Monday, October 31, 2011

Grandma Sally's Marinated Mushrooms

Props for this tasty little appetizer goes to a wonderful blogger, COOKING FOR MY PEACE OF MIND. She advertisers her cooking style as "stress cooking" to deal with distractions outside her "everything is fine" kitchen! I love her site, and it is always worth a look...

Click the photo of her web header to see her blog...

Back on November 3rd, 2008 Danielle made the following post... Grandma Sally's Marinated Mushrooms. As long tome readers know, I love to entertain, and I filed this one away for my next big get together. In my opinion, it is a perfect appetizer...

Here's her recipe...

1 1/2 lbs. mushrooms (I used crimini)
3/4 cup oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp basil
6 - 10 pepper corns
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove

Gently wash your mushrooms and cut the dry ends off the...stub? stem? trunk? Whatever it is...cut it off!

In a good sized deep skillet or large sauce pan, combine everything except for the mushrooms. Simmer for about 10 mins

Add your mushrooms and stir until nicely coated. You'll know when they're all coated cuz they get all shiny and pretty.

Cover and cook. Now...depending on the size of your mushrooms, you'll want to cook them for about 5 - 10 minutes. The original recipe said 3 - 5 minutes but my mushrooms were pretty good sized and I ended up cooking them for 10 minutes. You don't want them soggy...wilted or soft. You want them....mmm...I dunno....kinda al dente.

Once they've cooked and cooled off, put them in a storage container and keep in the fridge until you're ready to eat.

WELL, this sounds easy enough... Pretty quick, and can be made ahead of time (Very important when you have a houseful of people coming over)... I made a few small changes,

HERE's WHAT I DID...

First, I substituted Oils and Vinegars for some flavored oils and vinegars. I had some O OLIVE OIL brand Jalapeno/Lime Oil, and some Zinfandel Vinegar. Next, I altered her spices. Earlier in the year, I made a batch of Steven Reichlen's recipe for MEDITERRANEAN RUB. The rub is equal parts tarragon, oregano, dill, thyme, rosemary and salt. I like to keep my rubs for no more than 3 months. After that time, the spices start to lose their potency. So, it's now or never to use this rub. Honestly, I have used this on pork, beef and fish. On ALL of these meats, it ... well, for lack of a more polite word, it sucked as a rub for meat. But, as a flavoring in oil, all these spices should blend well... Let's see...

Oh, and I love garlic... 1 garlic clove??? I don't think so... add a bunch!

And from there, I just followed the recipe...

AND THEY WERE INCREDIBLE! Not a little bit, but a LOT. I even ate the sauteed garlic cloves...INCREDIBLE! They are a wonderful little finger food (I served with long wooden skewers). They were very popular.

Hey, would this little girl lie to you... Very Popular!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Heaven and Hell Shrimp and Sweet Potato Chipotle Grits Inspired by The Saucy Gourmet


This was a very big weekend for me.  I got to host my final smoke of the year, one of my very favorite days!  By smoke, I am not talking Marlboros, but ribs, beans and pulled pork!

Nothing better!

But first, I had invited a foodie buddy and my wife's cousin and his wife and visiting daughter.  We were pretty excited to see the Cardinals in the 7th game of the World Series, so they made the 3 hour drive over to visit, talk a little food, do a little prep work and watch the game...

And eat!

I was looking through the recipes submitted in the last few days to eRecipeCards.com and was drawn to the classic southern treat... Saucy Spicy Shrimp and Cheesy Grits Submitted by The Saucy Gourmet!  Now I love shrimp and grits, and Shari has published a wonderful recipe, filled with cheese, thick with heavy cream and butter... wonderful seasoning and just plain perfect!

Shari is in her third year of blogging, but has her most active month this month!  I love to see her excitement with each post.  She has been known to get fancy occasionally replacing a standard Red Velvet cake and transforming it to a beautiful Red Velvet Towers. Or turn a classic Margarita into a Meyer Lemon Margarita!

So, armed with her inspiring posts to push the limits, I decided to dig out a recipe from my past, Bobby Flay's Shrimp and Grits, Roasted Chipotle Sweet Potato grits actually with a Heaven and Hell sweet Scallion dipping sauce paired with a spicy red chili sauce ala the Mesa Grill Cookbook!


Here's what I did...

The recipe can be found in Bobby Flay's MESA GRILL COOKBOOK.  According to his introduction for the dish, "I can see this as a Sunday dinner with the family, with the grits piled in the middle of the plate, surrounded by the shrimp.  But the grits are so good, you could also serve them as a side dish for an elaborate meal." ...

Or a side dish for Thanksgiving dinner???

