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.

August 31, 2009

Stuffed Flounder Z'herbes

Thanks to a post I read from Tasty Trix, I spent much of yesterday morning rumbling through my recipes for a taste from the past. Her post was of catfish and spicy greens and it reminded me of a treat I had many years ago in New Orleans - A Creole version of Fish Florentine.
So this is what I did most of the early morning, inside the house, in the kitchen. That is what a rainy day will do, keep you inside, away from the beach and what better way than to make friends with some older recipes.
The particular one I searched for, (I just knew I had seen it a few weeks ago, maybe a month or three, ok, maybe it was last year) is one I still remember as being a pleasant surprise to the palate. Not finding it, I spent the remaining morning concocting this one. I think it is so New Orleans and Creole and outright delectable.

Stuffed Flounder Z'herbes 
4 servings 

4 -6 oz flounder fillets or other white fish fillets
6 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
4 cabbage leaves, chopped
2 cups Baby Arugula with Spinach salad blend, chopped
2 or 3 leaves of turnip, mustard and/or beet –optional
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 tablespoon Creole seasoning
1 1/4 cup milk
1 small tomato, peeled, seeded and minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat; add the onions, bell pepper, and sauté for 4 minutes or until onions are tender. Add the garlic, brown sugar and thyme and cook another minute. Stir in the greens, vinegar and toss until wilted. Season with salt and pepper if desired, remove from heat and let cool.
In a medium saucepan, melt remaining butter, stir in the flour cooking for a couple of minutes and stir in the Creole seasoning. Cook until a smooth paste is formed. Gradually whisk in the milk stirring constantly. Cook until sauce is thick. Remove from heat, stir in the tomatoes and keep warm.
Place 1/4 of greens mixture on each fillet and roll up securing with a toothpick. Arrange flounder rolls in a shallow buttered baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
Spoon the sauce over the rolls covering well and bake another 15 minutes or until heated thoroughly. Fish should flake easily at this point.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese the last few minutes.  
-Sorry, didn't have a good photo of this dish, but you get the idea.

August 30, 2009

3 Great Waffle Recipes

Sunday is a great day for waffles.

Here are 3 recipes from my breakfast collection. Enjoy!

French toast cooked like a waffle. It’s the best of both worlds!

Cinnamon French Toast Waffles 

For each serving:
2 slices whole-wheat bread
1/4 cup liquid egg substitute or 1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon almond or pecan extract
3 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of salt
Vegetable spray
Heat the waffle iron to desired temperature.
In a medium shallow bowl, stir together the egg, milk, extract, cinnamon and salt.
Dip both bread slices into mixture. Let set to soak up all of mixture.
Spray the bottom of waffle iron and place one slice of bread in the center of iron. Spray top of waffle iron and close it.
Cook accordingly.
Double and triple recipe if needed.

  This waffle is a man’s waffle - got everything going on.

Bacon, Egg & Cheddar Waffles

about 4 servings
1 egg 1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
6 cooked and crumbled bacon strips
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat waffle iron to desired temperature.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg and add the milk, sour cream and butter. Stir in the baking mix mixing well. Fold in the bacon and cheese. Spoon the batter onto the hot waffle iron and cook until golden brown.
Serve with additional eggs and bacon or link sausages if desired and topped with good ol’ maple syrup.

If you like me, then you like your waffles as crisp as can be, but not burnt. These are just the ticket to soak up all the butter and syrup that I like to mound on top. This recipe allows you to start the day before in order to let the batter rise.

Crispiest Waffles Ever

about 8 servings
1 teaspoon instant yeast -not active dry yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup flax seed meal
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter -melted & cooled to room temperature
2 cups warm whole milk -about 110 degrees
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs -separated
Stir together the two flours, flax seed meal, yeast, sugar and salt.
Stir the melted butter into the dry ingredients and fold in the warm milk and vanilla until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight out on the counter.
The next morning the batter will look frothy. Heat waffle iron to desired temperature. Fold the egg yolks into the batter.
Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold carefully into the batter. This batter will rise a little more than usual, so cook a test waffle first.

August 29, 2009

Chipotle Lime Marinated Steak

Well folks, it's Mexican Saturday, again!

This is one I grilled a few weeks ago and a foodie friend wanted the recipe - so here it is.

We had it as written, taco style but the steak could stand alone as an entree. I think a side of cowboy style pintos, roasted corn and a greenie veg would be just perfect. Enjoy!

Chipotle Lime Marinated Steak
Serves 4

1 -8 to 10 oz flank steak (or tri-tip)
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
3 tablespoons Grey Poupon
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, mix honey with the next 8 listings. Stir well to blend. Place steak in a large sealable bag or container and add marinade. Chill for 2 or 3 hours. Remove and let rest for 30 minutes. Drain marinade into a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Grill on a medium heat grill until desired doneness. Slice steak across the grain in thin strips, place in a serving bowl and pour heated marinade over the meat. Serve with warm tortillas, pico de gallo, sliced avocados and chopped tomatoes.

August 28, 2009

Cajun Catfish Fingers

Friday's Fish
These ain't your mommas fish sticks from the freezer. Folks, tried and tested, this is some of the best eating to go around.

