For one fabulous and fleeting moment, I had made music.
It never fails. You’ve had dinner at your favorite little Italian place, made several rounds at the local wine bar, when last call slips up behind you intent on spoiling a night of well deserved frivolity. Suddenly five or six people looking better than the extras on Mad Men are faced with a moral dilemma of extraordinary magnitude. Will you let the night end this young? No… indeed not. With the simplest of ingredients that should already be in your refrigerator the night and the moonlight can be saved.
|From Dee’s Kitchen|
- 1.5 pounds mild cheddar cheese (When available, Fontina or Gruyère are also nice.)
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (dried will work)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (dried will work)
- salt and pepper
- unsliced bread, something crusty works best
- copious amounts of the the alcohol of your choice
|From Dee’s Kitchen|
- Make a drink. You want this to look easy.
- Preheat the broiler in your oven.
- Pour the olive oil into a cast iron skillet at medium heat. Remember that all the measurements in this recipe are not rules. They are more like a guideline.
- On a cutting board with a chef’s knife slice the garlic and chop the thyme and rosemary. Then add the spices to the skillet. This step does two things. First it makes it look like you can cook. Second it makes it smell like you can cook.
- Cut the cheddar, while giggling if you must, into one inch cubes and finish your drink.
- Move the cheese to the skillet, salt and pepper to taste and place the skillet in the broiler on the highest oven shelf until all the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Stir haphazardly and serve in the skillet with large hunks of unsliced bread for dunking.
- Bask in the praise of your guests.
|From Dee’s Kitchen|
From The Pastoral Urbanite‘s “A Short Introduction”:
I dwell in a small college town, but I’ve lived in a big city.
I’ve gazed from the vista and teetered on the building ledge.
I’ve trudged a dirt road and I’ve hailed a cab in the rain.
I’ve towered in the pulpit and wallowed on the curb.
Please do check out The Pastoral Urbanite. It’s a beautifully written, thought-provoking and often inspiring blog. Any man who insists on using the proper wine glasses (I’ve had the pleasure of dining at his home), considers fresh rosemary and thyme to be staples and can wear a bow tie in a small, rural Oklahoma town is worth reading.
I have a couple of folks planning to do a guest post in the near future but since I don’t have anything for today, I thought I’d share the following video with you:
Deep Fried Maraschino Cherry Juice
This gives me a great idea. I’m thinking I should soak cherries in brandy, dip them in pancake batter and fry them. What do you think? I also think I need to start doing videos. 😉
Have a great holiday weekend!
I love to bake. Cooking…not so much. The daily grind of providing dinner for myself and my husband (who is a rather picky eater) can wear on me. Therefore, I have three basic requirements for a recipe:
- It can be prepared relatively quickly and easily.
- It tastes good to both of us.
- It is healthy and made with fresh ingredients.
This recipe is one of my all-time favorites because of its great flavor and flexibility. It’s also super fast and easy!
12 oz. lean ground turkey
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons basil pesto (I use refrigerated for ease but fresh will work as well.)
2 tablespoons of grated carrot
3 tablespoons of cereal-type oats
1 oz. white wine (use your favorite)
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons olive oil
Combine first seven ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Form your turkey mixture into patties – I usually make 4-5 patties from a batch. Cook until halfway done (easy to tell), flip over and continue cooking until patties are cooked through, about 3-4 minutes more.
I love turkey burgers with some baby spinach and feta cheese as a filling and healthy dinner salad. A little whole grain rice goes nicely as well. My husband prefers his on a wheat Kaiser roll with baby spinach and spicy brown mustard.
Diana Jones is a 26 year-old public relations professional and discombobulated writer. You can check out her blog at: An Elegant Kerfuffle
One of my Facebook friends who shares my love for New Orleans and its culinary pleasures posted the picture below the other day. He generously agreed to share his recipe.
