Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crab Hush Puppies

You can't beat Paula Deen for the best southern recipes. 

Hush puppies are one of my favorite things to go with seafood . . . I love them plain, but have never tried anything like this before . . . and I can't wait to try them with the addition of crab meat.  These would make great appetizers. 

She made these awesome crab hush puppies on a recent episode of Paula's Home Cooking on the Food Network . . . I had to look it up and share it.

My variation . . . add some kind of hot pepper!


  • Oil, for frying
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced thyme
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup very fine bacon crumbles
  • 1 pound fresh picked blue crabmeat


In a Dutch oven, heat oil to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, thyme, baking powder, salt, garlic pepper, baking soda and cayenne pepper.
In a small bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream. Add to cornmeal mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in onions, bacon, and crabmeat.
Dip spoon into water and then a spoonful of the hushpuppy mixture. This will allow mixture to easily fall off the spoon. Drop by tablespoonfuls into hot oil, and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ina's Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Ina Garten of Food Network's Barefoot Contessa is one of my favorite chefs.  I was watching her show where she prepared a 30th wedding anniversary meal for Jeffrey.  She made the most awesome little chocolate wedding cake, it was so cute!  The buttercream frosting she made included many ingredients that I have not used in a chocolate frosting, so I wanted to make sure that I didn't lose the recipe.

For the complete meal from this episode, click here.  It is all good!


  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup egg whites (4 to 5 extra-large eggs), at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1 1/2 teaspoons water
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum, optional


Chop the chocolates and place them in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan simmering water. Stir until melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
Mix the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Place the bowl of egg whites over the pan of simmering water and heat the egg whites until they are warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Return the bowl to the electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, or until the meringue is cool and holds a stiff peak.
Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate, vanilla, espresso, and rum, if using, and mix for 1 minute or until the chocolate is completely blended in. If the buttercream seems very soft, allow it to cool, and beat it again.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Crab Spread

This spread/dip would be a welcome addition to any gathering.  Seafood spreads are among my favorite appetizer choices.  

My imagination is going wild with the possibilities for this recipe.  After the recipe, you will find some serving suggestions from Mr. Food, however, I have a few of my own.  How about finger sandwiches made with this crab spread?  The thought of using this spread in a fried grouper sandwich instead of tartar sauce is making my mouth water.  I must try that!


2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 pound imitation crabmeat, flaked
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill


Preheat oven to 350°F. 

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well.

Spoon mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. 

Serve immediately.

Serving Suggestion

Serve this up with crackers, or with homemade pita chips that you can make simply by cutting medium pitas into 8 wedges each; separate the halves, and bake on a baking sheet in a preheated 350°F oven until golden and crisp.

Recipe and photo source:  Mr. Food

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jiffy Corn Fritters

  • 1 pkg. "JIFFY" Corn Muffin Mix
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • frying oil

Preheat oil in deep fryer oil or on griddle to 400°.

Combine all ingredients (except oil).  Blend well.

Drop by tablespoon into hot oil or on prepared griddle.  

Cook until lightly browned on both sides.  

Drain on paper towel and serve.

Makes 10-12 pieces

I love anything associated with corn.  In my opinion, corn is one of the perfect foods and my pantry almost always stocked with cans of corn or my freezer has more than one bag of frozen corn.  Of course I prefer fresh corn, but it is not always available.

Many years ago my husband and I would go to the local fields and buy a truckload of just picked corn.  Not only was it a tremendous bargain, but there is no other form of corn that compares to just picked corn.  The fresh corn you buy at the grocery store has already been picked for days and there is a difference.  If you are near farms that grow corn, do yourself a favor and check out just picked corn.

Usually we would have a corn shucking party in those times and prepare the corn for freezing.  Of course we made every type of corn dish and appetizer you could think of.  When I ran across this recipe for corn fritters in my personal recipe collection, I immediately went back to those corn shucking party days, where corn fritters were one of the most popular items we made.

The compost pile was very happy to have all those corn cobs!  One of the first things we did was start a pot of salted water to enjoy some corn on the cob.  That is what would get the party started!  We would laugh at the thought of looking like the gluttons back in medieval times eating like savages.  Have you ever observed a table full of people eating corn on the cob?  The sight and sounds are hilarious!

Everyone went home with loads of corn and we had a fridge full of corn, ready to eat.  Those were fun times!  Cooking in bulk doesn't have to be a dreaded job . . . just make it a party!  I must introduce The Captain to a corn shucking party :)

Isn't it wonderful how a simple recipe can bring back so many good memories?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Homemade Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

This recipe comes from the Food Network, one of my favorite television channels.  I was watching Sunny Anderson's show the other day and she featured this recipe that is so simple to make and looks so delicious.

These sandwiches would make awesome appetizers for a party!

The only thing I would change . . . omit the onions and substitute cayenne pepper for the black pepper.


