Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dining Out Gulf Coast: Dockside Seafood and Raw Bar, Port St. Joe, FL


Now tell the truth.  Doesn't this look like a wonderful place to enjoy a late summer lunch? While exploring the area around Port St. Joe, Florida, we came across the Marina, which led to the Dockside Seafood & Raw Bar.

It's easily accessible by land or sea. You can dine and have a delicious beverage, relax and watch the activity in the marina.  

Add added bonus, the seagulls and pelicans are fun to watch!




Now it was my time to enjoy some grouper! Their lunch specials that day included the Grouper Basket and a Flounder Basket. We got one of each.

 
So light and crispy, these were the ideal pieces of fresh grouper. Served hot from the fryer with french fries and cole slaw. These were addictive.  Yes, they were.

In a sudden departure from his stand by grouper, Sweet Harold went for the surprise factor and chose the Flounder basket. I think sometimes he does that just to throw me off my game! LARGE pieces of flounder again, lightly breaded, served hot with fries and cole slaw.


If you find yourself around Port St. Joe, check out Dockside. 

Dining Out Gulf Coast: The Shrimp Boat, Panama City, FL

Of all the restaurants to choose from for my birthday dinner, there was no mental deliberation. I knew I wanted another visit to The Shrimp Boat. Located in Historic St. Andrews, it's a very short drive from Panama City Beach, but a long way from the typical seafood buffet restaurants located on the beach. 

I will never lead you astray, dear blog followers. This restaurant is a hidden gem where everyone that visits the Gulf Coast should be dining. Our service was impeccable thanks to Sarah, our server. The atmosphere is quiet and we were able to have a conversation without yelling across the table to one another. The view is gorgeous overlooking the marina.

I started my birthday celebration with a Cosmo.


And Sweet Harold had a pomegranate martini. 


Now let's enjoy those appetizers! We started with Shrimp Pompano: Gulf shrimp marinated in Soy Dijon sauce, wrapped in applewood smoked bacon and grilled to perfection, served with a Dijon drizzle and scallions. Yes, these were amazing. The grilling of the shrimp wrapped in bacon is delicious in and of itself, but add that Dijon drizzle and it takes the shrimp to another level.


And because I was craving oyster and it WAS my birthday......how about some Char Roasted Oysters, too!?!  Apalachicola Selects topped with the Shrimp Boat's "not so secret cheese and garlic sauce" are then roasted over native hardwoods to give the awesome smokey flavor that makes them great.


When I visited here a few months ago, I forgot to take pictures of the salads.....yes, I forgot this time as well. That is a real shame, because they are beautifully presented. This time I had the house made citrus vinaigrette.  Sweet Harold chose the creamy red wine / feta cheese dressing. He loved it!

Now on to the main event!

Regular readers of the blog and followers of Fleur de Lolly on Facebook, (you are a friend of mine on FB, aren't you??) know that Sweet Harold's seafood of choice is Grouper in any form. He selected the Grouper St. Andrews which is a large piece of fresh grouper wood fired and then topped with rich lump crab meat and a lemon caper sauce to finish. 


Here's a direct quote from Sweet Harold, "I only thought I had enjoyed grouper before." Now if that's not a ringing endorsement I don't know what is.


And now for the birthday girl's meal. And boy did I go outside my box. But I knew that if I ordered this dish it would be perfectly prepared.  It WAS!  The center cut Ahi Tuna filet is lightly seasoned and grilled over hard woods, served with Asian reduction. Sarah had asked how I wanted it cooked. I told her I trusted the chef to cook it perfectly. It literally melted in my mouth. I could not have asked for a better Birthday Meal!

And a side note about the side dish of baked potato....You know sometimes when you order a baked potato as a side item, you can tell before it is placed before you that it was perfectly cooked.....HOURS AGO. On the other end of the spectrum, you have the beautiful, eye appealing potato, you place your fork into what appears to be a fluffy mound of yumminess....but no.  Your fork finds a hard, crunchy interior that needs another half hour in the oven. Yes, I am a baked potato snob. I'm not ashamed of that in the least. If you're going to go to the trouble of baking a potato for your restaurant diners, then please bake them correctly. You know what? The Shrimp Boat knows how to bake potatoes. If they care enough to make sure your SIDE ITEM is perfect, you know they are going to deliver on your entree.
 

We shared a Key Lime Pie for dessert. A special thanks to Bruce, who I was told, made sure my birthday dessert plate was oh so special and pretty. See? A restaurant that cares to take the time to make every portion of your meal the best it can be.


Once again, I give a huge shout out to the Shrimp Boat, Sarah our most wonderful server, and the behind the scenes staff who gave me a wonderful meal for my birthday that I won't forget.

