Theres a few artists working in this medium lately, one i guess sneaks into the lirary in the middle of the night and leaves these marvelous little statues made of books, like whats the opposite of a theif? oh yeah santa :) like a pink panther style santa ..? whatever it is i approve :)
A lot of recipes out there have corn syrup in it, i think thats gross so mine doesn't. Also a lot of recipes don't include liquor or honey, so i fixed that too :)
pastry shell (homemade) 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 sticks of butter, dash of salt, + several tablespoons of ice water, rest in the fridge before you roll it out
2 cups pecans (its that much when they are still whole)
3 small-medium eggs
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tblespoons honey
1/2 a shot of brandy
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 a stick of butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
preheat to 350
ok so use your favorite pastry dough and prebake the shell (15 minutes-ish)
take half the pecans a food process them so they are nice and chopped
set the other half aside
in a bowl mix eggs, sugar, and lightly melted butter (stir quick when the butter goes in so the eggs dont get fried) then mix in everything else, add the cream last
pour the mixture into the prebaked shell *
top with the remaining whole pecans (set them down carefully one by one so they cover the top in a spiral or concentric circles all pretty)
* when i make the pastry i make a little extra so that if the walls slump when i'm prebaking I can patch the missing spots with fresh dough before filling with the yummy stuff, I also put a little fresh pastry in the center of the top for style in the shape of a heart, leaves are also a good shape or a star or initials or whatever.
stick in a 350 oven for about 45 mins or til done, it kinda puffed up when it was done and the crust looked golden brown
2 heads broccoli
1 beaten egg
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 chopped onion
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1/4 lb butter
1/2 pkg pepperage farm seasoned stuffing
Steam broccoli (til is almost cooked) drain well
mix egg with onion and soup and then mix them with brocoli
put in a caserole dish
put cheese on top
melt butter, mix with crumbs and place on top of casserole
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp double acting baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter(shortening) 3/4 cup orange juice 1 tablespoon grated orange rind 1 egg, well beaten 1/2 cup nuts, chopped 1 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt; cut in shortening, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Combine orange juice and rind with egg
Pour all at once into dry ingredients, mixing just enough to dampen
Carefully fold in nuts and cranberries
Spoon into greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan
Spread corners and sides slightly higher than center Bake in a 350 degree oven for about one hour or until crust is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
Tonight was Lobster Fest Night!
Lobster is festive, and live lobster is for high energy adventures, but for the joy of lobster without the price of restaurants or the stamina of live critter interaction the best option is frozen lobster tails. They are lovely. This recipe is for 2 people, each gets two small lobster tails and 2 mini crab cakes, plus basmati ric, asparagus and a dipping bowl with drawn butter. It sounds mighty expensive but its not if you do it yourself, and it sounds hard but it cooks up in no time, its so good i'm obsessed :)
4 small frozen lobster tails
1/4 stick of butter
salt and pepper
4 teasoons horseradish
dash of chili pepper
juice of half a lemon
Gently slowly defrost the lobster.
Take the tails and use a strong kitchen scissor to trim the underside of the lobster tail shell. Remove the underside shell entirely including the little flipper legs. Next slice a line down the middle of the lobster meat not all the way though but the whole length of it. Do a final snip with the scissors of the first inch of the other side of the shell (the colored hard side). Give this a real good rinse.
I used my toaster oven, it came with a little pan that fits in it. My oven doesn't have a broiler so the toaster oven was the way to go. On the little pan i layed out all four and put a tab of butter, a teaspoon of horseradish and and a swig of olive oil in each. Then i added the spices listed above and squeezed half a lemon over he whole thing. So then they're ready. Let the toaster get good and hot before putting them in for about 15 minutes or until shell is red and fish is sizzling.
I served this with basmati rice, steamed asparagus, some lemon wedges, and a dipping dish of drawn butter
3/4 a stick of butter plus parsley, pepper, and a clove of garlic. when its simmered to clear add the juice of half a lemon
Dip everything in this, its the right thing to do.
