Mardi Gras Soup

Mardi Gras Soup

Mardi Gras Soup

Mardi Gras Soup

Someone asked is there really such a thing?  Is this a tradition?  Well, heck…  I thought since its Carnival Season… Why not make a soup that fits the colors of the season and call it Mardi Gras soup.  You can actually use any color combination of cabbage, onions, and peppers and just call it cabbage soup.  However, I would suggest making it this way at least one time.  It just makes for a pleasing color combination and is visually pleasing as well as tastefully pleasing.  The rough chop of the all of the vegetables make this soup feel bold and satisfying all the while being something you can eat and stay in check with a healthy, lower calorie diet.

Olive oil spray

2 heads Purple cabbage

2 heads Green cabbage

kosher salt

coarse ground black pepper

garlic powder

caraway seeds

fennel seeds

5-8 sprigs fresh thyme

1 TBS caraway seeds

1 TBs fennel seeds

cheese cloth and kitchen twine

Olive oil

1 Yellow Onions, rough chopped

1 Purple onions, rough chopped

2 Green bell peppers, rough chopped

2 Yellow bell peppers, rough chopped

3 Leeks, tough outer layer removed, trimmed, cut in half and cleaned VERY well!

Fresh garlic, smashed and and rough chopped

approximately 1/2 cup or more…White wine

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 gallons home made chicken stock (or more)

2 TBS Kosher salt

2 TBS Coarse ground black pepper

4 Chicken bullion cubes

2 TBS Garlic powder

2 TBS Onion powder

1 TBS Dried parsley

1 TBS Dried thyme

1 TBS Dried oregano

1 TBS Dried basil

1 hefty pinch Red pepper flakes, or more if you like it a little hot.

4 bay leaves

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. 

Line a baking sheet (in this recipe you may need more than one) with aluminum foil and give a light spray of olive oil spray.  Starting at the core of the cabbage, cut into flat rounds about 1/2 inches thick.  Place the rounds onto the prepared baking sheet.  Be aware that the outer layers of the cabbage are going to want to fall off.  I used the blade of my big knife and the palm of my hand to gently transfer the rounds to the baking sheet.  Spray with a light coating of olive oil, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Sprinkle the rounds with the caraway seeds and fennel seeds.  Be aware that these are strong flavors and a little goes a long way.  I happen to really like the flavor of both of the seeds.  Place in the preheated oven and roast until slightly golden, about 25 – 30 minutes.  Don’t be alarmed if the outer edges get a little charred.  It’s okay!  This actually adds to the bold flavor of the soup.  Set them aside long enough to cool so that you can handle them.  When they are cool enough to touch, cut them into 1 – 1 1/2 inch squares.  Notice that I didn’t tell you to core the cabbage.  This is optional….  but the cores soften during the roasting process and are not bitter at all.  However, if you don’t want the core in your soup by all means cut it out. 

Now you can start assembling the soup.  In a piece of cheese cloth, make a little bouquet garni with the fresh thyme, caraway seeds and fennel seeds.  Wrap them up tight  and tie it together with the kitchen twine.  Set aside until ready to add to the soup.  In a large stock pot, pour in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot. When the oil is hot, add the onions, peppers and leeks.  Let them saute’  until golden and fragrant.  Add the garlic, and let it continue to saute’ for about another minute.  Pour in the wine.  Next add the parsley and the bouquet garni.  Add the cut up cabbage and enough stock to cover all of the vegetables.  Add in all of the seasonings from the salt all the way down to the vinegar.  Bring this up to a slight boil.  When it reaches the boiling point, turn it down to medium and let it cook uncovered for about 45 minutes.  It’s possible that you may have to add more stock.  Remember, this is soup and so they vegetables need enough stock to be able to float freely through the pot.  At this point, taste the soup and adjust the seasonings. 

Serve and Enjoy!!!

