Creole Barbeque Shrimp

“Bon soir!  Bon appetit!  You’ gonna have the time from you’ life,  I garontee!” Justin Wilson”

This is another of the dishes I learned to make at the cooking classes I attended in New Orleans last March. Although not originally theirs, this recipe was provided by Crescent City Cooks as part of the materials they give to attendees. This is a simple recipe but with outstanding results!

Ingredients:

36 shrimp, large, whole
1 lemon, sliced
½ cup shallot, minced
½ cup garlic, minced
2 sticks butter, sliced
½ cup olive oil, EVOO
½ cup green onion
6 Tbsp each of crushed rosemary, oregano, thyme
Creole seasoning to taste

BBQ Shrimp served over cheese grits

1 Tbsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 bay leaf
1 cup beer
½ cup seafood or fish stock
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
Louisiana hot sauce to taste

Instructions:

1. Leaving the heads and the tails intact, peel the shells off the shrimp and set aside.

2. Put olive oil in a pan. Add shallot, green onions and herbs. Sauté for 3 minutes, add stock and garlic. Cook for 4 minutes. Add beer, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, pepper, salt, creole seasoning, and hot sauce. Cook 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add lemon and shrimp. Stir in butter and cook until shrimp are cooked through (about 3 to 4 minutes)

4. Serve with warm, crusty French bread and/or over cheese grits.

Turtle Soup

“I gotta little Cajun in my soul.”

At least for me, Turtle Soup is the benchmark for Cajun cuisine. My first introduction was at Ernest’s in Shreveport when I was a teenager. Over these past many years I’ve sampled Turtle Soup whenever I can find it on a menu … I even enjoyed “Mock Turtle Soup” at the original Ralph & Kacoo’s … undoubtedly the best though, was at Commander’s Palace in NOLA.

The posting of this recipe marks the first of what will be several resulting in my attending several cooking classes at a NOLA culinary school in March, 2017 … an account of that experience can be read in a story appearing on this website under Rambling, Rants, & Misc. Stuff.

This recipe comes from Crescent City Cooks of NOLA. This is not a simple recipe; it is not a quick-to-prepare recipe … however, the result is well worth the effort and the time spent!

Ingredients:

1 pound turtle meat (may substitute veal or lean sirloin)
1-2 quarts water/seafood stock
½ cup high-heat cooking oil
½ cup flour
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 Tbsps tomato paste
2 cans of diced tomatoes
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsps Worcestershire sauce
4 stalks green onion, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
Cajun/Creole seasoning to taste (low sodium preferred)
1 bay leaf
½ tsp allspice
½ cup dry sherry
4 boiled eggs, chopped

Directions:

1. Put the turtle meat in a pot with water slightly covering the meat. Simmer until done, approximately 30 minutes. Remove the meat and rough chop it and then finely shred it in a food processor.

I forgot the warm, crusty french bread!


2. Finely dice or pulse the onion, bell pepper and celery in a food processor. Finely dice or pulse the tomatoes in a food processor. Hold separately. Mince the garlic.
3. Make the roux: heat oil on medium high heat to just below smoke point; add flour. Stir constantly, adjusting the heat down to medium when roux begins to smoke. Cook to a rich chocolate color.
4. To the roux, add prepared onion, bell pepper and celery. Add 3 pinches of salt and 1 Tbsp of Cajun/Creole seasoning. Sauté on medium for about 10 minutes until the mixture is glossy.
5. To the roux, add tomato paste and cook 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook down the tomatoes for another 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for two minutes and add the prepared turtle meat. Add bay leaf and allspice.
6. Simmer on low, covered for about 45 minutes. Add the parsley and green onion tops, and adjust seasoning if desired.
7. Serve with dry sherry, if desired, and/or chopped, hard-boiled egg.
Serves 8 to 12

Deep-Dish Pizza Pie

“I want abs but I want pizza more!”

