Saturday, November 30, 2013

Oyster Night

I just had a wonderful week spent with my favorite person in the world. He came for the whole week of Thanksgiving and we cooked until we dropped. 

One of the highlights of the week was Oyster Night. Mom brought over a sack of oysters and we sat around the table with dear sister and Mom opening oysters for the very first time. Several people warned us that is was really hard to do. But we managed quite nicely. Not a single oyster went unopened. It was such a great experience. It was a freezing cold wet day, so it turned out handling and cleaning the oysters was harder than opening them. It was so so COLD!!!! The oysters were so delicious and very salty. Can't wait to do this again. 

We made a few condiments for the raw oysters. The first was Mom's Cocktail Sauce. It is a classic at our house. We make it every time we have seafood. It is great on boiled crawfish, boiled shrimp, fried shrimp and of course oysters. The second condiment was my third attempt at Deckhand Sauce from Deckhand's Oyster Bar (Round Rock, TX). I have been trying so hard to replicate this sauce. This is the closest I have come so far. It is not exactly the same but close enough since I don't live any where close to the restaurant. It was spicy and complemented the oysters so well. Mom said she preferred it to the cocktail sauce. She really liked the cilantro in the sauce. We also made Donald Link's Garlic-Chile Butter so we could try grilling some of the oysters. It is delicious too. We all thought that a tablespoon of butter on each oyster was too much, so I put less. Now I know why, the butter burns off or spills during the grilling. So in this case more is better. Everything turned out amazing. I would definitely plan Oyster Night the same exact way next time. Great food and even better company!

Mom's Cocktail Sauce


1 bottle chili sauce
2 Tbsp. horseradish
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt


Pour chili sauce in a medium bowl. Stir in horseradish, lemon juice, Tabasco and salt. Mix well and taste, add ingredients to taste. Serve with boiled and fried seafood.

Deckhand Inspired Oyster Sauce


anchovy fillets, mashed
3 cloves garlic, finely grated
Juice of 2 limes
2 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce
1 tsp. kosher salt
Handful of cilantro, minced
2 Tbsp. water


In a medium bowl mash anchovies into a paste. Grate garlic clove on a microplane grater into the anchovies. Mash together until combined. Add lime juice, Sriracha, salt, cilantro and water. Mix well and pour into a squeeze bottle. Note the tip of the squeeze bottle may need to be trimmed so that cilantro will pass through the tip. Squeeze over oysters on the half shell.

Grilled Oysters with Garlic-Chile Butter
Source: Real Cajun by Donald Link
Serves 4 to 6

Compound Butter:
2 sticks butter
3 garlic cloves
2 anchovy fillets
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt

16 oysters, in the shell
Lemon wedges, for garnish


Cut butter into 1-inch cubes and allow it to soften to room temperature.

Mince the garlic, anchovy, and lemon zest (or mash in a mortar and pestle), and then fold in the butter, lemon juice, garlic chili sauce, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Roll the butter into a log, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until needed.

Open the oysters as you would for on the half shell, discarding the top shells. Place a 1-tablespoon slice of the compound butter on each oyster and place on a hot grill until until the juices begin to bubble and the oyster curls up around the edges, 6 to 10 minutes. (It's good to melt a few tablespoons of the butter to put om the oysters after they are grilled, in case some spills out of the shells.)

Serve immediately, with wedges of fresh lemon, if desired.

Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Jam Hands: Recipe Sharing Monday
This Gal Cooks: Marvelous Mondays
Stone Cottage Adventures: Tuesdays with a Twist
Anyonita Nibbles: Tasty Tuesdays
Memories by the Mile: Tuesday Trivia-Illinois and Link Party
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday

Recipe Review: Thai Basil Beef

I'm back to blogging after a long fun filled Thanksgiving holiday. There has been a lot of cooking going on. So be looking for new posts over the next few days. Here is what happened before the holidays.

The week before Thanksgiving I had to harvest my purple basil. A freeze was coming and I knew it would not survive. I could not bring it in because some ants had decided to move in. So I cut as many long stems of basil off the plant I could and placed them in a container of water. 

