Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

Follow by Email

Friday, June 30, 2017

Berry Berry Martini

On a hot summer afternoon, sometimes you just need a sipping drink. A drink to enjoy on a deck, or a porch and relax, read, and sip. This is the drink.

2 parts Pinnacle Berry Vodka
1 part Triple Sec

Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with an assortment of berries.

Tuscan Herb Lemon Baked Chicken Thighs

Last night, I shared a recipe that could be used for either a salad dressing OR a marinade. Tonight I used the remainder as a marinade for baked chicken thighs. I let the chicken thighs marinate overnight. You can certainly marinate for only a few hours of that's what your time permits. I was well pleased with the tenderness of the chicken and how well it picked up the flavors of the marinade. You can either bake or grill the chicken. Due to all the rain we're having, I opted to bake.

1 T. Dijon Mustard
1 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 T. finely minced garlic
1 t. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 t. dried red pepper flakes
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and mustard until mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in remaining ingredients.
The four chicken thighs I had on hand were about 1 3/4 lbs. There was enough marinade to easily have increased that amount to 2 - 2 1/2 lbs. 
Place chicken in a glass bowl or Ziploc bag. Cover with marinade and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Serve with rice or potatoes.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tuscan Herb & Lemon Salad Dressing (or Marinade)

This is one of those recipes that evolved while I was making it. A little bit more of this and a tad more of that and how about some of those? This makes about 2 cups of dressing so plan on having plenty on hand for some great summer salads, or do as I am planning on doing, and use the remainder as a marinade.

1 T. Dijon Mustard
1 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 T. finely minced garlic
1 t. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 t. dried red pepper flakes
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and mustard until mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in remaining ingredients.

Here's a great action shot!

Taste, and adjust the flavors to suit yourself. You may want a little more garlic or a few more red pepper flakes, or a touch more salt and pepper.

Lightly dress a fresh green salad or use as a marinade for chicken or pork.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wing Wednesday: Cilantro and Roasted Onion with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce

I know there are those who have a genetic predisposition to despise cilantro, but thank goodness I'm not one of them.  I have a new olive oil for us to try! This olive oil has the robust flavor of cilantro balanced out with the sweet taste of roasted onion.  I can think of a dozen ways to incorporate this olive oil, but now we'll start with our wings.  Click the link! Cilantro and Roasted Onion.

First I made the marinade:
6 T. Cilantro and Roasted Onion Olive Oil
3 T. fresh lime juice
1 - 2 t. Red Cayenne Chili Oil (for a little heat!)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. dehydrated onions

Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl and pour into a large Ziplock bag or use the same large bowl to marinate the wings. Add 1 3/4 - 2 lb. of chicken wings, separated, and tips removed. Make sure all the wings are covered in the marinade. Seal the bag, or if using a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a large baking spray with non-stick spray.

Place wings onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 25 - 30 minutes and remove from oven and turn over the wings. Return to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes or so.

Serve with fresh chopped cilantro sprinkled on top. For a pretty presentation, dip a few of the wings in the dipping sauce before plating.

Now on to the dipping sauce!  I recently purchased a Cilantro and Lime Dip Mix from Elizabeth's Gourmet Creations. Following the package directions, I simply mixed the dip mix with 16 oz. of sour cream and refrigerated until I was ready to serve. I then topped the dip with a little bit of lime zest. Not only was it great to dip the wings in, but it was a perfect dip for tortilla chips. And how about thinning the dip out with a little buttermilk or milk and use as a dressing for an avocado and tomato salad? 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Crispy Brined Salmon with Blackberry Relish

When I first saw this recipe, it definitely piqued my interest. Salmon with blackberries? When cooking the salmon, be patient to ensure a crispy sear. The only time you need to move the salmon is when you flip it the ONE time.  

I adapted the recipe to use Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar. This vinegar is wonderfully sweet, pleasingly tart with the clean, natural flavor of blackberries and ginger.

This recipe can easily be doubled. 

For the salmon:
1-quart water
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 t. cracked black pepper
1 t. minced lemon zest
2 salmon fillets, skin on (6 - 8 oz. each)

Whisk together the water, salt, pepper, and lemon zest in a large glass bowl until salt dissolves. Add the salmon, cover, and let stand 15 minutes.

