Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Shrimp and Andouille Creole

Back in Memphis, we had a cooking team called "Boogie-T-Roux & the Mempho Crew." We cooked gumbo along side teams from Louisiana, Mississippi, and even some self-proclaimed Gar enthusiasts from Arkansas. The best we ever managed was a third place finish, but considering we were going up against some of the best reastaurants in town, we thought that was pretty good. While this isn't really a gumbo, it's a darned good "Creole." I got the idea from Patout's Cajun Home Cooking by Alex Patout (Random House).


2 pounds Shrimp ; heads on
1 quart Water
1/2 cup Corn oil
2 medium Onions ; chopped
1 large Bell pepper ; chopped
2 ribs Celery ; finely chopped
1 pound sliced okra (frozen is fine)
28 ounces Canned tomatoes ; diced, with liquid
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper ; ground
1/2 teaspoon Black pepper ; ground
1/2 teaspoon White pepper ; ground
1 teaspoon Thyme ; dried, whole
2 teaspoon Basil ; dried, whole
1 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
5 whole Bay leaf
1 pound Andouille sausage ; diced


Peel shrimp, and remove heads. Place peels and heads in stock pot and simmer in the water for at least 30 minutes. Season shrimp with your favorite blend of seasonings. I like garlic and onion powders, cayenne, and a pinch of salt. Set them aside until dinner time.

In a heavy Dutch oven, heat up the corn oil. Add the onions, peppers, and celery. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are very soft. Add okra, stirring constantly until stringiness disappears.

Stir in the tomatoes, ground peppers, herbs, and sugar. Add the shrimp stock and continue cooking, stirring now and then.

In the meantime, cook the diced Andouille in a skillet and set aside.

Allow the shrimp stock mixture to cook about an hour at a gentle simmer. When ready to serve, add the sausage to the stock and bring to a boil.

Stir in the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. 4 - 6 minutes depending on their size.

Serve on flat plates over beds of rice.

Or serve as a bowl of soup without the rice.

I like to sprinkle with filè powder.
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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Garlic Idaho Potatoes


3 medium (6 - 8 ounces each) Idaho Potatoes, well scrubbed
cooking spray
pepper to taste
1/2 stick butter
1 medium onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon garlic salt


1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Spray a loaf pan or small casserole dish with cooking spray. Slice potatoes (with skins on) into the pan or dish. Season with pepper.

2. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, sauté butter with chopped onion and garlic salt for 5 minutes, or until onions are soft. Pour onion mixture over the potatoes.

3. Cover pan with foil and bake for 35 - 40 minutes. Or, place pan on a medium-hot grill for 20 - 25 minutes.
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Cheese Spinach Bake


3 medium eggs ; beaten.
20 ounces of frozen chopped spinach.
4 ounces of cheddar cheese ; grated.
1 cup of cottage cheese.
1/4 cup of butter ; softened.
2 teaspoons of flour.
Salt ; and pepper.
1 cup Bacon ; fried and crumbled


Cook the spinach as directed on its packaging, then drain.

Mix the spinach, bacon bits, cottage cheese, cheddar, butter, eggs, flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix throughly.

Spoon into a greased baking dish and Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 50-60 minutes.
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cucumbers and Onion


1 yellow onion; thinly sliced
4 cucumbers; peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 T dill weed; dried whole


Bring water, sugar, vinegar and dill to a boil. Pour over cucumbers and onions. Chill.
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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Memphis-Style Cole Slaw


1 head cabbage ; shredded
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 green bell pepper ; cored, seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons onions ; grated
2 cups mayonnaise
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons celery seed
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper


Place cabbage, carrots, green pepper and onion in bowl. In another bowl mix all ingredients. Pour over the vegetables and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to meld the flavors.
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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cactus Salad


1 can cactus tenders ; drained
1/2 onion ; chopped
1 can tomato ; drained
1/2 teaspoon salt


Combine cactus, onion, and tomatoes. Mix oil and vinegar to make a salad dressing. Add to cactus mixture to taste.
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Friday, October 6, 2006

Corn Souffle


3 Eggs,separated
1/4 cup All purpose flour
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon White pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups Half-and-half cream
4 ounce Pimento (4 ounce jar, diced)
2 tablespoon Butter, melted
dash Nutmeg ground
1 teaspoon Onion grated
dash Cayenne ground


Combine all ingredients except egg whites; mix well.

Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold egg withes into mixture.

Pour into greased 2 quart baking dish.

Place baking dish in a large baking pan; fill pan with 1 inch hot water.

Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 1 1/4 hours or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. [See also Corn Pudding.]
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ginger Sesame Dressing


2 cloves garlic -- coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger -- coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons rice wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Process garlic,ginger, rice wine , soy sauce and sesame oil in a food
processor until well combined. Add tahini pulse until dressing appears thick.
At this point, I add oil in a thin stream until dressing is emulsified. You
can add water, a tablespoon at a time if the dressing is too thick.

