Thursday, October 30, 2014

Corn and Mushroom Succotash


I've made a lot of corn and black bean salads (which I liked every single one), but this one has a twist:  mushrooms.  It really changes the flavor profile making it bit more savory.  I generally make a corn and black bean salad with a Mexican flare (adding red peppers and smoked paprika and/or cumin.  This was a nice change and went very well with that deliciously simple salmon I posted a few days ago.

CORN and MUSHROOM SUCCOTASH (4-6 servings)

4 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
6 oz fresh sliced portabelllo or button mushroom
4 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro or parsley, coarsley chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 can reduced-sodium black beans (15-16 oz can), rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp black pepper
Juice of 1 lime (1 Tbsp)
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce

Preheat large saute pan on medium-high 1-2 minutes.  Melt butter in pan, then add corn and stir 2-3 minutes or until slightly browned.

Stir in mushrooms, garlic, and 1/2 tsp salt; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until mushrooms soften.

Reduce heat to low.  Stir in tomatoes, beans, pepper, and remaining 1/4 tsp salt; cook 1-2 minutes or until hot.  Remove pan from heat.  Squeeze lime for juice (1 Tbsp) over mixture, then stir in pepper sauce and cilantro or parsley.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pineapple Cashew Shrimp


Hi Friends!  I got out of the cooking mood for a few days.....Indian Summer has hit us and while I was initially in a soup frenzy, I ran into a brick wall.  Hopefully we're at the end of the warmth and heading into cooler temps and, be still my heart, stunning autumn colors. 

But until then (fingers crossed, just a few days) I'm back to one of my new favorite shrimp entrees.  And, again, easy, easy, easy with just a handful of ingredients.

I served this over jasmine rice and eggrolls.

PINEAPPLE CASHEW SHRIMP (4 servings)

2 Tbsp canola oil
1 can (20 oz) pineapple chunks, drained, liquid reserved
3 tsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari sauce
2 tsp fresh ginger root, minced, grated, or microplaned
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup cashews
1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 green onions sliced, both green and white parts
sesame seeds or black sesame seeds, optional

Blend pineapple juice, cornstarch, and soy (or tamari) sauce and set aside.

Heat large skillet over medium/medium-high heat and add oil.  Let oil heat.

Add shrimp and garlic and saute 1 minute, stirring.

Add cashews and water chestnuts and stir.  Cover and cook 2-3 minutes.

Add pineapple and sauce and stir.  Cover and cook 2-3 minutes (depending on size of shrimp).  Serve immediately garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, if using.

Recipe Source:  Ninja Cooking Easier, Healthier, and Better cookbook (2014), p. 166

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Smoky Bacon Salmon





This is, hands-down, the quickest, easiest, fewest ingredients salmon dish you can find.  And it is absolutely delicious.

This is another Publix recipe.  These people should win a prize for their fantastic ideas for quick and delicious dinner ideas.

The recipe calls for using you choice of these two seasonings.  I had the Mesquite on hand, but had never heard of the Molasses Bacon flavor so I picked it up and used one on each salmon fillet.  Now simply tasting them on their own, the Molasses Bacon has a bit of a sweet/salty flavor with just a tad bit of heat.  The Mesquite flavor is very close (to me) to the Molasses Bacon.  And when they were added to the separate salmon fillets, the flavor was so close, I would be hard-pressed to differentiate the two.

I don't know if I got exceptionally fresh fish or cooked these at just the right temperature and time, but this was the best salmon I've had in a long time.  You won't go wrong with either choice of seasoning.

SMOKY BACON SALMON (4 servings)

4 salmon fillets (4-6 oz each), skin removed
4 tsp Molasses Bacon (or Mesquite) seasoning
1 Tbsp canola oil
4 tsp unsalted butter, optional

Preheat large saute pan on medium-high head 2-3 minutes.  Rub seasoning onto both sides of salmon.