If you like deep-dish pizza, then you will love this dish which comes out of the oven at least 1 ½ inches thick! I found the original recipe posted on Facebook by Tasty and it inspired my version which eliminates their bell pepper and white onion and utilizes some different ingredients. The unique thing about this recipe is that the filling doesn’t go into a pie shell … instead, the crust dough is cut into small pieces and goes into the filling!

Ingredients:

Ready to go into the oven.

8 ounces mild Italian sausage (see notes)
½ cup shallot, diced or minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can pizza crust dough, pre-made (Pillsbury 13.8 oz.)
1 ¼ cup marinara sauce (see notes)
1 ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese (or mozzarella)
4 ounces sliced pepperoni (see notes)

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the ground meat until it begins to brown. Fold in the shallot and garlic and cook for 3 or 4 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Cut the pizza dough into 1 ½ pieces in the thickness that it rolls out to from the tube. (i.e. 1 ½” square that is ½” thick.)
4. Using a large mixing bowl combine the marinara sauce, ground meat mixture, half the pepperoni and 1 ¼ cup of mozzarella. Gentle stir well to ensure that the dough pieces are covered with sauce.
5. Pour the contents of the bowl into a greased deep pizza pan or a large cast iron skillet (I used an 11” dia. skillet). Top with the cup of Italian blend cheese and the remaining pepperoni slices.
6. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden and dough is cooked through. Cut into wedges and enjoy.

Hot just out of the oven.


Notes:

1. Until I ate this, I’d forgotten that I’m not too keen on fennel and/or anise and the Italian sausage has both. Next time I will use pork sausage (without fennel/asise) or maybe a pork sausage & ground lean beef combination.
2. I used a good brand “traditional tomato & basil” sauce … next time I plan to use a spicier canned/jarred pizza sauce.
3. I used regular size pepperoni slices cut in half for the inside of the pizza and then whole pepperon1 slices to top it. Next time I plan to use the tiny pepperonis for the inside of the pie and I’ll probably add some sautéed mushrooms. I’ll also be adding some crumbled bacon to the topping.

The first slice out just waiting for a fork.

Roasted Tomatoes With Shrimp And Feta

“Live, Love, Cook.”

I can’t think of a better way to begin the new year than with a recipe this fantastic. Although I am sure that it will be good any time of the year, it is especially delicious served piping hot on a cold winter evening.

Roasted Tomatoes with Shrimp and Feta

This recipe is posted dozens of times on the Internet so I will credit it to the earliest posting I could locate and that would be Real Simple magazine in September 2004 authored by Cynthia Nicholson.

INGREDIENTS:
5 large tomatoes, cut into eighths
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup Feta, crumbled
crusty bread or garlic toast, for serving

DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat oven to 450° F. Place the tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and spoon the olive oil and garlic over them.
2. Sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper and toss until the tomatoes are well coated. Pour the contents of the bowl into a large baking dish and roast on top rack of oven for 20 minutes.
3. Remove baking dish from oven and stir in the shrimp and lemon juice. Sprinkle with the Feta and parsley.
4. Return the dish to oven until the shrimp are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm with the bread.

Truly a 5-Star recipe !!

Pulled Turkey & Gravy

“…and remember, an apron is just a cape on backwards!”

This is an incredibly easy-to-cook and easy-to-eat recipe. The author is Courtney O’Dell at sweetcsdesigns.com … I pretty much stayed with her exact recipe except that I substituted Smoked Paprika for regular paprika and I added an additional hour of cook time plus extra gravy because my bird was almost 7 lbs.

Seasoned and in the pot


Ingredients:

One 5­ – 7 lb turkey breast, on the bone
One tbsp coarse sea salt
One tbsp fresh cracked pepper
One tbsp oregano, fresh or dried
One tbsp dried cilantro
One tbsp rosemary, fresh or dried
One-half tsp paprika
Two 18.3 oz cartons ready­made turkey gravy, divided (I used Swanson in the box-carton)

Ready to serve


Instructions:

