Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Broiled Tuscan Garlic Mackerel with Easy Tomato Sauce

As the regular readers / followers of the blog know, I love trying new foods. We made a joint decision a few months ago to incorporate more fish and seafood into our diet. This week's "fish on sale" item was mackerel. I'll admit, I had never tried mackerel and considered it a cousin to sardines which always make me think of the canned version. So I hesitated for about 10 seconds and took the plunge and purchased 1 1/2 pounds of mackerel fillets.  

Now the decisions to be made:  Baked? Broiled? Grilled? Seasonings?

I came home from work and decided to just let the creative juices flow. I really enjoy Mediterranean ingredients and what better time to use this delicious seasoning blend from Tomes.

So first I made a sauce for topping the fish after it was broiled.

1 t. olive oil
1 t. butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 T. Tones Tuscan Garlic Seasoning Blend
1 - 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, oregano, and garlic
2 T. tomato paste
1 T. anchovy paste (optional, but please consider using!)
1 T. drained capers
salt and pepper to taste
juice of one lemon

In a medium skillet, add olive oil and butter. Turn heat to medium and let butter melt. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until onions soften, 3 - 4 minutes. Add next 5 ingredients and reduce heat to low. 

Continue to stir frequently until mixture reduces somewhat, about 5 - 7 minutes. Add a few shakes of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Taste and add more if necessary. Just before serving, add lemon juice and stir to blend. Remove from heat.

And now to cook the fish!

Preheat broiler to high.

Rinse mackerel fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Remove any pin bones which may still be attached to the fish.

Place fish on a baking sheet. Drizzle both sides with olive oil. Lightly salt, pepper, and sprinkle with Tone's Tuscan Garlic Seasoning Blend on both sides as well.

Place under broiler for 5 - 7 minutes until fish is cooked through. Watch the cooking carefully. Mid-way through the cooking time, you may need to reduce the broiler to the low setting if fish begins to brown too much.

Remove from oven and carefully top with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

I'm really glad I took the chance and tried mackerel. Neither of us thought it was "fishy," "oily" or anything but light and flavorful! Plus, it's an excellent source of the all-important Omega -3 oils!

We'll definitely be purchasing, cooking, and enjoying mackerel again.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dinner at the Haunted Mansion: Spider Web Cake served with Port

Oh, this cake.  Devil's food cake, with chocolate marshmallow buttercream frosting, THEN topped with a chocolate ganache glaze.

This is the perfect Halloween party dessert. A swirl of vanilla icing on top, a few strokes with a skewer or toothpick and you have the makings of a great spider web effect!

1 box chocolate cake, plus ingredients called for
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. confectioners' sugar
7½ oz. jar marshmallow crème
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 tube store-bought vanilla icing

Butter and flour two 9” cake pans. Prepare cake batter according to package instructions. Bake according to package instructions and let cool.

Once cool, place first cake on a platter.

Make frosting: In a large bowl using a hand mixer, combine butter, confectioners’ sugar, marshmallow crème, vanilla extract, and salt and beat until fluffy and combined.

Top with second cake.

Make ganache: In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream just until it bubbles. Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and pour over heavy cream. Let stand 2 minutes, then whisk until chocolate is completely combined.

Pour ganache over cake. Frost a spiral of frosting on top of the ganache and use a toothpick to draw cobwebs.

And the perfect pairing for all this chocolate goodness?

From www.delish.com

Dinner at the Haunted Mansion: Dead Man's Smoked Ribs with Smoky Glaze served with Slow Roasted Bones and Joints

This was my favorite part of the menu! How fun, and gory and, a little bit gross?

Here's what we did:

2 racks of ribs, trimmed
Jack Daniels Old No. 7 BBQ Sauce
1 large jarred roasted red pepper

Sweet Harold cooked these on the smoker. Lightly salt and pepper the ribs. Place in smoker and smoke for 4 - 5 hours, keeping the temperature as close to 250 degrees as possible.

Add sauce during the last hour or so of cooking so that the sauce will form a thick glaze on the ribs.

When ready to serve, place on serving platter and carefully nestle a large jar roasted red pepper between the upper portion of the ribs. Insert knife into the pepper!

Prepare for oooohs and aaaaaahs.

Now for the veggies!

For the bones, I used carrots and parsnips. For the joints, how about some broccoli and cauliflower florets?

3 - 4 large carrots, sliced lengthwise
3 - 4 large parsnips, sliced lengthwise
Broccoli florets
Cauliflower florets
2 - 3 T. olive oil
Ground Cumin
Granulated Garlic

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place vegetables onto a baking sheet. Pour olive oil over the vegetables and season with the salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic. Using your hands, gently toss the vegetables to coat with the olive oil and seasonings.

Roast the vegetables for 18 - 20 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time.

