Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ham and Vegetable Soup

Are you continuing to look for ways to use up that leftover Christmas ham? That was my goal for the afternoon.  Ham?  Yep, I have that.  Yukon Gold potatoes? Of course.  Frozen peas, chicken stock, trinity?  Yes, indeed.  Let's make some soup.

1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups matchstick cut carrots
1 T. minced garlic
2 t. dried thyme
3 cups diced ham
2 T. flour
6 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup frozen green peas
4 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cup finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion, bell pepper, celery, carrots and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 5 - 7 minutes.  Add thyme and ham and cook for 3 - 4 minutes.  

Next add the flour and stirring constantly, let the raw taste of the flour cook away. This will take another few minutes.   

Now slowly stir in the chicken stock about a cup at a time, stirring constantly to incorporate the ham and vegetables.  Increase the heat slightly and add the peas and potatoes.  

Let the soup cook for 30 - 35 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Reduce heat to the lowest setting and add cream and cheese.  Very gently stir the soup and when the cheese is melted, you're ready to eat!

Black Forest Martini

This was a delightful ending to our Christmas dinner.

1 part vodka
1 part cherry brandy
1/2 part cream de cacao

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Strain and pour into a martini glass.  Garnish with a rosemary sprig.  

Christmas Dinner Dessert: Lemon-Rosemary Cornmeal Madeleines

The lemon glaze saturates this tender cornmeal sponge-like cake and the flavor of the rosemary compliments the lemon perfectly.

2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 T. lemon zest
1 T. finely chopped rosemary

2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup milk

Whisk together cornmeal mix, flour and granulated sugar in a large bowl.  Add buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, lemon zest and rosemary.  Whisk together just until blended.  Cover; refrigerate batter 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk in a medium bowl; set aside.

Spoon batter into lightly greased and floured shiny Madeleine pans, filling 3/4 full.

Bake at 400 degrees in batches, 15 - 17 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pans immediately; let cool slightly.  Dip both sides of each Madeleine in glaze; place on cooling rack, scalloped side up.  Let stand until glaze sets.

From 2013 Southern Living Christmas

Christmas Dinner Entree': Red Wine Braised Bison and Beef Short Ribs

I had beef short ribs in the freezer and a friend had Bison ribs in his freezer.  What to do?  Cook both together in a big Dutch oven with red wine and beef stock and veggies and garlic and .........

Sorry.  I went back to Christmas afternoon when the tantalizing aromas of this dish were wafting through the house.  

This recipe is based on a version from Epicurious.  I changed a few things such as adding more tomato paste and used minced garlic instead of a whole bulb sliced crosswise.  

If you've never tired Bison, I encourage you to give it a try.  Much leaner than beef, it requires a slow braising time to tenderize the meat.  

5 pounds bone in beef or bison short ribs
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 T. vegetable oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 T. all purpose flour
1 small can tomato paste
1 750 milliliter bottle dry red wine
10 sprigs  flat leaf parsley
8 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 T. minced garlic
4 cups low salt beef stock

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season ribs with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Working in batches, brown ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch.  Transfer ribs to a plate.  Pour off all but 3 T. drippings from the pot.

Add onions, carrots and celery to the pot and cook over medium high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes.

Add flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red, 2 - 3 minutes.  

Stir in wine.

Then add ribs and any accumulated juices.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes.

Add all herbs to the pot with the garlic.  Stir in stock.  Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to oven.

Cook until ribs are tender, 2 1/2 - 3 hours.  Transfer ribs to a platter.  Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup.  Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve sauce over ribs.  

Christmas Dinner Side Dish #2: Asiago Mashed Potatoes

Mashed, or creamed, potatoes are different things to different people.  Some of us like them creamed as smooth as silk without a lump to be found.  Some of us (ME!) like them with a few lumps here and there.  Asiago is an Italian cow's milk cheese which can have different textures itself based on how long it is aged.  I used a hard version, finely grated, which melted perfectly into the hot potatoes.

6 - 8 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cubed into 11/2 inch pieces
4 T. butter
1/4 - 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 - 1/3 cup finely grated Asiago cheese

In a large saucepot, add potatoes and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and let potatoes cook until fork tender.  Drain water and return potatoes to the saucepot.  Mash the potatoes until you reach the consistency you like.

Add remaining ingredients and add additional butter or cream if needed.  This is a touch and go process.  Begin with the minimum amount of liquid and add more if needed.  Taste and check for seasoning.  You may need to add a little more salt after the ingredients are incorporated into the potatoes.

