Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Dinner....

I missed you all yesterday, I hope that you saw my guest blog spot at Maryland Pink and Green.  I had a recipe for one of my favorite soups for fall.  There's not a lot I like about fall, but soup would be an exception to that rule.  I love a good soup in the fall.

When I was a child, Sunday Dinner took place at my granny's house and involved lots and lots and lots of food, even though there was only 6 of us most of the time.  No matter if was 6 or 60, granny made too much food to feed the masses. I loved those Sunday afternoons, that were filled with dinner, and playing in the sun.  We always stayed dressed for dinner, but had play clothes for the afternoon.  I feel like those were magical times in my life. 

Now that I'm a pastor, Sunday Dinners consist of naps most of the time.  I am so tired by the end of Sunday Service the last thing I want to do is cook.  So, Sunday Dinner has become snack time.  Here is my favorite Sunday Snack:

Hummus
Olives
Feta Cheese

And....

These 7 grain Deli Flats are so delicious!  I like them better than Pita and I think they are better for you.  You Sunday may not be snack day, but pick some of these us for the next time you need a snack.  Some other ideas for them:

Mini-Pizza
Peanutbutter on Toast
Toasted Veggies and Cheese
Grilled Chicken Melt (With avocados)
Cream Cheese with cucumber

The possibilities are endless.....

Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 17, 2010

River Roads: Cookbook of the Week

Since this week was all about Cajun Cooking, I though it was only appropriate to feature a Cajun Cookbook!  River Roads is the Junior League of Baton Rouge's Cookbook Empire.  They currently have  4 different, but very Cajun volumes of the cookbook.  It is the #1 best selling community cookbook series in the nation and has some amazing recipes.  I've include one of my favorites and one of the ones that is most unique in my opinion, Spinach Madeleine.

Here's a Little History on Spinach Madeleine:

Madeline Wright developed the original recipe for Spinach Madeleine as a way to use a roll of jalapeño cheese about to go bad in her refrigerator. “I had a two-table bridge club, so I served them the dish,’’ she said. “It made a hit.”

Wright was a young active member of the Junior League when members were compiling recipes for “River Road Recipes.”

“I had to submit three recipes, so I decided to submit the spinach,’’ she said. “I knew the name was important.”

She thought a French-sounding name would work best in a south Louisiana cookbook, so she came up with the name Spinach Madeleine, named not for herself but in the style of the famous French dish Veal Madeleine. “I spelled it with an extra ‘e’ because I was embarrassed that people would think I was naming it for myself,’’ she said.

Spinach Madeleine has become world-famous. “I’m surprised that 50 years later, people are still talking about the recipe,’’ Wright said. “I Googled it once and was shocked to see how many times it came up.” 


Spinach Madeleine

Spinach Madeleine, the most famous recipe from the River Road Recipes cookbook series, has undergone a makeover! Kraft Foods has discontinued making its jalapeno cheese roll which is an important ingredient in the original Spinach Madeleine recipe. As a result, River Road Recipes has developed a substitute for the jalapeno cheese roll. We believe your family will never know the difference!

Ingredients:
2 packages frozen chopped spinach
3/4 teaspoon celery salt
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons flour
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons chopped onion
6 ounces Kraft Velveeta
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup vegetable liquor
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Red pepper to taste
Cook spinach according to directions on package. Drain and reserve liquor. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.

Add flour, stirring until blended and smooth, but not brown. Add onion and cook until soft but not brown. Add liquid slowly, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

Cook until smooth and thick; continue stirring. Add seasonings, peppers and cheese which has been cut into small pieces. Stir until melted. Combine with cooked spinach.

This may be served immediately or put into a casserole and topped with buttered bread crumbs. The flavor is improved if the latter is done and kept in refrigerator overnight. This may also be frozen.

Serves 5 to 6.
Spinach Madeleine is an extremely versatile dish. It can be served with crackers as an appetizer, as a side dish or even as a main course when stuffed in a tomato!
  •  

We created the original River Road Recipes cookbook.  Share in the secrets of fine Creole and Cajun cooking with the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s award winning cookbook series, River Road Recipes. Since 1959, our award-winning cookbooks have captured the essence of Louisiana cooking and have delighted chefs and guests alike with their delicious recipes. With over 1.9 million books in print, River Road recipes speaks for itself. After all, it is the all-time #1 best selling community cookbook series in the nation. So, delight yourself or someone you know with the gift of River Road Recipes.
Road Recipes I, is The Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine with 650 recipes. It has sold over 1.3 million copies since 1959 and is considered by most to be the textbook of Creole cooking. In fact, The New York Times said, “If there were community cookbook awards, the Oscar for best performance would go hands down to RIVER ROAD RECIPES.River Road Recipes II, A Second Helping, builds on the success of River Road Recipes I by offering 606 triple tested recipes. 

