Monday, June 29, 2009

Chop Chop

I was late getting home from work one night last week and I asked my husband if he could start dinner. I figured this recipe was doable, but honestly worried about him mincing the herbs and zesting the lemons. Lucky for Forrest I was exhausted from a long day at work and too tired to micromanage the details of him making this recipe. After I asked him to start it, I didn't call to check on him at all. To my delight, I walked into an amazing smelling kitchen with this completed meal on the table. He did a great job and it was very delicious! He even pulled off the preparation pictures required to blog the recipe - I was very proud of him.

Grilled Pork Chops with Shallot Butter
Adapted from
Cooking Light July 2009


8 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop)

  • 8 (7-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons minced shallots
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

2. Sprinkle both sides of pork evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Combine oil, chives, thyme, rosemary, and garlic, stirring well.

Rub oil mixture evenly over both sides of pork.

Place pork on grill rack; grill 6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of pork registers 155°. Remove pork from grill; let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Combine butter, shallots, and lemon rind, stirring well.

Spread about 1 teaspoon butter mixture over each pork chop; let the pork stand an additional 5 minutes.

Friday, June 26, 2009


I much prefer cooking to baking. There are several reasons for this preference. First of all, I don't necessarily love sweets (I know - the horror). Sure, there are desserts that I feel like I could eat enough of to put me in the hospital; but in general I am more geared toward savory flavors than sweet ones. Secondly, my husband is a type 1 diabetic and having sweets in the house is not the best choice for his health. And lastly, the exactness of baking tends to stress me out. All of the precise measuring, leveling ingredients, and letting things get to room temperature make me high strung (well more high strung than I already am). Baking can be fun, but because of the aforementioned reasons I never plan baking recipes into my weekly menu. Every time I bake it is usually a result of boredom. If I am having a slow weeknight and feel restless I will hop in the kitchen and bake something with ingredients I have in the pantry and fridge. I always bring the outcome to my work and send half with Forrest to his work. I have found in my experience that co-workers are very willing participants in taste testing anything made with sugar.

Homemade Oreos
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the chocolate wafers:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.

In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar.

While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter,

and then the egg.

Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Then mold the edges of the cookie into neat round circles.

Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set cookies on a cooling rack to cool.

To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla alternating between the two. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie.

Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process

until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Man Up!

After this, this and this I figured my husband deserved some "man" food. He is a very adventurous eater and never complains that what I serve is too frou-frou. On almost every dinner occasion he raves about the food and never demands I feed him hot dogs, chili or ribs. He should be rewarded for his willingness and appreciation. Every now and again I need to throw him a bone or something with a bone in it to eat. I saw this recipe and really only made it for Forrest. The truth is that I don't like barbecue. Well that isn't exactly true - I like grilled food, but I just don't like barbecue sauce. But Forrest does and he had waited long enough for a meal where he could eat around the bone, have it stick to his ribs and smear his face with sauce in the name of all men. To my surprise this was amazing! The flavor was off the chain and the chicken was incredibly moist. I even felt a little guilty reveling in what was supposed to be Forrest's specially dedicated meal, but I just couldn't help myself!

Barbecue Chicken with Mustard Glaze
Adapted from Cooking Light July 2009


4 servings (serving size: 2 chicken thighs)

  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon No-Salt salt
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 8 (6-ounce) skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
  • Cooking spray

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl.

Combine ketchup and next 3 ingredients (through mustard) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

2. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub spice mixture evenly over chicken thighs.

Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 12 minutes. Turn chicken over. Brush with half of ketchup mixture; cook 12 minutes.

Turn chicken over. Brush with remaining ketchup mixture; cook 2 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°. Be sure your thermometer does not touch the bone when taking the temp.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bun is no longer in the Oven !!

