Monday, February 21, 2011

Specialized Sandwich Style

When it comes to sandwiches I have always been a Ham and Cheese type of girl. Now that I am a more adventurous eater I will often try other varieties, but growing up Ham and Cheese was always my first choice and because of that it still remains a personal favorite. Therefore, I think it is only natural that I feature a few different versions of the classic sandwich here on my blog. Or maybe I am just trying to span all of the ham and cheese cultures that I can come up with. A while back I presented you with this Italian version and now I give you H&C with a French spin.

Creole Croque Monsieur
Adapted from Cooking Light January 2010

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free mayonnaise
  • 8 (1-ounce) slices Italian bread
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced ham
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Gruy√®re cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute or 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • Cooking spray
Preparation

1. Combine mustard and mayonnaise in a small bowl.

Spread 3/4 teaspoon mustard mixture over each of 4 bread slices; layer each slice with 1 1/2 ounces ham and 1/4 cup cheese. Sprinkle evenly with pepper.

Spread 3/4 teaspoon mayonnaise mixture over each remaining bread slice; place, mustard side down, on top of sandwiches.

2. Combine egg substitute or egg and fat-free milk in a shallow dish. Dip both sides of each sandwich into the egg mixture.

3. Heat a large nonstick griddle or large skillet over medium heat.

Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sandwiches to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and cheese melts.

Serve.
Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Priceless Patron

Shortly after Forrest and I moved back home to New Orleans, my youngest brother Kent also moved back after an 8 year stint in Alabama. His move home completed the circle and now my entire immediate family resides back in or around New Orleans, a fact that elated both of my parents beyond belief. Since my baby bro settled back in I have made it a habit of cooking dinner for him fairly frequently. There are a multitude of reasons for hosting him for dinner, some of which include:

1. He is a very adventurous eater and will try anything I make.
2. He is young and single and sometimes has free evenings to spend with us.
3. He is just starting out in a new job, with a new apartment and a new car and my feeding him helps him save money.
4. He and Forrest are really good buddies, despite the fact that they have hardly anything in common, and having him over gives Forrest the opportunity to ask him to do things like throw the football, shoot the bb gun, and insulate the pipes - all to which Kent constantly declines, but Forrest never stops asking.
5. He loves food as much as I do and is always enthusiastic and appreciative of my meals.
6. I want him to feel included and happy in his hometown and hope everyday that he feels he made the right choice to return.
7. He is the baby of the family, and isn't that what you do to the baby? Spoil them!
8. He lives really close to our house, so even if it isn't planned any more than a couple minutes in advance it is still a possibility for him to hop on over.
9. He says annoying baby brother things while I am cooking like, "isn't that just a fancy way of doing it", or "there must be an easier way", and "where did you learn that?" or my all time favorite, "Mom doesn't do it like that, does she?"
10. He is one of the more quiet members of my family and it gives me the opportunity to visit with him sans some of the louder participants and hear what he has to say for a change.

But the number one reason there will always be a place at my dinner table for my now grown up baby brother is......Sometimes when I am in the kitchen chopping, measuring, and sauteing all while taking pictures for this crazy blog, I look up and see this:

Thank God for open floor plans! My baby brother and my baby, Priceless!

The recipe below is one of Kent's favorite things I have cooked for him over the last few months. He talks about it all the time. And trust me, it is well deserved. Although this is an all day recipe (one I made while still on maternity leave and had the whole day to man the stove), it is worth the effort. This is so rich and succulent that it is impossible to forget!

Boeuf Bourguignon Soup
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living December 2010

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in short ribs (2 inches thick, 2 pounds total)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 carrots, 2 finely chopped and 1 cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 3 strips bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry red wine, such as Burgundy
  • 8 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium beef stock
  • 2 cups water
  • No Yolk Egg Noodles, for serving
Directions

Season ribs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Trim white fat. Coat with cornstarch. Heat oil in a large heavy pot (preferably enameled cast iron) over medium-high heat. Lightly brown ribs on all sides, about 6 minutes.

Transfer to a plate.

Add mushrooms to pot.

Cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; add cubed carrot.

Add shallots, bacon, and chopped carrots to pot.

Cook until caramelized, about 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste.

Return ribs with plate juices to pot. Add thyme and bay leaf. Raise heat to high. Add wine.

Cook, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon, until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add stock and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until beef is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Remove ribs. Separate meat from bones; discard bones and any pieces of fat left on the beef. Cut meat into bite-size pieces; return to pot. Add reserved mushroom-carrot mixture.

Bring to a simmer; cook until cubed carrots are tender. Skim any remaining fat off the top of the soup. Season with salt. Ladle soup over bowls of egg noodles and serve.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Treats

Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone. Below is one of the homemade cookies I made for all of the sweeties in Rex's life. Even at 4 months old he has a ton of people he wanted to share his love for on this special day. We hope everyone has a wonderful day and celebrates it with the ones they are sweet on ;-)

Classic Lemon Shortbread
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookie iPad App Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees, with rack in upper third of oven. Whisk to combine flour and salt in a bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down side of bowl as necessary. gradually add confectioners' sugar,

beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add lemon zest and juice.

Add flour mixture all at once; mix on low just until combined.

3. Divide dough in half, and shape into disks. Wrap each in plastic, and chill 2 hours. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a fluted cookie cutter, cut out dough and space 1 inch apart on parchment-lined or silicone-lined baking sheets. Chill 30 minutes.

4. Bake until golden, 22 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack, let cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar using a fine sieve.

Package and Serve.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tantalizing Tomato Treat

This is an amazingly easy, refreshingly quick, and completely satisfying meal. I didn't know what to think of this dish when I started to prepare it, but it was fun to pull together and the results were superb. I was so happy with the short cooking time and the different twist of this meal that I know I will soon be making this again for us to enjoy!

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes
Adapted from Cooking Light January 2011

Ingredients
  • 1 (3-ounce) piece French bread baguette
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 medium roma tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Place bread in a food processor; pulse until fine crumbs measure 1 1/2 cups. Combine breadcrumbs, parsley, and garlic.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumb mixture; cook 3 minutes or until golden brown and garlic is fragrant, stirring frequently.

3. Coat 6 individual gratin dishes with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange shrimp in a single layer in dishes; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Sprinkle with 3/4 cup breadcrumb mixture; top with tomato slices.

Sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Top with remaining 3/4 cup breadcrumb mixture; dot with remaining 3 tablespoon butter.

Bake at 450° for 12 minutes or until the shrimp are done. Drizzle with vinegar.

And Serve.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe