Monday, July 25, 2011

Beer Marinated Onion Rings

Made my beer marinated Onion Rings for the family - they were almost gone before we sat down to eat.   I fry them in batches, and as soon as they're cool enough to touch, everyone is gobbling them up.   I use stiffly beaten egg whites to keep the flour coating on, which creates a very light but delicious crunch.  Use season salt for extra flavor, or try any other seasoning to make this recipe your own.

Beer Marinated Onion Rings

  • 4-5 large sweet onions, sliced into rings
  • 3 cans of your favorite beer
  • 6 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks
  • 3 C flour
  • peanut oil
  • salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning
Directions:   In a large pot, add peanut oil to the desired level and heat until ready to fry.

Slice the onions into rings about 1/4 of an inch thick, toss into the largest zip lock bag and pour the beer in - remove as much air as you can, zip it shut and marinate in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

 In a large bowl, beat the eggs white until stiff peaks form.   Drain the beer from the onion rings and toss them with the egg whites.   Shake off the excess.

In a separate zip lock bag add the flour then add the egg white coated onion rings and zip shut then shake like crazy.   Add to the hot peanut oil and fry until browned.   Drain and season with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning.

into the fryer

ready to eat

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Southern Living - Holiday White Cake Cover Contest

Winning Recipe Will Grace the Cover of the December Issue and Winner Will Receive $1,000
Two Runners-Up Will Win $500 and Their Desserts Will Appear in the Issue
Deadline for Entries is July 31st

Summer is in full swing, but Southern Living is dreaming of a white Christmas. The magazine is announcing a cover contest challenging readers to create their rendition of a white cake — and the winning recipe will grace the cover of the December issue of Southern Living and win $1,000.  Two Runners Up will receive $500 and will have their recipes featured in magazine’s dessert story in December.

Here’s how to enter: Start with one of Southern Living’s five favorite holiday cake batters listed on the Web site, add your own snowy white finishing touches — fill it, frost it, make it fabulous!

To enter, go to:

Deadline for entries is Sunday, July 31st.

For inspiration, peruse the gallery of past cover cakes:

Sid Evans - New Group Editor of Time Inc.’s Lifestyle Division

Award-winning editor Sid Evans (formerly VP and Editor-in-Chief of Garden & Gun) has been named Group Editor of Time Inc.’s Lifestyle Division and, starting in early September, will oversee editorial for five of our brands – Cooking Light, Southern Living, Coastal Living, Sunset and This Old House

Congratulations Sid! 
Speaking of Southern Living, this August marks Lindsay Bierman’s first year as editor, where he has introduced countless new columns including: “The Paper Napkin Interview,” a Q&A with a Southern star at her hometown diner (debuted in July), “Mother/Daughter Style,” where a Mom and daughter showcase two looks, and many more.

The August issue of Southern Living (hitting newsstands next Friday 7/22) profiles individuals and communities who weathered the recent tornadoes that struck the South.  On 12,000 copies of distribution across the bulk of Alabama, Southern Living is giving 5% of the cover price on every issue sold to the American Red Cross to help tornado victims in the South.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Homemade Dill Bread

Fresh from the oven, warm with melting butter - nothing is better than homemade bread.   I don't have a bread maker, but that didn't scare me, as I've done this before.   It's hard to imagine that women would get up very early each morning and make a loaf of fresh bread for the family for the day.   This recipe produced a moist bread with a great crust and within an hour, 3 adults had eaten about 2/3 of the loaf!   I took lots of pictures so you can successfully do this as well!

Homemade Dill Bread

  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1/4 C warm water
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 2 T buttermilk
  • 2 T honey
  • 2 T shallots, minced
  • 1 T butter
  • 3 T dried dill weed
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 C all purpose flour
Directions:   Combine the yeast with the warm water and set aside. 

In a bowl, combine the sour cream, buttermilk, honey, shallots, dill weed, soda and egg and mix well.

Pour contents into a saucepan and add the butter.   Heat over low just until the butter melts, remove from heat, and add the yeast. 

Stir to incorporate and gradually add the flour to form a stiff dough.   Turn out onto lightly floured board and knead for 5 - 10 minutes.

Place in a large, well oiled bowl and let rise until doubled, about an hour, covered.

Punch down and place into an oiled loaf pan of your choice.  I used a round one.   Let rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Bake for 40-50 minutes, and serve hot with lots of butter!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The perfect Restaurant Style WEDGE SALAD

Lately I've been on a Wedge Salad kick, ordering it at almost every restaurant I go.  With the Bionic Man still house bound after his hip replacement surgery, I knew it was time to make it at home.   What was most important for me was to get the dressing right and after playing with it, I think I nailed it!   Try it and let me know what you think.

Wedge Salad

  • Iceberg Lettuce, cut into wedges
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • bacon, crumbled
  • Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • pepper
  • creamy Gorgonzola dressing (see recipe below)
Directions:   Cut iceberg into individual wedges and place on serving plate.   I like to add the dressing first then the green onions, cherry tomatoes, bacon, Gorgonzola crumbles and pepper.

Creamy Gorgonzola Dressing

  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1 C mayonnaise
  • 4 T buttermilk
  • 3/4 C Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 2 T chives
  • salt and pepper
Directions:   Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix.   Serve over wedge salad and keep left over in the refrigerator.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Braised Short Ribs

I have been "thinking" about this recipe for a long time.   I had the basic idea written down in my work in progress cookbook, which is basically a huge 3 ring notebook with all my recipes and potential recipes in a semi organized fashion.   After a quick trip to the grocery store for the short ribs - I was ready to go!   Making the sauce in the blender is super easy, searing the short ribs a piece of cake and putting the entire pot into the oven for 3 hours a breeze!   The end result was sweet and spicy fall off the bone tender meat served with a side of mashed potatoes.   This is amazing.