Here's what I did...

1 large Sweet Potato
2 TBS Canola Oil
1/2 Shallot, finely diced
4 cloves Garlic, smashed and minced
2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup whole Milk
2 tsp pureed Chipotle Chile in Adobe Sauce
   (yes, from the can, into the mini chopper to puree)

pinch Kosher Salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking Grits
2 TBS Butter
3 TBS Honey
6 TBS Olive Oil
1 pound large Shrimp, shelled and deveined
Fresh ground Black Pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Roast the sweet potato in the oven until tender when pierced with a knife (about 45 to 60 minutes)
  • Peel the sweet potato and puree the flesh in a food processor (or mini chopper)
  • Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepan, add the shallot and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
  • Add the stock, milk, chipotle puree and salt... bring to a boil.
  • Slowly whisk in the grits.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the sweet potato puree, stirring frequently for 5 to 10 minutes, until smooth and thickened.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter  and honey to taste.  Cover and keep warm.
  • Sauté the shrimp in preheated olive oil for just a few minutes.  DO NOT OVERCOOK.  Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the grits on a plate, top with the simple sautéed shrimp and serve with a sauce of your choice.  In the MEAS GRILL Cookbook, Bobby gives recipes for a Green Onion-Cilantro sauce and a Red Chili Oil sauce.  If you make them both, you get a little "Heaven and Hell" sauce choices, and they look great on a plate...


Green Onion Cilantro Sauce...

1 cup sliced Green Onions (white and green parts)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh Cilantro
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1 TBS Dijon Mustard
Pinch Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup Canola Oil

Combine everything except the oil in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  With the motor running, add the oil slowly until emulsified.

--------------------------------------------
Red Chili Oil...

2 red Jalapeño Pepper, roasted, with the skin, seeds and white parts removed
1 cup Canola Oil

Back to the mini chopper and blend away!

The Chipotle in the grits adds a lot!  But combining with the dipping sauces (either sweet or spicy hot), you get a taste easily adapted to please the fire eaters or the more timid taste buds of any guest.

Thank you so much for the post Shari.  Reminded me of a great classic and I hope you are happy with what I did with your idea!


So, if you want to get inspired yourself, , take a jump over to "The Saucy Gourmet",take a look through her blog and tell her "Hi" from me.

And for a quick look at what she blogs, click on the logo link image to the right.  You will see all the eRecipeCards that Shari has submitted to eRecipeCards.com.  You can add her recipes to your eRecipeBox (once you have a free to set up account).

See how useful the site is and how easy it is to find new favorite bloggers!

These posts continue to highlight bloggers and recipes that I have found on  "eRecipeCards.com"...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Help Oh! Nuts Support Breast Cancer Research

Click the photo to see how to easily donate to fight cancer

Would you donate 1 minute of your time in exchange for a $3 donation to the Susan G Komen for the Cure to Help fight Breast cancer???

I received a wonderful email yesterday...
Hi,

I would like to let you know about something Oh Nuts is doing now in October.
For every Facebook like, tweet or Google +1, Oh! Nuts will donate $1 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure to help fight Breast Cancer.


Please feel free to share with your readers,fans and followers. 


Thanks
Sam Feferkorn
Of course I tweeted and liked them and I am getting ready to +1 them (need to get an account first, but what a great reason to do so).  And sure enough, I got the confirmation that my numbers counted and the donation would be made.

I have had a long relationship with Oh Nuts!  My very favorite thing that they offer is the chocolate rock chips shown in the cookies above.  Makes a very fun chocolate chip cookie.  Of course they also offer the very best nuts, I am especially fond of their whole pecans and some amazing Black Walnuts!

This is such a wonderful thing to do, and so incredibly socially responsible.  These days, with the "occupy Wall Street" news bombarding us, it is so rewarding to know that there really is a social contract that comes with owning and operating a business.

So, click the link...


Everything is all set up.  It takes just seconds to "like" if you have a facebook account, and the tweet is already written and takes even less time.

It's a great cause and socially responsible company.  BTW, no purchase necessary, no sign up forms to fill out, just have a Facebook, Twitter and/or a Google Plus account.

Reward them, make their promotion a HUGE success and take just a single minute to donate to a great cause!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Taking a break!


Swamped... and a side trip to visit my Mother

and a blogger meet up

Back on Sunday next week!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Candy Corn Snack Mix ala Jane Deere


Happy Halloween!  You can almost smell the sugar in the air!

And this recipe could not be simpler...