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled peanuts, spicy & delicious

Boiled peanuts, spicy & delicious

Boiled Peanuts

Spicy, Juicy, Delicious, Addicting BOILED PEANUTS!!!!!  How can it be that a boiled peanut can be addicting????  I have always LOVED them!!!  After Katrina, we moved our family to Mobile to have some sort of “normal” for our kids.  All the while, driving back and forth to Pascagoula to sort through what might and might not be salvageable.  My guilty pleasure amongst all of the disaster was stopping for my fix of boiled peanuts for the drive back to Mobile.  I am not kidding when I say I knew every single gas station or farm stand between Mobile and Pascagoula that sold boiled peanuts.  EVERY. SINGLE. PLACE.  I knew which ones had the biggest peanuts, which ones were more flavorful than others, and which ones that just were not worth the effort….  ( I have to add that I gained 35 lbs during this time, as well).  I had never really been successful at boiling my own… I was going for the crock pot version and I swear it took days for them to even think about getting done.  Not to mention the flavor was never exactly spot on. Here is where I need to add that for really good boiled peanuts, you have to go heavy on the seasonings.  What is going to seem like overkill on the spices is going to yield the perfect taste of a cajun boiled peanut.   Over the last couple of years…  I have given boiled peanuts another go and I think I have hit upon something that may be beyond any gas station peanut!  Right now, the grocery stores are plentiful with raw peanuts (green peanuts) that are HUGE!!!  I had heard about boiling and freezing them but was skeptical…  On my last batch, I saved a few to freeze and to my surprise, I thawed them today and they were as flavorful as the day I put them in (texture was great, too). So…for this recipe, I am boiling a lot of peanuts so I can freeze them in quart freezer bags to pull out for a delicious snack in the future.  I hope you will give these a try but hope you can exercise a little more self control then I have!!!

Ingredients List:

5 lbs raw peanuts ( don’t be like me and hand pick the biggest peanuts in the bin…  The produce manager frowns upon this and prefers that you use the provided scooper).  And when I say raw or green, I don’t mean dried…  Those are for roasting and that’s a completely different post for later!

3/4 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup coarse ground black pepper

4 chicken bullion cubes

4 overflowing capfuls of Zatarain’s liquid Shrimp and Crab Boil

3/4 – 1 cup powered Swamp Fire

2 heaping TBS red pepper flakes

2 heaping TBS garlic powder

2 heaping TBS onion powder

2 heaping TBS minced garlic ( I use the kind in the jar)

6 – 7 bay leaves

1 – fresh jalapeño pepper, thin sliced (optional)

Enough water to fill the pot

Peanuts boiling & floating before they are cooked

Peanuts boiling & floating before they are cooked

Cooking Instructions:

In a large colander wash and rinse the peanuts.  Dump the peanuts into a 16 quart pot and add all of the seasonings.  Fill the pot with water.  Notice that for quite some time, the peanuts are going to float on the surface.  Turn the burner on high and bring to a boil.  It takes a while for the water to boil but don’t walk away.  Believe me when I say that the minute you do, the pot is going to boil over and it’s going to be a mess!!!!  Pour yourself a glass of wine and sip until the water boils.  Once it is boiling, turn it to medium heat.  Add the lid to the pot but leave it cracked open just enough to let some of the steam out.  This is going to cook for 2 hours.  You may even have to add a little more water throughout the cooking process.  If you have to add more water, then bring it back to a boil.  When it returns to a boil, turn it back to medium, add the lid (cracked).  After the two hours, just turn them completely off but don’t take them off of the burner.  Let them cool in the liquid.  Most of them will sink to the bottom of the pot.  Let them cool to room temperature.  If you haven’t already eaten half of the pot by now, you can ladle them into freezer bags and either refrigerate them or freeze them.  Be sure and add just a little pot liquid to each bag.  Not too much…  you don’t want them swimming but just enough to keep them moist.  I hope you LOVE these peanuts as much as I do and freeze some to pull out 3 months from now when its freezing cold outside!!!  XXOO

Serve & Enjoy!!!

