Friday, February 26, 2010

Salmon Crab Cakes

1/3-1/2 cup of Yellow Corn Meal (depends on how much filler you like and you can use italian bread crumbs instead)
1 can of white crab meat
1 can of Bumble Bee boneless skinless pink salmon
pinch each of salt and pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp onion powdery
1/2 tsp of garlic powder (or 1/4 tsp minced garlic)
1 egg

I just combined everything in a bowl, mixed it with a spoon. Then spooned the mixture into my hand.

I cooked the cakes over medium heat in a skillet for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Just long enough to brown them.

Then I popped em into a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes and finished the cooking process. There's not a whole lot of "cooking" persay other than the egg and cornmeal. You can substitue bread crumbs. That's totally acceptable.

I've got pictures of the step by step process that I PROMISE I'll upload tonight. I swear. I really will!!! As well as some pics of other things.

As for sauces. This is GREAT with ketchup. Like that's all I use. But you can use cocktail sauce, tarter sauce, or anything else of the likes. It's also SUPERB drizzled with a garlic bechamel sauce. I like to put them over a bed of lettuce and fresh sliced tomato when I do the bechamel sauce though. Makes it SOOOOO good!!!

Cajun Crab and Shrimp Dip

This has become a favorite of my husbands. I hadn't made it in a very long time and decided to whip some up for our very small Mardis Gras party we threw. It was a hit and my husband even requested I make it for him before he left to spend 3 weeks on his ship in the middle of the ocean. It's super easy and SOOOOOO yummy.

1 container of whipped Cream Cheese
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 6oz can of white crab meat drained completely
1 4oz can of tiny shrimp again drained completely (it says 4oz is the dry weight on the front)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cheyenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of salt
1 handfull of shredded cheddar cheese

So start out by making sure that you're crab meat and shrimp are drained well from the juices of the cans. Otherwise you'll end up with an overpowering fishy flavor. I like to line my collander with paper towels and after I've used the lid of the can to drain most of the liquid off I then put both into the collander to continue draining while I mix the other ingredients.

Now in a small bowl place your whipped cream cheese and stir in the cream. (If you prefer to do it you can whip it yourself. Just a container of cream cheese and slowly add 1-2 tbsps of cream and whip with a wire attachment on a stand mixer or wire attachments for a hand mixer.) After you've mixed in the cream (this helps to think it a tad) slowly start to mix in your spices. I do this 1 at a time so that I can ensure even distribution of all the spices. I use a plastic spatula to mix the spices in.

Once your spices are in you can now mix in the cheese. Once all the cheese is mixed in and distributed evenly add your crab and shrimp. Now with this part you want to fold them into the mixture as to not break down the shrimp too much. You still want that chunky shrimp together.

Once it's all mixed together you're ready to go. It's better the longer you allow it to sit in the fridge but 1 hour is sufficient if you're unable to prepare this up the night before. This mixture is super tasty on top of ritz crackers or even clubs. But try out all sorts of different crackers. You never know which will be your favorite. You can also warm it and serve it as a hot crab dip and place it on top of warm pita points or on crostinies (small round pieces of hard bread) brushed with an oregano garlic oil mixture. It's super delicious and perfect for just about any occasion.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Caramel Apple Topping

This is a favorite of mine to use for a variety of things. The base for this dish is exactly how I make my apple pies. I of course used sliced apples instead of dicing them and I just pour the "sauce" over the apples once they're in the pie shell. I also use the sauce base for my sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. Just add some nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and ginger to the sauce base and pour over diced sweet potatoes and cover with a brown sugar pecan crumble. You can also bake the sweet potatoes and then add an egg and this sauce and mash. Then cover with the same topping and you have a soufle instead. You can also drizzle it over a baked sweet potato for a yummy dinner side instead. It's just versitle and can be used in so many ways.

2.5 cups butter
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp white sugar

Start by melting your butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Once it's melted but before it boils add the cinnamon and vanilla. Then slowly whisk in your brown sugar a 1/3 of a cup at a time. Then whisk in your white sugar. Bring to a soft boil over medium heat. You now have your base which can be used as described above.

Now to make it a cinnamon apple topping. You'll need 3 apples diced to bite size pieces. I used Fuji apples but you can use any your heart desires. Once your base reaches a boil add your apples and stir well. It may look like a lot of apples but they cook down so it'll be ok.

