My roofer had taken advantage of the full moon high tide to head down to Grande Isle for some fishing. As an apology for then coming to my house late and without all the necessary tools to do the job, he reached into his cooler and handed me a fresh caught trout.
My go-to preparation for trout is simple but elegant – fish, lemon, butter and almonds. As I only had the one fish (ie two filets), I cut the below recipe in half. That gave me lots of lovely sauce.
Don’t be like me and take a phone call after tossing the almonds in, as then your butter might go a bit past ‘browned’ but it was still mighty tasty!
4-6 trout filets 1 cup milk Salt, pepper, flour 1 stick unsalted butter, divided in half ½ teaspoon pepper (white, if possible) 1 teaspoon salt ½ cup slivered almonds juice of 1 lemon
Soak filets in milk for 1 hour.
Remove from milk and sprinkle with salt and pepper and dredge lightly in flour. Sauté the filets in half a stick of butter for about 3-4 minutes per side or until golden. Transfer to an oven proof dish and keep warm in a very low oven (170 degrees F).
Melt the remaining ¼ cup butter over medium heat until it begins to brown and smell toasty. Lower heat. Add in almonds and toss well. Stir in lemon juice.
Arrange filets on the plate. Pour over sauce.
And, he swears he will come back on Sunday to finish the job!
This was a cheap and uncomplicated comfort food from when I was a kid and I still have it as one of my go-to’s when I need a fast and easy meal as it only takes 30 minutes to make. Is it particularly authentic? No but if you want one closer to the old country, I blogged about it here – Leftover Brisket Beef Stroganoff.
I usually use ground chuck as I normally have some in my freezer but any ground meat will do. It is a good idea to pull the sour cream out ahead of time to come to room temperature as it could break or curdle if it is added to the hot dish while still cold.
Creamy without cream and super comforting.
1 lb ground meat 1 clove garlic, minced ½ lb mushrooms, sliced (fresh or canned) 2 tablespoons flour ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 cup sour cream dash of paprika (optional)
Brown meat. Drain most of the rendered grease, leaving about a tablespoon. Stir in garlic and mushrooms (if canned drain them). Sprinkle over flour and cook, stirring regularly for five minutes. Add seasonings and soup and cook for 10 minutes more. Remove from heat and slowly stir in sour cream. Sprinkle on the paprika and serve over noodles or rice.
I bought a rotisserie chicken the other day and after dinner, I picked the remaining meat from the bones. Later in the week, once I got home from a busy day of being out and about, I further cut down on prep time by using a seasoning blend and a refrigerated pie crust to have a delicious pot pie on the table in about 90 minutes.
I’m not a pea or carrot fan, so I instead I used fresh broccoli. The broccoli goes well with the cheesy sauce and the cheddar adds enough saltiness that the rest of the dish needs no added salt.
I made two small pies instead of one large and froze the second before baking. When I’m ready to eat that one, all I will need to do is put it in the oven from frozen and add about 15 minutes to the bake time.
The pot pie is very filling and full of comforting flavors. It was so good, I ate the entire half!
Cheesy Leftover Chicken Pot Pie
2 pie crusts (I used 1 package of Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts) 4 tablespoons butter 2 cups seasoning blend (PictSweet) or dice 1 medium onion, 2 stalks of celery and 1 bell pepper 4 tablespoons flour 2 cups chicken broth 1 cup milk 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated 1 large head broccoli, broken into individual florets 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Sauté the veggies until soft, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and continue to cook for 5 minutes more. Whisk in the chicken broth to loosen the flour and remove any lumps. Slowly add the milk and whisk until well combined and the sauce has thickened and just reaching a simmer, around five minutes. Drop in cheese by the handful and stir until melted. Stir in broccoli and chicken. Remove pan from heat.
Place one pie crust in the bottom of a pie pan. Pour in the filling. Place top crust on and pinch and roll the edges together. Cut 4 two inch slices in the top for steam to escape. Place on a rimmed baking sheet to contain any drips
Cook for 45 minutes, rotating pan midway through cooking. Let stand for 15-30 minutes before slicing and eating.
I made some Tasso ham the other day and set aside a cup of the cubes for this recipe. I also cheated and used a seasoning blend so I didn’t have to chop the onion, celery and bell pepper. I just used two generous cups of the frozen veggies to speed things up. And if you already have a favorite Cajun/Creole Seasoning, use a tablespoon of it to season the chicken. Here is my recipe for a batch to keep on hand.
Everything, including the rice is cooked in the jambalaya making this the perfect one pot meal. Because the Cajuns who developed this meal were a thrifty bunch, this meal stretches with your budget – have shrimp? Toss a handful or two in at the end when returning the chicken to the pot. Only have squirrel or rabbit? Use it in place of the chicken. Vegetarian? Leave out the meats altogether, swap vegetable stock for chicken stock and add red beans to cook with the rice. My version has chicken, ham and sausage so 2 chicken breasts, 1 cup of diced ham and 1 link of sausage add plenty of protein to serve four people while not breaking the bank.
This is a pretty quick recipe and in about an hour you’ll be eating a deliciously, hearty dish that has so many layers of flavors. Fix your plate and we’ll have big fun on the bayou!
One Pot Jambalaya
1 tablespoon paprika 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” pieces 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use 1 medium onion, diced 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced 2 ribs celery, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ cup diced Tasso Ham 3 tablespoons tomato paste 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon hot sauce 1 cup long-grain rice 3 bay leaves 3 cups chicken stock 1 link andouille sausage, cut into ¼ inch coins
In a small bowl, stir together paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, basil, cayenne and salt and pepper. Or, a tablespoon of already prepared Creole/Cajun seasoning. Place the chicken into a medium bowl and toss in the spice mixture until completely coated with the seasoning.
In a large, Dutch oven, heat half of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and any extra seasoning from the tossing and sauté until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the rest of the olive oil to the same pot, along with the onion, bell pepper, and celery; sauté about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and rice, stirring to coat well. Cook about 2 minutes or until every grain of rice is glistening. Add bay leaves, Tasso ham and chicken stock. Stir well to combine. Bring mixture to a boil then turn the temperature down to just hold a simmer. Cover.
Cook until rice is just tender, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in chicken and andouille sausage. Cook about 10 minutes more with the lid off. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and/or pepper, if needed. Serve.
I took a basic pate brisee crust recipe and reduced the flour and water by the weight of the sourdough starter. If using 1 cup starter (8 oz or 227g), it means reducing the flour by a scant cup (4 oz or 113 g) and the water by ½ cup (4 oz or 113g). Easy peasy and using the food processor to cut in the butter makes it even more so.
You could certainly make the hand pies with a regular pastry crust (home-made or store bought) but I’m always chuffed to find something else my sourdough starter can do.
The crust turned out to be perfectly flaky. It is strong enough to stand up to a fully loaded hand pie and would be perfect for a base for a fruit pie or other savory/sweet delicious treat.
Sourdough Pastry Dough
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into slices and frozen 1 cup sourdough starter discard, chilled
In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Place in the butter and pulse to cut it into the flour until coarse, pea-sized crumbs appear. Place the sourdough starter into the processor and pulse just until combined.
Dump the dough in a large bowl and bring it together with your hands. If it is very crumbly, add some ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time (2 tablespoons maximum). Push the dough together into a rough ball. Flatten into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1 hour or up to overnight. The dough can even be frozen at this stage. Make sure it is wrapped well and defrost in the fridge overnight before using.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and let rest for a few minutes at room temperature so it will be soft enough to roll out. Lightly dust workspace surface with flour. Use even pressure to roll the dough out front to back. Give the dough a quarter turn to roll the pastry out into a circle with a thickness of approximately ¼-inch. Cut into individual pies with a larger cutter – traditionally over in Natchitoches, they used an old coffee can as a cutter. I’ve got a handy dandy set of empanada molds that Michelle gave me. You cut with one side and use the other to fill and seal.