4 out of 4 forks!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dining Out Gulf Coast: Sharon's Cafe, Mexico Beach, FL


Being at the beach doesn't mean seafood for every meal...well, for me it could. Seriously. But sometimes, you need your protein in the form of traditional breakfast food. This past Sunday was my b'day and Sharon's Cafe was the chosen spot for my birthday breakfast.

Sharon's Cafe is located right in the middle of Mexico Beach at 1100 Hwy. 98, Mexico Beach, FL 32410. A small (very small) cafe that appears to be a favorite of locals and visitors alike. There was a fishing tournament in town that weekend and fishermen (and women) were getting their breakfast before heading out of town. Our wait was about 15 minutes. 

We were seated in a tiny corner of the cafe......see the pic.  


Our server (didn't catch her name in the mad rush that was going on) was great. She managed many tables at one time and never once seemed stressed or out of her element. She was a pro.

I ordered the Steak and Eggs...a ribeye ordered medium and was served well. But that wasn't going to ruin the birthday breakfast. I ordered the scrambled eggs soft and trust me, they were soft. I enjoyed my meal, but only had a few bites of the hashbrowns.


Sweet Harold ordered the ham and cheese omelet. Breakfast is HIS meal. He loves it in any form. He enjoyed his breakfast.  Our server made sure his coffee cup never more than half empty.


If you're looking for a fun, loud, busy, local place for breakfast while in Mexico Beach, Sharon's Cafe is the spot for you. 

Dining Out Gulf Coast: Shell Shack, Mexico Beach, FL


As always, we upheld our longstanding tradition. During trips to the beach, it is a MUST to enjoy a lunch of steamed shrimp while sitting on the beach.

Today's selection came from the Shell Shack located at 3800 US-98, Mexico Beach, FL 32456. Located next to the marina, they sell fishing supplies, all sorts of souvenirs to carry home and have a decent seafood market to boot. These were large shrimp at $9.95/lb. They charge $1.50/lb. for steaming with your choice of seasonings. It takes about 4 minutes to steam the shrimp. A quick 1/2 mile or so back down Hwy. 98 and short walk to the beach, and we were set for lunch!

These were some of the best steamed shrimp we've had at the beach in a long time!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Dining Out Gulf Coast: KrazyFish Grille, Port St. Joe, FL


We're vacationing at Mexico Beach, Florida this week. We took a quick road trip to Port St. Joe and it was time for FOOD! Anything with "crazy" in the name gets my attention. Our choice was made.

We chose to eat outside on the covered porch area. Andrea was our server and she was excellent in making suggestions and offering menu descriptions for us.

We started with a few drinks. Sweet Harold ordered a Jim Beam and Coke $6, and I had the House "Rita" Fresh lime juice + tequila + triple sec $6. The house rita was tart, refreshing, and perfectly salted.


Sweet Harold chose his stand-by, the Grouper Sandwich on a brioche bun served with slaw and fries. I'm not a fan of slaw ON sandwiches, but he is. He reports the slaw was crunchy and tart. And, as always, he's never met a piece of grouper he doesn't love.


I chose the crab cakes (appetizer portion) served with remoulade sauce. I don't know who was in charge of cooking the crab cakes that afternoon, but they have mastered the art. The crab cakes were full of crab with very little filler. These are beautiful, aren't they??



At Andrea's gentle urging, I ordered a side salad with Tupelo Honey vinaigrette. Excellent choice here was well.


The only (slight) criticism I would have is please ditch the tiny take out french fry serving baskets and use real plates. The paper lined tin plates would have been preferable on their own. In fact, I removed my food to those plates and ditched the paper baskets.  

Enjoyable atmosphere, attentive service, and good food.  Win/Win/Win.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ham, Vegetables & Blue Cheese Frittata


I had planned on grilling a skirt steak tonight. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans......Another time for the grilled skirt steak.

So, on to Plan B. I opened the fridge and realized I had a little of this, a little of that, and some more of those. So to continue with the lower carb plan, I went to work constructing a frittata. These are the amounts I used because this is what I had on hand. If you want a little more or less of some of the ingredients, please adjust accordingly. I used 4 eggs because I was only feeding the two of us. If you have more to serve, or like leftovers, add a few more eggs and a little more milk. If you don't like blue cheese, use your favorite. 

1 T. unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced ham
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup diced white mushrooms
1/2 cup broccoli florets
2 t. minced garlic
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 T. low-fat milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

In a large, non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat.

Add ham, onion, mushrooms, and broccoli.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 - 7 minutes until vegetables begin to soften and ham begins to brown. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

 
In a large measuring cup, lightly beat eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Lower heat to low and slowly pour in egg mixture.


Let mixture slowly cook until bubbles begin to break through the surface. Do Not Stir. Add the blue cheese crumbles and let cook a minute more until mixture begins to set. Preheat broiler.


Place skillet under broiler until eggs puff up and set and the top browns.


