Southern Alabama Specialties

Recipes and folklore from the Gulf Coast. Like this favorte recipe, Garlic Shrimp Linguine, gets a nod from Creole cookery and blends new and old world flavors in making one fine dinner.

Grilling Year-round on the Gulf Coast

Life is good on the Gulf Coast as you'll find folks grilling and barbecuing all types of fine foods. Burgers, dogs, steaks, wings, ribs, pork, chicken, beef, seafood, gator, heck ... if it lives around here, we eat it!

Cake Making in the South

A real classic ~ Lemon Pound Cake with Citrus Glaze.

Sunday Dinners are Sacred in the South

An establishment in these parts, sitting down at the dinner table for a family meal is a way of life for many of us. It is quality time well spent sharing our blessings. Enjoy our recipes.

Gulf Coast Seafood Recipes

Platters like this are often on tables around Mobile Bay especially when there is a Jubilee. A Jubilee only occurs in Mobile Bay - find mouth-watering recipes under the Fish and Seafood categories.

January 31, 2010

Beer Broccoli Cheese Soup

Hey folks, Mardi Gras is going strong and keeping me a little busy ... but you can still find great recipes coming your way ... thanks for viewing!


This is my version, perfect for a cold winter day and even a nice first course for Super Bowl Sunday. I think it is a nice mix of vegetables in a creamy cheese base. The beer doesn't hurt either. Enjoy!

Beer Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 cup diced onions

1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1 tablespoon + 1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups (1 pint) half-and-half
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 -12 oz bottle beer (light to medium beer is best- dark beer overpowers the soup)
1 bunch broccoli, florets separated
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne to taste


Sauté onion, celery and mushrooms in 1 tbsp butter on med-low heat until onions are translucent, then set aside. Melt remaining butter in large saucepot and add flour. Whisk over medium heat for 5 minutes to make roux. Whisking constantly, slowly add half-and-half, dry mustard and beer. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes, whisking regularly to prevent a skin from forming. Add broccoli, carrots and sautéed vegetables and cook over low heat 20 minutes. Remove from heat. For a smooth soup, pulse in a food processor or use a hand blender. Return to low heat and stir in the grated cheese.


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January 30, 2010

Layered Tortillas and Pintos

Hey folks, Mardi Gras is going strong and keeping me busy ... that means less time to write - but some great recipes will still keep coming ... thanks for viewing!

Sabado Mexicana

Pinto beans served between layers of corn tortillas ~ a nice change of pace for Mexican Saturday and best of all, no meat! Recipe from Elaine's Taste of Texas. Enjoy...

Mexican Layered Tortillas and Pinto Beans

3/4 cup dried pinto beans or red kidney beans
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 can of plum Roma tomatoes, drained with juices reserved and chopped
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper,
6 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 corn tortillas
2 cup cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
2 cup lettuce, chopped coarsely
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped

Pick over and discard any damaged beans or stones. Rinse the beans. Place in a bowl, add plenty of water to cover and soak for about 3hours. Drain the beans and place in saucepan with water to cover by 2 inches.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the skins begin to crack and the beans are tender, 60 minutes. Drain.
In a large frying pan, combine the beans, onions, garlic, bell peppers, canned tomatoes and their juices, cayenne pepper (if desired), chili powder, cumin and salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 350 degree F. Spread one third of the bean mixture in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with 4 of the tortillas, overlapping evenly, and 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat the layers, using half of the remaining bean mixture and all of the tortillas and cheese. Top with the remaining bean mixture.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the edges are bubbling, about 35 minutes.
Strew the lettuce and fresh tomatoes evenly over the top and serve immediately.
A wonderful garnish is a dollop of guacamole or sour cream mixed with chopped green spring onions.

January 29, 2010

Dixie Bar Trout, JLM Cookbooks

Ranked thirteenth largest in the world, the Junior League of Mobile (JLM) is a diverse group of approximately 1,800 volunteering women. Started in 1925 as the Mobile Charity League, the primary support of its members and six fundraisers this year will donate more than $1.3 million in volunteer time and financial support to the Mobile and Baldwin area. The JLM actively collaborates with more than 16 additional not-for-profit organizations offering programming and services unique to the community. JLM current focus, involving more than 35 projects community-wide, is with children and education reaching over 25,000 women, men and children.

There are currently four cookbooks circulating around the area and world for that matter, published by JLM. Recipe Jubilee! , introduced in 1964 set the standard for a one-place-for-all book in the finest recipes Mobile offers and sales surpass 160,000 copies. The cookbook won national recognition from Bon Appetite and the New York Times and was selected for the Walter S. McIlhenny Hall of Fame Award. In 1981, One of a Kind hit the stands and households with more delectable recipes from our area. It is one of the first cookbooks to incorporate meal planning. In 1993, it was awarded membership in the Southern Living Hall of Fame. Both books are now retired from publication. Bay Tables, the third published cookbook arrived in 1998 and sales are still going strong featuring recipe favorites for young and old, not to mention the addition of beautiful local photos. The book features innovative and intriguing preparations for local seafood and game specialties along with a host of other outstanding offerings.

