Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Perfect Brunch Salad

I made this salad around the Apricot Orange Vinaigrette recipe found here.

Take some gorgeous Spring Mix Salad greens. Crumble some bacon slices over the greens. Arrange some nice Mandarin orange slices around the plate and if you're in the mood, poach a beautiful egg and nestle it right in the center of all the goodness. Top with a little of the vinaigrette and you are good to go for either a brunch or a light lunch. Enjoy!

Apricot Orange Vinaigrette Dressing

This is a perfect light and tangy dressing for any type of greens.  I added a little more vinegar than the recipe calls for because (Say It With Me!) I love vinegar!

1/4 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon water
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper

Whisk all ingredients together until well blended.  Makes about 3/4 cup.

From Taste of Home recipes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mesculin Mix Salad with Simple Balsamic Dressing

This may be a simple dressing to make, but it is BIG on flavor.  My friend makes this salad dressing whenever I request it and that is often.  When he plates and dresses the salads, I always ask for a little extra on mine.  I love this dressing.  It's so easy to mix together these ingredients, why would anyone want to buy a bottled balsamic dressing?  Try this and you'll see what I mean!

1/2 cup very good olive oil
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1 T. granulated garlic
1 T. McCormick Mediterranean sea salt (or coarse salt/cracked pepper)

Whisk together in a small bowl.  Serve over your favorite salad greens.

Fresh Steamed Broccoli with Parmesan

Along with all the fresh salad greens and kale from garden, the broccoli is now ready for picking.  This healthy side dish was ready in minutes.
4 cups broccoli florets, rinsed and drained
1 - 2 T. olive oil
salt & pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Bring water to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan.  Add a steamer basket and put the broccoli inside the basket.  Let steam for about 2 minutes.  Drain.
Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a serving dish or platter.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Lemon Drop Martini

2 oz. Grey Goosa Le Citron Vodka
2 oz. Stirrings Simple Lemon Drop Mix
Lemon Strips

In a cocktail shaker, add vodka, lemon drop mix and a few pieces of ice. Shake to mix and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon strips.

Alabama Style Gravy for Biscuits

There are as many recipes for gravy for biscuits as there are recipes for chicken and dressing.  And as usual, for most family made-from-habit recipes it's very difficult to measure and get the amounts "just right."  Here's my attempt to give a recipe for this family favorite.

1/4 cup bacon grease (left in the skillet after frying your bacon for breakfast, of course)
1/4 cup self rising flour
2 cups whole milk (if you're used to drinking 1% or skim milk you're probably not eating bacon and gravy and biscuits for breakfast)
black pepper

I'm assuming you still have your bacon grease in the skillet.  Heat it over low heat in a large skillet.

Add flour and whisk it into the flour.  Add 6 - 8 grinds of black pepper.

Stir until the flour is about the color of peanut butter.  At this point, add 1 cup of the milk and increase heat to medium high.  Stirring constantly, bring to a gentle boil.

Continue stirring constantly and add milk by quarter or half cups until gravy has thickened considerably.  Taste and add salt if you need it and additional pepper if you want more of a kick.

Sweet Harold's Drop Biscuits

Every now and then Sweet Harold will make a batch of these biscuits. They are always a hit.

1 stick of butter, softened
2 1/4 cups self rising flour
1 cup buttermilk (may need up to a 1/4 cup more for correct consistency)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, cut butter into flour until crumbly. Slowly add buttermilk and stir to combine all ingredients. Lightly grease muffin tins and divide dough evenly in the sections. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fettuccini Noodles with Creamy Parmesan Sauce

Try this creamy alfredo-like sauce and you'll never, ever buy jarred sauce like this again.  This sauce can be made in the time it takes the water to boil for the pasta.  And it is SO good.  Don't let the peas deter you if you don't like them, you can simply leave those out or add steamed broccoli or carrots or asparagus...you get the idea.

1/2 stick butter
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/8 t. ground nutmeg)
2 cups green peas or other veggies
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter and add cream.  Stir constantly and bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce heat to low and add nutmeg and vegetables.  Remove from heat.  Gently stir in Parmesan and add a few red pepper flakes if you want.

