Monday, December 31, 2012

Hoppin into the New Year

Okay, so I lied...This is actually my last post for the year.....What kind of New Year would it be if you don't include some Hoppin John? Huh?


  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 small smoked ham hocks or meaty ham bone
  • 2 medium onions, divided
  • 3 large cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 can (10 to 14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with chile peppers, juices reserved
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 green onions, sliced

1. In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine the black-eyed peas, ham bone or ham hocks, and 6 cups water. Cut 1 of the onions in half and add it to the pot along with the garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the beans are tender but not mushy, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove the ham bone or hocks, cut off the meat; dice and set aside. Drain the peas and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaf, onion pieces, and garlic.

2. Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice, cover, and simmer until the rice is almost tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Mince the remaining onion then add to the rice along with the peas, tomatoes, and their juices, red and green bell pepper, celery, jalapeno pepper, Creole seasoning, thyme, cumin, and salt. Cook until the rice is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced green onions and the reserved diced ham. Serve with hot sauce and freshly baked cornbread.

Okay, now there you go.....Serve this with some good old sweet tea..

Enjoy! Eat well my friends...and HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Shrimp and Broccoli Fettuccine

For what is probably going to be my last post on this blog  for this year, (don't get in a panic folks!) I present you with an Itallian dish..You know how much I love my pasta....You also know that I can't eat any type of seafood either.

For this dish..Light, sweet shrimp and fresh broccoli make a healthy topping for fettuccine pasta.


  • 1/4 pound(s) fettuccine, uncooked
  • 1 cup(s) broccoli florets
  • 3/4 pound(s) frozen cooked cleaned medium shrimp, thawed
  • 1 clove(s) garlic, minced
  • 1 tub(s) (10-ounce) PHILADELPHIA Savory Lemon and Herb Cooking Creme
  • 1/4 cup(s) milk
  • 1/4 cup(s) chopped tomatoes

  1. Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, omitting salt and adding broccoli for the last 3 minutes. Drain; keep warm.
  2. Cook and stir shrimp and garlic in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until shrimp are heated through. Add cooking creme and milk; cook and stir 2 minutes.
  3. Add pasta to shrimp mixture; mix lightly. Top with tomatoes.
Tips &; (Don't sweat the...) Techniques..

 Variation: Prepare as directed, substituting 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips, for the shrimp and increasing the cooking time to 6 to 7 minutes, or until chicken is done. Add cooking creme and milk; continue as directed.

Enjoy with a nice red wine.....HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYBODY!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Nog it Up

Egg Nog is a totally delicious drink..I could drink a quart. That's what I like about this time of year, Noggin it up! Have some today!

Most people buy Egg Nog from the corner store....I know I do...but if you feel like making your own (and I know you don't, but this being a food blog and all...I have to give you recipes..) Here is an easy recipe.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 egg whites*

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.

Keith's Note: For cooked eggnog, follow procedure below.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.

I should give you a raw egg warning-

 I suggest extreme caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, I recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.

Otherwise...drink up and enjoy this holiday season with it's most festive of drinks, Egg Nog....Do yourself a favor...Skip all of this and go to the supermarket and buy yourself a carton!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Coffee Cake

It's Monday and I'm in Breakfast mode.....Something nice to have with your coffee I suppose!


  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 3 cup(s) (plus 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup(s) chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup(s) packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup(s) (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened, substitute margarine
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 container(s) (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
  • 4 teaspoon(s) milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 12-cup fluted baking pan; dust with flour.
  2. On waxed paper, combine baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3 cups flour. In small bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining flour.
  3. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat granulated sugar, butter, and 2 teaspoons vanilla until creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Alternately beat in flour mixture and sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until blended, occasionally scraping bowl.
  4. Evenly spread 2 cups batter in prepared pan; sprinkle with half of nut mixture. Top with 2 cups batter. (See tip below.) Sprinkle with remaining nut mixture, then spread with remaining batter.
  5. Bake cake 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. With small metal spatula, loosen cake from pan; invert onto rack to cool completely.
  6. Prepare glaze: In small bowl, stir confectioners' sugar, milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. When cake is cool, transfer to cake plate. Use spoon to drizzle glaze decoratively over cake. Let glaze set.
Tips & (Don't sweat tha) Technique:

 Drop batter in 3 or 4 dollops over nut mixture; gently spread with spatula to evenly cover. Be careful not to lift nut mixture out of place.