Source: Victoria Unsoma
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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Penne Pasta with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes and White Beans


3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1(15 ounce) can cannellini beans
1/2 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Slice each tomato into 8 wedges and discard the seeds. Put the tomato wedges and garlic into a 9 by 13-inch roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and a few turns of pepper. Roast in the oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Drain the beans into a large colander in the sink. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta into the colander containing the beans, so the hot pasta water will warm the beans. Return drained pasta and beans to the pasta pot.

When the tomatoes are done, pick out the garlic cloves, squeeze the garlic out of the skin into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Pour the roasted tomatoes into the pasta pot, add the garlic, the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the basil and additional salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to combine. Serve topped with the Parmesan.
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Thursday, June 8, 2006

Chicken Salad


1 Chicken
2 carrots, grated
2 stalks of celery, minced
1/2 - 1 cup sweet pickle relish
1/2 - 1 cup mayonnaise


Debone a Beer-can Chicken and chop meat very fine. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Start with only a half cup each of mayo and relish; then add more to taste if needed.
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Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Grilled Portabello Mushrooms on Kaiser Rolls


1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic


3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 large portabello mushrooms ; cleaned, stems and black gills removed
Kosher ; salt
Freshly ; ground black pepper
6 Kaiser rolls ; cut in half
2 ounces arugula ; trimmed, rinsed, and dried


1. In a small bowl combine the aioli ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the sandwiches.

2. In a small bowl combine the marinade ingredients. Pour the marinade into a 10 by 15-inch sheet pan with sides. Place the mushroom caps in the marinade, gill side down. After 15 minutes, turn them over and allow cap sides to marinate for an additional 15 minutes.

3. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and reserve the marinade. Lightly season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Grill the mushrooms, gill sides down, over direct medium heat (350°F to 450°F), with the lid closed as much as possible, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Brush the cap sides of the mushrooms with some of the remaining marinade from the pan. Turn the mushrooms over and grill until they are tender when pierced with a knife, 5 to 7 minutes longer.

4. Grill the Kaiser rolls, cut sides down, over direct medium heat until lightly toasted, about 30 seconds.

5. Spread aioli on the toasted buns and top with some arugula and a mushroom. Serve warm.
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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Southern Pulled-Pork Sandwiches (Oven)

Pork shoulder, a well-marbled cut available at most supermarkets, turns tender after long, slow cooking. Spice rub and vinegar give it that "southern" touch.


1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Coarse salt and ground black pepper
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 4 equal pieces
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 soft sandwich rolls, split
Store-bought barbecue sauce, for serving (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in lower and upper positions. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Place pork in a 5-quart dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot; rub with spice mixture.

In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, garlic and 1/2 cup water; add to pot. Cover and place on oven's lower rack. Bake until pork is very tender and separates easily when pulled with a fork, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Transfer pork to a work surface, reserving pan juices. With two forks, shred meat. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with pan juices to moisten (you may not need all the juices). Pile pork on rolls and top with barbecue sauce, if desired.

Serves 8.
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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Quick Maple Barbecue Sauce


1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt


Combine ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until thickened.
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Brined Grill-Roasted Chicken


1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup kosher salt
3 quarts cold water
1 bay leaf ; torn into pieces
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves ; peeled
2 allspice berries ; crushed
1 teaspoon peppercorns
3 pound whole chicken
3 tablespoon Butter ; melted


For the brine: In a large bowl or pot, mix the sugar and salt into 1 quart of the water until dissolved. Add the bay leaf, thyme, garlic, allspice and peppercorns and mix well.

For the chicken: Clean the chicken and remove any excess fat. Add the chicken to the bowl, submerging it in the brine, and pour the remaining 2 quarts of water over the top. Make sure the chicken is entirely covered. If it's not, weigh it down with a plate. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

Twenty to 30 minutes before you are ready to begin cooking, preheat the grill. If you are using charcoal, spread hot coals onto either side of the grill, leaving the middle empty. If you are using a gas grill, heat one or two sections to medium-high, leaving the third off.

For either type of grill, fill an aluminum pan one-quarter full of water, and place under the grate of the unheated portion of grill to catch drips from the chicken.

Remove the chicken from the brine, drain and dry it completely. Season with a small amount of freshly ground black pepper.

Test the temperature of the grill before beginning. For charcoal, place your hand a few inches over the grate. The grill is ready if you can count to 3 before pulling your hand away; on gas, the temperature should be between 350° and 375°.

Place the chicken breast-side up on the unheated portion of the grill. Cover the grill and cook for 2 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh reaches 165°. In the last half hour of cooking, baste the bird every 10 minutes with melted butter.

Remove the chicken from the grill, and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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Greek Poultry Marinade


1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, minced ; (about 1/4 cup)
6 garlic cloves ; thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh oregano ; minced
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Whisk ingredients together until well combined. Pour over chicken, cover and marinate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Remove chicken, and wipe off excess herbs and garlic. Season with additional salt and pepper. Move marinade to a small saucepan, and bring to a vigorous boil over high heat for 5 minutes.

Grill chicken, using boiled marinade to baste it during cooking.