1. In a large crockpot, apply cooking oil spray to the bottom to prevent sticking.
2. Season turkey by rubbing herbs/seasonings onto the skin.
3. Roll up two sheets of aluminum foil into balls.
4. Place the balls of foil on each side of the turkey, propping it up so the bony cavity is at the bottom and the fat
is up top (this helps baste the bird in it’s own juices).
5. Cover and cook on high two and a half hours.
6. Remove foil.
7. Add one carton of gravy gently pouring it over the bird.
8. Cover again and cook another two and a half hours.
9. When turkey is 175 degrees internally, and a bright opaque white, turn off the crockpot and remove the turkey into a large pan or baking dish … it may be falling apart so you may have to use one or two slotted spoons to get all the meat and solid pieces into the pan. While the contents of the pan are cooling off, pour the juice left in the crockpot through a strainer and save the juice in a bowl where a skimming ladle can be used to remove excess fat. Always allow the liquid to rest and cool for several minutes, so the fat will rise to the top.
10. Now pick out all of the bone and other undesirable solids from the pan leaving only good, tender chunks of meat. Using two dinner forks, shred or tear the meat and place it back into the crockpot along with the de-greased gravy.

Served over cornbread dressing


11. Add remaining carton of gravy to the crockpot and let simmer on low until ready to be served. Sprinkle with a little paprika just before serving.
12. Great over cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, in sandwiches, over rice, or on it’s own!

Beef & Mushroom Stew

“Nourish the body, feed the soul.”

This will likely be my last post for 2016 but the timing is perfect. Much of the country has been hit by a cold front so what better time to prepare a hot, rich beef stew. I first saw this recipe several places on the Internet and I believe I’ve tracked it’s origin to Campbells.com and this was my inspiration. Of course, I made a few small changes on my recipe!

Ingredients:
1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless beef bottom round (rump) roast or chuck pot roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Adobo seasoning (or substitute Kosher salt)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed French Onion Soup

Beef & Mushroom Stew


1 cup Burgundy or other dry red wine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed
10 ounces mushrooms, cut in half or sliced (about 3 cups)
6 ounces baby carrots, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 medium shallot, finely diced
3 medium red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup water, divided

Directions:
1. In a gallon-size zip-lock bag add the pepper and Adobo to 1/4 cup of flour. Place the beef in the bag and shake it to coat with the flour. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well browned, stirring often.
2. Stir the beef, soup, wine, garlic, Italian seasoning, mushrooms, carrots, shallot and potatoes with 1/4 cup of water in a 3 1/2-quart slow cooker.
3. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or until the beef is fork-tender.
4. Stir the remaining flour and water in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Stir the flour mixture in the cooker. Increase the heat to HIGH. Cover and cook for 15 to 30 minutes or until the mixture boils and thickens.

Honey Pecan Baked Salmon

“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.” A. Bourdain

My wife found this recipe on a Facebook page belonging to Jen Hatmaker who is a well-known Christian speaker and author in Austin, TX. I changed nothing but the name from the original recipe so all the credit goes to Jen.

Ingredients:
1 ½ T yellow mustard
1 ½ T Dijon mustard
3 T honey
3 T melted butter
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup bread crumbs, Panko or unseasoned
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped pecans
2 six-ounce fresh Salmon fillets
Salt & Pepper to taste
Fresh lemon juice

Directions:
In a medium bowl, mix together the first five ingredients. In another medium bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, parsley and pecans.

Salt and pepper the salmon fillets. Brush on the mustard honey butter pretty thick. Coat with the bread crumb mixture and pat down. Bake at 400-degrees (skin side down) for around 20 minutes. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the top if you have it.

The tangy mustard, sweet honey, crunchy pecan mix, and toasted bread crumbs are just delicious. Jen writes that this recipe also works well with chicken or pork chops. I plan to try it soon using catfish fillets.

Our Black-Eyed Peas

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”

This really isn’t OUR recipe but since my wife discovered it and I ‘fine-tuned’ it, we are calling it Our recipe! Actually, my wife heard about this recipe on a TV gardening show and the host made it clear that he knew the ingredients but not how much of each. I experimented with the measurements on two batches and finally came up with this recipe which we really enjoy served over fresh, hot cornbread.

