Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Sweet & Spicy Asian Glazed Drumsticks

Chicken drumsticks were on sale and I had all sorts of Asian ingredients in the pantry and the refrigerator.  And as I mixed and measured, it came together!

7 chicken legs, lightly salted
1 T. olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 T. Sriracha hot sauce (more or less!)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 T. honey
1/8 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 T. minced garlic
2 t. grated fresh ginger
1 t. cornstarch
1/3 cup whole cashews
sesame seeds for garnish

cooked white rice

In a large skillet, brown chicken legs in olive oil over high heat.  

While chicken legs are browning, in a medium bowl, whisk together the next 8 ingredients.  Pour this mixture carefully around the chicken legs and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat so that the liquid is gently simmering and cover.  Let cook for 15 - 20 minutes, turning chicken over occasionally.

Put the cornstarch in a small bowl and add a few tablespoons of the sauce.  Mix together with a fork and then pour it into the skillet.  The cornstarch slurry will help thicken the sauce so it will glaze the chicken.  Let cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Remove chicken to a plate and add the cashews to the sauce.  Bring to a boil for a minute or so.

Return chicken to skillet and remove from heat.  Plate the drumsticks over the cooked rice and spoon the cashew glaze over the chicken and rice.  Garnish with the green onions and sesame seeds and additional red pepper flakes if you'd like.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Poached Egg with Southwestern Cheese Grits

A single serving breakfast treat this morning.  I was in the mood for a poached egg, but no English muffins in the house for Eggs Benedict.  BUT.....there are always grits in the pantry.  In less than 10 minutes, the grits were cooked and the egg was poached and I had a great comfort food breakfast.

Let's make the grits first.  And yes, I broke all the Southern Rules that I know and used quick cooking grits.  Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup whipping cream
3 T. quick cooking grits
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. chili powder
1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Bring the water and cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium high heat.  Add grits, salt and chili powder.  Whisk until the grits are fully incorporated into the liquid.  Lower heat to low and cover.  The grits will be cooked in 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

While the grits are cooking, poach the egg.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a gentle simmer.  Break an egg into a small handheld strainer over a ramekin or small bowl.  Let the watery part of the white drain away.  Discard.  

Gently pour the egg and the remaining white into the simmering water.  Let the egg cook 3 - 4 minutes until the white is set but the yolk remains runny.  Carefully remove from the water with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Spoon grits onto your serving plate and sprinkle with a little more cheese if you want.  And why would you not want a little more?  Now place the egg on top of the grits and sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and chili powder.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Asian Vegetable & Noodle Soup

The cold weather is on the way to North Alabama this weekend. However, today started out drizzly and cool. By this afternoon, the sky had cleared and it was one of those gorgeous, non-hazy, no humidity Fall days. Perfect for a nice soup chock full of vegetables! It's important to cook the noodles separately, toss them with sesame oil and put into individual bowls. THEN ladle the hot soup over the noodles. Delicious.

1 T. oil
8 green onions, trimmed, thinly sliced
1 T. minced garlic
2 t. grated fresh ginger
1/8 t. Chinese 5 spice powder
1/4 - 1/2 t. red pepper flakes (depending on your heat tolerance)
3 carrots, diced
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup broccoli florets
3 cup shredded Napa cabbage
1/2 t. salt
1 small head bok choy, stalks halved and finely shredded
2 T. lemon juice
1/2 pound vermicelli noodles cooked according to package directions, drained and then tossed with
2 t. Asian sesame oil

In a large Dutch oven (5 quart), heat oil over medium low heat. Add green onions, garlic, ginger, 5 spice powder and red pepper flakes. Stirring constantly for about 1 minute, until you can smell the fragrance of the onion and seasonings.  

Add carrots, stirring frequently, and let them cook for about 2 - 3 minutes.

Next add the soy sauce and broth. Bring to a gentle simmer and then add the cabbage and salt. Let the soup cook for about 5 minutes and then add the bok choy. After the soup has simmered for about 5 more minutes, remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

If you're feeding a crowd, cook the noodles, drain, toss with the sesame oil and add them to the pot for each diner to help themselves "family style."

Adapted from cooking.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dining Out - Gulf Coast - Capt. Anderson's Panama City Beach, FL

Saturday night dinner at the perennial favorite at the beach, Capt. Anderson's.  There are several reviews of this classic seafood restaurant on the blog for good reason.  We love this restaurant.

We began with crab claws.  We had several opportunities to order crab claws during the weekend at the beach.  On the drive home, we discussed our meals and Capt. Anderson's crab claws were the hands down winner!

Sweet Harold ordered the char-grilled shrimp with a baked potato side and  salad.  These tasted as good as they looked.

Dining Companion #1 ordered the grilled scamp with a baked potato and a Greek salad.  She gave her dinner a thumbs up.

Dining Companion #2 was celebrating his birthday at the beach.  He had waited (im)patiently all day long to learn if Whole Pompano was listed as a special.  I am happy to report his got his birthday wish.  Isn't that a beautiful fish?