Cajun Catfish Fingers

4 catfish filets -cut in one inch strips
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Creole mustard
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
5 good dashes Tabasco
1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow corn meal
Vegetable oil for frying
    In a medium bowl combine mayonnaise with the next four ingredients and add the catfish coating each piece well. Refrigerate overnight.
    Mix the flour and cornmeal.
    In a large iron Dutch oven, heat an inch of so of oil, the oil needs to be deep enough to cover the strips. When oil reaches 365, bread the catfish and carefully drop into the hot oil. Only bread enough fish ready for frying. Fry until golden brown.
    Remove strips to brown paper bags or paper towels to drain.
    Serve with your favorite Rémoulade or cocktail sauce.

    August 27, 2009

    Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chicken

    As I have said before, why use the slow cooker if you’re gonna mess up pots and pans? This recipe is easy, easy, easy – and tasty too! Enjoy.  

    Mediterranean Chicken
    6 servings

    6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    1 teaspoon celery salt
    1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1 small onion -chopped
    1 -7 oz roasted peppers -drained and sliced
    1 can cream of mushroom soup
    1 can cream of celery soup
    1/3 cup dry sherry or white wine
    1 -14 oz quartered artichokes –drained
    Rotini or egg noodles, cooked
    Fresh parsley
    Parmesan cheese

    Rinse and dry chicken, cut into sections and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and seasonings. Toss to coat. Spread chicken into the slow cooker alternating with the onions and peppers.
    In the bowl, mix the soups with the sherry and pour into the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.
    Stir in the artichokes the last half hour.
    Spoon Mediterranean Chicken over pasta and sprinkle with fresh parsley, parmesan cheese and paprika.
    Serve with a rustic garlic buttered bread.

    August 26, 2009

    Cream of Crab & Shrimp Soup

    Many folks have asked me what inspires me to cook. Well, my normal reply, like most of you, is that I come from a long line of pretty good cooks. Moreover, if that doesn’t get a nod, I normally add that I also come from an even longer line of pretty good eaters. But sometimes even that remark may not gain a jiggle of expression. This is when I bring up a fact of life for us all. I cook out of necessity.

    Enjoying cooking is just one of the rewards. Enjoying good food is another. Cook. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. (I think I saw that blog somewhere.) This fact rang true one night many years ago. Working later than normal, my crew did all that they could to get out the door. Nevertheless, work still piled up. When the phone began ringing after closing hours, a sign of someone’s family urgency, I was the first to answer. After my greeting, and a pause, came a horrendous and loud cry of necessity. “A man’s gotta eat!” I then pause, and asked, “Pardon?” to which a second and even louder response, “A man’s gotta eat!” It was then that I handed the phone over to his wife and to my co-worker. I think that pretty much sums up what inspires me to cook, don’t you? Now on to today's post.

    Shrimp of the Week

    Cream of Crab & Shrimp Soup
    6 to 10 servings

    1 pound white lump crabmeat, picked of shells & cartilage
    1/2 pound medium-large shrimp (36/40 count), uncooked & diced
    6 tablespoons butter, divided
    1 medium white onion, finely diced
    1 tablespoon finely diced garlic
    1/4 cup finely diced celery
    2 tablespoons chopped fennel
    2 tablespoons finely diced parsley
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 tablespoon bourbon
    1 quart heavy cream

    In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and sauté onions, garlic and celery for two minutes. Add crabmeat and shrimp and cook until shrimp turns pink. Add seasonings, bourbon and stir in the cream. Reduce heat and bring to a low simmer cooking for 10 minutes or until thicken to desired consistency. Add remaining butter, stir until melted and serve.

    Garnish with additional cooked shrimp if desired.

    recipe mine / photo from country living

    August 25, 2009

    Ginger Pear Galette

    This is a recipe I found a while back and have been meaning to make. Perhaps this week will be a good time for me and maybe for you.

    Autumn is just around the corner for some of my "northern" friends.

    Ginger Pear Galette
    Makes 8 servings

    1/2 of a 17.5 ounce package (1 sheet) frozen puff pastry
    1 slightly beaten egg white
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
    1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
    2 tablespoons butter
    3 large pears, halved, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
    Whipped cream (optional)
    Crystallized ginger (optional)

    Thaw puff pastry according to package directions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to a 14x11-inch rectangle. Trim to a 12x10-inch rectangle. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick pastry with a fork. Build up the sides slightly by folding in about 1/2 inch of pastry on edges. Brush edges with egg white. Crimp or decorate edges with cutouts from pastry trimmings. Brush again with egg white.

    In a small mixing bowl stir together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon ginger, and lemon peel. Cut in margarine or butter until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle half of the ginger mixture over pastry. Arrange pear slices on top, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with the remaining ginger mixture.

    Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until pastry is golden and pears are tender. Serve warm. If desired, top each serving with whipped cream and additional crystallized ginger.

    August 24, 2009

    Cajun Style Meatloaf

    Cajun Monday.
    Now, I know a lot of you really don't care for meatloaf. But I'm telling you this Cajun dish should really be named something else, cause it's about as gourmet as they get down in the Bayou.

    The taste of the meatloaf is outstanding on it's own but whatever you do, don't you dare forgo the sauce made with peppers and onions. Hoooweee, dis here is good folks.


