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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Anudder New Orleans Treat!






Yeaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh babyyyyyyyyyyy...I got another winner from New Orleans babbbyyyyyyyy!
It's called Andouille and Red Beans...

INGREDIENTS:

1 (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice Cooking spray

4 ounces andouille sausage, diced

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 cup prechopped onion

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt-free Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)

1 (16-ounce) can dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/2 teaspoon salt




DIRECTIONS:


Cook rice according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a bowl, and keep warm.


Add bell pepper, onion, Cajun seasoning, thyme, and hot pepper sauce to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until onions are tender. Add beans and broth to pan; cook 8 minutes or until thick, mashing half the beans. Add sausage, parsley, and salt to pan; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice.


Note: While the beans and rice simmer, prepare and bake a corn bread mix for a quick and easy side.


Serve with warm cornbread and butter...Enjoy babyyyyyyyyy!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bean & Tomato Salad with Honey Vinaigrette






Okayyy folks, here I am with another exotic and new summer meal...Before you balk...why not give this a try.This beautiful salad combines fresh tomatoes, green beans, red onions and dried heirloom beans. (If you're looking at the photo above..I'm sure you can see that.)

Recently harvested beans (and thus freshly dried) cook more quickly than the kind you buy year-round at the market. In the latter part of the summer, farmers' markets begin to sell a fresh crop of heirloom varieties that would be perfect for this salad.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Teaspoon of salt

1/2 Cup of Minced Red Onion

1/4 cup cider vinegar

4 teaspoons of honey

8 ounces of Green Beans, Trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces

1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes ,halved or quartered

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

1 pound of sliced tomatoes

DIRECTIONS:

1)If using canned beans, skip to Step 3. If using dried beans, rinse and pick over for any stones, then place in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak at room temperature for at least 6 hours or overnight. (Alternatively, use our quick-soak method: see Tip.)

2)Drain the soaked beans, rinse and transfer to a large saucepan. Add 6 cups cold water. Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and simmer gently, stirring once or twice, until tender but not mushy, 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the freshness of the dried beans. (If you're using heirloom beans, be sure to check them after 20 minutes--they tend to cook more quickly than conventional beans.) If at any time the liquid level drops below the beans, add 1 cup water. When the beans are about three-fourths done, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. When the beans are tender, remove from the heat and drain.

3)Combine the beans (cooked or canned), the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, onion, vinegar, honey, oil and pepper in a large bowl. Stir, cover and refrigerate to marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

4)Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Pat dry and add to the marinated beans. Stir in cherry (or grape) tomatoes and basil. Season with pepper.


5)To serve, arrange tomato slices around the edge of a serving platter or shallow salad bowl and spoon the bean salad into the center.


Cooking Tip: To quick-soak beans, place in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.

Proceed with Step 2. While we love the convenience of canned beans, they tend to be high in sodium. Give them a good rinse before adding to a recipe to rid them of some of their sodium (up to 35 percent) or opt for low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties.

(This recipes was analyzed with rinsed, regular canned beans.) Or, if you have the time, cook your own beans from scratch.(You're not going to do that!)

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare through Step 3, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stuffed Bell Pepper with Cheese



It's the first day of summer as I write this and I felt like something a little different, so I came up with this recipe for something fun and good to eat on a moderately warm Summer day like today...Before you balk, check this recipe out and try to have an open mind.

I know that when people say something like that, that usually means that something won't taste as good..but trust me...This is really good.Check it out-

INGREDIENTS:


Filling:

lb ground turkey or ground beef if you prefer

1/2 lb turkey sausage or regular suasage

1/2 cup instant rice, white or brown

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup ketchup

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, shredded

1 cup baby spinach leaves (a few handfuls)

1 1/2 tbsp. parsley flakes, or 2 tbsp if fresh

1 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp if minced

1 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Johnny's or Lawry's Seasoning Salt

You can either buy Cheese sauce or you can make it from scratch..
(Psst,I'd buy it...but if you're a purist...)

1cup of butter

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. flour

3 1/2 cup milk

1 lb cheese, shredded (I use 1/4 lb cheddar, 1/4 lb Pepper Jack)
Pepper, to taste...


DIRECTIONS:

Peppers: Cook rice according to brand instructions.

Cut tops of bell peppers off about 1/3 of the way from the top.

