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 Cointreau
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 Cointreau, and cranberry juice.
Stir to combine.
Fill glasses halfway 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 the brown bits from the bottom of the 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 the 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 or 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.

Lift each egg from the water with the slotted spoon and place on top of the mashed avocado.
Drizzle with a little 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 were served as a breakfast dish, but now they are served with seafood and considered a brunch, lunch, dinner, or supper dish. 


3 slices applewood 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 slowly simmer, about 20 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. 
Whisk in the 2 tablespoons of butter and heat through.
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