Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Southern Black Eyed Pea Salad

In the South folks feel pretty strongly about their black-eyed peas! They even love their black-eyed peas in salad.  Here is a twist on a contemporary Southern dish.

Makes for a perfect side dish for a cookout or a picnic, served up with grilled meats, delicious!

Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Serves 6
Recipe adapted from Emeril

5 cups cooked and drained dried black-eyed peas
4 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled, fat reserved separately
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped red onions (1/2 medium onion)
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell peppers
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapenos
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1-1/12 teaspoons Emeril's Original Essence
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1.  Combine the black eyed-peas, bacon, 3 tablespoons reserved bacon fat, and all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss well to combine.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight, stirring occasionally.

2.  Allow the salad to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.  Toss well just before serving.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pear Tini

A perfect social drink.  The color is pale yellow, almost white with an intense flavor of pear and lemon that blend together nicely.   A rim of cinnamon powder and sugar that gives this summery martini it's fresh taste.

Pear Tini
Serves 1
Recipe adapted from Cafe Firenze

1-1/4 oz (5 counts) Pear Vodka
1 oz (4 counts) Fresh pear nectar
1/2 oz (2 counts) sweet and sour
1/4 oz (1 count) Triple Sec
1 lime wedge (squeezed)

Grab the mixing glass and pour 1-1/4 oz of infused pear vodka then 1 oz of pear nectar.  Make sure it is nectar and not juice otherwise your drink will be runny and flavorless instead of smooth and slick.  Now add the 1/4 oz of triple sec and 1/2 oz of sweet and sour.  For the drink to have the best result it has to be made with the best products!  

Shake it and pour it in a chilled and cinnamon rimmed martini glass and Salute!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Christo Gonzalez AKA Doggy Bloggy AKA Chez What

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Grilled Corn with Toasted Garlic-Thyme Butter

Note: This was the post that I lost when Blogger crashed. I am re-posting it. Hope you don't mind.

Are words really necessary? No, I don't think so.

I won't bore you with details, but the next time you are considering preparing corn in a pot on the stove.  You should think about  what your grill could do for the flavor of your corn, and adding a bit of pizzaz to your butter.  Then...Be prepared to have grilled corn on the cob, rock your world.

Grilled Corn with Toasted Garlic-Thyme Butter
Serves 4
Recipe from Bobby Flay

2 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 corn on the cob in their husk

Directions for Perfect Grilled Corn
1.  Heat your grill to medium

2.  Pull the outer husks down each ear to the stalk end.  Strip away the silk from each ear of corn by hand.  Fold the husks back into place and tie the ends together with kitchen string.  Place the ears of corn in a large bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes.

3.  Remove the corn from the water and shake off the excess.  Place the corn on the grill, close the cover, and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turing every 5 minutes, or until the kernels are tender when pierced with a paring knife.

4.  Remove the husks from the cobs before eating the corn.

Directions for the Thyme Butter
1.  Heat the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until lightly golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the thyme leaves.  Let cool slightly.

2.  Combine the butter and the garlic mixture in a food processor and process until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

3.  Spread the butter over the hot corn.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blueberry Thrill

C'mon guys, its been a long week, it's time to relax and chill-out.  This blueberry inspired cocktail is meant to be shared with good friends over good conversation.

The thrill of this cocktail is the cardamom infused simple syrup, lemon juice, combined with gin and fresh blueberries.

This is a cocktail that can be prepared two-ways.  Dressed up in a martini glass.

or served patio style, as a fizzy cocktail with cubed ice and club soda in a beverage glass.

Or both ways.  It's your choice.

Blueberry Thrill
Serves 8
Recipe from Cooking Light

2 cups blueberries
1-1/2 cups dry gin
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 cardamom pods
Crushed ice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Additional blueberries (optional)

1.  Place 2 cups blueberries in a large stainless steel saucepan; mash with a fork or potato masher.  Place over medium-high heat, and cook 3 minutes or until berries begin to release juice.  Remove from heat; add gin.  Cover and let stand at least for 1 hour or up to overnight.  Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl, pressing berries with the back of a spoon to remove as much juice as possible; discard solids.