1 part Candy Corn
1 part Peanuts (OK, I had a jar of Cashews, so I used Cashews)

Mix

And viola... A cute, almost adult Halloween snack.  Tastes like a Payday Candy Bar!  It really does!  Store in airtight container so the candy corn does not get hard and nasty tasting.


 And this is also a recipe I found just yesterday on eRecipeCards.com and was a terrific snack I had available for neighbors who were dropping in for a visit.  Storing this in a mason jar is perfect to keep fresh since...

As Stephen says, "Sometimes they come back".... BWahahahahaha

Click Jennifer's photo to see her
original post of this recipe
But I also made this snack as an opportunity to wish nothing but good thoughts for a blogging buddy, Jennifer of the Jane Deere Blog.  The day Jennifer originally posted her version of this recipe, that's her photo from her post (Click HERE)... Anyway, the day Jennifer made this post, she was making the big move from one home to a new house her family was buying in Houston.  No more exciting time, and nothing sadder to be starting fresh and leaving those friends and neighbors behind.

Between closing on the sale of her old place and the family closing on the buying of the new home, Jennifer, husband and three children will be living in close quarters in an RV (God help her).  Has to be a tough time for her.  So, nothing but good thoughts.

Click the logo to join in the Linky Fun every Friday
Even in the midst of all this upheaval in her life, Jennifer still takes the time to host her linky party, Fusion Friday.

If you have never been involved in a Linky event, they are very easy.  Just pick out a favorite recipe or DIY craft project and follow the simple directions to be a part.  Linky parties are a great way to be seen and to see other's talents.  Jennifer's is among the best!

So, take a minute, stop by her blog and say hi!

I am pretty sure she would appreciate the good thoughts!


And while you are saying hi, take a jump over to "Jane Deere",take a look through her blog and tell her "Hi" from me.

And for a quick look at what she blogs, click on the logo link image to the right.  You will see all the eRecipeCards that Dee has submitted to eRecipeCards.com.  You can add her recipes to your eRecipeBox (once you have a free to set up account).

See how useful the site is and how easy it is to find new favorite bloggers!

These posts continue to highlight bloggers and recipes that I have found on  "eRecipeCards.com"...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake... um Pie ala Living the Gourmet


Still just a few warm days coming up before the winter chill. Plenty of time to combine a delicious CHEESECAKE with seasonal fruit (and yes, it took a bit of research, but indeed pumpkin is a fruit).

This recipe is a delight.  Creamy sweet, with a hint of savory.  A delicious and fragrant use of nutmeg and cinnamon, and a delightfully sneaky bit of ginger added to the frosting.  A great recipe with just a bit... extra!

Living the GourmetI Found this recipe on eRecipeCards.com of course.  I was using the search function to find a pumpkin recipe.  It also was one of those Indian Summer fall days with temps bordering in the 90's.  A Great day for cheesecake!

The author of the recipe (adapted from Betty Crocker) is Catherine from the Living the Gourmet blog, and a long time favorite of mine.

Catherine is a long time blogger, earliest post are from 2008.  She is also very consistent, averaging just over 1 post every other day.  Each post is truly a gem.  Catherine's recipe are classics, often, like this, adapted from the old school cookbooks and reference materials from the last 50 years.  But more often she will post an original recipe.  New twists on old favorites and dishes from her Italian background.  She is also among the most loyal bloggers out there, visiting and commenting on her blogger buddies posts.

Always a delight to hear from her and to see what she cooks...

Like this!

Catherine's original post actually had a different look. She made cheesecake squares.  I made a cheesecake pie.  I did take one of the slices and made a cheesecake pumpkin, simple enough with a Halloween/Thanksgiving cookie cutter.

But, pie, Squares or pumpkin shaped, this is such a terrific idea for a tray of sweets.  A wonderful alternative to a pumpkin pie or addition to a big holiday feast as an alternative.  The savory pumpkin cheesy custard filling is delightfully light and creamy.  The sweet buttery creamy icing is perfect pairing.

I just LOVE this recipe

.I made a very very tiny change in the recipe.

Catherine used orange zest as a garnish in the center of each bar.

I just mixed mine into the cream cheese frosting.  This added just a tinge of orange color to my icing.

Her's is much prettier, while mine was being greedily served to just my wife and myself, so presentation was not important.  If I were making this to be served at a family dinner, I would adapt Catherine's presentation.

Click Catherine's original photo from her post to see her recipe
for Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares
Click the photo above (lifted from her post), to see her original recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares (or click the blue letters).  As is my custom on this blog, I am not going to copy a recipe I followed exact.  I pondered a bit, but honestly, everything I love in a cheesecake is in this.  Just no need to change anything.  So please take a minute, hop over to Catherine's recipe and bookmark it as a favorite!