This year brings a new publication, a mini-book entitled Best of the Bay featuring more than 50 of the best classics including trout amandine, gumbo, West Indies salad to name three. It features updates to the recipes such as substituting orzo for the original rice in dishes. During hurricane Katrina, many households literately lost the earlier JLM cookbooks to wind and rain. Replacements of the first two, now out of print, are only available in used bookstores or as hand-me-downs. Best of the Bay is available for $9.95 from JLM and is in limited print.


This is one of the local recipes featured in Bay Tables. Dixie Bar is just off the coast of Fort Morgan, south of Mobile, and is a great place to catch fish hanging out on the edge of the sand bar while waiting to snag a bite during the shifting currents.

Dixie Bar Trout
8 to 12 servings

8 to 12 trout fillets
milk
salt
2/3 cup flour
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
2/3 cup dry white wine

Place the fillets in a shallow dish. Add enough milk to cover and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove the fillets and pat dry. Sprinkle generously with salt. Dredge in the flour shaking off excess. Place 1/2 cup butter and Tasbaso in a glass baking dish and place in the middle oven rack under a broiler. Broil on low until the butter begins to bubble. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle the green onions and peppers in the butter. Arrange the fillets over the vegetables. Dot with remaining butter. Return to the broiler oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fillets flake easily and are golden brown. Baste two times during cooking. Remove to a platter and keep warm. Pour pan drippings into a saucepan and add the wine. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes stirring constantly. Spoon the sauce over the fillets and serve immediately.

January 28, 2010

English Lemon Teacakes

Sweet-Tooth Thursday

When mother decided to bake treats, cookies and teacakes were her favorite and ours too. I don't remember having fancy tea parties as in 'high-noon', but she entertained her friends with coffee, tea and sweet treats like this one. One of my favorite cookies is her Tea Cake Cookie, a shortbread type she made the size of quarters. Buttery with just a hint of sugar and vanilla, it's still my favorite. This is a good one too, more cake-like than a biscuit with a wonderful lemony icing. Try it, along with a cup of tea. Enjoy!

English Lemon Teacakes
makes 8 1/2 dozen


1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3 cups all-purpose flour

Icing 

1 cup butter, softened
6 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
4 to 6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Yellow food color if desired

In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon juice, extracts and lemon peel. Add flour; beat just until moistened.

Fill greased miniature muffin cups half-full for biscuits (or two-thirds full for cakes). Bake at 325° for 8-12 minutes (or 10-15 minutes for the fuller ones) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, peel and enough cream to achieve desired spreading consistency. Add food coloring if desired. Dip tops of cakes into icing; place on waxed paper to dry.

January 27, 2010

Tangy Baked Shrimp

Wednesday is shrimp day around here folks. I imagined giving you a recipe for a batch of spicy, southern fried shrimp. However, many of you remind me daily that you are still on your January diet. Therefore, I offer this recipe instead. It is pretty darn good and not as bad for you as many baked shrimp recipes using butter, certainly better than fried. Enjoy!


Tangy Baked Shrimp

3 pounds medium shrimp, heads off if desired
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or hot sauce
1 teaspoon lemon & pepper seasoning
I teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 medium onions sliced thin
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse the shrimp in a colander. Remove heads and fingers if desired. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and let set for 15 minutes. Place shrimp in a large roaster or deep baking pan, pour the oil marinade over the shrimp and mix well.

Cover with foil and cook for 45 minutes.

Serve with hot French bread; you will need this to soak up all the good flavors.

January 26, 2010

Mardi Gras Loot and Roast Beef Sandwiches

Join Cajun Chef Ryan covering New Orleans and me in Mobile for this Mardi Gras Series

Mardi Gras Loot


Parades are the topic for many carnival revelers, all wanting to catch, snatch and grab the throngs of throws that are hurdled from the passing floats. One bag, two, maybe three sacks full of loot; we never get enough. So just what is it about these throws we find so irresistible? The answer lies in the loot, the treasures each of us perceive as the grand booty prize and that which is dear to each individual. Some go for the moon pies, some folks favor candy, cracker jacks, bubble gum and bags of gummy treats. I personally go for the bags of roasted peanuts. It gives me something to munch on while the bands go by and as we wait for the next float. Besides, with drink in hand, a snack of peanuts is much more satisfying with bourbon than say, a tootsie roll.


Then there are the beads, so many that by the end of each parade, thousands line the streets, stomped and crushed. There are certain folks who favor the beads over moon pies and the fun is snatching them in midair. The ones on the street are some how spoiled once they hit the hard surface. Perfectly good, but they are not the same as snagging them airborne. You have to live it to understand. 

