Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sautéed Corn

Ok, so it’s been awhile since my last blog post.  We’ve been having some repeats and visiting the beach so … I’m back.

While at the beach I was able to use my 25th wedding anniversary gift from my bride – my private cooking lesson with Chef Brad from Croissants Bistro and Bakery.  So much fun!  I’ll share a few of those recipes the next few days! 
Tonight was one of those I learned with Chef Brad – fresh sautéed corn .
It starts with fresh corn cut off the cob.  Tonight I just cut one ear for the two of us. (Natalie was eating pizza at a friend’s house across the street.)  I sliced some fresh garlic and added about a tablespoon or two of fresh oregano leaves given a rough chop, six grape tomatoes sliced in half, four baby carrots chopped and some olive oil. 
Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat.  Add garlic and cook for about a minute until lightly browned.  Add corn, herbs, and carrots.  Cook for about 4 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add the slice tomatoes and cook another minute.  Remove from heat and plate.
I served this as a side for the pan-fried tilapia with squash puree sauce and rice.  It was super!


Friday, May 20, 2011


Yes, last night was Patrick’s last night at home for a while as he headed up to North Carolina to intern as a youth leader at a church there.   It would only be appropriate to cook one of his favorites – Grilled London Broil. 

The marinade for this is a simple one, and I’m afraid I don’t measure it all out.  (I guess it’s a little different each time) It goes something like this. 
¼ cup of cooking sherry
½ cup soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
½ cup red wine
½ tsp pepper
Mix them up and pour it over the meat in a Ziploc bag and put in the fridge for at least an hour.  I mixed mine in the morning before work and let it sit till grilling time.

Nattie could'nt wait.  She loves SHRIMP!!

Of course we had to have an appetizer – Shrimp Cocktails!!!   I simply boiled two pounds of medium shrimp with a bag of Zatarain’s Crab Boil for a few minutes then drained.  The secret between a good shrimp cocktail and a GREAT shrimp cocktail (there are no BAD shrimp cocktail’s) is in the cocktail sauce!  My special ingredient is the EXTRA HOT horseradish sauce.  YUM!
I also made caramelized onions, roasted broccoli with baby carrots and some rice to go with the “COOK with FIRE” MEAT. 

The London broil was thrown on the hot grill over direct heat.  The flame reduced to low and cooked about 12 to 14 minutes each side.  I always check my grilled meats with a digital thermometer.  It was right at 145 degrees – perfect for our taste!

I brought the meat in to sit while I got the rest of the meal ready to serve.  The meat needs to sit for about 10 minutes to let the juices resettle and keep the meat from drying out.  It was time to slice it up and plate it!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lemon Pepper Trout with Vegetables

Yesterday was my baby boy’s birthday, so we ate out on the town last night.  Redbone Alley, a local eatery, is his favorite restaurant so that is where we went.  I did very well eating out,  I had a serving of their Spicy Chicken soup and a dinner portion Garden Salad with their homemade Fat Free Parmesan Peppercorn.  Yum!

Tonight I was cooking for only the bride and myself as the kids were eating hotdogs at church.  We heathens stayed home to have a dinner of wild-caught trout and a plethora of veggies and rice.  Can’t really say it was a romantic dinner for two since she was doing laundry and I was still “fresh” from the gym, BUT it was still some quality time talking without interruption.

I started with two 8oz filets of wild caught trout from my favorite grocer, Harris Teeter.  I sprayed a baking dish with non-stick spray, added the fish, then coated them with a little olive oil, fresh lemon squeezin’s, a pat of butter (broken) and a garlic pepper mix.   Set aside to marinate and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Now sauté a chopped onion, 1 ½ cups of fresh sugar snap peas, 4oz chopped mushroom, 2 zucchini (sliced into rounds), and a tablespoon of olive oil.  Half way into the cooking of these I added a ¼ cup of vegetable stock to the pan. 

As these were finishing up I put the fish in the oven for 5 minutes, and cooked a package of 90 second microwave brown rice.  Yes, I use the 90 second rice.  I do this because it saves me time, and I can control the portions better than when I cook a pot of rice.
Add the rice to the skillet when finished and stir to blend with the veggies.  I also added a splash of soy sauce at this point for a little flavor. 
When the oven timer sounds, turn oven to high broil for 3 minutes.  (Keep an eye on the fish to prevent from burning them)
After three minutes, turn off oven, remove fish, and plate your meal! 


Monday, May 16, 2011

Meatless Monday and Then Some

First let me say, I am not a vegetarian!   The bride and I, in an attempt to eat healthy try to eat a dinner a week without meat.  It’s simply an attempt to keep cholesterol in check.  (It’s not bad yet anyway!)  So our meal tonight was meatless, BUT we have two very carnivorous college boys at home right now.  I simply prepared two meals!