  • 1/2 pound Cheddar cheese, shredded (recommended: Colby)
  • 1/2 pound Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground celery seed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf white sandwich bread, sliced into diagonal pieces


In a medium bowl, combine cheeses, pimentos and pimento juice, onion, mayonnaise, garlic, paprika, and celery seed. Mix well and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Transfer the cheese spread to a serving bowl and serve with the bread.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits

Although I have often heard of the pairing of shrimp and grits, it is a dish that I have never had. I've had a craving for shrimp lately, moreso than usual, and the thought of pairing it with grits came to mind for something different, so off I went in search of a recipe that best suited our taste.

This recipe was found on Food Network Magazine . . . check out their website if you have not done so, it is awesome with all types of sections and blogs for whatever you are hungry for.

Speaking of shrimp . . . The Captain and I have a shrimp dish a couple times a week and are always looking for new ways to prepare it. I'll be posting something we came up with this week that was so good . . . we couldn't get enough of it. We made it two nights in a row. No, I didn't take photos . . . I'm bad about that! Another post to come on our new flavor discovery . . . hopefully with some photos.

If you have not discovered the big bags of frozen shrimp at your grocery store, you must check it out. We have found that it is the most cost effective way to buy shrimp, even though we are on the Gulf coast and fresh shrimp is readily available. I love the convenience of the peeled and deveined shrimp. It takes a few minutes to thaw them out in hot water and you are ready to go without the mess of cleaning shrimp. One bag is enough shrimp for three meals for 2.

By the way . . . I never use instant grits!  It takes five minutes to cook grits the old fashioned way and so worth it.  I like convenience foods, but not when it comes to grits, oatmeal and rice.

Here is the recipe for 
Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits:


  • 3/4 cup instant grits
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus wedges for serving
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley


Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, covered. Uncover and slowly whisk in the grits, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic and cayenne, if using, and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons water, the lemon juice and parsley; stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Divide the grits among shallow bowls and top with the shrimp and sauce. Serve with lemon wedges.

Photograph by Antonis Achilleos
This recipe is courtesy of Food Network Magazine

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shrimp and Sweet Pepper Linguine

Shrimp and Sweet Red Pepper Linguine

Fast and easy recipes are what I seek out on those days when it seems like there are not enough hours in the day.  I've gotten into a cooking groove that I can whip out in 30 minutes or less since that is what our lifestyle calls for recently . . . except for our two days off.  Fast and easy is smart cooking, but doesn't have to compromise the quality of the meal.  

This recipe has everything I look for in a fast, easy and quality meal.  Add a salad and some good bread to complete the meal.

This Shrimp and Sweet Pepper Linquine recipe comes from Crisco's website.  They are currently hosting an awesome giveaway . . . their theme . . . 
"The authentic flavors of Crisco® Olive Oil can inspire you to transform everyday ingredients into something extraordinary. And you can share your inspirations for a chance to win a trip to Italy!"
Click here to get details and enter the contest.


1/4 cup Crisco® Pure Olive Oil
4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large red pepper, cut into strips
1/2 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 pound linguine, cooked and drained
Parmesan cheese, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley


1.HEAT oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic. Cook and stir until golden. Add onion and peppers, cooking until tender.

2.ADD shrimp, salt and pepper. Cook shrimp until pink and tender. 

(I never cook shrimp more than 4 minutes)

Serve over cooked linguine. 

Top with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.

There are countless ways to vary this recipe  
and ways to make it even easier on a busy day.


Use chicken instead of shrimp 

Make it a veggie meal by adding mushrooms, broccoli, green beans or diced tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes instead of shrimp or chicken.  Experiment with what you like or what you have in the fridge.

Kick it up a notch by using jalapeno peppers if spicy hot is what you like.

Kitchen tips to make it easier!

Use pre-cut onions and peppers . . . when I have time, I'll cut peppers and onions and place them in freezer bags.  For one thing, they don't go to waste if you don't use them fast . . . second, this meal can really come together way faster if you don't have to spend the time to cut your veggies.
Another thing I've started doing to make things easier . . . I buy minced garlic in a big jar since I use so much garlic in my cooking.  Garlic dries out so fast and I hate waste.  Or you can make your own minced garlic in olive oil packed in a glass jar and kept in the fridge.  Make it on the same day you cut your peppers and onions to freeze . . . get it all done at one time so you won't have to be bothered with that stuff until you run out.

Have you experimented with sun dried tomatoes?  Try throwing some in a sauce or a stir fry type of meal like this one.  

How about roasted red peppers that come in a glass jar?   Some come packed in garlic for awesome flavored peppers that are ready to go with no fuss.  I love them!  They add a new dimension to any recipe that calls for peppers.

Since I finally have a "life" with the awesome new man in my life, I'd rather spend more time with him than in the kitchen . . . I'm finding ways to cook faster and with convenience foods, and adopting the "Sandra Lee" style of cooking.

Hope these tips help save you some time!

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