Serve with coffee-

or milk-

Enjoy and eat well my friends.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Simple Sangria

> I was thinking of drinking today....A nice wine or sangria ,with some hot bread.....Why?  Just mellow..Kind of bummed out by the latest atrocity...the mass murder in Newtown ,Conneticut....But alas...This is a food blog, If you want to hear about that...My other blog, Keith's Space and others are talking about the grisly details ad nauseum...But if you like me, just want to mellow out and try to not think about the evil in the world ...Here is the solution...a nice pitcher of Sangria...

Sangria! The name is derived from sangre, Spanish for "blood," and this ruby-red concoction is truly the essence of any proper fiesta. Stud your pitcher with whatever fruits look good at the market, making sure to load up on sangria's signature citrus. We love merlot or Shiraz, but you can create a lighter punch with a crisp white or rosé. No need to spend a bundle — an inexpensive bottle will do the trick. Salud!


  • 1 bottle(s) (1.5 liters) red wine
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup(s) brandy
  • 1/3 cup(s) sugar
  • 2 (nectarines) pitted and cut into wedges
  • 1 orange, cut in half then sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 (Kirby (pickling) cucumber) sliced
  • 3 cup(s) seltzer or club soda, chilled
  • Ice cubes (Plenty of ice cubes!)


  1. In 3- to 4-quart pitcher, combine wine, orange juice, brandy, and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves.
  2. Stir in fruit and cucumber. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.
  3. To serve, stir seltzer into pitcher. Fill glasses with ice and pour sangria. 
Serve With Freshly Baked Bread-

Enjoy! Chill Out...Eat and Drink well my friends!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Roasted Vegatable Gumbo

I am sitting here listening to Kem's new Christmas CD... The relevance of this is that it has put me in a somewhat Christmassy mood....And when I am in such mood, my thoughts go to preparing good food.. (Boy I am destroying the english language in this post..)

My thoughts take me to New Orleans for this recipe....Once again, a quick recipe...


3 cups assorted cut-up vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions, celery, eggplant, zucchini or yellow squash (1-inch chunks)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ZATARAIN'S® Creole Seasoning  (Shameless free advertising)
6 cups water
1 package ZATARAIN'S® Gumbo Mix with Rice (Shameless free advertising)
1/4 cup chopped green onions


1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss vegetables and oil in large bowl. Add Creole Seasoning; toss to coat well. Spread vegetables in single layer on foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

2. Bake 25 minutes or until vegetables are golden brown, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, bring water and Rice Mix to boil in Dutch oven or large saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 25 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally. Add roasted vegetables; mix well. Sprinkle with green onions, before serving.

This makes 7 (1-cup) servings.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Enjoy!    Eat well my friends!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus

I can  never eat enough pasta.... and when I saw this recipe...I just had to post it...

Ready to go at a moment's notice, this asparagus-embellished classic is not only creamy, quick and delicious, but it dirties only one pot....and that is right up my lazy alley!


  • 1 pound(s) asparagus
  • 3/4 pound(s) fettuccine
  • 4 tablespoon(s) butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup(s) heavy cream
  • 1 pinch(s) grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


  1. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the asparagus spears into 1-inch pieces. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fettuccine until almost done, about 8 minutes. Add the asparagus; cook until it and the pasta are just done, about 4 minutes longer.
  2. Drain the pasta and asparagus. Toss with the butter, cream, nutmeg, salt, pepper and Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan.
    Fettuccine Alfredo: Eliminate the asparagus.
    Fettuccine Alfredo with Ham and Peas: Eliminate the asparagus. Add 1 cup frozen peas to the pasta during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Toss 1/4 pound of deli ham, cut into matchstick strips, with the remaining ingredients.
    Fettuccine Alfredo with Fresh Mixed Herbs: Eliminate the asparagus. Toss in 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, and/or chives, at the end.
    Fettuccine Alfredo with Parsley and Sage: Eliminate the asparagus. Toss in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and 1/2 teaspoon dried sage at the end.
  4. Wine Recommendation: A forcefully acidic white wine is a natural with asparagus and will pierce the richness of the sauce. Try one of the sauvignon blancs from New Zealand or a vernaccia from Italy.
Enjoy! Eat well my friends!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mixed Green Salad with Grapefruit & Cranberries

