Monday, August 29, 2011

Shrimp Gumbo

Serves: 6
Cooking Time: 20 min
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • medium-sized green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup frozen okra, thawed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  1. In a soup pot, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in flour, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper, and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, okra, and water and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add shrimp and cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until shrimp are pink. Serve immediately.

Source:  Mr. Food

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Crispy Cornmeal Shrimp

My favorite meal . . . love it with a baked potato, corn, hush puppies and of course, lots of tartar sauce.

The following recipe from Real Simple is exactly (well, almost) the way I make mine, which I also use to pan fry fish and chicken fingers.  There is something about the corn meal that gives it that perfect texture and the cajun seasoning (I use red cayenne pepper) gives it just enough spice.  

The other thing I do different is use a generous amount of dill (sorry, I don't measure) in the flour mixture and a little garlic salt.  I love using dill when cooking seafood!  

I have a few variations.  When I'm in a real hurry, I don't even dip it in egg first . . . it still works well.  Sometimes I marinate the shrimp or fish in a little olive oil, lemon and dill for around 15 minutes instead of using the egg dip.  It gives a different dimension of flavor that is delicious and goes well with tartar sauce.

It is very important when cooking shrimp . . . do not overcook!  I have found that a total of 3 to 4 minutes is enough.  Quick and easy :)


In a bowl, whisk together ¼ cup flour, ¼ cup cornmeal, and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning.

Dip 1 pound raw peeled and deveined medium or large shrimp in 2 beaten eggs, then coat in the cornmeal mixture.

In a skillet, cook the shrimp in ½ inch of canola oil until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Serve with tartar sauce.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Apple Walnut Sticky Buns

These sticky buns look like you have been working in the kitchen for hours, but no . . . this is a semi-homemade recipe from Sandra Lee of the Food Network.  Don't they look delicious?

I will be experimenting with this recipe and making it a bit easier by using canned pie filling instead of fresh apples.  I'll update this post when I do!


  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 (8-count) tubes refrigerated cinnamon rolls
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons water


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Generously butter a 12-count muffin tin.
Peel, core and dice the apples into 1/2-inch cubes. In a medium bowl stir together the diced apples with the walnuts and brown sugar.
Divide the apple mixture evenly into the muffin tin. Put 12 cinnamon buns, cinnamon side up, on top of the apple mixture. Put the muffin tin on a baking sheet and bake until the tops are golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. 
Remove the muffin tin from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Put a clean baking sheet on top of the muffin tin and flip to remove the sticky buns.
In a small bowl, combine the vanilla frosting with the pumpkin pie spice and 1 to 2 teaspoons of water. Mix until very thick and of pourable consistency. Drizzle over buns and serve.

Source:  Food Network

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spaghetti With Roasted Tomatoes and Herbs


  • 12 ounces spaghetti (3⁄4 box)
  • 2 pounds cherry tomatoes (about 6 cups)
  • cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as basil, parsley, and chives)
  • shaved Parmesan, for serving


  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return it to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  3. Roast the tomatoes, tossing once, until they begin to burst, 20 to 25 minutes. 
  4. Toss the pasta with the tomatoes, herbs, and remaining tablespoon oil. Serve with the Parmesan and additional oil (if desired).

Source:  Real Simple By Kate Merker, September 2010

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ham and Cheese Spirals

There are many television chefs that I call "one of my favorites."  There are so many of them that I really do love . . . you'd think I love all of them.  Believe it or not, I do have some that I don't like . . . you won't find their recipes on my blog . . . well, unless I really love the recipe.  

Anyway, at the very top of my list of favorites is Sandra Lee from the Food Network.  Her style of semi-homemade cooking has been my main cooking style for the longest time.  I often miss her show since it comes on at an inconvenient time for me, which is why I don't list many of her recipes.  But I caught the show the other day and will be posting several of her recipes.  

This one is my favorite!


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Flour, for work surface
  • 1 pound refrigerated pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 pound deli sliced ham
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water


In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, and Italian seasoning.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough into a 12-inch square. Brush the entire surface with the seasoned olive oil. Top with 1 cup of shredded cheese and an even layer of ham. 
Starting from the bottom edge, tightly roll up the dough to form a log. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the roll on the bias into 1-inch thick pieces. Arrange the rolls on their side on a nonstick or lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to proof.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the tops and sides of the rolls with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven, transfer to a serving platter and serve.

Source:  Food Network

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Falafel Sandwich with Tomato-Cucumber Salad

Falafel are usually deep-fried, but pan-searing these chickpea fritters is healthier (and not as messy). Serve them in pita bread, topped with thick yogurt or tahini sauce, if you like.Serves four.