Christmas Dinner Side Dish #1: Haricot Verts with Caramelized Shallots

Haricot Verts?  What's that you say?  How how Lolly's explanation of the French words:  Haricot = beans.  Vert = green.  These beauties are longer and thinner than the green beans you may be used to and are more tender with a complex flavor.

But they are so simple to prepare!

Add the beans to a steam basket in a medium saucepan.  Add enough water just to bring even to the steam basket.  Cover and bring the water to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow beans to steam for 5 - 6 minutes.  

While the beans are steaming, very thinly slice 4 - 5 shallots.  Over low heat in a small skillet add 1 T. olive oil.  Add shallots and let cook until very soft and caramelized.  

Add shallots over top of steamed green beans.  Serve immediately.

Christmas Dinner Soup: French Onion with Gruyere Cheese

French Onion Soup on Christmas is a newly acquired tradition to our family. I am certainly glad that it is. The secret is to slowly caramelize the onions with a little sugar until they are soft and sweet and ready to simmer for an hour or so in rich beef stock. Buy the best Gruyere cheese you can afford. It's worth the expense for this decadent soup.

5 lbs. yellow onions
½ stick unsalted butter
2 T. canola oil
Pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 cups sweet red wine
3 quarts beef stock
2 cans beef consomme'
2 bay leaves
1 T. dried thyme
Sliced coarse country bread, each 1 1⁄2 inches thick
Shredded Gruyère cheese (Please don't use Swiss!)

Using a mandoline or sharp knife, thinly slice the onions lengthwise.  Set aside.

In a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the onions, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, adding the sugar and seasoning with salt and pepper, until the onions are meltingly soft, golden and lightly caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.

Add the wine, increase the heat to high and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half, 15-20 minutes. Add the stock, consomme’, bay leaves and thyme, reduce the heat to medium-low and let the soup simmer, uncovered, until it is dark and fully flavored, about an hour or so. If the liquid is evaporating too quickly and the soup seems to taste too strong, add a little water, then cover the pot and continue cooking.

Just before serving, preheat an oven to 400°F. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Remove the bay leaf from the soup and discard. Arrange 6 ovenproof soup bowls on a baking sheet and ladle the hot soup into the bowls. Place a piece of toast on top of each bowl and sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Bake until the cheese melts and the toasts are lightly browned around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Christmas Dinner Salad: Mixed Greens with Creamy Country Dijon Vinaigrette

We all know during the Christmas and New Year's Party and Family/Friends gathering time, it's sometimes difficult to include a healthy portion of vegetables into our mealtimes.  Thank goodness for our friend's winter garden which is supplying us with delicious, fresh mixed greens.  

Divide your salad greens on individual plates.  Add some sliced cherry tomatoes. Lightly dress the greens with the dressing and top with some grated Parmesan cheese.

Here's the recipe for the dressing:

1 t. balsamic vinegar
1 t. minced garlic
3 t. whole grain Dijon Mustard
1/4 t. sugar
1 t. honey
3 t. fresh lemon juice
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 t. minced fresh thyme
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together the first eight ingredients.  Slowly whisk in olive oil.  The dressing will begin to thicken or emulsify.  Season with the salt and black pepper.  

Yule Mule

Another fun drink to enjoy during the Holiday Season.  Thanks again to Nigella Lawson for her take on the traditional Moscow Mule.  If you haven't tried Ginger Beer before, a word of caution:  It can be a little spicy.  You might want to add a little at a time until you get the concoction just right for your tastes.

2 parts chilled vodka
1 part chilled cranberry juice
Angostura bitters (optional)
5 parts chilled ginger beer

Fill a Collins glass with ice.  Add vodka and cranberry juice and a few drops of bitters if you're using and top off with ginger beer.

Christmas Dinner Appetizer: Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Crescent Rolls

A dear friend in New Orleans shared her husband's recipe for Seafood Stuffed Crescent Rolls.I knew when I read the outline of the recipe these would be amazing as the appetizer portion of our Christmas Dinner.  Thank you Darryl Fury for letting me share your recipe!

1 T. bacon drippings or butter
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
½ bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
A few drops of Worcestershire sauce
Juice of half a lemon
1 egg, beaten
1 lb. of seafood, chopped (I used a mixture of shrimp and crab)
2 packages of crescent rolls, unrolled and separated at perforations

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium heat, mix the bacon drippings of butter with the onion, celery and bell pepper. Simmer until wilted. Add the seafood and cook for a few minutes until it is cooked through.

Add the breadcrumbs, cheese, Worcestershire, lemon juice and egg. Remove from heat and mix until well blended. 

