Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Three Envelope Roast and More 2013 East Tennessee Blogger Get Together Details!!

I saw this recipe a while back at WeGottaEat and couldn't resist giving it a try.  This has to be one of the easiest and tastiest roast beef recipes.  Your family will sing unending  praises and request it often!

Here's the cast of characters:

1 envelope of onion soup mix
1 envelope of Au Jus mix
I envelope of Italian Salad Dressing mix
1 cup of water and 8 ounces of your favorite salsa

Plus a 2-1/2 to 3 lb. roast

Line your slow cooker with a slow cooker liner, they make for EASY clean-up!  Pour all of the ingredients in the slow cooker.

Whisk everything until completely blended.

Place your roast in the slow cooker and cover tightly.

Cook for 8 to 10 hours.  (Hint: Get this ready right before heading out  for work and when you get home, dinner is waiting on you!).

Walk away and let the magic happen!

Hello gorgeous!

Remove the roast from the slow cooker and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Look how tender and juicy!  This roast will literally fall apart and I have no idea how I was able to get it to the platter without it falling apart.

While the roast is cooling, prepare your sides.

Tell this doesn't make your mouth water!

Ok kids, get your calendars out and let's talk 2013 East Tennessee Blogger Get Together!!!

We are doing a Hawaiian Luau themed get together this year.  Larry, Chris and I are still up in the air about whether we are doing a whole pig this year, but I can tell you pork will be involved!

Date:  Sunday, May 26, 2013 Rain or Shine

Time:  Noon until whenever everyone leaves.  We will eat around 1:30 PM

Who:  Anyone who is willing to make the trip is welcome and of course, bring your significant other!

Where:  Larry's place on Tellico Lake which is about 35 miles southwest of Knoxville, TN.

As I mentioned, we will be serving Hawaiian, Island fare.  We will be asking for a small donation (approximately $10 per person) to cover the cost of the meat.  We won't know exactly how the donation will be until we have a final attendance count.

We will provide tea and soft drinks but please feel free to BYOB.

RSVP: To Larry by May 5, 2013.

Final directions will be provided to the individuals who RSVP they are attending.

Larry, Chris and I are are getting really excited because this little get together we started back in 2010 has grown every year and we have always had a wonderfully memorable time.  So mark you calendars and plan on joining us for a good time and good food with your blogger friends

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting!

I found this luscious recipe at Southern Living's website and knew it would be perfect to serve during the Christmas Holidays.  Wait, wut?  Guess I'm a lot tardy in posting but hey, Easter is right around the corner so.....

Anyway, these are a cinch to make and they were devoured in a snap!

1 - 4 ounce bittersweet chocolate bar chopped
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (1 ounce) bottle red liquid food coloring
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil.  Allow 2 to 3 inches of the foil to hang over the sides.  Lightly grease the foil.

Microwave the butter and chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes on high until both are melted and smooth; stirring at 30-second intervals.  Whisk in the sugar, then add the eggs one a t a time, whisking just until blended after each addition.  Gently stir in the flour and the food coloring, baking powder, vanilla extract and salt.

Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 for 44 to 48 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours.

Lift the brownies from the pan, using the excess foil on the sides as handles.  Gently remove the foil and ice with the Cream Cheese Frosting and cut into 16 squares.

1 - 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy.  Gradually add in the powdered sugar and salt until blended.  Stir in the vanilla extract.

You'll probably want to make a "trial run" of these this weekend!

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Grillades and Grits

So what in the world are grillades (gree-yads) anyway?  

Many of you may think of New Orleans as a big seafood town and it is but it is also known for it's meats.  It all started when butchers started moving to New Orleans from the Gascony regions of France.

These butchers, as well as their decendents, monopolized the butcher market in New Orleans well into the 20th century.  Their influence provided a wide variety of meat cuts including the grillades, according to "New Orleans Cuisine. 14 Signature Dishes and Their Histories".

In the late 1880's grillades appeared on almost every brunch menu in the city. The "Sailors Breakfast" was first cooked in modest homes and was eventually served in the most affluent homes as well.