And serve with 2 mini crab cakes; i bought these premade and cooked them in the oven
Oh and a side of cherry tomatos (cut in half) with fresh basil, top with pepper, parley, lemon, and very good olive oil.
so have you ever had to make a birthday cake and not have a box on hand? here's a great alternative. For those of you who have pancake mix and oreos in the cubboard try this:
1 cup pancake mix
3/4 cup half and half
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
about 2 rows or 20 cookies of oreos (when food processed into dust crumble its about a cup).
1/4bag of chocolate chips on top
mix all that together, in a cake pan, put the chocolate chips on top Preheat to 350 , cook about 20 - 30 mins
Serve warm with mint chocolate chip ice cream
So gumbo is only loosely what i'm calling this, its a savory gumbo inspired stew. Served on top of plain cous cous, this dish has a combination of meats and beans a little heat a tomato based broth and some vegetables, but lacking hot peppers or ocra some sticklers might call this a cocktail sassafrass. The gumbo mixed meat approach is a great way to handle a myriad of leftovers, this time round I got lucky with the ingredients on hand and the dish came out super yummy so here is the ingredients as it went down.
1 1/2 cups frozen shrimp
3/4 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 cup frozen brussel sprouts
4 cloves garlic
1/2 an onion
dollup of olive oil
1 leftovered bbqd pork chop (deboned and cubed)
1/2 cup cubes of leftover bbq'd filet mignon
1/2 of a bbq'd sweet italian sausage link cubed
1 little can of tomato juice
2 peaches (peeled pitted cutup)
1/2 cup salsa
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of beer
3 teaspoons of horseradish
Ok so in a pot fry the garlic and onions, toss in the meats and brown them. defrost all the frozen stuff. when meat is well sizzled toss in the liquids and the the beans and sprouts, let it all simmer together for 20 minutes then toss in the shrimp cover and take off the heat. let stand 20 minutes before rescalding to serve.
Here's a new fish recipe I made tonight and loved. It is a kindof hummus pesto using some original ingredients, spread on a couple of pieces of fish. On the side there is a carrot dish that rocks and goes well with the fish. That plus some basmati rice and roasted tomato makes for a super yummy dinner. I use a bbq to make all of this though you could just as easily cook it inside.. soooo here's the recipe :)
The pesto I used is a mix of two kinds of pesto, some that i had on hand (made by G) and some that i made just then, so i'm going to include the ingredients of both, to be true to what i made, but if you are low on ingredients you can use regular pesto..
put all that in a food processor and grind it to a pesto paste.
Plus Lima Bean Puree:
Add in lima beans.
I used fresh lima beans from shells, I shucked them, and unshelled there was about 1 cup of them which i boiled til they were vegetable soft. *Drain them. And add them to the food processor (that has the pesto in it). The result should be a flavorful paste :)
- Last thing to add to the pesto paste is 1 egg yolk. Toss that in the processor right before you are ready to use it and give it a spin
*I strained the lima bean water onto the already cleaned and cut up carrot slices to blanch them. (using the bean water adds some vitamins. )
I took four pretty carrots and sliced them at an angle so they are long ovals almost penne shaped, and put them in a bbq friendly pan (no plastic handles!) Drop on the lima bean water, should be about a cup or two, then add 1/ 3rd a stick of butter, parsley, fresh rosemary, a cup of wine, and a dash of salt and pepper. (its ready for the bbq)
Take 4 tilapia filets:
In a round cake pan put four pieces of tilapia, first put down two. Add the *paste as a center layer then put ontop the other two like 2 fish sandwiches. Add some fresh basil leaves.
Put the two top fish pieces on and cover them with a thick paste. Top with a dash of parmesian and a couple basil leaves. The thick coating locks in the steam so the fish cooks to be very tender.
Important: In the same pan as the fish take a medium / large tomato and cut it in half, put the two halves face down in the pan
Put the carrots in first on the bottom with the heat on pretty low, put the fish on the top to cook slower. cook for about 20 mins, when the carrots sizzle and most of their water has gone, raise the heat to medium and cook til ready, the carrots are ready when they are tender, the fish is ready when the tomato on the pan is stewy, if you can poke into it with your finger then the fish is likely done.
