Tuesday, February 20, 2018

BROILED LOBSTER TAILS

It is easier to find frozen lobster tails in your supermarket than live whole lobsters. It also much easier to broil than to boil and clean a whole lobster. This makes a special but quick dinner or first course. We shared a New York strip steak with a lobster tail each. This was our Valentine's Day dinner with a bottle of Prosecco and we shared a slice of double chocolate "to die for" cake.


2 lobster tails, thawed in the refrigerator
6 T unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 t paprika
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges

Preheat broiler.

Using kitchen shears, cut through the top of the shells lengthwise and pull shells open to expose the meat. Turn lobster tails over and cut at the base of each of the little "feet" to release the lobster meat. Gently pull the lobster meat out and on top of shells.
Transfer lobster tails to a baking sheet.
Melt butter in a small saucepan and add the pressed garlic.
Drizzle 1 tablespoons of the melted butter over each lobster tail.
Sprinkle with paprika and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place under broiler and broil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until meat is opaque and golden brown. Watch carefully so you don’t burn the lobster.

Serve with the rest of the melted butter and lemon wedges.



Sunday, February 18, 2018

EASY EGGS BENEDICT

Eggs Benedict is the ultimate breakfast or brunch entrée. English muffins, ham, and heavenly hollandaise sauce...what's not to love about this dish! Read through the recipe and place everything on the counter. The Easy Hollandaise Sauce is made in the blender and kept warm in hot water while making your foolproof poached eggs.

Lee’s Kitchen Tips:
If your eggs need a little bit of tidying-up, trim the edges with "kitchen only" scissors before placing on top of ham.
If you want to poach your eggs in advance, poach them for 3 to 4 minutes and place eggs immediately in an ice bath and refrigerate. Just before you want to serve and you have the plates ready, carefully drop the eggs in gently simmering water for about 30 seconds, to reheat.


Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce
2 large egg yolks
1 T water
1 T fresh lemon juice
½ t sea salt
6 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Dash of cayenne pepper

In a blender, combine the egg yolks, water, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne.
Blend until mixture is light in color and frothy.

Heat butter on top of the stove in a small saucepan until it starts to bubble.

With blender running on slow speed, pour the hot butter in a thin stream through the top and blend until well combined and thickened. 
This could take a minute or two.

Set blender in a bowl of hot water while making the eggs.

3 to 4 slices of good country ham or honey glazed ham
2 T unsalted butter, divided
2 English muffins

4 eggs, room temperature
2 T white vinegar
Black pepper

Cut or shred the ham into thin strips.
In a cast-iron skillet, over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the butter.
Brown the ham, flipping with a spatula a couple of times.
Set ham aside on a plate, cover and keep warm.

Add the other tablespoon of butter to the skillet and place the opened English muffins, face down, in the skillet to brown and soak up the flavor of the ham. Turn off the heat and keep muffins warm in skillet.

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 with the handle 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.

To Assemble
Place one or two slices of English muffins on each plate.
Top with the browned ham and nestle the top slightly for eggs to sit in.
Using a slotted spoon, remove eggs, one at a time and hold over your other hand with a tea towel to catch the water.
Place the eggs on top of ham.
Pour the Hollandaise Sauce over and sprinkle with a little black pepper.

Serves 2 to 4

Friday, February 16, 2018

SOURDOUGH ENGLISH MUFFINS

You will love how delicious these muffins are...much better than store-bought English muffins. If you have your own sourdough in your refrigerator, you can add 3 tablespoons to the dough. I included a quick sourdough recipe for you to make the day before you want to make your muffins. You can leave it out of the recipe for plain muffins. It is absolutely your decision. 
I have seen recipes for English muffins using wide mouth mason jar rings, but they are still too small and a little difficult to remove the rings from the partially cooked muffins. I bought 8 English muffin rings in a kitchen supply store and they were only ($4.99 for 4 rings).


Sour Dough Starter
½ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup water
½ t active dry yeast 
½ t honey

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, water, yeast, and honey until well combined.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 24 hours. 
The mixture will bubble and expand.
You can skip this process if you already have sourdough starter in your refrigerator or just eliminate it altogether.

Dough

1 cup whole milk
1 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 T honey
2 t active dry yeast
3 T sourdough starter (optional) or add 2 T more of milk
1 t sea salt
1 t baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
Cooking oil spray
Cornmeal

Warm milk with butter and honey in a small saucepan on the stove or in the microwave.
Do not let the milk get too hot. Stir until honey has dissolved.
Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and let cool.

Add the yeast. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
Add the starter (if using) and mix in.
Place bowl back onto the mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Add the salt and then the flour and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Cover the bowl with a clean damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot for about an hour, until doubled in size.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to a circle and place your 8 muffin rings on top, close together, to make sure you use all of the dough. Sprinkle with flour, if needed. 

Spray the inside of your muffin rings with cooking oil (I spray one area and use my fingers to rub it around the entire ring) and then cut out muffins (leaving rings on) and place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with oil and dusted with cornmeal.
Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm spot until they fill the muffin rings to the top. 
Spray tops with cooking oil and sprinkle with cornmeal.

Spray a griddle pan with oil and heat over medium-high heat. 

Lightly brown the muffins, in their rings, on each side for about 2 minutes. 

Do this in 2 batches.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


Transfer muffins to the same baking sheet while the oven is preheating.
Bake muffins for 10 minutes.

Let cool completely and then release from rings with a kitchen knife.

To toast, split oven muffins with a fork and toast in your toaster or under a broiler for a minute or so.


Store unused muffins in a plastic storage bag in the refrigerator.


