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Friday, December 31, 2010

Fancy Pants Salad

So you're having a dinner party but all of your time needs to be spent on perfecting your entree? Happens all of the time. Don't let your starters suffer, Missy. This salad is pretty, tasty and much more fancy pants than a Mesclun or Ceasar. We have served this at Christmas Eve the past 2 years, and everyone loves it. People even go back for seconds...seriously... seconds on salad? Who does that? It's that good, people.

Ingredients:
1 bag (5 ounce) baby greens
1/2 large head iceberg lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
1 large romaince heart, cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 cup pecans, toasted in a 325 degree oven, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 T. balsamic vinegar

Place greens in a large bowl. Add pecans, cranberries and blue cheese. Drizzle olive oil over salad and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary. Add balsamic vinegar and toss to coat again. Serve

To make ahead of time: Go ahead and toast those pecans early. The lettuces can be prepared and refrigerated, covered, for 3-4 hours.


Christmas Eve 2010

Every Christmas Eve is spent at Mamaw's in Drew with my Mom's side of the family. We meet up and visit, drink Mamaw's punch & eat her famous cheeseball, and then proceed to a family feast. The staples of the meal stay the same but in the past few years, we've tried incorporating different side dishes into the mix. After dinner comes....you guessed it, PRESENTS!

Here is a shot of the spread this year (Mom didn't want me to take a picture because we didn't use pretty serveware)


The feast menu:
Honeybaked Ham
Jezebel sauce (recipe featured last December)
Glenn's beef tenderloin with horseradish sauce
3 Green Salad with blue cheese, toasted pecans and dried cranberries
Gayla's Potatoes
Pineapple Casserole
Broccoli and Gruyere Gratin
Corn Pudding
Rolls

Here is my plate:

The 2 family recipes I want to share from this meal (and the cookbook) are below:

Gayla's Potato Casserole - This recipe is created by my "Aunt" Gayla Marley, but was submitted by my cousin Lesley Smith. She told me that they have had this at a many Christmas and Thanksgiving gatherings and that it's always a crowd pleaser. I would have to agree - this is delicious and a great alternative to ordinary mashed potatoes.

Ingredients:
5-7 big red potatoes
1 small carton cottage cheese
1 small carton sour cream
3/4 stick of butter
Milk
Garlic salt
Salt & Pepper

Peel the potatoes and cute them into chunks. Mash them with an electric mixer. Add salt, pepper, and garlic salt and a dash of milk. Add cottage cheese and sour cream. Mash it all again in the mixer. Grease a 9x13 casserole and put the potato mixture in. Melt the butter and pour it on top. Bake on 350 uncovered for 1 hour.

Corn Pudding - This recipe, submitted by Jan Burnett, might be easiest recipe in the world. Don't judge the ingredients!

Ingredients:
2 cans (16 ounce each) creamed corn
1 package (6 ounce) Jiffy corn muffin mix
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup margarine, melted

Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased 2 quart casserole dish. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Hope all of you had a Merry Christmas! Here's to more eating in 2011!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Roll It Up

A few years ago, my friend Elise & I decided to borrow "someone's" fancy smancy apartment to cook a gourmet meal while he was out of town. And then we remembered that we were poor and preferred to spend our money on booze instead of fancy ingredients. After searching epicurious.com, we found a fun little recipe that not only looked delicious, but inexpensive and easy too. I think we were shocked that it turned out to be good - after splitting the grocery bill, I think we spent $4.00 each on dinner.

I've kept this in a steady rotation since then. It's especially enjoyed after some carb-heavy days. I always add Sriracha for an extra kick!

Ingredients:
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
8-10 Bibb lettuce leaves (you could use romaine or iceberg if you want)
1 carrot, shredded
1 cucumber, peeled and julienned (i left this out)
Chopped peanuts (optional)

Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons lime juice
Add half a garlic clove, if desired

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook the garlic in the oil until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Add the pork, five-spice powder, soy sauce, and brown sugar and cook until the pork is browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Scoop the pork mixture into the lettuce leaves. Garnish with the carrot, cucumber, and peanuts.

Serve with dipping sauce. I've even had without the sauce, and it's still good.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tips & Tricks

Working in the Home division has its perks. First of all, I know the best time to buy Le Creuset - AND I get a discount on it! Another benefit is that I learn great tips & tricks on products all of the time. I know that thread count is just a marketing scheme, which food processor is the best (Cuisinart Elite, if you need one), and countless other little factoids that I love to bring up to people that don't care.

