Shrimp Paste

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While the name doesn't make this the most appealing sounding recipe, it is quite tasty, which is why I am sharing it after enjoying it with my family this past Sunday.  "What is shrimp paste," you ask?  It is just a low-country version of potted shrimp or rilletes.  Like the salmon rilletes, the protein is blended with a fat to make for a creamy and spreadable food.  Anchovy paste is added in the is recipe, so you are likely not to need any additional salt, but do taste for seasoning to be sure.

How does one serve the paste?  We slathered it on buttery crackers, but melba toasts and crostini would work as well.  I think it would also be nice stuffed in vegetables like tomatoes or sugar snap peas.  The paste would make lovely little tea sandwiches layered in between thinly sliced white bread with crusts removed.


Sunday Dinner

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Hickory Smoked Chickens
Corn on the Cob with Chive Butter
Tomato Slices
Buttermilk Biscuits

Lemon Chess Pie

There is nothing like hickory smoke to get one's mind right for summer food and fun.  It gets the olfactory system and taste buds communicating just right for the brain to get the message--summertime is here to stay for a good while.  Time to make some pie! 

What better way to wrap up a great Summer meal than with a sweet, lemony kiss?  This Lemon Chess pie brings the right texture and flavor to get all the senses in concert.  It brings the mouth feel of custard with a slight crackle from the dusting of sugar that will speed your fork back to the plate for another bite.  After the first serving, a slice is wonderful eaten with your hand the next day, no matter what time it is.  My husband has even eaten it for breakfast at work.  


Turkey Gazpacho Salad

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What do you do when you are stuck in between seasons and you have a craving for fresh garden vegetables after a long cold winter?  Try making this salad to satisfy the palate and tummy with a terrific 'tweener of a recipe.

The vegetables called for in this dish can be found year 'round with quality taste.  Those sweet little cherub tomatoes are my go-to when the garden is without bounty.  Either freshly roasted or jarred roasted red bell peppers can be used; whichever you have on hand.  The creamy dressing is made with 1/4 cup of the sun-dried tomato pesto (I can't speak for the end results when using the store-bought variety).  The dressing does make quite a bit and I don't like over dressed salads, so I dress half the vegetables and turkey with dressing and pass the remainder as needed per individual.  Enjoyed as a hearty main dish salad meal or served over a bed of greens for a light lunch, this is a dish to get your taste buds ready for Summer.


Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

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I had a craving for a deep tomato flavor, but since tomatoes still aren't at their vine-ripened peak, I thought I would pull out this recipe from the repertoire to use for a weeknight meal.  Simple, quality ingredients, easy to prepare, a variety of applications and tons of flavor?  Now that's a recipe that I like. This is an excellent sauce to have on hand to toss with pasta for a quick meal or use as a topping to sautéed or grilled fish and/or chicken.  It also makes for a nice spread on country bread or crostini.  Use it as condiment for sandwiches or panini.  Better yet, use it as an ingredient into a wonderful main dish salad dressing (just a little hint for my next post).  Stay tuned...


Sunday Dinner

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Crunchy Grits-Fried Pickles with Ranch Dressing

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

This Sunday is a belated birthday dinner menu.  My husband celebrated a birthday this past week, so it was his turn to choose the menu--and a good one it is.  Especially since I had a little pork left in the freezer (takes a little of the Sunday dinner work load off of me).

I made this cake a couple months back for my father's birthday.  My husband wasn't able to join us for the celebration, so I thought this would be a good excuse to make it again.  But once you taste this cake, you will realize there is no need to have an excuse to make it.  The cake itself is made with Nutella and ground hazelnuts.  It is light and moist, but sturdy enough to hold the frosting.  The frosting is a basic cream cheese frosting with Nutella added.  It is lick-the-bowl good and takes the cake from delicious to ridiculous.


Brown Sugar Angel Food Cake

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I took the day off this past Sunday from blogging our dinner menu in order to spend a wonderful Mother's day with my family, but I didn't take the day off from cooking.  It was a delicious dinner that ended with this dessert that conjured up memories of my childhood and my own mother.

One of mom's desserts that was always well received consisted of a bowl of fresh summer strawberries, a bowl of sour cream, and a third bowl of light brown sugar.  Pulling back the foliage and holding the stem end of the berries, we would dip the whole berry into the sour cream, then roll it into the brown sugar.  Mmmm... I'm sure many of you know just what I'm talking about.

Now take that idea and put a little elbow grease into the concept and you have this dinner finale (or afternoon hand held snack☺).

The original recipe hits the mark on flavor, but the form of stabilizer was lacking (trust me, I have tried it without out it; a.k.a cue the dogs to clean up the kitchen fail).  I used cream of tartar along with the lemon juice to ensure a tall and fluffy cake.


Skillet Lasagna with Sausage and Spinach

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A hearty, delicious, one pan dinner is a gift from on high.  OK, maybe this skillet lasagna wasn't sent directly from the heavens, but on a busy weeknight, it kind of feels like it was.  Sorry.  I've just heard "Mom...where are my (fill in the blank) and don't forget to get (fill in the blank again)" one too many times already this week.  You have lots of food groups and a ton of flavor in an easily prepared delivery system.  And, yeah, everybody is gonna like it--even if there is spinach in it.