For the boys, I boiled a couple of chicken breasts and baked a smoked turkey sausage link.  I chopped some green onions and opened a package of Louisiana Jambalaya mix.  Pulled the chicken off the bone and sliced the sausage when they were done.   Followed the directions on the package and WHa-LA!

Instant Jambalaya!  I took a taste, and it was good.  The boys took a taste, and it was GONE!!!

For our meal I pan-fried three MorningStar veggie grillers.  When done, I removed them from the pan to cool.  While they cooled I sautéed the onions, peppers, carrots, celery, and green onions I had chopped earlier while cooking the boys chicken and sausage with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Then I added soy sauce, Texas Pete and ground cumin and about a ½ cup of veggie stock.

As this simmers I cooked my brown rice in the microwave and then added it to the mix.  Now chop the veggie burgers into bite size pieces.  Add to the pan with half a cup of salsa and heat through stirring to mix.

Makes four equal servings

Serve it up with roasted corn on the cob and green beans for a meal less than 400 calories.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Grilled Tuna, Roasted Aparagus, Pea Pods and Rice

WOW!  This week I got a taste, a sampling if you will, of what single parenting was like.  I can tell you – it is not for the faint of heart.  AND I didn’t even get a real shot of it, as I had my adult sons to help.  As I said in an earlier blog, my bride left on Monday morning to go on a business trip.  She would not return until Thursday night – late. 

So it was me and the boys versus … a six year old girl. 

We didn’t stand a chance.

It was virtually impossible to write a blog, but I did cook all week.  Last night with Matthew up at Clemson to see graduation, I grilled tuna steaks for Patrick and me.
Patrick had never experienced grilled tuna, or roasted asparagus either…

First we had to marinate the steaks for about thirty minutes.  For this I used:
¼ soy sauce 
¼ cup sherry
¼ beer

I preheated the grill, and the oven, while I prepared the pea pods and asparagus.

The asparagus would take the longest to cook, so it went in first.  Prep for these is so difficult.  Snip the ends; add a little olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Place in baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so.

Once the spears were in the oven, I got the skillet out and added a teaspoon of olive oil and a little leftover veggie stock (tsp or so) that was in the fridge.  (Chicken broth works too)

Once the pea pods and mushrooms were sautéed over medium heat, I added the microwaved rice to the skillet.  I use a store brand version of Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice for these occasions!
Stir to mix the rice, pods and mushrooms with a little added soy sauce to flavor the mix.

With about five minutes left on the asparagus, I threw the tuna on the grill.  Flip at 3 minutes and cook another 2.  ( I should have gone 2 and 2.  It was a little over cooked, but still very tasty)

Serve and eat.  I enjoy my tuna with just a little hot horseradish with it!  YUM!!

Patrick really liked it.  He ate it for lunch today too!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Veggie Patties and Chinese Noodles

My wife of 25 years left me today. 
No parties though – she says she’s coming back!
THANK GOODNESS too, I’d be lost without her.!  She is on a business trip to a vineyard resort near Atlanta.  Hmmm.... She may NOT come back.

Playing Mr. Mom to a 6 year old, first grade girl is no problem.  I’ve done it before.  It’s easy.  She asks – she gets, what’s the problem?  Yes, yes she does have me wrapped tight around her little pinky, but then again so does my bride.   I miss her already.
 Oh!  Matt is home from college for the summer.  He’s been job hunting today so that’s a good thing.  I had to explain the hunting aspect from a primitive humanistic point of view,  "Matt, you’re hunting jobs.  If your hunting party doesn’t score game – you starve."  It’s simple, but effective.  My back up is, "No job – no gas."   Walking has the same effect as a rumbling stomach to teenage boys.
So, what to prepare tonight?  Simple – it’s Meatless Monday, well for me at least.  On the way home from the Fitness Center, Natalie picked out a nice Oscar Meyer Lunchable from the grocery store while I picked up some fresh veggies – and a bottle of wine. (This Mr. Mom MAY not be as easy at I want it to be…)
I decided to experiment in the kitchen with keeping the calories low in mind, as well as meatless Monday.  I put two MorningStar Veggie Grillers in the frying pan over medium heat while I chopped an onion, some celery, a bell pepper, and a cup of mushroom slices.

When the patties were done, I removed them from the pan and added 2tsp of Olive Oil.  When heated I added the chopped veggies and a shot or two of soy sauce.
While the veggies cooked I boiled a single serving of Chinese noodles in a small pot.  These only take three minutes to cook, then rinse with cold water and drain. 
Chop the veggie patties into bite sized pieces and add back to the skillet.  Add noodles and stir.  Another shot or two of soy sauce (use the low sodium, it tastes just as good with less sodium – duh!). 