River Road Recipes III, A Healthy Collection, brings Louisiana cooking into the eating-better, health conscious age by providing reduced fat versions of old recipe favorites. It delights with 341 lower fat and calorie recipes while still retaining the great flavor Cajun cooking is known for. All recipes include a complete nutritional analysis.

River Road Recipes IV, Warm Welcomes, our newest addition, illustrates how we cook, eat and live in Baton Rouge. It features 48 menus, with over 300 innovative recipes, and color photographs to assist with all of your entertaining needs. A USA Book News "Best Books 2005" Award Finalist, Cookbook Category.
River Road Recipes I, II and III are all included in the Walter S. McIlhenny Community Cookbook Hall of Fame. The real winner, however, is the Baton Rouge community, which has benefited from more than $3 million derived from cookbook sales and donated by the Junior League of Baton Rouge to local charitable and educational projects. 

So Enjoy Some Cajun Food This Weekend!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tzatziki Time!

My favorite food in the world, is Greek!  I love my southern fried tradition, I love my crazy cajun spice, but Greek....Greek is a way of life and taste of life, I wish I had every day!  Maybe if I was Greek, I would get tired of it, but not being Greek, I love it!  On Monday I gave you the recipe for my favorite Greek dish, spanakopita.  For me, you cannot have spanakopita without tzatziki.  Tzatziki is a great dip/sauce that I think is good on almost anything, except maybe chocolate chip cookies (I once got caught having to eat Tabasco sauce on cookies because I said it was good on anything).  I love it on just plain pita, spanakopita, chicken, fish, beef, veggies.  It is just plain good!  So, make you up a batch and experiment!  Some of the great meals come from experimenting! 


Ingredients

  • 2 (8 ounce) containers plain yogurt -- some use Greek, normal US is OK as well
  • 2 cucumbers - seeded and diced -- I like the peeling so I leave it on, but some people like it better without the peeling
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped. 

In a large bowl, combine, well everything! Stir until well blended.  Cover and refrigerate overnight flavor. OK, so I always have to have a little right away and in a couple more hours, and a few after that....it is good right away, but only gets better with time!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My TV Debut!!!

In the side bar, you will see my friend Ed and I in our first TV appearance on the Hampton Roads Show!  It was so much fun and they LOVED US and THE FOOD!!!  So much, that in October/November, we may be back. We're going to take Chef Bob from Farm Fresh fishing and then cook with him the next day on the show!!!

Before the Show!


So here's the long awaited recipe:  Crawfish Etuoffee!

Ingredients:

1 cup each (finely chopped) White Onion, Celery, Green Bellpepper, Cherry Tomatoes, Green Onions, Parsley

2 tablespoons fresh chopped garlic

2 sticks salted sweet cream butter

2/3 cup flour

16 oz chicken stock

White rice

1 pound peeled and deveined crawfish tails

Salt, Black Pepper, Red (cayenne) Pepper, Paprika

******************************
**********************************

Season to taste with above,  crawfish tails and set aside.

Blonde Roux:  In heavy iron skillet melt all butter over medium heat.  Sift in flour gradually, constantly stirring with wooden spoon.  After flour is incorporated simmer over med heat approx 5 mins until "blonde" or light brown in color.  Increase heat to med high and add crawfish tails.  Saute for 2 mins then add onion, garlic, celery, tomatoes and bell pepper.  Saute approx 5 mins or until tender.  Gradually add chicken stock (which is already up to temperature) constantly stirring until desired consistency is acheived.  Simmer for 5 mins over low heat. Add green onion, parsley and season to taste with above mentioned seasonings.  Simmer approx 20 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.

