Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Turkey & Sausage Gumbo

I know I preach it all the time, but SAVE and FREEZE your turkey carcass. After last year's Thanksgiving meal, we removed the remaining turkey left on the bones and wrapped the carcass in a double layer of foil. Then, it went into a heavy duty freezer bag. When I was ready to make gumbo this past weekend, it went into the crock pot with vegetable trimmings (also saved in the freezer), a bay leaf and a tablespoon or so of whole pepper corns. I covered everything with water and set on high for about 5 hours. After straining all the solids, I was left with a rich, flavorful 4 quarts of turkey stock.

4 quarts turkey stock
3 - 4 cups cooked turkey, cut into cubes
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into slices
3 T. flour
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped 
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. chopped flat leaf parsley
1 - 2 T. Creole seasoning
a few drops your favorite hot sauce (optional)
cooked white rice
sliced green onions
Bring turkey stock and turkey to a simmer over medium heat in a large Dutch oven.

In a large skillet, cook sausage until well browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from skillet and add to the turkey stock.

Using the same skillet the sausage was cooked in, lower heat to medium, and add flour. Stir to combine with the sausage drippings and continue stirring for 2 - 3 minutes.

Add onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic. Stirring constantly, let cook until vegetables begin to soften, 3 - 4 minutes.

Add vegetables to stock mixture and stir to combine.

Next, add parsley, Creole seasoning, and hot sauce, if using. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Let cook for a few hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. 

Ladle over cooked rice and top with sliced green onions.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Pimm's Cup

A little bit of history of the Pimm's Cup before we get to the recipe:

James Pimm, a farmer's son from Kent, became the owner of an oyster bar in London. One of his signature drinks was a tonic which included a gin-based drink containing a secret mixture of herbs and liqueurs to aid in digestion. He served it in a small tankard that was then known as a No. 1 Cup. That led to the name of the liqueur known as Pimm's No. 1.

It's one of New Orleans' Napoleon House's signature drinks.

Fill a tall (12 oz.) glass with ice and add 1 1/4 oz. of Pimm's No. 1
Add 3 oz. of lemonade
Top with Sprite, Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer
Garnish with a cucumber slice

Creole Deviled Eggs

If you're searching for a new recipe for deviled eggs for the next potluck or cookout, try this one. The Creole mustard in the filling and the Creole seasoning on top add a nice little kick! A little Fleur de Lolly secret here: you know when you make stuffed eggs and there doesn't ever seem to be enough filling to make pretty sky high filled whites? Here's the secret. For each half dozen eggs you cook, boil an extra one. FINELY chop the whites into the filling mixture when you mash up the yolks.  Extra filling!

7 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 - 3 T. Creole mustard
1 T. dill (or sweet) pickle relish
Creole seasoning

Peel eggs and carefully slice in half. Remove the yolks to a medium bowl. Place the white halves on your egg plate. With the remaining egg, finely chop the whites and add to the bowl. Mash yolks with a fork until smooth.

Add mayonnaise, mustard and pickle relish. Stir to combine and taste. You want the filling to be thick enough to fill the whites without spreading everywhere. If you use x-large eggs, you'll need a little more mayo/mustard than if you use small eggs. Adjust amounts accordingly. It's easy to add a little extra, you can't remove!

Using a spoon, gently fill the whites piling the filling high. You can do this because you have extra filling!!  

Lightly sprinkle the tops of the eggs with Creole seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Shrimp Étouffée

This recipe was originally written for crawfish, but due to crawfish being used in other dishes at this meal, we substituted shrimp instead. It will take a little time for chopping prep, but the dish doesn't take that long to cook once you have the prep work completed.  If you use crawfish, adjust the cooking time by about 10 - 12 minutes. Serve over freshly cooked white rice.

1 stick butter
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1 cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup of chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup of chopped green onion
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
2 cups of water (in all)
1 t. of salt, or more, to taste
1/2 t. cayenne, or more, to taste
1/4 t. black pepper, or more, to taste
1 1/2 lbs. pounds of medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 t. of cornstarch

Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.

