Sunday, August 31, 2014

Emeril Lagasse: Skate Wings with Grenoble Sauce


Before you ask, yes, if there's something unusual at the grocery store, I buy it and figure the rest out later.  That's how I ended up with skate for dinner.  Never had it before.  Would definitely have it again.  Tender, mild, and absolutely delicious with this fabulous sauce.  Definitely a nice, light summer supper.

Skate Wings with Grenoble Sauce
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

8 (3- to 4-ounce) skate wings, cleaned of skin and cartilage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup minced shallots
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 lemons, juiced
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Season the skate with salt and pepper. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the skate in the flour, coating completely. In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, sauté the skate for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove the fish from the pan and set aside.

Add the shallots and capers. Season with pepper. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and wine. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 6 to 8 minutes. Whisk in the butter, a cube at a time. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 tablespoon of parsley. Add the fish back into the sauce and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

To serve, place the skate in the center of the plate and spoon the sauce over the fish. Garnish with remaining parsley.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, August 30, 2014

English Pea Salad


I have had a pea epiphany.  Peas are awesome!  You just have to find them still in their pods, sit there like an old granny on her porch and pop them all out of their pods, cook them briefly, and then enrobe them in a delicious salad dressing.  Simple right?  Actually these were totally worth it.  This may be the best produce purchase I've made all summer.

English Pea Salad

4 cups fresh peas (from 4 to 5 pounds English pea pods)
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Greek yogurt
1-2 tablespoons buttermilk or whole milk
Dash Tabasco sauce
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon dried dill
4 strips applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese
4 green onions, sliced and chopped
Salt and ground white pepper

Shell the peas and put them in a pot with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook for four minutes.  The peas should still have a little crunch.  Drain and cool.

Combine mayonnaise and Greek yogurt.  Thin with a little bit of buttermilk or milk.  Add the Tabasco, Worcestershire, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, and dried dill.  Mix well.

In a large bowl, combine the peas, mayonnaise mixture, bacon, cheese, and green onions.  Season to taste with salt and ground white pepper.  Refrigerate for at least half an hour before serving.

Makes 4 servings

Friday, August 29, 2014

Kraft Foods: Seafood Pasta Salad


It's too hot to turn on the oven.  Really.  And I don't want to crank my air any lower, or I might blow out the THIRD unit I've had in three years.  True story.  So what do you make when it's hot outside, and you're inside being all lethargic?  Salad.  And why not a seafood salad.  That's very summery.  Though I have to tell you, the original recipe called for 8 ounces fake krab.  Yes, I spelled it with a "k".  Because it's not real crab.  So I substituted canned tuna and shrimp.  Because that's one less thing to cook.  Win-win.

Seafood Pasta Salad
Adapted from Kraft Foods

½ to ¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Zesty Italian salad dressing
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups corkscrew noodles, cooked, drained, and cooled
1 (5-ounce) can tuna, drained and flaked
1 (4-ounce) can tiny shrimp, drained
1 cup broccoli flowerets, blanched
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
½ cup tomato, seeded and chopped
¼ cup chopped green onion
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine mayonnaise, dressing, and cheese; mix well.  Add next seven ingredients; toss lightly.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill before serving.

Makes 6 servings

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

travelNOLA.com: New Orleans Night


It's been a long day.  Heck, it's been a long week.  And it's only Wednesday.  And I have Friday off.  Gosh, now I sound like I can't make it through five days of work.  But I promise, it's been rough.  So instead of waiting for the weekend, I decided to try out a drink recipe a little early.  And it's fantastic.  Think liquid pralines.  Yum!

New Orleans Night
Adapted from travelNOLA.com

¾ ounce vodka
½ ounce praline liqueur
2 ounces cream of coconut
1 ounce heavy cream

Shake and pour over ice.

Makes 1 cocktail

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Southern Living: Barbecue Sauce Baked Catfish


I had never heard of barbecue sauce on catfish.  Catfish coated in cornmeal?  Check.  Catfish grilled?  Check.  Barbecue catfish?  Nada.  Surprisingly, it's awfully good.  I'm not sure what it would taste like with a bottled sauce, but the included sauce recipe is worth the effort.

Barbecue Sauce Baked Catfish
Adapted from Southern Living magazine, May 2003

¾ cup ketchup
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon Jamaican jerk seasoning
1 garlic clove, minced
5 (6-ounce) catfish fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

Stir together first 7 ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.
Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper; arrange in an even layer in a lightly greased aluminum foil-lined broiler pan. Pour barbecue sauce over catfish.

Bake at 400°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork. Garnish, if desired.

Makes 5 servings

Monday, August 25, 2014

Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook: Sunshine Carrots


This may be one of the first recipes I made on my own.  I'm sure my mother was hovering in the background to make sure: 1) I didn't accidentally do something like substitute salt for sugar and 2) I didn't burn down the house.  To this day I have a kind of fondness for these carrots.  Plus it's always fun to get your vitamins when they're smothered in a yummy sauce.  Wait, does sugar undo the vitamins?

