Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Guide to Seafood


Shrimp Fried Rice

The few secrets for good fried rice are to use high heat, minimal oil, and add the rice little by little so that the pan's temperature stays hot. Using leftover rice is best—the dryness facilitates frying—but if you need to cook the rice first, dinner can still be on the table in minutes. Feel free to swap the shrimp with other proteins such as chicken or tofu.
About the author: Blake Royer lives in Brooklyn and spends most of his free time cooking and writing about it at Serious Eats and on The Paupered Chef. From 9 to 5 weekdays, he works as an assistant book editor in Manhattan.

Shrimp Fried Rice

- serves 2 -
1 egg
2 cups cooked rice
4 scallions, sliced
1 carrot, grated
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and grated
10-12 cooked (or uncooked) shrimp, deveined and chopped
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice from half a lime
1. If cooking rice, do so first, then rinse well to cool.
2. In a wok or large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until just before it's about to smoke, then add the ginger, carrot, garlic, and three of the scallions. Stir constantly until just fragrant, only about 15-30 seconds at most.
3. Add the shrimp. If raw, stir until cooked through; if pre-cooked, move on to the next step immediately.
4. Add the rice, handful by handful, stirring constantly to fry.
5. Make a hole in the middle of the rice and crack the egg into it. Stir quickly but gently, incorporating more and more rice until the egg is well-distributed.
6. Add the soy sauce and lime juice, then season with salt and pepper (or more soy sauce). Top with the last scallion.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Strawberry Milk Shakes

July is National Ice Cream month and strawberry ice cream is my favorite ice cream flavor . . . here is one of my favorite things in the world, Strawberry Milk Shakes . . .

I substitute no fat half and half for the milk and strawberry frozen yogurt and omit the sugar when I'm seriously dieting.

1 1/2 pints strawberry ice cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh strawberries (or frozen)


Pulse all of the ingredients in a blender until the ice cream begins to break down, about 5 pulses, then blend on high until completely smooth.

Serves 4

A fabulous variation to this recipe to make an Orange Freeze . . .

use Orange Sherbet instead of ice cream, omit the strawberries

Make it richer by adding some vanilla ice cream . . .

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cottage Cheese Fruit Salad

This is one of those recipes that is so versatile and adaptable to your taste and dietary needs. It is what I make to take care of my sweet tooth when I'm seriously dieting . . . it is excellent even when made with no fat cottage cheese and sugar free jello.

Here is the basic recipe . . .

24 ounces cottage cheese
1 (12 ounce)container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (6 ounce) package orange flavored gelatin mix
2 (11 ounce)cans mandarin oranges, drained
1 (20 ounce)can pineapple chunks, drained

Blend together the cottage cheese, whipped topping
and gelatin. Add the oranges and pineapple; mix well
and refrigerate until chilled.

Variations . . .

Strawberries with strawberry flavored gelatin

I love adding walnuts and coconut to any combination
(sorry, I don't measure - I go by how it looks in the bowl)

Fruit cocktail is excellent with any flavored gelatin

Experiment with different flavors and fruits

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chicken Parmigiana and Garlic Bread

Tyler's Ultimate is one of my favorite cooking shows . . . his meals are always practical, relatively easy and his presentation is awesome.

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
See this recipe on air Friday Jul. 18 at 3:30 PM ET/PT.
Show: Tyler's Ultimate
Episode: Ultimate Chicken Parmigiana

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
Pinch sugar
Pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 cup dried plain bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 pound spaghetti pasta, cooked al dente

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a saute pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. When the oil gets hazy, add the onions, garlic, and bay leaves; cook and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the olives and some hand-torn basil, reserve the rest of the basil for finishing the chicken. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes), cook and stir until the liquid is cooked down and the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes; season with sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.
Get the ingredients together for the chicken so you have a little assembly line. Put the flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. In a wide bowl, combine the eggs and water, beat until frothy. Put the bread crumbs on a plate, add the 1 cup parmesan, chopped parsley, and garlic powder Season with salt and pepper and stir with a fork until thoroughly combined.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high flame in a large oven-proof skillet. Lightly dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off, then dredge in the bread crumbs. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crusty, turning once.
Ladle the tomato-olive sauce over the chicken and arrange the mozzarella on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan, and remaining basil. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot with spaghetti.

Herbed Garlic Bread

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt and extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf crusty baguette
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For the bread, stir together the butter, mashed garlic, and herbs in a small
bowl and season with salt and pepper. Tear open the loaf of bread
lengthwise, spread the herb-garlic mixture over both halves and sprinkle with a little olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pocket Pies and Toaster Pastries

Alton Brown, "Good Eats" on the Food Network . . . his was about pocket pies and toaster pastries tonight. As a single woman who loves to cook, this is a perfect recipe for me.

Usually I don't like to freeze foods, other than meat and seafood, but this is the type of food that is perfect to freeze. He demonstrated sweet and savory recipes . . . an excellent idea for leftovers (he put leftover beef stew in pocket pies as an example).

An excellent episode . . . sorry, but I usually don't like his shows, his personality is way too corny for me, but if you have Food Network on demand and this idea of pocket pies sounds good to you, look it up and watch it.