Fill each crescent roll with 1 – 2 T. of the filling. Roll up each crescent roll starting at widest side of triangle, rolling up to opposite point. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and curve into a crescent shape. Sprinkle additional Asiago or Parmesan on top of each crescent if desired. Bake according to the crescent roll directions. 

The Poinsettia

What better way to begin a great holiday meal or party than to open a bottle of bubbly?  In this case, Prosecco is the perfect bubbly addition.

750 ml bottle Prosecco or other fizzy dry wine, chilled
1/2 cup Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec, chilled
2 cups cranberry juice, chilled

Mix the Prosecco or other fizzy wine with the Cointreau or Grand Marnier or Triple Sec and cranberry juice in a large pitcher.  Pour into wineglasses or champagne flutes.

Thanks to Nigella Lawson for the recipe.

Christmas Dinner - Amuse Bouche: Caprese Bites

An amuse bouche is a one bite "teaser" if you will that gets your taste buds prepared for a wonderful meal that is about to begin.  They can be served on small spoons such as the one shown above or a shot glass or even as a little bit served on a toast point or piece of fruit.

What I chose to do is a play on a caprese salad.  I incorporated all the ingredients but in one small bite.

To make one serving:

Slice a small cherry or grape tomato in half and place in spoon
Top with either shredded mozzarella or a half of a mini-mozzarella ball
Drizzle with a little olive oil
Add a drop or two of Balsamic vinegar 
Top with shredded basil

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Spicy & Sweet Rosemary Mixed Nuts

I've posted this recipe before, but trust me, it bears reposting.

 2 1/2 cups mixed nuts
3 T. chopped fresh rosemary
2 T. canola oil
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Toss the nuts and rosemary in a medium mixing bowl. Heat the oil in a small heavy saucepan over low heat until warm. Add the cayenne and stir until dissolved. Pour the oil mixture over the nut mixture. Sprinkle on the sugar and salt and toss to coat everything evenly.

Bake in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet, stirring often, until the nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 20 minutes.

Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Lolly's Spinach & Vegetable Dip

I know on the surface it seems like spinach dip is retro or vintage or whatever term you want to use.  But I can't help myself.  During the holiday season, I MUST make spinach dip.  I added a couple of little extras to the recipe given on the back of the Knorr Vegetable Soup/Dip packet and I really have to pace myself.  I literally could eat this until I was sick.  Probably TMI, but there ya go.

1 box (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
16 oz. sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 package Knorr Vegetable recipe mix
1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced (white and a lot of the green!)
A few drops of your favorite hot sauce
A few grinds of black pepper
¼ t. minced garlic

Combine all ingredients and chill about 2 hours. Serve with your favorite crackers.

Peppermint Crumble Bars

My son in law prepared these for our Christmas Eve meal.  They were delicious. Thanks to www.somethingswanky.com for the recipe.

2 cups flour 
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups white chocolate peppermint candy (like Andes peppermint bits) 
1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350º.

Use a pastry cutter or a fork to cut the butter, sugar, and flour together until crumbly.

Press a little more than half of the crumble mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 lined baking dish.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, mix 1 cup of the white chocolate peppermint candy and the sweetened condensed milk until smooth.  Pour over the crumb crust in the dish.

Sprinkle the remaining crumble and white chocolate peppermint candy evenly over top.

Bake for 20 minutes or until edges begin to just barely brown. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Mini-Cheese Balls

I always made a big cheese ball at Christmas and roll it in pecans.  This year I made the same base recipe, but instead, rolled the filling into 2 inch diameter balls and then rolled in different coatings.  This is a blank canvas.  You can choose your own special mixture of goodness.  These disappeared quickly off the party tray!

12 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 t. granulated garlic
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 cup red and green bell peppers, finely diced

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and place in refrigerator to chill for an hour or so.  This makes it much easier to roll into the mini balls.

Lay out a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper and quickly roll into balls.  

For my coatings I used the following:

Cooked Bacon, crumbled
Parsley and Paprika mixed together (loved the red and green look for Christmas)
Paprika by itself
Chopped Chives
Chopped Pecans

Place your coatings in separate, small bowls and roll the cheese balls until full covered.  Place in tray and return to refrigerator until about 30 minutes before serving time.

Other coating ideas?  How about sesame seeds, poppy seeds, a mixture of finely chopped herbs or nuts.

Cajun Roast Beef Pinwheels

Pinwheels are so much fun to make. And they are oh so good to EAT. I've posted different flavor combinations before on the blog, but for this Christmas Eve party I chose Cajun Roast Beef from the deli with lots of diced red and green bell peppers.  

