Thursday, October 21, 2010

Smoked chicken and pork loin

I had the hankering for some smoked chicken so I got the largest bird I could find at Sam's. I hate to waste good smoke so I got a pork loin at the same time. I brined them overnight in a mixture of salt, dark brown sugar, chipotle powder, granulated garlic, black pepper, and a bit of cinnamon.

I rubbed the loin and the chicken in my dry rub. Salt, chili powder, dry mustard, brown sugar, granulated garlic, and ground smoked jalapeño. I put them on the smoker and added water to the pan.

They smoked for 4 hours between 210 and 225 degrees.

Heather and I had a bit of the chicken for lunch. That satiated my hankering and I shredded the rest for some gumbo (wait till next post for details). We had the pork that night and I enjoyed it for lunch several days.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Recipes from our Pickwick trip


1 lb jumbo lump crab meat
2 lg eggs beaten
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
dash cayenne pepper
fresh ground pepper to taste
3 Tbs. minced scallions
1/4 cup minced onions
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/3 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
Few dashes pepper vinegar
1/2 to 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Whisk the eggs in a lg bowl with the cream, mustard, Worcestershire, pepper vinegar, Old Bay
seasoning, cayenne and pepper to taste until mixture is well blended. Add the scallions, onions,
parsley and mayonnaise. Gently fold in the crab meat and breadcrumbs taking care not to break
up the jumbo lumps. Using your hands, divide the crab meat into 8 shaping them gently into
rounds. Chill covered in plastic wrap for 1 hour. Heat a few Tbsp butter and oil in heavy skillet
saute 3-4 minutes each side till golden brown. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

Green Bean, Walnut and Feta Salad

Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri

• Kosher salt
• 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
• 1 red onion, thinly sliced
• 1 1/2 cups toasted chopped walnuts
• 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
• 3/4 cup olive oil
• 1 cup feta, crumbled
• Freshly cracked black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and season with a large pinch of salt. Add the green beans and cook for 3
to 4 minutes until tender but still crisp. Transfer to a boil of iced water to cool and then drain and pat dry.

Add the green beans, onions, and walnuts to a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour the vinaigrette over the green beans, onions, and walnuts and toss to combine. Transfer to a platter and top with
crumbled feta and freshly cracked black pepper.

Recipe Provided By the California Avocado Commission

■1 quart heavy cream
■Large pinch of saffron threads, toasted and ground
■ Salt, as needed
■ Freshly ground white pepper, as needed
■2 lb. and 4 ounces shrimp (36 to 40 count), peeled, deveined, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
■2 lb. and 4 ounces scallops, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
■ ½ oz. dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and diced
■1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
■½ cup fresh lemon juice
■12 California Avocados (about 6 lbs.)
■ White sesame seeds, toasted, as needed
■ Black sesame seeds, toasted, as needed
■36 flat leaf parsley or chervil sprigs
Reduce cream by one quarter, about 10 minutes; stir in saffron.
Lightly season to taste with salt and pepper; strain. Chill.
Mix seafood with tomato and dill; reserve.
Just before service, fold in 1/2 cup lemon juice or to taste.
Per Order:
Peel, halve, and seed 1 avocado. Thinly slice each half lengthwise; brush slices with lemon juice.
On a serving plate, overlap avocado slices in a circle, forming a nest.
Fill nest with 3/4 cup (5 ounces) seafood mixture.
Pour 1/4 cup saffron sauce around nest.
Garnish with black and white sesame seeds and 3 sprigs of parsley.
*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Eggs Benedict

Ask Heather.....

Fillet with Boursin, baked potato, steamed broccoli

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Grilled Pizza Margherita

Our garden is finally producing and I was anxious to partake of the bounty. Heather and I are not huge tomato fans so I had to find a way we could enjoy them. I made an herb infused pizza crust dough. Then I skinned, seeded, and diced all the fresh, ripe tomatoes we had. I took some fresh basil from the garden and made a chiffon. I grilled the dough until it was crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. (Note: Do NOT poke air holes in the dough with your finger.) I topped it with the produce and took marinated mozzarella balls and placed them around the pie. Back on the grill until it was all a melted goo. Can't wait until we have some more ripe veggies.

Louisiana Bistro

On a recent business trip to NOLA, Tom and I wanted to pay homage to one of my favorite chefs, Susan Spicer. I didn't know what our schedule was going to be so I didn't make reservations. However, we decided to hoof it over to Bayona to see if they could sneak us in. Alas, there were no available tables and to make it worse, chef Spicer was there that night. The hostess suggested Louisiana Bistro which is a block away. We decided to try it.

What the quaint restaurant lacks in size, it make up for it in style. There is a standard menu with typical Bistro fair. We noticed a "Feed me" option on the menu. You could choose between 3, 4, or 5 course meal. Chef Eric Mars comes out and asks you what you like and don't like. Then he goes back to the kitchen and works his magic.