I read a great article in the Times today with loads of little tid-bits on how to use and care for nonstick cookware. I was going to send it to my Mom, but then I realized that a lot of people don't know these things already, so I decided to share it with all of you.

Basically, the rules for nonstick cookware:
1. Pre-season your pan (read the article to figure out how to do this)
2. Use a lower heat than you would with stainless steel.
3. Do not put in the dishwasher, even if says it's dishwasher-safe. Seriously. Believe me. Stop being lazy.
4. Don't use metal utensils...use nonstick friendly to avoid scratching off the nonstick coating.

And my two-sense for nonstick cookware?
Invest in 1 good nonstick pan for eggs. I have the Calphalon Unison, which I would recommend. For the rest of your cookware, bump it up a notch and stop fiddling with your food - it won't stick if you leave it alone. Sure, nonstick can be healthier, but oil and butter are delicious ingredients that I refuse to leave out of my cooking anytime soon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Thanksgiving Grows in Brooklyn - Cranberry Chutney

I didn't get to go home to Mississippi for Thanksgiving, so I joined forces with some good friends in the neighborhood and had a spectacular Thanksgiving feast. Needless to say, we all cooked entirely too much, but it was all delicious! I had this cranberry chutney at Mary Margaret's house last year, and she managed to get the recipe for me from her co-worker, Kim. So here's to you Kim: I don't know you, but I like your chutney!


This isn't just for Thanksgiving, but can be served anytime. Mary Margaret served it with pork tenderloin, and it really complimented it well.

Ingredients:
1 bag of fresh cranberries
Less than 2 cups sugar - I wasn't really sure what this meant, so I used 1.75 cups.
1 cup water
1 T. grated orange peel
1 cup orange juice (this took about 3 oranges)
1 cup golden or dark seedless raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped celery
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 t. ground ginger


In a 3 qt. saucepan over medium heat, heat cranberries, sugar and water to boiling, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook a few minutes more for flavors to mix. Cover and refrigerate or process and can.


I would personally cut the orange flavor a bit, maybe use a little less zest, next time. But taste as you go along, to get to your liking. Enjoy!



Shoepeg Corn Casserole

This is a staple at every Burnett Thanksgiving, so since I wasn't going home this year, I decided to bring this dish along with me to celebrate with friends down the street. Now, this is not a fancy dish. Actually, it's kind of embarrasing to even tell you the ingredients. But at the end of the day, this tastes like home, which means it tastes damn good!


Ingredients:
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 can french-style green beans, drained
1 can shoe-peg corn, drained
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 pint sour cream
1 stick melted margarine
1 stack Ritz crackers, crushed
salt & pepper to taste


Mix first 8 ingredients. Add salt & pepper. Place in a 9x13" dish. Melt oleo and mix with Ritz. Spread on top of mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Blake's Turkey Fry

In the spirit of all things Thanksgiving, I have to post a turkey recipe, right? I don't know a thing about cooking turkeys, but my friend Blake Oliver from Monroe, LA has been bragging about his fried turkey for years. He was nice of enough to share the recipe with me, so I figured I would share with all of you. I can't exactly fry this turkey in my apartment just to show you a picture of how it should look...if you happen to try to make this, send me a picture of the final product!

PREPPING:
First pick your bird, should range from 13 to 15 lbs. In order to know how much grease you will need, place the turkey in the frying pot using water to judge the height. It should be about 6 in. from the top of the pot with the turkey in.

The night before cooking, you must inject it. Use one bottle Cajun Butter and one bottle Tony’s Injection per turkey. (This may seem like a lot, but it’s worth it.) While injecting, focus on the breast and legs - you can shoot some in the other parts for cooking flavor, but the breast and legs are obviously most important. You then want to rub the outside and the inside with some good spices which will create a great crust. The Cajun Butter kit comes with a pretty good one.

** The most important part of the injection process is to make all of the juice fit. You have to work the needle back and forth to really cover all of the meat or you will end up with pockets of seasoning which you don’t want. I always put a good bit on the very top where it forms bubbles in-between the skin and breast.**

Next, put the bird in the refrigerator over night. The next day you must take it out of the refrigerator long enough to allow it to reach room temperature before cooking.

COOKING:
Heat the grease to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the turkey in the grease using the metal plated stabilizer deal with the handle. (WEAR GLOVES) The temp will go down -this is good. You want to cook it at 350 Degrees for 3- 3 ½ minutes per pound.

