Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Rosemary Bread, Fruit and Cheese....oh my!

This was tonight's dinner outside on the deck.  A perfect ending to a very hectic Monday.

Starting at the top center:
Rosemary Bread with Mediterranean seasoned olive oil for dipping, Cana de Cabra (a Spanish goat milk cheese), red grapes, mixed nuts, brie drizzled with honey, sliced Bosc and Barlett pears

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Nigella's French Toast

Sweet Harold requested French Toast for breakfast.  I tried Nigella Lawson's recipe from Nigella Kitchen.  I used Arnold's Italian Bread for my French toast, because I tend to do things a little differently at times.  The trick is to use a thicker slice of bread so that it can soak up all the eggy goodness and not fall apart while transferring the slices to the hot griddle or skillet.

 Here we go:
2 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 T. sugar
4 slices of thick slice bread
2 T. soft unsalted butter

Whisk together the eggs, milk, ground cinnamon and sugar in a pie dish.

Melt half the butter in a frying pan or on a griddle until it's nice and bubbly.

Place one slice of bread in the eggy mixture, turning after each side has soaked up enough to color the bread yellow, so that it absorbs the liquid but doesn't fall to pieces.

Cook the bread for a couple of minutes until browned.....

And then carefully flip and brown the other side.

Repeat with the other slice and then melt the remaining butter to brown the other two slices of bread.

Serve with your favorite syrup, fruit, powdered sugar or whatever topping you choose.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Breakfast Potatoes

I'll admit, I had much rather have diced up potatoes than hash browns.  Maybe because there are FOUR sides to get brown and crunchy rather than just top and bottom?  Hmmmmmmmmm.  Yep, I think that's the reason.
 2 large potatoes, washed, dried and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 T. canola oil
Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat until it shimmers.  Carefully add the diced potatoes and lower the heat to medium high.  Let the potatoes cook until the potatoes on the bottom begin to brown and then turn with a metal spatula.  Continue cooking and turning the potatoes occasionally until they reach your desired level of crunchy browned goodness.
Add salt to taste and serve immediately.


I want to take a minute to welcome all the new followers to my blog!  I hope you enjoy the pictures, the recipes and most importantly, the FOOD when you prepare it for yourself and loved ones. 

Baked Eggs with Spinach, Feta and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Instead of a frittata this Saturday morning, I decided to bake the eggs in a baking dish instead.  Loaded with spinach and tomatoes, this is a healthy weekend dish.  This would make an excellent addition to your next brunch menu.

8 eggs
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 cup baby spinach, packed
1/4 t. dried dill
a few dashes of salt
a few grinds of black pepper
1 lemon for zesting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add remaining ingredients and gently stir to mix. Grease a 12 inch round baking dish. Pour egg mixture into baking dish.

Bake for 23 - 25 minutes until eggs are set. Remove from oven and let rest for 2 minutes. Slice and serve. Top with grated lemon zest if you wish. To me, it added a great finishing touch!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ham and Vegetable Frittata

If you don't want to attempt an omelet, the next best thing is a frittata.  It's almost stress-free.  No flipping needed.  Just cook it halfway through on the stove top and then zap it under the broiler to complete the cooking process.

This is an excellent brunch item or a quick dinner served with a salad.

8 eggs
2 cups diced ham
4 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded
 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped broccoli
1 T. chopped parsley
2 T. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil

Turn on the broiler to heat. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then add the diced ham, mozzarella, red bell pepper and broccoli. Whisk in the parsley, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a 12 inch oven proof skillet.  Once it's hot and foamy, add the egg mixture.

Cook for about 5 minutes, over a gentle heat without stirring! until the frittata is set underneath and golden.

Transfer the pan to the hot broiler and cook until the frittata until it is set on top. Whatever you do, don't leave the pan unattended. Things can go downhill quickly at this point. You need to keep a close eye on the frittata.

Remove from the oven and let set for a few minutes. Run a knife or flexible spatula around the edge of the frittata and ease it out of the pan, keeping it top side up, onto a board or plate. Cut into wedges and serve. Sprinkle with extra parsley and/or Parmesan. 

Based on a Nigella Kitchen recipe.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tax Day!

We had lots of fun last night trying to see a little humor in the dreaded Tax Day, April 15th.  I printed out tax forms, made lots of calculator printout tapes and used a cute piggy bank with coin roll papers in the thoughts of rolling pennies to pay taxes.  Finished out the table setting with "in the red" Fiestaware and paper towels instead of cloth napkins. 

How about some pimento cheese on plain old Saltines for a "I'm broke" appetizer?

Then for the main entree' some cornbread, pinto beans, plain potatoes and greens!

