Friday, July 29, 2011

Two-fers!!! Arnold Palmer Sangria and Carribbean Jerk Pork Tenderloin with Drizzling Sauce

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know it's way too hot.  But, instead of complaining about the you know what, make something cool and refreshing to sip on while you grill yourself some amazing pork!

Arnold Palmer Sangria

2 cups chilled lemonade
2 cups freshly brewed iced tea, sweetened to your taste
1 bottle (750 ml) Sauvignon Blanc
1 orange thinly sliced
1 lemon thinly sliced
1 lime thinly sliced
1 pint of strawberries, sliced in half
1 pint of blackberries, sliced in half

Combine the lemonade, tea and wine.  Add the sliced fruit, cover pitcher and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours. 

A.J highly recommends you have enough ingredients to double this up, you'll want to make two pitchers this weekend. 
He's heard temperatures are going to be out of sight this weekend!

Caribbean Jerk Pork Tenderloin with Drizzling Sauce

1 2-1/4 lb. pork tenderloin (if they packed as 2 tenderloins, that's fine) trimmed of fat and silver skin
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (if you used bottled, I recommend only Nellie and Joe's Key West Lime Juice usually found on the baking aisle)
1 cup Jerk marinade, recipe follows
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Canola or vegetable oil
Jerk Drizzling Sauce, for serving, recipe follows

Rinse meat and pat dry with paper towels.Place meat in a glass bowl, DO NOT USE A METAL BOWL, and rub the 1/2 cup of lime juice all over the meat. Place bowl with meat in the refrigerator uncovered for about 15 minutes while you make the marinade.

Jerk Marinade

1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons brown sugar - light or dark, doesn't matter
2 crushed bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 Jalapeno peppers, de-seeded and de-veined
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the thyme, green onions, parsley, onion, brown sugar, bay leaves, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, jalapenos, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil and process to a smooth paste. Transfer to a glass bowl NOT METAL bowl and stir in the soy sauce, lime juice, and vinegar.
Pour the marinade over the meat and turn to completely coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight, turn every couple of hours.

Preheat grill to medium, spray the grates with non-stick cooking spray. Remove the meat from the marinade, a nice coat of the marinade should still be clinging to the meat.  Season the meat with salt and pepper and place the tenderloin(s) on the grill.  Sear all sides then move the meat to finish cooking over in-direct heat, turning every 12 to 15 minutes. Cook until the pork is just cooked through and nicely browned on the outside and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 145 to 150 degrees F.

Remove the tenderloin(s) from the grill to a platter, tent with foil and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Slice and generously ladle the drizzling sauce over the top.

Drizzling Sauce

6 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 jalapeno, de-seeded, de-veined and minced

Combine all ingredients in a small pot and cook over medium heat until reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes. Drizzle warm sauce over pork and serve remainder in a bowl at the table for dipping.

Hope this took your mind off the you know what and cooled you off!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bluff Mountain Rice

Lately, I have seen a lot of TV cooks browning small pieces of vermicelli in olive oil prior to cooking the rice.  The browned pasta gives the cooked rice a nutty flavor.  I wanted to try this so bad, but if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I have a rice handicap.  I can't cook rice in a pot or pan to save my like.  I have to use a rice cooker.  Sadly, rice is my unicorn.

I formulated what ingredients I would use if I cook cook rice like most people.  I plotted and plunder of how this could possibly work using the rice cooker.  After a glass or two of some really good pinot noir, I did it!  Yes, I did and oh my!!!  My rice came out perfect! Light, fluffy, separate grains, oh happy day!

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup vermicelli, broken into one-inch lengths
2 cups rice
3 slices prosciutto, chopped
1 cup rough chopped yellow onion
1/2 red bell pepper, rough chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/2 cup vermouth or white wine
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large high-sided skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add in the vermicelli and rice and saute until lightly browned.

Add in the prosciutto and saute for about 2 to 3  minutes.

Add in the onion and bell pepper and saute for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute, then deglaze the skillet with the vermouth or  white wine.

Pour in the chicken stock, bring mixture to a boil.  Lower heat to low, cover and cook for 18 to 20 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and the rice is cooked.

 Adjust seasonings if needed.

The toasted pasta really livens up the rice!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pan Seared Chicken Breast with Olives

This is a Guy Fieri recipe I couldn't resist trying.  His method and unusual combination of flavors really intrigued me.  The one big road block was getting olives of any kind on the homegirlz' plates.  I rationalized, who cares, their plates can be served without olives; more for me, yay!

Seriously, you will not be disappointed, give this a try.