Now turn the heat down to a lower setting and allow to return to a soft boil. Once the mixture begins to boil turn the heat all the way down to the lowest setting. Allow it to simmer until the apples cook through and are soft and reduced in size. Then remove it from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool before placing it in a tupperware container. Refrigerate over night to allow the mixture to cool completely and thicken.

Once it's thickened you can use this to top french toast or pancakes. It's also good used on top of ice cream or cheesecake.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


So I know this blog is more a project for me to write down all of my recipes in one place so I can make a cookbook for my daughter but I wanted to let all of my readers (yes all 16 of you) know that you can put in suggestions. If there's a recipe you'd like me to put up of something or you hear me make something and want the recipe here just let me know. You can do so by leaving a comment here and I'll try to start adding the recipes here. The more recipes I can add and do the more I can add to my book for Arianna. So feel free to leave all the suggestions you want for recipes you'd like to see posted up. Also, I wanted to let you know that you are free to leave feedback on my recipes. Negative or positive feel free to leave it. If you try a variation of the recipe or change something don't hesitate to leave that in the comment so others can try it out and see if they like it!! I love hearing people's opinions on my recipes and what variations they do. It makes it interesting.

Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo

Gumbo is one of my favorite feel good meals. Kinda like chicken noodle for most people it's my comfort meal. Still recovering from my wisdom teeth I decided to make it for dinner tonight. (Omitting the rice from my bowl because I didn't want to take a chance of it getting into the holes)

1 small white onion diced
1 large bell pepper diced
3 links of andouille sausage sliced
1 cup sliced okra (you can use frozen)
1 can of diced tomatoes drained
4 cups of chicken broth (I use 4 cups of water with 4 bullion cubes dissolved into it)
12oz of 70/90 shrimp frozen pre-cooked
1 bag of instant rice cooked
1/4 tsp of each: salt, paprika, chili powder, chopped bay leaves
1/2 tsp of each: black pepper, basil, and cumin
1/8 tsp Cheyenne pepper

You'll want to start by getting all your ingredients together and ready to go because a few of the beginning steps move quickly. This will help you move quickly and avoid burning anything.

Start by heating a large pot over medium heat. Then toss in your sliced andouille sausage and allow to cook for 3 minutes roughly until they start to brown up. Then stir and cook for another 2 minutes.

Now add your onions and peppers and spices and stir together. Allow this mixture to cook for 5 minutes. Then stir in your tomatoes and allow to simmer for another 4 minutes.

Now you want to turn down your heat to medium low and stir in your okra. Allow it too cook for another 5 minutes then stir in your chicken broth (or water with bullion cubes as I did). Allow this to simmer for 10 minutes.

By this time all the veggies have cooked and absorbed the flavors and your broth has a nice dark color to it. This is why I do it all in 1 pot (you can use a dutch oven and the results are better but alas...I don't own one. YET). Now you can stir in your rice and shrimp at the same time and turn down your heat to low.

Simmer all of this together for 5-8 minutes or until the shrimp are heated well. I use cooked shrimp so it's just a matter of heating the shrimp up. If you prefer to use fresh uncooked shrimp then here's how you'd do it starting after you add your broth.

Stir in your Shrimp ONLY. No rice. Turn your heat to low and allow the mixture to cook until your shrimp are pink. Then stir in your rice and simmer for 4-5 minutes on low heat so your rice can absorb the flavors.

And that's all there is to it. Now just scoop and serve. If you'd like you can make a stickier rice and instead of mixing it into the gumbo you can scoop it with an ice cream scoop and serve it on top of the gumbo. This makes for a pretty presentation if you're trying to wow guests. :)

(special note: this is for a milder version. I toned down the amount of Cheyenne to make the recipe milder for those with a less tolerant tounge. If you prefer spicier food you can use 1/4 tsp or even more but be careful and slowly increase the amount making sure to taste test after each addition.)

Spiced French Toast

For breakfast today I decided to make French Toast. I had my wisdom teeth extracted on friday and thanks to a VERY stiff and sore jaw chewing is nearly impossible. I figured french toast would be soft and filling so I went with that. There was still a bit of the strawberry compote I made for Vday left over so I figured I'd top hubby's with that. Since I had to eat mine plain I wanted it to have lots of flavor. So here's the spiced recipe I came up with. This is SOOOOOO delicious.