You will want to make the filling while the dough chills so it can be cooling in the fridge before making the pies. To keep the pastry flaky, you do not want the butter in the dough to melt too early.
I recommend rinsing the canned artichokes to reduce the citric acid taste.
I substituted a sweet vidalia onion for the green onions and altered the cheeses a bit from the original recipe. I like the flavor of the mix of Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago cheese versus just plain Parmesan and a sharp cheddar is definitely a nice touch.
Artichoke Bacon Sourdough Hand Pies
1 medium onion, diced 6 slices cooked bacon, chopped 2 14-oz cans artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped 80 grams cream cheese (⅓ of the package) 100 grams shaved Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago cheese 100 grams sharp white cheddar cheese, grated 1/2 teaspoon salt Pinch of cayenne pepper
In a large pot, sauté the diced onion until golden. Add in the chopped bacon and cook until crisp. Stir in the chopped artichoke hearts. Cook until heated through, then add the cream cheese in chunks. Stir until the cream cheese is melted and combined. Turn off the heat and add the Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago cheese, white cheddar cheese, salt and cayenne. Transfer the filling to a bowl and refrigerate for an hour.
Place a generous amount of filling in the center of each pastry round and fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges to close. Crimp to seal the edges with a fork or the empanada mold. Refrigerate for an hour or until ready to eat. At this stage, you could also freeze the pies – wrap in plastic wrap and put in a zip top bag.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the tops of the formed hand pies with egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
The savory filling from Megan Forman is delicious with all the flavors from the bacon, artichokes and cheese.
I placed a large order at Penzy’s for spices and one of the things I bought was Chinese Szechuan Peppercorns. They aren’t actually peppercorns but are seed husks and they have a complex flavor when made into a simple seasoning for shrimp.
I started by making the salt and pepper powder. Take two tablespoons of the Szechuan peppercorns and toast them in a dry skillet over medium high heat. Remove to a mortar and let cool while you lightly toast one tablespoon of sea salt. Add it to the mortar and use the pestle to grind the salt and pepper into a fine powder.
While the shrimp shells offer some additional flavor, I don’t like wrestling with peeling the shrimp at the table, so I peel them first. Besides, you lose the coating if you peel it after. Your choice to leave the tails on or not – they make a good handle.
The light corn starch coating gives them a little crunch and the salt and Szechuan pepper powder gives them a delicious bite. Served with rice and garlic and ginger green beans (recipe here), you’ve got a quick and terrific meal that takes no time to prepare.
Salt and Szechuan Pepper Shrimp
1 1/2 pound large shrimp 3 tablespoons cornstarch 2 teaspoons salt and pepper powder 1 cup vegetable oil
Peel and devein shrimp and pat dry.
Whisk cornstarch, salt and pepper powder together in a large bowl. In handfuls, add shrimp and toss to coat.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Working in batches, fry shrimp until golden, crisp, and cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a flattened paper bag and let drain (paper towels can make them soggy). Taste for seasoning and sprinkle on more salt and pepper powder if necessary.
We’ve had the first week of sustained 60 degree days, so I decided that I needed to put on a pot of chili to warm the cockles of my heart. Because I’m using canned beans, jarred tomato sauce, frozen corn, etc it doesn’t need to simmer for hours on the stove. In about thirty minutes, you can have a delicious chili with a southwest flavor on your table.
I usually eat this chili with corn tortilla chips instead of the saltines I choose when eating my Chili con Carne. Other toppings you can bring to the table include sour cream, cheddar cheese and slices of jalapeños, if you want some heat.
Such delicious comfort food and so pretty, too!
