Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Orleans-style Barbecue Shrimp

I found this recipe over at Louanne's Kitchen and immediately knew I had to try it. I halved the recipe and it more than fed five of us. I used less cayenne than the recipe called for, and it turned out perfectly.

SCRUMPTIOUS!!!! This shrimp is soooooo good. Bread for mopping up the sauce is a must. Our shrimp had tails on, but no heads. Delicious, I couldn't stop eating them! Try these TODAY!!

New Orleans-style Barbecue Shrimp
Recipe adapted by Louanne, from the cookbook: Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make A Roux?

6 lbs large shrimp (heads on, don’t peel them)

2 sticks butter

¾ cup olive oil

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

6 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon minced garlic (recipe calls for 1 teaspoon garlic powder, but Louanne prefers fresh~for my half recipe, I used 1 clove garlic)

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons cayenne (I used less than 1/2 teaspoon for my half recipe)

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon hot sauce

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Rinse and drain shrimp, then spread in a large baking pan while making sauce.

Melt butter over medium low heat, add remaining ingredients and remove from heat. Allow sauce to cool for 5-7 minutes, then pour over shrimp. Marinate shrimp for 1 hour.

While shrimp are marinating, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake shrimp from 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5-7 minutes. *I totally forgot to stir the shrimp at all, and they turned out fine.

Do not overcook.

Serve in bowls with plenty of the sauce and lots of French bread for sopping up the sauce.

French Onion Soup

This is my version of a Tyler Florence recipe. Hope you enjoy!


3 large onions, sliced (I used a combination of red, white and sweet onions - 1 of each)
4 T butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1.5 cups red wine
1.5 quarts of beef stock
3 - 5 dashes worcestershire sauce
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
6 slices of baguette, toasted
1.5 cups shredded gruyere or swiss cheese (I used Sargento's shredded swiss & gruyere cheese)


1. Over medium to medium-high heat, saute onions in butter and extra virgin olive oil until lightly carmelized (this will take a good 30 - 40 minutes). Do not season until onions are translucent (about 10 minutes), once they are, season to taste with salt and black pepper. (A little trick to help the carmelization process -- add 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar once the liquid released from the onions is almost evaporated)
2. When onions are carmelized, add garlic and saute for 30 seconds, until fragrant, then add balsamic vinegar and deglaze bottom of pan.
3. Add red wine and simmer until reduced by at least 1/3 (about 15 minutes)
4. Add beef stock, worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and thyme and return to a boil, then continue simmering for 30 minutes on low heat.
5. Adjust seasoning as needed and ladle into 6 oven-proof bowls or crocks. (Remove bay leaves and thyme stems)
6. Place 1 toasted baguette slice in each bowl and heap 1/4 cup of shredded cheese on top
7. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Taste & Create: Breakfast Muffins, AKA Bruffins

My partner for December-January's Taste & Create was Kat of Study Food. For those of you who don't know, Taste & Create is a monthly blog event, created by my lovely friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Each month, participants are randomly paired and tasked with creating a dish from their partner's blog.

Kat has only been blogging for a few months, but has a great start! I was tempted by Kat's Orange, Coconut, Evaporated Milk Cake, but really considered making her Cocoa Fudge Cake. I kept coming back to "Bruffin" recipe, breakfast muffins featuring bananas, blueberries and peaches. I finally left it up to my 7-year-old boy to decide between the muffins or the fudge cake, and he chose muffins, so that is what I made.

Of course when it came time to make the muffins, I didn't have everything I needed. I usually don't improvise much during Taste & Create, but I forged ahead, improvising away. I used Kat's recipe as well as the original recipe as a guide. If my muffins come out as edible as Kat's look, I will be surprised. I didn't have wheat bran, so I used a mix of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour. Yes, I am well aware that all-purpose flour is absolutely nothing like wheat bran.

I didn't want the cinnamon and nutmeg to overwhelm the fruit, so I cut each down to 1 teaspoon. For fruit, I intended to use the canned peaches, but ran across frozen strawberries while hunting blueberries, and there you go. Bananas, blueberries, strawberries. I also added pecans to the batter, and topped them with raw sugar and slivered (and sliced) almonds. I like muffins to have crunchy AND sparkly tops.

And, discovering that we were running low on milk, I substituted plain yogurt and increased it to 3/4 cup. (Kat used 1/2 cup milk + 1/4 cup peach juice; the original recipe used 3/4 cup milk)

When I mixed the muffins in the morning, I completely forgot the melted butter. I had plenty of muffin batter leftover for a second pan, so I stirred in 1 tablespoon of butter after the first pan was in the oven. We'll see which one turns out better!

The first pan (no butter), turned out pretty good, although hard to get out of the paper muffin cups. They were tasty, but seemed to be missing ne sais pas. (Butter?) My oldest boy liked them, and ate two muffins before school, so whatever it was, he must not have missed it.

The second pan (with butter), was also pretty good. I didn't really notice a difference between the ones with butter and the ones without, other than they both seemed to be missing something. I'm guessing they could have used just a bit more salt, maybe 1/2 teaspoon - 1 teaspoon total. I'll try that next time. Other than that, I don't know. And I'm not sure why they won't come out of the paper cups either...

All in all, they were good muffins, and fairly good for you with the whole wheat, yogurt and fruit. If you'd like to try them, you now have THREE different recipes from which to choose!

Oh, and be sure to tell me what YOU would do differently! =)

Bruffins: Breakfast Muffins
Adapted from Study Food

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup blueberries
2 bananas, mashed
1 cup strawberries, chopped

3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted (I forgot this)
2 teaspoons vanilla

sliced or slivered almonds
raw sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin, or use baking cups.

Stir dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mash bananas, then mix in other fruit. Add wet ingredients and mix well.

Gently fold wet ingredients into dry mixture, stirring just until combined. Careful not to over mix.

Drop muffin batter into muffin cups, about 3/4 full. Sprinkle each muffin with raw sugar and top with almonds.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Citrus Chardonnay Sauce

I picked up the packages of Lobster Ravioli at Costco without hesitation. Lobster is H-Bomb's absolute favorite food, and the pastas from Costco have always been delicious. Not sure why it's red-striped, but se la vie. You can imagine my delight when I turned the package over, ready to serve this luscious ravioli with a plain-Jane alfredo sauce, but saw this recipe for a lovely chardonnay sauce. No contest!

A delicious, light, savory pasta in a fabulous, tangy sauce! I'm sure this sauce would be delicious on many kind of pasta. And it's easy to make, too!

The only change I made was to cook the ravioli AFTER I made the sauce, which turned out to be a good choice. The sauce took a while to reduce, so I had a pot of water simmering, waiting until the sauce was closer to being done, then cooked the ravioli.

Citrus Chardonnay Sauce

1 (15 ounce) tray of Pasta Prima Lobster Ravioli
1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
1 cup chardonnay wine
1/2 cup heavy cream (all I had was half-and-half)
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
salt and white pepper to taste

1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add Pasta Prima Lobster Ravioli, and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 minutes until desired tenderness. Drain, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, cover and keep warm.

2. At the same time combine the shallots, lemon juice, and Chardonnay in a medium sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Add the heavy cream and continue to simmer until liquid is reduced by half.

3. Remove the simmering cream from the heat and immediately whisk in the butter cubes one at a time until fully incorporated. Stir in the parsley then season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Spoon Citrus Chardonnay Sauce onto a plate, put 5 ravioli onto the top of the sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I have no idea where this recipe came from, just a little magazine clipping in the pile, but it has become a family favorite. I used Claudia's picture to show that these or ANY cheese ball can be made what you want by just changing what you decorate the outside in and/or making them bite size by just adjusting how much you roll into each ball. We prefer them "bite" sized.

1 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
8 ounce package Philadelphia cream cheese

1/4 cup apricot pineapple preserves
2 ounce jar pimentos, drained, rinsed and dried (optional)
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon Franks Red Hot Pepper Sauce*
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
Additional toppings as desired - crushed nuts, chives, carrot pieces, pickle pieces, etc...