3 Tbsp. heavy cream
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch ground ginger, nutmeg, and allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon

(this makes enough for 5 slices of french toast)

In a bowl combine your eggs and heavy cream and whip them until frothy with a wire whisk (or your whisk attachment for your stand mixer on low speed).

Once your eggs and cream are combined whip in the vanilla extract. Then add all the dry spices to your mixture. Evenly coat your bread slices with the egg mixture. You'll have to whisk the mixture in between slices of bread to keep the spices evenly distributed.

Then simply cook your toast for 2-3 minutes on a griddle or in a skillet heated over medium heat. Vuala!!

The strawberry compote topping was a HUGE hit with my husband! That's seriously one of his favorite breakfast items (french toast with strawberries). You can also top it with a spiced whipped cream (I'll have to post the recipe for this later on but I'll link to it here when it's posted), the mascarpone whipped topping, or just syrup. The fruit compotes are a great topping though as you don't even need syrup when using them.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Red Robin's Campfire Sauce

I'll be the first to admit that I'm absolutely ADDICTED to Red Robin's fries. I no lie will eat the whole basket of fries and order a second before I even touch my burger. Not only is their seasoning for the top of them delicious but the campfire sauce is EXTRODINARY to dip them in. So last night at Red Robin I decided to quench my thirst for knowledge and end the great debate. I asked our waitress if it was mayo or ranch that the BBQ sauce was mixed with to make this spectacular sauce. And go's ranch. Well since I had some fries left over from my meal last night I set out to tackle the sauce and replicate it to the best of my ability. So here's the ratios I used.

1 part BBQ sauce to 2 parts Ranch. I used peppercorn ranch for that extra spiciness and kick and I also added about a 1/4 tsp of Texas Pete to really give it that spicyness that Red Robin's has. Be sure to use Hickory BBQ sauce as you want that smokey flavor from the Hickory. You can eat it right away no problem but I suggest letting it sit in the fridge and mellow for about an hour to allow the flavors to blend!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sweet Strawberry Compote

Today is Valentines day and I feel that this recipe is keeping with the feel of the holiday. For my husbands big gift I told him that he could pick ANYTHING he wanted and I'd make it for him. Absolutely anything...including desert! Those that know me know I'm not exactly the baking type. I am truely trying to learn but it's definetly not my strong point right now. Well my husband chose steamed fresh asparagus with hollandaise sauce and Lemon Herb Swordfish steaks. For desert he chose a no-bake cheesecake. He wanted the boxed kind so I was happy to oblige him. He saw the strawberry kind and I stopped him before he picked it up. I told him to get the regular and told him I'd make him a nice made from scratch strawberry compote to top it with. So I whipped this little bad boy up (my first time EVER making a compote let alone coming up with a complete recipe of my own without even looking at any recipes online for inspiration). So here it is in all it's delicious glory. I must throw in a warning that this might be bad for health. It's dangerous. Once you have some you'll put it on EVERYTHING and not want to stop eating the spoon. So you might wanna make a double batch just to ensure that there's enough for the intended desert. teehee

2 cup of fresh diced strawberries (please...whatever you do...DON'T use frozen. Just go with it here ok)
1 cup of sweet red wine (I used a sweet red muscadine wine...but I'm from the south and literally have it running through my veins haha)
1/2 cup of sugar
1tbsp concentrated lime juice

In a small sauce pan heat up your wine over medium-low heat. Once it's heated (not boiling...just starting to steam) stir in your sugar and allow it to dissolve.

Once the sugar is fully dissolved mix in the lime juice and the strawberries. Stir it once to mix it all together. Now here's the hard part....walk away. Do it. Stop standing over the pot taste testing it. I know it's yummy...but walk away before you eat it all.

Allow the mixture to simmer over low heat. You want a sort of soft boil to happen. This will reduce the wine and thusly result in a delicious thick syrupy sauce. You can check it every so often and stir it gently but don't hover. Remember...a watched pot never boils and strawberry compote never makes it to the table if you hover. HAHA.

