Monday, August 12, 2013

Panera Bread Spinach and Prosciutto White

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bag (6 ounces) torn mature spinach leaves
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 rounds Panera Bread Asiago Cheese Focaccia
1 1/2 ounces sliced prosciutto, chopped into bite-size pieces

Preheat oven to 500ºF. Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add spinach, tossing and cooking until it wilts, 4 to 5 minutes. Season
with a pinch of pepper.

Combine ricotta, mozzarella, oregano, and pepper in a bowl. Spread over focaccia to the edges, patting into an even layer. Top with spinach mixture, spreading it around as evenly as possible. Scatter
prosciutto over the top.

Bake directly on an oven rack with no baking sheet until cheese softens and crust browns and crisps, 10 to 12 minutes. Cut each pizza into six wedges.

Serves 6

La Grande Orange Café's Famous White Sangria

2 (750-ml) bottles dry white wine, preferably Pinot Grigio
1 1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup triple sec
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 oranges, sliced
1/2 lemon, sliced
1/2 apple, sliced
Large bunch grapes, stemmed

In a large pitcher, whisk together the wine, orange juice, triple sec and brandy. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the sliced orange, lemon and apple, along with the grapes. Serve over ice with fruit slices as garnish.

Serves 8-10

The Ultimate Pineapple Smoothie

1 cup cubed pineapple, fresh
1/4 cup pineapple-orange juice
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup crushed ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and frothy.  Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Serves 1

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Cravory's Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Cookie dough:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) brown sugar
1/4 cup (1 ounce) powdered sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups plus 1 teaspoon (13 ounces) unbleached flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1 ounce) cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined, then beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

With the mixer running, slowly beat in the flour mixture just until combined, being careful not to overmix. Remove the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until well-chilled, at least 1 hour.



1 cup (4 ounces) chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup (4 ounces) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Shortly before assembling the cookies, prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, mixing until well-combined.


Cookies and glaze:

Cookie dough
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean, scraped
Zest of 1/2 orange, optional
3 tablespoons milk

Flour a cutting board or work surface. Turn the dough out on to the work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 10-by-10-inch square.

Spread the filling gently but evenly over the dough.

Gently roll the dough into a tight log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least one hour, preferably overnight.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the glaze: In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, whisk together the cream cheese and butter. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, then the vanilla bean and orange zest (if using). Finally, whisk in the milk until the glaze is smooth and thick.

Grease 2 (12-cup) muffin tins. Remove the dough log from the refrigerator and cut the log into half-inch-thick slices. Place each slice in a greased muffin cup.

Bake the cookies until the tops are slightly browned, about 15 minutes, rotating halfway for even baking.

Remove the cookies and cool, still in the muffin tins, on a rack. Using a fork, generously drizzle the glaze over the baked cookies before serving.

Makes 20 to 24 cookies

Stuffed Artichokes

4 artichokes
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup olive oil (more if needed for consistency)
1/2 cup water
A pinch of salt and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon each)

Cut pointy tops off artichokes with a knife and then open them with a knife as far as you can. Clean the inside and outside of the artichokes.

Mix all other ingredients together.

Stuff mixture into the artichokes.

Put artichokes in a 3 or 4 quart pot filled 3/4 way with water and let cook on the stove for 1 hour (covered) or until leaves are soft to eat.

Serves 4

Asian Turkey Meatballs

10 oz ground skinless turkey breast
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and minced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup fine dried bread crumbs
2 Tbs minced water chestnuts
1 egg white
1 Tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup sweet and sour sauce
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a nonstick jelly-roll pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, lightly combine the turkey, pepper, scallions, bread crumbs, water chestnuts, egg white and soy sauce. Shape into 32 equal meatballs, about 1" each; place on the pan. Bake until cooked through and browned, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a 2-quart microwavable dish, combine the sweet and sour sauce and applesauce; microwave on High until hot and bubbling, 2 minutes. Stir in the meatballs and serve with toothpicks.