For the relish:
1 t. honey
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 cup fresh blackberries, halved
2 t. minced fresh tarragon
1 t. minced lemon zest

Whisk together vinegar and honey in a bowl. Add shallots, and let stand 5 minutes. Add blackberries, tarragon, and lemon zest. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper.

Combine 1/2 t. salt and a 1/2 t. cracked black pepper. Sprinkle half in the bottom of a 12-inch nonstick skillet.

Transfer fillets to a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry. Arrange fillets, skin sides down, in skillet; heat to medium-high and sprinkle remaining salt and pepper over tops of fillets.

Cook fillets until fat begins to render and skin starts to brown, 6 - 7 minutes.  Flip and cook fillets until flesh side starts to brown, 6 - 8 minutes more.

Transfer fillets to plates, top with relish and serve immediately.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home.

Squash Casserole

I've been making squash casseroles for more years than I can remember. I've precooked the squash by boiling, by grating and just adding to the casserole mixture, every which way. But yesterday, I told myself to forget all those methods and try something new. I believe I've found my new perfect Squash Casserole.

4 T. butter
1/3 cup diced yellow onion
2 t. minced fresh garlic
4 cups diced yellow squash
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Duke's mayonnaise
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup freshly grated sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 sleeve buttery crackers (Ritz), crushed
2 T. melted butter

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, stir frequently, and let cook until softened, about 2 - 3 minutes. Add garlic, squash, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently until squash has softened, 5 - 7 minutes. 

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 8 x 8 or similar sized casserole dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, eggs, parsley, and cheddar cheese. Fold in squash mixture until everything is well combined.

Spoon into casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with crushed crackers. Drizzle with melted butter and return to oven for 5 or 7 minutes until crackers have browned.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Kids' Primary Colors Table

I've always loved the combination of Primary Colors.  Wal-Mart had these neat trays, plates, bowls, cups, forks, and spoons combination for $5.00.  A set of four for $5.00.  As soon as I saw them, I had this table setting in the works!

You could certainly keep all the same colors together for each place setting, but I wanted to mix things up a little. I loved the way it worked. 

I knew I needed a triangle on the table somewhere, so a paper napkin folded in a triangle shape did the trick!

Next was a quick trip to the toy box to find the Alphabet Blocks. Lucky for me, some of the blocks have food items on them!

And to add the finishing touch to the table.....

A fun, colorful table for the kids!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Stuffed Friggitello (Sweet Italian) Peppers

I planted these two Friggitello Pepper plants a few months ago. They've been happily growing on the back deck and it's finally time to enjoy them!


Friggitello Peppers are a sweet Italian chili pepper.  It's also known as the Sweet Italian Pepper or Tuscan Pepper.  These peppers are mild with a slight heat and a slight hint of bitterness.  They are sometimes pickled and sold in jars.

Instead of stuffing them with orzo or rice, I chose Riced Cauliflower which blended wonderfully with the Italian blend of cheeses and Tuscan Herb Olive Oil. 

These would make an amazing appetizer!

1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 - 12 oz. bag of riced cauliflower
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 - 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
1/2 t. salt 
A few grinds black pepper
1/4 t. dried red pepper flakes, if desired
5 - 6 Sweet Italian Peppers

For garnish:
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Chopped Parsley
Basil Leaves
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray foil with non-stick spray.

In a large skillet, add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 - 4 minutes.

Add riced cauliflower, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and let it cook for 3 - 4 minutes.

Next, add in the tomatoes and let them cook for a few minutes to release their juices. Now it's time for the parsley, basil, and the cheese. Stir to combine and to let the cheese melt. Add the salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Now let's work on the peppers. I left the stems on mine because I like the presentation. Check out the peppers and find the side that is the flattest so they will lay evenly on the pan and not spill out the filling.

Carefully cut a slit lengthwise being very careful not to cut through the pepper on the other side. Remove the seeds and the membranes with your fingers and discard.

Drizzle the inside of the peppers with some of the olive oil and lightly salt and pepper the peppers.

Carefully fill the peppers with the cauliflower/cheese mixture. Place on the baking sheet and drizzle with additional olive oil.

Bake them for 18 - 20 minutes depending on the size of the peppers. You want the cheese to be melted and the peppers beginning to soften.

Garnish with grated Parmesan, additional parsley, and basil.  

