Monday, December 17, 2012

Tortilla Chorizo Stuffing

We spent Thanksgiving with family in New Orleans and I didn't get to cook or experiment.  I found this recipe in the Thanksgiving issue of Food Network magazine and have been so anxious to try it. 

I am so glad I did!  This stuffing is so unusual and so out of the ordinary!  I'm telling you this was so easy and a huge hit with the A.J. and my picky eater homegirlz.

Don't just tuck this away for Thanksgiving, it's a great side to steaks or any Tex-Mex fiesta you may be hosting.

6 tablespoons butter plus more for the baking dish
10 ounces Chorizo, chopped
2 bunches scallions, chopped
2 Four (4) ounces cans  chopped green chiles, drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-3/4 cup chicken broth
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
10 ounces or 3/4 of a 13 ounce bag of Tostitos Restaurant Style tortilla chips with a Hint of Lime, coarsely crushed
4 cups stale white bread cubes
12 ounces crumbled queso fresco cheese

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter a large baking dish.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the chorizo, scallions, chiles and cumin.  Cook until the chorizo is slightly brown, about 5 minutes.  Add in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and cilantro.  Add in the tortilla chips, the bread cubes and crumbled cheese.   Season with salt and pepper to taste. Carefully toss to thoroughly combine.

Slowly pour in the chorizo mixture and toss to combine.

Transfer stuffing to prepared baking dish.  Dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking for another 30 minutes until golden brown.

Another reason not to stuff the turkey, but that's a story for another day.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Scallops and Shrimp Marsala

I can't remember meeting anyone who didn't like shrimp.  I've met a few people who weren't scallop crazy but I enjoy them almost as much as shrimp.  Scallops are a wonderful compliment to shrimp. In fact you could make this with crawfish tails, clams and crabs if you like.

This recipe reminds me of the not so long ago warm days of summer.  It's quick and does not require precise quantities or measurements.

1 tablespoons Emeril's Essence
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus extra for drizzling)
3 tablespoons butter
4 large Scallops
1 lb. Shrimp (whatever size you prefer) peeled and de-veined
8 ounces Shitake mushrooms
1/4 cup Marsala wine
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

Since the scallops were large and fairly pricey, I only wanted my husband isn't a fan of scallops. Use as many as you like or can afford.  Rinse and pat dry.  Season liberally with Emeril's Essence and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Toss to thoroughly combine and coat.

Place the peeled shrimp in a separate bowl and season liberally with Emeril's Essence and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to thoroughly combine and coat.

Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil in a grill pan, add 1 tablespoon of butter and heat over medium-high heat. Once butter has melted add the Shitake mushrooms and saute until the edges begin to turn golden brown.

Move the mushrooms off to the side and add in the shrimp.  Saute the shrimp until the begin to turn pink and opaque.

Once the shrimp just start turning pink, toss them around a bit and cut the remaining butter into little cubes and toss in with the shrimp.

when the butter begins to foam, add in the scallops and sear for 2 minutes.

Toss the shrimp and turn the scallops and sear for 1 more minute.

Add the lemon juice and the Marsala wine, lower the heat to simmer and let it bubble for 2 minutes.

Bowl it up and garnish with the parsley and that's it!  You will probably want some crusty bread to soak up all of that wonderful sauce!

Recipe for Emeril's Essence - I always double this up and keep it in an air-tight container!

2-1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

I Triple Dog Dare You!

While I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed one day last week, one of my friends shared this recipe.  I think it was found on Pinterest.  To be honest, I don't know who's recipe this is and I apologize for not giving the person who created this slap your hand on the counter good dessert bar the credit they deserve.

1 roll Toll House cookie refrigerated cookie dough
1 package chocolate sandwich cookies
1 box brownie mix

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F

Very important!!! Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with Parchment paper or you will not get these babies out of the dish looking pretty.

Press the cookie dough evenly on the bottom of the parchment paper lined baking dish.  Place one row of chocolate sandwich cookies on top of the cookie dough.

Prepare the brownie mix per package directions and pour evenly over the cookies and cookie dough.

Bake per brownie package directions.

Once completely cooled, cut in to squares and watch your family devour them!

This should only be attempted by seasoned chefs!

Happy Monday!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Coriander Rice

I never knew rice could be this good.  I never knew rice could be so beautiful, put a song on your lips and a zip in your do-da!  I mean I'm from New Orleans and I know all about rice and this is the deal plus a bag of doughnuts!