Place oil in pan, then add salmon; cook 2-3 minutes each side or until fish is 145F, or opaque and flakes easily (a rule of thumb I use for cooking any fish on the stove or grill is 10 minutes per inch at thickest part of the fillet).  Remove salmon from pan; top each with 1 tsp butter (optional).  Serve.

Recipe Source: www.publix.com/aprons

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Espresso Mint Cookies




This is a re-post but it is also the only time of year you can pick up these seasonal kisses.  I'm don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I do enjoy these cookies.  These kisses start showing up sometime around the end of October/the first of November and usually stick around until about Christmas.  I wasn't able to find them last year at my local grocery stores, but I did find them at Walgreen's and Wal-Mart.  The great all by themselves, but they really make a great cookie.  And the kisses freeze well, too.  I usually buy about a dozen bags so I can make a batch a month and they keep just fine. 

So start keeping an eye and and try these delicious seasonal cookies.

ESPRESSO MINT COOKIES (makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
1 3/4 cup AP flour, lightly spooned into measuring cups and swept
1 Tbsp instant espresso granules (usually found in the coffee aisle next to instant coffee, but I had to go to my local Earthfare store to find it this year.....also available on-line)
1 (8 oz) bag Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses, coarsely chopped (I cut off the tip and then quarter the base)

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Cream the butter and sugar.  This will take a few minutes.

Beat in the egg and the vanilla.

Combine the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture.  Fold in the chopped kisses.

Drop by heaping Tbsp (.75 oz) onto the lined cookie sheets.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges but still looking a bit soft in the middle.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hot Slaw


There is a story to this recipe.  If you do or do not know, I'm a huge fan of coleslaw.....any coleslaw, even yukky grocery store deli coleslaw.  Put it in front of me and I'll eat it.  But when you get a good one (and if you, too, are a slaw aficionado), you so appreciate it.

There's a little market I go to and one day when I was in, the woman working was eating lunch.   Something smelled good and I asked what was for lunch.  She had picked up a sandwich and brought some "Hot Slaw" a friend of her's had made.  I asked "What is hot slaw?  Is it hot by temp or by spice?"  It's spice.....specifically jalapenos.  She didn't have the recipe and I asked if she could get and "Bless Her Heart," she did.

She told me she had also had hot slaw at a local BBQ joint (Couch's on Old Lee Hwy in Chattanooga) and really likes it also.  Before she gave me the recipe, I went by Couch's and picked up a container of theirs.  It was more of a condiment (has the consistency of prepared horseradish), but they wouldn't tell me what the "heat" was (jalapenos? cayenne?) and that only two people would be in the kitchen when they made it (BIG secret recipe).  I bought some and, indeed, it is good, but not as an edible side dish.  It's more of a condiment to put on a pulled-pork sandwich or hot dog.  I really liked the other better as it's one you can (adjusting the heat to your tolerance) eat as a side dish.

So, if you like a bite to your coleslaw or want a really good addition to your sandwich, hamburger, hot dog, etc., give this a shot.  I think this must be a regional recipe as I have never seen it anywhere else.  And I mean really regional as in Chattanooga, TN, because I've had plenty of BBQ in these parts and have never seen this anywhere else.

Now, a few notes about the ingredients.  I'll post the original recipe as it was given to me.  The head of cabbage I got was a smaller one so I ended up using 1 cup of mayo (1/2 cup regular and and a 1/2 cup of reduced-fat) and the full 1/2 cup of mustard.  Her recipe calls for using a 16 oz jar of  pickled jalapenos (and she sometimes uses 24 ounces), but my grocer just carried 12 oz jars and for me, that was plenty!  As a condiment, I would use the 12 oz, but if I want it as a side dish, I'd cut that down to maybe 6 oz and just a tablespoon or two of the juice.  So depending on how you want to use it, you may want to adjust the ingredients, especially the jalapenos.

