Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Monday, August 29, 2011


Kolaches are what I order when we stop in at a donut shop, Mustang Donuts is our favorite shop in Dallas. This sweet, soft roll can be filled with all kinds of goodness like apricots, prunes, poppy seeds or like Mustang Donuts prepares them, stuffed with cheese and sausage.  Here's an easy, homemade version that I came up with.  A perfect and easy breakfast for when our kids have friends sleeping over.

1 - 14 oz package of Hillshire Farm Cheddar Wurst sausages (smoked sausage with Wisconsin cheese)
1 - 12 oz package of Pillsbury Big & Buttery Crescent Rolls

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring water to a boil in a large skillet.  Add sausage; cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through thoroughly, turning once.  Drain well; cut sausages in half.

Wrap each sausage halve in a crescent roll.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet; curve each into crescent shape.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool for a few minutes before serving because the cheese will burn your mouth.

Friday, August 26, 2011

French Roasted Chicken with Herb Butter

Another recipe from Tyler's Ultimate.  Tyler searched high and low in Europe for the perfect roasted chicken recipe.  Here's his version, although I did tweak it just a bit.  I used chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken and I roasted the chicken with the bacon on top for a little bit longer.

We served our chicken with Tyler's roasted potatoes (recipe to follow) that were excellent, homemade gravy from the chicken's drippings and fresh green beans mixed with a little butter and dill weed (recipe to follow).

1 (5 1/2 pound) free-range chicken or 3 chicken breasts with skin on and bone-in
1/2 bunch each fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley
1/4 pound unsalted butter, softened
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 orange, halved
1/2 head garlic
1 medium white onion, halved, plus 1 onion
6 strips smoked bacon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup dry sherry or red wine

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out. Pat it dry with paper towels. Divide the herbs, keeping 1/2 of them whole. Finely chop the other half. In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the chopped herbs, until combined. Rub the herbed butter under the skin, as well as all over the outside of the chicken. Season the bird all over with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the orange, garlic, 1 onion, and the remaining herbs. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine to help hold its shape. Place the chicken, breast-side up, in a roasting pan. Put the remaining onion into the pan, which will help color and flavor the sauce. Lay the strips of bacon across the breast of the chicken and roast for 25 minutes.

Remove the bacon and baste the chicken with the drippings and cook for another 25 minutes to brown the skin. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (the legs of the chicken should wiggle easily from the sockets too.) Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back into the meat before carving.
Meanwhile, remove the softened onion from the roasting pan. Tilt the pan so the drippings collect in 1 corner, skimming off as much fat as possible, and leaving the drippings. Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over medium heat and take a wooden spoon to scrape up the flavor from the bottom of the pan. Stir the flour into the drippings to make a roux-like paste. Pour in the chicken broth in stages; continue to stir to dissolve the flour evenly to prevent lumps. Stir in the sherry and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, carve the chicken tableside and squeeze the oranges from the cavity over the meat.

**With all due respect, Blog Spot creates these huge gaps in my postings.  I hope they will resolve this issue soon.  =)

Roasted Potatoes

On the Food Network's, Tyler's Ultimate, Tyler served this dish with a roasted chicken basted with a herb butter.  Watching TU made my mouth water (as usual) and I tried both recipes that same day for dinner, luckily I had most everything on hand.  The potatoes turned out crispy on the outside and fluffy and wonderful on the inside.  This is another one to add to the repertoire. 

2 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBSP chopped parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the potatoes on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil. Toss the potatoes to coat. Roast in the oven, turning often, until golden and crispy on the outside, tender and cooked through on the inside, about 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with the parsley.

Sara's Green Beans with Butter and Dill

I've always been a big fan of green beans, but I especially love the way my Mother-In-Law, Sara prepared her green beans for one of her fabulous Thanksgiving feasts.  I now always prepare my green beans this way, because not only is it a hit with the entire family, it's so fresh tasting and super easy to make.  Perfect accompaniment to a roasted chicken or turkey.

1 lb green beans
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP fresh dill weed or 1 - 2 tsp dried 

Wash beans; clean up the beans by snipping the ends.  Leave beans whole or cut into 1-inch pieces.  Place steamer basket in 1/2 inch water (water should not touch the bottom of basket).  Place beans in basket.  Cover tightly and heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Steam 10 - 12 minutes or until crisp tender.  Toss the hot beans in butter and dill weed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grilled Quail Stuffed with Jalapeno and Cheese all Wrapped in Bacon

David has been wanting to cook up some quail for quite a while now and we finally grilled some up last weekend.  They were cooked to perfection and David was practically giddy with excitement about how well they turned out.  As well he should've been, because these birds were succulent and delicious.  He knew exactly how he wanted our quail prepared.  It had to be just the way our long time friends, who are big into hunting, Doug and Terry prepared for us so many years ago .  The memory of how wonderful the quail Doug and Terry made has stuck with both of us all of this time.  We wanted to replicate their recipe just as we remembered it and I'd say David did an excellent job. 