Red beans and rice is traditionally served on Mondays in New Orleans. Monday was “wash day”, a very busy day for homemakers, so an easy meal that could simmer all day on the back of the stove made sense. Despite the fact women no longer spend all day Monday scrubbing clothes, red beans and rice remains a traditional favorite.
Red Beans and Rice
1/2 lb. of dry red beans
2 cups of water
3 cups of chicken stock (I make my own stock but you can use a good quality store bought stock.)
1 ham bone (I used country ham pieces with the bones from the end and center slices.)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2-3 bay leaves
6 andouille or smoked sausage links, sliced in round pieces
A few shakes of Tabasco sauce
Salt, pepper and Creole seasoning to taste.
Combine the beans, water, stock, ham and bones, onion, garlic, and bay leaves in a crock pot. Then add the salt, pepper, Tabasco and Creole seasoning but not too heavy at first. You need to let the beans cook for awhile and taste to re-season as needed. Always re-season all during the cooking process to help build the level of desired taste. Never wait till the end to season because it is too late by that point. Start the crock pot on high to get it going and then reduce the heat to low and let simmer on low heat for about 8-10 hours. When the beans are soft enough, mash some of them against the side of the pot to help release some of the starch, which makes a really nice sauce. Add your smoked sausage that has been browned to the pot when you have about 3-4 hours cooking time left. Serve over a bed of white rice.
Note: Always brown the smoked sausages before adding them to the beans. You may need to add some water or stock to the beans during the cooking process if you find the beans becoming too dry and need more moisture. I prefer stock over water because it adds to the richness of the beans. Also, soaking the beans overnight helps in the cooking process.
Doug Young lives in Hickory, N.C. but hopes to one day soon become a resident of New Orleans. He loves to cook all kinds of food but has a passion for anything that is Creole and Cajun. He loves anything associated with his favorite city in the world – New Orleans. He likes sports, the Saints, Lakers and Yankees. He is a proud member of the Mardi Gras Krewe of Okeanos and the marching club, KOE and he currently works as an Elections Specialist for the Burke County Board of Elections.
Thank you, Doug, for sharing this delicious recipe. Perhaps one of these days we will both be living in New Orleans and you can invite me over on a Monday for red beans and rice.
*Dee’s recipe note: Doug didn’t specify the brand of Creole seasoning but I added the links to my personal favorite, Tony Chachere’s. Also, if you have access to Zatarain’s rice, that’s my preference for white rice.
Sole Chicken by Frank Maier
We’re unschoolers or John Holt unschoolers or radical unschoolers or weltanschauung unschoolers, depending on your labeling preference. We’ve tried to have a lot of adventures as a significant part of our unschooling experience. Our adventure for 2005 was to buy a 34-foot sailboat and go for a tropical cruise. Unfortunately, we started from New Orleans in the Summer of 2005. Our cruise opened with Katrina, then added riding out Rita at anchor in a bayou near New Orleans, then crossing the Gulf of Mexico to be visited by Wilma in the Florida Keys. Still better than any day at work. Maybe.
This recipe is the kids’ favorite from our cruising days. Here’s the story and the recipe itself.
The name of the dish comes from the fact that the “floor” of a sailboat is called the “sole” and it makes a nice auditory play on soul vs. sole. The sole is made of teak and holly strips, thus the alternate name “teak-and-holly chicken.”
The dish is called that because midway through the cooking process when I went to check on it, I spilled the contents of the dish onto the sole. Being the frugal (CHEAP!) sailor/chef that I am, I just scooped it all back into the dish, confident that the continued cooking would kill any germs. According to the kids, this step is what adds that special flavor which is otherwise missing. You may consider this step optional!
Enjoy a rum punch in the cockpit while watching the sun set as the chicken cooks, then have another with dinner. Perfect!
aka Teak-and-Holly Chicken
Chicken breasts – 4 (I use boneless-skinless)
Onion – 1 chopped fine
Bell pepper – 1 chopped fine
Celery – a coupla ribs chopped fine
Garlic – a few toes chopped fine
Bay leaf – a couple
Rum – enough to get things wet (I use a cup… or so!)
