Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chipotle Lime Shrimp

The first cool breeze has been felt in North Florida-YEAH!  Fall may actually arrive and take with it, the hot, humid and steamy Florida weather, at least for awhile.

While Mother Nature is contemplating a cool and crisp Autumn, I was contemplating a spicy grilled shrimp recipe that I came across while reading Kevin's blog Our friends really enjoyed this shrimp recipe and I wanted to share it with you.

Chipotle Lime Shrimp
(Serves 4)
1 chipotle chili in adobo (chopped)
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1 teaspoon cumin seed (toasted and ground)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 lime  (juice and zest)
2 Tablespoons cilantro chopped
1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)

1. Mix in chipotle, adobo sauce, cumin, brown sugar, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro in a bowl and let marinate for 20 minutes.
2. Skewer the shrimp or place shrimp in a grill basket
3. Oil up the grill and grill the shrimp for approximately 2-3 minutes per side.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tallahassee Cooking Club, September 2009

Tailgating is a college tradition and our theme this month was a Gourmet Tailgate.  This evening was proof that you can still throw a kick-butt tailgate at home. We joined our hosts dressed in our best fan gear to eat and watch the Florida State Seminoles play against the Brigham Young Cougars. Fortunate for the Seminole fans there was not an unpleasant moment in this game for them (sigh). For us, too bad they were not hosting their tailgate for this week's game-oh, not pretty.

As our friends know, we bleed orange and blue for the University of Florida Gators. Did I mention that they were the #1 ranked college football team in the nation? Whew, I feel better continuing my blog post about this great Seminole tailgate party. A Seminole fan we are not, but we can appreciate a good tailgate party and our hosts would do just that.

All cooking club evenings begin with a good selection of wine.

A small plate for two of elegant bite-sized appetizers featuring beer foamed shrimp, cantaloupe and cilantro, honeydew and cucumber, cheese won-tons and salsa, strawberries and spinach with a balsamic reduction sauce and bacon butterscotch and apple.

Followed by a proscuitto stuffed with mozzarella cheese and herbs served on a bed of greens.

A grown-up version of macaroni and cheese

A slow oven baked version of Beef Bourginon

Followed by Mango-Blueberry fool garnished in Florida Gator orange and blue.

After tailgate drinks anyone?

Final Score Florida State 54, Brigham Young 28

We host our next Cooking Club! Our theme will be Colombian. I have been following Erica's blog and have been inspired by her fabulous Colombian recipes. Please check out her web site at

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mango-Blueberry "Fool"

If you need just one more taste of summer then you have stumbled onto the perfect treat. This dessert is just a whirl away in your blender and then it is practically done! The addition of your summer blueberries and lime zest and you've got a stunning dessert.

Mango-Blueberry "Fool"
Serves 6
Note: Recipe from Gourmet 

1 (1-lb) ripe mango, pitted, peeled, and cut into chunks
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1-1/2 cups blueberries ( 1/2 lb)
Grated lime zest to taste

Puree mango, sugar, lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a blender until very smooth. Add cream and blend until very thick. Blend in additional lime juice and sugar to taste.
Transfer to a bowl and fold in most of the blueberries, then divide among 6 glasses. Top with remaining blueberries and zest. If desired, chill, loosely covered, 30 minutes.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Deliciously Dutch Part IV

This is a continuation of a series of short blog posts about our food experience while traveling through the Netherlands this summer. This journey would not have been possible without the hospitality and friendship of the VanVliet family. They opened their home, shared their lives, culture and the love of country with our family.

The Knapp's and the VanVliet Family
Anneke and Loek

I  love experiencing different food cultures. May it be the diversity of New York City, the Pacific Northwest, a local pub down the street, or across the Atlantic.  The more I travel the better I understand my own culture. I got the "what"  in my American culture but with traveling, I understand the "why".

I believe what we choose to eat is a reflection of our traditions, basic values and our beliefs. Americans by their very nature are a very diverse Heinz 57 grown variety. While traveling, I see the nuances, how  traditions are adapted to our way of life, and where our traditions began. I also experience the desire of other cultures to take on some of our American characteristics. It is amazing journey and I hope to continue to rediscover my culture by discovering other cultures.

I can't resist sharing a few more images with you.

Oh! So good! Dutch pancakes with sliced apples, cinnamon and sugar

The Dutch contributed to the American culture and they are proud of their history. They are especially proud of their influence on the development of New York. One of America's greatest cities.
There is no other way to describe Ginger Ale.

