Thursday, February 20, 2020

SHRIMP CREOLE WITH BACON

Shrimp Creole is a traditional recipe from New Orleans. The origin of Creole is a combination of French, Spanish, and Italian heritage. Creole cooking does not use a dark roux as Cajun cooking does, but they both start with the Holy Trinity (onion, bell pepper, and celery). The addition of bacon makes it even more delicious!  Serve this with crusty French bread, hot sauce, and a green salad.



1 ½ lbs medium shrimp
4 strips bacon, diced or cut with a pair of kitchen shears
2 T unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Creole Seasoning (recipe below)
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 8-oz bottle clam nectar or broth or 1 cup water
2 (14 ½ oz) can diced tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
2 T finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Diced scallions, for garnish

Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Peel and clean your shrimp and place in a bowl and refrigerate.
In a large cast-iron skillet, cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a plate and set aside.  
Discard all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease.
Add the butter and heat over medium heat

Add the diced onion, bell pepper, and celery. 
Sauté for 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the Creole Seasoning, cayenne pepper, clam nectar or water, tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire, bay leaf, and chopped parsley. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Stir the shrimp into the sauce and cook uncovered for another 3 minutes.

Turn off heat, remove the bay leaf, stir in parsley, cover and let sit a few minutes.

To serve, use a coffee cup and place a mound of cooked rice in center of each bowl.

Spoon sauce with shrimp around the rice and sprinkle with diced scallions and bacon bits. 

Serves 4


Creole Seasoning

3 T paprika
2 T sea salt
2 T garlic powder
2 T cayenne pepper
2 T onion powder
2 T dried thyme
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried basil
2 T ground black pepper
1 T ground white pepper

Pour above ingredients in a jar fitted with a lid. 

Shake well and store in a cool dark place for up to one year.




Tuesday, February 18, 2020

FRIED CHICKEN & WAFFLES WITH BOURBON MAPLE SYRUP

The combination of fried chicken and waffles is soul food not southern. It was popularized by the Wells Supper Club in Harlem, New York City during the late 1930s. It was served to their late night-early morning clientele. Fried chicken with cornbread, biscuits or hoecakes is a southern staple and the addition of waffles is simply just another quick bread to serve with fried chicken. Roscoe's in Los Angeles, California made it famous on the West Coast. I prefer boneless chicken breasts or thighs, making it easier to eat with a knife and fork. Serve it with Kentucky Bourbon flavored maple syrup, optional, of course!



Fried Chicken Marinade
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups buttermilk
1 t sea salt
½ t finely ground black pepper
1 t paprika
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 t of your favorite seasoning (Cajun, Creole, or Old Bay)

Cut chicken in to about 3-inch strips or small cutlets, place on a platter and set aside.

In a large bowl, pour in the buttermilk.

Add the above spices and mix with a fork.
Add the chicken pieces, cover, refrigerate, and let marinate 4 to 8 hours.

Coating for Chicken
½ cups all-purpose flour
2 T cornstarch
1 t paprika
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper
Peanut or avocado oil for frying
  
Pour coating ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture. Place back on a platter while dredging the rest.

Heat about 1 inch of oil in a cast-iron skillet.

Fry chicken until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes on each side.
Remove to a baking sheet lined with a rack or paper towel and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven while frying the rest of the chicken.

Buttermilk-Pecan Waffles                    

2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ cup pecans
2 T granulated sugar 
1 T baking powder (aluminum free, if possible)
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
½ t ground cinnamon
2 ½ cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 T melted unsalted butter
½ t pure vanilla extract

Pour pecans and ¼ cup of the flour into a food processor and process to a medium coarse texture. 
Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well with a whisk.
Add the buttermilk, then whisk in the eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Preheat a waffle iron and bake waffles until golden brown.
Keep waffles warm in a 225 degree F oven while cooking the rest of the waffles.

Serve with warm maple syrup flavored with a teaspoon or two of Kentucky Bourbon, if desired.

Serves 6









Wednesday, February 5, 2020

LEMON-POPPY SEED LOAF CAKE

I love almost anything that is flavored with lemon. This cake so moist and the poppy seeds adds a little extra surprise. You can omit the poppy seeds and this cake will still be delicious. I poked holes in the cake after it cooled and spooned on the lemon syrup which was absorbed into the cake.



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 5 by 9-inch loaf pan and set aside on a baking sheet.

2 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
1 ½ t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t fine sea salt or table salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¼ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
Zest of 1 large lemon
Juice from 2 large lemons
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup poppy seeds
1 t pure lemon extract

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.
Beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice, buttermilk, poppy seeds, and lemon extract.
Beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until well incorporated.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake in center of oven for 1 hour.

Set loaf pan on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.