Also, the brunch concept started in New Orleans for the City's dock workers because most of them finished work around 10:00 AM and they still wanted breakfast.  So the boarding houses near the docks created a second breakfast and capitalized from the dock workers hearty appetites.

This recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse in his Commander's Palace days.

2 lbs. Chuck tender cutlets or Beef Top Round, about 4-inches in size
3 tablespoons Emeril's Essence or your favorite Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup All-Purpose flour for dredging
4 tablespoons Canola Oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup green bell peppers, chopped
1/1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
4 ounces sliced button mushrooms
3/4 cup white wine (I used Pinto Grigio)
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Baked Gruyere Grits (recipe follows)

Place the beef cutlets between two pieces of wax paper.  Using a meat mallet or heavy skillet, pound the meat to tenderize and break up some of the connective tissue.   Season the meat generously with Essence on both sides and then dredge through the flour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of Canola oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is heated add the floured beef, working in batches and adding more oil as necessary, just be careful not to overcrowd the skillet and steam the flour off.  Brown the meat about 3 minutes each side, until golden brown.

As the beef browns, transfer it to a platter and set aside.  Once all of the beef is cooked, add the butter to the skillet.  when the butter has melted, add the onions, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms to the pan.  Saute the vegetables until soft, about 7 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for 1 more minute, then add the wine to the skillet and reduce by half, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Scrap the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet while the liquid is reducing.

Stir in the beef stock, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper, and cayenne to the skillet.  Bring to a boil, return the beef tot he pan, lower the heat to a simmer.  Cover the skillet and place in the oven and allow to cook for 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally until the beef is fork tender.  

When beef is tender remove from the oven, adjust the seasonings if necessary and serve over Baked Gruyere Cheese Grits.

While the beef is braising in the oven, get the grits started:

6 tablespoons butter, divided 4/2
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Quick Cooking Grits (not instant)
1 egg
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with 2 tablespoons of butter.

In a medium, heavy sauce pan, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of  butter, salt and water over medium high heat.  When the mixture comes to a simmer add in the grits, stir to thoroughly combine.  Lower heat to medium and continue cooking the grits until thick and creamy, about 7 minutes, but can take as long as 15 minutes.

While the grits are simmering, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, heavy cream and black pepper.  Stir this into the cooked grits.  Note: at this point, I really thought the egg would curdle, but it didn't, so don't worry about tempering. Once combined, pour mixture into prepared casserole dish, top with the grated Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses and place in the 350 degree oven the beef is braising in and cook for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand for about 5 minutes.

So whether you're a dock worker or a high society bruncher, you now know about Grillades and Grits!  Everyone should, don't you agree?

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Crawfish Enchiladas

It's Lent and being a Cajun, I have to get my fill of crawfish in any way, shape or form I can.  These enchiladas are like no other enchilada you have experienced before.

The ingredients for the crawfish filling and the sauce contain a lot of the same ingredients.  Chop once and divide it up.

 So are you ready to make some dinner?

Crawfish Filling:

2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons minced pickled jalapeno peppers
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper (I used a combination of red and green)
1/2 chopped green onions
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 lb. Louisiana crawfish tails
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack/Colby cheese mixture

Crawfish Enchilada Sauce:

1-1/2 sticks butter
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup Half-n-Half
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons Louisiana Hot Sauce
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

10 flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack/Colby cheese mixture
9 x 13 baking dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Melt butter in a large skillet add in the thyme, cook for 2 minutes until fragrant then add and saute green onions, bell peppers, celery, jalapeno peppers and garlic about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste, stir to combine.  Spread out on the bottom of the pan and cook another 5 to 7 minutes.

Add in the crawfish tails and any liquid in the bag.  Cook for another 4 minutes, remove from heat.  Empty into a bowl to cool completely.

Place the same skillet back on the stove and melt the butter

Saute the onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic until soft.  There will be a lot of liquid in the pan.

