9/29/2013

Sunday Dinner

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Bibb Lettuce Salad with Bacon and Croutons

Chocolate Pudding



A football game + two soccer games + a weekend catching up with old high school class mates =  me feeling a little lazy in the kitchen today.  But, I won't let that stop me from serving up a comforting meal.  I will let it give me the opportunity to make this dessert and share it with you.

I would like to see a show of hands who actually makes their own pudding from scratch.  Between the refrigerated pudding cups and the ready to make pudding in a box, I am willing to bet there aren't that many hands.  I get it.  It's easy and convenient.  But I guarantee that if you make this, you'll have a whole new appreciation and love for puddin'.  Now are you a skin or no skin kinda person??

9/27/2013

Mississippi Mud Cake

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I have to admit that I was pretty scared this week.  At one point I thought thegalleygourmet.net was gone for good.  *Poof *  Fortunately that did not happen and I am back up and running so that I can share great recipes like this one!

Mississippi Mud Cake is named for its appearance.  The dense cake resembles the banks of the Mississippi River and the gooey chocolate sauce resembles the mud.  Thankfully, it tastes positively choco-rific and nothing like the muddy waters of the mighty river.

It is best served immediately after drizzling the cake with some of the chocolate sauce while serving the remaining sauce on the side (yes, drag your fork full of cake through the muddy pool), but it is also great the next day, cut into squares and eaten out of hand like a cake-bar.  Either way, it will be delicious!

9/25/2013

Finally!

Pin It Dear Readers and Followers,

You may have noticed that thegalleygourmet.net was down for several days due to some Google hiccups.  They have now been resolved!  I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Hopefully I will not run into something like this again, but to receive updates on thegalleygourmet.net, you can like my Facebook page where you will see up to date information on food topics or technical issues.  Thank you again for your patience. Happy cooking!

Kindest Regards,
Nicole

9/22/2013

Sunday Dinner

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Homemade Refrigerator Pickles
Aged Cheddar Cheese
Cornbread Crostini

Hickory Smoked Pork Ribs
Sliced Tomatoes




Today is the first day of Fall, but with the beautiful day and warm sun, I am not quite ready to let go of summer (and I had three racks of ribs in the freezer that I really wanted to smoke).  

I made a full batch of these crostini last week and froze half of it for future use.  Well, the future came very soon, so are on the menu again.  These are basically a southern spin on the traditional crostini.  It is a simple cornbread recipe that is baked in mini-muffin tins.  They bake at a high temperature until golden brown.  Even though they look like squatty mini-muffins, their texture is quite different.  They have much more crunch with just a hint of cake-like tenderness in the center.

The picture above is from last week when I served them with Swiss Cheese Relish, but tonight they will be topped with some good aged cheddar and refrigerator pickles.  I also like to serve them with Pimento Cheese.  They are an excellent and tasty vehicle for just about any topping.

9/19/2013

Chopped Salad with Turkey, Bacon, and Apples

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Here I go again talking about the weather, but for me it really plays a role in what I will serve for our meals.  We had a tease of cool temperatures over the weekend, but that was short lived and it's warm again.  With the cusp of Fall around the corner, I wanted to enjoy the flavors that the season has to offer in a refreshing meal that won't heat up my kitchen. 

Smoked turkey, crisp apples, bacon, and a simple blue cheese vinaigrette come together to satisfy my seasonal taste buds.  I take it a few ingredients further by adding shallots, which help balance all the sweet and savory flavors.  I also enjoy the addition of dried cranberries and toasted pecans (more seasonal flavors) to round out the salad, but you can certainly omit them or do as I do and serve them in bowls and allow your family and/or guests to serve themselves.


Serve it for lunch or as light dinner with a basket of hot buttered biscuits, or a batch of sweet cornbread.  I can hear the leaves rustling now....

9/15/2013

Sunday Dinner

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Buttermilk Biscuits
Sliced Tomatoes

Raspberry Chiffon Pie


I certainly didn't plan very well for tonight's Sunday dinner.  I was hoping for a sunny day to enjoy the last of the summer vegetables and some grilled ham steaks. **Cue the cool and rainy afternoon on the travel soccer field** We actually are in dire need of a day like today so, I will make a simple adjustment and just throw the ham in a cast-iron skillet instead of the grill.  Hot buttermilk biscuits and warm corn pudding soufflé will help take the edge off the cool, rainy weather.  And as for the raspberry pie... I don't really think I need to say much about a good pie, but I will.

Raspberries are the last of the summer berries and make for a nice transition into Fall.  It's kind of a change of seasons pie for me and perfect for a late summer dessert.  A layer of flaky pastry filled with a fresh berry layer, followed by a creamy chiffon layer, and then topped with sweetened whipped cream is a forkful of goodness on any kind of day.