Sunday, April 14, 2013


The perfect brunch drink is a mimosa.  A wonderful drink composed of one part champagne or other sparkling wine and one part thoroughly chilled citrus fruit juice, usually orange juice or sometimes grapefruit juice.  It's traditionally served in a tall champagne flute.

For this one we added a few slices of strawberries and some blueberries.   Pretty isn't it?

Saturday Morning Brunch on the Deck

I brought out the Spode Fleur de Lis china on this Saturday morning.  I've been collecting random pieces of this pattern for years. 
The menu included a bowl of mixed fruit of watermelon, blueberries and strawberries.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Savory Bacon & Cheddar Muffins

While Sweet Harold was baking his blueberry muffins, I decided to go for a savory bacon and cheese version.  Here's the results.

2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
a pinch of dried mustard
a pinch of cayenne
a dash of salt
6 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled
1/2 cup of finely shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 400ºF. Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups, or grease bottoms only of muffin cups.

Stir all ingredients except bacon and cheese just until moistened. Gently stir in bacon and cheese. Divide batter evenly among cups.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. 

Blueberry Muffins

1 egg
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup blueberries

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease bottom only of medium size muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.

Beat eggs slightly in a medium bowl; stir in remaining ingredients except blueberries just until moistened. Fold in blueberries into batter.  Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.   Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Easter Ham


I always use a shank portion of the ham.  You can get buy a fully cooked ham that just needs to be heated slowly to bring the ham up to a good temperature to develop the flavor.   But a bone-in ham to provide lots more flavor and to also give you a great "ham bone" to cook with beans later in the week or freeze until you're ready to use.

1 10-12 lb. shank portion fully cooked ham
1 can pineapple slices in juice drained and juice reserved
1 T. honey
1/3 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place ham in a shallow roasting pan and cover with foil.

Bake for 15 minutes for each pound of ham.

Whisk together pineapple juice, honey and brown sugar.  An hour before the ham is to temperature, remove from oven and layer pineapple slices on top of ham.  Baste with the juice mixture and return to oven.  Repeat the basting every 15-20 minutes or so.

Let rest about 20 minutes before slicing.


Cioppino was developed in the late 1800s by Portuguese and Italian fishermen who settled in the North Beach section of San Francisco, many from Genoa, Italy. Originally it was made on the boats while out at sea and later became a staple as Italian restaurants proliferated in San Francisco. The name comes from ciuppin, a word in the Ligurian dialect of the port city of Genoa, meaning "to chop" or "chopped" which described the process of making the stew by chopping up various leftovers of the day's catch.  

Ciuppin is also a classic soup of Genoa, similar in flavor to cioppino, with less tomato, and the seafood cooked to the point that it falls apart. At least one restaurant in San Francisco, the eponymous Cioppino's, describes an apocryphal story in which the name derived from the heavily Italian-accented cry of the wharf cooks for the fishermen to "chip in" some of their catch to the collective soup pot.
3 T. olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 t. salt
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 t. dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups fish stock
1 bay leaf
1 pound manila clams, scrubbed
1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut or salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks (Or red snapper!)

Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. 
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.

Add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish.
Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Egg Noodles with Creamy Parmesan Lemon Sauce

Even though the calendar says Spring, it was a cool and dreary day here in Alabama.  I decided to try a Springtime Pasta to lighten the grayness of the day.

You can use either green peas, broccoli florets, asparagus tips or any vegetable you like for this one.

16 oz. medium egg noodles
3 T. unsalted butter
3 cups fresh green peas or 1 16 oz. bag of frozen peas
Grated zest of three lemons
Juice of one lemon
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnishing
freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add peas (or whatever vegetables you're using) and stir to coat well.  Add lemon zest, lemon juice and cream.  When it reaches a boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and let it cook for about 7 - 8 minutes.  Stir the mixture occasionally so that it doesn't stick.  When it becomes slightly thickened stir in the Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.

While the sauce is cooking, boil the egg noodles until al dente, about 7 minutes.  Drain the pasta noodles and add to the cream mixture, tossing to combine.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Deviled Ham

What to do with that leftover Easter Ham?  Of course there are ham sandwiches, ham and eggs, ham biscuits.But this year I decided I would attempt a nice batch of deviled ham. The "deviled" terminology comes from the heat that's added. Different recipes call for cayenne or Tabasco or even Sriracha. 
You can serve deviled ham on crackers like I have above or on plain saltines or how about as a nice a sandwich filling? 