1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup minced shallots (about 4 shallots)
1-1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2-1/4 cups extra long grain white rice
4-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.  Add shallots ans saute until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add in coriander and turmeric   Stir to combine and cook for 1 more minute.  Add in rice and toss to coat.  Add broth and salt and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and garnish with parsley and serve.

So simple.  Enjoy everyone!

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Garlic Almond Chicken

This was one good weeknight dinner!  Actually, it's divine, a cinch to prepare and you only dirty one pot which makes clean up a breeze.  You will absolutely love it!

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 chicken leg quarters
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 cubes 1/2-inch cubed white bread
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (optional but highly recommended)
Kosher salt
1 medium onion minced
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the almonds, stirring until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Remove the almonds with a slotted spoon to a paper towel line plate to drain and cool.  Place 1/3 cup of almonds in a blender and reserve the remaining almonds for garnish.

Add the bread cubes and garlic to the same pot, stirring frequently until the bread is toasted, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Transfer the bread to the the blender and then add the chicken broth, sherry, saffron threads, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and a healthy pinch of Kosher salt.   Process on blender until smooth and set aside.

Season the chicken quarters with salt and pepper.  Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the same pot and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken to the pot and sear until golden brown on all sides and remove to a plate.

Add the onion to the post and cook until caramelized around the edges.  Pour the sauce into the pot, then add the chicken back to the pot, pushing it down into the sauce.  Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

So delicious and divine!  You'll love this!

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Garlic Truffle Gnocchi

Sometimes when you're grilling a steak or broiling  chicken you want a side that has a "pop" all its own.  You throw in a a little of this and a little of that, nothing real precise.  Suddenly, you've created something quite amazing.  Amazing is really mild, this is bang the side of your fist on the table and stomp your foot good!

Let's face it, after a long day at the office, I'm exhausted and don't want to make my brain work overtime.

NOTE:  An assortment of truffle oil can be found at Marshall's and TJ Maxx very economically priced.

1 box (16 ounces) gnocchi
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons white truffle oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 white wine (Pinot Grigio)
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/3 cup grated Asiago cheese
Salt and Black pepper to taste

Heat a large pot of water and bring it to a boil, generously salt the water and add in the gnocchi.  Let the gnocchi cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or once it begins to float to the top.  Drain the gnocchi in a colander.

In a large high-sided skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  When the butter begins to melt, add in the truffle oil.  Once the oil and butter are thoroughly heated, add in the garlic and cook for one minute.  Be careful not to let the garlic burn.  Add in the wine and cook for 2 more minutes.  Then add in the gnocchi and  allow it to brown just a little, enough to pick up all of the rich good flavor you just created in that skillet.

Once the gnocchi has lightly browned, sprinkle in the Asiago cheese and parsley and season with salt and pepper and you're done!

Could this be any easier and no extra brain cells were sacrificed!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

A Cajun Thanksgiving...Ruth Fertel's Plaquemine's Oyster Dressing

Thanksgiving is fabulous!  Unlike Christmas, it's all about family and food and not the gifts. This Thanksgiving we went home to be with our family and as always, it was beyond words.

Grab a cup of coffee or your beverage of choice because this is going to be one L-O-O-O-O-O-N-G post!

My BIL, Gerry and his gorgeous wife, Terry Lynn hosted this awesome Thanksgiving celebration.  You may remember the last time we went home for Thanksgiving was four years ago, in 2008 .  So let me walk you through this festival holiday eye candy!

My SIL, Terry Lynn, enlists the children to pass out strips of colorful paper to each guest.  Each guest writes what they are thankful for and my SIL makes a chain to use as garland for her Christmas tree!

Food porn shot. My BIL and my hubby carving up one of two of the fried turkeys...don't hate!

We enjoyed a gorgeous, sunny day...I think we topped out at 75.  We dined "Al-Fresco".

Look at the beautiful set-up.

I was lucky to get these shots before the rest of my hungry family got here!

A view from the tent to the house.

Can you feel the excitement?

Before we "Choot-em" we eat our veggies!

Lots and lots of fried turkey.

My BIL, Gerry hit a homer with rotissere pork loin - YUM!

A sneak peak of the star of the the show, the Oyster Dressing!

Oh yeah, the homegirlz are waiting for the blessing so we can eat.

My two SILs in the background, putting on the finishing touches.

My BIL and host, Gerry, right, the master chef of the Oyster Dressing that I am here bragging about today!