We used Feta cheese to stuff our jalapeno halves, which were stuffed into the quail, but you can use pepper jack, cheddar, etc... instead.  If you plan on serving this as a main course figure 3 quail per person for big eaters.  This would make excellent appetizers as well.

We also roasted some sweet, fresh corn on the grill.  Some of us opted to make "elotes" with the roasted corn.  Elotes is an authentic Mexican side dish you will see served at the best taqueria's in town.  It's one of my favorite ways of eating zesty, sweet and makes my mouth water just thinking about it.  

Elotes or Mexican Roasted Corn with Lime and Chili Seasonings

8 quail
4 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced longways
1 lb bacon, peppered or non-peppered
1 block of your favorite flavor cheese, cut into small slices
8 bay leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
8 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped

Stuff the cavity of each bird with a half of a pepper slice, cheese slices and a bay leaf. Secure with toothpicks or skewers if necessary.

Place the quail in a large bowl or Ziploc bag.  In a bowl mix together olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, basil and garlic.  Pour the dressing over the quail. Refrigerate overnight.

Remove quail from the marinade and wrap with bacon. Save the marinade for basting.  Secure with toothpicks or skewers.

Place on a hot grill and baste with the marinade.

Cook over medium heat until golden brown and the birds are cooked through.

Serve and enjoy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Famous Chocolate Refrigerator Roll Cake

The kids all have very fond memories of their Grandmommy, Sara, making this delectable dessert, especially in Beaver has become a tradition with our kids.  Cassidy couldn't wait to make it while in BC this last trip and she did an awesome job too.  You've got to make sure you get enough whipped cream between the chocolate wafers so they get soaked enough to expand properly.  YUM!!  

Grandmommy and Granddaddy ROCK!!  Thanks again Tom and Sara for the hospitality...We had such a wonderful time, as usual!!  =)

2 cups whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 pkg (9oz) FAMOUS Chocolate Wafers
chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)

Beat the cream with the mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Gently stir in vanilla.

Spread 1 - 1/2 tsp whipped cream onto each wafer; stack, then stand on edge on platter.  Frost with the remaining whipped cream.

Refrigerate at least for 4 hours, but it's better when refrigerated overnight.  Garnish with chocolate shavings.

Cut into diagonal slices to serve.

To Freeze:

Assemble as directed.  Freeze until firm.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Store in freezer up to 2 months.  Remove from freezer about 1 hour before serving.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*A classic recipe from Kraft Foods

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Homemade Fresh Herb Ravioli Stuffed with Spinach and Ricotta Cheese

Making pasta at home takes a lot of work, and of course, you can make things much easier and buy store bought ravioli, but to David and me, nothing compares to homemade.  While in Beaver Creek, David and I always enjoy getting in the kitchen with David's Mom, Sara and creating all kinds of wonderful culinary creations.  Cooking with so much love always makes the food that much better!  Thank you Tom and Sara for another wonderful time in BC!  

The shape of ravioli can be obtained in a few different ways.  One way is to place the filling on one pasta sheet, overlapping the next, and then separating the ravioli by cutting the squares around the pasta pockets; or they can be done by cutting pasta sheets in rounds (we used the top of a round glass), placing the filling in the center and topping the ravioli with another pasta round to form a circle.  The fillings vary from vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, squash, different kinds of meat, cheese, or even seafood.  Ravioli are boiled and then dressed in many different ways, you can use a mixture of butter and herbs as a sauce or my preference is a marinara sauce topped with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.  Serve with a good, crusty, French baguette and Sara's classic Caesar salad, the family's favorite.

Sara's Caesar Salad

Sara had a great tip in suggesting these will likely hold their shape better if they're frozen prior to cooking.  Plus, it will help ease the burden of this very long process by preparing this in 2 days instead of 1.