There is a perfect place to get a wide collection of beads, Mardi Gras favors and loot here in Mobile. Toomey's is a favorite along the Gulf Coast and they have a wide selection ~ they ship too.

The one prize everyone, young and old, will beg, plead and yes, some even disgrace themselves by exposing certain body parts are the stuffed animals. It’s crazy. People go bananas when the maskers hold up a plush item. I mean totally nuts. And if you are lucky enough to grab one, you better hold on tight. I have seen many snatched away by roving bandits and thieves who prey the crowd for such loot. It is as if it was a bag of money. What they do with them, I have no idea. We give ours away, sometimes to the kid standing next to us who can't quite reach high enough or many times to the neighborhood children. The fun is saying you caught it, after that, well it means nothing to us.

There is one other thing I enjoy going after, listening for the sound of clinking coins hitting the pavement, and that is doubloons. These are the round coins thrown by the marshals riding horse back and sometimes the float riders too. Most organizations throw these, some every year and a few only on anniversaries. Each doubloon, stamped with the Crewe’s emblem on one side and the theme of the parade on the other, differs every year. There are collecting clubs whose sole purpose is to categorize and exchange these at monthly meetings. Doubloons are mostly metal and come in all colors. There are some made of wood and termed, what else, wooden nickels. Some are casted in bronze, silver and yes, even gold. These are not thrown of course but given as favors by the kings, queens and court.


So what do we serve to our friends after a parade? Cajun Chef Ryan is featuring a recipe for a roast beef poboy and favorite in New Orleans. Below is a version from Mobile and a recipe I have tinkered with several times. I hope you try it. Enjoy!

Mobile's Roast Beef

1 -3 to 4 pound rump roast
Seasoning salt, garlic powder & black pepper
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
5 tablespoons butter or cooking oil, divided
1 large onion, sliced
1 large green pepper, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cans French Onion soup
1 soup can of water
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire
Salt & pepper to taste

Remove all visible fat from the roast. Sprinkle meat with the seasonings and dust with 2 tablespoons of flour covering all sides. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy stockpot and brown the roast on all sides. Remove meat; add remaining butter, onions, peppers and sauté until onions are clear. Remove from pot and set aside.



Add remaining flour and stirring often, make a dark brown roux. Stir in the garlic, whisk in the soup, water and Worcestershire. Return meat to pot and cover with the onion and peppers. Cook covered on low for 4 to 5 hours.


Remove meat, let cool a bit and cut into thin slices. Check gravy for thickness. Add a thickener if needed, I like my gravy rather thin. Return meat to the pot and stir to combine. Keep warm until ready to serve.


Serve sandwich style on toasted French bread with mayo, Creole mustard, sliced tomatoes, lettuce and sliced red onions. Roast is also good served open-face style with lots of the gravy.

More about this series:


*  Joining me in this endeavor is Cajun Chef Ryan ~ see more from this series: his Welcome to Mardi Gras 2010 / an awesome King Cake recipe / a parade tradition and fun post on Sloppy Joe’s with Sweet Potato Fries /  see a little Paris in New Orleans & his Eggs Florentine Omelet
*  My previous recipes & posts in this series: Eggs Creole, a brunch casserole perfect for guest / Shrimp & Grits - 2 recipes / My take on bouillabaisse and always a crowd pleaser / Duck & Sausage Gumbo / Mardi Gras Pick-Me-Ups / Cajun Pastalaya / Mardi Gras Shrimp Mold / Marinated Shrimp & Mushrooms
*  Learn more about Mardi Gras in Mobile at Mobile Bay
*  Historical timetable from Mardi Gras Digest
*  Mobile Parade Schedule

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January 25, 2010

Pasta with Creamy Seafood Sauce

Now this recipe probably isn’t related to bayou Cajun cooks, as least not in terms of their cookery skills, perhaps more for advanced cooks and households. Nevertheless, it is Cajun enough for today’s posting. When running short on time, this is a dish to make. Less than thirty minutes from start to on-the-table is all the time needed. Since seafood is a large commodity here, shrimp, fish, crab, even scallops are always just a short drive to purchase and readily available. That is what makes living on the Gulf Coast so enjoyable – fresh seafood year round. Hope you try this one; it’s filled with creamy, seafood goodness and a little kick. Enjoy!


Pasta with Creamy Seafood Sauce
about 2 cups heavy cream
6 to 8 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried chile flakes (or less)
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound linguine, fusilli or tagliatelle
1/3 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese (or other white cheese)
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound small shrimp, shells removed
1/2 pound fresh bay scallops
1/4 pound lump crabmeat or flaked fish
Fresh parsley or basil for garnish


    In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the cream and cook stirring constantly until almost boiling. Reduce heat to low and add the next 6 ingredients. Stir and simmer for about 8 minutes until thickened. Turn off heat.


