Showing posts with label Recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recipes. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Homemade Shrimp and Grits

Hi there! Time to get back into action. It is a cold, windy day in the sunny South. After having a very mild, Spring-like February, Winter roared back with a vengeance, dropping the overnight lows into the 20's and even dropping snow in some areas over the past weekend.

This seems like the perfect time to pull out some long neglected cold weather comfort food. While I'm not a great fan of grits, hubby and I both like shrimp and grits. He has tried them in just about every restaurant that has them on the menu, so I decided I should make some myself. After all what's hard about making grits?

Image Source: Todd Sanders
The only required ingredients are, of course, the shrimp (any size is fine) and grits, again any style you like will work. Next you decide on your liquid. There are as many different recipes as there are folks making them. You can use just plain water, or chicken, vegetable or shrimp stock, which can be combined with anything from skim milk to heavy cream, but the use of dairy is not required.

Next comes your choice of cheese such as cheddar, parmigiano reggiano, gruyere or whatever you enjoy. If you don't like cheese, don't add it.

In addition to the shrimp, there is often another protein such as Tasso or spicy sausage. The remaining add-ins/add-ons may include garlic, onions, parsley and green onions.

Now we get down to how I made shrimp and grits for two.

10 extra large (16-22 ct.) shrimp, cut into thirds
1 link Andouille sausage, diced
2 cups water (I simmered the shrimp shells)
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cups quick cooking grits (let me assure this is anything but a quick recipe)
1 cup shredded cheese (combination of sharp cheddar and habanero cheddar)
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TB olive oil
1 TB butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cajun seasoning

Bring the water and milk to a boil and add the grits and salt, then reduce the heat, stirring frequently.

While the grits are cooking, add the olive oil to a skillet and brown the sausage, then add the onions, letting them soften before adding the garlic. After about 5 minutes, add the shrimp and Cajun seasoning and cook for about 5 minutes, more or less depending on the size of your shrimp. Add the 1/4 cup of water to deglaze the pan, then add the butter, cover and keep warm.

When the grits are cooked to the texture and/or consistency you desire, it's time to stir in the cheese. Serve in a bowl or soup plate and spoon the shrimp and sausage mixture on top.

Serves two. Total prep and cooking time about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

As I mentioned, this is not a quick-fix meal. The grits alone took well over 45 minutes to cook and even then they were not as thick as they are when I just use water. Also, use a heavy bottom pot because using milk seems to make them stick to the bottom. Perhaps it was a combination of my lightweight pot and my stove, but they required almost constant stirring.

I also chose to cut my shrimp, but leaving them whole makes for a prettier presentation. 

I congratulate my sou chef for helping bring the meal together. We both agreed that we will be doing this again, with a few adjustments. I may change up the liquids and ratios, and use wine instead of water to deglaze the pan.

Sadly, I have no picture of our tasty creation because after the extended wait for dinner, we plated and ate, so I borrowed an image found online.





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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How to Make a Great Pizza Crust

Do you love a hot, fresh homemade pizza, but haven't been able to make a good pizza crust?  Now you can.  Follow these simple instructions and you'll be baking up delicious pizza in no time.

Pepperoni Pizza
Start with: 

1 3/4 cups of good quality bread flour.
1/2 teaspoon rapid rise yeast.
6 ounces hot water - 100-105 degrees.
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil.

In large bowl, mix all ingredients until all liquid is absorbed and no dry flour remains in the bowl.

Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.  This makes the dough easier to work with.

Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is pliable and not sticky, usually 3 to 5 minutes.  

Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about two hours or until doubled in size.

Turn the risen dough onto a floured surface and stretch or roll to the desired sized.  Top with your favorite toppings and bake in a preheated 500-degree oven for about 8-10 minutes.  For a crispier crust, use a pizza stone as shown in the photograph.

Makes one 13 to 15-inch pizza.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What's for Dinner?

A while back I gave you my tried and true method for boiled eggs, and it really does work - that is when you follow directions.  Now if you plop the eggs into the pot and crank the burner up on high, you're following directions.  But if you then go switch on the mind-numbing, I-can't-hear-a-thing vacuum cleaner and proceed to clean in the next room, well, I can't be responsible.  Oh wait, that was me (hangs head in shame).  When I had to shut the vacuum off to move to another room, as I'm limited by my 16-foot cord, I heard something that jogged me back to the present.  There was rattling and a weird hissing sound coming from the kitchen.  Water was bubbling over onto the burner, and the eggs were crying out that it wasn't enough to be boiled alive, but their little bodies were being badly beaten, too. 