For the filling:
1 lb fresh spinach
1 lb ricotta cheese, thoroughly drained
1 egg
4 oz parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly grated
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg

For the dough:
3 cups flour
4 eggs
4 TBSP fresh basil, minced
4 TBSP fresh parsley, minced
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

For a butter and herb sauce (optional):
4 oz unsalted butter
10 fresh sage leaves
4 oz freshly grated parmigiano cheese

Boil the spinach in lightly salted water.  Place the boiled spinach in a cheese cloth and form a small sack.  Squeeze the sack to expel as much water as possible.  Chop the spinach finely.

Place the spinach in a bowl.  Combine the drained ricotta, egg, parmigiano cheese, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch of nutmeg.  Taste and adjust the salt, pepper, and nutmeg if necessary.

Prepare the pasta dough by sifting the flour and mixing each egg in individually as you go.  Mix in the fresh herbs.  Use just enough water to make the dough very soft and moist. Use the minimum flour necessary, just enough to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands while working.  Cut the dough in two parts.  Place one of the pieces on the work surface, and flatten it with a rolling pin until it is very thin.  Or, of course you can use a pasta machine as we did to flatten the balls of pasta.  Repeat the same steps with the other half of the dough, making a pasta sheet of the same size.  Set it aside on wax paper, covered with a moist towel if necessary to prevent the pasta from drying too much. 

Place about 1 tsp of the filling on the dough, spaced 2 inches apart.

Separate the ravioli by cutting with a pastry wheel or pizza cutter.  We found it easier to use little round formations of pasta that we cut out with the top of a glass and then added 1 tsp of the filling.  Either method crimp the edges with a fork.

If making the butter herb sauce, use a skillet large enough to contain the ravioli, place the butter and sage leaves. Turn the heat on just long enough to melt the butter.  Set aside.

Bring water to a boil in a stockpot with a touch of olive oil. Gently drop the ravioli in the boiling water a few at a time.

Cook until the pasta is al dente (firm but not too soft or overcooked). Drain the ravioli, picking them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon.

Transfer the ravioli to the pan.  Stir gently until they are evenly coated with the butter or marinara sauce.  Place in a warm serving dish, top with some grated cheese and serve at once.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Peach Cobbler

Peach cobbler is a classic Southern dessert and one of my favorites.  I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but this is a dish I cannot pass up.  I've made this cobbler several times and it's always a big hit and it's SO easy! Just make sure you use self rising flour.  If you do not have self-rising flour you can add 2 tsp baking powder to all-purpose flour but it doesn't turn out quite as good.  Top with your favorite vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and enjoy!

4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
2 cups sugar, divided
1 - 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup water
8 TBSP butter
1 - 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 - 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.

Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until the cobbler is set.

To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Black Bean Hummus

Served with pita chips, this makes a wonderful, healthy snack and it's super easy to prepare.  I especially like making this for road trips.  I added a touch more lime juice and garlic than this recipe calls for and I bought pita chips at the grocery store to simplify things.

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 TBSP tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
2 TBSP water
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 small jalapeño pepper, seeded
3 (6-inch) pitas

Preheat oven to 425°.

Place 1/4 cup cilantro, tahini, and next 8 ingredients (through jalapeño) in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon into a bowl; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cilantro.

Cut each pita into 8 wedges. Arrange on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 6 minutes, turning once.

*This recipe is courtesy of Cooing Light Magazine.

Mom's Cheese Olive Tarts

This recipe is courtesy of my sweet Mom.  She always would make these for dinner parties and such because these make great hor'dourves.  If you like olives you will love this recipe.  Be sure to use just enough of the cheese mixture to coat the olives.  In my pictures above I used a little too much of the coating and probably could have used about half as much.  

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated fine
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup soft butter
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp Tabasco
1/2 tsp salt
36 small stuffed green olives

Blend cheese with butter.  Stir in flour, salt, Tabasco and paprika.  Wrap about a teaspoon or so of this mixture around each olive.  Arrange on a cookie sheet (you can freeze at this point if you want).  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pot-Roasted Chicken with Mushrooms

This is a recipe I found in Food and Wine magazine's latest issue.  I love their magazine and website because I always find interesting recipes like this one.

The chef's way of creating this dish is, David Bouley, a chef from New York City, pot-roasts chicken on aromatic hay in the oven; he learned the method from the legendary French chef Roger Vergé, who cooked on a bed of lavender.

The easier way and more suitable way of replicating this method for home cooks, is by using dried chamomile flowers—loose, or in tea bags—can replace the hay Bouley uses.

Before baking, Bouley seals chicken inside a pot using homemade bread dough, a very old French technique. Store-bought pizza dough works well, too.  