2.  Combine 3/4 cup water, sugar, and cardamom pods in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.  Cook 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves.  Cool completely; discard cardamom pods.

3.  To serve, add the ice to a cocktail shaker to come half-way up sides of container.  Add 1/4 cup blueberry-gin, 1-1/2 tablespoons cardamom syrup, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; shake until chilled.  Strain cocktail into a chilled martini glass or beverage glass.  Garnish with additional blueberries, if desired.  Serve immediately.  Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients.

Note:  To make the fizzy cocktail, pour blueberry-gin, cardamom syrup, and lemon juice over crushed ice in a glass; top with chilled club soda.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Laura Lafata at La Diva Cucina 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ricotta Cheesecake

My husband came across this recipe in the May issue of Bon Appetit.  It reminded him of a cheese cake that his Italian grandmother used to prepare.  The most difficult part of this recipe was finding an 8-inch spring form pan.  After an extensive search of the house and three trips to different retail stores, this marvelous cheese cake was concocted.  

Ricotta Cheesecake
Recipe from Gina DePalma- New York City

2-15 ounce containers whole-milk ricotta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon, plus 1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
2-8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature, cut into cubes
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons salt-free matzo meal
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

Special equipment: 8"-diameter springform pan with 2 1/2"-high sides.

Put ricotta in a large fine-mesh strainer set over bowl.  Drain for 30 minutes.

Arrange rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8"springform pan with 
2- 1/2" high sides with butter.  Mix 1 tablespoon sugar and breadcrumbs in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over buttered pan to coat.  Tap out excess crumbs.

Transfer ricotta to a processor.  Puree for 15 seconds.  Scrape down sides of processor; puree until smooth.  Add cream cheese; puree until smooth.  Add the remaining sugar and all other ingredients; puree, scraping down sides occasionally, until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake cheesecake until golden brown and just set, about 1 hour 15 minutes.  Transfer to a rack and let cool in pan ( cake will fall slightly).  Refrigerate uncovered until cool, about 3 hours.  Then cover and chill overnight.

Note: This cheesecake needs some form of starch to absorb the liquid in ricotta. Matzo Meal works best.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Laurie Alves

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Foxy's Millennium Punch

We are getting ready for our Rum Throw Down this Friday evening.  We have a lot of friends who have joined the competition.  It's going to be a fun evening.

This is a popular cocktail served on the island of Jost van Dyke.  The owner of Foxy's Tamarind Bar created this drink for the Millennium Celebration in 2000.  It is our submission for the throw down competition.

Foxy's Millennium Punch

1 measure white rum
1 measure dark rum
2 measures cranberry juice
2 measures guava juice
1/2 measure lime juice
Note: We considered a measure to be 1 shot

Pour all the ingredients over ice in a large highball glass and stir; Decorate with slices of pineapple and lime.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Roger Clay- Marianna, Florida

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chicken and White Bean Soup

A hearty rustic soup made with chunks of boneless skinless chicken thighs, with a hint of smoked bacon, Cannelini beans, orzo pasta, fresh plum tomatoes and oregano, simmered together in a flavorful broth.

Serve with a crusty Italian bread and a salad or makes for a wonderful meal by itself. 

Chicken and White Bean Soup
Serves 4
Recipe from Cooking Light

2 smoked bacon slices, chopped
12 ounces, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup chopped fresh plum tomato
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups water
2 cups fat-free, chicken broth
2/3 cup uncooked orzo (rice shaped pasta)
1(15-ounce) can organic white beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat 7 minutes or until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan; set bacon aside.

2.  Add chicken to drippings in pan; saute 6 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan.  Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender.  Add tomato, oregano, and pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  return bacon and chicken to pan.  Stir in 2 cups water and broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Bring to a boil.  Add orzo, and cook for 9 minutes or until al dente.  Add beans; cook 2 minutes or until heated.  Remove from heat; stir in parsley, vinegar, and salt.