Pour over freshly cooked pasta noodles.  Enjoy!

Mediterranean Pasta Delight

I finally got to make fresh pasta using my birthday present: a Kitchenaid Pasta attachment for my mixer. More pics of that adventure to come later. Doesn't that pasta look scrumptious? Trust me, it was. Fresh ingredients are always so much more flavorful. Of course, you can use store bought fresh pasta or dried. 

1/2 cup olive oil
4 T. minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped basil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 T. McCormick Mediterranean Sea Salt w/spices
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. When olive oil is warmed, add the garlic and reduce heat to low. Stir constantly so as not to let the garlic burn. Burned garlic is bitter garlic. When the garlic has softened and flavored the oil, add the basil, tomatoes and parsley. Stir gently and allow the tomatoes to slightly soften. You want them to retain their shape, but only give up a little of their juice. Add the spice blend and lemon juice.

Serve over cooked pasta of your choice and top with grated Parmesan.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Crispy Kale Chips

If you're looking for a new snack idea, baked kale may be something you want to try. There's dozens of recipes/techniques for making these great little nibbles. 

Here's my version:

1 large bunch of kale, washed
1 - 2 T. olive oil
sea salt
lemon pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

Remove the stems from the kale and dry the kale leaves thoroughly.  I put them in the salad spinner to get them as dry as possible.

Put the kale into a gallon ziplock bag and add the olive oil.  Seal the bag and "squoosh" the olive oil into the kale leaves until they are well coated.

Spread the kale onto a large baking sheet in a single layer.  Sprinkle with a little sea salt and the lemon pepper.  Bake for 20 minutes and let cool slightly before removing from the baking sheet.

They were a hit!

Chicken Cutlets with Creamy Dijon Caper Sauce

This is a perfect recipe for a nice dinner party with friends. This dish is a little elegant, extremely flavorful and very easy to assemble while your guests enjoy a nice drink and some nibbles before the meal.

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts pounded thin (to about 1/4 inch thickness)
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
2 T. self-rising flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 T. Dijon mustard
3 T. capers rinsed and drained
1/8 t. ground cayenne pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large non-stick skillet. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken and brown the cutlets browned on both sides. Cook in two batches and place the cooked chicken on a plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium.

Add the flour to the skillet and whisk to blend in with the olive oil. When the flour is lightly browned, slowly whisk in the chicken broth. When it is incorporated, slowly whisk in the heavy cream. 

Stir in the mustard and capers. Add the cayenne and taste to check the seasonings. Adjust by adding more salt, pepper or cayenne to your liking. Add the chicken cutlets back to the sauce and let heat through.

Serve over rice, couscous or noodles. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Banana Nut Cookies

If you like banana nut bread, this is the perfect cookie for you.  I found this recipe in a section for Toddler Cookies.  They are a healthy choice for little ones and if served with yogurt would be a complete protein.  My toddler grand-daughters LOVED them.  You can leave out the nuts if your little ones don't have quite enough teeth yet!
Use very ripe bananas for deeper flavor and ease of mashing.
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 t. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add the eggs, bananas, and vanilla and beat well.
Gradually add the flour mixture and stir until well blended.  Stir in the nuts.
Drop heaping teaspoons of the dough onto the cookie sheets 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until golden.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Loaf Pan Corn Bread

 My apologies for the picture.  I'll make this one again and get a better shot.  I always cook my cornbread in a cast iron skillet or corn stick pan.  But this time I thought I'd try it in a regular loaf pan.   Perfect.
2 cups white self-rising corn meal
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 T. bacon fat melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix together corn meal and buttermilk.  Gently stir in melted bacon fat.  Lightly grease a loaf pan and pour batter into pan. 
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  

Black Eyed Pea & Kale Chili

This dish could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon.  On the other hand, it would be perfect for New Year's Day because it contains greens, pork and black eyed peas.  It has a certain earthiness to it that is perfect for a cold winter night.  Serve it with corn bread and you will have a dish worthy of a regular rotation on your menus.