Orange juice – 1/2 cup or so (when cruising, substitute a local juice: guava, etc.)
Cinnamon – about 1 tsp
Cayenne – to taste (that means use a LOT!)
Paprika – to taste
Salt and pepper – to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Pour half the rum and half the OJ into a 9X13 baking dish. Sprinkle half the veggies (all the bay leaves) into the dish. Place breasts on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon, cayenne, paprika, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the rest of the veggies over the chicken. Splash on the rest of the rum and OJ. Bake about an hour, depending on your oven. (Boat ovens are notoriously finicky.) Place breasts on plates and serve with rice. Remove the bay leaves and stir the veggies. Correct the seasonings then spoon ’em over the rice. Or put ’em on the side. Or not, depending on how much your kids like or dislike veggies.
Remember, to make truly authentic (original-style) sole/teak-and-holly chicken, after about half an hour of cooking, open the oven to check the chicken and spill it onto the sole (floor). Then scoop it all back into the pan. Like I said earlier, you could consider this step optional!
Cap’n Franko and the merry krewe of the Zombie Princess of New Orleans
Our “official” boat drink which is an interesting standalone but probably not so good with food.
The Zombie Princess cocktail
1 jigger Absinthe
1 jigger Southern Comfort
3 jiggers chilled simple syrup
Juice of ½ lime
Dash of Tabasco
Sugar (for rim)
Slice of lime
Tanna leaves (3 for life, 9 for movement)
Decorative parasol (umbrella)
Straw (preferably a wacky, twisty one)
Sugar the rim of a large absinthe glass (or substitute 8~12-oz. highball glass), Pour in 1 jigger of Absinthe. Slowly add 3 jiggers of chilled simple syrup, while stirring. Squeeze in the juice of ½ lime. Add 1 jigger of Southern Comfort. Stir. Dash of Tabasco. Garnish with a slice of lime and tanna leaves. [N.B. Tanna leaves are a fictional creation for the movie “The Mummy” (1932). You cannot actually buy them anywhere.] If you substitute mint leaves for tanna leaves, do NOT crush or bruise them; just use them for garnish. No mint flavor allowed. Add parasol (festive paper umbrella) and (zany) straw. Enjoy! But NEVER, under any circumstances, allow salt to come anywhere near a Zombie Princess! In Voodoo, salt is deadly to unnatural creatures.
Thanks, Frank. I don’t have teak floors in my kitchen so I think I’ll skip the optional step. Otherwise, it sounds wonderful.
Frank blogs as the spirit moves at Singularity.
*Note: Frank shared the delightful photos via Facebook but quality suffered in the translation. Sorry about that!
2 teaspoons of paprika
1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley (or dried parsley flakes)
Between 2-4 tilapia fillets (about a pound’s worth)
You can bake or pan fry the fillets once they are coated in the crust. If baking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the Parmesan, paprika, and parsley in a bowl and lightly salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the fish with your oil of choice (I like olive oil) and coat them with the cheese mix. Bake on a baking sheet for about 10-12 minutes or until fish is totally white and flaky through the thickest section of the fillet. If pan frying, lightly coat your frying pan with oil (you DEFINITELY don’t want to deep fry the fish, but you don’t want it to stick to the pan) and flip and fry it until it is cooked through the center and the crust is golden brown.
For the sauce, you will need:
A half pint of heavy cream
2 cloves of garlic (or a tablespoon of minced garlic)
½ cup of olive oil
1 ½ cups of fresh basil leaves
½ cup of walnuts
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
You can buy gnocchi at most groceries, but if you can’t find it, tortellini (or any pasta for that matter) would work just fine as a replacement.