*************************************************************

Service:

On a white plate, spoon about 2/3 cup etouffee' onto plate.  Place a rounded scoop of rice on top of etouffee in middle of plate.  Garnish with parsley and serve with garlic french bread.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spanakopita

I know that I promised this last week, but here is my Spanakopita recipe.  At first glance it is pretty darn easy, but let me warn you about phyllo.   You must let the phyllo thaw to room temperature naturally, if you really want to be able to work with it.  You cannot nuke it, or heat it in any way.  you simply have to let it warm up.  So, if you are going to be working with phyllo sheets, you have to plan ahead.  You cannot say, I'm going to make Spanakopita when I get home, if you do not have thawed phyllo.  This is my favorite dish ever, so enjoy!!  I like it best with Taziki Sauce.  I'll post that recipe soon!  Happy Cooking! 

Spanakopita!
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 lb baby spinach
  • 1/2 lb feta, crumbled (scant 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 10 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, then cook spinach, stirring, until wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, about 10 minutes. Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl and stir in feta, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. 


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Melt remaining 1 stick butter in a small saucepan, then cool.

Cover phyllo stack with 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap and then a dampened kitchen towel.
Take 1 phyllo sheet from stack and arrange on a work surface with a long side nearest you (keeping remaining sheets covered) and brush with some butter. Top with another phyllo sheet and brush with more butter. Cut buttered phyllo stack crosswise into 6 (roughly 12- by 2 3/4-inch) strips.

Put a heaping teaspoon of filling near 1 corner of a strip on end nearest you, then fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding strip (like a flag), maintaining triangle shape. Put triangle, seam side down, on a large baking sheet and brush top with butter. Make more triangles in same manner, using all of phyllo.

Bake triangles in middle of oven until browned, 20 to 25 minutes.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Deep Fried Pepsi

Deep Fried Pepsi


Being from the deep south, I come from the camp, that anything can be fried.  My favorite fried foods are chicken and okra.  Anything, however, if it is still long enough and close enough to the badder, it can and will be fried.  My family had made deep friend cookies and cookie dough since I was a little bit.  Now, you can find deep fried Oreos (my favorite) and chocolate chip cookies at almost every street fair.  A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was at the Kentucky State Fair and they had something, I didn't think was possible, Deep Fried Pepsi!  Well, being that I am convinced that I can cook anything, I decided to try.  I found this recipe online, got out my deep fryer, and went for it. It was, can I say, interesting.  However, in the future, I'll stick to things that were meant to be fried, like Oreos and Snickers :)

1 1/2 cups of Pepsi
1 1/2 cups of Flour
5 large eggs
1 cup of real butter
pinch of salt
peanut oil

Step 1  Combine the Pepsi and the butter in a melting pot and bring to a boil. Once at a boil add the flour and the salt and whisk together over med/low heat until it is smooth and all incorporated.

Step 2  Pour the batter into an electric blender and let cool for 30 seconds or so. Mix on medium speed and add the eggs one at a time. DO NOT add all the eggs at once, this will ruin the product. Once the eggs have been added beat until the batter holds stiff peaks.

Step 3 Place the mixture into a small pouring bowl and heat peanut oil in a deep fryer to 375F. Make sure the peanut oil is at least 5 inches deep. Create small balls out of the mixture and add to the deep fryer. Fry until the balls rise to the surface and turn golden brown in color.

Step 4 Remove the fried Pepsi from the oil and place on a draining rack. Sprinkle with sugar or powder sugar. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Remembrance....

In Remembrance of September 11, I am posting a recipe that was a favorite at the Windows to the World Restaurant that was on top of the World Trade Center, Roast Squabs.   For those of you who do not know, Squab is actually the city bird of New York City, the Pegion.  I will admit, this is a recipe I have stole from Gourmet.com .  There are not too many southerns that have recipes for Squabs to be passed down.  

First, there is a video, that is one of my favorite tributes to that day.  The song is by Bruce Springsteen. My first time in New York, a place I now know as my second home, was about a month after September 11th.  To this day I can close my eyes and see the city covered with home-made missing posters and smell the dust that covered the city.  

For me, I will remember by celebrating and preparing Squabs for the first time!  


