Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tarragon Chicken Salad

This salad is quick, simple, and addictive.

Servings: 2-4
Time: Prep: 10 minutes; Cooking: 2 minutes
Hardware: Measuring spoon, a small skillet, a plate covered in a paper towel, a can opener, kitchen scissors, a bowl, a mixing spoon

Sweet, buttery, crunchy, chickeny goodness
  • 1-9.75 oz can white chicken breast (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • ¼ cup mayo
  • Fresh cracked pepper

  1. Toast the almonds in the butter over medium heat. Watch them carefully because they burn quickly. Remove them when they are golden brown.  Drain the almonds on the plate and allow them to cool.
  2. Cut the grapes in half. This is easier to do with kitchen scissors than it is with a knife.
  3. Drain the chicken.
  4. Mix the chicken, grapes, toasted almonds, tarragon, and mayo. Top with a few grinds of black pepper.
  5. Refrigerate until ready you are ready to serve.

 Serve this salad on potato rolls if you can resist eating it right out of the bowl.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes are a popular Southern dish. They can be served as an appetizer, a side dish, and believe it or not as a sandwich. They are so quick and easy that I often just eat them by themselves as a meal. However it doesn’t matter how you eat them just that you eat them.

Servings: 4-6
Time: Prep-10 minutes, Cook-4 minutes
Hardware: Cutting board and knives, measuring spoons, two bowls, a fork, a heavy skillet, a plate, a paper towel

  • 2 pieces of bacon
  • 2 large green tomatoes
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup corn meal
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup oil for frying
  • Feta cheese, balsamic glaze

When you crunch into these you'll believe you're down home!

  1. Fry the bacon in the skillet to render the fat. (Eat the bacon or save it for another dish.)
  2. Wash the tomatoes and slice them about ¼ inch thick. Discard the ends.
  3. Mix the flour, corn meal, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in one bowl.
  4. Beat the egg in the other bowl. Stir in the buttermilk.
  5. Cover the plate in the paper towel.
  6. Heat the oil and the bacon fat over medium heat.
  7. Dredge the tomatoes in the flour mixture and shake off the excess, then dip them in the milk wash, and dredge them in the flour again.
  8. Place the tomatoes in the hot oil without allowing them to touch. Fry them until they are golden brown and then flip them. This should take about 2 minutes. When they are golden brown on the second side (another 2 minutes) remove them to the plate to drain on the paper towel.

Serve them warm, sprinkled with feta cheese, and drizzled with balsamic glaze.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shrimp and Surimi Salad

“What is surimi?” you ask. To tell the truth it is Krab with a “k”. Most people think that eating Krab is a joke. Joke’s on them.  This salad is wonderful with a “w”.

This is the perfect summer salad

Servings: 4-6
Time: Prep: 20 minutes; Cooking: 2 minutes
Hardware: Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, 2 large pots, a colander, a bowl, a mixing spoon

  • ½ pound 31-35 count shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • Ice
  • ½ pound surimi “Krab legs” (I use Kanimi Crab Smart Sticks)
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 green onion stalk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • Salt to taste

  1. Zest and slice the lemon. Set the zest aside.
  2. Place the lemon slices and Old Bay in a pot. Fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil.
  3. Fill the other pot with ice and water.
  4. Drop the shrimp in the boiling water and cook for 2-2 ½ minutes.
  5. Drain the shrimp and place them in the ice bath to stop them from cooking. When they have cooled, drain them again.
  6. Peel and clean the shrimp. Cut each shrimp into three pieces.
  7. Cut the surimi sticks into ½ inch slices.
  8. Wash and slice the green onion.
  9. Wash and chop the dill.
  10. Mix the yogurt, mayo, onion, dill, and lemon zest.
  11. Fold in the shrimp and surimi. The surimi should separate.
  12. Salt to taste.
  13. Refrigerate until you are ready to use.

This salad is great on a bed of Bibb lettuce. You can also make really tasty sandwiches by serving this on crusty bread with slices of fresh tomato and shredded lettuce.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spinach & Shrimp, White Pizza

I love shrimp.  I love spinach.  I love this pizza.  You will, too.

Servings: 8 slices
Time:  Prep: 15 minutes; Cooking:  12-15 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring spoons, a pan, a bowl, a spoon, a spatula, and a pizza stone or baking sheet

  • 1 -12" pre-made pizza crust (I like Boboli)
  • ¾ pound large (31-35 count) shrimp
  • 4 cloves sliced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons pesto (I use Classico or I make my own)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella shredded cheese

Before                                       After

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. 
  2. Wash the spinach and remove the stems. Peel and clean the shrimp.
  3. Heat the butter in the pan on medium. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for a minute or so. 
  4. Add the shrimp and lemon juice and cook until the shrimp are just done (2-4 minutes). Remove the shrimp from the heat.
    • You might want to undercook the shrimp a little, because they will cook more in the oven. 
  5. Mix the pesto, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the liquid from the shrimp until blended.
  6. Spread the ricotta mixture over the pizza.
  7. Top the pizza with the spinach leaves and then with the shrimp.
  8. Top with the mozzarella cheese.
  9. Bake the pizza for 7-10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. 
Serve warm.  This goes great with Caesar Salad.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Chicken Agrodolce

Agrodolce means bittersweet in Italian.  Honey lends sweetness to the bitter tang of balsamic vinegar.  The taste is complex, but the dish is simple to make.  
This is NOT traditional Agrodolce (which has raisins and olives) but my very American take on the dish.