    Meanwhile, in a medium pot, cook the pasta in salted water until firm to the bite. Drain and add the cream sauce along with the cheeses. Heat over low heat until cheese melts. Turn off heat.


    In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until lightly brown. Add the shrimp and scallops stir-frying for just a few minutes until the shrimp turns pink. Turn off heat and stir in the crabmeat or fish.


    Plate the seafood sauce over the cooked pasta. Sprinkle with the parsley or basil and serve immediately.



    January 24, 2010

    Irish Cream Cheesecake

    Need an easy dessert for tonight?
    Simple recipe. Simpler post. Simply delicious.

    No bake cheesecake for chocolate lovers. Now who wouldn't like this? Enjoy!


    Irish Cream Cheesecake

    Vegetable oil
    6 oz chocolate wafers
    4 tablespoons butter, softened
    8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
    8 oz milk chocolate
    3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
    1 1/2 cups cream cheese
    1 3/4 cups heavy cream
    3 or 4 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur

    Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with the oil.

    Crush the wafers. I like to put them in a baggie and roll it with a rolling pin. Mix the wafer crumbs with the butter and press into the bottom of the pan. Chill for about an hour.

    Melt the semi-sweet and milk chocolates just enough to blend. Let cool. Beat the sugar and cream cheese until smooth, put aside. Whip the heavy cream until peaks form. Fold in the cream cheese and chocolate mixtures. Stir in the liqueur and blend together well.

    Spoon the filling into the pan and smooth out the surface. Shave a little chocolate curls on top if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours

    This is very good topped with dollops of whipped cream and fresh fruits.

    January 23, 2010

    Kumquat Pie

    Cowboys & Kumquats


    You may think these two have nothing in common, rightly so in judgment, but I'm here to tell you otherwise. You see, normally I spend Saturdays rounding up Mexican recipes to feature here and today is pretty much a Mexican night in our house. It's a ritual thing we do. Just like as a kid, I spent many Saturdays at the theater watching, what else, double matinées of cowboy movies. Yippie ky-yay! So, in a way, today is also a western kind of day and that leads me to kumquats.

    Still no correlation, you say. Well, you see, over the last several months I have received several cookbooks forwarded from publishers all wanting approval, some words written up about the authors and maybe an extensive review. So far, all I have managed to do is look at the pictures. One cookbook that caught my attention as soon as I opened the package. Yep, it's about cowboy cooking. While the book is a fine tabletop addition with its beautiful photography of life from a cowboy's perspective, it also contains many fine recipes that I can't wait to try. Cooking the Cowboy Way, by Grady Spears focuses on different regions of the country, from ranches in Texas, Arizona, Missouri, even Canada and one down in Florida.

    Now Grady knows a thing or two about cooking. Restaurants in Fort Worth and Granbury Texas, Beverly Hills California each have menus credited to this chef's knowledge of preparing western foods. Not to mention his own restaurant in Fort Worth, Grady's. In the coming months, I will explore deeper into the recipes and I will most definitely post about them. In the meantime, it's back to kumquats.

    In Darby, a short inland drive from Tampa, are the coastal prairies of Florida. Lining the edges of pastures are, what else, citrus orchards. Bellamy Brothers Ranch goes back to 1870 and is home to the country music stars, Howard and David Bellamy. This section in the book contains many recipes I am familiar with like oysters, fish, steaks and citrus salads, even a delicious sounding ambrosia. It's the pie that caught my eye ... and without any more rambling - here it is. Enjoy!


     Sylvia's Kumquat Refrigerator Pie
    recipe by Sylvia Young, who won first prize at the Kumquat Festival and from the book, Cooking the Cowboy Way, by Grady Spears

    Crust:
    1/4 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup unsalted butter
    1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
      Filling:
      1 cup heavy cream
      3 tablespoons sugar
      1/3 cup pureed kumquat rinds
      1 -14 oz can condensed milk
      1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
      2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
      2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
      1 -8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
        Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir the sour cream and butter together in a bowl, then mix in the flour. (Don’t over mix or the texture will be tough.) Form a dough ball and refrigerate for just a few minutes. Lightly flour a work surface, and roll the dough into a medium thick crust. Place the piecrust dough in a 9-inch pie plate and prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Bake the crust for about 20 minutes or until just golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool.

        With an electric mixer, beat the cream and sugar until the mixture is light, fluffy and holds its shape when the beaters are removed. Add the kumquat rinds, condensed milk, juices and cream cheese beating until well combined and thickened. Scoop the mixture into the cooled pie shell and refrigerate, lightly covered with foil or plastic, until set, 2 to 3 hours.