1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/2 pound deli styled Cajun roast beef, shaved or very thinly sliced
1 cup finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Large flour tortillas

In a large bowl, combine first four ingredients. Spread a thin layer of the mixture on one tortilla at a time and sprinkle roast beef and cheese over cheese mixture.

Tightly roll tortillas and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. Slice into 1 - 2 inch pieces and place on serving plate.

Betty's Christmas Punch

This lime sherbet topped punch has been my mom's mainstay at Christmas gatherings for years.  A great mixture of lemon/lime and pineapple flavors is always refreshing.

2 quarts lemonade (you can either use lemonade mix or bottled)
46 oz. can of pineapple juice
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
Ginger Ale
Lime Sherbet

It's a great idea to pre-chill the lemonade, pineapple juice and ginger ale a day before you're going to serve the punch.

Mix the water and sugar together in a large measuring cup.

Combine the lemonade, pineapple juice and sugar water in the punch bowl.  Stir gently to combine.  

Top with ginger ale and add dollops of lime sherbet on top of the punch just before serving.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Italian Sausage & Canadian Bacon Pizza topped with cipollini onions, sun dried tomatoes & fresh basil

We're all rushed this time of year.  With a few pantry/freezer items, this delicious pizza can be on the table in less time than it takes to order delivery.  

1 packaged pizza crust
olive oil for drizzling
1/2 jar pizza sauce
1/2 pound Italian sausage, crumbled, browned and drained
1/2 pound thinly sliced Canadian Bacon
3 cipollini onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
3 T. thinly sliced basil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   If you have a pizza stone, let it preheat with the oven.  If you don't have one, please purchase one soon!  Place on a baking sheet until you can buy one.  : )

While pizza stone/oven preheat, drizzle pizza crust with olive oil.  Use a pastry brush to make sure it's spread around all over the crust and don't forget the edges.

Spread the pizza sauce over the crust and then layer the ingredients in the order given.

Place pizza in oven and cook for 15-18 minutes or until desired level of golden brown crust and melty cheese is reached.

Let rest a few minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sweet Potato, Apple & Cranberry Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Sweet Harold requested this bread pudding for his birthday BREAKFAST a few days ago.  While certainly a rich and decadent treat for a brunch, the flavors and textures here would be an elegant dessert as well.

2 eggs
1 1/2  cups cooked mashed sweet potato [can substitute cooked butternut or acorn squash or pumpkin]
2 cups scalded milk 
¼ cup butter, cubed
2/3 cup sugar
¼ t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
½ t. ground nutmeg
1 t. pure vanilla extract
4 ½ to 5 cups soft bread cubes, such as brioche (about 9 slices)
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored, cut into ½” dice

Cinnamon Caramel Sauce
1 ½ cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
½ t. pure vanilla extract 
1 t. ground cinnamon

Bread Pudding:
Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs; add mashed sweet potato and mix well.  Combine milk and butter; add to eggs along with sugar, spices and vanilla.  Add bread cubes, dried cranberries and diced apples; stir gently.
Pour into a well-greased 11 x 7 baking dish.  Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean.

Cinnamon Caramel Sauce:
While pudding is baking, prepare sauce.  Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir.  Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture.

***Use caution as the mixture is extremely hot!***

Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly.  Turn off the heat.  Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla.  Use caution as the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.

Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add cinnamon and whisk until well combined.

Cut pudding into serving-sized pieces and drizzle warm cinnamon caramel sauce over pudding.  If desired, top with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.

From www.cooking.com

Greek Lemony Chicken Pot Pie

I love to make chicken pot pies and my son certainly loved to eat them while he was growing up (and still does!). But last weekend, I decided to use phyllo dough instead of the usual pie crust and incorporate some Greek flavors into the filling. You decide how much lemon flavor you want here. To me it was just right. To some of my dining companions, it was a little tart. lol

2 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
4 green onions, thinly sliced (white and a LOT of the green)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 T. olive oil
2 cups (packed) kale, thinly sliced
1 T. chopped garlic
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half of a lemon
2 T. fresh oregano, chopped
Salt and lemon pepper
20 – 25 sheets phyllo dough
4 – 5 T. melted butter
Drizzle of olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, green onions, feta, yogurt and one egg.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and kale. Stirring occasionally, let kale wilt down and cook for about 5 – 7 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Add the kale to the chicken mixture and stir in lemon zest, juice, oregano and salt and lemon pepper.

If you really like lemon flavor, and depending on how much is in the lemon, here’s where it rests on you to decide how much juice, zest or lemon pepper. If you don’t like it very tart, restrain yourself or leave our the lemon juice and let the lemon zest do its magic. If you love the tanginess of lemon, add to your heart’s content.

