Friday, April 3, 2020

EASY WEEKNIGHT CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

These enchiladas are as good as you can get in a Mexican. If it's only two of you, you have enough for another dinner. You can also make this a day before you want to serve them. Just cover and refrigerate and then bake as directed. 




1½ lbs chicken breast tenders or breasts, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 T avocado oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (optional, of course)
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 t ground cumin
2 T Southwest or Mexican seasoning
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles

2 (10 oz ) cans red enchilada sauce
8 flour tortillas
1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1½ cups Monterey Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
or 3 cups Mexican Shredded cheese

Sour cream, for serving
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Pumpkin seeds, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving                               
                                                                       
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add oil to a large skillet and over medium heat, cook chicken for about 5 minutes, until no longer pink.

Add onion and jalapeño to skillet and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté another minute. 
Add the cumin, Mexican or Southwest seasoning, and cook another minute.
Add ½ can of the red enchilada sauce and stir to combine.
Turn off heat.

Add the cheeses to a large bowl.

Pour enough of the enchilada sauce to lightly coat the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.  

Place tortillas on a work surface and evenly divide the chicken mixture in the skillet down the center of each tortilla.

Top with a 2 tablespoons of the shredded cheese.

Roll up fairly tight and place filled tortillas, seam side down, in the baking dish.

Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over and top and sprinkle on the rest of the grated cheeses.
Cover loosely with parchment-lined aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes.
Uncover and bake another 10 minutes.
Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve enchiladas topped with a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, and a lime wedge.

Serve with black beans sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.

Serves 4 

Friday, March 27, 2020

EGG SALAD WITH OLIVES - BALTIMORE STYLE

The first time I had egg salad with sliced pimento-stuffed olives was with my sister, Dotti, in the tea room of the department store, Hochschild Kohn, in Baltimore, Maryland. This was probably around 1970. This well known department store was in business from 1896 to 1981. This egg salad has been a favorite of ours ever since.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:  

To make perfect hard-boiled eggs, place eggs in a saucepan in a single layer. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring just to a boil, turn off heat, cover with a lid and let sit for 12 minutes. For east peeling, drain water from saucepan and shake pan vigorously to crack shells. Add cold water and let sit for 5 minutes, then peel.




6 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
1 stalk celery, minced
¼ cup finely diced sweet onion (Vidalia, Walla Walla, or Maui)
½ cup pimento stuffed green olives, sliced
1 t Dijon mustard
6 T good quality mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Multi-grain or seeded bread, toasted

Mash eggs with a potato masher to a medium fineness.
Add celery, onion, olives, Dijon, and mayonnaise.
Gently mix to combine.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. 


Refrigerate until ready to serve and then spoon onto toasted bread slices with lettuce.

Serves 4 to 6

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

BISCUITS WITH SAUSAGE GRAVY

Biscuits with sausage gravy is a classic diner breakfast in the South and so easy to make at home. This is definitely a "stick to your ribs" breakfast that will last all day.  Sometimes I just have a craving for some of my Southern roots food.  Mama would be proud!  



1 recipe for my Southern Buttermilk Biscuits or store bought
1 lb of your favorite uncooked bulk breakfast sausage
2 T unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ to 3 cups whole milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large cast-iron skillet, over medium heat, cook sausage while breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.
Cook until it is no longer pink.
Add the butter and let completely melt. 
Sprinkle in the flour and continue to cook while stirring for a couple of minutes.
Gradually stir in the milk and cook until the mixture has thickened. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.

To serve, add one or two biscuits to a plate and top with sausage gravy.

Serves 4 to 6






SOUTHERN BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

I use White Lily flour or Southern Biscuit flour for making biscuits. They are made with soft red winter wheat that makes biscuits so tender and fluffy. They also have a low protein content of 8 to 9.5 %. If you can’t find one in your super market, you can order it online. I don’t use the self-rising flour because I like to add my own aluminum-free baking powder.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:  
If you don't have buttermilk on hand; pour one cup of milk into a glass measuring pitcher and add one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Stir and set aside for 15 minutes, then refrigerate if not using right away.


2 ½ cups all-purpose White Lily, Martha White, or Southern Biscuit flour
2 T aluminum-free baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t fine sea salt
8 T frozen unsalted butter
1 cup cold buttermilk

1 T melted butter, for brushing on biscuits

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place rack in center of oven.

Sift flour with baking powder and baking soda into a bowl.

Unwrap most of the butter, but keep the wrapper on the very end to hold on to.
Grate the butter, using a box grater, directly into the flour mixture.
Leave a tablespoon of butter for melting to brush on the tops of the biscuits.
Quickly mix with a spoon and then make a well in the center and stir in the buttermilk
With floured hands, place on a lightly floured surface.

Gently fold the dough in half and repeat four more times. This creates layers, but you don’t want to overwork your dough.
Sprinkle top with flour and gently pat down with your hands to about a 1-inch thick round.
Cut with a floured 2 to 2 ¾-inch biscuit cutter. Do no twist the biscuit cutter.

Place on a lightly greased baking sheet with biscuits lightly touching each other.
Brush tops with melted butter.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.

Makes 12 to 15 biscuits

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.