Fish Tacos with Sriracha Mayo and Two Sauces

Fish Tacos with Sriracha Mayo and Two Sauces

Fish Tacos with Sriracha Mayo and Two Sauces

Fish Tacos with Sriracha Mayo and Two Sauces

I have to admit that I have never really been a huge fan of fish tacos.  I guess because the ones that I have tried out at restaurants have been lacking in the flavor department so I‘ve never become overly excited about the idea of preparing them at home.  However, since my 13 year old is a fish catching fiend …  I have had to come up with some different recipes for all of the fish he is providing lately.  Several weeks ago, I made fish tacos with more of a south west flavor and they were extremely tasty but I never got around to typing up my recipe and they were gobbled up before I could even think about taking a picture.  So… This past weekend’s kayaking trip ended up with two beautiful red fish.  So big and beautiful that they wouldn’t fit in the ice chest.  I decided we would do a repeat on the fish tacos. Only this week I was feeling a little more like an Asian flavor.  I ended up making a Sriracha mayonnaise for the base.  I was thinking about two different sauces and couldn’t make up my mind so I thought… what the heck…  I’ll do both!  Some of my people chose to go with the mayo and one sauce. I, however used a little drizzle of both and I thought all of the flavors worked great together.  My 13 year old chose not to use my mayo but rather make his own instead….  Needless to say we had plenty of mayo’s and sauces to go around.  Try mine… Try his…Make it your own….  whatever works!  These are delicious regardless of the combination of flavors that you choose.  Let me add, get all of you sauces and garnishes ready so that when you fry the fish, they can go directly into your tortillas. 

I use 8 inch flour tortillas as my soft taco’s.  As far how many just depends on how hungry your people are!!!

Sriracha Mayo:

1 cup real mayonnaise ( I prefer Duke’s)

5 TBS Thai sweet chili sauce

2 TBS Sriracha

2 TBS Rice Vinegar

1 heaping TBS chili paste

*Mix all ingredients together.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Sauce #1:  Curry Lime sauce:

2 limes, juiced – should be aprox. 9 TBS of juice

3 TBS red curry paste

3 TBS fish sauce

1 pkt. Stevia

*Mix all ingredients together.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Sauce #2:  Chili Lime sauce:

Juice of 2 limes

3 TBS fish sauce

2 TBS Thai sweet chili sauce

1 TBS sriracha  sauce

*Mix all ingredients together.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Garnish Platter:

Jalapeno peppers sliced thin (I left the seeds and the veins in but if you don’t want the heat remove them)

Cilantro leaves

Thai Basil leaves

shredded lettuce

Prepare the fish:

2 large fish fillet’s.  I sliced the fillets into smaller, thinner pieces so the would fry better.

Lay these out on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb any of the liquid they may be retaining.

On another foil lined baking sheet:

Fish Fry (about 3 cups) season the fish fry with the following spices and mix well:

1 TBS Kosher salt and maybe a pinch more

1 TBS Coarse ground black pepper

1 TBS Garlic powder

1 TBS Onion powder

1 TBS Mustard powder

1/2 TBS cayenne pepper

Beat 3 – 4 large eggs mixed with 2 TBS milk in a medium sized bowl.  The bowl needs to be large enough to fit the fish fillets down in the bowl to get a good coating of the egg wash on them. *Note:  I like to put all of the fish in the bowl at one time and turn them to coat.  I find it makes it easier and less messy than dipping one fillet at a time.

Pour enough canola oil in a fryer so that it is about 3 inches deep.  I have an old stainless steel fryer that has a basket with a handle that fits down in the fryer.  It works great and the fish come out light and flakey every time. 

Line another baking sheet with paper bags or paper towels and set it aside.  This one is to put the fish on after moving it from the fryer to absorb any excess oil. I know…  this recipe dirties up a lot of dishes but its worth it!!!!

Insert a cooking thermometer into the fryer with the oil.  Heat the oil over high heat until it reaches 375 – 400 degrees.  Once the oil is hot, use tongs to remove one fillet at a time from the egg wash and lay it over in the seasoned fish fry.  Get a good coating of the fish fry on both sides of the fish.  Then, carefully place the fish into the hot oil.  I can usually get about 5 -6 fillets in my fryer at one time.  It doesn’t take long for it to cook.  Usually just a minute or so.  They will turn a nice golden brown color and will float when they are done.  Watch the temperature of the oil.  You want it to stay within the 350 – 400 degree mark.  Sometimes, when you add the fish it can bring the temperature down but make sure it doesn’t get too high either.  When the fish is done, place it on the paper lined baking sheet.  Repeat this in batches until all of the fish is cooked.  *Note:  When you are “battering” the fish, ONLY do one at a time.  Battering more than one at a time leaves you with a “gooey” coating on the fish.