Dinner at the Haunted Mansion: Blood Clot Salad with Moldy Gallstones and Owl Claws

Beets are one of my favorite vegetables. Roasted Beets are so easy to prepare and if you're not a fan of the salad bar pickled beets, do yourself a favor and try the roasted version.

The correct name for this recipe is actually Roasted Beet Salad with Gorgonzola and Pumpkin Seeds. See? That still sound delicious, but not nearly as colorful as the Haunted Mansion Menu version!

4 pounds beets
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 t. salt
5 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. honey
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Arugula leaves
Toasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and scrub whole beets, leaving about a half inch of stem on them. Place in a large roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the beets with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover the pan with foil and roast in the oven for at least 40 minutes. My beets took 1 hour and 20 minutes! When you can pierce them with a fork they are done. Once roasted, let the beets cool down a bit and then remove their skins with your fingers and slice into wedges. 
In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil, vinegar, honey, and shallot. Toss in the beets and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. 
When ready to serve, strain the beets. Place arugula on serving platter, add beets, gorgonzola, and pumpkin seeds. Add a bit of salt and pepper and serve.

For an added creepy touch, I purposely allowed the beet tinted vinaigrette to splatter on the white plate.

adapted from www.domesticdoozie.blogspot.com

Dinner at the Haunted Mansion: Wicked Witches' Cauldron Stew with Black Cat Croutons

What's that you say? Wicked Witches' Cauldron Stew? Hmmmmm. How about its real name: Split Pea Soup with Pumpernickel Croutons!

5 slices bacon
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
64 oz. low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup water
2 cups dried split peas
2 bay leaves
1 t. dried thyme
1 1/2 t. salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Sour cream
Crumbled bacon
Pumpernickel croutons
Toasted pumpkin seeds

Saute bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat until crisp and brown. Remove and set aside. Add onion, carrot, and celery to the pan. Saute until vegetables begin to soften.

Add garlic; saute for 1 minute. Add stock, water, peas, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and peas fall apart, 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

Puree soup using an immersion blender or, in batches, with a regular blender. Taste and check for seasonings.

To serve, ladle into bowls and top with your favorite toppings.

from www.myrecipes.com

Dinner at the Haunted Mansion: Black Bat Mussels with Eye of Newt Sauce and Vampire Killer Garlic Bread

Once again, naming dishes for a Halloween-themed meal is part of the fun. No recipe here, I'll just tell you what I did for this part of the dinner.

Publix has a wonderful brand of frozen mussels. Simple prepare according to package directions. Within minutes you have a lovely bowl of piping hot mussels. And, of course, you will need LOTS of garlic bread to sop of that lovely butter sauce! A prepackaged loaf of garlic bread, sliced and put under the broiler until toasted and piping hot.

Dinner at the Haunted Mansion: Drops of Blood Martinis

Yes, this is my favorite martini, a pomegranate martini. But for Halloween, a more creative name is needed!

This is a lovely, smooth and refreshing drink.  You can purchase expensive Pomegranate Martini mixes, but there's no need to do that.  Make your own, store in the refrigerator and you can enjoy these anytime.  

Make a "simple syrup" of 8 oz. water and 8 oz. sugar.  Heat in a small saucepan until sugar melts and let cool.  Mix with 24 oz. POM Pomegranate Juice and store in the refrigerator.

To make the martini:

Mix equal parts of your favorite vodka and Pom mix (1.25 oz. is standard bar portion size) in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into a martini glass.

Dinner at the Haunted Mansion: Sinister Spread with Black Bread, Fermented Fruit, and Bedeviled Eggs

For this year's Halloween Meal, the theme was "Dinner at the Haunted Mansion." 

You've already seen the table setting pictures, so now we'll be enjoying the food portion of the evening.

This blog post will feature the appetizer portion.

And so it begins....

For the Sinister Spread, I heated trimmed the top layer of rind from a wheel of brie. I placed it in a baking dish and put it into a 350-degree toaster oven for about 10 minutes. Here's the recipe for the topping:  Tomato Basil Jam

I opened a jar of this homemade tomato basil jam and placed it in a small saucepan over very low heat until heated through. Then it was simply a matter of spooning the hot jam over the warmed brie.  Served with the pumpernickel slices, this was really a crowd pleaser.

Now for the "Fermented Fruit."  Since this was a Halloween party, the darker fruit the better! Blackberries, blueberries, and a new fruit for me, Moondrop Grapes. These grapes are so juicy and delicious.  I'm a fan!

Another appetizer offering was "Bedeviled Eggs." A touch of hot sauce and a few dashes of wasabi powder was the perfect additive to make these eggs spookily delicious.

3 eggs
2 T. mayonnaise
1 t. yellow mustard
a few drops of your favorite hot sauce
1/2 t. wasabi powder
1 T. dill or sweet pickle relish
salt and pepper to taste
broccoli sprouts

Place eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and let cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Fill the saucepan with cold water and let eggs cool.

