Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Lemon Rosemary Chicken with White Wine Sauce

Monday, Monday......I don't know about you, but Monday's are usually rough for me. After a busy, but relaxing, weekend, it's hard to hit the ground running on Monday. So a little extra time spent this morning, will reap huge rewards tonight when I get home. Today I decided to let the good ol' crock pot work for me all day in the kitchen.  hen I got home, all that was left to do was make the sauce and cook the rice and whatever veggie I chose (which was green peas).

For the chicken:
4 large chicken breasts
4 springs of fresh rosemary
Lemon Pepper
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 t. finely chopped garlic
2 lemons, thinly sliced

Turn crock pot to high and layer in two chicken breasts diagonally. Liberally sprinkle with lemon pepper and place a fresh rosemary spring on top of each chicken breast. Scatter half of the garlic over the top of the chicken.

Next add the other two chicken breasts diagonally in the opposite direction and repeat with the lemon pepper, rosemary and garlic.  

Carefully pour the chicken broth around the edges of the crock pot so as not to disturb the rosemary and garlic. Next add the lemon slices and put on the cover. Doesn't that look lovely?

Go to work, go back to bed, do you housework, go shopping.....Have a great MONDAY and then at dinner time walk back into the kitchen to be greeted to the most amazing aroma. Still pretty!

Remove the chicken breasts to a plate and make the sauce with the strained chicken broth from the crock pot. 

Here's the ingredients and the method for the sauce.

For the sauce:
1 T. butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups chicken broth
¾ cup dry white wine (or additional chicken broth)
1 fresh rosemary sprig, finely chopped
¼ cup cold firm butter, cut into 4 pieces
Juice of one lemon
¼ t. salt
¼ t. freshly ground pepper (Or you may substitute lemon pepper here for the S and P)

Melt butter over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add shallots and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft.

Pour 1 1/3 cups broth into pan and heat to boiling, scraping any browned bits from bottom of pan.

Add wine and rosemary to pan.  Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.  Boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to a little less than 1 cup.

Remove from heat.  Stir in juice of one lemon and salt and pepper (or lemon pepper).

Beat in butter, one piece at a time, with wire whisk, adding the next piece only after the first has been completely beaten in and melted.

When all the butter has been whisked in you will have a lovely sauce to spoon over the chicken which you can serve over rice or noodles.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Apple Muffins

This morning was the perfect time to begin enjoying those beautiful and delicious apples from Crow Mountain Orchard.  How better than to put them into moist apple muffins for a Sunday morning breakfast?

2 cups flour
2 t. baking powder
½ cup sugar
¼ t. freshly ground nutmeg
¼ t. freshly ground cinnamon
½ t. salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
¼ cup vegetable oil or butter, melted
1 cup sweet-tart medium to large apple, cored, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease 12-cup muffin tin or use paper liners.  With a wire whisk combine first set of ingredients.

In another bowl, combine wet ingredients. Add chopped apple and wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Stir only until moistened.

Spoon into prepared muffin pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until tested done with tester.

From www.about.com

Crow Mountain Orchard

Yesterday we visited Crow Mountain Orchard in Fackler, Alabama right on the Tennessee/Alabama line.  http://crowmountainorchard.com/
150 acres of apple, pear and peach orchards on top of Crow Mountain at an elevation of 1,700+ feet.  It's the perfect time for apples and I purchased both McIntosh and Jonathan apples along with a gallon of cider which is pressed on-site.  Crisp and delicious!!!
They also have blueberries and muscadines in the Spring.  Here are some pictures of our road trip.  Crow Mountain is about 75 miles from my home. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The changing of the seasons

The temperature during the daytime is not quite as hot here in North Alabama.  The sun is setting a little earlier each night.  The nighttime air is beginning to cool and the oppressive humidity of Summer is fading.  

We've enjoyed summer garden vegetables, ripe juicy tomatoes, crunchy peppers, fried okra, creamed corn and slow cooked green beans.  But now the seasons are changing and Fall is in the air.  It's time to start thinking about different menu ideas and how to incorporate new vegetables to try at mealtimes.  

If you've got a favorite (or a brand new) recipe for this time of year you'd like for me to try, please share! I'm open to suggestions from all of you.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Meatball Po'boy

Remember those meatballs we cooked a few days ago?  Well, here's the "re-run" version.  A completely different meal but just as delicious.

Slice a loaf of Italian bread lengthwise and then crosswise.  Drizzle with olive oil and put under the broiler for a few minutes until the bread is lightly toasted.

Add a layer of thinly sliced provolone cheese.  Next add heated meatballs and sauce and top with shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan.  Put back under the boiler to melt the cheeses.  Top with a little minced parsley if desired.

Old Fashioned Hamburgers (with secret ingredient: grated potato!)

These burgers have so many positives it's hard to know where to start.  

First, the finely grated potato adds a great moisture factor to the ground chuck or ground round.  So if you're using leaner mixtures (80/20 or 90/10), the potato will eliminate the dryness factor.

Secondly, if you need to streeeeeeetch that purchase of ground chuck just a little, once again, the potato will come to the rescue.

Thirdly, if you're looking for a way to add a little extra nutrition to a child's burger at home, here's the way to do it.

Begin with 1 pound of ground chuck or ground round and 1 medium russet potato.  Break the meat up with a fork in a large bowl.  Peel the potato and using the finest grating side of a box grater, grate the potato and add to the meat.  Add about a 1/2 t. granulated garlic, a few grinds of black pepper and about 1/2 t. salt.  Mix together well with the fork.

Shape into four patties.  Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add the burgers to the pan.

See the shreds of potato in there?  Yummy goodness!

Cook until your desired level of doneness.  The potatoes will also provide a nice "crunch" factor to the burgers.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chocolate Ice Cream (soft serve style)

One of the best purchases I've made recently was a Cuisinart Ice Cream freezer. Last night we decided to give the chocolate flavor recipe that was included with the freezer a try. This is a perfect soft serve version, but the cocoa gave it a deep chocolate flavor. We loved it and dinner guests gave it two thumbs up!

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process preferred)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups whole milk
31/4 cups heavy cream
1 T. pure vanilla extract

Place the cocoa and sugars in a medium bowl; stir to combine.

Add the whole milk and use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine until the cocoa and sugars are dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.

If not freezing immediately, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Turn machine on; pour mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 25 to 35 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Spaghetti Sauce (or Red Gravy or Pasta/Lasagna/Ravioli Sauce)

Whatever name you want to give this sauce is fine with me. I just call it a huge pot of delicious goodness. The recipe for the meatballs, featured in the picture above, is also on the blog. I felt the sauce deserved its own post so here we go. A word of caution here: This makes a HUGE pot of sauce. I cooked this in my Le Creuset 9 quart Dutch oven and with the addition of 31 meatballs, it was filled to the brim. You can certainly cut this recipe in half, but while you're cooking why not go ahead and make a full recipe and divide and freeze portions for upcoming meals?

1 T. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 sweet green peppers, chopped
2 T. finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup red wine
3 large cans of either crushed or pureed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano added
2 small cans tomato paste (plus 2 cans filled with water)
salt and pepper to taste
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a LARGE Dutch oven over medium heat, pour olive oil and add onion and peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened. Add garlic and let cook about a minute, stirring constantly.

Add red wine and let it cook for about 2 minutes until the alcohol has evaporated.

Then add the remaining ingredients, stirring well after each addition.

Lower heat to barely simmering and let sauce cook for at least 2 hours. If you are making the meatballs to serve with the sauce, drop them in as they are seared. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking.

Serve over your favorite pasta and enjoy!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

You know when you have those cravings for a particular food? Those times when you think if you don't get that meal RIGHT THEN it could get ugly?  Quickly!