To assemble the tacos:

Wrap the tortillas in a dish towel and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  Spread a generous amount of the Sriracha mayo on a tortilla.  Top with a couple of fish fillets and your choice of garnishings.  Drizzle with your choice of sauces.  Carefully wrap it all up and eat it all up.  I like to have separate small bowls of sauces so I can dip my taco in the sauce as I am eating it. 

Serve and Enjoy!!!

The “Use What You Have, Spaghetti Crust, Pizza Pie”

Pizza Pie 1

Pizza Pie 1

The “Use What You Have, Spaghetti Crust, Pizza Pie”

So, yesterday, my husband and I were entertaining the idea of homemade pizza for dinner. I’ll tell you my idea of home made pizza at a later post… Well, after working all day, running 3 miles in the 110 degree heat, and a couple of glasses of wine at the end of the day…  the left over gumbo sounded like a better idea.  However, when I got up this morning, the thought of pizza was still running through my mind.   Only I was in the mood to get creative and not have to drive to the store (that’s always a plus in my book).  After a quick inventory of what I had in my fridge, I came up with this recipe…..  It’s one of those recipes that you could easily change out ANY of the ingredients for what you have on hand…  Here is my recipe!  Use it as a guideline to create your own pizza pie!!!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

For the “crust”:

Left over, cooked pasta. Mine happened to be spaghetti, so it was probably about 2/3 of a 1 lb. box

1 tsp anchovy paste

1 tsp basil paste

2 – 3 TBS olive oil

3 – 4  TBS chopped sundried tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped green onions

Chopped fresh herbs, I used parsley, basil, and oregano.  More Parsley and basil and a little less oregano.

1/2 cup or more grated parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and coarse ground pepper to taste

More olive oil if needed

For the filling:

Mozzarella cheese, sliced thin.  I probably have 2 large balls altogether

2 large fresh tomatoes, sliced thin

1/2 large onion, sliced thin

Fresh basil

Minced garlic

Olive oil

Kosher salt and Coarse ground black pepper

Salami, very thin sliced.  Mine was only about 2” long and was plenty.

Black olives

1 – pkg. Proscuitto, torn

More mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese

olive oil for drizzling

Here’s how I put it all together:

First prepare the crust:

Mix the anchovy paste and basil paste with the olive oil.  In a medium mixing bowl, coat this mixture with the pasta.  Toss in the remaining ingredients.  Be sure to turn it really good to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the pasta.  Spray a 9 inch spring form pan with olive oil spray.  Press the pasta into the pan. I actually used a potato masher to press it in.  Press firm without “smashing” the pasta. 

Now Layer in the filling:

Layer 1/3 of the mozzarella on top of the “crust”

Add a layer of the thin sliced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and basil.

Drizzle this with some olive oil and give it a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Add the salami in a single layer.  Top this with the black olives.

Add another layer of the mozzarella cheese.

Next goes the remaining thin sliced tomatoes, onions, basil, and garlic drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Now add all of the proscuitto.

Top this with the remaining Mozzarella cheese.

Top this with a heavy amount of grated parmesan cheese and the last few thin sliced onions.  Gently press everything down into the pan with your hands.  Give it a heavy drizzle of olive oil.  Cover with tin foil.

Put a layer of tin foil on a baking sheet.

Wrap another layer of tin foil around the bottom of the spring form pan.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for an hour.  Remove the top covering of tin foil. Change the oven to broil and let the cheese get a nice golden color to it.  Take it out of the oven and let it rest for 15 – 20 minutes before removing it from the spring form pan.  Use a knife to detach the edges of the pie from the pan before you remove it.  Cut into desired wedge sizes eat it up!!!

Serve and Enjoy!!!

