Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Grilled Tuna with Mango Mint Chutney

A friend sent me this picture of his dinner tonight along with the recipe for the chutney.  Doesn't this look like a great summer-time meal?

Season the tuna with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Grill 3 minutes each side on either a charcoal or gas grill.

And here's the recipe for the chutney.
1 mango, diced
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 T.  olive oil
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 cup chopped mint
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1 T.  apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and serve on top of grilled tuna.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mediterranean seasoned seared scallops with green beans over Rotini pasta mixed with a white wine, lemon Parmesan sauce

Now how did you like THAT title for a recipe?  In the South we are notorious for cooking our vegetables until there's no vitamin left in them.  Sometimes, I crave that childhood way of eating green beans.  But for this dish, a quick 2 - 3 minute stir fry in the skillet is all that was needed to get them just the way I wanted them.

12 scallops rinsed and patted dry
McCormick's Mediterranean Seasoning Blend
1 T. olive oil
8 oz. rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained (reserve 1/2 cup pasta water)
3 cups broken green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 T. butter
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
juice and zest of one lemon
2 T. shredded basil leaves

After you have rinsed and dried the scallops, sprinkle liberally with the seasoning blend on both sides.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat and when the oil begins to shimmer, add the scallops.  Lower heat slightly and let the scallops sear on one side.  They will release from the skillet when they're ready to turn and you can easily flip them over for the other side's turn to sear without tearing them apart.  

When the scallops are seared, remove to a plate and set aside.

Sorry for the blur!

Lower the heat to medium high and add the green beans and garlic and stirring constantly let them cook for about 2 - 3 minutes.

Deglaze the skillet with the wine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.   Add the butter and let it melt while you continue to stir together.

Add the drained pasta and cheese to the skillet and stir to combine all the ingredients and to allow the cheese to melt.

Add the lemon juice and zest.  Top with the scallops and fresh basil and serve immediately.

A duo of Poppy Seed Sandwiches

I will begin this recipe with a warning: These little sandwiches are addictive. Very addictive. They are delicious straight from the oven or at room temperature. An added bonus is that they are very simple to assemble and your family and guests will be impressed.  

2 - 12 count packages of Hawaiian Dinner Rolls (I used the buttery flavor)
1/2 pound shaved Virginia ham
1/2 pound shaved roasted turkey
1/2 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
1/2 pound thinly sliced Provolone cheese
Grey Poupon Country Dijon Coarse Grain Mustard
French's Dijon with Chardonnay Mustard
1 stick butter
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. dried onion flakes
1 1/2 T. poppy seeds
1/4 cup brown sugar

Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper and carefully slice open one package of the rolls and place in bottom of the dish.

Then, layer on ham slices.....

And then layer on the Swiss cheese slices....

On the top half of the rolls, spread a thin layer of Country Dijon Mustard

And replace the top of the rolls.

Now let's do the turkey...

And the Provolone cheese....

And add a thin layer of Dijon with Chardonnay Mustard and replace the tops of the rolls....

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the remaining ingredients and stir over low heat until the sugar has melted.

Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the sandwiches with the buttery poppy seed mixture.

Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. If you have hungry ones nearby, you may go ahead and bake at this point.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is all melted and gooey. Remove the foil during the last few minutes of baking.  

There are dozens of variations of these sandwiches. I would be hard pressed to know where to start to give credit.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Salmon Salad

Tired of chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad? Want to try a less "fishy" spread for sandwiches than tuna? I prepared this for one of our dishes for the Super Moon Watching Party last night. This would be great stuffed in a pita, spread on crackers or served on celery sticks. Give it a try!

3 -  6 oz. cans of  Bear and Wolf skinless/boneless Salmon; drained and gently separated.  
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
3 - 4 T. mayonnaise
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 - 3/4 t. dill weed
2 t. dill relish
2 stalks celery finely chopped
juice and zest of one lemon

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Gently mix so the salmon remains in bite sized pieces. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Banana Nut Bread

This banana bread has a wonderful texture and is so very moist.  It's a great way to use up those last few bananas on the bunch which are VERY ripe.  I added pecans to my loaf and it was a great texture contrast.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4/ t. salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/3 cups)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. 

Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. 

Combine flour, soda and salt; add to batter and mix just to combine. Add bananas and pecans, mixing well. 

Spoon batter into prepared pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean and sides pull away from the pan. 

Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool 30 minutes on wire rack before slicing. Serve with butter.

Adapted from Southern Living Heirloom Recipe Cookbook.