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
8 slices bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes with juice (I used a 14.5 oz. can of diced and a can of Rotel)
1 15 oz. can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
1 or 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. ground coriander
1 T. honey
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 bunch kale (about a half a pound) torn into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the bacon and allow it to render a bit (about two minutes), stirring regularly to stop it from sticking.

Add the onions, celery and garlic.  Stir well to coat everything in the fat, and keep cooking for about 2 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.

Add the tomatoes, black-eyed peas, chicken broth, 1 cup of water and the chipotle peppers, cumin and coriander.  Stir to mix everything together well, then let the chili cook, uncovered over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the flavors come together.

Stir in the honey and mustard. Stir in the kale and cook for 10 minutes or so until the kale is tender.

Serve the chili in large bowls with a topping of the shredded cheese.  Don't forget to cook some cornbread!

From American Flavor by Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman

Friday, January 18, 2013

Salt & Pepper Shrimp with Garlic and Serrano Chiles

You can always count on shrimp for a quick and fresh tasting meal. This dish has lots of zip thanks to the black pepper and serrano chiles. Serve these shrimp with bread or serve over soba noodles which cook in 3 minutes!  Serve with lime wedges and squeeze juice over shrimp just before eating. 

2 T. cornstarch
1 t. granulated sugar
pinch of Chinese five spice powder
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced into rounds
4 large scallions (green parts only) sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 lbs. shrimp (26-30 per lb.) peeled and deveined
3 1/2 T. peanut or canola oil
1 lime, cut into wedges

In a large bowl, mix the cornstarch, sugar, five spice powder, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix the garlic, chile and scallions; set aside.

Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Line a small baking sheet or large plate with a double layer of paper towels. Add the shrimp to the cornstarch mixture and toss until thoroughly and evenly coated.

In a heavy-duty 12 inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 T. of oil over medium high heat until very hot. Add half of the shrimp in a single layer. Cook without disturbing until deep golden and spotty brown on one side, about 2 minutes.

Using tongs, quickly flip each shrimp and continue cooking until the second side is golden brown, about 1 minute longer. Transfer the shrimp to the prepared sheet. Add another 1 T. of oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining shrimp, transferring them to the sheet when done.

Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 3 T. oil to the skillet. Add the garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the chile and scallions are softened and the garlic is golden and smells toasted, about 1 minute. Return the shrimp to the skillet and stir to combine. Serve immediately with the lime wedges.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mixed Green Salad topped with Wild Alaskan Salmon and Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette

The garden greens continue to provide wonderful bounty for our winter table.  Tonight I topped it with a can of drained Alaskan Salmon, some chopped cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, julienned carrots and boiled eggs.
The dressing is as follows:
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. minced garlic
1 T. granulated sugar
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Whisk together in a small bowl and serve over salad greens.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Oatmeal Pecan Cookies

I know it seems like I'm a cookie baking mood and I suppose I am.  I've never been one to bake cookies during the holiday season so I guess I'm making up for it now.

This is a classic oatmeal cookie from the Quaker Oats website.  I added 1/2 cup chopped pecans.  The kitchen smells so great while these are baking. And if they contain heart healthy oatmeal, wouldn't one or two of these be acceptable for breakfast?  I hope so because that's what I plan to have tomorrow morning!

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. (optional)
3 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350°F.

In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and pecans; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Saucer Size Oatmeal Cookie

When you're ready to bake cookies...and I mean REALLY ready to bake cookies, give this recipe a try. Instead of that sissy, 1 tsp. scoop that you normally use, plan on using your 1/4 CUP measuring cup to put these on the baking sheet.

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
2 large eggs
3/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 T. vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chocolate chips

Adjust oven racks to highest and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and oatmeal in a medium bowl. Beat eggs, salt and vanilla in a small bowl. Mix butter, oil, and sugars in a large bowl. Stir egg mixture into sugar mixture until smooth. Stir in flour mixture, then stir in cranberries and chocolate chips.