serve carrots with a tab of butter on top and serve with a side of basmati rice
Time for another recipe :) this time a side dish, but a hearty one which is a good thing to have around in case any relatives or friends surprise ya by being a vegetarian :)
Soo Potato Au gratin is a pretty standard recipe, but i like to put my own spin on traditional dishes, so without any further ado, fancy's potatos au gratin
6 or 7 med / large red potatos, clean peeled and blinded (eyes removed) then slice them in 3mm round slices, like the thinner the better, make like you are doing potato chips ( use a big knife so you keep yer fingers)
Then get a small casserole dish (mines shallow an oval about 7by12
1cup half and half
3 tbsp thick greek plain yogurt
toss the potato circles in the cream and put in casserole dish making sure the potatos are all layed flat so it looks like layers
put ontop 1/4 a stick of butter,
dash of salt
then make a topping crust out of:
about 1/4 cup fine chopped gruyere
about 1/4 cup fine chopped white sharp cheddar
2 tbsp seasoned bread crumbs,
3 tbsp finely chopped walnuts
a bit of olive oil
stick in the oven for about an hour at 375
(you may want to put a cookie tray under so that nothing drips in your oven)
:) & eat yum!!
hearty, vegetarian and soomething different to do with your potatos
I served this as a side dish for baked salmon seared scallops (in a lemon garlic butter) and steamed fresh spinach,
for side salad just a few cut up vine ripened fresh tomatos (with oregano, parsley, olive oil, salt, balsamic vinegar)
I have never contacted my representative before but I feel compelled to do so regarding a very important piece of legislation which is coming up. I am concerned about the way the government's policies effect farming in our country. The restructuring of the 2012 farm bill has the potential to make our food, soil, economy, animals and humans much healthier. All this talk on the news about obesity as an epidemic rarely discusses the government's role in food prices, the corrupt agricultural subsidies favor corporate farmers and big companies like monsanto and make unhealthy food less expensive than vegetables, fruits, humanely treated livestock and organically grown varieties of crops. The consumer, especially the economically disadvantaged americans, are the victims in this situation. With diabetes and heart disease rates soaring I think it is time we finally made government funding and farm aid available to the farmers who are making quality products.
As my representative I hope that you will fight for my health, and the health of the population and the planet. When the 2012 farm bill is restructured please make sure you speak up and fight for the farm money to be distributed wisely to the people who need it. Organic farmers, small and medium farm owners, diverse crops, grassfed cattle, and ecologically beneficial farming practices.
So I used to hate scallops.. My folks are great cooks but we never got scallops right. We'd get frozen ones, or sometimes fresh, then add them to dishes which had varieties of shellfish, and they were always the least tasty member of the frutta del mare party. I have suffered through meal after meal, either at a restaurant or in my own kitchen adventures, where scallops are rubbery and tough with a metallic or sour flavor, once even i had it soaked in balsamic and wow that did not work. So why on earth would I be suggesting a scallop dish?? Cause ... pause for drumroll... I FINALLY managed to cook them right. And they were a completely different thing altogether. I feel like I really accomplished something. I made a dish of scallops that I'd actually want to eat :) In fact I'd want to eat it all the time!! Here's how it happened...
I did a little research and the word is that scallops are only good when they are fresh, I know that you can say that of any edible thing, but with scallops its serious. Treat like sushi. If you cant get them super fresh, don't bother. So I went to a fish market in Cape May, where the boats are parked out back moored to the back door's dock. Next the scallops don't like to be cooked so much. They can stand a sear, but leaving them to cook through is like serving filet mignon well done, there's nothing well about it done so well. So with that as the rule I made some mashed potatoes (plain just some milk and butter inside) and steamed some broccoli for a side dish and both were nearly ready when heat hit my frying pan.
1 pound big fresh sea scallops
half a stick of butter
two tablespoons of olive oil
the juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons of capers (the balsamic kind)
1 cup of white wine
7 cloves of garlic chopped up
1 yellow squash
Take the squash, cut off the ends and then slice in about half inch thick slices so the circles are resembling the size and shape of the scallops.