That was my predicament yesterday. I wanted spaghetti and meatballs and not the golf ball sized meatballs I usually make. I wanted a BIG OL' MEATBALL. Needless to say, my supper last night satisfied my craving. Happy Lolly returned.

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground round
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
2 pounds ground pork
1 small yellow onion, small diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried basil
2 T. chopped parsley
1 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup Italian styled dried breadcrumbs
Crushed red pepper flakes (if desired)

In a LARGE bowl, combine all ingredients, lightly mixing with clean hands. You don't want to attempt to use a spatula or spoon. As Ina says, "Clean hands are the cook's best tools."

Of course, you can roll these meatballs any size you prefer. But before you begin to shape the meatballs, heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add a small amount of olive oil and take about a half dollar size amount of the meatball mixture and flatten it slightly into a patty shape. Place in the skillet and brown on both sides and taste. If you need to adjust the seasonings any, now is the time to do that before you roll out all these beautiful meatballs.

In the same skillet, place several meatballs and let brown on all sides. Don't crowd the skillet. If you do, the meatballs will not brown properly.  

As the meatballs are seared, drop them into the pot of sauce to continue cooking all the way through.  

You can stop at the searing point, let the meatballs cool and freeze them for later use. This recipe made 31 LARGE meatballs.

Andy's Flour Power, Panama City Beach, Florida

Andy's Flour Power was recommended by a friend with glowing praise.  On our recent trip, we decided we'd go for Sunday morning breakfast.  They open at 8:00 a.m.  We arrived about 8:15 a.m. to be greeted with a line stretching out the door.  We put our name on the list and I overheard someone say, "Well, the ones who were here at 8 should be finishing by about 8:40....then we'll start being seated."  There's not many tables in Flour Power, but the food made the wait well worth the little extra time it took to be seated.

Breakfast items include different versions of French toast, omelets, waffles, etc.  There was also a chalkboard listing the different morning specials.  I've learned if you're in a hurry, always pick a daily special. Specials will normally be ready to plate and you will be served quicker.  True to form, I order the shrimp and grits special and H chose the Eggs Benedict.  Yes, we were almost finished with our breakfast before nearby tables who ordered at almost the same time as us were receiving their food.

There's also a bakery on-site and the display case was packed with several types of danishes, cookies, muffins and morning pastries.  The bread rack wasn't filled yet, but the menu shows a wide variety from which to choose.  

Here's a link to their Facebook page Andy's Flour Power Cafe.  A quick Google search shows a number of great reviews on Yelp as well as Urban Spoon.

Eggs Benedict

Shrimp & Grits with Gouda

I would definitely go there again, but would either be in line at 8 a.m. or wait until the first seating would be finishing up their meal,  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Prosciutto and Provolone Rollups

I made spaghetti and meatballs tonight and as a starter for the meal, I thought about the prosciutto in the fridge......hmmmm and maybe with some very thinly sliced deli provolone cheese and yes, there's the very last of the basil on the deck. Voila! Within 10 minutes a lovely appetizer tray was ready to go.

Prosciutto slices
Thinly sliced provolone cheese
Finely chopped basil

Lay prosciutto slices flat on a cutting board, layer a nice slice of provolone cheese and sprinkle a little chopped basil on top of the cheese.

Roll just tightly enough to hold its shape and plate with crackers if desired. I used

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bacardi Rum Cake

I do believe this is the moistest cake I've ever eaten.  And added plus is that it gets better as it ages.  But a negative is that it doesn't last long.  Get it?  I've heard it freezes well, but we always eat these as soon as they're baked.
For the cake:
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts
1 (18 1/2 oz.) yellow cake mix
1 (1 3/4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan.  Sprinkle nuts on bottom of pain. Combine all cake ingredients.  Beat for 2 minutes on high with electric mixer.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 1 hour.  Cool in pan.  Invert on serving plate.  Prick top with fork. 
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum
Melt butter in saucepan.  Stir in water and sugar.  Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in rum.  The rum will cause steam.  Be careful not to get burned.
Drizzle glaze over top of cake.  Use brush or spoon to put extra dripping back on cake.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes baked with goat cheese and topped with parslied breadcrumbs

I went in search of a recipe that would include roasted eggplant, tomatoes and feta cheese.  I found the perfect one at  Tweet-n-Eats.  Please visit her website.  

