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Vegetables

Entree/ Fish/Seafood/ Side dish/ Vegetables

Crab, Corn and Bacon Maque Choux

The last of my summer corn and it tasted fresh out of the field.

After making my Corn and Crab Fritters back in the summer I decided to use some of my corn that I had frozen and add some crabmeat to a Corn Maque Choux recipe I have been wanting to try for a long time. Good decision.

Can’t say I ever had Maque Choux before but when a neighbor once showed me how she was cutting the corn off the cob, I knew that was what we always called “fried corn”. Our version didn’t have the onions or peppers — just good corn, and bacon drippings and you cooked it until it was creamy and thick.

Sometimes we get fresh crabmeat on sale and when that happens, I just have to buy some. I decided to add the crabmeat to this dish and I think it would make a wonderful accompaniment to a steak dinner — surf and turf.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Rosemary Roasted Vegetables

Thanksgiving day roasted vegetables.

Can’t you just smell fall in the air, looking at these roasted vegetables. This is the time of the year in Texas that I start feeling like it is fall. Some of the leaves are falling, a few trees may be changing colors, and the temperatures have gotten out of the 80’s and 90’s, and these wonderful vegetables can be found very proudly sitting in the produce isle just begging you to buy them.

Some graffiti eggplant, golden beets, red beets, miniature onions, maroon carrots, a few potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

I do roasted vegetables just about any time during the year but for some reason it seems like they are perfect for the fall season.  All the beautiful colors and shapes that you find in your produce section just makes you want to gather up a bunch and take home to roast for dinner.

Recently, I was at gourmet grocery waiting to take a class in their Viking Cooking School. I had some time to kill and I love walking around in this store so I was looking for some vegetables to cook for dinner.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Cuban Style Brown Rice and Black Beans

Braggadocios over this rice dish!

In case you don’t know where Braggy or Braggadocio is, well it’s in Southeast Missouri, the “Bootheel” of the State. And it is where my twin sister lives and where her husband grew up farming cotton, wheat, soybeans, rice, and running a cotton gin until a tornado blew the gin away a couple of years ago.

When we go back home for I always start thinking of all the farming adages ….. like “I’m in tall cotton”, “we’re in the short rows”,  “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”, “make hay while the sun shines”, and many others that I can’t think of right now.  If you haven’t heard any of these look them up and you will understand what they mean.

The closer we get to our part of Missouri, we start seeing rows of crops growing in different stages. I always start thinking of our (my twin and me) grandfather teaching us to drive in hay fields and how we would swerve in and out around the hay bales trying to perfect our driving skills, or, how we chopped cotton  once and were fired by the time we broke for lunch. Also remember wheat fields that use to be in our back yard and how we would take a wooden sled out and drag it through the wheat to make little paths that we could play in.  That is the extent of my farming experience. We weren’t raised on a farm but we were surrounded by them.   We had huge grain elevators on the river and a big compress in town to compress cotton bales for shipping. My mother or grandmother would often go out to my grandfather’s sister house to buy butter, milk and eggs at their farm.   My husband’s family use to buy unpasturized milk from her too (they’d pour the milk into gallon mason jars). Maybe that’s where he learned to like milk so much — he can drink 4 gallons a week by himself.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Thin and Crispy Onion Rings

I have two words to say about these onion rings — thin and crispy!

I have always loved onion rings but always hated biting into one and having the onion slice slither out of the breading, usually burning my lip because I was in a hurry to eat it. This will not happen with these onion rings.

This was one of my parent’s recipes that my mother use to make.  When my dad started taking over a lot of the cooking, he then did these to perfection also. He would even use this same method to make fried squash or even fried banana peppers. I really think you could use this on just about any vegetable. I’ve been wanting to try green beans and will do that the next time I get out my deep fryer.

If you have never tried making onion rings because you think it would be too complicated, think again. In this recipe you simply dunk the thinly sliced onions (I think having a mandoline is a must) into buttermilk. Let them set a few minutes and then shake in self rising flour. Definitely use self rising flour because the flour already has salt and baking powder in it and it just makes for a tastier coating . I’ve tried using plain flour but when I do, it seems like I can never get them salty enough after frying.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Zucchini Corn Boats

How about putting some of that summer produce to use with these Zucchini Corn Boats.

This is a delicious recipe using zucchini and corn that you may pick up at your local farmer’s market this summer.

I love going to farmer’s markets in the summer and getting all kinds of wonderful locally grown produce. I purchased some corn and zucchini recently and just love making these little boats. I have made this often and think they are so cute.

If you don’t want to fool with trying to make the boats then I have put all the mixture in an oval casserole and put some corn husk at each end and pile in the corn/zucchini mixture. Looks like a big corn cob. Then you can just sprinkle all the chips and cheese mixture on top and bake in the oven or out on your outdoor grill. This is a great accompaniment to your summer bar-b-q.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemon Thyme

I don’t think I ever met a potato I didn’t like.