Pizza pie 2

Pizza pie 2

Year ‘Round Ceviche

Year 'Round Ceviche

Year ‘Round Ceviche

Year ‘Round Ceviche

How many of you LOVE ceviche but are hesitant to actually delve in and make a heavenly batch of this tasty goodness???  I may be going against the grain of some of you ceviche experts but I am here to say this is nothing but GOOD!!!!!!  I want to give you a recipe that is fearless and delicious.  Several years ago, I invested in a vacuum sealer not realizing how much it would pay off.  We live on the Mississippi Coast and having two son’s and a husband that love to fish, I am sometimes overwhelmed with fresh fish.  I started vacuum sealing and freezing fresh fish.  I realized that a frozen fresh catch can taste like its fresh out of the water.  Having said all of this…  I am using a vacuumed sealed cod from my local grocery store,,, Product of the USA…. Make sure you are not buying imported seafood.  My shrimp and scallops are a product of USA and flash frozen at my local seafood market.  These products are available to me year round so I can make a tasty batch of this summertime treat any time I want.  I hope you find this to be a refreshing recipe!!!

Seafood:

Aprox 20 Medium shrimp, peeled and sliced in half

12 -15 sea scallops, quartered

3 fillets of wild caught cod, or other firm white fish, i.e. redfish – cubed

*if using the frozen seafood, just lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and let them thaw in the fridge.

Juices:

Juice of one large naval orange ( Mine was VERY juicy…  If yours isn’t juicy, you may want to use two).

Juice of 10 Limes *note*  as sometimes limes can be “dry” If this is the case, Nuke them for 15 seconds per 2 limes.  This helps get the juices flowing.

Juice of  8 large lemons

2 TBS organic Apple Cider Vinegar..  I use Braggs with mother.

Veggies:

I med. purple onion, small diced

2 chili peppers, seeded, veined, and chopped small

1 whole pod of garlic, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

15 – 20 grape tomatoes, 1/8th’d

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

Seasonings:

1 tsp. kosher salt, plus another hefty pinch

1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

Garnishes:

Lemon or lime

1 avocado, sliced AND diced

Sea salt

Cilantro

Corn tortilla chips

Instructions:

In a large non reactive bowl ( I use stainless steel), Mix all seafood, juices, veggies, and seasonings.  Mix well and make sure there is enough liquid in the bowl to cover all of the seafood.  If it isn’t covered, you’ll get uncooked seafood so if this is the case add some more citrus of your choice.  Mix well and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate and stir every hour for about 4 hours.  The citrus will “cook” the seafood.  When ready to serve, wet the rim of a glass with the lemon or lime and dip the rim in the sea salt. I just pour some salt on a plate and twist the glass around in the salt until well coated.  Fill the glass with some ceviche, top with a bit of diced avocado and fresh chopped cilantro,  garnish with lime/ lemon/avocado wedges.  Serve along side with some tortilla chips and a cold glass of chardonnay and you are good to go!!!

Enjoy!!!!!

Cabbage Liked You’ve Never Had It Before

Roasted Purple Cabbage

Roasted Purple Cabbage

Roasted Purple Cabbage

Don’t say you don’t like cabbage until you have had it cooked like this!  I rarely cook cabbage.  I usually use cabbage for making coleslaw and have made some delicious stuffed cabbage but this recipe for roasting cabbage really gave me a new appreciation for cabbage.  Not only was it so delicious but it made a pretty presentation and twirled up on my fork just like pasta.  It was easy to prepare with little effort and is a definite repeat for my dinner table.

Ingredients List:

Olive oil spray

1 – large head purple cabbage

Kosher salt

coarse ground black pepper

garlic powder

caraway seeds (a little is all you need)

fennel seeds (a little is all you need)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and generously spray with olive oil spray.  Starting at the core of the cabbage, cut the cabbage into flat rounds about 1/2 inch thick.  Place the rounds onto the prepared baking sheet.  Be aware that the outer layers of the cabbage is going to want to fall off.  I used the blade of my knife and the palm of my hand to gently transfer the cabbage to the baking sheet.  Spray the cabbage with olive oil spray.  Season evenly with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Lightly sprinkle the caraway seeds and the fennel seeds all over.  Place in the preheated oven and roast for about 30-35 minutes.  The outer leaves should have a little char on them and the inner portions of the cabbage should be tender but still firm. 