Let frittata rest for a minute or so and slowly slide out of skillet onto a cutting surface. Using a smaller skillet (or more eggs) will produce a thicker frittata. But for tonight, for two people, this was perfect. And as a double bonus, I used bits and pieces of veggies which might have gone bad before I could use them AND I got another good dose of veggies for dinner.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Asian Pork Rolls



These rolls are so pretty and no hard to make at all. The lean protein from the pork cutlets pairs so well with the fresh crunchy cabbage mixture. The amounts given for the dressing are strictly up to you. I've given guidelines to give you a starting point, but taste as you go. If you love ginger, add more. Not a huge fan of fish sauce, cut back a little. Have fun experimenting.

For the dressing:
1 T. Asian fish sauce
1 T. low sodium soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1/2 T. sesame oil
1 t. garlic, minced
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
2 t. freshly grated ginger
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 t. honey

For the Pork:
1 T. canola oil
1 pound pork cutlets
1 (1/2 pound) head napa cabagge, shredded (3 cups, more or less)
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
8 large Boston lettuce leaves

For the dressing:
Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve 1 T. of the dressing.

For the cabbage mixture:
Combine cabbage and red pepper in a large bowl. Add remaining dressing and toss with tongs to coat. Trust me, THIS would make a delicious meal on its own. Or with grilled chicken or shrimp added. Yum.



For the pork:
Slice the pork cutlets into thin strips, against the grain. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add pork strips and stirring constantly, cook until pork is cooked through. 
 

Add the 1 T. of the reserved dressing and toss to coat. Remove from heat.


Lay lettuce leaves on a clean, dry work service. Divide pork among leaves. Top with cabbage mixture and roll tightly, tucking edges in as you go.  Place rolls seam side down. Cut in half and serve immediately.

Here's one before rolling:


Chicken Breast stuffed with goat cheese and spinach


This creamy, spinach and cheese filled, chicken is perfect for entertaining. Stuff the chicken ahead of time and refrigerate the chicken. Then, all you have to do is pop the chicken into the oven for cooking. 

4 t. extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1/2 lb.) bunch spinach, tough stems removed
4 6 oz. boneless, chicken breasts
4 oz. low-fat goat cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 2 t. of the oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted and liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes.

Season well with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate. Wipe skillet dry with paper towels.

Beginning at the thickest end of 1 chicken breast, carefully insert a sharp knife into center and cut a pocket as evenly as possible, leaving a 1-inch border on three sides. Repeat with remaining breasts. Open each pocket, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then fill evenly with goat cheese and spinach. Seal each with two toothpicks and season outside with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until well browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until juices run clear, about 8 minutes. Thicker pieces of chicken will, of course, take more time to cook through. Serve hot.



From The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook

Monday, August 22, 2016

Turkey and White Bean Chili


Did you realize that this lovely bowl of chili is low-carb? You can use either ground turkey or chicken. You could also add black, pinto, or navy beans in place of the white beans. This batch was ready to eat in about 45 minutes. I cooked it on Sunday afternoon, let it cool, refrigerated overnight, and it was ready to heat for Monday night's dinner.

1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, diced (remove seeds if you want less heat)
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
1 t. ground turmeric
1 14 1/2 oz. Dole's Zesty Chili Style Diced Tomatoes 
1 15 oz. cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
16 oz. chicken broth
3 T. tomato paste
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
hot sauce to taste


Heat oil in a 3 1/2 quart Dutch oven. Add onion, jalapenos, and green bell peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.

Add turkey, chili powder, cumin, and turmeric; cook, stirring often until turkey is no longer pink. This will take 5 - 7 minutes.

Add tomatoes, beans, chicken broth, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the flavors are blended, about 15 - 20 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste. If you need a little heat, add you favorite hot sauce.

Serve with sour cream, chopped cilantro, sliced avocados, and/or shredded cheese. 

Sauteed Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Lemon & Parmesan


Sweet Harold love Brussels Sprouts. I'm always look for new ways to prepare them. At Publix last week, next to the bagged salads and slaw mixes, I found a 12 oz. bag of "shaved brussels sprouts." Sliced extremely thin, I knew this would be a great way to make a stir fry veggie dish.

2 T. olive oil
12 oz. bag shaved brussels sprouts
1/2 t. minced garlic
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add olive oil. Add Brussels sprouts, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and cook for 5 - 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables become tender crisp.

Remove from heat, add salt and pepper, and lemon juice and stir to combine.

Top with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Remove from heat

Baked Breakfast Omelette


I made this delicious casserole for our Sunday morning breakfast. If you're intimidated by making omelettes, here's the perfect solution. Add your choice of proteins: bacon, ham, sausage. Then the choice of veggies is up to you. You could certainly add carrots or broccoli for a dinnertime version. Enjoy!