As I mentioned in the previous post, yesterday was a day for celebration and not just because of Father's Day and the first official day of summer. Yesterday my newest nephew was born. My sister delivered a very healthy baby boy in the early morning hours (without an epidural - ouch) and I woke up to the exciting news. This is my first niece or nephew that has been born when I could not be in New Orleans for their arrival. I have had to rely on pictures and phone calls for updates on the bundle of joy. I can't wait to meet him in person and I couldn't be more excited to add another member to our growing brood. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Race Joseph:

Since Forrest and I couldn't be in New Orleans with the rest of the family to rejoice in this new life we had to celebrate in our own way. We had a Seafood Boil for two that even included lobster. The funny thing is that neither one of us particularly like lobster, but we got one tail for good measure anyway because it seemed like the right thing to do while celebrating ;-)

Cajun Boiled Seafood with Corn and Potatoes


2 lbs of Snow Crab Legs
1 Lobster Tail
1 lb of Baby Red Potatoes
4 ears of corn, halved
1 packet of Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil
1 lemon, quartered
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1. Bring a large pot of water containing on Zatarain's packet to a rolling boil. Place potatoes in the pot and set a kitchen timer for 10 minutes.

2. After the first 10 minutes, place the halved corn ears in the pot with the potatoes and set a kitchen timer for another 10 minutes.

3. After the second 10 minutes remove the corn and potatoes from the pot using tongs or a spider and place in a colendar.

4. Add 1 quartered lemon

and the teaspoon of cayenne to the boiling water (be sure to leave packet in the pot with the water). Carefully place 1 lobster tail

and the snow crab legs

in the boil for six minutes.

5. Remove the seafood and serve with melted butter if desired.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day !

We live about 1000 miles away from both of our fathers, because of the distance we won't have the chance to celebrate this big day with our Dads. Forrest and I are both very close with our fathers and wish we could be with them on their dedicated day - since we couldn't we settled for phone calls. I would have loved to have a Father's Day brunch with both of our dads in attendance. This probably isn't what I would have served, since I don't think I could get my dad to eat prosciutto, but it was amazingly delicious.

Walter and Paul, we love you guys - Happy Father's Day!

Our Dads

P.S. Today was also a very exciting day for other reasons besides celebrating Daddies. I will let you know the big announcement tomorrow, but it is best suited when I will have a picture to accompany the news.

Asparagus Salad with Soft Poached Eggs, Prosciutto, and Lemon-Chive Vinaigrette
Adapted from Cooking Light July 2009


1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/4 teaspoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Creole mustard
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
8 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
8 large eggs
Cooking Spray
4 teaspoons chopped fresh chives (optional)


1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Gradually add olive oil, stirring well with a whisk.

2. Place asparagus in a glass baking dish and fill dish with 1/4 inch of water at the bottom of the pan. Cover dish with plastic wrap and cut slits in the plastic wrap.

Steam asparagus, in the microwave, for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain. Arrange 2 prosciutto slices in the center of each of 4 plates. Arrange asparagus spears evenly over prosciutto.

3. Poach eggs using egg poacher. Arrange 2 eggs over each serving, and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon dressing. Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon chives, if desired.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Roll Call

You could call these egg rolls Chinese, Cajun or Fusion. It really doesn't matter what you decide or which angle you approach this dish - as long as you decide to make them. They are amazing! The combination of the Classic Chinese appetizer with the famous New Orleans ingredient is really fun and very flavorful. I used frozen crawfish, but this would be the perfect dish for using those last few leftover boiled crawfish from your crawfish boil.

Crawfish Egg Rolls with Hot Sesame Drizzle
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onions
  • 1 cup finely shredded purple cabbage
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrots
  • 1/2 pound peeled crawfish tails
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons untoasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 eggs
  • 16 egg roll skins
  • 6 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Hot Sesame Drizzle, recipe follows
  • Garnish: Cilantro leaves

In a saute pan, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cabbage.

Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots, saute for 2 minutes.