It certainly is one of mine!


So, if I have tweeked your interest in Rainey and her Living the Gourmet Blog , head on over and say HI for me!

And for a quick look at what she blogs, click on the logo link image to the right.  You will see all the eRecipeCards that Catherine has submitted to eRecipeCards.com.  You can add her recipes to your eRecipeBox (once you have a free account).

See how useful the site is and how easy it is to find new favorite bloggers!

These posts continue to highlight bloggers and recipes that I have found on  "eRecipeCards.com"..

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Au Gratin Potatoes ala The Project Table


Oh Boy, I just love au Gratin potatoes.  Don't think I have ever made them at home, but I always make a bee line to them when I see a good one.

Which I did on my blogging buddy (and soon to be in person buddy), Rainey' blog, The Project Table.  Rainey's blog has long been one of my favorites.  Not just food, but photography, DIY projects, decorating ideas and more.

You may remember Rainey when I was "Inspired" to copy her Checkerboard Cake idea.

I have a bit of a history for borrowing her cake decorating ideas.  Cakes are fine, but if you look over her posts, you will see a bit of panache added!

Like I said then, I was a fan and still am!  In fact, next week I will be flying across country just to visit with her (I may make time to visit with my sainted Mother who happens to be living in the same city).

Yesterday I told you about the 7-Up the Butt Lemon Chicken I made.

Today, it's the side dish to go with the chicken!

Rich (ultra rich), thick and creamy, beautiful colored (paprika adds a deliciously appealing golden amber glow) and oozing with cheese.  This is that potatoes au Gratin recipe you get in restaurants!

And now at home.




And it pairs well with a simple chicken (and cheap chicken if you look for sales or pick up one of those delightful rotisserie chickens.  Really adds a richness to the simple!

This shot to the right is actually Rainey's version.  In fact, I copied her recipe to the tee.  Click the photo to the right or the blue letters, HERE, to see her original, easy to duplicate recipe.

Well, almost.  She used fresh chives and parsley flakes.  I used my version of "Not Your Grandmothers Herbes de Provence", a mix of classic Mediterranean spices with garlic and lemon zest added.



Add the aforementioned Chicken and some cheesy creamed spinach and you have quite a delicious meal!

Thanks Rainey, as always, great recipe and great to visit your blog!


So, if I have tweeked your interest in Rainey and her The Project Table Blog , head on over and say HI for me!

And for a quick look at what she blogs, click on the logo link image to the right.  You will see all the eRecipeCards that Rainey has submitted to eRecipeCards.com.  You can add her recipes to your eRecipeBox (once you have a free account).

See how useful the site is and how easy it is to find new favorite bloggers!

These posts continue to highlight bloggers and recipes that I have found on  "eRecipeCards.com"..

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

7-Up Can Lemon Chicken ala Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen AND Cookin' For My Captain



It's the stuff legends are made of...

Known by many as Beer Can Chicken, known by many more as Beer Butt Chicken.  But as they say, a Rose by any other name...

There are two reasons to cook a chicken with a can of liquid in it's cavity.  First, the steam from the liquid makes for the most moist, most tender chicken you can imagine.  Lately several grilling specialty blogs have done side by side taste tests using different liquids.  From water to Guinness Stout and about anything in between, the consensus appears to be that the liquid does not matter.  Blind taste tests, it's all pretty much the same.

It's just fun (in a 7th grade way) to say Beer Butt Chicken.  Not nearly enough fun to say 7-Up Butt Chicken, but that's what I used.

Which brings up the other reason this cooking method makes the best chicken...  Presentation!


But, I'm gonna show you how to take that presentation up a notch.  And even justify the semi-lewd look...


It's easy to get the look...

Just slice a lemon in half.  Actually for authenticity, slice at a little angle so the ends of the lemon are pointed straight and look... Perky (sorry).

Then slip the lemon between the skin and the meat of the breast....

And you get that special look.

BUT, this is more than just cosmetic.

As the chicken cooks, the lemon OOZES hot lemon juice into the breast meat.  Infusing that citrus taste deep into the meat.

And it works!

Really rich deep lemony taste.  Unlike anything you have ever tried.  As good as it gets.

And, just in case you are serving this to actual 7th graders and prefer not to have them giggle throughout dinner...

If you slice off thick slices of the lemon (no tips), this method works just as well.


But not as much fun.

Two bloggers have submitted different versions of Grilled Can Chicken...

Click the copy of Bobbi's Header to see her version of
"Beer in the Rear" Chicken
Bobbi of Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen has already been featured on this blog.  Bobby is my favorite success story, having lost 150 pounds and KEPT IT OFF!