Lolly's Limon Lemonade

This drink is best described as Summer in a Glass.  Perfect for summer evenings on the deck or porch.  Refreshing, tart and very, very tasty.
You'll need a tall glass filled with crushed ice.
Fill 3/4 full with lemonade.
Add a shot or jigger of Bacardi's Limon and then add a splash of grenadine.
Garnish with cherries or lemon slices.
Make lots of new friends!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chipotle Pulled Pork

If you've been searching for a crock pot recipe for pork which will feed a lot of people or will give you several meals (yes that means leftovers!), this is the one to try. 

1 5-6 lb. bone-in Boston Butt
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 head of garlic, peeled and cloves separated
1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes with juice
2 T. Tone's S.W. Chipotle Seasoning
1 T. ground cumin
1 t. jalapeno salt (if unavailable, use 1 t. salt and a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce)
juice of two limes
1 Corona (or 2 cups of chicken broth)

Place pork in crock pot and turn to the high setting.  Add the onions, jalapenos, garlic, tomatoes, seasoning and the juice of ONE lime.  Slowly pour in the Corona or broth.

Cover and let cook 6 - 8 hours.  Remove bone and skim off fat.  Using a large fork, pull pork apart.  Skim off  any remaining fat.  Add juice of the remaining lime.

At this point, you can either turn the crock pot on "keep warm" or "low" setting until you're ready to eat or serve now.

I heated tortillas on a cast iron griddle pan and wrapped up this pork goodness with a little shredded cheese, sour cream and jalapeno salsa.

Another version is to leave the tortilla flat and add a layer of yellow rice or beans.

Red Beans and Rice

Yes, I realize that this picture looks more like black beans than red beans. This is what happens when you cook anything all day in a cast iron skillet or pot. The food absorbs the iron. 

Let's cook some red beans.

1 pound red kidney beans, rinsed and picked over carefully
Enough water to cover beans by about 2 inches
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 - 2 t. Creole seasoning
1 large or 2 small bay leafs
1 ham hock

Soak beans overnight in a large bowl with about 3 inches of water to cover them.

Drain the water, rinse the beans and put into a large cast iron pot or dutch oven and cover with about 2 inches of water. Add the bay leaves and bring to a boil.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the ham hock to render some of the fat. Remove from the skillet and add to the pot of beans.

Now add the onions, pepper, garlic and celery and cook until they are softened, about 5 minutes or so.

Add them to the pot along with the Creole seasoning. 

Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and let cook for several hours until the beans are tender. Check frequently and add more water if necessary. 

When the beans are done, mash a few with a spoon against the side of the pot to make the mixture creamier, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste. Discard the bay leaves and serve over white rice with grilled smoked sausage on the side. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pecan Blue Cheese Grapes

During the hot and humid days of summer, this is a refreshing appetizer to have on hand for hungry guests to enjoy before the main meal. Or if it's just you and yours, this is a great little nibble to have with a nice glass on wine on the patio or deck.

This recipe is from Giada/Food Network and I adapted it by using green grapes instead of red and pecans instead of walnuts. If you're not a fan of blue cheese, use all cream cheese or maybe some feta.

1/4 cup (2 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) blue cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
18 to 20 seedless green  grapes, chilled
1 cup (4 ounces) finely chopped pecans, toasted 
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh  flat leaf parsley
Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a food processor, blend together the cream cheese, blue cheese, and heavy cream until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the grapes and stir until coated with the cheese mixture.

In another small bowl, mix together the pecans, sugar, and parsley.

Using a fork, transfer the grapes, one at a time, to the pecan mixture and, using clean hands, gently roll in the mixture until coated. Place the grapes on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours and serve.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lemon Oregano Chicken

My  oregano is growing at an amazing rate. I tried to think of something other than spaghetti sauce that I could invent to make oregano the star. Here's the result of my brainstorming session today.

8 chicken thighs (bone in)
Lemon Pepper
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
3 lemons, thinly sliced
2 T. chopped oregano

Trim excess skin from chicken thighs and season liberally with lemon pepper.

In a large skillet, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium high heat. Brown chicken thighs on both sides until they reach a lovely golden color.

Remove chicken from skillet and place on a plate. Raise heat to high and deglaze the skillet with the wine.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

 Add the sliced lemons

And the oregano

Return the chicken to the skillet and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and let chicken cook for about an hour until it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees.

Serve over rice, couscous or pasta. 

