Saturday, September 29, 2012

Caesar Salad

I love a Caesar Salad, and this homemade dressing is what makes this salad EXCELLENT.  It is worth the effort.  It's from Kittencal's Kitchen (online).
  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce or a 1 lb. bag
  • 1/3 C. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 ½ C. garlic croutons
  • ½ T. anchovy paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 C. mayonnaise
  • ½ C. sour cream
  • ¼ C. half and half or milk
  • 1/3 C. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 T. fresh lemon juice, or juice of one lemon
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ t. black pepper
  1. In a food processor, add all of the ingredients for the dressing and process until all ingredients are incorporated (about 30 seconds).
  2. Refrigerate the dressing.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cheese, and dressing.
  4. Top with the croutons.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Make the dressing the day before you want to serve the salad.  The dressing will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  • You can add the meat of your choice to this salad.  Rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, or grilled or fried shrimp are GREAT.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shrimp Etouffee

This is Cajun comfort food.  It is my Mom and Dad’s recipe that I tweaked.  I like a creamy Etouffee, so that’s where the heavy cream come into the picture.  It’s spicy and rich and creamy.
  • 1 stick of butter (8 T.)
  • 1 C. of chopped onions
  • ½ C. of chopped bell pepper
  • ½ C. of chopped celery
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • ½ C flour
  • 1 can of Rotel tomatoes with chilies
  • 4 C. shrimp stock
  • ¼ C. of Crystal Hot Sauce
  • 2 T. of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 2 lbs. of fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  1. Season the shrimp with the Creole Seasoning and refrigerate.
  2. In cast iron pot, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the onions, bell peppers, and celery for 15 minutes
  3. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add flour and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add Rotel, hot sauce, and shrimp stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 45 minutes.
  7. Add shrimp and heavy cream, cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Serve hot over rice.
Tips and Tricks:
·     Peel the shrimp and save all the shells and heads to make your own Shrimp Stock. 
·     If you don’t have a cast iron pot you can make this in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven instead.  The trick is to stir constantly while making the roux.  You can NOT multi-task during this step.  This is where the base of flavor for your etouffee comes.
·     The ¼ C. of hot sauce might have you scared.  Don’t be!  The shrimp will soak up the flavor from the hot sauce and the heavy cream will mellow it all out.
·     This freezes well.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Asian Boston Butt

It is so nice to come home to the smell of a wonderful dinner being cooked.  You can!  This dinner cooks while you are at work or running errands.  It's a combination of several different recipes that I've found online.
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 4 lb. boneless Boston Butt Roast
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t. ginger powder
  • 1 T. Sriracha, Hot Chili Sauce
  • ½ C. bourbon
  • ¼ C. soy sauce
  • ½ C. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ C. water
  • 3 T. corn starch
  1. Rinse the Boston butt in cold water and dry with paper towels.
  2. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat in a Dutch oven.
  3. Season the meat well with the salt and pepper.
  4. Sear the meat on all sides in the Dutch oven, about 5 minutes per side.
  5. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, Sriracha, bourbon, soy sauce, and vinegar to the Crock Pot.
  6. Place the Boston Butt on top and cook on low heat for 10 hours or on high for 5 hours. 
  7. Remove the roast from the Crock Pot and place it on a platter, cover with foil.
  8. Using a ladle, remove 3 C. of the cooking liquid to a sauce pan.
  9. Combine the water and cornstarch and add to the pan.
  10. Cook for 5 minutes for until thick and bubbly.
  11. Serve the roast with Jasmine rice and gravy.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Do not open the Crock Pot for the first 8 hours or 4 hours.
  • Add water to corn starch, NOT corn starch to water.  It makes a difference.  Whisking helps also, you don’t want lumps.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


I love soup.  Soup is supposed to be HOT, not cold, except for Vichyssoise or Gazpacho.  I don’t like Gazpacho, but I do like Vichyssoise and I think you might like it too.  Try it.  If you don’t like it cold, you can always eat this soup hot, it’s good both ways.  This is the combination of an Alton Brown recipe, with the addition of the Boursin that comes from Emeril.

  • 4 leeks (medium to large),  cleaned, ONLY dark green section removed, and sliced into ¼ inch pieces
  • 4 T. butter
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes (about 6 small), peeled and diced small
  • 8 C. chicken stock
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 1 C. buttermilk
  • ½ t. white pepper
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 (5.2 oz.) Boursin cheese, garlic and herbs
  • 1 T. chives, snipped
  1. In a Dutch oven, melt the butter over low heat, and cook the leeks with the salt for 20 – 25 minutes (don’t let the leeks brown)
  2. Add the potatoes and the chicken stock and turn the heat up to medium-high
  3. When the stock begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and allow the soup to simmer for 45 minutes
  4. Using an immersion blender, or a traditional blender in batches, blend the soup until it is a thick, creamy consistency
  5. Add the heavy cream, buttermilk, white pepper, and cayenne pepper and stir well
  6. Add the Boursin cheese and stir well to melt
  7. Serve hot with chives as a garnish
Tips and Tricks:
  • To clean leeks, slice them open vertically. Fill the sink with cool water and allow the leeks to soak in the water.  Separate the leaves and scrub the sand out of layers.  Drain the water and allow the water to run over the leeks, and then dry with a clean dishcloth.
  • This soup can also be served cold.  Vichyssoise IS normally served cold, but this soup is very good hot.
  • I have made this with half and half instead of the heavy cream and buttermilk.  If you do, add 1 T. of fresh lemon juice to 2 C. of half and half, to mimic the buttermilk.  Buttermilk is tart and the lemon juice does the trick.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pecan Tarts

This is a recipe I got when I bought a Mini Muffin Pan from Pampered Chef almost 20 years ago.  I make them around the holidays and they are a family favorite.
Tart Shells:
  • ½ C. butter or 1 stick, softened
  • ½ block of cream cheese or 4 oz.
  • 1 C. all-purpose flour
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • ¾ C. brown sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ C. chopped pecans
  1. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth
  2. Add the flour and mix until a soft dough forms
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  5. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces, rolling each piece into a ball
  6. Place the balls of dough into a mini-muffin pan and form a tart shell for the filling, by pressing the dough against the sides of the pan
  7. Combine the filling ingredients in a medium bowl
  8. Fill each tart shell until level, (don’t over fill)
  9. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until light golden brown
  10. Remove from the muffin pan and allow to cool
Tips and Tricks:
  • This tart shell can be used with lots of fillings.  It is flaky but durable.