Saturday, October 27, 2012

Acorn Squash Soup

This tastes like Autumn in a bowl.  It is rich and creamy and a little bit spicy.  It's a Guy Fieri recipe.  It is exceptionally good with a cold Abita Amber or Newcastle Brown Ale.  I thought of you while I ate this soup, Erin, Enjoy!
  • 3 large gold acorn squash
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • ½ C. (1 stick) butter, softened (6 T. for squash and 2 T. for sautéing the onions)
  • 3 shallots, whole, peeled
  • 6 garlic cloves, whole, peeled
  • 1 T. kosher salt (6 – ½ t.)
  • 1 T. pepper (6 – ½ t.)
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 C. chicken stock
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 t. sage
  • 1 t. thyme
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ t. white pepper
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • ½ C. Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with foil, and then cut the squash in half.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and place them in a bowl filled with water, if you want to roast the seeds, if you don’t then just pitch them out.
  4. Place the squash halves on the baking sheet with 1 T. of butter in each squash half (coat all the squash flesh well).
  5. Place 2 garlic cloves in 3 of the halves, and 1 shallot in the other 3 halves.
  6. Cover the garlic and shallots with 1 t. of olive oil and ½ t. of salt and ½ t. of pepper, in each half.
  7. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the squash is caramelized and soft.
  8. Allow the squash to cool and then scoop the flesh out of the squash halves, including the garlic and shallots, and place in a bowl.  Discard the skin.
  9. Melt the additional 2 T. butter and 1 T. olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, and then add the onions and sauté until clear, about 10 minutes.
  10. Add the squash, shallots, garlic, and chicken stock and bring to a low boil.
  11. Reduce the heat and then add the salt, cayenne, white pepper, sage, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce.
  12. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes and then puree with an immersion blender.
  13. Finally, add the heavy cream and Parmesan cheese and then stir well and serve hot with Roasted Squash Speeds or croutons.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Roasted Squash Seeds make a great snack.  They are crunchy and flavorful and rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamins A & C, folate (which is nature’s version of folic acid), potassium, calcium and iron.  Follow my recipe which can be made while the squash is roasting in the oven.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

This a a great holiday casserole, but don't wait for the holidays.  It is easy to prepare and makes about 8 servings.  It's very easy to double the recipe, if you need to feed more.  It is an Emeril Lagasse recipe that I've slightly tweaked.
  • 4 large baked potatoes
  • ½ C. half and half or evaporated milk
  • 2 C. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ C. sour cream
  • ¾ C. green onions, finely chopped
  • 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • ¼ C. (½ stick) butter, plus 1 T. to grease the casserole dish
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 t. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1 egg, scrambled
  • Fresh chives
  1. Peel and coarsely mash the baked potatoes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, cream, 1 C. of the cheese, sour cream, green onions, bacon, butter, salt, and Creole seasoning.
  3. Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated and then add the scrambled egg.
  4. Grease a casserole dish with 1 T. butter and then transfer the potato mixture to the casserole dish.
  5. Cover with the remaining 1 C. of Cheddar cheese.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
  7. Serve hot.
Tips and Tricks:
  • The best way to bake potatoes is without foil in a 450 degree oven.  Depending on size, they usually take about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • I’ve tried making this recipe with Colby, mild Cheddar, and sharp Cheddar cheese.  Sharp Cheddar is my favorite, but use what you like.
  • I like to add chives when serving.  Chives are NOT green onions.  They are milder and thinner than green onions.  Chop the green onions to cook IN the casserole and the chives to serve ON the casserole.   You can find them by the fresh herbs in the produce section.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pepper Jelly Spinach Salad

This is my version of the Zea's Pepper Jelly Spinach Salad.  I added the candied pecans, and I think I hit it "Out of the park".  You try it!  What do you think?
  • ½ lb. of fresh spinach
  • 10 kalamata olives, halved
  • ¼ C. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped in slivers
  • ¼ C. candied pecans
  • ¼ C. golden raisins
  • ½ C. blue cheese, crumbled
  • ½ C. pepper jelly vinaigrette
  1. Toss all the ingredients together with the pepper jelly vinaigrette 
Tips and Tricks:
  • I make the candied pecans the day before I make the salad.
  • I toss the salad with the dressing about 15 minutes before it is served.  The spinach leaves start to wilt a bit with the dressing (that’s the way I like it).
  • Adding a roasted or grilled chicken breast to this salad is excellent.

Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette

This is my version of the Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette from Zea's Spinach Salad.  I changed the recipe a bit because I think the original recipe is too oily.  This makes it just right! 
  • 1 C. olive oil
  • ½ C. balsamic vinegar
  • ½ C. pepper jelly
  • ½ T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 t. garlic powder 
  1. Combine all ingredients using an immersion blender or traditional blender
  2. Can be refrigerated and used for 2 weeks
Tips and Tricks:
  • I use the RED Tabasco Pepper Jelly.
  • The Dijon mustard it what allows this vinaigrette to “stay together”.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Oyster Patties

My Mom made these every year for our New Year's Open House.  Sometimes we had them for other occasions also.  They are the perfect hors-d'oeuvres.  Pop open a nice bottle of wine or champagne and ENJOY!
  • 1 pt. oysters, drained and puréed (save the liquid)
  • ¼ C. oyster liquor
  • ½ t. salt
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • ½ C. (1 stick) butter
  • 1 bunch of green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ C. flour
  • 1 can Campbell's cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 /3 C. bread crumbs
  • 48 small patty shells
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sauté the onions in the butter, over medium heat, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the oysters, oyster liquor, salt, and cayenne, cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the soup and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in the bread crumbs and allow to cool.
  8. Place the patty shells on a cookie sheet.
  9. Using a teaspoon, fill the patty shells with the oyster mixture.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Oyster liquor is the liquid that is inside of the shell with the oysters.  It is salty and an important ingredient in this recipe.
  • I order my patty shells from Haydel’s Bakery.  They are flaky and delicious.
  • You can substitute 1 lb. of diced fresh shrimp in the place of the oysters to make Shrimp Patties.  You might not need the bread crumbs if you use the shrimp.