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.

July 31, 2009

Flounder (Plaice) with Apricot Sauce

Gig? -got it
Light? -lit
Ice chest? -iced.

What's this about? Well, it's time to do some serious night fishing, without a rod and reel. Gigging for flounder is a fun pastime many enjoy along Mobile Bay. There is only one thing that makes it even more rewarding - eating it!

Flounder (Plaice) with Apricot Sauce
about 6 servings

1 can pitted apricots
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon grated horseradish
2 green onions tops, finely minced
6 flounder fillets -about 6 ounces each
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup white wine, heated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Pepper to taste
Paprika for color

Drain the can of apricots discarding the liquid. Puree the apricots in a blender along with the cream, butter and lemon zest. In medium saucepan, slowly reduce mixture until about three-quarters of a cup remains. Remove from heat and stir in the green onions and horseradish, set aside.

Season fillets with salt and pepper, sprinkle with paprika and place in baking dish. Spoon the melted butter and lemon juice over the fillets. Add the wine to the pan.

Bake uncovered in preheated 450°F oven for 5 minutes (do not overcook). Check fillets and cook until fish flakes and is opaque. Place baked fillets on serving platter and top with apricot sauce.

July 30, 2009

Recipe ramblings

There’s something unique about flipping through old cookbooks, ones that go back a generation or two. The worn pages used and studied by grandmothers and mothers’ years ago contain recipes that sometimes beg to be cooked just once more. Occasionally, I come across a page with a spot or three of grease, a splatter of batter and once, the remnant of what I hope was flour. From these pages, I can’t help but wonder, which recipe did they try.

There is something special about these recipes. All contain simple ingredients and more than likely, many do not have very good explanations when it comes down to directions. Back then, you were taught these things. You knew, just as your mom showed you, how to mix up ingredients and in what order, how to beat the batter and how to cook it without much written direction and you knew how to tell when it was done. Today, we write recipes for the challenged, inexperienced cooks.

There is something significant in teaching our youth and handing down recipes and cooking methods to the next generation. It is something that, in this hurried lifestyle, we must do. There is something special about these old recipes, something that bonds me to my family and something, like trying them, I must do.
Today’s recipes are a few that I have on my list to try. To undertake in making, to use my knowledge from which my mother and grandmother taught me and to enjoy the rewards of these recipes from generations ago.

See Gold & White Anniversary Cake and Mason & Dixon Cookies that go along with this post.

Gold and White Anniversary Cake

"A throwback recipe" as our local food editor and columnist, David Holloway puts it, is "one that harkens to less difficult days." Such is this one, found in an old recipe book and one that makes me think of simpler days and homey good eats. Has our taste really changed? I think not. Recipe is given as written back in 1912.

Gold and White Anniversary Cake

8 egg whites
2 cups white sugar
1 cup shortening (Crisco)
3 cups flour (all-purpose)
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat shortening and sugar to which adding to stiffly beaten whites, then add milk. Add flour and baking powder and vanilla. Bake in cake tins in a moderate oven.
Note: Moderate oven means 350 degrees F or slightly above.

Filling for cake
6 egg yolks
3 cups white sugar
Enough water to dissolve sugar thoroughly

Put sugar and water on to cook. Let it cook until it spins a thread and then gradually pour it over the yellows which have been beaten until thick. Beat until filling becomes creamy, add one teaspoon vanilla and spread on layers.

July 29, 2009

Dauphin Island Shrimp Salad

Shrimp of the Week

Dauphin Island, located at the southern tip of Mobile, is home to many fisherman and seafood lovers. This is a pasta salad that is the essence of southern coastal cooking.

Dauphin Island Shrimp Salad
serves 6

2 pounds small shrimp, boiled and peeled
1 pound box small elbow macaroni
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, if desired
1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
6 large lettuce leaves

Cook the macaroni in 6 cups of lightly salted water until al dente. Remove, drain and rinse under cold water. Let drain and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the onion, celery, bell pepper, eggs, shrimp, mayonnaise and horseradish. Add garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide mixture among the lettuce leaves and garnish with the tomato wedges.

Better Butter for Bread

Every kitchen has a little secret ingredient or two for livening up plain ol' butter when it comes time to buttering up loaves or rolls.

This is just one that I like when serving dishes like the Dauphin Island Shrimp Salad posted earlier. Enjoy!
Better Butter for Bread
  • 2 1/2 sticks of butter (or margarine)
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Durkee's Seasoning Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 3 drops Worcestershire sauce
In a saucepan, melt butter. Finely chop the garlic and crush with the side of a chef's knife. Add garlic and all remaining ingredients to the butter and stir to blend. Let cool to a spreadable consistency. Great on French bread and baguettes.

July 28, 2009

Strawberry Lemonade

Today's Recipes 
are courteous of my sister, Lee, residing in Lewisburg TN. Thanks for forwarding these to me and I hope you and others will continue.

First up - a summer refreshing recipe for lemonade.  

Strawberry Lemonade
makes 10 servings

1 quart strawberries, hulled and halved
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cups sugar
Cold water
Lemon slices or whole strawberries to garnish

Place berries in a large saucepan with lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring until sugar dissolves completely. Let cool. Strain, pressing with the back of a large spoon to extract juice. Strain again and transfer to refrigerator and chill. Mix one part strawberry syrup with three parts water. Pour over ice and garnish. from

See also: Fried Strawberry Tarts

Fried Strawberry Tarts

Continuing with strawberry recipes is this one that I can't wait to try. Thanks to my sister Lee in Tennessee, its gonna be a keeper.

Fried Strawberry Tarts
makes 18 tarts 

2 cups fresh strawberries, mashed
3/4 cups sugar
Grandmothers Pie Crust recipe
1/4 cup cornstarch
Vegetable Oil
Powder sugar
    Combine strawberries, sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.
    Bring strawberry mixture to boil over medium heat.
    Cook, stirring constantly 1 minute or until thickened. Cool completely.
    Roll out pie crust and cut into 9 (4 inch) circles. Moisten edges with water. Spoon 3 teaspoons strawberry mixture into the center; fold over and press edges together. Repeat until all is completed.
    Pour oil to measure one inch in skillet or use a deep fat fryer. Heat oil to 350 degrees.
    Fry pie in batches for two minutes. Drain on paper towel an sprinkle with powder sugar.
    Note: Freezing pies for one hour before frying can help the crust stay together during frying.