Grilled Honey Ginger Boneless Pork Chop

I fired up the charcoal grill again last night after work to grill these beautiful boneless pork chops. I wanted to mimic the same flavors as much as possible that I used in the Asian Salad with Honey Ginger Vinaigrette. While the chops marinated, I chopped up the ingredients for the salad and made the dressing. The pork chops only took about 15 minutes to grill.  Delicious dinner!

Believe me when I tell you that using flavored oils and vinegars make all the difference in building flavors with your food. PLUS, you have the added health benefits as well!

For the marinade:
1 t. soy sauce
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. dried red pepper flakes
1 T. fresh lemon juice

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Place 1 lb. boneless pork chops in a plastic bowl or a Ziploc bag. Pour in marinade to completely cover the pork chops.  Make sure you seal the bag carefully! Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer if time allows.

Preheat a gas grill or prepare charcoal in a regular grill. If using charcoal, leave about 1/3 of the grill pan empty of hot charcoal. This will be your indirect heating spot.  

Place pork onto grill and cook, turning once, until an internal temperature reaches 145 for medium rare and 160 for medium. If pork begins to brown too quickly, move to the "indirect heat" side of the grill and let the residual heat finish cooking the pork.

And here is the meal ready to serve. I cooked a bag of Teriyaki Style rice from Knorr as a side.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Asian Salad with Honey Ginger Vinaigrette

Use any type of Spring Salad greens or mesculin mix. You can use either almonds or cashews for this dish, I happened to have almonds on hand. 

For the salad, combine all ingredients except for the almonds/cashews:

1 lb. frozen shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions and chilled
6 cup mixed greens
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 each red and yellow bell bell pepper, thinly sliced
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup bias-sliced scallions
3/4 cup roasted, salted almonds or cashews

For the Vinaigrette:
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
2 T. fresh lime juice
1 T. grated fresh ginger
1 t. minced garlic
1 t. honey
1/2 t. salt

Whisk together all ingredients until well combined. Toss with salad. Just before serving, toss cashews or almonds in with the slaw.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home Issue 124

Monday, June 19, 2017

Surf and Turf: Grilled Strip Steaks & Lobster Tails

Here was the Father's Day meal at Chez Lolly. Looks delicious doesn't it?  I've made separate blog posts for the steaks and the lobster tails.  They can be found by following the links below:



Sometimes, you need to make a special occasion, more special!

Grilled Lobster Tails

While the fire is hot, and the steaks are grilling, why not put a few lobster tails on the grill as well? This makes the perfect Surf and Turf meal. These lobster tails were 3 oz. each, the perfect size to pair with the strip steaks.

Here are some easy to  follow instructions from www.weber.com.

Cut the shell with a pair of kitchen shears, but go no further than the tail. With a knife, split the meat along the same path as the shell cut line, being careful not to slice all the way through the lobster. 

Open the lobster like a book. The remaining soft membrane will keep the sections intact while exposing the meat. Lobster is grilled over direct medium heat. Rub the flesh with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill flesh side down for approximately 3-5 minutes, then flip. Figure another 2-3 minutes after you flip the tail. Brush the flesh side with herb butter.

The lobster is done when its internal temperature, checked by an instant read thermometer, reaches 135 F.

See?  Easy smeasy!  And Oh, So, Good!


Charcoal Grilled Strip Steaks

Before you put the steaks on the grill you need to begin a few hours beforehand with a great marinade.

Here's the recipe I used for these lovely steaks:

I used two 1 lb. each strip steaks.  Here they are in the marinade.

Thirty minutes or so before grilling begins, prepare your charcoal grill. When the charcoal is covered with white ash you're ready to grill.

If you're not familiar with charcoal grilling, this link will provide you with wonderful information on how to get the perfect steak!

Wild Raspberry White Balsamic Vinegar Infused Mineral Water

I suppose we have all heard that vinegar can help with many and varied ailments. Maybe you have tried a spoonful of apple cider vinegar a day to help with weight loss, blood sugar control, digestive aid, and to help bring those cholesterol numbers down.  Read this article for more information.

If you're tired of apple cider vinegar, may I suggest you give Wild Raspberry White Balsamic Vinegar a try?  You can mix this in with tea, plain water, club soda, or like I did here with an Italian mineral water, San Pellegrino.  The raspberry vinegar added a tart flavor that was perfect for a sunny afternoon on the deck.