After the long and exciting wait, TURN OFF THE GAS FIRST, then remove your turkey.
Drain the grease over the pot as it will have pockets of hot grease still stuck in some of the crevasses of the cooked turkey.

Let cool, cut and enjoy!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hot Wing Dip

So, as many of my friends know, I am in love. Head over heels, butterflies in the stomach, truly, madly, deeply in love....with buffalo wings! I limit myself to only eating them during football season, and during this time, I eat them every single weekend. My cousin Cliff submitted a recipe for the cookbook that I knew I was definitely going to make the second I saw it, Hot Wing Dip. I've had this at a party once and had to be removed from the premisis. This is a bad thing for me to know how to make....

Ingredients:
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
1 cup ranch dressing
1 cup Frank's red hot sauce
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 ounces cooked and chopped chicken breast (I would probably add a bit more if I were making this again to make it a little chunkier)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together and bake for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Cliff recommends serving with club crackers or tortilla chips. I went with Frito Scoops and carrot sticks - delicious!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chickity China the Chinese Chicken

I'm tired. I'm broke. I'm hungry. A quick solution? Chinese food. However, I don't feel like getting the MSG sweats or eating mystery kitty cat meat. So, what's a girl to do? Make it at home, silly goose. Not only is it just as cheap, but it's gotta be better for you! I ended up using a lot of stuff I had around, so just remember: you don't ever have to follow a recipe 100%. Improvise with what you have and avoid a stupid trip to the grocery for 1 ingredient that won't make a difference. I got this recipe at a budget cooking class at Whole Foods a few years back. This is about as easy as it gets.

8 ounces whole wheat linguine (I used angel hair b/c it's what I had. You could also use rice)
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (I used a boullion cube + 1 cup water)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons expeller-pressed canola oil, divided (i don't even know what this means - I used vegetable oil)
1 pound frozen Nature’s Rancher Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenderloins, thawed and cut into strips (I used chicken breasts and just sliced & diced evenly in cubes)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 cups small fresh broccoli florets (from about 1 large crown)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips (I didn't have carrots but I did have water chestnuts and that adorable baby corn so I used this instead)

Cook linguine according to package instructions, drain and keep warm. Meanwhile, combine broth, soy, vinegar, pepper and cornstarch in a bowl. Heat a wok or heavy skillet over high heat. When very hot, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add chicken and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside. Add remaining oil, garlic and ginger; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add broccoli and carrot; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add soy mixture and chicken, stir well, and cover. Lower heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Toss with linguine and serve.



This serving has way too much broccoli in it. Mom will be proud.

Got My Red Beans Cookin'

Ok, this was made last week especially for the Saints game on Monday night, but I am just getting around to posting. Seems like I should have made them yesterday instead...bad Saints, bad bad bad! No shortcuts were taken here ladies and gents.....I'm talkin authentic Monday red beans n rice. I brought some Camellia beans home with me from my last trip to New Orleans, and they kept taunting me every time I opened my cabinet. "Eat me, Lisa. Eat me," they would say. Adios red beans. Smell ya later.


1 pound red kidney beans, dry
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
5 ribs celery, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 large smoked ham hock
1 to 1-1/2 pounds andouille sausage, sliced on the bias
1/2 to 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 or 2 bay leaves
As many dashes Crystal hot sauce or Tabasco as you like, to taste
A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
Tony Cachere's - a nice heavy pour makes me happy
Cayenne Pepper
Black Pepper

Some people soak the beans overnight, but you don't have to. Instead, bring the beans to a rolling boil. Make sure the beans are always covered by water, or they will discolor and get hard. Boil the beans for about an hour, until the beans are tender but not falling apart.

While the beans are boiling, sauté the Trinity until the onions turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. After the beans are boiled and drained, add the sautéed vegetables to the beans, then add the ham hock, sausage, seasonings, and just enough water to cover.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 2 hours at least, preferably 3, until the whole thing gets nice and creamy. Adjust seasonings as you go along. Stir occasionally, making sure that it doesn't burn and/or stick to the bottom of the pot.

Serve generously over white rice. Tasted even better the next day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back to Basics: Southern Green Beans

I picked up some fresh green beans from the farm yesterday. I worked especially hard on these beans, weeding the beds one week and fertilizing another. I've never been so attached to a vegetable -sounds like I need to step up my love life. I didn't want to totally cook these down too much; I wanted to be able to taste the freshness. So I altered a basic recipe with ingredients I had on hand.