3 cups cubed ham
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. cayenne
a few grinds of black pepper
1 T. sweet pickle relish
1 T. dill pickle relish
1 2 oz. jar pimentos, drained
1 t. minced garlic
3 T. rough chopped onions
1 t. red wine vinegar

Place ham in a food processor with the cutting blade. Pulse until ham has reached a minced consistency. Remove ham and place in a large mixing bowl.
In a smaller bowl, combine mayo, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne and black pepper. Whisk to combine.

Add the pickle relishes, pimento, garlic, onions and vinegar to the food processor and run on low until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

To ham, add the mayo mixture and the relish mixture. Gently fold together and mix thoroughly and taste and check for seasonings. Add more cayenne and/or black pepper if desired.

Refrigerate several hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

He Is Risen Eggs (because you can't call them deviled eggs on Easter!)

When I make deviled (or stuffed) eggs, I always boil an extra egg to finely chop to assure there's lots of filling for the egg halves.

7 eggs, boiled, peeled and halved, yolks removed to a medium sized bowl
1/4 cup mayo (more or less)
1 T. yellow mustard
2 T. sweet (or dill) pickle relish
salt and pepper

Mash the yolks and the extra egg until smooth. Blend in mayo, mustard, pickle relish and S and P to taste.

Fill egg whites and garnish with paprika.

Mustardy Potato Salad

Potato salad.  Bland, boring, run of the mill?  It doesn't have to be.  Potato salad is a definitely a blank canvas ingredient-wise that's for sure.  Yesterday's Easter Potato salad was served warm, with sweet pickle relish instead of dill.  Anyway you mix it up, potato salad is the perfect accompaniment to Easter Ham.

2 pounds red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

1/3 - 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T. yellow mustard
2 T. sweet pickle relish
4 boiled eggs, chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper
paprika for garnishing

In a large pot, add potatoes and enough water to cover them by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer and let cook until potatoes are soft enough for a fork to gently break apart.  Don't cook them too long or you won't have potato salad, you'll have mashed potatoes.

Drain the potatoes and add back to the pot (off the stove).  The heat from the pot will help to dry the potatoes so they will mix together easier.

In a medium bowl, mix together the mayo and mustard, then add the relish and chopped eggs. 

Pour this mixture over the potatoes and gently fold in so as not to break up the potatoes.

Salt and pepper to taste. 

At this point you can either refrigerate until serving or spoon into serving dish and garnish with paprika.

Lemon Bars

Ina Garten's recipes are always delicious.  If you like intense lemon flavor, these are the lemon bars for you.  The filling is almost the consistency of a lemon meringue pie filling.  Amish butter was used to make this batch and you could certainly taste the difference in consistency and richness of flavor.

For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. 

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball.  Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides.  Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned.  Let cool on a wire rack.  Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crustand bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set.  Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles or squares and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Slow Cooked Southern Green Beans

Growing up, I never liked green beans.  Then as an adult, I suppose my taste buds changed enough that I thoroughly enjoy them now.  I know the healthy way is to lightly steam them.  I also know on the other end of the spectrum is the "Green Bean Casserole" version.

It's not time yet for the fresh picked from the garden beans, so I used canned beans for this dish and doctored them up a bit.

3 cans Italian Style green beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1 t. chicken bouillon granules
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large sauce pan, add beans and water to a boil.  Add chicken bouillon granules and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. 

Let the beans cook until most, if not all, of the water has evaporated.  Add a few grinds of black pepper.  Taste during the cooking to see if any additional seasoning is needed. 

Double Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake

This is yet another one of those Southern classic desserts that shows up at potlucks, family reunions, Church Covered Dish suppers that has dozens of variations, but two basic ingredients:  lots of chocolate and coca-cola.  It's rich and sweet, but sometimes it's just what you need.

I looked in a LOT of my cookbooks and there are so many recipes that are identical, I couldn't begin to choose who to give credit to for this one.   Just bake it and enjoy!

1 cup Coca Cola (NO DIET VERSION!)
1/2 cup oil
1 stick butter
3 T. cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla

1 stick butter
3 T. cocoa
6 T. cream or milk
1 t. vanilla
1 pound (3 3/4 cups) confectioner's sugar

In a saucepan, mix Coca Cola, oil, butter and cocoa and bring to a boil. In another bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt.  Pour the boiling Cola mixture over the flour mixture and beat well.  Add the eggs, buttermilk, soda and vanilla and beat well.  Pour mixture into a greased and floured 13 x 9 inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees or 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove pan and cool for about 10 minutes.  Frost.

Frosting: In a saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa, and milk.  Heat until the butter melts.  Beat in the remaining ingredients and spread on the cake while it's warm/hot.  Cool and cut.