8 oz. mineral water such as San Pellegrino or Perrier
2 T. Wild Raspberry White Balsamic Vinegar
fresh raspberries

Pour mineral water into a glass, add vinegar, stir.  Float a few fresh strawberries on top.  Enjoy!

Garlicky Four Bean Salad

This is a great salad to carry to potlucks or cookouts. With no mayo to worry about, this one can stand the heat of being outdoors. A garlicky vinaigrette adds a nice chance of pace from a typical bean salad.

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. minced garlic
salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. fresh green beans (cut into 2 inch pieces)
1 can chickpeas (16 oz.) rinsed and drained
1 can red kidney beans (16 oz.) rinsed and drained
1 can yellow was beans (14.5 oz) rinsed and drained
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper.

To prepare the green beans, you have a few options.  You can blanch the green beans in boiling, salted water until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes and then transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process, then drain.

OR, you can do as I did and buy a 12 oz. bag of ready to cook (steam) green beans, cut a slit in the bag, microwave for the time instructed on the bag and THEN cut the green beans into 2 inch pieces.

Combine the cooked green beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, wax beans, celery, red onions, and parsley in a bow; toss with the vinaigrette.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home Issue No. 124

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Steak Marinade

Big steaks require a big marinade! You're going to LOVE this one. When I think big flavors, garlic, rosemary, espresso come to mind. Add in a little extra fresh garlic and rosemary, along with Worcestershire and soy sauce and you have a marinade that will flavor any steak to perfection!

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 t. minced garlic
1 t. minced fresh rosemary
a few grinds of black pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together until combined. Place steak in a plastic container and cover with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cooking.

Grilled Tuscan Herb Corn with Compound Butter

A new charcoal grill means there's a lot of delicious food ahead of us this summer. We christened the new grill with burgers, corn on the cob and beans......

But this blog post is all about the corn on the cob! Shuck and remove silks from the corn.

Generously coat the corn with Tuscan Herb Olive Oil.  

Grill corn over indirect heat for 8 - 10 minutes turning frequently. When corn is beginning to brown and slightly char, you're ready.

And how about a nice Tuscan Herb Compound Butter to finish that corn on the cob?


Compound Butter: Tuscan Herb

Taking a few extra minutes to make a compound butter is an excellent way to amp up the flavor of the simplest foods. I had planned on grilling corn to go along with our burgers. Blending butter with a few simple, everybody should have on hand ingredients, resulted in a delicious butter ready to be spread on the hot corn on the cob.

4 T. softened butter
1/4 t. minced garlic
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese
dash or two of salt
a few grinds of black pepper
1 t. Tuscan Herb seasoning blend

In a small bowl combine all ingredients. Use on corn on the cob, baked potatoes, pasta, steamed vegetables, and of course, warm bread!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wing Wednesday: Bloody Mary Wings

If you like the spicy heat from a Bloody Mary, you'll love these wings! You can certainly adjust the amounts in this recipe to give you the heat you want. A slow bake for the wings after being coated with  Cayenne Chili Oil, helps to render the fat from the wings so that when you raise the heat level for the second baking, they can crisp up nicely.

The Cayenne Chili Oil is made by crushing 12 pounds of fresh, whole, ripe cayenne chilies for each gallon produced.  The oil and chilies are fused together for two hours before decanting and filtering, so YES, it's HOT!!!!

For the wings:
2 - 2 1/2 lbs. chicken wings, separated and tips removed
1 - 2 t. cayenne chili oil

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Place wings in a large bowl and drizzle with cayenne chili oil. Lightly salt and pepper and toss to completely coat the wings.

Place wings in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake wings for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn wings over and return to oven for 10 more minutes.

While the wings are baking, make the sauce.

For the sauce:
1 cup ketchup
2 T. prepared horseradish
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. minced garlic
1/2 t. Tabasco Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
1/2 t. celery seeds
**you can certainly add a shot of vodka if you want!

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside. 

After the wings have finished the second bake, remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

Using a silicone pastry/basting brush, brush Bloody Mary Sauce mixture over wings. Let wings bake 10 minutes, remove from oven and carefully turn wings over and cover this side with Bloody Mary Sauce.

Return to oven until the sauce has glazed and is bubbling, about 10 minutes.  Serve immediately with additional sauce on the side if desired. Don't forget the celery sticks!

Another option for the sauce.  It would make a KILLER dipping sauce for shrimp or oysters!