Dining Out - Gulf Coast - Egg & I

Breakfast before heading home Sunday was at The Egg & I.  This a restaurant chain specializing in, what else, breakfast and brunch.

My dining companions had positive comments for the most part.  The kitchen apparently was slammed at the time we were there, so we had about a 35 minute wait before our food was served.  But good company at the breakfast table made that time go by quickly.  We were greeted with this announcement on the wall when we were seated!  And we know it's true.  

Dining Companion #1 had a "create your own omelette."  Unfortunately, I neglected to note what she chose as the fillings.  However, here are the listed choices.  Quite the selection!

You can choose any three ingredients from the following:
Fresh Avocado | Bacon | Chorizo Sausage | Grilled Chicken | Chicken Apple Sausage | Ham | Sausage | Turkey Sausage | Feta Cheese | Gouda | Havarti Dill Cheese | Jack & Cheddar | Mozzarella Cheese | Pepper Jack Cheese | Swiss Cheese | Artichoke Hearts | Asparagus | Green Chile Peppers | Green Onions | Green Peppers | Jalape├▒os | Onions | Portabella Mushrooms | Fresh Spinach | Roasted Tomatoes | Fresh Tomatoes 

I had the Mexican Omelette which was full of chorizo, chiles and onions, topped with cheese, pork green chili, sour cream and green onions served with a flour tortilla and ranch potatoes.  The green chili was delicious on the omelette, but the potatoes were a little cold and under-seasoned for me.

Sweet Harold had his favorite Sausage Gravy and Biscuits.  The gravy was very peppery.  If you have a problem with black pepper heat, remember this when you order!

Dining Companion #2 selected the Mexican Skillet
Chorizo, black beans, green chilies, tomatoes and onions on ranch potatoes with pork green chili or salsa. Topped with pepper jack cheese and two eggs any style. Served with a flour tortilla.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dining Out - Gulf Coast - Hunt's Oyster Bar

It's always a great sign when you pull into the parking lot of a restaurant at 2:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon and get find a parking spot.  Especially when it's "off season" at the beach.

That is exactly what we found when we arrived at Hunt's Oyster Bar in Panama City (actually Historic St. Andrew's), Florida.  Hunt's is a local oyster bar with lots of character.  

We enjoyed a variety of seafood on our visit last week.  I know we will back again on our next trip to the beach.  The menu is varied with all sorts of seafood, salads, crab cakes, smoked tuna dip, fried green tomatoes, etc. 

When you go to an oyster bar.....you order raw oysters!  We ate 3 1/2 dozen!  Ice cold, briny and freshly shucked.  Who could ask for more?

One of our Dining Companions enjoyed sauteed crab claws.  Look at the amount of garlic on these beauties! No worries about problems with vampires after eating these.

Just because I was intrigued with the baked oyster selections, I took one for the Fleur de Lolly Team and ordered a half dozen of Cajun Baked Oysters.  Oh yes, indeed!  These were delicious as well.

Draft and bottled beers, soft drinks and wine by the glass.  Desserts are available as well.  Make sure you click on the link above to go directly to Hunt's website!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Spinach & Ricotta Manicotti

Fresh spinach combined with ricotta cheese? Yes, I believe I will. Spinach and ricotta stuffed into manicotti shells and baked with a creamy cheese sauce? Oh yes indeed!

This one take a little bit of time, but it is well worth the extra effort. Your food processor will be extremely helpful with shredding the cheese and blending everything for the stuffing together.  

The original recipe was for this to be a crock pot dish. If you decide to go that route, only cook the noodles for half the recommended time on the package and increase the chicken or vegetable broth to 1 1/2 cups.

9 oz. package of manicotti noodles, cooked and drained

For the filling:
2 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 10 oz. packages baby spinach
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t. freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 t. dried Italian seasoning blend
1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
1 1/2 cups fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

For the cheese sauce:
4 T. unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
3 T. all purpose flour
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 2/c cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
dash of salt
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t. dried red pepper flakes
1/8 t. freshly ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and heat for about 30 seconds or so, just until you begin to smell the garlic.

Add the spinach a few handfuls at a time and let it begin to cook down. Continue until all the spinach is wilted and then add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let the spinach cook until no liquid remains in the skillet or you can place it in a fine mesh sieve and, using a spatula, gently press out the remaining liquid.

Place the spinach in the food processor with the blade attachment. Add the ricotta and Parmigiano cheese.  Pulse until mixture blends together.

Now we will make the sauce:
Use a medium saucepan. Add the butter and let it melt over low heat. Add the garlic and let it warm with the butter for about 30 seconds. Add flour and whisk for 2 - 3 minutes until the raw taste of the flour is cooked out. Slowly add the broth and cream and bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. The sauce will begin to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until it is melted and blended in with the sauce. Stir in the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and nutmeg.

Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick spray. Spoon and spread a layer of sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish. Using a small spoon or a piping bag, fill the shells with the spinach/ricotta filling.  