Servings: 8

Friday, February 01, 2013

Olive Garden Creamy Polenta

3 cups whole milk
1 cup water
Salt to taste
1 tsp rosemary, chopped + 1 tsp for garnish
3/4 cup coarse ground cornmeal
3/4 cup fine ground cornmeal
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese + 1 Tbsp for garnish
Pepper to taste

Scald milk, water, salt, and rosemary in heavy bottom 2 quart saucepan. Turn heat to low, and with a wooden spoon slowly stir in cornmeal and cook for 10-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Polenta is done when it comes away from the side of the pan easily.

Remove from heat and stir in mascarpone and Parmesan cheese. Season with pepper to taste.

Garnish with rosemary leaves and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Lavo NYC Meatballs

1 lb. Kobe, ground beef or freshly ground high quality beef
1 lb. Italian Sausage
1 lb. Veal, ground
6 oz. Onion , diced finely , sautéed gently in extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Garlic, chopped fine, sautéed gently in extra-virgin olive oil
3 Whole. Eggs
4 oz. Progresso Bread Crumbs, Italian Style
6 oz. Pecorino Romano grated cheese
6 oz. Parmesan Reggiano grated cheese
1 bunch Italian Parsley, chopped fine
1 bunch Italian Basil, chopped
1 tablespoon Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon Black pepper, table grind
1 cup Whole Milk
1 loaf Pepperidge farm white bread, remove crust
8 oz. extra-virgin olive oil
1 oz. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup of cold water
32 oz. of your favorite marinara sauce

Remove all crust from the white bread and cut into small cubes and soak in the milk.

Set aside. In a sauté pan heat 1 oz. of olive oil and sauté gently and slowly garlic and onions, season with salt and pepper, set aside.

When onions are cool squeeze out excess liquid.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except bread and milk mixture and olive oil.

Squeeze out milk from bread, discard milk, Add bread to all ingredients and gently fold and mix together.

Refrigerate meatball mix for one hour.

Line a sheet pan with cling film.  Form meatball mix into 3 oz. balls this recipe will yield 20 x 3 oz. meatballs. Place on sheet pan as you go.

Refrigerate until ready to cook to keep their round shape.

In a large sauté pan place the 8 oz. of extra-virgin olive oil and heat.

When oil is hot place meatballs in pan, side to side allow enough space so you can turn them easily and gently.

When all meatballs are evenly browned off remove from pan and set aside.

In a large clean pot arrange meatballs and cover with your favorite marinara sauce and one cup of cold water.

Slowly bring up to a boil and then allow to simmer covered for about 1 hour.

Meatballs should be removed from pot and cook the sauce to the consistency you enjoy.

Serve over your favorite pasta and season with Parmigiano Reggiano and Extra Virgin olive oil.

Salmon Nigirizushi Recipe

For Nigirizushi:

2 cups of prepared Sushi rice (can be found in the Asian section of your local market)
1/2 lb. of fresh salmon fillet, sliced into strips of 4 cm by 3 cm.
1 tablespoon wasabi paste

For Tezu:

1 cup water
3 tablespoon Sushi vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)

Before you begin preparing nigirizushi, ensure that you wet your fingers in the tezu. Tezu is basically vinegar water and is essential for preparing this dish.  This is because, without the
vinegar water, the rice will get stuck on your hands. Just water will not work either as it may wash the vinegar off the Sushi rice, thereby affecting consistency and taste.

To prepare the tezu, just mix the 3 tablespoons of Sushi vinegar with the water in a bowl.

Dip your hands in the vinegar water. Take about a handful of the rice and press it tight as you make a fist. The nigirizushi should be shaped such that it resembles long but round, rectangular finger.

Take this rice lump and place it on a cutting board.

Now take a salmon strip and spread a bit of the wasabi on the inner side which will be facing the rice.

Press the salmon strip on the rice and you are ready to serve your nigrizushi.

Serves 4

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bar / Kitchen's Shrimp and Grits


6 cups milk
1 cup stone-ground grits
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan

In a large saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits to avoid any lumps. Stir in the salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat and simmer the grits, stirring occasionally, until they start to thicken, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cream, a little at a time. Gently simmer, stirring frequently to keep the grits from scorching, until the grits are softened and thickened, about 30 to 45 additional minutes. Slowly stir in the parmesan cheese. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if desired.