Serve sliced chicken over a bed of sauteed brussel sprout leaves and spoon the mushrooms and sauce on top and serve with chunks of the baked pizza dough for dipping.

20 thyme sprigs
4 bay leaves
2 TBSP chamomile flowers or the contents of 4 chamomile tea bags
One 3 1/2-pound chicken, patted dry
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 lbs fresh or thawed frozen pizza dough
3/4 lb brussels sprouts leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
3/4 lb mixed wild mushrooms, such as shiitake and oyster, stemmed and thickly sliced
1/2 cup veal demiglace mixed with 1/2 cup of water

Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the thyme, bay leaves and chamomile in the bottom of a large, deep, enameled cast-iron casserole. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper and set it directly on the aromatics. Rub the top of the bird with 3 tablespoons of the butter.

Roll the pizza dough into a rope that is long enough to encircle the casserole. Press the dough onto the rim of the casserole and cover with the lid, pressing it into the dough. Pinch the dough up onto the lid slightly to seal the pot completely. Roast the chicken in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove the lid, cracking the dough, and pierce the thigh to make sure the bird is cooked through. Replace the lid and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the brussel sprout leaves, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until just wilted. Transfer the brussels sprouts to a platter.

Heat the olive oil in the skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 5 minutes; discard the garlic. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately low heat until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the demiglace mixture and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and strain the pan juices into a measuring cup. Discard the fat from the juices, then add the juices to the mushrooms. Remove the chicken skin and slice the breast meat. Cut off the legs, cutting them into two pieces each. Arrange the chicken on the brussels sprouts on the platter, spoon the mushrooms and sauce on top and serve with chunks of the baked pizza dough, for dipping.

Poached Eggs on Toasted Baguette with Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Vinaigrette

This is Bobby Flay's recipe and I'm convinced Bobby is the breakfast king!  I love all of his brunch and breakfast recipes especially.  David got the gumption to get up and make this masterpiece for the family yesterday.  I'm so lucky to be married to a man who is as passionate about cooking and food as I am.  AND he's an excellent cook at that!

This recipe is very different from the one we saw him do on the Cooking Channel. On TV Bobby made the goat cheese spread with about 5-6 oz cheese, 1 large TBSP Dijon, 1 TBSP honey, 2 TBSP vinegar, 3 TBSP olive oil, and the tarragon. This was all mixed into a PASTE and smeared on the toasted bread. He did not put it under the broiler. Micro greens were not dressed at all. The sandwich doesn't need a vinaigrette.  We all LOVED the TV version, although I'm sure the recipe below is equally as good.  

Baguette, sliced lengthwise*
Olive oil, to brush
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 oz fresh goat cheese
2 thinly sliced heirloom tomatoes
4 large eggs, poached
1 cup micro arugula
Black Pepper-Tarragon Vinaigrette, recipe follows
Fresh chervil leaves, to garnish
*Cook's Note: Not the super skinny kind of baguette

Black Pepper-Tarragon Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 - 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat a grill pan and broiler.

Brush the halved baguette with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Put the bread onto a hot grill pan and grill cut-side down over high heat. Remove the grilled bread and spread the top of the bread with the goat cheese. Place the bread under the broiler and broil until the cheese is lightly golden brown. Top each slice of bread with a few slices of tomato and a poached egg. Cook's Note: Break the yolks on the sandwich.

Put the micro arugula in a bowl and toss with a few tablespoons vinaigrette and season with salt and black pepper. Top each egg with some of the greens and drizzle with more of the vinaigrette.


Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, tarragon, and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil, until emulsified. Whisk in the honey and black pepper.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Marinated Cucumbers

This is a perfect accompaniment to the beef satay recipe I previously posted.  You can cover and refrigerate the marinated cucumbers for up to 1 day.

1 - 1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
5 cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup cilantro, minced (optional)

Mix all the ingredients well. Marinate overnight. 

Indonesian Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

I found this recipe on Eating Well's website, although I did make a few modifications, it was a huge hit with the family.  The beef satays are perfect served with a zesty marinated cucumber salad.  I will post that recipe next because it is a great combination of spicy with the beef and dipping sauce and fresh and cool with the crunchy cucumber salad.  The leftover satays would be really good in lettuce wraps.  Be sure and read the "Tips and Notes" at the end of this recipe before preparing.  