Serve and Enjoy!!!

Southwest Chicken and Pork Chili Stuffed Bell Peppers

Southwest stuffed Bellpeppers

Southwest stuffed Bellpeppers

Southwest Chicken and Pork Chili Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is literally one of those “use what you’ve got” recipes.  So… if some of the ingredients seem a little different…  you’ll know why.  It would be very easy to change up this recipe according to what you have on hand… different meats, different vegetables, different seasonings, different cheeses…  I somehow ended up with an abundant supply of assorted bell peppers as well as some hot peppers.  Not to mention that all of the holiday cooking left me with a whole cooked chicken and some leftover delicious pork chops.  None of which I wanted to see get wasted, however, I really needed a new flavor!  So, here it is and I hope you enjoy it!

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Start out with an assortment of colored bell peppers.  I had several red, green, yellow and orange so that is exactly what I used.  Nine of them to be exact!  Lop the tops off of the peppers. Don’t throw them away…  they make a pretty presentation in the end.  Line a baking sheet with tin foil and arrange the peppers and tops however they will fit.  Spray them with olive oil spray and give them a light sprinkle of kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper. Roast them in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until they have a slight char on them.  When you take them out of the oven, there will be a small amount of liquid in the cup of the peppers.  Either pour this out or use a paper towel to blot this out.  Set them aside until ready to use and put the “lids” of the peppers on a separate plate.  You won’t need these until you get ready to serve.

Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing mixture:

Olive oil, aprox. 1/4 cup

1 purple onion, chopped

2 poblano peppers, chopped

2 anaheim peppers, chopped

1 whole pod of garlic, chopped

2 beers, I used Sam Adams Boston Lager

Juice of 2 limes

1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, hand crushed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1/8 cup chopped fresh basil

1/8 cup fresh oregano, fine chopped

1 Tbs Kosher salt (or more to taste)

1 Tbs coarse ground black pepper (or more to taste)

4 chicken bullion cubes

2 Tbs Cumin

1 Tbs dried thyme

1 Tbs garlic powder

1 Tbs onion powder

1 Tbs chili powder

1 Tbs corriander

1/2 Tbs mustard powder

Leftover cooked chicken and pork (already cooked).

Cheeses:

Sharp cheddar, fine grated

Fontina, fine grated

Fresh Mozzarella, hand torn

Fresh cilantro for garnish

cayenne for garnish

Cooking Instructions:

Saute the onions and peppers in the olive oil over high heat until somewhat caramelized and soft.  Add the garlic and saute for about a minute.  Pour in both beers and the lime juice.  Reduce the heat to medium/low and add in the remaining ingredients all the way down to the mustard powder.  Mix well.  Bring the heat back up to a slow simmer but then reduce again to low and let the flavors meld for about 15 minutes over low heat.  I have always heard that you have to bring the flavors up to a low boil to get the most out of the flavors.  I have always done this and it has never failed me… so I am staying true to the saying!!!  Gently fold in the chicken and the pork and taste to adjust the seasonings.  Now you are ready to stuff the peppers.  Put a little of the cheddar and fontina into the cup of the peppers.  Pack in as much stuffing as you can get in the peppers.  Top with the remaining cheddar and fontina and finish off with the fresh mozzarella.  By the way… the peppers can be stuffed and baked on the same baking sheet that you originally roasted them on…  Return the stuffed peppers to the 425 degree oven.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Turn the oven to broil and let the peppers cook just long enough to let the cheese brown a little more.  Sprinkle with some fresh cilantro and cayenne.  Top each pepper with a “lid”.

Serve and Enjoy!!!

Rice Vermicelli

Rice Vermicelli

Rice Vermicelli

Rice Vermicelli

Alright, so this recipe may not sound like much but I can’t remember the last time I made regular rice.  It is so good that I make it for any dish that calls for rice…. gumbo, red beans, chicken and rice, etc…  You can even throw in a little more seasoning and serve it as a simple side!  Don’t worry about any of the rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot.  It’s not burnt, it’s the best part!!!