    Grandmothers Pie Crust

    Lee, my sister, sez, "This is how our grandmother taught me to make pies."

    Grandmothers Pie Crust
    -crust for a single 9” pie, top & bottom

    2 cups flour
    2/3 cup shortening
    5 to 7 TBS cold water
    1/4 tsp salt

    Stir together flour and salt, cut in shortening with pastry cutter until mixture are the size of small peas.
    Sprinkle 1 TBS. water over dry mixture; work with a fork pushing water through. Repeat a tablespoon at a time, till all the dough is moistened and can be formed into a ball. Divide in half. Place half dough on lightly floured wax paper; on a hard surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Sprinkle lightly with flour and fold dough into half and then again. Slide off paper and place in a 9 inch pie pan. Unfold dough and press lightly into pie pan, be careful not to stretch pastry. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond pie pan

    Fluted Pie Crust Bottom - Fold the extra pastry under, even with rim of pan; to build an edge. Using your left thumb push edge outward from inside pie crust and then press your right thumb and index finger around left thumb and dough; continue to flute edges of pie. - Bake as directed in individual recipes.

    Pie Crust Top - Place remaining half of dough on lightly floured wax paper; on a hard surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Sprinkle lightly with flour and fold dough into half and then again. Slide off paper and place on top of pie filling. Trim pastry to ½ inch beyond pie pan. Lift the bottom edge of pastry under the top, even with pie pan’s rim, build up the edge. Flute as above for fluted pie crust. 

    Hint: To measure shortening - in a one cup container, place 1/3 cup water, spoon in shortening and press down on bottom until water line measures one cup. Pour off water and scoop out shortening.

    July 27, 2009

    Crab Ramekin au Gratin

    Cajun Monday in the Bayou

    Crab meat is divine any time of the year but when summer comes around and you find yourself sitting at the end of the pier, watching all those big blues go scurrying around, you just gotta throw in a crab trap. Next morning, you'll have a fine mess of blue crabs and after you spend the day boiling them and picking the meat, you'll find the effort was so well worth it - especially with this outstanding recipe.  

    Crab Ramekin au Gratin 
    8 servings

    1 stick butter
    1/4 cup diced white onion
    1/4 cup sliced green onion tops
    1/3 cup diced celery
    1/4 cup green diced bell pepper
    1/2 cup red diced bell pepper
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 pound crab claw meat
    1 pound crab lump meat
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    3 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, warmed
    3 tablespoons dry white wine
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
    1/2 cup grated Gruyere or Gouda cheese, divided
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
    6 level tablespoons fine bread crumbs
    1 tablespoon melted butter

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
    Butter the bottom and sides of 8 ramekin or au gratin dishes.
    In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the next 6 ingredients and saute 3 to 5 minutes until onions wilt. Sprinkle in the flour and mix well. Slowly whisk in the cream and bring to a low boil stirring constantly. Sauce should thicken quickly. Reduce heat to simmer. Add the wine, lemon juice and pepper sauce. Stir in half of the cheese and stir until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the parsley and cook on low 5 minutes stirring constantly to keep from scorching. Thin with milk if sauce becomes too thick but it should be the consistency of a white sauce.
    Moisten the breadcrumbs with the melted butter.
    Divide crab mixture among the 8 dishes, top with remaining cheese and sprinkle each ramekin with 1 teaspoon of the bread crumbs.
    Bake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and breadcrumbs become lightly toasted.

    Shrimp and Potato Stew

    In Creole country, as mentioned in earlier posts, Monday was and still is wash day or Red Beans and Rice Day. But along the creekbeds and in the bayou, wash day meant settling a black iron pot along side the fire right next to the large wash kettle. Here you would find real, homestyle Cajun dishes, like this one.  

    Shrimp and Potato Stew
    serves 6 to 8 

    1/2 cup lard or cooking oil
    1/2 cup plain flour
    1 cup diced onion
    1 cup deiced celery
    1/2 cup diced bell pepper
    1/4 cup minced garlic
    4 cups chicken stock
    1 long red chili pepper
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, if desired
    1/2 cup chopped parsley, divided
    Salt and black pepper to taste
    4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
    1/2 cup green onions
    2 pounds small shrimp, peeled and deveined
    2 links (about 16 oz) andouille sausage, diced

    In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Make a light brown roux stirring constantly for 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Saute 5 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are wilted.
    Slowly pour in the chicken stock half cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the chili pepper, bay leaf, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until mixture begins to simmer. Add the potatoes and bring back to a low simmer. Reduce heat and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
    Meanwhile, saute sausage in a skillet to render fat and pour off the grease. Add sausage to pot when potatoes are tender along with the remaining parsley and green onions. Bring back to a low simmer. Stir in the shrimp and turn off heat.
    Cover and let set for 5 minutes for the shrimp to cook.

    July 26, 2009

    Southern Stuffed Ham

    Today's Sunday Menu goes back in time to enjoy a few enticing and charming recipes of plantation style cooking.

    See also Celery Slaw & Lima Bean Mushroom Casserole

    Many of the south's great recipes come from such a time, like this one - sweet ham stuffed with a slightly seasoned dressing. There is another version favorable to Northerners, mainly in Maryland, that features a pungent almost sour flavor. Kale and spices are stuffed in slits along the ham and in turn, the ham is stuffed in a pillowcase, cooked in a marinade until it becomes corned-like and then it rests overnight. We do things a little different down here and we like our hams a little bit sweeter plus the dressing is an added bonus. Back in the day, when company came a calling, the kitchen folks came up with this delicious way to dress up an ordinary ham.  

    Southern Stuffed Ham

    1 whole ham
    1/2 tsp ground mace
    1/2 tsp ground cloves
    1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
    1 large bell pepper, chopped
    1 large onion, chopped
    3 ribs of celery, chopped
    1/2 stick of butter
    2 cups dry bread crumbs
    2 tbsp cider vinegar
    2 tbsp brown sugar
    1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
    1 tsp ground sage
    1/2 tsp red pepper
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp celery seed
    2 eggs, beaten
    Ham or beef broth

    Mix the mace and cloves with the pineapple juice.
    Place ham in a large roaster and pour this mixture over it. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 15 minutes per pound of ham. Baste with the pan juices often.