Shrimp and grits:

2 tablespoons olive oil
12 to 16 large Mexican white shrimp (less than 15-per-pound count)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup minced Spanish chorizo Bilbao
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
4 teaspoons chopped white onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce, or similar hot sauce, more if desired
1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
2 cups heavy cream
Prepared grits
Chopped chives, for garnish

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add the olive oil. Add the shrimp and sauté, searing the shrimp on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes (the shrimp will not be fully cooked yet). Remove the
shrimp to a plate.

Add the chorizo and cook for 30 seconds over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook just until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Cook until the onions just begin to soften, about 1 minute. Stir in the lemon juice, white wine and Sriracha, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the paprika and season with three-fourths teaspoon salt and one-half teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

Stir in the cream and simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Add the shrimp back to the pan and increase the heat to high. Continue to cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste, and season if desired.

Divide the grits among four bowls or plates and top with the shrimp. Pour over the sauce, and garnish with chopped chives.

Makes 4-8 Servings

Golden Corral Asian Salad

8 cups (approx. 1 or 2 heads) Romaine Lettuce, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup Asian Ginger Dressing
1 cup red grapes, fresh
1 cup mandarin oranges, from canned, drained
1/4 cup La Choy Rice Noodles

Prepping Lettuce, Oranges and Grapes:

Cut the core off two heads of Romaine lettuce. Remove any soiled or damaged leaves. Wash. Shake lettuce to remove excess water. Use a knife to cut leaves into 1 inch x 1 inch pieces. Measure 8 cups of cut lettuce.

Drain mandarin oranges.

Wash grapes. Remove grapes from stems.

Mixing Salad:

Just before serving, combine Asian Ginger Dressing and Romaine lettuce in large mixing bowl.  Lightly toss until Asian Ginger Dressing covers Romaine lettuce.

Top salad evenly with red grapes and mandarin oranges.

Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup of rice noodles.

Serves 2-4


Asian Ginger Dressing

1 small clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon water

In a small jar or container with a tight fitting lid, combine the garlic, ginger, olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and water. Cover container and shake well before serving.

Makes about 1/2 cup dressing.

Beef Piroshki

Sour-cream pastry
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups finely chopped onions
1 pound ground beef
Salt, if desired
Freshly ground pepper
3 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped, about one cup
1/4 cup finely chopped dill
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons water

1. Prepare the pastry and chill it.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Heat the butter in a skillet and add the onions. Cook, stirring, until the onions are wilted.
4. Add the beef and, using a heavy metal kitchen spoon, stir and chop down to break up any lumps in the meat. Cook until meat loses its raw look. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add the chopped egg and dill. Stir to blend. There should be about four cups. Remove to a mixing bowl and let cool.
6. Roll out the pastry as thinly as possible (less than one-eighth inch thick). Using a 3 1/2-to-5-inch cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds. We used a 4-inch cookie cutter to produce 30 rounds. The dough will shrink after cutting. You may roll out the circles or rounds to make them larger or you may stretch them carefully by hand. Beat the egg with the water. Brush the top of each pastry round with the egg mixture.
7. Use about two tablespoons of filling for each circle of dough. Shape the filling into an oval and place it on half of the circle of dough. Fold the other half of the circle of dough over to enclose the filling. Press the edges of the dough with the fingers or the tines of a fork to seal. Brush the tops with egg mixture to seal.
8. Arrange the filled pieces on a lightly greased baking sheet.
9. Place in the oven and bake 25 minutes.

Yield 30 piroshki


Sour-Cream Pastry

3 1/2 cups flour
Salt, if desired
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream

1. Put 3 1/4 cups of the flour, salt to taste, baking powder, butter, eggs and sour cream into the container of a food processor. Process until thoroughly blended.
2. If a food processor is not used, put the flour, salt to taste and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and cut it with two knives or a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Using a fork, add the eggs and thoroughly blend.
3. Scrape the mixture out onto a lightly floured board and knead as briefly as possible, using as little flour as possible to make a smooth and workable dough.
4. Shape the dough into a flat cake and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill until ready to use.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Heron's Crispy Eggs with Cheesy Jalapeno Grits

Cheesy Jalapeno Grits:

2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups water
1 stem spring garlic, minced
2-3 roasted peeled, skinned and diced jalapeno peppers
1 cup fine ground cornmeal
|1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Bring milk, heavy cream, and water to simmer on stove. Add garlic and jalapeno peppers.