    Cajun Style Meatloaf
    Makes 6 to 8 servings

    2 tablespoons bacon renderings or butter, melted
    2 green onions, finely chopped
    1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
    1/3 cup finely chopped celery
    1 cup finely chopped onions
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon crushed dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
    1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 cup ketchup
    1/2 cup buttermilk (or evaporated milk)
    1 1/2 pounds ground lean beef
    1 pound ground pork
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper sauce
    1 cup very fine plain bread crumbs

     Pepper Sauce for Meats:

    1 tablespoon oil
    1 cup diced sweet red pepper
    1 cup diced sweet green pepper
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    1/4 cup water
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup cider vinegar
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds

    Melt the grease in skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook until softened. Stir in the next 7 ingredients and cook for about a minute. Stir in ketchup, buttermilk and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove bay leaves.

    Heat oven to 350 degree F.

    Combine beef, pork, eggs and remaining ingredients in large bowl. Stir the vegetable mixture into meat mixture until well blended. Spoon mixture evenly into 9x5-inch loaf pan. Bake 70 minutes until meat thermometer inserted in center registers 160 degree F.

    Meanwhile, make the pepper sauce. In large skillet over medium-high heat, add the vegetables, water and salt. Cook stirring occasionally over until very tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and sauce is thickened, about 8 minutes.

    When meatloaf is done, cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Drain off the grease and un-mold onto serving platter. Serve with the pepper sauce to the side.

    August 23, 2009

    Chicken Casserole D'Iberville

    This recipe, from Charlotte Skelton's book Absolutely a la Carte, is named after a community north of Biloxi. When pressed for time, try the Kitchen Express method at the bottom.

    Chicken Casserole D'Iberville
    - a 1 dish meal - makes 12 to 16 servings

    2 (3-pound) whole chickens
    1 cup water
    1 cup dry sherry
    2 celery stalks
    1 onion, quartered
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
    2 (6-ounce) packages long-grain and wild rice mix
    1/2 cup butter or margarine
    2 (8-ounce) packages sliced mushrooms
    1 bunch green onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
    1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
    1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
    1 sleeve round buttery crackers, crushed (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1 (6-ounce) can French-fried onions, crushed
    1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
    1/4 teaspoon paprika
    1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

    Bring first 9 ingredients to a boil in a large Dutch oven; reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour or until chicken is done. Remove chicken, reserving broth in Dutch oven. Let chicken cool. Pour broth through a fine wire mesh strainer into an 8-cup liquid measuring cup; discard solids.
    Cook rice according to package directions, substituting 4 1/4 cups reserved chicken broth for water and omitting butter. (Add water to broth to equal 4 1/4 cups, if necessary.)
    Skin, bone, and coarsely chop or shred chicken.
    Melt 1/2 cup butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat; add mushrooms and green onions, and sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in rice, chicken, sour cream, and soup. Spoon mixture into 8 (2-cup) casserole dishes, 8 (5 1/2- x 3 1/2- x 2-inch) mini-loaf pans, 3 (8-inch or 9-inch) square baking dishes, or 1 (4-quart or 15- x 10-inch) casserole dish.
    Stir together crushed crackers and fried onions. Stir in 1/4 cup melted butter, paprika, and garlic powder. Sprinkle casserole evenly with cracker mixture.
    Bake, covered, at 350° for 20 to 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 to 10 more minutes or until bubbly.

    To make ahead: Cover casseroles tightly with foil, and freeze unbaked up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Bake as directed. (Casserole may also be baked frozen. Plan to double the baking times.)
    To microwave one frozen, unbaked 8-inch square casserole: Casserole must be in a microwave-safe dish. Cover dish with wax paper. Microwave at HIGH 15 to 16 minutes or until casserole is bubbly, giving dish a half-turn once.
    To microwave one thawed, unbaked 8-inch square casserole: Follow directions to microwave a frozen, unbaked casserole, reducing microwave time to 7 to 8 minutes.

    Kitchen Express: Use 2 deli-roasted chickens (about 2 pounds each) in place of boiled chickens. Use 1 cup dry sherry and 3 1/4 cups (26 ounces) canned chicken broth to cook rice.

    I kinda took the day off – going to the beach. Enjoy this recipe from Southern Living, 2004.

    Wish you were here!

    August 22, 2009

    Alabama Wild Shrimp with Chipotle Sauce

    Today I share a wonderful recipe, full of Mexican flavors featuring Gulf Coast shrimp and a tongue tingling dipping sauce experience. What could possibly be any better?

    Alabama Wild Shrimp with Chipotle Sauce
    Serves 8

    2 pounds extra large shrimp, peeled & deveined with tails intact
    4 garlic pods, peeled
    2 jalapeños, seeded & chopped
    1/2 bunch cilantro, or parsley
    1/3 cup fresh lime juice, about 4 limes
    1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    1 cup olive oil
    2 teaspoons chili powder
    2 teaspoons cumin
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper

    Place ingredients except shrimp in a blender and puree until smooth. Put shrimp In a glass dish and pour marinade mixture over tossing to coat. Chill for 1 hour and not more than 3 hours.

    Make the dipping sauce by combining:
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
    1 tablespoon pureed chipotle sauce
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro, or parsley
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons honey
    Refrigerate sauce until ready to serve.

    When ready to grill, remove shrimp from marinade and skewer the shrimp on wooden bamboo that has been soaked in water. Grill each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with the Chipotle sauce.