Way back in August, I posted my take on her Beer Battered Asparagus with garlic Aioli!  While I fondly remember the asparagus, I have added her Aioli recipe to my goto recipe file.  I know I have made it at least twice since I discovered the recipe; so fast to make, so easy and especially so tasty!

Bobbi's take on her "Beer in the Rear" Chicken is spot on.  She tells a story of her husband and her discussing the other name for the chicken in the grocery store that made me smile (I am 40 years or 2 days from being a 7th grader myself).  But, she also explains the simple method of cooking using just the can.  While I own the handy dandy wire forms to easily make my chicken, Bobbi just uses the can and the chicken legs to form a tripod.  Click HERE (or her Header Logo) to see what I am talking about.

Click Carolyn's header logo to see her version of
"Beer Can Chicken"
Carolyn of the Cookin' For my Captain Blog has also been featured here.  Way back in August again, she showed us how to make bacon wrapped Steak Pinwheels !  A Wonderful recipe and a great way to stretch the value (?) of the ever increasing price of steak.  I always feel honored to read Carolyn's blog.  As the title and photo suggests, she is married to a US Army Captain.  Never in our 235 year's as a country have we asked so much for such an extended period of time from our Armed Services.  10 years at "police action".

Well, Carolyn, her captain and her adorable red headed children have become the faces of that police action.  Never forget that there are real families, real faces attached to those stories we read all too often about the sacrifices made on our behalf.

And if you are wanting to try this for the first time, it never hurts to read over as many suggestions as you can before trying this.  Carolyn also made a lemon chicken.  But she uses a lemon shoved in the to, blocking the steam.  The hot lemon juices would then infuse from the inside out.  Click HERE (or her Header Logo) to see what I am talking about.

SO many options, but the basics for a Can Chicken are pretty much the same...

Here's what I did...

You don't need much...

1 whole chicken (I made two.  I have been waiting for a sale and found them at 69 cents a POUND!!! I have a 5 pound bird for less than $3.50 cents!!!

You also need a dry rub of spices.  Commercial rub is fine.

For mine, you need a lemon and since I was making a lemon chicken, I decided to use a can of 7-Up for my liquid.  Again, not as important what you use.  Beer is fine and more fun to say, but soda, juice can... I have even used a Tomato Juice can and it is all good!

The technique is very simple...

Remove about 1/2 of the soda.  This step may be the only real advantage to using beer... But I digress.

Cut the top off the can and add a big TBS of the rub to the remaining soda.

Take about 3 TBS of the rub and rub the bird generously.  Be sure to rub this between the skin and the meat.  Now is when you insert the lemons.

If you have a handy form (available at most hardware stores, any grilling specialty store or on-line), slip the can in the form.  Or, carefully lower the chicken over the can and use the legs to hold the bird.

I like to line the bottom with tin foil, making a little valley.  There will be lots of juices dripping.  This way it helps deflect the heat, and steams the chicken in the juices.

And cook...  I make mine on my grill (indirect heat, for about an hour and a half).  Of course you can move this inside and cook in an oven.  I would set it at 350 degrees, be sure to put it in a pie plate to collect the juices.

You can tell when the bird is done when the skin on the legs starts to pull away from the bone.  But better, use a meat thermometer and make sure it is 160 degrees.  measure at the thickest part of the bird and measure in several places.

Let it rest on the can for about 20 minutes before you try to cut the meat.  This is VERY important as it allows the juices to stay in the meat and not drip out as you cook.




Parts of the meat just pull from the bone and are great to eat as is... Like the leg/thigh quarter shown here.

Or, pull the breast meat off whole, slice and serve with potatoes au gratin and a cheesy creamed spinach!



So, if I have tweeked your interest in Carolyn and the Cookin' For My CaptainBlog, head on over and say HI for me!

And for a quick look at what she blogs, click on the logo link image to the right.  You will see all the eRecipeCards that Carolyn has submitted to eRecipeCards.com.  You can add her recipes to your eRecipeBox (once you have a free account).

See how useful the site is and how easy it is to find new favorite bloggers!


...   .............   ...

So, if I have tweeked your interest in Bobbi and her BOBBI's KOZY KITCHEN Blog , head on over and say HI for me!


And for a quick look at what she blogs, click on the logo link image to the right.  You will see all the eRecipeCards that Barbara has submitted to eRecipeCards.com.  You can add her recipes to your eRecipeBox (once you have a free account).

See how useful the site is and how easy it is to find new favorite bloggers!

These posts continue to highlight bloggers and recipes that I have found on  "eRecipeCards.com"..

FMP