Since then I had been looking for ways to use the basil. I found a recipe for Thai Basil Beef on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. The recipe comes from Sugar Bang and is the creation of Master Chef Christine Ha [Click here for the recipe] and photos. It was really good and fast! I liked it best just warm. The cooler it was the more flavor it had in my humble opinion. I would make it again.

I decided to make pesto with the rest of the basil. I used a recipe from Rachael Ray. I thought it might be purple but it looked green to me. I used some to marinate a turkey breast that I grilled. It was delicious! The rest I put in the refrigerator and planned to toss it with some pasta.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Spicy Edamame and Inside Out Egg Rolls

Sister and I just had an impromptu dinner last night. We made two great recipes but we did not take a single photo. Sorry about that! But the recipes are definitely worth sharing. We made Spicy Edamame from Cuisine at Home's December 2013 issue and Inside Out Egg Rolls. 

The Edamame were so good! Spicy! But so so good! We did not chill them, we ate them warm. We both loved the dressing. Sister thought it would be great on green beans too. The sesame oil is wonderful. I love the spicy, tangy soy thing too. Dear sister and I really enjoyed them despite the burning lips we had when they were gone. Still worth it!

The Inside Out Egg Rolls is a recipe from the WW Recipe Review board. I have been making it for a while now. I have adjusted it to my taste adding a little sausage. It really does taste like an egg roll without the fried skin. This time sister found a bag of Chinese noodles to use as a garnish. It was delicious!

The best thing about the whole meal is that it took maybe 15 minutes. Both dishes take no time at all to prepare. I really need to try to keep these ingredients around for when you just need a meal in a hurry. I hope you try one or both soon. I will get photos next time. I promise!

Spicy Edamame
Source: Cuisine at Home; December 2013
Makes 4 servings


1 (16 oz.) bag frozen edamame in the shell
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. minced lemon zest
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Coarse salt
Toasted sesame seeds


Cook edamame according to package directions. Drain edamame and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool; drain and dry in a salad spinner.

Whisk together lemon juice, soy sauce, zest, sesame oil, and pepper flakes in a large bowl; add edamame and toss to coat. Chill edamame until ready to serve, tossing occasionally. Garnish edamame with coarse salt and sesame seeds.

Per serving: 178 cal; 7g total fat (0g sat); 0mg chol; 189mg sodium; 15g carb; 6g fiber; 12g protein.

Note: If you prefer warm edamame, cook, drain, and dry them, then immediately toss with the sauce mixture.

Inside Out Egg Roll
Serves 3-4


1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 a roll of reduced fat pork or turkey breakfast sausage
1 garlic clove, grated
1" ginger, grated
1 bag (16 oz.) Cole slaw mix 
Soy sauce (reduced sodium) to taste
1/8 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
Salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste


Sauté sausage in oil until brown. Add garlic, ginger, and slaw mix; saute until it starts to reduce in size. Add soy sauce, five spice powder, salt and peppers to taste. Sauté a little longer and serve.

**UPDATE Click Here for a Re-post of the 
Inside Out Egg Roll recipe with Photos**

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mexican Vegetable Chowder

I know this is not a seasonal dish, but I have been thinking about Calabacitas. [Click here for the recipe I usually make] I love this dish! Zucchini and squash with spicy poblanos? What’s not to like! Well I had bought the ingredients, but for one reason or another never got around to making the dish. Last night sister was visiting and I decided to make us a vegetable soup with the ingredients.

The soup was the easy part. But I can’t believe how hard it was for me to name this recipe. I always come up with a name right away. This was a first! I came up with lots of names but I just could not commit to one. Even now as I type this I am wondering if I picked the right one. What do you think? Should I change it?