1 eggplant (1 pound) cut into a small dice
1 large red onion, cut into a small dice
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup + 2 T. olive oil, divided
3 T. chopped fresh rosemary
1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 slices day old white bread
2 T. chopped parsley
1/2 cup (2 oz.) freshly grated Kassie cheese (Greek cheese) (I had to use feta as a substitute)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On large rimmed baking sheet add eggplant, red onion, lemon juice, zest, 1/3 cup oil, rosemary, tomatoes, season with 1 1/2 t. salt and 7 full turns on the pepper mill.  Toss with clean hands to evenly coat.
Bake until tender, golden but little moist, 35 – 40 minutes (tossing halfway through cook time). Remove from oven and toss.
Place roasted eggplant and tomatoes in an 8 x 11 baking dish.
Meanwhile: in food processor add bread and purée until large crumbs form.  
(Enough to equal 1 ½ cups)
Remove to a medium bowl and add parsley, 2 T. oil.  Season with 1/4 t. salt and 1 full turn on the pepper mill. Toss and rub crumbs together using hands to fully saturate and set aside.

Sprinkle Kassie cheese and then top with bread crumbs. Heat oven to broil.  Place baking dish in oven and toast until  bread crumbs are golden, 2 – 5 minutes (constantly watching to make sure it doesn’t burn).

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Orzo and Feta Salad

I fell in love with this Orzo Pasta Salad. The colors are beautiful, the flavors blended well together, there's different textures and the HUGE plus is that it was excellent as a left over have-for-lunch-the-next-day-or-so treat.  The use of small grape or cherry tomatoes, seedless English cucumbers along with a red onion is a must.  Try to chop all of these ingredients as close to the same size as possible.  

For the dressing:
¼ cup red wine vinegar (I usually use a little more because I LOVE vinegar!)
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 t. Dijon Mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. fresh oregano, chopped
1 T. fresh mint, chopped
½ t. salt
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
½ t. Greek Seasoning
½rcup olive oil
¼ cup canola oil

Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil and canola oil in a blender. After well blended, add olive oil and canola oil in a steady stream with the blender on medium. Taste for seasoning. Remember, the feta cheese will contain salt.

For the Salad:
1 16 oz. box orzo pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained and rinsed with cool water
1 English cucumber, seeded and chopped small
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
½ up pitted Kalmata olives
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
½  cup red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup basil, chopped
2 T. oregano, chopped
2 T. mint, chopped
Zest of one lemon

Place drained and cooled pasta in large bowl.  Add next eight ingredients and mix well. 

Next add about half of your dressing and slowly fold the pasta ingredients over and over until the dressing begins to absorb into the pasta.

Next add the crumbled feta and the remaining dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Immediately before serving, stir once more and taste for seasoning.  Add lemon zest to top of pasta salad.

Oregano and Thyme Roasted Pork Loin

A few weeks ago, I decided a Greek inspired meal was in order.  Baked Garlic Pita Wedges served alongside this delicious Oregano and Thyme Roasted Pork Loin with a bright, fresh orzo and goat cheese salad was the perfect combination. 

This recipe takes a little bit of time, cooking wise, but it's worth the time and effort.  It was moist, tender and delicious.

4 T. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 T. dried thyme, crumbled
1 T. dried oregano
1 -2 t. ground black pepper
1 t. salt
1 (5 lb.) boneless pork loin, trimmed of fat
In a small bowl, combine the oil, garlic, thyme, oregano, pepper, and salt.  Rub the garlic mixture all over the pork.

Place the pork in a Dutch oven just large enough to hold it snugly, cover with aluminum foil and then the lid and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Remove the aluminum foil from the Dutch oven, replace the lid and bake for 30 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 375° F and bake for 1 hour more, basting twice with the pan juices.