Yields enough for 1 chicken.
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Tequila Citrus Marinade for Poultry


1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup tequila
4 garlic cloves ; sliced
1 jalapeno pepper ; minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup minced cilantro ; (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt + salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper + pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil


Whisk all ingredients in a bowl except the olive oil. In a slow stream, whisk in olive oil until well combined. Pour over chicken, cover and marinate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Remove chicken and wipe off excess herbs or peppers. Season with additional salt and pepper.

Move marinade to a small saucepan, and bring to a vigorous boil over high heat for 5 minutes.

Grill according to the recipe, using the boiled marinade to baste chicken during cooking.

Yields enough for 1 chicken
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Spatchcock Chicken


1 whole Chicken


1. Place the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board. Using poultry shears or a very sharp knife, cut from the neck to the tail end along either side of the backbone to remove. You'll be cutting through flesh and small bones, so you'll have to use some force; take special care if using a knife.

2. Once the backbone is out, you'll have a clear view of the interior of the chicken.

3. Make a small slit in the cartilage at the bottom end of the breast bones (it covers the dark keel bone underneath).

4. With both hands placed on the rib cage, crack open the chicken by opening it, like a book, toward the cutting board. This will reveal the keel bone. Run your fingers up along either side of the cartilage in between the breasts to loosen it from the flesh.

5. Grab the keel bone and pull up to remove it, along with the attached cartilage.

6. Flip over and smooth the skin. You've spatchcocked your bird.

7. Cover with marinade (See Tequila Citrus Marinade & Greek Poultry Marinade.) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Thirty minutes before cooking, remove from marinade, shake off excess and season with salt and pepper.

8. Preheat charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat, or 375°. Place chicken breast-side down, and grill, turning every 15 minutes or so, for about 50-60 minutes, basting with each turn.

9. Remove from grill and let rest 10 minutes before carving.
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Friday, May 12, 2006

Tipton's BBQ Sauce


6 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoon chili powder
4 cups ketchup
4 cups white vinegar
4 cups water
1 onion
1/2 cup sorghum


Bring all the ingredients to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Stir often.
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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Scallops in Wine Sauce


1 pound Scallops ; thawed
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black pepper
4 tablespoon Butter ; divided
2 tablespoon Flour


Boil scallops gently in the milk for about 4 minutes over medium heat. In another pan, combine salt, pepper, and flour. When the scallops are done, place them in a small baking dish.

Gradually wisk the milk into the flour mixture over medium heat, stirring to remove lumps. Add white wine and a couple of tablespoons of butter. Blend well.

Pour the bread crumbs over the scallops; then drizzle with a couple more tablespoons of melted butter. Run under the broiler until browned.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pizza Crust #2


1 package Dry yeast
3 tablespoon Butter ; softened
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Water ; warm (115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon Sugar
2 1/2 cups Flour


To the cup of warm water add the sugar and dry yeast. Let stand 10 to 14 minutes. Add the butter, salt and flour. Stir well, turn out and knead until dough is smooth.

Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Punch down and allow to rise again.
Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness to fit pizza pan. (I don't bother rolling. I just press it into the pan and work it with my fingers to fit the pan.) Leave to rise again while you prepare the filling.

I like to bake the dough without any topping for about 5 minutes (400 degrees). Remove and then top with cheese, black olives, spinach, tomato sauce, mushrooms, sausage, etc. Or experiment with other toppings.

One of the best pizzas we ever made was when we topped this crust with some cooked spinach and some left-over peppers and onions (with plenty of grated Mozzarella and Mexican style Parmesan Cheese - they call it Cotija.).

Or try this: We've tried many different topping combinations, and this is one that we did recently with GREAT results.

Forget the spinach and the meat. Cook up a big batch of the peppers and onions (drain well). Slice or chop some black olives. Saute some fresh mushrooms in butter (thinly sliced). Top the pizza crust with a good layer of grated Mozzarella cheese. Cover that with the drained peppers and onions. Top that with chopped or sliced black olives. Sprinkle with pineapple chunks. Top with a light scattering of more cheese. Bake at 400 until the crust begins to turn golden.

And here's another way of going about this. We recently tried this method of grilling the crust on the Weber. We used veggies instead of chicken, and skipped on the BBQ sauce. But the smokiness of the crust was fantastic. I messed up by making my crusts too large (hard to handle with spatulas) - I should have divided my dough into fourths instead of into halves. The crusts would have been much easier to manage. But this is definitely worth exploring, my friend.

Did it again tonight, this time using a quarter of the dough. It worked out fantastic! This one's a keeper!
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Thursday, February 2, 2006

Garlic Creamed Spinach

10 ounces frozen spinach
1 onion
6 garlic
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup 2% lowfat milk
1 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Cook spinach according to package instructions. Do not over cook. Drain thoroughly.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and two tablespoons olive oil in a sauce pan. Add onion and saute for a minute or so, then add garlic.

Continue to cook until onion is softened. Do not allow to brown.
Stir in the flour and blend thoroughly. When flour is well blended and has cooked a bit, stir in the milk.

Continue stirring and cooking until a sauce thickens. Season with a dash of salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the parmesan cheese and blend well. Then add in the spinach. Cook and stir until well blended. Serve immediately.

Amounts of cheese and garlic may be adjusted to suit your family's taste.

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