Mexican Zucchini Corn Soup
Mexican Vegetable Chowder
Spicy Squash and Corn Soup
Spicy Calabacitas and Corn Soup
Calabacitas Chowder
Calabacitas Soup
Calabacitas and Corn Soup
Creamy Mexican Zucchini Corn Soup
Spicy Mexican Zucchini Corn Soup
Sopa de Calabacitas (Mexican Zucchini and Corn Soup)

I finally decided on Mexican Vegetable Chowder. It was one of my first thoughts. And since this was totally invented by a Louisiana girl, I don’t think it is authentic enough to call it Sopa de Calabacitas. Well now that is done! Now I can tell you about the chowder. It was great! Spicy, creamy and filling. I thought it was creamy enough before adding the cream but sister kept saying, “Use the cream!” You could totally omit the cream or even use fat free half and half if you like. I do think it helps mellow the spice of the peppers a little. Since you never know just how hot a chili will be, you can use the cream to control the heat of the dish. The only regret I have is that I did not have queso fresco in the frig. I think it will make an amazing garnish for this chowder. There is always next time!

Mexican Vegetable Chowder
Serves 6


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced small
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 poblano, seeded and chopped
3 small zucchini, diced
2 medium yellow squash, diced
2 mirliton or chayote squash, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
3/4 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. Black pepper, or to taste
1/8 tsp. Red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 cups chicken stock
16 oz. frozen corn, thawed
1/4 cup whipping cream (optional or you could use fat free half and half)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


In a medium stock pot over medium heat, add olive oil onions, garlic, jalapeno and poblano.  Sauté until onions become translucent. Add zucchini, squash and mirliton; sauté for several minutes until the zucchini begins to become tender. Season with 2 Tbsp. cilantro, oregano, salt, and peppers. Add stock bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Remove about 2 cups of vegetables and set aside. Puree the rest with a stick blender (or in a blender in batches). Add corn and bring to a simmer. Return vegetables to the pot and heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Remove from heat and add cream and remaining cilantro. Serve hot or room temperature, garnished with fresh cilantro.

Add queso fresco for a garnish.

Linking to:
Love Bakes Good Cakes: The Ultimate Soup Recipe List Linky
Buns In My Oven: What's Cookin' Wednesday
Turnips 2 Tangerines: The Four Seasons Blog Hop
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
Love Bakes Good Cakes: Freedom Fridays
Townsend House: What I Am Eating

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sandwich Art

Okay here it is a confession of sorts. I work at home a lot and the TV is always on. I must confess I have been watching General Hospital! There I have said it! Well I have to share something hilarious from today's episode. I juskept laughing and laughing. It appeals to both the foodie and artist in me.

Here is my recap. Crazy lady Heather Weber has been escaping the looney bin to paint abstract art for Franco. Franco passes it off as his own. Heather in disguise attends the art show. She tells the art dealer she will buy all Franco's paintings if he can explain them. Of course he can't. Heather gets mad and confronts him blowing her cover. She says the paintings which are of colorful stripes hanging vertically are hanging wrong. She re-positions the stripes horizontally and says "It's a BLT, you idiot!" She then goes around fixing the paintings and telling the guest which sandwich from Kelley's menu each painting represents.

I don't know why I find this so funny but I do!

Click here for a Video at ABC. (Will only be available for 7 days)

Also Soap Central had a recap leading up to the BLT reveal here is an excerpt:

"No, no, no," Heather barked as she approached Franco. "It's a BLT, you idiot," Heather explained. She angrily accused Franco of taking advantage of her creativity and then approached the painting to adjust it, so everyone could see that the horizontal lines represented layers of a BLT sandwich. 

In honor of the good laugh I had at this show. I have created my own Sandwich Art for you. For the recipe and an actual photo of the sandwich click on the name below each piece of Sandwich Art. 

I wish I was designing a sandwich shop right now. This would be a great art idea. I hope this made you smile. I know I am.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Beef Tips with Mushrooms

Dear sister has been asking for this dish since fall arrived. I have been without my car for a few days. So on sister's day off she brought me the groceries and I got busy cooking this family recipe.  Beef Tips with Mushrooms is a family recipe Mom cooked often when we were growing up. When the world got more health conscious she cooked it less and less frequently. The funny thing is I learned yesterday as I planned to cook this dish that Mom made a pot the day before. Does that mean food cravings run in the family? 