    August 21, 2009

    Riviera Maya Drunken Fish

    Friday's Fish

    Our many adventures into Mexico gave way to some fine eating. This is one I remember from a restaurant in Akumal, just south of Playa del Carmen. Locals catch fish during the day and serve it right up. Fresh as any one would want it and this recipe is divine. Try it next time you feel like going south of the border into the Mayan seaside.
    The recipe calls for grouper, but any fresh white fish works just as well, like fresh gulf coast snapper.

    Riviera Maya Drunken Fish
    Also known as Grilled Riviera Grouper
    • 1/3 cup tequila
    • 1/2 cup triple sec
    • 3/4 cup lime juice
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
    • 4 grouper fillets, or other white fish 
    • 4 Roma tomatoes -diced
    • 1 medium onion -diced
    • 1 jalapeño -seeded & minced
    • Pinch of sugar
    • 2 to 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
    • Salt & pepper to taste
    Mix the first six ingredients together. Lay out the fillets in a large dish and spoon mixture over covering well. Let set at room temperature for half an hour flipping over half way.
    Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl to make the salsa, cover and refrigerate.
    Heat the grill to very hot. Remove fillets from marinade patting dry. Bring the marinade to a boil and reserve.
    Brush fillets with additional olive oil and if desired, sprinkle with a little pepper. Grill four minutes on each side.
    Spoon the marinade over the fish right before removing from grill. Serve with the salsa on top. Add a simple salad as a side and serve with ice cold Mexican beer.

    August 20, 2009

    BBQ Rib Rub & Mopping Sauce Recipes

    Our favorite barbecue ribs starts right here.

    Of the food dishes shown on the cover of my cookbook, Grits to Guacamole, the one most asked about is the barbeque ribs. For so long I told everyone the rub and mopping recipes were a secret, but now that the book is out - I guess it's alright to share these with you. I have many different recipes to season and baste ribs but this combination is one of my favorites. After tasting one bite, most prefer the ribs served dry, that is, without a sauce. But if you want a mouth-watering experience, where all three recipes come together, then you’ll want to make my BBQ Sauce for Ribs (pg 192), which is also in the book.

    BBQ Rub for Ribs

    1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1 cup granulated garlic
    1/2 cup kosher salt
    1/2 cup paprika
    2 tablespoons granulated onion
    1 tablespoon dry mustard
    1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning -pg 58
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    1 tablespoon ground red pepper
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    1 tablespoon black pepper
    1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
    1 teaspoon ground oregano
      Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.
      Sprinkle generously on ribs - let stand several hours before barbequing.

      Mopping Sauce for BBQ Pork

      Great for all ribs

      2 cups apple cider vinegar
      1/2 cup white vinegar
      1/2 cup apple juice
      1/4 cup brown sugar -firmly packed
      1 tablespoon kosher salt
      1/2 tablespoon black pepper
      1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
      1/2 teaspoon paprika
        Place all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir and reduce heat to a low simmer cooking for 15 minutes. Baste ribs using a mop several times during cooking.
        For best results, use the slow, off-heat method for barbequing.

        My Cooking Method

        I like to use St. Louis style ribs, which are meaty and have shorter bones. Wash the slabs, remove the membrane on the bone side of each slab and cut each in half if desired. Sprinkle generously with BBQ Rub for Ribs, pg 194, and let rest at room temperature while preparing the grill. Make the basting sauce, I prefer the Mopping Sauce for BBQ Pork, pg 190. Place ribs on the cool side of the grill with the fireside set between 250 to 300 degrees F. Use a rib rack if your area is not large enough for the slabs. Cook ribs for 5 to 6 hours or until the bones begin to protrude past the meat. Baste often with the mopping sauce after the first hour using a mop. When ready, remove and wrap each slab in heavy foil, seal tightly and place back on the cool side for another 30 minutes.

        August 19, 2009

        Lobster and Shrimp fra Diablo

        Shrimp of the Week

        An excellent and delightful dish to prepare for guest and family alike. Every bite is a blissful experience of spicy Italian seafood. Enjoy!

        Aragosta e gamberetti Fra Diavolo
        Lobster and Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Southern Style
        6 servings

        4 lobster tails
        1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
        1/4 cup olive oil
        1/2 stick butter
        2 large onions, finely chopped
        2 leeks, finely chopped
        3 garlic cloves, minced
        1/2 cup dry red wine
        1/2 cup lobster stock or claim juice
        1 cup canned Italian tomatoes, chopped
        2 tablespoons tomato paste
        3-4 fresh small bay leaves
        1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
        2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
        1 tablespoon crushed red pepper (more if desired)
        Salt and pepper to taste
        2 tablespoons drained capers, if desired

        Bring a big pot of water to boil and cook linguine until al dente, keep warm. Heat the oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions, leeks and garlic until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the red wine and clam juice. Stir to blend all the ingredients. Remove lobster shells from the tails and cut meat into bite size pieces. Toss in the shrimp and lobster cooking until the shrimp turn pink. With a slotted spoon, remove shellfish and keep warm.

        Into the pan, add tomatoes and the paste. Season sauce with bay leaves, oregano, basil and crushed red pepper.

        Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add the lobster and shrimp and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until heated.

        Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the capers. Turn off heat and let set another 5 minutes. Make a bed of pasta on each plate, spoon pieces of lobster along with the shrimp and top with sauce. Top with additional pats of butter for an authentic true taste of this great dish.

        Note: This is my Americanized version with Creole flavor. Italian cooks seem to prefer their pasta served separately.