Grease a deep dish pie plate and add the filling. 

Now to the phyllo dough. You can either cut it to fit the pie plate or do like I did, and tear it into odd shaped pieces. I thought it was more rustic this way and plus it was fun.

Using a pastry brush, butter the dough with the melted butter after each layer. Continue adding layers of dough and brushing with the butter until you’ve used all the dough. Now drizzle the top with a little olive oil and sprinkle some dry oregano on top. Pop into the oven and let bake 20 – 25 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes before digging in and enjoying!

Another Christmas themed table setting

Our dining room table is normally set with the Christmas china and crystal stemware.  This year, however, a little different.  I've been trying to coin a phrase to describe it:  Classic Rustic?  Elegant Rustic?  Either one I think will work.  A great find at Hobby Lobby for plates, salad plates, cups/mugs and a few serving pieces with an outdoor feel, I think we're good to go.

Tablecloth from TJ Maxx
Chargers from J C Penney
Green goblets (won on an online auction from a second hand store in town)
Wooden bowl from World Market
S & P shakers from Hobby Lobby
Etched glasses (giveaway from Long John Silver's YEARS ago!)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Peppermint Candy Themed Table

This year for the kitchen table I wanted to do a fun table setting that would appeal to both the adults and the kids.  I think I reached a good balance with peppermint candy striped plates from Hobby Lobby and a few pieces of Fiestaware thrown in for good measure.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blue Moose Burgers and Wings

We spent a Saturday afternoon recently at Blue Moose Burgers & Wings in Pigeon Forge, TN.  We settled in to watch the Iron Bowl (Alabama v. Auburn) and were excited to see that this particular Blue Moose location had 21 large screen TVs.  The crowd was fun and lively, the service was prompt and friendly and the food....well, the food was a more upscale than your typical sports bar food.  We had a great time.  Other than our team's unfortunate loss to Auburn.  

Here's the Blue Moose hanging behind the bar area.

We started with mozzarella sticks.  Hot, gooey and served with a delicious marinara sauce.

Followed by homemade potato chips with blue cheese sauce, crumbled blue cheese and thinly sliced green onions.  The chips were the perfect thickness and the sauce was very tasty and was just enough.  

I enjoyed a delicious margarita on the rocks.

They have over 16 varieties of wings.  We chose lemon pepper and Cajun spice rub.  Crunchy and not overcooked like some places are prone to do.  

Finished up the 4 hour stay (!) with a shared Tennessee Dog topped with homemade Chili, yellow mustard and diced onions.  My FAVORITE combination for a hot dog!

We subbed onion rings for fries or chips and were certainly glad we did.  I love the thinly sliced rings as opposed to the thick sliced beer battered dipped sort.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Parmesan Crusted Baked Red Snapper Fillet over angel hair pasta with sauteed fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and onions

A friend cooked this amazing dish for our dinner this week. I'll post the recipe as he wrote it down right after the meal. The fresh flavors and the beautiful colors are enough to make it spectacular, but add in the deliciousness of it all combined and you have a winner for family or friends.

1 whole red snapper fillet, about 3 pounds, rinsed and gently blotted dry with paper towels
12 green onions, divided
1 t. McCormick Mediterranean Seasoning blend
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. salt
2 T. all purpose flour
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese and more for garnish
1/2 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 T. minced garlic
1/2 cup chiffonade basil (very thinly sliced)
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved (red and/or yellow)
1 lb. angel hair pasta, cooked and drained according to package directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place 8 of the green onions and top with the fish. In a small bowl, combine the seasoning blend, pepper, salt, flour and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of fish and gently pat the mixture onto the fish so it will adhere. Now place in oven and cook the vegetables.

Here is the lovely "mise en place" which means that you have all of your chopping and slicing done beforehand so that when you're ready to cook, you can move easily through the recipe and cooking process. This is a wonderful habit to acquire.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil and when it begins to shimmer, add the onions.

Let the onions cook, stirring constantly, until they soften and become translucent.

Next add the green onions and garlic and continue cooking and stirring for another minute or so.

When the green onions begin to darken in color, remove from heat.

Add the basil and tomatoes and gently stir to combine. The heat will allow the tomatoes to release some of their juice.

When the snapper will flake easily with a fork, it's done!  This will usually take about 22 - 25 minutes, depending on your oven and the thickness of the fish.

Plate the pasta, place a portion of the fish on top and spoon over the delicious vegetables. Top with additional basil and Parmesan.