Divided into two separate containers (lunch tomorrow) and enjoy!

Each serving is approximately 350 calories.  (Approximately 350 calories because I didn’t weigh my noodles tonight!)

The Carnegie

On 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan somewhere around 54th and 55th streets is the location of what USA Today refers to as the “most famous” delicatessen in the United States – The Carnegie Deli.  

The Carnegie has its walls decorated from floor to ceiling with autographed photos of celebs and other notables that have visited.  (I tried to give them mine, but they said they had plenty of toilet paper, and to take it to the Stage Deli.) 

Adam Sandler, a frequent patron,  has a snippet in his Chanukah Song about the Carnegie Deli,  and Woody Allen has one of the Deli’s signature sandwiches named after him.  It seems the Deli was used in the filming of one of Allen’s films.  With me not being a fan of Woody Allen’s screen talents, I am unaware of the film, BUT we did try the sandwich that bears his moniker.
Sandwiches at the Carnegie Deli are served with at least one pound of meat.  The Carnegie makes all of their own meat; therefore it is virtually impossible for any other deli to duplicate their work as it is all made in house.  (This fact is point made in the deli wars of New York.  The Stage Deli and the Carnegie are in constant battle for the top billing of the city evidently.  Having eaten at both I see no competition from the Stage for the Carnegie.)

Our waitress, upon finding out we were from the southern states, was very polite in telling us some of the history of the deli, it’s sandwiches, and more.  She suggested that we “split” a sandwich.  Now those of you that know me know that I don’t split my food.  I might eat mine and then finish yours, but I don’t split my food.  However, on this day I would not be able to hit the hotel fitness center so I said ok, let’s split one.  While we pored over the menu, we were treated to a basket of pickles.  Yum!!

We finally decided to go with the recommendation of the patrons sitting next to us from Australia.  The four of them still had a huge pile of food on their table from the two sandwiches they “split”.   These friendly folks told us they were like us and could not decide on corned beef or pastrami either, so they went with the Woody Allen which was piled with both.  That was the kicker.  We ordered the Allen for splitting, and Natalie wanted a hot dog.

Natalie’s hot dog was quite an adventure for her.  When the wait staff delivered her dog, (it must have been a Great Dane at one time) her eyes lit up!  This was one happy hot dog eating girl!

Our sandwich was the right choice for splitting.  As a matter of fact I believe we could have split it with all the folks riding the 6 train!!  This monster was huge.  The waitress delivered a plate of extra bread slices to the table for us.  I didn’t know why at first, but after a few bites I realized it was to make EXTRA sandwiches out of the stuff that falls from the MAIN sandwich!!
Now the Carnegie Deli also has the reputation of being one of the best for New York Cheesecake, but after the meal we just ate, “there was no room at the Inn” for any cheesecake on this trip to the deli.

If I should ever get the chance to venture back into Manhattan, the Carnegie Deli will be the place I want to go for lunch.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Shrimp Gumbo and Jasmine Rice

Shrimp Gumbo with Jasmine Rice

     Shrimp must be on the top of my list of all-time favorites.   I love Shrimp Gumbo, but have never ventured to make it.  The roux has always ‘scared’ me away.  After tackling the roux for my heralded Crawfish étouffée (thanks David) I felt ambitious enough to attempt the dark roux of the gumbo, especially with Patrick coming home tonight.  (This time next year Patrick will be finishing his first semester of grad school in New Orleans.)

1 green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, chopped
½ cup of veggie oil or canola
4oz all-purpose flour
½ tsp thyme
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2lbs medium shrimp (peeled & deveined)
2 bay leaves
2 cloves minced garlic
Hot sauce, Salt & pepper to taste
5 cups of water (may be necessary to adjust to desired thickness)
½ cup white wine
1 smoked turkey sausage (precooked and cut into ½ inch slices then quartered)


In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and butter. 
Sautee the trinity.  (onions, celery, pepper)  Add garlic and some hot sauce.
Cook until veggies are softened, about 5-7 minutes, then remove from heat and set to the side.

     In a cast iron Dutch oven over high heat add vegetable oil.  Once heated add flour a little at a time constantly stirring.  Reduce heat to medium.  Continue stirring until the flour mixture turns to a chocolate brown – approximately 30 minutes. 

     Once to desired darkness reduce heat to low.  Add vegetables.  Add the water a cup at a time heating up before adding the next.  Stir frequently to constantly.
     Once all water has been added, include the spices and all other ingredients except shrimp.  Simmer for an hour. 


Add shrimp, cook rice, then serve.