Makes 8 English muffins


Note: You will have leftover dough from around the muffins rings. I make a small loaf of muffin bread with the leftover dough. You can also make 2 additional muffins, if you prefer.




Sunday, February 11, 2018

ASPARAGUS MIMOSA WITH HICKORY SMOKED VIRGINIA SAUSAGES

This can be a side dish for a Sunday brunch or just for a simple breakfast. It was so delicious and we didn't need toast. My sister, Dotti, sent me a Virginia ham, hickory smoked sausages and peppered bacon for Christmas from a company called Edwards of Virginia. The sausages are to die for!


1 to 2 hickory smoked country sausages
1 lb fresh asparagus
1 t sea salt
2 t extra-virgin olive oil
2 t champagne or white wine vinegar
1 t fresh lemon juice and zest
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A sprinkling of red pepper flakes
2 hard cooked eggs

Start your sausages in a cast-iron skillet first. Cut them into small pieces so they brown all over and fry them in a little avocado oil. Read the instructions on your package for how long to cook them. 


Fill a small saucepan with water and add 2 eggs. Bring to a boil, immediately turn off heat and let eggs sit in hot water, covered with a lit, for 15 to 17 minutes...no longer or you'll have green eggs and ham.


When sausages are cooked. Spoon them out onto a paper town lined plate and keep warm in the oven.


In another saucepan, fill halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add some salt and the trim the tough ends off of the asparagus. Let them boil in the water for about 2 to 3 minutes until al dente (not completely soft). Place in a pretty dish and drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and zest.


Drain the water from the pan and shake the eggs in the pan to crackle the shells (makes it easier to peel). Peel them under cold water and the membrane will come off easily. 

Chop the eggs and place on top of the asparagus. Add the chopped sausage or set them in a small bowl next to the asparagus for vegetarians to enjoy this dish and people who love sausages can sprinkle them on top of theirs.

Season with salt and pepper and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.


Serves 4 as a side dish




Monday, February 5, 2018

MANGO-ORANGE TEQUILA SUNRISE

This is a perfect drink for Cinco de Mayo or anytime during the spring or summer.  I included a photo of one of our sunrises here on the island. 



8 ounces silver tequila
6 ounces mango juice
6 ounces orange juice
2 ounces fresh lime juice
2 ounces creme de cassis or grenadine

In a large pitcher or glass measuring cup, add the tequila, mango juice, orange juice, and lime juice. Mix to combine.

In 2 or 4 tall cocktail glasses, add about 4 ice cubes to each.
Pour in the tequila mixture and then drizzle in the creme de cassis and do not stir.

Makes 4 drinks 

SKILLET CORNBREAD WITH JALAPEÑO PEPPERS

Cornbread in the South is normally made without sugar. I added a small amount of sugar but you can leave it out if you wish. The jalapeño peppers are also optional. I also add one tablespoon of bacon grease to the skillet to give the cornbread a nice brown crust. This is also optional but if you choose not to use bacon grease, use the same amount of butter to season the pan.



cups stone ground yellow cornmeal (I use Palmetto Farms)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t sea salt
3 T granulated or brown sugar (optional)
3 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (optional)
7 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T bacon grease or unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
Stir in the beaten eggs, buttermilk, sour cream, jalapeño peppers, and melted butter. 

Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, carefully remove skillet from oven and add the tablespoon of bacon grease or butter.
Set aside to let melt.

Pour the batter into the seasoned skillet and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Cut into squares.

To Make Cornbread Muffins:
Pour batter into a buttered muffin pan and bake 20 minutes.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

SNAKE BITE CHILI

Chili freezes well and if you don't have a crowd for the Super Bowl game or other football games, make this amount of chili and freeze the rest for another time. Use your favorite ground chile powder, but the combination of ancho, chipotle, and New Mexico gives this chili a wonderful smoky flavor.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:

There is a difference between chili powder and chile powder. Chili powder (ending with an "i") is a blend of ground chile pods and other spices. Chile powder (ending with an "e") is pure ground chile pods with no additives. 



4 slices applewood smoked bacon, diced (or your favorite bacon)
2 T avocado oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, finely diced   
1 large green bell pepper, finely diced  
1 Jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and minced  
1 poblano pepper, seeded and minced                                                              
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 lbs ground sirloin beef
3 (14-oz) cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
2 T ancho chile powder, or your favorite 
1 T chipotle chile powder, or your favorite
1 T New Mexico chile powder, or your favorite 
3 T brown sugar    
1 T smoked paprika                                                
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
1 T freeze-dried or dried oregano
½ t cayenne pepper
¼ t allspice
¼ t ground cinnamon
1 bottle of your favorite beer
3 cups beef broth
1 14-oz) can chili beans or pinto beans, your choice, rinsed and drained. 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 T masa or corn flour

In a large Dutch oven, add bacon and cook over medium-high heat until crisp.
Pour off grease but save 2 tablespoons in a small bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil and add the onions and bell peppers.
Sauté for 10 minutes.
Add the Jalapeño and poblano peppers and garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.
Spoon into a large bowl and set aside.

Add the other tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven and brown the beef in two batches while breaking up with a wooden spoon. Spoon the browned beef into the bowl with the onion mixture.
Brown the second batch of beef and when brown, return the onion mixture to the Dutch oven and add the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients, except the flour, and stir to combine.

Simmer partially covered for 1 ½ hours, stirring often.

Mix the masa or corn flour with the tablespoon of bacon grease and add to the chili.
Stir to combine and simmer another 10 minutes.

Suggested condiments for toppings:
Shredded cheddar or pepper-jack cheese                              Sliced black olives
Scallions, chopped
Cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

Serve with Southern Skillet Cornbread.