    Prepare the dressing by sautéing the chopped vegetables in the butter until tender.
    In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture with the seasonings. Add the beaten eggs and bread crumbs. Mix well and add just enough broth to make a nice dressing consistency.

    Remove the ham 30 minutes prior to when it is done and debone. Split the ham from the bottom side and carefully remove the bone. Fill the cavity with the dressing and tie with a string. If you have any dressing left over, pat it across the top evenly. You can also decorate with peach halves or pineapple slices and cherries. Put back in oven and bake another 30 minutes.

    Note: You can also use a party ham or canned ham. Cook the ham in the same manner and just dress or ice the outside the last 30 minutes. The dressing is really good baked in a loaf form, sliced and served with ham slices.

    Celery Slaw

    This is an old recipe that I collected years ago from The Gulf City Cookbook published in 1878 by The Ladies of the St. Francis Street Methodist Episcopal Church South, Mobile, Alabama. I thought it would fit right in with today's Stuffed Ham dinner.

    Celery Slaw

    1 large cabbage
    3 bunches celery
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 cup vinegar
    3 tablespoons butter
    Yolks of 3 hard-boiled eggs, mashed
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    2 teaspoons sugar
    2 tablespoons heavy cream

    Chop fine the cabbage and celery and add the onion, put aside. Add to a saucepan the next 7 ingredients, mixing well and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in the cream, pour over the chopped vegetables, and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.

    Lima Bean and Mushroom Casserole

    The yellow chanterelle mushroom, native to many North America forests, is a feature in many old recipes and the fruity taste lends a surprising depth to meats and vegetables. Don’t fret if you cannot find these mushrooms – just do what I do, use the white ones from your local grocer in this divine dish - one that I adapted from an older recipe.

    Lima Bean and Mushroom Casserole
    6 to 8 servings
    • 2 cups large limas (or 1 frozen bag)
    • 1/2 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
    • 3 tbsp butter, divided
    • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup chicken stock
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tbsp sherry
    • 1 cup bread crumbs
    • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
    Cook the limas covered in water until done, drain and set aside.
    Sauté the mushrooms slowly in a skillet to render liquid. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon. Add 1 tbsp butter to pan and sprinkle the flour over the top. blend in well. Slowly add stock and milk, season with salt and pepper and stir until thickened. Add sherry.
    Mix the mushrooms with the limas and place in a greased casserole dish. Pour sauce over to cover. Melt remaining butter and toss with the bread crumbs and cheese. Sprinkle over top of limas.
    Heat in a moderate (350 degree F.) oven just long enough to melt the cheese and toast the crumbs.

    Blackberry Cobbler ~ Cast Iron Cooking

    When summertime comes - we go picking. 

    Dewberries followed by blackberries. This is a tried and true southern dessert that has passed along many family lines.  

    Blackberry Cobbler ~ Cast Iron Cooking

    2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1/4 cup cold water
    1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    4 cups blackberries, picked over, rinsed & drained
    1 cup flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    6 tablespoons cold butter, cut in small pieces
    1/4 cup boiling water

    Stir together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water in a large bowl until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add 1 cup of the sugar and lemon juice. Stir to combine and gently fold in the blackberries. Transfer to an 8-inch cast iron skillet.
    In a bowl, combine the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt. Blend in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1/4 cup boiling water and stir the mixture just until it a soft dough is formed.
    Bring the blackberry mixture to a boil over medium-high heat stirring often. Drop spoonfuls of the dough carefully onto the boiling mixture and place the skillet on a baking sheet (line with foil to avoid a mess) in the middle of a preheated 400° F oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the topping is golden.
    Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

    July 25, 2009

    Best Ever Five Layer Dip


    A recipe has to be pretty darn good to say is is the best ever. In my opinion, this one is probably better, if that's possible. 

    Each layer has an incredible taste and combined, makes you say "bet you can't east just one" bite. 

    Best Ever Five Layer Dip 
    • 1 1/2 cups sour cream 
    • 1 -8 oz cream cheese, softened 
    • 2 envelopes taco seasoning 
    • 2 ripe avocados 
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice 
    • 2 medium tomatoes, cubed 
    • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro 
    • 4 green scallions, chopped, divide green & white parts 
    • 1/4 cup diced pickled jalapeño peppers 
    • 1/2 small red onion, minced 
    • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar 
    • Sea salt to taste 
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste 
    • 1 -16 oz can refried beans, warmed for easier stirring 
    • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder 
    • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese 
    • 1 -6 oz can sliced black olives, drained 
    Combine sour cream, cream cheese and taco seasoning. Refrigerate several hours. 
    In separate bowl, mash avocados and blend with limejuice and mayonnaise. 
    In another bowl, combine tomatoes, cilantro, the green parts of the chopped onions, jalapeño, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. 
    In another bowl, mix the beans, chile powder and the white part of the chopped onions, let cool. 
    In glass bowl or baking dish, layer ingredients as follows: bean dip, avocado mixture, sour cream, tomato mixture, cheese and black olives. Serve with tortilla chips. 
    Note: I like to serve this on a large platter or in a casserole dish. It makes for better dipping.

    Skillet Tex-Mex Chicken

    Kicking Chicken

    Tex-Mex flavors highlight this delectable recipe.

    Leave the seeds in the jalapeño if you want to leave a little of the heat in and use extra limejuice if you like it tangy. Believe me, this is an incredible tasting chicken dish.

    Skillet Tex-Mex Chicken
    4 servings
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
    • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
    • 1 medium jalapeño, seeded if desired and thinly sliced
    • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
    • Juice of 1 lime or 3 tbsp
    • 1 lime cut into wedges
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
    • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
    Position a rack about 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler to high.
    Toss the chicken with the chili powder, cumin, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper.
    Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off any excess.
    Melt 2 1/2 tbsp of the butter in a 12-inch cast iron over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tbsp butter, the corn, jalapeño, garlic, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook stirring, until the corn begins to brown lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken, limejuice, oregano, and 1/2 cup water. Cook stirring, until the chicken cooks just through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the Cheddar and transfer the skillet to the broiler. Broil until the cheese melts and forms a nice brown top, about 3 minutes.
    Serve with lime wedges.