Lemon Syrup
¼ granulated sugar 
¼ cup lemon juice

In a small saucepan or butter warmer, warm the sugar and lemon juice until sugar dissolves.
Using a skewer, poke 15 holes in the cake, all the way to the bottom.

Spoon the lemon syrup over the cake.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 8 hours before slicing.

Remove cake from pan and place on a platter, slice and serve.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

MEATLOAF WITH BOURBON-MAPLE GLAZE

Almost everyone loves a good meatloaf, especially a southern one with a bourbon and maple glaze. Make the glaze first and then set it aside while preparing the meatloaf. Place a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven to keep the meatloaf from cracking. If you prefer all beef, omit the veal and increase the ground beef to 2 ½ pounds.




Glaze
¾ cup ketchup
¼ cup chili sauce
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup Kentucky bourbon
2 T brown sugar
2 T dry mustard
1 t hot sauce

Place the above ingredients in a saucepan and whisk to combine.

Heat to a low boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until it thickens slightly.
Set aside.

Meatloaf
1 T avocado oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs lean ground beef
½ lb ground veal
¾ cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 T dry mustard
½ cup chili sauce
½ cup ketchup
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 large eggs, beaten
1 t fresh thyme leaves or ½ t dried thyme
1 t sea salt
½ t finely ground black pepper
4 slices thin bacon, cut in half

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
Add the onion and sauté over very low heat for 10 minutes. 
Add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes. 
Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, add the ground beef, ground veal (if using) bread crumbs, mustard, chili sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, beaten eggs, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Mix all ingredients together gently by hands.
Form and pat into a firm loaf shape in a large cast-iron skillet or on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Spoon some of the glaze on top of the meatloaf. 
Arrange cut pieces of bacon on top and brush with a little more glaze, saving the rest for later.

Bake for 1 hour then increase temperature to 375 degrees F.

Brush with the rest of the glaze and bake another 30 to 40 minutes or until the center registers 160 degrees F with an instant-read thermometer.

Let meatloaf rest on a platter for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 6


Friday, January 24, 2020

BROWN ALE BEEF STEW

Ale has been used in stews for hundreds of years. Ale is a full bodied alcoholic drink that has been fermented in an open vessel using yeasts and malts that rise to the top of the brew. This type of fermentation gives ale a darker, fruitier, and spicier flavor than lagers and beers. My Cheddar Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits or my easy Cheddar-Garlic Drop Biscuits are a perfect accompaniment to this hearty stew. 



3 to 3 ½ lbs boneless beef chuck, cut into bite size chunks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T avocado oil
1 T unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T tomato paste
3 cups beef broth
½ t paprika
1 12-oz bottle ale
2 T soy sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 T all-purpose flour

5 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
15 small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
2 cups frozen white pearl onions
Parsley, for garnish (optional)

Generously season beef with salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add the oil and butter.
Add half of the beef and brown well on all sides.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and brown the other half of the beef.
Remove to the bowl with the rest of the browned beef.

Add garlic to the pot and sauté 1 minute
Add the tomato paste, beef broth, paprika, ale, soy sauce, Worcestershire, bay leaves, and browned beef.

Bring to a very low simmer, cover and let simmer for 2 hours.

Ladle out about 3 tablespoons of the broth from the pot into a small bowl.
Add the flour and mix with a fork to eliminate any lumps.
Pour into the pot and stir with a spoon.

Add the carrots, potatoes, and onions.
Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until meat and vegetables are tender, about another hour.

Remove bay leaves and serve with biscuits, country rolls, or Sally Lunn.

Serves 6


GRANDFATHER'S KAISER AUTOMOBILE

My grandfather, Charles Robert Markham (Marcum) had a 1946 or 1947 black Kaiser Automobile. He didn't have a driver's license but always had someone to drive him around. He knew how to drive a tractor, but that didn't require a permit. Kaiser Motors Corporation made automobiles at Willow Run, Michigan from 1945 to 1953. I wish I had his car today.



Thursday, January 16, 2020

EASY BEAN & BACON SOUP

For years, my husband loved Bean & Bacon Soup in a can. I played with this recipe a few times until I think it is even better than the canned soup. Not only is it better, but a lot healthier without artificial ingredients.



8 slices bacon, diced (preferably applewood smoked bacon)
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock or broth
3 cans (15 oz) Great Northern beans or navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 T tomato paste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the grease.
Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Pour in the chicken stock or broth, the drained beans, and tomato paste.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stir to completely combine.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and partially cover with a lid.
Simmer for 30 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup for just a couple of seconds to puree some of the beans.

Alternatively, you can carefully pour about 2 cups into a blender and puree, then pour back into the pot.

Add half of the bacon and simmer another 5 minutes.

Ladle into warm soup bowls and top with remaining bacon and serve.

Serves 4 to 6