Add the celery, onion, bell pepper, green onion, and parsley and saute for 4 - 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft, but not brown.
Add 1 3/4 cup of water, salt, cayenne, and black pepper.  Cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes.

Add the shrimp and stir to incorporate. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/4 cup water and add it to the shrimp mixture, stirring for five minutes or until mixture thickens slightly.

Cook for 5 more minutes over low heat.  Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. 

Serve over steamed rice.

Makes 6 servings.

Thank you, Sheila Darjean, St. Landry's parish!  I hope you don't mind that we adapted your recipe from crawfish to shrimp this time!  

Crawfish Monica

Crawfish Monica is the creation of Chef Pierre Hilzim of Kajun Kettle Foods and it is a signature dish of New Orleans Jazz Fest. He named the dish after  his wife, Monica.

Yes, yes, and yes. Make this tonight for dinner. Or today for lunch. I'll even go so far as to say I'd eat it for breakfast! Creamy, rich and, oh so good.

1 pound linguine, fettuccine, or rotini
2 T. olive oil
6 T. unsalted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 T. minced garlic
2 t. Emeril's Essence seasoning blend
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups heavy cream
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 lb. crawfish tails
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Return to the pot and toss with the olive oil and reserved cooking liquid. Cover to keep warm.

In a large saute pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. 

Add the garlic, Essence, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. 

Add the white wine and cook over high heat until nearly all evaporated. 

Add the cream lemon juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced. 

Add the crawfish tails and cook, stirring, to warm through. 

Add the onions and parsley and cook for 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat with the sauce. 

Cook until the pasta is warmed through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 cup of the cheese.

Turn out into a serving bowl and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Serve.

Duke's Mayonnaise - Lolly's Alabama White BBQ Sauce

Last year I entered the Duke's Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary recipe contest. My entry for Lolly's Alabama White BBQ Sauce was chosen as the winner!

The specially marked jars are in the stores now!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Roasted Salmon with Mediterranean Salad

Spring is beginning to show itself a little. There have been a few warm days, the birds have started singing, some flowers are beginning to bloom. How better to welcome the season than to bring some bright and fresh flavors to your dinner table? This dish begins with a zesty herb and citrus marinade. A 8 - 10 minute roasting of the salmon while you prep the salad and you're done!

For the salmon:
2 T. chopped fresh oregano
1 T. minced fresh garlic
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. lemon zest
2 T. fresh lemon juice
4 skinned salmon fillets (6 oz. each), seasoned with salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a shallow bowl. Add salmon, one piece at a time, turning to coat each piece and then place on prepared baking sheet until fish flake easily, 8 - 10 minutes.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the following in a small bowl:
1/4 cup seeded and minced pepperoncini peppers
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 T. pepperoncini liquid
2 T. minced fresh oregano
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. minced fresh garlic
salt and pepper to taste

For the salad, toss:
6 cups chopped romaine letter
4 cherry tomatoes
1 cup sliced seedless cucumbers
1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup halved kalamata olives
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Divide the salad among four plates. Top salads with salmon fillets. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

From Cuisine at Home Issue No. 122.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Reuben Quesadillas with 1,000 Island Sauce

For the best quesadillas, have the corned beef thinly sliced. I asked the deli to slice the corned beef on a Level 2 thickness. If you'll take a few minutes to put the kraut in your salad spinner, it will prevent the quesadilla from getting soggy. And taking another few minutes to grate a block of Swiss cheese will save you $$ over buying pre-shredded. 

There are several methods for browning the quesadillas: a cast iron skillet, an electric griddle, or what I used, an actual quesadilla maker. This way, the quesadilla cooks on both sides simultaneously. 

Let's make the sauce first:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T. ketchup
2 T. minced scallions
1 1/2 t. cider vinegar
salt, black pepper, and Tabasco sauce to taste

Stir together mayonnaise, ketchup, scallions, and vinegar. Season with salt, pepper, and Tabasco.  Set aside.