4 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin on
12 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup julienned Vidalia or yellow onion
1 cup trimmed julienned leeks
2 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic
1 cup jarred pitted Spanish olives, stuffed with pimento plus 1 tablespoon olive juice
1/2 cup white wine
Pinch freshly chopped thyme leaves
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.

Combine paprika, granulated garlic, salt and pepper, in a small bowl.

Rub seasoning mix all over the chicken.

When skillet is hot, add oil and sear chicken, skin side first, turn over and sear other side.

Remove to a sheet tray and put into the preheated oven to cook through, about 15 minutes.

Using the skillet used to sear the chicken, add in the onions and leeks. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly caramelized.

Add garlic and olives and olive juice and saute for 2 more minutes.

Deglaze the skillet with the white wine. Reduce wine by half.

Finish the sauce by stirring in thyme and butter. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, and keep warm.

When chicken is done, remove from oven, place on serving platter, and pour any juices into vegetable mixture. Pour over chicken and serve immediately.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Two Bean Champagne Salad

Fresh, cool salads were made for sultry, summer evenings.  Can you resist these gorgeous colors?  I can't!  The combinations of flavors will please your taste buds and compliment your summer grill.

1 can (15 oz.) Red Kidney Beans
1 can (15 oz.) Cannellini Beans
1/2 medium red onion sliced
1 tablespoon Cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Splash of Champagne Vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Open both cans of beans place them in a colander.  Rinse the beans thoroughly under cool water and allow them to drain while you are slicing the onions and chopping the cilantro.

Place the drained beans in a bowl and toss with the onion, cilantro, lime juice and champagne vinegar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

It's best to make this salad ahead of time to give all of the ingredients time to blend.   

Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak with White Pepper Gravy - The Boss!

Often I wonder if any of you have the same trouble I do when planning your weekly menu while trying to get your grocery list together.  Honestly, I have slammed into a brick wall.  Nothing looks good, nothing sounds good; I don't know what I want.  Anyone who really knows me will tell you that the worst thing you can do is give me time to think.  And think I did boys and girls!

Wandering aimlessly down the frozen food aisle in the grocery store, looking at frozen TV dinners, which by the way, ain't what they used to be, it hit me.  Besides fried chicken and salisbury steak, what kind of TV dinners were popular in those three-way divided,  foil trays of my childhood?  Chicken Fried Steak came to mind.

Chicken Fried Steak apparently is more of a southern thang, but side-stepped New Orleans.  Since I don't remember my mother ever cooking Chicken Fried Steak, and I know I've never ordered it in a restaurant, I wasn't sure what Chicken Fried Steak was all about; besides you know how I am about white gravies (I am coming around to a degree). After researching different Chicken Fried Steak recipes from the really basic to the over the top (marinating sirloin and making a white wine sauce), I compiled several ingredients and methods and came up with this very budget friendly, rockin' the house recipe.  Oh yeah baby, this will show Chicken Fried Steak who's boss!

Gather this stuff together for the Chicken Fried Steak:

1 to 1-1/4 lbs. lean round steak, either pre-cut or cut into equal portions
1 cup buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups AP flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1-1/2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne (really, don't be afraid, use this much, trust me
Canola oil
For the White Pepper Gravy:

1/2 pound bacon, cut into short strips
2 well-rounded tablespoons AP flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 to 3 Fresh thyme sprigs (for show, optional)

Blend the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne and about 1 to 2 teaspoons of  kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon  of freshly ground black pepper in a bowl.  Once blended, divide this between to pie dish or large shallow bowls.

Place the buttermilk in a pie dish or large, shallow bowl, season generously with salt and pepper.

Pour canola oil into a cast iron skillet, right under halfway.  It's really important to use a cast iron skillet for this.  Heat the skillet over medium heat to 350 degrees F.  Do not exceed the medium setting on your stove. This will heat the oil slow and steady and alleviate the big flare up when you place the coated meat into the hot oil.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place the top rack in the middle of the oven.

Pour the 1-1/2 cup of milk and the half cup of heavy cream in a small sauce pan.  Heat over low heat and cover, leaving the lid askew on the pot so the liquid warms, not boils.

Dredge no more than 2 pieces at a time through the first flour mixture and shake off any excess.

Then dip the steaks in the buttermilk mixture and gently shake off or allow excess to drip off.

Finally, dredge the meat through the second flour mixture and place into the heated oil.

Add the steak, 2 pieces at a time and cook until golden brown on both sides.  More than two steaks at a time will lower the oil temperature and cause the coating to peel off in sheets.  Remember to keep the oil temperature steady hot and don't move the meat around for about 3 minutes.

While the steaks are frying, start cutting up the bacon into this strips, about 1-inch long.