    Corn & Avocado Salad

    Goes together quick and is very tasty with Skillet Tex-Mex Chicken.

    Corn and Avocado Salad
    about 8 serving 

    2 -15.25 oz cans corn, drained
    1 cup fresh Pico de Gallo
    1/2 cup Hormel real bacon pieces or cooked, crumbled bacon
    1/2 cup olive oil vinaigrette
    2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
    1 tsp Mexican seasoning
    1 to 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed (do last)

    Stir together all ingredients except avocados in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Add avocados and stir lightly.

    July 24, 2009

    Red Snapper Livornesa

    Friday's Fish

    Today recipe is an outstanding dish featuring great Italian flavors that naturally meld together.

    Quick, easy and delectable.

    Red Snapper Livornesa
    Serves 4

    1/4 cup of olive oil
    12 Kalamata or Gaetta olives, pitted and chopped
    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 tablespoons of capers
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
    4 -8 oz red snapper fillets or other white fish
    1 -15 oz can Italian plum tomatoes, crushed with juices
    1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
    1/2 cup white wine
    1 cup chicken broth

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Heat olive oil in large ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat. Add olives, onion, capers, pepper flakes and basil and cook until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley.
    Place red snapper fillets in pan. Add wine, broth and salt & pepper to taste. Place in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
    Serve fillets with sauce spooned over top.
    Great with a rice dish, steamed broccoli or the Balsamic Green Beans below.

    Balsamic Green Beans

    A great tasting and satisfying side dish with provincial flavors.  

    Balsamic Green Beans
    Serves 4 

    1/4 cup butter
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    2 garlic cloves -minced
    3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or to taste
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1 pound fresh green beans

    Wash and cut off stem end of green beans. Blanch beans in boiling water for 4 minutes, drain and set aside. Melt butter adding the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic cooking until begins to turn brown. Stir in vinegar, oregano, red pepper and stir for a minute. Add the beans and sauté for about 10 minutes or until tender.

    Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries

    This delightful cool dessert goes great with summer berries. Make it in the morning, as it needs to chill for 6 hours. This is a long time to wait, but the pay off is well worth it.

    Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries
    6 servings

    1 cup whole milk
    Pinch of salt
    1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
    2 cups assorted fresh berries
    3 cups whipping cream
    1/3 cup honey
    1 tablespoon sugar

    Pour the milk in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let the milk and gelatin stand for 3 to 5 minutes until the gelatin is softened. Pour milk and gelatin mixture into a heavy saucepan and stir over medium heat until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil, it'll take about 5 minutes. Add the cream, honey, sugar, and salt. Stir entire mixture until the sugar dissolves, another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour into 6 wine or dessert glasses so that they are 1/2 full. Let Cool slightly. Refrigerate until set, this will take at least 6 hours. Top with your assorted berries and serve.

    July 23, 2009

    Southwest Steak & Arugula Tomato Salad

    It's a Steak Salad kind of day!

    Juicy tender steaks seasoned with just enough heat to wake up your senses. The creamy ranch dressing has just the right kick to bond together the flavors of this beef salad.

    Southwest Steak & Arugula Tomato Salad
    Serves 4 to 6

    6 tablespoons ranch dressing
    1 1/2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
    1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican seasoning
    1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
    1 -16 ounce beef tenderloin, trimmed & cut into 1 inch steaks
    Cooking spray
    1/4 cup chopped green onions
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
    1/4 cup chopped bottled roasted red peppers
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    12 cherry tomatoes cut in halves
    6 cups loosely packed arugula

    To prepare salad dressing, combine ranch dressing and horseradish in a small bowl; cover and chill.
    For the steaks, mix the next 3 ingredients together and rub both sides of the steaks. Let stand 10 minutes.
    Heat a nonstick grill pan over medium heat. Coat steaks with cooking spray. Add steaks to pan and cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steaks from pan; let stand 7 minutes.
    Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss well.
    Arrange salad on serving plates. Cut each steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Place steaks on the salad and drizzle each serving with about 1 tablespoon of the salad dressing. Serve immediately.
    Serve with toasted French bread if desired.

    Lean Beef & Bearnaise Dressing Potato Salad

    Tender cuts of beef and warm potatoes lightly dressed with a marvelous Bearnaise sauce - a delightful and delicious entree or satisfying by itself.  

    Lean Beef & Bearnaise Dressing Potato Salad

    4 servings

    12 small red potatoes, quartered (about 1 3/4 pounds)
    4 shallots, quartered
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    Cooking spray
    2 -4 ounce beef tenderloin steaks (3/4 inch thick)
    1/4 cup chopped shallots
    1/4 cup dry white wine
    1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    1/4 cup water
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
    2 tablespoons Dijonnaise or another creamy-mustard mayonnaise blend
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

    Preheat oven to 375°. Combine potatoes and quartered shallots in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish; drizzle with oil, and toss gently. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
    Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add steaks; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steaks from skillet; keep warm.
    Add chopped shallots, wine, vinegar, water, and tarragon to skillet. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 2 minutes). Strain through a colander into a bowl; discard solids. Add mustard blend to wine mixture; stir well with a whisk. Cut steaks into thin slices. Combine potato mixture, beef, and tarragon mixture in a large bowl; toss gently to coat.
    Sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately while warm.

    Seared Steak with Spinach & Hot Mushroom Dressing

     Another Great Salad . . .

    Seared Steak with Spinach & Hot Mushroom Dressing 

    4 servings

    1 -1 1/2 pound top sirloin steak
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1 teaspoon butter, divided
    1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
    2 medium Portobello mushroom caps, sliced
    2 teaspoons minced garlic
    1/2 cup red wine
    1/2 cup beef broth
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    1 -6 ounce package baby spinach
    2 plum tomatoes, sliced
    1 small onion, thinly sliced
    1/2 lemon
    1/3 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese

    Sprinkle steak evenly with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Melt 1/2 teaspoon butter with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Add steak, and cook until well browned on one side, about 6 minutes. Turn steak, and cook 3 more minutes (rare), 4 minutes (medium-rare), or 5 minutes (medium). Remove steak from pan, and set aside.