I was laying in bed this morning watching one of my favorite FoodTv chefs, Giada and she was making everything with lemons. I sit out on my deck each evening admiring all the blooms on my Myer Lemon Tree and I swear there are at least a million blooms on this tree this Spring and I’m envisioning what kind of things I will be able to make with the beautiful lemons come fall.  Even with all these blooms I will probably only get about 20 lemons. Never figured that out but I appreciate each and every one I get off this tree.

I have a fabulous herb garden this year and am anxious to try my lemon thyme and parsley in this dish. I love potatoes, and who doesn’t. This is a great recipe that would be oh so good for summer cookouts.  And, believe it or not, it is so much fun smashing these little potatoes with your hands.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Pistachio Zucchini Fans

Here I go again playing with my food!

The other day I was cleaning out my freezer, or at least looking to see what I had in there that has been hiding for a long long time and I came across some panko bread crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs) and some chopped pistachios that I had left over from making cannolis a while back.

I love zucchini and I had bought some smaller ones recently and decided to make this dish to go with some grilled fish my hub was making for dinner.

I learned to play with food way back when I had a semester of Garde Manger. This was when I first made sushi (never tasted it), I did my first and only ice carving, cooked all kinds of organ meats, did terrines, galantines, plate painting and learned to make all sorts of vegetable garnishes. I would go home from this class all eager to go to the grocery and buy an arm full of vegetables and start carving away. I remember trying to make this staircase from carrots. That was a disaster. I’ve done kiwi birds, napa cabbage angels, pear reindeer and even Mario boiled eggs (yes, they did look like Mario).

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Salads/ Vegetables

Potato and Arugula Salad

I do declare! This is one of the best and simplest salads I have ever made.

As I have said before, I love arugula. Never thought of putting it in potato salad before but, believe me, this works.

I think I could live on potatoes. We probably eat potatoes about twice a month now that all my kids have moved on and left the nest. Seems like all three of our kids were pretty picky eaters when they were growing up. They would eat meat, potatoes, “box” mac and cheese, hardly anything green but fried okra and green beans.  They have since outgrown that and have now developed an appetite for good food, good wine and a love for cooking and trying different things.

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Who would know that these boiled little potatoes could turn into a fantastic, peppery salad.

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If you have never tried arugula, run, don’t walk to your nearest market and buy some. Put it on sandwiches, burgers, in salads, use it in appetizers, and main dishes. I think you will fall for it like I did.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato Four….

One Potato…..

Remember that  rhyme for picking who is going to be “it”. Everyone would put out two fist and whoever was doing the taping would start — One Potato, two potato, three potato  four, five potato, six potato, seven potato more. Each time “more” was said whoever got their fist tapped would have to put that hand behind their back. Last one left holding out a fist was “it”.

I don’t think kids play these games anymore, any more than they play kick the can, Mother May I or even pinch lightening bugs tails off and make “diamond” rings from them.

Well, today, I’m picking three of my favorite baked potato recipes.

This potato is great for all those people who don’t like to eat the potato peel plus they are so much prettier without that big blob of aluminum foil sitting on your plate.

Crusty Baked Potatoes -- One Potato

Ingredients

  • 4 medium potatoes peeled and dried
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • sour cream cheese and chives to garnish

Instructions

  1. Peel the potatoes, wash and dry really well. Melt the butter and set aside. Mix the bread crumbs with the salt and paprika. Take one potato at a time and dip in melted butter to coat thoroughly, take the potato and roll in the seasoned bread crumbs and put on a greased cooking tray. Continue with the remainder of the potatoes.
  2. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour. Uncover for the last 20 minutes. Any butter left can be added to the serving dish. Split open, and top with your favorite potato toppings such as sour cream, chives, cheese, or bacon bits.

Two Potato….

Crab and Shrimp Baked Potato —

For those of you who love seafood, this recipe has some added to the potatoes. Years ago I used canned crab and shrimp. Living in Texas for the last 20 years, I wouldn’t think of getting any kind of seafood out of a can. So for this one I bought a set of snow crab legs and a few shrimp. I had a professor once in one of my cooking classes that said you should never cut a potato in half for twice baked potatoes. So after baking, just cut a 1/4 or so off the top and scoop out the potato pulp.

After baking the potato I scoop out the potato pulp, mix in some butter, sour cream, crab meat and the shrimp and a little salt and pepper.  I still have some of my Williams Sonoma Chili Lime seasoning left so I sprinkle it on my raw, peeled shrimp and saute it to go in the potato.  I chop it up and leave a couple to garnish the top of the potato.

I rub the potato with shortening and then sprinkle with Kosher salt. I like the look of the crunchy salt on the outside. Just be careful not to knock it all off when you start scooping out the potatoes.