Hey folks....I'm always thinking least now of days of easy meals to prepare after a long hard day of work.... Nothing is easier to prepare and healthier than a good salad and especially this one.

In this particular salad,Grapefruit juice is the base for the tangy vinaigrette on this salad studded with grapefruit segments and dried cranberries. This salad serves 12 as a starter or about 6 if you'd like a larger portion per person...Your choice.


2 red grapefruit

1/4 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil

 2 tablespoon(s) minced scallions

 1 tablespoon(s) white-wine vinegar

 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt

1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper

8 cup(s) torn butter lettuce

 6 cup(s) baby spinach

 1 can(s) (14-ounce) hearts of palm (see Tips & Techniques), drained and cut into bite-size pieces

1/3 cup(s) dried cranberries

1/3 cup(s) toasted pine nuts


1.Remove the skin and white pith from grapefruit with a sharp knife. Working over a bowl, cut the segments from their surrounding membranes. Cut the segments in half on a cutting board and transfer to a large salad bowl. Squeeze the grapefruit peel and membranes over the original bowl to extract 1/4 cup grapefruit juice.

2.Whisk oil, scallions, vinegar, salt and pepper into the bowl with the grapefruit juice.

3.Add lettuce, spinach and hearts of palm to the salad bowl with the grapefruit segments. Just before serving, toss the salad with the dressing until well coated. Sprinkle cranberries and pine nuts on top.

TIPS & (Don't sweat the) Techniques:

Shopping tip: Hearts of palm are the tender inner stem portion of certain species of palm trees. Their flavor and texture is reminiscent of artichoke. Look for canned hearts of palm near other canned vegetables in most supermarkets.

Anutha Tip: To toast chopped nuts, small nuts and seeds, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Carb Servings: 1 fruit, 2 fat Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Enjoy and Eat Well My Friends!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Apple Oatmeal Spice Cookies

My Grand-daughter, my oldest grandaughter (I have two) loves cookies..Everytime she comes over my house, the first word out of her mouth is "cookie"....So I decided to write this post for her...A cookie recipe!

Apple Oatmeal Spice Cookies! Warming winter spices, sweet apple, and toasty oats make tasty, healthier cookies the whole family will love....or in this case..All three of my grand-children! 



  • 1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 2/3 cup(s) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup(s) (1/2 stick) light butter
  • 3/4 cup(s) unsweetened applesauce or apple butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoon(s) skim milk
  • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
  • 3 cup(s) Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned), uncooked
  • 3/4 cup(s) diced dried mixed fruit or raisins

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, beat sugars and light butter with electric mixer until well blended. Add applesauce, egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg; mix well. Stir in oats and dried fruit; mix well (dough will be moist).
  3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets, press lightly to flatten.
  4. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.
Serve with a big glass of milk!  

Enjoy! As always, Eat well my friends!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Curried Rice with Shrimp

Heyyy, It's been six days hasn't it?  I really got to show this blog some love....I mean, I throw about 50 percent of my time on my other two blogs...Keith Space, which is getting more political and topical every day and Escapades, which started out as a Poetry blog and now has gradually become a fiction and short story blog...but enough of that....

This is my food blog and since food is the subject here...let's talk about a delicious dish for an above normal ,warm winter day in early December...Curried Rice with Shrimp.



  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes.
  3. Add the rice, 2½ cups water, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Season the shrimp with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Nestle them in the partially cooked rice. Cover and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold in the basil. 
Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 20m| Total Time: 40m 

 Enjoy! Eat Well My friends...

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

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

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