    Melt remaining 1/2 teaspoon butter with 1/2 teaspoon oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté mushrooms and garlic for 4 minutes. Stir in wine, broth, and balsamic vinegar, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Add spinach, tomatoes and onion in the hot mixture in pan and toss; divide evenly between 4 plates. Squeeze lemon, drizzling juice evenly over top. Cut steak into 1/2-inch slices, and arrange over salads. Sprinkle cheese evenly over top.

    Serve with toasty garlic bread.

    July 22, 2009

    Marinated Tropical Shrimp

    photo source

    Citrus Tantalizing 
    Taste Appeal

    This is a marvelous recipe and similar to one that my Brother made from time to time. It is adapted from an earlier Southern Home magazine recipe.

    Makes about 12 to15 appetizer servings or feeds 5 to 6 hungry folks.  

    Marinated Tropical Shrimp

    3 lemons, halved
    2 limes, halved
    1 orange, halved
    2 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning
    1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
    6 pounds unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
    2 cups fresh orange juice
    2 cups grapefruit juice
    2 cups pineapple juice
    1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
    1/2 cup fresh lime juice
    1 lemon, sliced
    1 orange, sliced
    1 lime, sliced
    1 grapefruit, sliced
    1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
    Dried crushed red pepper if desired

    Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp just turns pink. Remove and plunge shrimp into ice water to stop the cooking process and drain well. Peel shrimp leaving tails on. Devein, if desired.
    Combine orange juice and next 10 ingredients in a large sealed container or heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Add shrimp, cover or seal and chill for half an hour or up to an hour. Drain off liquid.

    Serve shrimp with Louis Sauce. Garnish with the sliced fruit if desired.

    Louis Sauce

    This recipe is actually a combination of several favorites and the taste is awesome. This sauce is so versatile – use it with many cold seafood dishes.

    Louis Sauce
    makes a little over 3 cups

    1/3 cup heavy cream
    1 -12 oz bottle chili sauce
    2 cups mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons grated onion
    1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
    1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
    1 tablespoon prepared horseradish -optional
    1/4 cup finely minced green bell pepper
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    Salt and black pepper to taste

    Whisk the cream to soft peaks and add the remaining ingredients incorporating mixture well. Chill until ready to serve.
    It will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

    July 21, 2009

    Orange Icebox Pudding

    Orange you glad it’s Tuesday?

    If Monday’s get you blue and humpday Wednesday makes you see red, then today should be a very sunny reason for these orange treats.  

    Orange Icebox Pudding 

    2 egg whites
    1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    1/4 cup orange juice
    Grated rind of half an orange
    Dash of salt
    Crushed vanilla wafers
    Fresh orange sections (no membrane)

    Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Combine with the next 5 ingredients. In a square Pyrex dish, place a layer of crushed wafers to cover the bottom. Add half the pudding and spread evenly. Place the orange sections in a layer and top with remaining pudding. Cover with additional crushed wafers.

    Store covered in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 6 hours.

    Homemade Orange Pushup Cups

    Remember these as a kid?

    Rich and creamy, a summertime treat on hot days for kids and us adults as well.

    Homemade Orange Pushup Cups

    20 ounces of a 2 liter bottle orange soda
    1 -14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
    1 -8 ounce Cool Whip -thawed
    1/4 cup sugar

    Place soda, condensed milk, whipped topping, and sugar into a blender and combine. Pour into small paper cups and insert Popsicle sticks. Place in the freezer until frozen.

    Cinnamon Orange Cookies

    These are so summery with an island flavor. Make them plain as below or glaze with a cream cheese icing. Add a little lemon or orange juice to an icing for an extra tropical flavor or add toasted coconut to the batter.

    Cinnamon Orange Cookies
    yields 4 to 5 dozen

    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon allspice
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cup butter, softened
    1 -3 ounce package cream cheese -softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
    2 teaspoons grated orange peel

    Mix together flour, cinnamon, allspice and salt.
    In medium bowl using electric mixer set on low, beat together butter and cream cheese. Beat in the sugar until mixed and add orange juice and peel.
    Add flour mixture and beat until combined. Do not overbeat.
    Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until dough is firm.
    Preheat oven to 350°F.
    Roll dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into your favorite cookie shape.
    Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet in preheated 350°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

    July 20, 2009

    Ramblings of Blackened Fish, Rancid Food and Chef Paul

    blackened does not mean burnt
    In rambling around my recipe files for today’s Cajun feature, I came across a few for blackened redfish. This prompted me to go off on a tangent down memory lane to a disgusting dish I had many years ago. To me, blackening foods have nothing in common with Cajun cooking except maybe its origin.

    Invented by Cajun country’s own Chef Paul Prudhomme in the early ‘70s, the method of cooking took off around the country just as fast as the redfish depletion did in the gulf. To many, then and today, this cooking style envisions what Cajun food should taste and look like. Because of the broadened appeal of this dish do we owe Chef Paul a pat on the back as the interest in Cajun cooking is now known to untold numbers. These poor souls otherwise would have been in the dark of all the great recipes and worst, kept Cajun cooking in the bayou. That is about the only good thing I have to say of it.

    Now, back down memory lane. It was in the early ‘80s when I first tried my first blackened dish and it took a lot of courage to try it again many years later. The craze was on; everybody cooked everything imaginable, seasoned the hell of it, burned it and called it ‘blackened’. But what few cooks knew, overly-charred and unbearable tasting spiced foods is not what Chef Paul had in mind, so I believe. My first experience recalls, and from what many more knowledgeable than me have told, there was a lot more going on and that is why this craze caught on like it did. To many inexcusable and unsanitary cooks, this was a great way to mask over foods. And I mean old and rotting foods. Fish, which was my first blackened experience, in case you don’t know has a horrific smell after sitting around for a couple of days (kind of like company) and the odor is just that, horrific. Now envision kitchen cooks, who apparently thought more of bottom line profits than pleasing palates, decided not to dump old inventory. They said, “Let’s do what Paul is doing,” coat it in unthinkable seasonings and cook it to death on high heat. “By golly, if he can do it, so can I.” In fact, let’s redo our whole menu so we won’t have to throw away any spoilage at all. I knew when the server presented me with this burnt, blackened beast something was wrong - very wrong. But, hey, it’s supposed to be that way, right? First bite: kind of what charcoal would taste like after a whole lot (like a jar) of seasoning rub had spilt on it. Second bite: Still tastes like charcoal, and piled high with a few cayenne peppers, but wait, what is that other taste? It’s supposed to be fish. The flesh tastes rancid and smells like sewage. Third bite: no, not even I took a third bite.