        Note from the cookbook – Kumquat rinds are sweet, while the kumquat flesh is very sour. You can use the whole kumquat if you like.

        January 22, 2010

        Saumon Herbes de Citron


        When searching for today's recipe I thought outside of the south and of the influence in which fish plays in various countries. I wondered if there existed a country where fish cannot be caught. Maybe the extreme deserts and I rationalized aloud, 'where's there water, there are fish' or maybe not. Fish is prepared in so many varying ways, again, depending on the country. Types of fish too vary. But the one thought I continued dwelling on is how easy and fast cooking fish really is. Like most seafood, fish needs to be cooked quickly and with ease or else it will not be any good. Ever had a fish fillet that you couldn't cut with a knife? I've had my share in many restaurants and it's like eating rubberized sponges, that is, if there is any moisture left in it. Fish should be delicate enough that all is required is a fork, at least the fish I am familiar in eating. This recipe is all of the things from above; influenced with a little French cookery, easy to prepare, roasted quickly in an oven to ensure a flaky texture and seasoned perfectly with fresh herbs and lemon. Enjoy!

        Roasted Salmon with Lemon Herbs
        4 -5 oz salmon fillets
        1/2 cup dry white wine
        6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
        juice of 1/2 lemon
        2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
        2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
        Salt and pepper to taste
        1 onion, chopped
        1 leek, sliced
        Rinse the fillets under water and pat dry with paper towels. Place fillets in a bowl and add the wine. Chill for 30 minutes.
        Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

        Place 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl, add lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper. Stir well and set aside.

         On a shallow ovenproof dish, arrange fillets about 1-inch apart.

        In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, onions and leeks. Cook stirring occasionally for 4 minutes or until slightly softened. Remove from heat and divide mixture over the fillets. Pour the oil mixture over the fish coating the sides as well. Add a spoonful of the wine if desired.

        Place dish in the center of oven for 10 minutes or until fish is cooked through.
        Plate fish and serve immediately. Salmon prepared this way is delicious with wilted spinach and a potato gratin.

        January 21, 2010

        Mango Brulee

        Sweet-Tooth Thursday

        Reading another delicious recipe yesterday from my cooking friend Mary Moh, I realized how much I really do like the taste of mangoes. Her kids made her a heavenly smoothie chocked full of fruits including mango and ice cream. Yes, it is still very cold in the United Kingdom where Mary and her family reside, but she consumed it with pride and ever so enjoyment and then immediately took comfort in the warmth of bed. I just love her humor and writings.
        Somehow, the thought of a smoothie or freeze made me shutter as I thought of mango related recipes. A nice hot cobbler or crumble would do, even a tart topped with cool whipped cream or maybe something served at room temperature would suffice. As I thought, I wondered what Mary would enjoy. She is especially fond of my shrimp recipes and many times compliments my Cajun and Creole posts. And that's what I decided to post today. A dessert favorite in the south, many times cream brulee accompanies Creole dishes. Adding fruit is nothing new and I think making Mary a brulee using mangoes would be perfect. Hope you enjoy this one Mary.

        Mango Brulee

        2 mangoes
        1 cup Mascarpone cheese, plus more
        a little more than 2/3 cup plain yogurt
        1 teaspoon ground ginger
        Zest and juice of 1 lime
        2 tablespoons brown sugar
        8 tablespoons raw sugar
          Cut the mangoes in half around the pit. Peel the fruit and discard the pit. Chop and divide the mango among 4 ramekins.

          In a bowl, beat the cheese with the yogurt. Fold in the ginger, limejuice, zest and brown sugar. Divide the mixture among the ramekins and level off the tops. Chill for at least 2 hours.

          Sprinkle 2 tablespoons raw sugar over each ramekin covering the cheese mixture. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and broil under a hot broiler for 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar is melted and brown. Let cool completely before serving. Oh, and you can chill in the refrigerator if you like yours that way.

          January 20, 2010

          Shrimp Pate


          An Easy, Special Treat!

          Oh, what a wonderful day when friends are coming over and your goal is to treat them as guests. You know, when you really go all out, not to impress - heavens no, but to make sure everything is in order, to make sure every one has a good time and to make every bite a fascinating plea for more. That's what friends are for, right? To treat them in a special way so an enjoyable time will be had by all. Who knows, they might even talk about it for weeks. This shrimp recipe is one such memorable appetizer that always brings about admiring respect for your endeavor. Try it - if you like shrimp, you will love this one. Enjoy!

          Shrimp Pate
            13 ounces cream cheese, softened
            1/4 cup mayonnaise
            3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
            2 teaspoons dry vermouth or chicken broth
            1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
            1 teaspoon lemon juice
            1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
            1/4 teaspoon salt
            1/4 teaspoon ground mace
            1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
            1/8 teaspoon black pepper
            1 1/2 pounds small shrimp, cooked, finely chopped - divided
            6 green onions, finely chopped
            2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
            1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts
              In a large bowl blend together the first 11 ingredients until smooth. Fold in the remaining ingredients along with most of the shrimp mixing well. Cover bowl and refrigerate several hours. Serve with toasted rustic bread slices or assorted crackers with a garnish of shrimp and parsley. To make a spread, simply incorporate a little more mayonnaise or broth.