I think this photo speaks for itself.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pork Shoulder Braciole

Our new cookbook Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes arrived. My husband without missing his cue, immediately began thumbing through the plethora of recipes. In most instances he will give a quick summary of his thoughts on a new cookbook. There are only one or two responses "There are a lot of good recipes" or "I did not see anything interesting". This time was a little different. He was immediately drawn to the the Mario Batali recipe for Pork Shoulder Braciole (the word is commonly pronounced
/bra'zhul/). This is a simple Italian dish that was common growing-up in my husband's second generation Italian-American family. Braciole is prepared often using thin slices of beef, pork or chicken that are rolled with cheese and bread crumbs, then lightly fried in olive oil. The dish is traditionally served with a salad or potatoes. In my husband's family braciole cooked along side the meatballs and sausage in their Sunday sauce.

There are so many versions of this dish.  Mario Batali brings this simply prepared Italian dish to a new level, while still keeping it's authentic Italian roots. He adds chopped salami, orange zest, Percino cheese and mint. Instead of frying, he grills the braciole to intensify the flavors.

Pork Shoulder Braciole
Recipe from Mario Batali
Serves 6
1-1/2 cups toasted bread crumbs
4-ounces thinly sliced salami, cut into 1/4 inch wide matchsticks
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano 
1 bunch mint, leaves only, finely chopped
1/2-cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Grated zest of 3 oranges
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
Twelve 1/2 inch-thick slices boneless pork shoulder
( about 2-1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 oranges, cut into wedges
Combine the bread crumbs, salami, pecorino, mint, parsley, and orange zest in a large bowl and mix well. Add 1/2 cup of the olive oil and mix well with your hands or a spoon.  Set aside.
Cut twenty-four  10-inch pieces of kitchen twine. Using a meat mallet, pound the pork pieces very thin. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of stuffing (about 1/3 cup) on each slice of meat. Starting from a long side, roll each one up like a jelly roll and tie with 2 pieces of the twine, making a little packet. Place on a plate and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.
Brush the rolls lightly with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the rolls over medium-high heat and cook, turning occasionally, until deeply marked with grill marks on all sides, about 15 minutes. Turn off one burner if using a gas grill, and move the rolls to the cooler part of the grill. Cover the grill and cook, turning occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 185 degrees to 190 degrees F.
Transfer the rolls to a platter and serve with orange wedges.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tallahassee Cooking Club, August 2009

This blog post is dedicated to our Cooking Club. We had another terrific evening filled with fun, food and frolic. Our evening's theme was Caribbean Fusion. This theme allowed us to take advantage of the abundant summer fruits and vegetables that are available this time of year in Florida. You will see a focus on mangoes, peaches, cucumbers and a variety of peppers. The theme was perfect for beating the summer heat and being whisked away to a cooler place at least for the evening.

The evening began with Mojito cocktails with 3 fresh options to choose from:  A traditional Mint Mojito or you could live a bit on the edge, and select a Mojito infused with Basil or Jalapeno.  For those of you who enjoy these tropical cocktails, never be afraid to experiment! You can muddle (using a wooden spoon or muddler) a variety of herbs and fruits and even peppers! Or you can use new fresh ingredients to infuse the simple syrup that is traditionally used in Mojitos.  This will bring the experience of drinking a Mojito cocktail to a new level.

Our appetizer was Cilantro Crab Cakes with a fresh Peach Salsa on pastry rounds. A perfect opening to a great meal.

A before dinner aperitif....Just a little something to clear the palette.

Always plenty of great wines!

Our salad was a beautiful mango and cucumber salad

Followed by a simply prepared grilled swordfish with mango, cucumber and melon served with a lime sauce and topped with a quinoa and orange salad.

Check out these beautiful biscuits. The basket included a variety of homemade biscuits that included sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and scallions. I am not sure I could possibly name all the varieties that we were enjoying. What I can tell you, I was not able to stop at just one biscuit covered in butter but, at least three!

Dessert was a mango cheese pie! Cool and refreshing.

Finished up our evening eating chocolate drizzled fortune cookies and reading our fortunes to each other.
Next month's theme is Tailgate.  The college football season begins on Saturday. If you know folks that follow college football, then you know they take their college football seriously. Our family are University of Florida Gator fans ( My Alma Mater)  and we are going to be having loads of fun, eating and tailgating and SMAK talking with our rivals! 
I would love to hear about any great ideas for cooking club themes that you may want to share. We are always looking for new ideas.
If you are interested in starting your own cooking club and need some tips don't hesitate to contact me, I would love to help.