1 cup diced ham
2 t. olive oil
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced yellow onion
1/3 cup diced mushrooms
8 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 t. granulated garlic
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 t. your favorite hot sauce
1/2 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese (or your choice)
chopped chives to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 7 x 11 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle ham evenly over bottom of baking dish.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms and cook until softened, about 4 - 5 minutes. Gently pour vegetable mixture over ham layer and then sprinkle with cheese.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper, granulated garlic, and hot sauce until well blended. Pour over the mixture in the baking dish.

Bake until eggs are puffy and set about 22 - 25 minutes. Cut and serve warm with chopped chives on top.

Adapted from Taste of Home.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Cannellini Bean Salad


If you're looking for an extremely healthy, super fast side dish, here you go. This cannellini bean salad is great served cold or at room temperature. It can be served as a side dish for chicken or fish, or with canned tuna added to up the protein content. You can substitute fresh herbs for fresh. I added basil along with oregano to this batch.

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. minced red onion
3/4 t. dried oregano (if using fresh herbs, add 2 - 3 T.)
1 seedless cucumber, diced
1 15 oz. Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together oil, vinegar, onion, and oregano in a large mixing bowl.

Add cucumbers, beans, and bell pepper. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.




Adapted from The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook

Baked Catfish with Lemon Aioli


Don't let the word "aioli" scare you. It's a fancy term for garlic flavored mayonnaise. By the time the fish bakes for about 20 minutes, you can have the aioli mixed and ready to serve. Another excellent low-carb meal.

1 t. dried thyme
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. paprika
1 1/2 lb. catfish fillets
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 t. fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together thyme, cayenne, and paprika and rub onto catfish. Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper.

Lightly coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Bake fish until opaque and cooked throughout, about 15 minutes. If your fillets are thicker, you may need to cook 4 - 5 additional minutes.

While fish is baking, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, and garlic in a small mixing bowl to make the aioli. Serve fish hot with the aioli.

Adapted from The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower


Like I told y'all a few weeks ago, I have never been a huge fan of cauliflower. Then, I made the pureed cauliflower and loved that. Tonight, as one of our side dishes, I prepared this roasted spicy cauliflower. When it came out of the oven, I was burning my fingers, snitching bites off the roasting pan! Roasting the florets transforms the white pieces of cauliflower into golden brown, slightly sweet morsels. So good!

1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into florets (you'll need 4 - 6 cups)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Place cauliflower, oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl; toss to combine. Arrange in a single layer on a heavy-bottomed baking sheet or in a large baking dish. Roast until softened and golden brown, 25 - 30 minutes.

From The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook

Friday, August 19, 2016

Beef Fajita Romaine Lettuce Wraps

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The low(er) carb recipes continue! I love fajitas, but I knew we didn't want to use tortillas for this meal. Romaine leaves to the rescue. You can use chicken or pork for this dish, but we scored a great buy on Top Round Steak which was already packaged as "fajita steak" which was a huge timesaver.  I mixed up a quick marinade for the steak and vegetables, and after a few hours in the refrigerator, we were ready to cook. By using low-fat cheese and light sour cream we saved even more calories. This was an extremely satisfying meal and neither of us even missed the tortillas.

Here's the ingredients for the marinade:
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. honey
the zest and juice of one lime
1/2 t. ground annatto
1 t. chili powder
1 t. ground coriander
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. salt
1 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. cayenne
1 t. chopped cilantro (or parsley)

Whisk together all ingredients in the container you're going to marinate the meat and vegetables. Set aside.



Now for the meat and veggies:
1 1/2 lb. top round steak, thinly sliced
1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 T. minced garlic
2 T. minced jalapeno

Isn't that gorgeous?


I layered the fajita fixings into the marinade, but if you'd like, you could certainly place everything in a large Ziploc bag.

First, we'll put in the steak:


Next, the garlic and jalapenos:


And now those beautiful vegetables:


The container I'm using is similar to this one found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. And here are the fajita fixings ready to go spend a little time in the fridge.


When I was ready to prepare dinner, I placed my largest cast iron skillet on the stove over high heat until a drop of water sizzled.



While the skillet heats, wash one head of Romaine lettuce leaves and dry. Set aside.

Using tongs, place the meat and vegetables into the skillet. Discard marinade.


Using tongs or a large metal spoon, quickly cook the fajita mixture until the beef is cooked and the vegetables are still tender/crisp. Remove from heat.


Now it's time to fill up those Romaine leaves!

Divide the fajita mixture evenly between the Romaine.


These would have been delicious as is.....but you can certainly add low-fat sour cream, taco sauce, pickled jalapenos, and/or your choice of low-fat cheeses.

This one has a Colby/Monterey jack mixture.


This one is topped with Mexican White Melting Cheese.


And last, but not least, this one is topped with sharp cheddar.


So do these choices convince you that low carb can also be delicious?