Sweet and Spicy Braised Short Ribs

  • 6 lbs short ribs, excess fat trimmed
  • 3 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 C boiling water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 C tomato sauce
  • 3 T canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 4 T molasses
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 t peppercorns
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 C water
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 6 slices jalapeno bacon, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • salt and pepper
Directions:   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Stem ancho chiles and tear into pieces then soak in boiling hot water until soft, about 20 minutes.   Transfer chiles to blender and puree with the onion, garlic, tomato sauce, chipotles with adobo, brown sugar, molasses, honey, peppercorns, cumin seed, cloves, 1/2 C water and a pinch of salt.

In a large dutch over or heavy oven proof pot, heat oil.   Season short ribs with salt and pepper and brown ribs.   I did this in batches so I didn't over crowd the pan.   Transfer to platter and hold.   In same pot, cook bacon until crisp and transfer to platter to hold.   Remove all but 2 T of fat from the same pot, stir in chile puree and bring to a boil.   Return ribs and bacon to the pot and add the broken cinnamon stick.   Cover and place in preheated oven to braise - about 3 hours.

To serve, skim as much fat off the top of the sauce and plate with mashed potatoes or grits, with lots of sauce!

A Davis Cup Brunch

I catered a special event Friday morning - a Davis Cup Brunch.   GO USA was the theme and the idea was to keep it entirely American.   What's more American than Buttermilk Biscuits???   The menu consisted of biscuits three ways; mini biscuit bites with local honey butter (that I made), mini biscuits with hash (gravy and crumbled sausage) and then finally a biscuit sandwich, sort of a cross between a BLT and Eggs Benedict - sliced tomato, bacon and a poached egg between a buttermilk biscuit.   When you cut or bite into it, the yolk oozes out to create a wonderful "sauce".   With a side of salted fruit and lime, the ladies were set for the 7 hours of tennis matches.

Patriotic Table Setting!

Davis Cup tickets!

Mango, watermelon and papaya salad with salt and lime!

Mini biscuits - just pop in your mouth good!

Local honey butter - easy to make.

Biscuit Sandwich with a perfectly poached egg.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Honey Roasted Figs with Goats Cheese

While the Bionic Man was in the hospital, well, becoming the Bionic Man, I picked up some Mission Figs.   I have always wanted to roast them but my husband was never really excited about it.   Here was my opportunity to experiment in the kitchen and it was so much fun.   I bought two types of cheeses, goat and brie, and after sampling the flavors, opted for the fresh goat cheese.   I ate myself silly as it is so good.

Honey Roasted Figs with Goats Cheese

  • 8 Mission Figs, sliced in half
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 3/4 C honey
  • goats cheese
  • fresh baguette
Directions:   Wash and de-stem the figs, then slice in half.   Arrange on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt.   Roast in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.   Drizzle with honey during the last 5 minutes of roasting, then remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes.

To serve, I broke the baguette into small pieces, smeared with goats cheese, then a fig with a bit more honey drizzled on.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Chilean Sea Bass with Crab Thermidor

The Bionic Man gets what he wants and he really wanted Chilean Sea Bass.   It's pricey so we don't have this often, but we love it grilled.   As an added bonus, I made my Crab Thermidor that we used to top the sea bass.  It was amazing - either would be wonderful separately, but combined, it creates an "oh wow" culinary moment.

Chilean Sea Bass with
Crab Thermidor

  • 1-2 lb Chilean Sea Bass
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Directions:   Preheat grill.   Brush the fish lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.   When hot, grill fish about 5 minutes on each side or until it is opaque in the center.

Crab Thermidor
  • 3 T butter
  • 3 T all purpose flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 C half and half
  • 3/4 C white cheddar, shredded
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 16 oz crab meat, pre-cooked
Directions:   In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.   Stir in flour, paprika, nutmeg and salt until smooth and cook for a few minutes.   Gradually add the cream and mix well to incorporate.   Reduce the heat to low and add the cheese and lemon, stirring well.   Add the crab, mix well and cook an additional 5 minutes.   Sauce should be thick.   Taste and re-season if needed.   Remove from heat, let cool briefly then serve over fish!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fresh White Asparagus

While my husband Trey was in the hospital undergoing his 2nd hip replacement, I quickly ran to Central Market to grab a bite to eat.   Of course I whizzed through the entire store and ended up finding white asparagus.   I haven't had it since I was a summer exchange student living in with my french friend Aygness and her family in Strasbourg for a month.   Since it is a bit milder than its green-skinned cousin, I paired it with a spicy Chipotle Aioli Sauce.   I had a great dinner that night while my Bionic Man Husband had hospital food!

White Asparagus with Chipotle Aioli
  • 1-2 lbs fresh white asparagus
  • 10 C water
  • 4 T fresh lemon juice
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 T salt
Directions:   Bring water with lemon, butter and salt to a simmer in a large pot.   Trim 1 inch from the ends of the white asparagus.   Since white asparagus has a tough, bitter peel, it must be removed before cooking.   Lay each spear on a cutting board and using a vegetable peeler, peel the thin skin from just under the top to the bottom.   Gather the peeled spears into a bundle and tie with kitchen string.   Add to simmering pot and cook until tender, about 12 minutes.   Lift bundle with tongs and drain slightly on a paper towel before removing the string and serving.

Spicy Chipotle Aioli
  • 1 C mayonnaise
  • 3 chipotle peppers with adobo sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley, minced
In a food processor, mix mayonnaise, chipotle peppers with sauce, garlic and lemon together until smooth though a few bits of the peppers will be visible.   Season with salt and pepper and spoon over the white asparagus, garnish with parsley.