In the meantime, here are the recipes from this episode . . .

Pocket Pies

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005

Show: Good Eats
Episode: A Pie in Every Pocket

9 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 2 cups
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 ounces shortening, approximately 6 tablespoons
3/4 cup milk
1 egg mixed with 1 to 2 teaspoons water
Vegetable, canola oil or butter, for frying

Curried Mango Filling, recipe follows
Chocolate Filling, recipe follows

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse for a few seconds and then pour into a large mixing bowl.

Add the shortening and knead it into the flour with your hands until it is crumbly. Add the milk all at once and mix in with a spatula until it begins to come together.

Lightly flour your hands and the countertop and turn the dough out onto the countertop. Knead the dough ball, folding over 10 to 20 times. Using a rolling pin roll the dough to 1/3 to 1/2-inch thickness, then cut into rounds using a 2 1/4-inch ring. Roll each round as thinly as possible or to 5 to 6 inches in diameter.

Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling onto the dough, brush the edges of half of the dough lightly with the egg wash, fold over and seal the edges together with the tines of a fork, dipping it into flour as needed. Gently press down to flatten and evenly distribute the filling and snip or cut 3 slits in the top of the pie.

Dock pies that are going to be deep-fried, instead of snipping or cutting slits.

To pan-fry pies, place a medium saute pan over medium low heat along with 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable, canola oil or butter. Once heated, place 2 to 3 pies at a time into pan and saute until golden on both sides, approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side. Allow to cool 4 to 5 minutes before serving.

To deep-fry pies, heat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or a large heavy pot to 375 degrees F. Once hot, add 1 to 2 pies at a time and fry until golden brown, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

To bake pies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place finished pies onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

To make toaster pastries:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Divide dough in half and roll out to less than 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 4 inch by 5 inch rectangles. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling onto center of one piece of dough. Brush the edges with egg wash and top with second piece of dough. Seal edges by pressing together with tine of fork. Gently press down to flatten and evenly distribute the filling and dock the top of the pie. Repeat with second half of dough.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool completely and place into zip-top bags until ready to toast. The pies will not be brown until toasted.

Curried Mango Filling:
4 mangos, peeled and diced, approximately 2 cups or 12 ounces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
Place all of the ingredients into a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and place in refrigerator to cool completely before using as filling.

For each pie place 1 to 2 tablespoons onto the center of the dough. Follow directions above.

Yield: enough for 10 to 15 pies

Chocolate Filling:
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Pinch kosher salt
10 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
Place the sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and butter into a large zip-top bag and squish to combine. Cut a whole in 1 corner of the bag.

For each pie, pipe 1 to 2 tablespoons of mixture onto the center of the dough. Follow directions above.

Yield: enough for 10 to 15 pies

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Spicy Corn Frittata

What a wonderful meal to celebrate the summer veggies that we grow in our gardens . . . hmmm . . . a frittata that has no rice in it? I'll be adding some colby cheese to mine :)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped (about 2 cups)

2 large (or 3 medium) ears sweet corn, kernels scraped off the cob (about 2 cups)

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 bunch (6 to 8) scallions, trimmed and sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

Coarse sea salt or kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

8 large eggs

1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Set a rack on the top shelf of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.

In a large ovenproof skillet over high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the tomatoes and saute for 2 minutes. Add the corn, cilantro, scallions, garlic, and jalapeno and saute for 2 more minutes or until the garlic is fragrant and the mixture thickens. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and let cool for several minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a large bowl, season the eggs with salt and pepper. Beat them lightly with a fork, only enough to mix the whites and the yolks. Add the cooled vegetables and cold butter and stir to combine.

Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and put it over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, swirling it all around and up the sides of the pan. Add the egg and vegetable mixture and stir gently with the back of a fork without touching the bottoms and sides of the pan. Cover the pan, lower the heat, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the frittata begins to set. Remove the cover and transfer the pan to the top shelf of the oven and bake until golden brown and puffed, about 15 minutes.

Slide the frittata onto a serving platter, cut it into wedges, and serve immediately or cool and serve at room temperature.

Nutritional analysis per serving:

Calories 385; Total Fat 28g; (Sat Fat 7g, Mono Fat 15g, Poly Fat 3.5g) ; Protein 16.5g; Carb 22g; Fiber 4 g; Cholesterol 430 mg; Sodium 165 mg

Source: The Food Network

Monday, July 14, 2008

Seafood Pot Pie

1 box frozen puff pastry sheets
1 egg, beaten
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons diced onion
1 tablespoon diced fennel
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons diced celery
2 tablespoons finely cubed carrots
2 tablespoons green peas
3 large scallops
2 tablespoons diced ham
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon seafood seasoning
1/2 fish-flavored bouillon cube
1/4 cup lump crab meat, picked over
3 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 large oysters, shucked
White pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Thaw 1 sheet of puff pastry, unwrap it, and brush with beaten egg. Slice pastry into 1-inch wide strips. Weave strips into lattice design, sized to fit the top of a 1 1/2 quart oven-safe medium-sized serving bowl or casserole. Place pastry on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake until light golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand until needed.

