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.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Maple Whiskey Glazed Shrimp

Maple syrup is usually thought of as breakfast food and whiskey as an after dinner drink.  However mixed together they make a great glaze for seafood.  I used the glaze on shrimp and served it over polenta.  It would taste great on salmon or tuna, too.

Servings:  4-6
Time: Prep: 10 minutes Cooking: 10-15 minutes
Hardware: Measuring spoons and cups, a skillet, a baking sheet, non-stick foil, a plate, tongs, a wooden spoon, a pastry brush

  • 1 pound large shrimp (21-25 count)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • ½ cup whiskey (I used Jack Daniels)
  • ½ cup real maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • A pinch hot pepper flakes
  1. Heat the oven to 400°.  Cover the baking sheet in foil. Set aside.
  2. Toast the pecans in 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.  Set aside on a plate.  Wipe out the skillet.
  3. Combine the whiskey, maple syrup, orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, and the pepper flakes in the skillet.  Bring to a boil and boil until the mixture is reduced by half and is the consistency of warm syrup. Add the remaining butter and set aside.  Keep warm.
  4. Clean the shrimp. Toss them with the olive oil and salt and pepper. 
  5. Spread the shrimp out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast them for 3 minutes.  Using the pastry brush, glaze the shrimp with the whiskey mixture. Flip and glaze the other side.  Roast for 3-4 more minutes or until they are cooked through.
Serve over rice, polenta, or grits.  Top with more glaze and sprinkle with chopped pecans.  Serve with your favorite green veggie.  Offer your guests the remaining warm sauce.
Maple Whiskey Glazed Shrimp
over polenta with steamed asparagus tips

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Filet Mignon with Lobster Thermidor

Valentine’s Day is this Friday.  Getting a table in a nice restaurant is next to impossible and terribly expensive and noisy.  Instead of going out, my husband and I like to help one another cook a complicated meal.  Being together in the kitchen is very romantic.  We like to drink some wine and listen to music while we work.  This is a great way to spend time together.  Then we relax and enjoy the meal we created.

We made Lobster Thermidor this past weekend.  We ate it for the first time  in St. Martin on our 10th wedding anniversary.  We loved it.  This is my version of Lobster Therimdor, certainly not Julia Child, but tasty none-the-less. This is complicated so read through the entire recipe before starting.  If you are cooking with your sweetie, get him (or her) to grill the steaks and keep your wine glass full.

Servings: 2
Hardware: A large stock pot, a cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a small sauté pan, a large sauce pot, a whisk, 2 bowls, a wooden spoon, a fork, a grill, tongs, a meat thermometer, 4 plates, tinfoil
Prep time: 30 minutes, Cook time: 1 hour

  • 2-8 ounce filet mignons
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 large lobster (3/4 pound meat when cooked)
  • 1 diced shallot (¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup diced Portobello mushrooms
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ stick + 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  1. Place the lobster head first into a large pot of boiling water.  Boil for about 15 minutes.  Remove from the pot and place in ice water to end the cooking.  Remove the meat from the claws and tail.  Cut into bite sized chunks. Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat the grill.
  3. Salt & pepper both sides of the steak.  Set aside.
  4. Chop the shallot and mushrooms, measure all the ingredients, remove the tarragon from the stems and set aside.
  5. In a small pan sauté the shallots, mushrooms, and tarragon in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until the mushrooms begin to lose their liquid, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside. Wipe out the pan.
  6. Place the brandy, white wine, and the chicken stock in a sauce pan over medium high heat and gently boil for about 10 minutes. Add the shallot mixture, mustard, and cream.  Reduce to a simmer. It is important that you don't boil the sauce from here forward. 
  7. In the pan over medium heat melt the remaining butter.  Whisk in the flour.  Mix until the flour is smooth.  You are making a roux.  Cook, whisking constantly, until the roux is golden.
  8. Whisk the roux into the hot liquid.  Simmer on low until the mixture is thickened about 20 or 30 minutes.  Stir often.
  9. While the mixture is simmering. Grill the steak for 4 to 6 minutes per side depending upon their thickness. Check the temperature with the meat thermometer.  Remove them when they reach 135° for medium rare and 145°for medium.  Remove from the grill and place on a plate loosely tented with foil.
  10. Back to the sauce, separate the eggs.  Reserve the whites for something else.  Beat the yolks.  Add a tablespoon of the hot liquid to the yolks constantly mixing them.  Add another tablespoon, continuing to beat the yolk.  Continue to do this until you have added 4 tablespoons of hot liquid.  You are tempering the yolks so that you don’t have scrambled eggs.  Slowly whisk the egg mixture into the sauce pot of hot liquid. Continue to whisk until the yolks are mixed in.  Allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes or until thickened.
  11. Turn off the heat. Stir in the Parmesan and lobster chunks. Salt and pepper to taste. 
  12. Serve the Lobster Thermidor over the steak.  Serve right away.
Land and Sea

I served this with wilted spinach and potatoes gratin. 

Mini-Chocolate Mousse Pies

Make your sweetie something sweet for St. Valentine’s Day.  Chocolate Mousse Pie is very easy to make.  You can change up the flavor by using a different flavor pudding mix.  You can also add in ½ teaspoon of your favorite extract (mint, almond, orange, or raspberry).  

Servings:  8
Time:  Prep: 10 minutes, chilling time:  2 hours
Hardware:  Measuring cups and spoons, a mixer, a large mixing bowl, a rubber spatula, plastic wrap, space in the fridge

  • 1-3.9 ounce package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1-14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons milk
  • 8 miniature, pre-made graham cracker pie crusts
  • Shaved chocolate or candies for garnish 

  1. Place the pudding mix, cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy whipping cream into the mixing bowl.  Mix on high for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will become very thick. 
  2. Add the milk, a little at the time, and blend until the mix is the consistency of very creamy peanut butter.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as you mix. 
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the pie crusts.  Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  4. To serve, carefully turn the pies out and place in the center of a plate.  Top with chocolate for garnish