Uncover, baste again and bake, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 155-165° F.

Remove the pork from the oven, cover and let rest for 1 hour to develop the flavors.

Reheat in a 375° F oven for about 20 minutes and serve.

From Greek Food.com

Crabmeat Dressing

If you want a truly decadent, once in a great while, crabmeat dish, this is the one. I served this alongside a grilled whole red snapper.  But you could easily bake this inside a whole fish, stuff some of the filling in mushroom caps, or enjoy as a main dish.  Make sure you use fresh white bread crumbs.  No dried bread crumbs in this dish please.

1 pound lump crabmeat
½ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. Caribbean jerk seasoning
¼ t. cayenne pepper or to taste
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 T. butter
1 rib celery, finely chopped
½ medium onion, finely chopped
3 green onions including green tops, finely chopped
½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 T. minced flat leaf parsley
½ cup fine, dry white bread crumbs (approximately), plus additional for topping (about 2 T.)
2 T. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Pick over the crabmeat to remove any bits of shell or cartilage.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Worcestershire, Caribbean jerk seasoning, cayenne pepper, and the beaten egg; set aside.

In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons butter.  Add the celery, onion, green onions, bell pepper, and parsley; cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are soft.
Remove from the heat and allow the vegetables to cool completely.

Stir the cooled vegetables into the mayonnaise sauce mixture.  

Gently fold in the crabmeat and enough breadcrumbs to hold the mixture together without being either too soupy or too dry.

Either spoon into a 2-quart casserole dish.  Sprinkle the top of the dressing lightly with breadcrumbs then drizzle with melted butter.

Place the deviled crab in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.  Remove from oven.  Serve hot.

Adapted from What's Cooking America

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Baked Garlic Pitas

The next time you want to take plain old pita bread to the next tasty level, try this recipe from Food Network. These were delicious served with the Oregano and Thyme Pork Loin.

4 medium sized whole wheat pitas
4 medium sized white pitas
4 T. unsalted butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the pitas into 6 wedges.

In a medium saucepan, add the butter and garlic. Set over medium heat and warm through until the butter melts and the garlic becomes fragrant, 5 - 6 minutes. 

Add the parsley and mix well.

Place the pita wedges in a large bowl and pour the garlic butter over the top. Toss well to combine and coat everything evenly. 

Spread the pita wedges out evenly on a sheet tray and dust with the grated Parmesan. Bake in the oven until golden and crispy, 12 - 15 minutes. 

Remove from oven and taste. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve warm.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Back Porch Seafood and Oyster House

During a recent visit to Panama City Beach, we enjoyed a late lunch at Back Porch Seafood & Oyster House, located at Pier Park.  Our service was attentive but not overwhelming and the food was delicious and PLENTIFUL. 
Here's the link to the menu.
I started out with a Blue Crush:  Bacardi Limon, Blue Curacao, pineapple juice and sour mix.  Very refreshing!
Next up was an order of Firecracker Shrimp:  Fried popcorn shrimp tossed in a spicy remoulade sauce (available without sauce upon request).  Even though this was happy hour pricing on appetizers, there were FOUR DOZEN shrimp on this plate.  I should have just ordered this as a main course.
Next up crab and spinach dip with tortilla chips.  Full of crabmeat.  Very good.
I chose the amberjack sandwich with a twice baked potato and a nice corn, lima bean and red pepper medley.  The choices for the fish were fried, grilled, blackened or bronzed.  I chose bronzed.  That translated to more than grilled, but less than blackened and without the "blackening spices."  It was grilled perfectly. 
Harold chose the grouper sandwich.  As you all know, if grouper is on the menu, he's going to order that in some shape, form or fashion.  His sides were the twice baked potato and cole slaw.  His fish was bronzed as well.

If you're shopping at Pier Park around happy hour, you can get a great deal on apps and drinks.