Sunday, July 25, 2010

Southern Summer Supper

September 2008 we traveled to Georgia with some friends and ate some incredibly yummy food.  The above picture is us with Cy and Brea eating at Mary Mac's Tea Room.  Brea and I ate there at least three times while we were in Atlanta, and this night we brought the boys.  We invited the lovely couple over for dinner the other night, and while I was trying to figure out what to make I remembered our Georgia experience...and the food.  I thought that in memory of the great time and delicious food we ate, I would create a Southern Summer Supper (thanks Brea for the title, I stole it from your Facebook page) with the help of Paula Deen and Bobby Flay.  The dinner was comprised of Gumbo, Cole Slaw, Cornbread, and Raspberry Buckle for dessert.  So, if you want to enjoy your own Southern Supper experience, try out these badboys...

- Gumbo -
Courtesy Paula Deen

Don't let all the steps and long list of ingredients keep you from making is SO worth it!  I was a backslid Pescatarian for the evening and ate some of the chicken in the Gumbo.  After simmering for a few hours the chicken shred a little, so it was impossible to pick out (not to mention the broth that was created from cooking the meat was already in there anyway).  I made sure to by local, free-range, and hormone/antibiotic free meat so I'm not too worried about it. 

What you need:
  • 3 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems and leaves, coarsely chopped, plus chopped leaves for garnish
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 5 beef bouillon cubes (used veggie, to keep the "meat juice" to a minumim)
  • 1 (14-ounce can) stewed tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups frozen sliced okra
  • 4 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
  • 1/2 pound small shrimp, peeled, deveined and cooked
What you do:

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove. Add the sausage and cook until browned, then remove. Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of margarine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool.

Return the Dutch oven to low heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons margarine. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for 10 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, to taste and the 1/4 bunch parsley. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add 4 cups hot water and bouillon cubes, whisking constantly. Add the chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add tomatoes and okra. Cover and simmer for 1 hour (mine simmered for about 2.5 hours). Just before serving add the green onions, shrimp and chopped parsley.

**When eating rice in our house it's always brown or wild.  However, when I have eaten Gumbo it's served with a pile of white rice on that's what I did**

- Creamy Cole Slaw -
Courtesy Bobby Flay

I wanted to make a Cole Slaw like the creamy slaw you would find at a BBQ restaurant, authentic, and without all the other ingredients like green pepper and raisins I found in some recipes.  I was going for authentic here, and I think Mr Flay nailed it with this recipe.  I made mine the night before our dinner so the flavors could join together in a happy swing dance in the fridge.  Cole slaw that has had a chance to swing dance tastes better in my opinion, it's happier :)

What you need:
  • 1 head green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 large carrots, finely shredded (I bought organic pre-packaged to save time and just eye-balled the amount)
  • 3/4 cup best-quality mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons grated Spanish onion (I used Walla Walla sweet onion)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt (I used celery seed instead, some of the reviews stated the slaw was too salty)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper What you need:
What you do:

Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery salt, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, and then add to the cabbage mixture. Mix well to combine and taste for seasoning; add more salt, pepper, or sugar if desired.

- Layered Mexican Cornbread -
Courtesy Paula Deen

“The North thinks it know how to make corn bread, but this is a gross superstition. Perhaps no bread in the world is quite as good as Southern corn bread, and perhaps no bread in the world is quite as bad as the Northern imitation of it.”- Mark Twain. This Northern girl did her best Mr. Twain, and with the help of Ms. Deen I think I would have "dun ya proud".

  • Butter or non-stick cooking spray, for greasing pan
  • 1 cup all-purpose cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (14-ounce) can creamed corn
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar
  • 1 cup chopped jalepeno peppers (this is a lot of jalepeno chopping, may I recommend wearing gloves.  I may have had some burning fingers, which has never happened before, and is really annoying)
What you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 by 8-inch or 9 by 9-inch square pan with softened butter or nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, milk, eggs, salt, and oil. Stir in onion and creamed corn. Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Top with cheese and peppers, spreading onto batter. Pour remaining batter on top of cheese and peppers. Bake for about 35 minutes or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (I used an 8x8 dish and it ended up taking a total of 55 minutes). Let cool slightly before cutting into squares.  No butter needed on this cornbread!

