Friday, December 31, 2010

Butter Milk/Meyer Lemon Soaked and Fried Oysters

Lets bring in the New Year with a four course meal!

Of course some wine and some champagne from our wedding we have been saving...will make it the celebration we enjoy around here.

First course- Butter Milk/Meyer Lemon soaked and breaded Oysters over Mache and Spinach Salad with a butter milk tartar sauce dressing (a dash of horseradish, chopped pickles, onion, and squeeze of Meyer lemon zips it up a bit!)

Happy New Year Everyone!

I have to get back to my other courses. We plan on celebrating all the way past midnight. Everyone else will scarf this down, I will have just a bite...good thing I went to the gym today.

What else is coming...stuffed peppers...swordfish...then dessert...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Sweets

One thing my younger sister and I have never gotten to do together is duplicate my mom's recipe for her Christmas goodies. We got a chance when my son and I drove down to Texas. I always stay at my oldest friends Cheryl, so we all decided to do some candy making- Peanut Butter Fudge, Rocky Road Fudge, Gingerbread Squares, Caramel, and something we had not had since our childhood- Date Nut Roll. I had to hunt far and wide for this recipe.

The recipe was incomplete, so I had to alter it as it cooked. A Few recipes of Date Nut Roll Candy called for-

2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of milk (I used heavy cream and milk), some called for a hunk of butter, which we laughed; begin to dissolve the sugar in milk and bring to a slow boil (will become grainy if too high). After the candy thermometer reaches 'soft boil' or 234 degrees, remove from heat and stir in 1 cup chopped dates, 1 cup chopped pecans or black walnuts, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour onto butter wax paper and form into logs, wrap and let cool. Some things we learned- Do not cool in fridge, stir too long, use fresh dates over dried, and clean up pans and equipment as quickly as you can, or you have a sticky mess. Enjoy!

Cutting the caramel into pieces and wrapping is better when you have others to help, otherwise its like surgery my friend and I decided.

What childhood goodies do you remember that you either make now, or think about making?

My little sister Mary and I have always been close. We talk almost everyday on the phone. I am flying her up to New Jersey from Texas for her Christmas Present in February.
I have had the pleasure of having sun and warm weather in Texas, lots of snowing in St. Louis, and now am flying home to snow storms in New Jersey.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Roasted/Mashed Christmas Turnips

Every Christmas I can remember... I have enjoyed fresh roasted and mashed turnips. An easy and tasty dish to make for any gathering. Actually...I cannot believe I ever turned my nose up at these when I was small. My grandmother would grow them, use the green tops to saute and serve with beans and rice, or roast the turnips and then served them mashed with onion and butter.

Persimmons have been showing up in Whole Foods, so I grabbed a few for a dinner side...

What are your traditional holiday sides? Or have you created new traditions?

A Personal Note:  I am having a great time with my son in MO. I love his girlfriend and we are having a blast bowling, cooking (she is vegetarian, so we are eating healthy!), going to social gatherings. Now we are heading down to Dallas to visit family and friends...a surprise visit!

Here they are dressed up for a 20's Murder Mystery Party- Sly Sleazy and Mrs. Vicki Ravioli...neither were the killer... I did make my son his favorite dish, smothered steak for today's meal. A mother loves spoiling her baby!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

North Of The Border Tacos

These fish tacos are made with a few of the Arizona afternoon Farmers Market purchases- I attended back in August while visiting hubby as he worked. The fish is dredged in Mesquite flour (made from mesquite beans- I lightly smoked the fish after dredging, and finished off in the oven), Tepary beans, and Ciolim Dried Cholla Buds.

I used a thicker and sturdier fish for this dish- hake, whitefish or Poor John as it is called; otherwise it will fall apart before it gets to the tortillas (talapia is often too thin). You can make your own tortillas for this dish. Whole foods carried blue corn flour, and I brought back corn flour from Virginia last summer and after a few practices with the rolling pin you can get them to a thin state for tacos. No matter because they are good and flavorful in any form- each ingredient in these tacos brings a flavor to the plate. My favorite are blue corn tortillas. Something I learned to love on the road in New Mexico, and southwest restaurants that popped up in Dallas in my youth.

Cholla buds have a unique flavor that includes tones that range from artichoke to asparagus – green and vibrant. Once cooked, cholla buds will triple in size. These delectable desert vegetables love marinades and will readily absorb the flavors of whatever they are cooked with. Terrific in antipastos, chilies, salads and sautes, use them as you would artichoke hearts or asparagus tips.

All of these ingredients are low in glycemic index- so great for diabetic eating, or for losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet.

Happy Holidays! I will be with my son in Missouri for the next two weeks helping him pack and move- He and his girlfriend are going to Korea as students and to teach for a new and exciting turn in my life...he expressed his deep affection for her, so I may have a new daughter in the future...I am also meeting her family for the first time, as we are spending Christmas together. I will be around to read your posts...Peace to you all...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Short Rib Stuffed Peppers

Want to try your skills at making one part of the dish the night before- melting off the bone succulent ribs, then remove the meat and stuff them into peppers the next night? It was not an easy task...

About two weeks ago we had dinner with two couple friends from our American Wine Society group at Daryl Wine Bar & Restaurant. Daryl's is based on one simple concept; pairing the most innovative and modern American cuisine with unique and hand selected wines. The menu changes, and it had been a while since any of us had a meal there. I noticed they had this appetizer on the menu- Short Rib Stuffed Pepper.

We all ordered, and the plan was to share every dish six ways.

I felt my appetizer was a little 'short' on flavor. The beef broth they sat in was made from the bones, which was rich and flavorful, but was lacking on flavor in the meat and pepper. My feelings were that if this dish were made in my own kitchen- it would have to be more intense.

One night I slow roasted the short ribs (beef or pork is okay) with my own dry rub recipe. When cooled a bit, I shredded the meat. Once off the bone I added some barbecue sauce, tomato and jalapeno bits, and pumpkin seeds, then it was placed in the fridge over night. I decided not to roast the peppers and remove the skin, as the restaurant had done (careful though, the peppers split when cooking due to over stuffing them), feeling fresh whole Italian peppers would be fine slow cooked in beef broth (broth I made from the bones and juices of ribs).

I slow cooked the bones with carrots, celery, onion, a few spices, and the juices from the slow cooked ribs. Carefully scrapping any marrow and bits from the bones in the final reduction. This was not enough broth, so I added sugar free beef broth to my mix when actually cooking the rice. (next night) Just before the rice was done I added the stuffed peppers and covered the pan. Turning down the heat so not to over cook rice. The rice, broth and peppers melded nicely.

In another pot I sauteed left over rib meat with onion, tomato bits and kale in a dash of olive oil. The combination of the three were wonderful. The pepper flavor rang out through the rib mixture, and pumpkin seeds added a slight crunch.You will have more than enough flavored broth left on the rice (and it does not dog bone), so make sure you spoon some over the plate just before serving.

A NOTE: In case anyone cares, my food has not been so 'pretty' lately. I have not been feeling well (a nasty cold), since hubby keeps bringing germs home the past month, but I also have been busy with my writing, consulting, and had an interview. I am proud to announce a start-up gourmet food company has asked me to come to work this next week in their kitchen. I like the idea of working for someone else for a while. I will head up production.