Place the filled manicotti shells in the dish and continue until the filling and shells are all used. Pour remaining sauce over the manicotti. Bake for 25 minutes. If the manicotti is not browned enough for you, place under the broiler for just a minute or two.

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes or so before serving. Sprinkle additional Italian herbs on top if you'd like.

Adapted from The Mediterranean Slow Cooker Cookbook.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fried Pork Skins - Bennett Farms ~~ Heflin, Alabama

We took the 5 grandchildren to Bennett Farms yesterday. What fun the little ones had! Please follow the link to learn all about this wonderful family farm and all the great activities they offer. If you're in the area and in search of a "pumpkin patch" I highly recommend a beautiful Fall drive to Bennett Farms.

From their website:
Bennett Farms is a fourth generation farm and we want to share the fun with you and your family. Bennett Farms is only open the month of October.

Children have a big time in our hay bale maze made of round bales of hay. Don't miss the pipe swing, decorate a scarecrow or tire crawl. A favorite is the corn crib full of dry whole kernel corn. We also have a 36 inch double pipe slide that is 20 feet long! Enjoy the beautiful landscape on our hayride and make sure to visit the farm animals.

Our working syrup mill transforms our farm grown cane into delicious sorghum syrup sold in the country store.

A stop by the cook house is a must! Everything is prepared over an open fire in wash pots and a wood burning stove. Enjoy tea cakes, pork skins and apple pies just to name a few. We also have hot dogs, hamburgers, corn dogs and more available from our kitchen. So grab a bite to eat, sit back and relax in one of our picnic table areas.

Visit our Country Store to browse items by local vendors like handmade soaps, tasty treats, iron works and honey just to name a few.

Now on to the pork skins!

They are cooked in cast iron pots over an open fire.

The process begins with little squares of dried pork rinds.

To fry the pork rinds, liquid shortening is used. It's heated to a temperature of 400 degrees. And in they go.

And within seconds they begin to puff up and cook!

A quick stir in the pot and the cooking continues.

And within 30 seconds they're ready to eat!

And now they're spread out to drain and then are bagged for sale.

Thank you Bennett Farms for a wonderful day and for taking the time to let me photograph the process!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cheesy Ham, Rice & Vegetable Casserole

I actually developed this recipe while I wandered around in the grocery store aisles this afternoon.  And guess what?  It does NOT include a can of "Cream of ______ Soup."  

If you're craving comfort food, this fits the bill perfectly.

2 T. olive oil
2 cups diced ham
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 small carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small jar diced pimentos, drained
2 cups small chopped broccoli florets
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. Herbs de Provence
1 10 oz. pkg. of yellow rice cooked according to package directions
16 oz. sour cream
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 sleeve buttery crackers, crushed
2 T. melted butter

While the rice is cooking in a medium saucepan, let's brown the ham and saute' the vegetables.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil, ham, onions, carrots, garlic, pimentos and broccoli.  Stirring frequently, add the salt, pepper and herbes de provence.  Let the vegetables cook for 5 - 7 minutes until they become tender.

When the rice has cooked, slowly mix it in with the ham and vegetables.

Now let's just take a minute and look at that photo.  I could have stopped right there.  I didn't have to go any further and that would have been a delicious meal!  Make note of that please.  USE this part of the recipe to stand on its own for yourself.

But we went further tonight.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove from heat and mix in the sour cream and cheese.  When thoroughly combined, spoon into a lightly sprayed with non-stick spray 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with the cracker crumbs and slowly pour the melted butter over the top.  Return to oven for 5 more minutes.  Ready to serve!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Roasted Chili Seasoned Potato Wedges

These little wedges of goodness were PERFECT with the Cowboy Burgers tonight. Let them roast while the burgers cook. They're so much better than boring chips.

2 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into wedges
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. granulated garlic
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. paprika

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Spread out onto a single layer and put into oven.

Let potatoes roast for 20 - 25 minutes until tender. Serve immediately.

Cowboy Burger

It was past time for me to come up with a new burger for us to try! I posted a version of my maternal grandmother's burger awhile back, the one with the grated potato? Remember? I hope you remember it and I really hope you've made them. You've missed a treat if you haven't.

I decided I'd use the grated potato as a jumping off point to make a cowboy version burger. I thought of cowboys around a campfire with beans.....do you see where I'm going here?  

1 1/2 pounds lean ground chuck
1/4 finely chopped yellow onion
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup finely grated potato
1 t. chili powder
1 t. salt
1/4 t. ground annatto

1 can Ranch style beans, placed in a small sauce pan and warmed
Grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Your favorite roll or bun, toasted
Place all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Lightly mix ingredients together and shape into patties. Too much mixing will result in a tough burger. 

In a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Add a little salt to the skillet and place a few patties at a time. Don't crowd the skillet.

Cook until desired doneness. If burgers begin to stick, add a little olive oil to the skillet.

Place on toasted rolls or buns. Spoon beans on top of burgers and top with cheese.