When simmering, add cornmeal and cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.

Serve immediately with Crispy Eggs (see recipe below).


Crispy Eggs:

2 tablespoons butter
Bread crumbs
2 eggs, farm fresh

Put butter in nonstick pan. Let butter begin to brown.

Add layer of bread crumbs in pan. When bread crumbs start to brown, add eggs on top.

Cook eggs low and slow for 5 minutes then serve on top of grits.

Serves 1

Mustards Grill's Curried Slaw

Curry vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons prepared Indian curry paste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In a medium bowl, whisk together the curry paste, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper until the salt is dissolved, about 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, and continue to whisk until fully emulsified. This makes a scant cup of vinaigrette, which will keep for up to 3 days, covered and refrigerated.


Slaw and assembly:

4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (about 1/3 head)
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 red Fresno or jalapeño chile, seeded and thinly sliced
Prepared vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal

In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrot and chile.

Stir the vinaigrette to make sure it is emulsified and toss the slaw with just enough to coat lightly; you may not use all of the vinaigrette. Place the slaw in a serving bowl or divide onto plates. Garnish the bowl or servings with the cilantro leaves and green onion.

Serves 4-8

The Cheesecake Factory French Toast Napoleon

2 cups French Toast Batter (see below)
6 slices egg bread or Challah bread
1/4 cup melted butter
3 cups strawberries, sliced and tossed with a little sugar
2 cups whipped cream
1/2 cup glazed pecans (readily available at most grocery stores and gourmet markets)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Maple syrup, heated

Dip the egg bread in French Toast Batter. Gently squeeze the bread slices in several different spots (especially near the edge/crust) to help absorb the batter. Allow the batter to absorb into the bread while it rests for 10 minutes.

Drizzle melted butter onto a pancake grill or large sauté pan. Place the soaked egg bread onto the oiled grill and cook until golden brown on both top and bottom (approx. 4 minutes per side).

When the French toast is done, place one slice on the plate. Using a large spoon, sprinkle a some of the sliced strawberries over the top of the French toast, making sure to spread it close to the edge, all the way around. Place the second piece of French toast on top of the first and sprinkle more sliced strawberries over the bread, again, making sure to spread it close to the edge, all the way around. Place the last piece of French toast on top of the others. Sprinkle a little more sliced strawberries on top of the bread, but this time with a little more in the center and allowing some of the strawberries to fall randomly onto the plate around the French toast. You can also drizzle a little juice around the edge of the French toast. Repeat this procedure with the second plate.

Garnish the French toast with some whipped cream and the glazed pecans. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and all around the plate. Serve warm maple syrup on the side. Bon appétit.

French Toast Batter:

4 eggs
1 cup half and half (or milk)
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoon sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend together for a few seconds or until smooth.

Serves 2

Friday, January 11, 2013

La Sandia's Brisket

Brisket rub

2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons ground paprika
Heaping 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Heaping 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Heaping 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, ancho chile, salt, peppercorns, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin and oregano. Store the rub in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. This makes about one-third cup of rub.


Salsa Pibil

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
2/3 cup chopped and seeded tomatoes
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon achiote paste
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup orange juice
1 small bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 habanero pepper, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons honey, more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar, more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice, more to taste

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and the oil is hot. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and stir until translucent. Stir in the tomato, and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

In a blender, purée the achiote paste with the chicken broth. Pour the mixture over the onion-tomato mixture, then stir in the orange juice, bay leaf, oregano, thyme and habanero pepper. Gently simmer the mixture for 15 minutes to develop the flavors, then pick out the habanero.

Purée the mixture in the blender. Taste, and add back the habanero, a little at a time, until the desired heat is reached. Blend in the honey, white vinegar and lime juice. Taste and adjust the flavors as desired.


Cotija white rice

2/3 cup butter
3 cups cooked white rice
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
2/3 cup Cotija cheese
1 1/4 cup heavy cream

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium
heat. Add the white rice and salt, gently stirring until the rice
is heated through, then stir in the cheese and heavy cream and
continue to stir until the mixture is thoroughly warmed through.
Taste, and adjust the salt as desired.


Smoked brisket

7 to 8 pounds brisket, with all but ½ inch of the fat cap removed
Brisket rub
Wood chips (we used hickory)
Salsa pibil
Cotija rice

Cut the brisket into large chunks (roughly 4-inch pieces). Place the brisket in a large bowl and pour over the brisket rub. Massage the rub evenly onto each of the pieces, coating each one entirely.

Place the meat in a single layer in a large baking dish and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.

The next day, heat the oven to 250 degrees.

Cover the baking dish with foil and cook the brisket for 12 hours. The brisket can be made up to this point up to 2 days in advance; cool the brisket after cooking, then cover and refrigerate until needed. Reheat the brisket in a 250-degree oven until thoroughly warmed through.

Prepare an outdoor or stove-top smoker. Place the cooked brisket in the smoker (depending on the size of the smoker, smoking may need to be done in batches), and start the smoker.

When the smoker starts smoking, seal it and smoke the brisket for 5 minutes to flavor the meat. Remove and slice before serving. The brisket will keep for up to 1 week, covered and refrigerated.

Serve the sliced brisket with the salsa pibil and Cotija rice.

Serves 6-8

French Bread Pizza

1 loaf french bread
3 cups Spaghetti Sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
3 ounces pepperoni slices

Slice loaf of French bread in half lengthwise.

Layer sauce, Parmesan cheese, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese on each half.

Set oven to broil or 550 degrees F. Place bread on baking sheet, and put in the oven. Broil until Mozzarella is melted.

Cut into serving size pieces.

Makes 2 Pizzas

Texas Roadhouse Cactus Blossom

canola oil
1 extra large onion

Chili-Horseradish Dipping Sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup prepared chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons horseradish sauce

Seasoned Flour:

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Onion Batter:

3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
12 ounces beer

Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, chili sauce, cayenne pepper and horseradish sauce in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or large stock pot to 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare the seasoned flour mix by combining flour with garlic powder, paprika, sugar and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Whisk seasonings and flour to incorporate well.

Slice 3/4 inch off the root end of the onion.

Make 12-16 slices into the trimmed end working in a clockwise manner. Do not cut completely through the onion, leaving about an inch of uncut onion near the opposite root end.

Remove about 1 inch of the center petals from each onion.

Toss the onions in the seasoned flour to coat well. Peel back the petals slightly to allow the flour to reach between each petal, but do not remove.

Combine remaining flour, paprika, pepper, cornstarch, salt, garlic salt and beer in a second large mixing bowl. Whisk well until smooth.

Dip the floured onion in the batter. Allow excess batter to drip off the onion.

Use a fryer basket to carefully place the battered onions, one at a time, into the hot oil. Cook for about 90 seconds, flip and cook for an additional 90 seconds.

Transfer onion to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.

Place on a serving platter and insert the cup of dipping sauce in the center of the onion.

Serves 4-6

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Opal Restaurant & Bar Grilled Fresh Mahi-Mahi with Jalapeno Cilantro Sauce

Jalapeño cilantro sauce:

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 jalapeño, chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups heavy cream
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
Cracked sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Tabasco or lemon juice, to taste

In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, then add the onions, jalapeño and garlic and cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the white wine and cook until the wine reduces by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and cook over high heat until the liquid
reduces by half, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro. Blend the sauce using a stand or immersion blender, then strain. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, adjust the heat with Tabasco and brighten with a little lemon juice. This makes about 2 cups sauce. The sauce will keep, refrigerated, up to 2 days.

Grilled mahi-mahi and assembly:

6 (6-ounce) mahi-mahi fillets
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup Jalapeno cilantro sauce, more if desired

Brush each side of each mahi-mahi with olive oil and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Grill the fish over medium-high heat until firm and opaque on each side, 2 to 4 minutes (timing will vary depending on the thickness of the fillets). Plate the grilled fish, dividing the sauce among each serving. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

The Oceanaire Seafood Room's Maryland-style Crab Cakes

2 eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/4 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, divided
3/4 teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
1/4 pound (scant 2 cups) crustless cubed white bread (about 1/4 loaf), cut into small cubes
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, drained of any liquid
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, three-fourths teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, tarragon, onion and celery to make a dressing.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the bread with half of the dressing, mixing until the dressing is absorbed by the bread and the cubes are slightly broken up. Add additional dressing if the cubes are too dry.