HOT SLAW (makes about 8 cups slaw using a small head of cabbage)

1 head of cabbage
1 (16 oz) jar of sliced, hot, pickled jalapeno peppers, drained, but reserve 1/4 cup juice
1/2 of a small onion (optional, not!)
1 to 1 1/2 cups mayo
1/4 to 1/2 cup mustard
3-4 Tbsp salt, or to taste
2 Tbsp black pepper (optional, again, not!), or to taste

Cut up the cabbage and put in a food processor using the blade, not the shredder.  Chop into small pieces using the pulse button.  This may take two or three times to get it all chopped.  Put the cabbage into a big bowl until all the cabbage is chopped.  Add S&P to taste.

Drain the jalapenos, saving a 1/4 cup of the juice.  Add the peppers, onions, and juice to the processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Mix the mayo in the cabbage a little at a time until it starts to come together.   Mix in the mustard just until the slaw turns yellow color, then mix in the peppers and onion.  You may have to add a little more mayo or mustard depending on your taste. 

This will keep at least 2 weeks, the peppers and juice help it last longer.

(Sometimes Donna uses a jar and a half of peppers)

Recipe Source:  From the Kitchen of Donna Brown, Chattanooga, Tennnessee (thank you, Donna!)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Creamy Roasted Mushroom and Brie Soup


I know that just about everytime I post a soup recipe, I say that "this is one of my absolute favorites."  So I think I'm going to have to start categorizing.  For example "Mushroom Soup." 

This is not one of my favorites, it is by far my most favorite mushroom soup.  I discovered this recipe last year and have to sit on my hands every summer waiting for fall because, well, this is definitely an exceptional autumn soup.  The simple step of roasting the mushroom and then adding the creamy brie send this over the top.  Not to mention, it's easy to make.  You can roast the mushrooms ahead of time.  The original recipe states to cube the brie and fish out the rinds later, but I cut the rind off before addding it to the soup.

Do be careful, though.  If you lust after this soup like I do, you can make yourself sick.  I had to stop and put it away yesterday.  If for no other reason, so I would have some leftover for today.

CREAMY ROASTED MUSHROOM and BRIE SOUP (4 servings)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, quartered
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tbsp AP flour
1/2 cup white wine (or broth)
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
4 oz brie, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup milk or cream
S&P to taste

Toss the mushrooms in the oil, place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in a preheated 400F oven until they start to caramelize, about 20-30 minutes, mixing them up once in the middle.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the onions and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the wine and deglaze the pan.

Add the broth and mushrooms, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the milk and brie, let the brie melt, fish out the rinds and season with S&P to taste before pureeing to the desired consistency and enjoy!

Recipe Source: www.closetcooking.com

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sweet and Sour Shrimp and Scallops


Looking for just about the quickest and easiest mid-week dinner ever?  Not to mention, really, really good?  Here ya go.

I thought I had scallops in the freezer but I didn't.  Also, since I'm here by myself, I halved the recipe.  So I left out the scallops and used a 12-oz bag of frozen, then thawed, shell-on shrimp (saving the shells, of course, for making shrimp stock later down the road).  Outside of that, I followed the recipe as stated.  I was unsure how the sweet and sour sauce would work, but it came out great.

The only prep work I had to do was to shell the shrimp, mince the ginger, and chop the scallions.  This dish was ready in about 10 minutes.

SWEET and SOUR SHRIMP and SCALLOPS (6 servings)

1 lb scallops
12 oz fresh shrimp (31-35 or 40-51s), peeled and deveined
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 packs shrimp-flavored Ramen noodles, partially broken
1 (20 oz) bag frozen Asian stir-fry vegetable mix
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 cups water
1 cup sweet and sour sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh scallions

Season the scallops and shrimp with black pepper.  Pour the oil into a wok or large skillet set over high heat.  Add the scallops and cook for 3 minutes, constantly tossing.  Add the shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes.  Remove the scallops and shrimp and place them into a small bowl.  Set aside.

Add the broken noodles, noodle seasoning packages, frozen vegetables, garlic powder, ginger, and water to the wok or skillet.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 5-6 minutes, or until the noodles and vegetables are tender.

Add the sweet and sour sauce and the shrimp and scallops back into the wok.  Toss until everything is evenly coated with the sauce.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Top with scallions and serve immediately.