Put in a frying pan the oil butter pepper and garlic, and get it nice and hot. dry the scallops with a paper towel and gently put them in the pot, work your way in a circle when you put them down, when you finish the circle go around flipping along the circle and when they've all been flipped 1 by 1 take them out into a bowl and put in the next circle of dudes etc. They shouldn't be in there for more than a minute on each side, like seriously you'd cook an egg longer. When they are all done and out toss in the squash pieces, the pan is still frying hot, lightly brown both sides of the squashes, then add the capers, wine, lemon and parsley. The squashes are kinda thick so let them sizzle in there til they are of a good consistency, 5-10 minutes on medium. When they look about ready plate the mashed potatos and brocoli and toss the scallops back in the pan remove fro heat and stir around some, then in plating put the scallop squash piccata right on top of the mashed potatos so the juice dribbles down.
I like how with this dish the squash is masquerading as the scallops. Also when serving scallops alone you can really pay attention to the not overcooking thing, It worked out really well, the scallops melted like butter in our mouths (feeds 2)
So my new obsession is with pies, i have been making them to sell at the local produce farm stand, Gary the groceryman gives me his overripe fruits and I make them into pies. I had made a chocolate bottomed raspberry pie and a blueberry crumbletop, both of which were serious tasty and sold out ( i saved one for myself of each cause i couldn't resist. Anyway I was thinking if I were at a farm stand I'd be looking for a mini pie or a cute little personal pie, a big pie is a lot of comitment and only really gets bought by big families or big pie affecionatos ... so i tried to find little pie tins... i tried 5 stores... no luck. What I did find was a baking tray that makes a dozen cupcakes. So when I got a bunch of peaches from the market I had been working on a foil frame for a suncatcher and it occured to me that I could just build my own pie tins. Peaches fit perfect in a cupcake tin, except they are a bit too tall and also there needs to be room for the pie crust, so I got a plastic cup that fit in the cupcake tin (one of those cocktail fancy plastic cups) And I used it as the template for the foil, forming it around the outside of the cup being sure to include a lip at the top and making sure the bottom fit comfy into the cupcake tin. Since the result is larger then a cupcake would be I made 6 of these filling every other cupcake spot on the tray.
OK so that being done pie crust is next
I used the equivalent of three pie bottoms of homemade pastry
3 cups flour
3 sticks of butter (1 1/2 cups)
15 shakes of a salt shaker (like almost a teaspoon)
1 or 2 tablespoons of white granulated sugar (optional)
The thing about pie crust is the flakiest tastiest pies are prolly made near the artic circle.. all the ingredients like to be cold during the process and you should take breaks to ensure that the butter has not melted! I keep my flour in the freezer and the butter in the fridge up til the moment of use. Ok so combine all the dry stuff, then take a little bowl and fill it with filtered water an a few ice cubes. then take the butter out of the fridge and use two knives to cut it into the flour, when the pieces are small get your hands in there and quickly bust up the larger pieces so that it looks all crumbly in there. Now get a tablespoon and add about 7 tablespoons of very cold water, add it slowly while gathering all the crumbles together into a ball, as soon as it will form a ball you have enough water. don't knead it or work it as a ball just separate the ball into 3 pieces and smoosh them into 3 round flat balls and stick immediately into fridge ( or freezer) and let it chill and relax for at least a couple hours, on a hot day or if you only have an hour instead of several you might want to put in the freezer...
Roll out the dough on a clean floured surface til its like half a centimeter thick, (leave the other 2 dough balls in the fridge til you are out of the first) put them in the tins and gently press and pinch them into the shape of the bottom and sides, take a fork and score them onto the lip of the cup (this acts as an achor so the walls don't slide down in the oven) 2 balls should fit all 6 cup bottoms and the last one can hang out in the fridge for when you are making the lattice tops
When all 6 bottoms are formed stick the whole tray in the freezer for at least half and hour maybe an hour...
Now you can think about the middle...
a handful of rasberries (optional)
half a cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons dark honey
4-5 shots of Bourbon ( i used makers mark)
3/4 stick of butter
3 heaping tablespoons of flour
Ok so 6 of the peaches will remain whole and fit neatly in the middle of the pies. Get a knife and carefully cut out the pit, I've done this before without cutting all the way through but this time the pits were good and stuck in there so I just cut to the bottom and took out the middle cylinder core and left the rest of the peach whole and unharmed, skin on. The recipe calls for 8 so you have two chances for messing up.. Set the best 6 aside.