Adjust oven temperature to 350 degrees F.


Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions, fennel, garlic, celery, carrots, and green peas and saute until tender.

Add scallops and ham and continue to saute until scallops are barely halfway done. Sprinkle in flour and stir until coated.

Add cream, nutmeg, seasoning, and bouillon. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When mixture reaches a boil, remove from heat.

Add crab meat, shrimp, and oysters and season, to taste, with white pepper. Pour into the oven-safe serving bowl. Top with the pre-baked lattice puff pastry and gently press down into filling. Bake about 10 minutes or until bubbly.

Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving

Source: Paula Dean, The Food Network

Thursday, July 10, 2008

No Roll Pie Crust


1 cup flour

1 stick of butter or margarine
Powdered sugar


Melt the stick of butter or margarine in pie pan in oven.

Put in 1 cup of flour and a couple of teaspoon of sifted powdered sugar.

Mix in pan and as it cools a little pat it out mixing it at the same time.


NOTE: I have not used this recipe . . . not sure how long it should bake and what the oven temp should be . . . I'm gonna start with 350 degrees and keep a constant eye on it as far as time. This recipe comes from my personal collection.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hot Dogs and Sausages

July is National Hot Dog Month . . .

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council an estimated seven billion hot dogs will be eaten by Americans between Memorial Day and Labor Day and during the 4th of July weekend alone 155 million will be enjoyed.

Did you know that every year Americans eat an average of 60 hot dogs each?

Council research shows that mustard is the condiment of choice for adults, while children prefer ketchup.

Preferences change from region to region . . . hot dogs in New York are generally served with a lighter mustard and steamed onions . . . Chicago hot dogs can come with mustard, relish, onions, tomato slices, or pretty much anything at all . . . I prefer mine topped with cole slaw.

For more information, visit the Council's website at

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

National Food Holidays for July

When I saw all the national holidays for food in one of my emails this morning, I couldn't stop laughing. Who comes up with this stuff? Is there an official "national holiday naming entity"? How much does it pay? I want that job . . . what would the title be? Director of National Holidays? :) Where do I apply?

After I stopped laughing, I thought it would be an awesome idea to take each "national food holiday" and honor that particular food holiday with recipes. Everyday is a food holiday for foodies like me :)


July is:

National Ice Cream Month
National Picnic Month
National Baked Bean Month
National Hot Dog Month
National Pickle Month

July 1: National Gingersnap Day
July 2: Celebrate National Hot Dog Month
July 3: Eat Beans Day
July 4: National Cesar Salad Day
July 5: National Apple Turnover Day
July 6: National Fried Chicken Day
July 7: National Strawberry Sundae Day
July 8: National Chocolate with Almonds Day
July 9: National Sugar Cookie Day
July 10:National Pina Colada Day
July 11: National Blueberry Muffin Day
July 12: National Pecan Pie Day
July 13: National French Fries Day
July 14: National Macaroni Day
July 15: National Tapioca Pudding Day
July 16: National Corn Fritters Day
July 17: National Peach Ice Cream Day
July 18: National Caviar Day
July 19: Celebrate Ice Cream Month
July 20: National Lollipop Day
July 21: National Junk Food Day
July 22: National Penuche Fudge Day
July 23: National Vanilla Ice Cream Day
July 24: Celebrate National Baked Bean Month
July 25: National Hot Fudge Sundae Day
July 26: Celebrate National Hotdog Month
July 27: National Creme Brule Day
July 28: National Milk Chocolate Day
July 29: Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day
July 30: National Cheese Cake Day
July 31: Jump For Jelly Beans Day

Spanish Rice

Serves 6

2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked regular long grain rice
1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp chili powder
1/8-tsp garlic powder
1 small green pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce (not pasta sauce)

Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat.

Cook rice and onion in oil about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until rice is golden brown and onion is tender.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low.

Cover and simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender.

Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 6

1 (16 oz) can tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can green chile peppers, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dairy sour cream
2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken or turkey

1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs cooking oil
12 6-inch corn tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz)

Place undrained tomatoes, chile peppers, coriander seed, and the 1/2 tsp salt in blender container. Cover; blend till mixture is smooth. Add sour cream; cover and blend just till combined. Set aside.

Combine chicken or turkey, cream cheese, onion and 3/4 tsp salt.

In skillet heat cooking oil. Dip tortillas, one at a time, into hot oil for 10 seconds or just till limp. Drain on paper towels.

Spoon chicken mixture on tortillas; roll up. Place seam side down in 12 by 7 1/2 by 2 inch baking dish. Pour tomato mixture atop. Cover with foil; bake in 350°F oven about 30 minutes or until heated through. Remove foil; sprinkle with shredded cheese. Return to oven till cheese melts.

Gingersnap Cookies

Today is National Gingersnap Day . . .

3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 cup butter
2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. molasses

Cream butter until fluffy. Gradually add sugar. Add eggs and molasses, add flour mixed with spices and soda.

Drop by teaspoon onto an ungreased baking sheet. Allow for spreading.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool a minute or two before removing from baking sheet.
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