        August 18, 2009

        Strawberry Ice Tea

        This is one of the beverages we had for the cookbook signing this weekend. It was well received by all and the most favorite to many. I think it's pretty darn good myself, but then, I may be just a bit overly bias.

        Strawberry Iced Tea

        3 cups frozen strawberries
        4 cups cold brewed tea
        1/2 cup sugar
        1/4 cup lemon juice
        Strawberry and lemon slice for garnishment

        Puree strawberries in food processor or blender until creamy. Strain the puree in batches through a cloth discarding the pulp and seeds. Mix this juice in a glass decanter with the tea, sugar and lemon juice. Refrigerate to chill and serve over ice in tall glasses with the strawberry. Add lemon slice if desired.

        Get this recipe and many more in my Grits to Guacamole cookbook, click here and view the book along with many pages from my cookbook.

        August 16, 2009

        Elsie Lee's BBQ Pork Chops

        My grandmother, Elsie Lee, made these from time to time and so do I. Easy, affordable and good eating. Enjoy!  

        Elsie Lee's BBQ Pork Chops 
        Easy oven bake for country ribs, pork chops and pork loin tenders 

        1/2 cup cider vinegar
        1/2 cup ketchup
        1/2 cup brown sugar
        1 tablespoon spicy mustard
        1 -1 oz package onion soup mix
        1/4 cup water -if needed
        Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

        Dissolve all except water in saucepan and bring to a simmer, stir and simmer on low for a couple of minutes. Pour sauce over meat. Bake uncovered for 1 hour stirring occasionally or until meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. Add a little water if needed to the sauce. Note: These days meat, especially pork, contains a good amount of water. Only add water toward the end of cooking if needed.

        Get this recipe and many more in my Grits to Guacamole cookbook, click here and view the book along with many pages from my cookbook.

        August 15, 2009

        Creamy Red Pepper Dip

        The Little Dip that Could.

        This terrific dip surprises me every month in being the most popular with readers. It's no wonder, it is easy, delicious and made with ingredients you probably have on hand right now.

        Creamy Red Pepper Dip

        Mix together in a bowl:
        8 oz each sour cream
        8 oz cream cheese
        8 oz grated cheddar
        1 grated jalapeño
        1 minced garlic clove
        1 medium red pepper finely chopped

        Stir in 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin.

        Chill several hours before serving.

        Get this recipe and many more in my Grits to Guacamole cookbook, click here and view the book along with many pages from my cookbook.

        August 14, 2009

        Huachinango a la parrilla (Grilled Red Snapper)

        Friday's Fish

        Huachinango a la parrilla
        (Grilled Red Snapper)
        serves 4

        2 jalapeno peppers -stemmed and minced
        3 serrano peppers -stemmed and minced
        1/2 medium onion -diced
        2 cloves garlic -pressed
        1 cup vegetable oil
        1/2 cup lime juice -freshly squeezed
        1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
        2 tablespoon cilantro -minced
        4 -8 oz red snapper fillets
        1 cup tomatoes -peel, dice and chilled
        Lime wedges

        Combine the first eight ingredients in a blender and pulse to a coarse blend. Place the fillets in a non-reactive container large enough to lay them out in a single layer. Pour the marinade over the fillets and cover. Turn the fillets after thirty minutes. Marinate another 30 minutes, no more than 1 hour. Grill fillets quickly over very hot coals, mesquite coals are superb, about 2 to 4 minutes per side. Baste with the marinade after turning. Place each fillet on a plate. Spoon 1/4 cup of the chilled chopped tomatoes over each fillet and garnish with the lime wedges.

        August 13, 2009

        Country Onion Rings

        It's a crying shame - onions, I mean - why are they so versatile yet will bring tears to your eyes. This recipe will bring joy to you palate. Enjoy!

        Country Onion Rings
        8 servings

        2 pounds yellow onions
        2 eggs
        1 cup buttermilk
        2 cups all-purpose flour
        1 cup cornmeal
        1/2 cup pecan meal
        1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
        1/2 teaspoon pepper
        Oil for deep-fat frying

        Cut onions into 1/2 inch slices and separate into rings. In a shallow bowl, whisk egg and buttermilk until blended. In another shallow bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, pecans, salt and pepper. Dip onion rings in egg mixture, then coat with flour mixture.
        In a deep iron skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat 1 inch of oil to 375° F. Fry onion rings, a few at a time, for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

        Easy Caramelized Onions

        This is an essential element for so many dishes. Plus, it is so good served just as a side dish.

        Easy Caramelized Onions
        4 to 6 servings

        4 large onions, thinly sliced
        1/4 cup butter or vegetable oil
        3 tablespoons cider vinegar
        Salt and pepper to taste
        2 tablespoons brown sugar

        In a large skillet, sauté onions in oil over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Cook for 10 minutes longer or until onions are golden and caramelized.

        August 11, 2009

        Watermelon Pops for the Kids

        School has started back in Mobile but it is sooooo hot.

        Why not have a refreshing treat waiting for them after school. This recipe is from my sister in Tennessee. Pictured is her youngest grandchild, Riley, taken this past summer.

        Watermelon Pops

        A great and refreshing treat.

        2 cups pureed watermelon
        1 tablespoon sugar
        1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
        Wooden popscicle sticks

        Blend and freeze in molds or ice cube trays.

        August 10, 2009

        Creole Pecan Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

        This is the way to enjoy the taste of pecans.