Remove seeds and membrane, rinse.

Coarsely chop tops, discarding stems, and saute with onion and carrot, seasoning with Seasoning Salt.

Brown meat, add to veggie mix. Mix in all remaining filling ingredients, blending well.

Fill pepper shells, compressing with a spoon to fill all compartments. Place in baking pan, meat side up. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 35-40 minutes. Top with cheese sauce and serve.

Cheese sauce: Make a light roux by melting butter over medium-high heat, taking care not to scorch. Add 1/2 cup flour in small increments, stirring constantly until smooth. Roux should be pasty. Add milk in 1/2 cup increments while stirring. Stir until sauce thickens to a creamy consistency. Slowly add cheese, stirring until melted. If sauce is thin, add remaining flour 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency is achieved.

Warning: The sauce takes quite a while to tighten up (thicken), so start it when you put the filled peppers in the oven and have patience!

Now doesn't that sound delicious???  Enjoy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bananas Foster




Probably never heard of this have you? Come on , be honest...I never heard of it myself until I went to Florida and one of my late aunts made this.  She told me that this actually came from New Orleans...Memo to myself.
I'm putting this on my bucket list...I'm going to New Orleans...Either for the Essence Fest one year or the Mardis Gras and I'm going to same all of the real food I've always heard about...

So Check out my recipe-

INGREDIENTS:


•4 tablespoons butter

•4 tablespoons brown sugar

•2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise

•1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

•2 tablespoons banana liquor

•3 ounces rum, light or dark

•1-1/2 cups vanilla ice cream


DIRECTIONS :

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


Melt butter in skillet. Add sugar and stir until melted. Add bananas and saute' for about 3 minutes or until tender. Turning once while cooking. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Then, Pour liquor and rum over bananas. Stir bananas. Very carefully ignite pan. Using long-handled spoon, baste bananas with liquid until fire dies out.

Serve immediately over ice cream. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fluffy Pancakes





I don't know where my family is taking me for Father's Day...but I'm hinting rather loudly right now that for breakfast I'd like some fluffy pancakes..It doesn't have to be IHOP, but where ever it is, they better have  good pancakes.

In case you don't know..I judge all diners by how good their pancakes are...Nobody could make better pancakes from scratch than my Aunt Jean..Unfortunately, she took her recipe into the great beyond with her.
This recipe I have here probably won't compare with hers...but this should make them passable for you good people.

Check this out.


INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2 tablespoons butter, or melted cooking spray



DIRECTIONS:

1.Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".

2.Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.

3.Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.


You know that a nice glass of milk is the best thing to have with pancakes...Enjoy!



Friday, June 10, 2011

New York Cheesecake



First off ,I'm a Philly Guy...I live about a good 100 miles south of the big apple in the other big city that seems to always be in New York City's shadow...So why do I come on here writing about New York Strip Steaks and New York Cheesecake?? I don't know...Because they are both good and that just happens to be what they are called...  It's hella hot...but here is a recipe for a cool desert....


INGREDIENTS:


2 cups  Ready-Crust Pie

1 Half cup of butter or margarine

2 tablespoons of sugar

FILLING-

4 packages of softened cream cheese...That's about 8 ounces.

1 & 1/3 cups of sugar 

2 tablespoons  cornstarch  

1 tablespoon  vanilla extract

3 Eggs

1 cup of Sour Cream.

DIRECTIONS;


1. In small bowl toss together graham crumbs, margarine or butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Reserve 2 tablespoons of crumb mixture for garnish. Press remaining crumb mixture onto bottom and 2 1/4-inches up sides of 9-inch springform pan. Chill in freezer while preparing filling.

2. In large mixing bowl beat cream cheese on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Add 1 1/3 cups sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. Beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition. Stir in sour cream.

3. Pour into crust. Bake at 325 degrees F about 1 1/4 hours or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen sides of pan. Continue cooling on wire rack for 45 minutes more.


4. Sprinkle top with reserved crumbs. Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Garnish as desired. Store in refrigerator.



Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Summer Salad Idea




If you read  Keith's Space today ("Hotter Than July") you know that I've been railing about how hot it is...It's close to 97...I wouldn't try to cook anything in which I had to turn on an oven...at least not for a length of time. Here is a nice cool salad for a summer day..(Even though it's not officially summer yet!!!)

