Sunday, January 29, 2017


Étouffée is a dish found in Creole and Cajun cuisine. Étouffée roughly translates to 'smother'. Creole food contains tomatoes of some type, where Cajun does not.

4 T unsalted butter
4 T all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 T Creole seasoning (recipe follows) 
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 t smoked paprika
1 t dried thyme
½ t cayenne pepper (optional, if you want a little more heat)
3 cups seafood or clam broth
3 T tomato paste
2 bay leaves
4 dashes hot sauce
2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup minced parsley

In a large cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Whisk in the flour and cook, while whisking, until the mixture turns a light caramel color.
This could take 10 to 15 minutes. Don't let it get too dark.

Reduce heat to low and add the onion, bell peppers, celery, and garlic.
Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, then add the Creole seasoning, Worcestershire, paprika, thyme, cayenne, seafood broth or clam broth, tomato paste, and bay leaves.
Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in the hot sauce and shrimp.
Cover with a lid and let simmer about 3 minutes, to cook shrimp.

Serve with cooked rice and top with the diced scallions and parsley.
Don't forget some crusty French bread.

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.

Friday, January 27, 2017


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

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


I bought locally made hard dry cider at our mercantile store. If you want a warm drink, especially in the fall and winter, you can eliminate the ice and cherries and warm the cider and bourbon before pouring into mugs or Irish coffee glasses.

4 oz Kentucky bourbon
8 oz hard dry cider
4 dashes cherry or plain cocktail bitters
1 T granulated sugar or natural herbal stevia
2 Maraschino cherries
2 orange slices

Add the bourbon, cider, bitters, and sugar to a pitcher and stir.
Fill 4 cocktail glasses with ice and pour the mixture into each.

Garnish each with a cherry and an orange wedge.

Makes 2 drinks

Sunday, January 22, 2017


For years I made smothered pork chops using the commercial brand of Shake and Bake for pork and Ranch-Style Dry Mix . . .  and it was delicious! Then I discovered a way to make my own Shake & Bake and Ranch-Style Dry Mix. This is truly an ultimate southern country-style dish without the addition of MSG and other chemicals. 

Seasoning Mix
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup Homemade Shake & Bake (recipe follows)

2 center cut bone-in pork chops
1 T avocado oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut in half & thinly sliced
2 T unsalted butter
2 T of Homemade Shake & Bake (use what's left in the shallow bowl)
½ cups chicken stock 
½ cup buttermilk mixed with 2 T Homemade Ranch-Style Dry Mix (recipe follows)

In a shallow bowl, add the flour and Homemade Shake & Bake.
Mix with a fork.
Rinse pork chops and pat dry with paper towels then dredge in flour mixture.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the oil. 
Add the pork chops and fry for 4 minutes on each side. 
Remove the pork chops and set aside. 
Add the sliced onion and sauté for 10 minutes over low heat.

Add the butter and the 2 tablespoons of the Homemade Shake & Bake to the pan drippings and cook to make a light golden roux.

Pour in the chicken stock and let liquid cook down for a couple of minutes. 
Stir in the buttermilk mixture and return the pork chops to the pan.

Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes until the pork is cooked through. 
Serve with mashed potatoes.

* Of course you can use the store bought brands of Shake & Bake and Ranch Style Mix.

Serves 2

Homemade Shake & Bake
3 cups plain bread crumbs
2 t sea salt
2  t fine ground black pepper
1 T dried onion flakes
1 T paprika
1 t freeze-dried or dried parsley flakes
1 t freeze-dried or dried basil
1 t freeze-dried or dried oregano
½ t cayenne pepper

Store in a covered jar in your pantry.

Homemade Ranch-Style Dry Mix
½ cup dry buttermilk powder
3 T freeze-dried or dried parsley flakes (reserving 1 teaspoon)
1 T freeze-dried or dried chives
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
2 t dried onion flakes
2 t dill weed (reserving 1 teaspoon)
½ t granulated sugar
1 t sea salt
1 t fine ground black pepper

Using a blender, pour in the above ingredients except the reserved teaspoons of parsley and dill.
Blend to make a smooth powder.
Pour into a jar and mix in the reserved parsley flakes and dill weed.

Store in a covered jar in your pantry.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


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.