        This is an old fashion, dense pound-like cake, reminiscent of times long ago when kitchens yielded wonderful aromas of nutty and sweet baked goods. 

        You'll just have to smell and taste how good it is! 
        And it is rather good!


        Creole Pecan Cake

        2 cups sugar
        9 large eggs
        4 cups all-purpose flour
        2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
        1/3 cup bourbon or brandy
        1/4 cup water
        1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
        1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
        1 teaspoon vanilla
        4 cups pecan halves, divided

        Cream butter and sugar. Add an egg one at a time creaming well after each addition. Mix the nutmeg and baking powder into the flour and add flour to egg mixture adding the water a little at a time. Add vanilla about half way through. Dredge the pecans in extra flour and add 3 cups to the batter. Add the whiskey and blend well. The batter will be rather stiff like a fruit cake. 

        Place the remaining 1 cup coated pecans in a large bundt pan well greased or a large angel food pan. Top with the batter. Bake in a pre-heated 325-350 degree F. oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Test after 1 1/2 hours. (cooking time reflects difference of using a coated pan vs. aluminum)

        The cake is great by itself but if you're inclined to glaze it, this is a popular southern one to try.

        Buttermilk Glaze

        1 cup sugar
        1/2 cup buttermilk
        1/2 teaspoon vanilla
        1/2 teaspoon soda
        1 tablespoon corn syrup

        Combine all in a saucepan, bring to a boil stirring for 2 minutes.

        August 9, 2009

        You’ll do a little traveling for today’s
        Sunday Dinner!
        It’s a progressive dinner featuring my food blog friends and me.
        Today you are in for a fabulous indulgence. Magnificent recipes from the most talented and inspiring people I know and from all over the place - culinary cooks, star chefs and great food personalities.
        So come on, sit back and get ready for a delightful and stimulating dining experience.

        Appetizer & Drink - Sha Bale & Po Cha
         Salad - Bun 
         Entree - Siew Yuk
        Dessert - Peanut Butter Cupcakes & Strawberry Ricotta Tartlets 

        first stop - Appetizers & Drinks

        Guest Appetizer Recipe:

        Nick and Carolina, living in the Netherlands, provides this wonderful Tibetan meat pastry. To go with this appetizer, they suggest a butter tea, known as Po Cha, as it is the most typical Tibetan drink.  

        See others in the progressive dinner menu.


        Ingredients: Onions
        3 Fresh ground ginger
        1 tbs Fresh ground garlic
        1 tbs Oil
        2 tbs Ground cumin
        1/2 tsp Salt
        1 tbs Sesame oil
        1 tsp Hot water
        2 tbs Minced lamb or beef
        1 kg Flour
        6 cups Cold water

        Preparation: In a large bowl belnd together the cold water and the flour, adding the water little by little until getting a soft dough. Knead the dough for some minutes (around 4-5) and leave it stand for a while at room temperature. In a bowl combine together the hot water,chopped onion, oil, salt, spices and the meat, mix them well. Roll out the dough as thin as possible and cut from it round discs from around 10 cm diameter. Put 2 teaspoons of the meat mixture on the round and flatten it down a little. Deep fry the sha-balé in hot oil. Serve with chilli sauce.

        Po Cha - Doing a quick search, I came across this recipe by Ron Pulicari from the Well Fed Network. Here are a few of his remarks: "Well, if you’re interested in making butter tea you might have trouble following traditional recipes since they call for yak butter. This version is updated to allow for local ingredients and modern “mixing” methods. Traditionally, the concoction is made in a churn but since I’ve retired my churn along with my cotton gin, a cocktail shaker will have to do. Make a regular cup of unflavored black tea and put it in a mixer or a container with a tight fitting cover. (Please be careful when shaking hot beverages) Include a small pinch of salt, a teaspoon of butter, and some milk. Shake the tea, salt, butter and milk in the shaker for 15 seconds. This emulsifies the butter so that it doesn’t rise to the top of the tea and cause the butter slick I described above."

        Find more incredible recipes from Nick and Carolina over on their blog - Mrs and Mr Bear's Kitchen

        second stop - a delightful salad

        See the line-up for this progressive dinner from my foodies.

        From Quechee VT comes our next course, her version of a Vietnamese salad called Bún Thịt Nướng. Carol Egbert is a multi-talented individual and her recipes are exceptional in appearance and taste. You need to visit her blog to view the excellent artwork - like I said she has many wonderful things going.  

        Bún - My Way

        I thawed and brined eight large shrimp for about an hour in a bowl of cold water mixed with two tablespoons of sugar and one tablespoon of salt. To prepare the vegetables, I peeled the bottoms of the asparagus, sliced the onion in quarter inch slices and the red pepper in one inch squares, rinsed the jalapeño but left it whole, grated a tablespoon of ginger and a large clove of garlic with a micro plane. To soften the rice noodles, I put them in a pot of boiling water, turned of the heat, covered the pot, after ten minutes, I rinsed the noodles in cold water and drained them. A handful of noodles about an inch and a half in diameter was the perfect amount for two, so sweet Rosie was disappointed when there were no noodles in her bowl at dinner. While the vegetables cooked on the grill pan, I made a simple sauce of equal parts of lime juice, sugar and fish sauce. I put the vegetables onto a platter as they finished cooking and grilled the shelled and deveined shrimp. In a wok, I quickly sautéed the garlic and ginger in a tablespoon of oil, added the noodles and sauce, gave a quick stir and turned off the heat.
        Time to build individual salads in large bowls. Begin with shredded, lettuce, noodles next, then vegetables and shrimp, top with chopped peanuts and any of the sauce still in the wok and the minced grilled jalapeño.
        See more of this recipe, her artwork and many more wonderful recipes at:

        third stop - Fuji Mama

        See the line-up in this progressive dinner from my foodies.