INGREDIENTS

1 3/4 pounds beef sirloin steak

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

8 cups romaine lettuce - rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces

2 tomatoes, sliced

1 small green bell pepper, sliced

1 carrot, sliced

1/2 cup sliced red onion

1/4 cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives

DIRECTIONS-

1.Preheat grill for high heat.(I know ,I know, but you have to brown the steak!)

2.Lightly oil grate. Place steak on grill and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until desired doneness is reached. Remove from heat and let sit until cool enough to handle. Slice steak into bite size pieces.

3.In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Mix in the cheese. Cover and place dressing in refrigerator.

4.Onto chilled plates arrange the lettuce, tomato, pepper, onion and olives. Top with steak and drizzle with dressing. Serve with crusty grilled French bread. Enjoy!




I'd also serve with a pitcher of Sweet Iced Tea too!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Black Bean Taco Pizza



I'm back....I've neglected this blog I know...because I was busy writing the five part thriller currently running in my other blog, "Escapades" and working on a few things for my flagship blog "Keith's Space" Shameless plugs notwithstanding.. Anyway...It's Summer.  Summer is officially about two weeks away, but during summer I like Pizza and I'm open to different kinds of Pizza.  A young lady at my office turned me on to Black Bean Taco Pizza...I'd like to share her recipe with you.. Check it out-


INGREDIENTS-

1 tablespoon cornmeal

1 package (6-1/2 ounces) pizza crust mix

1 bottle (8 ounces) taco sauce

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

3/4 cup canned black beans

1/2 cup frozen corn

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies

2 green onions, chopped

1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

Reduced-fat sour cream, optional

DIRECTIONS-

1.Coat a 12-in. pizza pan with cooking spray; sprinkle with cornmeal. Prepare pizza dough according to package directions.

2.With floured hands, press dough onto prepared pan. Bake at 450° for 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

3.Spread taco sauce over crust to within 1 in. of edges.

4.Top with tomatoes, beans, corn, chilies, onions and cheese.


5.Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Serve with sour cream if desired.

This should  yield about 6 servings.

Serve with a nice salad and wine!...






Enjoy!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pork Chop Jambalaya






I guess I'm just in a mood for New Orleans cooking....That, or I've watched too many back episodes of HBO's Treme....Here is something called Pork Chop Jambalaya that I think you'll like...

INGREDIENTS:

Pork Chop Jambalaya-

2 pounds pork chops

salt and pepper

1/4 inch oil in bottom of pot

1 cup chopped onions

3/4 cup chopped bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped celery

1 cup water

4 cups cooked rice

1 1/2 cup chopped green onion tops

DIRECTIONS-

Brown pork chops that have been seasoned to taste.Remove chops from pot.Saute’onions, bell pepper,and celery in oil that chops were browned in.

Remove all oil from the pot that you can and add a small amount of water to form a gravy. Put chops back into the pot.


Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes.Add cooked rice and onion tops and stir well. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.Serves 4

For this, I would suggest a red wine...



Enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo



For those of you who by chance have read my Fiction & Poetry blog, "Escapades"...You know that my fictional charactor, Mabel Jenkins, a sexy young cook is from Louisiana....She has probably cooked this for her ex-lover and now brother in law, Clerow Hamilton from time to time....I am almost certain that she cooks this in her restaraunt....If you have never read my blog and barely read this one...It doesn't matter...I'm gonna lay her secret recipe on you...Check it out!

INGREDIENTS:

■3/4 cup all-purpose flour

14 ounces of smoked sausage — slice 1/4″ thick

1 pound chicken breast halves

1/2 cup green pepper, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped

2 quarts hot water

3 cloves minced garlic

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 cup green onion, chopped

4 cups cooked rice

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

This is so simple it scares me..Place flour in a pan and bake for 15 min at 400 deg. until the color of caramel, stirring every 5 min. Brown chicken in oil. Add broth and sauté vegetables. Sprinkle in flour. Stir in water slowly. Add garlic and remaining ingredients except rice. Simmer 1 hour. Serve over rice.


You know me...I like a nice clear white wine with my food!  Enjoy!


Food Safety Tips
Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.


1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as Cooking.com.

2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

* Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

* Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

* Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website Recalls.gov






Cavier & Vodka
Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household