I quickly turned off the heat, and figured since they'd had been at a hard boil for several minutes, they would be over cooked if I left them on the burner.  So in my effort to salvage the eggs, I pulled them off and set my timer for the usual 15 minutes.  This is what I got.



Eggs - medium well.  Unfortunately, they weren't suitable for my potato salad, but it wasn't the end for these eggs.  No siree!  I'd find a way to use them, and I came up with a plan.  This was last night's dinner.


I started with one large baking potato, scrubbed and diced.



And about 1 cup of chopped onions.



I cooked the potatoes and onions together over low to medium heat, and added salt and pepper.



In another pan I cooked 1/2 pound of "hot" breakfast sausage, and when it was browned I added the eggs and chopped them into the sausage.



I combined everything into one baking dish, topped with shredded cheddar, and warmed in the oven until the cheese melted.



It was pretty tasty, especially considering what inspired the dish.  Sometimes accidents are the mother of invention.


Friday, April 23, 2010

A Good Egg!

With the picnic season just around the corner, and all the ways we use eggs (e.g. egg salad, potato salad and deviled eggs), I got to thinking about how many variations there must be for achieving the perfect hard boiled egg.  I've read about people steaming them, and even pressure cooking them.  I haven't tried either of these methods, and I'm not here to bring you everyone's tried and true approach to the perfect egg - just mine.

This is the way my mom taught me to make boiled eggs with a twist of my own.  Place your eggs in a pan of cold water with the lid on, and turn the burner to high.  Set your timer for 15 minutes, and watch closely.  As soon as the water comes to a boil, turn the burner off and start the timer.

When the eggs are done, drain and rinse with cold water.  Run more cold water into the pan and let it set a couple minutes.  Drain the water, replace the lid and shake vigorously, holding the lid on.  The eggs will peel nicely and have a perfect yolk.  So give this one a try and see for yourself that boiled eggs are as easy as 1-2-3.

Here are some more tips for boiled eggs:
  • Older eggs (3-5 days) will peel better than fresh eggs.  (Never a problem here)
  • Do not add salt to the water.  This raises the boiling point of water and may make the whites rubbery.
  • Room temperature eggs are less likely to crack, and take approximately one minute less to cook than eggs right from the refrigerator.
  • A TB of vinegar added to the water will prevent the white from running out of any egg that happens to crack.  However, this can affect the taste.
  • Overcooked eggs may produce a green ring around the outer surface of the yolks.
Basic Egg Salad 
The recipe is simple and consists of boiled eggs, mayonnaise and salt & pepper.  Other add-ins include onions, pickles, celery, mustard, dill, and bell pepper. 
 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Awesome Olives

I first had marinated olives at a party, and I thought they were so good, I just had to find a recipe.  After pouring over dozens of recipes on the internet, this is what I came up with.  They're always a hit.
 
Marinated Olives
1 sm. jar pimento-stuffed olives (5.75 oz.), drained
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 TB olive oil
1 TB red wine vinegar
1 tsp. (scant) dried oregano
1 tsp. (scant) dried thyme
1/3 cup diced feta (approximately)

Mix all ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl with tight fitting lid.  Refrigerate overnight or up to several days to allow flavors to blend, and watch 'em disappear.  

Note:  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Like Spice - Dirty Rice!

Looking for something spicy?  This makes a great entree, just add a veggie and bread.  I guess you can use serve it as a side dish as well, just remember it already has sausage in it.  I got this recipe from Christy Jordan from Southern Plate.  Many of her recipes have been in her family for generations.

I made this very nearly like it was written.  I didn't have celery, and didn't worry about it.  It was just fine without it.  This was tasty and an easy recipe to put together.
 
Dirty Rice
4-5 Cups cooked rice
1 pound uncooked sausage (or ground beef)
*1 -3 Tablespoons Creole Seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s)
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 Bell Pepper, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped or minced garlic
4 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (or 2 Tablespoons dried)

In large skillet over medium heat, place celery, bell pepper, garlic, onion, parsley, and sausage. Break up sausage and cook all, stirring regularly, until sausage is fully cooked and vegetables are tender. Add Creole seasoning, stir. Stir in rice and continue cooking over medium heat until rice is heated through, stirring well the whole time.

*For the Creole seasoning: Start on the low end and add more after the rice has been stirred in if you like more seasoning. This adds the spiciness so you want to do it to your personal taste. 