    Today, I will throw away all of the recipes except the one from Prudhomme and my own version of blackening season mix. Like I said, Chef Paul would not approve of anything less and to end, I leave you his words of wisdom in blackening fish. Special note from Chef Paul: "Because this method is simple, any variation will make a dramatic difference. Be sure the skillet is hot enough and absolutely dry. Be sure not to over season - - the herbs and spices should highlight the taste rather than hide or overpower it. You don't want to overcook the filet - - there's a big difference between blackened and burned. Avoid a burned, bitter taste by wiping out the skillet between batches."

    Chef Paul's Recipe for Blackened Fish
    My Recipe for Blackened Seasoning

    Chef Paul's Backened Fish

    Now you just might think this is an advertisement for Chef Paul and I'm here to tell you, absolutely and flat out - it is.

    So here goes... If you don't have a commercial hood vent over your stove, this dish will set off every smoke alarm in your neighborhood! It's better to cook it outdoors on a gas grill or a butane burner.

    Find this recipe and more in Chef Paul Prudhomme's Always Cooking!

    3 tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Seafood Magic® OR Chef Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Magic® OR Chef Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic® OR Chef Paul Prudhomme's Barbecue Magic® OR Chef Paul Prudhomme's Fajita Magic® OR Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Salt® OR Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Salt Free Seasoning®

    1/2 stick unsalted butter (melted) or oil

    6 (8 to 10 ounce) fish filets (firm fleshed fish such as red snapper, catfish, redfish, salmon, or tuna steaks), at room temperature, cut about 1/2 inch thick

    Heat a large cast-iron skillet over very high heat until it is extremely hot (about 600°F). Spread a little of the butter or oil on each side of the filets. Sprinkle one side with 3/4 teaspoon of Chef Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Magic and place the filet in the heated skillet seasoned side down. Sprinkle the top side with 3/4 teaspoon of the Magic Seasoning Blend. Cook, turning frequently until the fish starts to flake, about 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining filets. Serve each filet while piping hot.

    See my Blackened Seasoning Mix

    Blackened Cajun Seasoning

    Yeah, Baby!
    This is a traditional seasoning recipe for Cajun Style Blackened Fish.

    As with any good blackening mix, it should not be really spicy hot, but rather balanced in a combination of good seasonings and flavor.

    It is also good on various meats - just vary the ingredients according to the type of meat.  

    Blackening Cajun Seasoning 

    2 tablespoons sweet paprika
    2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 heaping teaspoon onion powder
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon ground dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon mustard powder -optional
    1/4 teaspoon ground dried sage -optional

    For Fish: Dip fish in melted butter and sprinkle this rub on both sides of the fish and place it on an extremely hot (about 600°F) cast iron skillet. Cook until fish flakes with a fork (about 4 minutes for a 1/2-inch thick fillet) and juices are translucent. Store unused seasoning in an air-tight container.

    July 19, 2009

    Fried Buttermilk Chicken with Sawmill Gravy

    Sunday's Best

    What’s your favorite recipe for Sunday dinner?

    I have a very long list but I will start with this classic one, southern fried chicken filets with pepper gravy.

    Fried Buttermilk Chicken with Sawmill Gravy
    4 servings

    4 -6 ounce boneless chicken breasts
    2 cups buttermilk, divided
    Canola oil for frying
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 to 2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons bacon grease
    2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 cup whole milk
    Ground black pepper to taste
    Salt to taste

    Place the chicken in a large plastic storage bag, one piece at a time, and pound with a mallet or small iron skillet to flatten to about half-an-inch. Place in a container and pour 1 cup buttermilk over the chicken to cover. Rotate the chicken to make sure the buttermilk completely covers each piece. Cover the container and store in the refrigerator overnight.
    Heat the vegetable oil, about 1/2 inch deep, in a skillet or heavy pan to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper to taste. Into a separate bowl, pour about 1 cup buttermilk. Remove the chicken pieces from the soaking buttermilk (discard this liquid) and shake off the excess buttermilk. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour coating well then dip in the fresh buttermilk to coat. Dredge again in the flour to completely coat. Fry the chicken in the hot oil until brown and crispy on the outside and cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes. Drain the chicken on paper towels. Serve hot with Sawmill Gravy.

    For the gravy: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the bacon grease. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring regularly for 2 to 3 minutes, longer if you want a browner gravy. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, whisking until mixture comes to a simmer and gravy thickens. Stir in the pepper and season to taste with salt and additional pepper if desired. For a more southern flavor, use part buttermilk in the gravy.

    Hashbrown Potato Casserole

    Any potato dish goes great with many chicken recipes.
    My favorite is country style mashed potatoes (see Momma's Lumpy Potatoes under vegetables).

    Another favorite potato dish among us southerners is this one made with frozen hashbrowns.  

    Hashbrown Potato Casserole  

    1 bag (2 pounds) frozen hashbrowns, thawed
    1 can cream of chicken soup
    6 to 8 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
    1/4 cup finely chopped onion
    1 small jar diced pimento, drained well
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    1/2 cup of sour cream
    1/2 cup of milk
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    3 cups of shredded Colby jack cheese

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine soup, bacon, onion, pimento, butter, sour cream, milk, salt, pepper and 2 cups of the cheese. Mix well. Stir in the hashbrowns. Pour into a 9x13x2 inch lightly sprayed baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to sit 10 minutes before serving.

    Corn Soufflé


    Yum Yum Yum . . .

    an absolute favorite and bonafide southern recipe for corn pudding lovers.  

    Corn Soufflé 

    3 eggs
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
    3 cups heavy cream
    2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) yellow corn
    1/4 cup finely chopped onion
    1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper
    1 tablespoon melted butter (or bacon drippings)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and beat an additional 3 minutes. Stir in the cream. Add the corn, onion, bell pepper and melted butter. Stir just enough to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed on top and set in the center. Cool on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. >Note: Cooking time may vary depending on the size of your casserole dish. Add black pepper if desired.