*Note-- You'll note in the recipe that I use a packet of stabilizer for the whipped cream topping.  Weekends get a little busy around here so I try and make as much of our Sunday dinner menu in advance.  The stabilizer helps keep the whipped cream topping from weeping so I can make it the day before.  And since we don't usually finish the entire dessert on Sunday, it also helps keep it for a day or two in the refrigerator.

9/13/2013

Southern Caramel Layer Cake

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You may recall that this past Sunday was a birthday Sunday dinner menu.  Since we enjoyed his favorite lamb roast for that dinner, I put his other favorite, Southern Fried Chicken, on the menu for his actual birthday.  When you serve a Southern chicken classic, you certainly need to serve a classic Southern cake for dessert.  

This is a basic buttermilk cake with a sweet caramel frosting.  The cake calls for self-rising flour which makes the prep a little easier.  I must note that if you use White-Lily self-rising flour like I do, you will need to add an additional 6 Tablespoons of self-rising flour to the recipe.  

The frosting, oh the frosting... You start out by making a caramel sauce (reserving some for garnish) and then use it as a base for the buttercream.  I like a nice, fluffy frosting instead of a spreadable one, so I whip the frosting until light and fluffy.  Alternatively, you could just mix the frosting until smooth, then allow it to set until it is spreadable.  Either way you make it, it will be very good.  A garnish of toasted pecans adds a little texture and provides a good savory balance to the sweetness of the frosting. So channel your inner y'all and make this cake!

9/08/2013

Sunday Dinner

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Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb
French Flageolets
Bibb Lettuce Salad with House Vinaigrette



It's a Sunday birthday dinner around here today.  My son will be turning fifteen on Wednesday (oh my, where did the time go??), so it is his turn to choose the menu.  It was a tough choice between fried chicken and lamb, but lamb won.  And where there is roasted lamb, there are beans, bread and this salad.  And after almost three years of sharing our Sunday dinner menus, it's about time I got around to sharing this recipe.  


If you are a long time Sunday dinner follower, you might recall the numerous times I have listed Simple Green Salad on the menu.  Well, this is it--big leaves of buttery Bibb lettuce dressed with a simple vinaigrette made from this building block-- fresh herbs and shallots, and just a squeeze of lemon juice.  It's a great salad to serve with a rich meal like lamb, duck, or Toulouse sausage.  I've written the recipe per the original, but I also serve it family style tossed in a large bowl.

9/07/2013

Asian Slaw

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As much as I love my Classic Creamy Coleslaw, it's nice to have some variations.  Apple-Fennel Slaw, Tangy Apple-Cabbage Salad with Blue Cheese, and Creole Cabbage Salad pair well with different meal flavors.  So when I am having a meal with an Asian flair, I like to pull out this recipe to round out the menu.

I use Savoy cabbage rather than the standard green cabbage.  I just love the crinkle texture.  Carrot, red bell pepper, snow peas, and cilantro add crunch, color, and more flavor.  The dressing is what really makes this slaw.  Unlike the usual mayonnaise based ones, this one calls for plain yogurt.  You can use low-fat or fat-free (great for the waistline☺), but please steer clear of using Greek yogurt.  I tried it once because it was all I had on hand and it left an off, chalky-like flavor that did not marry well with the other flavors.  Speaking of flavor, I like to hit it with a little heat from Sriracha sauce.  It is certainly optional, but I highly recommend it.  Just add to taste or serve it on the side.


Serve it as a side to your main course, enjoy it as a light lunch salad (my kids love it packed in their lunches), or you can even wrap it in rice paper or other flat breads for a veggie wrap.  

9/04/2013

Shrimp and Ginger Dumplings with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

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I had this thing with Chinese take-out.  It always sounded like a good idea. I ordered it, ate it, and then...I felt like I licked a salt block.  I proceed to drink what seems like gallons of water and then I felt so full and bloated I don't want to move.  Not good.  So a few years ago I figured that I might try my hand at making some at home and I haven't gone back.

I appreciate the fresh flavors of Asian cooking.  However, it too often seems as if the flavors get lost in take-out.  I like to keep it simple, but full of flavor.  This recipe is a great example.  And it is good for the waistline, unlike some of the take-out dishes. Yes, making your own dumplings does require a little prep time, but the end result is worth it.  And if you have a kitchen helper, it goes a lot faster.  (Shout out to my daughter Emma☺.)

You can use round or square won ton wrappers.  I used square this time and shaped them into little packages, folding the outside corners to the center.  I reserve the shrimp shells and tails and infuse the broth with them, but if you have shrimp or fish stock you can use that too.  The filling is flavored with ginger, lemon juice, and sesame oil.  Like I said-- simple but flavorful.  They are served with a lightly sweetened and mildly spicy dipping sauce.  Now, what do I serve along with the dumplings?  Stay tuned for another recipe...

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