Green Beans - I grabbed a handful, probably 1/2 lb., trimmed and cut into pieces
1 piece bacon, cut into pieces
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 t. sugar

Cook green beans in 1-inch simmering water, covered, for 6 minutes. Drain and set aside. Return skillet to stove, add bacon and brown. Add chopped onions to the pan and cook until tender with the bacon. Add cooked green beans to the pan and turn to coat in bacon drippings and onions. When the beans are hot and bacon crisp at edges and onions translucent add vinegar to the pan and season with beans with sugar. Cook 1-2 minutes and serve.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Corn Chowder

I picked up some fresh sweet corn at the farmers market yesterday, along with some other goodies that you will see appear over the next few posts. I am a sucker for sweet corn; if I walk past it, I must buy it. However, I feel like I've cooked it every which way already this summer. UNTIL....I found this great recipe for corn chowder on simplyrecipes.com, which turned out to be delicious. You can really taste the great fresh flavor of the corn within the soup.




Ingredients:
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 strip of bacon
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 large carrot, chopped
1/2 celery stalk, chopped
3 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed from the cobs, cobs reserved
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 cups milk
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped (I used green because my tummy hates the red ones)
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (I used a little tiny bit of dried)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the bacon strip and fry until the bacon renders its fat, but doesn't begin to brown, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until soft. Add the carrot and celery and cook for 4 or 5 more minutes.

Break the corn cobs in half and add them to the saucepan. Add the milk and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Make sure the heat is as low as can be and still maintain a gentle simmer to prevent scalding the milk on the bottom of the pan.

Discard the cobs, the bacon strip, and the bay leaf. Raise the heat, add the potatoes, red pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, fresh ground pepper to taste, bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost fork tender.

Raise the heat, add the corn kernels and the thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.



Saturday, August 21, 2010

Just Beet It

Beets. Oh how I love you. I love you in salads, roasted all by yourself, and even just your greens. Even though beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, suprisingly they are very low in calories. Let's also not forget all the powerful nutrients they have to protect against heart disease and cancer.

My mom doesn't like beets, so I never grew up eating them, much less cooking them. Luckily, they are super easy. And don't even think about throwing the greens away - I recently started cooking them and am obsessed. You can cook just like any other greens, and they are delicious. The best part is that one vegetable makes 2 sides. I served with some chicken/feta/spinach sausage for a nice light meal.

For the beets:
Clean off any dirt with a paper towel, but do not wash. Trim the roots and stems to 1/2." Place the beets in an oven-proof baking dish and cover (foil works fine). Bake at 400 degrees for one hour, or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool. Then simply slip the skins and root off with your fingers.

For the greens: (from simplyrecipes.com)
1 pound beet greens
1 strip of thick cut bacon, chopped (I have made it without bacon and it is still good)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup of water
1 T, sugar
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/6 cup of cider vinegar

Wash the greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and wash a second time. Drain greens and cut away any heavy stems. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

In a large skillet or 3-qt saucepan, cook bacon until lightly browned on medium heat. Add onions, cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occassionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic. Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and red pepper. Bring mixture to a boil.

Add the beet greens, gently toss in the onion mixture so the greens are well coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender. Stir in vinegar.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Katy's Catfish Gumbo

My friend Katy Simmons knows a thing or two about catfish. Her dad is one of the biggest catfish farmers in the Delta, so she knows more ways to cook with catfish than you can imagine. I grew up eating Simmons Catfish and thanks to Katy's sweet birthday present for me, I have a bag in my freezer! I made her catfish gumbo and took a big helping to the office for lunch - everyone kept coming in to see what the delicious smell was. I ended up sharing it with two co-workers, and they were wowed!. Katy and I both prefer to make a roux for more flavor, but that is the hardest part, which isn't hard at all, just a little time-consuming. So grab some catfish and get to stirrin...you won't regret it.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups beef broth
1 can (16 oz.) tomatoes
1 package (10 oz.) frozen sliced okra
1/2 t. thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. oregano
1 t. salt
2 1/2 lbs. Simmons catfish, cut into 1" cubes
Cooked rice


If making a roux: In a skillet over medium heat, mix 3 tablespoons oil with 3 T. flour and cook, stirring constantly, until roux turns dark brown, about 30 minutes.


If not making a roux, which is stupid and I don't recommend: heat oil in large stockpot.

Next step is to add celery, green pepper, onion and garlic and saute until tender. Add beef broth, tomatoes, okra, thyme, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, oregano and salt. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add catfish and continue simmering 15 minutes or until catfish flakes easily. Remove bay leaf. Serve over cooked rice.





Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Perfect Saturday

I have absolutely enjoyed this beautiful Saturday 110%. The weather was perfect, and everything and everyone I encountered was cheerful. You have no idea how rare this is, so I took it all in and wore a smile the entire day.

The majority of my time was spent at the Red Hook Community Farm out in Brooklyn. My volunteer task today was weeding the green beans. My quads are going to hate me tomorrow, but it felt good to put my hands in the dirt and get a little sweaty. Everything was green and beautiful - hard to believe the picture below is in Brooklyn, right?
The best part of the farm is that I never go home empty-handed from a hard day's work. They have a great little farmers market where I can load up on goodies growing right where I've been standing all day. I can't even begin to put into words how delicious these tomatoes are....they are seriously like candy! I started eating them straight and finished half of the box immediately. Sure, tomatoes are in season, I know, but these seeds must be laced with crack or something - never tasted anything quite like it. Lesson of the day: Support your local farmers!!!
Since I was on a tomato-high, I bought some big boys too in order to make the best sandwich you will ever eat in your life. You don't believe me? Well, you are an idiot obviously. Make this NOW, while the tomatoes out there are so delicious.
Ingredients:
Mayo, no diet crap
2 slices bread (white bread is the best, but I didn't have any)
1/2 medium ripe tomato, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 BIG handful plain potato chips (i use kettle cooked because they are the bomb.com)
Spread mayo on both sides of bread....if you are on a diet, go with one, but whatever you do, do not leave off the mayo. Top with tomato sliced. Then season with pepper....keep going, keep going, yep that's perfect. Place a big handful of chips on the sammy and squash the whole thing together with your hand. Cut in half and enjoy the most delicious summer sandwich ever. Like I said, the perfect Saturday......

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pulled Pork Sliders

These sliders are so cute, so delicious and so easy to make! I have served them on mini rolls smaller than these for work pot-lucks, as well as full-size buns for the real deal! I don't even see the point of writing this out in usual recipe format....it's THAT simple. First, you need pork shoulder; I went with a half shoulder, a little over 4 pounds. Then you take a 2 liter of Coke - no diet stuff. Brown the shoulder in a dutch oven in a bit of oil on all sides. Then put the shoulder in the slow cooker and cover it in Coca-Cola......yes, you heard me right. DO IT! Then turn on the slow cooker on low while you are at work; when you get home, it will be falling off the bone. Take it out and shred it with a fork, mix with bbq sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's cause I didn't feel like making any from scatch) and serve on Martin's mini potato rolls with some delicious coleslaw...and if you are lucky like me, Zapp's Creole Tomato chips. Yum yum in my tum tum!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lemon Pepper Shrimp with Orzo

I don't really have a good story about this dish. I saw it in Cooking Light a few years ago and saved it with other recipe snippets I keep in my little notebook. I made it a while back and shared with my Mom, who also enjoyed it. It's simple, light, and really lets the flavor of the shrimp shine through. I usually have these ingredients on hand, so it's easy to throw together for myself or for company.

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked orzo
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
7 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic (I used fresh garlic - it's the best)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.

While orzo cooks, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, juice, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.

Elote (Mexican Corn)

I discovered elote during my first year in NY at this great little place, Cafe Habana. It took me forever to realize the secret ingredient is mayonnaise. I always bring this to outdoor cookouts in the summer - everyone loves it! Cotija cheese can be found at any Mexican grocery store, but if you can't find it, I've heard Parmesan is a good substitute.

Ingredients:
Ears of corn (however many you want)
Cotija chese
Mayonnaise
Cayenne Pepper
Lime

Shuck corn, leaving husk on. Wrap husk back and grill for roughly 15 minutes, turning, until hot.. Remove husk, slather each ear with mayo and then roll corn in the cheese to stick. Sprinkle with cayenne and lime juice and enjoy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Martha Williams' Creole Catfish

Martha Williams is a close friend of the family and an excellent cook. Our old house was right around the corner from hers, and I grew up sitting in front of her and her husband, Mr. E.D., in church every week. My dad grew up with all of her sons, so we spent time with the entire Williams clan whenever we could. My fantastic friend, Katy Simmons, shipped some famous Simmons catfish to me for my birthday, and I wanted to try out Mrs. Martha's recipe. It was very light, yet flavorful, and super easy to make. I served it with collard greens and squash casserole - a true Southern feast. The only thing I changed was that I added a bit of Tony Chachere's to the fish to add a little kick - delicious!