In a pot throw in the sugars and honey and butter, whatever peach bits you were able to get off the pits, and cut up the remaining two peaches, plus raspberries if you got them. cook on medium. Depending on how much you like flames you can either throw the bourbon in at the beginning to simmer its spirits off, or you can wait til its nice and bubbly in there to toss it in and ignite. Either way there is a lot of it in this recipe so it would be safer to wait a couple minutes after you throw it in before igniting (just so you get to keep yer eyebrows ;) I let all this simmer for 15 minutes til it was a bit thicker and bubbly. Then add the flour, stirring inbetween tablespoons so its worked in well, the result should have about the consistency of melted chocolate. Remove from heat.
Prebaking the shells helps them get flaky like the top and stops them from being soggy bottomed pies as is all too often the problem with fruit pies. You don't need them to brown but you will see they get a little puff going and look like they are adjusting to their shape even getting a little bit of crisp. When that happens take them out and let them cool a couple minutes, then its time to fill them.
While they are cooling roll out the last of the dough and stick it back in the fridge as a sheet.
Each little pie gets one peach, the center pit hole gets filled with the happy syrupy goodness, and top it with cinnamon. Pretty.
The last of the dough gets cut into strips that you criss cross over the tops (4 strips per pie) and whatever is left I formed into hearts for the middles (though you could put initials or stars or leaves or whatever looks good to you)
Your oven should be preheated to 350 now - Stick them in there for about an hour or til the room fills with the smell and the pie tops brown (no oven door opening no peaking, watch through the oven window if you want to drool)
This is an americanized version of the fish dish the three marias made me and my family when we visited my uncle minguccio's house in Rutigliano Italy. It's fish prepared in a pouch made of aluminum foil. It's typically served with a whole fish, head on tail on skins on bones in... a whole fish. It's gutted and the belly filled with good things. It's delicious but I don't really care for the dangerous picking through pin bone skeletons all that much, and the head on makes me feel like i'm being stared at, and think of mortality. And the skin isn't too fun either. So usually*... now, I make mine with boneless skinless tilapia fillets. :)
*cept that one time :D I was feeling nostalgic for italy and living in tarrytown and there was an old fish market by my office, a kind of westchester import grocery that is full of little old foreign ladies, getting great deals on obscure cheeses and vegetables. So I decided to make pesce pouches with whole fish, the monger offered to gut them for me, but fearing he'd take the head and tail i declined, but when I got home I noticed he hadn't cut the center either. My kitchen was white and i had no sharp knives, so the big knife i had could barely pierce the skin lol I made such a ridiculous mess lol ... After how gruesome cutting open the middle had been i decided serving them head on was not going to be appealing afterall, so I tried to cut off the head.. but every time i pushed down on the knife the head would bend toward me and the mouth would open slightly, it was pretty hysterical, my friend was there making the fish talk saying "oww quit it!" whenever the mouth opened... like it was definitely dead but the pressure from that stick of a knife not going into the neck made him kinda look up at me funny :/ lol, ... when my roomate got home we were rolling on the floor in tears of laughter and dinner was so not made... sharp knives make the hugest difference!
Anyway This is how I make this recipe these days, american style.
This is a one serving recipe! (five people = five pouches)
Grab a big piece of heavy duty aluminum foil, one pouch per person.
Put it in a bowl or rectangle tupperware so half the foil is kinda encouraged and pressed into a bowl shape, and there's a flap left of enough foil to seal off the top, the pouch has gotta hold juice and close well enough to seal in the steam, and be reopenable for emergency checking.
So yeah make a pouch, toss in olive oil, and stick in two pieces of tilapia, stacked on top of eachother like a sammich, or like the two sides of a big fish would be, in between add some good stuff, such as:
juice of half a lemon (no pits)
three round slices of lemon
three round slices of lime,
two or three fresh basil leaves,
five or six good marinated olives (depitted - cut up),
four or five cloves of garlic cut up,
Put a lil oil and parsley on the top of the sammich and close up the pouch, steam tight, and stick on the BBQ on low for about 15 minutes, no flipping - no peaking! (I put my pouches in an aluminum foil pan for easier carrying). The Fish is done when its flaky, don't open the pouch til its done, it can open on the plate.
Serve with rice :) and a side vege like string beans or asparagus or whatever n stuff :)