Gently mix in the crab, being careful not to break up the lump pieces. The mixture should hold its shape when formed into a ball with your hand. If it is too dry, add additional dressing until the mixture comes together. You might not use all of the dressing.

Divide the mixture and form into 8 crab cakes. Place the cakes on a greased cookie sheet or sheet pan.

In a small bowl, stir the butter together with the remaining one-half teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning. Top each cake with a small dollop of the seasoned butter.

Bake the cakes until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 8 (4-ounce) crab cakes

Lobster Newburg

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups lobster
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash Cayenne pepper
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoons lemon juice
2 egg yolks

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir until combined. Cut the lobster meat into rather large pieces and add it to the saucepan.

Add the salt, pepper, milk, and cream; cook together until thick, and then pour in the vinegar and lemon juice.

Beat the egg yolks in a bowl and stir them into the cooked mixture, using care to prevent them from curdling.

When the mixture has thickened, remove from the stove and serve over toast.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets

1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite sized nuggets
3/4 cup bread crumbs made from dry, toasted bread
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Lawry's seasoning salt 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, whisked
vegetable oil, for frying

In a large bowl, add chicken pieces and buttermilk. Allow chicken to sit in the buttermilk as long as you can (at least one hour, but preferably overnight).

Place dried bread into a food processor and process until fine. Pulse in the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, seasoning salt, pepper and paprika.

In a large dutch oven (or deep fryer if you have one), heat 2 inches of vegetable [or peanut] oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat.

Transfer flour mixture to a bowl and begin setting up your dipping station. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl. 

Piece by piece, remove chicken from buttermilk and dredge in bread crumb/flour mixture, then egg wash, then back into bread crumb/flour mixture. 

Once all pieces have been coated, you can start putting them into the hot oil. Be careful not to add too many chicken pieces to the oil, so that all pieces will cook evenly. 

Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, then flip chicken pieces over, if necessary, and cook for another 1 1/2- 2 minutes. Chicken is ready when the coating is medium golden brown. 

Transfer chicken pieces to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Repeat with remaining chicken. 

Shrimp & Shiitake Mushroom Fried Rice

2 tablespoons of oil, for sautéing
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of chopped onion
1 teaspoon of ginger minced
100 grams of Peeled Shrimps (8-10 medium shrimp)
5 pieces of fresh Shiitake mushrooms, chopped
2 cups of cooked rice
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of instant chicken-flavored broth powder
3 tablespoons of peas
1 large red chilies, seeded , finely sliced

Heat oil, sauté garlic, onions, and ginger until they are fragrant. And then add shrimps and mushrooms then mix until the color of shrimps change.

Add rice then pour salt, pepper, soy sauce, salt, and broth powder. Mix again until well done and smooth.

Add the peas and red pepper, and cook briefly. Remove from heat.

Serve while hot with sprinkled fried onions and scrambled eggs.

Baskin Robbins Brownie a la Mode Ice Cream Dessert Cake

1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping, heated slightly in microwave
2 (1.5-quart) containers chocolate ice cream, softened slightly
1 cup crumbled brownies (homemade OR store-bought)
1 cup chopped Rolo candies OR other caramel chocolate candies

Line a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick foil. Sprinkle crumbs on bottom and press to make an even layer. Drizzle evenly with heated caramel topping. Place in freezer 30 minutes to firm up.

Spread softened ice cream evenly over caramel, smoothing top with a knife. Sprinkle top evenly with brownie and caramel candy pieces, pressing in slightly. Freeze until firm, 4 to 5 hours.

Then top with a piece of waxed paper and wrap in a double thickness of foil. Return to freezer until serving, up to 1 month.

To serve, remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature 15 to 25 minutes. Remove springform side of pan and with a large, sharp knife, cut into slices. Serve immediately. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

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