Fresh Green Beans and New Potatoes from the Garden

That first "mess" of green beans from the garden are raised to a new level of yumminess with the addition of freshly dug new potatoes from a few rows over.
It's hard to describe a "mess" of beans or greens or squash.   I suppose the best description would be it's enough to feed your family a meal with some leftovers.
So for this side dish, you'll need a mess of green beans and a dozen or so small new potatoes.
Wash the green beans and trim the ends.  Break into one inch pieces.  Put the green beans into a 2 quart sauce pan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a soft simmer.  Add a few tablespoons of bacon drippings or a half cup or so of diced ham or bacon.  Let simmer for a few hours, adding additional water if needed. 
Wash potatoes and drop them into the beans and let them cook until they are soft.  Try to use uniform sized potatoes so they will cook evenly. 
Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. 

Praline French Toast

Rich? Yes.  Decadent? Yes.  Are you going to try this soon? Yes!

1 dozen eggs
2 3/4 cups half and half
Cinnamon and nutmeg for sprinkling
1/2 cup white sugar
1 3/4 cups maple syrup, separated
1 3/4 cups brown sugar, separated
1 whole loaf of Texas Toast bread  
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Butter a large lasagna pan/casserole dish. Place a layer of bread into the dish.  You may need to cut some of the slices of bread to make them fit into the pan to completely cover the bottom. 

Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg on top of bread. Add another layer of bread.

In a large bowl, mix eggs, half and half, ¾ cup maple syrup, and ¾ cup brown sugar.  Slowly pour over bread.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 1 cup maple syrup, 1 cup brown sugar, butter, and nuts in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until butter and sugar are melted. Stir to combine everything and add vanilla. 

Pour mixture over the bread. Bake for about an hour. Remove from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes. Serve with additional syrup if desired.

Breakfast Fruit Bowl

It's always fun to mix and match different fruits for a breakfast or brunch fruit bowl. Sometimes I use a variety of berries, other times different kinds of melons.
For this one, I mixed blueberries, green grapes and cantaloupe. I thought this was a very nice contrast of colors, shapes, textures and flavors. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Chicken and Egg Noodle Casserole

Here's another one of those tried and true comfort food casseroles that are perfect when you need that little something special to make you (or others) feel loved.

One rotisserie chicken (pulled from bones and shredded)
1 large family size cream of chicken soup
24 oz. sour cream
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 16 oz. bag wide egg noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained well
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
3 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the soup, sour cream and cheese. Gently mix in the shredded chicken and drained noodles.

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and spoon in the chicken/noodle mixture.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until bubbly. Mix the crumbled crackers and melted butter in a small bowl. Remove casserole from oven and top with crackers.

Return to oven for about 5 minutes. 


Monday, June 3, 2013

Peach Cobbler

It's not Summertime officially for me until I bake the first peach cobbler. Yesterday was the day! This one will take a little bit of time to assemble but it is well worth the effort.

You'll need pastry for four 9 inch pies; I used Pillsbury brand and cut to fit.

For the filling:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
9 cups (about 3 1/2 pounds) peeled and chopped fresh or frozen peaches cut into large chunks
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup water
1 egg
sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Use two of the pie crusts to line a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Carefully tuck the dough into the corners and up the sides of the dish. Press gently to seal up any seams.

Prepare the filling by combing the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Add the chopped peaches and gently stir and toss together until the peaches are evenly coated with the sugar mixture. Pour the filling into the pan and spread it out in an even layer. Pour the butter and water evenly over the peaches.

With the remaining pie crusts, you can either simply place over the filling and make a few slits in the dough with a sharp knife.

If you want to make the lattice topping, here's what you do.

Cut the remaining pie crusts so you have six 14 inch long strips and twelve 10 inch long strips. Don't worry about perfection, you can piece the strips together if you need to. 

Carefully arrange the six longer pieces on top of the peach filling, placing them evenly along the length of the pan so that the filling shows through. Place the twelve shorter pieces at right angles to the long strips, arranging them along the width of the pan to make a crisscross pattern.

Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush it evenly over the crust and sprinkle sugar evenly over the top.

Place in the oven for 10 minutes then lower the heat to 350 degrees. Bake until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbling up through the crust about 40 minutes longer. If the crust begins to brown too much, lay strips of foil over those spots.

Serve warm with ice cream or at room temperature.

This recipe is from my all time favorite pie cookbook, Southern Pies by Nanci McDermott.

Roasted Mixed Potatoes

The next time you see those interesting colored potatoes at the grocery, don't pass them by for the 5 or 10 pound bag of Russets.  Do yourself a favor and try some.  The key here is to have them as close in size as possible so they will all cook about the same time.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the potatoes with a little olive oil and sea salt and black pepper.  Put on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 - 18 minutes.  No butter needed here because they are incredibly flavorful.