Ingredients:
2 lbs. catfish filets
1 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 1/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 T. salad oil
2 t. salt
2 t. chopped onions
1 t. fresh basil leaves
1/4 t. black pepper
4 drops Tabasco hot pepper sauce


Place fish in a greased baking dish. Combine all ingredients and pour over fish. Bake at 500 about 8-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Grilled Shrimp with Dijon-Garlic Glaze

I'm leaving for New Orleans on Wednesday (woo hoo!) and trying to avoid going to the grocery. Taking inventory of my freezer, it was a little bit on the side of uninspiring....ground beef, frozen vegetables, blah blah blah... I eyed some frozen shrimp and decided that they were the winner of the evening. I used the indoor grill pan, because I am lazy, but I really feel that using a real grill is the way to cook these puppies. The flavor was great; not too much to overpower the great flavor of shrimp, but just enough to make it interesting. If using a grill, you could use skewers to make cooking easier - no one likes overcooked shrimpies! Definitely serving at my next cookout.

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 T. dijon mustard
2 T. honey
1/4 cup fresh lemon juioce
2 garlic cloves, minced

Combine all ingredients except shrimp. Stir with whisk in small bowl. Brush one side of shrimp with mixture. Grill for 1-2 minutes. Turn shrimp, brush with glaze and cook 2 minutes of until shrimp are done.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lentil Tacos

I love meat. I really do. It's delicious. However, sometimes I decide to give the animals a break and have a vegetarian meal. Note: I do not want hippie food. I do not eat hippie food. Hippie food is lame. These lentil tacos have a ton of flavor; you won't miss the meat. Promise.

Ingredients:
1 T. olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed
1 package (2.25 ounce) taco seasoning
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped (use half for less heat) - I didn't use this time but if you have, it really adds a nice flavor
2 teaspoons adobo sauce - same note as above
8 taco shells
toppings: shredded lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and salt until onion begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add lentils and taco seasoning. Cook until spices are fragrant and lentils are dry, about 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Mix sour cream, chile and adobo sauce in a bowl. Uncover lentils and cook until mixture thickens, 6 to 8 minutes. Mash with a rubber spatula. Spoon 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with 2 heaping teaspoons sour cream mixture, lettuce, tomato and cheese.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pete's Breakfast Sandwich

In honor of Father's Day, as well as the recent passing of Jimmy Dean, it was a no-brainer when it came to deciding what recipe to feature next. This sandwich has been a staple in the Burnett household for as long as I can remember. Pete used to be the only one that would eat it, because of course, he "created" it, but both Jan and I both have grown to love it. We request it for breakfast whenever we go home, even though it grosses Sally out. Don't leave out the mayo - it is the best part!

Happy Father's Day to the most rad dad around, Pete Burnett! Love you!


Ingredients:
Jimmy Dean sausage (Hot is the Burnett preference) - RIP JD!
Eggs
Mayonnaise (Pete will only eat Blue Plate)
White bread (preferably cheap store brand)
Butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

Brown sausage in pan. Drain and set aside. Scramble eggs in same pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix together. On one side of the bread, spread with butter. On the other side, spread with mayo. Fill with egg/sausage mixture and grill in pan until buttered sides are brown. Slice and serve.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Broccoli Slaw

I had an impromptu rooftop bbq the other night and was on the hunt for a quick side. Potato salad? Takes too long. Macaroni salad? Mayo Glop City. I went to my lovely neighborhood market, Brooklyn Fare, to take a look at their pre-made sides and found a great looking broccoli slaw. I had seen the bagged mix in the grocery, but I had never had it before. I was so suprised to realize how yummy it was that night on the roof. I picked up some broccoli on yesterday and found an easy recipe tonight. With my trusty food processor, whipping this up was super simple and even though I plan on eating tomorrow with my lunch, I took a bite to taste..... yum yum! Try this as a new side this summer for something different.

Ingredients:
2 heads broccoli
1/2 cup golden raisins (Feel free to improvise here; cranberries or currants would be excellent substitutions)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
3/4 cup slivered almonds (or whole almonds that have been roughly chopped)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper

Shred the broccoli in a food processor, using the grater disk. In a large bowl, combine the shredded broccoli, raisins, red onion, and almonds.

Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt or pepper, if needed.

Allow to sit for 30 minutes (or an hour in the fridge) so the flavors can mingle.