For the quesadillas:

4 - 10-inch flour tortillas
8 oz. thinly sliced deli corned beef
1 cup sauerkraut, drained (regular or Bavarian style)
whole grain mustard
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Heat an electric griddle coated with non-stick spray to 400 degrees F. OR use a cast iron griddle or skillet on the stove top.

On one-half of a tortilla, arrange 2 oz. of the corned beef, 1/4 cup kraut, whole grain mustard, and 1/2 cup Swiss cheese. Fold empty side of tortilla over filling and transfer to griddle or skillet. 

Cook quesadillas until golden brown on each side and the cheese is melted, 5 - 6 minutes per side. Let rest 2 minutes, then slice** quesadillas into wedges and serve with sauce.

**I used the pizza cutter to make slicing easier.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home Issue No. 122

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Crispy Asian Wings with sweet-hot sauce served with Cool Cucumber Salad

The combination of these two dishes, sweet and spicy wings served with a cool cucumber salad are a great match. The wings are started out a low temperature to render the fat, then the heat is increased to get them deliciously crispy. I was really surprised at how crispy they are...WITHOUT FRYING!

For the wings, combine:
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. each five-spice powder, turmeric, smoked or sweet paprika, black pepper, granulated garlic
12 - 16 chicken wings, tips removed, cut in half at the joint

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.  Place oven racks in top and bottom third. Line a baking sheet with foil; place a broiler rack or cooking rack on top and coat with non-stick spray.

For the wings, combine baking powder, salt, five-spice powder, turmeric, paprika, pepper, and garlic in a bowl or paper bag.

Dredge wings in spice mixture, arrange on prepared rack, presentation side up. Cook wings on bottom rack for 30 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F.  Move wings to top rack; roast until skin is golden crisp, 40 - 50 minutes.

For the sauce:
2 T. each fresh lime juice and duck or plum sauce
1 t. each Sriracha sauce and low-sodium soy sauce
2 T. minced scallions
1 T. each minced fresh garlic and seeded and minced serrano chili
1 T. peanut oil
For the sauce whisk together lime juice, duck or plum sauce, Sriracha, and soy sauce.

Saute' scallions, garlic, and Serrano in oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until softened, 1 - 2 minutes. Stir scallion mixture into sauce; serve with wings.

Now for the salad!

2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. minced pickled ginger
1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 cup sliced English cucumbers
1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts 
1/4 cup each fresh cilantro leaves and chopped fresh Thai basil
1 T. seeded and minced Fresno chile

Whisk together the first four ingredients to make the vinaigrette. Toss cucumbers, sprouts, cilantro, basil, and chile with vinaigrette. 

This was a wonderful meal!

Adapted from Cuisine at Home Issue No. 122

Monday, February 20, 2017

Pork Ragu with sun dried tomatoes and kalamata olives

This is a delicious weeknight meal. Hearty and filling with Mediterranean flavors, it's sure to become a family favorite. The addition of Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar adds a delicious freshness to the dish.

16 oz. rotini pasta
3 T. olive oil
1 cup minced onions
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/4 cup diced oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes
3 T. tomato paste
1 T. minced fresh garlic
1 t. each sugar and red pepper flakes
1/2 t. dried oregano
1 lb. ground pork
1 (28 oz.) can whole lemons, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
freshly ground Parmesan cheese for topping

Cook rotini pasta in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions.  Drain.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onions, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, sugar, pepper flakes, and oregano; cook, until onions soften, 3 minutes.

Add pork and cook until no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, 6 - 7 minutes.

Stir in balsamic vinegar and cook until it is absorbed.  Add tomatoes, bring ragu to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes. Stir in parsley and season ragu with salt and pepper.

Serve rotini with ragu and garnish with Parmesan.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home Issue No. 122

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Morning Steak and Eggs

One of my favorite breakfast, as you know, is steak and eggs. You don't have to spend a lot of money to have a nice leisurely weekend meal.

Here's the steak portion of our meal.  These Eye of Round Steaks weighed in at about 1 1/2 lbs. and were less than $5.