Servings: 4-6
Time:    Prep: 10 minutes; Cook: 15 Minutes
Hardware:  measuring spoons, a cutting board and knives, a gallon Ziploc bag, a heavy bottom skillet (I prefer a cast iron skillet), a wooden spoon,  tongs, a plate, tinfoil, a whisk (I use a flat whisk)

Sticky, sweet, tangy goodness
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons very hot liquid (water or chicken stock)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (maybe more)
  • 1 lb chicken breast sliced very thin and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • S&P to taste
  1. Mix the hot liquid (I use chicken stock), vinegar, and honey together.  Stir until the honey is melted.  Set aside.
  2. Place the flour, cornstarch, onion powder, thyme, and garlic salt in the Ziploc.  Shake like crazy to mix.  Put the chicken in the bag and shake it.  Make sure all the chicken pieces are coated.  Set aside.
  3. Loosely tent the plate with foil.
  4. Heat the olive oil in the pan on medium high.
  5. Shake as much flour from the chicken as possible and add it to the pan a few pieces at a time.  Don’t crowd the chicken.  You may need to cook it in batches.  If you cut the chicken thin enough it should only need to cook for 2- 2 ½ minutes per side.  Turn the chicken with the tongs.  Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and keep it warm in the tinfoil tent as you add more pieces.
  6. You may need to add a little more olive oil if the pan becomes dry.
  7. Turn the pan down to medium and add the liquids.  Use the whisk to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 3 minutes.  Using the whisk, stir often, scrapping the bottom and sides of the pan as you do.
  8. Add the chicken to the sauce and cook for another minute or so until everything is warmed through and the chicken is coated.
  9. S&P to taste

Serve right away.  This goes great with rice.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Feta Mashed Potatoes

Try my surprising twist on an old favorite

Servings: 4-6
Time:  Prep: 20 minutes;   Rest:  5 minutes, Cooking:  30 minutes
Hardware:  A measuring cup, cutting board and knife, a large pot, a fork, a small saucepan, a colander, a mixer, a serving bowl
  • 1 ½ pounds red potatoes
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces CRUMBLED feta cheese
  • S& P to taste
  1. Wash and dice the potatoes.  Try to make sure all the potatoes are cut to about the same size to ensure that they cook evenly.
  2. Peel and quarter the onion.  Remove the hard stem part and separate the layers.
  3. Place the potatoes in the large pot, add the salt, and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil over medium-high.
  4. When the water is boiling add the onions.
  5. Boil until the potatoes are done.  Check the biggest pieces with a fork.  They should fall apart when poked.  This should take about 25 minutes.
  6. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the cream and the feta in the saucepan over medium heat until the cream is just simmering. Do not boil.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
    • Note:  The feta will not melt.  That is why it is important to use crumbled feta.
  7. Drain the potatoes and onions.
  8. Put the veggies and the cream mixture into your stand mixer or a bowl.
  9. Mix to mash the potatoes and onions.
  10. Let the potatoes stand for 5 minutes to thicken.
  11. Salt and pepper to taste, stir, then serve.

These go great with lamb.

Grilled Lamb Loin Chops

Lamb is a dish enjoyed by many people all over the world.  However it is not eaten very often by Americans, less than one pound per person per year.   I think that if more Americans tasted a really good cut of lamb, cooked well, that statistic would change.  I love lamb.  If you follow this recipe, you will, too.

Servings: 2-3
Time:    Prep: 5 minutes; Rest time: 35 minutes; Cook: 10-15 Minutes
Hardware:  A grill, measuring spoons, a food processor (blender or chopper), a zester, a spatula, tongs, an old dish rag, a meat thermometer, 2 plates, tinfoil

  • 5-6-bone in lamb loin chops about 1 ½  pounds (these are more expensive than other cuts, but trust me)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup of oil for the grill
  1. Wash the thyme and remove it from the stems.  Zest the orange.
  2. Add the thyme, mustard, onion powder, zest, sugar, and pepper to the food processor.  Pulse a few times until the thyme is chopped and every thing is incorporated.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the processor and add the olive oil.  Pulse a few more times.
  4. Rub both sides of each chop with the thyme mixture and allow the lamb to sit for 30 minutes.  This lets the meat rise to room temperature and lets the rub adhere.
  5. While the lamb is resting, prepare the grill.
  6. Use the old rag and tongs to coat the grill with oil.  This will ensure that the lamb doesn’t stick and will give you grill marks.
  7. Heat the grill or start the coals.
  8. Lamb chops should be cooked on a covered grill over medium-high heat. Check the temperature by holding the palm of your hand about 4 inches above the hot grill.  The grill is ready if your hand can be held over the heat for 3 seconds.
  9. Salt the lamb chops just before you grill them.
  10. Grill the lamb for 5 to 7 minutes per side depending upon the thickness of the chops. Flip with the tongs.
  11. Preferably, you should eat lamb chops medium rare or medium. Dried, over cooked lamb chops are nasty.  Check the temperature with the meat thermometer.  Remove them when they reach 140° for medium rare and 150°for medium. 
  12. Place the chops on a clean plate and loosely tent them with foil. The temperature will continue to rise while they rest. Allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with Feta Mashed Potatoes, Spicy Mustard Fruit Sauce (made with orange marmalade), and a thick slice of hearty bread