Add the Half-n-Half.  Swirl with a spoon to combine.

Add in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and continue swirling to combine.  Sometimes I just prefer to swirl instead of stirring. 

Add in the cayenne and the hot sauce.  Don't worry, this is not enough register very much heat at all.  Look below, the cayenne and the hot sauce give the sauce a nice color.

Add in the green onions and parsley.

Turn the burner off but leave the skillet on the burner.


Fold in one cup of the Jack/Colby cheese mixture to the completely cooled crawfish tails. 

Ladle just enough sauce to thinly cover the bottom of the baking dish.  Place about 1-1/2 to tablespoons of the crawfish mixture in the middle of one of the tortillas. 

Tightly Roll the tortillas and place the the baking dish seam side down.

Ladle the remaining sauce over the tortillas then sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the sauce.

Next, top the tortillas with the remaining Jack/Colby cheese mixture and place the enchiladas in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven and bake for 20 minutes.

 Remove from oven after 20 minutes and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

 Get yours before they're all gone!

Yeah, I think I am going to become a member of the clean plate club!

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bourbon Braised Chicken with Carmelized Onions

Bourbon chicken is typically cooked on the grilled and often times with an Asian flair.  It's been a tad bit too cold to fire up the grill and I was craving more of a savory, Southern kick than a sweet candy, fruity dish.

After pouring over several recipes that included peaches, apples and lots of brown sugar, I decided to craft this to satisfy my cravings and was so pleased with the outcome.

I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but this would definitely work with any cut of chicken you desire.  If using skin on chicken, after browning the chicken pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the excess fat from the skillet..

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season the chicken with the salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of Canola oil in  a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and saute until they begin to caramelize, stirring frequently.  Once the onions are caramelized, remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of Canola oil to the same skillet and sear the chicken breasts on both sides over medium-high heat.  About 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Remove the chicken breasts to a platter.

Add the balsamic vinegar and bourbon to the skillet and bring to a simmer while scraping up any browned bits left behind from the chicken.  Simmer for about 5 minutes then stir in the cayenne, the mashed garlic cloves and the chicken broth.  Arrange the chicken breasts in the skillet return to a simmer, lower heat, cover and continue simmering until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a generous ladle of the Bourbon and Caramelized Onion sauce.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oven Baked Pecan Crusted Chicken Strips and BIG News!!!

This is a cinch to make and transforms chicken strips into a tasty, crunchy, new family favorite!

1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1-1/2 tablespoons Emeril's Essence
2 large eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lbs. chicken breast filets

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place a rack on the baking sheet.  Spray the rack lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine the pecan halves, bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon of Emeril's Essence in the food processor.  Pulse for 30 to 45 seconds.  Pour into a shallow dish.

In another shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, olive oil and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of Emeril's Essence.

Dip each chicken strip in the egg mixture and then dredge each strip on the pecan mixture.  Gently shake off any excess breading from the chicken strips.

Place the breaded chicken strips on the prepared baking rack and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the strips are cooked through and the crust is golden brown.

Remove the chicken from the oven and serve with a side of your favorite mustard or mustard sauce.

Here's the receipt for Emeril's Essence.

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

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in an air-tight container.

Now for the BIG News!!!!

Yes, it's that time again, the 2013 Blogger Party!!!!  Can you even believe this is our 4th year?  It's way too much fun to quit now!

Larry (Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings) and his wife, Bev hosted our preliminary planning party this past weekend.  Chris (Nibble Me This) and his wife, Alexis, A.J. and I met at almost Heaven South to start planning our 4th Annual Blogger Party.

the preliminary planning took about 5 minutes and we spent the rest of the afternoon eating, drinking and catching up with each other..just plain having a great time!

So start making your plans to attend.  The Blogger Party will be Sunday, May 26, 2013 (Memorial Day Weekend) and our theme is an Hawaiian Luau!

We still have more details to work out and will publish more in April, but please add this to your calendar and plan to join us to Eat, Drink and Get Leid'd!!