Brown beef in a skillet and drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning mix and water called for on the package and simmer for 4-5 minutes.   Set aside.

Place one wonton wrapper in the bottom of each muffin cup.   Layer about 1 Tbsp of refried beans on top of each wonton.  Crush one tortilla chip on top of the beans.  Top with 1 Tbsp of taco meat and 1 Tbsp of shredded cheese.  Repeat the layers again with a wonton wrapper, refried beans, tortilla chips, taco meat, and cheese.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove cupcakes from tin and top with your favorite taco toppings (i.e. sour cream, diced tomatoes, onion, or cilantro)

From Tablespoon.com

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cinco de Mayo

Here's a few pics of the dining table and the FOOD table.  Some of the food items already have recipes posted on the blog from meals past.  There are a few new ones though!  They'll be posted soon.