If you buy a package of gnocchi, you cook it just as the package instructs, and it takes roughly 4 minutes, so you might save it for last. Otherwise, you could start your pasta after mixing all of your ingredients for your pesto.
Start your pesto mix with a food processor of some sort (even a blender will work), and combine your oil, garlic, basil leaves, and walnuts. Blend them until they are all finely blended together, then stir in your Parmesan.
On the stove, bring your heavy cream to a slight boil (you don’t want to scorch it!), then add in your pesto mix and let it all simmer together. Salt and pepper to taste, if you like. After your gnocchi is cooked, drain it, and then combine with your cream sauce, and pair it with the tilapia for a nice, Parmesan-themed dish. Any leftover cream sauce is great for bread dipping if you choose to have some kind of bread on the side.
More about Kristen:
“Give me cats, a camera, good music, and room to play outdoors, preferably with a view of the mountains, and I’m a happy girl.”
A couple of weeks ago we harvested our first summer squash of the season. I love squash several ways, but the most popular squash dish in our family is the southern staple of squash casserole. If you aren’t familiar with it, just imagine a perfectly healthy garden-fresh vegetable turned into a heart-stopping, fat-filled but oh-so-delicious casserole and you’ve got the picture.
My husband dislikes squash intensely and when he informed me of this early in our marriage, I asked him if he was sure that he disliked squash casserole. He insisted that he didn’t have to taste it, he knew he wouldn’t like it. Fast-forward about 3 years and we were at a post-funeral reception at my mother-in-law’s home eating from a large selection of dishes that visitors had brought. You can see where this is going, right? I left the room and the guilty party confessed to me later that he was thoroughly enjoying one of the dishes. As he went to get his third helping, he asked what it was. Upon hearing the answer, his response was immediate: “Don’t tell Mary Ann!”
Boil until tender. Drain, mash together, and cool. Note: You’ll notice that onions are missing in this picture. That is because we use lots and lots of onions in our house, so we sauté several pounds at a time and freeze them already cooked. (It makes dinner prep really easy! More Secrets of a Busy Cook are on our website.) Anyway, we added our onions after the squash and carrots were cooked and drained. Next, mix cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and pimiento and add it to vegetables and mix well.
In a skillet, melt the butter and mix in the stuffing mix. Spray a 9×12 pan with cooking spray. Spread bottom with 1/2 of the stuffing mixture. Spread the vegetable mixture on the stuffing.
Cover with the remaining stuffing mixture.
Chicken in Mustard Cream Sauce
Sprinkle chicken with pepper and spread 1 Tbsp. dijon on one side of the chicken pieces. Pan-fry in olive oil, turning often, for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
Remove from the chicken from the pan and keep it warm while you make the sauce.
Combine whipping cream, white wine, and dijon mustard in the pan with the drippings and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. If you want to use a whisk I find that it makes it easier to get a smooth sauce. (I moved the sauce to a sauce pan so I could use a whisk.) Cook until thickened.
Chicken in Mustard Cream Sauce
- 4 boned and skinned chicken breast halves
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (substitutions)
- 2 additional tsp. Dijon mustard
- 3 pounds yellow summer squash
- 2 carrots
- 2 onions
- 1 can cream of chicken soup (homemade substitutions)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 small jar diced pimiento
- 1 stick butter
- 18 oz. Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix
Serve with Green Beans
Mary Ann Kelley enjoys cooking, blogging, reading, and creating websites. Check out her blog, AnswerMom.com, and her website, Menus4Moms.com, where you will find dinner menu subscriptions and sample menus to download.
*Note from Dee: If you don’t purchase plastic wrap, you can also place the chicken between sheets of waxed paper or even better, use my method. I save the bags from inside cereal boxes. Place the chicken inside and then flatten. I find these bags to be much sturdier than plastic wrap and it does a better job keeping the chicken contained. If I’ve used one of these bags for raw meat, I throw it away but I also use them for other types of food storage in which case I wash thoroughly, allow to air dry and reuse.