I omitted the celery, used Jimmy Dean hot sausage, and my own Creole seasoning made from Emeril's recipe.  I made a half-batch using 1/2 lb. sausage and 3 cups rice.  I used 1 1/2 TB of Creole seasoning, which may have been aggressive considering it is the equivalent of Christy's max.  There was additional heat from the sausage that I didn't take into consideration.  We do like spicy stuff, but this was on the hot side for us.

I served this with roasted asparagus, garlic bread and a wonderful Brancott Pinot Grigio from New Zealand ($6.97 at Costco).  This wine had the right balance of fruit and acidity.  The fruitiness paired well with the spiciness of the dish.

The link above will take you directly to this recipe, plus the accompanying story.  She has great stories.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Simple Oven Chicken

Tonight's dinner was extremely simple.  Take chicken out of the freezer and go shopping.  Hubby's birthday is tomorrow, and no, I'm not giving away any secrets  here.  Fast forward to the dinner hour, and the chicken is thawed.  Take some French's brand French Fried Onions and crush them up, crack an egg and beat it up.  We're really hard on our food!   Next dip the chicken in the egg and then coat with the onion crumbs.  OK, we've already preheated our oven to 400 degrees, right?  Put the chicken on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness.  I always cut mine in half (like fillets) before freezing, and I flattened them a bit, so I only cooked them about 15 minutes. 

Here is the exact recipe.  I was only cooking for two, so I cut it back.

French's Crispy Onion Chicken
2 cups (4 oz.)  French’s® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten 

Place French Fried Onions in plastic bag. Lightly crush with hands or with rolling pin. Transfer to pie plate or waxed paper.

Dip chicken into egg; then coat with onion crumbs, pressing firmly to adhere. Place chicken on baking sheet. Sprinkle with additional crumbs, if desired.

Bake at 400°F for 20 min. until no longer pink in center


We had this with fried potatoes and green beans, along with the mismatched remnants of a bottle of Smoking Loon Merlot from Monday.  Yeah, I know better than that, but that's what was open, and yeah, sometimes I'll open the second bottle to get the right match, but not tonight. 

This simple recipe makes some tasty chicken right out of the oven. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Treat Your Sweetie!

Valentine's Day is a couple week's away so there's still time to plan a special evening, that is if you are inclined to celebrate.  It is not a serious holiday for us, meaning that we are not consistent in our celebrating.  Sometimes we go out for dinner, sometimes I cook.  Sometimes we exchange cards, sometimes we don't.  Occasionally there are flowers or gifts, but more often not.  Now we do have a good excuse for our lack of heart-shaped enthusiasm.  We both have birthdays in February, and we actually met in February 1986, so we have a lot more meaningful dates to celebrate.

That's not to say that there haven't been any special V-days or never any surprises.  One year I got a big balloon and some candy (Hershey's dark chocolate kisses).  Was that the year I got flowers, too?  After nearly 23 years together, the lines between the years begins to blur a bit.

Anyway, one dinner I clearly remember was in 2005 (I kept notes on that).  I had a recipe that I'd been wanting to try, and Valentine's seemed like the perfect occasion.  It is from Southern Living's Easy Weeknight Favorites.  Everything I'd made from this book was good so I figured this would be too, and it was.

I got a couple filet mignons from the Fresh Market just to make sure I started out with good quality.  That, of course, was when I didn't have to go across town to get there.  The recipe is for four steaks but if you're just cooking for two as I was, it's OK, just make the gravy as instructed. You'll just have a little more gravy for your potatoes.

I followed the recipe to a tee, and those were probably the best steaks I ever made.  My side dishes were homemade mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus.  I had French bread (probably from the Fresh Market as well) and a nice Cabernet to wash it down.

Now I know we had dessert, but please forgive me, I don't remember what it was.  If it comes to me, I'll update with that critical information.  Here is the recipe.  I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did. 





 Happy Valentine's Day!







Filet Mignon with Horseradish Gravy

4 (5 oz.) beef tenderloin steaks
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 (3/4 oz.) package brown gravy mix
½ cup water
½ cup red wine
2 ½ TB prepared horseradish
1 (8 oz.) package fresh mushrooms, sliced

Heat a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot.  Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper.  Add steaks to hot skillet; cook 1 minute on each side.  Place steaks in a greased small baking dish.  Add gravy mix and next 3 ingredients to skillet.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Stir in mushrooms.  Pour mixture over steaks.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or to desired doneness.  Yield:  4 servings.