1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
7 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
1 tsp. ground cumin 
1/2 tsp. ground coriander 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 medium yellow onion, diced 
1/2 cup plain fine dry breadcrumbs; more as needed 
1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered 
1 medium pickling cucumber or 1/3 English cucumber, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick 
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 
4 pitas, warmed 

Heat the oven to 425°F.
In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas, 2 Tbs. of the oil, the cumin, coriander, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper into a chunky paste. Add the onion and breadcrumbs and pulse until the mixture tightens up. You should be able to easily form it into a patty—add more breadcrumbs as needed. Gently form the chickpea mixture into twelve 1/2-inch-thick patties.
Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Add 6 of the patties and cook until nicely browned, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other sides until browned, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the patties to a baking sheet. Repeat with 2 Tbs. more oil and the remaining six patties. Bake the patties until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes and cucumber with the lemon juice, the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and salt to taste.
Split the pitas and stuff them with the falafel and tomato-cucumber salad.

nutrition information
 (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 640; Fat (g): 28; Fat Calories (kcal): 250; Saturated Fat (g): 4; Protein (g): 18; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 18; Carbohydrates (g): 80; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4.5; Sodium (mg): 920; Cholesterol (mg): 0; Fiber (g): 12;

photo: Scott Phillips
From Fine Cooking 100, pp. 90
July 9, 2009

Monday, August 15, 2011

Garlic and Sun Dried Tomato Hummus


  • Cooking spray
  • (6-inch) pitas, each cut into 10 wedges
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • garlic cloves
  • (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained


  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. 

  • Place pita wedges on pan, and coat with cooking spray. 
  • Bake at 425° for 6 minutes or until golden.

  • Combine water, tomato, salt, pepper, garlic,
  •  and beans in a food processor, and
  •  process until smooth. 

  • Serve with pita wedges.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Black Bean Hummus


  • garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • small jalapeño pepper, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Dash of crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Dash of ground red pepper
  • (6-ounce) bag pita chips (such as Stacy's Simply Naked)


  • 1. Place garlic in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add lemon juice, tahini, cumin, salt, black beans, jalapeño pepper, and crushed red pepper; process until smooth. Spoon bean mixture into a medium bowl, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with ground red pepper. Serve with pita chips.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Buttery Pastry Dough

Years ago I lost the recipe for the meat pie dough that was an important part of my favorite party food.  Don't you hate when you lose one of your favorite recipes?  In all these years, I have not found a good pastry dough recipe . . . so, here is another one I will try out.Like my original pastry dough, it is a versatile dough that can be used for many different recipes from turnovers to pie crust.  I got the recipe from Fine Cooking, where they claim that the crust is very tender like a shortbread cookie when baked.  We'll see!I will update this post when I try it out . . .

Yields enough dough for 1 single pie crust, 8 mini tarts, or 12 turnovers.

9 oz. (2 cups) bleached all purpose flour 
7 oz. (14 Tbs.) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces 
1 large egg, lightly beaten 
2 Tbs. granulated sugar 
1 Tbs. chilled heavy cream 
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice 
1 tsp. table salt 

In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, egg, sugar, cream, lemon juice, and salt and pulse until the dough starts gathering together in big clumps, as shown below. Turn the dough out onto a counter and gather it together. Shape the dough as directed in the recipe you’re making.


Turn leftover pastry dough into shortbread cookie bars.

photo: Scott Phillips
From Fine Cooking 79, pp. 68
June 1, 2006

Monday, August 8, 2011

Serious Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This sandwich looks delicious!  I'd love to try it as a breakfast sandwich, substituting a fried egg for the prosciutto . . . maybe add some bacon.  The possibilities are endless for creating your own favorite sandwich.

3 oz. grated aged Gruyère (1-1/4 cups) 
3 oz. grated fontina (about 1 cup) 
2 Tbs. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste) 
8 1/2-inch-thick slices rustic Italian bread 
4 very thin slices prosciutto, halved crosswise 
2 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 
Kosher salt 
2 Tbs. salted butter, at room temperature 
1 to 2 large cloves garlic, halved and peeled for rubbing 

Lightly toss the cheeses and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Put 4 slices of the bread on a work surface and evenly distribute half of the cheese mixture on top. Put 2 pieces of prosciutto (1 full slice) on each sandwich and top with 2 to 3 slices of tomato—enough to cover the cheese and prosciutto in a single layer. Season the tomatoes with salt and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. 

Lightly butter one side of the remaining bread slices and place them butter side up on the sandwiches.

Heat a griddle or a large skillet over medium-low heat. Arrange the sandwiches butter side down on the griddle and cook until the bread is toasted and  golden-brown, about 2 minutes. 

Meanwhile, spread an even layer of butter on the top slice of bread.
Using a spatula, flip the sandwiches and cook until golden-brown on the other side, gently pressing the sandwiches with the back of the spatula to compress, about 2 minutes. 

Remove the sandwiches from the griddle and lightly rub both sides of each with the cut side of the garlic. Using a serrated knife, slice the sandwiches in half and serve immediately.


photo: Scott Phillips
From Fine Cooking 112, pp. 22
July 7, 2011

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