My friend, Roz, sent me this delicious-sounding recipe earlier this week. I asked if she’d like to do a guest post but she’s in the midst of wedding preparations for her son and didn’t have time right now. She did say I could go ahead and share it myself, however. Since it’s summer and prime time for salads, I decided to share it now rather than wait a couple of weeks until she had time to write it as a post. Unfortunately there’s no picture but I’m putting it on my menu next week and will try to remember to take a photo.
3/4 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1/2 package taco seasoning
1/2 cup salsa
1 pound bag iceberg lettuce (or one head)
10 ounces romaine lettuce
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
one 4-oz. can sliced black olives
one 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
one 15-oz. can black beans
one 15-oz. can corn, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup onion
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
8 oz. Nacho Cheese Doritos, crumbled
Chicken or another meat is optional but the salad is already very filling.
Here are Roz’s notes on her adaptations:
Nancy had mentioned this to me so I asked for the recipe. I had some organic salad mix and a partial bag of baby spinach. I don’t like beans all that much, but I did use a can of black beans. I also had olives from the olive bar at FF (*Forward Foods – a wonderful specialty food store Roz and I adore). I also had leftover ears of corn on the cob that I cut off.I discovered with the “chili mix” that I have to be really carefully of packaged mixes. These days they seem to be putting cardamom in everything! (*Roz is allergic to cardamom) So I made my own taco seasoning with ancho and New Mexico chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. I agree that the dressing makes this and also the crunch from the tortilla chips, but I don’t think they need to be flavored, so you could fry your own. I also think since I lowered the bean count, it would have benefited from a bit of leftover meat. Had I thought about it, I had some leftover fajita meat from a trip to Mama Rojas that I could have used. This is just so versatile. I thought I would pass it on!
I think this sounds absolutely fabulous. The funny thing is that just a couple of hours after Roz emailed me the recipe my mom called and asked if I had the recipe for a taco salad we used to make many years ago. That one was made with Fritos and a bottle of Catalina dressing. I told her about this one and she decided to make it instead. She made it yesterday and I haven’t heard what she thought of it but she had already whipped up the dressing and said it was wonderful!
Despite some unseasonably *cool* temperatures here in our part of Oklahoma last week, we are now experiencing hot and humid weather. Even though our house is well air conditioned, a couple of salad meals per week are quite welcome. I’m going to make this next week and I’ll let you know what I think of it. If you have any main dish salad recipes to share, I’d love to hear about them. And I’m always open to guest post offers. 🙂
Caleb is a food enthusiast, aspiring gastronome, and Ina Garten fanboy. His dream in life is to open a specialty foods store and catering service. Although an infrequent blogger, you can read his musings on life, dispensationalism, and the ubiquitous “Twilight” saga on “Ragamuffining Around” at velvetragamuffin.blogspot.com.
Baking is an undertaking not for the weak-hearted. It’s tedious to measure and knead and sit and wait and rest and lather and rinse and repeat. I don’t recommend it for the casual cook.
That’s why I don’t do it.
I hate baking and everything associated with it. Not only do I have the patience of an ADHD 12 year old on Christmas Eve, I think I have this subconscious fear that I will be GOOD at it. If I’m good at baking, then it’s only a matter of time before Mimi decides she doesn’t need to make her homemade yeast rolls for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Passover, Canada Day, or Thursday evening.
My God those are delicious.
Even though I don’t bake I’ve just always had an unbridled lust for beer bread. It’s like cheat baking because the beer does all of the work for you. All you have to do is add flour and stir. Add some herbs and cheese and you’ve got people groveling at your feet and offering a cow as a dowry for you to marry their daughter.
Here is what you need:
Mix the pepper, basil, and cheese into the dough with the spatula. Don’t worry about the gluten activating from over-mixing; that’s what you want. This bread is best when it’s a bit dense.