  • In a very large bowl combine the cheddar cheese and cream cheese. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Add the preserves, milk, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and half the bacon.
  • Beat with a mixer until smooth.
  • Cover and refrigerate 2-4 hours.
  • Roll mixture into desired number of balls.
  • Roll each ball in desir4ed topping.
  • Chill for at least an hour.
  • Serve with crackers, celery sticks, toast points, etc...
*Frank's Red chile pepper sauce makes an awesome substitution.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Nutella Hot Chocolate

I have a sweet little cookbook called, simply, Hot Chocolate. You might find it surprising that although I've owned this cookbook for years, I just can't remember ever making one of the recipes. I find it surprising too, a definite lapse in judgment.

So without further ado (or excuses), here is the first recipe we've tried. I mistakenly thought that 3/4 cup of milk "wouldn't be enough" for one serving, so I doubled this. Then it was sooooo rich I just couldn't drink it all. So start slow with this creamy delicious drink!

I had mine with Homemade Marshmallows! "Nutty perfume" is right, and I can't wait to try to frozen version!

Nutella Hot Chocolate
Makes 1 serving

The recipe is credited to Chuck Silverston, Paris Creperie, Brookline, Massachusetts. "The nutty perfume is heavenly in hot chocolate." says Chuck, who invented the minimalist delight. "I can't believe someone didn't think of this before. During the summer, the restaurant offers a Nutella Frozen Hot Chocolate, made the same way but with the addition of vanilla ice cream and plain yogurt. (you can be sure I am trying this as well!)

3/4 cup whole milk
2 heaping tablespoons Nutella
whipped cream (or homemade marshmallows)

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the milk to a simmer. Add the Nutella and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Pour into a mug and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream or marshmallows. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Martha's Marshmallows

slowly pouring hot syrup into gelatin mixture

Some people we know spend an arm and a leg on "homemade" marshmallows from a mega-kitchen store that cost almost $1 each. We are not some people.

For the holidays this year, Number One decided to make our own marshmallows. This recipe comes from The Martha Stewart Cookbook, and believe it or not, marshmallows are actually quite easy to make. You do need a stand mixer, and a candy thermometer, and you need to be careful with the molten sugar mixture.

He did follow Martha's recommendation of foil and oil, and removing the foil from the marshmallow slab takes some finesse. I did some other research, and Ina Garten has a similar recipe, but simply coats the pans with powdered sugar. It sounds like that would work too. We'll try her recipe next.

The marshmallows are fluffy and fabulous, and they melt like heaven in a mug of hot chocolate. They also toast quite nicely over a campfire, not bursting into flames like their preservative-laden counterparts. We stored them in a plastic container, layers separated by waxed paper. Although Martha says "two days," ours are just fine for hot chocolate and campfire roasting about two weeks later. (and still fresher than anything you'd buy in the store!!)

Happy Holidays! Enjoy.

Martha's Marshmallows
Makes about 40 marshmallows

Marshmallows must be kept in an airtight container and are best eaten within two days of their making.

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups water, divided
3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, plus additional for rolling

Oil an 11x17-inch Pyrex baking dish with vegetable oil. Line the dish with lightweight aluminum foil, and lightly coat the foil with more oil.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, soften the gelatin with 3/4 cup of the water. (pour water in bowl, then sprinkle gelatin on top and let stand).

Place the sugar, corn syrup, the remaining 3/4 cup water and the salt in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the syrup reaches 234 to 240 degrees F, or the soft-ball stage, on a candy thermometer.

With the whisk attachment of the mixer at full speed, beat the hot syrup slowly into the gelatin until mixture is very stiff, about 15 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Pour the mixture into the foil-lined dish and smooth the top with an oiled spatula. Allow the mixture to rest, uncovered, at room temperature 10 to 12 hours.

Using a fine sieve, sprinkle the confectioners' sugar onto a cutting board. Turn the stiffened marshmallow out onto the sugar, and using a small, lightly oiled cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Be sure to dip the cut edges of the marshmallows into confectioners' sugar to prevent sticking.
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