Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Cheeses and Crackers and Grapes! Oh my!

Another night, another night of great cheeses! I am thoroughly enjoying mixing and matching different flavors and textures of cheese during this hot summer.

Last week we enjoyed the American Cheddar, Irish Cheddar and Danish Blue. With the remaining portions of those cheeses, I added three different ones to the selection.

Manchego is a sheep's milk cheese from Spain. The consistency of Manchego is firm and compact with a smooth buttery texture. The flavor is not too strong is very creamy.

Havarti is a semisoft Danish cow's milk cheese that can be sliced, grilled or melted. Havarti has a buttery aroma and can be somewhat sharp in the stronger varieties, much like Swiss cheese. When left at room temperature, the cheese tends to soften quickly.

The goat cheese (Chevre) is a very soft, spreadable cheese with a lemony thyme coating. It is excellent spread on crackers.

The cheese, along with Italian herb flatbread crackers and seedless red grapes, once again is a lovely dinner.

Tapas Thursdays: Broiled Mussels with Prosciutto

The fun of Tapas Thursdays continues! Publix had their frozen mussels on sale this week, so choosing this week's Tapas was easy peasy.

I added a little more prosciutto than called for in the recipe because I adore prosciutto! Your mileage may vary.  By the time the mussels had steamed open, the topping was ready to go.  VERY quick weeknight meal and also extremely filling.

1 lb. small black mussels
2 cups water
4 T. butter, softened
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 scallions, finely chopped (or 2 T. finely chopped chives)

Scrub mussels and remove beards.  Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the mussels, cover and boil for about 3 minutes or until mussels open. Discard any mussels that don't open.

Drain mussels and discard liquid. Break open shells; discard top shell.

Loosen mussels from shells with a spoon. Return mussels to shells; place in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Preheat broiler.

Combine the butter, prosciutto, garlic, and scallion in small bowl.

Divide butter mixture evenly over mussels. Broil for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Do you think we enjoyed them!?!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Whole Cherry Clafoutis

I noticed beautiful cherries while grocery shopping this week and knew exactly which recipe I wanted to try. This is a very simple, straightforward recipe from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. A cross between an eggy custard and a pudding, this dish has a distinct texture. Ms. Greenspan recommended NOT pitting cherries to allow for more flavor to the dish. I didn't want any broken teeth or fillings, so the pits came out!

1 lb.  sweet cherries, stemmed but not pitted
3 large eggs
1/2  cup of granulated sugar
Pinch of fine grain sea salt
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of heavy cream
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Ensure that your oven rack is centered in the oven.
Generously grease a 9 inch pie or quiche pan with butter.
Place the washed and dried cherries into the prepared baking dish in a single layer.
In a medium bowl whisk the 3 eggs until they are light and frothy. Add in the sugar and beat with a whisk for a minute or so until the sugar has dissolved. Add in the pinch of salt and the vanilla and whisk well. Add in the flour and beat the mixture vigorously until the flour is well incorporated and smooth. (Dorie makes a note here to comment on the fact that generally when incorporating flour you want to be very gentle but this recipe is the exception- use some muscle!).
Gradually pour in the milk and cream and whisk until well incorporated. Rap the bowl against the counter to release any air bubbles and then pour the batter over the cherries in the prepared baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes until the clafoutis is puffed up and golden brown and when a sharp knife blade inserted into the center of the clafoutis comes out clean. If you hit a cherry, try again!
Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and allow the clafoutis to cool to room temperature. When you are ready to serve, dust the clafoutis with icing sugar by using a fine mesh sieve.
Serves 6.

I believe I should have let this one cook a few minutes longer. Next time, I will!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Taco Tuesdays: Hot & Spicy Oven Baked Chicken Tacos

I found this recipe on the Old El Paso website and tweaked it a little. This is a super easy take on chicken tacos. If you don't care for hot and spicy, feel free to use regular or even mild taco seasoning and use plain petite diced tomatoes instead of Rotels. I think these may be my favorite of the Taco Tuesday tacos we've made thus far.

1 T. olive oil
1 lb. boneless / skinless chicken tenders
1 package Hot & Spicy Taco Seasoning mix
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 4.5 oz. chopped green chiles
1 14.5 oz. Rotel tomatoes (your choice of flavor)
10 Old El Paso Stand and Stuff Taco Shells
8 oz. refried beans
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

shredded lettuce
diced avocados
sour cream
chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. I used two 7 x 12 baking dishes.

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken tenders and let cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through.

Remove from skillet, let cool slightly, and chop into bite sized pieces.

Add onions and let them cook about 2 - 3 minutes until they begin to brown. Return chicken to skillet and add seasoning mix, green chiles, and Rotel tomatoes. Stir to combine, reduce the heat to simmer, and let cook about 5 minutes.

While chicken mixture is simmering, place taco shells in the baking dish(es). Spoon in a few spoonfuls of beans into each taco shell.

Next, spoon in the chicken mixture, filling up almost to the top of the taco shells.

Now the fun part. Pile on the cheese beginning with the pepper jack and finishing with the Mexican blend cheese.

Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly and the shells have started to brown. Remove from the oven and top with your favorite taco toppings.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Southern Slaw with White Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

By using pre-packaged slaw mix, this side dish can be ready in minutes. This particular bag was specifically labeled "Southern Style." Finely chopped cabbage and carrots are mixed with a simple three ingredient dressing and refrigerated until ready to be served. Now how simple is that?

6 cups finely chopped green cabbage with carrots (or prepackaged slaw mix)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 T. white balsamic vinegar

Place slaw mix into a medium sized bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, oil, and vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pour dressing over slaw and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cheese Night!

Say Fromage! Or Cheese! Tonight was hot, humid, and hazy. And the perfect evening for cheese and crackers and and a few other little nibbles.

As we know, blue cheese is the perfect pair for pears! See what I did there? This little pear was almooooost too ripe. So it was a great opportunity for it not to go to waste.

Even though it sounds strange, if you've never tried a thinly sliced radish with a sharp American cheddar, you're missing out. 

Brie is always a personal favorite as is Kerrygold Irish Cheddar. Add a nice assortment of Club and Ritz crackers and dinner is served!


Tapas Thursday: Roasted Artichoke Hearts, Red Peppers, Capers with Basil Dressing

If you plan on making a Tapas Meal, this would win hands down as your salad selection. Based on an Ina Garten recipe, the combination of artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, capers and a citrus/basil dressing this salad can be served warm or cold.  

16 oz. canned artichoke hearts, drained
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper
12 oz. jar roasted red pepper, drained
3 T. capers
1/2 cup chopped red onion
freshly chopped parsley or basil for garnish

Basil Dressing:

2 minced shallots (or 2 T. finely minced red onion)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. white wine vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Put artichokes on a baking sheet, salt and pepper them and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss the artichokes in the olive oil and spread in a single layer.  

 Roast for 20 minutes.

While artichokes are roasting, let's make the dressing.

Use your food processor with the steel blade.  Process the shallots (or red onion, if using) and basil.  When shallots and basil are fairly well chopped, add lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard.  Process 30 seconds.

With the food processor running, add the 1/2 olive oil through the feed tube and process 1 - 2 minutes until the dressing is well blended.

In a large bowl, put the roasted artichokes and toss with 1/2 cup of the dressing. Let it marinate while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Cut the roasted red peppers into bite sized pieces and chop the onions into a small dice. Drain the capers.

Add the red peppers, onions, and capers to the artichokes.  Stir to combine all the ingredients and to coat all the vegetables with the dressing.  

Taste and, if needed, add additional salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley or basil for garnish.

Save remaining dressing to toss with leftover salad before serving.

You can also chill salad before serving.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pizza Supreme cooked on cast iron!

Instead of my favorite pizza stone, for this homemade pizza it was time to break in the new cast iron pizza pan from Lodge! Oh, this is the doings! With the forged handles, it was super simple to put into and remove from the oven. Cast iron heats beautifully and retains that heat so you get a great crunch on the crust.

Here's what I used....choose your own toppings of course, if you go by my choices, your mileage may vary.

1 tube refrigerated pizza crust
1 jar pizza sauce
1 lb. Italian sausage
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese

Here's the gorgeous and very functional cast iron pizza pan.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat pizza pan with olive oil.