Yes, they're super thin and cook FAST!  In fact, they were ready in the same time it took me to scramble the eggs. I seasoned the steak with Canadian Steak Seasoning and the eggs were spiced up with the additional of pepper jack cheese.  This was definitely a "thumbs up" breakfast!

For the steak:
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. eye of round steak
1 - 2 T. Canadian Steak Seasoning
1 T. vegetable oil

Sprinkle steak with seasoning. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add oil and when it shimmers, carefully add steak. Lower heat slightly. Let steak cook 1 - 2 minutes, flip with tongs and cook 1 - 2 minutes more. Remove from heat while you cook eggs.

For the eggs:
4 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. butter
1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 T. half-and-half

In a medium skillet, over medium-low heat, add butter. Add salt and pepper to beaten eggs. Pour eggs into the skillet and lower heat to low. Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, slowly and gently stir eggs as they cook. When they are half-way cooked, add shredded cheese and continue gently stirring. When cheese is melted, add half-and-half and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

Serve with hash browns and biscuits!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Canadian Steak Seasoned Burgers with grilled onions and pepper jack cheese

Tonight was burger night and I wanted something a little different. I went through the spice pantry and came across the container of Canadian Steak Seasoning. A blend of salt, garlic, pepper, onion, and red pepper sounded perfect.

1 1/2 lbs. ground round
1 T. Canadian Steak Seasoning
2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1 T. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
pepper jack cheese

In a medium bowl, combine ground round, seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce. Shape into four patties.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add olive oil. Place patties into skillet and lower heat to medium high.

Let burgers cook 4 - 5 minutes, and then turn using a metal spatula. Add onions to skillet with a little additional olive oil.

Continue cooking until the burgers reach an internal temp of 165 degrees for well-done burgers. Top the burgers with sliced pepper jack cheese.

Top with the cooked onions and your favorite condiments.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dining Out Southeast: Old Town Stock House, Guntersville, AL

Dining out on Valentine's Day? The pros and cons are rampant. I've had very unsuccessful dining experiences on Valentine's and then there are those wonderful dinners such as the one we enjoyed at Old Town Stock House. Of course, the restaurant was crowded and busy.  It was Valentine's after all! But on the positive side, there was fun energy in the hustle and bustle.  The building was built in 1901. One of the things I like most about this restaurant is they incorporate seasonal menu items. With each changing season, the menu changes as well. There's always new beverages to try to compliment the menu.

Last night our server was Destinie and she was very knowledgeable of the menu and offered suggestions as needed.

We started with a Long Island Iced Tea for Harold and an individual bottle of Lamarca Prosecco for me.

There was a special Valentine's menu and as we sipped, we discussed and debated several choices.

I was torn.  Look at the selection:

Baked Feta with roasted tomatoes, grapes, house pesto, pine nuts, served with flatbread; 

Duck Rillettes with pickled mustard seeds, orange zest, Spanish olives, served with toast points; 

She Crab Soup, crab broth, roe, lump crab, and sherry (this one almost drew me in!); 

Crab Cakes, lump crab, poached egg, chive hollandaise, caviar; and last but certainly not least, 

Lobster Salad, lettuces, lobster, asparagus, radishes, croutons, spicy lemon vinaigrette.  Oh my.  See the dilemma?

Harold chose the crab cakes and I snuck as many bites from his plate as possible. There was very little filling. The flavor was fresh and light and the poached egg with hollandaise added such a touch of elegance to the dish.

When I chose the Lobster Salad, I anticipated a small mixed green salad with a few scant pieces of lobster scattered here and there on the plate.  As you can see, this salad could easily have been a full course entree'! Huge pieces of lobster topped a bed of fresh greens. My love of lemon / vinegar was complete with the spicy vinaigrette. That dressing should be bottled for retail sale! 

Now on to the entrees. 