        Now westward to Southern California to the blog of Fugi Mama (that’s what she is called) and her Julia Child’s inspired creation of stuffed tomatoes. Fuji Mama was one of the first blogs I started following and all of her writings and recipes are absolutely fab. Her version takes on a Japanese flair with the use of Panko and shiso, a herb in the mint/basil family. Enjoy!  

        Tomates à la Japonaise 
        (Tomatoes Stuffed with Panko, Herbs, and Garlic) Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child
        6 servings

        6 firm, ripe, red medium tomatoes
        Salt and Pepper
        3 cloves minced garlic
        3 Tbsp. minced green onions
        1 Tbsp. minced fresh shiso leaf (or you can use all basil instead)
        3 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
        1/4 tsp. salt
        1/8 tsp. pepper
        1/4 cup olive oil
        1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
        Toasted sesame oil, to sprinkle on top of stuffed tomatoes

        1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
        2. Remove the stems and wash the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Gently squeeze out the juice and seeds. Sprinkle the halves lightly with salt and pepper.
        3. Blend remaining ingredients (from garlic on, except for sesame oil) in a mixing bowl. Fill each tomato half with a spoonful or two of the mixture. Sprinkle with a few drops of toasted sesame oil. Arrange the tomatoes in a shallow, oiled roasting pan (just large enough to hold the tomatoes easily in one layer)--do not crowd them.
        4. Shortly before you are ready to serve, place them in the upper third of the preheated oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender but hold their shape, and the panko bread crumb filling has browned lightly.
        Spend more time with Fuji Mama and all of her brilliant recipes at:

        fourth stop - My house

        See the line-up in this progressive dinner from my foodies.

        Browsing for recipes, I wanted to do something new and feature a recipe from Foodbuzz. This one is by Marc Matsumoto and comes from his blog, [No Recipes]. I think it will fit right in.  

        Chinese Roast Pork
        (siew yuk)

        1 skin-on pork shoulder or picnic roast
        3 cloves grated garlic
        equal amount grated ginger
        1/4 tsp finely ground white pepper
        2 tsp Chinese
        5 spice powder
        1 tsp kosher salt
        2 tsp oil

        Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Wash and dry your roast thoroughly. Score the skin about 1″ apart. Mash all the other ingredients together to make a paste. Smear the paste all over the roast working it into the skin and meat. Put the roast in a pan that will let the fat drain through (a wire rack over a baking sheet will do in a pinch), and stick it in the over for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the skin should just be turning brown (if it’s getting too dark, turn down the heat sooner). Reduce the heat to 250 degrees F and let it roast for about 8 hours (for a 2-3 lbs roast). You’ll know it’s ready when most of the fat has rendered out and the meat has started pulling away from the bone. When it’s ready, take it out of the oven, transfer it to a different pan (you could do it in the same pan, but the fat that’s collected in this pan will smoke and set your smoke alarms off). Put it back into a 450 degree F oven to crisp the skin for 15-20 minutes. The skin should be puffed up, crisp and golden brown. Take it out of the oven and let it rest of a bit. You’ll probably want to take the skin off and break it up by hand, slicing the slabs of tender pork separately. I make a dipping sauce out of scallions, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and salt to dip the meat in and have it over rice. One other thing… the skin doesn’t stay crisp in the fridge, so enjoy it all the night you make it.

        fifth (and 6th) stop - Dessert time

        We’re gonna do a little traveling back to California and then onwards to Oregon in order to appreciate the desserts.

        Fugi Mama offered her recipe for a tasty cupcake that might just get us up to Gareth’s house for his ever-so-scrumptious dessert.
        Before we go to Portland, lets revisit Fugi Mama and her wickedly and delectable cupcakes.

        See the line-up in this progressive dinner from my foodies.

        FM's Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes 
        Makes 30 cupcakes

        CAKE 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 Tbsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt 2 1/4 cups sugar 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 3 large eggs 1 large egg yolk 1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted 2 cups ice water

        PB FILLING
        1 cup creamy peanut butter
        3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
        1 egg 1 cup milk
        3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
        1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (position rack in center of oven). Line cupcake tins with paper baking cups and spray lightly over top with cooking spray.
        2. Make cake batter: Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend.
        3. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in yolk. Add cocoa and beat until well blended.
        4. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with ice water in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until just blended and smooth after each addition. Set cake batter aside to make PB filling.
        5. Make PB filling: Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter, confectioners' sugar, and egg together. Begin adding in the milk little by little until the mixture is smooth and creamy (and still quite thick). You may or may not use all of the milk depending on the type of peanut butter you use. Stir in chocolate chips.
        Again, find more paramount recipes at:

        Now on to Gareth Mark's house in Portland for a wonderful treat.
        Here is the recipe from Gareth’s blog.