The First dish was three crawfish beignets on a plate of lemon burre blanc with a cayenne drizzle. I had no idea beignets could be savory. They were light and perfectly done. The chef came out and explained the dish. Too cool.

The second course was grilled swordfish on a sweet potato puree with a blah, blah sauce. I couldn't understand what he called the sauce. I called it tasty. I wouldn't have paired sweet potatoes and swordfish, but I am glad chef Mars did. Wow!

The final course was saffron rice stuffed roasted quail on a tasso ragout. Holy crap this was good. I had told Chef Mars I really liked tasso and was disappointed I hadn't see it yet. The ragout was incredible. The quail was tender and juicy. It was a nice way to finish the meal.

Kudos Chef Mars! Thanks for the great meal!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mrs. Jean's Cinnamon rolls

While on our trip to NOLA, we stayed in the greater Picayune metro area at James' parents house. I was cordially greeted and made welcome immediately. After a long day of work and driving, it was nice to change the pace and relax to share memories and in Mr. B's case, opinions. If you need an opinion, he will be glad to share his.

The hospitality didn't end there. After a restful evening, I was awoken to the wonderful aromas of freshly baked pastry and coffee. Mrs. Jean had made an entire pan of her special cinnamon rolls. They were very light and flavorful. The icing was not overly sweet and rounded out the pastry nicely. The story and history of the recipe was also interesting. It was handed down from Mrs Jean's grandmother. She showed me her cherished original paper. It was well worn and fragile. Many years ago she had copied the recipe to a card and it too was well worn. To show how technology has changed things, she took the card from my hand as I was writing the recipe down and placed it on her multi-function copier/scanner/printer and made a copy for me. 

With her permission, I will share her family's favorite breakfast recipe:

Basic Sweet Dough

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk, scalded and cooled
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • butter, melted

Sprinkle yeast over water to dissolve. In large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt. On low speed of mixer, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Combine milk, eggs and dissolved yeast. Add to dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Brush with melted butter; cover and chill overnight.

Pecan Rolls

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • pecan halves
  • 1 recipe Basic Sweet Dough
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

In a small saucepan combine butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil. Divide dough in half. Roll each half on lightly floured surface. Roll each half to measure 18 x 12 inches. Brush with butter. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle 1/4 cup over each. Roll from longer side; cut in 1-inch slices and place on sheetpan. Brush with melted butter. Allow to stand in warm place until double in volume. Pour sauce over the top and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

To get ready to watch the Saints win the conference title game and go to the Super Bowl for the first time ever, I decided to make a batch of Red Beans and rice.

I just happened to be in New Orleans last week for a work conference and stopped by a Winn Dixie in Slidell, LA on the way home. I picked up a some groceries I can't find local: Andouille, Camellia's red beans, tasso, pickled pork, and some Abita that isn't allowed in Mississippi. 

Camellia's red beans are a NOLA classic. They offer the perfect texture and flavor. I used a one pound bag for this recipe. I rinsed and picked through them.

I chopped one medium onion, 2 green bell peppers, and 3 celery stalks. This is known as the Holy Trinity in creole cuisine. I sautéed the Trinity in some bacon drippings for about 6 minutes until they were getting soft. Then I smashed 4 toes of garlic and added to the mix. I mixed that up and let it cook another 2 minutes. I seasoned with salt and pepper while they were sweating.

I then added a quart of chicken stock, a quart of water, a tsp of dried Thyme, about 6 ounces of diced tasso, 16 ounces of pickled pork, a tsp of creole seasoning, and rinsed beans. I stirred while it came to a boil.

Cover and cook for about two hours, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Uncover and cook slowly until it is the consistency you want, about 30 more minutes for me. I like them creamy, not soupy, but to each his own. Some people smash some of the beans to thicken it, but some people also use dried potato flakes. (Just kidding, I've done both). 

I grilled some Andouille. I ladled the beans over white rice and garnished with some chopped onion, cheddar cheese, and a jalapeño pepper. I had mine with an Abita Pale Ale. 

It must have worked because the Saints (formerly the "Ain'ts") won! Drew Brees owes me for that one. 

A note about pickled pork: It adds a brightness and tang that can't be substituted. If you don't have access or patience to make it, add a tsp of red wine vinegar while sweating the Trinity and add a Tbl just before serving.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rib Roast

  Heather picked up a rib roast from Fresh Market. I wanted to repeat what I did for Christmas last year. I started by making a paste with horseradish, fresh thyme, coarse black pepper, rosemary, crushed garlic, and olive oil. I coated the roast with the paste, wrapped it in foil and let it rest in the fridge overnight.  

 I let it come to room temperature before placing in a roasting pan and roasting it on a low 275 oven until it reached 130 in the middle of the roast. I cooked it slow because I wanted it to be the same amount of doneness throughout. If you are serving for a group that might want different temps, you can kick up the temp. Anything more than medium rare would be sad, but some people just don't understand.


 Heather made a sun dried tomato rissoto and steamed some broccoli. She also made a mushroom sauce.