Here were the choices:

Pappardelle pasta, local mushrooms, shallot and red wine cream, arugula, parmesan;

Fresh catch (choice of sea scallops or Chilean Sea Bass) with whipped truffled potatoes, spinach, lobster cream, local micro greens;

Chinese marinated lamb chops, sauteed scallions, Mongolian sauce, brown rice, fried rice noodles;

8 oz. grass-fed, center-cut filet, potato gratin, asparagus, truffle and compound butter

So many delicious selections!  

Harold was sold as soon as he saw Chilean Sea Bass on the menu. He was very pleased. The fish was perfectly cooked and the potatoes were served hot. One of his pet peeves is room temperature food. That was NOT a problem with this dish.

I was torn, as I normally am when presented with so many wonderful selections. How can you choose one over the other? It's like asking a parent which of their children is their favorite!

And my decision was.......the Chinese Marinated Lamb Chops. I chose wisely. The chops were cooked to a perfect Medium Rare. The sauce had the proper amount of heat without being overbearing and the presentation was just lovely.

I suppose you can understand why we didn't have dessert. Here were the selections in case you wondered.

Chocolate Creme Brulee with chocolate covered bananas
Assorted berries with champagne whipped cream and cocoa nibs
Cheesecake with raspberry coulis

I cannot urge you enough to give this restaurant a try. Beautiful atmosphere, attentive service, delicious drinks, and amazing food.  Trust me, you'll love it.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Spicy Turkey Sloppy Joe

After you try this recipe for Sloppy Joes, you'll never be tempted to buy that canned stuff ever again. Seasoned with common ingredients you should have in your pantry and refrigerator and made with lean ground turkey, this one will become a family favorite.  If you're preparing for those who don't care for spicy food, simply use regular olive oil. I used Red Cayenne Chili Pepper Oil and it added the perfect amount of heat.

1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 T. granulated garlic
1 T. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
3/4 cup ketchup
1 T. yellow mustard
1 1/2 T. dill pickle relish
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. Worcestershire sauce

Heat chili oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and let saute' for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add granulated garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt. Stir to combine and let cook 2 - 3 more minutes.

Add turkey, breaking up with a wooden spoon, and let cook until turkey is cooked through 5 - 6 minutes. Continue to stir so that turkey doesn't stick.

Add ketchup, mustard, relish, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce. Continue stirring and let mixture cook for 5 - 7 minutes until thickened.

Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper if desired.

Toast hamburger buns and spoon Sloppy Joe mixture over bottom half of bun. Top with top bun and enjoy!

Mini Crab Cakes

For our Valentine's meal, which featured seared scallops along with Filet Mignon, I wanted an appetizer which would compliment. I thought about crab cakes, but didn't want something that filling. I found this recipe on www.noblepig.com. This recipe came together very quickly and, as an added bonus, the filling can be made up to a day beforehand and refrigerated until you're ready to bake.

I changed a few things such as reducing the amount of chives and using Gruyere cheese instead of Parmesan. Feel free to use either cheese you'd like.

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese, divided
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 t. orange zest
1/2 t. lemon zest
2 T. chopped fresh chives, divided
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
8 oz. lump crab meat, picked over for shells, patted dry, coarsely shredded
1 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 butter, melted
additional chives for garish

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Add 1/4 cup Gruyere and egg; beat to blend. Beat in sour cream, citrus zest, 1 T. of chives, salt, and cayenne pepper. Gently fold in crab meat.

Spray a mini-muffin pan with non-stick spray. Toss panko, 3/4 cup Gruyere and 1 T. chives in a bowl. Drizzle melted butter over panko/cheese mixture, tossing with a fork until evenly moistened.  Press 1 rounded tablespoon panko mixture into bottom of each muffin cup. I used a cookie dough measuring scoop. Using your fingers, make a well in each cup to make the crust. Fill each cup with 1 generous tablespoon of the crab mixture. Sprinkle any remaining panko mixture you have over the filled cups.