    Southern Collards with Beans

    Here is another of my favorite side dishes that I thought would go great with today’s Sunday Dinner. 

    This is a old southern dish from the civil war days, revised for today's cooking.

    Southern Collards with Beans

    1/2 pound bacon -chopped
    1 large onion -chopped
    1 large hot pepper (jalapeno or chile type)
    2 cups chicken broth ( beef works too)
    2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    1 pound fresh collards (or 2 large frozen bags)
    1 -16 oz can pinto beans, rinsed

    In a large stockpot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove all but 2 or 3 tablespoons of the grease. Add the onion and cover cooking until onion softens. Add the broth, pepper and vinegar. Bring to a boil.
    Add the collards (if fresh, wash under running water several times to remove grit and chop into 2 inch pieces). Cover with lid and simmer on medium low for several minutes or until greens are wilted and limp. Add the beans and simmer on low for an hour or until desired consistency. I like mine really cooked.
    Note: I sometimes add a smoked ham hock or neck bone in with the stock for added flavor.

    July 18, 2009

    Baked Taco Dip

    Preparing MEXICAN foods can become time consuming. But they don’t have to be.

    These three recipes are easy, quick and scrumptious. Plan a fiesta tonight!

    Texas Tacos
    Chicken, Corn & Black Bean Flautas

    Baked Taco Dip

    1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin meat
    1 medium onion -chopped
    1 can refried beans
    1 small jar hot Picante sauce
    1 package taco seasoning mix
    1 -16 ounce sour cream
    6 ounces cheddar cheese -shredded
    6 ounces pepper jack cheese -shredded

    In a large frying pan, brown meat with the onion. Remove any grease. Stir in the beans, sauce and seasoning mix. In a 2 quart casserole dish, spread 1/2 of the meat in the bottom and top with 1/2 of the sour cream and 1/2 of each of the cheeses. Repeat ending with cheese on top. Bake at 350 until bubbly for about 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.
    Note: This is not very spicy even though hot sauce is used. Add chopped Jalapeno peppers when browning the meat for more spiciness.

    Texas Tacos

    These only take about 10 minutes to cook. There's no need to stay in the kitchen all night.

    Texas Tacos

    1 pound ground sirloin
    2 to 4 red Jalapeno or Serrano peppers -seeded and minced
    1/4 onion minced
    3 or 4 garlic pods -minced
    1 dash salt
    1 dash Season-all
    Corn tortillas

    Brown the beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add remaining ingredients (except the tortillas). Cook and stir until vegetables heat throughout.

    Pan grill the tortillas in a heavy skillet.

    Fill your tacos and top with one or more of the following:
    Guacamole or sliced avocados
    Shredded cheese
    Pico de Gallo
    Sour cream
    Chopped tomatoes

    Chicken, Corn & Black Bean Flautas

    This is another quick and delicious recipe that, from start to finish, should take less than an hour.

    Chicken, Corn and Black Bean Flautas

    6 -10 inch flour tortillas
    1 medium onion -chopped
    1 garlic clove -minced
    1 teaspoon cooking oil
    2 cups shredded cooked chicken
    1 cup canned black beans -rinsed and drained well
    1/3 cup niblet corn, drained well
    1/2 cup prepared salsa
    1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
    2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or oregano -minced
    Cooking oil for frying.

    Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

    Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in oven for about 10 minutes.
    Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook onion and garlic in the oil for a couple of minutes. Stir in the next five ingredients and turn off heat.

    Spoon about 1/2 cup of mixture across the center of each tortilla leaving 1 1/2 inch from edges. Roll up and set aside.
    Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan to 365 F degrees.

    Using a spatula, place 2 or 3 flautas seam side down and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Roll flauta over to brown the other side.
    Remove and drain on paper towels.

    Serve with guacamole, fresh salsa and sour cream

    Note: For added depth, roast the corn in the oven or on the stove-top until lightly charred.

    July 17, 2009

    Pan Seared Grouper with Mushroom Sauce

    Lenten or not

    Today I share with you an incredible entree and accompanying side dish. Like I’ve said before, living on the Gulf Coast has it’s rewards, like enjoying fresh caught fish.

    This recipe is great with just about any type of fish.,But I just happen to prefer white mild tasting fish with this sauce, ya know, those with less oils. Other suggestions would be our local Flounder or Red Snapper, or from the markets try Cod, Halibut, Haddock, Orange Roughy, Alaskan Pollock, Dover Sole or Tilapia.


    Pan Seared Grouper with Mushroom Sauce 
    4 servings

    1 tbsp unsalted butter
    1/2 pound fresh mushrooms -trimmed and quartered
    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 1/2 pounds grouper or other fillets
    1/4 tsp salt or to taste
    2 shallots -chopped
    3/4 cup chicken stock
    3/4 cup dry red wine
    1/4 cup parsley -chopped

    Melt butter in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium high heat until clear. Sauté mushrooms 4 to 5 minutes stirring frequently. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
    Season grouper fillets with salt and pepper to taste.
    Add oil to same skillet and heat over medium high heat. Pan fry grouper 3 to 4 minutes per side turning only once or until fish flakes easily. Carefully transfer grouper to a platter and keep warm. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of drippings from skillet.
    Sauté shallots in same skillet 2 minutes or until softened. Add broth and wine to skillet, stir with a wooden spoon to deglaze over high heat. Boil 3 minutes or until liquid is thick and syrupy. Stir in parsley and mushrooms. Cook until heated throughout. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Serve sauce over grouper.

    See the side dish - Rice and Asparagus Salad

    Rice and Asparagus Salad

    Rice and Asparagus Salad
    4 to 6 servings

    4 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tablespoon fresh thyme -chopped (or 1/2 tbsp dried)
    1 tablespoon fresh rosemary -leaves only (or 1/2 tbsp dried)
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cup basmati rice -cooked (Arborio or Jasmine is good too)
    1/2 cup chopped asparagus -blanched, tender ends only
    2 strips thick-sliced smoked bacon -cooked and diced
    1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
    2 to 3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese -optional
    1/3 cup chopped green onions
    Black pepper to taste

    Combine the first 5 ingredients in a sealed container. Let stand for 2 or 3 hours shaking often to infuse flavor. Strain liquid discarding the garlic and herbs.
    In a medium bowl, toss the rice, asparagus, bacon, onions, tomatoes and blue cheese if desired along with the dressing. Season to taste with the black pepper.
    Serve at room temperature.

