Tuesday, December 26, 2017

CRANBERRY MARGARITAS

Margaritas are generally associated with summer but with cranberry juice and fresh cranberries, it is a perfect winter or holiday cocktail.


Course sea salt
2 limes, cut in half
6 oz silver tequila
3 oz triple sec or Contreau
12 oz cranberry juice
Ice
Fresh cranberries, for garnish

Pour the salt into a small saucer and set aside.
Cut one half of the lime into circles and then cut circles in half.
Run a cut lime over the rim of 3 glasses and dip into the salt.
Squeeze the juice of 1 ½ limes into a pitcher.
Add the tequila, triple sec or Contreau, and cranberry juice.
Stir to combine.
Fill glasses half way with ice.
Pour margarita mix into the glasses. 
Garnish with some fresh cranberries and lime wedges.

Serves 3

Monday, December 18, 2017

CAJUN PORK CHOPS WITH LEMON & THYME

Here is a delicious recipe for Cajun-style pork chops. This is a perfect weeknight meal in under 30 minutes.


½ cup all purpose flour
1 T Cajun seasoning
½ t onion powder
1 t fresh or freeze-dried thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 center-cut bone-in pork chops
1 T unsalted butter
1 T avocado oil
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 t grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T unsalted butter

In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour, Cajun seasoning, onion powder, and thyme.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Dredge pork chops in flour mixture, coating generously.

In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and add oil.
When skillet is hot, add the pork chops and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.

Transfer pork chops to a warm platter, cover and keep warm.

Add wine to skillet and over medium heat, stir to release brown bit from bottom of skillet.
Add lemon juice, zest, and garlic
Return pork chops to skillet, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until pork chops are cooked through.

Transfer pork chops to a clean warm platter.
Raise heat in skillet and add the garlic and butter.
Cook for a minute or two and then drizzle over pork chops and serve.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

AVOCADO & EGG TOAST

Avocado toast is a very popular breakfast or lunch dish among health conscious individuals. Avocados are high in fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats.  They contain more potassium than bananas. If you prefer, you can top your avocado toast with scrambled, fried, or sliced hard boiled eggs.


4 slices whole grain and seeded bread
2 avocados
2 t fresh lime juice
2 scallions, finely diced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 eggs
1 T white vinegar
Hot sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toast the bread and place on two plates.
Scoop out the flesh from the avocados and mash with a fork.
Add the lime juice and scallions.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.


Foolproof Poached Eggs
Halfway fill a 2-quart saucepan with water. 
Bring to a gentle boil and add the vinegar.

Crack eggs into four small bowls.

Using a large slotted spoon, stir the water to make a little whirlpool in your pan.
Gently slip eggs into the swirling water.
Turn off heat, cover the pan with a lid and set your timer for 4 to 5 minutes, depending upon how you like your yolks.

Place the poached eggs on top of the mashed avocado, drizzle with hot sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 2 to 4

Sunday, December 3, 2017

SHRIMP & GRITS WITH GRUYÈRE CHEESE, BACON, & MUSHROOMS

Shrimp and grits started in the low country of coastal South Carolina and Georgia. Traditionally grits was served as a breakfast dish, but now it is served with seafood and considered a brunch, lunch, dinner, or supper dish. 


3 slices apple wood smoked bacon, or your favorite, diced
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Grits
3 ½ cups chicken stock, divided
½ t sea salt
¾ cup stone ground yellow or white grits (not instant)
2 T unsalted butter
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese

Mushroom-Onion Mixture
2 t avocado oil or extra-light olive oil
½ lb mixed mushrooms, such as cremini and oyster, cleaned and sliced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)
2 T unsalted butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T Italian parsley, minced

In a large cast-iron skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Pour bacon fat into a small bowl and set aside.

Return skillet to high heat, add oil and let get very hot, but not smoking.
Cook shrimp until pink, about 2 minutes.
Transfer shrimp to a plate and set aside.
Turn off heat and leave skillet on the stove.

In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups chicken stock and salt to a boil.
Gradually whisk in the grits, reduce heat to the lowest setting, cover and simmer, about 15 to 18 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add reserved bacon fat to skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes, stirring often.
Add shallot and cook another 2 minutes.
Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook another minute.

Add the remaining ½ cup chicken stock to skillet and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

Whisk the grated Gruyère cheese and butter 2 tablespoons of butter into the grits, cover and keep warm.

Lower heat in skillet and stir in the shrimp and then whisk in the 2 tablespoons of butter.
Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon grits into 2 warm bowls, top with shrimp, mushrooms and the liquid.
Top with the reserved crispy bacon, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.

Serves 2





Thursday, November 30, 2017

HUNGARIAN CHICKEN PAPRIKASH - Chicken Paprika

Chicken Paprika or Paprikash is a classic Hungarian comfort food. My children loved this dish when they were growing up. I used only boneless chicken breasts, and still do. If you have chicken breasts or thighs, (boneless or bone-in) paprika, and sour cream or Greek yogurt; you can easily make this dish.
You can serve this over wide egg noodles (the way I served it years ago) or buy spaetzle or make spaetzle yourself. The recipe follows. Make the spaetzle first; cover and keep warm in oven.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
If you don't have a spaetzle maker (hopper), roll small balls of dough into a narrow rope and cut them into ¼ inch slices.



Spaetzle
2 cups all-purpose flour                                            
1 t sea salt  
¼ t ground nutmeg                                                           
2 large eggs                                                      
¼ cup milk
2 T unsalted butter, melted
Additional butter

In a medium size bowl, combine flour, salt, and nutmeg.  
In a small bowl, beat together eggs, milk, and butter.
Whisk egg mixture into flour mixture.  

Set aside and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes.  

Place spaetzle maker (hopper) over a large pot of boiling salted water. 
Fill hopper with batter, and then move hopper back and forth over grate, allowing dumplings to fall into the boiling water. 
Cook until dumplings float, 1-2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a baking dish.  Repeat process until all the batter has been used. 

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. 

Gently toss dumplings with additional butter in the baking dish, cover, and keep warm until ready to serve.

Chicken Paprikash
½ cup all-purpose flour                                                    
3 T sweet or hot Hungarian paprika, divided                            
½ t ground ginger
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper                                                                              
2 T avocado oil                              
4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into thirds
2 T unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely diced.
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 T unsalted butter
1 cup sour cream or full fat plain Greek yogurt, divided
Minced parsley, for garnish                                       

Mix together the flour, paprika, and ginger in a flat bowl. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. 
Dredge chicken in flour mixture and brown in skillet on both sides.
Reduce heat and add butter.
Add diced onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.

Mix together Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, and chicken broth. 
Pour over chicken, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Remove chicken to a platter.

Raise heat and add the 1 tablespoon of butter to skillet and gently boil to thicken sauce slightly.
Reduce heat and add about ½ cup of sour cream or Greek yogurt to pan and stir to combine. 

Return chicken to pan, cover and heat through for a couple of minutes.
Arrange chicken on plates and spoon sauce over and around it. 

Serve with spaetzle and sour cream or Greek yogurt on the side.


Serves 4