Anyway, this is a hearty stick to your ribs kind of meal that would please any beef or mushroom lover. Serve it over rice or egg noodles. Mom likes egg noodles, sister requested rice. I can tell you both are absolutely delicious. I think the key to this dish is browning the beef. That is where all the flavor begins to develop, so be sure not to crowd the pan. Make sure there is a lot of room around each beef cube so it browns and does not steam. You won't be disappointed. You might be wondering what is sirloin tips? I really did not know. Mom just always said to look for it at the store. So I looked it up [Click here or information]. I will tell you, I have made this recipe with a sirloin tip roast and sirloin steaks. Both worked well. I really think you could use any cut of beef that is suitable for stewing or braising. Just simmer until tender. I hope you will give it a try. It is perfect for the colder days we are having and will keep you warm this winter.

Beef Tips with Mushrooms
Serves 4 to 6


2-1/2 to 3 lbs Sirloin Tips
Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 (8 oz) carton mushrooms, sliced
2 cups beef broth
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup water
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped


Cut the beef into 1" cubes. Season beef with salt, peppers and Creole seasoning. Brown in a dutch oven in just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Be sure to do this in batches so not to over crowd the pan. Remove beef from pan and set aside. Add one diced onion and one carton of sliced fresh mushrooms. Saute until they begin to soften, return beef to pan and add 2 cups beef stock. Simmer covered until beef is tender; approximately a hour or a hour and a half. Whisk together 1/2 cup of water with 2 Tbsp of flour. Add to pot and simmer until gravy has thickened. You can also add fresh parsley at this point too. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve over hot cooked egg noodles or rice.

Linking to:
My Turn for Us: Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
Horrific Knits: Fall Into the Holidays
My Mixing Spoon: Random Recipe Roundup
Call Me PMc: Marvelous Mondays
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Jam Hands: Recipe Sharing Monday
The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen: Show Me Your Plaid Mondays
Townsend House: What I Am Eating
The Tumbleweed Contessa: What'd You Do This Weekend?
Dizzy Busy & Hungry: Wine'd Down Wednesday
Buns In My Oven: What's Cookin' Wednesday
Turnips 2 Tangerines: The Four Seasons Blog Hop
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
Anyonita Nibbles: Get Him Fed

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

PB&C Sandwich

This is not a recipe. It is more like a discovery. I never keep jelly in the house but I always seem to have peanut butter around. I guess it is because I use it to make Thai Style Peanut Dipping Sauce for spring rolls. The other day I was craving a good ole PB&J. I looked in the frig of course there was no jelly, but there was sweet chili sauce. You know the stuff you dip spring rolls in or use to make Asian chicken wings. Would that work? Yes it does! It has that salty, sweet and spicy thing going on. It is not hot and spicy. And it is not like sweet fruity jelly. It is savory sweet with a touch of heat. So delicious! A new twist on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I call it a PB&C or a Peanut Butter and Chili Sandwich. Try it! Let me know what you think. 

Do you have an unusual twist on the PB&J? Please share it with us.

PB&C Sandwich
aka Peanut Butter and Chili Sandwich
Serves 1


2 slices of bread
Creamy peanut butter
Sweet chili sauce(for spring rolls)


Spread one slice of bread with peanut butter. Spread the other slice with sweet chili sauce. Place slices together and cut in half.

Linking to:
My Turn for Us: Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
My Mixing Spoon: Random Recipe Roundup
Call Me PMc: Marvelous Mondays
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Carole's Chatter: Food on Fridays - Sandwiches

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cilantro Lime Salsa

I have been experimenting with salsa again. This salsa is so fresh you can still see the bubbles formed in the blender. I have made this recipe three times now. This batch went to a Halloween party with dear sister. This recipe is a combination of all the things I love from my other salsa recipes. I used the cumin and cilantro from the Hot and Smoky Salsa recipe. I used more garlic like the Garlic Lover's Hot Sauce recipe. Finally, I used lime juice, red wine vinegar and jalapeno from the Hot Sauce recipe. I left it a little on the chunky side too. I really like the texture and you can see so many of the ingredients that way. I think it is the perfect blend of all recipes. I don't think I can live with out the other recipes but I see myself making this salsa very often.