Serve it with a simple salad dressed with a low-fat balsamic vinaigrette and if you have time a loaf of garlic bread.  But wait... speaking of time and the heavens, if you plan your weeknight meals ahead, a batch of homemade ricotta in this dish will really make the angels sing☺.


Raspberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake

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Time for brunchalicious recipe number two.  This time it's on the sweet side of the menu.  This raspberry buttermilk coffee cake has everything you could want in a brunch treat.  It is a light and tender coffee cake, making it the perfect sweet companion for hearty, savory dishes.  The slightly crunchy top of the cake gives way to a tender interior containing just the right amount of tangy raspberry goodness.  It is equally delectable served warm or at room temperature.          


Baked Eggs in Ham Cups

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Mother's Day is well known as a day to take Mom out to brunch.  That's nice and all, but I personally would rather eschew the lines, waiting and hubbub of a restaurant on Mother's Day morning for the (relative) calm and comfort of my home.  I get the time with my kids and some help to make things like these nifty little egg and ham cups.

When making the cups, I like to fit the ham snugly into the muffin wells so the ham is just barely peeking out over the well.  Otherwise the edges get a little overcooked and rubbery.  I also like to include the extra step of lightly tenting the muffin cups with a sheet of foil.  That helps steam the eggs and to keep the ham moist.  

This is a wonderful preparation in that it can be doubled to feed a hungry brunch crowd and can be served warm or at room temperature.  I like to serve them with buttered toast and a simple green salad with sliced tomatoes (I save the fresh fruit for the coffee cake course).  Any leftovers can be sandwiched between two English muffin halves with a little cheese for a weekday breakfast to go.

A couple of other egg dishes you might enjoy...


Sunday Dinner

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Shrimp and Avocado Fritters with a Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Pork Carnitas
Corn and Flour Tortillas
Shredded Cabbage
Cilantro and Onion Crema

Frozen Strawberry Margarita Pie

With a menu like the one we'll be enjoying today, a light and fruity dessert seemed like just the right capper.  I know that I'll be saving room for this pie.  It won't be that difficult, knowing that plenty of delicious leftovers will be providing meals throughout the week.  

The pie itself brings all of the tropical essence one would want, but strawberry is in the driver's seat here.  A coconut and lime infused pretzel-based crust provides the base.  It all adds up to a creamy, dreamy, perfectly pink slice of yum.

Sunday Dinner one year ago
Sunday Dinner two years ago


Margarita Ice Cream

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How can margaritas get any better?  Well, how about letting ice cream in on the party?  Like the Margarita Cream Cake, this frozen concoction has all the flavors of the classic cocktail in the form of a spoon-ready dessert.  But don't worry, the alcohol in this recipe is reduced and cooked out, so it is kid-friendly and safe for those who would rather not imbibe.

The original recipe only called for a few tablespoons of booze, but I didn't think the flavor of the cocktail came through as nicely with that amount.  Knowing that the mixture would not freeze with too much alcohol, I decided to reduce the amount amount of alcohol by simmering it on the stove until I was left with just a couple of tablespoons.  That left me with a concentrated flavor that would freeze to a soft-serve instead of a milkshake (ok, that's another idea).  A little goes a long way with this puckery treat,  so I like to serve it in mini glasses that are rimmed with lime juice and salt for a cocktail-like experience.


Cinco de Mayo Round-Up

Pin It After sharing with you a meal fit for a Cinco de Mayo celebration, I thought I would share a few more recipes from the archives to round out your fiesta.  From appetizers and snacks like guacamoles and salsas to main events like chicken tortilla soup (a hearty warm bowl for those of you who experienced a snow storm yesterday!?!) and chilaques, I think there is a little something for everyone.  The one thing that you may notice missing from the line-up is something sweet to end the meal.  I'll save that one for tomorrow☺.







Grilled Steak Fajitas

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El Cinco de Mayo has undeniably become a part of the American cycle of holiday celebrations.  What is probably the second most important patriotic holiday in Mexico (Sept. 16 claims top billing I'm told) has claimed a spot at the table.  This is thanks in no small part to Corona beer ads, but there are other reasons.  May 5th falls right around Kentucky Derby day every year.  It is also around the start of full-blown grilling season for many and happens to be my niece Catherine's birthday☺.

Grilled steak fajitas are perhaps the perfect choice for your weekend gathering.  The smells emanating from the steak and the veggies will perk up the olfactory senses of everyone in the neighborhood. The colors of the poblanos, red peppers, and onions capture the colors of the Mexican flag perfectly for your eyes before they compliment the steak perfectly for your palate. Pile the veggies and steak on a platter with all the accompaniments and let your guests dig in.  A bag of quality tortilla chips are optional, but they do help with the clean up of guacamole and salsa. A few cold cervezas will also help wash it all down☺.

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