Crab and Shrimp Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 baking size potatoes
  • 1/2 lb. raw shrimp season with you choice of seasoning
  • 1/2 cup butter or more if desired
  • 1/2 lb. crab meat 2 sets of crab legs would be enough unless you want to buy it already picked out
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry the potatoes. Grease the outside of the potatoes with shortening then sprinkle all over with Kosher salt. Bake in 350° oven about an hour or until done. Remove from oven. Slice off about 1/4" or so from top, leaving most of the potato intact. Scoop the potato pulp being careful not to knock of the salt from the outside. Mash the potatoes with butter and sour cream. Add the salt and pepper to taste and the cheese. Fold in the crab meat and also the shrimp that you have sauteed earlier. Fill potatoes with this mixture and you can top with more cheese. Put these back in oven for about 15 minutes right before serving time. Garnish with chopped chives.

Three Potato….

Herb Crusted Fanned Potato — I’m a fan of this one for sure. These are also called Hassleback potatoes.

One technique to keep from cutting too deep is to put a chop stick on each side of the potato so that the knife does not go all the way through. I find it easier to do without the sticks. Just be careful not to go all the way to the bottom. But, the deeper you go the more the potato will fan out.

You can see that the slices are pretty thin. My kids always liked these because they could pull off the thin slices with their fingers and eat them.

Fanned Potatoes

Ingredients

  • Small to medium size baking potatoes
  • melted butter
  • fresh or dried herbs
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cut the potatoes as explained above being careful not to cut all the way through to the bottom. Put potatoes on baking sheet and drizzle with a little melted butter. Salt and pepper and bake at 425° for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese and drizzle with more butter. Continue cooking another 15-20 minutes until peel is crusty and the flesh is nice and soft and fanned out.
Salads/ Side dish/ Vegetables

Kumquat, Corn, And a Few Other Things Salad

There are so many summer vegetables out now, it would be a crime not to try something different with all those wonderful things you may be picking up at your farmer’s markets in your area.

Kumquat, corn, avocado and a few other things makes this a great summer salad to serve with your steak which I am making tonight for my daughter along with a chimichurri sauce.

I teach technique classes at Williams Sonoma and earlier in the week I saw that I was suppose to make a roasted corn salad that tomatoes and feta. As usual, I started thinking of ways I was going to tweak this and I have made my version twice this week.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Fried Green Tomatoes with Ravigote Sauce

It’s that time again; what are we going to do with all that wonderful produce.

Well, the very first thing I’m going to make are some Fried Green Tomatoes.  I don’t think there is anything better.  Especially if they are nice and tart. 

I remember my mother making green tomatoes and how my dad never wanted to let go of those first green tomatoes out of his garden.  He was a terrific gardner.  His garden would tower over any other garden around.  He even rigged his own pump to get water out of the lake they lived on to water his garden.  He made his own natural garlic spray to keep the bugs away and  finally when the roaming dogs wouldn’t leave his prized produce alone, he resorted to putting a small electric fence around the garden and that did the trick. 

This is another food memory I am always going to have of my parents.  It’s funny that alot of my memories of them revolve around food.  But, that is what our family has always enjoyed — cooking, eating and enjoying each other’s company.

These tomatoes were garnished with some basil and a Ravigote Sauce.  They were delicious.  There’s a restaurant I go to in Houston that serves a Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato sandwich.  It is wonderful.  I love this Ravigote sauce too and the added basil and a touch of finishing salt made it all the better. 

As far as what I’m going to do with the rest of the vegetables, you will have to wait and see.  A hint,  tomatoes and frozen balsamic vinegar, yum. — Sherry

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Crack  two eggs in a bowl and beat with a whisk until well blended.  I sliced the tomatoes a little over 1/4″ thick. 

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Dip tomatoes in the flour mixture lightly and then dip the tomatoes in the egg to coat.  Then toss in the flour/cornmeal mixture. Friedgreentomatoes 020

 The Ravigote Sauce was wonderful with the tomatoes.  These are not my mother’s fried green tomatoes but they come in a close second.  I think the Ravigote Sauce elevates these to a new level.

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Fried Green Tomatoes with Ravigote Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c. self-rising cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • vegetable oil for frying

Ravigote Sauce

  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Creole mustard
  • 2 1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsp. chopped capers
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions

  1. Beat the eggs until well blended. Mix the cornmeal and the flour in a small bowl and add the salt. Dip the tomato slices first in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture then back into the flour mixture. If you use the “wet hand” “dry hand” method you won’t end up with sticky fingers. W/H, D/H, use one hand for holding the tomato when dry and the other hand for when you dip it. I sometimes get mixed up and have to wash and start all over again. Fry these in hot vegetable oil until crisp and brown.

    For Sauce: Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl until well blended. Refrigerate up to two weeks.

    Garnish tomatoes with chopped basil. Bon Appetite!