              January 19, 2010

              Eggs Creole

              Join Cajun Chef Ryan covering New Orleans and me in Mobile for this
              2010 Mardi Gras Series



              Hurry, parade's coming!



              The parades are starting soon and that means friends will be heading our way. What's better than a day parade and what's better than a brunch serving egg dishes. One of my favorite is creamed eggs over toast. It is simple to make - a white milk sauce made with either bacon drippings or chicken bouillon. Hard boiled eggs are stirred into the sauce with a little seasoning and maybe a crunch factor like blanched asparagus. Bacon and sausage, a tray of fruit along with morning beverages rounds out a really simple meal.

              The recipe below goes a bit further, adding a whole lot of depth to creamed eggs and to ease in serving, it's made into a casserole. This is an old southern dish made many years using simple, kitchen staples. Rich in a Creole tomato sauce, this one is delicious over grits or as many folks do, serve it over a bed of white rice. Again, breakfast meats and brunch type beverages are all that is needed to make everyone happy and in a festive parade watching mood.

              Now my Mardi Gras buddy, Ryan Boudreaux is cooking up another wonderful brunch dish,  one from New Orleans and the Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel where he enjoyed working in the late '80's. Being on a main route, parade goers enjoyed special brunch dishes like the one he's posting today, Florentine Omelet. Don't miss out as he flips this delicious omelet your way - visit him today at Cajun Chef Ryan for the lastest in this Mardi Gras series.

              Back in Mobile, I'm starting to feel the anticipation and excitement as the parade gets ready to roll. Passerby folks are slowly meandering down the street easing their way to get a closer view. Along our sidewalk, we watch as their heads turn and we notice each inhale the Creole aromas drifting out across the lawn. Happily, we're enjoying morning cocktails and this tasty, Mardi Gras breakfast. Hope you'll join us.

              Eggs Creole


              9 hard boiled eggs, sliced
              1 cup shredded cheese, optional
              1 cup cracker crumbs mixed with melted butter
                White Sauce:
                4 tablespoons butter
                4 tablespoons flour
                2 cups milk
                1/2 teaspoon salt
                1/4 teaspoon pepper
                  Tomato Sauce:
                  4 tablespoons butter
                  1 medium onion
                  1 medium bell pepper
                  4 ribs celery, chopped
                  2 garlic cloves, minced
                  1 -2 1/2 pound canned tomatoes
                  1/2 tablespoon chili powder
                  Cayenne to taste
                  1 teaspoon sugar
                  2 tablespoons horseradish
                  2 tablespoons Worcestershire
                    Make the white sauce in a medium saucepan by melting butter and stirring in flour, then the milk. Add salt, pepper and heat until smooth. Set aside.

                    Prepare tomato sauce by melting the butter in a large pan and add onions, bell pepper and celery cooking until soft. Stir in the tomatoes with juice and remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat until thick.

                    In a greased casserole dish, cover bottom with white sauce, a layer of the eggs followed by a layer of the tomato sauce. Repeat ending with tomato sauce on top. Mix the butter crumbs with the cheese if desired and sprinkle over the top.

                    Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly and crumbs are light brown.

                    Serve over grits or white rice along with crusty French bread.



                    More about this series:


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                    January 18, 2010

                    Creole Skillet Supper


                    You too can have a spicy Creole tasting, southern dish on the table in 30 minutes.

                    Down here we call it supper, you know, as opposed to dinner. Dinner to us is a bit more formal, when company's coming over and you gotta polish the silver, press the napkins and make the goblets sparkle. But when it's just family and kin, really close friends, its everyday stoneware and paper napkins. Heck, the glasses need not match. That's when it's okay to serve right out of the skillet. This recipe is pretty darn good, if I may say so, and it's a snap to make. One pot, simple pantry ingredients and the best part folks, it will only take you about 30 minutes. Enjoy!

                    Creole Skillet Supper
                    1 1/2 large onions, diced
                    2 cloves garlic, minced
                    1 cup cooked chicken, diced
                    4 oz turkey kielbasa, thinly sliced
                    1 cup crushed tomatoes
                    1/2 cup frozen cut okra
                    2 cups chicken broth
                    3 bay leaves
                    2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
                    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
                    1/2 teaspoon salt
                    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
                    Cayenne pepper to taste
                    1 green bell pepper, diced
                    Cooked rice

                      In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic until onion is translucent. 

                      Add remaining ingredients except bell pepper

                      Simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove bay leaves.