In a medium skillet, over medium high heat, brown Italian sausage, until cooked through and then drain. Set aside to cool for a few minutes and then chop finely.

Place dough onto pizza pan and stretch to fit. Carefully spread the pizza sauce evenly over the dough.

Next, sprinkle the browned Italian sausage over the sauce.

Now add the peppers....

Next the onions.....

 Toss on those olives!  And yes, you can add more than this!

And now my favorite herb....basil!

Then pile on the cheese!

Bake for 13 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Garnish with additional basil!

Taco Tuesdays: Impossibly Easy Taco Pie

Do you remember those Bisquick "Impossibly Easy Pie" recipes from the 70s and 80s? I dug out my Bisquick cookbook and took a stroll down memory lane. One thought led to the other and I went outside the taco shell and decided this week for Taco Tuesday we'd have an Impossibly Easy Taco Pie. 

I changed a few things as I went along and will note the changes I made in the ingredient list.

1 lb. ground chuck
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 envelope taco seasoning OR use 1 1/w T. of my taco seasoning blend 
 1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles, drained OR two small jalapenos, diced 
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 cup milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack or or Cheddar Cheese (I used Cheddar/Colby blend)

chopped tomatoes
sour cream

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 9 inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.

Cook beef, onion and (jalapeno if using), in a large skillet over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.

Stir in seasoning mix.  Spread in the pie plate. Top with diced chiles if using.

Whisk together Bisquick, milk, and eggs until blended. Pour into pie plate.

Bake about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  

Top with your favorite taco toppings.

I served Taylor Farms Southwest Chopped Salad to go alongside. The creamy cilantro dressing was fresh tasting and paired well with the green cabbage, romaine lettuce, carrots, green onions, pumpkin seeds, and cilantro.  Crunchy tortilla strips add a delicious crunch to the salad.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Barbecue Meatloaf and Potatoes

It's time for another Sheet Pan Supper. This meatloaf is different than any other meatloaf I've cooked in that it has no egg.  So it's not a strict loaf in the sense that it's not as dense.

This version is smoky, sweet and tangy all in the same bite. Cooked on a rack over the thinly sliced Yukon Gold potatoes makes for a wonderful sheet pan supper.

2 1/2 lbs. (about 4 medium) Yukon Gold potatoes, 
               unpeeled, scrubbed and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 T. plus 1/2 t. garlic powder or granulated garlic
2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
2 cups BBQ sauce (I used mesquite flavor), divided
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the center position. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Place the potatoes on the prepared pan, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and 1/2 t. of garlic powder, and toss to coat. Spread the potatoes in an even layer and set a wire rack on top.

Fold a piece of aluminum foil into 10 x 8 rectangle and place it in the center of the wire rack. Use a skewer or a fork to poke little holes even throughout the foil. This will help with heat circulation and keep the meatloaf from steaming in its own fat.

Gently combine the beef, onion, the remaining tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 1/2 cups of BBQ sauce, and the breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Without and squishing and squeezing too much, form the meat mixture into a loaf on top of the foil rectangle.

Place the pan in the oven. Bake the meatloaf and potatoes for 30 minutes, then brush the hop with the remaining 1/2 cup BBQ sauce.

Return the pan to the oven and bake the meatloaf and potatoes until the potatoes are tender and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the meatloaf registers 150 degrees, about 45 minutes more.

Allow the meatloaf to cool slightly before slicing. Serve with the potatoes.

From Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tapas Thursday: Meatballs Napolitana

Our series of Tapas Thursdays continues with Meatballs Napolitana. Right at one hour start to finish, this is definitely "doable" for a weeknight meal when you want to enjoy the concept of tapas or "little plates." 

An added bonus  it's a one pot meal! 

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup prepackaged breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 T. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 jar (24  oz.) tomato pasta sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

Combine beef, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, and parsley in a medium bowl. Using wet hands, roll into small balls.

Heat half the oil in a large skillet; cook meatballs, in batches, until browned and cooked through.

Heat remaining oil in skillet. Cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion softens. 

Add sauce and bring to a boil. Add meatballs, reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken slightly. Add peas and cook for 10 minutes until peas are tender.

When ready to serve, top with basil and shredded Parmesan.  Oh yeah, add some garlic bread to get every bit of that great sauce!