My hubby making sure he gets his fair share.

My SIL, Terry Lynn places this pirogue as a centerpiece on one of the serving tables, displaying past placeholders and parts of past centerpieces. How awesome is she that she hangs on to all of this nostalgia.  So many guests that have graced her table in the past have gone on, including both of my parents and my father-in-law.  So many wonderful memories.

Ruth Fertel's Plaquemines Oyster Dressing....recipe below and so worth trying!


Our hostess, my SIL, Terry Lynn. 
Gerrard and Terry Lynn, thank you so much for a memorable and delicious Thanksgiving. 
All our love!
Ruth Fertel's Plaquemines Oyster Dressing:
1 gallon oysters with liquid (about 8 dozen oysters)
1/4 lb. butter
1lb. smoked sausage minced
3 cups diced onion
2 cups diced celery
1 cups diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced garlic
12 chicken bullion cubes
3 (2-1/2 foot long) loaves stale French bread
Salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
1 dozen eggs whipped
1 lb. melted butter
Pour oysters into a large pan, reserving liquid and go through them one at a time, removing any shells that remain.  Heat oysters in liquid until edges curl.  Drain oysters, save liquid and set aside.  When oysters are cool, chop coarsely and set aside.
Ina large Dutch oven, heat 1/4 lb. of butter over medium-high heat.  Saute sausage until oil is rendered.  Add onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic.  Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until vegetables are wilted.  Add oysters, liquid and bouillon cubes.  Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Season with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Chop stale French bread into 1-inch cubes and add to oyster mixture 2 cups at a time until enough bread has been added to absorb liquid but mixture is still moist.
Remove from heat add eggs and remaining melted butter, blending mixture well to thoroughly combine.
Pour into a large oven proof baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake for 1 hour.  Remove foil and continue baking to brown fro 15 minutes.
Serve, relax and just let your eyes roll around in the back of your head.  I am serious...don't let life pass you by without trying this oyster dressing!

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Vic's Croque Madame

We've discussed it many times over the years and we all agree that breakfast for dinner is so cozy and comfortable.  How about a quasi-French breakfast sammich?  By itself or with a steamy bowl of soup?

Read along and let's see what my friend Vic came up with...

4 tablespoons butter
1 rounded tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup half-n-half
Salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 slices whole grain bread (or bread of your choice)
2 large eggs
4 slices Genoa salami
2 slices Swiss cheese
Chopped green onions for garnish

In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  Whisk in the flour and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and the half-n-half and bring to a bubble.  Drop the heat to low and season with salt and pepper, the Dijon and the nutmeg.  Once the sauce coats the back of a spoon, turn off the heat and cover the pot.

In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.  Once the butter begins to foam, add the bread and lightly toast.  Turn the bread and generously ladle the sauce on each slice of bread, then add two slices of salami to each and one slice of Swiss cheese each.  Transfer the toast to a plate

Return the skillet to the stove and add the remaining tablespoon butter.  Add the eggs keeping the whites separate.  Once the eggs are cooked, top each piece of toast with an egg.

Larry, You have to know this makes me think of you, King of the Egg Sammich!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

I was checking out some Thanksgiving recipes at Food Network's website and happened upon Tyler Florence's Chicken Noodle Soup recipe. 

In my book, anything by Tyler Florence is a winner and this soup is an absolute winner.  Did you know this my first time making chicken noodle soup?

 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 medium carrots cut in half lengthwise and then cut diagonally in 1/2 inch thick strips
2 stalks of celery, cut in half lengthwise and then cut diagonally in 1/2 inch thick strips
4 fresh sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
2 quarts of chicken stock
8 ounces dried egg noodles
1-1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful finely chopped Italian parsley

Place soup pot over medium heat and coat the bottom with oil.  Add onions, garlic, celery, carrots, bay leaf and thyme.  Saute for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables have softened but now browned.  Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Add in the egg noodles and allow soup to simmer for 5 minutes.  Fold in the chicken and continue simmering for a couple of more minutes to heat the chicken through.  Season with salt and pepper and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

Just what the doctor ordered on a damp, chilly night!

I wish all of you a bountiful, safe and Happy Thanksgiving.  I am truly thankful for all of you who stop by and visit each day, for your wonderful and encouraging comments and emails, for all the pins on Pinterest and "Likes" on Smoky Mountain Cafe's Facebook page!  Thank you!

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