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Monday, April 25, 2011

Aunt Deane's Red Beans and Rice

It's you know what is for dinner. You got it - red beans and rice, darlin. When I spent a few years living in Louisiana, this was a given. It's a bit of tradition down there. Why, you ask? Well, laundry day was usually on Monday, so the women would cook a big ole pot of beans while they kept busy washing their clothes. My Aunt Deane submitted her recipe for red beans and rice for the family cookbook, which is the version you see here. This is not the traditional recipe that I was served down in Louisiana... this one used ground hot sausage and ground beef instead of the traditional link smoked sausage or andouille...think a little less soupy and more of a thick consistency. But it was easy, and I enjoyed it. Prewarning: It makes a lot....I'm going to freeze half for later.

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. hot sausage
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cans Hunt's tomato sauce
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes (cowboy up and use the spicy version)
3 cans dark red kidney beans
cooked white rice, for serving

Saute onions and peppers. Add meat and brown. Add Ro-Tel, tomato sauce, beans, salt and pepper. Cook slowly for 2 hours or overnight in a crockpot over low heat. Serve over rice. (And if you are anything like me, add some Crystal hot sauce!)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jan's Broccoli Salad

My sister submitted this recipe for the family cookbook, but like many of the Burnett recipes, it's a bit high on the calorie count level. Don't be fooled by the word "salad" here. I've missed out on my sister ever cooking for me, so I've never tasted her version to confirm this is the exact same. However, I have had similar salads and can let you know that this turned out great. It's simple to throw together to serve at a bbq or a potluck at work. I of course, will be consuming this entire dish myself I am sure. Hello, mayonnaise. I love you.

3 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped red onio
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or cashews (I used pine nuts b/c it is what I had)
6 bacon slices, cooked and chopped (I only had 3 and it was fine)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
2 T. wine vinegar (I went with white wine vinegar)

Mix first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix last 3 ingredients in another bowl. Pour dressing over broccoli mixture and stir well. Chill and serve.

Shrimp in Garlic & Chile Sauce

I always keep a bag of frozen shrimp in my freezer. It's great to break out a few just for a simple meal for myself, or the entire bag to serve to a bigger crowd. In Chinese culture, one is to eat shrimp for happiness and well-being. You don't have to ask me twice...I like both of those things! This is a great alternative to Chinese delivery, and I can definitely promise no MSG from this meal.

1/2 cup chicken broth
2 t. cornstarch
1 t. sugar
2 t. Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine for cooking)
2 t. soy sauce
1/4 t. pepper
1 T. vegetable oil
1.5 lbs of shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 T. minced garlic
1 1/2 t. minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 t. sesame oil
rice (for serving)

Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Heat a skillet over high heat and add oil. Next, add the shrimp and cook 1 minute. Add garlic, ginger and jalapeno and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in broth mixture and coo 1 minute or until shrimp are done and sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and stir in green onions and sesame oil. Serve over rice.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pasta with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage

Broccoli Rabe is one of those ingredients I never ate until I moved to New York. Now it's just about everywhere, and it is easy to prepare. The mild but slightly bitter flavor makes any meal a little more interesting. Since it is in season, I picked up a bunch at the grocery and then hunted for an easy recipe for one of my favorite dishes at old school Italian restaurants, Pasta with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage. Most commonly made with orecchiette, this dish is really quick and easy to throw together.

1 lb. broccoli rabe, trimmed
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced (not diced)
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. hot italian sausage, casings removed (you could use sweet too)
1/2 lb. dried pasta (use what you have, but use shapes not noodles)
Parmesan cheese (for topping)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Boil broccoli rabe for 5 minutes or until it's fairly tender. Meanwhile, put the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When hot, add garlic and cook about 1 minute. Now add the sausage and brown. Remove broccoli rabe with spoon and drain, reserving water. Dice the rabe just a little bit to make it easy to eat and add to sausage mixture. Cook the pasta in the boiled water, drain and reserve a bit of the pasta water. Add pasta to the skillet and a little bit of the pasta water and toss until well mixed. Add salt and red pepper, adding more water if needed. Serve immediately with Parmesan on top.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Red Curry Tofu

The definiton of fish sauce is "a condiment that is derived from fish that have been allowed to ferment." Does that sound as delightful to you as it does to me? Ok, probably not. And when you open the bottle, it smells...well, like fermented fish. But when you cook with it, oh when you cook with it, it brings such depth and new flavors to your food that you'll immediately start expressing your love for fermented fish all over town. I have lots of recipes that incorporate fish sauce, but this one was easy for a Wednesday night; plus, I had all of the ingredients on hand. Experiment with fish sauce - I think it's one of those "you either love it or hate it" things, but if you love it, let me know, and I'll send over many ways to use it!

1 package extra firm tofu
1/4 cup coconut milk (I buy a can and freeze what I don't use)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 T. fish sauce
1 T. lime juice
1 t. Thai red curry paste (you can freeze this too)
1 t. sugar
1 T. vegetable oil

Take the tofu and cut into 1/2" slices and blot dry between paper towels. This will take a few pieces.

Combine everything except tofu and oil into a bowl and mix together.

Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add tofu. Brown on 1 side (about 10 minutes) then flip and brown on the other (about 5 more.) Add the sauce to the pan and simmer until it thickens. Serve over rice.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pesto-Topped Flounder Packets

I've started moving away from recipes and just making my own creations in the kitchen. Not only is it fun and a creative outlet, but it saves me a trip to the store because I usually end up just using what is in the cabinet or refrigerator. I wanted to share one of my favorite ways to cook fish, which is cooking with pesto in a foil packet. There really is no set recipe. I've made using whatever I have at home and each time it turns out perfectly. Light, healthy, delicious.

Basic Ingredients:
Fish - Tonight I used Tilapia, but I've used Catfish and Flounder in the past. Pesto - Store bought or homemade.
Lemon - Fresh squeezed
Salt & Pepper

Additions: shallots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, zucchini, tomato, be creative!

Preheat oven to 400. Place each filet on a square of heavy foil and tuck under any thin edges to make thickness equal. Cover your fish in lemon, salt & pepper, garlic, onion and then top with pesto. Add any other ingredients at this time. Bring together the two opposite ends of the foil and seal with a double fold. Fold the sides together to completely close, but remember to leave room for steam. Place pouches in a baking pan and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or until your fish flakes with a fork.