Cilantro Lime Salsa
Make 1 quart


1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped*
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1-1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
splash red wine vinegar
dash or two choula hot sauce
28 oz can whole tomatoes, undrained
1/2 bunch cilantro


Place onion through hot sauce in blender. Add enough of the liquid from the tomatoes to cover half of the ingredients. Process until finely chopped. Add the rest of the liquid, tomatoes and the cilantro. Pulse or blend until desired consistency. Refrigerate overnight.  Serve with corn chips.  Will keep in refrigerator about one week.

Note: *Seed the jalapeno for mild salsa, remove seeds from half for medium salsa, use whole jalapeno seeds and all for hot salsa.

Linking to:
My Mixing Spoon: Random Recipe Roundup
The Chicken Chick: Clever Chicks Blog Hop
Call Me PMc: Marvelous Mondays
The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen: Show Me Your Plaid Mondays
Townsend House: What I Am Eating
The Tumbleweed Contessa: What'd You Do This Weekend?
Jam Hands: Recipe Sharing Monday
Ms. enPlace: See Ya In the Gumbo
Anyonita Nibbles: Tasty Tuesdays
Memories by the Mile: Tuesday Trivia-South Dakota and Link Party
Dizzy Busy & Hungry: Wine'd Down Wednesday
Buns In My Oven: What's Cookin' Wednesday
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
Turnips 2 Tangerines: Four Season's Blog Hop
My Turn for Us: Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends

Friday, November 1, 2013

Crawfish Boil Soup

I guess I still haven't curbed my crawfish craving. I saw a recipe for Crawfish Boil Soup and it sounded so good. But the recipe had milk and flour in it. That did not sound like a crawfish boil to me. So I decided to make my own recipe. It really turned out good. This soup had lots of spicy crawfish flavor. It gets its spice from Cajun seasoning and a can of Rotel. I decided to puree the tomatoes because you don't have chunks of tomatoes at a crawfish boil. I added one link of smoked turkey sausage because after all some people do include sausage when they boil crawfish. I used Richard's turkey sausage, it is a delicious low fat sausage that is a mix of turkey and pork. I didn't forget the corn and potatoes. I love how the corn gave the soup some sweetness. Dear sister said it was tasty tasty. I agree. Definitely something I will make again. I decided to garnish it with parsley, green onions and lemon zest. The lemon zest was because we always throw lemon halves into our crawfish boil. It was delicious! Now I think I can't wait til spring for more crawfish.

Crawfish Boil Soup
Serves 6


1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
Spiced Salt, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 link of smoked turkey sausage, sliced (5 to 6 oz)
1 medium potato, diced
1 (15 oz) can corn, undrained
1 (10 oz) can original Rotel tomatoes, pureed*
1 quart fat free low sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1 lb. crawfish tails
Parsley, chopped
Green onion, sliced
Lemon zest


In a large stockpot, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery, and cook until onion is soft. Season with Spiced Salt. Add garlic, bay leaf, sausage, and potato; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.

Add corn, pureed Rotel and broth. Bring to a boil, add Cajun seasoning, and crawfish tails. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Remove the bay leaves and serve. Garnish with parsley, green onion and lemon zest, if desired.

Note: *If you are sensitive to spicy food use mild Rotel or maybe tomatoes with onions and garlic.

Linking to:
My Mixing Spoon: Random Recipe Roundup
The Chicken Chick: Clever Chicks Blog Hop
Call Me PMc: Marvelous Mondays
The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen: Show Me Your Plaid Mondays
Townsend House: What I Am Eating
The Tumbleweed Contessa: What'd You Do This Weekend?
Jam Hands: Recipe Sharing Monday
Ms. enPlace: See Ya In the Gumbo
Anyonita Nibbles: Tasty Tuesdays
Memories by the Mile: Tuesday Trivia-South Dakota and Link Party
Love Bakes Good Cakes: The Ultimate Soup Recipe List Linky
Dizzy Busy & Hungry: Wine'd Down Wednesday
Buns In My Oven: What's Cookin' Wednesday
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
Turnips 2 Tangerines: Four Season's Blog Hop
My Turn for Us: Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
My Pinterventures: Souper Bowl 2015 Party
Carole's Chatter: Food on Fridays - Crayfish, Lobster & Crab

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