Bake crab cakes in a 350 degree oven until golden brown on top and set, about 20 minutes. Cool the crab cakes in the pan for 5 minutes. Gently lift each crab cake out of the pan with a fork onto serving platter. Sprinkle the tops with additional chopped chives.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017 - Surf and Turf: Seared Scallops and Filet Mignon with Rosemary Wine Pan Sauce served with Gruyere Mashed Potatoes

For this year's Valentine's dinner at home, I decided a Surf and Turf meal would be perfect. Gulf Coast scallops were waiting in the freezer for the surf portion. Filet Mignon would be the selection for the turf portion. 

Please, please, please don't be intimated by cooking scallops at home. A hot skillet and 90 seconds on each side later, your scallops are PERFECTION.

The same thing goes for the steak. Don't be intimidated. A very hot cast iron skillet, two minutes of searing time on the stovetop and then 8 minutes in the oven and then some resting time. For the steak that is.

And don't think those are just ho-hum mashed potatoes. These are taken to a little higher level with the addition of grated Gruyere cheese.  Oh yes.

Let's get cooking!

For the Mashed Potatoes
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 T. butter
2 T. heavy cream
Salt to taste
1/3 grated Gruyere cheese

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan filled with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and then mash potatoes with butter, heavy cream, salt, and grated Gruyere cheese. Set aside.

For the Steaks:
2 - 8 oz. Filet Mignon steaks, 1 1/2" - 2" inch thick
Olive oil
Candian Steak seasoning
1 T. butter

Before starting to cook, remove steaks from refrigerator about 20 minutes beforehand. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle tops of steaks with olive oil and generously sprinkle with the steak seasoning and rub into steaks. Repeat on the other side.

Heat a large, cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, then add 1 T. butter. Once melted, add steaks, then sear for 2 minutes. Using tongs, turn steaks over and place skillet into preheated oven and roast for 10 minutes for a medium rare steaks. Adjust roasting time according to thickness of steaks and how you wish yours to be cooked. Remove steaks to a plate and cover with foil. Set aside to rest.

For the Rosemary Wine Pan Sauce:
1 T. minced shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
1 rosemary sprig
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1 T. butter 

Place skillet that steaks were cooking in back onto stove top over medium high heat.  Add shallots and saute for 30 seconds. Add garlic, rosemary, and wine and simmer until wine is reduced by half. Then add beef broth and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced, 5 - 6 minutes. Add butter, taste, and add salt and pepper if necessary. Set sauce aside.

For the Scallops:
6 - 8 large scallops
salt and pepper
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter

While the pan sauce is reducing, melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat scallops dry between layers of paper towel, season with salt and pepper, and then place seasoned sized down in hot skillet and sear for 90 seconds. Season top with salt and pepper and then, using tongs, turn over and sear for another 90 seconds.

To Serve:
Spoon mashed potatoes onto plate. Place steak on top of potatoes and drizzle with the pan sauce. Add scallops to plate and garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary.

Adapted from iowagirleats.com

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Citrus Grouper with blood orange and lemon sauce

Grouper is one of my favorite fish to cook AND to eat. I used seasoned corn flour to lightly coat the fish before pan frying the fillets with a mixture of butter and blood orange olive oil. The freshness from the citrus components is a perfect compliment to the fish.

1 lb. grouper, cut into equal sized pieces
1/2 cup corn flour
granulated garlic
3 T. butter
3 T. Blood Orange Olive Oil

For the sauce:
2 T. butter
2 T. Blood Orange Olive Oil
2 T. Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar

Rinse grouper and pat dry. Lightly salt and pepper both sides.

In a shallow dish, mix flour, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic with a fork to combine. Coat fish with seasoned flour.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add butter and blood orange olive oil. Gently place coated fish into skillet.

Let fish cook, turning as the fish browns.

Continue to cook for 10 - 12 minutes total, depending on the thickness of the fish fillets. When fish is cooked through, remove from skillet and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

In a small skillet, add sauce ingredients over high heat. Whisk ingredients together and let boil for 2 - 3 minutes until sauce begins to thicken.