I read in some of the recipe reviews that some people added bacon....mmm.....bacon. Just passing on the suggestion.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Roasted Eye of Round

Eye of round was on sale today at the grocery, so I decided to pick one up for dinner. I have never made it before but I found a simple recipe online that looked easy enough. It turned out to be a bit more medium than the usual rare I prefer, but that's my fault for cooking it a bit too long. Don't worry - I wouldn't have posted it if it wasn't worth it - definitely a tasty EASY meal that I would make again. Use the leftovers for a french dip sandwich the next day...if there are any!

Ingredients:
Roast:
1 eye of round beef roast
salt
pepper
garlic powder
onion powder

Gravy:
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ketchup
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Place eye of round beef roast in roaster or pan uncovered. Season heavily with salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper.


Roast in oven for 20 minutes. Turn off heat. Do not open oven door or the heat will be lost.

Allow the roast to sit in the oven for 20 minutes per pound. A lot of the reviews for the recipe suggested letting it sit 1.5 hours even if it was on the smaller side. This was a mistake on my part. I don't like brown meat. I like red meat. Very very bloody red meat. But hey, beginner here with roast - I'll get it next time! But take this as my warning. I would stick with the 20 min rule if you like a more pink roast.


Gravy:
When roast is done, remove from the pan and make a gravy with the juices by adding gravy ingredients from above. Stir ingredients right in the pan the roast was cooked in (on top of the stove), scraping up the flavorful bits from the pan. Cook over low heat until thickened, adjusting seasonings to taste. A teaspoon of beef bouillon may be added for extra flavor if needed. If the roast didn't have much in the way of drippings, add a tablespoon of butter to the gravy.


Next, just slice and serve with the delicious gravy. Don't be upset by the lack of color on my plate below. It's not pretty, I know, but it's summer - and I have decided I need to eat fresh sweet corn with as many meals as possible.















Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken

I had some chicken pieces I needed to cook tonight, but no recipe. I looked for one in a hurry at the end of the day that I had all of the ingredients for so I would not have to make a trip to the store. Eureka! Compliments of myrecipes.com, Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken to the rescue! I didn't follow my usual format because frankly, I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out ----and I was busy cooking some sides as well. Turned out to be a fantastic dinner that I would definitely repeat again! The mix of sweet and spicy is super tasty. The only thing I would change is doubling up on the honey/vinegar mix at the end. I served with a fresh sweet corn saute and some good ole southern fried cabbage.....yum yum.


Ingredients:

2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (I used 1 t. because I love cayenne pepper)
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (I used a 3.5 lb. package of chicken pieces)
Cooking spray
6 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar


Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side. (Since I used bigger pieces than thighs, I did 10 minutes on each side instead. Raw chicken = Yuckfest 2000)


Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well.


Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Curried Chicken Salad

We recently had a pot luck at work this past Friday to kick off the beginning of summer...or well, when it starts to feel like summer at least. I decided to bring Curried Chicken Salad, that I served in small pita halves. Everyone loved it! I tripled the recipe below to make roughly 30 pitas. But if you use the recipe given here, it will be an excellent lunch for at 2 days at least. Feel free to serve on top of greens or in a pita like I did.

Ingredients:
2 large chicken breasts (roughly 1 lb.)
1/2 cup light or regular mayo
1 t. honey
2 t. curry powder
1 t. ginger
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion (both green and white parts)
I like to add a little more variety here:
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup red seadless grapes, halved (not pictured)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (not pictured)

Place the chicken breasts in a pot with enough hot water to cover them. Simmer gently, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, never letting the liquid boil. Make sure the chicken is done by slicing it in half to make sure it is no longer pink. When the chicken is done, set it aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken and green onions and mix well.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, tear or cut into bite-size cubes and mix with mayo mixture. Add a little more mayo if you want until the salad is the consistency you want. Last, add the green onion. Refrigerate and serve chilled.




Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pickled Shrimp

I was recently invited by a lovely couple I know over to their new apartment for Easter brunch. Like a good Southern girl, I know that you never show up empty handed to a party. So I decided to make Papaw's Pickled Shrimp. This is a very common dish down South, but no one in New York has even heard of it. It's a simple appetizer that looks very elegant when displayed in any sort of glass or crystal serving dish.
My plan on Easter was to attend a Baptist Church in downtown Manhattan, run back to Brooklyn to pick up the shrimp and then be a bad Baptist and drink mimimos with friends all afternoon. However, little did I know that the people of Mariners Temple Baptist Church do not kid around when it comes to Easter Sunday service.. At around the 3 hour mark, they were still goin strong...and I was LATE to brunch. So unfortunately, I had to sneak out of church early, forego the trip to Brooklyn to retrieve the shrimp and just proceed uptown, grabbing a bottle of Prosecco along the way. The brunch was fantastic, and I got stuck eating the entire serving of pickled shrimp all by myself over the next days, which I totally loved. Poor me, I know. Next time, I promise to share.