Using a 1 1/2 ounce (3 Tablespoon) spring action ice cream scoop (or a 1/4 cup measuring cup) scoop 6 dough balls on each of the cookie sheets. Bake until golden brown, 16 - 18 minutes, switching positions of sheets and turning them around after 12 minutes. Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

From Perfect Recipes for Having People Over

Friday, January 4, 2013

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

If you like peanut butter and you like chocolate, this is the perfect cookie for you.  They mix up quickly and are perfect warm and gooey from the oven with a big glass of milk.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
11/2  cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°.

Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars until creamed together. Add the egg and mix until fluffy.

Blend the flour, baking powder, soda and salt together well. Add these dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 375°.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Restaurant Stanley - New Orleans, LA

If you are looking for a great brunch spot right in the middle of the French Quarter, Stanley's in the place.  Breakfast and brunch items, sandwiches, in house made ice cream.  There's something for everyone. 

Stanley Restaurant, 547 Saint Ann Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, (504-587-0093)

Delicious Bloody Mary

Stanley Classic ~ Soft Fried Eggs, Smoked Bacon, Creole Breakfast Potatoes, and Whole Wheat Toast

Eggs Stanley ~ Cornmeal-Crusted Oysters, Poached Eggs, Canadian Bacon and Creole Hollandaise on a Toasted English Muffin

Eggs Benedict Poor Boy ~ Poached Eggs, Smoked Canadian Bacon and Creole Hollandaise on Toasted French Bread

Alabama Caviar

I love that this recipe (of which there are as many variations as say cornbread dressing recipes) has the word "caviar" in the title.  It would lead one to think that this is an elegant, cocktail party nibble.  You can add all the fancy words you want, but simply put, this is a delicious mixture of basically canned peas and vinegar and peppers.

There aren’t many of us who haven’t enjoyed some version of this very simple, rustic appetizer at some function or family gathering.  The best part (besides the taste) is that it can be made ahead of time, a little goes a long way and everybody seems to like it.  Most recipes call for it to be served with tortilla chips or Fritos.  But for me, the simplicity of this calls for the most simple cracker of all:  A Basic Saltine.

Adjust your heat level preference with more or less jalapenos.  Serve this in your most beautiful cut glass bowl and enjoy!

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T. sugar
2 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1/2 T. chili powder
1/2 T. ground cumin
3 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can white shoepeg corn, drained
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 small jalapenos, seeds and veins removed, chopped
1 cup chopped red onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl; whisk vigorously to dissolve sugar.  Set aside.

Place peas and corn in a large glass or stainless steel bowl.

Add remaining ingredients.  Pour dressing over top and toss well.  Transfer to a plastic container, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips or saltine crackers.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dutch Oven Pulled Pork

Our Alabama New Year weather didn't allow us to smoke pork for our pulled pork sandwiches.  So, Plan B was implemented.  The pork was cooked to tender perfection and pulled easily for our sandwiches.
1 - 5 lb. Boston Butt
Kosher Salt
Granulated Garlic
Onion Powder
Ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups water
Coat the pork roast with the salt, garlic, onion powder and black pepper.  Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat.  Carefully place pork into Dutch oven and sear on all sides.  When pork is browned, add white wine and deglaze the Dutch oven.  Add water and lower heat to simmer. 
Let pork simmer, turning over every hour or so.  When pork is done, remove from Dutch oven and place on a large cutting board or baking sheet.  Using two large forks, gently pull the pork into shreds.  Serve on buns with your favorite sauce.

Buttermilk Dressing Cole Slaw

There are literally hundreds of recipes for cole slaw. I had some left over buttermilk in the fridge and decided I'd try a new take instead of my usual dressing. 

2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/8 t. granulated garlic
1/8 t. onion powder
1/4 t. celery salt
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 t. hot sauce
1 (16 ounce bag) coleslaw mix

Whisk  all of the dressing ingredients until mixed thoroughly. Adjust seasoning, if desired. Chill until ready to serve. Pour over coleslaw mix and stir gently to combine. 

Happy New Year!

Here's a few pics of the New Year's - Snow Man Table.  I send my best wishes for all to have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013.