                      Stir in the green pepper, add cayenne to taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Cook another few minutes.

                      Serve over cooked rice.

                      January 17, 2010

                      Sticky-Sweet Glazed Rib Backs Ribs

                      Today's recipe I blame on Ryan Boudreaux, known to the community as Cajun Chef Ryan. He started it with a video on blackening catfish, you know, as in that outdoor grilling thing-to-do that I have missed the last month or so. Watching the video, hearing the sizzle of the fish, I could smell the aroma from the smoke producing process. He started it. Now I've got to do something about it as all of my senses are geared toward grilling something - and they all tell me to do ribs. Though the weather is a bit warmer, the extreme cold is now replaced with a steady, drizzling rain. I'm hoping for a break, a few hours today, to spent time with my good friend, the grill. I made this a long time ago but I've changed a few things hopefully for a delicious, lip-smacking experience. Hope you will like it too.



                      Sticky-Sweet Glazed Rib Backs

                      Marinade:
                      4 lb. baby back ribs
                      2/3 cup olive oil
                      2/3 cup teriyaki sauce
                      2 tbsp. lemon juice
                      2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
                      1 tsp. liquid smoke
                      2 tsp. prepared horseradish
                      2 tsp. dry mustard
                      1 tsp. garlic pepper
                      1/4 tsp. cayenne

                        Sauce:
                        1/3 cup orange marmalade
                        1/4 cup apple jelly
                        1 cup barbecue sauce
                        2 tbsp. fresh grated horseradish
                        1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
                        1/4 tsp. garlic powder
                        1/4 tsp. black pepper

                          Place the ribs in a shallow pan. In a medium bowl, mix the marinade ingredients together and coat both sides of the ribs. Seal, cover and refrigerated at least 8 hours or overnight.
                          In a medium saucepan, heat sauce ingredients on medium-low heat. Stir until marmalade melts, remove from heat and set aside.

                          Heat grill to medium indirect heat.

                          Remove ribs from the marinade; discard marinade.

                          Place ribs bone side down on the grill over indirect heat. Lower cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender and begins to pull away from the ends of the bones. Brush with the sauce and turn the last 20 to 30 minutes of grilling. Slather the sauce on the top the remaining time.


                          January 16, 2010

                          Avocado Velvet

                          Sabado Mexicano


                          Here is a refreshing soup perfect as a first course or great after a round of spicy flavored concoctions. The simplicity of components in this soup rewards your taste-buds with a crisp note of avocado and a hint of cucumber. A velvety, delicate soup and a remake from a previous recipe ... enjoy!





                          Avocado Velvet


                          2 large ripe avocados
                          1 small cucumber, peeled & chopped
                          1 cup whipping cream
                          1 1/2 cups clear chicken stock
                          1 teaspoon lime juice
                          1 shallot, chopped
                          1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
                          1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile pepper
                          Chopped chives or green onions

                            Seed, peel, and chop the avocados, place in a blender along with the rest of ingredients. Blend until smooth, add salt and pepper if needed. Pour into serving bowl and served at room temperature. Garnish with chives.

                            Can also be chilled for 2 or more hours before serving.

                            January 15, 2010

                            Poached Fish in Wine Butter Sauce


                            Just a great recipe folks!



                            Delightful and easy to prepare, this will get you many rave compliments. Any firm fish will work fine; just do not overcook the fillets. But be careful, this superb buttery sauce might make the fish jump off the plate and scream with joy.


                            Poached Fish in Wine Butter Sauce
                            4 fish fillets, about 5 oz. each
                            5 tablespoons butter, divided
                            1 shallot, minced
                            2 green onions, green parts only, minced
                            2 garlic toes, minced
                            1/4 cup white wine
                            1/4 cup fish stock
                            1/2 teaspoon dill weed
                            2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
                            1/4 pound small shrimp, peeled & deveined (optional)
                            Juice of 1/2 lemon
                            Salt and pepper, to taste

                              Have fish at room temperature. Place a tablespoon of butter in a shallow pan with shallot, onion, garlic, wine, stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add fish. Cover pan well and cook over low heat 6 to 8 minutes or until fish flakes. Remove the fish to a warm dish, set aside.

                              To the pan, add dill and parsley. Increase heat to high and reduce the liquid to 1/3rd. Add shrimp if desired and cook until they turn pink. Place shrimp on top of the fillets. Remove pan from the heat, swirl in the remaining butter a tablespoon at a time, making sure each addition blends into sauce smoothly before continuing. Finish with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

                              Slide fillets over orzo, cous cous or pasta of choice. Spoon sauce over fillets, sprinkle with additional parsley if desired and serve immediately.