video


Roast Squabs
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (10-inch) round or oval sourdough loaf (1 1/2 lb), crust discarded
  • 9 fresh porcini (cèpes; 3/4 lb), trimmed
  • 3 (1-lb) squabs
  • 3 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons garlic confit purée
  • 6 tablespoons strained duck fat (from garlic confit purée)
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • Special equipment:

    kitchen string
  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Bring 2 cups water, garlic, and 1 teaspoon sea salt to a boil, then drain in a colander. Blanch garlic in same manner 2 more times.
  • Cut bread into 1/4-inch-thick sticks and toast on a baking sheet in middle of oven until pale golden, about 6 minutes. Leave oven on.
  • Peel stems of porcini with a sharp small knife just until white flesh is exposed, then quarter mushrooms lengthwise.
  • Pat squabs dry and season generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Put a sprig of thyme in cavity of each squab and divide garlic confit among cavities. Tie legs of squabs together with kitchen string and fold wings back.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons duck fat in a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown squabs in 2 batches, turning, about 5 minutes, transferring to a plate and reserving skillet.
  • Add 1 1/2 more tablespoons duck fat to skillet and sauté porcini in 2 batches over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes (add another 1 1/2 tablespoons duck fat to skillet for second batch). Stir in blanched garlic, toasted bread, and salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
  • Put a 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan on bottom rack of oven (to catch drips) and arrange squabs, breast sides up, in a small circle (without touching) on middle rack of oven directly above baking pan. Roast squabs, carefully basting once with remaining tablespoon duck fat, 15 minutes. Replace baking pan with skillet of bread salad, positioning it directly under birds. Roast squabs and bread salad until an instant-read thermometer inserted in fleshy part of a thigh (avoid bone) registers 155°F for medium meat and mushrooms in bread salad are tender, about 5 minutes. (If mushrooms are not tender, roast bread salad 5 to 8 minutes more.) Transfer squabs to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes, then halve lengthwise with poultry shears or a sharp knife.
  • Toss bread salad with parsley and lemon juice and serve with squabs.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Squabs may be stuffed and tied 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Pat dry just before browning.
  • Bread may be toasted 2 days ahead, cooled completely, and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cookbook of the Week -- Secrets of Peruvian Cuisine



A few weeks ago, my Around the World Dinner Club's theme was Peruvian.  I was not overly familiar with Peruvian Cuisine and did not know really what to expect.  The main dish was Cevicha, which was amazing!   I have only recently discovered a love for fish and Cevicha only made that love grow.  The side dishes were amazing as well.  It seemed I had found a new cuisine to love, Peruvian!  So, I went in search of the best Peruvian Cookbook and found Secrets of Peruvian Cuisine. 


I love that the book contains both English and Spanish for all of the recipes.  While, I do not yet speak Spanish, my hope is one day soon I will.  The photos are amazing and the food seems to be so fresh you can smell it.   Here is a Ceviche Recipe for you to enjoy!


Ingredients:
2 pounds of tilapia fillets, diced (you can also use other white fish fillets)
1 ½ cup of fresh lemon juice
1 fresh yellow hot pepper, seeded and chopped (if you can’t find it, use a habanero pepper)
½ cup of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large red onions, cut into long thing strips - julienne style
3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup of lemon juice
Boiled corn, cut in 2 inch pieces
Boiled sweet potatoes, cut in slices
Lettuce leaves 
 
Put the fish into a large glass bowl with the lemon juice (1 ½ cup), cover, and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Drain the lemon juice from the fish and add the hot pepper, celery, garlic, onions, cilantro, salt, pepper and the rest of the lemon juice (1 cup). Put in the fridge until ready to serve.
Serve the ceviche on top of lettuce leaves. Enjoy with corn and sweet potatoes on the side!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Give-A-Way Time !!!!


I know that I promised today would hold a my recipe for Spankakopita, but I didn't figure you would mind, if I waited a day on that, so that I could hold a GIVE-A-WAY!!!  Here's what the lucky winner will receive.....

A Set of Pampered Chef Bamboo Spoons
Every good cook needs a good set of wooden spoons.  While I love the ones that were my granny's Pampered Chef took the Wooden Spoon to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL with their Bamboo Ones!

A Can of Slap Ya Mama
My FAVORITE Cajun Spice!  Once you try it, it will be yours too!

Virginia Hospitality, the first cookbook from the Junior League of Hampton Roads
A classic cookbook for anyone who love to cook and entertain.

A $25 Williams-Somoma Gift Card
No one does kitchen like Williams-Sonoma!  There are so many things in there that no one needs, but every cook would love to have!  Like......

How easy would prepping be with this little gadget?
OK, I lied, every cook could use a set of 10 prep bowls! 
This give away, would make any kitchen a little more prepared to cook even the finest of meals!  So, what are you waiting for.....enter today!  Here's are the rules.....

Now for the rules:
Must be a follower. Giveaway ends September 14th 2010. (The Day I appear on the Hampton Roads Show....