Place the cooked steaks momentarily on a paper towel line plate.  Quickly season the steaks with salt and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.  Then, using a spatula or tongs, carefully move the steaks to a rack on a  baking sheet.  Once all of the steaks are cooked, place the baking sheet in the preheated oven to to keep warm while preparing the gravy.

Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil from the skillet, leaving the crunchy pieces from the coating then add the bacon and cook until golden brown.

 Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.

Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of fat and return the skillet to the burner at medium heat. Whisk the flour into the pan and let cook for approximately 1 minute until the mixture turns just a very slight brown.

Slowly whisk in the warm milk and cream and continue to heat, whisking frequently.  The sauce will thicken very quickly.  If the gravy seems too thick, feel free to whisk in additional milk to achieve the desired consistency.

Stir in the additional 2 tablespoons of heavy cream thyme and season with salt and lots and lots of  freshly ground black pepper.

Serve with ladled gravy and garnish with the reserved bacon and some chopped chives for color.  The chives are completely optional. Add a couple of thyme sprigs for a little panache.

I bet the wagon train has never seen it this good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

French Coconut Pie

Does coconut pie make you swoon?  This is my first attempt at making one of the many varieties of coconut .  Paula Deen totally rocked this recipe!

So easy, so quick and very good, at least the itty-bitty piece I was able to score once my family descended on this pie one cold, snowy January afternoon.

1/2 stick of  butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup milk
1 (9-inch, deep dish) unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine melted butter, eggs, flour, sugar, coconut, and milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake until firm, about 45 to 60 minutes.

So easy, so amazingly delicious!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Salmon Patties with Spicy Caper Remoulade Sauce

How many of you grew up with Cod Fish Cakes and/or Salmon Croquettes as staples in your mom's menu rotation?

My mom grew up with Cod Fish Cakes as did my husband and neither one of them ever wants to see a Cod Fish Cake again.  My mom baked Salmon Croquettes on occasion and I thought they were pretty good.

So ladies and gentlemen, don't boo and hiss; because these ain't yo' moma's fish cakes!  Stick around for an economical and deliciously retro update.  Even my husband the salmon and fish cake hater will scarf these petite patties down in a blink of an eye!

Spicy Caper Remoulade Sauce -

1-1/2 tablespoons Chipolte mayo
1-1/2 tablespoons mayo with olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon spicy whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the above ingredients together, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Salmon Cakes:

Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
1 (14.75-ounce) can boneless pink salmon, drained
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cornmeal

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large, preferably cast iron skillet over medium heat.


Place drained salmon in a large bowl and flake up with a fork.

Add panko, eggs, onions, parsley, cayenne, salt and black pepper to salmon.

Mix well and form into patties about the size of slider patties. Makes about 8 to 10 patties.

Carefully coat or sprinkle both sides of the patties with cornmeal.  The cornmeal gives the patties more crunch and also gives them a beautiful brown color.   Place the patties the heated oil, don't crowd the skillet and fry until golden brown; about 4 minutes per side. You may have to fry the patties in batches.

 Transfer the cooked salmon patties to a paper-towel lined plate.  

Serve immediately with the caper remoulade sauce. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Grilled Shrimp Terrebonne

Our niece is getting married so while we're in town visiting friends and relatives, we had to go to the French Quarter to get our Central Grocery Muffaletta fix.

On the 4th of July, we visited some very good friends of ours in Terrebonne (Terra-bone) Parish and I wanted to share with all of you a really simple and delicious way to prepare leftover or small shrimp Cajun style.  What made this special was the four of us made an assembly line and talked and drank and talked and drank so it seemed to come together very quickly.  An added bonus was I had no shortage of volunteers for hand models.

Cut 1 pound of bacon in half.  Depending on how many skewers you will need and how much shrimp you have, you may need 2 pounds of bacon.

Wrap a shrimp (two shrimp if the shrimp are really small) in a half slice of bacon.  Our hosts told us they usually butterfly the shrimp and insert a small sliver of jalapeno pepper before wrapping the shrimp in the bacon. 

Slide a skewer through the bacon wrapped shrimp.  While we were assembling, we decided to use two skewers to make it easier to turn the shrimp in the grill.

At this point we were yelling at the coals to HURRY UP so we could get these babies cooking.

These are cooking low and slow over the coals in order for the bacon to cook and crisp up and in order not to over cook the shrimp.

Once the bacon is cooked, thin slices of pepper jack cheese are layered on top of the shrimp skewers.

Once the cheese has melted remove the skewers from the grill.  Remove the shrimp from the skewers and dip in melted butter.

Did you know it's illegal in Terrebonne Parish for a person's underwear to show above the waistline of their pants?  I like that law, please pass a napkin.