I'll post the recipe for the dessert another time, this post is long enough already!  Hope you can make these recipes soon and enjoy your own Southern Supper no matter where y'all live!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Crispy Ceasar Salad and Paella

There's something about snapping green beans that makes me feel like I should be sitting in a rocking chair, on a porch (one like this perhaps), on a hot and humid summer day, sipping sweet tea.  This salad makes my taste buds extremely happy, and it makes me happy because I get to snap green beans.  I actually did get to drink sweet tea while snapping away yesterday, but I was standing in the kitchen and it was only 80 degrees outside (it did reach 90 today though!).  This recipe comes from my Vegetarian & More cookbook by Linda Rosensweig.
- Crispy Ceasar Salad -
What you need:
  • 10 ounces green beans (satisfyingly snapped)
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) reduced-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (if you're a strict vegetarian, you can find a vegetarian version made without anchovies)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, torn (washed with this)
  • 1 cup drained and rinsed canned cannellini beans
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 slices pumpernickel bread, cubed (I never include this when I make the salad...just because)
  • 1 tabelspoon (1/4 oz) grated parmesan cheese
What you do:
Place green beans in a steamer basket over simmering water and steam for 7 minutes or until tender. Let cool to room temperature (I put the green beans in an ice bath so they keep their color).

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic.  Add the green beans, lettuce, and cannellini beans.  Toss to mix.

(Like I said, I never do this next step...maybe next time I make it.)  Warm the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the bread cubes.  Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until crisp.  Remove from heat and stir in the cheese (I just add the cheese to the salad).  Add to the lettuce mixture.  Toss to mix. (Makes 4 servings.)

This Paella recipe is from the same cookbook.  It's no Ultimate Paella by Tyler Florence, but then again I've never made Tyler's version.  This recipe is very tasty and easy, so what's not to love about that?!  We will be enjoying this again for sure...this week in fact, because it makes a lot for two people!
- Paella with Chickpeas and White Beans -

What you need:
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 oz) stewed tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron or turmeric (I used turmeric)
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped water-packed artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Swiss cheese (I used some monterey jack I had "in stock")
What you do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cook rice according to package directions.

Meanwhile, warm the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the pepper, onion, and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender.  Stir in the tomatoes (with juice) and saffron or turmeric.  Simmer for 5 minutes (I'm pretty sure mine simmered longer than that).

Spoon the rice into a 13"x9" baking dish.  Evenly spread the carrot, peas, chickpeas, white beans, and artichoke hearts over the rice.  Spoon the tomato mixture over the vegetables.  Top with the cheese.  Cover with foil.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer, or until cheese melts and mixture is bubbly.

Optional - After removing the foil, add shrimp on top of the cheese and then bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until shrimp are cooked.  I also cooked up some Roasted Pepper and Asiago Chicken Sausage for the meat-eating husband, and a Black Bean Chipotle Veggie Burger for myself.

Happy green bean snapping!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tangy Tomato and Tomatillo Salad

I had a little birthday dinner with friends last weekend, and my friend Brooke gave me a cookbook called Clean Food by Terry Walters. I love that the recipes are categorized by season!
Brooke and I

The first recipe I tried from this cookbook was a success, and I can't wait to try out the others I have bookmarked.

What you need:

  •  4 cups small heirloom tomatoes, cut into half-moons
  • 4 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
  • 1/2 watermelon radish, peeled and julienned (I could not track down one of these, or maybe didn't try hard enough, so I used jicama and it was fabulous!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 jalepeno, seeded and minced (Just using one, this salad was very mild, We couldn't even tell there was a jalepeno in there. So use two if you want some heat)
  • Coarse sea salt
What you do:
  • Place tomatoes, tomatillos, radish (or jicama in my case), and cilantro in a serving dish. Whisk together jalepeno, lime juice and olive oil. Pour over salad, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and serve. Serves 6 (or 2 for a few days).
Thanks for my cookbook Brookie!

Red, White and Bling

I hope everyone enjoyed celebrating their Independence this weekend!  Ours was the most unstructured Fourth of July yet.  We made no plans, and wanted it that way this year.  We watched the cul-de-sac kids light off fireworks Saturday night until we got shutdown by a grumpy neighbor at 10:00..."the Fourth isn't until tomorrow". 
Sunday, we went to church (Freedom with a Purpose message), met friends in Kirkland for a parade and breakfast, Target, back home to nap, watched a movie, ate dinner, then walked to a friends' house in our neighborhood for s'mores and "360 [degree]fireworks"...our neighborhood is AMAZING on the Fourth of July especially!!! 
Brea and I
(Yes, I'm wearing a sweater on the 4th of July :( What you can't see is I also have a jacket)
"This flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation. The choices are ours. It floats in majestic silence above the hosts that execute those choices, whether in peace or in war. And yet, though silent, it speaks to us — speaks to us of the past, or the men and women who went before us, and of the records they wrote upon it."
- President Woodrow Wilson, 1917