        Strawberry Ricotta Tartlet
        I started by making a Shortbread Dough. I used Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract instead of Tahitian, and replaced the vanilla paste with powdered freeze-dried strawberries to give the dough a bit of kick. I followed my own instructions, and didn’t worry when the dough cracked before baking. Remember to chill the tartlet shells before baking. I baked them for about 13 minutes at 350°F/175°C.
        While the tartlet shells were baking, I mixed some whole milk ricotta with about a teaspoon of honey, some puréed strawberries, and a hint of cinnamon. Once the shells were finished baking and cooling, I filled them with the ricotta. If I had had some, I would have used strawberry honey, which is honey from hives in which the bees harvest pollen from strawberry fields.
        The strawberries went into a bowl of cold water along with several sprigs of spearmint from the garden. Then it was just a matter of selecting berries that were just right, slicing them, and laying them into the shells, sometimes with mint leaves interspersed. To finish, I melted some strawberry jam and brushed it onto the berries.
        As I said, I couldn’t decide exactly how the tart should look, so I made two sizes of tartlets and then decorated each a little differently. One of them featured whole berries.

        Find more of Gareth's recipes and techniques at:

        August 8, 2009

        Sandy's Mexican Lasagna


        Saturday at our house means Mexican food. Sometimes we dine out but my favorite way to spend the evening is cooking up some flavors from south of the border. 

        This recipe is one that I cook often, mostly on request and it is one from a dear friend of our family. Try it and enjoy a taste from Sandy who cooks fabulous foods and is from Oklahoma.

        Sandy’s Mexican Lasagna

        1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeños -shredded
        1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese -shredded
        2 pounds ground beef
        2/3 cup chopped onion
        1/2 cup chopped green pepper
        1 garlic clove -crushed 
        1 large green chili pepper -seeded and minced
        2 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        1 -6 oz can tomato paste
        1/4 teaspoon pepper
        1 -15 oz tomato sauce
        1 -8 or 11oz can whole corn -drained
        1/4 cup black olives -sliced
        1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
        1 medium tomato -chopped
        9 large flour tortillas -cut each in half
          Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
          Grease a 2-quart baking dish. 
          Mix the two cheeses together and put aside. 
          Cook beef, onion, bell peppers and garlic over medium heat until meat is brown and crumbly. Add next 10 ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. 
          Place 6 tortilla halves on bottom of baking dish. Layer 1/3 meat sauce, 1/3 cheese & repeat two more times ending with cheese. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. 
          Can be prepared ahead and stored in refrigerator until ready to bake. 
          Note: I made mine with 4 layers of tortillas.

          Get this recipe and many more in my Grits to Guacamole cookbook.

          August 7, 2009

          2 great Bass recipes

          Friday's Fish

          What to do with all the bass from the Lower Alabama Delta?

          Here are two simple-to-make but downright tasty-to-eat recipes.

          Spotted Bass Roasted With Tomatoes And Basil
          serves about 6

          2 lbs bass fillets, rinsed in cold water and patted dry
          6 medium tomatoes, sliced
          2 lemons, cut into wedges
          3/4 cup green onions, finely sliced
          1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
          1/4 cup olive oil
          1 1/2 tsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
          Freshly-ground black pepper - to taste
          Salt - to taste
          Fresh chives, for a garnish

          Layer equivalent of about 3 of the tomatoes (sliced) in a buttered glass baking dish; sprinkle about half the green onions over the tomatoes and
          coat with most of the olive oil; sprinkle on half the parsley and basil, along with black pepper. Add bass fillets and top with remaining ingredients (except parsley sprigs) and roast at 450 F (15 minutes), or until fish is cooked and flakes easily when tested with a fork. Spoon Tomato-Basil Sauce from baking dish over fillets and garnish with the chives. Serve hot over a bed of couscous for a wonderful meal.

          Broiled Largemouth Bass Brushed With Chili Butter
          4 servings
          4 bass fillets, about 2 pounds total, rinsed under running water and patted dry
          1 clove fresh garlic, finely chopped
          1/4 cup salted butter, cut into slices
          1/2 tsp chili powder
          1/4 tsp ground cumin
          1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

          To make Chili Butter: soften butter in a bowl with the back of a wooden spoon. Mix in the chili powder, cumin, cayenne and garlic, then work mixture together really well. Place bass fillets in a pan and brush with the chili butter. Broil the fish 4 to 6" from the heat source (high) for  5 to 7 minutes or until the fish flakes when tested with a fork. Transfer fish to a serving plate using a spatula. Serve hot with your favorite salad or side.

          August 6, 2009

          Eggs Florentine

          A delightful breakfast dish that is simple to make and good to eat!  

          Over Easy Eggs Florentine 

          4 or 8 servings 

          2 cups cooked spinach - well drained, and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper
          1 cup heavy cream
          Hot pepper sauce - to taste
          8 Eggs
          1 cup grated Swiss cheese
          1/3 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese

          Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
          For single servings: Butter 8 small ramekins or custard cups.
          For Double egg servings: Butter 4 small souffle dishes.
          Divide the spinach among each dish with a layer of spinach on the bottom and going up the sides. Mix cream and hot sauce. Pour about 1 tablespoon (for each egg) of the cream mixture over spinach in each dish. Mix Swiss and Parmesan cheeses together. Divide cheese mixture over the top of the dishes. Break 1 or 2 eggs into each dish, then top with another tablespoon or two of cream. Place filled dishes in a water bath (a baking pan, filled halfway up the sides of the cups with boiling water). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until egg white are completely cooked. (If you don't like your yolks runny, cook longer).