Add the crawfish tails. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to saute for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and turn into a mixing bowl. Add the sesame oil, sesame seeds, and cilantro.

Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 of the eggs.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the remaining egg. Lay the egg roll skins (2 skins at a time; layered- because one is too thin) on a flat surface and brush them with some of the remaining egg.

Place one eighth of the filling at one end of each skin, leaving a 1/4-inch border at the top and sides, and roll up, tucking in the ends after the first roll.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. When the is hot, about 370 degrees F, fry the egg rolls until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the fryer and drain on paper towels. Season with Essence. To serve, slice each egg roll in half, diagonally and place on each serving plate. Combine dry mustard with water. Drizzle each egg roll with the hot mustard (careful with this hot mustard - I would serve it on the side - it is crazy hot) and Hot Sesame Drizzle. Garnish with cilantro leaves.


  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a small saute pan, over medium-high heat, toast the sesame seeds until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the salt, chicken stock, sesame oil, honey and soy sauce. Whisk well. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat medium low and simmer for 3 minutes. Season with black pepper. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Polenta Pretties

This was a very quick and delicious recipe. The addition of the polenta added a corn muffin-like quality to the mini cakes. They were sweet, but not overly sugary. The glaze on top made them pretty and gave them an extra special touch. Make sure not to put too many blueberries in each cake because overdoing it will make the cakes soggy due to their small size.

Miniature Polenta-Blueberry Cakes
Adapted from Cooking Light 2001


2 dozen (serving size: 1 cake)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 2/3 cup fat free milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 1 cup flour and the next 4 ingredients (1 cup flour through baking soda),

stirring well with a whisk. Place the granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Add egg and lemon rind; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour, and fold into batter.

Spoon the batter into 24 miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes or until the cakes spring back when touched lightly in center. Combine powdered sugar and juice, and drizzle over warm cakes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Go Crab-it!

I love most Regional New Orleans dishes, but my all time favorite is soft-shell crab. Fried soft-shell crabs are utterly amazing and if my arteries didn't have a say in it I would eat them every day. I often order soft-shell crabs when dining out in Louisiana and have eaten them hundreds of times. I have not however cooked them in my own home. Last time Forrest traveled home my mother-in-law sent him back with a goody ice chest filled with several New Orleans treats. All of the contents were great, but my favorites by far were the frozen soft-shelled crabs she packed for us. I couldn't wait to cook them and this recipe was perfection.

Fried Soft-Shell Crabs with Shellfish Ragu
Adapted from
Emeril Lagasse

  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 8 soft-shell crabs, cleaned and rinsed gently under cold running water
  • Essence, recipe in link above
  • 1 box of Zatarain's Shrimp Fry
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 cup shrimp or seafood stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 pound cooked crawfish tails, peeled and seasoned with Essence
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Snipped green onions


Preheat the oil in a large saucepan or deep fryer to 360 degrees F.

Rinse crabs in water, then pat dry with paper towel. Season each crab with 1 teaspoon of the Essence and set aside.

Follow directions on fish fry to make batter.

Lightly dredge each crab in the fish fry batter, making sure that the crabs are completely coated.

Coat each crab in dry fish fry.

Holding the crabs by long tongs or balanced on a small skimmer, hold them so that the legs dangle down into the hot oil and fry for 1 minute, or until the legs are stiff. Lower the crab completely into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Turn crab over and allow to fry an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy all over. Carefully transfer crabs to paper-lined plates to drain briefly before serving. Sprinkle with Essence when still hot.

In a large skillet over medium high heat melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and saute the shallots until soft, about 2 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and the remaining teaspoon of Essence and saute for 1 minute, or until the shrimp turn pink around the edges.

Add the shrimp stock, bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the stock is reduced by half.

Add the heavy cream and cook until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.

Add the crawfish tails, fresh thyme and snipped chives and cook until heated through.

Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and remove sauce from the heat.

Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve the ragu ladled over or under the fried softshell crabs.