I'd say to let it simmer about 15-20 minutes. Maybe a little less. When it starts to thicken you can remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. The cooling process will allow it to thicken further. Once you have your mixture all cooked you can start topping things with it. It's great over cheescake. I like to put any sort of fruit compote in a bowl and top it with my mascarpone and cream cheese mixture. It's good drizzled over the top of ice cream as well...or even a delicious cupcake or cookie. You can find the Whipped Mascarpone and Cream Cheese topping recipe here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dirty Rice

This is one of my all time favorite side dishes for just about anything. It goes really well with pork and chicken though. Remember that the spicy spices (chili powder and cheyenne pepper) are low. I use a tiny bit more....but I'd start with a pinch of each and then add a pinch more to acquire the temperature you prefer for spiciness.

1 bag of minute rice cooked(yes I'm lazy and use harm)
1 cup of water
1 chicken bullion cube
2 tbsp flour
3 links of Andouille Sausage diced
1/2 large onion diced
1/4 tsp Cheyenne
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Cumin
pinch Salt
1tsp pinch Pepper
1tsp dried Basil
Crushed Bay leaves
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp celery seeds

Heat your pot over medium heat. I use 1 pot for this as you want the flavors that are left in the bottom of the pan to properly season your rice. Once the pot is heated up add your sausage.

Cook for 5-6 minutes and then add your onion and spices. Cook until the onions are transparent and soft.

Now in a seperate container (I use my glass measuring cup) add the bullion cub and flour to the water. Make sure it's hot water so it can dissolve the cube and flour. Mix it well with a wire whisk.

Pour your water mixture into the pot where the onions and sausage are. Stir it frequently and allow it to simmer on low heat for about 2-3 minutes. You want it to start to thicken up. The water should instantly turn to a dark color thanks to the yumminess at the bottom of the pot.

Once the water starts to thicken and is heated through add your rice. Make sure the temperature of the eye is turned down really low. I use the lowest setting possible on my stove. And allow it to simmer stirring it frequently (I pretty much stand over it and stir it the whole time) until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. This should only take a few minutes.

Vuala....delicious dirty rice. You can substitute regular southern style breakfast sausage if you prefer. (DO NOT...I repeat do NOT use maple flavored sausage. It's just gross. A mild or spicy southern style works best. Remember that if you use spicy and you aren't accustomed to spicy may want to adjust the amount of pepper spices you use.)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fried White Hominy

Hominy is one of my all time favorites. It's probably the southern woman in me that loves this dish. Pan fried is by far my FAVORITE way to eat it.

1 can White hominy
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp Adobo
1 tsp Pepper

Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and allow to melt.

Add in the spices to the butter as it's melting. This will flavor the butter which will then flavor your hominy. :)

Add the hominy once your butter is hot and allow to cook on medium-low heat until popping. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remember to stir occasionally or else you'll end up with it popping back in your face.

Cornish Hen

I would have to say that Cornish Hen is one of my all time favorite meats. Then again...I pretty much love poultry all together. I could live off of just poultry and seafood as my only sources of meat. If only my husband wasn't such a red meat lover. HAHA. So I picked up a cornish hen to fix myself and it turned out AMAZINGLY well. Here's the recipe for your culinary pleasures.

1 hen (I use to make 1 per person but I couldn't even eat half of one myself last night)
Celery Seed
Butter (REAL butter...not country crook imitation or any of that kinda "fake" butter)

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Now take your hen and rinse it in the sink. I like to do this just to get the "juices" off and to make the surface moist to allow the herbs to stick.

Place the hen in a shallow roasting pan. Take your spices and combine in a bowl. I'd say a generous pinch of each (about 1/4-1/2 tsp). Sprinkle the mixture all over the top of the hen. Covering the entire breast, outside of the wings, and tops of the drumsticks.

Now you want to fill the cavity of the Hen. Absolutely fill it. I used roughly 3-4 tbsp of butter. But don't worry about measurments....just fill it. Trust me on this one. It'll keep the meat moist from the inside out. Then place about 3 tbsp's around the outside of the hen in the dish.

Once the oven is heated place the roasting pan with hen inside the oven WITHOUT a cover. This is CRUCIAL to crisping the skin. Just do it!

Now you want to take a small bowl while the hen is in the oven and melt a ton of butter in it. About 1- 1 1/2 cups of butter. This you'll use for basting the hen.

Roast the bird for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes. Checking it every 20-30 minutes and basting it. Roast it until the internal temperature is 180 degrees at the thickest part (the breast is generally the thickest).

After it's reached the required temperature remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes. Then slice and serve!! Your taste buds will thank you. teehee