Our Black-eyed Peas

Our Black-eyed Peas

The secret, or success, of this recipe is to use a smoked turkey wing instead of the traditional salted pork or bacon. This recipe should be easy to modify to serve two people or twenty.

Ingredients:

    24 oz. Black-eyed Peas, frozen or fresh
    32+ oz. Chicken Broth, enough to cover the peas
    1 Turkey Wing, smoked
    1 tsp Adobo (Mexican powdered seasoning)
    1 tsp Garlic powder
    1 tsp Onion powder
    1 tsp Canola Oil
    ¼ tsp Red Pepper flakes, crushed

    Instructions:

1. In a small bowl, combine all the seasonings and oil with a cup of the Chicken Broth. Mix well and set aside.
2. Place the Turkey Wing in a pot or large pan and cover it with the peas.
3. Pour in the seasoning mixture and enough Chicken Broth to cover the peas by about a half inch.
4. Cook on a low heat for 2 to 3 hours carefully stirring occasionally to ensure that the peas don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
5. Using a slotted spoon and tongs, remove the bones, skin, and other waste from the Turkey Wing and discard. Leave the turkey meat and shred it into chunks with two forks.
6. Serve as a side dish or even as an entrée over cornbread or even rice.
7. Serves four to six.

TexMex Chicken-Tortilla Soup

“Happiness is hot soup on a cold day.”

This recipe originally appeared in a 1997 issue of Cooking Light magazine and, in addition to being delicious it is indeed light in calories, fat, and sodium. Because I can’t resist modifying original recipes, I’m afraid you’ll find this one a bit different from the 1997 version.

Still cooking in the pot and only 10 minutes away from being ready!

Still cooking in the pot and only 10 minutes away from being ready!


INGREDIENTS:
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped or minced shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 10 ounces)
1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeño pepper (optional for more spicy heat)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 (14 1/4-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
15 oz. of canned diced peeled tomatoes (Mexican style such as Mild Ro-Tel), undrained
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed reduced-fat reduced-sodium tomato soup (such as Campbell’s Healthy Request), undiluted
1 1/4 cups crushed unsalted baked tortilla chips (about 16)
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic; saute 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the next 10 ingredients (chicken through tomato soup); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Ladle soup into bowls; top with tortilla chips and sour cream. Garnish with fresh Cilantro.

Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu

“Laughter is brightest where food is best.”

It is rare that I cook a recipe one time and immediately enter it on this blog … it is even rarer when I do this for a “light” recipe. Well, this recipe from skinnytaste.com proved to be the exception. It is unbelievably delicious and the pan sauce pushes it past any “light” recipe I’ve ever tried. I have two confessions to make about the “lightness” of the ingredients … I had no low-sodium deli ham so I used very thin sliced, smoked, picnic ham … and, I had no light swiss cheese so I used regular but thin-sliced. Personally I think the substitutes were insignificant because it is the pan sauce that makes this dish. And last, since there are only two of us, I only used only TWO chicken cutlets but I used the full amounts of everything else so there would be plenty of pan sauce.

Ingredients:
4 Chicken Breast cutlets, thin, boneless, skinless , 4 oz each
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour*
1/2 teaspoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2/3 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 thin slices low sodium deli ham, I use Boar’s Head (3 oz total)
4 slices light Swiss Cheese such as Alpine Lace (3 oz total)

Directions:
Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Lightly dredge the chicken with flour on both sides, shaking off the excess reserving the flour.

In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon of the reserved flour, whisk until smooth.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and half of the chicken. Cook 2 minutes on each side, until slightly golden, then transfer to a dish. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and remaining chicken and cook 2 minutes on each side. Set aside on a dish with the other pieces of chicken.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the chicken broth mixture. Whisk scraping up any bits stuck to the pan then simmer 2 minutes to reduce slightly. Return the chicken to the skillet, top each piece with a slice of ham and a slice of swiss cheese, cover the skillet and simmer medium-low for about 4 minutes until the cheese melts.

To serve use a spatula and transfer the chicken to each dish, spoon the remaining sauce over each piece.