Beefy Corn and Black Bean Chili
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium onion, diced 1 pound ground beef 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons chili powder 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 can (15-1/2 ounces) black beans, drained 2 cups frozen corn 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce 1 can Ro-tel diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained 1 cup beer (or water)
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil until golden, about 10 minutes. Add in the ground beef and brown. Once the meat is browned, siphon off the fat. Add in the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add in the rest of the seasonings and stir to bloom their flavor.
Stir in beans, corn, tomato sauce and Ro-tel. Pour in beer (or water) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasonings and serve.
I’ve been working on recovery from Hurricane Ida and wanted something easy but delicious for dinner with friends on a weeknight. I have a jar of Maya Kaimal Tikka Masala simmer sauce and I decided to use the method of one of my favorite chicken and rice meals from when I was a kid, updated and with a subcontinental flavor.
A great casserole for my working mom was to put rice and water in a baking dish in the morning. She’d top that with a can of condensed soup (cream of mushroom, cream of celery, cream of broccoli, etc), chicken breasts and maybe some frozen veggies and/or cheese. Covered tightly and refrigerated while we were at school and they went to work. Whoever was home first was responsible for putting it in a 350 degree F oven an hour before dinner time.
Transferring it to a slow cooker meant it needed to get a head start so I used boiling water. To not dilute the sauce, I waited and added the tikka masala sauce after at least 90 minutes of cooking.
The overnight marinade makes the chicken tender and moist. All the flavors of the marinade and tikka masala simmer sauce coming together will make your mouth happy. Using strips of naan to pick up chicken and rice sure beats using a fork and it is a very tasty way to get deliciousness in every bite.
Slow Cooker Tikka Masala Chicken and Rice
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken – breasts or thighs ½ cup yogurt 3 cloves garlic, minced ½ teaspoon ginger, grated 1 teaspoon kosher salt 2 teaspoons garam masala (optional) 1 cup jasmine rice 1 12.5 ounce jar of Tikka Masala sauce
Cut chicken into inch size pieces.
In a bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, ginger, salt and garam masala, if using. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat evenly. Place in a zip top bag and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Mix together rice with 2 cups of boiling water in the slow cooker. Place the chicken into slow cooker and cover and cook on low for 1 1/2 hours. The rice should have absorbed most of the water by then, if not let cook for 30 minutes more or until rice is soft and chicken is fully cooked. Pour the jar of Tikka Masala sauce over the chicken and stir to mix well. Cook for thirty minutes more for the flavors to come together.
I wanted to make Chicken Shawarma sandwiches but, first, I had to roast the chicken. I made a kicked up spice mixture for the marinade with cumin, paprika, turmeric, garlic and then added Aleppo peppers for an almost fruity heat. The flavor profile owes a lot to the mom of a Lebanese friend of mine who used to feed us when I lived in Oakland, California.
After roasting the chicken, we made a meal of it. I set it over a bed of rice pilaf and served it with the onions that I used to elevate the chicken during cooking. The meat was juicy and had a lovely flavor from the overnight marinade. The onion was tender and melt in your mouth good.
After we ate our fill, Mom and I picked the leftover chicken and tossed it in the pan juices before putting it in the fridge overnight with the leftover onion. I then made a delicious Greek yogurt sauce. For lunch the next day, we enjoyed Chicken Shawarma on pita with chopped tomatoes, rewarmed hunks of the roasted chicken and onion, topped with healthy dollops of the tzatziki sauce.
Just fold and enjoy. So very delicious with an awesome mix of textures and flavors with the spiced chicken and garliky, cucumber yogurt sauce. The best of street food and you didn’t have to leave home for it.
Levantine Roast Chicken
1 – 5lb whole chicken 2 lemons, juiced ½ cup olive oil 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon kosher salt 2 teaspoons black pepper 2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons paprika ½ teaspoon turmeric ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper (can substitute red pepper flakes) 2 large white onions
Use kitchen shears to cut the backbone off the chicken and then slice into the breastbone and crack the bird open. Remove the breast bone and cartilage. Place chicken in a zip top bag. The backbone and breast bone can be reserved in the freezer until ready to make stock.
Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric and Aleppo pepper together and stir well. Pour over chicken and seal bag. Massage to coat the chicken and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a large cast iron skillet in the oven. Carefully remove the skillet and place the onions (each cut horizontally into three thick rounds) on the bottom of the pan and set the chicken on top. Pour over the marinade.
Roast for about an hour or until the meat registers 165 on a meat thermometer. For the last 15 minutes, cover the top with aluminum foil if the wings or skin is getting too dark.
Remove from oven and serve over rice pilaf with each person getting a large round of onion and a ladle or two of sauce.
Here is my quick and easy tzatziki recipe:
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded 1 cup Greek yogurt (I use FAGE Total Plain) 4 cloves garlic minced 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon oilive oil
Grate cucumber into a clean dish towel and squeeze out the moisture. Place the cucumber in a bowl with all the other ingredients and mix well. Taste for seasoning.
I recommend you make 24 hours in advance so that the flavors really come together.
As we get into late May, I begin to long for gazpacho. I’ve posted other recipes here and here but my current dilemma is that tomatoes haven’t come in locally yet. The ones available in the grocery store are from Florida and are varieties designed for transport. They just don’t have the juice or the flavor of those coming from the local U-Pick farm or farmer’s market.
Sometimes you have to improvise. In my case, that means a can of V8 juice, fresh squeezed limes and some ketchup.
You’ll notice there is no salt added to the dish – the many flavors mean it isn’t necessary for taste but I put some on the table, in case the other diners wanted it (they didn’t).
This dish is amazing with the crunchy veggies, tender shrimp, creamy avocado and the lovely tomato based sauce. I could feel myself getting healthier after eating a bowl but, more importantly, the way the flavors complement each other made all of us go for seconds.
1 small head of garlic 1 small onion (red, white, yellow – any works) 1 ½ lbs small to medium shrimp, deheaded with shells on 1 tablespoon Zatarain’s® Concentrated Shrimp & Crab Boil 1 hothouse tomato 1 cucumber 1 green bell pepper 2 avocados 1 – 11.5 ounce can V8 juice, cold Juice of 2 limes (¼ cup lime juice) ½ cup ketchup 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the top off the head of garlic. Place it on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle generously with olive oil and seal the foil around the bulb. Put garlic package on a baking sheet. Quarter the onion and separate the layers. Toss generously with olive oil and place on the baking sheet with the garlic. Roast for about 30 minutes or until tender, flipping the onions layers over midway through cooking. The onion may finish roasting before the garlic so be prepared to remove it early. Transfer onion to chopping board and chop roughly. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the softened garlic and place in a large mixing bowl with the onion to cool completely while the shrimp boils.
Bring a quart of water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Stir in shrimp and Zatarain’s Concentrated Shrimp & Crab Boil. Cover and return to boil. Turn off heat and let stand 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and done. Pour off the water and place shrimp in an ice bath for up to 5 minutes. Drain and peel. Cut the peeled shrimp into bite size pieces – cut small shrimp in half and medium into three pieces.
Cut an X into the base of the tomato. Place in boiling water for 30 seconds and remove to a water bath for a minute. Take from the water and peel off the skin. Dice the tomato and place in the bowl with onion and garlic. Peel cucumber. Scrape the seeds out with a spoon and cut the cucumber into small chunks. Core and seed the bell pepper and dice. Take out the pits from the avocados and make slices into the flesh both length and widthwise. Peel the pieces from the skin. Place all the vegetables in the bowl and stir to combine. Add in the shrimp and stir well.
Whisk together the V8, lime juice, ketchup and olive oil. Pour over the veggies and turn to coat. If not eating immediately, place in the refrigerator to stay cold. Stir well before ladeling into bowls.
Serve with crusty bread – I had garlic bread on hand that worked well, too.