For entries:

Blog about the give away (2 entries)
Tweet the give away including my twitter name @icancookanythin & link. (1 entry - per day)
Follow me on Facebook I Can Cook Anything
Facebook the giveaway including link. (1 entry - per day)
Add my button. (1 entry)
Be sure to comment what you have done.

Also, don't forget when I get to 100 followers, there will be a random give-a-way for my first cookbook of the week "Some Like It South."  Every 100 followers we will give-a-way one of our cookbooks of the week!

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jamabalaya!!!

I LOVE JAMABALAYA!!!  It is one of my favorite things to cook.  You know why?  Because you can put almost anything in it and it will be GOOD!!!  You can make it with chicken, turkey, shrimp, crawfish, oysters, hamburger, etc.  My favorite, of course, is crawfish!  However, it is all wonderful.  One of the thing that drives me crazy, is so many people serve Jambalaya as a main dish.  I'm not sure if this is the proper way to serve it, but in my family, it was always a side dish.  Although, at times the left overs became lunch the next day.  So, here is a good outline for making some great Jamabalaya!

  • 1 lb.  chicken, shredded; AND/OR
    • 1 lb. shrimp, leftover from a boil and peeled; OR 
    • 1 lb crawfish, leftover from a boil and peeled; or
    • 1 lb oysters, steamed; OR
    • 1 lb. leftover holiday turkey, shredded; OR
    • 1 lb. of any kind of red meat; OR
    • Any combination of the above
  • 1 lb. (hot) smoked sausage, andouille is the best, sliced ; OR
    • 1 lb. cubed smoked ham 
    • Any combination of of the above
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 - 6 cloves garlic, minced (I like lots)
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 small cans tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. can tomatoes
  • 8 cups good dark homemade stock -- chicken, shrimp, crawfish, veggie 
  • Slap Ya MAMA to taste (or 2 - 3 tablespoons); OR
    • 2 teaspoons cayenne, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon white pepper, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teapsoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
In a sauté or frying pan, brown the chicken, sprinkling with Slap Ya Mama seasoning if you've got it; or another Cajun seasoning. Don't cook if using leftover cooked bird, but you still season it, unless all your meat is cooked in Cajun seasoning like mine.  Tear the meat into bite-size pieces.

In the same frying pan, brown the sliced andouille and pour off fat. Sauté with sweet cream butter the onions, garlic, peppers and celery until onions begin to turn transparent.

In the same pot, while you're sautéing the veggies, add the tomato paste and let it brown a little. What we're going for here is an additional depth of flavor by browning the tomato paste a little; the sugar in the tomato paste begins to caramelize, deepening the flavor and color. Keep it moving so that it browns but doesn't burn. This is a VERY STICKY STEP-- BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN ATTEMPTING THIS STEP BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT IT TO BURN!


Once the vegetables are translucent and the tomato paste achives sort of a red mahogany color, pour in 2 cups of the stock, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to mix up any browned bits, and stir until smooth, making sure the sautéed vegetables, paste and stock are combined thoroughly. It should be pretty dern thick.

Add the Slap Ya Mama seasoning, tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the meat and/or seafood and cook another 10 minutes; if you're using seafood, be careful not to overcook it.

Add the rest of the stock, additional seasoning to taste, and stir in the rice, combining thoroughly. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is cooked through.   Check seasoning again -- however, at this point you can only add to the mix and not cook in , then turn the heat down to low-medium and let the sauce thicken up a bit, with the pot uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Stir thoroughly again. When the jambalaya has thickened up a bit and is not too runny or too thick.

 

So those directions are clear as mud?  The important part is to have fun, enjoy, and remember "Good Home Cookin' Never Taste The Same Way Twice!"

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back and Bigger than Ever!

The cooking has had to take a back seat for a month, while I got everything settled from 17 days in the  mountains leading a retreat!  However, now that summer is officially over, it is time to get back in the saddle again!  A great way to start, is by appearing on a local TV showing to cook LIVE during the show!  Next Tuesday, I will be on the Hampton Roads Show cooking, my specaility and favorite, Crawfish Etouffee.  Now, I don't want to give away my secrets before the show, but tune in next Tuesday for a link to the show and the recipe. 

I hope you'll join us back here tomorrow, where I will be giving you another Cajun classic Jambalaya!  On Thursday, I have a wonderful recipe that I am trying out for my Around the World Dinner Club, Greek Night, Spanakopita. As for Friday and Saturday, you'll just have to tune check back to see :)


Happy Cooking, Ya'll!