    Stuffed Flounder Rolls with Lemon Broccoli Rice

    These rolls are just delightful.

    Stuffed Flounder Rolls with Lemon Broccoli Rice 
    6 to 8 servings 

    1/3 cup salted butter -melted
    1/3 cup lemon juice
    1/4 tsp pepper
    1/8 tsp paprika
    1 1/3 cups cooked brown or white rice
    1 cup sharp cheddar cheese -grated
    1/2 pound fresh broccoli florets -stemmed and coarsely chopped
    2 pounds flounder or sole fillets
    1 cup fish or chicken stock

    Preheat oven to temperature 375°F.
    Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
    Combine cooked rice, cheese and broccoli in a separate bowl.
    Add 1/4 cup of the lemon butter to rice mixture. Use some of the lemon butter to coat a shallow ovenproof baking dish and set the remainder aside.
    Lay fillets flat on a sheet of wax paper. Divide the rice stuffing equally and place portion on the wide end of each fillet. Gently roll up, secure with toothpicks, and place seam side down in prepared baking dish. Add fish stock to butter mixture and pour remaining butter sauce over rolled stuffed fish.
    Bake 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
    Remove toothpicks before serving.

    Sweet Citrus Bacon Wrapped Green Beans


    Really an easy recipe and makes a wonderful side dish that comes out tasting great looking good too.

    Sweet Citrus Bacon Wrapped Green Beans 
    8 servings 

    2 pounds fresh green beans
    8 slices of bacon or prosciutto
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 teaspoon garlic salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Wash beans; trim ends and remove strings. Bring water to a boil; add green beans and cook, uncovered, 4 to 5 minutes or just under crisp-tender. Drain beans and plunge them into cold water, then drain again. Divide green beans into 8 bundles. Wrap green beans with bacon and place in prepared dish. Combine butter with orange concentrate and brown sugar. Pour over green bean bundles and sprinkle with garlic salt. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

    July 16, 2009

    Chicken with Garden Herbs


    I think recipes for slow cookers theoretical should be easy and preparation should be too. After all, if you're gonna brown meats and precook ingredients, what good is it? You might as well go ahead and leave it in the pot. These slow cooker recipes are not only easy but t-a-s-t-y as well.

    Chicken with Garden Herbs

    2 leeks -sliced and rinsed
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves or thighs
    4 ears corn
    1 large carrot -shredded
    2 tomatoes -coarsely chopped
    2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 clove garlic -minced

    Place leeks on bottom of slow cooker and cover with the chicken. Cut corn kernels off the cobs and sprinkle over chicken. Scatter the carrots over corn and chicken.
    In a bowl, combine tomatoes, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic. Spoon tomato mixture into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW about 5 hours or until chicken is tender.
    Serve over hot rice and a side of vegetables.

    7-Up Roast

    Cola roast is very good and this one is just as great. The citrus adds a mild level of taste to the simplicity of the recipe and helps tenderize tougher meats.

    7-Up Roast

    1 -3 to 5 pound boneless pork roast
    Celery salt
    1 cup 7-Up
    1 onion, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    2 small bay leaves
    2 garlic cloves -chopped or sliced
    2 tablespoons soy sauce

    Wash the roast and pat dry with paper towels. Place in the slow cooker and with a meat fork, pierce top of roast all over. Sprinkle top lightly with celery salt and rub into the grain. Add remaining ingredients and set cooker on HIGH for 4 hours, then on LOW for 2 hours or on LOW for 8 hours.
    Serve mashed potatoes, a vegetable and bread of choice.

    Note: You may remove the liquid at the end of cooking to make a gravy. Mix 2 tablespoons each of soften butter and flour into the liquid and simmer until thickened.

    Pork Shoulder with Spicy Peach Glaze

    One of our favorite types of pork is the shoulder roast, flavorful and comes out tender every time.  

    Pork Shoulder with Spicy Peach Glaze 
    Serves 6 to 8 

    2 large onions cut in half then sliced
    1 boneless pork shoulder roast, tied with string or rolled pork loin
    Salt and pepper
    1 -12 ounce peach jelly
    1/2 cup chicken broth or water
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
    2 tablespoons grainy mustard

    Place onion in the bottom of a large slow cooker. Wash the roast and pat dry. Leave the string intact. Place pork on onions. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over the roast. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours. Turn to LOW and cook for 6 to 8 hours longer.

    July 15, 2009

    Curried Shrimp in Coconut Milk

    Today's shrimp dish uses curry, a favorite in India, but the curry paste and ingredients makes for a satisfying, Asian inspired pleasure.

    Shrimp of the Week

    Curried Shrimp in Coconut Milk
    serves 4 - 6

    2 1/2 cups (1 pint) coconut milk
    2 tbsp yellow curry paste
    1 tbsp fish sauce (Worcestershire or soy sauce is okay but with different results)
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp granulated sugar
    1 lb jumbo shrimp, shelled, tails left intact and deveined
    8 oz cherry tomatoes
    Juice of 1/2 lime, to serve
    2 red chillies, cut into strips, to garnish
    Coriander leaves, to garnish

    Put half the coconut milk into a pan or wok and bring to the boil.Add the yellow curry paste to the coconut milk, stir until it disperses, then simmer for about 10 minutes.Add the fish sauce, salt, sugar and remaining coconut milk. Simmer for another 5 minutes.Add the prawns and cherry tomatoes. Simmer very gently for about 5 minutes until the prawns are pink and tender.Serve sprinkled with lime juice and garnish with chilies and coriander.

    Yellow Curry Paste
    6 to 8 yellow chilies
    1 chopped lemon grass stalk
    4 peeled shallots
    4 garlic cloves
    1 tbsp peeled chopped fresh root ginger
    1 tsp coriander seeds
    1 tsp mustard powder
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tbsp light brown sugar
    2 tbsp oil
    Process all in a blender. When a paste has formed, transfer to a glass jar and keep in the fridge.