Peel eggs and slice horizontally. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl. With a fork, mash yolks until smooth. Add mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, wasabi powder, salt, and pepper. Stir combine and using a small spoon, gently fill the whites with the egg yolk mixture. Place eggs on serving plate or tray and top with broccoli sprouts.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Halloween 2016 - Dinner at the Haunted Mansion ~ ~ The Table Setting

It's that time of year again! Halloween Season is upon us and there are ghosts and goblins galore. Last year, if you remember, we had "An Evening with Edgar" and there were ravens, a meal based on the author's works, a decidedly creepy atmosphere.

This year, I chose "Dinner at the Haunted Mansion" as my theme. Elegantly spooky is the name of the game for this dinner party. Be on the lookout for some of my best silver serving pieces making an appearance when the food photos are posted!

But for now, here's an early sneak peak of the table and sideboard.

Black table linens, sparkly crystal, and white dinnerware pair together exactly how I had visualized.

The ravens made another appearance.  I wonder who will wear those masks?

Oh, there's The Birds again...

Would anyone like to have a pet rat?

A cloche of skulls perhaps??

A dear friend made these special Halloween decorations.  Thanks, Marian!

And now to the "bar" area on the sideboard filled with kitschy items from the Dollar Store and Old Time Pottery. The large bottles are filled with water colored with food coloring mixed and matched to get the perfect shade. The candles are all battery powered.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dining Out New Orleans: Brother's Cafe, Harvey

During our visit to New Orleans last weekend, our hostess encouraged us to try Brother's Cafe. According to their website, they claim to be "Home of the Westbank's Best Breakfast, Burgers, and Po'boys."

Brother's Cafe is one of those neat places that as soon as you walk in the door, you feel welcome. The owner greeted our friend with a hug as soon as she saw her. You know you're going to get fed well when THAT happens.

The breakfast menu states "Simple and delicious, the way breakfast should be." There are seven different combo selections, three omelette choices, an a'la carte menu, and a special listing for the biscuits! Light, fluffy, buttermilk biscuits which can be ordered solo, by the dozen, plain or grilled, or served with ham, bacon or sausage.

Coffee selections included regular, decaf, and chicory.

If you follow the link above and check out the menu, you'll see it is VERY extensive with a wide variety of lunch and dinner options!

Here's what our group ordered for breakfast:

Sweet Harold ordered the #1 Traditional Combination: 2 eggs, sausage, hash browns, biscuit and coffee.  $8.25

I ordered the #3 Lil' Bit Combo: 1 egg, ham, grits, biscuit, and I had orange juice.

Our friend JuJu loves their omelettes and especially likes the biscuit grilled. Here's her Swiss Cheese Omelette and grilled biscuit.

Those breakfast dishes look delicious, don't they?

If you find yourself hungry for breakfast (or any meal!) and you're on the West Bank, drop in to Brother's Cafe.  Tell them JuJu sent you!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lolly's Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

I love chili. With beans, without beans, with turkey, with chicken, with chorizo....I love chili! Normally, the heat level in my recipes tends to be in the moderate range. But for this meal, I decided to raise the bar so to speak. I had some red jalapenos in the fridge and hot Rotel tomatoes in the pantry and that made the decision for me. Feel free to use regular Rotels and all bell peppers if you'd like a milder version. But this recipe is meant to bring on the heat!

This recipe can be made several ways:

1) In a large Dutch oven on the stove top;
2) Cooked for 20 - 30 minutes, cooled, refrigerated overnight and finish cooking in the slow cooker the next day;
3) Ground chuck cooked and added to slow cooker along with remaining ingredients.

I went with Option #2. This allowed me the time to get everything in the Dutch oven the night before and then simply reheated to a simmer this morning. Then, into the slow cooker this morning and set on the low setting.

It cooked on low from 6:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  Trust me when I tell you, it was delicious!

2 pounds ground chuck
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 red (or green) jalapenos, chopped with seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chili powder
1 T. ground coriander
1 T. ground cumin
1 10 oz. can beef broth
1 14 oz. can dark red kidney beans, chili style
1 14 oz. can chili beans
1 28 oz. can tomato puree
1 14 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can Hot Rotel tomatoes
1 T. tomato paste

In a large Dutch oven, brown ground chuck over medium high heat breaking up meat with wooden spoon. Add onions, peppers, and garlic and cook, 5 - 6 minutes, stirring frequently.  Drain fat from Dutch oven and return to the stovetop over low heat.

(At this point, if you're going directly to the slow cooker, drain and add to the slow cooker and add remaining ingredients.)

Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and lower heat to low and bring to a simmer.

(At this point, if you're going to refrigerate overnight and finish simmering the next day, turn off heat and allow to cool.)

If you're planning on this being your dinner, let simmer on stove top, stirring frequently, for several hours.

Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, avocados, cilantro, etc.