Ingredients:
3-4 lbs. cooked, peeled shrimp
3/4 cup vinegar
2 1/2 T. capers and liquid
2 dashes Tabasco
3 or 4 pods of garlic
1-2 onions, sliced and separated into rings
1 1/3 cup salad oil
2 1/2 t. celery seed
2 t. salt
8 bay leaves
few dashes of Lea & Perrins

The first thing I did was go ahead and just slice the onions thinly for rings, as well as peel a few cloves of garlic.


I decided not to post the pics of the whole shrimp de-heading process because, well, they just aren't pretty. Unlike most people, I like de-heading the shrimp. So, if you ever need any help decapitating these yummy little monsters, give me a call. Once de-headed, I threw these fellows into some boiling water (I added a little Old Bay because I have it), and cooked for only 3 minutes. They don't have to be fully cooked, as the pickling process will continue to cook them even further. I drained them immediately, and then I peeled and de-veined them, leaving the tail on.



The next, and final step, just involved mixing all of the ingredients and then adding the shrimp and onions to the mixture. I added in some peppercorns as well, from a suggestion from my pal Mary Margaret. The shrimp need to marinate in this at least overnight to achieve the full pickeld flavor.

I decided to serve these in a cute Mason jar from The Container Store so that the dish would travel well, but really anything clear would do. You'll need a slotted spoon for serving. Yum Yum!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream

I have a really bad habit of going to the grocery store without a list. I tend to buy whatever looks good at the time, as well as what is on sale, and what I "think" I have on my list of things of cook. This results in me having really random stuff that doesn't go together and having to call for pizza delivery after I get home from the store and am starving. I went through my cabinet and freezer this morning and found many of the ingredients below. Thanks to the lovely internet, I was able to find a recipe that contained many of the ingredients I had on hand. I just had to buy a can of tomatoes and some heavy cream. Yes, you read correctly; I HAD to buy heavy cream. The internet told me to. This turned out to be a really great dish that I will definitely make again. I used hot sausage instead of sweet, and it was delicious.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 pound farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Go ahead and chop up the onion and garlic. I would also start boiling the water for the pasta. Follow the directions for al dente pasta and save 1 cup of the reserved water for later.


Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add sausage and crushed red pepper. Sauté until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up with back of fork, about 5 minutes.


Oh, yes, you'll want a glass of wine. Red, white, who cares? This is a lovely Bordeaux that I bought over the weekend.

Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is tender and sausage is browned, about 3 minutes longer.

See? All nice and brown.


Add tomatoes and cream. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sausage mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked pasta to the pan.

Toss over medium-low heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved liqued from pasta by 1/4 cupfulls as needed.

Transfer pasta to dish. Sprinkle with basil and cheese. And serve. Look how pretty!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thai Red Curry Shrimp

I don't hide my love for ethnic food. It's yummy, usually inexpensive, and exposes me to flavors and tastes that I didn't experience growing up down south. Usually, it's cheaper to order delivery if I am in the mood for Thai food. However, this recipe might be one of the easiest ever, and I have altered the ingredients for 2 people, so that I can have leftovers for lunch the next day. The ingredients are easy to find in NYC, but even if you have to hunt them down, there are tons of recipes online that include these things, so don't worry... they won't go to waste. It really is a delicious meal and one of the easiest things I know how to make. The rice takes longer to cook than the actual dish!

The ingredients:
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon red curry paste (this adds a good amount of spice, but I actually prefer more)
1 teaspoon sugar
12 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup coconut milk (feel free to use light if you are watching the calories)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (I like to use a bit more)

Why not make things easy and just go ahead and chop your ingredients now?



Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. 2 things noticed: I need a new nonstick pan PRONTO!....and this is very Medusa-esque. I am pretty sure I made up that word. I like it.


Add onion and curry paste to pan, and sauté 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Stir in sugar; sauté 15 seconds.

Add shrimp; sauté 3 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring frequently.

When they are pink throughout, those boogers are done.

Stir in coconut milk and fish sauce; cook 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in green onions and basil. (Oops, forgot to take a picture.)

Serve with rice and your choice of side. I went with haricot verts because that is what I had. Feel free to use anything. Told you it was easy. And delicious, right?