Notes:  The times in this recipe work with 1-inch steaks to give you a perfect medium.  Allow more time for thicker cuts or more doneness.  You may also make your own gravy from scratch and then add the wine.  The package makes about 1 cup of gravy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cheesy Chicken and Corn Casserole

I have had a hankering for some new dishes for my repertoire.  When I need new recipes, ideas or just good chuckle, I tune in to Christy Jordan from Southern Plate.  She is down home Southern personified.  Not only do you get her yummy food, but you also get a peek into her life, her values, and the love of family that she pours into each and every recipe.  She does it all, from main dishes and casseroles, to sides and sweets, and many recipes go back for generations.

She appears on local TV in Alabama, and is even writing her own cookbook which will be in the book stores this fall.

Perhaps my favorite recipe is her hashbrown casserole. If you've ever been to the Cracker Barrel and tried their hashbrown casserole and thought it was good, try Christy's  It's way better, and everyone I've served it to loved it.

The recipe I tried last night was her Cheesy Chicken and Corn Casserole.  Now, I'm known to make changes, so I added my own touches here and there.

Here is her original recipe, followed by my tweaks:

Cheesy Chicken And Corn Casserole (this is a single recipe, I usually double it)
1 Box Yellow Rice
1 Stick Margarine
1 Can Cream Of Chicken Soup
1-2 Cups shredded, cooked chicken
1 can Whole Kernel Corn (drained)
1 1/2 Cups Cheddar Cheese

Cook rice according to package directions. Add rice and all other ingredients, except for 1/2 C of cheese, into a bowl and stir until well combined. Spoon into casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for about thirty minutes, or until bubbly.

Notes:  I used 1/2 stick of real butter, a 10-oz. can of chicken, and I made a version of my yellow rice from scratch (rice, onions, garlic, turmeric and some diced zucchini) about 3 cups.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Garlic Green Beans (a first for me)

Piling on to my previous post, I thought I'd elaborate about one of my side dishes, the garlic green beans.  I wanted something green to balance out turkey, stuffing and mac & cheese.  I had thought about bacon-wrapped asparagus, but the asparagus was all huge and dried out looking.  Yuck!  The Brussels sprouts and loose green beans were in much the same condition.  Zucchini was out since we had that all summer.  I was at a loss until I found a bag of green beans, already trimmed and ready to go.  Well almost ready.  You always have to look over your produce - even the bagged stuff.

Now, I'd had garlic green beans in a restaurant that I thought were good, so I pondered how one would make those.  I came up with cooking them until almost done then sauteing them with garlic.  I googled up some recipes and found one from Morton's Steakhouse in Atlanta that sounded like what I was after.  I minced 2 cloves of garlic and about half a shallot, and sauteed them in a mix of butter and olive oil.  When the garlic and shallots were softened and beginning to brown, I added the beans and tossed until the were done to my liking - tender but not mushy.  I'm not one for the crisp-tender vegetables.  I'm from the South ya know [grin] .  Anyway, the beans were a hit.  So pretty on the plate, and they held their green color very well.  

Here's the official recipe.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pasta alla Pancetta

Pasta is a quick go-to meal around our house, and the term covers anything from a simple goulash to baked ziti.

After spending most of the day away from home, and putting no thought into dinner I pondered what to fix. I know, pasta! I always have a number of dried pastas, tomato products and cheese. Add protein and/or veggies, and some herbs and spices and you've got a quick and easy dinner. Serve with garlic bread and some nice red wine and you're good to go. For the salad lovers out there, a side of greens is optional.

Here is what was for dinner last night.

Pasta alla Pancetta


8 oz. campanelle pasta
1 TB EVOO
4 oz. pancetta, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (please, use the real thing)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
S&P to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions (10-12 min.)

Sauté onion and garlic in EVOO, then add pancetta. Cook until browned. When pasta is done, drain and add the pancetta mixture and mix well. Add the cream and stir to coat. Add the parmesan and mix until melted.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Like Pineapple? Have I got a muffin for you!

This is a recipe from a very talented lady who plays a major role in the food and wine discussion groups on the Winelover's Page.  As usual with her recipes, there is a story behind it.  You can go here and see the original recipe and read the story.



Pineapple Muffins
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
4 TB fairly neutral oil, like canola
1 20-oz can "crushed pineapple in syrup" (do not substitute fresh, the higher acid in fresh pineapple will kill your leavening)

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the center, add the beaten egg, oil and 100% of the contents of one can of crushed pineapple. Stir until just blended. Scoop into greased muffin tins. Bake 20-22 minutes at 400 for large muffins (18 minutes for 18 regular muffins).

These are absolutely delicious.  I made some yesterday afternoon to send to family.

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