Serve fish over rice that's been drizzled with additional blood orange olive oil. Spoon sauce over fish and serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

New England Clam Chowder

When the New England Patriots are playing in the Super Bowl, I knew this chowder had to be on the menu. I've posted this recipe a few years ago, but it definitely needs to be reposted! This recipe comes to us courtesy of the Union Oyster House Cookbook. The Union Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in the United States. It opened in 1826 in Boston.

This time I took a shortcut and used frozen diced potatoes. That step saved time when I had a lot of other dishes to prepare for the game day meal.

1/4 cup diced salt pork
2 T. butter
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
2 T. flour
1/2 t. dried thyme
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
2 cups canned clam juice
2 cups minced fresh or frozen clams (not canned)
1 cup half-and-half
salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, to taste

In a large pot over medium low heat, render the salt pork until it is crispy, about 5 minutes.

Add the butter and melt. Add onion and celery and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to form a paste and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.

Add the thyme, potatoes and clam juice and bring to a boil, stirring almost constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Add clams and bring quickly to a boil, stirring almost constantly. Add the half-and-half and bring quickly to a boil. Season with salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Serve immediately.

Varsity Chili Dogs

The Varsity in Atlanta, Georgia has been an institution since 1928. It's the World Largest Drive-In restaurant. What makes the Varsity an institution you ask? How about these stats? Two miles of hot dogs, a ton of onions, 2500 pounds of potatoes, 5000 fried pies and 300 gallons of chili are made from scratch daily. Daily!

One of their classics is the chili dog. Here's my copycat version of their Chili Dog.

1 T. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped (divided)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. ground chuck (80/20 blend)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. ground cayenne
1 can beef broth

hot dogs

shredded cheddar cheese
reserved onions

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the chopped onions. (Reserve the remaining onions for topping the hot dogs.)

Let onions begin to soften, 4 - 5 minutes.

Add garlic and ground chuck. Break the meat up with a wooden spoon until no large pieces remain. You want a very smooth sauce. Continue cooking, and stirring, until meat is cooked. Drain any fat that has accumulated.

Add salt, black pepper, cumin, cayenne, and beef broth. Lower heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Grill hot dogs on a gas or charcoal grill or indoors on a grill pan. Remove from heat and place buns on grill for a few minutes over indirect heat.

Place hot dogs in buns, top with mustard, chili, shredded cheese, and the reserved onions.

Serve immediately.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Georgia Peach Martini

I looked for the perfect cocktail to serve at the Super Bowl party. How better to represent one of the teams than to use Georgia peaches in a martini? This will be on the regular rotation during the hot summer months!

In a cocktail shaker, combine the following:

2 parts Peach Vodka
1 part Peach Schnapps
1 part Orange Juice
1 part simple syrup (made by simmering equal parts of water / sugar until sugar dissolves, then cool) 
3 - 4 ice cubes

Shake until ingredients are well blended. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with fresh diced peaches.

Boston Baked Bean Dip

And here is the opposing team's contribution to the Super Bowl game day food table! Boston Baked Beans in dip form!

5 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 can (16 oz.) navy beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Boston lager beer, such as Sam Adams
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 package McCormick Tex-Mex Chili Seasoning Mix

Cook bacon and onion in large skillet on medium-high heat until bacon is crisp.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with crackers. Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions, if desired.

Sweet Georgia Peach and Pecan Dip

For the Super Bowl game this year, as always, I try to split the food and beverage choices evenly between the two teams. 

For the Atlanta appetizer portion, I found the perfect dip recipe from www.mccormick.com.

It's a perfect blend of bacon, peaches, Vidalia onions, and McCormick's Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade mix.  This one will definitely be made again for summertime cookouts!

1 T. butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 package McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon marinade
1 cup cola-flavored beverage
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh peaches (about 3 or 4)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bacon; cook and stir 6 - 8 minutes until bacon is crisp.

Stir marinade mix, cola, and brown sugar into skillet. Bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally. Stir in peaches and pecans; simmer until heated through.

Spread cream cheese evenly in bottom of 9-inch pie plate. Top with the warm peach mixture. Serve with crackers or sliced French bread.