Sunshine Carrots
From the 1974 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

5 medium carrots
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Dash salt
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Cut carrots into chunks.  Cook, covered, until just tender, about 20 minutes.

In a saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and salt.  Add juice; cook and stir until thick and bubbly.  Boil one minute, stirring constantly.  Stir in butter.  Toss with carrots and serve.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Food and Wine: Wild Mushroom Beef Stroganoff


I've been wanting to make beef stroganoff for a while now.  I don't know how I get these ideas in my head; they just seem to pop up one day and won't leave until I do something about them.  No, I'm not crazy.  Yet.  Although I'm sure the clerk at Central Market thinks I am after ringing up five different bags of mushrooms.  Hey, what can I say, I like mushrooms.  This particular mixture was cremini, shiitake, hen of the woods, and oyster.

Wild Mushroom Beef Stroganoff
Adapted from Food and Wine magazine

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound mixed wild mushrooms
Salt and pepper
1 pound sirloin steak, sliced across the grain into ¼-inch strips
¼ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup dry white wine
1 small onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1½ cups beef broth or stock
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of dried thyme
1 tablespoon brandy
½ cup full-fat sour cream

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter until melted.  Add the mushrooms and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 3 minutes.  Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute longer.  Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl.

Generously season the steak with salt and pepper.  Toss the steak with the flour until evenly coated; gently tap off the excess.  Heat another 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet.  Add the steak slices, without touching, and cook until richly browned, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the steak to the bowl with the mushrooms.  Add the wine to the skillet and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Add the wine to the mushrooms and steak.

In the same skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter until melted and bubbling.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Return the contents of the steak bowl to the skillet.  Stir in the broth, Dijon mustard, and thyme, and simmer over moderate heat until the pan juices thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the brandy and sour cream.  Season the stroganoff with salt and pepper and serve over buttered egg noodles.

Makes 4 servings

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sour Cream Corn and Bacon


There's a gas station near downtown Dallas (Fuel City!!!) that has the best, I mean BEST, corn.  It's just canned corn, but it's fantastic.  The Mexican ladies make you a cup and layer it with margarine, crema, lemon pepper, hot sauce, and cheese.  I think it's supposed to be a snack, but I could get a big cup and just have that for lunch.  And woe to the person who tries to nab a spoonful.  But here's my homemade slightly-kicked up version for the between times, based on an old family recipe.

Sour Cream Corn and Bacon

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ cup sour cream
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon lemon pepper
Dash cayenne pepper or hot sauce (or as much as you can handle)
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1½ teaspoon pimento
1 (15¼-ounce) can corn niblets, drained
Grated Parmesan or Cotija cheese for the top

Melt the butter and sauté the onion and green pepper until the onion is translucent.  Sprinkle with the flour, salt, and sugar.  Allow the flour to cook for a minute or two, but do not let it brown.  Slowly add the sour cream, stirring, until it is all incorporated and smooth.  Stir in the garlic powder, lemon pepper, and cayenne.  Stir in the corn and heat through.  Just before serving, stir in the bacon and pimento.  Serve topped with cheese, if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bon Appétit: Passion Fruit Syrup and The Gumbo Pages: Hurricane Cocktail


I have a friend who is a pretty darn good home bartender, so I'm always thinking up drinks I want to try.  Especially if they're fruity and girly and make him roll his eyes.  This just passed muster due to the fact that some people go to Pat O'Brien's on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  And that's it for their trip.  Warning: these are ridiculously strong.  And the passion fruit syrup is NOT optional.

Passion Fruit Syrup
From Bon Appétit magazine, May 2006

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
½ cup passion fruit pulp (from 4 to 7 ripe passion fruits)

Combine all ingredients in a heavy small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Reduce heat to low; simmer until syrup is reduced to 1½ cups, about 15 minutes.  Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl, cover, and chill.  Can be made 2 days ahead.  Keep chilled.

Hurricane Cocktail
From The Gumbo Pages

1½ ounces light rum
1½ ounces dark rum
½ ounce Bacardi 151
1 ounce fresh orange juice
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 ounces passion fruit syrup
1 teaspoon real pomegranate grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled Hurricane glass or tiki glass.  Garnish with a "flag" made of an orange slice and a cherry on a cocktail pick.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cooking Light: Broiled Salmon with Marmalade-Dijon Glaze


Whenever I see a beautiful piece of salmon at the store, I just can't help myself.  I have to buy it and cook it.  Salmon is just so buttery, so tender, so perfect of a fish.  Heck, I eat it raw in sushi as often as I can get it.  And there's so many things you can do with it.  Skip the lemon and dill for once.

Broiled Salmon with Marmalade-Dijon Glaze
From Cooking Light magazine, April 2006

½ cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets

Preheat broiler.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Place fish on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Brush half of marmalade mixture over fish; broil 6 minutes. Brush fish with remaining marmalade mixture; broil for 2 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Makes 4 servings