2 TBSP lime juice
1 TBSP finely chopped lemongrass, tender inner stalk only (see Notes), or 2 tsp freshly grated lime zest
3 TBSP reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 TBSP fish sauce (see Notes)
3 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, flank or other beef steak, trimmed


1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tsp peanut oil or canola oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp finely chopped lemongrass, tender inner stalk only, or freshly grated lime zest
1/2 cup “lite” coconut milk
1/4 cup unsalted natural peanut butter
1 TBSP fish sauce
1 TBSP ketchup
1 TBSP lime juice, or to taste
1 tsp brown sugar, or to taste
1 tsp Asian chile sauce, such as Sriracha, or other hot sauce, or to taste

To marinate steak: 

Combine lime juice, lemongrass (or lime zest), soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, turmeric, coriander, cumin and pepper in a small bowl. Cut steak on the bias across the grain into thin, 1- to 2-inch-wide strips. Place in a sealable gallon-size plastic bag, add the marinade and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.

To prepare dipping sauce: 

Combine onion and oil in a small saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, ginger and lemongrass (or lime zest); cook, stirring frequently and reducing the heat as necessary to prevent over browning, 2 minutes more. Add coconut milk, peanut butter, fish sauce, ketchup, lime juice, brown sugar and hot sauce; cook, stirring, until well blended. If necessary, thin with a little water to the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning with lime juice, brown sugar and/or hot sauce. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

To prepare satays: 

Preheat a gas grill to medium heat or prepare a medium-heat fire in a charcoal grill. (No grill? See Broiler Variation.)

Remove the steak from the marinade (discard marinade). Thread onto skewers, 1 strip per skewer. Grill, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium. (If necessary, grill the satays in two batches.)

Warm the dipping sauce, if desired. Serve the satays with the sauce and the cucumbers.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the peanut sauce for up to 3 days; marinate steak (Step 1) for up to 12 hours. | Equipment: 20 to 30 (6-inch) bamboo skewers soaked in water for at least 30 minutes so they don't burn on the grill.

Notes: Look for lemongrass—a woody, scallion-shaped herb with an aromatic lemon flavor—in the produce department of well-stocked supermarkets. To use, trim off the root end and grassy top. Peel off the woody outer leaves. Thinly slice the softer inner stalk, then finely chop.

Fish sauce is a pungent Southeast Asian condiment made from salted, fermented fish. Find it in the Asian-food section of well-stocked supermarkets and at Asian specialty markets. 

Broiler Variation: Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Coat a broiler pan (or a wire rack set on a large baking sheet) with cooking spray. Broil the skewers, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Crab Cakes

This is another one of Paula Deen's recipes and being as how this was my first attempt at making crab cakes I knew she would have an excellent recipe and Paula didn't disappoint.  These turned out so good and I must say the Ritz crackers are key to this recipe because they add such a nice buttery flavor that compliments the crab perfectly.  I recommend draining the crab meat really well because you don't want your cakes too moist or they will fall apart.  Also, another good tip is to refrigerate these 30 minutes prior to frying, that also helps them to hold their shape together while frying.  For a healthier alternative you can bake these in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or so, just mist the cakes lightly with cooking spray and flip them halfway during the cooking time.  Another keeper.

1 lb lump crab meat, picked free of shells and drained real well
1/3 cup crushed crackers (recommended: Ritz)
3 green onions (green and white parts), finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
Dash cayenne pepper
Flour, for dusting
1/2 cup peanut oil
Remoulade dipping sauce (recipe to follow)

Lemon Aioli for dipping (recipe to follow)

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, except for the flour and peanut oil. Shape into patties and dust with flour.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, carefully place crab cakes, in batches, in pan and fry until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip crab cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Serve warm with preferred sauce.


1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chili sauce
2 TBSP Creole mustard
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBSP Louisiana-style hot sauce, or to taste
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 medium scallions, chopped
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
2 TBSP minced celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp capers, chopped (optional)

Mix together mayonnaise, chili sauce, mustard, olive oil, hot sauce, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in scallions, parsley, celery, capers, and garlic. Season with chili powder, and salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate.

Lemon Aioli:

1 cup mayonnaise
Zest from 1 lemon
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, lemon zest and juice and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Monday, August 1, 2011


I love soups and this is a great summertime soup.  So refreshing, light and delicious.  Serve cold and with your favorite crusty bread.

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 qt V-8 juice
1 can beef consomme
4 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Dash or two of Tabasco
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3 TBSP fresh basil
1 qt canned tomatoes
Lemon wedges 

Puree the canned tomatoes in a blender or food processor.  Mix the pureed tomatoes with all the finely chopped vegetables.  Refrigerate and serve cold with lemon wedges on the side.