                              January 14, 2010

                              Homemade Noodles

                              Homemade is always better, right? I think so. If you have been hanging with me for a while, you know how I feel about making my own spice mixtures, the various sauces I so frequently use in recipes and the many rubs and marinades we enjoy when grilling. Making homemade dumplings and noodles is easy. Making homemade pasta, something many of you have urged me to accomplish, is a whole 'nother thing, yet still a goal of mine. And I will, one day reach it. What I like about this recipe is that it is easy, requires no special tools and just four ingredients. I like to add it to soups, especially chicken, and many times use in when making dumpling dishes. Enjoy!



                              Homemade Noodles
                              Makes about 3 cups of cooked noodles for soup and dumpling recipes

                              1 egg, beaten
                              2 tablespoons milk
                              1/2 teaspoon salt
                              1 cup plain flour

                                Combine all ingredients in a bowl; dough should be stiff. On a floured surface, roll out very thin. Dust with flour and let stand for 20 minutes. Roll dough up loosely and slice in 1/4-inch wide sections, wider for dumplings. Unroll and spread out the noodles, let dry for a couple of hours. You can also store in a sealed container until needed. Drop into your boiling liquid and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender.


                                January 13, 2010

                                Shrimp & Grits ~ Two Recipes

                                This classic dish is favored from the Carolina low country to the tip of Florida’s Key West not to mention all along the gulf coast and into the western states. Yep, it’s that good and there are so many variations.

                                Two ingredients that you gotta have are, as the name implies, shrimp and grits. How you cook it and what other ingredients you add depends on many regional customs. This dish is customarily served throughout the year here and especially during Mardi Gras. Breakfast, brunch, supper and after-the-ball parties, this dish plays an important part of our many foods we like before, during and after celebrating.

                                Today I offer two of my favorite ways to serve this fabulous dish, each with different preparations and flavors. Enjoy!

                                Mobile’s Shrimp & Grits
                                Quick and easy, this may be a simple recipe but it will get you many favorable compliments. Serves 15 to 20

                                1 1/2 cups stone ground yellow grits
                                5 1/2 cups salted boiling water
                                2 cups scalded milk
                                3 tablespoons butter
                                1 pound of smoked bacon, chopped
                                5 pounds of peeled shrimp
                                4 garlic cloves, minced
                                1 1/4 cups sherry (not cooking sherry, use the real thing)
                                2 1/2 cups heavy cream
                                Salt and white pepper to taste
                                Chopped green onions, if desired
                                  In a small stockpot or very large saucepan, stir grits slowly into the boiling salted water. Stir in the milk. Return to a good boil, reduce heat to low and stir until it reaches a low simmer. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally to break up any lumps. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Cover and keep warm. Before serving, check consistency and add more milk if needed.

                                  In a large Dutch oven, fry bacon until crisp, remove to paper towels to drain. Remove just about all of the dripping from the pot (reserve it for anther use). Crumble bacon and set aside. Over medium heat, add the garlic to the pot and cook for a couple of minutes, stir in the shrimp and turn up the heat to medium high. Cook for 5 minutes tossing shrimp around until all are nice and pink. Add the wine stirring to deglaze the pot and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cream and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

                                  To serve, place grits on each plate and ladle the shrimp mixture on top. Garnish with the crumbled bacon and add green onions if desired.



                                  Cheese & Corn Grits with Spicy Shrimp
                                  My version of Shrimp and Grits, serve 6

                                  For the grits:
                                  2 cups water
                                  2 cups milk
                                  2 tablespoons butter
                                  2 teaspoons salt
                                  1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
                                  1 cup cream of chicken soup
                                  3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
                                  3/4 cup grated jalapeño jack cheese
                                  1 cup whole kernel corn
                                  Paprika
                                    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large saucepan, bring water and milk to a boil - add butter mixing well. Add salt and grits - boil for two minutes whisking frequently to remove lumps and turn off heat. Cover for 10 to 15 minutes and then mix in the chicken soup, cheeses and corn. Spread evenly into a greased casserole dish and sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and let set while the shrimp are cooking.

                                    For the shrimp:
                                    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
                                    1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
                                    1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
                                    4 bacon slices, chopped
                                    1 cup chopped finely onion
                                    1/4 cup chopped green bell finely pepper
                                    1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
                                    1 large tomato, peeled and finely chopped
                                    Cayenne if desired
                                    1 cup chicken broth
                                    1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
                                    1/2 cup chopped green onions, divided
                                      In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp with the lemon juice and hot sauce coating the shrimp well.

                                      Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the drippings in pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in shrimp mixture and the tomatoes. Whisk the chicken broth with the cornstarch and stir into the skillet. Add 1/4 cup green onions and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring frequently. Add more hot sauce or cayenne if desired.

                                      To plate, cut grits into squares or spoon onto a dish, ladle shrimp mixture over and garnish with remaining green onions.

                                      See also a previous post - Tipsy Shrimp & Grits