Ingredients list:

3 cups long grain white rice

1 1/2 cups vermicelli

4 chicken bullion cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 stick of unsalted butter

5 cups chicken stock or water

Crush the bullion cubes into the chicken stock or water. (Hint: I like to use hot stock or water).  Cover the lid of a heavy stockpot with a dishcloth…. Place a dish cloth flat out on the counter top.  Set the lid in the center of the cloth.  Bring the corners of the cloth up to the handle of the lid and secure the cloth with a rubber band around the handle.  I swear by doing this…The cloth helps to absorb some of the moisture making the rice not so sticky.  Now, melt the butter along with the olive oil in the pot over a low heat. When the butter is melted, turn the heat up to high.  Add the vermicelli and rice to the pot. Stir it continually so that it doesn’t burn.  You want it to have a nice golden color. This takes about 4 – 5 minutes. Pour the chicken stock or water into the pot and bring it to a boil. PLEASE use caution here as the liquid will “splatter” when added to the hot pot!  Stir well.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook on low for 30 minutes.  Fluff it up with a fork and scrape all the golden goodness from the bottom of the pot.  You’ll never cook regular rice ever again!!!

Serve and Enjoy!!!

Deliciously Light Caesar Dressing

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Deliciously Light Caesar Dressing

One of the things I like about this dressing is that it is not overly creamy and seems more along the lines of a vinaigrette .  We use romaine which is typical of a Caesar salad but I like to add some VERY thin sliced yellow onion and some green onions and tomatoes. 

Ingredients List:

2 heads romaine lettuce, rough chopped,  and what ever extra salad ingredients (if any) you would like to use.

1 cup fresh finely shaved parmesan cheese

2 large fresh egg yolks

1 Tbs anchovy paste (you can use 4 or 5 anchovies, fine chopped.  I just like the way the paste blends.)

1 Tbs. minced garlic

1 /2 Tbs. dijon mustard

zest and juice of a lemon

Kosher salt to taste…  the anchovy is very salty so start with a good pinch and go from there

coarse ground black pepper

1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil

2 heads romaine lettuce, rough chopped,  and what ever extra salad ingredients (if any) you would like to use.

Mix all of your lettuce and salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Top with the parmesan cheese.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until frothy… about 2 -3 minutes.  Add the anchovy paste (or anchovies), garlic, mustard, lemon, salt and pepper and heavily whisk for about 1 minute.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while gently whisking.  Pour over the salad greens and toss until well coated.

Serve and Enjoy!!!

Moroccan Chick Pea Soup

Moroccan Chick Pea Soup

Moroccan Chick Pea Soup

Moroccan Chick Pea Soup

The blend of flavors in this soup are so delicious. There is a very bold taste without being overly spicy.  Great on a day like today when it is overcast and somewhat dreary outside.   Actually just good anytime…  I don’t do it in this particular recipe but you can also make my Moroccan inspired meatballs and add them to this dish to make it a little more hearty for you meat lovers out there. 

Ingredients list:

4 Tbs olive oil

1 1lb bag of dried chick peas, cooked and drained

About 12 cups of unseasoned tomato juice 

4 onions, rough chopped

4 jalapeño peppers chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 whole pod garlic, finely chopped

1- 2″ node fresh ginger, finely chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 Tbs garlic powder

1 Tbs onion powder

1 Tbs cumin

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Zest and juice of a lime

3 – 4 chicken bullion cubes

1 lg can coconut milk

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Heat the olive oil in a medium stock pot over high heat.  Add the onions, peppers and celery.  Reduce heat to medium/high and Sauté until somewhat golden, 8-10 minutes, stirring often.  Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté another minute, stirring constantly so garlic doesn’t burn.  Pour in the wine.  Stir for about 30 seconds the pour in the tomato liquid and the chick peas.   Add the salt,pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, bullion cubes & cumin.  Stir in the coconut milk, cilantro, and Basil.  Bring all of this back to a slow boil and make sure all of the ingredients are blended well.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover and let cook for 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.  If it is, reduce the heat to low, cover and continue cooking.  After 30 minutes, uncover and let it continue to cook on low for another 30 minutes, stirring often. 

Serve and enjoy!!!